Footprints of the Fall

Footprints of the Fall, 2007


I once knew a girl who died,
who kissed the Lips of Suicide.
I knew her for a long, long time,
that laughing girl, that friend of mine,
who one day my way stayed a time.
She stayed with me for one day, one,
but when the last knot came undone,
her life because of sorrow spun,
she never got to see the sun.

We met by chance, through but a glance,
through a mutual friend of ours;
we went to eat,
those treasured hours,
each minute worth a thousand flowers,
flowers which now are dead–
chrysanthemums that crimson red
like a crown upon her head.
She went to sleep,
I to her read:
“We are the footprints by the sea,
nobody else,
just you and me.”
That night I went to sleep with ease,
the first time in so long,
we slept together both alone.

She walked into my dream world, while,
she held a bottle full of smiles.
And in those dreams,
we walked through streams,
and saw some deer walk by.
Above us mocking buzzard’s called,
I looked at her and sad I saw,
her wistful face turned to the sky
where the buzzards in a circle fly,
Waiting on my friend to die.

She dreamed of a stairway too,
where rivers red turn royal blue,
we walked until we found a door,
then drunken stumbled on the shore,
she screamed and no one heard,
calling like a wounded bird;
Nobody heard,
nobody saw.
The dying footprints of the fall.
Nobody heard,
she was alone,
a forgotten place she once called home.

She never got to see the sky,
the clouds in raveled fleeces by,
when the sun rose in the morn,
the light of day was scattered, torn,
into tendrils colored grey;
she never got to see the day,
she never got to wonder why:
she rose to fall under the sky.


She came to see me, one last time,
tried to call, got the machine,
and on it I heard her scream,
“I’m sick. I’m sorry. I need help.
Somebody save me from myself.”

In my dreams she came again,
we walked alone the shore, the sand,
we lay together, laughed, and smiled,
the public face of fireflies
like diamonds glittered in the sky
and when the memory washed away,
on the last of all her days,
I was left with just that glass,
reflecting happy faces past,
which for a while we saddened wore,
in those dream worlds on the shore.

Out footprints in the sand have gone,
seagulls who sang those songs have flown,
when all the blind men have gone home,
into that golden sun, and Dawn,
where starlight scatters on the grass,
her face reflects in waves of glass,
Our Sol above long shadows cast,
like the moonlight during day,
where the ghosts of yesterday
with shadows walk where shadows play.

Where once I walked I oft return,
the deaf black Sea our mother’s urn,
where my Madonna died.
Where in the skies her lullabies
sonorous cascading from the skies.
She tried to call,
did not get through
no signal, nothing left to do,
nothing to stop the fall.
Nothing to stop them, buzzards call

When Sol our sun lays by the hill,
Miss Luna of the nighttime fills
through the clouds of silver shrouds
to hide the listless tendrils blue.
Under the moon she passed too soon,
a star she came and flew.

Why do we climb if just to fall?
Why do we live and die at all?
We do we love, why do we lie?
Why do we laugh, why do we cry?
Why do we have to say goodbye?
We cannot see beyond the sky,
but in the gutter still we try.
Why do we ask?
If still we call,
the path the footprints of the fall.

I last saw her on a dreary day gray,
and we walked through an iron maze
through the ivy and the haze
where fireflies light the night.
She wore a satin robe and gown,
with red blush on her face.
I watched her for a moment,
Today was enough for me,
no need for dreams or fantasies,
where in she walked in steps by me,
and I said aloud:
No need for Heaven, for me God,
It’s good enough right now.


The Loss Soliloquy

The Lost Soliloquy, 2006

Beside a candle late at night
My glasses on and all was quiet;
With candles as my reading light,
After all day staring at the sea,
(In a dream or so it seems)
I’d brought a quiet book with me
I then heard faint upon my door
Three soft knocks and then no more.

My book I sat beside the table
On a wooden lamp stand less-than-stable
And walked as fast as I was able
I strode to the door across the wood floor
(A candle in my hand was sitting on its candle stand)
Looking out to dare implore,
And there I stood –
Gazing at the blue-tinged moon-bathed wood.

Nothing there but trees, but quiet
Just twisted elms with shrubs beside it
Like each shadow of its form behind it
(I heard a girl’s laugh and stepped in the grass)
Like shadow puppets on a wall, dancing lively – standing tall
Then I saw young girl’s dress
Drift deep into the wilderness

A dress of blue, outlined in lace
By trees it blew, around her face;
I followed her and then she turned,
and her voice inside me burned;
Behind me came a whisper, low and rolling – and she said:
“Tell me,” she asked, “Tell me,” she said:
“What’s it like to be dead?”

