Difference makers

My brother, you were a
to-the-bone, raw expressionist,
and you could articulate each iota of emotion
that coursed through you like river rapids,
the deluge, the storm and the breeze,
I felt it all as I read line after line,
your fury, your deep-seated pain and
the love you had for the women in your life,
a symphony of pure, unmitigated feeling,
leaving minds reeling, thoughts flooding,
writing with blood and fire, pouring
your heart out and leaving the ring
on your feet regardless of if you won or lost
every time you fought using your lines as gloves.
Now, I’ve read the greats, the rich symbolism
of Eliot, the metaphysical Donne, the
off-putting imagery of Olds, the celestial,
futuristic, Bowie loving Tracy K. Smith,
the proverbial Gibran, the mystical Rumi,
the eloquent, sensual Neruda and the
violent, experimental Ocean Vuong,
but they only made me think, helped me tap
into metaphor and weave a spider web
of consciousness, the spider my fears,
the trapped and tortured insect me,
but you taught me to feel these lines
I write, to scream in silence when my
thoughts slip, moods flip and I completely
lose my grip of this ramshackle sanity,
the smashed glass of insanity,
splintering, splitting, severing,
and I’m looking at a shattered mirror,
fractured reflection of myself
with a bottle in my hand,
and I know how hard it is,
how frightening it is.
I remember your poem Jumper
and I have those urges too,
to defy gravity with one final act
of expression, and break my skull
and spine on a car below, but
I also remember you wishing to
leave the scars behind and find
light because the residual pain was
gradually declining, dwindling, diminishing,
and that was your last poem,
among the few you didn’t delete
that you left and walked away,
and it’s been 3 years. Now I don’t know
what happened to you or where you are
and I only call you my brother not because
I knew you well – in fact I hardly knew you –
but because you shaped
my themes and taught me to dig deep
and draw and draw until I fall face down
on my lines, the syllables gently grazing me,
saying, ‘Rest. Enough.’ Thank you, my friend.
We often don’t know the difference we make
in another’s life and here’s letting you know
that you made a difference in mine.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

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