Powerless to act, or acting powerless?

The Irish Anti-War Movement organised a protest against the bombing of Syria outside Dáil Éireann last night. The severity of the situation cannot be overstated, yet the turnout was low. Is it true that we are helpless to protect our fellow citizens of the world? According to UK prime minister Theresa May, “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” But that is exactly the attitude promoting  xenophobia, nationalist extremism and outright racism across parts of the rich world right now.

There are complaints that the media is failing to report on violence across the Middle East because of a western bias. And there is a western bias but that is down to us. This week’s The Economist describes it as ‘The Business of Outrage‘. Shrewd entrepreneurs are making huge profits off the back of anger. They try to convince communities that society is in tatters and that the Apocalypse is just around the corner, despite hard evidence that Western societies have never had it so good. We see this most evidently in US presidential candidate Donald Trump. His entire raison d’être is to convince voters that America is crumbling and their only chance of survival is his bigoted-style of politics.

Media outlets are not shunning stories about wars in the Middle East because of censorship, although it can seem like it at times. We live in a digital era where it is instantly possible to analyse what news people are consuming. The primary revenue stream for media companies is advertising. And the only way to attract advertisers is by proving a strong newspaper circulation or more relevantly, website traffic. The sad truth is many people increasingly prefer fluff, so media companies are moving further from news and into entertainment.

If we are serious about improving our societies, we must start by taking an active role within them. The first step is to keep ourselves informed so that we can make appropriate decisions about the direction of our futures. After all, public demonstrations have furthered the rights of women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT. But if our concern is mere empty words, we’re as well to keep our mouths shut and accept that there is no better.

 

 

 

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Is iRISH government right to appeal Apple verdict?

The Irish government has confirmed plans to appeal against an order to recoup €13bn in tax from Apple. Last week, the European Commission (EC) described Ireland’s tax breaks for the tech giant as anti-competitive “illegal state aid”. The ruling threatened to divide the coalition government, with independents rejecting an expensive and lengthy appeal.

Many commentators angry at the EC’s decision have dismissed the illegal state aid ruling as creative. They point to similar tax breaks provided by large EU members like France and Germany, questioning why only smaller nations like Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, come under fire. Tax law is determined nationally too, so the EC is being criticised for encroaching on member states’ sovereignty.

However, the EC has a point. The illegal state aid argument is legitimate because Ireland does not apply tax breaks equally across businesses. Domestic companies are not conferred with the same level of tax exemptions as multibillion-dollar US firms. So while it is not within the EC’s jurisdiction to determine national tax systems, it is within its rights to pursue anti-competitive arrangements.

In brief: Apple’s deal with Ireland

The enormous €13bn sum covers a ten-year period to 2013. Although Ireland’s headline rate of corporation tax is an internationally competitive 12.5%, Apple has effectively paid as little as between 1% and 0.005% tax on its European, Middle East, African (EMEA) and Indian profits.

There are two Irish-incorporated companies: Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe. Both are owned by the Apple group and benefit from similar tax structures in Ireland.

The Revenue Commission only claimed tax on profits earned in Ireland and allocated EMEA and Indian profits to its head office, which is registered in Ireland.

Under the tax arrangement however, this head office is not based in any country, allowing the Revenue Commission to argue it was not responsible for taxing non-Ireland profits. That means no tax was collected on products bought throughout the rest of EMEA and India, even though the sales were contractually (but not physically) made in Ireland.

In 2011, Apple Sales International alone recorded profits of around $22bn (€16bn) but only €50m was considered taxable in Ireland. That left €15.95bn of profits untaxed in a single year.

These same companies enjoy tax breaks on profits used for research and development (R&D) in the US. Again in 2011, some €1.79bn was re-routed to the US parent company under the R&D subsidy offered by the Irish government.

If the tax agreement was to be summed up in a conversation between Apple and Ireland, it would go something like this:

Apple: We need somewhere for our head office but we don’t want to pay taxes.

Ireland: No problem. Why don’t you register here but we won’t recognize it for tax purposes?

Apple: Sounds great, what’s the catch?

Ireland: We’ll tax any profits you make in Ireland.

Apple: Cool, that’s only a small bite out of the big Apple, haha.

