Let It Hurt

Twelve years, and twenty. 

Two decades ago I came to Colorado, the next stop on a journey, I thought. 

I had no plans to stay here. 

I came for a job, and a place to live, and I had no idea how life would go, 

I came from a place I didn’t like, to a place I didn’t like, and I assumed I would keep going after a short time. 

I had no home, I thought. 

I started working at my current job twelve years ago, today. I’ve been through a lot of life at Crystal Courier, I’ve learned a lot and grown more. Today is my last anniversary with the company. I’m happy to be going home to California, but there’s definitely some strong emotional activity going through me, right now. This company has been a huge part of me, for a dozen years. Highs and lows, good and bad, I have had a support system in place, and I’m leaving. 

The call of saltwater and sunshine is beating on my soul, the memory of a childhood spent unaware of how amazing the place I was in truly was. California has it’s bad parts, and loads of issues, but it has my heart. I was born in Salinas, grew up in the Monterey Peninsula area and later in Humboldt County. I have missed the redwoods and the beaches, the foods and the scenery, for so long that I have accepted that longing as part of myself. 

I have grown comfortable with the homesick angst, waking up thousands of miles away from home and visiting old haunts in my dreams. I have hurt without noticing for so long that I can’t remember what it’s like to feel anything without pain. 

I am packing up my life, my kids and my wife, and we are going to the home I’ve almost forgotten. 

I’m going, going,

Back, back,

To Cali. 

This may not go the way I want it to, and I know that life will happen. I know we will have hard times, we will face challenges. 

My darling wife and I will face them, together, on familiar ground. 

We will make our life work, in a place where we are natural. A place we can call home. 

I’m nervous about details, 

But I am so happy to be going home. 

Un-tinted Glass

concrete dividers crawl past as 

my car sits motionless,

surrounded by impatience
nobody knows I’m here

My phone buzzes 

Again

Telling me that traffic is heavy, heading north on I-25, and I am surprised every time, because this is not a highway,

This is not a thirty-nine year old man, smoking another cigarette and listening to ‘World Class Rock’ on the radio, 

I  am not this.

I am, however, getting irritated by the intrusion of turn-signals as impatience dressed in expensive clothes and fancy cars keep changing lanes in front of me, 

Don’t they know I don’t belong here?

The Lexus tries to merge into my passenger-side door and pulls away at the last second when eyes find me in a mirror, and I wonder if life will notice me too late, will reality crash into me just before seeing me here?

Can you save my heavydirtysoul? (Twenty-one Pilots)

I am sitting on a beach watching my daughter and sons play in the water, the sun shining on my tired face, as I see myself standing on the stone jetty that my brothers just jumped from, they call me to join them, but I see something in the water they don’t, 

There’s a dark figure floating just under the surface of the waves, beckoning to me with a promise of the end, 

It looks peaceful, calm…

We all float down here (Stephen King, It)

I’m watching her walk into the airport, and I know I mean to tell her to stay away, a scared stupid fool, and my heart begs me to run after her, go get her, 

Go get Her 

But I don’t. No matter how many times I see her walk away, I never go after her, and nine years later-

Traffic stops  

I am not here, thirty-nine years old and sitting in a car, smoking a cigarette and hoping the concrete dividers would pick up the pace as they crawl past me, 

I’m not here, and nobody knows it, they don’t see me. 

Impatience rides my bumper and hits the horn, because I am not close enough to the car in front of me. 

All my life I’ve been searching for something (Foo Fighters)

She is there, looking at me, and I am lost. She is my dream, crashing into me just before I swim away, she wants me and I cannot stand how badly I want her, I can’t believe that this is happening, I was only here to say goodbye…

I wonder if life sees me, like she did. Not the image of me, not the idea of me, not the preconceived notion of what I could be or what I was…

Just me. A few flaws, a few strengths, a few laughs and a few years, anger and love and passion and desire and imagination, all packaged in disguise. 

I exit the highway to my destination and I know, I am not this. I am not thirty-nine years old and working for a living, I am not a second-time college student struggling for grades, I am not a twisted soul writing poetry for internet eyes and digital hearts, I am not this. 

Survival of the Meanest by Jesica Nodarse

I was not born with resting bitch face.

 I did not always act as if ice coated my veins. I didnt always avoid the eyes of others as they passed by.

 I will admit I was never an overly cheerful nor trusting child, there were always questions in my eyes and rarely an answer would suffice. 

However, I remember I didn’t always stare at the ground 

and I didn’t always fear the simple act of a man opening a door.

 I earned my ice and steely posture early and quickly. Eleven year olds should not look the way I did, or so I was told, in a casual matter over and over again. 

The men in the street however never cared my age and from one day to the next the looks 

of sweet adoration

 and childish approval

 turned to lust and coveting stares. 

The years have not changed these men, only added more generations

 to now leer at my babies.

 So no, 

I may not have been born with resting bitch face, 

but I sure as hell have earned my right to every second of its benefits.

Jesica Nodarse is a Cuban-born immigrant living in Florida, with her husband and children. A powerful writer and poet, an intense and driven woman, Jesica offers her unique perspective in today’s world and empowers her friends and colleagues with passion and grace.

