Sing to Me, Brandon


Content warning: suicide

Sing to me, Brandon
early hours of the morning
sky pretending in its darkness
that daylight never comes

Sing to me, Brandon
of the times we spent
drinking, laughing, living
before you went away

Sing to me, Brandon
of my failure to follow
of my scramble to live
and my fear of…everything

Sing to me, Brandon
in the nightmares you visit
with your eight-ball hemorrhages
shattered teeth in my mouth

Sing with me, Brandon
when we meet again
and all I’ve done since
won’t mean anything

Note: Spc. Brandon W. shot himself at 5:40 AM on a Thursday before PT. I tried to give him mouth to mouth, yet he still passed away. This still causes me nightmares and pain, even though it happened in 1998. I miss my friend.

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  1. andrewrfretwell on March 3, 2022 at 8:43 PM

    RL – this poem is incredibly strong Structurally, the use of “sing to me, Brandon” creates such a strong rhythm that allows the reader to feel the waves of pain and sadness ebb and flow like a steady tide at night. Well done. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. heatherb on March 3, 2022 at 8:46 PM

    Dear RL,

    What a poem, RL. This took my breath away. Longing, hopelessness, the ragged edges of your pain and his. I can’t imagine a more articulate tribute to your lost friend. You describe “[your] failure to follow / of [your] scramble to live” and I just want to say that while life may feel messy, incomplete, haunted by horrors, that I am so grateful it has brought you to the place of this poem and that I had a chance to receive it. I am sorry for the depth of Brandon’s pain and for your grief. But what an extraordinary tribute you have shaped from your experiences.


  3. JAB on March 10, 2022 at 3:10 PM

    Wow this is powerful and deep. I cannot imagine waht you have gone through but you have something beautiful out of your pain–this poem. I am very sorry for your loss and the trauma that came from this tragedy. Thank you for sharing this, and I pray that you continue to heal.

  4. Jozie Konczal on March 11, 2022 at 5:00 PM


    This poem does such a beautiful job of expressing grief. It is not heartbreaking for the sake of being heartbreaking, but rather because the speaker wants to let the reader in on the secret, the secret of Brandon. What I find to be particularly strong in the language of this poem is the use of active and surprising verbs throughout. In particular, “sky pretending in its darkness” and “shattered teeth in my mouth.” There is an understanding that even though time passes and the world goes on, the speaker’s memories, the song of Brandon that he hears, are timeless, and live on in motion and in stillness. This is such a beautiful and moving poem, and I hope its writer will continue to make beauty out of dark and bright moments alike.

  5. Gianluca Baglioni on March 13, 2022 at 8:55 PM

    This is an extremely touching and heartfelt poem. I empathize with how you feel and I think this tells such a meaningful story.

  6. Thomas Bishop on March 17, 2022 at 4:56 PM

    RL, I hate that this happen to you. I now think about Brandon as well. I too am in the military and have seen far too many suicides of young men before their times. These words are beautiful and as long as we remember those we lost; we still sing together. You carry on for him. You carry on for yourself. Your writing makes it so that he lives on, beautifully. Thank you.

  7. Hilary on March 23, 2022 at 10:39 PM

    I found this poem to be very powerful. “ your eight-ball hemorrhages
    shattered teeth in my mouth” were my favorite lines. Very particular, specific, and raw. But the whole poem has a lyrical quality that I like, that hits at a part of me that I often neglect. This poem is really powerful, I think.

  8. Jacqueline Cox on April 1, 2022 at 10:50 AM

    Sing To Me Brandon,

    This poem moved me and made me think about losing my dearest friend of over 40 years. Thank you so much for sharing such a heart wrenching testimony through poetry. I pray it helps you to heal and that you can still just remember the beautiful moments more than the final moments some day. JMJ Just Me Jackie

  9. Brittani Forman on April 5, 2022 at 2:49 PM

    Dear RL,
    I am so sorry to hear that. It is very strong of you to be able to write about this. This poem brought me to tears. Keep being strong and spreading awareness.

  10. Isabella on April 5, 2022 at 11:24 PM

    Dear RL,

    Your poem has resonated with me far deeper than any poem has before. It truly hits way to close to home. One of my closest friends passed away when I was in middle school and two people close to me have attempted suicide. By the grace of the universe, neither succeeded. The visceral fear that that has ingrained in me is like a steel wall, and I believe you are beyond strong for being able to persevere through that loss.

