top of page

"Dear Dead Brother #5" by Noah Cicero

Dear Dead Brother #5

(Passed on June 16, 2004)

Last night, my partner and her dog slept on me

The closer I get to real love

Livelier become my internal freakouts

Our father put up with so much

Our mother put up with so much

The years passed, and it never looked happy –

These cold January nights dead brother

My partner says she wants to move to Russia after the war

There are still wars dead brother

I escape into entertainment, cartoons and documentaries

I want there to be love, I really like this person,

And her dog

The dog, small, wearing a coat posed for a photo.

The dog sits on my lap, slowly he slumps,

Then falls asleep on me –

During the day I spend my time in a cubicle

Two monitors, endless litigation –

Defendant’s Motion to Save His Own Mind –

Defendant’s Motion to Cure His Sinus Problem –

Mostly I copy and paste, rename things,

The dog spends his days in a small cage,

Because he rummages and likes to pee on the floor –

I feel bad for the dog, but some feel bad for me –

A long time ago, I dated a woman from Europe

That has, what seems to be, a supply of money

That never depletes. On her Instagram, she scuba dives

Off the Barbary Coast – the pictures are beautiful –

I assume to her I’m just like the dog –

There is a piece of knowledge that eludes me

Incredible desire to be young and play hide and go seek

To get a thrill out of jumping over something,

When was there time to play baseball?

A piece of knowledge

Like Schrödinger's cat

The ends of the earth

The red mountain is millions of years old

I am standing next to it

The dog looks at me, wanting love

My partner looks at me, wanting love

I don’t care when poets mention death anymore –

Nothing is as scary as one’s own potential –

Trying to forget the first 20 years of my life –

All those years still haunt me

The loneliness, the survival mechanisms

Moods that hurt and won’t end

Dead brother, I was once a dishwasher

At a steakhouse in Ohio, shortly after you died –

The plates would come, I sat them on a tray

And pushed them through a large metal machine

That shot water at them

After the rush was over, we would clean up,

We would eat the remaining steak soup

Many nights that was my dinner

Later in Las Vegas, I worked as bagboy

And ate two eggs and bacon, wrapped in a tortilla

So far from our gnocchi and rigatonis

Now my boss gives me million-dollar cases –

Now someone wants me to love them

Now a dog sleeps on my lap

When I work, my earbuds play Coltrane and Bach

The sounds of distorted guitars no longer inspire me –

The 90s are a million miles away –

I feel disgusted with the 90s,

Why did they even happen?

There is a piece of knowledge that eludes me

I believe the mind and body are one

This oneness eludes me as well

Even dogs seem to be beyond my grasp lately

Noah Cicero was born in 1980 in a small town in Northeast, Ohio. In 2003 his first book came out, The Human War, which has been translated into several languages. He has published books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, many have been translated. His poetry book Bipolar Cowboy was shortlisted for Goodreads Best Poetry of 2015, which has a new edition from Girl Noise Press. He has recently been published in Maudlin House and Sage Cigarettes.


Noah Cicero has given speeches regarding literature in Peru, Chile, South Korea, and Mexico. 


He attended Youngstown State University for Political Science and the College of Southern Nevada for Paralegal Studies.  He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has lived in South Korea teaching ESL, various parts of Oregon and Grand Canyon, Arizona. He hikes every Sunday in the mountains and desert. He has been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon four times.

bottom of page