Steep Embankments


My police officer friend (and design mentor) once told me the story of a strange death he investigated where a woman was found floating face down next to a shopping cart.

The detective work theorized that she was pushing her cart along the sidewalk at the top of a steep embankment. She spotted something valuable just off the path. As she reached for it, the cart started to roll off the edge. Rather than lose all her possessions, she refused to let go. She fell to her death.

Paul told this story in combination with a tale of another crime scene where a man neatly stacked his all his money on his desk before committing suicide.

These stories rattled in my brain and produced a poem:


The Steep Embankment

Two passersby
approaching journey’s end
glanced down a steep embankment.

Her earthly possessions
plastic bag collections
filled her shopping basket.

A flash of silver
an eating utensil
lay just beyond the pavement.

Final gasp of panic
shopping cart titanic
fell down the steep embankment.

His earthly possessions
paper coin collections
fit snugly in his wallet.

A flash of silver
a quarter dollar
lay just beyond the pavement.

Final gasp of panic
polished brass titanic
fell down the steep embankment.

As you pass by
approaching journey’s end
glance down the steep embankment.


I don’t need to beat you over the head with the moral of the story. It is hard to let go of the objects we obsess over. It is different for each of us. But these seemingly little things, the doom loop triggers, have more destructive power than we realize. Let them go.

Thanks for reading. I write gory tales like this each week, so you should follow me. Stay creative.


I'm on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Vimeo, Strava, LinkedIn, and Github

© 2017, humans.txt