SIX STANZAS FOR MY BROTHER
Ah, brother, how came we to this strange space,
of polite enmity- sired and born
of the same pairs of loins, and yet, so
diverse in temperament and vision as
to be less than cousins of a degree
thrice removed? How is it I deserve
your veiled contempt, your slying slurs
against my ego? Is it to bolster
your own? Why? What seeming
menace of sovereignty, ascendancy,
am I that needs acts of spiritual
fratricide to assure your eminence?
It cannot be that your are envious
of some fable of presumed primacy.
Near bastard was I born, and full bastard
was my chair at the family table.
Though first born (or so was the premise),
I was seated below affection’s salt,
my daily diet, degradation.
What premise of birthright prominence I
might, like some to the purple born princeling, claim
usurped in both womb and spirit.
Any rights to claim, claim them; I want them not.
Willingly I’ll play the hairy Esau.
No man may truly Gage the happiness,
or the misery, of another man,
but you wear some share the the world’s riches;
you own an honorable profession;
a companion of your heart walks your mile
in sunshine, in shadow, and your formal seed
augers extended immortality.
Last already first, surely you covet
nothing of my fortune, my destiny.
That would be too grotesque an envy.
Why, then, prick my pride among kin,
deny me space to pretend dignity?
Or is it, as I may sometime think,
your vanity that which is threatened?
I am no reverse, converse reflection;
my virtues, my shames, are my own burden
and have aught to do with you. Who says no,
is a churl unfitted with subtlety,
worthless as a friend, or as a Solomon.
I am that I am in my whole context;
made, or if it be, unmade, in the image
of my own experience, whatever,
however, sweet or horrendous it may
be. It is mine to honor or descry.
Or is it some apprehended weakness
thought discerned which causes the spurn
of courtesy to my worth? Pocket judgement!
There are battles other than those you favor.
My mettle has been test by terrors
of which you know only by slow rumor,
whispered, like sin, in shame-faced shadows.
That counterfeit Medusa, who did strive
to turn my soul to stone, left fetid scars
not fully balmed, but I still stand proud,
the fires inside banked, perhaps, but not out.
Victories need surrender. I will not.
I would not, this enmity between us.
A decade of years separates our makings,
yet we are of the same sine, same flesh;
our blood flows from the same pulsing wells.
If one part of the body wars against
another, is not the whole destroyed?
Shared blood is a sacred communion;
the rudest congregations of men hold
it as a hallowed, god-kissed bond;
who denies their communion, does deny
themselves, who celebrates, themselves augment.
Shall we be less than the rudest of men?
NOTE: I include this among my rescues because even as bad verse, it still has some elements of combination of words, of images, that I like and want to preserve for, maybe, another time, another verse. Small e.g., Pocket judgement!