Coffee Time: Conversations part 2 Jasper Kerkau

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“By the time we got there it was over—everything was ruined, do you remember that?” I do and I don’t. It is kind of a blur. I shuffle a bit, adjust my shoelace under the table, readjust and look at the menu.

“Yes, of course. We got there and it was ruined,” staring down at my phone.

“Oh my God, you don’t remember.” I sense the growing aggravation. I am straining to piece it together. What was it, and why was it ruined by the time we got there? Perhaps I should have paid closer attention.

The idea of sitting and drinking coffee doesn’t appeal to me, seems like a waste of money. It is one of obligatory things normal people do. This feels like an interrogation. I watch clean faced couples shake off the cold and laugh as they make their way to the counter to make their orders. I wonder if their lives are as simple and happy as they seem. They seem untouched by the darkness that hovers over me.

“Did I tell you about what happened to me yesterday? The story about the dog?”

“Please don’t patronize me,” grabbing my phone and putting it on the table. “You haven’t paid attention to a word that I said.” Her light frustration is turning into something more. I can feel the throbbing anger from across the table.

“You have my undivided attention. It was a bad night. I forgot the tickets. We had to go back, and, of course, by the time…” She stops me mid-sentence.

“For the record, you are insufferable. You are making shit up as you go along.”

“I am joking.”

“You passed out in the bathroom getting ready for my fucking birthday party.” She reaches over and grabs my hand and looks in my eyes. “I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“I made mistakes,” nursing my coffee, staring at people filter in and out.
“You ruined everything. You destroyed me—us. Does anything really matter to you?” I feign a bite of a pastry she insists we get. I do it because it seems like the kind of thing I am supposed to do. I am going through the motions.

“I just don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember funny and happy either. It was so long ago.” My eyes move downward, away from her watchful gaze. A sick feeling swirls in my stomach. “Hey, let’s forget all of that tonight. We are together, and the world is wonderful.”

She turns away and dabs the corner of her eye. I can see the toll all of this is having on her. “It is late, and I am tired.”

“I can be better. I really can.”

Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, managing editor, and writer for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Publishing.

murdered me with hello. Jasper Kerkau

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She murdered me with hello. Her eyes gazing downward. Fingers resting on hips. The space between us will be closed in my mind, bodies clashing, skin pressed to skin, lips and tongues dancing in a delicious spectacle of passion and sadness. I find no words, nodding slightly, swallowing deeply, yearning for one grand gesture, but there is none. I yield to the insufferable void that sucks us all in eventually. It is too late to find the words, too late for closing the space, finding the center that I yearn for.

[Jasper Kerkau is co-founder, writer, and editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement publishing (suddendenouement.com). He has an affinity for run-on sentences and idiosyncratic people.]

Misdream

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Birds on hot cement, laughter down a spiraling staircase, lost at the mall in the last summer that really mattered. Dreams, half-sleep, waking up to the confusing light sneaking up black-out curtains. I remember, I remember. It is all so fragile, the little shards of memory shattered on glossy tile.

[Jasper Kerkau is a writer, publisher, and editor of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing. His writing focuses on awkward conversations and dreams.]

Tomorrows

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Tomorrows

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.

6/11/18

[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.]

 

Tell My Son I Love Him.

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Tell my Son I love him.

The end is so grim; a late summer, afternoon rain invokes sadness and revelation; it is time to quit fighting. My words are yoked to the hollowed-out promises, the dismal experiments that left me bereaved, stretched out in the wee hours, smoking forgotten cigarette butts, wandering the rooms of a previous life. It is over. Nothing will be the same again. The summer of happiness never came, three years on; I am resigned to this tragic fate, a foul Cressida, a broken home, laughter scattered and an insecure expression on the innocent face of my son. He knows the clouds, the hard rains; he worries after me, hand on my shoulder. My pain is on his face. My fear and failure is rooted inside him. I hug him tightly, whisper in his ear, “everything will be alright.” He clutches me. I have to go, but I will shine like the sun. All the good in my world is hung on his smile. I leave wearily. One day everything will make sense, maybe one day we will both understand.

[Jasper Kerkau is writer/editor/co-founder of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.]

Writing Anonymously

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I write anonymously so I can breathe, so the peering eyes of non-believers does not drive away the purity in my words, cast out the flow of magic that travels from my psyche to my fingers, creating gold out of the black soot that tarnishes the little pieces of furniture in my life. The only salvation for the non-profane is words, words, and more words, little miracles woven into life that leaves some flummoxed, unable to decipher the tea leaves—codes of misery and happiness right around the corner. My words are my children, my lovers, and the passive-aggressive enemies with smiles hanging around waiting for me to make a mistake. There are those who would steal my words with prying eyes, leave them orphaned with curiosity, bringing their light to my darkness. All I want to do is write, to be left to alone to try and type my way out of the noise, the broken televisions, the meandering conversations, the phones and nightmares that leave me gasping after a long day which brings me one day closer to death. I write because I have to, because everything is nothing, and I don’t have anything except tortured sentence structure to bring any semblance of order to my universe. I will create a thousand names and pour my hope, and horror on the world in the most intimate and public way possible. Bowling would be easier, but we do what we are called to do.