reflections on confessional writing and teen angst

Posted on February 14, 2013 in Poetry

I co-founded a reading series called Words with Friends. My co-founder is Jason Norman. Recently, we invited anyone interested in sharing the best of their worst high-school era poetry, journal entries, love letters and song lyrics to a Teen Angst Night event in honour of Valentine’s Day.

We also suggested that we all might also read something new or more recent that ties in somehow with the teen angst material. I decided to write something new, a bit of a love letter to my teenage self, attempting to impart some wisdom from my mid-thirties back in time.

little girl, your grief is a mansion
and you shoot frantically
from room to room within it
number one with a rubber bullet
bouncing off the walls

you echo through the halls of it
tromping around in your army boots
and your Value Village t-shirt
pillaging your grief
for everything it’s worth

you’re set to furnish
all thirty rooms of your grief
with what’s inside the overweight suitcase
of your first high school heartbreak
i wish i could tell you
to save some space

you don’t know the clutter
that will show up at your door
every losing streak brings more
and how you’ll want to hoard it
to record it
to box up your grudges
and stack up your guts

how small that house will someday seem
how the walls will close in
with every crack stuffed to the brim
and no room for storage
when the mother lode comes
and spills you out on the street
where everyone can see
what you keep inside your grief
and there aren’t enough words for it

you’ll wonder why you held on
why you mined those dusty boys
packed away in the back of your grief for so long
why you never thought to reserve a spot
for the flood yet to come