Teen Poetry Collections

Ice Cream Man

by a young woman, age 16

I just thought you should know
that sometimes I’m afraid of you.
I don’t mind you rep’ing the gangs,
but sometimes when I look into your eyes
I see violence against me,
I see violence against your grandma,
and it hurts me inside.

I just thought you should know,
I want to work in here someday,
helping kids that went through what I went through,
help them understand why I ran away from home,
because my parents beat me,
because the stress in my life made me do something stupid.
I was the girl who stopped going to school,
I was the girl who stopped listening to her parents,
who started drinking and smoking.

I just thought you should know
that one side of me wants to be with you
and one side of me does not,
and the side that does not is confused,
feels like a lost sheep.

I just thought you should know,
I see myself with a happy family
in a park, Oakland, CA, eating barbecued lamb
next to the swimming pool while dads play tennis
and moms talk and serve food
and all the Tongan people speak to the ice cream man.

I just thought you should know,
I’m tired of seeing what people do on the streets,
and I’m tired of being a part of it.

I just thought you should know,
I want to say hello again to the ice cream man.