Melissa Studdard’s I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast Review w/Interview – Jasper Kerkau

Sudden Denouement Collective

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I am not a poet. Occasionally, I write poetry and find myself feeling defeated, throwing the words back into the void, resigning myself to writing short, personal narratives. I have, no doubt, come to terms with my shortcomings as a poet, which perhaps informs my deep respect for those who have earned the sacred title. There is something inherently special about a person who possesses a power over words, bending them to their will, plucking beauty out of the dust of time, creating concise explanations of their relationship to the universe with ease and grace. Some poets, the special ones, are privy to the secret language, part of a sacred tribe whose words contain clues to the mystery of life. These are the ones who inspire me. My life has been altered by poets from a young age, and I continue to seek new voices, finding myself stunned and…

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Call to Arms! Sudden Denouement/Secret First Draft March Madness Contest

Sudden Denouement Collective

As a writer, we often find ourselves in the role of solitary practitioner. For some, solitude is exactly what is wanted in the expression of our literary pursuits, while others, like myself, relish being part of a community of like-minded individuals. I am most fortunate to be a part of the greatest group of writers in the world. Today, I count people such as Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog), Georgia Park (Private Bad Thoughts, Whisper and the Roar), Christine Ray (Brave and Reckless), and Olde Punk (Ramjet Poetry) as friends. I have received life advice from Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles) and countless others. I am now a part of the same collective as my literary hero S.K. Nicholas, not to mention my newest inspiration Candice Louisa Daquin. I am part of something much larger than myself…

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Elixir – Jasper Kerkau

Sudden Denouement Collective

My tooth became abscessed. I awoke to find my jaw swollen, infection having taken a deep hold on my life. It seems paralyzing at times, the pain leaves me gasping for air, waiting on antibiotics to work some kind of supernatural magic, to beat back the horror and restore order to my life. It comes in waves of overwhelming pain, stinging, agonizing moments when I lose context of everything else around me. This too shall pass, I tell myself over and over again. I realize that I have been doing this all year, just taking the horror on in one wave after another, waiting for a fix, waiting for something to make things better, and, alas, it is all so fleeting.

There is an infection in my body that is eating away at my soul, it burns, and I toil, waiting for a respite, waiting for a chemical to…

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Maybe This is Forever – Jasper Kerkau

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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

I See Her from a Distance – Jasper Kerkau

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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)

 

Writing Happy – Jasper Kerkau

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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)

I am my Father’s Son – Jasper Kerkau

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“You are a runner with a stolen voice. And you are a runner. And I am my father’s son.” (Wolf Parade)

The weather is changing. In the morning I can feel it. It is just a matter of time. Eventually a cold wind will blow away all the dank humidity. I think about running, my lost passion. Before the bad back, before the squeeze of domestic responsibility, I would put on my running shoes on a cold Sunday morning and run until I had exhausted my legs, lost my breath. It was exhilarating. My life transformed when I was running; it was the action from which all good things sprang. I could never envision a life without it. Of course, I didn’t visualize the obstacles life would put in my path.

Years ago my mother gave me some dusty mementos of races my father ran in the early-eighties. I never thought of him as a runner. Later in life he had a big belly and was a connoisseur of indulgent, greasy meals. He labored at times going up stairs and seemed frail. I wondered why he quit. Thought that perhaps if he wouldn’t have stopped running his heart would not have exploded two weeks after retiring in his late fifties. I thought of him as I ran. I felt close to him. Understood what he went through getting up on an early Saturday morning and facing down a half marathon. Perhaps I understood him in a way that I never did. It was something that we had in common all these years after his death.

Like my father, I stopped running. Life happened. I think the end started with a back problem that eventually became an excuse. I slid into a life of leisure. The drive vanished. Again, I understood him; the distractions, the work, the family all became more important. Suddenly, it became easier to stop running. I wonder to myself if he ever felt the guilt, pined for the long runs,  or the silent meditative runs when all the problems of the world seem to be held at arm’s length, at least for an hour. If he would have lived to an old age, we would have those conversations. We would realize that we have a lot in common. Maybe we would have a laugh and realize that I am my father’s son.

Today, as I eagerly anticipate the first cool air, I think about him. I also think about running. My life fell apart; unlike my father, I was not able to hold it together. Now I have half a family, smoke constantly, and find myself given over to the same indulgent meals—though I have not yet fallen prey to the protruding belly. I don’t know how to fix everything, but I am sure that the only thing I can do now is take action, put one foot in front of the other and spend hours chasing the silent meditation that led me out of the darkness years ago. It is so far away but so close. All it takes is action, putting on the shoes, grabbing a water out of the refrigerator and start running.

Jasper Kerkau (11/29/16)