PHIL MADER

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E-MAIL BROTHERS

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The ferry bloated with people and cars
Snail paced, effortless,
A maritime ballerina keeping
Perfect time
It slips away from the near naked shore.

On his brain are his brother’s e-mails
The obsessive controller wants his way.
Nudging him over and over
To come visit.

At the docks on the other side
The e-mail brother is waiting for him, right on time
And approaches laughing
“You look like an artist”,
Which is code for
“You don’t dress the way you should”
Or “ the way I’d like you to dress when
You visit  me”, or “you distress me
with your poverty”

The impatient foot on the BMW peddle gooses
The vehicle into a lunge
Soon they’re weaving through a posh
Lush tree-lined neighbourhood.

The brother’s small mansion white prettiness
Amidst bigger mansions, all showing
Off their luxuriant front gardens like a woman
Showing off décolleté to make an impression
But not to arouse a visit.

The clouds frown on their chit-chat
Meandering along the bird-sighted blustery shore
Witty in their recitation of stories.
And to show their grit
They deliver serious news casts to each other; spit out
Automated facts like dispensing ATM machines.
In their hearts they wished it were more.
They always wished it were different.

But the blind cosmic electrician wired them for other things
They the cover-up artists in bullet proof vests
Pretend this is enough.
No, it’s not enough and always never seems to be.

At home they watch a documentary on Churchill
Squaring off with Stalin.
They’re not really watching, either of them
It’s so easy to understand that
Churchill never trusted Stalin
And Uncle Joe returned the favour
But it makes them both especially uneasy
Watching this sitting side by side.

At the end the silence is thunderous
Suddenly the brother gets up and tells him he’s taking him
to the ferry; pack up your stuff.
The brother’s antsy, looking genuinely unhappy.

But he, on the other hand, is somehow happy. The charade is over.

At the ferry, the brother too seems more relaxed now
Watching him trundle off
His big blue Ikea bag in hand
Stuffed with books and recordings
The brother gifted him.

On the ferry, he breathes easier
In his car, tranquility too returns to the e-mail brother.

Betterment between them, albeit two hungry souls
Is like growing flowers through concrete
Some would say there’s no immediate need
Noting they are perfect e-mail brothers.
The perfect subject line
The perfect message body
The perfect send button.
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