A national LGBTQI+ storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden
featuring a book, event series and an award-winning podcast

A national LGBTQI+ storytelling project curated by Maeve Marsden
featuring a book, event series and award-winning podcast

Chris Brown – Bad Teenage Poetry

Chris has kept all of his teenage diaries. They are full of stories about high school, his first crummy job, girls that he thought that he liked, family arguments, his mum, his strong religious beliefs and him maybe being gay.

Chris Brown grew up in the small coastal suburb of Stockton, in a deeply religious household. Chris works in Community Services as the coordinator of a vibrant and bustling Community Centre. He is a practicing artist and photographer, currently working on a photography project called ‘Intertidal’ which seeks to explore the changing socio-political environment of Newcastle, where he lives.


Hi, I’m Maeve Marsden and you’re listening to Queerstories.

This week, Chris Brown grew up in the small coastal town of Stockton, in a deeply religious household. Chris works in community services and as the coordinator of a vibrant and bustling community centre. He is a practicing artist and photographer, currently working on a photography project called ‘Intertidal’ which seeks to explore the changing socio-political environment of Newcastle, where he lives.


Have you ever dealt with an angsty teenager and wondered what exactly is going through their mind? What are they really thinking? Well, I still have all of my teenage diaries, full of detail.

One diary entry contains the cut-out packaging of my first sex toy. Horny letters that I wrote to my first crush. Bits of confetti from the first Big Day Out festival.

When I turned 30, I read all of my diaries cover-to-cover and let me tell you, there was a lot going on. I was awkward, self-loathing, painfully bored and misunderstood.

I’m glad I didn’t destroy my diaries like so many of my friends did. Tonight, I’m going to read to you mostly unedited journal entries which I wrote between 2003 when I lived in Stockton, a suburb of Newcastle, and 2009, when I left home.

During this time, I wrote journal entries pretty often. Mostly they’re about high school, my first crummy job, girls that I thought that I liked, family arguments, not fitting in, my mum, my strong religious beliefs, and me maybe being gay.

I also wrote really bad teenage poetry.


Ok so my life story so far:

I’m currently 16 and four months. Nearly time to get my L’s.

My mum died from cervical cancer. The worst thing about it was that I saw her get worse slowly over many years. She tried so many treatments but she just kept getting more sick. I miss her so much. She died four or five years ago. I try not to remember exactly. I have my mum to thank for helping me be a better person, as well as God. I am so glad that I had Jesus while I was grieving.


I’m at school and I want to ask Ava out. I’m heaps paranoid that everyone will find out because I am not ready and I have nothing to offer. Oh my god. I sound like I’m on an episode of Neighbours.

But my love for Ava is sincere. I am afraid to ask her out because I am scared of rejection. She better say yes, or I will be sad.


Last night, I went to my first ever party. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. Vodka cruisers, ciggies, marijuana. But I didn’t have anything except chicken potato chips and creaming soda. I’d never seen anyone smoking a bong before. I think drugs are stupid and dangerous.

A girl heaps older than me was trying to flirt with me. She was wearing this top that drew attention to her boobies. Her breath stank. She was looking seductively at me.

I deflected her flaming arrows. She poured her vodka cruiser all over me so I went home.


It’s National Kissing Day.

Ava took me to a secluded place where no-one can see you at the back of the sports oval. Some people have sex there. She knew what I wanted. She was staring at me. She came and stood in front of me and got with me. Like, I mean kiss – open-mouth, with tongue. It all happened so quickly. Whoo! Go team! Gimme a C, gimme an H, gimme an R.

I practised kissing beforehand by making a mouth with my thumb and index finger.

Our teeth clashed together and it hurt for a while.

My first kiss! Yay! My lips are red and chafed because I rubbed off Ava’s lip gloss too hard. So yeah, it was cool.

Is God happy for me? Does God want this for me?

I wrote everything in my journal. It was like I was writing to someone but I didn’t quite know who. Part of it was to God. Part of it was a way for me to figure out how I felt about something by getting some distance from it – a tool to help me process life.


It was five years since Mum died today. Dad had a good cry and was hugging me so tightly that I started to choke.


Today I did something really stupid. I was at the library using the free internet. Eric from school said I should go to this website called thehun.com so I do and it turns out to be a PORN SITE!

