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WRITE

Writing Exchange 2006-2017

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 2017: December 15

Planned Exchanges 2018: January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20

Thursday, March 5, 2009

08-09 Writing Exchange V (Coast to Coast)




















Entry #81
I remember when my mom left me & my brother home alone, cause all she wanted was to hit that last drag of dope. It hurt to be alone. I’m older now and want nothing more but to be successful. I'm scared ‘cause I seem to be walking in her footprints. I hate that I have to wake up to a 3 minute cold shower.
After those big blue doors close that’s when all my worries start to happen. I start thinking about what am I doing, where am I going with my life, how can I fix this or is my life just too messed up. As time goes by I think about all my mother has put me through. In a way it’s not fair. At the end of the day I promise myself that I will try my hardest to be better than what I am or what my mom ever was. It was hard for me to raise myself and I try not to get too down on myself for my actions. I know if I would have had a mom that loves me I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Day after day I think I have done a better job with myself than she would have. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in the same skin I’m in. But as time goes by I wonder if I’ll ever have what it takes to be successful in this world called life?


Entry #82
DARKNESS
Dreams of comfort from the dark
Annihilation of all that is righteous
Raging beast dying to live in life
Killing the dispair that cursed me
No help needed to survive
Endless life of the blinding light
Safety of the darkness as my home
Solemn vow to destroy the light.

Entry #83
In My Mind
I sit in the back of my mind and think of the pain
You caused me when you entered my life
And tried to play father.
Now that I’m locked down
In this jail of pain
You don’t even come visit me.
Why did you step into my life
If you don’t even care for me?
But let me tell you
I don’t need you
I’ve got an angel by my side
Called Mother.
She’s always there for me
So I don’t have to worry
About a dead-beat father like you.
So don’t tell people I’m your son
Cause I hate you
And that’s from the bottom of my heart.
I got a new father figure in my life
Who has always been there for me
Through thick and thin
And he never lets me down.
He always stands his ground
Like he’s watching over me
And that much I can see
He stepped in to be
The father figure that I need.

Entry #84
I remember when I was at least two, my mom went to prison for four years for giving my sister meth and selling it to put food on the table. She used to rock me to sleep at night, smoking out of a dope pipe at the same time. I’m a dope baby.
I remember when I was seven years old, and my daddy used to come up stairs to my room and do bad things to me. I didn’t know better.
I remember when I was 13 years old, and I caught my mom smoking dope in her bedroom on my birthday where all our family and friends were. I asked, “Mom is this more important than me?” She replied, “YES!!” with a needy look in her eyes. I then took her pipe and dope and smoked it for my first time.
I remember at 14 I became addicted to meth, and then I started selling my body to get by in life. My mom was wasting our money away on our drugs and made it up to me to put food on the table.
I remember when I was arrested for the first… second… third… and fourth time.
Now I’m sitting in my cell thinking about my next move; I’m ready for a change.

Entry #85
If I could write a letter to myself at the age of seven, I would write things that would help me get through those years again. I would tell myself things I should and should not have done. I would write and tell myself all the secrets everyone kept from me all those years. I would deal with my piece of crap “father” and have him put in prison for what he did. There are so many corrections I would make to my life to try to make it better. Regardless of the things I would change, I have had a good life. These are just some things I would have wanted to know.

Entry #86
I remember when I saw the most gruesome and horrible thing I had ever seen. One morning I woke up at my sister’s boyfriend’s house. We were bored and it was hot. So we called my good friend, Joey, and a couple of our buddies met us. Joey and his sister picked us up in a black van and took us to one of our favorite swimming spots---***** Flats. When we were walking down ******* Hill in ****** and found a little trail and decided to go down it. My sis was the only girl with us, and she was wearing sandals. When every one was jogging down what seemed like a 90 degree angle road, my sister could not run down this trail, so her boy friend and I decided to stay back with her.
After about 20 minutes, we finally got to the main road that separates two swimming spots on the river, ****** Lady and where the bridge is. We thought that we were meeting everyone at Naked Lady, so we went down but they were at the bridge. We decided to hike back up the trail. When we were walking to the bridge, we walked past a camp site and an argument was occurring between some people. My sister kept walking and we did too. When we got to the steep down hill, my sister did not want to hike down this hill, so we went around to the easier hill. When we finally got down to the bridge, all of our friends went up the hill to find us. So I remembered my sister’s boyfriend and I were kind of mad, but we walked back around, too.
When we were walking past a campsite, a dispute was occurring between two guys; one of them had a gun. He was telling the other guy, James, to get on his knees, so James did and got kicked in the face. That did not satisfy the gunmen. He told James to give back what he stole, but the younger guy, James, had said he did not steal anything. The gunmen did not believe him. I remember when the gunmen said to get back on his knees and I stepped in front of my sister to protect her. Then I watched from about 20 yards and the gunmen kicked James in the face again and told him to get back on his knees; James refused and the gunmen shot him in the face. I remember another guy put his fingers over James’ head wound to keep him from bleeding to death. The gunmen hid in a trunk and was caught at the top of the hill and arrested. He was sentenced to four years. On the way to the hospital James apparently passed away. I remember the tears that were shed that day. James had a little brother that had to see. It was something I will never forget.

