New Art

New Art

Writing Exchange 2006-2014

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Fresno and Butte County. Students are given journal topics and asked to write what needs to be written. Several entries are handpicked from each classroom site and posted to the blog anonymously. Students at each site then read the material together, discussing the writing and connecting with others.



Exchanges currently planned for 2014: December 17

Exchanges currently planned for 2015: January 28; February 18; March 25; April 29; May 27; June (No exchange)


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Entry #683
Pieces of a Puzzle

If you really knew me you would know I’m not the person people perceive me to be. You would know all the pain and secrecy hidden behind the front. If you really knew me you would know that my life’s been run by the system for the past 5 years. You would know that my child-hood innocence was stolen from me at an early age. If you really knew me you would know that I haven’t had a Thanksgiving/Christmas at home since I was 12. You would know I’ve spent every one in juvi since, not even really remembering the essence of joy, love, and faith around those times. If you really knew me you would know that I shut-down a lot to avoid feeling pain. You would know that I sometimes lie to avoid talking about certain things. If you really knew me you would know how many times I’ve fallen. You would know how I always manage to get back up. If you really knew me you would know how broken I really am. You would know how scared I am sometimes that things won’t ever change. If you really knew me you would know how hard I try day after day. You would know how close I am to giving up most days. If you really knew me you would know the same thoughts running through my head day after day. You would know how desperately I want them to go away. If you really knew me you would know I’m not the “criminal” the system makes me out to be on paper. You would know that I’m actually pretty smart and have goals in my future. If you really knew me you would know I’m not into drugs, gangs, or violence. You’d know I just want to be free. If you really knew me you would know how much I crave a normal teenage life. You would know how much I hate this place. If you really knew me you’d understand why I make the same mistakes over and over. You would know how much I hold in. If you really knew me you would know I’m a strong person. You would know my struggles make me who I am today. If you really knew me you would know how big a part of me are the people who I let in. You would know how hard it is when they’re gone. If you really knew me you would know that I don’t even really know me. You would know there are pieces of a puzzle in my life that I’m still trying to figure out. In that case, no one really knows me.

Entry #684
Fighting For Air

I have no more love to invest
Fates done dealt me a raw hand
But I keep my cards close to my chest
And my lips tighter than a raw clam
My mind is clouded with dark thoughts
But rays of hope keep trying to peek through
I wish all the synapses could be replaced with blood clots
Why can’t the world, not the people be see through
I know all of my utopian ideals
Are misplaced in this breeding ground of despair
But at least in here I don’t have to fight for my meals
Even if it does feel like I have to fight for my air.

Entry #685
Hope

If you really knew me you would know I’ve been on drugs since I was twelve years old. I’ve never gone to school. I wasted five years of my life partying on drugs that made my life miserable. I’ve gone through so much and put myself through hell all because of the trauma I went through as a kid… I’ll never be able to take it back or forget. There will always be horrible memories of my past lurking in my mind. Now that I’m sober it trips me out to think of what I’ve gone through. It makes me wonder why I couldn’t have gone a better path, why I couldn’t have made better decisions . I’m seventeen years old with nothing to show for it. I believe in hope.


Entry #686
I Don’t Want It

If you really knew me you would know my whole family but my brothers were committed to prison before their 18 birthday. If you really knew me you would know now it’s my turn up next in the spot light following my family dreams it seems. If you really knew me you would know the very first time I saw my mom as a little boy was in prison and as I got older it seemed this was all I knew. If you really knew me you would know I hate incarceration, yet still after the 6th time, I’m now being tried as an adult, waking up every morning to that pop of my door. If you really knew me you would know I’m just following in my families footsteps going to a DJJ until I’m 18  and then to a prison. If you really knew me you would know that as a little boy all I wanted to do was sell drugs and stack my dough and go to prison like my family, but now it’s my turn and I don’t want it.
It will mean missing out on family and my girlfriend. It’s a lot worse than I always thought it would be. If you really knew me, you would know I wish I would have just stayed pretending to play cops and robbers instead of going out and doing home invasions.


