Ripe – Jimmi Campkin

When I stand on her footprints my shoe engulfs them, but the memory swarms across me like low autumn shadows. Her goosebumps are Braille to me, without them I am blind. Without my fingertips dancing across her arms, and down her back, I am lost. I live for touch and scent. I cannot feel her bony shoulders anymore. I cannot smell the incense and cigarettes when we bathe in the sun. I long for long greasy hair, bad breath and sweat packed against the shoulder-blades.
I fell in love with her through violence, and I think she would’ve appreciated that. Grabbed by the lapels by a stranger to me, pressed against a wall, staring into eyes wired and unfocused by cocaine and disappointment, I was told; you have to do this….you’d be a fool not to. But I am a fool; always have been. And I always choose not to.
When I run my hands down the contours of her flesh, it is not foreign to me. I know every dimple, I know every crease and I know every fold even as my fingers explore unknown territories. That thrill; the new and the familiar, pulses through me even as all the blood rushes confused like commuters at a station closure between the mind that races and the witless organ that twitches and throbs. I long to lick those teeth, and I long to drown in those thoughts, and I long to be useless next to someone who can activate me.

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.

Excerpt from Superstition- Women and Horses/Rana Kelly

trembling skin.
come on to me,
slow slow slow,
and know.
wild-eyed and rolling, ready to bolt.
shattered, heaving sides.
shiver, shiver, shake
down your spine.
frozen, still ready to shake loose and hurt me
just in case.
because you know.
run my hand down quaking flanks,
speckled sweat, kiss your face, stroke your lips
storms and lightning in your eyes.
you know the sting and slash of whip-
boot heel, knee, fist.
whatever he had round at the time.
i feel it too, i felt it too.
sweet sweet girl.
with deep and shuttered eyes.
it’s the tight line of your spine when i reach for you,
and you lean and slide, reel and wheel, away.
gather up your strength little girl.
gather up your wind, show it to me.
silent now, lower your face to me.
lower your face to me.
breathe deep, don’t let him see you frighten,
don’t let him see your fear.
low low low, i blow on your skin,
touch the velvet under your eyes.
rim my finger on the seam of your ear.
hh shh shh. it’s all right.
lower your face to me.
ease down your eyes,
drift them down slowly.
lean to me, give me some weight.
i know the look of you-
coiled and strung
like hanging meat.
hooks and things-
until you break
until you break.
i know you.what i was.who knows us.
who knows what men can do
but women and horses.

Superstition is available from Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe, Book Depository, and other major book retailers.

Paperback, 89 pages/Published August 5th  2017 by Sudden Denouement Publishing


Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, from Caesura to featherproof press, FM to Ceremony Collected. Her first novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, was published in 2015. She’s currently writing her second novel.

‘ This mess we’re in ‘ – Collaborative – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

 

   the lights are always on now, no one ever sleeps.

   i am one of those dreamless alien lights; one of those nobody’s cradled in the teeth of a high-rise window. my building’s a fang that pierces an eye of god. i loved you more because you turned away from me.

   i stare at my reflection until i become the memory of you; until i am become death and stones in pockets, and the formless outside in the velvet dark. you, the ghost that rushes in the corner of my eye, the reason i wear lace when it rains. i’m trying to read your mind, wherever it’s gone, but i can’t. i try to unearth the sandalwood smear of you on my walls and in between my fingers, but you’re not there. i’m not there either, not anymore.

   and so i’ll go to the hudson where they sell fire for your throat when you can’t weep or scream, where there’s bad news in the laughter and they find you floating the morning after.

   this mess we’re in will be over before it can begin.

   With a rock in my hand, I lay you down and taste the sweetness of your lips. I make you pretty and breathe in a scent that tickles me just right. With my fingers around your throat, I squeeze them tight and tell you that I want so much to believe. Among a bed of roses in a part of town others have no need to tread, I watch over you as the sun is replaced by the milk-white moon that makes you look like a porcelain doll my sister used to own. You, my beautiful secret. You, my only regret. You, the only one who knows me for how I am. Sit with me a while and hear my reasons. Give me a little time to tell you how this came to be. Speak some truth to heal these sins. Say something that will ease our passage to a place we were never meant to resist.

