where the writers are
in memoriam

This will be the first poem in my verse novel (and probably the last poem from that collection that I'll post here--gotta save something for the people who buy it...).  The poem (and, for the most part, the novel) is about my brother Drew, who died on this day in 1986.


i guess you know
you died
twenty-two years ago today
you didn't seem so young then
in fact you seemed much older
much more mature than you probably were
but you had just turned twenty-four
and now at forty-three
i look back
and you seem like a child
struck down so innocent
so young

but at the time
you were my older brother
the one i was just starting to like
after years of growing up
your little brother

i've blamed a lot on you
my shyness my trepidation
my fumbling too-apologetic tongue
i was constantly afraid
you pounded me with threats
although i cannot remember
you hurting me
or even hitting me

you were being the older brother
i now know that
you didn't mean anything by it
but it affected me

you were my older brother
the one i never thought of
as a role model
you were in essence a screw up
never good in school
you smoked and drank
played daredevil
and even after i stopped being afraid
after we became friends
i never wanted to be like you

yet now years later
i'm finding out i was wrong
you were one of the funniest people
i've ever known
you might have been the strongest
and proved yourself the bravest

i am still amazed
it wasn't your stupid stunts
it wasn't anything in that crazy head of yours
that got you
that should have
long before

it took something silent sinister
a tumor hidden secret in your brain
while i was away at school
and although i came back
long before you left for good
i never got to say goodbye

i just wish i had known then
before then
that i should have
wanted to be like you