Heavy Petting – Mitch Green

 

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Shallow are the hands –
black in boiling fire.

The voyeur.
The purgatory.
The amateur.

It is on the brow of overcast.
A blip of blue and yellow swelling.
A fever; summer gold.

The adolescent.
The animal.
The drifter.

Small talk by clumsy voices,
wading the quiver. A crystal
girl clouding glass.

The chimera.
The beggar.
The river.

Shallow are the fields –
purging purgatory to the voyeur, while
the amateur and the beggar drown
the drifter in the river.

The pleasure
The sour lotus.
The bloom.

The adolescent animal eats the chimera.
Her boiling black hands; summer gold.

-fin


Mitch Green founded Rad Press Publishing in September of 2016. He is an avid artist in visual design and literature. Published in various literary journals and magazines: The Literary Yard. The Penmen Review. Vimfire Magazine – Mitch aims to seize the narrow line between all artistic mediums.

A few of his known poetic titles are: “Flesh Phoenix” “Monsters” “The Wolves Howled”.

Offering his hand in graphic direction – his book design portfolio can be found here.
Follow Mitch and Rad Press Publishing on Instagram.

 

And The Winners Are. . .

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In November of 2018, the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective announced its first Short Story Contest centered around the theme ‘Things Would Never Be The Same.’  We received 129 submissions from around the globe with incredibly diverse interpretations of the theme.

We took these submissions very seriously, going through not one, not two, but three rounds of judging that included publishing our 11 finalists on Sudden Denouement.  We thank everyone who read, liked, commented, shared, and voted on these fine pieces of writing.

We are pleased to announce our winners!

1st place:

Basilike Pappa – No More Than You Can Salt

2nd place: Wes Trexler – All Caps, No Spaces

3rd place: Stephanie Clark – The Chasm &

C.G. Thompson – Lies

Honourable Mentions:

Allister Nelson – Unholy Communion &
Riley Mayes – Las Luchadoras

Upon This Hill – Christine E. Ray

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From Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble online, and other major online book retailers

the pages of
the calendar
remain unchanged
old
outdated
too much effort
required
to remove it
from the wall
I no longer wear
a watch upon my
pale wrist
no need to measure
minutes
hours
by the passing
of a hand
before my face
hourglass sand
trickles grain by grain from
fractured glass bulb
onto the copper table
I write my name
upon the surface
a eulogy
time has gained
a boneless quality
become a black sea
I no longer swim in
a twilight land
where stunted sunflowers
dwarf versions
of their former selves
strain on anxious stalks
reach for stingy rays
of an indifferent sun
their petiolate leaves
grab hungrily
at my bare feet
calves
anchor me in place
I stand frozen
for an eternity
before I sink slowly
silently
into cool loam
my pockets
lined with pain
stuffed with
memory shards
fragments of dreams
the fragrance
of crushed rosemary
lemon balm
weigh me down
I am so tired
so very tired
it is so lovely here
I surrender
to the stillness
the peace
this moment offers
and I. . .
let go
my blood will
water these flowers
the calcium of my bones
will nourish this soil
tender new shoots
will wrap around the
trellis of my ribs
new life will
flourish here
butterflies
luna moths
adorn this burial mound


You can find Christine lurking about Brave and Reckless and Indie Blu(e) Publishing.  She is the author of Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood.

SD Short Story Contest Finalist: I’m Still Here – ZeinaA.G

Im_Still_Here_by_Zeina_Abi_Ghosn
Day 1

I’ve seen him around playing at the park. Glimpses of him kicking the ball keeps my heart beating. I stand behind the fence noticing his blonde hair bouncing with each movement. At least he is safe and looked after. If I approach, would he blame me for leaving?  A guilty sensation haunts me and I can’t understand why. Would anyone believe me if I told them I don’t remember leaving and the reason why? I could wait longer for my memory to come back but the more I linger on the subject the more I feel he is forgetting me. A sense of urgency rushes over me as a woman picks Noah up and I want to scream for someone to save him from her. Then the teacher helps him with his bag and it hits me that maybe my ex-husband has remarried. I stare numbly in their direction as I try to remember what kind of mother am I?  How could I leave my child unexpectedly?