So I’m in a public library, and a little box pops up, and it says ‘error’ and I can’t close the window and the window is displaying porn and I can’t stop it so I grab my bag and run outside.


I told Sam and Lyn about a love triangle that I am stuck in between two girls that I like. They are both convinced that they can fix me up and make me sexy. How the hell will they do that? I’m not attractive. My face just wrecks it for me. It just isn’t hot.

I am ugly in the face.


Last Saturday, Sam and Lyn both came over. They were both begging me to give Lyn kissing lessons. I refused for about half an hour and finally give in.

Poor Lyn, she basically has no idea. She kisses like a fish. She basically eats my head.

It was around 2003 that I developed a complex code made of symbols inspired by the first Matrix film. I wrote all of my first queer thoughts in code. My family couldn’t possibly read them as I had memorised the symbols and destroyed the key dramatically.

Writing in code was very time consuming, so my entries were very brief.


I’m seriously thinking that I’m bi. I get turned on by naked men. I hope it’s a fad. Grr, I just have these feelings.

I visited two news agencies and checked out a few of their gay magazines and I got an erection.


I was watching Queer As Folk and I reckon God is intervening because my brother came home and I had to quickly change the channel. God is trying to stop me from watching.

But I still have these feelings.

At about this point, I moved out of my conservative family home to my own place in Newcastle.

I stopped writing in code in early 2005 and wrote openly about my queer thoughts and experiences. I stuck tiny pictures of the hot naked men from my gay magazines all through my diary. I was gay-decorating and it felt great.

One night I got very drunk off bourbon and red cordial, and attempted to have sex for the first time. I set up the tacky mood lighting and everything. The guy had a really big mouth and he opened it too much when he kissed. We tried to have sex but didn’t really know what we were doing.

I started chatting to other young queer guys on Yahoo Groups. I started to learn about sex and slowly gained the confidence to come out to a few of my close friends. I was still very conflicted about my religion and my sexuality and I stopped going to church.

Then I came out to my best friend, Lynda, from church.


I said ‘Lyn, I’m bisexual’. Bit of silence. Do you understand what that means? Yes.

She was meh about it. We talked about it more but she didn’t understand. She told me that I had to get some Christian counselling. She said, and I quote, ‘I banish Satan’ and that this wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I was rolling my eyes from underneath my closed eyelids.

I don’t think about religion anymore. I don’t think there even is a God. I don’t know if I ever really believed or I only believed because Mum did.

Times started passing between diary entries. I no longer needed to scribble things down as soon as they happened. I was too busy having a good time. I grew out of my teenage angst.

I was going clubbing, expressing myself, enjoying some freedom. I stopped thinking about religion. I was just ready to be gay.

Lynda and I stopped talking in 2005. I saw her at the ferry wharf once. She gave me a tiny nod and a pained smile and moved on. I wonder if she remembers the hurtful conversations that I journaled about.

The final entries in my diary are about a guy that I didn’t want to forget. My first ever boyfriend and my current partner of 11 years who is here with me tonight.

We both worked at the same shopping centre and over a period of two years, I would occasionally make him a Subway veggie patty 6-inch with all the salads.

Once we went for a coffee, which was definitely not a date, and I talked about how much I like alcohol.

Two years passed between diary entries as our friendship developed.


One night after sharing dinner, Adam messaged me asking if next time I could kiss him. Next time, we did more than kiss. We had a 3am sex session on a picnic rug at the top of the water catchment.



Things just got interesting. Adam recently moved into a new house and had a fantastic housewarming. It was zombie themed. I met Adam’s friends and they’re awesome fun. We left to check out the gay club down the road. At the club, a random guy pashed me, and then I realised that I’d made a huge mistake.

I took Adam to the top of the stairs and we sat down. I told him that I had just turned down a guy for him. He was quite shocked and confused. I said I was sorry for pashing a random in front of him.

He said, Why?

Because I like you.

He said, Ooh, I like you too.

I think he’s very attractive. And then we pashed, again and again and again. My God, he is a hot man.

That’s the last diary entry I ever wrote. Thank you.


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Queerstories is produced by Maeve Marsden and recorded by wonderful technicians at events around the country. Editors and support crew have included Beth McMullen, Bryce Halliday, Ali Graham and Nikki Stevens.