a portrait of the artist as a young man

Writing has been a part of me ever since I was about ten years old, and I have a collection of notebooks to prove it.

Of course I didn’t call the notebooks diaries, I called them “Gatekeepers.”  Currently, I have about ten volumes of the Gatekeeper in my apartment, which I’m sure will be sold to the highest bidder when I die and everyone finally understands my genius.

But just so you don’t have to wait until then, I have unearthed three true gems from my childhood for your viewing pleasure.

The following literary masterpieces were written when I was about 14 years old.

Can you feel the despair?

Despite the girl leaving me “etched in stone,” I can’t seem to remember her name now.

And what about this other guy who is short and blue?  Was this girl who caused me so much anguish dating a smurf???  Was I really that much of a loser when I was 14 that a smurf beat me?

Yes, I smoked at 14 – I had to, okay?  I was a poet!

I think the best line of this one is “long lines for the bathroom.”  If having to wait a long time to piss doesn’t make you write dark poems about how your vacation sucks, there’s something wrong with you.

Man, did I capture what it must be like to be a tire or what???

Please, though – I know I insist that you “drop your kid and see to the tire,” but don’t ever do that.  Put the kid in the car seat first.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of poems that one day I’m sure will garner millions of dollars from collectors of my works.

Maybe next time I’ll share the one I wrote about rain and how I didn’t care that it was hitting my face because “all I ever wanted was her.”

But that’s only if you’re lucky.

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36 responses to “a portrait of the artist as a young man

  1. Ben


    *snap snap snap snap snap*

  2. *snap snap snap snap snap*.

    Ben’s said it all.

  3. The boardwalk of hate.

    You are a brave soul, my friend. A brave soul.

  4. wow. these were truly amazing poems. i love how everything at age 14 seems like such a dark drama…even waiting in line for the bathroom.

  5. I have to say, you as a 14 year old and a boy, you had some seriously good handwriting. Did you wear all black and sit in your own little corner?

  6. ken

    chris, you were emo before it existed!

  7. OMG! What were you on?
    “Thump-thump”?? That’s the noise of a rolling tire??

    But you were 14. That’s good for a 14-year old, right?

  8. If you ever read the shit that I wrote when I was that age you would have wondered why my parents didn’t have me in some sort of “program” for disturbed teens.

    So. Much. Pain.

  9. deutlich

    You have pretty hand writing.

    But I’m sorry – I couldn’t be moved to read the poetry. I have an adverse reaction to that literary style.

    Aaron thinks I’m a bit weird because of it.

    Oh well.

  10. Matt

    The force is strong with you…

    but what exactly is that doodle on the left side of the page on the last poem…

    It looks like a surf board maybe?

  11. meagank

    We. Are. Twins.

    I once wrote a poem about this boy that I loved, who didn’t notice me. I called him the “whispering willow” — which makes NO sense. But – of course, sounds amazing.

  12. AWESOME. My students wrote some similar ones. I love how distraught 16 year olds can be.

  13. I can’t even handle it, so much pain from a 14 year old! The boardwalk of hate? Love it.

  14. Yep. My mother in law claims she still has a stack of poetry with the same themes that I wrote when I was a teenager, that I let her read (because I met her when I was 16, not because I would have done that as an adult). I’m pretty sure she’s a liar though. God I hope she’s a liar.

  15. It’s Monday and my face hurts from smiling. Thank you.

  16. Chris, good stuff man…i MEAN it. i get where you are with the writing thing. i’ve managed to make myself a half-assed niche out of it with third-rate bukowskiesque poetry (if only my editor would quit fucking up the manuscript and get the book out there). As for the gatekeepers, i have my own collection at home. i call them “the bedwetters diaries,” and, sadly, they’re still going at 34 years old.

  17. the boardwalk of hate is by far the best. not the poem, just the phrase. especially the line break. genius my friend. sheer genius.

  18. I can’t wait for the happy poems.

    Oh these are the happy ones? Let me go grab 62 more drinks.

  19. you are ridic.

    and I refuse to read or listen to poetry unless it’s done in slam style.

