The Family You’re Born With AND Choose

I don’t know if any of you know this about me, but I have the coolest brother EVER. No contest.

Nick Clark: Coolest. Brother. Ever.

Nick Clark: Coolest. Brother. Ever.

Once when we were out drinking and he’d had a few, he told me, “You know of all the people I know who are siblings–of ALL the siblings I know, you and I are the best. Hands down.”

He is right. I’ve never seen two people who are related get along quite the way we do. We have a lot of the same interests and tastes, and we truly enjoy spending time together. So, in this period of reflecting on all the fantastic things about my life here in Flag and how EVERYTHING is going to change REALLY, REALLY SOON, being faced with not having Nick in the same town as me was bound to come up. And when it came up, I did what I always do–I wrote a poem about it.

Nick is a photographer–a damn good one, too! Lately we’ve been talking about his photography even more than usual because he just finished shooting a big fundraiser for the non-profit where I work and he has his first ever art show coming up in July! So, when I thought about how best to capture (see what I did there) him in writing, I immediately started thinking about photographs.

Oh the Grand Canyon--that's nice. I think I'll take a picture of Nick.

Oh the Grand Canyon–that’s nice. I think I’ll take a picture of Nick.

I am so impressed by his work, and his dedication, and the love he has for his craft–so much so that I spent the better part of a vacation in December taking photos of him taking photos. But I’m also just impressed by him as a person. Some family you’re born with, and some family you choose–for me, Nick is both.


So, here’s what I wrote about him:
(By the way, I read this poem at Barley Rhymes. If you’re in Flagstaff go check it out!)


You tell me
how you tried to frame
the photograph
just so,
to capture the energy
of the event–
the crowd, the competitors,
the judges giving thumbs up.
I notice a brightness
in your eyes
as your hands wave about
trying to lay the scene out for me,
and I’m not even listening,
by how damn impressed I am.

I admire your easy way with people,
your quick wit,
your charm.

I wish I could capture
a photo of you
in a goofy hat and a $2
thrift store sweater,
chatting up a stranger at the bar
like you’re old friends–
in one hand, you’ll hold a beer,
while you raise the other above your head
to emphasize how crazy
your story is getting–
and carry it with me
around the world,
so I never have to miss you.

Did I tell you that I wish
I was more
like you?

Did I tell you
that bonding over Thanksgiving beers
was the highlight of my year?

Have I mentioned
I can’t think about
leaving you behind
without tears?

When I call you
from the other side of the world,
you’d better answer!
And you’d better be ready
because I’ll be expecting stories,
so I know how your life is going.

I want to hear that incredulous tone
in your voice
and picture you,
shoulders shrugged,
arms in the air,
lips curled back revealing a smile
of crooked teeth,
and to freeze that image in my mind,
to frame it,
to put it on my wall
so that I can glance at it
from time to time, and pretend
that you aren’t so very far away,

because with an image of you
there with me, I’ll never spend
any time alone at all.

2012-10-20 15.44.19-2
Check out Nick Ray Clark Photography on Facebook too!

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