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)

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There is a place I can dwell – Jasper Kerkau

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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 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)

So Fleeting – Jasper Kerkau

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It was all so fleeting. The expression on her face says everything. After a terse exchange, I sense that we were both beholden to the past; there is no escaping it.

“Do you think it would ever be different?” She looks puzzled, lost. I am befuddled and confused. Incapable of doing anything. Words become useless ornaments that get discarded. It really didn’t matter what I said.

“I am going to go.” I posit, turning to the door slowly.

“It’s all very sad you know.” I can hear it in her voice. The finality is a haunting presence in the room. She continues, “I don’t know what to say. I just really don’t know what to say.”

“We should talk when I get back.” I suggest, but she and I both know that we will be in a different place then. It would be water under the bridge, just a dark pang that stabs the heart periodically.

“Okay, that sounds great. We will talk then.” Slowly she wipes a tear out of her eye. Embarrassed, she turns as I head to the door slowly, making one last attempt to think of anything that could fix everything.

“I still think of you the same way I did then, that day. It feels like a million years ago.” I walk out the door, silence to my back. There is nothing I can do; there is nothing either one of us could do for that matter. I get a lump in my throat and feel the sun beat down on my face as I walk out.

Jasper Kerkau (10/05/16)

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)

 

Upon the Anniversary of Your Death – Jasper Kerkau

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In Memory of FGL

I carried your books—Mencken, Nietzsche, and other misanthropist tomes—boxed up and sold by the pound, exorcising all your existential angst. The body still warm, I drove your mother in silence to bookstore, trivial task, your prized possessions discarded in the abyss, torn covers and scribbled footnotes heralding a new aeon. Ten years removed, I am still touched by unforgivable grief, remembering your deep laughter and explosive spark—the glass-smashing, room-clearing nihilism that left fragments of strangeness everywhere.

I carried your grief, standing in your place, eulogizing your father and all the sadness in the world. I thought of your heartbreak, his rheumatoid-afflicted limbs, the never-ending horror of merciless suffering that drove you into nothingness as he wasted away. My shoes too tight, among strangers, swallowing my tongue, perspiring, hiding under table, echoing I can do this…I can do this…I have to do this for him. Tie crooked, I shake hands with your family—“thank you for standing in for him,” they tell me with a wink and pat on the back. I bury my face in my hands afterward in the car. I will never again speak over the dead.

I carried your energy with me into adulthood. Swimming in blue waters, experiencing the miracle of childbirth, thinking of your eternal resignation—Methadone and Xanax—as I pass out cigars. I can’t help but think that a child would have saved you, as I see the future in the helpless innocence of my fruit.  I “bought in,” pushing carts down long aisles, groceries, comfort, pitter-patter of little feet, bank accounts, and Sundays strolling through antique stores. All the while, I feel the spectre of your life casting its pall over my experience. The sadness is at arm’s length, though I know one day we will drink from the mead horn in the great hall.

I carried your failure with me through tragedy, running in circles, ankles and knees aching, never stopping…jogging past your childhood home. Finding God at the worst times, finding life in the place where you surrendered. She walked out and you died. I thought of this when mine left, rose from the dead, evolved, while you lingered in my shallow sleeps, haunting me as I struggled to overcome. Every day I pushed myself further away from that place you created. I was only an inch away, pushed into the shadows only to embrace the light. I did it because you could not—I did it for you.

I carried your passion, your love of knowledge, finished a degree, never walked but hid in bathroom at work, thought of you as I visualized them calling my name. “It was all for naught,” I tell friends, secretly, of course, it was for you. Your brittle life redeemed by the marrow and bone pulverized and ingested in magic concoctions, secret rituals, great revelations thrown up in silly rooms with people I never knew as well as you. I bear the cross that people will never understand, never letting go—making the life that we dreamed of in the dreadful three a.m.’s when there were too many lines and too much talk that was all so fleeting.

I carried your beauty, your friendship, your combustible insanity with me. Sat on couches, bored, trying to find that madness, but I am cursed forever to a life of mundane drinks and civil discourse, dreaming of the past. I ask your mother if they ever got a tombstone. I think of your brilliance, unmarked, given over to eternity and worms—forgotten. My life is defined by you, looking forward, being better, not being swallowed by the same monsters that carried you away. You are with me in my dreams. After ten years, I think of you ever day.

Jasper Kerkau (11/11/16)

Interview and Review of S.K. Nicholas’ New Novel: A Journal for Damned Lovers

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

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Review of A Journal for Damned Lovers by S.K. Nicholas/By Jasper Kerkau

One of the first pieces I wrote for Sudden Denouement was called, “Writing isn’t Going to Save Me.” Over time I have changed my perspective on this; I realize that writing is absolutely necessary to my survival. It is what gets me through all the dark days, the clouds hovering over me as I try to find my place in the universe. Writing is the ointment for my soul, the salve for a heart tarnished by the cold hands of fate. I devour words and regurgitate them in a fury that cannot be contained. I now understand that writing will eventually save me, though it may take a while.

When I started to blog I wanted to write long-winded, Menckenesque social criticism that put my friends to sleep and, of course, failed to find an audience. My works…

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