I follow them to the movies and the woman meets my ex-husband in the parking lot. Thunder roars from a distance and I stare at the ragged clouds. The sky releases few drops of rain and the woman gestures for my son to run inside. I wonder if I should follow them inside and before I finish that thought I find myself inside hiding behind a gigantic movie poster. I despise that I have to hide but I don’t have a plan yet on how to approach them so for now I prefer to watch them. I can see them at the concession stand laughing as they order Noah’s popcorn. I retreat and leave for the day allowing the idea of Noah loving another mother figure to sink in. This is going to be rough on him if I show up out of nowhere with no explanation. I wonder if it’s selfish to ask to meet him when he has adjusted so well to his new life and I decide to drop it for today.

Day 2

Sometimes I think life is so fleeting and there’s this blinding light which I spot from time to time but it passes like a breeze, as if I’m passing near it in a car or it’s hiding behind a building. I’m not sure what it is, but as I get up this morning I know I have to try harder to get my son’s attention. I wake up with this sense of urgency that it has to be today, I need to talk to Noah today.

I get ready by noon, and head over to my ex-husband’s place but it’s too late they seem to be getting into the car and they go somewhere. I glare at his new wife enraged how they have kept me away from my child all these years. I’ve only seen the back of Noah’s head over the years; it’s as if they know I’m out there. As if they know, I’m desperate to steal one glance. I follow them to the park and wait for them to walk few feet away from me. I bend down on my knees and peer through the bushes my hand resting lightly on the wires. I stare at my little boy, my beautiful angel and I wonder if he still needs me. If he still remembers me, he turns around and I see his face. His baby features are all gone, and that frown on his face tells me he isn’t okay.

Dark clouds are growing ominous as I stand up fast whispering, “Do you still need me?” hoping he would hear and approach the sound. I have the courage to walk up to a clear space where everyone can see me. The moment I want to step closer I hesitate, the birthday balloons sway beneath my touch. My eyes water when I spot the huge banner I should have prepared and the birthday cake we could have baked together. I stare at Noah’s features again and I get a strange feeling that his sad, hazel brown eyes remember.

The day he was born flourishes into my memory as if had just happened. He clutched my fingers so hard as if he knew me, as if he was eager to meet me as much as I wanted to meet him. I spent hours, days and weeks counting these perfect little fingers and toes. I spent the nights dreaming of the day he’d run to me and drag me off my work so I could play catch with him. My idea of perfection was when he used to sneak into my bed each morning with his soft snuggly bear. He’d think I wasn’t awake but I was, I could feel his warmth against my cheek as he whispered, “Wake up, mommy!”

My memory is so groggy and I’ve felt sick for years that I have no idea if I have done anything wrong, could they have both moved on so fast? The step mum approaches Noah and she kneels down caressing his hair. I immediately feel myself float forward wanting to hear what she was telling him. I stare at the Spiderman birthday cake and the candle that says six. I look shamefully at myself knowing I shouldn’t have come without a present.

I’m practically behind them shoving my way to look and be present when the step mum whispers in his ear, “She’d be so proud of you.” She exchanges a pained glance with my ex and that is when it hits me. I stare at my hands which are turning transparent, and my feet that are no longer there. I watch myself wither before I get the chance to touch his soft cheek. It all comes back to me, the sick nights I was trapped in a fragile body. My husband comforted and lay near me. There was that one promise I begged him to keep, was to seek happiness, and search for stability.

The light gets stronger and I finally understand what it’s for. My son blows out his candles. I clap proudly and send him a kiss, which blows out his party hat. He giggles and picks it up. I notice the tears in my husband’s eyes. The emotion in the stepmom’s eyes freezes me; I bet she has been dedicated to my son’s happiness all these years because of the way he looks at her. I circle a ball of glow around the three of them which I know will protect them.

I hear a voice asking if I’m ready and I follow it through an endless foggy path. My concern grows as I float away from them, but as soon I step into the light, my son’s future flashes in front of my eyes. His future birthdays and milestones flourish in front of my eyes along with his teen years and even though I’m away now I’m certain he will be okay. A sense of belonging and peace overcomes me as if nothing is chasing me anymore.

The voice explains that I have to stay here until we are reunited one day and I accept it. As I watch their life reel, I witness my family’s happiness and my eyes water at their tribulations. As I stare at this beautiful, complicated world below me I ask the voice for one last request. I hear a low hum and then he asks me what I want. I clear my throat and speak out, “Each time my son encounters an obstacle or questions his faith… I want to send a whisper with a gentle breeze saying, I’m still here.”


