Black, Family, Music, Personal Narrative, Poetry

The Corey Trilogy

I’m eleven months older than my brother, Corey. I’ve heard the short delivery/conception time pejoratively called “Irish Twins”. My brother, Michael, arrived a year later, and then my sister, Lucinda, two years after him. Yes, my mother had four children within five years, by the time she was nineteen. As you can imagine when a fourteen year-old girl gets pregnant, stories are yet to surface and struggle to remain buried behind the narrative fancy known as memory aka imagination.

You may recall from previous blogs that my sister died when she was twenty-nine years-old from heart disease, and left her four and five-year old boys to be cared for my my mother. That was seventeen years ago. Recently, my brother, Corey, died October 17, 2020 at forty-nine years-old of complications from diabetes and pancreatic cancer. I was unable to attend his services due to COVID-19 pandemic and limitations on flying. More importantly, my mother is immunocompromised and at higher risk. The lack of closure with my mom and brother, Mike, (of our probably masked selves in a space together, the mingling warmth of our bodies) makes it seem as if Corey is still alive. I sometimes find myself excitedly thinking about the next time I get to see him after the pandemic, exhaling when I find I’ve been holding my breath.

I’ve created work over the years for, about, and inspired by Corey. I never shared them with him. Here is a poem, song, and essay: The Corey Trilogy. His death is the main inspiration for S|F Blog, for sharing my work and ideas at this moment. Losing him reminds me yet again to strive for connection, to be less guarded, to be open to love. S|F Blog

Dear Brother:
(for Corey)

There’s sorrow in your brown eyes;
it was, in mourning,
that I first saw you cry as a man
and now, I see the source of your pain
in my reflections
dusty, hot, farm-fed moments
when we longed to be black boys, brothers,
sons, fathers, people—loved.

Letting go
is holding on
to us, to her,
everything that was and is life. We are
not alone so much as we are lonely,
and in this solitary place, we must reach
out, extend, embrace and release
while preparing to, as the consequence of feeling—

There is music swirling
behind your eyes
that has begun, with pain, to seep
out of your fingers a shade of beautiful,
composed with colors unmistakably yours.

Now free your eyes
and let it out your heart.

I was working on this song before Corey died. A few weeks later I got a new puppy and I was motivated to finish the song. She, Aiyana, helped me manage my anxiety and sadness, as well as my hope. Enjoy! via one of the links below and/or on your favorite streaming platform. S|F Blog

Amazon Music, Spotify, iTunes Music, SoundCloud, BandCamp, Pandora

The Unmistakable Cover Job

(upon reading The Business of Memory, especially “Don’t Look” by Victoria Morrow)

Lawrence D. Benson

For Corey. I miss you.

I have always been fascinated by memory, things seemingly called up, forth, conjured from a moment that is not the present (but not necessarily the past, maybe the future, but that’s another temporal topic we can discuss later.) It’s going to be quite difficult for most to believe, but my earliest memory is of me as an infant, about two years-old, my younger brother, Corey, a truck, and fear . . .

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