growing into your name

Dearest Benjamin Edward,

I hope you don’t mind that I use your proper and middle name;
it’s just so SOLID.
Man, what a great name.
In fact, what I REALLY want to do is throw the suffix on, too….
Talk about solid.

Starting over…


My Dear Benjamin Edward II,

Really, my friend, I so wish you could see;
You are as firm as your nameplate to me.
I know that you see yourself so out of place;
The tiniest speck of non-planet in space.
You assume that the people you meet will forget you;
Won’t stick in their heads like that awful kid, Caillou.

(you’d swear someone dared me to make Caillou rhyme – nope)
Just thought of the “anti-Ben” – he came to mind. Dope.
And if you think awful will make you unique,
You’re flexing wrong muscles and really quite weak.
But as I began this, you’re far from anemic;
Unless you skip meals and get hypoglycemic.

You think I don’t notice when moods rise and fall?
Don’t you see that I stay here with you, warts and all?
The only one missing the boat here is you;
And anyone else missing? Bid them adieu.
This care of your heart will seem selfish at first;
You’ll get some mean texts but that isn’t the worst.

The worst would be missing out – WHO IS BEN KOHNS?
Stop beating yourself up – yes, put down those stones.
Try seeing yourself as most everyone does,
and that is the Ben who now is and once was.
The rest of the stuff in the middle – forget;
There’s so much of living as Ben left to do yet.

I’m sorry, not sorry, if this made you squirm;
You need to hear frequently – you’re not a worm.
And if I am the one who must say it – I’m on it;
Keep on writing those poems – yes, even the sonnet.
Your long-dreaded journey to life lived unmasked
Has me as you partner – I’m so glad you asked.

Affectionately, one of your best friends –
(yeah – me).


Dear Affectionate Friend,
how I’d like to receive this!
But my brain will deflect from my heart,
and I’ll grieve bliss.
I’ll read it and read it, yes, even aloud!
To see if your words will unwrap twisted shroud.

Sometimes I think maybe I’m pulling loose ends;
Your letter confirms that I’m making amends.
I want to be “solid” like “Edward” or “Second”,
A man with a mission – a force to be reckoned.
Perhaps with your help, I can find life anew,
And can straighten the things that have fallen askew.

I know that I’ve focused much more on what’s wrong;
When so much is right, and I finally belong.
Help me change how I’m thinking to rainbows and sun,
‘Stead of looking at gloom and the stuff that’s no fun
To some that seems easy, a walk in the park;
They haven’t tried walking that park in the dark.

Enough with the darkness – I’ll turn on some light;
You’ve said that I’m solid – I’ll prove that you’re right.
If you see that at times resolve falters a little,
Come and pick me back up – but be gentle – I’m brittle.
But strengthening daily as friends ’round me bolster;
Am I climbing the ranks? Well, let’s just ask a pollster:

“He’s moved into second, his numbers are soaring;
It seems that he ISN’T forgettable…. boring!”
It’s there on the news, so you know that it’s true,
And even if “fake”, also heard it from you.
And you, my dear friend, give me hope to push on;
Keep working your magic – turn duckling to swan.

Thankfully, Benjie,
Who’s grown up to be,
The father of Benjamin Edward…. yeah, III.


And now for our (optional) prompt. This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response. These can be as short or long as you like, in the form of prose poems, or with line breaks – and of course, the subject matter of the letters is totally up to you.

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