Blog Post

Repaying the Friendship

Being from small town Iowa, I often found poetry was not something taught in English class. I enjoyed writing it, as all self-loathing teenagers do. I wrote something down as soon as it came into my head and then I would drop it. I figured whatever I had written was out of my head and should be left in the past. I had poem writing down, abab rhyming format, occasionally a free-verse, it was the perfect way for me to get rid of all the feelings I had bottled up inside of me.

I figured all of these poems were in the past, until one day when talking about the work I was doing on the Coe Review, my sister pulled out a stack of poems. Apparently she had picked up a lot of my teenage angst poems and received the rest from friends and classmates. The poems I had long forgotten were now there for my viewing pleasure.

Some of them were just plain awful. I cannot even describe how many times I used horrible rhymes to convey my “feelings.” At the time, I truly believed that a few of them might have been good. However, reading poetry throughout this semester has made me realize there was only one worth noting. It did not rhyme, thank goodness, and it was not about feelings I thought I had for some stupid jock that really “liked” me.

I looked at that poem again today and thought back to who I was when I had written it. A teenage girl who had almost lost her two cousins in a car accident on a gravel road. I thought back to all of the close calls that every kid at my high school told but couldn’t joke about because they were still grateful to be alive. I think back to all the friends and family I have lost since then and I feel as if this one poem describes it all.
We were a bunch of stupid kids,
With stupid cars,
Who could never repay,
That old gravel road,
That let us live.
I was that teen that thought she could write poetry. Never claimed to be good, definitely wasn’t, but I know I succeeded. I made it through those awful years of high school by throwing away all the words that kept me down and even if I only came up with one worth keeping, I know that poetry helped me more than any friend could have.
This semester at the Coe Review has given me the chance to learn so much about poetry and I couldn’t think of a better way to repay the years of friendship poetry has given me.
-Marissa Bouska
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