memorable remains.

 

Santa Teresa en la Concina by Leonora Carrington
Santa Teresa en la Concina by Leonora Carrington

 

Life bleeds through

fragile fingertips,

too powerless

and too late

to inspire a change

in the caustic rhythm

of love and loss,

 

oozing between the layers

of conflicted dreams,

fermenting within

the cauldron

of weary minds

too stubborn to quit

yet too exhausted to persevere,

hovering between collapse and success,

between rapture and distress,

 

as I wait for them to come back to me.

 

I wait for the tide to recede,

for the wind to blow,

for the Earth to transform

these tumbling moments

into something unconditional.

 

I wait for climbing souls

to turn around and

look at the view

brewing between

certainty and doubt.

 

I wait for a time

when restless spirits

come home to sleep, to work,

to love, to lose,

 

to tend to the past

like a wounded warrior

while embracing the present

with the nourishing attention

of someone who chooses

to fight for life over

succumbing to death.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2016

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rehearsal.

Flower of Life, by Frida Kahlo
Flower of Life, by Frida Kahlo

 

I.

 

When I looked

at her

how often

I saw the coffin,

how often

she lay

with a stillness

so lovely

I knew her fate

as clearly as

the sun and moon’s.

 

With a stillness

so lovely as

she lay in satin,

her youth

suspended the

time all around us.

 

How often

I’d rehearsed

her funeral

when flowers

willfully planted

and sweetly tended

were ripped

from young roots,

 

left to wither on

hardening ground

in the place

where mirrors

see out

and rain boils

to steam in

blue-hot starlight

before reaching

a thirsty earth.

 

Her flowers withered

and grew,

withered and grew,

comforting lies

convinced the

dedicated that

she’d always

grow back.

 

She’d always be there

somewhere,

withering and growing,

smiling a kind of smile

that gives you

something to

believe in,

 

dancing a dance

that makes you

feel free

just watching,

 

singing a song

without words

in perfect harmony

with the universal

cerebral hum,

 

always a step ahead,

just outwitting

the death

of that place.

 

(Infinite rehearsals

don’t numb the

cutting buzz

of a phone

in the quiet night

heralding the ache

of expectation

and emptiness

of a barren garden.)

 

II.

 

Hot stars

burn brightly

and die young,

showering

their beloved

neighbors

with gifts

more precious

than time –

 

igniting new

stars into being,

seeding their

worlds with

silver and gold,

seeding their

worlds with the

stuff of gardens.

 

 

“Pain is a flower. Pain is flowers

blooming all the time.” – Bukowski

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015

the fifth stage.

The Surreal House, by Francesca Woodman
The Surreal House, by Francesca Woodman

 One.

 “You are the house,”

she explained

while discussing

the somnambular wanderings,

dreamscape happenings,

inside of the childhood home.

         Home.

I live seven walking minutes away

and never pass it.

         Some say they

miss home.

         I avoid it.

“You are the house,”

said Therapist in

a freezing January room,

magnified white-hot

winter rays

penetrating the lace

curtains veiling

modest sacred pulp.

         (When dreaming

of wandering

through houses,

we wander

through ourselves) –

         and in the house

wallpaper was

thirty layers thick,

dead aunts

sat in familiar

wingback chairs,

parents were lost

like children,

and trash piled

to the ceilings.

         “You are the house”

with the dark curtains

and basement shower.

         “You are the house”

with the onion layers

and fruit cellar.

        “You are the house”

with the yellow bricks

and chalky mortar.

         “You are the house”

with the frantic eyes

and ambiguous borders.

Five.

They always made me uneasy,

but not this one.

This time,

the house

was as it was.

No strange rooms,

no unfamiliar decor,

no temporal trash,

no cerebral symbolism,

no shaking shell of a mother –

the house

was as it was –

plus something

filtered,

something refined,

plus something

pure and peaceful,

and it was mine.

 

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

fruits and nothings.

Kiyo Murakami
Kiyo Murakami

 

What does

it mean to let

come what may?

 

Formless words

dense with

abstraction

 

dripping with

the tart juices

of something

 

less than love

and greater

than reason

 

shock a tongue

expecting

the tickle

 

of sweet

fruits and

nothings

 

tasted and

whispered

after the

 

world was

asleep

and only

 

the stars

were

watching.

 

Bitter fruits

growing from

the soft petals

 

of decadent words

(with vibrant hues

and sweet aromas

 

that trick the bees

into yielding

poisonous honey)

 

are innocent

carriers of the

impolite pain

 

of sacred words

lightly thrown

into the face

 

of a one who

craves them

like breadcrumbs

 

toward the

eager beak of

a starving pigeon.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

Florence.

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Januaries Ago

 

Things hadn’t added up

in the past and they

weren’t adding up again,

when I did those

shamefully invasive things

I’d never done during

nine years of lies.  

 

Opening the laptop screen

like a grave-robber afraid

of waking the dead,

I read what I feared the most

in resentfully etched

black and white.  

 

No more speculation –

no more fabrication.

There were the words alive

and here they live

branded into the fabric

of nightmare and memory:  

 

“I’m not in love with my wife …

I can’t stop thinking of her.”  

 

A July Past

 

Revolutionary lusty love,

midnight moonlight passion,

post-apocalyptic, syncretistic,

fortuitously gracious,

sea-soaked cosmic balance,

post-daiquiri Guinness

total darkness –

it all swims through

my elatedly weary mind

helplessly riding

the wild waves

of the wax and

wane of change.  

 

“It’s over and

I’m going under,

but not I’m giving up,

I’m just giving in,”

sings the lithe gazelle

in sea-foam green.