    I truly wonder if someone who has not experienced the loss of someone close to them would feel the range of emotions you so beautifully convey through your poem the way that someone like me (who has experienced it) can. It feels like the most God-awful club to be a part of, but it also feels like there is some innate understanding between those of us who have gone through it. I think we live a little differently after such loss. I know what it’s like to try to escape the waking pain through sleep only to be greeted by nightmares far more gruesome. However, I also know what it’s like to be visited by the one you’ve lost in your dreams and feel the peace they want you to feel. I pray to the universe that you, one night, receive that gift as well.

    I want to thank you for ending “Sing to Me, Brandon” the way you did. You write:

    “Sing with me, Brandon

    when we meet again

    and all I’ve done since

    won’t mean anything”

    This last stanza spoke my own thoughts back to me. I, personally, am in no hurry to leave this earth, but I do also look forward to the day that I can reunite with someone who I thought would experience life with me, would attend my wedding, would be a surrogate aunt to my children. I suppose she still will do all of those things, in spirit. And when we do reunite, all of the pain, the mistakes, the hardships will be washed away. I think that’s a beautiful thing to hold on to. It’s like the one flower that can sprout from the cracked, desolate ground.

    Lastly, I want thank you for writing this poem as a whole. It’s very isolating when no one else around you feels what you feel on a daily basis. I would not wish this grief on my worst enemy, and I wish for you to not have to feel it either. But to know that someone else feels the range of emotions that I feel (grief, hope, anger, peace, fear, etc.) and has gone through what I have gone through is really powerful to me; it makes me feel seen and comforted in a strange, melancholy way.

    I hope that someday you and Brandon do sing together, and I hope that I will get to hear the echoes of your song.



  11. KC on April 7, 2022 at 3:08 PM


    Wow. This is powerful. I am so sorry for your loss. However, your words and memories keep him with us. Thank you for sharing this with us. This speaks to so many who have experienced this kind of pain

  12. Colin on April 15, 2022 at 12:20 PM

    This is a beautiful way to get through grief. Words cannot express how you could’ve felt that night. I wish you the very best

  13. K on April 17, 2022 at 1:15 AM

    Sorry for your loss. Grief never quite seems to be gone even after so many years. Everyone has their own unique healing process and I hope that you are doing well. I really enjoyed this piece and feel that even though I can’t directly relate, that I too know Brandon! Thoughts of love and light

  14. Claire and Aliza on April 18, 2022 at 7:07 PM

    Your grief is so tangible and you have turned it into something so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this tender spot for us. We look forward to seeing more of your work.

  15. Jacey on April 19, 2022 at 8:03 PM

    Hi RL,

    Thank you for sharing these venerable words. It is so powerful that I am at a loss of what to say. I think it is powerful that you are willing to visit such a hard subject that has affected you in such an enormous way. I have never lost someone to suicide, but I have lost many people close to me. It is hard to understand why, and I love how you ended your work with “when we meet again”. I hope you can remember all of the beautiful memories until you meet again. I hope these words find you well and know that I appreciate you sharing your work. You are loved.

    Best Wishes,

  16. Belle on April 19, 2022 at 9:25 PM

    Dear RL,
    I want to tell you how sorry I am for the loss you experienced and the nightmares and pain it still causes you. You have been through a lot, and I hope writing poetry is a help to you. Your writing has the ability to inspire and help those who have been through experiences like you have, although each person’s experience is vastly different. I hope you continue to write and help others through your poems. Thank you for sharing.

  17. L on April 19, 2022 at 10:41 PM

    You managed to paint such a clear, vivid visual of your grief; it’s hauntingly beautiful. The third stanza especially says so much with so few words. My heart goes out to you <3

  18. Taylor M. on April 20, 2022 at 10:13 PM

    RL, I am so so sorry to hear about your friend. This is such a beautiful poem that you have written for him. I could not imagine what you have and continue to still go through, but I admire your strength for making it here today. Your words were truly amazing, they brought tears to my eyes. You have such a natural skill for writing/poetry, and I really hope that you continue to share your work with the world. It’s beautiful to see that you have found poetry as a way to cope, as poetry is not an easy thing to accomplish. Thank you so much for sharing RL, I hope to see more of your work in the future!

  19. Emily Barrera on April 21, 2022 at 1:40 AM

    I love this so much, your so strong for being able to write about such a topic. The sing to me line is so powerful and your imagery and descriptive language flows so well.

  20. Kaitlyn R. on April 24, 2022 at 6:03 PM

    RL, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend Brandon. I cannot imagine what you went through in those events of trying to save him and what you continue to go through today. I understand the pain of losing someone, but not in the way you have experienced it. I’m glad that you still think of the happy memories with Brandon, I hope those memories can outweigh the nightmares one day. However, I do know that this type of hurt is not so easy to heal. I appreciate you sharing this story, it always helps to talk about what is bothering us.

