present

here’s my last post to the mafia for a while…

The literati mafia

there is something

exquisitely and

emotionally

eviscerating about

exploring one’s own

ridiculous

reaction to the

realization

i am here and not here

i go unnoticed but yet

i am painfully present

i am one among hundreds

i appear as other so

i am (in)visible

i am (im)possible

i stop in the middle and they file around me

water around a boulder

it never notices

just keeps moving

along.


©mariah voutilainen 2018

mariah is present at (re)imagining the mundane.

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escape

…some of us practice daily escapism, and some of us write poetry about it. here’s my latest post to the Literati Mafia collective.

The literati mafia

i knock the last of my iced coffee back

like it’s a whiskey shot

grimace at the bitter taste of the brew

diluted with coconut almond milk

i got a lot to get done today

and so i toss a chaser of water down my gullet

not even bothering to swish my teeth

this is what life has come to

i have a flashback from my youth

listening to jethro tull because it was cool

to like bands from my parents’ childhood

when i was only thirteen

and in the throes of pre-self-discovery

i didn’t really understand the lyrics

like i didn’t understand

what life would come to

i know i have to pull myself together

but ian anderson’s flute is calling me

it was never my favorite music, still isn’t,

but somehow it’s chained me to this reverie

and so i sit here, putting off the inevitable

the cycles…

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Mariah Voutilainen Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

…and here’s my third review for Indie Blu(e). the SD Anthology, hot off the presses! you won’t be disappointed!

INDIE BLU(E)

Sudden Denouement’s Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective demonstrates divergence in a multitude of ways

In late 2017, not long after I had started my own poetry blog on Word Press, I came across an intriguing site.  Its black and white vintage photos and classic layout invited me in.  The poems I read on that particular day were uniquely honest, full of rich free verse and wonderfully chosen words, so I chanced a look at the submissions requirements.  Right at the top of the page, in neon lights: “Hell- -here” it greeted potentials; the “o” and “T” fizzled out.  I chuckled with anticipatory glee, for under the classic front, something mischievous and dark lay there.  And as I read more of the collective’s poetry and prose, I did indeed feel the pull of Sudden Denouement’s careful attention to what it calls “divergent literature,” although I had…

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Just Released! Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Indie Blu(e) features the new and exciting writing i know you want to read…take a peek!

INDIE BLU(E)

The Sudden Denoument Literary Collective is thrilled to announce the release of Anthology Volume I: Writings for the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective!  This long-awaited anthology is a thoughtfully curated compendium of the best writing published online by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective from its launch in August of 2016 through April 2018. It includes 138 pieces of cutting-edge poetry, prose and short fiction written by 29 diverse writers from England, Romania, Japan, India, Finland, the United States and Canada. Thirty-one of the 138 pieces were written exclusively for the Anthology. This volume captures the astonishing raw power of these individual and united poetic voices.

Now available on Amazon.com

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flash fiction: Dvorak for the recently departed

Chester Prime was lost, but in a moment of clarity, he realized he had no desire to be found.

When he opened his eyes, a hazy grey mist wet them, and he blinked away the sand of sleep, turning westward toward the ocean.  He couldn’t remember which one.  In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter.

He had dug up the earth under the tree by the house.  The house was always an ugly piece of work, and as he chucked the shovel  onto the small hill of brown dirt and red clay, he realized that it was not long for this world, either.  Too much dry rot.

Now he stood facing away from the rising sun, shivering a little.  He reached for a cigarette and lit up, allowing the noxious inhalation to warm his chest.  There was no one else to whom he could offer the pack, so he stuffed it away.

Three weeks ago, Chester listened as Moira played the cello with long strokes, bow slightly angled, the smell of rosin dust and horsehair enveloping her.  His sister’s long calloused fingers slapped lightly on the cello’s neck, her body swayed as she practiced the Poco Adagio of Dvorak’s String Quartet Op. 61.  Beatific was the only word that could describe her at that moment.  Chester snapped a series of shots.  Later, he scrolled through them and found that moment, printed it out, and framed it.

The cigarette burned out so Chester flicked the butt into the sandy grass.  He took a deep breath.  Maybe facing the day was the only way to move forward.  Picking up the black violin case beside him, he made his way down to the beach below.

Sandra and Roy were waiting for him on the flat rock just a few feet from the ocean’s reach.  They had already set up the chairs and music stands.  Barefoot and clad in cream linen, they watched him warily.

