just enough fight.

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The Double Secret, by Rene Magritte

The Double Secret, by Rene Magritte

 

Riding memories

on salted ocean air

thick with loves

and pains of a

preternatural past,

the temporal space

is filled with

monsters and men,

perfumed nights,

sun-kissed cheeks,

and tired red eyes

hidden beneath

borrowed shade

as I move

through it.

 

With aching legs

and a soaring heart,

the prophecy

of pivotal change

moves with me

through humidity

and time,

proving itself right

despite jealous visions

and skeptical longings:

change happened

because I willed it,

accepted it,

embraced it,

nurtured it,

and because

it was time.

 

Here and now

the ghosts

of these nights

remain mournfully

hopeful sentinels

as I return

to remember,

and shall return

until the day

they are no longer

shadows of lives lost,

rather visions

of life gained -

 

the champions

or here and now

fighting for meaning

and honor

in a place filled

with senseless pain

and profound beauty,

eternally armed

with just enough fight

and more than

enough love

to get by.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

 

 

 

the other half of weird.

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Aya Takano, The Light That She Yearns For

Aya Takano, The Light That She Yearns For

 

We met through a window

with the most dismal view -

 

everyday peering

through filthy glass,

waiting for

the moment

a peek of color

might flutter

by on hopeful air.

 

I’d nearly given up

on the window -

 

its cracks

too deep,

its panes

too obscured

by layers of

filmy residue

left behind

during neglectful

years and

thousands of

salty tears

shed amongst

the slinking

shadows hidden

between rays

of penetrating

starlight.

 

And then on

a typical day

of chronic

disappointment,

risking a glance

up toward the

hazy view,

I was greeted

by two orbs

of sage

staring sadly,

quietly,

knowingly

back.

 

Everyday I returned,

compelled by

curiosity and

comfort to

seek refuge

in those

deep pools

of dark pastel,

 

everyday feeling

less alone

in a world

where things

are broken

that cannot

be mended,

 

where years

of pain surface

as evident scars

that only the

scarred can see,

 

where love is

still possible

after a beating

heart is torn

bleeding from

its chest,

 

where two people

can seek refuge

from a polluted view

by finding completely

weird beauty

in each other.

 

 

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 Laughter.

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Ricke Rahmond, 1979-2013

Ricke Rahmond, 1979-2013

I.

 

When he asked

if I liked it,

the bright

yellow paint

splattered

with purple

where the

crumbling ceiling

met the

cracking wall,

time stopped

for long enough

to watch our

precious moments

together replay

in my mind.

 

I always loved

whatever his

spidery fingers

produced:

the art, the music,

the fluidity

in dance,

the long

firm hug,

the trustworthy

hand held

through a crowd

thick with

pulsating youths.

 

Unlike everything else,

I didn’t like it,

this Pollock-y

matte paint.

I didn’t like

how the purple

attacked the yellow,

sunshine struggling

through bruises,

surfacing in

painful patches,

fighting for breath

as purple spread,

smothering yellow

before my eyes:

a rash,

an infection,

an aggressive disease.

 

II.

 

Three months later

I trembled

in a doctor’s

conference room,

cold white and

stainless steel,

surrounded by

his best friends,

mother, and aunt.

Ricke knew

what the doctor

would say.

 

We all did.

 

Our heartbeats

were audible

as the file opened

and words

spoke aloud.

 

He told me

in the yellow

and purple.

He knew

and I knew

that he was

a frightful

kind of sick

and life

was on a

countdown.

 

III.

 

Eleven years

and three

lifetimes ago

we sat on a

Southside curb,

watching traffic pass

in silence.

 

Eleven was always

his number,

but that

wasn’t his year.

 

Twelve months in

and HIV

consumed

the yellow

I once knew,

tearing him

apart and

pushing

everything

away.

 

IV.

 

I miss

his laughter

the most,

the way his

expressive face

exploded into

violent fits of

contagious hysteria.

 

I’ve never laughed

as much as

I did with him,

my Ricke,

my best friend,

my soul-brother.

 

Somewhere near

his laughter floats

atop gentle winds,

swirling through

creeping tendrils

of pumpkin vine

and mighty arms

of sunflower,

and he’s happier

than he ever

was in life.

