the fabric.

 

Blame it on the neural pathways,

(blame it on our tumultuous youths,)

blame it on the dysfunction

making us do it —

seeking out wayward souls,

(the lost amongst the loners,

the outcasts hiding

behind smiling faces,)

 

assuming a host

of burdens willingly

because love

makes us do it.

 

(Perhaps we’ve

no option but to

save the loneliest souls

from drowning

before drowning

ourselves,

 

becoming clarity

within the chaos

only because it’s a chaos

belonging to another.)

 

However abstract,

however dangerous,

however powerful,

chaos is alive

within us all —

 

it’s the weird spirit

of the powerless, the homesick,

the longing, the loving,

the haunted mirrors

of our souls.

 

Painful chaos

drives us to survive,

 

daring the fabric

of reality to push beyond

its boundaries and grow,

 

making the symmetry of beauty

inarguably beautiful,

 

keeping us on our toes,

(whether they be

running or dancing,)

 

keeping life

acutely alive

despite the

frigid grip of

organized complacency.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2017

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a designer flock.

Woods at Night 1 by Chris Friel
Woods at Night 1 by Chris Friel

 

Sheep blindly pursuing

the vacant salvation of

wealth and conformity

 

who sacrifice intuition

for the sake of

synthetic dreams

 

don’t make it far

in the darkness

of natural night

 

with nothing more

than polymer dogs

for protection.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015

when the walls collapse

Andromeda_Collides_Milky_Way

 

Maybe I was there.

Maybe you were there.

Maybe you and I

looked up at the stars

as the eyes

of infinite gods,

or the infinite eyes

of one god –

and we imagined

the possibilities.

 

Maybe we stood

at the feet of

rhythmic waves

as their rumbling

voices hinted

of secrets beneath

the arc of deep blue,

and we imagined

the possibilities.

 

Maybe there was

a time between lives,

before and after

everything was named,

when we witnessed

the ground beneath

our feet

and skies above

our eyes

without condition.

 

This meaning

without name,

value

without cost,

reverence

without judgement

is lost

when human eyes

are closed

and the blind

pursuit begins.

 

As if life’s beauty

itself isn’t enough

to satisfy

the reason

for being,

we shamefully define

that which

defies definition,

 

breeding foolish pride

with each steadfast

proclamation,

widening the rift

between man and nature.

 

Greed and power

construct the

revolving doors

of perceived reality,

keeping our

eyes on what

everyone else has

and our minds on

how badly we

want it,

 

but the universe

with its endless eyes

doesn’t blink

a single one

when we’ve

earned or

lost a million.

 

Our tiny order

doesn’t mean

a thing

when galaxies

collide.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Right Reserved

Copyright 2014

on avian matters.

Each morning

neighborhood crows

fly toward

a gently

rising sun,

 

hundreds landing

softly on the

highest hilltop

as our golden orb

slides into

watercolor skies.

 

Chattering of

breaking avian

news beneath

trees undressing,

they welcome together

daylight in

funeral attire and

with shrill songs,

doing a thing

that the human

in me can’t

help but join

in doing –

 

we marvel

in the sunrise

together.

 

Never minding

my presence

or admiration,

never minding

their bad reputation

for doing

dirty jobs,

never minding

their tenuous

flightpath

between

death and life,

 

they do their

crow thing

each day

and fly each

evening back

toward the sun

as it slips

into a fiery

goodnight.

 

Inhabiting the boundary

between heightened

existence and

ambivalence,

they’ve little

concern for where

November winds

blow decaying things

during the cold night,

 

rather they

sleep soundly

amongst the dead

before gathering

for tomorrow’s sun,

rising once again

upon a world alive

with morbid

avian purpose.

 

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

The Laughter.

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

Appalachia.

6123

 

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 quiet push and pull.

10157216_796153827068922_8326897676896274012_n

 

Your weight descends

upon the top of my head,

reaching into mind and brain

with luminous tendrils

of motherly love

and celestial command

in dizzying

orbital pirouettes,

 

a balloon riding

waves of solar wind

barely tethered to

a body or identity,

you push and pull

on our oceans

and minds high

in this early

summer heat,

 

quietly promising

to keep life churning,

keeping us company

without saying or

doing anything

but simply

being yourself,

 

teaching us all

a thing or two

about love.

 

 

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

Charlie.

Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski

 

Four years into the ground

and you were nothing but

dust and bone

yet your words went down

as smoothly as

yesterday’s beer on the nightstand,

 

which for most

isn’t smoothly at all

but for a young woman

intent on drinking dry

every drop of pain

in the world around her

your metallic swill

was worth every cigarette butt

swallowed from the bottom

of that can.

 

Perhaps you tuned in

from beyond

as ghosts spoke

of your death

and your youth,

from your bedroom

and your whiskey,

of your horses

and your whores,

filling the air with

phantom thumping keys

and wafting smoke,

feeling entirely like home.

 

Like dulled mountains.

Like the steel guitar.

Like a dirty warm embrace

you spoke to me,

and suddenly I knew

that while in the

posthumous company

of a drunken misogynist,

smoking mad

fucking filthy

old soul,

 

I was somehow less alone.

 

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” – Bukowski

 

bukowski026

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014