Entry #87
I am 17 years old and life is a blur. I don’t know where I am going to go or what I am going to do in this hell I call my life. I don’t know at all but for some reason from like 10 to 16 I thought it would be fun to be an adult. I would get to drive, drink, and lots of other stuff. But now the thought of becoming an adult makes me worried and I get scared that I am going to get in a fight or get tried as an adult for something I did. I am scared I won’t be able to afford rent. I just don’t want to have what happens to a lot of people happen to me…being homeless, poor, and not able to support myself or my girlfriend (if it works out, that is). I hope it does work out but it never has before and that scares me, too. I don’t want to lose her. I want to get a good job but I don’t know if I will be able to. If I can’t, then I can’t go to college. I just want to be happy but all I get is anger, frustration and sadness, and it just seems to never work for me. When it does start to look good I do something without realizing it and it all falls to pieces. It really sucks but with me being the person I am I always try to look at the bright side of things. I seem to be happy to others but really I am so sick of people that I just want to snap their necks. I look like I am nice and cheerful but I am so depressed inside and I get fed up with everything and the littlest things make me mad. But, all I do is put on a grin and go with it no matter how stupid it is. For instance, when I am in group I talk about something cool I did or something funny and other kids in the class will try to make up some cheap knockoff of what I just said or make the stupidest comments. That makes me just want to rip their heads off. The sad part is that I am stuck in this hole. In some ways it’s worse than juvie.



Entry #88
I remember my god mother’s house. I remember the family I always wanted. I remember the trust she gave me. I remember the little brother that looked up to me. I remember my own bed. I remember taking care of my godmother and her honest gratitude. I remember opening up. I remember their open arms. I remember going to my friends. I remember going to get a bag. I remember anticipating smoking. I remember those first hits. I remember going home spun and not enjoying my family. I remember scrounging for money to get a bowl of crystal. I remember conning people I held dearest to get high. I remember lying, cheating and stealing to get high. I remember snapping at everyone. I remember how hard it was to quit or say, “No, I’m cool” when it was right there. I remember wishing I had help. I remember hating myself for losing everything for dope. I remember all my regrets…

Entry #89
Got Damn!
I’m glad I wasn’t blind, ‘cause it might hurt worse
Why couldn’t it be simple? It’s like I’ve been cursed
Can’t blame no one but myself, cause there’s really no one to blame
But it doesn’t make me mad at all--no need to go insane
You want to know why I express myself on paper?
‘Cause it’s a lot easier when you have an eraser
You can believe that I’m stupid and don’t know what’s going on
But believe it or not, I’ve known it all along
My greatest fear is no one but me
So I fear no one unless me you are able to be
But you can’t be me, so you can’t feel what I feel
All that I express on paper isn’t make-believe, it’s real
So guess until your brain gives in
Honestly how would you feel if you thought the pain couldn’t end?
I smile but just to hide the stress
Life isn’t like school—can’t stay home when there’s a big test
Am I supposed to find a way out?
Or do I let it find me?
Either way it goes, I can’t stop me from being me
Lies continue to come left and right
The truth comes a little bit later
But it doesn’t put up much of a fight
Most wouldn’t believe what I write is true
But who cares what they think?
This isn’t for them, it’s for you
It’s my thoughts, my feelings, my everything else
Can’t be pretending to be him or her
Too busy being myself
They can’t live my life, they can’t fill my shoes
So what would you think if I told you that’s all they want to do?
I do one thing, but it’s looked upon differently
But I don’t change ’cause my purpose wouldn’t be what I wanted it to be
Do you see exactly what I do?
Can you feel the things that I can?
I’m not expecting you to
‘Cause honestly I should be a dead man
My mouth opens to speak, but for what?
‘Cause no one wants to listen
It is just another reason for me to continue on with my mission
One day you’ll see, ‘cause I know why I’m here
Do you have an opinion?
‘Cause I can see it clear
This is what I do and also part of who I am
Only two words can describe my poem…
GOT DAMN!