 

(In false fates I’ve

nearly drowned

again and again –

never forgetting

the familiar burn

of empty lungs

and panic;

never strong

enough to

just give in.)

 

Sometime Near Now

 

A dragon in fear

and phoenix in fire,

these salted lips

kiss faded bruises,

clinging to old gods

in hopes of conjuring

something new

from the flames of

recycled prayer.    

 

Eternally the

hunted witch

and restless

Viennese whore,

parts of me  

walk a familiar path

through the thick

emotions of a

muddled mind

and recounting heart,

searching for an

idea of peace

in faded times

of sickly love

and consuming woe.  

 

And there it was,

the peace,

quietly alive

alone,

beneath miles

of tumultuously

conflicting currents –

without lover in mind

or fortune in heart,

beckoning for

the emptiness

of certainty to

pour from lungs

aching for the

powerful peace

of uncertainty,

finally convincing me

after lifetimes

of fruitless fight

to just give in.    

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

the nervous courage.

The Apology, by Mark Ryden
The Apology, by Mark Ryden

 

Putting off

the dusting

the watering

the weeding

the nothing

I sit to write with

hesitant hands

and a stabbing

yearning

for that from

which I hide.

 

Afraid to face

myself in silence

when the world is still

and truth is bold

I create,

cherish,

and squander

in the privacy

of loneliness,

words open sores

bleeding and

oozing the everything

I labor at concealing.

 

This private legacy,

selfish secret,

dark horse

breathing down

my neck

whispers hot

words of courage

and purpose

and meaning

bigger than fear,

 

so there it is

and here I am,

unprepared

but entirely assured

that it’s time

for the naked silence

of speaking

words aloud.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

for maya.

Maya Angelou

 

We all have pain.

 

Some more than others.

 

Some people feed

its scraps

to the hungry dogs.

 

Some people take

it to the bank,

stowing it away

in a dusty

safe deposit box,

fading to nothing

upon its key holder’s

fade to nothing.

 

Others fling it

in the face of the

world at large,

an unfortunate fate

for innocents

crossing the paths

of emotional maniacs.

 

Some people

own

their pain.

 

They take it

into their arms

and cradle it

like a newborn,

 

losing sleep

and time

just the same,

 

feeding it from

their well of

inner strength,

nurturing

until it

matures enough

to reason with.

 

Matures enough

to comprehend

how cruel the

world can be.

 

Matures enough to

make peace with.

 

Matures enough

to let go of

like a parent

waving goodbye

over a parade

of packed boxes

and painfully

joyful embraces.

 

Some people

fabricate their pain

knowingly and willingly,

masquerading as

the victim

in a cruel and

unfair world.

 

For others,

the world defines

cruel and unfair,

 

and some,

they let it break them.

 

Others wear the pain

like a pulsating

badge of

bloody honor,

feeding from its

richly caloric

bittersweet powerhouse,

owning it,

embracing it,

overcoming it but

never forgetting

the poisonous needles

prodding them

toward success.

 

We are brothers

and sisters,

mothers and fathers,

lovers and givers,

us all,

and the pain

doesn’t define us.

 

We define

the pain.

 

We define

the suffering.

 

We fuck up

and falter.

 

We squander

and abuse,

 

We withdraw

and explode,

 

We love and learn

while defining

our pain,

 

and it drives

us farther than

the finest

fossil fuel

 

when you

give it

the homage

it deserves.

 

 

images-13

“Cotton rows crisscross the world

  And dead-tired nights of yearning

Thunderbolts on leather strops

 And all my body burning

Sugar cane reach up to God

And every baby crying

Shame the blanket of my night

   And all my days are dying”

– The Memory, Maya Angelou

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

How the fire found me.

images-9

 

It was a nebulous sort of love. The kind that strikes internally, leaving victims unaware of its source, causes, meanings, or intentions. The kind of love that permanently entangles atoms. When lost in it, the danger is invisible. Life’s view is only as broad as the horizon of human limitation allows. Blind to the future, fuzzy pinpoints of light loom in the distance of approaching night, bringing a false sense of comfort to the wayward lover. At times the highway rolls ahead in total darkness, the present occupies immediate surroundings in a bubble of awareness, and the past remains a series of chaotic associations that diminish into the setting sun as diametric gods and demons. Reflections of a dangerous future bounce from their divine eyes into our humbled minds, thus satisfying the Universal Balance, the Cosmic Even Steven, the intergalactic scales of justice pervading our every move.

In him, beneath the shell, masks, layers, addictions, perversions, and unruly passions, lived a potential recognizable by me alone: and that made me special. It made me a savior. It gave me a chance to rewrite a past relentlessly pacing between my mind’s walls. The exhausted inner-child grabbed hold of my better sensibilities and drugged them with excruciating love until I was in too deep to turn back.

His potential was an unmanned nuclear reactor, writhing and pulsating with pure energy and probable meltdown, and in it my bleeding soul smelled home. She honed in, latched on, and tethered us together through passion, habitation, and devastating codependency.

When people asked why I stayed, I offered robotic answers, contrived, defensive, and dishonest. Why did I love a vampire, sucking my inspiration and energy dry? Because I loved that old rut. Because I thought I could change the past. Because pain and dysfunction cracked the windows through which I saw the world, distorting my view of reality. Because after a lifetime of monsters, the nightmare was where I chose to live. When Logic screamed in my ears from the inside out, I shut down and emotionally checked out, (because she was right.) Life was a lie filled with bitter-sweet intentions and whole-heartedly half-hearted efforts. And with that, into the black I disappeared. Into the nether I dissolved, not to be seen as more than a ghostly shell for years. For years, until I was thrown into the fire. Or rather, until the fire found me.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014