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  • Falling Hard
  • Edited by Betsy Franco
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780763634377
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Falling Hard

100 Love Poems by Teenagers

Edited by Betsy FrancoAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Betsy Franco

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From an acclaimed anthologist comes this unforgettable collection
of one hundred poems by teenagers, capturing the vertigo-inducing realm of romantic love.

"But what I'll really mean is
are you ready to dive in?
This is not falling,
this is landing."

— From "Gift" by Portia Carryer, age 16

The poets are straight, gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender. They live next door or across an ocean; they are innocent or experienced; their lyric explorations range from new love to stale love, obsession to ennui, ecstasy to heartbreak, and every nuance in between. Whether the romantic escapades described are touching, comical, or tragic, whether the feelings expressed are tender and sweet or brutal and biting, readers will find the love these young poets openly share to be exquisitely, excruciatingly, endlessly fascinating. Here is a collection to turn to again and again, because life and love keep on changing.


Sitting on the porch swing
amidst the sea of suburbia
where cookie-cutter souls
come home every day at 5 to the raised ranch

she strolls on by in her arcane soignée style
playing her saxophone to a haunting melody
so the whole wide world can hear her
her motives, an enigma
yet she charms us all with her sophistication
her difference in this world

how I long to meet her
get whisked away by her song
yet mother says I’m still too infatuated
to cross the street
and far too young for jazz


Tilt the halo over my head
I don’t care what the caution tape read
It’s time to get a little dangerous
Let’s fall in love.

Forget the scriptures, forget the past
Conscience and common sense never last
It’s time to get a little curious
Let’s fall in love.


At work

There’s actually only one thing I care about.
It’s a girl with brown hair and brown eyes
She’s short, she comes up to my shoulders or my chin
Today I was going to ask her a question,
has anyone ever fallen in love with you while you work?
Because, I wanted to tell her, I always fall in love
with girls like you.
She called my name from the other room
I was washing dishes
She asked me if the music was alright,
it was Simon and Garfunkel -- here’s to you Mrs. Robinson.
When she came in, soapy handed I mentioned
that I needed to see The Graduate again
She’d never seen it she said. Who’s in that?
Dustin Hoffman.



I would break you make you
breathe hard for me,
take in more air,
as if I was there to breathe it too.
could survive this journey.
I would score you bleed you
scream you,
find you unwanting, unlacking,
in everything I want.
You are a thesaurus with no
words, book of my heart
and sickened stomach.
I would ask you where you stand,
if I did not know you better
I would say you float:
Your name spells ornate strength.
You are the castle I point for,
gaining power as I go up the clouds,
out of breath:
Keep breathing for me
breathe harder,
take in more air,
as if I was there
to breathe it too.

Lost maps and a few countries later
I could drive under your window,
Couldn’t I?
And ask how have you been have you got enough time
to go for a drive?

But what I’ll really mean is
are you ready to dive in?
This is not falling,
this is landing.


FALLING HARD by Betsy Franco. Copyright © 2008 by Betsy Franco. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Somerville, MA.

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