Entry #687
Following Footsteps
Why does life have to fall in a pattern? It’s like I get out of the hall and the next thing I know I’m sitting smoking a bowl. I always end up breaking out in handcuffs cause of this shit weed man. It just disappoints me to think I’m a bad influence for my younger sister. I told myself that I’ll never repeat my parent’s mistakes. I’m only 16 and I’m doing the same thing they were doing at 20. If I don’t find a reason to change I’ll end up in the same position they were in, spending half their lives as tweakers. My dad made a change and he has own business, but my mom couldn’t find a way to change her actions and now she’s in a coffin 6 feet under from overdosing on meth. That’s the day I said screw it and got charged  with a GTA. If that didn’t make me change, I don’t know what will.

Entry #688
Response to Writing Exchange 5-15-13 Entry #252
What Keeps Me Going?
 
Seeing my family again keeps me going. I can’t stand to be locked in a cell but I know that a mistake was made.  I sit in my cell and realize that I only have one life. As I sit in my cell and look at the white walls, I’m picturing my family’s face. A stupid mistake was made and I’m the only one to blame. The next time I’m in the same situation then I’ll think before I act. The walls may be white and the nights may be cold, however, each day that passes by I’m closer to home. What keeps me going is being able to hug each one of my parents someday. I paint pictures in my mind and visualize what’s going on outside. My feelings are unknown as I asked God to put me on the right path. These mistakes were ignorant, so next time I plan to listen to my family and stay out of this place. I know I’m not a criminal and that’s enough to keep me going the right way. That’s what keeps me going.                    


Entry #689
Waiting

I can’t take it much longer. The slow painful ticks of the clock on evil white bricks. Each second goes by and it’s mocking my fears, for tomorrow I’ll know. Will I be free or will I be stuck here in this cold dark place? I want another chance to show all the people that don’t believe, that I can do it. I really can persevere through my struggles. I want to do it for myself of course, but I really want succeed for my grandmother. I want to be someone she is proud of. She has believed in me more than I’ve believed in myself. I want to pay her back by doing things differently this time rather than just saying I will… Talk is cheap.

Entry #690
Math Isn’t Funny

If you really knew me, you would know that I have bad asthma,
you would know that I am not a fighter.
If you really knew me, I shouldn’t have to tell you that  I am sad you would just see it in my eyes that something is bothering me beep down inside.
If you really knew me, you would know that I don’t like being around fake people. Always keep it real with me because I’m always real.
If you really knew me, you would know who my mom, dad and sisters are because I don’t do anything without their knowledge.
You would know what type of music I like, what I like to eat and what I don’t.
You would know that I’m not very good at math.
If you really knew me you would know that my favorite sports are football and basketball.
You would know what would make me laugh.
If you really knew me you would know what I’ve been through in my life.
If you really knew me you would know I want to be loved and you would give me the support that I need.
Only if you really knew me.

Entry #691
Life

I try to make it up the hill of success.
I try and I try but it’s too much stress.
I have hands grabbing at me pulling me down.
I gave up, let go, and hit the ground.
I lay there thinking of my mom,
And how everything could go all wrong.
Got up, dusted myself clean.
I walk up to the front porch and open the screen.
I see my mother lying on the floor crying.
She was screaming “She’s dying, she’s dying.”
I lay next to her to comfort her and tell her everything’s going to be okay.
She just shrugs me off and screams “NO, NO, GO AWAY.”
I look at her all puffy and red,
I tell her she should go to bed.
I wake up the next morning white walls all around me.
Thinking to myself, what could’ve happened, how could this be?             

Entry #692
Chocolate,  No Joke

If you really knew me, you would know that I’m allergic to chocolate.
You would know that I’m a good football player.
If you really knew me, you would know that I don’t like little kid games.
If you really knew me, you would know that I go to school every day.
If you really knew me, you would know who I’m in love with.
You would know how I act in public.
If you really knew me, you would know that I hate gross people.
If you really knew me, you would know that I feel that life’s no joke.