I’m from Lebanon. I’m a photographer and I manage my parents’ photography studio. My passion for writing began since school days but I never acted on it until two years ago when I began writing a novel. I also have a blog where I write about life’s hardship. Writing with an Open Heart

Baby, I’m So Cold – Kindra M. Austin

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You don’t know what love is at noon o’clock on
Tuesday, when I tell you I’m so cold that I can’t even
fucking feel it
anymore, expect for
inside—just inside the doorway where
my walls still quake with a singular mind
not mine, but theirs.

And you can’t tell the difference,
like my stupid cunt
can’t tell the
difference—the
goddamned
difference ‘tween
pleasure and affection.

Noon-thirty,
you gotta get home cos she is waiting cos
your home is her home,
too—
I got no type of home worth
mentioning.

I don’t know what love is at midnight o’clock on
Wednesday, when I answer your call—
I’m so fucking cold that I can’t feel it
anymore.


Kindra M. Austin is a very sweary indie author and editor from mid-Michigan (you can find her books here). She’s also the co-founder of Blank Paper Press, a founding member of Indie Blu(e) Publishing, founder of publishing imprint, One for Sorrow, and a writer/managing editor at Blood into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. Austin cut her poetry teeth in April, 2016, and joined the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in 2017. You can find more of her foul mouth at poems and paragraphs.

Sudden Denouement Welcomes New Collective Member R. S. Williams – These Broken Gods II

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We and us, as gods of ink,
with stars snatched in fists made of paper and power,
shall sin.

Then, almost dutifully, we will eat the smoke
from worlds on fire with theories
of who we should’ve been.

And all the while, we will watch
as our names are pressed into
thick, gilded, holy pages,
like old flowers meant for sacrifice–
as if those frozen, broken stories
could possibly smother our own.

Later, our lungs will grow heavy
with the sort of magic that creeps through dirt
in shades of red, and we’ll carry it all
like a curse.
It’s sure to rot through our pens in much
the same way that tar tears into teeth.

But still, we are gods, and our magic,
though rough and violent and shot through with poison,
is still magic.

In the end, every word our voices crash into
will rupture and erupt into gold,
no matter how monstrous we may have been
while they were still ticking in our throats.

Even our worlds, dressed as they are in war and steel
and kept spinning by virtue of the aches in our blood
will seem beautiful to those
listening beyond what they were taught to believe
about us broken things in the first place.

For it’s the cracks in our bones
they always seek when in need of places
to hide.

And what are gods for,
if not to answer prayers?


R.S. Williams writes strange and provocative things, usually from multiple perspectives—human and otherwise. She has an increasingly codependent relationship with words and started writing them down as a way to get even closer to them. She loves them, they tolerate her—and they happily use each other like porn stars. You can read more of R.S.’ writing on Instagram and Facebook

The Crime of Understanding – David Lohrey

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He tells me Fashion has a purpose.
“You’re not against anything,” I say.
This is part of the problem. People
defend the end of the world, explain
it, like they don’t care. Like if they
understand it, they can control it.

I say denounce it. Call a spade a spade.
Bring back the capacity to object: tell
those boys to keep it down. Tell the
little ones to get dressed. We are losing
our will to power; we’ve given up.
That’s what Voltaire has done.

We’re not born free. We confuse ourselves
with lions. We are born with little.
They put us into cages. Tell your mother
to stick that rattler up her ass. Sucking
on plastic won’t get you anywhere. Get
dressed and stop wearing underwear.

Cry out. Protest your decapitation.
Life is a luxury. Stop playing it cool.
Renounce your throne. Cross the border.
Get yourself declared persona non grata.
Join the Klu Klux Klan. Drop acid.
Drink your own piss. Denounce Elvis.

I’m saying mushroom picking beats all.
Surfing the web is for sissies. Join the Army.
Relive Normandy. America’s falling apart.
They let Columbia crash to save a quarter.
This time around more will perish. The Report
On the End of the Human Race will be in braille.

You know the drill: pounce on these delightful
gifts. And know they will not pounce on you.
Look but don’t touch. They reserve the right
to deny service to anyone. Don’t forget your shoes.
Wear a shirt. Take out the trash. Sharpen your pencils.
One last thing: If you break it, you’ll get to keep it.


David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals located in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo. You can read more of his writing at Writing, Musing, Poetry

Bernard – Lois E. Linkens

Bernard

The basement of Harry’s
With damp in the walls,
Grey chairs, digestives
And no outward calls.

