David Lohrey Machiavelli’s Backyard Available on Amazon
David Lohrey Machiavelli’s Backyard Available on Amazon
I write anonymously so I can breathe, so the peering eyes of non-believers does not drive away the purity in my words, cast out the flow of magic that travels from my psyche to my fingers, creating gold out of the black soot that tarnishes the little pieces of furniture in my life. The only salvation for the non-profane is words, words, and more words, little miracles woven into life that leaves some flummoxed, unable to decipher the tea leaves—codes of misery and happiness right around the corner. My words are my children, my lovers, and the passive-aggressive enemies with smiles hanging around waiting for me to make a mistake. There are those who would steal my words with prying eyes, leave them orphaned with curiosity, bringing their light to my darkness. All I want to do is write, to be left to alone to try and type my way out of the noise, the broken televisions, the meandering conversations, the phones and nightmares that leave me gasping after a long day which brings me one day closer to death. I write because I have to, because everything is nothing, and I don’t have anything except tortured sentence structure to bring any semblance of order to my universe. I will create a thousand names and pour my hope, and horror on the world in the most intimate and public way possible. Bowling would be easier, but we do what we are called to do.
I died again. In the waters as usual. It is always the water. Somehow it all makes sense. It is always the minor things. The minutia that pulls me under. The little, wet idiosyncrasies, stuffed words, distant miscommunication. I die over and over again. Each time, I emerge from the waters, gasping for air. Shedding my wet skin, warming myself by imaginary fires. There is always a new life, new thoughts springing forth from moist soil. But, the disappointment is daunting. The little, sad failures leave me paralyzed in bed, stomaching churning, limbs seized. I stand in the grocery store, gazing at nothing, avoiding mediocre conversations with a neighbor about apple trees. There is a scream boiling up inside me. A smile creeps across my face and I nod, backing away slowly. There is nothing I understand about their world. My days are secret disasters giving birth to revelations, new lives excreted through the pores of despair. I am not normal. I can’t swim with the happy people. The little conversations are lost on me. I stare blankly at the triviality of their little pleasures. I live with death. I am pulled out of swimming pools, electrocuted by hair dryers in bath tubs. I dig holes and send out esoteric messages to tortured souls. Life comes from ascending, stretching and evolving in the darkness. I find God in broken people. There are others, as wet as I am. Brought back from the brink. Eating the water of life. Dying on the bread of the masses. I died again, but I find new life. Touch the beauty of the universe, I carry a beautiful song in my heart. It is all very sad. The cycle of death is annoying. Next time I will be normal. I will dive into a big smile which will release me of my burdens. Everything will be alright. Even in death, everything will be alright. Today I live. Today, I dry off and live a secret life.
[Jasper Kerkau is co-creator of Sudden Denouement, as well as Jasper Kerkau Writing.]
I haven’t been this happy in a long time. The silence of Saturday night used to make me cower and cringe, panic in the restroom and bury myself under covers, waiting breathlessly for the sun to come up, for the vampire night to recede back into my nightmares. The fog of autumn burned off; a stillness and quiet flows through my empty house. I breath it in slowly, waves of peaceful solitude pour over me, smoothing out my idiosyncratic creases, taking me to a place most people live; a place I never knew–the world of normalcy and general complacency. Perhaps I could take up residence here, away from the shadow people and dark mental clutter that burdens me, leaving me washed out, shattered by suspicious conversations with everyone. Maybe this is forever. Maybe I am fixed, better than I was before. I can wake up on Sundays, make a big breakfast, do some push-ups, and spend a couple of hours in church with polite conversations and thoughtful meditation before returning to home and honest labor, cutting grass and sawing limbs, waving at neighbors before retiring to recliner to watch the game and dose off intermittently. Oh what a life I could have! How happy I will be from here on out. Everything is going to be okay. No more top secret distress over high cholesterol and the state of reality. Thankfully all the monsters and dragons have receded back into the darkness. From here on out everything is going to be okay.
