Smell

I can smell you when you’re not around
and then these other smells creep in
and take me away from you.

Whenever that smell enters my nose
it takes me back to Dawson
and the hug you gave me.

We stood in your room
surrounded by cords
and clothes and shoes.

Do you wear perfume?
I meant cologne.
It’s cologne, for men.

“You should.
It’s good for your significant other
to have a smell to associate with you.”

But we already have distinctive smells.
You already have a distinctive smell.
Do I have the staying power to corrupt your senses?

“What do I smell like?”
You smell like home,
like the future.

Stacey Renberg

 

Nobility

What is in a word, in this word, in any word for that matter? We speak and think and consume these words, this endless being of expression, but they always seem to fail us. We can’t even trust the dictionary. It gives us conflicting ideologies of “Well… the word means this, yet it also means this, depending on the context, of course.” One is truth, honor, goodness even, while the other leads us to negativity, to falsity, to that dark place we are all trying to escape with too much medicine.

So I am proposing a new idea: no longer shall we express ourselves and the world around us with words. Let’s sit in silence and speak with colors, with music, with weather and seasons. Let’s finally take advantage of the commodities around us and eliminate the noise. No longer should we accept the archaic acts of words when there is so much more out there to utilize our emotions.

Cry in color, write in harmonies, speak with the sun.

Stacey Renberg

It’s Happening Again

It’s happening again. It’s happening again. IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN.

I am twenty-seven years old and after retracing old steps today, I realized that I have not progressed, matured, or moved on from anything that has ever happened to me.

I am five years old and alone in my neighbor’s backyard. I am surrounded by green trees and tangerines. I speak to the coy fish and my imagination leads me to the fear of Santa Claus, spiders, and sunny days.

I am still twelve, crying and alone in the school bathroom, upset that no one asked me to be in their picture. I have no friends and I spend gloomy June afternoons waiting for school to be over so I can daydream while the summer burns alive outside.

I am still fourteen, crying and surrounded by over-sexualized philistines who see me as weak, as the enemy. I run off only making things worse and wishing I were dead.

I am still seventeen, crying and sick on the phone with the boy who broke my heart. He’s trying to convince me he made the right decision, trying to convince himself he isn’t what he really is, trying to—bringing me over burritos and memories that were already dead.

I am still twenty-one, crying and screaming at my mother, threatening to jump out of the window. Words are flying out of my mouth, but they aren’t making any sense. I am pacing down the street, looking for a familiar vehicle, looking for sanity, looking for a reason not to end it all like Ben did.

I am still twenty-five, crying and mentally alone while a body sits inches from me, sitting silently and making the pain last far longer than it ever should have. The ideas run deeper this time: oven, pills, razors, overpass. I cannot stop.

I am twenty-seven, lethargic and alone, surrounded by sunny walls and cloudy thoughts. I keep returning to the same dark place. Different people pass through one door, two doors, but then you enter. You stay quiet to allow my jittery fingers to release their fears. You give me a kiss and ask if I’m all right. You tell me I’m beautiful. I take a deep breath and even though tense lips and the black wave returns, at least I was able to float on the surface for a moment.

Stacey Renberg

Beach Bums

Let’s go to the Maldives. We can get a hut. It’ll be one of those huts surrounded by water on three sides with a long bamboo dock to lead us back to land when we’re ready. We can relax. You’ll finally be able to breathe and sleep. I will be tan, thin, and happy. You’ll sing me lullabies and we’ll eat fresh mangoes as the sun sets and the ocean waves us into slumber.

Stacey Renberg

Silver God & Black Emperor

It’s always shit and piss and blood with you, sir. Can’t you, can’t we, just take a break and imagine the vast rock enclosing us? We should be lifting our fists to heaven, but instead we’re lifting them to each other while grasping bottles, cancer, and over priced steak that is seasoned to bloody perfection.

And yes, it’s a game. We enjoy the dirt and the naughty thoughts, but there has got to be more. Life should be an endless fucking pursuit for that infinite moment. You know! That moment Charlie talks about while riding in the middle of a pickup truck? That moment where oblivion and clarity come together to create the sublime.

And the sublime, shit. I know its horrific and yes, I know its terrifying, but if we didn’t have the world’s mountains and oceans and tall, tall skyscrapers, we would never know just how insignificant, yet significant, we really are.

So listen to Charlie, and hell, listen to Largeman and search the abyss. Explore, fall, and swim for as long as you can because you never know when the darkness might strike you like those matches you always seem to be burning.

Stacey Renberg

The Good That Won’t Come Out

I don’t mean to be selfish. I find it so funny to even be writing this. I suppose that somewhere in between time and space we all arrive to this point and realize the obvious and accept it. But, it’s different this time. It finally is. Breathing has become harder, presumably, yet I have found the good in suffocating a little bit. And not in a malicious kind of way, but in a way that makes the heavy moments worth it, tolerable even.

“The lows are so extreme that the good seems fucking cheap.”
(Yes, thank you, Jenny. We know. I know.)