Into the wood I turned and ran,
Through all the lonely nighttime sand,
Her childish laughing ringing out,
“What,” I said, and turned to shout:
Through all the rustling nighttime leaves
Into the wood I followed at full speed.

The same voice I heard just up ahead,
And a sleeping owl turned and said,
Like a jester from a palace read –
(through the darkness I peered through,
I saw the subtle tinge of blue)

Strange it was that night to see
a lonely owl look down at me
“What’s it like to be dead?”
(Who? who?)
The owl said and cocked his head.

In the ground not far away
I saw the curtail of the blue dress sway
Then her brown eyes clear as day,
(She lifted a mirror on the ground
and then passed through without a sound)
I went through too and thought I knew;
As I washed onto a pale white shore
And the words came, just as before
A small girl walked from the trees and said:
“I know what it’s like to be dead.”

There was a trap-door in the woods,
We disappeared through, now we stood;
Fireflies I saw, or thought I could
(They glistened in the far off night
like a star reflecting bright)
Across the stream she blew flower seeds
As rain fell on the stream like silver beads
The lonely water then settled still
As the giggling child set on the hill.

What’s it like to be dead?
She above the water said
She above the water whispered
as the dragonflies around us glittered.

‘It’s forever to lie alone and still,
As the world above your eyes might spill
It’s to simply look above
Just like the lonely water does

“What know you of truth and lie?”
As above the same owl floated by,
“What know you of life and death?
Never could the water rest.”

“Tell me then of truth, don’t lie”
I felt just like a firefly,
“Tell me what it is you know.”
Around us as the wind would blow.

“We made the devil in our own image
And saw that it was good,
This is our own beastly visage;
No realer than an angel carved from wood.”

“How do you know the things you say?”
“Because I’ve been there and I’ve seen.”
Then the trees began to sway,
“This from the other world I bring.”

“Just look at the water, you’ll see too.”
Into the water a stone she threw
The image in it began to change,
And settled on some golden plane.

“Know you if by the hand of heaven,
Or if you’re held by the devil’s hands?
The beast lies inside you screaming,
Not in the fictional books of man.

What mountains of creation could we ascend,
If we upon these myths depend
If we on these myths rely
We drift just like some dragonfly.

Only there the silence lasts forever
Regardless of life’s stormy weather,
Regardless of the hammer of Thor,
Only silence lives forever more.

Before me on the calm night sea
In the silent tide of Galilee
Could we in this our future see –
Drowning beside the birds that glide,
In the silent tide of Galilee?

The Glass Umbrella

The Glass Umbrella, 2006

We are the footprints by the Sea.
The waters come,
and waters leave.
Miss Sea, you see,
your children taken;
Children of the Sea forsaken.

Oh see, oh Sea,
Miss Galilee.
Bring back what she took from me;
bring back what you swallowed whole.
The yawning, old, and wide mouthed
lolled on, but never turned,
her deaf ear,
to me,
to hear,
my confused shouts at her.

Without a word at all to say,
she waves at nighttime and the day.
She rolls about within a dream,
the carousel goes by overhead;
to it she turns her mirrored head.
She simply looks to it, and all,
as we, like leaves,
around her fall.

We are but footprints by the Sea;
the waters come,
and then we leave.
Miss Sea, you see,
your children taken.
Children of the Sea forsaken.

Ancient sea, Miss Galilee,
can you see yourself in me?
As I see myself in you,
glowing white, and tinged with blue.
Can’t you see what you have done?
The lolling sea saw none.


“I see,” I said, and that was that;
standing at the shore of black.
I hear my own words echo back.
In those waters,
I saw me;
another reflection in the sea.

This was after ten years passed:
I returned, sat in the grass,
thinking of all who walked that shore.
Never did I see her face,
a glass umbrella had replaced,
the girl whom I adored.
My love would walk the shore no more.

But nothing else, and nothing more;
no more of who I once adored.
No more to God could I implore,
or to the umbrella in her stead.
The face of the mourning sun turned
the glass umbrella, from the sea,
rolled ashore and laughed at me.
Then I knew,
and saw it all,
inside the glass umbrella fall.
I saw myself again, alone,
forever by the Sea to roam.

On that day I watched her play,
with birds about the shore.
I heard her laugh and nothing more,
as the Sea,
came and took my love from me.
Buzzards circled overhead,
like nature’s garbage men.
I heard them call,
and heard her laugh,
and felt the kiss of Caiaphas.


