‘Tis the Season to Let Money Make up for Lack of Decency the Rest of the Year.

Black Friday. Small business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday.

‘Tis the season for society telling people money can make up for the lack of human decency that abounds these days.

Don’t misconstrue me, I support local businesses when I can, and am all for donating. What I don’t understand is why we wait until the end of the year to give a damn.

I mean, give me a break. How many shootings have we had this year alone? We can be shot at a school, in a place of worship (church, synagogue, or mosque), a concert, a club, a military base — you name it, and a gun has disgraced it. And we only care for it about as long as it takes to share the hashtag.

We don’t say Hello or Good Morning to our neighbors, I bet you can’t tell me the names of your neighbors. In fact, we are so disgruntled that we don’t even utter a complete sentence before coffee.

I, myself, am so accustomed to the world sucking that I cannot deal with another human being, be it my very own mother, until there is a coffee in my hand, and lately I would give anything to spike it but that is not work-appropriate. We cut each other off and look the other way, we’re too afraid to lend a hand to a stranger on the street.

We complain about all the things we don’t have, tone-deaf to those around us who only wish to have a fraction of that. We pretend we’re happy and filter the fading colors. We come home and disperse into separate rooms and never pick up the phone, we don’t spend enough time.

Precious, present time.

I want to memorize your eyes. The way the pupil dilates and contracts as it reflects me. The diverse patterns like the atmosphere of a planet residing in your iris. I want to memorize each callus and vein on your hand. Taste each word you speak instead of the empty calories I’ve been consuming to fill my emptiness, they are not as sweet.

We talk and talk and seldom listen. Our histories dead and forgotten, closed off like borders and buried under shrapnel splayed from erupted bombs only we knew how to set off. Oh we know how to start the wars, we will call it revolution. We will shoot the doves and say someone had to die for our sins. We will set a babe beneath a nativity scene and call ourselves holy.

And these tides of Yule will last only until the ham is served. We will fill ourselves on planned resolutions saying this is the year it will take, this is the year I will mean what I say. I will do better.

But why didn’t we do better all year?

I want to be reminded of warmth in the frozen Pinelands — how these trees used to bloom, how the day stood still and the soil was rich and capable. That these roots would anchor me, sturdy, and these branches would bear fruit.

I want to believe again in the glory that is no two snowflakes ever being the same and yet creating together a blanket over this coastline. The ocean still moving beneath ice, and sometimes her waves cresting despite it.

I want to have faith we can extinguish the fires creating ashes of our bodies and light the hearth of souls some other way.

There has got to be some other gift. One that can’t be wrapped or fit under a tree, that can’t be bought, that can’t be thrown away with the recycling.

Does anyone know where to find that?


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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,, 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