For My Brother John

John Mark Toscano
John Mark Toscano, April 06, 1953 - April 22, 2010

The one of us who for a short while clenched
imperial power inside his elegant hands,
his birthday comes in April. Yesterday. Today
he likely sits inside God’s coastline mansion,

a shadow smiling through a picture window,
a soul not lost, but here inside me as I weep,
a man remembering the wife who loves him. Until
I read my mind this morning, I’d forgotten

the two of us together, we sound like stereo
signals spitting static through the wire. We sing
rich harmonies without benefit of practice. Both of us
worship Sinatra the Sicilian, chew loud on hard salami,

breathe in deep the aroma of books that make a man
think. We both claim to be right about everything
and wrong about everything else. Too similar, two men,
we search each other for the I each one of us sees

inside the you. Stubborn minds, dying hearts, and yet
we taught ourselves that blood can foster the unfair
expectation that brothers should do more than
love each other today, again perhaps tomorrow.

Anthony V. Toscano
April 2010

3 thoughts on “For My Brother John

  1. You always were the best writer I knew. This is an exquisite and honest tribute to your brother. This will be your first Christmas without him and that is hard. I am going to Vegas the day after Christmas to visit my sister Virginia who is in assisted living with Parkinsons and dementia. My other living sister is in remission from lung cancer–but she does turn 87 this month. Two of my siblings are gone and like my parents, I miss them often.

  2. willy

    Anthony, this is a wonderful poem. Your writing is beautiful and forceful. I can feel your pain and gratitude for having had a loving brother in your words.
    Very strong!

  3. Thank you, Willy. When I think of John this holiday season, I feel sad; and yet I feel the bond we shared. One morning, about 2:30 am in La Jolla where John last lived, we walked together. John was dying then, and he and I understood that fact. He could walk only a few steps at a time, before we stopped for him to rest. During our last walk, we spoke few words, but we said a great deal to each other. I am so glad to know you, Willy.

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