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]
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.