The Best Way to Honor the Dead Is to Live. {poetry}


I selfishly gave up watching the news. I no longer wanted to spend my days brokenhearted and frightened of the world.

But I am brokenhearted, and everyday a piece of me grows more and more afraid. My step quickens and my heart panics on my way to the car alone in the dark. I watch the shadows like they may come to life at any moment. When I sit in a theater, I have already checked my nearest exit before the message on the screen prompts me to. I glance at every set of eyes trying to see if there’s danger there.

I bristle when a stranger gets too close. A thousand fears hit me while I drink my morning coffee, and yet I still get excited seeing the city skyline, getting as close as possible to the front of the stage. I still think the world is a beautiful place. Frighteningly beautiful. This is a reminder to always hold on to that beauty, to never let the chaos take over your heart.

I am brokenhearted hearing that the beautiful young so full of life lost theirs that night. But to hold those broken pieces together, I want to think about the amount of joy they were experiencing, and the camaraderie of fellow fans the way their hearts burst open singing the lyrics to favorite songs. I need to hold on to that. Hold on to the beautiful, trust me there’s still beauty here. Do not be afraid to live.

Each night I make it back to the safety of my bed

I thank whatever god believes in me that I survived the day

I do pray to wake up again and see the sun

I’ll even take the rain

If just to feel it on my skin and watch it make rainbows of the oil stains

Life is short, and I do not want

To waste any of my gifted days bitter over clouds

I do not want to wake up afraid to face the wars of the day

If defeat knocks by Tuesday

May I never believe what she says

No, I am not defined by my weaknesses

No, I am not made any less

I refuse to die while I’m still breathing

For the greatest rebellion is to live and live freely

Live wildly

Live like there is no one to tell you how you should

Live like you would love if you could

Darling, live well

If we should die tonight, let the world know our voices rang out

To sing all the words to all the songs that left their marks in our hearts

We set a fire to the world’s seedy underbelly by setting our hearts aflame

With music, art, and poetry,

With beauty amidst the pain.

And should we fall

Know our eyes were filled with stars

And tonight the skies are filled with them

The constellations are made up of us

Watch us sparkle forever

Watch us shoot off across the night

A sea of lighters will remind you

A wave of smartphone lights

The only peace on earth I know is next to strangers in an audience

The music trembles through us

And there is no us and them

Just you and me

And they will never take that from us

I will never let them take the light from me

The way the wind feels through my window as I drive down the parkway

The clamor of Times Square

And I will never hesitate to board a plane to a new city and adventure

I will never stop going to concerts.


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Alise Versella
Alise Versella is a poet living at the Jersey Shore. She has published three volumes of poetry which can be found at her website, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Her work has been featured on Elephant Journal, Women's Spiritual Poetry blog, ultraviolettribe.com, The Tattooed Buddha, and of course here. She considers herself a coffee enthusiast and self-proclaimed dessert whore, who believes with every fiber of her being that poetry, beautiful poetry, can come from the ugliest of pain. Poetry can be the salve for all the broken parts, and it can make us whole.
Alise Versella
Alise Versella