A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: Rilke

2/30: IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, IT’S FRIDAY, AGAIN (A BIRTHDAY POEM)

I feel it now: there’s a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world

I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it
All my becoming has needed me
My looking ripens things
And they come toward me, to meet and be met.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of a Monastic Life

I write a poem every year for my birthday
I never know what I’m going to say until I say it
I never know who I’m going to be until I see him
I read between the lines like meaning has a mirror
but it changes every year. 
The art of explaining myself to myself 
is never what it seems to be.
I’m not losing or changing my definitions 
There’s just more meaning to give
the longer I live. 

I know nothing has ever been real without my beholding it


Someone
behold this poem 
until it is real and becoming
like the first days of Spring.

I feel it now, 

the power that slept like a seed
between the wild roots of my being.
It takes time to become who you said you’d be.
There’s a birthday candle on the table
A small fire, my breath, and wishing for what’s next,
My big brother Brent writes in my annual birthday text
	
	You’re as vital as a plant providing oxygen 
	during photosynthesis

One day they will study the biology of a brother’s love.
Oh brother. Oh words—
the gifts that give shape to my world.

I’m reading all the words
coming towards me, to meet and be met
like the words of a song. 

Every year, I’m awestruck
at my unprecedented luck 
in knowing I am loved.
The language of this love puts the poems in my blood.
Oh, the words in my blood are brave and here to stay.

On the day I came into this earth,
I ask the universe with all my earthly yearning
Give me more love than my body can stand.
When the lovebirds sing, tell them I’m listening and singing too.
I’m singing a prayer like a birthday wish, 
the only one I know 
the only I say every year:
Gratitude is the only face of god I know.
If there’s still time, I’ll show you.

17/30: LOVE BETTER

“Therefore, dear sir, love your solitude
and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation
the suffering it causes you.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Dear Zachary, sir—I need you to love better.
Dear sir, I need you to love better and mean it.
You can start with me, and all the sweet-sounding
suffering I cause you. This isn’t advice.
I love watching you try, but what good is
showing up, if you do not follow through
with who you wish to become?
Apart from me, you are another and I am other.
As if we exist in separate dimensions.
Am I a place you go but do not mention?
Dear Zachary, together, have we not walked
through shame like confetti and cascarones
underneath pink evenings? Have you forgot
the wilderness of your childhood, the backwards
deliverance of our innocence? We passed the time
like a jar of fireflies at dusk, opening the closed
jar to see how far we could see trace the fading
light. Each time you proposed an exit strategy to
get out of your head, who was your canary?
What if I told you it is not possible to love
someone until you love me? All the pain
in our heart is instructive. Isn’t that what
you call precedent. Would it please you
if I gave my argument with authority?
Because I know how you hate the past,
And yet, you protect your agony, unequivocally
too stubborn to learn the errors of your ways
And I know this weighs on you. I can feel
the slow puddle of your blood form when
you refuse to participate. Dear sir, please,
I am not an exit strategy. I am an invitation.
My only wish for you is to receive what
I give without leaving me behind. Remember
how it feels to stumble through the unfinished
plot of what is lost and what is gained? I know
you need me most when it rains and the air
changes instantly, announcing to the world
what is here and what is to come, the same way
you wish you could change back into the man
you wrote about once before you became an
island, stranded in the sand of your fears.
I hear you talk to yourself when you refuse
to use your voice. I know all your tricks.
In the mirror, when we visit each other,
Your eyes trace our body in the dim light.
Dear sir, don’t you see the space I give
is empty for a reason?