David Lohrey Machiavelli’s Backyard Available on Amazon
She knows my failure: it engulfed her.
It left us both washed out in different places.
The grit of nicotine and broken promises painted a
nauseating patina on each.
Maybe now the glow will restore me,
drive away the ghouls of a lost year.
There is a beauty in laugher;
hers is much better than mine.
The fickle face of spring,
smothered in the acrid sensation of summer—
which by definition has yet to begin. I begin the slow ascent
to normal. My legs ache and burn down long hallways.
Breath alludes, breaking me at the middle; my eyes affixed on the shiny, cold ceramic.
Summer is the destroyer.
It crushes young introverts, who seethed at
pool parties and find the sun to be loathsome;
I discover that little changes: I still hate the laughter and humid sun-rays.
A dark room beckons me; the soft hum of air-conditioning is a beautiful idiosyncratic song.
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.]
Summer is a destructive force. The dank humidity leaves me brooding and exhausted; Houston is unforgiving. The cement, cars, and teaming masses, coupled with my incessant ambition, leaves a trail of sweat, puts me in dark rooms, huddled by the throbbing sound of fans, hiding from the relentless assault of the merciless sun. I dreamt last night of the snow from a failed conquest in Northern Virginia years ago; the result was the same, hiding, smothered, seeking refuge from icy February that left me longing for the comfort of home, the soft Houston late-winter. The result is the same; I spend my life hiding from the world, looking for artificially, temperature-controlled spaces. In the end, I spend all my time hiding from everything. Loud people with abrupt personalities. Shiny, bright sorts with abrasive opinions and sharp condemnation. The truth is that I am a coward. None of it is for me. I am given over to fits of intuitive paranoia, deep sympathies for the outcasts, feeling the deep burden of guilt for failures, lost in a world of vapid people with sharp agendas packed away in pockets and purses. The summer is unbearable. The disappointment is too much to bear. There is never a point which I feel at peace with the universe. It is all slipping away, as I clutch my confused life with sweaty hands, secretly afraid of skin cancer and the world getting hotter by the day. I am one of the ones who ache in rooms with small talk about politics, puffed up bravado about personal exploits. I just want to sit in silence and breathe, feel the love and positive energy at the core of it all that is often so elusive. The heat will devour me. I will lose myself in August, burn and sweat out pounds. There is no escape. The world and all the magic it possesses is fleeting. For the time being, I sit and wait for this all to pass. Eventually, this summer will end, the superficial people will go away. I will be able to soak in the beauty of the life. Find happiness not tarnished by all the disappointment in the world. Everything will be okay. I just need to get through all of this heat. The world is a beautiful place. I just need to sit and ponder the future.
Jasper Kerkau is co-creator, writer/editor for Sudden Denouement.
I just picked up several books by Lyn Coffin. “This Green Life: New and Selected Poems” (Transcendent Zero Press) is a wonderful book of poetry. According to her bio, she “is the author of more than thirty books–poetry, fiction, drama.” Her website is Lyn Coffin: One Hand Clapping. I have been particularly inspired by the depth and weight of her poetry. The book is another great release from my friends at Transcendent Zero Press. Dustin Pinkering and Z.M. Wise are exceptional publishers and writers, who seem to bless us all with a wide variety of exciting poetry.
As someone who was greatly influenced by Allen Ginsberg, I found her poem “The Death of Allen Ginsberg” to be particularly touching, the last line reads: “At last he was allowed to disappear.” This collection of poems requires multiple readings and analysis. I would suggest anyone who is as enamored with poetry as myself to pick up a copy of one of her books. One a side note, after meeting Coffin, I found her to be what we expect from great poets, a true individual with a strong voice, cutting her own unique path. I was blessed by the experience and look forward to digging deeper into her writing.