Bubble Gum Under the Table-David Lohrey

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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

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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.]

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective: A picture of our torn up praise- Aakriti Kuntal

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Image and writing By Aakriti Kuntal

Your absence is a theater. I grow disproportionate in it.
The winding and unwinding of curtains.
Warm air circulating through my face.
I imagine your body is no more a landscape.
That now it’s a home. A home with
movements and sounds and occupants.
Your arms stretching your lover’s slender body
into a lunar eclipse,
tirelessly eroding my feeble song. My tiny insignificant memory.
There’s been no word from you. Not even a sound.
It is as if your mouth transformed into a black hole
and took the rest of you too.
And I,
only I walk inside it.
Retracing my steps to see if I can
find any palpitating remains of us.
Anything, anything at all
that would explain
these patterned nights, these long long pauses in daylight.
How life has blatantly refused to comply anymore .
And how it has floated to some corner
of the nether sphere
where the sole thought of you is celebrated in adamant silence.
Where even you would now be barred from entering.
Where only I sit
with our sick wobbly songs sprawled all over my lap.
My lucid legs dancing to the tune of your voice.
Widening into a continuous void.
All stars, all planets sucked in.
And I, I all alone,
All alone by myself baby
thinking about us.
Thinking of this throbbing universe of
endless possibilities where we could just not be.

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


Aakriti Kuntal is a 25-year-old emerging poetess from the country of veritable colors and stratified rainbows, India. A Network Engineer by profession she has been writing for over a year now. She enjoys nature, music, all things geeky and all things art.  Aakriti writes for the Writings of Aakriti Kuntal, and her work has been published in 1947 Literary Journal, Duane’s PoeTree blog, Visual Verse and Indian Periodical among others.


 

Fluff- S.K. Nicholas/A Journal for Damned Lovers

Beware the moon, boy. Beware her swollen belly too as she stumbles into the room demanding the last of your Jaffa Cakes. Even if you really love someone, you should never give them the last of your Jaffa Cakes. It’s just one of those things you never do, right? As she hobbles around in a temper while you stuff the last of the cakes into your grubby mouth, she tells you to massage her feet, of which you then duly oblige. She moans and groans and purrs like a cat, but the second you unzip yourself and rub your cock against her pinkies, she calls you a pervert and turns her back with a huff and a puff. Building herself a nest, she quickly glares at you then buries her body deep into the bedsheets. The sheets haven’t been washed in weeks. Every time you try, she begs you not to. She says the scent of your smelly bodies is too much of a good thing to just wash away. After a while, she emerges from her nest looking all flustered and promptly removes her top. She’s got fluff in her belly button. You try flicking it out but she gets upset and pretends to cry. Pouring two glasses of wine, she downs hers in one swift gulp then curls into a ball singing one of her songs as you sit by her side doing your best to write a handful of lines that will no doubt become progressively worse with each mouthful of Chardonnay you knock back. The next morning they’ll all be scrapped, but for now, as the blue moon keeps watch through the window, you do your best to tap into the secret vision while letting her know you want to merge. You keep touching her. Keep reaching through the folds of the duvet grabbing her bits telling her how much you want to fill her up. She calls you a beast and a filthy swine, and yet when you retreat, she comes out and nuzzles herself against your leg while batting her eyelashes like she don’t know what she doing but she knows alright. Shedding the rest of her layers, she spreads herself and pushes your fingers deep inside and then she makes you kiss her wet bits and as you’re struggling to breathe, she raises her face to the ceiling and laughs as your own face turns as red as a tomato. Guess it serves you right for not giving her the last of your Jaffa Cakes. You should always give the one you love the last of your Jaffa Cakes. It’s just common sense.


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