Let This Be Our Byre – Jonathan O’Farrell

 

Not to remain in any shape,

removing the real flesh,

body,

actuality

of the warmth

of my exhaled breath.

Seeing to it

that

I cannot

and will not

now be confined

to a box

within another’s life

like, let me see –

a fondly remembered

dead pet.

 

As you took

my breath away,

so do I

now.

You have provided well

and amply,

regularly,

assiduously,

dry material.

Tossed in from time

to time,

a spark,

even flame.

But how could it catch

a heart still aflame itself?

 

I have unwillingly

and in a retardent fashion

taken now little pieces

and so,

laterly,

unwittingly,

too long,

scraps.

And the chafe

of your intent;

chafing,

It rubs.

Heating yet cooling

in the reality of this,

half life,

I fatigue

like a light alloy,

metal.

Half,

something else,

darkened and tarnished

love.

 

Now,

let this

be our byre.

Let’s willingly ignite all,

past, present, future,

in one last conjoined,

strong and resolved

breath

that meets

and greets,

gladly.

The source,

the truth,

of this fire

is a last loving act

 

Toss it all in,

in one moment,

consumed utterly,

rising smut be us.

Heaveward acension

and free to go which way

or that,

with the four winds,

embracing something

so much greater,

than the two,

as was.

 

Now,

as then;

Phoenix,

two wings strong,

ascendant.

 

“I guess you might describe me as a semi-nomad, at the moment . . . and in the moment, I might change. I am transitioning into a creative life, blogging, photography and, significantly, the publication of my first two photographically illustrated poetry anthologies, this year.”

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, with writing, photography, healing garden project updates and travel journals:

https://misterkaki-writer.substack.com

 

 

Flinch – 1Wise Woman

in utero

she assimilated

a rabid reflex

to flinch

at sharp voices

sudden shifts

in the sacrificed she

sans escape

an embryo

devoid decision

embedded dna

blind baby syncing

with heartbeats

elevated

perpetuated panic

locked doors

tarnished hearts

tainted marrow

scanning memory

for pretty pictures

but fear is liquid

fire erasing fancy

it’s terror

in the air

choking

without exception

finding a way in

entering quiet

quick breathes

seeping through pores

staking claim in

undeserving souls

and it stays

stays and takes

takes time

time and time again

till tormented babes

begin to transform

without terms

terminate

term life

slight and slender

like shadows

that follow

and she flinches

still

it’s her give away

she’s gone away

drunk and disorderly

armed and dangerous

but sinners thrive

when all else dies

and she needs

needs

to rid herself

exorcise

escape

a lifetime

of that

fucking

flinch

 

[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.]

Post-Partum Depression David Lohrey

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Post-Partum Depression

There’s been no birth but I am suffering from post-partum depression.
Do you know the feeling? Something’s been taken away.
I am a passéiste; I do not have my eye on the next thing.

In the garden, the Delphiniums are in flower.
We’ll do everything together; we’ll change the world.
We’ll abolish all private property except my house.

I said in my last poem that everyone should eat popcorn, but that’s not
because I like it. I just like the sound of my voice. My fantasy is to live
in a Faulkner novel but that doesn’t mean I refuse to wear underpants.

I wanna get me an emotional-support peacock and move into Flannery
O’Connor’s old house. They prefer moist, cool summers and do not fare well
in hot, dry weather. One does still hear dreadful stories.

The greatest birthday present I ever got was a potted tomato plant from
Armstrong’s on Azusa. It cost $.79. There is nothing on this earth
as delicious as a cherry snow cone.

Who takes advice from a poet? Tamara is soaking. Robin betrayed me.
Now hear this: I don’t think women should be allowed to vote. How’s
that for a blast from the past?

I saw my first film by Truffaut in the Mission; got my first piece of ass on
Craigslist. I’ve been trying to sell the same radio play for 25 years.
I’d prefer to live in Arcadia and drive an Audi.

The plants also dislike sudden winds or rain. Except for the dwarf perennials,
most delphiniums need staking. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Who’s afraid of red, white, and blue?

Heavens to Murgatroyd, that’s about it. This is our common tale of woe. Some
thrive in the present, others not. It all comes down to the Tootsie Roll.
Things will never get better as long as we think FDR was a nice guy.

[David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.

Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.

David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.]

