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!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Entry #415
Hear That?
Hear that? That’s the sound of 5 months. Hear that? That’s the sound of a high school diploma. Hear that? That’s the sound of success. Hear that? That’s a relationship between me and my dad that we've never had before. Hear that? That’s my mom speaking to me from her home away from home telling me to keep listening to the good things in life, to do good and become what I know I can be. Hear that?

Entry #416
Just As Scared
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 that is about to come into this trifling world.
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m trying to change for better or worse. When you call me your best friend its nothing but a blur. That if you had my eyes you would know that I was judged and misunderstood by a lot of folks.
So if you really knew me, you would know that I don’t like to show emotions and I’m just as scared as you, so take the time to understand my struggles.

Entry #417
If I Knew Me
If you really knew me,
you would now that inside I am hurt,
If you really knew me,
you would know that I am deeply troubled about the past,
You would know that I am shy,
If you really knew me,
you would know that my spirit’s lullaby is a freight train,
If you knew me,
you would know that I got shot,
you would know that I speak some German,
that I’m an orphan and my father got killed by the cops,
If I knew me,
I would see someone tired of drugs, gangs and death.

Entry #418
The Right Way
If you really knew me, you would know that I’m an intelligent young black lady, who’s seen and been through a lot living the fast life.
You would know that I have three sisters.
You would know that I smile and laugh a lot to keep happy.
If you really knew me, you would know that I have many goals that I want to achieve.
You would now that I have two different personalities.
If you really knew me, you would know that I love my family with all my heart and not a soul could tear us apart.
You would know that I have no brothers, but two cousins I consider and look up to as my brothers.
If you really knew me, you would know that I call my mother my “Black Queen”.
You would know that I use to be a daddy’s little girl, now I’m that confused little girl.
If you knew me, you would know that my dad is a good father who shows tough love.
You would know that I like to travel and hang out with my friends.
You would know that I’m a Facebook freak.
If you knew me, you would know that I’m not the same.
You would know that I sometimes feel insane with many thoughts running through my brain.
If you knew me, you would know that my heart is full with regrets and pain and many things I wish I could still change.
You would know that gangbanging is something I need to change.
If you knew me, you wouldn’t judge. You would help me and guide me the right way.
If you knew me, you would know that I’ll someday change.
                    Only if you knew me……...

Entry #419
I am
Messing with me is like Russian roulette. You’re messing with death. I will devour your life faster than you can build it. I will sweep the ground from under your feet. I will ruin your home life, destroy friendships and sever ties. The one thing that really irks you is that you can see it happening right before your eyes. Will you set me aside to regain control of your life? Of course not! You’re in love with the company, the chaos, the high. I’m the one girl that will never give up on you. I am crystal meth!

Entry #420
It’s All The Same
Sad day, fun day, it’s all the same behind locked doors. No matter what day, week, month, year it is, I see the same faces without end. They say life is a box of chocolates. I guess I always get the rotten ones with a bitter taste that make you want to say, “Oh Lord, help me with this matter.”
I ask myself what is the thing I most desire?
Freedom comes to mind, but will God give me my desire?
(BANG) the baby blue door shuts. Freedom stays away; it's another sad day in the hall. Hopefully tomorrow is a fun day.

Entry #421
Just a Kid
If you really knew me you would know I’m true. I’m humble at heart. Love me, like me, whatever you do, do it fast. I’m waiting. I’m trying to start fresh. If you really knew me you would know I try my best to get out of the bad dreams, yeah, the dreams of blood and suffering. I don’t like those; I can stand against them, but I need help. If you really knew me you would know that I have a good heart, the kind that can help. I ask myself,  “Why can’t you help yourself? Why can’t you move on from the past?”  Is it because I still live into it? I need a new cage of this world, but why can’t they just let me live with the other animals? I'm sorry for my actions! I'm no longer an ugly beast, just please let me walk with my family till the end of age. I don’t like this cage, but it closes in on me from time to time. No more cages! Show me the key. I will get along with the other animals.

Entry #422
Homie or Me
Sure I’ve had a lot of friends but
only one true homie.
Yeah, we would smoke, drink, & tweak but
it used to be fun to me.
Now I’m stuck in this horrible dream
Doing chores, and being told what to do,
I feel like a worker bee. 
I’m the one locked up, not him
So now he is not a homie to me.
Still wearing regular shoes on his feet
While so many people wore mine, honestly they reek.

Entry #423
I Really Do Care
If you really knew me, you would know I’m tatted back from head to toe.
If you really knew me, you would know I used to smoke dope.
You would know I used to just not care.
You would know my mom tries everything she can to rescue me from this nightmare.
If you really knew me you would know I’ve been on probation for four years and I never had plans to complete it.
You would know this is my twelfth time locked up and it’s all my fault.
If you really knew me you would know I’ve been to hell and back.
You would know I’m ready to get my shit together and stop playing those little kid games.
If you really knew me you would know I used to look up to my big bro but now I don’t.
If you really knew me you would know once my dad past away four years ago I started messing up and before that I was just an innocent little boy.
If you really knew me you would know the creator blessed me with my beautiful daughter to save me from the streets.
If you really knew me you would know I really do care and I’m sorry for putting my mom through all this.

Entry #424
My Brother
My best friend is ------------- . He and I met in middle school. We weren’t good friends at first, but when summer came it turned out that we lived in the same apartment complex and then we became best friends over the summer. I got kicked out of my aunt's house and he was humble enough to let me move in with him and share his room. That is when we become blood brothers. The most memorable moments with my best friend are probably when we were innocent and doing good things together. Going to youth groups with him was the most fun. He will always be my best friend no matter how far we stray away from each other. He is my brother. We both started to go downhill getting into drugs and trouble constantly. We started to drift away from our "good lives" and due to our reckless behaviors, we are now both here.... juvenile hall. Every day I wish we could go back....

Entry #425
If you only knew me . . .
I am not a good man,
I cannot be trusted
Always doing what I can
Till one day I got busted
People always said “he’s such a good kid”
Always the type to impress
The quick one to address
“To whom it may concern.”
Didn’t care who it was to
But now I am a man of no return
Thoughts going through like a train
For now here I am being rain
So if you only knew me you would know
That I am really not a good man.

Entry #426
Shallow Integrity
If you really knew me you would know that I am a cool cat that likes to hang out with the big dogs and fly with the birds. I am as cold as winter and dark as night. I am a silent shadow that passes day in and day out without being seen. I am a prehistoric creature that continues to live. My countenance is very dull due to the certain conditions.  My integrity is shallow because of my containment.  My self-respect is bleak and very different.  I feel like I am living at this moment inside of another person's body and seeing with their eyes.  If I knew me I would be doing something different instead of feeding off of other people's problems.  I would be like a free man to make only healthy decisions.  I feel my demeanor is different from this free man.  I am not free but living a repetitive lifestyle that nobody benefits from.

Entry #427
In this moment I am rearranging my life, taking out the bad things that once damaged me.
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 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.
Life is tough but I have lots of faith…
God 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.

Entry #428
When I was in elementary school I had these two best friends. We told each other everything, and we were always together. We used to take my dad’s video camera and make silly music videos or just goof off and have a good time. Just about every weekend we would have sleepovers, do makeovers, have fashion shows, go to the movies, go swimming, go to the mall, and much more. We thought nothing could\would separate us, then middle school came along, and although we hung-out with different crowds we still made time for each other. During the beginning of 8th grade I got locked up for my first time. When I got out I had received a message online from one of my best friends who said she was sorry to hear what had happened & that she would be there for me no matter what. I never talked to them again. I felt so ashamed of myself for what happened and I didn’t feel worthy of being their friend anymore. I changed schools and that was that. Now I'm a junior and this is my first time back in a mainstream school. I often see these "Old Friends" of mine and it makes me sad when I think about how we used to be, even though it was over 4 years ago. I’ll see them every day either passing through the hallways or in the bathroom. I often wonder if they ever think of me.