Ireland: We’ll also let you cut your tax on those Irish profits if you use some of that money for R&D in the States. That will help sweeten our American friends.

Apple: Even better.

Ireland: Grand, job done.

The case for appeal

Ireland needs the ability to be competitive in a globalised world. As a small island nation with a population of 4.7m, it is heavily reliant on foreign direct investment (FDI). The country made great strides in the early 90s to attract and retain FDI, using tax subsidies as a way to win over, primarily US, multinationals. These policies sparked the Celtic Tiger, which transformed the state from a poor Western European backwater into one of the wealthiest countries in the world by the mid-00s.

The government also needs to defend Ireland’s reputation. By failing to appeal the judgment, it is de facto admitting the corporate tax system is corrupt. It is important to demonstrate to other multinationals that Ireland is willing to defend its tax structure, otherwise they are likely to pull out. If the appeal is successful, the likes of Google and Facebook will be reassured they will not face similar scrutiny. This will help keep them in the country and may even encourage further FDI into Ireland.

The case against appeal

International critics view Ireland as a tax haven, which is already damaging for the country’s reputation. Appeals processes are extremely costly and can last for years. Ironically, it will be the ordinary Irish taxpayer who foots the bill for an appeal against a multibillion-dollar organisation paying its taxes. Apple is already taking an appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) so the government could just sit on the sidelines. That would save millions in legal fees. And it is probably Apple’s case that will determine the decision, not Ireland’s.

Even if the EC’s decision is overturned by the ECJ, there is no guarantee this will keep FDI in Ireland. In 2009, 1,900 jobs were lost at Dell in Limerick after the computer giant decided to move manufacturing to a cheaper facility in Poland. There is no preventing other countries from implementing more attractive tax deals so the Irish government’s low corporate tax environment is short-sighted. It was successful in the early 90s because production costs and wages were low, but now Ireland has one of the highest minimum wages in Europe.

Economic case

Ireland definitely needs FDI. But it is difficult to quantify whether the level of tax forgone under the current structure justifies the jobs created by multinationals. When the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published figures stating that gross domestic product (GDP) grew 26 per cent last year, the whole world laughed. Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called it “leprechaun economics”.

The CSO ascribed the phenomenal economic growth to recent tax inversions. That means there was an increase in multinationals registering their head offices in Ireland. But GDP is problematic as an indicator of economic success; it only measures the amount of cash flowing in and out of a country.

A better measure of prosperity is gross national product (GNP), which records how much of that wealth stays in the country. This rose by an impressive 18.7 per cent in 2015. However, that can be partly explained by the rise in rental prices, which have exploded by as much as 16 per cent in Dublin city centre alone.

Is it ethical?

If the tax structure is deemed illegal and multinationals leave the country, it loses both the jobs and any potential corporate tax. However, it feels wrong that a country’s prosperity hangs so delicately on intricate corporate tax deals. Why should ordinary Irish citizens and domestic businesses be forced to pay full taxes when rich foreign firms can get away with paying almost nothing?

There is no doubt that Irish living standards would dive if FDI dried up. However, the government needs to evolve FDI policymaking. Ireland has a strong level of human capital yet it regularly suffers brain drains as the most qualified emigrate to places like London, Sydney and Toronto, to further their prospects. The low corporate tax policy has failed to provide sufficient opportunities for Irish workers. Perhaps rebalancing corporate tax rates between foreign and domestic firms would help promote homegrown success. It would certainly derail the EC’s argument of illegal state aid.

 

Apple

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21 grams: how a leather ball can explain the mystery of the soul

We all remember Chuck Noland’s leather-faced friend Wilson in the 2000 cinematic blockbuster Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Washed up on a desert island, Noland roams his way desperately across the beach in search of survival tools and food. Under a scorching sun, the island is the epitome of paradise. But Noland’s loneliness is palpable; life is made for sharing. Frustrated by the absence of anyone else, the protagonist gets into a fight with himself and loses. He accidentally slits his palm with a knife, takes up the volleyball in his bloodied hand and throws it hard in a total rage. Later he looks at his bloody print on the ball, scratches in eyes and a mouth, and Wilson is born.

