Tag Archive | The Teenage Years

Secret Cinderella

With Glasgow Pride coming up next weekend it’s no surprise that this month’s edition of Extra Second is focusing on sexuality. As I’ve been billed to perform I thought I had better get cracking and write some poems on the topic. In this one I travel back in time to the summer of 1974 and recall the day I  started secondary school and the first real stirrings with regards to boys and being aware of being a socially awkward trans teen before I knew the term for it. I’ve given it the title Secret Cinderella, I hope you enjoy the read .

Secret Cinderella

It was the day that Nixon resigned 

and the Bay City Rollers made number one on Radio Clyde 

when I started high school

I tried so hard to fit in and be cool 

it didn’t work 

I wanted skirts not the trousers that were my fate

I hated being made to be a boy 

I couldn’t play the part 

my heart wasn’t in it 

there were limits to my acting skils 

I tried to play football but would sooner hang out with girls 

talk about what really mattered 

make up, boys, and teenage dreams 

the centrefold in that week’s Jackie magazine 

but when you lived in the schemes 

these stirrings had to be calmed if not completely quelled

Catholic or Protestant both guilt trips 

had the same destination 

a one way ticket on the road to hell 

and a child of a mixed marriage would be condemned to it twice 

secretly I would wear tights and dresses 

when nobody else was watching 

well Scotland was a different place back then

where men were men and no boys were ever allowed to cry 

even if denying the truth would have them climbing bedroom walls 

the secret Cinderella’s who never even made it 

to the school disco let alone the ball 

and wouldn’t kiss Prince Charming till their 40’s 

© Gayle Smith 2017


One Of The Girls 

On day 27 of NaPoWriMo I look at teenage memories as made by magazines we read as girls and how what we learned between the covers of our favourite magazine went on to play a significant role  in shaping the women we’ve become.

 I was inspired to write this poem after visiting the Scottish Memories Facebook  group where members chat about what we remember growing up and after chatting to members from various demographics within the group on the topic of childhood games I decided to ask the women of the group what was their magazines of choice growing up. Needless to say I was inundated with comments and it was those comments which helped me to write this poem. 

 On completing the poem I had to find a title for it , and having came up with a few suggestions I  consulted with friends on what the most suitable selection should be. On putting it to the vote, the will of the people  decided that the best and most appropriate title  was One Of The Girls and being a believer in poetry democracy in action that is the title I’m going with. I hope you enjoy the read.  
One Of The Girls 
I was a Jackie girl. 

this was the magazine

 which shaped my formative years 

concerns and fears about not being cool enough for school 

briefly removed as I was transported to a place of dreams 

Donny Osmond would never visit the scheme I lived in 

not even on his tours of Britain 

but his posters adorned my bedroom wall 

and turned it in to shrine for my first crush 

the puppy love who made me realise I was one of the girls 

and made me go funny inside 

I blushed the impure thoughts 

I wasn’t supposed to have 

but could never hide from my mother 

I kept my secret stash of magazines

 hidden under the bed in a box filled with memories 

for older generations of girls 

 titles like  Romeo and Valentine 

reminded them of a more innocent world 

whilst those younger than me 

were caught up in the celebrity culture 

created by top of the pops 

and the weekly chart shows on the radio 

Smash Hits and Number One 

were the best sellers for the girls who just wanted to have fun 

and knew that Madonna sang songs that were made for dancing 

potential Prince Charming’s would need to have cold hard cash 

to be the material girl’s Mr Right 

and the mum’s who were brought up with Judy and Bunty 

were far removed from their daughters reality 

as some in the media expressed disdain 

that the new teens were reading stuff on sexuality 

progressive parents thought it was better 

to know the facts of life 

rather than have pregnancies due to ignorance 

changing times meant changing tastes 

on the magazine rack 

and when More arrived 

Jackie’s days were numbered 

well photo stories couldn’t compete 

with  groundbreaking content like  position of the week

it made some of my teenage reading 

look so meek and mild 

there was no longer a market for  the magazines I grew up with 

and part of my childhood died 

as I became a new woman 

with a taste for company and glamour. 

© Gayle Smith 2017 


On day 23 of NaPoWriMo I take a wander back in to my 1970’s youth and look at the  world of gender roles and how they impacted on me and girls like me who were growing up knowing we were different from the so-called societal norms. Though it would be  easy to look back on those days with the rose coloured glasses of time it would  be a misrepresention of the truth . Trust me in days less liberal than now there were Secrets you had to keep hidden which is why I’ve titled this poem Hidden I hope you enjoy the read. 
Rebel teen 

was never punk 

too much of a boy thing

don’t you know 

loved stage shows and any kind of songs 

except heavy metal rock 

folks would be shocked 

if they knew how much she liked 

summer nights 

 loved grease and wanted to be Sandy

but the beauty school drop out 

was too cool for school 

or the rules that went with it 

she couldn’t cope with limits 

it wasn’t her scene 

though expressing herself as a dancing queen 

was strictly for her bedroom 

with the door firmly locked 

the family would be shocked 

if they saw the  lipsticks and leotards

she kept stashed away 

in secret hiding places 

the boys would blush 

if they saw the smile on her face 

when she thought of them 

but these were less enlightened days 

when Rising Damp and The Walton’s 

were the stuff of teenage television 

ambitions to be different 

were best kept hidden 

or reserved only for the rich 

meanwhile down at the football pitches 

she tried to fit in 

but was never picked for either side 

instead she watched from the back of the goal 

as sweat soaked would be football stars

never knew what she thought of their talents. 

