Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Mick Hugh

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The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?

I write under the name Mick Hugh. It’s more a homophone than an actual psuedonym, but I’m stuck working straight-tie jobs for a living and need some anonymity. I already have a hard enough time explaining background-check anomalies.

In what part of the world do you live?  Tell us about it.

An hour west of New York City. From here, 30min west you’re in Appalachia, pitch-black forested hills at night, and 30min east you’re in the gray urban sprawl of howling Essex County. This is an interesting region; though boring, being so inbetween the extremes. Pick-up trucks picking up day-laborers and BMWs driving to corporate parks.

Please tell us about yourself.  

I started writing seriously in college. Spent a summer on an empty campus wandering around writing a novel, dropped out, moved to a different city with a friend, hitchhiked around, then was homeless, wandered back home, fell in love, moved to another city, worked odd-jobs, finished my degree (journalism); am raising a son, working full-time, and dragging my ass out of bed early AM to write in the dark morning’s quiet.

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.

MicksNeonFog.com

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?

Mick’s Neon Fog is my fourth or fifth blog. I had a journal-blog in college, then a blog about hitchhiking and “urban-camping”, then some other ones, then finally landed a form that fit well. And so stuck with it. They’re poems without stanzas, which might seem lazy, but they’re too cathartic to pay attention to line breaks. That’s my motivation – the blog’s a release valve.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?

The dim hope of someday writing for a living. I can’t think of anything more freeing than not having to take orders from people, and being able to sit and think and write (and of course hitchhiking to book-signings). Though, the blog’s been half-full, on a good week. I started farming poems (actual, stanza’d poems) out to magazines, to see if they’ll turn a penny or an eye. That, and I started a novel again, finally.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?

November of 2016. I thought Jasper was pulling my leg when he first emailed me.

Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?

A few weeks after starting Mick’s Neon Fog I got an email from Jasper. I thought he was full of shit. Someone wanted me as a contributor? I was floored. The whole SD community is an excellent thing to be part of. It’s the frontier of literature for the digital age. I joined because that excites the shit out of me.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?

Weirdos who scribble weird poems in weird little dark rooms, valuing messy, raw honesty over the picket-fence poetics that somehow garner national acclaim.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?

Metaphors. That’s the secret language of every artist. If we leave everything to definitions and boundaries, there’s no freedom. A good metaphor suggests something clear without defining it, sullying it. SD writers, like every good writer, want freedom from something, or everything. As to our specific SD secret language, there’s clearly a lot of overlap in what we’re each trying to break away from.

What are your literary influences?

I’ve a stupid breadth of literary interests. Top of the list for influences, Sylvia Plath and DF Wallace.

Has any of your work been published in print?  (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?

I came across Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones shortly after bumming around the country. So I wrote a prose-poem about friends taking turns driving with their eyes shut down the highway. That was my first published piece. Then, a short story in Digging Through the Fat (I think that was it), then just SD. I just sent out a crop of poems (yes, with actual stanzas), so hopefully I can add to the list, soon.

Do you have writing goals?  What are they?

I want to write for a living. I don’t want to take orders from people, and I don’t want to give people orders. I want a quiet farm house in PA close enough that I can bum around Philly as I please. And I’d like a Master’s in English. I think it’d be rad to be an English professor smelling of beer and tweed, scribbling madly in the mornings before yelling about Proust to a bunch of stunned Freshmen.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?  Please share a few links.

My favorites are the last 3 poems I’ve finished. I sent them out for money, and so haven’t published them elsewhere. The last few pieces are a big notch of improvement.

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?

It’s write or die. It’s life on our own terms or it’s a slow death on our knees. Society determines success by how many people we stand on, and unless the few of us can blaze a road out of this human cluster-fuck, we’re all doomed. Writing is radical. The best writing is a great metaphor that bursts our boundaries. And that’s the only thing that’ll save anyone, bursting out of these dishonest boundaries. I feel like I should end with something hopeful, but I’m really not in the mood. Write on, SD!

 

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Basilike Pappa

IMG_Basilike Pappa

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?

Under my own, which is actually Vassiliki. Its transliteration into English destroys it, so now it’s Basilike. Doesn’t sound exactly right, but looks better. Pronounced Ba-SEE-lee-kee, by the way.

In what part of the world do you live?  Tell us about it.

For the past five years I’ve been living in Trikala, in central Greece. Having moved here from Athens, I sometimes want to stab the quiet flow of life in the back; other times I feel there is nothing like sitting under the shadow of plane trees next to the river Letheus.