   With a rock in my hand, you move with such speed. Like a cat, you twist and turn as I stumble trying so hard to make it known that despite my deeds, I am indeed a good man. But the more you fight against it, the harder it is. The more you move away the closer I come until the only way I can make you understand is for you to see a part of me I try so hard to hide. Hitching up your skirt and sliding down those tights, I smear your lipstick and kiss your throat. Touching you where I feel God the most, I whisper to you knowing there will be no answer. Pulling your hair and sinking my fingers into the ground beneath your head, I hear no birds. I sense no movement at all as the world we used to know turns without us.

   This mess we’re in will be over before we know it.

   i could be the smooth arms of angrboda.

   i could hunt the heat lost in you somewhere like a tremble of life, find the skeleton key that unlocks all locked doors. i could keep one dying secret down in flames. i could birth in kerosene the chained wolf-child, your half-dead maid, an immense snake that cradles the sea. we could be the myth. we could be the end, for fragments like us to fit in life’s hands, full of dirt.

   i’m spit miscarried on grass, i’m all the things i thought, except the thing i could’ve been. i’m lost in my head, and you want me here. swallowing all six red seeds, I still starve in spring. i like it in the dark, with you believing, and you want me to believe in good men, when they would bury vestals alone with a lamp. leave me on a road that i can hitch hike to hell on and think, think… !

   think about a time in red converse. stepping on your toes just to get a close up, listen low so no one else can hear, fuck them, late night in a leather jacket and a pin with a gold tooth and vampire fangs. warning label. 2 packs of american spirits until we’re dry, and anne boelyn’s ghost in the tower of london. a grin of blood they never found on the wall. hell can be real. it’s here; but your face in my hands, watching me cry, that’s worth it.

   “time is a flat circle.”

   if we have one moment that matters,

   this mess we’re in can happen over and over again.

   With a rock in my hand, I use the other to cradle the base of your skull. You used to be my woman. You used to be my girl, but you just wouldn’t be tamed. I never wanted to clip your wings. No, I never wished to see you like that at all, but you never gave me a choice. I could’ve been your man, could’ve been that someone to watch over you when you needed a friend. I was here to give you all of this, yet you went a different way. You gave yourself to those who know only how to betray. It should never have come to this, but what was I supposed to do? Just allow it? Just let you fall further from grace? I’m not a monster, I’m a poet, and all I ever wanted was for you to know it. It was your choice to make.

   With a rock in my hand, I dig the soil with the other. You speak to me but it’s too late. I’ve made up my mind. And yet this isn’t the end. You are the seed that shall be planted. You are the nucleus of what I shall become. You will be mother and lover, and as I lay you down and watch you grow, the past and the future are already dancing on the same page. You have this voice but it needs to be silenced so I can hear what you have to say. You have this beauty but I need to cover it because others will surely come and attempt to sniff you out yet again. Y’know, I’ve never been this open with anyone but you. Never had the chance to be so close. It’s not how you wanted it, I’m sure, but with time you will understand, I can feel it in my bones.

   This mess we’re in gives birth to everything.


S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

 

Oscar Wilde Is Back/David Lohrey

At all costs, be nice.

Your job is to make people feel good.

You’re a defender of the status quo.

You agree with Stalin:

everyone should be happy.

The first to stop smiling gets the axe.

The first to stop clapping, disappears.

What’s all this doom and gloom?

The Democrats are the party of good cheer.

The Republicans represent darkness.

Oscar Wilde – were he alive – would be

easy to place; he never had anything nice to say.

We know what he represented. We

don’t need to read his stories.

His books don’t deserve reprinting.

Take them out of circulation. I’ve got it:

let’s distribute the works of a dedicated progressive

instead: Obama’s memoirs along with the yellow pages.

We’ll make them mandatory reading, like

Slaughter-House Five for incoming freshmen.

We’ll not only not read Oscar Wilde, we’ll

arrest those who try to keep him in print.

We’ll listen in on their conversations. We’ll

have anyone who looks unhappy picked up,

anyone who’s not delighted, arrested. Progressives

are happy. We’ll make sadness against the law,

beginning with Mr. Wilde, who was a notorious complainer.

