Dream Jasper Kerkau

There is a story there waiting to be picked out, among cigarette butts and gravel, underfoot, after the rain. The moon bodes well to such feelings, spread out and pieced together after the fact. “I don’t remember things that way.” The hush and hurry of things, the relentless wars we wage, the conversation that we never had; it was like I was never here.

Tomorrow the hours will align, the glass will shatter and be swept up again. “If I can only hold my tongue.” There is nothing but relentless now, oft forgotten days that are never as good as they are bad. Perhaps tomorrow I will dream. Perhaps the water will run clear, and I will find it all over again. I smell the fragrance of her, the scent of inevitability. There is a story here somewhere.

Jasper Kerkau is co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing. He likes to write about dumb luck and the hours between hours.

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Coffee Time: Conversations part 2 Jasper Kerkau

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“By the time we got there it was over—everything was ruined, do you remember that?” I do and I don’t. It is kind of a blur. I shuffle a bit, adjust my shoelace under the table, readjust and look at the menu.

“Yes, of course. We got there and it was ruined,” staring down at my phone.

“Oh my God, you don’t remember.” I sense the growing aggravation. I am straining to piece it together. What was it, and why was it ruined by the time we got there? Perhaps I should have paid closer attention.

The idea of sitting and drinking coffee doesn’t appeal to me, seems like a waste of money. It is one of obligatory things normal people do. This feels like an interrogation. I watch clean faced couples shake off the cold and laugh as they make their way to the counter to make their orders. I wonder if their lives are as simple and happy as they seem. They seem untouched by the darkness that hovers over me.

“Did I tell you about what happened to me yesterday? The story about the dog?”

“Please don’t patronize me,” grabbing my phone and putting it on the table. “You haven’t paid attention to a word that I said.” Her light frustration is turning into something more. I can feel the throbbing anger from across the table.

“You have my undivided attention. It was a bad night. I forgot the tickets. We had to go back, and, of course, by the time…” She stops me mid-sentence.

“For the record, you are insufferable. You are making shit up as you go along.”

“I am joking.”

“You passed out in the bathroom getting ready for my fucking birthday party.” She reaches over and grabs my hand and looks in my eyes. “I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“I made mistakes,” nursing my coffee, staring at people filter in and out.
“You ruined everything. You destroyed me—us. Does anything really matter to you?” I feign a bite of a pastry she insists we get. I do it because it seems like the kind of thing I am supposed to do. I am going through the motions.

“I just don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember funny and happy either. It was so long ago.” My eyes move downward, away from her watchful gaze. A sick feeling swirls in my stomach. “Hey, let’s forget all of that tonight. We are together, and the world is wonderful.”

She turns away and dabs the corner of her eye. I can see the toll all of this is having on her. “It is late, and I am tired.”

“I can be better. I really can.”

Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, managing editor, and writer for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing.

Sustenance: Conversations part 1 Jasper Kerkau

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    I pondered the last thing she said about the meal before I began to ponder the concept of eating only for sustenance. It is my best guess that in the near future food consumption will not be a devilish sport for first worlders, rather an evolved act revolved around eating cubes or squares that have a natural balance of proteins, fiber, and essential vitamins. I would share my evolutionary philosophy, but the tension I feel coming from her does not invite such an unsolicited departure in conversation.

    “Your point is not lost on me,” she begins half-chewing, pointing with her fork as she scrambles to get to the heart of things. “I just do not feel that you are really thinking things through. You seem to think you have everything figured out.”

    “I don’t think we should have dessert.”

    “That is so random and such bullshit.” She takes her hands off the table and gazes at me with a scornful expression. I am still gestating on how looking at eating as a utilitarian practice will alleviate many of society’s ills.

    “I apologize, perhaps it is salmon. I am not sure about how it was prepared.”

    “Fuck the salmon.” She is seething. “I am thinking about dessert.”

    “I thought we were talking about something else entirely.” My glibness is a distraction.

