Friday, October 04, 2013

Staying In Tune

Congo Mask
Paul Lebaron Thiebaud Collection Exhibit
Calif. State University, Sacramento
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—David Iribarne, Sacramento

Being brothers didn’t mean we were close.
Tension between us
was always so thick
even the sharpest blade
couldn’t cut through.

Being brothers didn’t mean we were close.
We would constantly trade harsh insults
that would leave marks for days
and sometimes punches
that would leave welts
on our bodies for weeks.

I can’t remember the last we spoke
and I can’t remember when and if we did
if it was in a civil tone.

Usually my voice was hoarse
almost lost after we talked.
I rarely mention your name
it’s better that way
for when I do I cringe
and several unwanted scenarios
come to mind.

We didn’t agree on much.
You’d think there would be something.
Something similar that we could
smile or laugh about.

Except whenever we are
within ten feet of one another
wars erupt,
volcanoes explode,
storms begin and never end.

There is one thing that
brought us together,
that closed the distance between us—
that opened doors.

Music, melodies, songs
always closes that gap between us.
Sweet harmonies brought peace.
Guitar riffs, drum solos,
a cappella numbers
made for hours of conversation
between us.

No matter what rage
was built between us,
no matter the different bumpy roads
we took to avoid one another,
music would always lead us back
to one another.

We were always in tune
when The Who, Queen, Depeche Mode
or Pearl Jam barreled out a song
over the radio waves;
during this time there were no waves
between us.

During those three or four minutes
that the song played
we bonded closer than we ever had
in twenty years.

When we are together now,
this is why the radio is on.
I turn it all the way up
and blast it so loud
it shuts out so much,
allows us come together
and feel at peace with one another.


—David Iribarne

At six we met,
became close friends.
We played hopscotch, double dutch,
played with each other’s barbies.

Later when we entered our teens
we joked about boys,
laughed about our little brothers
and told each other our dreams.

College, adulthood came; we didn’t separate
Spent hours on the phone
talking about classes, dates,
still laughed about our little brothers,
still kept one another’s dreams afloat.

I still have that picture.
The one taken by our father.
Me hugging you so close,
squeezing you with my heart’s content.
Huge smiles gleaming on our faces.
I held you so close.
like I never was going to let go.

 Mexican Soldier Before Colonialism
Thiebaud Collection, CSUS
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—David Iribarne
You left without warning,
without telling me,
without telling anyone.

You gave hints throughout
the year, but really
you never told us exactly
when you would go.

I wanted so much more of you.
I found I wanted more of your voice.
I wanted more of your smell,
I wanted more sounds that reminded
me of you.
I want little parts of you
so maybe I can put you
together in my mind again.

It’s almost like you disappeared
but still haven’t;
back and forth
it’s very hazy and foggy.
I just cannot grasp you.

It’s like you are constantly slipping
through my fingers.

We were in your house,
shortly after your wake.
We talked about you.
It brought you back
conjured up memories
brought about new things.
So many things I never knew.
I questioned whether I knew you.

I found out about the many
different costumes you wore.
The trips and journeys you took.
The different foods you loved.
The relationships you had with others
and I leaned about the men you loved.

I discovered
how you found your true love.
He wondered why you picked him.
He laughed, but was so glad that
he was yours.

So many surprises.
So many surprises.
What is to come?
What is to come?

With summer’s end, you left.
But very much,
you still linger
wanting to come alive again.


—David Iribarne

Afghans, sweaters, scarves, blankets—
it was part of her nightly routine.
Sitting on the couch across from her
I marveled at how she knitted her web.

I loved watching her creations.
She begun with just a ball of yarn
and within a couple of hours
she had the makings of blanket or scarf.

It was how she masked the pain.

She would tell me that this
helped her deal with the pain.
The bullets that would coarse
through her veins.
The aches that would scream
in her legs.
Throbbing discomfort
in her stomach,
she would grit her teeth,
tightly close her eyes.

I wondered if sometimes
she used the needles as weapons.
In her mind, she was stabbing
the monster repeatedly,
but he just wouldn’t die.
She used all her rage,
all her anger,
all to no avail.

For just twenty minutes, for an hour,
knitting is one of the few things
she could do to divert her mind.
It helped her escape.

I still have one of the afghans she made.
It’s a crimson red.
I often use it
during cold winter nights.
I think of the effort
she went through to make it.
The pain, the agony, but more so
the care, the love.
It keeps me warm and safe.


Today's LittleNip:

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.



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Ceramic from Costa Rica (Middle Ages)
Thiebaud Exhibit, CSUS
—Photo by Michelle Kunert
[For more about the CSUS exhibit, see