  21. Madison on April 24, 2022 at 9:39 PM

    This poem is achingly beautiful. I loved the personification of the sky in the first paragraph and the last paragraph does a great job of giving a sense of hope to the underlying tone of the poem. I don’t have any notes for this piece because I think it is wonderfully written. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that you are able to find peace.

  22. Alex on April 25, 2022 at 7:06 PM

    This is a very deep and difficult subject to talk about. I myself was in the military and I understand how loss feels but this has a different feeling to it. I cannot imagine the pain that you must have felt to lose a friend like this. For you to still feel that pain today simply means that you care deeply for him. Live for Brandon, do your best everyday in his memory. Be the best that you can be because it is never too late to start. I wish you all the best.

  23. Philip on April 25, 2022 at 9:12 PM

    My heart breaks reading this poem. The author’s regret and pain is palpable in it. Brandon meant a lot to this individual, and it must be a difficulty beyond my comprehension to watch your friend die as you desperately try to save them. There is not much more I can say, other than that I can hear and see the author’s pain from my own imperfect perspective.

  24. Zach on April 26, 2022 at 2:32 PM

    This is a very deep and sensitive subject. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I am sure he is somewhere reading this wonderful poem right now.

  25. Brittani on April 28, 2022 at 2:26 PM

    Dear RL
    This is such a powerful piece of work. Nice flow and beautiful structure. I truly enjoyed reading this and related to it very much. Please keep working at it. Very emotional and captivating. I truly hope you keep going. I truly sorry for your loss and I am sure Brandon would be proud of the work you are doing.

  26. Chynel on April 29, 2022 at 12:23 PM

    Thank you for sharing your tribute to your friend with us. I can tell just from reading that you two were very close and shared a special bond. I love how you switch from “sing to me” to “sing with me.” It’s very powerful and evocative. My thoughts are with you and Brandon.

  27. Grayson on May 9, 2022 at 3:19 PM

    This is so sad to hear, I cannot imagine the pain that your had to be put through from this tragic loss. I hope things get better through out the years as time passes, I hope that your start to feel better and this not push you back in your dreams of life. Again I am so sorry and I hope your life gets better and your dreams come alive. So sorry about this Brandon will always be with you.

  28. PA on May 13, 2022 at 6:15 PM

    Oof. This hits me right in my heart. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope writing this poem provided something therapeutic to you. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering you’ve had to deal with over the years. Just know, in reading this I hear you and I see you. Stay strong, RL.

  29. Katelyn Flanigan on May 18, 2022 at 12:14 AM

    I am incredibly sorry that you lost your friend I could not imagine what that must feel like and the daily struggle of knowing what happened. You tried to save him and you should always remember that. It had to be incredibly hard trying to save him and realizing it wasn’t going to be able to happen. I wish that no one ever has to go through the pain you have. Just remember that even though Brandon is not physically with you, he is with you every day in your heart and guiding you through life and you are making him proud.

  30. Justin Lambert on May 31, 2022 at 1:52 PM

    RL, I am really sorry to hear about your friend. I cannot begin to imagine the pain you must have felt while writing this. I really like that you decided to take the feelings from that loss and turn it into something beautiful. I hope that Brandon is somewhere that allows him to fully grasp how much you cared for him. Thank you so much for sharing.

  31. Cassidy Barcome on September 19, 2022 at 6:00 PM

    Dear RL,

    What a beautiful tribute you’ve created for your friend. You have a very natural gift for poetry. I’ve read your piece multiple times over, with a new appreciation each time for each verse and word play you chose. Poetry is a beautiful way to express how you feel and let your emotions flow from you. It is a beautiful way to find the words for what you have endured. Regarding your writing, the third verse stood out so strongly to me; “Sing to me, Brandon/of my failure to follow/of my scramble to live/and my fear of…everything”. As the reader, this verse demonstrated your intricate representation of time passing and the subtle imagery your writing holds. Your entire piece finishes each verse with a hard hitting stop. Lastly, the narrative switch from “Sing to me” to “Sing with me” is a subtle way of showing how timeless this poem stands, and it is also very punching. As I stated before, you truly do have a natural way with words that led to such a raw and significant piece. In terms of the content, I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Although that weight I’m sure is a lot to carry, your friend will certainly always be with you in your heart. I hope you have found a way to celebrate the life your friend carried, as valuable and loved as it is to you. Most of all, I hope you have found peace, and I hope you keep writing. Thank you for sharing with us all.



