Home > Spoken Word & Poetry > Child of a Teenage Mother

Child of a Teenage Mother

My hands tell the story of my life
Lotions and moisturizers can’t smooth
the lines and wrinkles deepened by 36 years
When I was just days old
Still high yella from no sun exposure
My pinky stayed wrapped around my mother’s
She grew up faster than her peers
She was young, 15 years
Old enough to have hands not much bigger than mine at the time

I’ve been told that once she laid me down to sleep
I twisted and turned until I fell from the sheets
Nobody thought to look for me
But there I was, beneath the bed
Sound asleep, hands tucked under my head
I had to be tough
I was a child of a teenage mother

At the age of 13 I learned that life was real
My hands hardened and callused from working in cotton fields
Jumping out of bed at 5am and choosing my first row
Mista Charlie looked in my direction and said I was good with a hoe
I hated the ignorance oozing from his words
But that was something I dared not say
I knew if I did as my Granny did Mista Charlie wouldn’t dock my pay

So with my hoe in my hand that was much taller than me
I shook the morning dew from my pant legs
And dusted red clay from my knees
Bent over and groaning
I needed both hands to pull up the weeds
My Granny would say “watch your back, child, please”
I was focused and I wrecked havoc on those rows
Because I needed to buy school clothes
I learned how to work
I was a child of a teenage mother

As a woman I don’t deal with piss pots, slop buckets and chopping cotton
Our little red house with 3 rooms and a tin roof I’ve almost forgotten
I still work with my hands when I feel like it
But I mostly use my head
I use my hands to write poetry and cradle my niece and nephews instead
I’ve come so far even though
I was a child of a teenage mother

  1. July 29, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    I say damn! I say damn this is real good it’s deep, it’s sad and inspiring. It may explain the story of your life but it also explains the stories of our ancestors who were teenage mothers working in the cotton fields while the evil shadows of Mista Charliw watched over them. In today’s times you have teenage mothers who are working hard to provide for their babies. These teenage mothers also have the modern day Mista Charlies at the fast foods, and department stores watching over them with ignorant and perverted eyes. I say damn this is what the youngsters and former teenage mothers need to hear.

    If they read this they might not understand it at first. However, if they hear it in a performance it will touch them deeply. It will touch the mothers who made it through adversity, finger points, and negativity. If the children of those teenage mothers stood the test of time and went on to be successful on their journey by fighting off Mista Charlies, and every ignorant individual out there it would make them cry.

    Ok, last thing get this thing memorized and let it bang!!!!

    • August 2, 2010 at 11:34 AM


      There’s always a Mista Charlie around when you’re trying to make it. He could come in the form of limited finances, abusive relationships, ignorant people or a lack of education but we have no control over who our mothers and grandmothers are. Most try to do the best they can with what they have. We should be appreciative that they gave birth to us so we have a chance at doing better, knowing better and being better. Don’t let your circumstances determine who you are in life! I’m just saying…

  2. Hoodboi
    August 2, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Hot like fiya!! This is what’s up….you da b’ness you know that right? This is AWESOME…you be painting pictures like J.J.

  3. August 2, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Hey, CHuc,
    I like your work and would like to see what you write to go farther (if I can help). I have an online writer’s community that I am heading up. Fresh off the ground. I’ve invited Trent Griffin to post, now I am inviting you. I will include your link on the page for people to go to. Look at it, and tell me what you think.

    Keep up the excellent work!

    • August 3, 2010 at 7:36 AM

      Hi Keisha,

      Thanks for checking out my work. An online writer’s community sounds great! I will check it out and get back to you soon. I assume it’s word-xpress.com?

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