Life after death

The ball becomes Noland’s best friend. The audience connects with Wilson as closely as they would with a loveable animal like Lassie. The threat of his survival is even more profound than the possibility that the main character could die. But Wilson is a metaphor that depicts people’s desperation for a companion. More than that, he is an example of how people attribute human characteristics to anything they want to conceptualise. When people think about death, they consider the soul. And the soul is seen as the essence of the being. So the question is, what happens to the soul when we die?

None of us know the answer. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest the soul is real. It is certainly not tangible. But we conceptualise the soul as our essence –the accumulation of all of our personal characteristics. And when we die, we might believe that our character lives on through the eternal soul. In reality, our character is a byproduct of nature and nurture. And our character is expressed through our words and actions, which are facilitated by our brains. But our brains are mere biological organs that are subject to death. Thus, when we die our character dies with us. Does that mean there is no soul? Absolutely not.

Dismantling the soul

Perhaps the soul is just the accumulation of particles such as atoms. Luc Besson’s Lucy certainly plays on the idea that people are essentially made up of balls of energy that are scattered in death but ultimately form another life source, whether that is a human, animal or plant. Like atoms, these bundles of energy are indestructible and they explain how all life forms are interconnected. The particles may never form the same living being again, but the being is never destroyed in death since their essence is merely dismantled and those particles gravitate towards others to create another being.

The weight of death is said to be 21 grams*. And for anyone who has lost somebody they love, the departure of the essence of that person is overwhelming on viewing the corpse. The characteristics and idiosyncrasies of that individual are instantly gone, and the body truly is a mere vessel for the soul – the unique accumulation of a set of particles. This set of particles is not necessarily responsible for the personality of that person, but it may explain their je ne sais quoi, which transcends personal characteristics. Everybody has an individuality that goes beyond their behaviours and characteristics.

Eternal existence

One of our biggest fears about death is the possibility that there is no afterlife, which begs the question of the meaning of life. What was it all for if we merely cease to exist again? But if our essence is a bundle of energy that gets repackaged in another being then we have always existed, and always will. We have conceptualized existence using the same method that Noland did to create his best friend; by attributing human characteristics to it. And as with Noland, that has been fundamental to our survival because we require hope in order to function and progress. But perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the belief that our soul is a bundle of energy balls is the idea that we are all formed with the same materials; that we are not only united biologically and physically, but through our shared and indestructible soul.

 

Wilson

*In 1901, Dr Duncan MacDougall measured six dying patients’ weight before and after death. They were lighter after death and some interpret this weight loss as the weight of the soul. 

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Trump is delicious contrast to Clinton status quo

He has described all Mexicans as “rapists”; argued that terrorism can be overcome with looser gun control laws; proposed banning Muslims from the US; and bizarrely, even admitted he would “probably” date his daughter if she wasn’t, well, his daughter. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a caricature of the world’s most fearful US president – think Stan Smith, American Dad, but with bad hair. He is entertaining and outrageous, but ultimately charismatic. And dangerously intelligent.

It is true he has suffered multiple business failures. But it is testament to his ambition that he has made repeated comebacks, and is finally at the cusp of becoming the most powerful person on the planet. His race for president was initially met with amused disbelief, but after securing the Republican nomination, the world has been forced to take note. The US electorate faces its toughest presidential choice in history on November 8th.

Decisions, decisions

Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton are the most unpopular presidential nominees ever. Clinton is perceived as corrupt and untrustworthy. Questions surround the funding of her election campaign. She has undergone an FBI investigation for using her private email for government correspondence. And she is viewed as a warmonger, having voted in favour of the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

Her opinions also sway with popular sentiment. Originally opposed to same-sex marriage, she changed tack as public support for the policy gathered pace. More controversially, she has stood by her lothario husband and disgraced ex-president Bill Clinton. That alone divides attitudes. But despite her sullied image, she is the safer choice. She is experienced, level-headed and progressive, compared to Trump’s vitriolic xenophobic bullshit. Yet it will take a lot of work to convince the US electorate to get behind her.

