Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry

Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry

by Sara Bynoe (Editor)

Paperback(First Edition)

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Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry is the first, the best, and the biggest collection of teen angst poetry ever to be published. Inspired by the popularity of her interactive website, editor Sara Bynoe has compiled the definitive teen angst reader. Divided into 12 categories, including I am Alone and No One Understands My Pain and Obvious Metaphors, this book is for anyone who has ever written truly terrible, meditative, or self-indulgent poetry. Actually, this book is for anyone who survived being a teenager.

All of the poets featured in this collection are now adults, living happy, angst-free lives. However, for this special book, they are willing to reveal excerpts from their old tattered notebooks or leather bound journals. Along with the poems, each poet has included a short introduction, giving background information for each work. As Sara Bynoe says, looking back on teen angst poetry brings people together in a "poetry reading meets stand-up comedy meets AA" sort of way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312334741
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/01/2005
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

23-year-old Sara Bynoe lives in Vancouver, where she is an actress and a recovering teen angst poet.

Read an Excerpt

Teen Angst

A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry

By Sara Bynoe

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2005 Sara Bynoe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-9153-1


Breakups — "I Will Never Love Again" Poems

These were most often written when the authors were devastated because their heart was broken and to save their heart from ever feeling such pain they would vow to "never love again." The poem could be about the end of a three-year relationship with a high school sweetheart, or it could be about someone they barely know, but felt that they really shared something special with. These poems are jaded and betrayed in tone; they are about putting up walls so the authors could cocoon themselves in sorrow. This category also includes poems written about wanting to break up with someone but feeling a struggle in doing so.

Elliot Kyoto Marcus Johnson was my first love. I was in eighth grade. I was thirteen years old and every night, after my parents went to bed, I would call him secretly from the darkness of my room so no one could hear. He said I was his best friend and he had never felt about anyone the way he felt about me. ... Until we went to camp with our middle school and he spent all night at the dance sitting outside talking with my best friend Caitlin. He broke up with me the night before our junior high graduation dance. He was supposed to be my date. He spent all night cuddled up with Caitlin on the couch. Two days later Caitlin said they were going out because "He doesn't like you anymore, and he likes me, so it doesn't help anyone if I don't go out with him." Thank you very much Caitlin Keeley. I was sure my heart would never heal again. So I wrote him this song ...

Telephone Song


(A pleading ballad to Elliot Johnson)

Verse 1

I thought our love would last forever,
In time.
Because my love was as a friend,
To you.
And now I wonder if you ever felt this way,
But in my mind I know you used to.


So what happened
To the long nights,
On the telephone,
Making wishes on the stars that shone,
But never quite as bright
As our friendship did those nights,
I remember ...
Why don't you?
IeeeeeeeI remember you. Ohhhhho You.

Verse 2

You let me search your soul
And I let you search mine.
It was amazing the great solace we could find.
And now I wonder how it is you let it die?
But I have to believe you wanted to try ...


So what happened
To the long nights,
On the telephone,
Making wishes on the stars that shone,
But never quite as bright
As our friendship did those nights,
I remember ...
Why don't you?

IeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeI remember you! Ohhhhhhho You!
I remember youhoooooeeeeeeoooo Ah! I remember
Youhohoooo oowooowooowooowhoo ...
Why don't ... Youwhoooooooh?

The junior high graduation dance (betrayal night) was not my last heartbreak at the hands of Elliot Johnson. On my summer vacation that year I went on a road trip across the Maritimes with my parents which was sooooo lame. So I spent most of my time listening to the Cranberries No Need to Argue album on my Walkman, crying, and thinking about how it was possible that Elliot Johnson didn't love me anymore. Picturing him slow-dancing in HER arms. So, I wrote a letter. I poured my heart and soul into a thirteen-page, handwritten, tear-stained letter telling him how much he hurt me and asking him how this could have happened. How Elliot? How? Two days after I returned home from Nova Scotia I got a call from one of Elliot's friends, a dirty big-pant-wearing jerk whom I hated, and he quoted back to me all the lines from my letter that he thought were the funniest.

Elliot had given his friends my letter to laugh at. I think I felt my heart die.

Rot and Die.

So ... I wrote him this song.



Verse 1

When you trust somebody
More than anybody
It feels good (Bum Ba Ba dabada)
Feels gooooowood.

When you tell somebody
More than anybody
It's secure (Bum Ba Ba dabada)
Secure ...


