Neil Leist

Neil Leist


Yesterday, I met a famous photographer, Tony Vaccaro, who had photographed my brother in 1981. It was a year before my brother’s car accident. After two years in a coma, Neil passed. I’m more determined than ever to write a book on my brother’s life. Tony took photos of Presidents Kennedy, Obama, and Nixon. Famous stars like Sophia Lauren. Artists like Picasso and Georgia O’Keefe. And my brother, Neil Leist. Neil had just become the CEO and President of American Bakeries. He made his fortune in the commodities markets and was on his way to the top. The accident ended his dreams and mine.

This isn’t the photo taken by Tony Vaccaro. This photograph is the last one I have of my brother. 


moving piano keys



Sing me a song. 

Write a melody 

Of times gone by 

And moments lost in time. 

Stroke the keys. 

Massage the ivories. 

Raise your voice high 

So I can hear your words. 

Words of hope and loss. 

Sing them loud and clear. 

Stories of faraway places 

And times that are gone. 

I close my eyes. 

I can hear your words. 

I see your fingers 

Stroking the keys. 

The words take flight. 

They reverberate through time. 

They leave your lips 

To land on mine. 

A sweet melody 

To soothe my advancing years. 

A pretty song To fill my empty heart.


World Trade Center 


The skyline is clear.

Buildings stand tall and bright.

Then a day arrives that

ruins every day to come.

Intruders invade our space

and destroy our twin towers.

Towers I love.

Towers where I had worked.

Goodbye, my precious towers.

Never again will our skyline be invaded.

It shall remain clear forever.

A solemn promise.



The castle sits in the woods,

its walls filled with memories.

Sounds of laughter and music

float in the still air.

Whisps of smoke hover 

between the trees.

A soft shadow in the wind 

settles beside me.

A tap on my shoulder.

A sigh in my ear.

I know who it is.

Goodbye, my love.

We’ll be together again soon.





The storm approaches the shore.

Dampness coats the air.

Mist sprays against my face.

Strands of hair fly in the wind.

Thunder rumbles in the distance.

I feel it.

It’s almost here.

Will I lose myself to it?

Let it take me to its depths.

I spread my arms,

Lift my head high.

I let myself fall.

Arms pull me under.

Lips reach for mine.

I’m lost for eternity,

Lost to the rushing wind,

Prisoner of the ultimate despair,

Partner in pain and sorrow.

The choice is made and done.

I float away with my dear one.

Together we will forge a path

Through darkness and hell

To a heavenly place beyond.





In the dark of night

when others sleep,

I sit in the woods

and count my sheep.

My heart hangs heavy

as I think of you.

I refuse to cry

if I dream of you.

They have told me

to allow my tears to fall.

I shut my eyes

and fall asleep in a ball.

The wind whistles through the trees.

I open my eyes to a sight.

You sit on the grass facing me,

your eyes shining in the dim light.

“Cry if you want to,”

you whisper.

“But I don’t want to,”

I whisper.

The dawn lights the dark sky.

I yawn and stretch my limbs.

My eyes are bright and dry

since I’ve refused to cry.