JH Artwork

JH Artwork

Writing Exchange 2006-2018

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Siskiyou, El Dorado, Placer, 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.

Planned Exchanges

Planned Exchanges 2018: May 24; June 27; July 25; More To Come!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writing Exchange III

Journal #34
I am going through a maze
That to me had no ends
I made a lot of mistakes
I hurt a lot of friends.
I am going through a maze
That I have put myself in
It is up to me to change
And find a way to win.
I am going through a maze
Made up of hard times and trouble
I try to maintain the pain
That always seems to double.
I am going through a maze
And I can’t seem to see
Because I let my past
Hurt and blind me.
I am going through a maze
And I’m getting very dizzy
I let the drugs get in the way
And my memories are getting fizzy.
I am going through a maze
And I’ve been here for a while
I feel my time running out
It’s getting hard to smile.
I am going through a maze
That I’ve been in for so long
I think I’ve found a way to get out
Yes, the light is getting strong.
I am going through a maze soon everyone will see me
And all the changes I’ve made
I will be all I can be.
I was going through a maze
But that was in the past
Now I’m so much different
I’m finally free at last.

Journal #35
Everyone eventually digs themselves into holes. Whether they’re deep holes that are hard to get out of, or shallow holes that they can hop right out of, we have all been or will be there. I happen to be one of those people that have dug themselves into an extremely deep hole, like a trench. It is a deep, dark, cold place. I go hungry here.
I can’t live in this hole. There is no light, no water, or anything that is a necessity for life: yet I live in it every day.
Everyday I have opportunities to make this hole deeper or fill it up. Most of the time, I choose to fill it up. Whenever I get close to the top, I see a paradise. A place with constant warm weather, a nice sandy beach, palm trees, you know. How about this, you imagine what a paradise would look like… that’s what I see when I get close to getting out.
I never get out though. Right when I am about to get out, I fall deeper than where I started. I can’t fully explain why I constantly fall. It is probably because of my poor decision-making, drugs, and probation. How would you get out of a place that has a constant hold on you? It’s harder than it sounds, actually. Imagine climbing up a vertical cylinder with 100 pounds on your back; that’s what it feels like when I try to climb out.
When I actually attempt to climb out of this trench-like hole, I am trying to get to my paradise. Everybody wants to get to a better place, right? This place is imaginary to me; I have failed so many times that it seems like a mirage when you’re walking in the desert. I don’t believe I can get there any more than somebody can get to the mirage that they see in front of them. I do believe that I can get near this place, but I will never fully climb out of my hole.

Journal #36
I am climbing out of a hole filled with nothing but darkness.
I see a little bit of light and believe I should follow this path to live.
A hand reaching out to me for protection, wealth, and a new life to live.
Smoking funny things that make me believe I am happy
Instead, I realize the only thing that truly makes me happy is my baby girl.
I see her face and I smile.
I haven’t seen her for a while.
Our love is different.
I am out.
Out of the darkness.

Journal #37
I’m just coming out of a small cell, from hurt and upset. Once I get out I see water, hills, the sun is setting, and two birds are flying home. I was locked up because I committed a crime. It was hard to change my old ways. I ran to old friends that got high, drunk, and did crimes. I’m trying to go to a place I call happiness—most people call it heaven—where people don’t suffer physical and emotional pain. I believe this place exists and I’m very confident I will get there by serving the Lord. I read the Bible every day and night.

Journal #38
I am climbing out of a hole. I am a kodiak bear. Winter is over and I am done with hibernation. I venture off into the woods of the vast forests of Canada. As I am wandering the woods, I learn and get familiar with the fruit and berry bearing trees and bushes. I come across a stream that was made by the melting snow and rains before I had emerged from my long sleep. The stream had good sized rainbow trout and Chinook salmon for my taking.
I am the only bear around and I am lonely, but happy because the hunting is good. When I finished gorging myself I pause for a long cold drink of spring water. I continue my search for other bears and find none. A moose was roaming around casually until it saw me and it rapidly bolted off into the distance. I go back to my cave for a nap because I am wiped out from my uneventful, yet exciting first day out of hibernation.

Journal #39
Everyday I arrive home with tears coming down my face. Tears from my dad calling me a low life piece of shit. Tears from my mom hating too. Everyday I wish I had love. Everyday my family fights and I get hurt. Guys who show interest in me do so because of my looks, not for me. People come and go each week. I just beg for happiness, kindness, and for the fighting to cease.

Journal #40
I’ve made it through dark times
Even though the crimes I did
Put my life on the line as a kid
I now know I could have died at a young age
I now see my life was full of hatred and rage
I couldn’t behave when it came to authority
I now know I let the wrong people influence me
What created my trials and tribulations were drugs and gangs
But now it’s hard for me to try to change
It feels like I’m stuck in this game and there’s no escape
The only way I can leave my gang is in my grave
I’m trying to go to college
So I could better myself and get some knowledge
But first I got to start with my high school diploma
Its hard being a kid raised in *****, California
I know I’m able to make it
So I have to take it one day at a time
I know it’s going to be hard but, I have to leave the dark times behind

Journal #41
I’m climbing out of a hole. It is hard to get out. The moment I get out the air feels dry, sticky and humid. It smells like dirt as though it is polluting the air. I notice the whole town is a disaster. It looks like the whole area has been through World War III. There was a massive tornado from two funnel clouds that collided with each other.
I was digging a hole in my backyard to plant a tree for my mother. Everyone else was inside as it started to rain and hail very hard. My hole was about five feet deep and I slipped into it because the ground was muddy and slippery. When I fell into the hole it was hard to get out; then out of nowhere with the rain still coming down, I saw lightning and a huge tornado started. I stayed in the hole until the tornado passed by. I was very thirsty and hungry.
When I got out of the hole, everything was destroyed. There was no life on earth except for me. I’ve been here for about three years and I feel lost.…will anyone ever find me?

Journal #42
The institutional life is a hard way of living.
It makes me think prison is the end.
I’ve been locked up for fifty five days.
It’s one thing or another, in just so many ways.
I’ve tried to do what is right.
While they just make sure the cuffs are real tight.
It all leads to my addiction.
I feel like my life is a debate between fact and fiction.
It’s like they got me behind the eight ball.
I’m like a magnet stuck in juvenile hall.
I’m tired of being behind walls.
I’m tired of these real short calls.
I’m tired of only getting to see my daughter twice a week.
The big bill I get from Evercom.
I tired of hearing all my girl’s lonely cries.
I’m tired of it.
I just can’t take it anymore.
They don’t care.
They just shut and lock the doors.
Everything will end up budging or bending.
The best thing I can do is put this all behind me.
The best I can do is set myself free.

Journal #43
All the thoughts in the insane mind that swirls in an abyss.
Down the back of my mind and through my soul or conscience to build up more anger.
To take the control back from myself.
Buds forever mine to smoke to get the clip for the gun to fire a round into my unwilling thoughts that rot my soul.
My soul gun downed like an animal.
With a hole in my head and pipe in my hand, I twitch myself to sleep.