Entry #693
Wanting Change

I want change not just for me but my family too. I never thought about what my mom went through when I was on the run, but she was not the only one to cry and go through stress. My step-dad too, he is like my real dad because he has been there since I was 5 months old.
Wanting change
My step dad was not only there for me but my mom and my brothers as well.
He helped us when we were sick or just when we needed someone to talk to or have fun with. He would make me happy when I was sad.
Wanting change
I want to get out and do good for my myself and my family.
I want to prove to them that I can do good so they don't have to go through any more stress.

Entry #694
Fake Smile and Friendly Blur

If you really knew me, you would know that I have no confidence and my self-esteem is very low.
That the smile on my face is nothing but a joke.
That I’m out here living like a sin with a burden on my chest.
If you really knew me, you would know my mom is pregnant and ready to give birth to my precious brother.
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m trying to change.
When you call me your best friend its nothing but a blur.
You would  know that I was judged and misunderstood by a lot of folks.
You would know that I don’t like to show emotion and I’m just as scared as you, so take the time to understand my struggles.

Entry #695
Hours

I’m in here trying the best I can.
I keep getting hours again and again.
The anger builds with everyone,
thinking to myself, “Just be quiet or I’ll get another one.”
It’s too late, I’ve made a mistake,
I’ve set my fate for an early bed, man I can’t wait.
Staring at the walls wide awake;
fighting the thoughts inside my head!
Wishing I could be in my own old bed.

Entry #696
IF YOU REALLY KNEW ME

If you really knew me, you would know that my favorite sports are paintball and lacrosse.
If you really knew me, you would know that I am an artist.
You would know that I am also very good at complicated arithmetic.
You would know that I have two sisters and you would know their names.
If you really knew me, you would know that I hate to read.
If you really knew me, you would know that I love to ride bikes.
You would know that I only live with my mother.
You would know that I am the only boy.
If you really knew me, you would know that school isn’t for me.
You would know how much I hate to do homework.
You would know that I like to box.
If you really knew me, you would know that I am not one to really use social media.
You would know that I taught myself how to type without looking.
If you really knew me, you would know that I enjoy playing soccer.
You would know my four closest friends.
If you really knew me you would know that my favorite candy is “Whatchamacallit!”

Entry #697
Caring

If you really knew me, you would know that I have a personality that I show to few.
You would know what I’m capable of, and you wouldn’t doubt the words I speak.
If you really knew me, you would know I’m willing to take the clothes off my back for you because if you really knew me, I really care for you.

Entry #698
A Night At The Zoo

Animals howling and banging on their cages and I can't sleep. It stops and I'm able to close my eyes for a few seconds. Then it goes again. It's 1:00 a.m., but they won't let me get any rest. I feel tired, so tired that I'm not even angry about the noise, I just want it to shut up. I hear animals screaming and doors being pounded on so loud that I can feel the vibrations through the walls. I hear people yelling at the noise telling it to just go to bed for once or begging it to calm down. These requests are ignored and the pounding continues. It sounds like a zoo filled with wild animals, but really it's just a facility filled with a bunch of juvenile delinquents.

Entry #699
True Friends

 As an elementary kid, I remember believing in true friends. Truth is I don’t really think there are true friends any more. I remember having good friends but not true friends. We are no longer close like we used to be. I think it may be the way I chose to leave them and go with drugs, money, and girls. Eventually I was in and out of juvenile hall regularly and we just couldn’t hang out anymore. They had a whole different view of the streets than I did. I believe they did it for their own good, and I’m fine with that.