Entry #89
Y’All Don’t Hear Me
If you hear me send a blessing
‘Cause right now I’m mega stressing
I need to clear my head of this voice in my ear
I am my deepest fear
I lost a lot this year
Away from family and friends
The cost of my sins
My best friend died and left behind a baby girl
Excuse my language, but f da’ world
I’ma call his daughter my niece
I can’t fall victim to the streets
I got kids to look after
But for now I’m captured so life is hard
But my faith’s in God

Entry #90
Thoughts
I’m having thoughts
Bad ones and sometimes good ones
Living in a world so messed up
I have nothing but thoughts of vengeance
Thoughts of freedom, thoughts of me leaving
Not just jail, but life forever
Thoughts of change rarely come
But in the distance I hear the hollow sound of a drum
Thinking it’s for me
But the whole time it involves my freedom
Love for my wife and son
Is the only reality I have since my time’s just begun
Trying 2 think happy thoughts
But on the streetz
My folks’ lives are getting ended by the gun
Me thinking about it never helps
Just helps me think about what I’m going 2 do 2 the cause
But not thinking of the consequences involved
My fate is picked
Caged behind nothing but barbed wire and bricks


Entry #91
Ghost Dad
Here one day and gone the next
Where did he go, my little voice vexed
Growing up without a dad, that I did
So I grew up a fatherless kid
Every three years he would call me
And every three years he told the same lie
He said he was going to pick me up
But he never did, so I guess he doesn’t give a
Only time he really called was when he got locked up
I was always happy to talk to him, it felt like good luck
But when he finally came to see me
I thought I was dreaming
Wow! I finally saw my dad
My feelings are no longer bad
A spitting image of him, that’s what I looked like
When I saw his face, I couldn’t believe my sight
As soon as I closed my eyes, he was gone from under the light
I could no longer see him, I tried with all my might
Here one minute and gone the next
Where did he go, my little voice vexed
My dad, he left me, he left me to be alone
Forget him, I’ll learn how to be grown on my own

Entry #92
When I Cried
When I cried
It was like a waterfall
Of anger and life
Mixed into one.
When I cried I remembered
All the happy times that me and my family members
That passed away have had.
My family always say
“Go for what you know fits you best”
But how can I if my mind is clogged
With happy memories of us having fun together?
Then a voice said out of the blue skies:
“When you cried, I cried
For my life and soul to be put back in my body.
But once seen to the gates of heaven
I thought why cry
When I am in a better place?”
So I told myself and my family
Don’t cry because they’re gone
Just remember all the good times
Cause that’s what I did
When I cried

Entry #93
If you really knew me you’d know I’ve had some hard times
If you really knew me you’d know to get the pain out I sit and write rhymes
And my families going bankrupt from all my stupid crimes
If you really knew me you’d know I spill my heart out on the red and blue lines
And you’d know I don’t judge by looks but what’s deep inside
If you really knew me, you’d know me and being good just don’t coincide
You’d also know I got a lot of friends and only few of them are true
And I’m stuck in juvenile hall wearing nothing but blue
But in this game of life or death I’m refusing to loose
If you really knew me you’d know I love my family with all of my heart
And I want a new life but don’t know where to start
If you really knew me you’d know I’m my dad’s only son
But he’s doing life in prison and about me he knows none
If you really knew me you’d know I can’t live with out music
It’s the only thing that keeps me stable so that I don’t loose it
If you really knew me you’d know my moms addicted to drugs
I lived half my life without her with no kisses or hugs
And I was there when a relative was filled with 9 millimeter slugs
If you really knew me you’d know my moms been clean for 5 years
But I’m a messed up so it leaves her filled with tears
If you really knew me you’d know I’m sorry and my apologies sincere
But I’m stuck in juvenile hall so that she cant hear