  20. Flat Tire just changed my world.

    No, seriously, man, I see things differently now…like, with the perspective of a tire and you know…things.

    Thank you.

  21. you have the same handwriting as my dad…so weird.

  22. Oh my. I used to write this kind of stuff all the time too. I was so very tormented at such a young age! And, I am still FAR too embarrassed to EVER post any of it on the interwebs. Good work.

  23. ben – I feel you man.

    stealth – I’m feeling the love sister!

    melissa – I know! I am not scared of challenges.

    erikka – Right? Our teenage years were so tragic.

    marie – I did? Thanks! And no, but I wish I did.

    ken – Hell yes!

    andy – Yeah, that was the tire I guess. I did start smoking pot right around then…

    kristen – I think you need to post some like I just did.

    deutlich – Thanks, but it’s kinda different now. And I know what you’re saying about poetry, it’s an acquired taste.

    matt – I have no idea, but I like yours, so we’ll say it was a surf board.

    meagan – Hahaha – “whispering willow!” That is awesome.

    miz – Yes, actually I am. How the hell did you figure that out???

    lauren – Life is full of drama for them.

    arielle – Thanks, that seems to be the running favorite. Or running worst one I should say.

    megan – I want to see some.

    heather – Thanks for that comment!

    jay – Hey, I like your stuff – Bukowski is my all time favorite after all.

    jenny – I’m a genius!

    rs – Might want to grab more than that.

    maxie – Slams are pretty awesome for sure.

    kiala – I knew you’d see the deeper meanings in that one.

    sarah – I wonder if his looks like mine now, because mine is slightly different. Also, do you think he has any terrible poems?

    jill – Do it! It’s fun, trust me.

  24. “Gatekeepers” ….ahahahah that’s fantastic!!!!!

  25. This reminds me of a song I wrote when I was younger that I found recently – I think I was trying to write a “party” song in a kinda “AM to PM” by Christina Milian style (which will tell you I was actually IN MY TWENTIES at the time and therefore had no excuse for how DIRE it was). I will have to dig it out again at some point – maybe I should post it on MY blog, lol!

  26. I love the use of onomatopoeia with the “thump-thump” of the flat tire.

    You never cease to amaze me.


    I have to go reflect now. On your amazingness mostly.

  27. haha i love it. i found some of my old writings too when i was packing up my room, yeah those don’t ever need to be shared, haha.

  28. I used to write a lot of poems and so on…mostly teen angst and such. Then one day after reading over some of them I decided to throw them away. I ripped them, shredded them and took them outside to the dumpster. It was incredibly freeing. It was like throwing away all the pain and anger I had felt all those years. I have never once missed them.

    Perhaps someday, I will relive that experience by deleting my blog, but until then…

  29. AHAHAHA you were “Emo” before it was cool and mainstream. You trend setter. I bet you hung out in the basement painting your nails black as well…hahahaha

  30. were you wearing a beret when you wrote these?

    when i look through my old high school journals i cussed a lot, not much has changed

  31. Oh fucking christ I just laughed so hard at this. If there’s anything in the world I love more than making fun of shitty poetry, well, then, God has yet to reveal it to me, I guess. Man. This was brilliant. I am still laughing.

    … and yet still.

    … and even now.

    Seriously. This was awesome. Hahahaha.

  32. JL


    I wrote songs when I was stupid. Then I stopped coz I wasn’t famous by like 17 and started hating the world. Now I’m well adjusted and still hate the world which would mean I’m not really well-adjusted just adjusted to the fact that my hatred for the world won’t stop it from being alive and that only I am in control of the cheese.

    Yup. I said cheese.

  33. High school poetry? You got some big brass ones to spill ’em in public, man.

    Also, I like how the tire introduces itself, because how would you know if he didn’t tell you? Right.

  34. I have horrifying poetry from my early years – maybe I’ll work up the nerve to post it someday haha

    I love the bathroom line angst. New catch phrase?

  35. red

    What I like most about this post is that not only do you and EG share a first name, your writing looks like his.

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