Teen Poetry Collections

Life Like a Cat

by a young man, age 17

I feel like I’ve had three lives.

My first life – starting the process of coming into the world.
My mother drank booze and messed up my brain.
My mother and father couldn’t hold on to me,
So they gave me over to my grandparents.
Then, nobody, my parents or grandparents,
Would talk to me at all,
Maybe just once in a whole day.
From neglect, I was handed over to the State of California. 

My second life – I got a new family,
One that took me in for seven years,
Then said I was uncontrollable,
Sent me to Fairfax, Ruth Dykman, and then CSTC.
Over nearly five years away from the family,
I’ve grown away from them.
I might not have left them,
But I feel like they left me spiritually. 

Then, there was an in-between time,
When I was in a car accident,
That jerked me violently at the waist.
It changed my whole thoughts about cars.
Now every time I look at a car,
I try and find the flaws,
And see if I can improve them.
I like cars,
All the way down to the very tiniest drop of oil.

My third life – it started when I was injured from
Putting my fist through a reinforced, double-pane window.
I went into shock. At first, my blood wouldn’t even drip.
Then, it flowed like a waterfall,
Making lakes of maroon on the floor.
I don’t know why, but I was calm and relaxed,
But the people around me started screaming.
They told me to sit down and hold my hand above my head,
And told me to hold my bicep artery. 

Now, since I’m still in my third life,
I have somebody who cares about me for who I am
And not for how I look. She warms my heart
Like a bright sunny day,
With no clouds in the sky and lots of white snow on the ground.


Dedicated to L.