Thursday, November 08, 2007
poem for my brother
poem for my brother
Slight young creature born in the pneumonia month of January,
I watched as the ambulance drivers carried our mother
out into the cold on a stretcher.
So sick was she,
Her belly swollen with you protruding into the white sheet
Pulled meagerly over her weak body on its way into
The sharp chill of a Pittsburgh winter.
On a penicillin bender
You came to us 3 weeks early
Never put to the breast
‘cause nobody knew that the good that nursing would have done you
Far outweighed the risk of more antibiotics in the milk you never imbibed,
Nobody knew that whatever attention from our mother you could get
Would barely quell the ache in your heart left by our father’s absence.
30 years later I sit composing in your cave,
Sit writing in your dark, underground space
As I know you have done a thousand times before.
Driven to write about you sitting in your seat and
Surrounded by the library stacks of your poetic predecessors
Blake and Bukowski
Confucius and Cummings
Dante and Dostoyovsky
Hesse, Kafka, Kazantzakis and Kerouac.
Your life lacks such order
Yet your heroes’ tomes rest alphabetically on their dusty shelves
A testimony to the priority the written word has in your world.
Unpaid bills and unattended health issues and untapped talents galore
You are the poet I wish I could be-
Prolific, spewing volumes into the deep hours of the dark night
Edgy and complex and tortured and
What a fucking way with words, man.
All that brilliant angst and unprocessed pain
Distilled into a tangled fury of pure emotion
Your clarion call to yourself, to our mother, to our father
That your childhood still requires action.
Take it, babe. Take that action, whatever it may be,
That gets you out of the pizza joint and into the literary magazines,
Out of the bar and into graduate school,
Out of your misery and into a fulfilling, exciting life of
Love and art and health and family,
Functional family, finally.