I am devoured by the vast space between us, the unrequited silence that leaves me burning into ash and charred bone. There are the quiet moments, in which I touch my palm to her heaving chest, feel the breath of heart and hunger against my cheek as I pull her close to me. I embrace the essence, the soft middle that melts to the touch and brings about sleep. We pass in stiff silence. I swallow words, nod a hello and continue to burn in anonymity. Tomorrow will be different.
[Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, editor, writer, and publisher for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing.]
I breathed her name in an invocation of memory, a strange ritual of lust and remembrance. The broken vases of time, the scattered embers of chance encounters and goodbyes that sting forever. “I will love you for a thousand years,” I wrote it on her heart, devoured her flesh, swallowed her as we dug into a new place. But everything is fleeting, people become strange and distant. Little miracles happen in life that takes us to different worlds. I remember the fights, the ashtray she threw at my head and didn’t remember, the comfortable make-ups that would last until they didn’t. We carved each other’s names on our skin that brought up beads of blood that stung when submerged in alcohol and the year that everything turned inside-out. In my dreams we dance and kiss one last time, shedding the new skin, bathing again in the glow of our young love.
We yielded, then danced, crashing into each other. Our teeth clashed as the sadness washed the soot away. It was a moment that flashed and receded in the soft shower of time.
I have a brother that I ghosted like everyone else. Too strange to call now, too many storms and a mother who is mine and not his. I screamed at her. She didn’t blink. One day she will go to ash, and I can make it right.
I spent weeks and months hiding in a little room, waiting for appropriate hours to fall back to sleep, waiting for work, working through jokes and long hours of meaningless labor. My body aches and I tire. I watch the clock and rush out the door, retiring again to hid, to bury myself, to wait for life to happen again. “You need to get your mojo back,” someone tells me. I blink and listen, realizing that I don’t know what that looks like or how I will ever get back.
Memory is fickle. I can’t remember normal, a time before. It seems like it was always about ignoring, burying myself, ghosting everything as I struggle to dig meaning out of the soil, find a magic core that will bring me salvation. I tell one of my bosses that I suffer from malaise. “Your energy is charged to loss and failure.” He stands with his arm crossed talking in a calm tone. “You have to become aware to become aware. Magic is something we can’t see until we open our eyes.” I nod and squint, wondering what he is talking about, realizing that he is either touched by the hand of God or as lost as I am.
One day I will wake up. The losses will eventually give way to small victories, a reversal of a karmic whirlwind that puts me on the downside every time. I stand at the counter of a corner store seething over the foppish lady in front of me making a singular, simplistic transaction as difficult as possible. Her stupidity and selfishness drive me to a slow burn. Immediately, my grand plans for the day are displaced. I am going to have to go back to my little room and dig some more. I am going to have to “become aware,” though I cannot in good conscience say what I am becoming “aware” of besides the fact that each day I am pushing further along the path. Eventually I will get so far along, none of it will matter anymore. I will have squandered my life pondering, hiding, gasping for pure air and a gentle breeze that makes it all worthwhile again.
[Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, writer, and editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing. He speaks several dialects of gibberish and has the forth largest collection of The Love Boat memorabilia in North America.]
[photo Helena Blavatsky]
There is a god in the rumble, a shriek and laugh in the rain; the storm comes in waves. I hear it when the world sleeps, smoking cigarettes and smashing butts on cool concrete, watching dim lights upon the horizon. I need a reminder that the world is vast, a universe is just beyond my reach, piled into a box of misunderstandings, errant thoughts scribbled on computer paper and folded into airplanes that nosedive after launch. “I am doing this all wrong; everything is wrong.”
I have to learn to listen to another song, something besides the babble in my head, the lurid squeal and howl of misshapen ideas blowing through my strange sphere. “This is all really nothing,” a voice speaks to me, wakes me from a dream. “You can walk whenever you like.” I listen to the static of broken conversations; no remedies in chaos, only me, me, and more me. Baffled and ruffled. A great quest not far out of reach.
I leaned into her, placed her hand in mine. We sat silently watching the sun break the plane of dreams plunging the world into light. The past was the past was the past, but it was always too late for me. I touched my lips to hers but was already dead, a ghost of another time, the ache and fold of reality, shook out of rug, kids running through the living room chasing one another forever. It can be something. Everything can be more than what it is. I can do this if I will just learn to listen more.
[Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, writer, and editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing. He like to write tortured sentences and make like of bad situations.]
There is a story there waiting to be picked out, among cigarette butts and gravel, underfoot, after the rain. The moon bodes well to such feelings, spread out and pieced together after the fact. “I don’t remember things that way.” The hush and hurry of things, the relentless wars we wage, the conversation that we never had; it was like I was never here.
Tomorrow the hours will align, the glass will shatter and be swept up again. “If I can only hold my tongue.” There is nothing but relentless now, oft forgotten days that are never as good as they are bad. Perhaps tomorrow I will dream. Perhaps the water will run clear, and I will find it all over again. I smell the fragrance of her, the scent of inevitability. There is a story here somewhere.
Jasper Kerkau is co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing. He likes to write about dumb luck and the hours between hours.