Introducing the “I Knew. . .” Response Collaboration

Being a member of a writing collective has many benefits. One of these perks is the opportunity to write with other amazing writers, which is both creatively stimulating and challenges us to write our best work.  Collaborations are something we do very well at Sudden Denouement and we have some very exciting collaborations coming up for our readers in August in honor of reaching our second anniversary on WordPress.

Many of our collaborations are planned but sometimes the most amazing things can happen organically among writers. Earlier this week,  Kindra M. Austin wrote a piece for Blood Into Ink, which inspired Aurora Phoenix to write a response poem for Whisper and the Roar, which then inspired a group of really talented writers to keep writing.  The Editors at Sudden Denouement think that this informal collaboration is something really special and we would like to share this group of powerful poems with you today. We hope that you are as inspired by them as we were.

If these amazing pieces inspire you to write your own response, please submit it to submissionssuddendenouement@gmail.com. You may just find yourself published on SD!

I Knew My Pain – Aurora Phoenix

I knew my pain when it was a screeching
sunset
spurting cotton candy carnage
across the feathered heavens
mocking all that is soft and soothing
drawing my gaze
up and up, tearstained
\thundering scarlet refrains\
reverberating clang of your loss.
I knew my pain when it was a snarling
saber-tooth
birthed of my rent ventricles
spewing aortic dirges
feasting on festering anguish
\clamorous gluttony\
heartache grew fangs
fueled on midnight howling
and my heart gnawed raw itself.
I knew my pain when it was a stinging
nettle
clinging needy-puppy to my shins
\all scratch and scrape reminders\
of the bite that replaced the soul
in the deep chocolate of your iris.
I knew my pain when it was creeping
ivy
camouflaged among wistful greening
arisen from the fetid heap
\itching a glitch in my hopeful healing\
tendrils sneak snake-oil slick
renders my skin hopeless raw
where it lingered
in the shadow of your touch.
I knew my pain when it was tempered
steel
inlaid with soulful etchings
\mother of my surviving pearl soul\
I raise the blades coated
in my fevered blood
hammered now, the plowshares
of my hard- won stance.


Aurora Phoenix is a wordsmithing oxymoron. Staid suburbanite cloaks a badass warrior wielding weapon grade phrases. Read more of her confabulations at Insights from “Inside.”

I Knew My Invisibility- Candice Louisa Daquin

I knew my invisibility when
the lady next to my mother in the nursing ward
took me in her arms out of pity
for there was nobody there who cared
to rock a crying child , who was not wanted
by hedonists who erred in pregnancy

I knew my invisibility when
my mother tucked  bus ticket in her blouse
kissed me goodnight for the final time
explaining she needed to get out and breathe
did not remember to keep the door ajar
and the night vanquished me in her absence

I knew my invisibility when
my father silently resented single-parenting
did not pick me up outside the school gates
the boys in the projects threw stones and jeered
shouted “show me your stinking snatch, bitch”
until I learned to climb trees and wait and wait and wait

I knew my invisibility when
my grandfather told me to sit on his lap
the only attention was the wrong kind and sick
everyone else got busy like they didn’t know what was
happening
bit like being chained to a rock and watching for The Gorgon

I knew my invisibility when
my friends in bikinis had boys stuck to them like bees
cooing as birds will underneath willow trees
whilst I was bitten by mosquitos not men
and the ordinariness of me was the best repellent
no need to spray tan, just stand and burn

I knew my visibility when
I broke into pieces and watched them descend
unwilling to drown I reached out and a hand pulled
me out of the darkness and into her universe
where for the first time I was seen and loved
for who I was and not a cream centered assortment
Blindly plucked from a candy box

 

Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

I Know My Worth- Devereaux Frazier

I know my worth
Are you sure about that 
They ask me in the twilight hours
Caressing the vain sense and sensibilities
Of someone already caught in the eye
Storms vast, lighting strikes wide and deadly
The waves toss my hapless soul overboard
And plunge me deep into the abyss of sorrows
But alas, they are not my own
Not mine to keep
Just bitter tales of man and woman
Too deep in love to remain apart
When the fates have aligned they should
Swords run through aghast faces
Spears pluck the youth from their mothers
And leave carcasses piled high to heaven
Are you sure you know your worth 
When everyone around you is bleeding
And everything is choking on the blood
Not of their own, and not of yours
But of their forefathers, and all their mistakes
How blessed can life truly be when pain
Is served for each and every meal
There is no remedy for the man of burden
Toiling away, he writes his passions in the dust
With each breath he loses a day
But gains a star in the ever present firmament
One day I too will join my star family
One day I will know what it means to be home
So when they ask me
Are you sure you know your worth 
I will say no
Because as long as I’m here I cannot say
My path has hardly started, and goals
Simply fooled with
But those who come after me can say
Without an inkling of doubt
Who I was
Yes, we knew his worth 
In the world he created, we too can create 
And in continuing on the path of peace
Redeem the time so solemnly granted
And eagerly withdrawn 


Devereaux Frazier is a teen poet and writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He’s been published twelve times on SpillWords, with “Pleadings Against The Preposterous” being nominated for Publication Of the Month of May. He’s also been published five times on TeenInk, with “Less Than Human” being published in the October 2016 edition of their magazine. He placed second in Blood Into Ink’s January #MeToo writing contest. Literary Arts Review has published three of his poems as well. In addition to being a guest barista for Go Dog Go Cafe and member of The Writing Hour, he runs his own poetry blog, which was voted best of 2017 by Kendall Person of The Neighborhood.

There Were Things I Did Not Know – Lois E. Linkens

There were things I did not know (could not know).
There were words I was yet to write, a still
Small voice, yet to claim. ‘Tis life’s greatest thrill,
To light an unknown match, and watch it glow.
I would do great things. I would swing my feet
O’er fences, walls, tall gates to walk amid
The places I had never seen, and bid
Farewell to my young self, to future meet.
Places that could hold me fast, scoop me out
And fill me with their beads, their jasmine ways.
Here comes tomorrow in its dusky haze.
I have seen the future; she’s ours to sprout.
Where so much is known today, I decree
To stay a great surprise, most so to me.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

I Knew My Purpose-Rachel Finch

I knew my purpose
when little legs were
thrust apart,
foreign hands moulding my body
into a better fit for themselves,
shaping my form and my future.
I knew my purpose when they
took their turns and the skin on
my face didn’t burn beneath the salt,
but soaked it into every pore with a
remembering.
I knew my purpose when the
bruises painted my inner thighs
and even my silent lips couldn’t
hide the gospel.
I knew my purpose when the tears fell and
only the birds were listening.
Shades of hurt patterned my flesh and I was
already living in the knowing.
I would grow wings and beat them to the
sound of every whimper of a sister
and I would turn the betrayal into a war cry
for peace and justice


Rachel is a UK based writer that originally started using poetry as a way to accurately express herself after a number of traumatic experiences in her young life. She is the founder of the online community Bruised But Not Broken which was started with the purpose to raise awareness of abuse and trauma and to provide a place of comfort and support throughout the healing process. She firmly believes that it was with the support of this community that she was able to recover from sexual abuse. Rachel is mother to four young children and dedicates her time to her family and to guiding others on their own healing journey.

You can find Rachel on Facebook and WordPress at Bruised But Not Broken. She is also a Regular Contributor at Blood Into Ink.

I Knew My Fate-1Wise Woman

I knew my fate when
Enraged voices penetrate
Vulnerable
Eyes closed tight
Dreaming of locks
Picked and set free
I knew my fate when
Words embedded
Forever me
Followed by scenes
Violent
Seen and unseen
I knew my fate when
Heart carried weight
Haunted
Day and night
Searching for savior
Bury the burden
I knew my fate when
Reflection revealed
Strength intrinsic
Click
An open door
Running no more


1Wise-Woman: “I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave.]