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

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

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 weak cog.

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

 

the blindness of busy.

1922369_783659418318363_5667144531560021540_n

 

It’s walking

down a road

stunned by

the beauty

only to realize

you’ve driven it

hundreds of times.

 

We miss so much

when we hurry.

 

It’s the golden finch,

the baby mantis,

the fuchsia wildflowers

nestled amongst

thorny weeds,

delicate,

gorgeous,

and hidden from

hurried faces.

 

Rushing past

the loves of our lives

to make the bus,

catch the light,

get to work,

blindly chasing

the empty dream,

finishing gold-plated

in this heated race

toward death,

 

rushing past the love of your life,

 

past walks and drinks,

past hands held shyly,

past nervous lips

meeting beneath

flickering street lamps,

past quiet conversations

draped in dawn’s

blue light,

 

rushing past

what songs

and poems

 

and lives

are made of.

 

Rushing past inspiration,

we are driven by the

constant fear

of slowing down

for long enough

to look it all

in the eyes

and see the truth

that proves

this madness

wrong.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

abstracts.

Faceless Composition, Lara Jade
Faceless Composition, Lara Jade

I.

 

Alone,

mourning pale yellow light

as velvet plum wine reflects

a vacuum sea of stars

struggling to penetrate

the city’s glare.

 

Without rational passion,

without positive prostitution,

without damaged ears to hear

or bloodshot eyes to read,

 

alone with my

reckless creation,

all around,

all stillness,

all movement

is without.

 

Hands compelled to

write with open honesty

are stunted by caution,

my remora

fattened upon the

volatile words

of a weary brain

as they drip

down through

to fingertips

in a parade

of ink beasts,

vowels and consonants

shaping a strained reality

determined to undermine

the foundation

of these precious

fleeting moments

where there’s still

life to live.

 

This thing on my mind

leaves me stranded

without option,

without power,

without a plausible solution,

giving birth

to coded abstracts,

disguising the truth and

feeding from within,

replacing the me

with the nothing.

 

II.

 

Were I to know unmitigated satisfaction,

I might die in its arms.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

 

Demolition.

Leonora Carrington
Leonora Carrington

 

How often

I wrote your name

in invisible ink

on blind paper

to a deaf audience

in an empty theater

while imagining my skin

with your skin,

my mouth

with your mouth,

my body

with your body

within the walls

of our modest home.

 

Grassy yard,

happy dog,

sweet child,

wily garden

each blooming with life,

 

our patch of passion

and contentment,

secluded seduction,

calming condition

where we share

wine and wishes,

philosophies and prayers,

secrets and dreams,

where we sleep deeply

in each other’s company –

 

and here we are.

 

Close enough to

feel your breath

and all I can smell

are hot lies

and bitter delusions

pouring from

that precious mouth.

 

Far enough to

see your disembodied

hands tearing down

our fragile house

while your mouth

claims to mend it.

 

Piece by crumbling piece

the foundation breaks away

in arid clumps

within your tightening grip,

turning to dust

in unorganized winds

blowing into my

eyes and mouth.

 

Blinded,

suffocating,

stumbling,

reaching out

for your shadow,

you turn

away and

do what’s best

for us all.

 

 

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

journey home

news-neptune01-tight_24622_600x450

 

Sitting here on this

brisk spring morning,

feet snuggly in fluffy boots,

sipping rich creamy coffee and

heavy sweater hugging tightly,

I’m as warm as I’ve ever been

 

while the grasshopper hosta,

pine cone lily,

hearty iris,

 

delicate succulent,

and dancing Japanese maple

uncoil their leaves

for the welcoming day

in a breezy

synchronized sway,

beckoning me back

to this daylight

from a Neptune night,

 

(sentinel on the

edge of light,

frozen azure orb of wind

and unforgiving darkness

makes an eternity

of spinning

six thousand miles per hour

through emptiness,

keeping me

just beyond reach

of return home

or permanent escape

into interstellar space,

forcing feeding

the easy answer to a

taunting question:

for every winter

there truly is a spring.)

 

Sometimes we survive by

remaining dormant

in frozen soil,

awaiting the

beckoning warmth

and tickling rays

of sunlight

to remind

our slumbering roots that

there’s more life to live,

 

(at least for now),

 

so come out and live it.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

temporal contiguity.

9317_101015476582764_3071546_n

 

This old perfume

in the creamy curvaceous bottle

looks and smells

like a bride

filled with hope

lust, wonder

and security,

its blanketing grace

cloaking chilled shoulders

with protective serenity.

 

Cinnamon, clove,

crimson red rose,

sage and sensuality

provides transport

to the misty day when

dense clouds loomed

smokey and thick

in fifty degree

late September skies,

parting only

for that abracadabra moment

when relentless rains stop

and the bride floats out

upon a lungful of

At Last,

filling the air

with sunshine

and bullshit.

 

Bitterness can’t help

bleeding through to memories,

 

doing them injustice

 

because I deserve them-

pure, and beautiful memories-

unscathed by future seepage

through time’s layers,

whispering bitter words

into the bride’s ears,

 

whispering things

she already knew

deeply and painfully,

but chose to ignore

for the sake of happiness,

maybe. Just this once.

Happiness,

unadulterated and entirely lovely.

 

(Trembling hands

transfer shivers

to the giggly bouquet,

ferns wiggling,

autumn berries bobbing,

lilies sprinkling

a dusting

of orange pollen

into the wind,

exaggerated nerves

filling the air with “Amour”

and damned if this

isn’t exactly what love

smells like)

 

t_24445

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014