Angst and Adverbs

Ah, teenagers, let them be true

To one another! for the world which seems

To lie before the high school creative

Writing club’s open mic night

Has neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.


They are depressing creatures

Reading depressing odes

To depressing topics.

They scratch at scars that never felt a wound

And do it in pretentiously elegiac terms.

So many of them waking up next to pillows

Where someone’s head used to lay.

So many fractured fairy tales

With broken endings

Written from the seeds

Of worst-case scenarios.


They begin with ritual apologies and

Carefully practiced acts of modesty before

A lot of gratuitous throat-clearing.

They start slowly





Reflects passion

And intensity.


Nobody in their stories ever does much of anything,

But everybody does everything in very specific ways.

“He brushed his teeth quickly, he showered hastily,

And then he dressed frantically.”

The paradox of trying to describe speed.

He brushed.  He showered.  He dressed.

Rely on the rhythm.

Let the syntax speak for itself.


By the end of the night, I feel like

I am standing on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where aspiring young students come to write

Their tales of never was there more woe.


But I am calm tonight.

Despite the grating roar of so many

Egregious displays of awful writing,

It is beautiful to see them being written

And to hear them being shared.