Innate advantage

Clinton’s real edge is that she is a woman but that is not a reason to vote for her. The decision must be based on merit. Americans have to ask if their country would be bettered by her policies. And they need to weigh her policies against those of Trump, whose ideas are expressed through hate speech and hang largely on the single issue of immigration.

Trump’s edge is that he will say absolutely anything to frighten Americans. Just as the Bush administration manipulated public support for the Iraqi war by reiterating phrases like the “war on terror”, Trump is exploiting discontent by vowing to “make America great again”. Yet as a hardline capitalist, his isolationist ideas are contradictory. He is also fond of misogyny, unafraid to describe women as “fat” and “ugly” as if it mattered.

Popular populism

Behavioural economist Richard Thaler has nailed Trump supporters, telling The Economist they would be “voting with the primitive part of their brain”. Populist politics is a rising trend across Western democracies. The decision by the UK to leave the EU is the most extreme example of its success. Populism appeals, as Thaler points out, to the primitive side of electorates. It centres on the threat of the foreigner and promotes nativism. It would be little surprise if so-called natives started pissing on their own lawns to illustrate ownership, such is the ridiculous swing towards xenophobia that is being witnessed across parts of the rich world right now.

Yet like any half decent manipulator, Trump knows that repetition and volume are key to successful presidential campaigns. That means repeating the same ideas as loud as he can for as long as he can, creating sensationalist news headlines everyday until the election. For as Oscar Wilde said, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

No such thing as bad press

Melania Trump joined the charade at the Republican National Convention (RNC) last week. She was slammed for lifting direct quotes from Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech. But this was no mistake. Trump’s spin-doctors have made a conscious decision to perform an absurd campaign based on vacuous emotive sound bites rather than logical arguments. Melania’s speech epitomized that approach: it was devoid of sentiment but ensured that she caused an online raucous. And no press is bad press.

By comparison, Clinton has remained low key. Yet her opponent has no shame in battering her with insults despite being a former democrat and friend, even inviting the Clintons to his third wedding.

Branding

Trump’s megalomania is Clinton’s biggest threat. There are no limits to his ambition and what he is willing to say, and Clinton is at risk of being shouted out of the race. Her advantage is that strict Republicans don’t like Trump because he is not their form of conservatism. If she is fortunate, they will decide to abstain from voting. The flipside is that Bernie Sanders supporters could fail to back her at the polls too.

Clinton may be reasoned and even well-meaning, but Trump has a sharp tongue and an eye for trends. The result of the election will be determined by marketing and Trump is a delicious gamble compared to Clinton’s bland brand of status quo.

 

mute_symbol_on_trump_the_terrorist_s_hw_star_by_isaacleija-d9yffyj

 

Recommended viewing: Michelle Obama 2016 DNC speech

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Return to the Troubles would be biggest blow dealt by Brexit

Driving over the Northern Ireland border as a Catholic family during the Troubles was an unnerving experience. My father, with his thick Cork accent, would roll down his window to take questions from an English soldier dressed in khaki and carrying a machine gun. We were coming from a country that is militarily neutral, so the sight of the weapon was shocking.

We were going to visit our Protestant unionist family – our mother’s roots. One of Northern Ireland’s greatest achievements is a choice on nationality – Irish, British, or both. Mum chose to be Irish, whereas her husband and children were born into it. That made her identity more meaningful.

But the Northern Irish identity is complex and misunderstood. There are nationalists who would like to see a united Ireland under the Republic. There are unionists who would like to see a united Ireland under the UK. And there are hardline loyalists like the late Ian Paisley who want a complete segregation of the North from the Republic.

That is a lot of baggage for a country with a population of just 1.8 million.

The Ulster plantation

The separation of the six counties – Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone – began with the plantation of Ulster in 1610. The British monarch, James I, bombarded the region with English and Scottish who were given a mandate to clear the area of native Irish. This drove the Irish to the extreme north-west, into Donegal, which today remains part of the Republic and a strong Gaeltacht.

The plantation was a success but plans to replicate it across the country were not. By the time Michael Collins signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921, the ancestral division between the two states was fully entrenched. That same day Collins foresaw his assassination for failing to secure unity when he wrote:

“ Think – what have I got for Ireland? Something she has wanted these seven hundred years. Will anyone be satisfied at the bargain? Will anyone? I tell you this – early this morning I signed my death warrant.”