Most people here move by bicycle. I must be the only person in town who doesn’t know how to ride one.

If you were here and wanted to see Greece’s history in five buildings, I’d take you to the Asclepion and the Roman baths, the Byzantine fortress and the mosque of Osman Shah. For some bad, unimaginative late 20th century architecture, I could show you any building in the center.

Bad news: this is not a seaside town and the summers here are blazing.

Good news: the mountains are near if you like the forest. I do.

Please tell us about yourself.  

Some words and some people’s voices have flavors. This happens mostly in Greek. The word skopós, for example, tastes like wafer when it means ‘purpose,’ but has no taste at all when it means ‘guard.’

Katey Sagal’s voice is peanut butter. She makes me want to grab a jar and eat it to the end.

I love saving old furniture from the streets and giving them a second chance. My bedside table is such an abandoned piece. I’ve painted it black and orange – its former bedroom wouldn’t recognize it.

The historical time I find most intriguing is the Middle Ages. Even though I know that if I lived then, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Twice I tried to read it, twice I felt as if they sentenced me to twenty years of boredom.

I’d love to live forever in a Michel Cheval painting.

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.

My blog is Silent Hour

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?

I started my blog in 2017, after publishing some poems and stories on online magazines. I was happy that the editors liked my work, but I had no way of knowing how many people read it and what they thought of it. The blog gave me the chance to see if anyone cares about what I write.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?

My inspiration comes from a book I read, a song I heard, a painting I saw; from a single line that comes to mind and waits there for its perfect match to turn up; and from personal experiences.

The writer friends I’ve made through my blog are also an inspiration. Their work is both a reading pleasure and a writing lesson.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?

May 2018.

Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?

Sudden Denouement had captured my attention from the beginning of my blogging life. It featured some amazing talents. I got to know some of them better and write with them. When I was officially asked to join, I felt very honored.

What does Divergent Literature mean to you?

Divergent is the literature that cooks with idiosyncratic salt and unorthodox spice, to produce dishes of anomalous virtue. Not a big fan of conventional vegetables, it only serves them as amuse-bouches accompanied with bottles of quicksilver.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?

You know, when you are traveling by car with friends, and there is no need for music to be on, no one feels they should speak, and you can all enjoy the ride within a warm silence? That sounds like the secret language, I think.

What are your literary influences?

I wish I had the twisted imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, the dark humor of Fay Weldon, the surrealism of Achille Campanile, the cleverness of Daniel Handler, the skill of Zoe Heller, the wit of Oscar Wilde, the sensuality of M. Karagatsis.

Has any of your work been published in print?  (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?

I haven’t published anything myself. My poems Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome, Ulula and Marriage a la Mode are in the printed winter 2017 issue of Rat’s Ass Review.

Do you have writing goals?  What are they?

To go on writing. And  to complete a collection of fairytale and myth re-tellings.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?  Please share a few links.

How Demons Get their Wings

Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome

Helix

What else would you like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?

 

I’m never going to author words that sound like music in a bag

or grammar stones wrapped in newsletters.

I’ll cover me in paper leaves, lull me gently, ink my wires

and either I’ll become a microcosm of re-imagined senses

or, I swear, I’ll turn into a perfectly tuned clock.

 

Excerpt from Machiavelli’s Backyard- Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold/David Lohrey

I sent my new poem to an old friend who replied:
“I know nothing of poetry.”
Another said about the same. “I don’t read the stuff.
Sorry.” It got me to thinking.

Had I sent in a stock tip, they would have rewarded me.
I might have received a bottle of Chablis, maybe even a good one,
had I sent in trading data on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.
Who would have said, “I’m not into making money.”?

But one comes to learn an awful truth about one’s friends.
Not just their indifference; that’s painful enough.
No. It’s that for them poetry is something akin to masturbation.
They don’t want to hear about it. It’s an embarrassment.

My friends are always buying or selling. If I had produced a tomato,
I’d have been advised to set up a stand on the sidewalk.
The price of tomatoes is high, asparagus even higher,
but poetry is nearly worthless; like trying to sell one’s teeth.

Poetry is not a commodity. My friends are merchants.
It’s a shameful action, like going to Confession.
Can you sell your sins? How much do one’s dreams weigh?
Nobody wants to watch a friend display himself.