Entry #429
Used and Abused
The pain, the cuts dripping with blood.
I’m a freak, a freak of nature.
I blame it all on him.  He broke my heart
He said I’ll never change, but I’ll show him.
Someone new heals the cuts with a righteous kiss,
He taped the pieces back together.  I’ll never be broken again.
He won’t leave me because he said he loved me.
 Tangled in sheets and sweat, I wake with a start.
He’s gone, he’s not there beside me; he left.
I’ve been traded in for someone new.
He rips the tape off my heart.  And opens new cuts.
New Cuts, for new pain, one, two, three.
All too deep, I’m dying, and not just on the inside.
One for him, one for me,
And one for my best friend.

Entry #430
If you really knew me you would know that my anger is unpredictable. One minute I could be all smiles, but that can change as fast as lightning. Sometimes I just bottle up all my frustrations and irritations, but then BOOM! That bottle breaks and I find myself in bad situations. Like I said, it’s unpredictable and I don't know when it will happen; but when it does all I see is red and bad things following my actions.

Entry #431
I Need
When I get out I can be good
I’ll stop hanging out
I won’t try to act hood
I don’t need old friends
I can be alone
Just so they can start trends.
I need nothing of that sort
Soon I can be free from
What they smoke or they snort
Free from this place
So I can show you I’m done
For real, to your face

Entry #432
I love you
If you really knew me, you would know why I don't fight for you anymore, why I don't care anymore and why I do what I do. You would know why this anger burns inside me like a furnace. You would know how all this got messed up, how I get through it all, and how I act like it was nothing. When we first met I was a dog chasing a car, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught you. You just drove faster like it was game. If you really knew me, you would know that I don't give up on what I love. You would know how much it was worth. I wish you really knew me because you would love me. This is all in the past now. It's been too long since I've seen you and you might never see me again. If you really knew me, you would know how much I love you.

Entry #433
If you really knew me you would know I’ve been on drugs since I was twelve years old. I’ve never really gone to school. I wasted five years of my life partying on drugs that made things 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 back or forget. There will always be 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, makes me wonder why I couldn’t have gone a better path and why I couldn’t have made better decisions. I’m seventeen years old with nothing to show for it. Misery loves company. I believe in hope.

Entry #434

If you really knew me you would know I love dirt bike riding. You would know my life has been a mess like a huge tornado. If you really knew me life would have been easier. If you really knew me you would know my dad has not been around that much. If you knew me you would know how much I love you. You might have felt the same but you don't know because I've never told you.  But only if you knew.

Entry #435
Only  If
If you really knew me, I shouldn’t have to tell you that I am sad. You should just see it in my eyes that something is bothering me deep down inside.
If you really knew me, you would know that I don’t like being around fake people.
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 that I’m not very good at math.
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 been through in my life.
If you really knew me you would know how to love me and how to give me the support that I need
Only if you really knew me.

Entry #436
They Moved On
       As an elementary kid, I remember believing in best friends. Truth is I don’t really think there are true friends anymore. 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 go with drugs, money, and females. 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 moved on for their own good, and I’m fine with that.

Entry #437
If you really knew me you would know I’m trapped in a cage where wire mesh holds me in. The only way out comes from deep within. A soft tender voice is what it may seem that takes me away to a dream where the wind is your hair the sky is your eyes and soon someday they will let me fly.   In your heart is where I will be. Please God don’t wake me from this wonderful dream.

Entry #438
If you knew me you would know how much I have really grown. If you really knew me you would know I have a short fuse that I am learning to control. If you really knew me you would know I am like a fire cracker ready to blow. I try to hold it in and try not to explode. If you really knew me you would know I only have about two and a half weeks left to go. You would know I am proud of myself for who I am today. If you knew me you would know I can change and I have changed.   

Entry #439
My World
Life is like a game of tug-a-war with myself. I get to choose what side loses though I’m not one to quit. If you really knew me you would know that I don't give up easily. I am a fighter and I am going to surpass this speed-bump in my life. Some of my struggles feel as though I'm being thrown in the fire or being fed to the lions. One that truly hit me in the heart was losing my grandpa. He was the most love filled father and grandfather a kid could ask for. He put a smile on my face and the face of his friends and family. If you really knew me you would know I would do anything at the drop of the hat for him. I would turn the world upside down just to have one more conversation with him, just a couple hours to tell him how much I love him. You would know he never gave up on me. He always told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. If you really knew me you would know I will do everything in my power to make my life something he will be proud of. My papa is my world no matter what people say, I will never give up.

Entry #440
I Have Changed
       If you really knew me you would know that I’m sad; I’m not happy with the mistakes I have made. I have been down and out. I have also been written and talked about, but they still didn’t subdue me.
       If you really knew me you would know I have been on the streets for a year. I was lonely and hurt. I never really found the love I was looking for so I thought I would find what I was looking for in someone older than me. I was abused, shattered and not in the right state of mind.
       If you really knew me you would know I crave to have my family back. I have changed; I no longer fear the streets or search for love on them. I just need the love from my family. That’s what will make me happy again and I will do whatever it takes to have them back.
       If you really knew me you would know that I am a phenomenal WOMAN!

Entry #441
Long Lost Friends
My long lost friends try to grab at me.
They yell and scream in my ear,
My long lost friends suffocate me turning me blue like the door I've stood behind on and off for three years.
My long lost friends aren't so far away honestly.
They've only been gone for a month, but they tell Satan to send me dreams of their malicious abuse.
"You know you want to! We're the only ones who'll ever be here for you and you know it!"
My long lost friends are evil and they would love nothing more than to see me fail, to fall and never prevail.
My long lost friends are like the flu always returning and again making me cold and blue.
My long lost friends are horribly wonderful.
They fill me with the warmth I need.
"Just one more time pal. Just put me to your lips."
But the warmth only last a second, leaving me alone to fend for myself.
My long lost friends say they love me and they wouldn't  hurt me.
They're liars. I should tell them to burn rubber.
Do you know my friends?
Because they seem to know you too.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This month, we are excited to have Lassen County Juvenile Hall writers join the mix.

Entry #378
Never More

In this moment, I'm caught trying to fight these salty tears. Blinking, holding back sobs. Not because my life is all that bad, I'm not searching or seeking your pity. I am battling the guilt, coursing through my meth ridden veins. It’s a funny thing about dope...guilt, remorse and regret only show once the monster is done running its course.
I'm moving on, I told my mom and finally she believes, with a sliver of hope... that I'm not too far gone. Waging an unbeatable war to get my life back in check. I see their wrongs. I try to do right but all I end up doing is failing. Life isn't hard.  It's the depression, the fear, and even the hurt. I've gone through too much in too little time to land myself here. Here isn't a person, a place, or a thing. It’s a landing spot I’ve crashed into and slowly began to burn. The fire isn’t dangerous unless you let it get out of control. All I'm trying to do is let it turn my past to ash, my present to dust, and let new growth make way for tomorrow.
Dear Mom, I'm sorry it’s been a long windy road, and I still haven’t found my way home. Just to let you know, I'm coming back. Dear Monster, you ran your game, you told me not to play. I ignored my mother’s pleas and my father’s nightmares and sat down while you held my hand. You’re the cat and I'm the mouse, but I'm tired of returning as your constant play thing. Try me once I'll release you to your home, Try me twice I'll run your soul. I ruined this once, I failed it twice, but I say this now: I'll not turn to you for a third time. 

Entry# 379
Before It’s Too Late

A Line from Writing Exchange dated April 10, 2013 Entry # 213:
“All I feel in here is guilty of what I did and the people I hurt.”
          What I regret most is not being there for my little brother. He is only 8 years old. He doesn’t have a mom or dad. In fact I don’t even think he knows who his dad is. His mom, our mom, is actually locked up; she is serving 8 years. She won’t be released until he is 12 years old. It’s very hard on him.
        I remember one time, the very first time we went to visit mom in prison. My brother, my grandma and I just finished eating at Jack in the Box. We were on our way to the prison and as we got closer my brother suddenly said, “I feel sick, like I am going to throw up.” I didn’t know why all of a sudden my brother felt sick.  It didn’t occur to me that the reason he felt that way was because he was nervous. It had a major impact on my brother. So when we got to the prison and finally went to visit her, everything was going good…until we had to say goodbye. He started crying, and it wasn’t just I’m crying because I feel like it, it was a cry of pain. We tried to comfort him but nothing worked, he kept repeating himself saying,  “I want my mom,” but there was nothing we could do and it hurt. I felt like crying too, but I had to be strong for my brother.
        Well the reason I am telling you this story is because I am locked up…just like my mother. I am only serving 4 months. I am not there for my brother like I should be. I know he misses me. I should have thought about the impact it would have on him.
        When I get released I need to stop focusing on me and my wants and focus on him too, or my brother will turn out like my mom and I. I don’t want that to happen. I have to change before it’s too late and I regret that I didn’t.