Jesica can be found on Facebook at

 facebook.com/heathenwordsmith 

and on Instagram at 

https://www.instagram.com/j.nodarse/

Eulogy for my Childhood by Jesica Nodarse

I bathed in the holy water and drank the kool aid. 

I did it willingly, even excitedly. 

I was a perfect waste of youth.
I was a good kid, not in the “your grandma says you’re good, because she loves you” kind of good,

 but in a way directly affected by my abject fear of disappointing my parents.

 This carried me throughout the first twenty years of my life. I lived in dedication to a god, and devotion to never upsetting my family.

 I didn’t even question it, at least not out loud. I instead found bible texts and church articles that cemented my utter and blind obedience,

 I think even sacrifice can become an addiction.

 Obedience came easy to me and in the same way rebels seek attention by acting out, I found mine by becoming the pastor’s golden daughter. 

I could recite bible texts before I could even read, in fact I clearly remember 

being 3 and reciting psalms chapter 23 

in its entirety

 from memory, 

and even at that age feeling a little guilty

 because the oohs and ahhs of praise 

belonged to god 

and I held them to my chest a bit longer than I should have.

 At that tender age I already had what is termed a ‘trained conscience’  

which is just religious lingo meaning

 you have been indoctrinated enough to believe every single breath you take and release is somehow linked to the big man upstairs.

 At 4 I broke all kinds of records by speaking in front of the congregation 

and the looks of admiration in my parent eyes made every decision for me

 for many years to come.

 After that it all becomes a blur of faith and devotion, fervent prayers that became litany, and sacrifices that turned to resentment, 

highlighted with moments I was hailed prodigious and made to feel important.  
I understand, they did every single thing with the best of intentions, every single controlling sentence was with the hope of giving me salvation and eternity. 

When I wasn’t allowed to play with others kids they rationalized it as protection 

and when I wasn’t allowed to join clubs or be part of any secular activity

 they saw it as vigilance for my spirituality. 
Still, somewhere between being the perfect daughter and the perfect Christian … 

I forgot to be a kid,

 and no one offered a reminder.

Jesica Nodarse is a Cuban-born immigrant living in Florida, with her husband and children. A powerful writer and poet, an intense and driven woman, Jesica offers her unique perspective in today’s world and empowers her friends and colleagues with passion and grace.

Jesica can be found on Facebook at

 facebook.com/heathenwordsmith 

and on Instagram at 

https://www.instagram.com/j.nodarse/

Sudden Denouement/Secret First Draft Divergent Literature Writing Contest

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Secret First Draft are holding a joint Writing Contest in the month of March to elicit new writers for the Collective.

Writing Prompt: March Madness

Unpublished/Original work

Each entry should be more than 50 words but less than 500

Each writer may submit 1 to 3 (maximum) pieces of writing for consideration

Submissions will be accepted: 3/1/2017 through 3/31/2017

Full prize information to be announced soon!

1st Place Winner will be granted membership in the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

2nd, 3rd and 4th Place Runners-ups will be granted membership in the Secret First Draft Collective.

Send your submissions with your name, your pen name (if applicable), the address for your blog and a short biography (1 to 3 sentences to): Suddendenouement@gmail.com

The Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and its sister sites Secret First Draft and The Whisper and The Roar are forums for divergent literature that we hope…

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Tempus Fugit 

At 6 AM, I’m full of anger. 

I have nightmares, every time I sleep, I see old wounds opened and heartache in endless loops. Last night it was my sister, the night before my nephew, the night before my brother, maybe tomorrow it’ll be my mother or her sister, her mother, maybe my friend that overdosed or maybe I’ll dance with possibility, maybe I’ll see what could come, my wife losing life or my kids getting lost, 

Time shows no remorse. 

At 9 AM I am Mr. Professional, smiling and lying about how I’m doing, I don’t want to ruin the illusion of polite business interaction, I am paid for my demeanor, I am a billboard walking in and out of client’s offices, I am a commercial on the phone. 

Those in-between moments try to trip me, song lyrics reminding me that my mind is a graveyard, my heart is a dirty whore, thoughts of death and suicide try to knock me to the floor, and then…

Once I’m out the door at 5 PM, my heart belongs to her, she of the golden hair, the stormy eyes, the only home. She asks and I try to answer, she demands and I fulfill, she worries and I soothe, this is my part of the day to make her okay. She works harder than I do, wrangling the younglings, somehow not strangling the damn things, she lives on a steady flow of stress and anxiety, she tries so hard not to let me see but I know, I hear, I see, when the stars shine you can tell they’re not airplanes, when the sun is hidden behind clouds you can still see the light, and when she’s going wrong I can see how to make it right, 

Usually. 

At 1:30 AM I have an appointment with silent contemplation, a reservation at a table for one that wakes me to a dark and quiet room. I don’t know when it started but the time for me to remember all the broken-hearted pieces of a boy, 

(He was me)

Is when she is softly laughing in her sleep, and the wildlings are tossing in their beds, this is the time for me to examine what’s in my head, or what I’ve read, to sit in bed with my cell phone lit, what is it? Why am I awake? 

