In our Word Warriors program at IYC-Warrenville, we were asked by the facility to work with the youth in extremely small groups, limiting large-group interaction. During this time, Youth L. wrote a poem she called, “Boy I Used To Know.” She shared the poem in a small-group workshop but expressed that she didn’t want to read the piece aloud herself. With her permission, we showed her poem to Youth P., who wrote additional stanzas to expand upon her concept. L. incorporated more of her writing into what P. had provided. The result of this dual collaboration was “My Last Goodbye To You.”

Due to ongoing limitations regarding public presentations, this piece has not been performed as its authors envisioned it. But they would like you to read it. Below is the final piece with L’s text in blue and P’s additions bolded.

When we first met stars collided and so did our hearts,
But we didn’t know how to love, we were both missing important parts
I do not blame you for all the pain I had to bear,
But even if I did I don’t think you’d really care
It’s not that I think your heart is so cold 
It’s just mine is broken and the lies are getting old  

It’s like when you love someone unconditionally
And they make you feel small and grey,
When you give someone everything 
and they throw it all away

I no longer need you to want me, but the love I have for you will stay,
And if you still don’t understand, here’s some explaining, if I may: 

I gave you everything you ever wanted and you played with my heart;
Not only that, but you tore two best friends apart.
How after everything you chose her instead of me,
And she was my best friend – how could you not see?
See that what you did would hurt me in the end,
You couldn’t treat me like a person or even a friend.

What I’m trying to say is –
I once needed you to need me, but now I’m stronger, I can no longer stay
As a woman I cannot downgrade myself like bad critics do good plays.

You will not find me beside you when you need me most each day
You were a lesson I needed to learn – and for that I say “thank you” – I’ve grown in many ways.