SOH (3*31*27 / Roseburg, Oregon)

Tough Love

I see my brother.
He is angry.
Filled with an acid rage.
I am higher than him in age.
So I calm him with love.

I see my brother.
He is confused.
Dizzy and slightly amused.
He doesn't understand my calmness.
So I explain to him with love.

I see my brother.
He is sad.
Deep in the dark depths of despair.
Looking for light anywhere.
So I enlighten him with love.

I see myself.
I am angry.
I am confused.
I despair.
But I laugh.

I see my brother.
He is laughing.
Watching me handle my pain.
Trying to act like me...
So I forbid it.

I see myself.
I am betrayed.
I am lied to.
I am helpess.
But I am strong.

I see my brother.
He is pathetic.
He makes me sick.
Trying to cover up his suffering,
Like me.
So I force him to his feet.

'My brother,
You are pathetic.
You are embarrassing.
You are lying in your own piss.'
I say with venom.

I see my brother.
He is hurt,
But I continue.

'My brother,
You are better than this.
You insult me by lying in your piss.
Get up.
Clean yourself up.
I expect more from you than this.'

I go on.
'Do you want to suffer?
To be a mere whipping boy?
To be where I am?
I don't want that for you either.
So I'll give you a hand.
I'll make you great and honorable.
As you deserve to be.
You just have to get up and stand with me.'

I see my brother.
He is weak.
He says,
'But what if I slip in my own piss? '
'What if I can't get up? '

'My brother,
Take a good long look at yourself.
Face down in your piss.
You are not me.
You are YOU.'

'Who...? '
My brother is lost
So I guide him,

'I see my brother.
He is sunshine.
He is warm.
He is radiant.
I say to him with love.

I hold my brother.
He is crying.
'Thank you.'
He says.
'You're welcome.'
I reply.

'Now get up and make me proud.
If not for me and my harsh words,
Than for yourself.
Be the sun and not the cloud.'
I say to him with tough love.


User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 1 votes ) 3

Comments (3)

Fantastic staff, lyrical and flowing so easily, expressing complex emotions, didn't expect it to be so good.
WOW (Do you know Marie Shine from Ireland? She's one of my familiar correspondents. She talks of poems that pass the WOW TEST.) This poem exceeds the WOW Test. I especially like the opening stanzas which use parallel stanzas to show many dimensions of your brother/sister relationship. It's very eloquent in a quiet, understated and thoroughly persuasive way. The second half gets very intense. Still, you are quoting your speech at a time of crisis, and the desperate language shows the desperate situation - AND your determination to rescue him from himself. That closing line - BE THE SUN AND NOT THE CLOUD - is absolutely wonderful and wonderfully placed. If someone requested an extended definition of TOUGH LOVE because they could understand the connection between the two terms - Aren't LOVE and TOUGH opposites? they might ask - if they wanted a convincing definition, I would hand them this poem. Then they would get it!
Wow! Great poem hope you can calm me down with a nice reply as soon as get this message.