Entry #94
I remember this time when I was 12 and I went to ****** ****** School in ****** City. My brother and I would always walk to and from school. One day we came home and there was a guy (my cousins friend) and they sat us down and told us he was going to be staying with us for a little while. He seemed pretty cool and down to earth, so we were okay with it, and I had to let him have my room. So I shared a room with my brother, well he introduced himself as Steven ******. Later, we figured out his name was Gavin. He was only about 20 or something, and he was always there to help me with my math homework. He also would cook for us, and he seemed like a pretty nice guy. Well, he ended up staying with us longer than we thought and we were okay with that. Until one day, my twin brother and I walked out to his room and saw him shooting up. We just shut the door hella quick and ran back inside the house and acted like we didn’t see anything. Next, he just came in and acted like nothing ever happened, but my brother and I aren’t stupid. We knew what was going on. So we didn’t say anything; we just went on with our day. A couple of days later, he disappeared for a week and one night. One night, he came home at 3:oo in the morning and was acting very suspicious as was my cousin. However, they kept denying that anything had happened. It was Friday, and my mom had to go to work in *******; my older brother, Jerry wanted us to come stay the night, and we made plans to stay with him for the weekend. Well, we came home on Sunday, and we found our house a mess, our door kicked down, and our house thrashed. We were lost and we didn’t know what had happened until we looked in the newspaper, the next day, and found out that (Steven ******) Gavin had gone down the road and stole three trucks from the little car dealership. He took the police on a high speed chase, and then, he came back to our house and hid the keys. The cops found him and raided our house, and that’s why it was thrashed. He got caught and went to prison, and we haven’t let him in our house again.


Entry #95
My brother, Jack, was always there for me. He was the first person that taught me about good and bad. My parents taught me these things, but, mostly my brother Jack. Another brother, Ernest, taught and brought drugs into our family. The drugs ruined me. I started following his foot steps using cigarettes, weed, cocaine, and meth. It was very awful because I would never spend time with my family. I would leave home and get up early in the morning and come back at 12:00 pm. Jack showed me lots and lots of good ways to change. First he told me to get rehab or ****. I never thought of all he shared with me .The only thing that was holding me back was my bad friends and my addiction. I thought that I would never do drug and I would be out there doing something with my life, but I went the wrong path. I’m really proud that I’m here in **** to help me with my drug problem. **** is helping me make better decisions. Now that I’m sober, I am hoping to get out, go back to regular school, and stay out of trouble.

Entry # 96
I was a bad criminal and bad influence.
I remember when I almost died of bleeding and got thirteen stitches.
I heard and saw stabbing, gun shots.
I saw people get murdered and get hit with bats.
I worried because one day that might happen to me.
I thought I was going to college and be a coast guard but I started to hang out with the wrong people.
I am a good person is just the way I react.
I think twice or talk with a counselor.
I need to get back in regular school and remember to reach my goal.
I try to stay away from my bad friends.
I feel that while I’m here in **** I’m safe.
I forgive myself because everyone deserves a second chance.
I will be a coast guard in the future.
I chose to be sober for the rest of my life.
I dream to graduate from City College and get a good career.
I hope I become a probation officer and change my bad friends from smokers to non- smokers.
I predict my goal is to accomplish those things I set.
I know I will stay positive and do what my mom and tells me to do.
I will change my behavior and stay sober, also stop hanging out with my bad friends.

Entry # 97
I remember when I was 7
I remember that I couldn’t go with every one
I remember my first kiss
I remember how good I felt

I think that there should be more help for the homeless people
I think that I did enough time here in the J.J.C 398 days
I think that we the people chose a good president Obama
I think that some people are not even with others

I know that my mom and dad believe in me
I know people watch me every day
I know that one day I will go home
I know I try my best at every thing

I believe in my sister
I believe that Mr. ****** is a very good person
I believe in myself
I believe I will finish high school

Who was that person that helped me up
Who was there when I first got locked up my dad and mom that’s who
Who will watch over me
Who is God

I love my daughter and her mother
I love my parents so much
I love my life
I love people

Entry # 98
From the inside out
My life is full of nothing but sin
If you’ve been through what I been through then you wouldn’t want to live
I’ve seen people get shot
Seen people OD
I’ve seen people’s bodies being dropped
Six feet deep
I’ve seen a little girl get raped
While lying helpless with terror in her face
I didn’t know what to do didn’t know what to say
Now she’s traumatize ‘cause it happen on her first day
Coke infested in my nose
Living in a house with roach infested holes
Drugs on my mind so I never buy any clothes
Cabinets empty with no kind of food
Reminiscing on my life like what do I do?
I ask God to show me the way
But it seems like he wants me dead ‘cause the way he lets me live my day
When I was born my eyes were already wide
Already trying to find a way out from living in this hellhole which they call life