Entry # 380
Frantic Hope

To be free is a dream, a dream that I may never have. False justice stands in my way.  Corruption is all around me. Frustration lives within me because hatred is the lense that I see through. Baby blue door keeping me captive. White walls talk to me when I'm saddened.  Frantic like an antelope running from a lion, trying to survive.  My hope is like the antelope.  Perhaps I'm the lion.

Entry # 381
To Shine Again

As I work out the darkness of my own imprisonment I feel nothing but pain and anguish.  I stare in the mirror but all I see is the sadness of my own menace. Sure I’m clean, but I feel all the more dangerous as I await my sentence.  I know it isn’t the end of my dark decisions. I will continue to stain this soul of mine until death is no longer indecisive or the light of life again shines inside of me.

Entry# 382
Those Days

       In this moment I’m hurt because things have changed so much over the past three years. I wish things were the way they used to be because those were the good days not having to worry about a thing but my baby girl and myself. Those were the best days, chilling at home with my baby girl, watching TV, holding her, giving her baths, and teaching her how to sit up. Oh, how much I miss those days.
        Now I’m in here while you’re out there being adopted. I’m sorry baby girl. I just wish things were the way they used to be, when my dad was still alive. He taught me how to be a better parent by pushing me along when I said I couldn’t do it anymore. I wish things were the way they used to be because those were the good days.

Entry # 383

I stare down into the thicket of the hole,
visualizing a rabbit and a clock,
I'm out of time.
Without further breath, I jump.
Blindly I fall watching the dirt engulf me.
Sticks cut my arms, dry heat suffocates my eyes.
I hit the ground.
Circled by tunnels
Welcomed by the sounds of dripping water.
The damp walls seem to breath.
Illuminated by absent sorcerers,
I can see.
Nocturnal to the night, my eyes adjust.
I am the predator owl.
I glide over rigid bumps of mud.
My hands coated with glue,
Realization sets in,
I can see the end.
Bells chime in the darkness,
Flashing shadows of demons hiss and pulse.
Harps string decoratively in the ceiling,
Flames lick the floor.
I come to an end, the dirt walls inches away.
The stairway to heaven, or the drop to hell?
I am out of time.

Entry# 384
Am I Really Sorry?

A line from Writing Exchange on August 28, 2013:
“Mom I apologize for all the things I have done.”
        This phrase made made me think. Sure I feel really sorry right now, but that’s because of the situation I’m in. Would I feel sorry or even think about my mom if I was still out there on the streets? So what happens when I get out? Does that feeling stay?
        Well from personal experience, it doesn’t. Whenever I was locked up I would say all sorts of crap but when it came time to get out, I forget everything and go back to my old habits. I would not go home for days or even talk to my family for weeks. But sure enough when I come in here I regret it all and promise to “change this time for sure.” Then I get out again and what do I do? Damn right I go smoke it all away or drink till I can’t be sure I ever even thought about those things.
        Everything changes for me, I don’t want to believe I need other people in my life. Hopefully, now I can open my eyes to what life really is. But I have said that before, too. So am I really sorry after all?

Entry # 385

Life doesn’t seem like mine anymore
Taking so many steps I don’t know how many miles I’ll go
Trapped in this fairytale I’m ashamed to call my life
Concealed with anger like a Television that is not turned on
And I hope that I don’t have to spend another Happy belated locked up
Having my life controlled like a game whether I’m asleep or awake
If I keep doing the same things my future will be at stake
Right now in my mind my life feels like it’s exploding way worse than the
San Francisco Earthquake
But it’s my life and I have to change my mind state
Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or the next day
All I know is that I need to change my life

Entry# 386

        In this moment, I’m feeling like I will change when I get released. When, I get out, I will go to school and graduate from high school. My goal is to graduate and go to college. Since, I’ve been locked-up, I found out all the bad things I was doing were serious crimes. I regret doing those things and the pain I caused my parents. I was always in the streets with my old friends.
        When I get out, I will stop hanging out with my old friends and go to school. I want to become a correctional officer when I grow up. I feel like I can relate to some of the kids locked up and help change their lives. My goal at this time is to graduate from high school and attend college. I will find new positive friends to hang out with. I want to do something constructive with my life when I get out of juvenile hall.

Entry# 387
I’m Sorry Mom

I’m sorry I hurt you deep
I’m sorry you don’t believe me
I’m sorry our relationship won’t work out the way we want it to
I’m sorry I sold myself for money and dope
I’m sorry you lost all hope
I’m sorry I stole from you
I’m sorry I lied and said I’ll help you find it, just for a ten dollar bill
Now that I think all this I feel so ill
I’m sorry I made you feel how you feel
I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me especially when there was nothing in the fridge to eat
I’m sorry we always fought
I never realized how much I miss you since I’ve been away from home
I’m sorry you don’t know what to do with me, except send me here because you can’t handle me
I’m sorry I turned out so bad and gay.
I’m sorry for all those things I’ve done but,
It wasn’t right when you told the judge I need help, I’m crazy and started making a scene. I got into a drug program like you wanted me to
What else do you want me to do?
I told you I’m sorry.

Entry # 388

Unfortunaly I am the pity person,
laugh at me you will, the worse I feel,
I am pathetic, sorrowful, and lonely,
I am scum of the earth and enraged with fear,
all this happened because of one word,
one disease
her name is addiction
one day I’m drinking
the other I’m sinking
gee I wonder
I wonder what she is thinking
Does she know that my heart is beating
is she defeating my purpose
I wonder

Entry# 389
Coming Down

A line from Writing Exchange 8-28-13, Entry #327:
 “Mother, I remember how you would act when you were on one.”
I remember how you tried to hide your needles and dope pipe, so you wouldn’t hurt us.
I remember how you would scream for us to hide underneath the bed so flying bullets wouldn’t hit me or my little brother.
I remember how you had all those dope fiends and gang bangers live in our house and how they would eat all the food.
I remember how me and my little brother would starve and only eat one sandwich a day. How you made one meal, to last us only a couple of days.
I remember how you used our welfare for drugs, and left only $50 for food.
I remember we only had baloney and bread.
I will never forget how you would lock yourself in your room, wigging the hell out that the cops were after you.
        I remember when you had your hair up and you looked beautiful, ready for the day because you were on your level [on drugs]. You were the nicest mom for a while. But when the drugs started to wear off, your hair became wild, like a lion. You looked like a demon possessed you; my brother and I already knew to stay away from you when you were coming down. We couldn’t resist it, we loved you mom. I was eight, and my brother was six years old, when you would grab your hair, like you were super frustrated, telling us, "I have the devil inside me, you stupid ass kid, you’re driving me insane, get the hell out!”  Then, you would chase us with a cable wire.
        I remember how one of your friends died right on our front porch from a drive-by. I witnessed a lot of things that a child should never see. You only had one rule for us, and that rule was to not bring the cops home. But then again I chose to follow your path, getting arrested with gang enhancements. Do I forgive you, no, but, then, yes, I love you with all my heart and every breath I take. You were my Dad and Mom.
        I do forgive you because I’m still alive today. I’m a survivor of a wild life. I know you lost everything, just to provide for us, but, you did it the illegal way. I remember that last day I stayed with you, when my brother and I were fighting, and he went outside crying. I went to go apologize to him. You had all your homies and home girls there smoking dope with you. Once my brother and I walked in, exactly fifteen seconds later, someone was pounding on the door with rage. Yelling out, “Police! Open the door, ------! We know you’re in there! POLICE!" Boom--Boom! Then I see you get up and hide your smoking tools underneath my mattress. The cops kicked down the door, twenty or twenty five police officers came in rushing. They arrested every single adult in there, even your young friends. The only two kids were me and my brother. We were on our way to Child Protected Services (CPS) until I made the right move, and called my sister. She picked us up so fast from that nightmare. That was the last time we stayed with you.
Although it never left me, I do forgive you mom.