He demanded a dialogue when we know

happy people prefer to talk to themselves.

Saul Bellow said that: an unbroken record,

an incantation of jolly thoughts, a forced smile,

or even a perpetual dance fits democracy best.

Wilde dared to ask for open

discussion. He wanted the young

to think and debate; he spoke

like a Sophist; every student of Plato knows there’s

only one truth. Our professors know a thing or two,

beginning with the desire to see Wilde banned.

Let’s drive him off. Hell, we’ll

put him in prison, once we

deprive him of a living. The

editors at Simon & Schuster should

be picked up, too. At least they deserve

to be boycotted and picketed – driven out of business,

for daring to give freedom a greenlight, for

giving that faggot an open mic.

He says he’d be happier in prison anyway, so let’s do

him the favor. We’ll make dialogue against the law,

not just a forbidden custom, like masturbation. We’ll censor

discordant voices. We’ll start with that loudmouth from England.

We’ll get him off television and run reruns of Downton

Abbey for Anglophiles, something wholesome about

heterosexual families, not a vile-mouthed homo spouting trash,

like his hatred of conformity and political correctness.

Who the fuck does this guy think he is?


[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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]

Masks-Introducing New Sudden Denouement Member Sarah Doughty

I’m not fooled by that mask of delicious perfection covering false pretenses, the façade of beauty with that devilish intention beneath. Your eyes give you away, like a wolf masquerading around in an innocent, irresistible skin. But I know better. You’re ready to devour every last bit of liquid fire coursing through my veins, leaving behind a scorched landscape, only to pour it all back into me. And as I bear the brand of your name across my steaming bones, every inch of my skin will pulse like a drum with every pound of my heart, begging for more. And I can’t bring myself to care.


Sarah Doughty is the wordsmith behind her website, Heartstring Eulogies, author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed Earthen Witch universe, a collection of novels and novellas, all offered for free (https://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/useful-links/). To learn more about Sarah and her books, check out her website (http://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/about) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13753138.Sarah_Doughty).

Oscar Wilde Is Back/David Lohrey

At all costs, be nice.

Your job is to make people feel good.

You’re a defender of the status quo.

You agree with Stalin:

everyone should be happy.

The first to stop smiling gets the axe.

The first to stop clapping, disappears.

What’s all this doom and gloom?

The Democrats are the party of good cheer.

The Republicans represent darkness.

Oscar Wilde – were he alive – would be

easy to place; he never had anything nice to say.

 

We know what he represented. We

don’t need to read his stories.

His books don’t deserve reprinting.

Take them out of circulation. I’ve got it:

let’s distribute the works of a dedicated progressive

instead: Obama’s memoirs along with the yellow pages.

We’ll make them mandatory reading, like

Slaughter-House Five for incoming freshmen.

We’ll not only not read Oscar Wilde, we’ll

arrest those who try to keep him in print.

We’ll listen in on their conversations. We’ll

have anyone who looks unhappy picked up,

anyone who’s not delighted, arrested. Progressives

are happy. We’ll make sadness against the law,

beginning with Mr. Wilde, who was a notorious complainer.

He demanded a dialogue when we know

happy people prefer to talk to themselves.

Saul Bellow said that: an unbroken record,

an incantation of jolly thoughts, a forced smile,

or even a perpetual dance fits democracy best.

 

Wilde dared to ask for open

discussion. He wanted the young

to think and debate; he spoke

like a Sophist; every student of Plato knows there’s

only one truth. Our professors know a thing or two,

beginning with the desire to see Wilde banned.

Let’s drive him off. Hell, we’ll

put him in prison, once we

deprive him of a living. The

editors at Simon & Schuster should

be picked up, too. At least they deserve

to be boycotted and picketed – driven out of business,

for daring to give freedom a greenlight, for

giving that faggot an open mic.

 

He says he’d be happier in prison anyway, so let’s do

him the favor. We’ll make dialogue against the law,

not just a forbidden custom, like masturbation. We’ll censor

discordant voices. We’ll start with that loudmouth from England.

We’ll get him off television and run reruns of Downton

Abbey for Anglophiles, something wholesome about

heterosexual families, not a vile-mouthed homo spouting trash,

like his hatred of conformity and political correctness.