Nationalists had wanted Collins to secure sovereignty for the entire island, home rulers had desired self-governance, while unionists were against any separation from the UK. So in trying to please everyone, Collins pleased no one and paid the price with his life. The ensuing Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ from 1968 was the longest running conflict in Europe since WWII, with a death toll of over 3,600 men, women and children*.

Cultural context

Under Brexit, Ireland faces a restoration of the border. The consequences of this have been glossed over in British media. There are two key reasons why: most British people do not understand the Irish situation, and more significantly, do not care. Indeed, many believe the island of Ireland is part of the UK because the media uses the terms Ireland and Northern Ireland interchangeably. It is also a reflection of the English education system, which fails to teach pupils about the history between Ireland and Great Britain.

By comparison, people in Ireland are extremely nervous about a reintroduction of a border. Not because of issues with immigration or trade and investment, but because of the symbolism. It is easy for the British to overlook cultural divisions with Ireland, but over the centuries that Britain celebrated imperialism, Ireland experienced it. This has culminated in a vastly different outlook between the two islands.

The fragility of peace in Northern Ireland is a consequence of that conquest and border controls would only serve to undermine that peace, which was established by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. When the English and Welsh voted to leave the EU, they voted for borders and division. The Scots and Northern Irish were more sensitive to the repercussions.

The end of the union

Only time will tell if the split in the vote will lead to a break up of the UK. But there are already signs of strain between Irish and Northern Irish politicians. NI First Minister Arlene Foster has rejected Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s proposals for an all-Ireland forum to deal with the negative effects of Brexit.

If it the UK does dissolve, it will almost certainly reignite conflict in Northern Ireland. And it is difficult to see how this could be managed peacefully, although an independent Northern Ireland would probably be the most viable way forward.

With all the turmoil in British politics at the moment, the establishment does not need a sectarian revival in a territory it has never prioritised. But the fact that Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers campaigned for Brexit is indicative of the Conservative party’s complete disregard for the region. The situation in Northern Ireland remains on a knife-edge and British politicians ignore it at their peril.

U-turn

When I was growing up, English accents often aroused hostility. But that attitude has worn off over the past twenty years. And now when I cross the border to visit my family, the first sign of division is a reminder that the speed limit is in miles and not kilometres. We no longer lock the car doors for fear of a carjacking.

I love Northern Ireland because of the people it has given me. And all of the people of this island would be devastated by a revival of futile tensions that send us backwards, not forwards. Britain ignored this threat because it has no real bearing on its health. But a return to the Troubles would be the single biggest blow dealt by Brexit because it would transcend economic chaos: loss of life is the greatest tragedy. Now is not a time for apathy.

*A History of Ireland in 250 Episodes, Jonathan Bardon

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Fuck Brexit, fuck economics …and fuck democracy

I believe that when you talk about economics — and much more so when you practise them — what you say and what you do must conform to realities, because without that you can get into impasses and, sometimes, you even head for ruin.

– Charles de Gaulle, 14 January 1963

If EU nations are a stream of dominoes, Britain is the first brick to fall. Less than an hour after the verdict, Dutch politician Geert Wilders called for a similar vote in the Netherlands. The National Front’s Marine Le Pen floated the idea of ‘Frexit’. Sinn Féin proposed a poll on Irish unity. And Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon called for a second independence referendum because Scotland was firmly ‘remain’ at 62% to 38%.

Former French president Charles de Gaulle vetoed British membership of the EEC twice before its eventual accession in 1973. His words from 1963 have a chilling resonance today. The UK electorate has become the first to vote to exit. But will Britain finally conform to economic “realities”? It seems unlikely given that Britain’s main trading partner is the EU. And despite hysterical rhetoric over EU immigration, most immigrants are non-EU.

Twisted democracy

Over the past weeks, months, and years, Britons have been bombarded with ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ decrying the dismal effects of EU membership on domestic industries and services. Democracy has been perverted by propaganda. While the media is crucial for accessible information on trade and economics, it is often manipulative or plain wrong.

