Xavier, Emanuel. “Radiance”, Rebel Satori Press, 2016.
Survival is Splendid
I have had this new book of poetry by Emanuel Xavier for almost a month now but I decided to keep if for myself before letting others know about it. It is rare for me to find something so personal that I want to make it just mine but that is exactly what this poetry collection did to me. I have read and reread it almost daily looking for a way to truly express how I feel about this peek into the poet’s life and I have finally reached the point where I am ready to share my thoughts so that others can have the experiences I have had reading it.
“Don’t ask any questions.
I lie and live in the moment. Relax. Forget that this mouth is famous. These hands hold more than pens”
“Radiance” is not only special because of the beauty of the poems but also because Xavier suffered a health scare that made me wonder if we would ever have more poetry from him. Having read everything that he has written. I think it is fair to say that each book is a wake-up call that reminds us to live life to the fullest and to enjoy every moment. The beauty of Xavier’s poetry is its honesty which at times can shock but always leaves the reader feeling good.
“WHEN YOUR DOCTOR CALLS TO TELL YOU THAT YOUR BRAIN TUMOR IS BACK
respond quietly in the car so as not to alarm your boyfriend, your mother, your aunt.
and he tries to convince you not to worry”.
We go back into the poet’s past to when he was a club kid in New York, learn about his family, about past and present lovers and the challenge of his recent health scare with brain cancer and see how “radiation became radiance” and “survival became splendid”.
“don’t be sad at the thought of not surviving this after everything you’ve already been through.
focus on the people walking by oblivious to
head bandaged and fragile happy to be alive.
when he hangs up, note the silent anticipation. you could lie and say it was a wrong number. your mother will just continue complaining about her problems from the backseat.
you could change the station and ask everyone where they would like to go eat”.
I am always amazed at the beauty of the poet’s words in that knowing his past and how rough it was comes as quite a surprise. He always finds exactly the correct words to use to cast light on the reality of which he writes. His words are tender and sensitive especially when we realize that his life has not always been such yet somehow he manages to merge the two together. At times we sense he desperation between the poems but we see that as a good quality and not one that depresses but rather uplifts. I feel a sense of quiet and calm as I read and reality becomes quite beautiful. Here is what he has to say about the mendacity of life:
“We don’t always have the time
to truly listen to stories, clip our nails, nap with pets, enjoy our meals.
But it is in these rare moments
that we get a little closer to life”.
I have tried to show you some examples of what we read here but these only break the surface. There is so much to be gained here that you really have to read Xavier yourself and find where he fits into your life— and he will fit into your life.