From waking up disturbed to exhausting my midnight energy, 

I wind down. 

They say time flies when you’re having fun, 

It’s creeping up behind you when you’re not. 

Time isn’t real but it’s a real bastard, 

The waking up is the hardest part (John Mayer)

Digging


I keep digging in my ears trying to stop this feeling of lost dreams burrowing into my eardrums, I have aches in my neck from sadness that passed twenty years ago but the ache in my neck keeps coming back, a little nudge from my consciousness that, yes, those things happened, yes, you were abused and neglected and perverted and used, yes, you were misunderstood and mistaken, misguided and malnourished spiritually, yes, you did see it coming, all the pain, when nobody could understand why you were so sad, why you wanted to end your life before it started, yes it was the truth, you saw all the hurt waiting for you and could not articulate it in a meaningful way. 

I feel my toes being pinched when I hear words that hurt, my toes being pushed against the wooden railing of an old couch as I received wire-coat-hanger discipline and metal-spatula love, my toes being smashed against the peeling varnished wood with each strike and scream. Do you understand yet? Do you need some more? My fingers won’t sit still as my world is shaking, as my memories are breaking, as they fall and don’t move, they look so natural, except they’re ice-cold and not moving, when I touch their hands they don’t touch back, it’s not them anymore inside their iceberg-wrecked ships, they don’t have any more smiles to shine on their lips, my fingers won’t sit still, they twist and they tangle, my heart is a newspaper in a dog’s teeth getting mangled, my fingers won’t stop moving, they are trying to grab and hold on, my hands don’t want to believe that they’re gone. Every time something is thrown at me I can’t stop blinking, because I didn’t expect it, I was too busy thinking, my eyelids are hollow when i am awake, when I sleep my eyelids are a door I can’t break, a wall, a prison, I’m stuck inside, I must have commited a crime because my eyes are serving time, condemned and confined to solitary cells, my guided tour through my own private Hells… My legs burn and tingle when I stand too long, they don’t seem to know where I stepped wrong, they complain of unfairness, they cry out for peace, yet I have no furlough, no parole, no peace. My back is a washboard, I clean all the wrong clothes and it slides right off of me, my back remembers stab wounds that were only metaphors, I have a scar on the back of my heart and it itches and I can’t reach it, I was told that when you lose someone special, it will bring up old losses, old wounds re-opened and old hurts made new, but nothing has time to get old for me, they go so fast, I can’t keep up, can I have just a few moments, a few months or years, can I have some more time before I’m dropping new tears and all of the hurts run together… I’m a rock clinging to a hurricane and praying for bad weather, to a God that can’t hear me, I’m in an invisible dentist’s chair getting a root canal and I don’t have any teeth left but they keep drilling, I was told that time and love will heal all wounds but I have time invested and so much love has been rested on my heart and I don’t feel healing. I don’t feel wounds closing. I feel love and I want more, more, please give me more until it can balance out and overwhelm me with the way that trees live and die and become the nourishing nutrients used to grow more trees, there’s a balance and I think someone else must have the other weights from my scale, how am I supposed to let go of all the chains wrapped around my heart? 

My elbows and shoulders sometimes feel like they’re breaking, out of nowhere, being crushed or bent. 

I keep digging in my fears, to find what’s bewitching me, this itching and twitching will soon be enriching me, my hurts and my aches will all soon be ditching me, 

I hope,

I hope.

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Intents and Purposes

The boy watched me, as I grew,

The dark man chased me through my nightmares, his chains rattling as he walked,

And the beast guarded my anger. 

These three spirits have followed me, relentless in their loyalty, unbreakable and inescapable. Since I was a child being used and hurt, they have stayed by my side. Through my worst moments of self-destructive behavior, they have refused to let me surrender. 

I never wondered why they chose me, a stranger in my own life. I never questioned their existence nor their persistent devotion. I did not speak of them, for fear of ‘treatment’, imprisonment and chemical reduction of my senses. 

The dark man scared me, but has never drawn near. The beast stood in front of me, to protect me from fear. The boy, he was my first self, trapped on a high shelf, hidden from the touch, the unwelcome attention of betrayal, hatred disguised as love. The boy never weeps, his mouth never speaks, his bones do not break, his blood does not leak. He is untouchable, unreachable, denied to abuse or pain, sitting behind crystal walls, never to be seen again…

Except by me, the carrier of burdens, the volunteer, the bearer of the cross. I take the pain of living, I weep the tears of loss. I am the one that would not let the boy take the fall, the father of the beast, the protector of all, I created the dark man, a facade to frighten away the ghosts, I stood in place of what would bleed, I protect what matters most. 

This fable of creation, written in the heart of a lonely child, has become the truth of freedom, has kept a comet wild. In words and actions I live a myth, I borrow imagined time, I empower the innocence of survival, I record it all in rhyme. 

A mystery, wrapped in enigma, shrouded in confusion, my life story. Understand what you will, or deny any meaning. I write to expose to my own eyes the truth of that lost boy, to rescue him from his prison. 

He will be free,

Soon.