 

Short Circuiting- Ms. Georgia Park

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What if i recklessly wrote three or four poems a day
and sent them into the void of cyberspace
where anyone from my little brother to my exes could read them
until i was picked clean like the carcass
of the rotisserie chicken my aunt sent me home with last weekend
and what if i then found spiderwebs in my pantry
and boiled a bone broth with it – would i be all
water with shiny oil spills fed to the masses
at the homeless shelter i almost wound up at

or should i instead demand a little privacy
when the car of my body stops short and my brain
reels back and jolts violently against my skull
until i am irrevocably damaged? should i put on display
for the purpose of a science i dont understand
the spots where i am worn thin and short circuiting

or should i grow out my hair to it’s natural color
and pile it on top of my head, donned in sweatpants
do yoga, think about the best exercises for an aging woman
go to therapy, read thick novels, think of children
and bake my very first contribution to Thanksgiving?
Just a pumpkin pie, nothing fancy. Could i possibly
forget what happened to me (was it me, really, even back then?)
or at least stop talking about it and just go quiet
could i pass for a brain that’s not short circuiting?

Georgia writes for Sudden Denouement, Private Bad Thoughts, and is the creator of Whisper and the Roar: A Feminist Literary Collective.

Idiom – Joey Gould

It’s right where you left it

the radial arm
saw, even though mum moved. The deep
cutting 12” blade, the chopped-out fence,
the bench that held every deck board.
Better it should stay in your cave, I an apart-
ment dweller then, watching moths land
on my scotch glass fourth floor studio.

I ran wood through for Ade’s changing table
when I could. The biscuits glued to my fingers.
Now it’s a dresser & drawn on, a child’s possession.
Up & down go the drill-pressed adjustable shelves:
books, clothes, thank god no more diapers.

I have your grip—the screws I torqued
into solid maple hold doors flush.
The stain still refracting walnut. All the measures
we take to finish our work, patience for geometry
& the bottomless screwdriver drawer. I am

the magician now, already was when you called
from the kitchen: where the pry bar, the hammer,
where the jar of 3” interior screws? Sighing, & down
the three-riser skeleton of the steps
& into your workspace, picking whatever
thingy up & plopping it at your head
as you, jackknifed, bent in prayer
to the broken pieces of my childhood
home: it’s right where you left it.

Photo by Ian D. Keating

Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry who has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. He writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. He’s working on a website: joeygouldpoetry.wordpress.com

You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines

Ripe – Jimmi Campkin

When I stand on her footprints my shoe engulfs them, but the memory swarms across me like low autumn shadows. Her goosebumps are Braille to me, without them I am blind. Without my fingertips dancing across her arms, and down her back, I am lost. I live for touch and scent. I cannot feel her bony shoulders anymore. I cannot smell the incense and cigarettes when we bathe in the sun. I long for long greasy hair, bad breath and sweat packed against the shoulder-blades.
I fell in love with her through violence, and I think she would’ve appreciated that. Grabbed by the lapels by a stranger to me, pressed against a wall, staring into eyes wired and unfocused by cocaine and disappointment, I was told; you have to do this….you’d be a fool not to. But I am a fool; always have been. And I always choose not to.
When I run my hands down the contours of her flesh, it is not foreign to me. I know every dimple, I know every crease and I know every fold even as my fingers explore unknown territories. That thrill; the new and the familiar, pulses through me even as all the blood rushes confused like commuters at a station closure between the mind that races and the witless organ that twitches and throbs. I long to lick those teeth, and I long to drown in those thoughts, and I long to be useless next to someone who can activate me.

Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

Karaoke Blues – Nicole Lyons

I don’t think you want to know me

like you say you do

I don’t think you want to know how

my hips ache with the weight

of women crumbling

under angry men

and bridges painted whiter

than any Holy Spirit

asked them to be

I walk with the stumbling grace

of a wounded soul stretched

and ready to burst

against the aftershocks

I have placed in my pockets

 

I don’t think you want to know me

I think you want to duck and jive

and convince the women

in my pockets to sidle up

under neon lights and press

their hips against smudged rails

while they powder their noses

and sit pretty until they are asked

to dance or you get five fingers in

and begin telling the story about the time

you watched your mother burn.

You will never find salvation here,

but I like the way you keep coming back

with your fists full and asking forgiveness

knocking on honey-coloured jungle wood

toes sealed tight inside crocodile tears

still wet, and tap-tap tapping slow

to a beat that hums in karaoke blues

 

Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is a best selling published author, poet, and also a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.

 

Georgia Park (pictured) also writes poetry and consults for Sudden Denouement in addition to being extremely good looking.

