Teen Poetry Collections

Early Memories

by Monica (age 16)

I was in ballet when I was 2 or so.
I remember a performance
when I was the lion,
in "The Lion Sleeps Tonight,"
on stage sucking my thumb.

I remember
when I was 5
and my brother wrapped up
the dog's toys
and put them under the tree
for my parents.
The dog was pawing the presents.
It was funny.

I remember
I was 6
and everybody in my first-grade class
got the chicken pox.
For a month
there were no more than two kids in class.
I learned to block out
the itch with my mind.
I really got good at it,
and I still do it today.

I remember
when I was 8
and they took our class picture
and I stuck my tongue out in it
on a dare from this boy,
and I got in big trouble.

I remember
when I was 10
things weren't going so good at home.
I got kicked out of school
because I never went
and because I beat up kids.
I stayed with friends
and partied
with their older brothers and sisters.

I remember being
just about the only kid from my elementary school
to go to this middle school.
I hated everyone there.
That's when I started living on the streets,
on and off.

Things were going real horrible.

I remember
visiting my brother at Children's Hospital.
He was there because of his behavioral problems,
and it was my birthday.

He was crying because he had no present
for me,
so he gave me packets of ketchup and syrup
that I still have.
I was mad at the world.

When I was 13
me and my best friend
used to hitchhike somewhere
to Oklahoma, California three times,
just anywhere really.

I remember
when I was 14
and I was a big klepto,
and I didn't go one day without stealing something.
That's how I made my money.

At 15,
a year and a half ago,
I moved to Seattle.
It's hard to be a drunk here.
I got my GED.
Every day I keep thinking about going
somewhere else,
but I stay.
I'm doing things here,
and I'm getting old.