Today is the 25th year since my older brother passed away, at that he had been alive 34 years, and I knew him not even for that long.

I’ve not known him besides dim memories, black and white photos, I can only grasp at; in some alternate universe he is my 59 year old brother who has been a force in my life, whom is calling me right now on the telephone letting me know of his latest trip abroad or his crazy plans for building something by hand.

It took many years later to return back to that Baltimore grave, the marker for the living, where I read a letter, perhaps the most words I ever really spoke at length to this stranger who was my mother’s son. I surely did not understand it as a child:

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It was 25 years ago also that I was poised for a summer journey, I call it Odyssey 1.0, where I drove to Arizona, in search of a new life.

What I have now is a calendar entry, some old photos, a rocking chair, and a memory created that I try to keep woven into my being. I went in the direction of the evening sun, finding a home feeling among the rock an cacti, but mostly, under the sprawling blue sky.

I cling to the memory pieces, it’s all I have. I read it again and again.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

And now, late at night, I can only barely even whisper a name.


And the universe, ever making me smaller, utters nothing in reply.

Featured Image: hourglass 4 flickr photo by graymalkn shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. These posts about your family are always deeply moving for me, but I must say the ones of your brother both haunt and fascinate me to no end. And this one right here may be the most powerful piece of poetry I have yet to read on the cogdogblog.

  2. Jim said it well. This is a piece of beautiful poetry.

    This post really resonated with me. I have moments where I wonder “what if?”. About my dad and my cousin Ryan. Ryan would have been 32 yesterday. He died when he was 24, the age I am now, it is a strange feeling.

    Thanks again for this post. Wish I could find the right words to convey how much it meant to me to read today.

  3. Thanks, Alan for another wonderful tribute to our brother. My memories are stronger as I remember David sitting in the swing with me. I remember him sitting in that rocking chair, rocking back and forth for hours. As I lit a candle in his memory, I thought about all those memories long ago on Ridgewood Ave in Baltimore.

  4. I guess we all have our own personal ghosts that whisper to us in telling moments. My brother, ten years older than I, died at the age of 21, borrowing a motorcycle to get back for course registration at college, where he was registering for his senior year. That journey ended in a phone call, which was the only time I’ve ever seen my father cry.

    Fast forward to the jarring moment several months ago of a ringing phone in the middle of the night, police notifying me that my daughter had been hit by an SUV while she was coming home on her scooter. The collision of my past and my present took over, my body acting on instinct alone. I lost the ability to breathe, and somehow found my vehicle at the site of the accident, where my daughter’s bike lay, totalled, among police cars and ambulances.

    My father had to bury his 21 year old after his accident. My 21 year old, miraculously, walked away. But the ghost from my childhood watches on, and nudges me in the dark. Thank you for sharing your story because, sometimes, I forget.

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