Not Dead Yet with two lost stanzas

I wrote Not Dead Yet in spring 2013 during an especially dark period in a difficult stretch of time, when I suddenly saw the beacon rays of hope. As I wrote more and more stanzas I felt torrents of defiant optimism coursing through me.

I let it sit a while and then reorganized stanzas and worked on turning it into a song. Somehow we ended up with two songs. Both versions were performed at my raucous 57th birthday party in July 2014. Son Max turned it into a ballad. Friend Mike Guerreri arranged it as an upbeat anthem which his band, Long Time Coming, has since played at many gigs.

Then I finalized the poem version and posted it in November 2013.

Along the way I somehow decided to drop two stanzas. I went looking for the first one below after hearing Natasha and Max sing for me last weekend when both were home. All three kids were blessed with their mother’s voice and they sound beautiful together.

The second stanza feels poignant for me, having just passed three years from my definitive diagnosis.

Fortunately I saved old drafts and so here they are, the two lost stanzas, two years later. They would fit at the end of section 2 of the poem, or elsewhere. Click the link to the original, and you decide.


When I hear you sing your solos
And harmonious duet
The song could last forever,
‘cause I’m not dead yet.

I learned the most important thing
With my disease onset
No one lives forever,
But I’m not dead yet.

Yes! We’re not dead yet.


Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet
Michael Gollin
– Apologies to Monty Python


Undertaker’s calling
“Bring your dead out to the street.”
Old man shouts, defiantly,
”I’m not dead yet!”


I’m walking and I’m talking
and Death is not a threat.
I’ve lived to tell this story
so I’m not dead yet.

Miles to go before I sleep,
I don’t have time to fret,
moving down this winding road,
I’m not dead yet.

The deck is stacked against me
every time I place a bet,
but each hand I win reminds me
that I’m not dead yet.

I try to do more good than bad
and pay off all my debt.
The best is surely coming
‘cause I’m not dead yet.


Our days on earth are numbered
but the number isn’t set.
Every day‘s a miracle when
you’re not dead yet.

I craved your loving kindness
From the moment that we met.
We can hug and kiss forever
When we’re not dead yet.

Live each day until you die,
it’s all that you will get,
make it count forever
when you’re not dead yet.

The evening sky is blazing now,
is this my last sunset?
No! I’ll see tomorrow’s
‘cause I’m not dead yet.


Mark Twain laughed and told the world
the rumors of his death
were exaggerated.
He was not dead yet!

Grasp the truth before you
like the leash that holds a pet:
Death binds our lives together
but we’re not dead yet.

Tyrants think that we’ll give up,
that our freedom we’ll forget,
but we the people never lose
When we’re not dead yet.


One day will be my last no doubt
and when my fate I’ve met,
I’ll recall each time I said
I’m not dead yet!

If we live with grace and courage
and we act without regret,
each choice we make, we prove again
we’re not dead yet.

Our deeds can last forever
for everyone we’ve met —
in memories of all who care,
we’re not dead yet.