O’Brother

Part one – Love Child

O’Brother I was ten
When I had a live doll in you
To bath and walk and pat
The navy and steel perambulator
With white walled tyres
And the white crocheted blanket
She made.
You were supposed to be the love child
Of an old marriage.
A babe taking meds before he was born
A Mother with a thin grasp
A Father who would go to the end of
Anywhere.
She was spared your death
But not him, or me.
A surprise gift of genetics
That I missed
Came your way at twenty odd
So we grieved for you
As we did for her,
And while you searched conspiracies
Through imaginary means
And got more troublesome
And less reasonable
O’Brother we said.

Part two – Questions

You could sing and paint
(Houses) and dance but
You could talk with wit.
And still did
Sometimes a bit.
So many different friends
Sought you out
And the same old ones.
Unmarried Sov
He loved you so!
O’ (poor) Father!
He listened to you but thrice
From behind his closed door
While you demanded privacy
From behind yours.
Wailing, wall thumping
Why me! O’ why me.
A man still at home.
A twisted fog parted
Just for an hour or so
Each time.
By chance or by some
Strange alignment?
A job won and lost in a
Single morning, and again
And again. Was that it?
Aided by a toxic salad
Prescribed by empathic scientists
Can we call it clarity?
So rare a state it has no name
Imbued with tortuous threads
Like a vine in a season not recognised.
A stranger in the mirror
Gone to seed perhaps? but failing
To begin again.
Could that be the goal?
What good?
O’ Brother. Why you?

Part three – The Elegy

A poem?
The juxtaposition
To grief;
For weeks now
My body revs
Perpetually
Then swerves
Like a car fishtailing
On a dark empty
Road.
Fear the impact
For the shattered shell
It screams.
Repel the task
And suffer from the effort
Motion sickness.
Sea sickness.
It gives up.
Poetry is
A scalpel on the scab.
I still feel sick, sicker even
For the swallowed sobs
As I write
Are like too many great bowls
Of vanilla ice cream
You once loved.
A glutton gorged on grief
And then
Who will read it?
Not you
Obviously.
O’Brother, and
Not Father
Either.
God no.

Part four – Coming of Age

O’Father, share a drink
With your brother
Who married in a kilt.
The amber liquid
Of old country—
It’s your friend today
I bought you a special bottle
Drink and drown
Just this day.
Tonight is truly your
Turn to wail
And you do.
Like an alpine wolf
In the suburbs, at an ambulance,
Death is your composer
Your talent preordained.
The old Celtics are here
Echoing through your kin
Keeping you company
While you sing.
I sit in frozen grimace.
Sober but trying not to vomit.
Your brother’s wife
My stalwart today –
We remain in the kitchen.
Your door is wide open
And while I cower inwards
And let it be,
Outwardly
My sons are holding you up
Like men.

Part five – The Eulogy

I stepped out according to
The day at hand,
The sun only three fifths
Risen, streaming up and out
From just below the horizon
In a parting of the trees
In thick symmetrical opaque bands
Like a festival poster
Highlighting the underbellies
Of the white tufts, a smattering of
Clouds from a toy story sky
Pulled apart and grown up;
So beautiful so unreal I knew at once
It was from you.
Just three and a half hours
After writing for you.
It came with your message
You got it done, good job, thank you.
I didn’t hear you exactly

You were too far away

Or everywhere, part of the sky

It punched my chest
O’ Brother

Thank you.