In The Doorway

There are arms extending outward that will catch my fall
There is gold within these arteries and veins
There is love and warmth, within, without
My dreams will always thrive
I am alive
With you, alive

There are holes within the tapestry, and some will fall
There are spears within the blood, no when or why
There were times I used to dream
That in the doorway someone stood
With words unkind And ends of time

The woman standing in the doorway
Said she had to give the terrible news
May all my horrid dreams come true
His dreams, his boy
I knew that Daddy’s days were few

I can’t believe it
I can’t believe it now
He hasn’t done a thing at all
She can’t believe it
But I can hardly hear the news
The boy lived down the street jumped off a roof

Now here I am my heart is in my brain is in my eye
My conscience never lies… Am I mistaken?
While Daddy clings to life another simply jumps and dies…
Perhaps he has another chance to make it
I want to lend a hand, but I am angry, I am tired
I’m sorry I must let you fade away

Together we are linked yet we will stretch our arms to find
We stare goodbye and reach the other way

Christmas time and brother died of cancer just this year
Father soon will join him
He’s decided he will volunteer
He left himself in my old car, or so that’s what I hear
I never really saw him after
Maybe he will reappear
I have seen such shreds of life that glow and burn with fire
I have seen that flames connect to rise or fall
I have seen that life is fragile
I am agile
But I lose from time to time
From time to time

I could see you in the doorway, but I couldn’t move
I could neither pull you in nor push you out
I could feel the hesitation, the frustration, and the doubt

The man was standing in the doorway
And he said a couple words
Broke down and cried and said “He’s gone”
And held me tight
It was absurd
A strange relief that it was over

Please remember all the love that tangles up inside
Glance a hundred times ahead for once behind
There are times we would erase, replace
And gild until they shine…
Don’t waste your time
Now is the time

There are arms extending outward I will hold in mine
There are futures, presents, pasts that shine with time
There is love and warmth, within, without
Your dreams will always thrive
You are alive
With me, alive

So as you’re standing in the doorway
Facing paths extending infinite ways
In visions fair there would be one bright path of prudence
Pure and constant as the sun

© Cory Patrick Cullinan


Voice & harpsichord Cory Cullinan
Flute Kyle Pickett
Oboe Darlene B. Franz
Clarinet Doug Tong
Tenor saxophone Gary Scavone
Violin I John Tenney
Violin II Patrice May
Viola Wieslaw Pogorzelski
Cello Terry Adams
Double bass Tim Spears
Strings conducted by Stephen Sano


In The Doorway was written for my father, Terrence Cullinan, and others who search for inner peace. It expresses some of my thoughts preceding and following his death when I was seventeen.

My dad was a fantastically attentive and loving father, much more so than most men of his generation. He had an emotional crisis surrounding the illness and death of his oldest son Tracey, a blow from which he never recovered. My dad went from being a vibrant and confident man to a troubled and disappointed alcoholic.

As he became increasingly depressed following my brother’s death, I began to occasionally dream that a family friend arrived at our door to tell me my dad had died. One day, a desolate family friend did arrive at our door. She said she had terrible news, and I was sure my father had died. Instead, she said that my teenage neighbor had jumped off a building and killed himself. My emotions at this moment were almost impossible to describe in words, a mixture of relief, sadness, and unresolved concerns.

A few weeks later, another family friend arrived at our door. This time my dreams proved more prescient — my father had killed himself. Again I felt a strange combination of emotions — both deep sorrow and a strange relief that my father’s sadness had finally been resolved, although not in a way I would have hoped for.

I will remember him as an exemplary father to a boy growing up, and as a man who could not reconcile the seemingly unfair loss of a son with his sense of natural justice.

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