Entry #700
The Blues

If you really knew me you would know... That I hate closing the blue doors. I hate the feeling that I get when I close the blue door knowing that I got myself here and knowing my punishment is closing the door and trapping myself in with only four white walls to stare at. I hate when I wake up in the middle of the night after I'm having a dream that I'm out of here. All I have to look forward to now is the next eight to fourteen months of my new life.
Entry #701
Single Father
If you really knew me you would know that I am a single father
And that I sold drugs to support my child.
You would know that I have been arrested,
You would know that I'm in Juvi,
and that I feel like a failure, but that I really want to change.
You would know that I am the one to blame.
If you really knew me you would know that my life will never be the same.                                                                                                                                          
Entry #702
My Last Christmas

Last Christmas was probably the best one of my teens. When I was younger my mom and I would go to San Francisco for a few days for our Christmas. We hadn’t done it in years, but last year we decided to give it another shot. My mom had kicked me out, so we were on rocky ground. I got, collectively, a hundred bucks from my fam, and had about five hundred to burn of my own. We shared a room, separately went shopping, and would meet at night for dinner. We had a good time, my mom didn’t complain about me getting high. It brought us back together, made us closer. If it is the last one I spend free of the next 24, I’m glad.

Entry #703
Tomorrow

       In this moment, I am doing all that I can to make a better tomorrow for my family and myself, putting behind me a yesterday full of endless regrets and continuous mistakes. Today is a process of self-cleansing, to be a new person.
       I am finding the strength to forgive others’ their fouls against me and the humbleness to ask forgiveness from others’ that I’ve done wrong. Most importantly, I have realized true forgiveness starts with forgiving myself.  I’ve deceived myself, following that blind crowd down a dark path too many times. I’m being patient and healing from yesterday’s hurts and sorrows to get a fresh start on tomorrow.
       I’ve learned the art of self-control to control my actions; To think before acting or thoughtlessly reacting to negativity and stress, so that tomorrow I won’t make those same mistakes crashing into those same obstacles. I know my actions-either negative or positive-will bring about consequences that will have effect on my tomorrow.
       Today, I am protected by my discretion, this new found knowledge pleasant to my soul like sugar to the tongue of a small child. I am understanding that there is more to life than just my woes and worries, changing “Woe is me’s” into “Thank You, Heavenly Fathers” and thinking of more than just myself and my own problems, to be more compassionate of others’ and incorporating that Golden Rule into my daily life. I am paying back society, instead of taking and stealing back what doesn’t belong to me, realizing that the world owes me nothing.
       All in all, I am aiming towards a better tomorrow, both guilt and regret-free, walking a blameless and confident walk before yesterday’s trespassers and accusers, and no longer bound by “what ifs” and “should’ve, could’ve’ would’ve” of yesterday. They are a distant memory of the past. All that matters now is the better choices and actions I make today. They will contribute to my better tomorrow in positively rewarding ways. But what exactly will this mystic tomorrow bring to me?

Entry #704
Able To Hold Him

Sitting here thinking about my son being born in a month and a half.  He will be here so soon. I hope I can get a pass to be there when he is born. It’s my first baby and it’s a boy. I'm happy. A boy is what I wanted the whole time. The happiest day of my life will be when my son comes into the world and I'm able to hold him. Now the only thing I need to do is get out so I can be with my new family and be with my son as much as I can. Hopefully it will be every day that I'm with my son and I'm never locked up again because I'm so tired of being locked up all the time.


Entry #705
Still Locked Up

Sitting in this place,
On Thanksgiving,
Still locked up.
I want to be out and free with no one to tell me what to do or where to go.
Still locked up.
Christmas is right around the corner with no presents to open.
Still locked up.
Clouds of emotions run through me like a water slide.
Still locked up.
The same food and three minute showers.
Still locked up.
My life is like a scatter plot of connect the dots.
Still locked up.
Now I know it is time to change but in the end I'm still locked up. 

Entry #706
Done Running

In this moment I am rearranging my life, I am taking out the bad things that once damaged my life.
In this moment I am reaching my goals, I am doing what I’m supposed to without being told.
In this moment I am staying strong, I am putting down that glass pipe that once destroyed my soul.
In this moment I am preparing myself because I am no longer going to run from myself.
I am ready to go out and live out my dreams because the life I thought I once loved is not as it seems.
In this moment I am saved; I no longer feel disgraced.
He renewed my heart made it pure and clean, He gave me light now I can finally see.
Sometimes I still mess up but nobody told me this road would be easy and I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.