Five days ago, Sandra had called Chester, asking him to come to the beach to play.  We’ll do Mozart, or something cheesy like that.  Moira would have liked that, she said, Or maybe some Dvorak?  Chester hung up the phone.  Later that afternoon, Roy sent him a message:  Are you okay? Chester deleted both messages and turned off his phone.  The next morning, he found himself waiting outside the home improvement store at 5:30, looking to buy a shovel.

Roy approached Chester, the dry sand dunes and the viola in his left hand making progress slow.  Where have you been? We’ve been trying to get ahold of you for the last four days!  Chester didn’t answer.  Instead he plodded to the rock, put the case down and toed his shoes off.  He rolled up his black trousers.  He sat in the second chair from the right and gazed out at the horizon.  The ocean would serve as their conductor today.

Three days ago, Chester had driven home to the house that looked like it would fall down sideways.  Crooked houses made for crooked people, or at least that’s how Chester felt.  So, many years ago, he had taken off with her as quickly as he could, even though she thought it had character. Now, he couldn’t go straight to the house, so he had just driven around the neighborhood slowly.  Old ladies came out onto their porches with tea but Chester knew they were really just keeping an eye on him.  He slouched in the seat and turned into the driveway overgrown with moss and weeds.

Sandra, sitting in the first chair, tuned up her violin and then played an A for Roy and Chester.  They all took their time, bare feet grounded as if the rumblings of the ocean could direct their movements.  Chester closed his eyes, even though he knew Roy and Sandra were looking at him.  He could hear Sandra’s intake of breath, the cue to begin.  And so they played.

They played without sheet music.  They played without noting the passage of time.  They played without feeling the cut of the wind against their linen clothing.  Their music soared over the lap of the waves at the sand, the rock still taunting Poseidon’s greedy fingers.  Chester was so lost in the music that he entered a reverie of sorts, halfway between reality and Dvorak’s Poco Adagio.

Two days ago, after subjecting himself to an uncomfortable night’s sleep on the threadbare and possibly pest-ridden davenport, Chester rose before the sun.  In the wan light, he retrieved the shovel and began to dig.  He ignored all early morning imperatives to eat or drink or relieve himself.  He found an unsteady comfort in the rhythm of the shovel’s cut into the earth and subsequent chuffing of dirt.  It was four feet long by three feet wide by six feet deep, to insure against discovery.  Satisfied with the hour’s labor, Chester went back inside the house to retrieve the hole’s occupants.

As the last strains of the quartet married the wind and departed for the ocean’s abyss, Chester allowed the bow to dangle from his fingertips.  He stood and walked toward the ocean, unresponsive to its icy touch.  Soon he was knee-deep, and the bow floated away.  The violin, taking on salt water, was relinquished to the ocean, which swallowed it whole.  Sandra and Roy hopped the waves to grab Chester’s arms.  They gently but firmly guided him to shore.  He made no resistance.

One day ago, red clay mixed with brown dirt covered the hole under the tree.  Chester sat a few feet away; it looked like a fresh scab, it looked just like her grave in the cemetery.  He wondered if anyone would come looking for the cello or her photograph.  He doubted it.

(written 16 april 2018)

 

natural rebellion, part 4

here’s my latest truth on the Literati Mafia. and if you haven’t already, check out all the other amazing poetry and prose we’ve been penning!

The literati mafia

nowadays, we think we have a choice

we mixed people of color

choose your own ethnicity

as if it were an adventure

one of the above, all that apply

*other*

this skin i’m in says differently

that skin tells the silent

story that all eyes perceive and label

and usually it’s one of the above

they ask what are you

but they’ve already made the decision for you

not black enough

not asian/pacific islander enough

not latino enough

not hispanic of non-latino origin enough

not anything enough

*other*

so i list it out, a monotonous pedigree

(as if blood quantum gave me a calling card)

some people think it’s a magical cloak

put it on, take it off to fit the scenario

the atmosphere of what’s expected

and so, in my cowardice i do

makes me angry

makes me sad

makes me want to strip away the skin

until i…

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Omertà 3

so many types of silence. but the Literati Mafia has its omertà…this is part the third of three, enjoy!

The literati mafia

A Literati Mafia Collaboration: Part III


Silence is seen as a treacherous doubled-edged sword in my tumultuous mind. I never knew what silence meant in my daily life. Since a little girl, I have watched my family delve into anger and confusion over money and disagreement. I have seen people stab me in the back as I grow older, letting emotion cover every fiber of my being as i’m lost in my own sense of noise. I have seen those that don’t know one true fact about me, talk down about my hopes and dreams. It floods my mind in waves. For when I heard conversation behind my back, I knew it was words in which would cover me in blood and agony.  I was finally cleansed. I forgot about those that used words to hurt each other, or hurt me. I began to find silence was spectacular. I didn’t…

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