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

life as an onion.

"White Onion" by Justin Clayton
“White Onion” by Justin Clayton

 

Brittle paper skin

crackles beneath

shaking fingers,

exposing the

glossy globe

of ivory white

with its longitudinal

striations of

spring bud green.

 

It is beautiful

and you are young,

unaware of what

lies beneath.

 

Smooth in

your palms

and heavy

for its size,

fair onion

has gravity

hiding beneath

this elastic layer.

 

Then comes

the knife.

Then comes

the truth.

 

Life is an onion,

each delicious layer

promising the

painful sting of tears.

 

 

Renee Novosel

Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved

 

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

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

a matter of perpetual creation.

Star Child, by Juliette Crane

 

The carbon of my body

recalls the best of it all:

 

the time before

worry and loss,

the time before

hunger and pain,

the time before

good and evil.

 

The time when

atomic collision

was the long

and short of it.

 

When molecules

that would travel

far and wide

before becoming

you and I

and the skies

and the trees

buddied up

in the belly of an

elemental bakery.

 

A super-massive

pulsating, churning,

bubbling womb.

 

A hostile incubator.

 

Our celestial mother

martyred by iron

so that we

might live as

rearrangements

of her labors,

her reflection

eternally trapped

in the eyes of

those who

know her best,

reminding us

to never ignore

that we are

all born

together.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

persistent ghost.

Skull - Vincent van Gogh
Skull – Vincent van Gogh

 

Head throbbing with

an inner knocking

and coffee sliding

down like

someone’s died,

the sunflowers

dance around me

in strangely cool

winds of a steady

summer rain

as I try desperately

to define the

abstract sadness

hanging heavily

around.

 

Willing this

intrusive pain

to dissolve in the

static of emotional

white noise

fails me,

as some emotions

aren’t soluble in the

deepest reaches

of mindscape.

 

They take root,

growing limbs and

creeping tendrils –

I navigate

around them

denying their

existence even

while they

break through

the meniscus

of thought,

blanketing the

waking world with

the leaves of

formless sadness.

 

Everything

everywhere

reminds me of

who and why it is,

the persistent ghost

of disappointing times

unlikely to leave

until it’s given

a proper burial

and paid its

proper respects –

because life

and people

and places

are never perfect

but everything dead

deserves a funeral.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

just enough fight.

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

of 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.

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.

555582_472435139440794_1357412111_n

 

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