It’s not that poetry is disgusting. But it may be shameful.
It’s seen as a waste of time: not an adult activity, not a good investment,
something more akin to gathering pine cones or pressing leaves in an album,
i.e., kid stuff, or a hobby for little old ladies.

I feel like a cat taking a bloody mouse to her master.
As I drop my poem at my friend’s feet, she gives it a glance
and sneers: “What’s that for? It’s not very pleasant.
Your job is to please me. Go play in the garden.”

That’s the response of my once best friend. She sees herself as an artist
or at least claims to be artistic. She wouldn’t treat a painting the way she scorns poetry.
But then again you can own an oil. You can hang it.
Even better you can resell it.

Stocks and paintings are good investments, like real estate.
Cars and furniture lose value, more like a poem.
They’re best when new, but with art, the worth is in its place,
they say. It’s not just beauty; it’s location, location, location.

Poetry is a dying art, especially when the artistic disown it.
They’d rather have crème brûlée or pear mousse with walnuts.
It’s not only prettier but something sweet. Poetry is no treat, and poets
are a nuisance. They have the absurd idea that what they do has value.

Machiavelli’s Backyard is Available at Amazon.com,  Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe, Book Depository and other major book retailers.

Paperback, 106 pages/Published September 1st 2017 by Sudden Denouement Publishing


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

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- A letter to someone’s saviour/Oldepunk

aletterto
Hey you.  Allah

I feel nothing anymore

If I do, I can’t tell

is it supposed to be this way?

Hey you.  God, why am I

screaming at the fact that you’re aware of my failure which I see sitting demure at a table sipping espresso as the aftermath of the encounter thickens the air and afterwards no one knows what to say and I want to sneer at our confusion but find I can only shout fears in tongues at the matador in front of the corner store

can you spare a holy smoke?

You know the man who said he knew you tried to teach us

he liked to play with the little boys in the parks after dark

my parents decided that he probably didn’t know you but must have had some good lawyers cause he packed up his show and moved on to the next town

anticipating sundown.

I need a cleansing

I wrote this for you.

Christ,

I thought I left ’em all behind

those friends I never knew

and the women I never loved

the things I’ve never done

and the truths I’ve never spoken

those tears should have dried

those emotions should have died

Buddha,

I should have left when I had the chance

and now I am alone and stoned and cold

no longer so bold, I wish I would have walked away

from those lies I’ve never told

pain I never endured

People I’ve never needed

friends I never saw die

the escape route always eluded me

draining my will to try

Do you offer a resurrection

for those of us who got it wrong

will you truly offer me a chance to start again

or was it bullshit all along.

if it’s really a redemption song

then maybe I too could sing

and see what  your new tomorrow

may bring

maybe, If I can be strong

it has got to better than this

Warmest Regards,

I was Wrong

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.


You can read more of Oldepunk’s poetry at RamJet Poetry

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Street Rats/Daffni Gingerich

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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.

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.


Daffni Gingerich says simply that she “is a writer.” You can read more of her mesmerizing prose at Daffniblog.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Poisonous/SRP

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they sit calmly around a table

in a well-lit room spewing hatred

from their mouths

it is what it is, and it’s only about

that person who looks back at me

when i stare into a mirror

telling me that I’m not good

enough

they’ve been deciding what to do

about a couple of people

who make it hard for

them to

rule

i sit quietly at the table

as it all swirls around

me

i remember that mirror

tells me the truth at night

its hard to be

quiet and still

i do what I’m told

wait for direction

and silently grow old

silently i grow old

you can’t turn away because

i can’t process the signal

it happens so fast

my sin

drops the needle when

the moon fades to dawn

and it all washes away

clean

and you’re leaving here

while I’m still here

we drink the poison they serve

night after night

until I can’t feel you

anymore

i dreamt you’re near

silent and still

until you don’t breathe

I think the poison they serve

night after night

until i can’t see

the sun will wash it

clean

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


SRP is co-creator and editor for Sudden Denouement.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- bow Wow/Georgia Park

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I want the TSA
to smash my dog’s
little safety box into bits
instead of just the disposable lock
made especially for smashing
after the thirteen hours she spent in it
n cargo far from my place in the cabin
and then after landing
I hear her cries, desperate
but I’m not be able to touch her
until we clear customs

I free her in Chicago
and dump her into the car
someone brings for us
painstakingly prearranged
I don’t count on the headache
the pressure the dog fur
out of reach

someone brings the car for us
to drive back in my homeland
after three years locked out of it
the chatter on the radio sounds foreign
American accented English
-it’s hard to listen-

Driving in America is different.
I bow to every driver who passes
like a good Korean
and then I start nodding…
it’s the 24 hour difference
I just can’t manage
my dog is alive
and I am so
bone tired….