Then he takes your heart and he runs away,
And you need him more than you could ever say, And you want to tell him,
What he did to your day,
But he's gone, he's gone, he goooooone away.

And your (Bum Ba Ba dabada)
Hurting ...
Yes yooooour (Bum Ba Ba dabada)

Verse 2

Then he takes your writings
And he puts them up
On the walls (Bum Ba Ba dabada)
It's not fair
And he makes you wonder
If he ever gave a damn at all (Bum Ba Ba dabada) Could Heeeeeeeeeeeee?


When he takes your heart and he runs away,
And you need him more than you could ever say, And you want to tell him,
What he did to your day,
But he's gone, he's gone, he goooooone away
And your (Bum Ba Ba dabada)
Hurting ...
Yes yooooour (Bum Ba Ba dabada)

Note: A few years later Elliot and I became friends again, he really liked me and felt terrible about what he'd done, but I was over it and one night when he was at my birthday party someone asked me to sing so I played all the songs I'd ever written about him for the whole party and boy did he ever shrink in his seat! Don't mess with a girl with a guitar my dear! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Written at age sixteen, after the loss of my first love, who I refused to commit to exclusively. He dumped my sorry ass after a four-month relationship. At first, I didn't take him seriously. We broke up and made up more times than I can remember, although, at the time, I did keep tabs on my wall calendar. This time was the last time, and when reality hit, it was not only surprising, but also shocking. It felt as if my heart had taken a leap out of my chest off of a twenty-story building and smashed into a zillion pieces, and no amount of glue could ever repair or hold it together ever again. I didn't realize that I was so into this guy until it was too late. I actually had collected a small vile of my blood, so I could write it out in blood with my calligraphy pen (fun with bodily fluids, he, he), but when I told him, he said he'd rather just take the vile of blood instead, and have the poem in ink. I wonder what he did with it?! Do you think he had some sort of a plan involving a voodoo doll that looks like me?

Broken Love Misery


I bleed for you,
From my heart,
I bleed for love,
I can't part.

I bleed for memories so sweet,
I can still taste,
Please forgive my heart that cheat,
I bleed for that with every beat.

Every night I dream of you,
Thinking you'll come back,
What a sad hope,
I fear the truth I lack.

How do I let go,
I've been trying,
Pain is all I know,
My eyes are crying.

Don't forget the day,
You burn this candle,
You're in my heart to stay,
You're more than I can handle.

I believe this was written during or after a breakup with one of many very, very crazy girlfriends. And we're not talking crazy as in "Oh, you so crazy" we're talking crazy as in "I think we should see other people and by other people I mean you seeing a therapist." This is also a period of time where I see myself as quite the poet; however, because of my attempt to be very deep and mysterious, I now have no idea what I was getting at with this. But it looks like I'm back on the Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana again ... sigh ... I think I use to be a very grumpy and cranky teenager. (Note the word "acme" in the poem is something that was in my word-a-day calendar which, I thought, would make me sound smarter ... it means the highest or most perfect point.)



I have ran out of death
And climbed to the acme
Yet I fall below sea level
Deeper and deeper
With nothing
And no one
The blackness grows
And is becoming great
To a new high
That is lower than
It all
I will kill if I do not satisfy these
Angers with pleasures
I don't know how but I
Will still fall
With nothing
And no one
Only darkness pouring
Into my heart like a
Winter chill
Help me

I did date the subject of this poem. For about two weeks in grade nine. Our relationship consisted of French-kissing, sloppily, behind the school at lunch. Sometimes after school, too, but never for too long because I had to make sure I was on that big yellow school bus on time. But from the words I chose, you'd think it was my one and only soul mate I was pining for! You see, he told me he loved me within the first week and then the following week he broke up with me — at the time, it was the greatest tragedy of opposites I had ever experienced! It was also one of my first encounters with those three little words that can light up your life or make for the best of high drama. Truth be told, the distance I mentioned in the poem, amounted to (maybe) twenty city blocks. And in reality, we never actually went out together outside of school. But in that moment, in those two weeks — he was Romeo. Which I suppose made me Juliet. Of course, at that point in my life I hadn't read the play yet — so there was no way I could have known at the time that this breakup was, in fact, not such a bad thing after all. Twelve years and reading some Shakespeare can really help put things in perspective.

Love doesn't just go away


October 1991

How happy was I?

More than you could ever know.

