Thursday, September 27, 2007

I ain't no Shakespeare

The other day the fabulous Sage braved the blogosphere with a couple of poems written while she was in high school. Her post made me think of the little cloth covered book, navy with white flowers, that I knew was tucked away in a box in my attic labeled "memories." So I went to the hallway, pulled the ladder down and crawled up there to retrieve the book.

I have to tell you that rereading these poems is seriously making me blush. They are that bad. Some of them, however, do make me remember EXACTLY what was going on in my life at that point, so they are an interesting history in that way. And some I look at the date and wonder "WTF?" Like this one, which was written the August before I started 9th grade. I had just started cheerleading, and had met the girl who would become my best friend all through high school. Here it is:

Blackness.
Deep, unending
pitch BLACK.
Fallying
into mysterious
NOTHING.
I'm searching
searching for light
but there is NOTHING.
Searching for something
to grab.
There is
NOTHING.
I continue to fall.
Helpless.
I feel so helpless.
Shivering cold.
Numbness takes over.
Now I feel
NOTHING.
I scream
but I hear
NOTHING.

Cheery, eh? And so surprising. I bet you never saw that last line coming. sigh. And no, to answer your question, I have never been suicidal. Although if my mother had seen this I'm sure she would have thought I was. Perhaps I've just always been a bit prone to the dramatic. Perhaps.

So a year later I write this little ditty:

Looking from the outside
what do you see?
A laughing, smiling, happy me.
Only rarely do I break down
and then you see
the lonely, tortured, REAL me.
Nobody realizes the pain that I feel,
or how much they've hurt me
beneath the smile that's not real.
The careless laugh I use to hide
the woulds that don't heal
hidden so deep inside.
I want to reach out
but where do I turn?
Each time I try so hard - yet I fail.
When will I ever learn?
I want you to notice.
I want you to see.
But I'm just forgotten.
What about me?

Are you singing the Moving Pictures song yet? I had the piano sheet music. It was my theme song. And I make fun of these poems (as I should, really) but they do make me remember how alone I felt through much of high school, whether I should have or not, that's how I felt. It's why I've always related to the great theatrical characters that pine for love: Eponine, Sonya, Varya, even Helena.

OK, enough poor, poor me poetry (although really, that's the bulk of what is in this little notebook). I will end with this one, written the winter of my junior year.

Echoes of Reality
Swirling snow
dances reality into a dream
under the sky which holds
a single glittering star.
Laughter echoes through glass trees
remnants of musical notes
voices singing to the heartbeat
of two magnetic souls.
Smile upon faces
that will never break;
captive eyes
that will never close.
A consuming flame
burns unceasingly,
defying the grasp of
frosty February fingers.
A spirit fills with eternal echoes
of a harmony
which will never again
sound the same.

This poem was written about a fellow I met at a weekend sledding retreat with my youth group. He was one of the staff at the camp (an older man!) 2 years later I actually went on a date with him, and let's just say it was not the fairy tale I thought it would be. However, we're still friendly. In fact, I was at his wedding.
So there you have it. I have laid my teenage soul bare. Ack. (as you can see, I have progressed mightily in my ability to express myself. "ack," indeed)

26 comments:

Beck said...

If I hadn't literally burned all of my highschool diaries, I would have some startlingly awful additions, too. But thank goodness, I did.
"Nobody realizes the pain that I feel..."
Hee hee hee. Excellent.

Blog Antagonist said...

Ohhhh, I think a lot of us have folders full of poems like those which, incidentally, I didn't think were bad at all!! I think you were a pretty decent poet. And I think poetry is a much healthier way to deal with all that really tough adolescent crap than say...shooting your classmates.

WorksForMom said...

If you thought those were bad I'm in serious trouble! I thought they were good! And oh, I do love the hairstyles too!

b*babbler said...

Isn't it amazing how high school alienates everyone? Even the cheerleaders?

"Save the cheerleader! Save the world!"

Ok, couldn't resist. Thanks for sharing!

Chrissy said...

Haunting, truly haunting.

Mad Hatter said...

I think we should all book mark this post and Sage's and save them to read when our own daughters are teenagers. We'll need the sanity check then--in spades.

Thanks for making me giggle.

Sober Briquette said...

Oh, ack is absolutely right! I thought I destroyed all my teenage writing...how did you get it?

I am infinitely glad I don't have to do that over again. Without doubt, the teens were the worst years of my life.

