June 5, 2017

This Poem could Save the World.

“Blessed are the weird people:
poets, misfits, writers
mystics, painters, troubadours
for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” ~ Jacob Nordby


Poetry is what got me here.

Words race wildly through my veins like blood to my heart and I cannot get them to stop

I’d go to bed with similes and stay up late to write poetry
alone in the dark
by the window under the light of the street lamps
I’d be writing love letters to the moon
—incantations to god

I used to write all over my school books
couplets and stanzas and metaphors
I got in trouble once
in Spanish class, for not paying attention
maybe I should have paid attention
and I could’ve written these words in another language
and adolescence would have been easier to understand

It’s how I met my best friend
in art class
we’d share and illustrate our poetry
dark and angsty
and maybe that year I was depressed and she saved me
because she read me like she read my poems
and I felt someone finally understood me

My tears would have flooded the Sahara
waterlogged the Serengeti
had I not found another way to not drown
because I can’t swim
because sometimes it’s all I can muster to stay afloat
because sometimes breathing hurts

Sometimes it still hurts

But there were always poems to prove that I wasn’t alone and maybe my pain was shared
and together we could make that pain hurt less
with the vulnerable words we expressed

Our words can be the flowers in the barrels of guns
and gardens would grow from the pain in our lungs
everyone would feel like someone
and no one
would want to give up

If my words would prevent just one from destroying the chrysalis in which they are hung
as the world waits for what they’d become
then that would be enough

Poetry was always enough for this girl
so I think poetry can save the world

Author: Alise Versella
Image: Jonathan Kos-Read/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Alise Versella