POETS 'N' WANNABES . . .
A Bulletin Board for Teen Poets
My hair is gone!
My gorgeous, golden, strokeable hair--
it's gone! I'm shaved to the scalp
to make Angie feel better.
Five of us are look-alikes now,
indistinguishable from the rear but for
ears that protrude like naked
I hope Angie gets through chemo.
I hope she feels better
now that we've all lost our hair.
I wish I did.
Submitted by Sara4348 <Thurs. Sept. 19 4:42PM>
POETS 'N' WANNABES
[8 in room]
Wesley: yeah, sintax--but that first line sets up the poem--it's the second one (**GAG**) best to chop it!
Sintax: golden and gorjus???? Ok dude totally clishay
Carol16: But doesn't that let you know what a disaster??? If she'd said "my rats nest head of stringy hair is gone" we'd think "good riddance, about time!!!"
Cattlecall: hey, you guys, did four people get shaved or five--do you count Angie?--your confusin' me, Sara
Wesley: CC, you bean-counter, what does it matter? Better try scanning that long line in the middle--sheesh! Talk about jarring rhythm!
Robcruise99: It's a good poem. I like it.
MelodyV: HUH? . . . YOU DO? I might like it but for the word choice--naked pink knobs--why a loaded word like naked??? And protrude? Ugly. So NOT a great image!
Robcruise99: I like it the way it is. Especially the ending.
Sintax: you go for naked, huh, and all that strokeable hair??? (lol) having a little fantisy there, Rob?
Robcruise99: This is sick. I'm out of here.
Sent: Friday, September 20 4:28PM
Subj: "The Sacrifice"
The bulletin board doesn't print addresses, but I think they'll forward this to you. No big message. I just wanted to tell you that I like your poem. It's real, and it's honest. Forget those piranhas. They don't want poems. They just want victims.
If you feel like sending a poem or a comment to somebody who couldn't care less about "jarring rhythm," my address is Robcruise99@yahoo.com. Don't worry. I'm weird, but I'm not dangerous. And I won't send you spam.
Sent: Saturday, September 21 2:20PM
Subj: Trashing Sara
Hi, Rob, if that's your name. Your email kept me from leaping off the chapel roof. Which I was considering. Not because my poem was treated like roadkill, but because nobody so much as mentioned cancer. What about content? Doesn't anybody care where a poem came from? Or what inspired it?
Anyway, thanks for liking "The Sacrifice"--and for saying so.
Sent: Sunday, September 22 4:08PM
One question, Sara-Four-Thousand-Three-Hundred-and-Forty-Eight. Did you really get your head shaved? I mean, you don't have to be dying to write a poem about a dying person. It's none of my business, but I'm curious. Are you really a skinhead?
Sent: Sunday, September 22 7:29PM
Subj: An answer for "Curious"
Yes, for now I'm a skinhead. If I had a scanner, I'd send proof. And you may continue to call me that--if you don't value your front teeth.
You want the rest of the story? Three of us went straight to a picture booth at the mall after the barber's--all except Jessie, who was by then catatonic over what she'd done. We were scared to go home, so we cried our eyes out over a plate of hot potato skins first. (I was crying for Angie as much as myself. Her cancer is stage III and she's my best friend.)
Sent: Monday, September 23 4:05PM
Subj: Your poem
Quick, check the bulletin board! Six more responses--all good. Okay, the one from ShebaQ is a little strange. But she loved the poem--said so three times--even if she's "crying all over her keyboard."
None of your new fans (except ShebaQ) say much about the cancer. No surprise. It's hard to talk about without sounding dumb. I just wrote, "Angie's lucky to have friends like you." Then I deleted it. Angie, lucky? With cancer? See what I mean?
But congratulations! You and your friends are now my all-time favorite skinheads. You knocked my neighbor Roger out of the number-one spot. (Roger has a Confederate flag and an alligator tattooed on his bare scalp. Pretty smart for a skinhead. If he lets his hair grow, the tattoos disappear.)
