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3 poems

by Ally Young

Ally Young is an MFA candidate at Syracuse University and an Editor in Chief at Salt Hill Journal. Her work has appeared or is scheduled to appear in The Bennington Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Metatron, Bone Bouquet, and elsewhere. Her chapbook The West and Other Mistakes is available via Dancing Girl Press. She lives primarily on her bicycle and online here:



Her first real gig was at some bad roller rink. 


                             It was then that I realized that         I am nothing    


                                                                               compared to        singing to strangers.             


                                                                                                               Compared to                 aching                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                     over this life.



That night,  I       stopped      like a California fir                alone         


                                                                                in a field    on fire.



But, onstage she had a kind of a breakaway moment.         It was full on         and over-the-top.



            A kind of a combination of us.      


                                                                            This burning life     -                


                                                                                                    no wonder I was scared.       



My cousin, Free and I,          out alone on the lake in the dark.



                    I was a girl but wanted to be          some other kind of animal.



There were sequins.     More than that,   I said,                 


                                                                                 there was   the most extreme light.










I was going on fourteen, and          a        new   kind of a    big deal              


            in      Varsity shorts.             


We had heard about love and so we waited and waited          


            and my friends were getting           after           it      


                                     so we         had a bottle of vodka in the car,



            and we thought             everything  was   everything


                                      and    we were     not    embarrassed        yet.




         I was one of those people who       film            crisis


I was                   all    


                   falling apart.



            I could                 cut all                  my              hair off      



and eat                 a whole      Passionfruit         with            all  of its pits.




At Penn Station   I saw someone    mumbling something             about someplace



I think


           I learned it all      backwards,         


                                                                   I said.

                                                                            Talk to me


                                                                                       I said.                           

                                                                                               I was bad.




I turned sixteen   one night    and my heart       was   mine


                                                                                                     pounding and      shaking.   


I        was already a      half a          star.            And            I was                   always                 free  



                                                                                  but    this was my                  day

                                                                                                                                           in awe.               



What did the whole truth       look like?   This huge            always                                   


                                                                                                         and    all the things.               



I think                 I needed something      blue 

                                                                                 in my heart.                 


                                                                                          I think                I was not    in love       


                                                                                                                     nearly enough.

Author's Note: These poems consist entirely of words and phrases from Cher's memoir The First Time and from my own middle school diaries.

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