Life was a dream when I was with you —
What you told me,
I couldn't believe,
No matter what I wanted to hear,
I couldn't believe.
Was it true? ... maybe ...
Now I'll never know.
When you left, you took my heart —
It didn't feel right, we let the distance get the best of us,
All that time without you, I still cared.
Listening to an old record,
Looking out my window,
The words fill my ears and tears sting my eyes ...
Love Never Dies
Over and over, dancing on my soul, reminding me of better days,
When I smiled, when I laughed,
And I was truly happy with you ... did you lie to me?
Did you lie to yourself when you told me?
I know you would never hurt me (or would you?)
But I don't see, I don't understand — if what you said was true
Love doesn't just go away
Love never dies — true love can never fade!
I was so happy.
More than you could ever know.

Oh! The lovesick teen puts pen to paper! It's funny; as I read it over, it almost sounds, in some places, as though this poem was written for someone I had a relationship with at some point. Like maybe I'm looking back on a love lost, reflecting on the blissful beauty that was present in my life for a time. Nope. Not only did I never date this particular boy, I don't think I ever spoke to him. We may have had to interact during a class discussion at one point or another, but there was nothing more to it than that. I should have called this poem "Ode to a Two Week Crush." Because that was the long, and very short of it.

Love ... but only in my dreams



Darkness falls and I see your face in my mind,
Eyes that sparkle when you smile, a look so kind,
From outside, the light of a tired moon creeps through my window,
I gaze out at the night so black, and I know,
That you're out there somewhere, although I can't see,
And maybe, just maybe, you're thinking of me.
I pull down the shade, and turn to my bed,
Your handsome face dominates thoughts in my head,
A wishful mind, the memories run,
Of the times we laughed in the light of the sun,
In my mind, my dreams, and only there,
Is where I know you really care.
With the rising of the sun comes dawn,
And my dreams of love with you are gone,
Swept away and reality looks me in the eye,
I see my wishes are in vain and begin to cry,
Or are they? Only you know,
I wish you would let your true feelings show,
But I don't know how you feel and for now that means,
I have love ... but only in my dreams.

I don't know if I even dated the person I wrote this poem for/about ... because I can't remember for sure who I wrote it about. We might have dated ... or it might have been about a girl I had a crush on before I realized I was gay and came out of the closet. But it was my attempt at a rhyming poem.



I used to be the apple of your eye
But now it seems I'm just a sty
I can't say I miss your love
It must of been a sign from above
I've got to move on to better things
What we had I guess it was just a fling
So say goodbye to days of old
Because our blooming love has turned to mold

She would probably disagree if you asked her now. But good luck finding her, I never saw her again.

Nevertheless, it was true. At the precise moment, on that April evening around midnight, when she spoke those three ill-toned words, a clap of thunder struck.

"We are over!" echoed in my ears as the sky broke open with preemptive tears.

I stood stunned, mouth gaping.

Should I have known this was coming? Some might say yes, some not. The truth was I had no idea. For in fact over the last six months I had been falling deeper and deeper in love.

But there I stood at the threshold of my parents' house getting soaked as she disappeared into her dad's banana-yellow Corvette.

I hadn't even uttered a word, not even a plea to wait. It was too late. She was gone in a flash, and I was left with Nature's cleanser — the rain. That space beneath my chest ached as if slashed by the sword of a samurai. There was nothing left to do, but wander. Yes, right then. Maybe you, too, have been in that precise place before — a good wander can heal many a cut.

And that was when the words to the poem flowed, with my tears.

Unicorn Pain II


June 1993

Deep gray holes of white
Envelop the half-moonlit sky.
Desperate needs drain my might.
Can our love overcome such a lie?

Is this blackest night to die?
Recede calm waters of blue
As salty drops erode our tie,
And hearts of unicorns shape our hue.

Contorted mass lies the carcass soul,
As distant days part our ways,
Yet throbbing sentiments take a toll.
And continues the tortured, twisted maze.

Return though our spirits must,
To accept the ultimate trust.
Other worldly steps on your soul,
May our love mark this six-foot hole.

This poem wasn't written with anyone in mind (that I can remember, at least). I never felt like I really needed someone to grow. I just needed them to have fun or feel accepted. But I grew without the aid of others. I think that the last few lines may have been something I originally called "the bridge." I still don't really know what a bridge is, but I knew then, and am still aware of the fact, that famous songwriters use them to "mix things up a bit." Perhaps that's what I was trying to do with this poem, mix things up a little bit, get away from the ABAB rhyme scheme, and write a hit song. Or, at least, the lyrics to a hit song. I'm sure ...

