Poems by teenage boys

I finished up a poetry anthology for class last week, and these were some of the poems I collected and considered including (I would have included them all, but I had a number limit). They’re gorgeous. And they stab me every time I read them. Don’t be persuaded away by the language or themes, if you can help it. Push through. There’s an entire book with poems like this — written by teenage boys themselves, not adults affecting connection — the citation is at the end.

From preface:

“…I knew how important it was to hear from boys…it became apparent that boys needed a forum to speak for themselves on issues that concerned them. One author was very relieved to hear that I wasn’t going to be including commentary to clarify the work, or as evidence of a theory. He said he’d read a number of book in high school that supposedly addressed boys’ issues…and he ‘couldn’t relate.’ …I wanted to present the uncensored accounts of teenage boys without the filter of adult sensibility.” (p. xi)




Fuck this shit, up the ass, I don’t think I’ll ever pass. It’s

fucking crap. I don’t believe. I think that I’ll just fucking

leave. The teachers suck, the food just blows, society has

reached new lows. We sit and stare all fucking day. And

though it’s public, we still pay.

I hate this fucking bullshit. I don’t want to take it.

It’s fucking bunk. We’re not prepared. The grown-up

world makes me scared. Inspirational posters on the wall

—why won’t that kitty fucking fall? A fight-free campus is

required, but child molesters are not fired. They want

the school clean and drug free, but I know a teacher who

does speed.

I hate this fucking bullshit. I don’t want to take it.

The PE teachers are insane, their methods can’t be

called humane. Smoking bud across the street, but hey—

our football can’t be beat! The jocks, they run the fucking

school, chew dip all day, act real cool. Everybody annoys

me. Someone gonna get beat.

(Kenny Weiss, age 17)




I am the hated one,

Spreader of the disease,

Carrying the blame unjustly.

I am the dying innocent.

I am the ungodly thing

Preached against in church—

Preached against in politics.

I am the loathed,

I am the shunned,

I am the feared,

I am gay.


I am dying innocent,

I am Goddess,

I am God.

I am an unborn child.

I am a dying mother.

I am the blood from your wound.

I am living with you,

I am dying because of you.

(James Balzer, age 14)




To know

If there’s a ghetto

In heaven.

(Troy Williams, age 16)




An easy clean-up

on the cold linoleum floor

after igniting my spark

on the bathroom’s cool squares.

All it takes

is a Kleenex

to roll away my passion

and headstrong lust.

I feel empty.

Have I betrayed

God or

just myself?

(Todd VanDerWerff, age 17)




Just because I love darkness

Doesn’t mean I’m depressed

Doesn’t mean I can’t love

Doesn’t mean I’m blind.

Just because I love my Mom

Doesn’t mean I’m not a rebel

Doesn’t mean I can’t love others

Doesn’t mean I’m a mama’s boy.

Just because I act psycho

Doesn’t man I need medication

Doesn’t mean I can’t be compassionate

Doesn’t mean I don’t cry.

(Marcel Mendoza, age 16)



Franco, B. (Ed.). (2000). You hear me? Poems and writing by teenage boys. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.


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