For Matthew Dickman & My Almost-Dead Brother, from the Elliott Bay Book Cafe

So then I sulked around
Capitol Hill
with all the other hip cats trying
to look indifferent like
I was no longer impressed
with the world
either &
found a book of poems
by Matthew Dickman.
Man, that guy really has it!
Talking all about his dead brother &
_how he wished
_he wasn’t dead anymore
I really felt for the guy

Wept like a baby
in the bookstore café &
refused
to cover my face
because I’ve always preferred
_to cry in public places
it makes me feel less alone.

I wanted to meet this guy & tell him
that my brother has also
vacationed in hospitals
_trying to learn not to hurt himself
Funny
how this is a skill some people
_just never learn like
whistling
_or which primary colors mix
_to make orange

Some things are not innate!

Oh! Matthew Dickman
_our brothers are crazy!
As tragic as they are hilarious
showing up to family gatherings
all manic & cock sure
that fox news is wrong
just really wrong &
who the fuck is that guy Paul
_anyways &
why did the Bible give him so much
_goddamn airtime &
of course Jesus smoked grass!

But our brothers also hit the ground hard
like Mayakovski’s revolver
_after it finished him off for good &
the only note left was an
unfinished poem
that started and ended the same way:

They were wrong! / Life is very long!
& also: I don’t want to die!

So then I thought about driving
to Portland for the night &
asking if anyone knew that cat
_with the dead brother who writes words
that make people cry in public but

I was afraid I would find him
silly & drunk, falling
off a curb no one was looking at
_Screaming things about
dead brothers, dead friends & dead parents & no one
would be listening
but I would understand
everything.

Maybe he would buy me a drink &
I would tell him
about my almost dead brother &
We would cry together or laugh together &
_tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter
_how much we love
someone because
we both don’t believe in saving people
_anymore

& also: hospitals don’t work.

So it’s closing time here at the Elliott Bay Bookstore &
_I don’t buy the book of poems &
_I won’t drive to Portland
tonight because
suddenly
I remembered that
_I don’t want a dead brother
yet.

About Tyler Ziebarth

Tyler is a second-year MACP student who loves film, walking on treadmills, & talking about Kurt Vonnegut. Sometimes, he wishes he could speak French.

Tyler Ziebarth

Tyler is a second-year MACP student who loves film, walking on treadmills, & talking about Kurt Vonnegut. Sometimes, he wishes he could speak French.

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