Entry # 390
To Know Why

If you really knew me you would know that I’m hurting inside.
You  would know I  put a front up for people.
If you really knew me you would know that I’m an addict.
If you really knew me you would know that I have two sides to me.
You would know I don’t get along with my dad.
You would know that I’m afraid of the future.
If you really knew me you would know why I hustle.
If you really knew me you would know I used to want to take my life.
If you really knew me you would know why I have so much hate built up. 

Entry # 391

An innocent salt water tear falls from the eye of an angelic little girl.
Like the tear she too falls down to an enchanted world.
She falls, silently mortified by her deepest fears.
Unconscious on a bottomless floor,
swiftly awaken by the slamming shut of heaven’s door.
As he looks into her eyes she wished she were blind,
suddenly empty inside stuck in the Devil's lies.
Hell bound internally without the chance of compromise.
She has been forever sent away never again to see the light of day.
Her life locked away.     

Entry # 392

In this moment I am rearranging my life, I am taking out the bad things that once were so damaging.
In this moment I am reaching my goals, doing what I’m supposed to without being told.
In this moment I am staying strong, 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 who I am.
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.
Life is tough but I have lots of faith… ask and you shall receive. That’s what God’s doing for me today.
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.

Entry # 393
My Family

The only thing that I care about is my family. I love my family very much, but sometimes we get into fights. I can't deal with the drama with my dad and so I just run away. It's hard for me to deal with my problems. It bums me out when I am not able to spend time with my beautiful family, so I use drugs and alcohol to hide my feelings! It's especially hard when I’m not able to spend time with my mom. My mom was always there for me. She understood what I was going through. But now I can't see or even hug her when I am having a bad day, or if I am just in one of my moods.
It's hard because my mom has been locked up for basically my whole life. I can't wait until she gets out. I am going to be so happy when she does! I don't want her to feel that it is her fault that I am locked up. I just want her to get out and do good, and not go back to her old ways with her so called "friends". I have been trying to get along with my dad, my little brother, and my little sisters. When I get out I want to fix things with them, so things can go back to normal, and we all can be a happy family again.

Entry # 394

I ask myself if I’ll ever be truly happy. I sit here in my cell just thinking what I’ve done and missed out on in life. My damn dad kicked me out. I get a letter saying your girls doing bad; she’s on the streets tweaking just like your dad. I ask myself if I’ll ever be truly happy or am I going to be in and out of jail the rest of my life. All I want is a good life and a good wife. I’m not trying to be in and out of prison the rest of my days.

Entry# 395
12 Years

A line from Writing Exchange 8-28-13, Entry #343:
“I don’t forgive my dad because he’s never been in my life”
My dad was in my life for 12 years. I loved him with all my heart and believed he’d always be there for me and thought he’d always be my hero. But all my dreams were destroyed when I found out he was put in prison for a crime that’s unforgivable. Now I stop and think, I would rather have had him gone before I was born. I wish I had never looked up to him knowing now the person he is and always will be.

Entry # 396
Coldened Hardships

Evil decays its way through life
Even through the walls at night,
Masticating through defeat.
Sleeping sound, a sudden bang,
Body twitches from coldened pain.
Feeling alone while quietness wins
More come in, stuck with their sins.
Bright and shiny days outside,
The things in life that make me laugh,
But Bad decisions bring me back.
Corrupted minds dwell on the fix
Only see “enter,” but miss the exit.
Days, the reaper marks his checklist.
Remorse seeps slowly, right through the skin
Will I think before I act again?

Entry # 397
Test of Courage

Take a look at me and tell me what you see,
A skinny white kid ‘wanna’ be?
No that’s just me.
I used to try and act hard until that life changing moment when my girlfriend told me she was pregnant.I knew right then and there that I had a choice: keep selling dope and gang banging, or be the father I always wanted. I chose to be a father.
I remember the first time I held my son; I was the proudest person in the world.  All I wanted to do was be there for him, and I was.  But I guess you could say I got bored, so I started kicking it with the "homies" and selling drugs again.  My girl tried to help me see that I was ignoring my family and being selfish, but I just didn't care. Then one day I got pulled over and found with stolen property. I ditched court and ended up with a warrant. Eventually it caught up with me and I got locked up. I thought that was the end of it but it wasn’t.
I was out for two weeks and I then back to the same stuff with another warrant. I ran for 6 months until it caught up with me. Now here I sit, thinking about my baby boy and his mom.  I'm going to change.  I'm going to be there for him.  Forget the gangs, guns, and drugs. Now I'm about bottles, binkies and diapers. I'm a father now, and I don't want to be anything else. I know that when I look in my son's eyes I'm ready to stop being that thug and be a daddy.

Entry # 398

If you really knew me you'd know nothing has changed
You'd know that I'm frustrated and I'm addicted to pain
If you really knew me you'd know that my mom hates me
You'd know she blames me for her current health
That I'm trying all I can to keep myself from falling apart
If you really knew me you'd know that I'm afraid of responsibility
You'd know that I'm afraid of failing and that's why I never go home
If you really knew me you'd know that I'm not a violet person
You'd know that this bully wants someone to love
If you really knew me you'd know why I cry myself to sleep every night
You'd know the devil tries to claim me as his best friend
If you really knew me you'd know why I'm in a gang
You'd know that my gang are the only ones there for me
If you really knew me you'd know that I really do care
You'd know that I'm screaming for help
If you really knew me you'd know that my mom is dying
You'd know that she tells me not to trip but all I can do is worry

Entry # 399
Is There Still Time?

Have to straighten up
The big 18 here I come!
Scared as hell, don’t be dumb
Tripping out every night,
what will happen with my life?
be good --stay clean
be hood-- act mean
A million questions in my head,
If I don’t do right will I end up dead?
These are the things that plague my mind.
I’ve got to straighten up
But give me some time.

Entry # 400
Through My Eyes

When I look in the mirror I see me and when I see me I think I’m going too throw up. I have done wrong in life. I hate society so much it drives me nuts. What am I going to do? I don’t have any more pot or pills; I just have myself.  I feel crazy on the way to school, like I’m going to snap. I wish I had more happiness with this life that I was given by God, but everything around me is the same as me.

Entry # 401

I’m so anticipated ready for the shot,
But there was no one there to call it off
I think everyone must have forgot,
Then I see myself running off
Opening my back door to my loft,
Running to the bathroom cough after cough
Don’t know what they solve,
But I do know what they cause
Just for a second I sit and pause,
Staring at my hands looking more like claws

Entry # 402
I Confess, I am an Addict

In this moment I am clueless, I have no idea what’s coming next. I have court on the 8th but only know I am getting committed. I don’t know where I am going or if my family wants me. I only tried the drug. I didn’t know I was going to lose my meat. I didn’t know five days could take me to the ocean. Mom I promise, I know I have said this before, but truly coming from the heart I know what I did hurt not only my heart but yours too. Mom I am sorry I just wanted to know how and why the drug took you away from me, that’s all. But what I will tell you that I haven’t said before is that I know why you left me. You left because of that stupid thing that they use as a term for, I need it more than anything mom, it is our addiction.  

Entry # 403
Good Morning

Opening my eyelids at 6 every morning for the fall of hot water on my figure.  As I walk out the steel cage and into another room I rub my pits with an unusual smell of greatness.  Big people tell me to hurry up and quit slow playing. I verbally tell them off and get a discipline. My day starts.

Entry # 404
I am Ready

I just sit and think in my room about what I did to be in here. Why am I not on the outs with my family? I did not choose to be here. I try to stay away from this place but always seem to come back to it. I just don't get it; I want to change and I am ready to change because this is not how I want my life to be, locked up away from loved ones. I am going to think before I do next time or I might come in on a worse charge in the future. I don't think about what I do when I do dumb little things to get me locked down. I am not only hurting myself, I am hurting all my loved ones. They think of me as there little girl. They can’t believe I am in here and they don't want to believe I am. 

