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Thank You for the Cages This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

There was once a time
When there were no cages.

Society said I was too smart,
And led me down a sticky-sweet road
Into gleefully agreeing to be chained
To kids I didn’t know,
Who had already sewn together
Friendships and cliques
And I was an awkward, missing button.
Intelligence.
Thank you for the cage.

It was once wonderful
To be strong and unique,
To live in my own way.

Society injected the wicked serum
Of sameness
Into the students pulsing toward middle school
I was quarantined, and stayed different.
I didn’t want the sameness
Until it was too late.
Once again alone.
Uniqueness.
Thank you for the cage.

I was once free to frolic
To play, and enjoy all things movement.

Society snapped up the kids,
All but me, the odd one out,
And sorted then like packages
Into endless rounds of sports,
Demanding and competitive.
I was thrown into the group
Of the few kids who hadn’t chosen sports
At age seven
Because I simply hadn’t wanted to.
And now it was too late.
Individuality.
Thank you for the cage.

I once felt the joy of difference,
Tasted the nectar of being admired and different.


My un-sameness attracted attention,
Earning me friends and enjoyment.
But my weirdness became repetitive and annoying,
An old sideshow everyone’s already seen
And moved on to the next novelty,
Leaving me alone with my new identity
And no friends.
Small ways to vent my wayward thoughts
Could not replace the companions I thought were mine.
Creativity.
Thank you for the cage.

I had no choice but to be alone.
But I learned to enjoy it.
I soon learned that this was acceptable.

Isolation, any weak ties to others severed,
A lone, roaming island.
I relished my freedom, my flexibility
Which so many others seemed to crave.
I accepted my lone wolf status.
Others did not.
“People are talking behind your back”.


I scraped some adequate social behavior from the bottom
Of a box of nuts and bolts,
People who had been rejected like me,
But not for my reasons,
For I was still a misfit among the forgotten.
I was restricted, and still no happier.

Because there is no one.
Because I was the one who stepped into
The cages I was given

Society, thank you for the cages.
Now I just need the keys
Probably twirling lazily on the finger
Of someone who doesn’t exist,
And not a person in the world
Will help me find it
Because I am
My own person
And all that gets me is a lot of cages.




Join the Discussion


This article has 15 comments. Post your own!

PurpleBrass3rdThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 1:48 pm:
This is really great! I love how deep this is! Maybe you could take a look at my work!
 
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AmaranthiniumThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 8 at 12:17 pm:
This is a lovely poem - I think it deserves to get in the magazine, haha. I've spent a lot of time feeling "caged" by other people judging me for what makes me different, even feeling like an outsider - I think a lot of people, especially us quirky writers, feel this way sometimes. It's very relatable and I love all the figurative language. Keep on writing! 
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 9 at 5:21 pm :
Thank you!! ;)
 
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haley101This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 27 at 9:54 am:
i absolutly love this!!! and the phrase, twirling off the finger of someone who doesn't exist... great phrase. one of my favoriates :)  
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 27 at 6:22 pm :
Haha, Thank you!!
 
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LiraDaerisThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 2 at 5:14 pm:
Lovelily sarcastic. Yes, I just made up a word. Perhaps it isn't in the dictionary, but oh well. Poetic license. I have dealt with this immensely and you put it quite well. And you reinspired my series I had on hiatus. Artists have the hardest time in the school systems, especially when going off to college when GPA is all that matters. Keep on writing- the walls of cages give you something to bounce off of!
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 2 at 6:49 pm :
Lol thank you!!!
 
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JRayeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 11 at 1:36 pm:
This is just beautiful! I can totally relate, this spells out exactly what middle school - and the world - is like. Definetly Editors Choice worthy :)
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 12 at 8:15 am :
Thank yooooou!
 
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KatsKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 2 at 2:25 pm:
This is amazing. There's so much thought and depth put into this. It took me several read-throughs to really understand it, but I'm really impressed.
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 2 at 6:48 pm :
Really? Thank you!!!
 
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MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 27 at 4:14 pm:
An amazing piece that not only entertains the mind, provokes the human soul, but also intrigue the emotions. It takes a gifted writer to write something well-written as this. A blend of brutal reality and society mixed with a subtle hope for a better future.  
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 28 at 12:21 pm :
Wow.  i'm pretty sure that comment had more thought put in it than the poem itself.  But thank you!
 
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Jetta_WroteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 24 at 2:07 pm:
W-O-W. I really, really, really liked this!! There was so much emotion, and you put a TON of figurative language in it... This is fantastic. I'm honestly surprised it's not in the magazine, to be honest. Did you send this in for the bullying book? You really should... I feel the same way at times. Like that I have friends, but I don't share any of the same interests, and so they often find me "weird." This is... I'm speechless. AMAZING job!!
 
readaholicThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 25 at 5:35 pm :
THANK YOU!  My Gifted and Talented teacher just gushed over it, and I guess she sent it out to some other places that liked it (google it XD).  And I'm not trying to brag, but after all that, I was also surprised that it didn't get in the magazine (Editor's Choice, though, woo!).
 
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