“I won’t spoil the brilliant conclusion of this novel, suffice to say, if it is your desire to read something astoundingly original, from a writer who is not only a truly breathtaking author, deft with supernatural words and ideas, but a dreamer of worlds, who will blow any preconceived notions you have away and leave you shell shocked by the sheer power of his mind, then I cannot recommend Eric Syrdal and his novel Pantheon more highly. “I built this beach / and the stars / and the moon …. I turn back the wheels of heaven / and make time stop and rewind / over and over ….. Because I don’t know how to tell him / A machine had a wish.”
Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock
Dehydrated by lack
Of human touch
No matter how surrounded I am by all the warm bodies, I’m bereft. Longing to be held. To be seen. To be touched. By you. But, here I stand, desperate for a drink of contact with no drop in sight.
Drowning in dry desert sand
Tethered by rope
Stretched taught with hope
That it may snap
Sending me into your orbit
A melancholy mirage
Coughing through every grain that falls into my mouth, I gasp for air, hoping against hope that I’ll find you in the dark. This rope — my hope is all that’s left of me, I hold on as hard as I can. With my life.
Not meant to be marooned
Amongst the masses
A single star pulsates
Through callused hands
Resonating with echoes
Of my name
With the beacon as my guide, I pull my way through the din, searching for its source. I keep telling myself over and over again that I’ll make it. I have to. My life depends on it. And as I gain some ground, seeing that light growing larger by the second, I know I will make it.
Stanzas 1, 3, & 5 © Laurie Wise
Stanzas 2, 4, & 6 © Sarah Doughty
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
Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here. To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.
The town surrounds the hill like a doughnut, and we are the hole. We lay side by side, staring at clouds like nature’s Rorschach. Here are warriors with spears and here are fucked up dolphins with five tails. There is a strand of DNA being broken apart with pliers and there is a dick with three balls. Three balls. She observes it dispassionately and says, dryly; enough to give anyone a stomach ache. Then she claps her hands a few times and shakes her head.
We endure below the waterline with the scum and the fools, but on this hill we can exist, and stroke the feet of angels. She tells me to splay my fingers out wide and to comb them through the clouds, to feel divinity in the webs. I half-heartedly swat at thin air and she stubs a cigarette out onto the back of my hand. Raising one shoeless foot she traces out her name, lets out a fart with a wince and demands another cigarette. I feel my phone vibrate but this hill has rules. No technology. No distractions. No unnecessary conversation. I wish I could live my life the way I live on this hill, staring at frozen water and being burned alive.
In the nearby churchyard she has a favourite grave. A young Italian couple died on the same day over thirty years ago. The tomb is expensive but forgotten – once pristine marble now dirty, a bunch of rotting artificial flowers in the honeycomb vase, slowly sinking into the ground head first. I ate her out on the cold stone, looking up at that glorious landscape – the round thighs, the scarred rolling tummy and through the gap in her tits to that gasping, eye-rolling face. But then my eyes lingered on their names, rusting and bleeding onto the off-white slab… names chosen by parents for children, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm anymore. Rolling off, I told her I had a sore throat and she didn’t speak to me for a week.
This is all memory to me now. She sleeps somewhere beyond where angels and demons sleep, a special place where she connects to the planets in far off systems and keeps them turning. The hill is no more and the hole is filled. There are no clouds, and I swipe my hands through a vacuum. I try to make shapes out of the nothingness, and I just end up trying to marry specks of dust into sculpture.
Just before the end, we lay in a trembling embrace. She hadn’t stood under clean water in three weeks and her hair stuck to her skin at every opportunity. I would do the same. She looked at me through gelatinous eyes. I’m just so tired… and she smiled sadly. I’m terrified because I’ve never seen her cry before.
A few years ago the town planners bulldozed the church and built a supermarket over the graveyard, the dead trapped under the aisles. I hate it but I tell myself; it’s just the next logical step. God creates Man. Man creates Walmart. Walmart destroys God.
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.
Sudden Denouement Publishing is proud to announce the release of Christine E. Ray’s book Composition of a Woman.
“Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry, Composition of a Woman (Sudden Denouement Press, 2018) is a striking, fearless foray into the psyche of womanhood, both highly relatable and intensely personal for female readers and achingly candid and fascinating for male.”
Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock
Composition of a Woman is now available at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Europe ( Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es,) as well as other major retailers. Signed copies are available in the Sudden Denouement Etsy Store
Hey you. Allah
I feel nothing anymore
If I do, I can’t tell
is it supposed to be this way?
Hey you. God, why am I
screaming at the fact that you’re aware of my failure which I see sitting demure at a table sipping espresso as the aftermath of the encounter thickens the air and afterwards no one knows what to say and I want to sneer at our confusion but find I can only shout fears in tongues at the matador in front of the corner store
can you spare a holy smoke?
You know the man who said he knew you tried to teach us
he liked to play with the little boys in the parks after dark
my parents decided that he probably didn’t know you but must have had some good lawyers cause he packed up his show and moved on to the next town
I need a cleansing
I wrote this for you.
I thought I left ’em all behind
those friends I never knew
and the women I never loved
the things I’ve never done
and the truths I’ve never spoken
those tears should have dried
those emotions should have died
I should have left when I had the chance
and now I am alone and stoned and cold
no longer so bold, I wish I would have walked away
from those lies I’ve never told
pain I never endured
People I’ve never needed
friends I never saw die
the escape route always eluded me
draining my will to try
Do you offer a resurrection
for those of us who got it wrong
will you truly offer me a chance to start again
or was it bullshit all along.
if it’s really a redemption song
then maybe I too could sing
and see what your new tomorrow
maybe, If I can be strong
it has got to better than this
I was Wrong
You can read more of Oldepunk’s poetry at RamJet Poetry
The library has been converted into classrooms for fifth-year students. Shelves emptied and rearranged to fit rows of desks, projector screens, faculty offices and the Office of Student Retention. My exam is running late to complete. I am tapping fingers on the desktop nervously rapping away. My feet twitch uncomfortably. I scribble out essays and vague answers to questions I can only half-read. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time and this afternoon you’re boarding a bus for a move to LA. It’s your mistake; you’re my mistake: I let you mistake me. I’m coming with you. I should. I spring from my desk and let the stapled papers fly apart through the air at the professor’s head. The race is on skip the elevator and dash the stairs, leave the books behind at the counter I’ll come back for them later if they really mean that much to me. I burst out the doors and check the time on my phone – bright fresh sun, and the aluminum numbness creeping deeper in my lower gut; I know I’m going to be late. I hustle across campus and halfway there double-back the other way; in my haste I made the mistake of trying to cut through the campus construction. But all I find in the other direction are new dormitories and expansions under construction for the new Department of Student Retention and I cannot find the god damned parking lot where it used to be.
Out of breath sucking wind through the sweat and jello’d legs, the aluminum numbness has crept up and blossomed into wilting fireworks of frustration and shame – standing alone on the curb sucking wind, just in time to see the bus trail away. Just a moment too late.
Dream catcher, forever just a moment too late.
I’ve awoken at a desk. Lifeless fluorescent lighting and drool puddled by the keyboard. The office is a warm fuzz of processors and clacking keyboards. Assignments due before the evening commute home, and three hours wasted in a sleep-haze fading out and in, out and in – lonely headlights passing through fog of an empty exurban town. I am standing at dusk at the bus stop with an aluminum numbness curdling my gut. I don’t know the time. But I don’t know the time. There was something I missed, and it still runs unleashed from my grip, ten years now past my prime. I don’t know if the bus is late or if I missed its final run for the day. I may not be home tonight. I may not ever be home again
in time to pay our taxes, or to consolidate our student debt.
Or to find a house to live in,
to keep us off the street.
In time to see the kids grow up,
or in time to grow old with you,
I can’t come home again. Ten years of shame and pain puts no hope to death by stone. Alone, and ripped at the heart, I will sit on this bus stop bench and wait for the late-night bus ride back to the dreams that could’ve been.
[Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. And an all-around bad ass.]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You may just find yourself published on SD!
“I knew my faults.
And they always stared
back at me in the mirror.”
As long as I can remember, I knew my faults. They were engraved in my flesh, repeated so often that even I saw nothing else. I knew every one. Believed every one. I was every one.
I knew my faults when I was toddling around, learning how to speak, how to walk, how to cower.
I knew my faults when I began school. How I wasn’t smart enough, not social enough. How I was a target in school. And at night.
I knew my faults in the dark. I learned my best to do what was required of me, but I was never quite good enough. I knew what my hands needed to do, how my lips should stay soft, or how my hips were supposed to move with the right timing. After awhile, I knew those moves just enough to get by.
I knew my faults. And they always stared back at me in the mirror.
Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.
The writers and editors at Sudden Denouement are a productive group- some of them are actively involved in their local writer communities, many write and serve as editors for other literary collectives such as Whisper and the Roar and Blood Into Ink, and quite a few have self-published books or published with Sudden Denouement Publishing. This spring, Sudden Denouement’s own Kindra Austin, Jimmi Campkin, and Christine Ray founded a new site, Indie Blu(e), as a vehicle to support self-published writers and small independent press published writers, as well as the readers who are passionate about independent writing.
The concept for Indie Blu(e) grew out of the seed of the idea that individually independent writers have reach through word of mouth and social media, but that this reach could grow significantly if they networked with other independent writers to shine a spotlight on their collected body of work. Indie Blu(e) offers a home for curated writers to promote their books, provide readers with honest, thoughtfully crafted book reviews, and the opportunity to learn more about the member writers. It strives to be a hub for the type of edgy, high-quality writing that the three founders love to read and want to share with a broader community of readers.
The editors of Sudden Denouement would like to introduce you today to this exciting new resource for indie writers and fans of indie books. We think it is a site worth watching.
Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective
“I sit on the left-hand of the gods and have a special dispensation to decode the secret, universal rhythms, find patterns in the whispers which are inaudible to profane ears.”
Jasper Kerkau/I am a F*cking Writer!
Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is a thoughtfully curated compendium of the best writing published online by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective from its launch in August of 2016 through April 2018. It includes 138 pieces of cutting-edge poetry, prose and short fiction written by 29 diverse writers from England, Romania, Japan, India, Finland, the United States and Canada. Thirty-one of the 138 pieces were written exclusively for the Anthology. This volume captures the astonishing raw power of these individual and united poetic voices.
“One of the delights of this collection is the sheer diversity of voices, unconstrained, with differing syntax, forms, loss of form, deliberate omissions and styles, one moment you are reading a condensed prose-poem about the origin of life, the next a confessional bleeding rip from the heart about love and drugs. Nowhere else in modern collections have I found such a mélange of tongues, all begging questions, responses, emotions, some disgust, horror, desire. Volume I is a true kaleidoscope of the human experience, doused in realism and the phantasmagoric with absolutely no brake fluid.”
Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock
“Sudden Denouement’s Anthology exposes and breaks many of the taboos of being truly and unashamedly human, giving us permission to look at and embrace them in the moment of reading. I was allowed a glimpse into the writers’ souls; comprehending their words was an exercise in the development of understanding human nature. This is a world in which the heaviness of life weights everything down until it is distilled—frustration and hate, love and unfiltered sex, bodily urges, addictions, the complexity of human interactions. Descriptions are brightly painful in some cases, transparently critical in others, but always smack of truth. Divergent work demands that there are no holds barred; the writer reveals everything, and cuts close to the bone, even his or her own, in order to create a pulsating, living amalgamation of words.”
Mariah Voutilainen, (re)imagining the mundane
“If you find yourself hungry for the kind of words that walk boldly into the dark filled spaces of your poetic heart, be prepared to put your dancing shoes on. This anthology is a collective kaleidoscope of fragmented and pulsing light from some of the most talented writers around the globe.”
Alfa, Abandoned Breathes
Paperback, 278 pages/Published June 20, 2018 by Sudden Denouement Publishing