Entry # 405
Demon Beside Me

Alone. In a plain white cell.
Wait. Someone is talking to me.
My conscience or a demon?
I see him clear as day.
He tells me to do things. That are bad
I do them. Afraid if I don’t
 Am I going crazy, or is he really there?
 He gives me a wicked smile and disappears.
Now without him here, I finally see the colors in life.
I’m free but all alone; do I want him back?
I make good choices, but I’m all alone.
But not for long.  He’s back!  Still just as evil as the Wicked Witch.
Sometimes I wonder if I missed him. . .
The answer is always yes.

Entry# 406
The Right Path

A line from 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, 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# 407

A line from Writing Exchange 4-10-13, Entry #214:
“If only I had a chance to change”
        If only I had a chance to change the things I did to get in here in juvenile hall, I would in a millisecond. I have so many regrets and things I wish I had a chance to change.
 One thing I regret is burning the bridges with my aunt who’s always there for me and only wants to help me succeed.
         I also regret having my parents and family worried about me. I have them worried so much that they sometimes wonder if I’m dead or alive. I wish had a chance to change the things that I did that made my family cry.
         I regret running the streets and leaving my little sisters behind. They know I love them and care about them. I don’t want them to pick up my bad habits and leave all their good things behind. They are the other half of my heart.  I sometimes wonder if I’m going to continue to run the streets.
        If I really had a chance to change I would change everything that I did in my past and the things that I am still doing. My family and parents want me to change, but I have so many regrets. I need to change and I want to change.

Entry # 408
Done Using

Today I found out my grandma might be giving me another chance of coming home. 
I’m pretty excited because I might get to come home to live with my baby brother. See he and I have no mother. She died from meth use, such a sorry death.
This is my fourth time being locked up due to my own methamphetamine addiction. I tell my grandmother I’m done using and coming back to --------County’s juvenile hall and I believe it’s true, but somehow when I’m around dope I start craving the high feeling again. 
I’m currently sober, missing my girlfriend. I feel my heart deteriorating and rotting away. Everyday she’s always on my mind. She’s my best friend and a friend I’ll forever call mine.   I’ve made many mistakes while I’ve dated her and so has she.  I hold no grudge; I just want her in my life. I want to grow old and have a family with her. Through all the rain, sorrow and pain, I’ll love her till the death of me. I feel like meeting her was destiny.

Entry # 409
The Big Mistake

Death walked in my window,
Good thing it was my friend though.
We grabbed the useless and walked out.
Running around, going about.
Shouts shudder shame
I can’t seem to tame.
The night of my guilt took me in,
The walls remind me of my kin.
I said, "I’m gonna get up and take a new road.”
It’s time to take off my heavy load.
Starting off on reading the holy book,
It gave my future a brighter look.
It really got my mind back on track.
When I get out I’ll do my best to avoid crack.

Entry # 410

        In this moment, I am doing all that I can to make a better tomorrow for my family and I, putting behind me a yesterday full of endless regrets and continuous mistakes. Today is a process of self-cleansing, to be a new person, making yesterday’s failures meaningless.
        I’ve learned the art of self-control to control my actions, to think before acting or thoughtlessly reacting to negativity and stress. Tomorrow, my new self won’t make those same thoughtless, careless mistakes of crashing into those same obstacles that led me to foot the path of destruction. Knowing that my actions-either negative or positive-will bring about consequences, 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 understand that there is more to life than just my woes and worries.  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 what doesn’t belong to me, realizing that the world owes me nothing. I am also learning the act of discipline and being civilized for my reentrance into the world.
        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’ves” of yesterday. They are a distant memory. All that matters now is the better choices and actions I make today. But what exactly will this mystic tomorrow bring to me, this reborn self?

Entry# 411
My Thoughts

The feeling of being alive
Obstacles I’ll have to face
Choosing up or taking a bribe
I’m stuck or taking it day by day
If I play my cards right
My efforts have no ability to detain
If careless, I throw my dice
To see how it takes play
Saying the truth or telling a lie
It all hurts either way
To stay loyal all the time
51/50 chance of being betrayed
Goals I really want to strive
More effort and heart is all it takes
Interrupted of wrong is my mistake
Distracted emotions run tight
These thoughts carried in my head
It’s all the state of mind
I have too many debates
I give up or do I choose to try
Competitive to my games
Climbing the top to survive
Pushing or do I stay the same
It’s Me, Myself, I that remains

Entry# 412
Things Would Be Different

A line from Writing Exchange, 4-10-13, entry 218:
 “What if my childhood wasn’t as bad as it was?”
If my childhood wasn’t the way it was I think things would be different. But some things probably would’ve been the same as they are today.  I wasn’t such a bad little kid, but I kept yelling and arguing with my teacher, cussing at them and not doing my work even in the 1st grade. If I hadn’t flunked or got suspended so much then things may have been different. If I had not used drugs at the age 13,  maybe I would not have used drugs at all. If I had just stayed in school and stopped ditching to stay home and get high or try to make money, then things would have been different. If during this whole time I had been doing things the right way….Maybe, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Entry # 413

Weak smile, empty assurance I give to my family. I don’t know how long I’ll be here. I know what I do is wrong but do I with my misguided soul of this earth? I fear this is all I’m worth. When I get out it’ll be like another birth. When I emerge, no doubt, I’ll begin to fail but I will seek triumph and good in the ways of life. I’ve matured, yes, but I’m still learning to walk in the right direction. I will thrive; I just need to keep reminding myself, “No more lies to the faces of family.” You’ve still loved me after all these crimes I feel I’ve  committed a million times, yet you’ve managed to stay by my side after all these years. You are great as your love. No matter what, you are treasures in my eyes.

Entry # 414
Love Is

Love is the warmth
From holding hands
The butterflies
From waking next to you
Love is truth
And being faithful
It is Gold wedding bands
And meaning it when saying " I Do "
Love isn't Drugs
It isn’t the breath you breathe from your pipe
It isn't the lies
And the breaking of your heart
Love isn’t cheating
Even though you keep forgiving
Love is telling the truth
Also remembering who you are
It is the laughter of your children
And wrinkled smiles
Love is knowing that your my first
my only
my last
Love is Agreeing
And Disagreeing
Love isn’t the tears
And the leaving
Love isn’t hurtful words
And Love is me
Love isn’t you
I just wish I knew.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

For a printable version of this month's exchange, click: http://www.bcoe.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_747631/File/news/sept_exchange.pdf
Many of the poems from this month’s exchange will also be entered in the POETRY 99 Contest with the Chico News and Review.  That publication is due out October 17th!   http://www.newsreview.com/chico/home

Entry # 350

Perennial breaths of poison cloud my perception of vitality,
my mind.
A grave of which feverish venom seeps through like an intruder,
so many nights of invitations compel this demon forward,
my heart.
A tomb of failure in which I try to change,
but why would you change a winner?
An abundance grasps my body with a numb temptation,
the desire of my being is that of an aristocrat, noble.
I am loyal to my decision;
death feels nice when inhaled from a glass pipe.

Entry # 351

Abandoned white walls, stressed thought
was all I knew because of the disgusting charges.
The frightened Samaritan did not feel heroic, but instead defeated,
a menace to the lost soul that wandered around himself,
confused as he tried to read the lines in this unknown book. 
Where was the writer? Lost, but never forgetting that he had time,
to marinate inside,
the excited void that now was feeding on his person.

Entry # 352
Whispering Walls

Lost, looking at these delusional brick walls
Regardless of how hard I try I continue to return
Stuck in this room
Treacherous, deep down inside
Unable to blossom and show my full potential.
The darkest place at night, walls of ice
Insecure thoughts swiftly enter my mind
The affectionate yet dirty white walls
Whisper to me as I sleep
Blue doors of insecurity
The tense bolt clicks and I'm alone.

Entry # 353
Heading For Bliss

I turned the corner towards bliss,
a narrow path that slowly winds its way to the river.
Once there, a vengeful jump to the water,
a 65 foot drop,
Dismal darkness,
can’t even see my hand.
The water subdued to me?
But I don’t know if it’s the other way around.
Running out of breath,
I reach the surface and inhale.