  32. Jill on October 2, 2022 at 4:11 PM

    This poem is truly powerful and stood out to me. I am so sorry for your loss. The repetition of “Sing To Me, Brandon” creates emphasize and strong emotion in your poem. Thank you for sharing your story and keep up the great work with your writing!

  33. Oshane on October 11, 2022 at 11:30 AM

    A very deep and emotional poem. Many of us face challenges in our life and depression that affects us, sometimes it is hard to ask for help or to be strong to recover from traumatic experiences. It is good for us to all treat each other with kindness as we never know what another person may be facing. In addition, we should try to be our brother’s and sisters’ keepers by checking for each other and reading their non-verbal cues as sometimes this can be a giveaway that someone may be going through a rough time and we can help to support them. Sorry for your loss.

    -RIP Brandon

  34. kayley on November 2, 2022 at 11:32 PM

    Wow, this is intense and powerful. I can’t even begin to understand what you’ve been through, but this poetry is something lovely you’ve created from your sorrow. This poem is incredibly heartfelt and touching. I can relate to how you feel, and I believe this conveys a powerful picture.

  35. aaliyah on November 8, 2022 at 12:48 PM

    Hello RL, your poem was beautiful, and heartbreaking. Reading this I felt like I could feel your grief through the words, the choice of language was so vivid. Reading this poem made my heartbreak, knowing that you went through something so traumatizing, and devastating. I wish this feeling upon no one, it’s one of the hardest things to experience. I do want to thank you though for feeling safe enough to share something as deep as this with the world. I know sharing this experience can be a really hard thing to do, and it really does take a lot of strength to bring public awareness to situations like these. I hope you know that from what you’ve told us, you’ve done everything you could, and that’s all that matters. I’m so sorry again for your pain, and grief, and I’m sorry for Brandon’s pain too. I hope the nightmares stop sooner than later, and I hope you slowly start feeling better soon. Thank you so much for sharing this poem.
    I wish you well! – Aaliyah

  36. Emily on November 11, 2022 at 8:30 PM

    I’m very sorry for your loss. Losing a friend is very hard. I lost someone very important to me by suicide 4 years ago. It never gets easier. And I can’t imagine finding him. I truly am sorry. You did write a beautiful poem to remember him even on his darkest day.

  37. Ainsley on November 14, 2022 at 2:34 PM

    Hi RL,
    This poem is beautiful and heart-breaking. Your grief can be felt through your words while simultaneously creating a beautiful piece about your friend. I loved that you were able to commemorate him by mentioning some of the good times you were able to share. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you happiness. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Kearsten on February 17, 2023 at 12:15 AM

    This poem brought me to tears. I am so so sorry for the loss of your friend. A loss like that is a pain that never goes away and your efforts to save him mattered to those who loved him because you tried to keep him here for them. I’m glad you can remember the good times, where you both spent time laughing and living life to the fullest. I hope wherever he is, he’s smiling at you and telling you that he’s okay now, and he’ll see you again someday. I wish you peace and happiness. Best wishes.

  39. Dulce on March 5, 2023 at 11:08 PM

    Hello RL, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry about the loss of your friend Brandon. You have written an amazing poem for him. There is a lot of emotion demonstrated in this poem. Lossing someone is hard, but I am sure Brandon would be proud to see how you are inspiring people with your work. I hope to see more of your work and stay strong.

  40. Emilie on March 8, 2023 at 3:37 PM


    I am so sorry for your loss. This is a heartbreaking poem. I cannot imagine what it what be like to lose a friend that way. Recently in my hometown, I have known 3 classmates from high school that died from suicide. One was very recent and shocked the entire town, especially those from who I graduated with. It is a very discouraging, confusing, and saddening time. Thank you for putting your emotions into this work.

  41. Matthew Handley on March 12, 2023 at 10:25 PM

    Dear RL,

    This poem is beautifully written and the flow you create with your repeated phrase really allows the poem to flow. I can feel the pain and the love that you feel in this poem. I’m sorry about the loss that you felt, and I appreciate you sharing those feelings with us all. Wishing you a future full of happiness and love, and I hope to read more art from you in the future.

  42. Amelia on April 19, 2023 at 2:47 PM

    This poem truly hits too close to home and is truly so powerful. I admire you for being able to write about this situation to spread awareness despite the pain it may cause you. I can truly see the emotion and thought you put into writing this poem. It is conveyed through all of the words you wrote, establishing the emotion for the reader. I think this is a wonderful and meaningful poem and you are such a great writer. I enjoyed reading this and hope you continue to pursue it.

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