It is helpful to read these, and realize something that we didn't know then, and we might forget even now - that we were all feeling the same things. It will help us as mothers, I hope. (We'll need all the help we can get, judging from these words.)

Thanks for sharing!!

Emily said...

OH, I'm giggling, a little. My high school diary is filled to the brim with the very same dark, lonely, angst. And I thought I was the only one feeling that way.

I wish could go back and have a cup of tea with my teenage self and give myself some "global perspective."

My neighbor gave my 10 YO daughter some good advice last week. She told her to get a calendar and write down who she like each day. My neighbor said that in junior high, she liked a different boy every week and consequently had her heart broken, often. :)

NotSoSage said...

Heheh. These are awesome. I so TOTALLY didn't see that last line coming. Thanks for playing along!

And b*babbler's comment made me crack up.

What is it that makes the dark romanticism of suicide so appealing to teenagers even though they have no clue what it really means? I remember as a teenager, some teacher telling us that all those people soiled themselves at death and that kind of took the romanticism out of it for me.

Rimarama said...

Thanks for sharing, PM! And honestly, I saw some real literary strides made from the first to the last of the three masterpieces you posted!

Julie Pippert said...

Thanks for this glimpse into your youth.

You know, one thing your young self said caught me. I think because I've been wondering about it lately.

Why do we sometimes think that the sad-down-lonely-not as good moments are indicative of the REAL us?

Julie
Using My Words

Kelly said...

OMG, I have some poems that have long since been destroyed. One I submitted to my AP English teacher, and, since one of the lines mentioned 'the stabbing pain of each sharp blade of the green green grass,' she suggested I talk to a guidance counselor. (Oh, the horror!)

Thank you for sharing. You are certainly not alone in the angst-filled lines of former adolescence!

Luisa Perkins said...

Be kind to your young self! I think it's fabulous you were able to express yourself. Eerie: I posted some of my own teenage writing just yesterday (or was it Wednesday?).

Chantelle said...

Holy crap! Did you steal my high school diary? I think I had a healthy streak of melodrama too. They don't call it teen angst for nothin'. Thanks for sharing those.

Aliki2006 said...

I think I burned my high school poems, too.

These are wonderful! I love the pictures of you to accompany them...

ewe are here said...

Right now I'm really, really glad I don't have any high school remnants left... one too many moves overseas... :-P

Love the pics!

furrow said...

You know, you have to show these to the May Queen when she is in the midst of her own teenage angst. She'll either feel much less of an alien or she'll have a great laugh. Either way, it will help.

I've kept my teenage diaries for just that reason. Actually, I started my teenage diaries for just that reason. My first one is actually dedicated to my future daughter. Sheesh!

You're so brave for posting these. And adorable.

SusieJ said...

I love the mad hatter's idea. Perfect. And -- you were a pretty good writer back then too!

niobe said...

These have to be The. Best. Teen. Angst/Love. Poems. Ever.

And, by that, I'm not saying that they're badly written. Actually, especially the last one, they're very effective in their use of rhythm and they have some nice turns of phrase. But what's amazing about them is how perfectly they capture the emotions of those years.

crazymumma said...

There is honestly nothing like the words that come out of a teenager. Nothing.

Beautiful self concsious, maybe a tad cliche. But beautiful nonetheless, and they speak of a time we will never be in again.

thirtysomething said...

Girl, that first one is a kicker--did ya wear the black nail polish and lipstick then too?!
Very nice of you to share these growing experiences, and yes, you have come a long way in your wrting, that is for sure.
This was a good post, I enjoyed it!

Jennifer said...

Oh, my, I wrote so many teen angst poems that are so similar. We would have been such good friends -- our "outside" smiles and our inner torture. Hee. Love the photos!

slouching mom said...

I agree with what BA said -- it's a healthy thing for a teenager to write like this, as opposed to what s/he could be doing instead...

carrie said...

As bad as you think they are, they are a part of that girl you were at that time, and they are priceless for that very reason. You're lucky to have them, still. I think I threw out all my teen angst poetry and mix tapes!!!

Alex Elliot said...

I have a entry in my journal from my freshmen year in high school all about how I was going to be "sweet sixteen and never been kissed" and basically I should resign myself to the fact that I would never have a boyfriend or get married.

painted maypole said...

ahhh, Alex... I WAS sweet sixteen and never been kissed. ;)