My youngest brother was born after my aunt, who paid for the rest of us to go to college, died. And we do not have the savings she had, and he worked his way through college, here. First, he waited on tables. Then he moved up to installing DirecTV. At that time circumstances dictated that he take certain classes from me. And he is intelligent, and articulate, but he was working long hours, and I never found an honest way to give him a grade higher than B.

He would rush into class at the last minute, still in his cap and overalls, embroidered over the left pocket with his name. And I would see him and do a double take, here he was that delicate child, who used to cut school in hopes of hearing Laotians speak, himself fluent in Portuguese, and Creole, and French, and very academic, and paying high interest on his truck note because he was under 25 and Black, and in his cap and overalls, and sitting as he did although after hours he is very elegant, he was so clearly a working man.



Filed under Poetry

9 responses to “T-Frère

  1. Here’s to all the hard working intelligent brothers! A toast!
    I was like that. I could’ve made the Dean’s list more than once, but I like to play too. Therefore, I was a “B” student. 🙂

  2. Are you saying that your brother died?

  3. He graduated and has a fancier job now, in a fancier town!

  4. ahh good. Wow it took a lot of determination. It sounds like your whole family has the gift of the ear for languages.

  5. such a beautiful tribute to your brother!! thanks for sharing

  6. Some aunts and uncles a couple of generations up had a story of themselves as children, discussing their father.

    Small Child A: How many languages does Father speak?
    Small Child B (wisely): He speaks all languages.

    Actually he appears to have ‘spoken’ about twelve.
    I am assuming he spoke some of these badly.

    This brother is adopted, though, which is why he is so much younger. It all came about sort of by chance, but it started because of the language affinity.

    He would disappear to the Laotians because they spoke Lao, to his grandparents because they spoke Creole, and to our house because we spoke about twelve languages, some of them very well, some sufficiently well, and others, very badly.

    We do not look at all alike, but everyone has always seen the family resemblance. I’d tell you where his Myspace is, except that would ruin what is left of my anonymity!

  7. This post is too lovely for words.


  8. Bonjour! Comment allez vous? I didn’t come to your blog in days and found myself thinking about you and the blog. I finally came tonight to read about your updates. Does that happen to you? Do you find some blogs “haunting” – in a good way?

    In any case, someday, I wish to attend a lecture of yours or something. You and your family are the kind of intellectuals that encourage others to work harder!

    Guess what? I was asked to write for a magazine in Kuwait by a friend. It is a private, student made magazine called “SPARK” – Smart People Aquire Real Knowledge. My first articles tackle a definition of literatire and the marriage obsession. I’m going under a pseudonym which I cannot disclose here to secure my anonymity 😉

    Two terms that I will share with you; try to figure them out!


  9. Hey Captain Obvious – Anglowaitis: Anglophile Kuwaitis? Kuwailish: English as spoken in Kuwait?
    COOL re magazine! T-frère is taking Arabic lessons and claims that if he dresses right, he’ll pass for Lebanese … ? These are some of his pictures, under his fake name for purposes of discretion (it was the name of a character in a play he was in): http://criollokid80.jepose.net/index.php?page=galerieinde02

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