I can’t think my way out of bad acting, or at least that is what they tell me. I require action to change my thinking. I stopped cutting my hair myself. The beautician washed my hair—even though I didn’t need it, and she smeared powder on my neck. I grabbed a sucker that surely was meant for kids. I tipped her 7 dollars out of guilt. I could have bought a bag of 500 dollar store suckers for that price, trying to keep my side of the street clean, metaphorically speaking. Maybe that is why I always over-tip. I go to eat with my mother, and she makes sure she doesn’t tip more than ten percent. She doesn’t have shadows following her. I will throw down a ten dollar bill on a 50 dollar ticket, probably because there are so many monsters under my bed, so much darkness in my heart. I have a long conversation with my other. She is a million miles away. There is a mountain of garbage between us. Now when we talk she is very short. It wasn’t the lies that got me, it was the lack of focus, emails unread, and all the unsaid things that left a wedding dress unworn. And still we talk. She has a pure heart and waits on actions. Tomorrow I will go running. Tomorrows turn into never. The brand new Nike running shoes are a monument to my inaction, though no one ever sees them because I keep my closet locked.
[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.]
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’m not depressed, just bored. I really want to go to Vegas. Maybe I can get one of those packages, airfare and three nights with free buffets and a complimentary show. I will eat steak and lobster and get followed around high-end shops by menacing looking security guards with thin mustaches. Sit on the blackjack table hitting seventeen every time, much to the chagrin of everyone at the table, which leads to me getting into an argument with the pit boss over my table etiquette and the nature of reality. Eventually, hiding in restroom from undercover satanists masquerading as cocktail waitresses. I will try to sneak to my room and somebody will slip microfilm with classified information in my pocket leaving me to be pursued by Russian spies with thick necks. I will have to hot-wire a car and drive to Los Angeles and deliver the sensitive document to a beautiful Norwegian who is obsessed with bossa nova and Isabel Allende. Without fail, I fall in love and sneak out the bathroom door after an argument over the television remote. Ending up working in a bookstore in Encino before I am informed Interpol wants to talk to me about a situation at the French embassy in Morocco. I will start wearing a disguise, become a Scientologist, take up the trumpet and start an improvisational jazz quartet. Until, of course, I discover the Great Secret and yearn for the quietude of dogs sleeping and laundry, watching the big game before taking a nap and dreaming of something more. So for now, I will fight this traffic and resign myself to monotonous labor and my simple life, but I really want to go to Vegas.
Jasper Kerkau (9/21/16)