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

 

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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