The biscuits were homely.
Rik’s mother had kept
A Stash for the British
Beneath the back step.

She had soft eyes. When
The bad news came,
A line like a needle
Appeared at each name.

Three days, playing
Silent strip poker; ‘Let’s die all hot.’
Lurid, she whispered
To deafen the rot.

And I bought a new Renault
With the winnings.
She mouthed, from the pavement:
‘New, red beginnings.’


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

Foundations – Jimmi Campkin

Foundations

I salute the trees.  I am not magnificent but I can see everything grow.  I hear the grass chattering and laughing.  I stare at the oaks as they stretch like old hungover drunks after a binge.

Kicking my way through an old memory, I sit down on a bench and watch a young mother playing with her child – she lets go of the kid’s shoulders and this little fat bundle of limbs wobbles and trundles into a loving pair of arms.  I light a cigarette and look over their heads towards a crumbling brick wall where I came in thirty seven seconds – a gloriously brief but exhilarating moment of savagery that left me needing three stitches in my shoulder thanks to the razor sharp teeth of an utterly destructive angel.  For five nights afterwards, I would lift my head from my pillow and find one of her brunette hairs lying next to me, either tangled up in my own or left as some kind of spiritual offering.  I didn’t wash until my sheets left an imprint of my twisting torso.

In the cold the hot ash lights up my eyebrows, and I feel the smoke rumble down inside me.  I am just a stranger now, in a place where we left so many imprints that we wrote in a language too complex for future generations to understand; or too simple.  Perhaps everything just moves on from our messages, our little totems to what a future could be – liberal, relentless in our pursuit of sensations, dogmatic in our chasing of the wind and of love, emphatic in our use of drugs and alcohol but sensitive in our presentation.  I remember walking a five block diversion to avoid following a nervous young lad, who kept looking over his shoulder at the wasted behemoth shambling and crashing behind him as our paths continued.  It only took a bottle of whiskey to give me a night so intense I could drink the stars, and yet leave an impression on this youth that I was somehow a danger to him rather than a revelation… or more probably a self-indulgent indifference.

When I close my eyes the world turns black and white and I see, like a filter, what was once and is no more.  I recognise footprints in grass that has since been cut and mown a thousand times, because I can still lay down and hear the echoes in the soil and the worms gossiping about the underwear we flung high into the canopy of the trees – bras, panties and boxers like flags on the backs of warships.  I remember warming my hands inside your cunt and you gripped my stiff cock like a hot chip as our breath mingled under a trillion years of entropy.  Under the Milky Way you promised that we would remember this moment for the rest of our lives.

I wonder.  I remember this moment but I don’t know where you are now.  I don’t know what you think or what you feel.  I don’t know whether you sit on this bench, look at that wall and remember sinking your teeth deep into my shoulder enough to dribble my blood down your chin.  I don’t know if you remember my cold fingers deep inside you or whether you see the footprints through the filter.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter.  Perhaps you are focused instead on better things, more important things.  Perhaps you are this mother, focused so intently on her little baby as it shuffles through the grass desperately trying to maintain its balance long enough to be embraced tight.  Maybe you look to the light in someone else’s eyes rather than to the light above us, as it shines down on our best and worst crimes.


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

Sliced – Aurora Phoenix

Slash

you took my shame and sliced it
lengthwise and lethal
with a viscous crunch through
the sheltered skin of a hothouse tomato.

no hesitation marks here

you cleaved me not crosswise
in that superficial scarring that screams
here I am, a suffering seeded gash
staining citric your surround.

you slashed my history

left me gasping for a tourniquet
or oblivion’s sweet relief
while the blood of shame in my eyes
obscured my vision for an eternity.

you want it that way

as it keeps me neatly in my place
that place where I may not
disrupt ill-balanced status quo
or wreak maladroit mayhem

with the power in your head.

the dripping blood of an act engaged in
is pulsing exsanguination here
four score and gore on the floor
daring you to do better.

am I to be judged

by the stertorous impulse
of my worst nightmare
or the cucumber constancy
of my day to day?

I am relegated

a crumpled and ill-used relic
ne’er dusted in the cobwebbed corner

until I decide
that I AM human
and deserving of continued respect


Aurora Phoenix is a wordsmithing oxymoron. Staid suburbanite cloaks a badass warrior wielding weapon grade phrases. Read more of her confabulations at Insights from “Inside.”