or who she would like to be man of the match.
© Gayle Smith 2017 

Dolls And Boys

Hey Readers

I thought I’d post a poem written in 2007 on the journey through what our parents would call the puppy love years.  You know the time that we probably reach between 2nd and 4th year high school when we have what we see as our first meaningful relationship which our parents would dismiss as a crush It’s a time which we all have to go through with hormones dictating our moods and a time when we find out the value of friendship and who we can and can’t trust with our secrets. It’s a  time when I think we learn more about ourselves and others than at practically any period in our lives.  I’ve given it the title Dolls And Boys I hope you enjoy the read. 

When I was young I mean pre teen.
dolls and boys made up my dreams
no girl I knew could ignore
Barbie and the boy next door

When hormones danced and raged inside
childhood thoughts were brushed aside
because no Barbie could compete
with the bad boy down the street

He offered danger, thrills and mystery
not for him his higher history
he was gorgeous in my eyes
gave me promises and lies

I gladly gave him all I could
my heart my soul my womanhood
I knew his type but didn’t care
he had taken my heart and stripped it bare

but in the end we moved on
my innocence forever gone
the world was mine I’d found my voice
I no longer wanted dolls and boys

@ Gayle Smith 2007

Dress Sense

Hey Readers 

This poem was inspired after a brilliant night of reliving my teens when I attended the final night of Jackie The Musical at Glasgow’s Kings Theatre.

Using poetic liecence I have taken the name of the lead character from the show and indeed the magazine I used to read in those golden days of 1970’s and though tongue in cheek this is more autobiographical than I would ever like to admit. I’ve set it in Glasgow and given my mother the lead voice in a poem which I’ve titled Dress Sense. I hope you enjoy the read.

Dress Sense

Jacqueline I’m not telling you again
you are not going out like that
gold satin jackets
should not be worn with silvery boots
In this kind of outfit nobody
would look cute
if the fashion police arrested you
it would be a fair cop
you look like you’re
on the run from a charity shop
and for goodness sake
I hope you haven’t teamed them up with that black micro mini skirt
and diamond patterned tights
this is not a good look ,
when your going dancing on a Saturday night
trust me Jackie you won’t get a lumber
you’ll only get a dizzy
and his old mobile number
the one he ditched three phones ago
when he wanted to get her off his case
you know the local crackpot
how can you be sure
you’ve hit the jackpot
it’s puppy love
your in your teens
nothing is as good or as bad
as it seems
and watch him by the way
so whatever you do
don’t say hold me close
because while you’ll love to love
he’ll just love to dance
all he wants to do is get in to your pants
Yes I know you think it’s the real thing
but trust me men
bring their own problems to our lives
they just want us to be meek little girlfriends and eventually wives
they are not like us
they don’t understand
yet Tammy Wynette says
stand by your man
but Tammy lives in Tennessee
Not Maryhill
where some of us know
the only frills we will see are on blouses, dresses, or if we’re lucky lingerie
far be it from me to say that your perfect man may not be so perfect after all
I get more sense talking to the wall
than I do talking to your dad
yes I love him but he drives me mad
so if you don’t want a boyfriend
whose a younger version
of guess who
there are certain things you shouldn’t do
like going out dressed like that
now I know you’re in the mood for dancing
but listen up cinders
if you want prince charming
take it from me
young hearts may very well run free
but you’ll have to compromise
on the things you do for love

@ Gayle Smith 2016

White Tights And Mini Skirts

Hey everyone A poem about the teenage years which my good friend Arielle Dale Karro a young American poet of considerable talent says is one with which every woman can identify. I hope this poem written in 2010, illustrates the bonding process which unites all women and girls yes trans girls included as it takes us on a journey through rites of passage we gain through shared emotions and experiences. I’ve titled it White Tights And Mini Skirts. I hope you enjoy the read

White Tights And Mini Skirts

White tights and mini skirts
badly smudged lippy
times when we’ve acted
a little bit dippy
tantrums and hissy fits
mood swings and dreams
becoming a woman
with all that it means

From high school high store
money that’s ours
discovering shopping
has magical powers
going to the dancing
gaining degrees
knowing that boys
make us weak at the knees

pursuing careers
obsessions with diets
music and movies
hormones running riots
moving in to our own place
as we grow stage by stage
from white tights and mini skirts
to coming of age

@ Gayle Smith 2010