Jasper Kerkau (1/28/17)
Sudden Denouement Literary Collective
In my next life I want to write happy, funny stories of weekends that went off without a hitch, photos of back-slapping with funny hats and exotic drinks. I will have a happy, quirky blog chronicling my life of leisure and success. I can’t write those stories, it isn’t my life, and if it were, I wouldn’t be able to write about it. My writing comes from dark places of hunger and pain. I find words peaking out of restroom in the middle of the night, face pressed against the cold, glossy door. Gasping for air, fearful of shadows. There are no words to be captured in neatly set tables, left-overs and urbane exchanges dumped in the trash; my words are born of starvation. I sat in front of the computer for ten years in my martial home, patting my protruding belly, waiting for something profound to say. Nothing. Blinking cursor on blank document. It is pain that drives me, wakes me up in the middle of the night, sending me under the bed with pen and paper to scribble out secret passages detailing stinging fear and loss. I waited on inspiration for a decade in a happy house, and it always managed to sneak out the side door gracefully, leaving disappearing footprints. With each new notch I find in my belt, I find out more about myself. I discover illicit secrets and explosions of ecstatic emotion that give way to words falling out of mind, through fingers, into the world.
Jasper Kerkau (8/14/16)
There is a place I can dwell, removed from silent gore of emotional life tied to humid residue of lost summers. From failure springs the renewing waters of new worlds laid out–removed of the impurities of dysfunction, bad relationships, tarnished pasts, regressed lives spoiled under the hot sun. A celebration of life! Turning from folly, the endless cycle of death and resurrection, the desire for absolution from a human problem: Lost in people, feeling tied to desire for healthy relationships, nuclear domestic dynamics. It is all so fleeting!
There is a place I can dwell, upright, given to spontaneous laughter, at peace with the balance of universal order, finding a person in the mirror I can live with. Slowly the last forces come in from remote villages, shoulders slumped, spirits broken, bones shattered; the light from their eyes extinguished by the long battle. Longing for the peaceful, tender embrace of loved ones, starting a new life devoid of the endless war against everything, their shattered nerves begin to calm. There is solace in the sun rise, the ceasefire that brings lost souls from a life of peril–and conflict–to the hearty meals, comfort on either shoulder: Silence. Is this merely a mirage?
There is a place I can dwell, benign rumors of demise, refuted with archaic parchment written on the heart, shown to elders who rub long beards, nodding silently as bread is broken, ceremonial wine consumed out of ornate cups. A world of possibility beckons with the hustle and bustle, normal lives being led in quiet satisfaction: Ah, everything is actually going to be alright! The grass eventually pushes the dark red stains of war off its leaves. The moon hangs passively in the sky as tired souls find solace in soft bed, the smell of candles and the laughter of children. The war over, the battered souls finally at rest. I find my place there, away from the carnage, emotional wounds heal slowly; at last, the world opens again with all of its blissful majesty.
Jasper Kerkau (9/27/16)
I see her from a distance. Her beauty touches me; I leer at her soft curves, following the fabric of her blouse as it cups her breasts, exposing the pang that is buried deep in my heart. She possesses magic, entranced I watch her laugh, tilting her head back, eyes alight with life and passion. I feel detached, removed, paralyzed by an inability to put myself into the fire. Then I start to untangle her in my mind, seeing the tarnished edges, the patina of carelessness and her jaded essence, thousands of hours at bars, the thick smoke, the flirting with nothingness, the deep sadness of wasted years childless and selfish.
Do I really want it that bad?
Again, I feel it welling up inside of me, aching for release, tangled up in flesh, skin soaked and pressed again skin, the vapid exercise of disappointment and sadness. It is all so fleeting. The tongue tangled kisses and sexual dynamic created out of a need to not experience the haunting, numb feelings that are birthed from the unique tragedy of guarded loneliness. I could possess her, drive my desires deep inside her, go through the motions, touch my lips to her flesh softly in hopes of finding a wet place to disappear, but all I really want is love, the substantive connection that is not created from situations like these—with girls like her.
Can I live without it?
I steal gazes, thinking of the ways I would turn her inside out, trying to justify talking about imported coffee afterward, acting interested in white wine and her views on social media. I can visualize myself slipping away, losing the moment and trying to figure out how I would escape after touching her flower, pulling the petals off one by one, finding a bathroom window unlocked. Too many fears and defenses, the end can’t justify the means. I don’t need it that badly. So I sit making vapid, mind-numbing chatter with strangers, not looking her way, not taking the chance—it would all be an exercise in futility. My desires are packed back into my heart. I feel alone, long for something engaging and real, compassionate eyes, the “everything is going to be alright” one gets from in a warm embrace that is not driven by dark urges but by sincere longing to live inside of another.
Jasper Kerkau (11/4/16)