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Find the Middle, Son

Rilke is teaching me honesty.
I want to tell you things using decorous tools,
but Rilke says look for that middle.
I search around, listen to some swaggering music,
knowing I am nowhere near my truth.
I doubt I have any truth. I am a piece of watermelon,
turning brown and drying out. I read Rilke
and the center turns red. I inadvertently write well
and the outside also blazes red.

                                       But when I write
like this, I float away in the dust storm
and wish for death. Is it right that honesty
is so easy for everyone else? Alcohol might as well
have been a giant gun pointed down my throat,
not just pointed but blown clear through my guts,
for it has left me with no more middle.
I walk around with sprinklings of Rilke,
nice and lilty without any middle.

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  1. #1 by Indigo Spider on May 30, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Rainer Maria Rilke is my favorite poet. Not that that matters, just saying.

    I really like this poem. On a personal level, I feel that way all too often, without a middle. I, too, search for my truth, whatever that means, but it means something, creates a yearning. Trying to define who I am, why I’m here, what does it all mean, what am I supposed to say.

    My favorite: “I am a piece of watermelon,
    turning brown and drying out. I read Rilke
    and the center turns red. I inadvertently write well
    and the outside also blazes red.”

    • #2 by Carl on May 31, 2011 - 6:54 am

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad it spoke to you.

  2. #3 by carldagostino on May 30, 2011 - 5:06 pm

    Read Rilke in mid 80’s . I think I go read again to remember what I liked about his stuff. Been reading a little Emily Dickinson.

    • #4 by Carl on May 31, 2011 - 6:56 am

      Thank you, Carl. I appreciate your comment. I am reading his Letters to a Young Poet and there is fine advice on each page, in each sentence.

  3. #5 by liv2write2day on May 31, 2011 - 12:00 pm

    This makes me want to go back and read Rilke…it’s been a long time. I think it takes a lifetime to find the middle. There is so much pain in the process.

    • #6 by Carl on May 31, 2011 - 11:39 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I wish I could go back and have dinner with Rilke.

  4. #7 by somethingnewplease on May 31, 2011 - 10:40 pm

    The second stanza is my favorite. I enjoy the image of the sandstorm, and the visceral nature of the gun down the speaker’s throat.

    Fascinating work. Thanks for sharing.
    D

    • #8 by Carl on May 31, 2011 - 11:40 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

  5. #9 by seabell on June 1, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    There’s some subjectiveness about honesty I learned in Africa. People live very isolated and it is a set rule to keep what they find in the fields. If by chance they start to live in a city they apply that same rule: unattended objects are offers from the gods… And it’s really hard to explain the reasons of our disapproval to a very puzzled individual…

    • #10 by Carl on June 1, 2011 - 8:54 pm

      That is fascinating. If they don’t know it’s property, how could one accuse them of being dishonest?

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