the usual rilke

Translated by Joshua Weiner

   rilke’s separation

the unusual rilke
and the usual rilke
are stuck in their sameness

the unusual rilke
and the usual rilke
would have stayed together

the unusual rilke
and the usual rilke
would have to separate

the unusual rilke
and the usual rilke
both knew it


   rilke’s breath

      1

rilke
breathed
the air

the good air


      2

rilke
breathed
without pause


   rilke’s nose

entrance and exit
of the air
it knew
stench
scent
aroma
handkerchief
sniffles


   rilke’s name

rilke
said he
when asked for his name

rilke
one said
when asked for his name
or
never heard of him


   rilke, unrhymed

rilke
said he

then he said
cuke

then quietly
cloud


   rilke’s boat

taking a stroke
sitting there

sitting there
taking a stroke


  rilke’s drawer

      1

he pulled out
the drawer

he put something
in

something
was in there

he pushed in
the drawer


      2

he pulled out
the drawer

something
was in there

he took something
out

he pushed in
the drawer


      3

he pulled out
the drawer

nothing
was in there

he put nothing
in

he left the drawer
open


   rilke’s chest

      1

he lifted up
the lid

he put something
in

something
was in there

he shut
the lid


      2

he lifted up
the lid

something
was in there

he took something
out

he shut
the lid


      3

he lifted up
the lid

nothing
was in there

he put nothing
in

he left the chest
open


   rilke’s shoe

rilke’s shoe
was one
of two

each shoe of rilke’s
was one
of two

rilke in shoes
always wore
two

calf to calf
stood rilke
jutting up from his shoes


   rilke’s window

he opened
the window
stuck his head out
pulled his head in
closed it

he opened
the window
morning air
rushed in
evening air
night air

he closed
the window


   rilke’s glass

rilke took a glass
filled it with water
lifted it to his mouth
drank


   rilke’s hand

rilke’s hand and rilke’s hand
hanging by his side

rilke’s hand in rilke’s hand
the one in the other

rilke’s hand in the hand of another
greeting him

rilke’s hand at rilke’s mouth
sensing it there


   rilke in conversation

someone asks
rilke answers

rilke asks
someone answers

neither is very happy about it
neither is very sad


   rilke’s reward

this now
was his reward

nobody was certain
what he meant

rilke
wept


   rilke’s contradiction

and yet small and white
and yet big and black
and yet small and black
and yet big and white
and yet small and big
and yet white and black
and yet small and black
and yet big and small and black


   rilke’s eyes

rilke opened his eyes
everything was visible
nothing was invisible

rilke shut his eyes
nothing was visible
everything was invisible

rilke opened his eyes
nothing was invisible
everything was visible

rilke shut his eyes
nothing was visible
nothing was invisible


   rilke’s weight

rilke is being
relieved of his weight

so roughly does the earth
raise her son
 
Translated from the German