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You Hear Me?
poems and writing by teenage boys
Things I Have to Tell You, poems and writing by teenage girls

Compelling, uncensored poems and essays by teenage boys and girls

He Shaved His Head

He shaved his head to release his imagination.

He did it to get a tattoo on his shiny head.

He did it to lose his normality.

He did it to become a freak.

He did it because he was angry.

He did it to make people angry.

He did it for himself.

--Rene Ruiz"
age 13

New Honesty (excerpt)

Can I find a balance
between me and
the box I call my family?
I want equilibrium.
I want change.
I want to tell the Truth,
not the truth of the woman
who snapped on a collar
and named me alive.
Like a plastic ball,
I toss between myself
and the various identities
I have been assigned.
Look out—I fell in the mud.
Look out—I opened my mouth,
and out came ideas
you don’t think are pretty.
I suppose it would be scary
to be a ventriloquist who found out
her dummy can talk,
to find the doll had a brain
and opinions that will bite
when provoked.
I suppose it would be scary
if I opened my coat
and showed you all my secrets.
Would you call me a flasher
and file charges?
Would you gaze blindly
refusing to see the Truth:
I’m sorry to tell you
that I’m not sorry anymore.
I can only run for so long
and so far.
I’m done,
and I'm throwing up my Truth
like a marathon runner
at the end
of a 16-year race.

--Jessie Childress
age 16

ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 2001
ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults, 2001
New York Public Library Book for the Teenage
Booklist Top Ten Poetry Books for Young Adults

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