"I Don’t Have to Listen To You”

M. Fennell



The park ranger posted a “no swimming” sign.

Within a month, two swimmers died as they were swept over the waterfall below.


The “nerd” cautioned the “cool” guys not to do their stunts.

One of “cool” guys is now paralyzed below the waist.


The aunt praised the benefits of postponing sexual relations.

The niece now has AIDS.


The girlfriend left her boyfriend over his drug use.

The ex-boyfriend is now dying of Hepatitis.


The mother urged her son to spend time doing school work.

The student is now doing time in prison.


The writer posted these true stories on the wall.

Half of the readers made the same mistakes anyway.


Readers have told me they like this poem because it makes a point, yet doesn't lecture.

All of these are true stories, most of them are people I know personally.


I wrote this originally for my students. Adolescents, especially many today, have a large mental block when it comes to listening to advice, even on the most serious issues. This was the only way I knew how to address that problem.