Entry # 354
A Blaze Of Color

Endearing yet rabid
letting his emotions blindly
run through him;
perfect marksmanship driving
the arrow
Vitality of my emotions
I accept naively
begging this not to be
a savage mirage.
Three fateful words
meant to destroy
or to rebuild a tattered heart.
Once said, can and will
be used against you
as evidence, as if
I was in court.
No one can judge me.
To be a blaze of color
in your black and white
to be the sound
in your wordless film.

Entry # 355

What, do they think I'm the Cowardly Lion?
That trait is absent.
Mocked, like the Great Oz,
so I'll hide,
these tears?
Concealed with anger,
dark, mortifying, violent anger.
These blasphomists will soon curse their ground,
While I?
ascend on a white cloud,
but not the cloud they'll predict,
"She'll never change."
I have, without your help.
No more murderous toxins filling me,
filling my days, meaningless hours.
Instead of being the witch on which the house fell,
I'm Dorothy,
three clicks,
one walk, the yellow brick road
away from,
white walls and locked doors.
I don't even shiver.

Entry # 356

I walk inside the baby blue doors of juvenile hall.
Mom thinks I’m crazy, but I don't;
I feel like I can touch the sky.
Honorable I am.
Striding through the depths of one mile.
Thinking I have an option of whether I should stay or go,
I stay with a decision.
Uncomfortable, private,
Later belligerent.

Entry # 357
No Flat Tires

I have these lost hands to carry me where I’m found
Riding in a life that shifts gears
I fell off and landed on a stage.
Looking up from the dirt with blood melting from my eyes
I stop, smelling the abandoned forest
Where flowers stick in the ground and my face shines in the sun
My arms stretched for the wind to take me.
Now, cruising through life without flat tires
I’m free.

Entry # 358
Lately I’ve been blinded by all of the obscene
Here with a bunch of naive juveniles
Inaccurate marksmanship blindly evading the savage truth
We're all trying to make sense of the nonsense
Mirage inside our heads
Wouldn't we be mystified by the bizarre suspense of the real world, our parents have been unsuccessfully hiding us from?
I've been in a daze and when I come back to reality, I think the world must have changed.
I sit and think, it must have been me
Maybe one day we'll understand.

Entry # 359

Alone in a mystifying cell,
Where dreams deceive.
Incarcerated by my own routine,
Where an enraged locked door keeps me away from freedom.
Guilt stabbing me, with blood dripping from my chest.
Frustration beat me down with vengeance,
Sadness accepts me with open arms.
A day will come, happiness will shine.

Entry # 360

Running down a self-wanted path of unrighteousness,
blind and shameless of my vanishing future.
All the motherly love in the world, but none to reciprocate,
just a fake smile,
So I conjure up discreet ideas of tactile hope,
I'm still going down the path, thinking it's harmless.
Almost lost in the sweltering smoke,
The feelings like lying on top of a cloud,
But I'm actually getting lowered through the smoke to a burning hot fire.
A hand reaches out, grabs my arm and cuffs me.
A tiny spark of hope ignites.

Entry # 361

Occasionally I would whisper to my pristine intellectual self,
how courageous, gentle and generous I am, or,
thought I was.
But now I feel distant,
reckless and submissive.
My once calm dynamic is bleak by this new profound
dignity and the thoughts dwindle on.
Occasionally I ponder my intellectual self.

Entry #362

I sit here in my cell
waiting and thinking
missing my family and all.
Lost here and there
but I manage to be everywhere.
I remember my mom saying "It's never too late to change."
I change and somehow,change back
I don’t know why I need that drink
the one that makes me feel
free and wild.
The bitter taste in my sinning mouth
will I ever get over this disgusting habit
or will it imprison me?

Entry # 363
Identity Crisis

Aside from myself, I am my only friend.
Trapped in the asylum-
I've imprisoned myself in.
This villainous taunt reflects my ambition to fight.
I am inseparable from my own way.
The right way?
My impartial mind is diseased, agreeable to accept support, knee deep in stagnant waters.
Drowning in my own repetitive thoughts,
I don't know who I am anymore.
My mom wants her little girl back,
but I've grown strong from the monster.
My voice is of a demon,
possessed by harsh implications.
Who am I now?

Entry # 364
the poem

The deep sea comes out on its ambitious day,
Censor to the cold night that’s slipping around the corner of amazement,
He sees generous clouds that shine ambition.
Sophisticated spirit of man,
Coming through the waters without a struggle.
You can hate a man, and still respect him.
Why this far out, were you lost?
Saved from the invisible face, his echo shudderd to a thunderous roar.
The opponents done.

Entry # 365
Hanging On

Army in my fist
White from his tongue, he moved quietly.
No noises, I assure you,
He's been hanging on tightly.
The smoke sinks into the air that goes from tension to a stain.
It calls to the sun, burning near his bearded shame.
Treachery of change tore from cities to the smashing sounds of pity.
His glare came once, but only to give his enemy some gritty.

Entry # 366

Here I sit confused, scatterbrained,
I am flourished to a life inferior from the last,
To a place where I am not scared to be loved,
Reconstructed with confidence, understanding, wisdom.
Once an animal,
Now I’m just a stupid human of society,
Former honor and pride,
I had to leave it.

Entry # 367
A Loss

Yes, I am bad, but I’m not the worst.
Everyone has brought me down at least an inch,
I’m anticipated, ready for another shot,
But she was there to call it off.
I’m there mom, have you forgot,
This was it--the time to rise,
I didn’t find it hard to try,
Lost from what you took in your despise.
Whether it was a he or she, it would've been mine.
Surly others have gone through it before,
I was there mom; you could've given a chance,
So yes, it’s your fault, I’m here no more.

Entry # 368
Stained Parchment

Heavy Lids
Closing in, racing towards
Bought strength
Hidden form of humility, to be honest
The desire to go on
But all they do is hollow me out
Your face, her voice, their sobs
Misplaced memories
Resounding through this emptiness that was once a brilliant mind
The lock never works
Or maybe it just breaks
Perhaps it’s just my will
Flowing out into this void
Once a heart, now an enchanted shell

Entry # 369

The fire blazes as it goes through my mind
fatal to the touch of reality,
I struggle to find my way
navigating insanity, I scream!
Only the sound of my vicious regret calms my heart, because I'm not alone,
imagination bleeding as I retreat my thoughts and words back into my shell of fatal consciousness,
longing for these white walls to disappear.
To once again know freedom.

Entry # 370
Empty souls, empty brains
Dark hearts, evil faces
What’s next? Could I be concerned?
I can’t even think.
Like a zombie I am so boundless,
I don’t even know how to function,
I can’t even feel pain or be cold.
I wish I were human,
To have fun or walk fast or talk?
I wonder if humans will be scared or even run from me?

Entry  # 371

Inside I’m screaming; crying
a horrible pain,
His torture, my memory
I talk and act as if I’m okay,
Emotions run deeply
Eyes only betray,
Inside, I just run
Wishing, to never look back that way,
Look what he’s done!
Changing my lifestyle
Now part of my history,
Yeah, I was little
Careless, he still got a taste,
Family full of denial
While cops want the case,
Inside pleading you were family
That was his huge mistake,
Now look at me!
A mess created
Something impossible to change.

Entry # 372
Not For Me

As I touched my point,
gazing down the walls of terror,
I stood looking out at that one shiny day,
when, if I could I'd be out there running and ripping.
While the inside of me wished that one of those sunny days was going to be the one for me,
for continuous time the only thing that I knew were the walls that I couldn’t see through.
I would run as fast as I could from this place but I was way too cool,
and it would sometimes catch up and see me,
so, I would stay even thought  I knew it wasn’t for me.

Entry # 373
High and Alone

High and alone
On A beach is where I like to be.
Listening to the waves,
Watching the people walk by
Instead I remain bleak
On this very shady beach
Most of the looks on people’s faces are melancholy.
Everything’s getting boring
Time to find something more luring.