A finch had washed up in her place,
from the well amid the waste—
who floundered by the Sea,
and then flew on.
The bird fluttered for a moment,
and was gone.

As beautiful as the Sea might be,
her own beauty she can’t see.
In my dreams, she comes to me,
and sees her picture on the wall.
By my family, and me,
a portrait of Miss Galilee.

As wondrous as she looks, at night,
shimmering with the silver light,
she looks sadder in the dawn.
When the sun shines in her face,
bringing daylight in night’s place—
she yawns again, and sighs.
Children of the Sea walk home.
Deaf, Miss Galilee rolls on.

Earlier in my life, I went,
found a home which I could rent.
I called my child to say,
“Come see me, come see the sea;
we’ll have some lunch,
then get ice cream.
You have to come;
you have to see,
the face of lady Galilee.”


A while we stood,
where lolled the waves,
under a sky where seagulls played;
for her, my world, for once, to see,
the lovely face of Galilee.
From the waters, walked ashore,
played a while,
bonne nuit, amore.
She splashed about the waves, my
and then she splashed no more.

I remember she flew in.
We had some sandwiches, and then,
hand in hand walked with a grin.
She laughed the day away.
She wore a blue dress, made of lace,
and had a smile upon her face.
At night she walks my dreams this
for when she splashed,
that faithful day
the Sea took her away.
The waters took my living dream,
and left me here to stay.

The Sea looked into me, you see,
and saw what she could take from me;
my dreams could not just let it be.
And when it looked, at me, it saw,
the same thing when it looks at all.
How could she tell me what she sees?
The way she sees us all go ’round,
she often speaks without a sound.
She sees us dance,
and hears us call,
all at once,
but not at all.
The glass umbrella falls.

We are the footprints by the Sea;
the waters come,
and waters leave.
Miss Sea, you see,
your children taken;
Children of the Sea forsaken.

This poem was originally written as the eulogy, a eulogy for a friend of mine, named Diane, who drowned herself in 2006. The narrative was intended to loosely recount the one day we spent together at the beach, in South Carolina, and the night that followed was the last time I got to speak with her. Two months later, she took a bottle of OxyContin (she struggled with opiate abuse for years, and not only did I encourage it, I was just as bad as she was) and walked into the New Jersey shore. Her body was found three days later when it washed up with the tide, and after her brother, Steven, contacted me, knowing I was a close friend, knowing I met her through a work of poetry she found on an old website of mine, he asked me to write something for her funeral. This is what I came up with. Two other poems relating to her death, The Loss Soliloquy and Footprints of the Fall, were subsequently penned in her memory. There’s one thing I’ve found to be almost universal, and it is relative to these works: loss never leaves. What isn’t there is often more painful than what is, even if it’s painful, it’s still better than the loss of something–especially the loss of something as irreplaceable as life. This is the first poem, The Glass Umbrella, and was read by her brother Steve at her funeral in May, 2006. As much as I wanted this piece to be personal, I wanted, as well, to make it universal. When I say We are the footprints by the sea, I’m not just talking about myself, or my friend, but everyone, every man, woman, and child. We are the children of the sea. That was my original intention.

Poem – the Death of Dawn, 18 November 2015



In my dreams, sometimes it seems,
I do not wish to wake.
For in those dreams, I get to see
a lovely long gone face.

When smiling Dawn lay on the lawn
she saw a star strewn sky.
And in the sky stray fireflies,
flicker then dim before they die.

Before the Dawn had died alone,
the sun rose every day.
Before I found her body drowned
Life was our playground played.


In my dreams sometimes it seems
that I cannot escape:
the image of a drowning girl—
her hair in tangled knotted curls,
that blank and lifeless face.

We walked through the woods into
a clearing by the stream;
in her eyes the clouds went by
it felt just like a dream.

Before miss Dawn had died alone,
I saw her every day.
Before she fell into the well
we laughed the days away.


In my dreams sometimes I’ve seen
a narrow corridor.
Of all the pictures on the wall
my friend miss Dawn’s I often saw
at the end a padlocked door.

Taken young and far too soon
she died under a paper moon
and the sun refused to shine.
The mourners in a silent row
stood by her coffin heads hung low
the guests marched in a line.
Of all the eyes that passed her by
none of them were mine.

Before she drowned without a sound,
Merry went our lives around,
Her angels in the snow.
I see her passing by me laughing,
Before she died, to go,
Her gentle grin, my gentle friend,
These words will never know.


In my nightmares, when I scream,
I wake to find a dying dream—
a signal now long gone.
Alone we walked once through the woods,
found a stream and by it stood,
In our secret place alone.
We held hands and often laughed,
As clouds above us by us passed,
we watched the water run.
We sat on the dew-soaked grass
the water was a looking glass
for echoes of the sun.

When the night came then we saw
a star above us shoot and fall,
“Make a wish,” she said.
“You’re all I need to be, you see,
you take my wish instead.”
“I don’t know what to say, or do,
instead I’ll make the wish for you.
I hope you have a happy life.
I hope you sleep well every night,
And joyful wake by morning light.”

Before the day when sad, I prayed,
Don’t let her leave this world.
Let her stay, live, laugh, and play.
Let live my flower girl,
To me she gleamed, like gold it seemed,
Until she faded from our world.


I don’t dream as once I did,
When I was still that naive kid,
Those candy colored clowns,
Now I see a vacant face,
Where once a smile was in its place,
And painted upside down.

Now they stand beside a fire,
sick and hungry, ‘lone and tired,
Wringing frostbit hands.
No place to sleep they lay and weep
In antique caravans.
It was gray as though that day,
the sun refused to show.
Figures passed like static glass,
In a muted dull gray glow.

Before the empty alleyways,
That gallery of dying days,
We held hands as we passed.
Smiling people lined the streets
And they all raised their hands to greet,
Us children nod and laugh.


These days when I try to sleep,
I feel that water on my feet,
From that young body drowned.
I pull the covers from my bed,
Try to talk but shout instead,
A pill might calm me down.

Every day she was away,
I knelt beside my bed to pray,
That my words might her death delay.
I only wished for one more night–
That she might see the moon shine bright.
She did not live, I’m sad to say,
And never saw another day.
After she fell into the night,
Between the worlds and out of sight,
I turned and silent walked away.

Before I left that laden floor,
I walked through narrow corridors,
The same scene in every room.
Machines and tubes like lungs were used,
Where the sick lay dying soon.
They weakly lay, three times a day,
When they all were fed,
And there they lay ‘til they became,
another of the dead.


In a daydream, by a grave,
I watched her there as dead she laid,
in a coffin ivory bright.
When she went into ground,
I had to speak, sad faces round—
Her grave with jasmines white.
Since Dawn was a friend of mine,
I wrote her eulogy;
And to me, soliloquies,
are tears that somehow rhyme.

“Dawn my dear, though you can’t hear,
You meant the world to me.
Your fondness for the springtime leaves,
That languid smile without reprieve,
If only you could somehow see.
I think of you and every hour,
And now you are another flower,
Of the field that laid its head—
Back onto the garden, where
Once it lay in bed.

Before I left I took a step,
And paused before her gave;
I could not speak but yet I wept,
I had nothing to say.
When I obliged I turned my eyes,
To meet her pale white face,
I took the rose and left her posed,
with a lotus in her place.
Before she walked the narrow hall
Her tearful face these ink-drops fall,
I heard:
The sound of a mocking bird.


The manic dream of that day gone,
I stay awake, all night, all day,
going mad when I’m alone.
In a nightmare of the day
where multicolored faces play,
I could not see her face;
And in the prism of the day,
The multicolored facets play,
I could not speak at all.
When read her will I sat there froze,
her pictures lined in narrow rows,
In the end she said it all.

In her will she left me but,
A plush panda cotton stuffed,
in her absence was alone.
The stitching frayed, so often played,
since her death left on its own.
A bear once soaked in joyful tears,
Had came apart through all the years.
The toy had found its long lost home.
When it was mine I found her note,
in her languid cursive wrote:

“Brandon, you know, I loved you so,
You’ve always been my friend.
From the day we met, until the end,
If you’re getting this note now,
I have died someway, somehow;
I won’t see you in God’s world again.”


I first saw her in the sand,
Where castles made by her own hand,
by waves were left for dead.
This is but my castle,
For you, the light, the dawn,
Tragically you’ll never read
The labored saddened song.
And where you are, the worst of all,
You cannot hear me for you call.

After the hope has died inside,
The bone wall confines of my mind,
There grows a golden rose.
The light of which often reminds,
Of that tragic scene when I rewind,
That frozen moment long ago.
It follows me into my dreams,
And unravels at the seams,
When she sang that song I know.
Often that long dead voice is heard,
Again as sang by mocking birds.

Then it’s over, there it goes,
Down into the memory hole,
Where a dead rose withered blows.
It’s beauty—the beholder knows—
at the end of season goes,
and listless all the words that fall,
just static scribbled on a wall.