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


Georgia writes for Sudden Denouement, Private Bad Thoughts, and is the creator of Whisper and the Roar: A Feminist Literary Collective.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- all the beds are made/samantha lucero

when did you keep god under your tongue,
like
an uninvited pill
from that plastic nurse behind a wall,
masked
and reaching out to hand you an orange
mood
in a paper cup made in L.A.

for whom did your milky eyes blur,
or from whose unseen stare did the water
of your ribs buckle and hide
when you knew that worship was a mask we
wear,
that rituals and skin
give us a tendency to forgot how to say no?

i was born in a summer cage that sold
whispers to me
in body-sized trash bags, flung at donation
trucks where you wait and
where you drive up and pry a hole, pull out
unwanted secrets you can take home
and cherish as yours from other people’s
unglamorous lives; a boy scout’s book
on how to make a fire.
a girl scout’s book about how to cook on it.

my heart’s in a shot glass that says
‘i ❤ san francisco.’
on the floor by a fireplace
in his basement.

and i think that’s where i swallowed ‘god.’

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


[Sam does sixredseeds.]

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-Upon the Anniversary of Your Death/Jasper Kerkau

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I carried your books—Mencken, Nietzsche, and other misanthropist tomes—boxed up and sold by the pound, exorcising all your existential angst. The body still warm, I drove your mother in silence to bookstore, trivial task, your prized possessions discarded in the abyss, torn covers and scribbled footnotes heralding a new aeon. Ten years removed, I am still touched by unforgivable grief, remembering your deep laughter and explosive spark—the glass-smashing, room-clearing nihilism that left fragments of strangeness everywhere.

I carried your grief, standing in your place, eulogizing your father and all the sadness in the world. I thought of your heartbreak, his rheumatoid-afflicted limbs, the never-ending horror of merciless suffering that drove you into nothingness as he wasted away. My shoes too tight, among strangers, swallowing my tongue, perspiring, hiding under table, echoing I can do this…I can do this…I have to do this for him. Tie crooked, I shake hands with your family—“thank you for standing in for him,” they tell me with a wink and pat on the back. I bury my face in my hands afterward in the car. I will never again speak over the dead. 

I carried your energy with me into adulthood. Swimming in blue waters, experiencing the miracle of childbirth, thinking of your eternal resignation—Methadone and Xanax—as I pass out cigars. I can’t help but think that a child would have saved you, as I see the future in the helpless innocence of my fruit.  I “bought in,” pushing carts down long aisles, groceries, comfort, pitter-patter of little feet, bank accounts, and Sundays strolling through antique stores. All the while, I feel the spectre of your life casting its pall over my experience. The sadness is at arm’s length, though I know one day we will drink from the mead horn in the great hall. 

I carried your failure with me through tragedy, running in circles, ankles and knees aching, never stopping…jogging past your childhood home. Finding God at the worst times, finding life in the place where you surrendered. She walked out and you died. I thought of this when mine left, rose from the dead, evolved, while you lingered in my shallow sleeps, haunting me as I struggled to overcome. Every day I pushed myself further away from that place you created. I was only an inch away, pushed into the shadows only to embrace the light. I did it because you could not—I did it for you.

I carried your passion, your love of knowledge, finished a degree, never walked but hid in bathroom at work, thought of you as I visualized them calling my name. “It was all for naught,” I tell friends, secretly, of course, it was for you. Your brittle life redeemed by the marrow and bone pulverized and ingested in magic concoctions, secret rituals, great revelations thrown up in silly rooms with people I never knew as well as you. I bear the cross that people will never understand, never letting go—making the life that we dreamed of in the dreadful three a.m.’s when there were too many lines and too much talk that was all so fleeting.

I carried your beauty, your friendship, your combustible insanity with me. Sat on couches, bored, trying to find that madness, but I am cursed forever to a life of mundane drinks and civil discourse, dreaming of the past. I ask your mother if they ever got a tombstone. I think of your brilliance, unmarked, given over to eternity and worms—forgotten. My life is defined by you, looking forward, being better, not being swallowed by the same monsters that carried you away. You are with me in my dreams. After ten years, I think of you ever day.

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


Jasper Kerkau is co-creator of Sudden Denouement, as well as Jasper Kerkau Writing.