Tuesday, January 26, 2010

david's birthday


fifty years ago today my little brother was born.
he's the little one on the left.

i doubt i was bothered by his arrival.

i doubt i was happy.

as time went on we learned
to have a real
and deep hate for each other.

i have memories of taking out
one of his front teeth with a bicycle pump.
i have little white scars on my left bicep
where he stabbed me
with an x-acto knife.

i have memories of our evening fight
- yep that's right -
every evening we had a fight
as soon as we were "tucked in".
we fought in silence
because
any noises that escaped us
would draw the attention
of our father
who art reincarnated.

the attention we received
from him
was far more painful
than anything either of us
could dish out to the other.


but you know what?
over time
we grew closer.


still leaving lots of space
the way neighbouring cats do
but close.


close enough for hugs,
close enough for
the truth of love.

so today
i think of my little brother
or "bruvver"
as i say
with love.

sweet day david!

steven

53 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Oh, steven, i have two brothers. One named David, like your bruvver, with whom i had a similarly complicated relationship, with similar healing. We've connected in Buddhism and strong skepticism about the official story regarding what happened in New York and Washington nine years ago.

i have an easier and friendlier relationship with my younger brother, Jim, who's a famous author and illustrator of Dinotopia.

jinksy said...

Puts me in mind of a catch phrase in an old radio comedy show_ 'She's my best friend and I hate her', would lisp the pretend school girl actress! Happy birthday, Bruvver!

Lorenzo Lapis Lazuli said...

Steven, what a great and beautiful tribute to brotherly love and, yes, to brotherly hate, so real yet so much harder to address in such a disarming and moving manner as you do. The mutual scars and the honesty of the light you shine on them make the subsequent closeness, hugs and "truth of love" that much more compelling.

I'll sign off here ... I just got a sudden urge to get on Skype and call my little "bruvver" who is so many thousands and thousands of miles away ...

NanU said...

Happy birthday to David!
You guys sound a lot like my two brothers, though I don't think mine hug (yet).

Happy day!

Elisabeth said...

Maybe you and your brother's love for one another could grow, Steven, because somehow you could express those opposing feelings as well.

It's been my observation that those who can fight as children often grow into loving siblings in adulthood, with exceptions of course.

This is a beautiful tribute to your brother on his birthday and to you, too.

It says so much about the mixed loving/hating nature of sibling relationships. Thank you.

FireLight said...

Hello! I finally clicked on your crystal over at Willows. This is the, sweetest, warmest, birthday wish I have seen in a long time. I was a baby sister, and know about those night time fights "in fear of the father"...too cute! So glad I came! Happy birthday to Bruvver and happy day to you!

Dave King said...

That's lovely. I can relate to that for my story of my brother is similar - though his birth did bother me: I had wanted a sister.

Derrick said...

Hi Steven,

I saw the thumbnail over at Alaine's and thought I'd pop over. And you look such a sweet child - butter wouldn't melt! I used to love those pullovers with the crossover neckline! Happy Birthday to your 'little bruvver'.

steven said...

hey dan - i knew about jim, but david's a revelation in your family makeup! i just have the one brother and i'm grateful for him!!! have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

ha jinksy!! david and my relationship was a pretty rough one for years but has smoothed out dramatcially over the years into something good and loving. i'm ver fortunate. steven

steven said...

lorenzo - thanks for this lovely comment. i can laugh off much of it now but at the time it was ugly for all involved - especially my parents!!!! have a great day - i hope you enjoyed your phone call with your own brother!!! steven

steven said...

hi nanu - it's an amazing transition over time from near murder to love!!! boys are so weird that way. steven

steven said...

hi eleisabeth - you know, i cant recall the reasons why we fought but i think the overarching reasonw as acting out the tension in the larger family relationship we were embedded in. then again there's usually an element of ugliness in sibling relationships independent of the nature of the family isn't there. thanks for this thoughtfu comment. steven

steven said...

hello firelight - i'm so glad you could visit! so were you in those fights yourself or a horrified observer?!!! i have often wondered what life would have been like if i'd had a sister. it's nice to meet you. steven

steven said...

ha dave - i was just writing about that in my previous comment. i wonder what we would have turned out like dave - cerebral, sensitive, driven to writing poetry and admiring art perhaps - wait a minute, that's what happened!!!! have a super day dave. steven

steven said...

hi derrick - at this point the nastiness hadn't flowered and flourished so i was a nice happy little boy! you noticed the sweater! most of my sweaters were handknit - i bet there were millions of those made by adoring nanas and grnadmothers right across the commonwealth back then. have a great day and thanks for visiting. steven

oldpoetsoul said...

You've brought back some memories to me. Thanks for the honest look at your brother; I'm inspired to do some honest looking myself. Happy Birthday to your brother!

willow said...

Brilliant and heartfelt tribute of love/hate/brotherly love. Sisters have this, too, you know! Thanks for the giggles, especially for "our father who art reincarnated"!

Happy Birthday David!

Golden West said...

Love the picture of you and your brother - utterly charming. Best wishes to you both!

FireLight said...

Steven, to be honest, they were what we called "tickle fights" and being 5 years younger than my sister, Sue, I always lost and had to beg for mercy from the Tickle Monster...Of course, this got noisy. My dad was a strapping 6'3" and just his presence with a frown was enough to resolve anything, but he always came with his newspaper rolled up just in case!

ellen abbott said...

Ah siblings. I too have a little brother whom I hated. As adults though we never grew close but we did find tolerance for each other. My older sister and I also fought but as adults we became very close.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

What a dapper tot you are in that top photo. A nifty sweater, and not a hair out of place. I always envied those who have brothers, but I wouldn't trade my sister for the world and fortunately five decades on and we've yet to have any X-acto blade encounters.

hope said...