Gallifrey Is Gone

by Nathan McCool

gallifrey

My home is at the heart of nomadic wandering.

If you were to understand

this kind of isolation, you too would

have to be the lone survivor of

ancient desolation.

All the wars now are fought endlessly

among my triple brain stems.

These wars that will take all my love.

These wars that time and dimension

cannot escape.

These wars that will leave me alone –

the last thing walking in the shadows.

My dearest friends, my greatest loves…

You know me. But you can not know

what is in me. That I see everything

at all times;

even at the ruination of the world

and the resurrection of my body.

How the beating of my two hearts

elapses in the lacuna where dual suns shine;

echoing with all the death in my wake that could

engulf all of time and space.

For all my love and good acts,

there is perhaps an even

greater vulnerability.

Because I’ve seen it all.

And I can tell you that I am alone.

Gallifrey is gone.

 


 Nathan McCool is a member of Blood Into Ink and the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on his blog, Mist of Melancholia.


 

To Quote Walt Whitman

by Mick Hugh

 

whitman

Are there pastorals in a pixel?

I’ve heard it said so.

That a perfect moment holds life’s memories…

yet the playback waits for death.

 

No better than the world

in a meek man’s hands:

show me the roses growing naturally in the graveyard,

or a romance with a wick for the years.

 

We can get high enough

if we run the old Buick

with the garage door shut.

 

We can get high

walking the Lincoln Tunnel,

or gasping for breath

from a Newark overpass.

 

A thousand office faces

find their dreams in computer screens,

still glowing when the day shuts its lights.

Wither the aortic valve,

just from a lack of use.

 

Lazy eyeballs,

cataracts,

myopic Coke-bottle glasses.

The smoke-stacks in a Cezanne.

Mesothelioma

in the gold mines of a wedding ring –

are we done yet?

 

Febrile seizures on a death-bed

awaken his famous past:

canyons in the skin

that ran the red of roses.

 

He’d take his books for walks

till his legs got lost,

down by the waterfront,

down Washington Street.

 

The clamor of half-built high-rises,

soot of the tent towns

under the highways:

the fast clacking of sharp shoes on the sidewalks,

a briefcase to withstand the bullets.

 

Strange creatures that lurked down the streets,

mange and tendon and quiet whisper.

The dog with chopped ears

pawed the Plexiglass shell,

and whimpered,

as the clerks and the lawyers brisked past.

 

A daisy grew in a pavement crack.

A daisy grew and the seasons churned

on a playback twice as fast.

Stop.

 

Stuck at a stop in the traffic-thronged street was a truck,

hauling concrete to the next empty lot, being filled.

The driver could barely be heard:

the hum of idling traffic,

the overpasses rumbling above;

 

beneath the sounds of airplane thrust

and the debates of World News Tonight,

the truck driver,

red faced,

barely heard,

shouting out,

“I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass!”

 


Mick Hugh is a writer for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.


 

Introducing Joey Gould: The One Time You Take Her to the Lake

It is easy to love one who stares so hard.
She speaks to the breaking water,
eyes ninety degrees away .

You know the vowel structure,
the tongue tuck, the flick of lighters,
the grey solution slowing your veins—

alternately, there grew the lump
in her chest. Then she flew away
from sureness, pale sojourning.

A speedboat’s wake splashes here by a private dock
neither of you owns. Neither of you owns
much. As for any sort of kissing, she
is beautiful but already swimming away
into a blinding sunburn cooked into the pond,
into the flesh-gap between the stories
inked into the skin of her narrow shoulders.
She needs them touched up. She once had

much longer hair, when she forgot
for seven years—consider yourself
also a side-effect of the chemo.
You never learned to swim.

This story poets tell you to read,
it is beautiful & aloof, it runs out
of pages, will not listen to you begging.

Someday you will see her
finally in the ocean, too far away,
too unconcerned with the jagged shore.


Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry, for which he assists the Poetry Festival Planning Committee, leads workshops for Student Day of Poetry events around Massachusetts, writes web articles for MassPoetry.org, & judges slams for Louder Than a Bomb MA. His work has been printed in Paper Nautilus, Drunk Monkeys, The Compassion Anthology, Memoir Mixtapes, & District Lit, amongst others. He has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. Since his first public reading as a fellow of Salem State University’s Summer Poetry Seminar, he has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. In addition to his Mass Poetry work, he has taught workshops for the Salem Poetry Seminar & Salem Lit Fest. He coedits Golden Walkman & writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. Most important, he likes Pusheen & painting his nails.

You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines