The Effortless Brass-Jimmi Campkin

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I’d known The Boy about six years before I realised he had feelings.  Until then, I’d assumed he was like a dead tree – enigmatic and interesting to look at but essentially hollow and lifeless.  The Boy only made sense on drugs – taken by himself and his audience – but in that narrow alleyway of lucidity there was a path to reaching him.  Like those on the fringes of death who witness the long path to the bright light, if you were willing to get as fucked up as he could and did, you’d find windows where he made sense.

I remember lying on the floor, smashing my teeth on a brick, convinced it was a stale piece of bread, and seeing him standing above me, upright, without the usual hunching of the shoulders.  His voice clear and concise, not broken and wavering.  I crawled in the general direction of his shoes, blood dribbling down my chin and spitting bits of tooth and gum out onto the concrete floor.  I grabbed a handful of dust and rubbed it into the smashed remains, feeling the first burning embers of pain even this far gone.  He looked down on me with an expression I didn’t think he was capable of; pity.

He said; She smells like a spring thunderstorm.  A spring thunderstorm.  That was exactly what she smelt like, what she sounded like, what she essentially was.  A storm in a fruitful season.  He crouched onto his haunches and I met his eyes, but they moved too fast for me.  Curling into a foetus, I began to violently spasm, kicking and dragging my body in a circle.  He told me later that the retching created petal splatters of blood around my head…. like a scarlet daisy. 

*

The Boy’s earliest memory was watching a fox with a broken leg trapped in an old oil drum, slowly starving to death over a period of two weeks.  Every day that summer he’d clamber through thistles and nettles taller than him to find the poor beast inside the metal coffin, rattling and whining.  Initially he would sit apart from it terrified and fascinated, as the animal crashed and groaned, trying to free itself from its prison.  But as it became weaker, the noises died down to a soft howl, gentle as the wind through a keyhole.  Towards the end, he would push a crate against the drum and peer inside, looking down at the fox as it looked back up at him….breathing heavily but with a look on its face of utter serenity.  No noise, no whining or struggling, just two damaged lifeforms staring at each other – one at the beginning of its life and one nearing the end.  He once told me; the fox went to sleep, and I kept going back to see if it would wake up.  But something ate its eyes, and it didn’t move no more. 

*

I still go to the old oil drum, now rank and loathsome, filled with black muck and vague glimpses of rib and snapped femur.  I throw my old cigarettes inside, hoping one day I’ll feel bad about it, but I never had the depth of feeling that The Boy did, with or without drugs.  I take enough blotter acid to wallpaper most family homes, but the sun still looks normal and the trees don’t sing anymore.  I push through the thistles and weeds, remembering the pain this little child went through to experience feeling.  How he’d return home covered in little white nettle bumps on his arms, legs and face.  How he’d never cry, even as he slept on a mattress damp from beneath the floor.  Born to indifference, raised in a slum; just a product of bad decisions and post-industrialisation, both parents dead in a public toilet cubicle.

I buried The Boy in a quiet corner of the wasteland.  I picked the spot especially; surrounded by nettles guarding what they could not harm, within sight of the drum and blasted by the rays of the noon sun.  He rests under his little barrow mount, like ancient kings, away from all the troubles of the world.  And that is what haunts me; leaves me so helpless and jealous – not that his troubles are now over, but that nothing ever troubled this simple, stupid Boy in the first place.


Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.

Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.

I welcome you to my site Jimmi Campkin, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.

Just Released! Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

The Sudden Denoument Literary Collective is thrilled to announce the release of Anthology Volume I: Writings for the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective!  This long-awaited anthology 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.

Now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk

Sneak Peak: Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I

If you imagine a group weaving a disharmonious double-jointed vision together, using their blood as dye, you may come close to revealing the proffered mouths of these voices. In Birds & H e a r t s, ra’ahe khayat writes; “we’re not humans without h e a r t s / but hearts without bodies, / being fed to strange birds.” In this simple statement they identify the drifters dilemma when exposing oneself to the elements, the risk of losing one’s skin is ever present and it is this risk we find the courage and horror of our fellow humans, though we may have long given up hope of being understood, we share as much through pain as joy, and are less alone and this is the beauty of poetry. “Every time I get sober, / someone else / dyes / black / my hair.” (Funeral Trumpets, by Kindra Austin).

Samantha Lucero in 1., describes this experience as; “i keep alive by milking goats. / some like lifelines, some like ulcers / the city streets are braided in my hair.” In Conflagration by Nathan McCool he says; “I’m society, some things are outside of it; / and gazes are always turned to those things / like the barrel of a gun. … But to be perfect is to have never burned. / Things that have not endured burning cannot / give light.” The terrible honesty of these visions is uncompromising, unrelenting, a raw shot in the gut for the reader, it’s not an easy read, but like anything worthwhile you’ll be taking it with you after you’ve finished and returning before you expected to.  “I liked the Mmmm of her, the way / it brought out the whites of her eyes, / and I wondered as they closed / if they were watching her thoughts / as closely as they watched mine. / And I wished to poke at them,” (The Mmm of Her, by Nicole Lyons).

Candice Louisa Daquin, The Feathered Sleep

Sneak Peak: Mariah Voutilainen Reviews Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I

“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 

Fawn- Introducing Jimmi Campkin

Whitby XXI.JPG[Photo by Jimmi Campkin]

Fawn

We’d convinced the girl behind the screen to let us climb the church tower.  We were both stoned beyond human comprehension – only nature could understand us now – but with her bored expression and indigo hair, we could see a kindred spirit.  Arms over shoulders we talked about the coming of the Lord, and how we needed to get really high, because we wanted to run our fingers through the clouds, and you kept spitting on the glass every time you tried to pronounce a hard ‘th’.  Never mind.  Our tickets were punched, and I swear I caught a smile as a lock of dark purple hair curled over an ear pockmarked with empty piercings.

Up the narrow stone steps we wound, tripping over each others ankles, inhaling all the smells of history – damp, dust and decay.  Emerging on a ledge, supported by one  thousand year old masonry, we stared up at the same sun from all those ages ago, and ran our fingers through the grooves left by people long since lost.  No tombs, no bones, no names, just the gashes in the rock.  I carved our initials into the soft stone to continue the journey.

Your lapdance around the spire was bizarre.  Uncordinated.  You stripped like a propeller rather than a dancer, flinging clothes and limbs everywhere.  Quoting The Dane, you screamed into the air; I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth…

I sat down, watching you self destruct, what a piece of work…

Jimmi Campkin

[Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.
Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.
I also enjoy art and photography.  Clicking on the photography link will direct you to a few examples of my pictures, or if you prefer you can look at my artwork.  Most of my pictures, art and snippets from my stories also end up on my Instagram account (@jcampkin)
I welcome you to this site, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.]

Street Rats- Introducing Daffni Gingerich

Ziegfeld Model - Non-Risque - by Alfred Cheney Johnston

From the depths of my churning stomach, he pulls out my childhood and makes me puke so violently it comes out of my eyes. After wiping my face, he kisses my acidic lips. That’s when the world stops and the words start to fall out of me. The mustard plants in the vineyard across the street bloom yearly. They’re beautiful so I sit on the fence and get lost in them. When with me, he’d stare for a good 20 mins before sneaking his dirty paws up my shirt. The wind would cause me to run through the flowers in whatever direction it blew. The sky is blue and I can taste grapefruits in the air. He grabs my arm and pulls me back towards him to say I could never get away. With his arms locked tight around me and my soul devoured by his eyes, I feel a shiver go up my dress. Reminds me of Clara Harris, the woman who they claimed had “sudden passion” and hit her husband repeatedly with a car. Then proceeded to run over his lifeless body. His kisses bring me to places I never planned on going. A monkey and tiger tug at my dress and the sultan rubs a gold lamp. I want the lamp but when I return to his kiss there’s not much else I could ask for. Besides well written work and well, that’s something I prefer to earn over rubbing a lamp to get for free.

[We are very excited to add Daffni Gingerich to our collective. She is a special writer who brings something very special to the our group. I would hope that you would welcome here to SD.]

Introducing N. Ian McCarthy

A Drift of Dead Comics
by N. Ian McCarthy

       You lay, balanced flat across the colonnade of my fingers. A lower-left corner wags with the intervallic oscillation of a floor fan—the limb of a cotton bed sheet, straddling a clotheswire in the wind. You are almost a breathing thing: the impulse of a contracting diaphragm. You are the sucking gill of an angled fish, one who cannot oxygenate without water. My wax lips strain around the vowels of an invented dialect, during the seventh minute of my resistance to pick at the flat-folded staples that run up the split of your faulted spine. Do I engender a quake that will defoliate your season of autumn? Can I scatter your sheets like loose cedar shavings, as mulch for the bed of my own Silk Road?

            I am the yellow-eyed cat, lean and starved, who ladles the spoon of his tongue into the dish of the remainder of your souring cream. I mount a low mangrove branch to bay into the charcoal square of your nighttime doorway. Come not for me or for anyone. You are a reliquary of mutable fictions, and you behoove no further corporal appearances.

       Are you more than the sum of your linearly arranged innards—this cardboard box lined with plastic sleeves and white splints to keep your keepsakes from creasing? Are you only your cut-to-fit pages printed in four-color process? Value is a future thing, fuzzy, until the future appraises it. I hold you by your edges and delicately, like a cautious amateur rolling through brittle Egyptian papyrus. And, in the ball of this lamplight, I become a tonsured vulture who stabs the vice of his beak into a gob of your dried rib meat.

       Six years ago, I misplaced my hat at a bar ringed by soot-black acres of potato dirt, where notes of vinegar from a nearby canning plant punctuated the inferences of my nose. It was a driving cap, sewn with a damask label boasting Donegal Tweed on the bowl of its belly. The memory of its passing is an ash steeped in smudgy tumblers of neat whiskey—as all things that transpire while drunk are contractually forfeited upon embarkation. The recently tangible became only a murmur in the chill of my morning baldness. Am I more than those thick, raspy hands? The ones that likely scrubbed over its green-and-brown woven fibers? Is there any molecule of me still stitched into the band of its fit? Or do I become a novelty, minus all personal history, as is the fate of any found and inherited thing? Do I exist in a green garbage pile, awaiting my delivery unto the heap? Or am I hung lightly on a wood knob, in the corner of room buoyed by festive music?

       May the serialized volumes of my being—like yours—be bound in clear plastic sheaths and filed horizontally by issue number, their values cataloged and fondled by speculators. In my collection, a body-warm cap, tumbled from the crown of a quite common skull. Worth is a fuzzy thing, indeterminate without precise coordinates in space and in time. Permanence is a windblown page printed in chalk.

 


[ N. Ian McCarthy lives in the southern United States, where he writes poetry and brief prose. His works have appeared on cocktail napkins and in bifold restaurant placemats since the early 2000s. He believes in the principle of essential human worth and in the incomparable value of stories and experiences; he hopes that by attempting to understand better, we attempt to be better. He’s been fascinated by outer space since boyhood, though he has an irrational fear of gas giants. He maintains a small blog at Mad Bongo Maze.]