She picks up her fork and begins picking at her shrimp alfredo. “You are impossible.” She was right, at least I can see how she came to this conclusion. Perhaps difficult would be a more apt description. Though my distraction is not without cause, there is certainly a methodology to the slow demise of our discussion.

    “Worse than before?”

    “No, nothing is worse than before.” She purses her lips, stares into the past before reclaiming a moment to vent her frustration at the dodgy nature of our conversation.  “There are things you can make right, and there are some things that stay with you forever.” Picking up a class of chardonnay, “there is no absolution for you—never, but you know that don’t you?”

    “I am the architect of the past, of course I know that.”

    “I feel sorry for you. I am sorry the salmon is not up to your standards, and I am sorry that I will not be having any dessert.”

Jasper Kerkau is co-creator, editor, and writer for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (suddendenouement.com) as well as publisher. He likes to write about his distaste for randomness and dread of small talk.

Merlot

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“I dread cemeteries and public restrooms,” I lean in slightly, wondering if I am hearing her correctly.
“Perhaps I was looking for something different,” trying to find the words. “I know—instead of telling how you don’t like awkward conversations in restrooms, why don’t you tell me something you do like?”
“Hmm.” She puts her finger on her chin. “You know it is all so confusing.”
“Confusing?”
“Perhaps.” She holds up her empty wine glass, looking for a waiter.
“Interesting.”
“This fucking waiter,” adjusting her dark frames. “I don’t know why I am even doing this, I hate Merlot.”

[Jasper Kerkau is a writer, publisher and editor for Sudden Denouement. His writing focuses on fragilty, bad conversations, and lingering doubts.]

Misdream

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Birds on hot cement, laughter down a spiraling staircase, lost at the mall in the last summer that really mattered. Dreams, half-sleep, waking up to the confusing light sneaking up black-out curtains. I remember, I remember. It is all so fragile, the little shards of memory shattered on glossy tile.

[Jasper Kerkau is a writer, publisher, and editor of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing. His writing focuses on awkward conversations and dreams.]

My Second Miracle

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My Second Miracle

I hate social media. I met my ex-wife on Myspace. We got married two months later, at least if my memory serves me correctly. My marriage outlasted Myspace, but it felt just as vapid. But, at least out of married I got two miracles. I never wanted a second child. I started late, and I was afraid of having a girl. The odds were against me. Because I was never particularly lucky, I knew my second would be a girl. I sat sweating nervously while they performed the ultrasound.”Congratulations, its a girl!” My ex was beaming. Fear rushed over me. I would spend the rest of my life worrying about my second miracle. Today she hugs my neck and tells me how much she loves me. Her little voice and pure smile pulverizes my fears. I still don’t like social media. It is not a place for introverts. In the morning, I brush my daughter’s hair while she tries to put the shoe on the wrong foot, taking a drink of chocolate milk, not wanting to take her eyes off of cartoons. Her brother makes her laugh, and she spews milk all over the coffee table which gets on her socks. I grimace and laugh. I am lucky indeed.

[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing]

daydreaming

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day dreaming

The sun slashes the earth with a red hue, banishing ill will and tight yawns. Young thoughts wane as the hot air pours in from nowhere, driving away the past. There is something better. A casual thought, a slight hope poured out of a life cut from the bone, splashed and burned with a dizzy reluctance. This all feels so new, but it has happened before. I have been here, kneaded like clay, exposed to the fire and wind. The lush life, an aberration. How I yearn for emancipation, a break from the heavy tongued blackouts that stunned blank faces. Surely I am better than this. I will write a memory with a happy ending, small laughter and a long kiss. There is a virus in my heart. Burden after burden, these days don’t have to be this long. I wash the feet of the moon, eat hours and break bread with long faces. I hang my heart on the lunar glow of forever. Alas, this is just a cycle, one day after another—ever fading this soft realm. Tomorrow my heart will beat feverously as I crawl slowly to an end. She lingers and laughs as the tense reality breaks this spell.

[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing]