Like Knowing a Secret

No Malice: Where Is Your Brother? – Starring Jasmine Mans, click here:

My response: I loved that poem. I loved how it wasn’t that straightforward. And I loved, as Guy Harrelson said, that it wasn’t about one’s specific brother, but about all brothers. I thought of a bumper sticker the other day that said: “I am related to you; treat me accordingly.” And I passed a brother, who was carrying a sign: “Anything will help,” and he came to me when I looked at him with a “get up from there and come over” look. I gave him money. He was near a freeway on-ramp and he was in red and he was a good-looking brother and he touched my hand and when he spoke, he was articulate and good. I felt bad that I just went up the on-ramp with the excuse that there were others behind me, or that the car was already full. I thought he might have thought that I was gay and that I wanted to pick him up, but I am not gay, just full of life and I was helping people lift heavy loads into the back of their SUVs under the auspices of protecting their backs, and at first they wondered what I was after. But, just as soon as I had helped them, I was on my way. I had been collecting two sets of dishes for my sister, who said she needed them but didn’t know which ones to buy. I keep telling myself that we are all related and that I should have gone back and taken that man home and just let him feel that he was free, that I was willing to trust everything to him to prove that he came before my feelings of security because my security depended on him. If he wasn’t secure then how in the hell could I be secure? It’s going to be like that soon. As the rich-poor gap widens, we are all going to fall in. And I know what its like to be rich, and all I wanted to be was like the other guys. That’s the thing about being like everyone else. You can empathize. And that empathy is like knowing a secret.

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