Phalanx-Jimmi Campkin

DSC_0037.JPG

I should resist, but she has the confident glow of a seasoned drunk, smelling of cheap vodka and cherry gum.  She does handstands and I watch those filthy, unwashed baseball sneakers form an arc; just missing a string to be a devastating bow.  She hovers upside down for a moment and her arms burst with blood and sinew.  She walks on her hands, legs now bent like a scorpion, as I walk slowly and solemnly behind her like an undertaker walking to a funeral.

My friends tell me she is bad news but I like bad news.  I read about murder every day, I slow down for car wrecks, and I love how the spot on her forehead is infected and seething from being picked by grubby fingernails.  I love how she pushes rusty nails under her skin.  I love how she took up my dare to stand under the wasp’s nest in her underwear as I threw rocks at it.  Stung thirty eight times and going into shock, she still demanded I kiss her through the froth.

Maybe we are the people society forgot, or maybe we were a mistake from God – tossed over his shoulder towards the waste basket but bouncing off the rim and crawling, evolving on the floor in our own way; born out of lost bacteria in the gutter, staring up.  For my birthday last year she gave me a dead squirrel, pancaked flat from the road, and shaved my name into its decaying fur.

She finally overbalances and snaps to the ground like a sprung mousetrap.  Nearby is the old bridge, crossing a narrow but steep cut through the land.  The drop is horrible – in that middle distance between survival and death where leg and pelvic injuries are almost guaranteed.  The planks of the bridge have gaps and my challenge is to make my way under the bridge from one side to the other using just my hands and my grip.  She insists she won’t tread on my fingers through the gaps, but she’s a terrible liar.  And I know her well.  My body is raked with red scars from home-made surgeries, so much glue and stitches without anesthetic using her mother’s sewing yarn, all from her challenges.

I make my way underneath the bridge just before it falls away.  It stinks of piss and an old mattress where tramps go to convince themselves it isn’t worth trying anymore.  I put my fingers between the hold ahead of me and allow my feet to dangle beyond the drop.  I see her above, as a break in the sunlight.  And isn’t that an apt simile?  I shouldn’t be doing this.  I’m shit scared.  I should resist.  And as I am thinking these things, I go for the second hold.


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.

Puncture-Kindra M. Austin & Jimmi Campkin

DSC_0006.JPG

I know damn well where the bastard’s been, but I ask him anyway, just for shits and giggles. He tells me to take a short walk off a long pier—idiot, stinking of another man’s piss and strawberry nudy-bar incense. He’d sat in his car getting blotto before going inside. I know because this particular club only serves soda. What a ridiculous image: a carpark full of man-children rubbing premature hard-ons while sucking down whiskey or beer, and snorting snow off of steering wheels. I wonder how many make eye contact with their fellows as they walk across the pavement, and enter Titty McGee’s.

Hate is a strong word, and only suitable for a wretched fool.  Earlier that evening, whilst going through a drawer, I blew the dust and little balls of melted cotton from my thigh-highs and looked at them through the diseased light of a yellow lamp.  They hung from my fingertips like dead skin, stripped from some worthless cadaver fucked into permanent oblivion.  I dream of shackling his wrists and ankles spread-eagle and slowly inching the only sharp stiletto heel I have left towards an eye until the lid closes; wherein I push the tip against skin until it punctures and he begins to tremble.  My daydreams now invade my night, and I welcome the embrace from anything that purports to care enough.

I sit down, light up a smoke, and make sure the robe slips enough to see the gap between the stocking and skin. I can see him staring ahead at some shit game show re-run with the grim determination of someone not wanting to look at a road accident, or the second honeymoon video of the ex-wife. He doesn’t want it, and I regard him with all the disdain of a soiled mattress; but it’s nice to tread on his already flimsy principles. I like to remind him that the only pussy that intimidates him is the pussy that stays dry and grates like sandpaper. My cunt was silken once, back when I was a dancer he coveted. Now, the TV glows as he slumps in front of the screen, images passing over him like Teflon—nothing sticking, nothing absorbing.

I’m onto my third cigarette, and my mouth is full of cotton. He finally switches everything off and goes into the bedroom. Like a shy virgin, he mumbles a goodbye and looks at me from over his nose. Following him, I peel off the stockings and throw them into the corner of the room as he begins to undress, embarrassed by a body shaped like dead clay. Snapping my disposable lighter in half, I pour the contents over the rumpled nylon, and throw the glowing end of my cigarette into the mess. It ignites instantly; he jack-knifes over to put it out, stomping and pounding on the melting garments. It gives me pleasure, the confused fear dripping from a pair of black orbs and into his mouth.

When he asks me in desperation why did you do that? I can only give him an honest answer.

Exactly I say, looking into his empty eyes. Exactly.

 

© Kindra M. Austin/Jimmi Campkin

Original image courtesy of Jimmi Campkin 


 Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

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.   

Bubble Gum Under the Table-David Lohrey

50509566-612x612

How many canes can one observe without finally exploding?

He walks with a cane and smells like a mouse.

He has food caked on his sleeves.

There are stains on his cuffs. He smells of urine and old socks.

His wife attacks him; she berates him.

The old man will die of emphysema.

My mother promised to leave. “Why would you go to his funeral?”

She didn’t want a priest or a minister, she wanted show girls and fireworks.

