TBT: Ragdale High School Arts Week


A memory from less than a month ago, when I had the uplifting and inspiring opportunity to work with young writers during Ragdale Foundation’s High School Arts Week. What follows below comes from their journals.

I’ve Been Told

A Found-ish Ensemble List Poem

I remember sitting in the backseat, looking through night-stained windows, watching fireworks and driving home.

I don’t remember when I became attracted to morbidity, but did you know that butterflies will feed on carrion?

I’d rather not remember biking home from the train station while it was raining.

I’ve been told it was all his fault.

I remember going fishing on Martha’s Vineyard and catching a bull shark.

I don’t remember all the mean things kids used to say on the school bus.

I’d rather not remember making my best friend cry.

I’ve been told the way home took an hour, but back then it was infinite.


I remember losing a Cinderella balloon.

I don’t remember getting there, and I don’t remember leaving.

I’d rather not remember how I almost failed my 5th grade math class.

I’ve been told that I started to learn how to use computers when I was 1 ½ years old.


I remember Mrs. Melton stealing my stuffed armadillo and telling my mother I was too stupid to read at a first-grade level.

I don’t remember my step-grandma’s face.

I’d rather not remember the thoughts I have late at night.

I’ve been told that alcoholics ruin conversations.

I remember the sound of glass breaking.

I don’t remember what we thought was going to happen in the first place.

I’d rather not remember the water-marked ceilings and zigzag cracks.

I’ve been told I made Mrs. Melton’s life a living hell.


I remember the band that made me fall in love with punk rock.

I don’t remember who hit our car.

I’d rather not remember the way my aunt looked at her viewing.

I’ve been told I once poured white house paint all over myself.

I remember picking up bugs to study and examine them.

I don’t remember when my brother was born.

I’d rather not remember the guys before you.

I’ve been told I ruin every good thing I have.


I remember the first time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

I don’t remember vacationing on Jamaica for the first time.

I’d rather not remember the cracking sound that still echoes in my ears.

I’ve been told we would dance around the kitchen like a perfect family.


I remember your middle name.

I don’t remember getting lost while camping.

I’d rather not remember when I was not the one in the hospital bed anymore.

I’ve been told that I’m smart and will go far even if I’m not an athlete.

I remember my English teacher’s beige heels and yellow dress.

I don’t remember where I put my left sock.

I’d rather not remember the blood dripping from your forehead.

I’ve been told to stay alive. ‘Cause I’ll be something someday, if I can only get there first.

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