 

He is everything

he could never be:

he is free …

 

Free from

the burdens

of damaged body

and mind,

free from time

and pain,

from longing

and endless

heartache,

free to laugh

and be the joy

he always was,

trapped within

the suffering.

 

He’s free

to embrace

the living with

his loving laughter,

our RIcke,

riding upon his

comforting winds.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

 

Ricke and Renee, Renee and Ricke, 2003

Ricke and Renee, Renee and Ricke, 2003

the nervous courage.

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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

Appalachia.

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Crammed between rows of anxiously sweaty youths in the smoggy Morgantown bar I waited impatiently, acutely aware of how difficult it had been getting there. Not the particular “there” in time and space at that college club, rather a place in consciousness, a point in thought, a moment where you can reach in and grab what life’s made of. Looking around at the crowd of eager dewy faces falling in and out of love with every rise of tide and break of day, I was as alone as ever. Inches were miles between myself and the world as I hid behind a veil of heavy smoke, the realizations wafting by like letters on paper, too slowly and plainly to look away. My first adult relationship was a flapping fish, a twitching rat, a webbed fly, a starving grizzly. My scholastic path was a crumbling bridge hanging over angry waters. Accomplishments devolved into failures before my eyes, and I’d all but given up on everything and everyone everywhere, myself most of all.

Nevertheless, there I stood one young face in a tight crowd of young faces awaiting two more young faces to grace a low stage inches from the sticky, ashy, filthy concrete floor. A cacophony of friendly conversation, angry outbursts, drunken laughter, and unashamed flirtations reached a fever pitch, giving that place a pulse, a rhythmic heartbeat, a swaying swell of emotion that united us all in one humble hush the moment the lights dimmed. No one breathed, no one spoke, no one moved until backstage doors parted, revealing the climactic and enigmatic faces of Jack and Meg White … as we exploded into a three hundred-headed roar.

They came forward humbly and thankfully into the waves of enthusiasm rushing onstage, Meg sitting behind her peppermint swirl drums and Jack strapping on his plastic red and white guitar. I can’t remember what songs were played first, middle, or last, everything melting together in an amorphous sea of vibe, a swelling energy pulsing with each note and moment. Meg banged away in bare feet and white capris, an angry child and grown woman tuning out of the crowd and into Jack’s next red move. Jack, with his dimpled smile and powerful presence moved between instrument, device, and voice with the intensity of a madman, feverishly provoked by the music within.

“300 people living out in West Virginia have no idea of all these thoughts that lie within you” they sang, huddled around one microphone, (and they didn’t, they didn’t know). The surrounding strangers and friends and lovers had no idea of my thoughts within. The downward spiral of guilt, the paralyzing fear of change, the ever-present threat of failure dominated lucid moments and dreamscapes alike, yet I continued attempting to hide the storm behind damp eyes and pretty lips. Losing myself I drifted further inward despite bumps and elbows from the crowd around, as Jack sang and scanned the room. Quite suddenly his brown eyes locked on to my hazy green, penetrating the walls and pulling me from within, revealing a familiar sadness, a lonely affliction, a persistent melancholy. He was up there in front of us all while deeply alone within himself, and we knew each other’s secret.

As the show dispersed my companions and I stayed for Coronas rimmed with limy pulp, each beer growing my bravery and sense of fantasy, bringing me to a firm decision: I would meet Jack White. We lingered for hours in my almost ex’s two-toned brown Bronco, keeping a close watch on the doors of 123 Pleasant Street. Time rolled on, beers slid down, and still no crowds rushed the club to catch a glimpse of the departing duo. As hours passed, the streets and sidewalks thick with twenty-somethings slowly cleared and I reluctantly gave in to disappointment. It seemed they would never leave that place to board the white van parked in front, already loaded with equipment and ready to go, and there was no sense in waiting until sunrise. We drove off down the one-way street onto the long empty bridge as I chanced a glance back toward the van, hoping desperately to see …

Flashes of red and white leaving the building! Red and white leaving the building! Walking toward the van through the early morning West Virginian air! “Turn the fuck around” I shouted to almost ex, “TURN AROUND!” And he did, he turned the fuck around, tires squealing through a u-turn, racing up the block and back down the one-way street, my heart pounding and stomach dropping as we pulled behind the van, seeing no one and nothing. There was nothing but the silence of the morning and the weight of knowing that they were in there. He was in there.

