Thursday, 31 December 2009

Write what you know

This post breaks my editorial guidelines for this site – it isn't 50 words and its not a poem inspired by a single word but I was surfing doing story research, and found myself on the Leicester Mercury site(the old newspaper from where I was born and brought up). And as you do I typed in relatives names to see if they surfaced- they don't usually! But this time one did as below.
And like a bad Soap Opera episode it revealed that my brother was killed in August. It even had a comment from a sister in the memoriam section. Protesting that she didn't know, and despite not talking to him for 26 years, she missed him. I haven't spoken to either for 20 years, but like she says,  he pops up in my thoughts over the years. And unlike her, I did try to have a relationship through birthday phone calls and cards at Christmas. But I was too "weird" for him given my life style, and dare I say - my acquired middle classness. We both came from a very dysfunctional family background and in our own ways are the success stories. He kept married, had one child and was never out of work as a HGV driver - all miracles given our family background. And now he is dead.

Even more spooky, is/was that an Open University creative writing assignment is going to be about a fatal motor-bike accident and its aftermath so now I am part of the ripple myself. Needless to say not in the mood to do the overdue critical essay for a while until I make the phone call. It took me ages to track down where they live( strangely, like us they been in the same house for the past 20 years but somehow both of us never managed to keep even a Christmas Card going) but when I rang, his wife and daughter was out. It must have been a very difficult Christmas for them. Do they want the strange unknown relative intruding with empty words who wasn't even a footnote in their daily life?

If I am brutally honest, I am not that emotionally upset at the moment  as in shock although it will kick in later. We never had a life together, just some moments. Its more about the loss of possibilities, and of your childhood memories and "furniture". I always had at the back of my mind that some type of reconciliation could take place - when he was 50 ( I missed it), on his birthday,( three days after mine but it gets forgotten more then remembered), and at Christmas (more luck but never a response). But now a phone call, and then maybe a visit to his ashes(one day as never in the area), and that's the end to a brother who I brought his first suit when I left Leicester for good, and who's best man I was. And I last saw as shy, awkward fish out of water attender at my Quaker wedding.

I shed my tears through writing this poem - not great poetry but genuine feelings as writing what I know.

When reading on-line
Today was the day I lost my brother.
Outside it rains, for him it was sunny -
a perfect day. For me, eyes are runny.
He loved, and will be missed, I discover.
What did we have in common, a mother,
separate lives, women who rescued us?
His Kawasaki roared with impetus.
He loved, and will be missed, I discover.
Yet I have fond memories that cover
first suits and a matey bottle of gin -
with a past beaten through self discipline.
He loved, and will be missed, I discover.
Now that engine stands silent, my brother.
He loved, and will be missed, I discover.