He’s Aggravatin’!

I was the oldest of four kids. My two brothers, Billy and Ken were three and five years younger than me, and so I never was that close to either one growing up. They fought like cats and dogs, and I was usually the referee. Billy was constantly terrorizing Ken by any and every means he could come up with; Mom was constantly admonishing Billy to stop aggravating his little brother; and Ken was constantly yelling to Mom, “Mom! Billy’s aggravatin’!” This poem is typical of a summer day, and the way things were back then.

He’s Aggravatin’!


Mom’s in her room taking a nap

Me, I’m just trying to stay cool

It’s a hundred and ten in the shade

I wish we had a swimmin’ pool


Little brothers are getting restless

A long summer with nothing to do

I smell the trouble in the air

Happens daily with these ornery two


It erupts without warning or word

The older one runs from the house

Little guy hot on his tail

Like a cat being chased by a mouse


Door slams, mom leaps from her bed

I stick my head out and give a shrug

She frowns and stands by the back door

And waits for her two little thugs


True to form they come busting in

Now yelling and shouting damnations

When they spot Mom, little one shouts

Hey, Mom! He’s aggravatin’!


Mom can’t hide the smile

As she takes them each by an ear

Says seven words that will stop a young heart

Just wait ‘til your father gets here


And so the excitement is over

I watch as they stare and stew

Knowing as the house grows quiet

Won’t be long ‘til round number two


Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn

Sharing on dVerse Poets Pub’s Meeting the Bar: Filling in the Gaps, Hosted by Chazinator


  1. ha i grew up with a brother and a sister…my sister was the trouble maker and never got in trouble…it killed me…as the oldest i was always the one that was supposed to be the example….i appreciate your poem…and i might even find myself in it some days…my cousin would have been the other cohort though…smiles.

    • My sister stayed out of the whole mess. I remember her in a few squabbles early on, but I think she saw the wisdom in laying low when it came to the two little thugs.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Brian!

  2. Charles, I am the oldest of 5 kids….I remember a lot of ’round two’s’ with my own brothers. This brought a lot of smiles.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • I’ll bet you have some stories to tell. I sure do!
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Jody!

  3. Mary said

    I enjoyed this slice of your childhood, Charles, and can picture what it must have been like. I also commend you on writing a poem with rhyme! Yes, those seven words can work magic…for a while. . I had a sister who was 9 years younger and actually we were close to one another despite the age difference. Maybe enough age difference not to compete ever in the same arena. I experience these ’round one and round two’ things with two grandchildren 4 years apart. If one isn’t doing the aggravating, the other one does. Thus I also know firsthand of what you speak!

    • Some things never change. I’m quite sure the same battles are going on somewhere as we speak.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Mary!

  4. Haha… there were six of us in our house. It was true chaos at times. This really made me chuckle.

    • I’m glad I could start you day with a laugh!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. Ha–very charming–the end especially! Recalls another age. K.

  6. kaykuala said

    Grew up in a big family too, Charles! I can relate to some episodes there. At other times you form alliances with those you can get along with. That would put a damper for a while but just! Beautiful verse!


    • There were no alliances in this one, Hank. I was removed enough in age to be able to view from above, so to speak.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  7. There are many joys to being an only child, no broken toys, no hair pulling, no fussing and NO AGGRAVATIN………great write, my friend!

  8. jesusmyjoy said

    wonderful job..love this

  9. hedgewitch said

    Yep, I was the oldest too, and had not only to referee but to cart around with me everywhere my two much younger sisters, who of course were considered by me to be a constant embarrassment. This is hilarious, and very true to life, Charles.

    • Yes’m, I bet there are lot’s of us out there with similar stories to tell.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  10. Your poor Mum! My two would sometimes fight, and I’d say “I don’t want to know. Sort it out amongst yourselves.” Then they’d gang up on me!
    They’re still very close at nearly 50.

    • That’s the good thing, Viv; in most cases, the fightin and fuedin don’t carry into adulthood.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  11. Poor mom, poor sister. What fun memories. I do feel deprived that I had no brothers.

    • Now that you mention it, my sister (about a year younger then me) stayed in her room, or at friends’ house a lot. Out of the line of fire.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Victoria!

  12. Wander said

    this was a fun little romp through memory lane. I have two older step brothers and a sister. I could very much see this happening…

    Thanks for coming by my place it is always nice to see a comment from you!


  13. claudia said

    haha..thanks for taking us back to your childhood…brought back some memories for me as well.. but somehow…what hit me most in here was…A long summer with nothing to do.. wasn’t it so boring, those long, hot summers…but honestly…just now…i wish nothing more than being right back in one of those hot, long summers…and i would enjoy every minute…ha

    • Funny you should say that, Claudia; Sherry and I were talking yesterday about how lucky we were to have grown up in small town America in the late 50s/early 60s. My childhood was not a rose garden by any means, but I have awesome memories of the good times. And those long hot “boring” summers are right there at the top of the memory pile!

  14. This made me smile–it reminds me of my two younger sisters. And the appeal to the father certainly held power in my house 🙂

    • An appeal to the father was not a consideration in our house, but I can certainly understand where you’re coming from.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  15. Indigo said

    Love this, rings of earlier memories for me.

    I grew up the oldest of six, there was a whole house full of ‘aggravatin’.

    • Yes, lots of nostalgia for brothers and sisters in this little write!
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Indigo!

  16. Chazinator said

    Love the poem. Though I didn’t have brothers, I did have friends who were just as crazy as these guys. Your poem is exicting and happy and I found it refreshing, reminding me of my best friend and his brother and how they used to fight. Your intro certainly does give us the real life that was happening while the events you describe occurred. I wonder how all of these events go into describing you and how you relate to life now?

    • My childhood–some of it very bad, and some of it very good–has a lot to do with who I am now.
      Glad you liked this one, Charles, and I appreciate the great comment!

  17. terri0729 said

    LOLOL! Ain’t that the truth! Nice one, Charlie! The dreaded “wait ’til your dad gets home” strikes fear in a young heart, for a minute or two anyway 🙂

  18. Sherry Mashburn said

    I enjoyed this slice of life . . . there’s 7 years between my brother and me, and we pretty much went our separate ways.

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