AH family! Can't murder them, can't sell them...just have to learn how to live around them. :)

My brother is 8 years younger: I the eldest, he the youngest. We agree that we mutually "used" each other: I got my driver's license and would take him to the movies. I got the car, he got extra snacks at the movie to keep quiet about how much driving around we did before we returned home. ;)

Happy Birthday to your bruvver!

Jenny Stevning said...

Ahhhh...siblings...they can be a blessing and a curse. Hahaha! What a lovely honoring of your brother!!!!

Kay said...

Happy birthday to your bruvver!! I have two brothers...we didnt fight, in fact because i was the baby they did a good job as personal guards and protectors to me!! but while playing hospitals once my bruv apputated my teddies head...i still tease him about it...he claims not to remember....xx

Butternut Squash said...

Isn't that the truth! Being a sibling is hard work. Even in the most difficult relationships a sibling will usually remain the one that will come in crisis. Not even the best of friends can weather some of the storms that siblings venture into. Happy Birthday David! Happy Philadelphia! "brotherly love" from Greek φιλεω (phileo) "to love" and αδελφος (adelphos) "brother" Peace!

Joanna said...

A very real and sweet tribute to sibling connections. It's not just brothers either. My sister and I have an equally complicated relationship. We expressed the hate in more subtle ways but it was just as intense. Now we're (almost always) great friends.

Teri said...

Steven--love the crystal from Willow! What a great idea you have to show it in all the seasons. I can't wait to see them all. I live next door to my sister now (we are 11 months apart) but early-on I was very jealous of her because she stole everything from me (my bottle, my Mother's love and attention, etc.) She was 11 mo. younger than me. That was probably why. I once asked her to rub her finger over a razor blade and she did it. It was not so much to hurt her but a curiosity of what would happen if someone did that. She obliged me and I got a spanking and punished. Curiosity killed the cat so to speak. I also was very protective of her and missed her when we had to go to summer camp. I felt as though she had died for those two weeks. Relationships...so complicated, right?

Titus said...

Happy Birthday David! Gifted with four brothers myself, one just a year and a half younger, and he was my "David". Oh, how I remember our fights!
Lovely post, and I have to say steven, you are remarkably recognisible from your childhood photo!

Titus said...

Happy Birthday David! Gifted with four brothers myself, one just a year and a half younger, and he was my "David". Oh, how I remember our fights!
Lovely post, and I have to say steven, you are remarkably recognisible from your childhood photo!

~MCJArt ~ said...

Great post Steven! Happy B~day David!

Eryl Shields said...

Great photo of you and your baby brother. Love those checked trousers. Is that an ironing board behind you?

Very happy birthday to David. Glad you two are friends now.

Alaine said...

Happy Big 50 to your little bruvver; so glad you became friends!

steven said...

hello oldpoetsoul - our old relationships - especially with siblings - are filled with memories and reveal a lot about the process of arriving where were at!! i'm glad you were inspired by your visit! steven

steven said...

willow you're welcome for the laugh!!! i loved him so dearly but he's back somewhere else now!! i cannot imagine the sister version of sibling rivalry! steven

steven said...

hi golden west - it's my favourite picture of the two of us!! steven

steven said...

hello ladrón, i imagine i was polished and prepped for that picture but i was usually well put together at my mum's insistence and with her assistance. she was always particular about the impression we left with people. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hope - what a terrific story!!! i love it when siblings work together to undermine the restrictive and uncool parents!! have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

jenny i think that's so true - i've been very fortunate as life has gone on and my brother has become entirely a blessing!! have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hello firelight - see there's something kinder and gentler about "tickle fights" and that's what i figured girls were inclined towards. six foot three is a very big boy!!!! have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hi ellen - it's sort of a strange thing isn't it. i mean you choose your friends but not your siblings and yet there they are immersed in your most intimate and awkward moments, bugging you simply by existing. how do we grow up to become good friends, admirers, able to share real love?! it amazes me. steven

steven said...

kay you lucked out there. i've met many girls who had brother protectors and they swear by it although it did make dating difficult at times!! steven

steven said...

butternut thankyou so much for that reminding comment about the strength and fortitude of sibling relationships. when you consider what we share, what we push through, rise above it's extraordinary and really sets a standard for all other relationships. i hadn't thought of that angle! have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

joanna - the sister thing has been a revelation!! i know nothing of it really although i've seen some ugliness in adult female siblings . . . . . have a lovely evening wayyyy down south!!! steven

steven said...

titus - i guess i might be a bit similar. it's so weird isn't it - how your face and body changes but some essence of your appearance remains similar...... have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hey mcj! thanks so much!! steven

steven said...

hi eryl - i think it might be a person but i'm not sure. i bet my mum would know..... have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

alaine i'm glad also! steven

steven said...

teri thanks for visiting and especially thanks for the amazing comment! what a story! a razor blade!! wow. you've got me beat there!!! it's so cool that we move on from all of it and become who we are. have a lovely evening. steven

Jennifer said...

Steven, you have created a thoughtful and honest tribute to your brother - well done.

Reya Mellicker said...

Many happiest returns to your brother! Great pictures. I see the family resemblance, definitely!

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Glad you survived the crucible of family. Love has many facets. Hate seems to have one. And don't you think love is stronger? It's like the saying about bitterness, "Bitterness is the poison you take hoping someone else will die". But love includes forgiveness and new beginnings. I like your honesty and poetry.

Goldenrod said...

Hmmph! Well, what can I say, Steven? Times change, people change. LOVE this post!

PS. Try and stay warm. :)