A fine example of confusion created by the media is discussion of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Many Britons are opposed to the treaty because it calls for voting rights for prisoners. But exiting the EU will not abolish the convention since it is not EU protocol. It is an international agreement.

Perhaps more indicative – scarily so – was pub chain JD Wetherspoon’s beermat campaign. It advocated leaving the EU because of the influence of the IMF. That is, the New York-based International Monetary Fund – an institution entirely separate to the EU. Unfortunately, the financial crisis allowed acronyms like EU, ECB, ECJ and IMF to be merged under public perceptions. The pub chain took advantage of this ignorance.

The Extreme right

Far right politicians like Nigel Farage have also successfully stoked insular nationalism. In its campaign for the 2015 general election, the UK Independence Party did a stellar job in creating British hostility towards the EU. But Farage’s party failed to reap the rewards. Instead, Tory leader David Cameron swooped in to promise a referendum on EU membership, which he never believed he would lose.

Cameron is now set to vacate the role of prime minister, with ex-London mayor Boris Johnson, and his fabulous hair, expected to take up the position. This scenario was unimaginable for Cameron, and his snide sidekick chancellor George Osborne, only a year ago. The twists and turns of political wrangling can lead a country anywhere.

Generational divide

What will rile young Britons most is that they were voted out of the EU by their grandparents. Figures show 75% of 18 to 24-year-olds wanted to remain, compared to only 39% of over-65s. Britain’s population is ageing rapidly, so any negative economic consequences of Brexit will make it increasingly difficult for the young to prop up their elderly’s pensions.

Still, the older generation remembers the ‘glory days’ of the Second World War. A period when the UK could boast of its military might. Some 70 years later it is not surprising that the horrors of war have been forgotten. And that the triumphs have been so amplified as to deafen an entire generation to the appalling side effects. Divide and conquer was Britain’s approach to colonization, and it was marvelously successful. Unfortunately, Brexit is evocative of that same mindset.

Fuck it all

My late father, an admirer of de Gaulle, told me Britain would be the first country to leave the EU, and that this would spell the end of the bloc. That was about 15 years ago. I fear he was right. There is a strong possibility of a return to a Europe of nation states – a continent that defines itself in terms of small differences rather than large commonalities. Is the EU undemocratic? Does it even matter?

Our individual nation states are pretty undemocratic anyway – left and right have become blurred. Electorates’ opinions are so malleable we have to ask ourselves if we really have the capacity to make decisions anymore. Democracy was a hard won gift, but we have pissed all over ourselves with apathy. Figures are not facts.

As European unity looks set to crumble, old enemies will be watching with gleeful eyes. Fuck economics. Forget prosperity. Division is now our destiny.

And we all know that united we stand, divided we fall.

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The world ends only for the self

Brother and brother walk arm in arm,

trudging through mud

with the bigger boy pulling his smaller self

towards his body

to steady him in the thick, gummy soil.

 

They clear the dirt and burst into the field

unlinking their arms

as they sprint for home along a beaten path

still side by side

until they hit the entrance to their mother’s home.

 

Curled under her arms for a bedtime story

from the sofa

they listen in awe to the tale of a talking rabbit

with a funny voice

who makes them giggle all the way to bed.

 

Ten years later they wave goodbye as they exit

that same door

With bulging rucksacks on their backs

which they pack

into the boot of a small blue car they both owned.

 

Their journey through the world brings them

right back home

alongside two brides who squeeze into their lives

now time is split

between brotherhood and a life apart with others.

 

So small boy is best man for his older brother

and vice versa

with both committing to monthly pints together

to not discuss wives

but to watch a game still side by side at a bar.

 

The centre of their childhood world then dies

their brown-haired mother

but they take comfort in their shared grief

the only two people

who knew her unbounded love and warmth.

 

Life continues at an altered pace

under broken hearts

which beat together like they always have

from within two chests

that embodied the souls of two boys yet to rest.

 

As the years pass faster the older they grow

small boy gets sick

big brother pulls him close again but all love

is insufficient

to stave off the death that takes us all.

 

Standing over the hole that is six feet deep

the soil evokes the mud

from when brother and brother ran arm in arm

through grassy fields

 

Now a single man stands living

 

hands by his side

 

since the world ends only for the self.

 

brothers

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