Teen Poetry Collections

Strengths

by young woman, age 16

I can be stronger than an addiction,
ready to say:
no I can’t surround myself with you.

I can be as strong as the fast winds blowing on a rainy day.
Pay attention to my determination.
If I’m gonna stop,
I’m gonna stop and not do it again.

I’m addicted to people around me.
Sometimes, you know, you gotta let people go
because they’re not bettering your future.
I will say no to them.

I can be strong in ways you don’t expect.

It’s hard to let people go, you know.
My co-defendants,
got three in here.
I got associates
and then I got people I call my brothers and sisters.
They want me to change.
My associates –
They encourage me:
Fight, fight, fight.

Sometimes, you know, you gotta let family go.
Because they’re not doing their job.
If you’re family,
you’re supposed to be encouraging me to do better.
I have family that’s…
You know how they say blood is thicker than water.
Sometimes water is thicker than blood.
I have blood that’s not family,
and I got family that’s not blood.

It’s hard to let go, you know.
Say stealing.
I can do it again and again and again.
The more times you do something,
more times you can get caught.
You get away with something,
You get away with something,
You get away with something,
Then you get caught.

I can be stronger than a mother letting kids go
and not getting off drugs.
I can be stronger than my mom.
It’s been so long.
Sometimes, you know, you gotta let mom go.
But not forever,
just until she gets clean.