And so I’m beginning to swim in the soup and every fucking cliché line is jumping out and splashing me. The present is becoming more of a factor and I feel as if I’m falling in love all over again with the thought of it all. I’m seeping freedom and clarity that the ability to experience it all is sometimes too much to endure. But I fight. I jump out and splash right back.

I’m utterly ecstatic at the chance to live. I need to stop hiding.

Stacey Renberg

Shame Dame

I don’t want to be an embarrassment anymore.
I don’t want to hang my head down low anymore.

I want to want to be myself.
I want to want to live.

But above it all,
I want to be satisfied with who I am
so I can leave my cocoon
and not be so fucking ashamed
to call myself by my own name,
or look you in the eyes
and tell you how I feel.

Stacey Renberg

Toys

It’s the lime green and sky blue that sends me to the dream world whenever I walk up the stairs. I imagine entering the room and seeing nothing but vast grassy hills and fluffy clouds forever. There is no sound just a light breeze flowing in through the space where there is no window, but a square cut out of the wall, rough edges and paint peeling. There is something red but it’s unclear, just an inanimate object, maybe a wooden chair. The room is empty as I stand and place my hands on the windowsill. I desire to jump, to plummet into the tall skinny plants, to feel that goddamn breeze on my face, on my skin. I can breathe. I am relaxed. I am calm.

For reasons unknown, this vision, this dream world, takes me back to my childhood, yet my memory is altered and changed. My surroundings are unfamiliar and my acquaintances peculiar. The Robin Williams movie, Toys, is the only visual example I can compare it to. One day I will find that dream world and roll in the grass for hours. I will eat vitamin sandwiches and become a real life paper doll. I will learn stealthy techniques from L. L. Cool J and I will dance in the snow to Christmas music. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? I can still remember the infinite sky, the awkwardness of being a kid and the yearning to be alone to dream about the future. Some things never change.

Stacey Renberg

20 Grand

I was once lucky enough to have a balcony
It overlooked the sea

My legs would hang off and
my feet would touch the sand

The breeze blew and blew,
but never knocked it down

I would drink tea with seagulls and
shake the hands of fishermen sailing by

The sun and rain would stop by too
They never got along, but I made time for both of them

I collected my ashes in a small tin can,
But my neighbors complained about the low tide

I don’t have a balcony anymore
There was a great storm

It is buried under years of
memories and distance
and what we all thought was love

Stacey Renberg

Donkeys

No down comforters on my bed.
Sleep is hard enough when you don’t have
feathers and bills and memories
poking you in the early morning hours.

Just take a few pills,
let the feeling take you over and
try your best to drift off into
some made-up land of NSW or PDX.

Fly on broomsticks,
romp around the shores,
but whatever you do,
be careful.

Don’t let the mean reds
take you over and
save your money
for when you have to
help a friend in need.

Stacey Renberg

Pack It Up

I truly think that there’s some validity to what Buk said about the morning. Maybe its an opinion that had been constructed over years and years of waking up to the light and immediately needing to drink, but my life isn’t laced with rough sex and nights of 7 and 7’s. Still, the morning does something to me; its breaks me each day I open my eyes. Sure, the nausea and the yawning have its way with me, but the real kicker is the immense light that covers the streets I travel on. It’s the fear that another day has started; another day must be lived out. Things that need to get done will hopefully be accomplished, thoughts will most definitely be pushed aside, and as the minutes inch towards noon, “its hard” becomes “its hard to believe that the tomorrow will be any easier.”

“I don’t think people realize how lonely it is to be kid.”
Funny thing is, I am not a child anymore.

Stacey Renberg

Note: May is Mental Health Awareness month. If you know anyone who is going through a rough time and considering suicide, please don’t hesitate to help him or her. Sometimes all it takes is a friend to sit and listen to you cry it out. Let this be your inspiration to help yourself or a friend in need. We are all remarkable beings, so keep on living so you can enjoy life!

Tornado Season

The sun will be setting in a few hours,
but it’s still high enough to feel guilty
about being in pajamas.

We watch movies about being and spirituality.
My chest burns yet I keep on feeding my habit.

She is shaving her legs now.
“We’re exciting people, man.”

My back hurts: slouched and slumped shoulders.
The kitchen is bare; pancakes sit on the counter
getting cold and stale.

We’re not hungry.
I am always hungry.

I want a drink and the control
to not constantly move my hands
towards my mouth.

We are two hours behind in the future.

Our legs hurt;
we stretch them out.

Blankets and water make
moving this slow acceptable.

And then we’re okay.

Stacey Renberg

ergo

I don’t know where to start with what I haven’t already finished.

7 inches
shakes
bids
debts
rhythms
chapters
letters

The fan is always blowing.
My fear is always showing.

I want to share another cigarette and listen to the drums in your garage.

Stacey Renberg

Note: I wrote this poem many years ago after a friend of mine committed suicide. This one’s for you Ben. May is mental health awareness month. For the love of yourself and those who care for you, if you need help, GET HELP. We are here for you.