“How to Watch Your Brother Die” by Michael Lassell
The poem How to Watch Your Brother Die is a clear representation of the struggles of the homosexual community and how the outside world views them. The author recreates a situation in which a man is struggling with the death of his gay brother and learns the everyday trials he faced. The poem is told in first person so the readers can see firsthand what the straight brother is thinking. It has been a long time since he exiled his brother for being gay and gets the phone call that he is dying. (2-3) He is dreading flying to California and meeting the lover. (8-9). He symbolizes the fact that he has to keep a straight face and keep the emotions out of it. (10-11) He is very uncomfortable with the sexual orientation of his brother and cannot comprehend how a man can look at another man with love. (14-17) Reality sets in and he remembers his brother and the love they had for each other before the conflict with his brothers’ sexual interest. He misses those times deeply. (18-24) He tries to relate to the lover even though he doesn’t know how. He brought up the fact that the lover was an extremely good looking man but yet all he wants to see is his reaction. At this point he is just trying to understand how a man can love another man. This is a question that has puzzled him for a while. He finally gets his answer when the lover explains that it is just like the love
between a husband and a wife but deeper because the odds are greater. He still doesn’t understand. (25-39) They drive into Mexico to acquire drugs that are not legal in the U.S. This is where he finally realizes the challenges that his brother has faced. They are stopped by border control and are told they cannot bring the drugs back. As he rages with anger he thinks about his...
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