An Essay From Dorianne Laux

I wish Teenage Wasteland Review had been around when I was a young person. I loved reading and writing. I  read books under the covers, late into the night, made delirious with language, lost in the stories, the characters, the cultures, the cities and countries I had never been to, books like maps open across my knees. I loved art and music and poetry.  What was my place in the world? A girl like me?

I found myself inside every book I read. Books grew me, shaped me, consoled me, excited me, condemned me, resurrected me, unveiled me, looked back at me. What is a teenager? Not child, not yet man or woman. In between human, caught in the web of becoming.

The title of the on-line magazine, Teenage Wasteland Review, comes from the Pete Townsend song that belonged to a generation that no longer exists, those who listened to it having grown up and into what they would become. It’s now the theme song to CSI NY where many of your generation may have heard it for the first time, Googled it on your iphones and listened to the words as if they were new. And they are.

Let your poems be a testament to your questions, to your wanderings and ponderings, to your life and times. Tell us what it’s like to be you, living in your house, on your street, in your town, on your terms, among your people. What it’s like to live on one of the four arms of the galaxy we call the Milky Way, that octopus of gas and dust, planets and stars, a minor arm we call Orion, in one of many galaxies that make up a universe by which we are mystified and on which we muse.

Be you, that swirl of dust shaped into your own particular person, with your humor, your wit, your blankets of sorrow and joy, your strangely shaped feet and five-fingered hands, your bonfire nights and garage bands, your rings and tattoos and bugaboos, your attitudes.

Give us everything you have, we can take it, we want it, we crave it, your truth, your afternoons in Duluth, your worries and fears, your bucket of water filled with the moon you shatter over and over with a stone, alone with your own name under your tongue like a peach pit.

Tell us of your companions and the canyons of your dreams, your torn shirt seams, your tennis shoes. Give us a clue to what resides in your heart, your belly, your mind. Write to us and we’ll answer. Call out, give us your address, give us your best, and we’ll hold you and read you. We need you. Give us a home. Make of your life a poem. We’ll find you.