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.

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

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.

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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

the quiet push and pull.

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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

manifest destiny

'Betrayal' by Mario Sanchez Nevado
‘Betrayal’ by Mario Sanchez Nevado

 

The river muddy and deep

is somewhat welcoming

and even warm looking

as I ponder the farther distance

of walking the bridge

over swimming the waters.

 

Just an angry current or two,

a shorter distance

for the price of

a few hundred calories

and a swift gray undertow.

 

(Just my clothes and phone

to sacrifice to

the trash and filth.

Just me and the river.)

 

The sun shines hot

on my back

for the first time

in always and never

as the striking

primitive valley

reminds me

with it’s velvety hills

and garish billboards

that we’ve squandered

genuine beauty

for the sake of

hideous vanity.

 

 

Renee Novosel

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2014

when the weather wants to talk.

lightning_strike

 

The storm nudged me

through the window,

through the world

as I sat on the couch

just waiting

for something

to happen.

 

Through the window.

Through the woods.

Over the hill

strange lights

made crazy

in the clouds,

drawing me out

toward the park

on the mount,

 

through the woods

and toward the light

the hill crested

revealing the sky’s

silent inferno,

a hellish orange

miles away,

 

slow bolts of

skeletal lightning

cut through the

cream soup air

toward dehydrated ground,

 

reading it like braille

and drawing me into

the heart of the storm,

an alive thing

with a secret to share:

 

“Don’t be afraid of complexity:

I am a ghost of change.

You smelled me coming,

am I not welcoming?”

 

 

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