Entry # 374

Want to hear a story about how life can be?
Look in the sky, then you’ll see,
The clouds and blue sky, is that a dove?
Wow! I smell cookies! Or is that love?
The sound of pots clinging, and the hummingbirds.
And whispering sounds of the people’s words.
While children are dancing in the street,
To the music playing. Move your feet!
Where people walk their dogs in the park.
Where they play rough to hear a bark.
Night falls so now it’s time to go inside,
To have dinner, enjoy your meal.
And that’s the story tonight.

Entry # 375
Making Out

the kiss of death
is a roller coaster ride
not sure when it began
not sure if I’ll live or die?
life is hard, much too hard
without the kiss
lingering in the distance
taunting me,
calling to be felt again
the sun comes up again and again
the days blur together
will there be no end
I fight to keep my eyes open
body in pain, mouth dry
wishing I had stayed away
for the kiss of death
will take my life
a life of destruction
a life of pain
a life of misery
with nothing to gain

Entry # 376
Victorious Defensive

The projection of my pencil on this page
is perhaps a victorious
defensive instinct to assure you
that opinions are endless,
Criticisms senseless,
desire to be free will only be inside your conscious,
Feel cautious of the trials and tribulations upcoming
toward the beginning
as unable to express feelings on a piece of paper,
does the bible speak the truth?
when we die will my punishment begin?

Entry # 377
My Little Girl

My little girl passed away September, 4 years ago. Damn I miss her. There were so many good things we did while she was alive. When she was born I was declared godfather. She had blond hair and blue eyes just like me and my sis. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. The first time she got to see my dog ( Irish-wolfhound, so he’s really big) she said "Unc, when can I ride him?” That’s what she calls me is "Unc." She used to bug her mom to come over to Unc’s house just to eat the snacks and jucies and ice cream. But that’s not the only thing she came over for. She loved the water, so I’d take her swimming a lot. Damn, she loved the water even more than me. All right, well, I don’t know what else to write, except, I love you baby girl.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This month, students read several "forgiveness" poems from the Re-Thinking Schools magazine in an article by Linda Christensen.  They were able to choose an open topic or one of two prompts to write about:
1. Make a list of people you want to forgive or can't forgive. Choose one of them, and write a poem.
2. Who has had a profound impact on your life, positively or negatively?  Write about your relationship with this person, what traits you admire or despise, and what the future holds.

Entry # 327
I forgive you for all the times you left me to watch your kids.
I forgive you for always leaving your drugs out for us to see.
For hitting me when I flushed your dope.
For overdosing on drugs in front of me, my little brother, and sister.
I forgive you for bringing all those dope fiends into our house
I forgive you for leaving us alone in the night, only to wake up and cry.
I forgive you for beating everyone up so that we would have nowhere to stay.
For always choosing guys over us kids.
One thing I don’t forgive you for and I never will, is teaching me to do wrong.
I will never forgive you for teaching me stealing was okay.
I will never forgive you for sticking things in my pocket while were in a store.
For making me have to grow up so fast,
and taking away my childhood.
I will never forgive you for leaving me in the world, lost.
I will never forgive you for making me feel unloved and alone.
Some things can never be forgiven.

Entry #328
Supposed To Be
I wish I could forgive you, but I can't. All those times you would leave us home for hours. You left me to take care of my brother. I was 12 and you didn't care. For that, I can't forgive you. Leaving grandma and papa to raise your two kids. That’s not fair to them. We were your kids, but not anymore. The drugs are more important than us? For that I can’t forgive you. Not realizing what you were putting us through is wrong. Choosing to be spun out instead of spending time with your kids was your choice. For that I can't forgive you. I’m not going to let you back in just to hurt us again. Sitting behind bars is obviously where you want to be. I guess jail doesn't make you think too much and you must like that, living your life on a schedule. For that I can't forgive you. The person you were supposed to be isn't who you are. We were supposed to be able to trust and believe in you. All you gave us was false hope and lies. For that I can't forgive you. When you can get your life straight, maybe we can talk, but until then leave us alone. Sorry, but I can’t forgive you even if you are my mom.
Entry # 329
Nudging Jesus (Adapted from the poem "The Best Poem In The World"--Unknown Author)
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp?
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the drug dealers and thugs.

There stood the kid from 8th grade
who shot my friend twice?
Next to him was my old friend,
who never did anything nice.

My cousin who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'what’s the deal?
I would love to hear your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

And why is everyone so quiet,
so somber- give me a clue'
'Hush, child,' He said,
'They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'

I’m just trying to live my life and do what’s right.
cuz I caught a fat case 15 to life.
CC would you open the sally port?
Now I’m off on my way to superior court.

I got a letter from my girl telling me that she prayed,
that the D.A. doesn’t send me away.
When we talked on the phone she started to cry.
Asking all these questions always wondering why,
out of all these people did it have to be me?
We just have to stay strong and we’ve got to believe.
Always pray for the best but prepare for the worst.
Yeah I know its 15 but it could have been worse.

Will I make it to heaven or hell?
I don’t have a clue only time will tell.

Entry #330
Dear Meth,
I don’t forgive you meth for making me return to the inside of these brick walls and locked doors. I don’t forgive you for keeping me up all those long dark lonely nights. I don’t forgive you for starving me or for taking me away from my daughter. I don’t forgive you for making me do all those crazy things I normally wouldn’t do. I don’t forgive you for ruining my life, having me tweak in the garage all night long on one little thing, thinking I was getting something done when I really wasn’t. I don’t forgive you meth, but I love you...

Entry #331
I would like to forgive you for leaving me when I was less than a year old. I would like to forget the image of seeing you behind a glass window talking to you threw a phone so young. I didn’t know any better. Not seeing you for years then just showing up one day when I was ten, taking me to a house I never knew, then fighting with your girlfriend and my mom having to come get me. Then not seeing you for another two years until me and my mom were driving home and saw you on the side of the road selling wood to support your dope habit. We stopped to talk and the first thing you say to my mom is "You should buy this wood to keep our son warm.” What kind of bullshit is that pops? You couldn’t just give her some wood after abandoning us? Then a few months later you see me walking and take me to another house and another girlfriend, everything is dirty and gross but my love for you kept me coming back to see you, kept me wanting to have a father. To this day you just want to get high. And for that, dad, I will never forgive you. The time we got raided and were at gunpoint because you were cooking dope right where me and your girlfriend's son were sleeping. Not even a solid wall away from us. Times like that are the times I see in my head when I think of you. You missed so many birthdays and holidays over the years it’s like you weren’t even there at all, ever. So now you might be able to see why I don’t hunt you down to see you anymore. I remember calling and you saying I’ll come get you and me waiting for days and days and you never showing up. You are not a real father. You are a dope fiend and will never change. I accept that, but I will not forget all that you have put my mom and me through. I WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU.

Entry #332
Sky’s The Limit
I come from family pictures with a big, huge smile
but then I shot some bullets and got life as a juvenile.
I'm from a young life full of discrimination,
To all you haters, look in the mirror and stop faking.
I'm from watching pops in and out of the pen,
Mom’s saying he's coming back, but she won't tell me when.
I'm from "sky's the limit" and "keep your chin in the wind",
but then the police pulled me over because the tone of my skin.
I'm from brown dollars and worn out hand-me-downs,
from Christmas mornings where smiles turn into frowns.
I'm from the ghetto world with wars on the front lawn,
from thinking "Lord, my brother is really gone".
I'm from this success game, just get on my same level,
I go through this hell and back just dealing with different devils.
Happiness and dreams, I don't believe until it comes,
the other side of the gate, check it out, that's where I’m from!

Entry #333
Hey Mother,
I forgive you for all the times you abandoned me with your stupid prison trips. I forgive you for all the neglectful times you said we could spend the day together, but when that day came I couldn’t get you back home, away from the dope. People always told me you were a righteous woman, then promises came out of your mouth as little as, “I’ll be home for dinner." I automatically feel hurt knowing you can’t keep your promises even that little. Still with all those hurtful reasons I know you still, somewhat love me by at least talking to me about your habits. So, therefore, I forgive you.

