JH Artwork

JH Artwork

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, Lassen, 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 2016: Sept 14; Oct12; Nov 16; Dec 14

Planned Exchanges 2017: Jan 11; Feb 15; March 15; April 12; May 17

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
Light
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
Wondering
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
Temper
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
Hope
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
Tornado

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
Someday
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
Proud
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,
"DON'T LEAVE ME!"
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.