Entry # 99
When I first fell in love I was just getting home from spending the night at my friend’s house. I came home because I wasn’t feeling good. I was just going to stay home and rest until I got a phone call. He had waited to know if I wanted to go to the movies, with him, his sister, and some friends. For some odd reason I had said yes that day even though I was sick and all. I got ready quick then went to his house and then from there to the movies. My friend’s sister and I started talking that day while we were waiting for the movies. It’s funny because we never really talked to each other. I was flirting with her and she knew it. I always liked her but I was too scared to ask her out. She always looked beautiful, nice smile, nice eyes, intelligent. Anyways our movie was about to start so we went to go get some good seats. We happened to sit right next to each other. I think we were destined to. Well the movie had started and I thought to myself this could be my last chance ever to let her know how I feel about her. I was very nervous at the time but I’m glad I did what I did. I slowly put my head against hers. I thought she was going to freak out and tell me to stop but she didn’t say anything at all. So I kept my head there, then I started to smell her hair. She smelled so good; I felt butterflies in my stomach flapping around everywhere. I have never felt that feeling before. I knew she was the one for me. We were like that until the movie ended. We were waiting for a ride home. We didn’t talk much after because I was scared. My friend’s dad came and picked us up since we all live in the same area. So we happened to sit right next to each other again. So on the way home I made another move. I started to play with her hand and soon we started holding hands; I looked up at her than she looked at me. I turned away quickly and started looking out the window I left my hand there though. I ended up staying the night at their house with her brother; she was in the room with us the whole time. We started to flirt with each other. She took a pair of scissors from me and sat on them. I wasn’t tripping though because I got to touch her butt trying to get them back. I left her brothers room to get a drink of water and she came out right after me. She gave me a kiss on my cheek and told me good night. Then I called her name and she turned around, I grabbed her and gave her a hug and asked her out finally. She was mad at first because she thought we were already together but then she said yes. That was the day I first fell in love, and I am still in love until this day. We have been together for 3 years going on four. We had our first baby with each other, my baby girl. I’ll always love her for all the years to come, until the day that I die.....

Entry # 100
WOW
Wow, wow, wow. Why do you think you know so much about me? REALLY THOUGH. You don’t know anything at all. Why is everyone so damn superficial? Do you not respect yourself for who you are? I do. I hate how you think you know so much about me by the things other people have told you. Why don’t you get to know me for me? Know me by the things that I tell you about me. Not by what someone else has to yap about. I can’t believe some of the people in this world who cease to get the real facts and dwell on the BS. I don’t believe anything anyone else says about you unless you tell me yourself. Why should I? I trust you and I wish you could trust me enough to ask me questions about myself, instead of going around to other people trying to gather information. You leave me in amazement. WOW.


Entry # 101
Innocent Man Writing A Poem
A young man feeling alone,
Looking for someone to take me home,
On my first day of school I was the only one new,
To comfort me I got to know you to hang around you,

An innocent man sixteen years of age,
I find myself like an animal in its cage,
An innocent man wanting to get out,
Will I forget to show them what Looney’s about,

I go to the Juvenile Hall,
And meet all four of the walls,
I learn about all these staff,
Now comes the time that I don’t want to come back.

Entry # 102
One of the best days of my life, was when my father got custody of us. After being in foster care for two years, it felt good just living with my dad again. What made it special was that we got our own apartment and I had my own room. We always went out to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It also felt good to be with my dad because I was tired of being in a group home, always getting searched and we could only have limited things in our rooms. Now, I’m locked up and it’s worse.

Entry # 103
My Poem
A young gang member
Looking for someone to see who I am
On my first day of school I get the cold shoulder
To comfort me a friend who does all he can

An innocent young Hispanic teen
I find myself being locked up
An innocent Hispanic in for murder
Will I forget about the past?

I go to school everyday
And meet new people
I learn about math, history and other stuff
Now comes the time where I get out and change my life around. Really, we got our normal lives back!!!

Entry #104

I was an innocent person just going through life.I remember when I was young I didn’t have no worries and I did what I wanted.I heard the sounds of gun shots in my hood.I have seen the writings on the walls, but they mean nothing to me.I’ve worried that the evil I have done will never be erased.I thought I was heading for C.Y.A or prison, but got a first and last chance.I am A Born Savage King in this game of mobbing with this prior 211case I got.I think this world is nothing but fun and games and doing what I want.I need to be careful with this 211, or else I could end up in a lot of trouble.I try to stay away from 211 and these drugs, to straighten out my life.I think this time I will change my life and change my ways

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