I just checked the board again. Piranha time. When they start by calling your poem "charming," you know they're getting ready to rip out your liver. But the score is still 6-1. And it's still a good poem, no matter what some "wannabe" says.
Monday, September 23 8:10PM
Subj: Thanks, but no thanks to any more BB
I checked the critiques again and admit I felt slightly better--for about two minutes. Then I got to MelodyV's and Wesley's latest comments. They're still feasting on me. (They'd make a good pair, wouldn't they? Picture them reading Longfellow and Kipling by the fire--nothing jarring and, please, nothing naked.) You may be weird, Rob, but at least you're living in the real world, where kids mourn and go off and shave their heads.
Actually, you don't sound all that weird. And curious is good, unless you're a cat who loves tight places.
Guess what? I'm curious, too. And suddenly I'm thinking you must be a teacher-host . . . or you'd be trashing my poem like some of the others. (Teachers have to be supportive, you know? It's in their contracts.)
So write back and come clean. Are you one?
Sent: Tuesday, September 24 4:03PM
Subj: Thanks for the laugh
Me--a teacher? That cracked me up.
You're sneaky, Sara. You start out by being nice, saying I don't sound so weird. Then you turn around and ask if I'm a teacher. You know how to hurt a guy.
Sent: Wednesday, September 25 4:04PM
Subj: Another question
I just read your first e-mail again. You said I saved you from leaping off the chapel roof. Not a cliff or a bridge or a water tower. A chapel roof. Made me wonder. Do you go to one of those church schools? I can see it all now--you with your bald head in your blue-and-white uniform.
--Curious (Nosy) Rob
Sent: Wednesday, September 25 5:22PM
Subj: Me-me-me talk
Church school? No way. I live on a mellow old army post where my dad's the colonel. If you want to know where I'm from, I'm happy to give you the skinny: I'm from the military. I've lived all over the world.
But this year I'm lucky. I go to a regular school, even though I live on the post. The chapel roof happens to be the highest point above the parade ground. I've been up there, way up in the belfry. It's the perfect hideout. (But don't tell. Sometimes I don't want to be found.)
Good news! My scalp is starting to feel fuzzy. Whoopeeeeeee! I won't have to wear my Winter Olympics beret forever. Even better news--Angie gets her wig tomorrow. Jessie, our other friend, has done a full 180 and says she doesn't plan to cover up at all. She'd rather catch cold.
I keep trying to imagine who you are and what you look like. (Hope you're not bald.)
Sent: Thursday, September 26 4:02PM
Subj: Re: Me-me-me talk
You're getting to be my favorite poet. I really liked that line "Sometimes I don't want to be found." That's a whole poem in one sentence. I mean it. Take a look:
See? It works. But don't feed it to the piranhas.
Sent: Friday, September 27 10:08PM
Subj: A Friday slice of my life
I like what you did, turning my sentence into a poem. Nice! (Sure you're not a teacher?)
At dinner tonight I tried telling my folks I was writing to someone tres interesting online. I got hit with so many questions, I stuck my fingers in my ears. (Not a well-thought-out move.) Dad, who wrote the manual on insubordination, got so mad he started to yell. I yelled back, "But you never listen!" Then he called me a smartmouth. In the end, Mom shushed us both and I stomped up to my room. I totally lost out on dessert: "Chocolate chunks crashing into creamy coffee ice cream." So much for sharing, huh?
Guess what happens a week from next Friday? I, Sara Whatzerface, am turning sixteen. I got my Utah permit six months ago, so now I'm up for the actual driving part. Dad says I'm scaring all the dogs on the post. (Verrrry funny!) But it's Mom who's missing bridge to drive with me. She'll be the one celebrating.
(Uh-oh, things are suddenly very quiet around here. Mom and Dad must be asleep. Stand by . . . I'm gonna sneak downstairs and have a dish of that ice cream!)
From the Hardcover edition.