Who the fuck does this guy think he is?


[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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]

Kids – Howl Davies

‘Look alive, kid’
You say it in a righteous waiver,
my own words, they sounded better
when I used them,
back around the time when I was
itching for control
in a burned-out car I saw, then stole,
stitching patterns onto worn out leather
you know damn well I said it better.

But I’m not here to argue
rather, I came to bid farewell
and after one last night of just reproach,
of threats, of quotes, of knocking up
another pretend pornographic actress,
who’s hacking at her limbs and laughing
about her matchstick sepia fantasies.

And after that has come and passed,
the headache over, there is one last
thing that must be said –
I hope I’m never here again.
Sure it’s been fun, but I am fucking tired
and I’ve barely scratched at twenty
and my body’s giving up on me,
and I’m mangled, twisted, dented,

and I’ve said this almost daily,
I have repented and I have found the light,
as a deathbed atheist, hallelujah,
but it would never get past you,
compulsive lying, it comes and goes,
because when I’m honest, I’m cruel and I just
don’t quite know what balance to adjust to,
and I think far too much about this and

irrelevant childhood pyres,
that shouldn’t’ exist but still I always
push for them to form a place
in a black-lit tone in a worn-out space,
but all I know with certainty is that
if you’re looking for a heartfelt goodbye
I didn’t come here to deliver that
I just came here to leave,
and that’s all, kid,
goodnight.


[Howl Davies is the creator of The Sounds Inside.]

A DECADE OF SOLITUDE-Rana Kelly/ 2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

 

Almost a decade

 

Of desolation and disguise.

 

Of loneliness and downcast eyes.

 

My spine was pulled

 

Out of my mad mouth

 

And I laid there breathless

 

For this eternity.

 

Fear of the enemy

 

Pushed me to soliloquy

 

For an eternity

 

Of my wolves hunted

 

And fresh hell.

 

I walk forward over water

 

Washed clean of your sickness

 

You cannot kick me

 

In the guts again.

 

I will rise

 

And eat your face

 

Shred your skin

 

And walk westward

 

Crushing your setting sun.


[Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, from Caesura to featherproof press, FM to Ceremony Collected. Her first novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, was published in 2015. She’s currently writing her second novel under a pseudonym.]

Eating Away to the Bone – SRP


stick to yourself afraid of what could happen

 

when I’m cornered

 

what i may do

 

scared of what you make me do

 

the things I’ve done

 

the things I’ve said

 

why does it always end this way

 

why does it have to be so sad

 

why do i hurt so bad

 

eating myself from the inside out

 

black cancer growing inside of me 

 

i feel less everyday

 

numb

 

nothings shocking anymore

 

exhausted i havent slept for days

 

deprivation

 

self loathing

 

all day

 

every day

 

never ending


[SRP is a co-creator of Sudden Denouement and driving force in the collective. He is a musician, a writer, and a friend.]

Two Seconds-OldePunk/RamJet Poetry

by Oldepunk

two-seconds

Above

looking down from

the edge of earth

there is a hole

in my chest

my essence is pouring out

nuances of memories and

the skeletons of dreams

no one seems to notice

there’s a hole

in my chest

and you can see straight through me

put down in configuration

of paper mache´ and Indian dye

clutter surrounds the opening

I cannot seem to return

pieces to their origin

a grin, a sin, thought of a friend

who is falling through

the hole in my chest

entertaining landscape ebullient

tamp down edges

seal in bronze and copper

vast is all that comes to mind

2 seconds last eternity

I hear the thunder of Zeus

casting vengeance into the nether

dropped to my knees

I know not what to do

there is so much time

there is no time

the parade of echoes

rushing down my

stomach and thighs

merging with distance and gravity

i am forever, i am nothing

horses running wild in the visions

that hammer home a

stifling conclusion

a shocking bulletin

there is a

hole in my chest

I fall back, imploding through

the beginning

I recall womb-love

hearth and home

faces dear and

old stale fears

I am born again as I hear

my last words dropping from

the edge of the earth

“Help me, I think I’ve been shot”

I had died prior to having

the hole in my chest

It was a curious demise