Tag Archives: high school

another piece of juvenilia

Last night I went to a reading and workshop with author Lee Martin, where I ran into my creative writing teacher from high school.  Slightly baffled by her effusive praise of my adolescent writing, I went in search of my work from that period and I was somewhat surprised to see that my voice has not changed significantly since then.  Whether that means I have completely failed to grow or that I was actually fairly well-developed as a writer remains to be seen.  I suspect that the true answer lies somewhere in the middle: the same emotional and mental patterns will tessellate through the course of my life; only the colors and scale change.  Here is what I consider one of my better poems from my senior year of high school, written in response to a simple classroom prompt, and the funniest part is that I had no idea how accurately and repeatedly it would ring true for me in the six years to come.

Bittersweet is
knowing exactly what to say
but having no chance to say it,
not knowing what to say
when the opportunity arises,
discovering the terrible truth
just in time to run for your life,
wasting your time in ignorance
but enjoying it while it lasts,
doing something
you wish you hadn’t,
not doing what
you know you should have,
making the call
so you can hang up the phone,
waiting for the call
so you can ignore the phone,
telling the truth
and being punished,
living a lie
and losing yourself,
loving someone
who can’t love back,
being unable to return
someone’s hopeless affection,
knowing you’re right
when no one else does,
being told you’re wrong
when you just can’t see it,
writing a poem
so you don’t scream out loud.

(2005)

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