I stepped hastily from the truck, my brain scattered with booze and drugs, as time slowed around me. This was the event horizon. I was there treading the edge of a black hole, and it felt right. Atop high rubber soles of black platform shoes, I neared the van’s windows and stumbled, turning my right ankle under. The air remained still and silent. Mortified, I ignored the van and pressed on toward the club’s door, pretending to need the lady’s room though knowing fully that it was closed. Giving the knob a few tugs and jiggles, I feigned exasperation toward the empty bar and turned around not knowing my next move. I’d come this far, waited all night, and I was so close to success, yet taste of failure flooded my mouth. I couldn’t knock on the window like a crazed fan, even if that’s what I was. Taking long strides away from the club, the failure went down hard as I passed the driver’s side, nearly choking me when the door popped open revealing the smiling face of Jack White just two feet away.

He floated toward me an unearthly entity, but he was no black hole. He was a star in its prime, a radiant white sun standing before me smiling as if he’d seen light for the first time. Paralyzed and stupefied, “HOLY SHIT” was all I could pronounce, shattering the silence of cool mountain air, and he laughed. He laughed! He laughed and I shook, forgetting where and who I was, knowing only who he was and what this moment meant to me. Nerves took over, and before intellect could stop heart I found myself exclaiming in a quivering voice that with him I was less alone, that his words and sounds helped pull me from the void of recent darkness. As hot tears welled I suddenly found myself in his arms. Seeming massive and warm, he looked down into my eyes drawing me into himself, and I buried my head in his chest for what seemed an eternity.

Reluctantly pulling away, preventing myself from taking his shining face into my hands and kissing his lips until time dissolved, I shakily extracted a copy of “De Stijl” from my bag, asking with embarrassed joy for a signature. His eyes widened and smile grew as I handed him the only writing tool my trembling hands could find: a yellow highlighter. “I have a marker in here,” he said with a voice like wine and honey, opening the driver side door and gesturing for me to sit down, to get in … (to get in)?! I must have looked like a doe eyed madwoman inching toward that door, knees weak and mind reeling as Meg beamed from the back seat with her freckles, crooked teeth, and introversion. It was all too surreal, Jack squashing in beside me, his face inches from my own and his eyes filled with gentle understanding, Meg shyly asking if I had a good time while signing the glossy booklet. It took every fiber of self-control to keep me from turning the keys, asking “so, where are we were heading?”

“I, I … I have to go … I need to go. I love you both … ” I whispered as Meg waved and Jack nodded, both replying “we love you too” as Jack and I slid out of the van. My instinct was to run, to scream, to collapse, to fly, but before I could do any of that Jack reached out, enveloping me once more with his peaceful embrace. I wanted to kiss him, to cry, to never let go as he held me for infinitely revolving, terribly fleeting seconds. With deep breaths we shared those moments, pulling away when the time was right, hands entwined and eyes locked, sharing a mutual understanding of one another. I didn’t run or fly away, but skipped toward the Bronco like a princess to a pony, turning back and waving, watching them wave back (watching him wave back,) as I got in and we drove off. Screaming and shaking, shaking and screaming, turning back toward the club I watched the van becoming smaller and smaller in the distance, that white pinpoint of light the eternal resting place of a powerfully profound memory, as I wondered desperately if I’d ever find home again.

 

20140618_165241

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

the weak cog.

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Fleeting, Shayne of the Dead

Fleeting, Shayne of the Dead

 

So we’ve got

these things

that are just

the best at

what they do -

 

fruits and fireflies,

trees and tigers,

demons and dogs,

each commanding

a unique

genetic purpose

without question

or doubt.

 

Countless creatures

of leaf and fur,

of scale and skin,

of life and breath

working and resting,

foraging and nesting,

attacking and defending,

keeping this

clockwork ticking,

 

while we struggle

with our big brains

and fancy thumbs

to get at

the meaning

of life.

 

You’ll never

see a bear

slumped over

on the forest floor

wallowing in

the despair of

meaninglessness,

 

an ant paralyzed

by fear of change,

 

a fern listless

in the wake of

unrequited love.

 

Human beings are

simultaneously

the most effective

and defective

animals

on the planet.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014