On being worse than teenage poetry.

Published April 27, 2012 by mandileighbean

I teach twelfth grade English at the local high school. I interact with teenagers every day, bearing witness to the comedies and tragedies that fill the hallways, cause lockers to slam angrily, demand hall passes and fill their little worlds right up. I enjoy being an audience member to one thousand mini-melodramas five days a week, and to be honest, I find it fascinating. I don’t think teenagers should be ridiculed and lectured on the importance of perspective because as we age, we lose the passion we once had. I think perspective should only be mentioned when comforting the distressed, and I definitely do not believe that one should be admonished or feel ashamed because they reacted passionately to an event, a person or an idea they felt strongly about. We should forever be passionate.

That being said, I’ve decided to share some of my “teenage poetry.” The following poems were written when I was in high school. Feel free to judge them harshly 😛

“Untitled” (Actually, the title of this poem was the name of the boy I liked at the time, but names have been changed to protect the innocent 😉 )
Even though the words are awkward
And I don’t know what to write,
I’m sure there’s something I need to say
so that I can set everything right.
Sipping liquids that are too hot,
Willing them to burn your tongue,
Feeling a thousand years older
And now wishing you were young.
Sitting at a lonely table
In a coffee shop in the mall
On your hands and knees, I beg you.
I am daring you to crawl
Back to the ones that loved you
Back to me who still does
And maybe now we can share that drink
That never was

Apparently, one of my friends saw this beloved boy of mine at the Starbucks in the local mall, and commented that he was alone, drinking coffee. I loved this image of him – I romanticized his loneliness, enhanced my own desires and wistfulness. That boy was everything to me when I was fifteen and if I am being completely honest, I still think about him a lot. Is it because he’s the one who got away? Is it because things ended so badly? Is it because I feel so stunted emotionally? Who knows?

“Untitled” (This one really didn’t have a title, I promise)
The lines on the page start to blur.
The pain shoots up my spine.
The sweat drops off my forehead.
There’s a pounding in my mind.

One pill, two pills, three pills, four
I took the whole bottle with regret
I downed a whole bottle of vodka
So many things I just had to regret

My body’s shaking and I can’t see
I trip and stumble until I hit the floor
I raise my weary, pounding head
There’s no redeeming light behind that door

There’s no saving grace, no second chance
Someone lied to you, it’s okay to give up
I was close to the edge and I decided to jump
Life was hell, enough was enough

I convulse on the floor, puking in pain
I took my own life without regret
Life was shit so I’m moving on
I openly welcome death

This poem is embarrassingly juvenile; I realize that. Suicide is NEVER a viable option, let alone the answer. The hopelessness that pervades the poem is unnerving- were things really that bad less than a decade ago? They weren’t, but I’m sure they felt like they were. I am not ashamed of this poem, or that I have several suicide-themed poems in my arsenal, because the writing helped me to express all my feelings into something positive, into a creation. The writing saved my life.

“Untitled” (There was a time when I totally titled my poems … this just wasn’t that time, apparently)
fix the seams of all my parts
starting with my broken heart
make me whole, make me complete
get me back out on my feet
but take me by my trembling hand
and help me to fully understand
how your needles and your thread
brought me back from the dead
you breathed new life into me
made me whole, happy and healthy
i owe you every breath i take
thank you every time i wake
because you’ve saved me
you’ve ressurected me
because you love me
i can be
healthy
whole
and happy

There are notes from a math class besides the poem – clearly, I wasn’t paying attention and I need to send an apology to Mr. Savitsky. Not only did I not understand anything that was happening in math class, but I did not understand real heartbreak or recovering from heartbreak. Writing is all about writing what you know and experience. I had very little experience with anything at fifteen – other than the social microcosm of high school – and now, at twenty-three, I feel the same. I have yet to travel, to have a full-time job with benefits, to live on my own, or to experience a whirlwind romance. I crave these things every day, and they do find their way into my writings, but then the writing comes off as cheap and not genuine.

My friend Brandi and my mentor both told me to start living; to finally begin my journey. I vowed to you that I would.

But have I?

4 comments on “On being worse than teenage poetry.

  • Thank you for sharing so candidly. I too turned to words as a teenager, as a younger adult than I am today, and occasionally I still turn to them, but life gets in the way.

    Without paper, I rely on my memory for snippets of those words composed in youth.

    …Visions are dancing past, limpid and blue;
    I never escape from reflections of you.
    The love of the universe echoing through-
    thus we reflect one love, no longer two.
    Deep within my heart a flower blooms
    and every day it is unfolding more.
    It’s scented with the sweetest of perfumes
    and every day it grows more sweet and pure,
    and every day I’m loving life much more.
    The is sweet and dreams are coming true,
    and every day is than before
    now that I’ve opened up my heart to you.

    The blank spaces represent words I can’t recall.
    *The judge at Teen Arts said this was trite. I suppose he’s right 🙂 Personally, I can see this being sung by Jack Black in a Tenacious D movie. Heck, that goes for all of these.

    More snippets follow.

    To raise the power from the Earth and push it to the sky;
    this is a dream that will never die.

    I to you, you to me, the depth of it all – astounding
    …the light reflecting off the wave
    but the shadows, the merciless shadows, they drowned us once and for all.

    *I wish I could remember the beginning of this one. It was really pretty good.

    In dawns as dark as this one where we fail to fell the light
    in times when there is no distinction between day and night
    when storms are violently the roots that cling to sanity
    with severed I come to be adrift in aimless flight.

    And all the planets call to me
    the of Mars and Mercury
    Venusian , Plutonian freeze
    all these are past in one fair breeze

    I cannot to know their charms,
    or try to reach them with my arms
    for none can be a home for me,
    while I must sail the cosmic sea.

    *Three stanzas of a lengthier poem.

    If memory serves me, the last one was called, “In Dawns as Dark as This One.”
    It appeared in Future Dreams, and I do have it in my closet somewhere.

    These snippets represent the teenage years. There are pieces from my young adult years (19, 20, 21) that I think are more clever. Perhaps I will share these sometime.

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