Hey — a study in awkwardness


Hey, why did you leave me?
Hey, why did you go?
Yeah, you fucking deceived me!
I needed you to grow!
Asshole, come back,
I guess I loved you.
I needed someone.
That someone was you.
You, you made my dreams come true.
Then you ...
Then you left me.
Now I'm alone and afraid of the dark,
Hey, asshole, you sure left your mark.
Yeah, you fucking deceived me!
I needed you to grow!
So you listened to her?
Why should I care?
Now I'm alone and afraid of the dark.
Yeah, you fucking deceived me!
I needed you to grow!
As I lay and stare ahead.
The demons of revenge dance in my head.
But instead I'll beg and plead.
Help you overcome your fear and greed.
Hey, why did you leave me?
Hey, why did you go?

I wrote this poem shortly after a brief but tumultuous relationship with a hockey player named Kelly. He was short, blond, and had terrible body odor. I think the only reason I dated him in the first place was because he was a grade older than I, and I was awfully impressed with myself for having attracted an "older man." Several days after our breakup, I started seeing Kelly's best friend Ryan, whom I thought to be extremely attractive. It was quite the scandal ... but I really should have known better. ...

Portrait of a Player


September 21, 1999

Before, I never saw you,
never knew who you were,
never saw through all the lies,
the gifts, of our love I was so sure.

I was wrapped in the illusion,
thought he saw the inner me,
he made me feel so special,
but it could never be.

His eyes had always lingered,
on my body for too long,
I knew but I denied it,
I just listened to our song.

My fears would drift away,
with his lips against my skin,
but I'll never be so stupid,
as I was to be with him.

Now it is all over,
he's got her on his arm,
just because I wouldn't fuck him,
oh, I'd love to do him harm!

Little does she know,
how he plays the game,
he only wants to screw her,
and then make her feel ashamed.

I really am not bitter,
best wishes to him I send.
I just hope he doesn't mind
that I'm dating his best friend!

As you can see, things didn't work out with Ryan either (see Christine's poem "Portrait of a Player"). Our relationship lasted maybe a couple weeks, and I'm pretty sure he never asked me out in the first place. ... So it may very well have been an imaginary relationship. At the time, I considered him the great love of my life, and after losing him, resigned myself to eternal spinsterhood.



November 7, 1999

I gave you all I had inside,
I held your hand,
I helped you fly,
I gave you pleasure,
you gave me pain,
you told me lies,
but never again.
We're through with laughter,
we're through with love,
I'm through with you,
and that's because,
you broke my heart,
you left my side,
to be with her,
you let me die.
My heart was empty,
but now it's full,
I don't need you,
or the tricks you pull,
I don't need hurt,
I don't need pain,
I can be myself again.


Excerpted from Teen Angst by Sara Bynoe. Copyright © 2005 Sara Bynoe. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Categories for the Poems Include:

* Breakups—"I Will Never Love Again" Poems

* More Than Like—Love Poems

* I Am Alone—and No One Understands My Pain Poems

* Obvious Metaphors—Life Is a Mountain, a Road . . .

* School (Poems About Cliques and Math Class)

* Life Sucks and I Want to Die Poems

* Political Action: Fight the Power Poems

* Odes—To Famous People That Felt Your Pain Like Kurt Cobain

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Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
kanata on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I fully confess that I am the dubious owner of a thick black book full of angst ridden poetry from my younger days. This book brought that all back and made me laugh at how serious I used to be. A relatively slim volume filled with poems about love, life, death and the other oh-so-important subjects that plague teens it is a fun read. I did cringe at a few points as it reminded me how unoriginal I was even though at the time I thought that I was the only one who ever felt that way! It was great to see others thought the same and that as adults we can laugh at the turmoil we were in back then. The only negative points I had was that I felt a little too old to relate to the specific posts surrounding famous people or sexual activity (I swear we weren't as active when we were that age - thus probably illustrating further denial on my part)as these were mostly written by people still in school in the 90's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a former teen angst poetry writer, I was falling out of my chair laughing at this book. I could almost see my own horrible poems on the pages with the others. With hilarious chapter headings and some really great (not quality, but great for entertainment value) poetry, this is a fun read for anyone who's safely out of their teen years but doesn't mind a peek back into them!