In Honor of my Brother

This poem is dedicated to my brother. I love him. He encourages me to write; to grow up, grow in, and keep outgrowing myself. He is a good man, a great husband, and a fellow expeditionary in the field of sound. Here is too our vocations unalike and our relationship inseparable. I love you, bro.


Litany of Hours Spent Teaching Himself Arabic

-for Byron Tomes, beloved brother


I imagine you now, book held open in the hands

Of a music stand, posture like one chosen

To present the Holy Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

Into a nearness of sight; you summoning words

In novice Arabic, repeating them until memory

Transfigures into meaning, incantations of new music

Playing almost themselves out of your discipline.


I remember walking past your door each morning,

Needing to pee so damn bad; you sinking slowly

On the exercise bike, pedaling fast through philosophy

Of religion, history, politics—teaching yourself the cords

Connecting Athens and Rome too the man you’re becoming,

An inseparable piece of my own world, in which I


Have glimpsed you bent over that same music stand,

Shaped against the guitar supporting your weight,

Calling up what is already present in the life

Of its strings. They taught me to listen; you taught me

To love the music that falls silent at last, the longing

For never ending song, repeating itself into perfection.


Please direct all comments of praise (or criticism) to my brother, Byron. He is an inspiration.


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