Entry #334
Does It Matter?
Long dark nights and shady days. Everybody wants to play. The game of tag: you get me, I’ll get you, but who really loses? I think we both do. One sports a long pony tail, one sports a shave head. I wear one color and you wear the other, but what are the real differences? It’s not our backgrounds. It’s not the color of our skin. It’s not that one doesn’t struggle. Hoods? Streets? Does that shit matter when it’s time for dormant sleep? With a bang bang here and a bang bang there it’s another shady day in the hood, and for what end? Another long dark night in the hood. Different people different names, but the game always stays the same. Tag, you're it.

Entry #335
Forgiveness Is The Key
I forgive my father, of making me choose between him and my mom when I was young. I forgive my mother for throwing my head against the wall for no reason, when I was a boy. I forgive you dad for putting me in the back of the car with no seat belt, and driving drunk and crashing. For the time you grabbed a gun and pointed it at mom when I was close by watching, and you said you were going to kill her. I yelled “No!” and instead you shot the ground in front of her. Then, we ran. I forgive you both. I'm done. I'm going to move forward in my life. I'm glad now that's out of my mind, and on this paper.

Entry #336
Thank You Brother
The one person who had a profound impact on my life was my second oldest brother. Me and all my siblings are several years apart and my second oldest brother is only three years older than me. Growing up I was always home schooled so I spent a lot of time with my siblings and especially him. We always played together and were best friends because, uh, I didn’t have any friends. When I was about fourteen and fifteen we stopped hanging out as much because he was grown up and I was always running amuck. Now days we hardly ever talk or see each other, mostly because he doesn’t live here. People say family first, but my brother always put me first no matter what. He always had my back and has saved my ass more than once. I haven’t lived with him since I was fourteen and even then he would help me through my difficulties. I didn't recognize how much he meant to me until I came to the hall and now I'm sitting here writing a thank you letter to him.

Entry # 337
Dear Mom,
I don’t forgive you for all those awesome presents in which you stole back and sold for your precious drugs. I don’t forgive you for abandoning your children and hitting the streets for more drugs. I don’t forgive you for all the animals you've gotten me and then sent to the pound a week later. I don’t forgive you for all the times you loaded my pipe and gave me drugs just to leave you alone. I don’t forgive you for what you have done to my once beautiful mother that I never even got to meet. To me now mom, you are a monster.

Entry # 338
2 Forgive and Forget, I Already Forgot
Dear Mom,
I hope you forgive me for all the times I stayed out all night.
because I forgive you for all the nights that you didn’t care what I did.
I forgive you for always bringing strangers into my house, they move their way around me like I’m just a mouse.
I know you were lonely mom. Sadly to say, your son felt the same way.
I forgive you for leaving me in a lonely house. Now I’m gone, and you can’t forgive yourself.

Entry # 339
Dear Mom,
I know you were never really there for me but I just want to say I forgive you.
I forgive you for not feeding me.
I forgive you for letting the Vietnamese neighbors raise me, because you couldn't.
I forgive you for choosing drugs over your own kids.
I forgive you for the brew your friends put in my sippy cup.
I forgive you for all the times you scared me to death. Like the time you told me there were people in the attic, or when you said I was going to die.
I forgive you for everything.
I even forgive you for giving birth to me.
Your son

Entry # 340
Forgiving Dad...
Dad I forgive you for all the chances I've given you, and you let me down.
I forgive you for not being around enough to see me smile or frown.
Dad I think I love you, but it's been some years, never around to dry your "Baby Girl's" tears.
I don't know where you are, but you're probably locked up, again.
You always say you're done and that you're a grown man,
but, don't feel bad, I’m locked up, too.
My 16th birthday, and just another day without you.
Did I mention I forgive you for not catching me when I fell?
All the times I fell on my face as a baby down mom's apartment stairwell.
You were too drunk or into something, and that's a real fact.
Never good on being "Daddy", in that you lacked.
Everyone says I look like you, especially from the brown almond eyes.
I have native running thick in my blood, anger's my demise.
But I get it from you daddy, everything, like my criminal ways
My times going by quick, after all it's just 180 days.
Even though you're not around, my head’s held high, never down.
Dad.... just know I love you and I’m always here.
Through the thick and thin, just shed so many tears.

Entry #341
I Wish I Could
I wish I could forgive you for lonely days I threw the football to myself. For the birthday that I hoped you would write me. For the Thanksgiving days you didn’t cut the turkey or say the prayer for us. I wish I could forgive you for all the times you could have been good in prison and you didn’t care. For not writing back every time I wrote you. I truly forgive for every time you send one letter so I know you’re alive. But I can’t forgive you anymore because I’ve only seen you once in my whole life. I can’t forgive you because every time I try to remember your face, I just see a blank.

Entry # 342
My Dad
The reason I don’t forgive my dad is because he’s never been in my life. He’s in and out of prison and he would rather suck on a dope pipe then hang out with his kids. He thinks he its cool getting twacked back, robbing people or beating them up. He takes shit just so he can hit the pipe and be up for another 24. I will never forgive you, so don’t ever call me asking if I will come hang out with you. When I call and ask if I can come chill for the day you say, “I’m on a mission. Let me call you right back.” So when you call asking if I want to come hang out, I’m going to be like, “I’m on a mission I got to go call you back later.” CLICK.

Entry # 343
I don't forgive my dad for leaving that day at the hospital,
I don't forgive my dad for never being there for me and my brother,
I don't forgive my dad for not trying to at least stay in touch, send a birthday card, or his love,
I don't forgive my dad for never leaving any memories behind when he left,
I don't forgive my dad for choosing drugs over his family.
So when those drugs finally kill you it won’t matter because I won’t let my anger feel for a stranger. For all these things I will never forgive him for walking out 16 years ago.

Entry # 344
Sorry Mother,
I am sorry.
I am sorry for putting my mom in a position that tears her heart apart.
Having to come to court for her criminal son.
Having her watch me plead guilty to a vicious crime.
Watching your son be put in handcuffs is a nightmare for all mothers.
For that I am sorry Mother, I will always be your "Little Brown Mouse."

Entry #345
Mom, I apologize for all the things I have done. I need to get out of juvenile hall. I hate it here and I apologize for putting you through stress and running away.
Brother, I forgive you for the rejection that made me feel as if I didn't even exist. For the bullet wounds from the harsh words you shot my way. All the times I was helpless and you were nowhere to be found. I forgive you for throwing me away because I didn't fit your standards. For not protecting me when I was beaten bloody. When mom left us to be in a better place and all I wanted was the comfort of my family but that was too much for you to give. I forgive you for all the pain you have caused me, but can you forgive me?

Entry # 346
My Life
I forgive my mother for anything she thinks she might have ever done wrong. I just hope she can forgive me for all the times I'd yell or scream or lie because I'm a fiend. What she doesn’t know is that she means everything in the world to me. She is the only person who has been there for me no matter what. My mom is the most important person in my life. She will always be there to help me with my struggle and the strife. I love my mom. She is my life!

Entry # 347
Do As I Do
I thought I wouldn’t be able to forgive you for sipping on the bottle until I started sipping on it harder. I thought I wouldn’t forgive you for doing drugs until I did them too. Neither of us meant to hurt each other, but it happened anyway. Now I’m in juvenile hall and you’re in rehab. Look how far our relationship has come. I love you. Can you forgive me for what I’ve done?

Entry #348
For All The Times
Hey mom, I forgive you for all the times you didn't come home. For all the times you left me at stranger's houses. For all the times you left us at our grandparent's. For all the times you didn’t come home. For all the times you let dope come first. For all the times that I found you passed out on the couch, thinking that you were dead, I forgive you.

Entry # 349
Thank You
You took my childhood, and the life I had to give,
Now, left with confusion, it’s okay, I've learned to forgive.
You left me wondering was it really love?
Burning deep inside are evil feelings I push and shove,
into that place where you once filled,
is that hurt and anger that I’ve tried to kill.
You fled so fast, away you went,
Leaving me haunted by the past, trying to prove I’m innocent.
My heart shrivels up inside,
Every time I hear your name I try to hide.
With the demon of pain, and the faults of men.
My scars from you open and show where I’ve been.
Alone and lost is where you left me.
Shrunk me down from the person I want to be.
So, no, I will not forgive you but rather thank you for giving me my son.
I learned the hard way that you weren’t the one!