She wanted to humiliate him. She ended up disgracing herself.

She’s glad he’s dead. Glad he’s gone. “Hallelujah.”

 

He begs not be resuscitated, but she forgets.

He wants to die in peace, why not?

She is asked but is silent. The paramedics smash out his teeth

and jam a pipe down his throat. He lives for days.

He keeps a lock on the door of the den. He runs in there to hide.

She’d slap him in the face. She’d kick him. She’s a drunk.

She gulps a few glasses of white wine and wants to tell her tale.

It’s a story of abandonment, an empty nest. “Get out!”

She refuses to get his meds. She tells him to get them himself.

He can’t walk. He can’t drive. She is too busy: “I have a life, too!”

 

He is deaf but she accuses him of faking.

It is true that when we talk about money, his hearing comes back.

Suddenly, his hearing is perfect. When I mention money,

he understands the figures.

He smiles when he gets a bargain. Money talks.

When she complains, the batteries stop.

He can’t make them work. He turns them off.

He’s grown tired of listening.

Sixty-one years. That voice. The rage. The badgering. The nagging.

She wants him to wipe the shit off the toilet: “You clean it!”

 

Unhappiness is intolerable.

When does it turn to hate?

Why does it turn to hate?

 

She drinks white wine from a tumbler.

She calls her cousin in Kingston

and says she hopes he’ll soon die.

He is 67 but looks 80.

She wants some love before she dies.

She wants some male attention.

“I thought we were going out for dinner. I’ve been waiting.”

“You’re drunk. I can’t go out with you now.”

She can barely stand and stinks. She’s been drinking all day.

Booze makes her hate. It brings out the rage, the loathing.

 

She is ready to die to make a statement.

Oh, it boils over, like a chemical reaction: quick lime and water.

She overflows with self–hatred. It is volcanic.

My arrival sets the fuse. The hatred can’t be contained.

She belongs to the IRA. She is ready to die for a cause.

He sits on the floor in front of the heater giving instructions,

making judgements.

The body goes. He is cold.

When she says she has a friend who has offered to go down on her,

I take my cue. It is time. Where is the exit?


David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.

Ita and Tom-Jimmi Campkin

DSC_0160 1.JPG

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.

Hiroshima Hentai- Henna Sjöblom/Murder Tramp Birthday

It’s tasteless, you said
erasing my search history.
I said I’ll do whatever it takes
to end this war.

Physically impossible?
Well honey,
that’s what they said about the atomic bomb.

I dream of a girl on a meadow
her face melting into purple wax
and cherries and brain-matter, meringue on top.
Shame breeds desperation breeds loosened morals and
Little Boys
causing trouble.

Basking in the afterglow,
I wipe the radiation from my face.
Through the walls of the shelter,
I still hear them scream
wishing for a white-hot impact,
waiting for their time to burn.


Henna Sjöblom,  the goth girl next-door. Aspiring author. Monstrophile. Horror enthusiast. She writes to cope with mental illness and everyday experiences. Find her at Murder Tramp Birthday

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Say Yes/S.K. Nicholas

Nose on nose on a balcony that overlooks a disused garage that swims with rats and pornos and junk. Black eyeliner, black tights. Red lips and a ponytail that swings like a pendulum. The smell of your hair and the feel of you pushing yourself against my groin in those hours that escape us upon waking. We sleep outside to be closer to the stars and because when we make love and taste God you want him to see you as a soul and not just a body. Pyjamas not skirts. Flirtation not chitchat. Tigers, dragons. Sushi bars and wet lips. Dimples and your smile and the absence of you when you’re not around and you’re never around but I have my words and my words will become you and that’s just how it is. The evenings are beer and wine and the warmth of your breath against my neck in the back of a taxi and then your arm around my waist in some bar with paintings on the wall I could paint with my dick. Nearly falling off your chair, you snort with laughter and bite my ear. What’s the worst thing about getting old? My hair going curly. The second worst thing? The knowledge that my mind and body are two different things and that the older I get the more conflict there will be between the two. Arguments. Frustration. To sleep. Would you sleep with me? Would you let me take off your socks and massage your feet while we sit in silence too drunk to do anything other than picture ourselves as different people? I hope so. Tears that stain the pillow. The beginning, the end. A writer, a fool. A hand around your throat. A doorway that could be a vortex that could be a portal that could be an opening to something those we have known our entire lives have never come close to. Do you remember when we were strangers? Can you recall the time you caught me staring at your mouth in the canteen at work not long after you first started? You asked me if I was okay, but I was lost in the future that danced upon your lips and although I didn’t want to be crude, I knew already what was to follow and it caused me to become lightheaded. Two hearts. One mind. That night we were under the stars and I wrote GN-z11 on your arm with a pen and urged you to get it tattooed- you never knew what it meant and I never told you. Well this is the place we shall go after we die and there we shall be free. Free to love without the presence of prying eyes. Type it into Wikipedia, and tell me you’ll say yes.

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


S.K. Nicholas  is the creator of Myredabyss.com, as well as author of two novels A Journal for Damned Lovers Vol 1 & 2. Both of these books are available Amazon.  Additionally, Nicholas is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Dream catcher never understood the bus schedule/Mick Hugh

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.

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


[Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. And an all-around bad ass.]