Crowd Surfing with God by Adrienne Novy
'God taught the sky how to jump, built a bowling alley in the clouds to give us thunderstorms'
'Lights' - 'i hunch over a pink plastic bedpan, my body regurgitating her gospel.'
Novy compares God and her relationship to that which she loves - playing music: ' music is a preventative for self-destruction '. She explores her religion through music it seems -and where this may work with and against her: 'let’s get really queer on the chorus. Jesus can kick it with us when suburbia gets uncomfortable. ' Generally, there is a really positive portrayal of her faith: 'If heaven is a hive, I want to swim in it'.
There are a lot of references to her time spent in hospital for a arm that 'doesn't go all the way up' and there is an exploration of how she views herself with this disability. It is slowly revealed to be Cat Eye Syndrome. It seems hospital was a defining part of her childhood: 'you, the Sick Kid, were so brave today, swallowed the hospital library whole, called it taking your medicine. '
However, Novy has a great dark humour streak and turns her experience into light hearted words: 'the doctors took out my appendix along with unknotting the shoelaces of my stomach & intestines. my body is now a game of Two Truths & a Lie.'.
Later, Novy describes her struggle to see herself as a woman through the harsh realities which Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome brings her - a genuinely heart breaking line: ' I ask myself how anyone will love this garden if nothing can ever grow here'.
I was really touched by Novy's connetion to Anne Frank's (unedited) diary - that Anne's exploration of sexuality and the world around her, her own humanity, brought Novy confidence in herself. This collection is certainly varied and next to this heavier poem, I laughed at Novy's playful writing, twisting the Bible's creation text: '& so god created MySpace & god wore sleeveless denim jackets & shopped at Hot Topic & thought about stretching her ears & in the beginning god said, let there be alternative rock music in the early 2000s'. For some, rock bands really are representative of God!
In true form, this collection ends with a suggested playlist.
if the honeybees die, then we will die with them
Carrie Fisher died within a milky-clouded sky sleep & I imagine her mother’s ventricles clogging with honey.
If heaven is a hive, I want to swim in it, like the way a Falcon does with space, cosmos beading of its wings.
Loss is an act of inheritance: two houses entombed in amber, carbonite; family photographs, antiques webbed in hexagons.
My body is a white dress sewn of ash, Prozac urn, wishful wedding-funeral. Inside of me lives my father’s mother & my mother’s mother & everything my mother taught me, too. I call Carrie my Space Mom to make myself feel closer to the newest star of grave soil.
After we are long long dead & this planet’s two suns have been extinguished, we will burst with light to greet the world again as keepers of a millennia, the royalty of galaxies & garden trellises: a fresh & new & brilliant hope.
Crowd Surfing With God is a coming of age journey through poems: a story of self- acceptance that discusses growing up with a rare genetic disorder & mental illness, family & being in a multifaith household, pop culture, & the acts of playing & listening to music bringing you closer to yourself & to healing.
Released August 21st, 2018 70 pages, paperback ISBN: 978-1-948552-02-8