Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Art of Loss; The Air of the Grief We Breathe Together


pump smashheart
bloodgrief a locamotive
turned butterfly:
a fleeting life,
delicate wings and steel mechanics
animated fully by the imminence 
of endings.

cut by sharp stopping;
i opened a new chamber
inside the tender tissues
of this idiotic and misbehaved organ

suddenly left alone.
vulnerability is liquid and evaporation;
impossible to hold in either state
despite the desire for permanence—
the necessity of flight and distance.

the taking away
loss is air that i breathe
over and over again

i swim in that atmosphere 
like a snake diving in banks of winter snow

a winding smoothness
i imagined your skin
yet yearning
for summer heat and melt,
for open space in the long constricted places
where small identities collapsed and new love germinated.

i will not be put together
as i was before you.

-Renee Podunovich, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

Experiments in WordSpin

I've had a growing fascination with pushing the edges of post-modernism, particularly with a pestering and un-scratchable itch of an interest about meaning making. Once a belief in the impossibility of the existence of true objectivity is embraced, a curiosity arises about how far into the personal rabbit hole of subjective reality a writer can descend before others stop following you.

There is a cliché already about poetry, or perhaps a mark of shame it wears, that often others “don’t know what it means”.  Haters of this poor, misplaced child of the arts complain that it is cryptic, irrelevant, an antiquated form of expression resuscitated briefly by Hip Hop and slams and now lingering around, impossible to kill, moaning in it’s own sense of preciousness. These poems do nothing to mediate or apologize for that.

I am a therapist as well as a poet, so by trade I am constantly pointing people in the direction of their feelings; encouraging them to find meaning.  Past poetry collection of mine have offered the reader that same consideration. I’ve used a narrative approach, creating meanings that others can pick up on because they are built on emotions; the most common language we speak. I’m actually pretty good at it.

Please forgive me here. I have not been able to do that for you, especially since the impetus and curiosity for me was not with conveying a numinous and transcendent message of any kind. Rather, these poems come from a giddy sense of authenticity, a carefree jaunt of wordplay, a fascination with sounds and constructing language for the purpose of hearing it like notes of a chime in the wind, a sense of intense pleasure that comes from two words put next to each other for no reason at all. If a deeper sense of meaning comes through, consider it a Rorschach inkblot effect; a projection. And there is nothing wrong with that, they tell us that about art when it gets abstract— find your own meaning, there is no wrong way. Or let go of the need for meaning momentarily. Notice how hard that is to do!

I thought this would be a full collection at one point, but have found it challenging to sustain. Here are some of my favorites from this experiment. For those who take the ride, thanks for coming along. How unexpected and wonderful. For those who have to hop off the bus, I understand.

          pool of myself

in the rainy thump check my pulse twice,
heart walloping, tat and whap,
spoons fit together, quiet, so quiet,
knuckles and castanets, floorboards, 
creak seams slick,
skimmy-slip the suitcases
pack up or under packing,
road maps unfolded, they will never go back
to flatness.
She runs like a star,
the woodlands and needles,
intelligences and atmospheres,
she is elastic and inaudible,
nothing but crumbs breaking up the heavy
swags of dull,
time gets on the sheer,
a lace of containment,
the magnificence of lace undressing.
bluster the lethargies, china patterns,
shatter the combs say, “Yeah”.
her dog in the cupboard,
hungry, hungry, hungry.
hunger brewed into fervent tea,
clamber into that liquid and drench
in your own un-coming,
don’t let it go aloof, a forgotten spat,
wasted industry. Gulp your particular nature
out of thinker limits,
lazy vernacular, neuro-elipses (not a thing)
go poking in netting,
novelty traipses about casually or needlessly,
afraid to fluster bareness. barren.

under microscopes-

the break-downing, splits or
pneumonia in the chronicles,
the upper apartment awakens because footsteps,
the phenomena of skin molted and re-grown
or so they tell us.
this kind of thing.
sciences, they say so.


no teeth to hold
the tongue in
flop out rain chaser
wet streets unknown appliance sound
quivers her letters irregular
prescriptions are waiting
chase the hours spent sounding
irregular vowels the Os
he puts down tracks
gadgetry finish the coffee
reheat & reheat
a bigger book means mind in the margins
wander the rumble under the refrigerator
the food gone
an arrow made of engine poking the rain
& wet tongue

          “i just want to pull the linchpin”

.she says.
as if bits would ever stop falling,
once they come apart.
                                                       raven caw cracks dawn.
keep landing
in the same nest of storylines
tatted together
with a beak full of string&twigs
&the need for lastingness.  
                                                     things grow. they fly away.
she is left with habits.
beneath them (a witness)
her own compassion             feathers on wind.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Muse as She Whispers in My Ear

Here in the center of the world, I lean against warm adobe, let the Southwest sunshine sink through skin, into bones until all my cells are simply the light again. The Muse has been visiting me in my dreams, encountering me in the natural world and I am alive with vision and rhyme. 

The world waits for us to take the risk to sing in our one true voice- and when we do a healing echoes back to us, sometimes in a poem. 

All Poets—

Begin again with discipline,
with commitment to page and pen,
to that harrowing journey
of the written word ridden
like Crow’s wings
into the nebulous hollow
of the unknown.

Invite tryst, discourse, happenchance,
acquire the hard earned treasures derived
from staring into the bareness of the Void
—when no one else can bear it—

craft your words like stars,
invent new constellations
that twinkle and shine,
there for all who look

-Renee Podunovich, 2017
Dolores, CO, USA

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Swimming With Sedna

"Playful Sedna" by Kakulu Saggiaktok

Slide the shoulder under,
I am (not) a fish
but that same liquid
is (in) my cells.

I sink into the unconscious like Sedna—
the girl whose dismembered fingers
were lobbed into the sea
where they became all the whales 
and other gilled (but limb-lacking) creatures,
became Waddell Seals and Walruses, hidden
yet calling out from arctic ice shelves (now melting)

a backward birth of shadowy progeny—
we swim forever with our lost selves.

when her own father tosses her from the boat,
she gradually descends,
her sickening hair floating free above her head,
swaying like seaweed, the texture of moss, 
like fennel fronds (that fragrance)
down to dark depths where light doesn’t illuminate

finally submerged to a place where bones
are crystalline establishments
broadcasting through mineral messages
a connection to eternity and stardust

do not despair.
eventually she becomes a Sea Goddess
who will visit the strange ocean of your dreams

-Renee Podunovich, 2017