Pongo Project Journal

Sharing stories of our work with teens
Mar 02
I Am Thinking


By a young man at CSTC


Friends are on my mind

I’m worried about them

They’re in a bad place

She wasn’t doing too well

She was having a rough time

She’s been having a rough life

Her anger gets out of whack like a

Hot boiling pot of water

It makes me feel blue                                         

There’s nothing I can do

Makes me down like I’m

Drowning in my own depression

Then I feel weak

I start to crumble like a cookie

I can’t shake it

It makes me not want to talk to people


Hidden away in a dark corner

I think about things getting better

My mind clear of all my problems

I’d want to go outside and swing and think

Think that things do get better


This poem is a result of a session I experienced with a youth who had first come into our Pongo class several weeks earlier. That first day, he joined the group session for a few minutes (with his headphones in, pretending he wasn’t into it) but then had become agitated over something unrelated to our class and had left the group angry and acting out. When he came back to Pongo a few weeks later, smiling and ready to try writing poetry, I was really happy that we could give it another shot. We began as he spoke about his concern for his friends in general, then about a particular friend. As he moved through his thoughts, he began to surface his own feelings. I was so proud of him when he offered the line, “I start to crumble like a cookie” — this big, tough-acting boy was being so bravely vulnerable. After he wrote and read this poem, he said he felt good and proud of himself. I felt so proud of him, too.

-- Natalie, mentor at CSTC