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 3; More To Come!

Monday, January 13, 2014

December 2013-January 2014

Entry # 442
It’s not Christmas yet. I hope I get out before Christmas. It feels like the days never end waking up to the sound of the metal bolt popping open… that noise always wakes me up. I never saw what the world had out there for me. I realized that when I came here, going out to the yard I realized how beautiful the sky was, those white puffy clouds that float freely in the blue sky. I was so blinded. The only things that would come to me were tagging on the walls, throwing up my hood, getting in fights, and hustling for my money. I was so hypnotized to the gang life that I never thought of the good things that this world had for me. Where are my homies now? They said they would be there till the end. They’re out there living it up, when I'm in hear behind that blue door, alone, thinking if they'll ever write me or accept my calls. Do they even love me like they say they do? Being in here made me think hard. I was so stupid. My real loved ones were my parents, family, and my real friends, ones who would tell me not to do wrong. I never listen to them and look where it has taken me. It has taken me to a place where I never thought I would be, behind bars. I tell my parents and my real loved ones I'm sorry for not listening. I'm glad they accepted my apology. I'm a different man now. I got close to God and now I'm ready to face what the world has out there for me, living it the right way without those fake called "homies".

Entry # 443
How could you forgive someone like me?
No, how could you forgive me?
I hurt you, not a day over the last 17 years have you been free to rest, because of me.
I tossed you aside like old barbie dolls or candy wrappers.
But what for?
For boys? my first love, my fifth love, my current love?
For drugs? for powder, for glass, for poison?
For nights of wandering the streets, pupils the size of dimes? Almost as big as my possibility of death?
Or was it for my father? Whose he anyways? The man with my eyes...I guess my eyes are his.
The man who left us for cigarette smoking hookers and the chance of fame while being the "good cop"?
I tossed you aside and kept going back for more. For more of everything but you.
So tell me, how could you forgive me?
I remember telling you I wished you would fall down the stairs when I found out you were pregnant with my brother three years ago.
I remember telling you how much I hated you, but I never meant it.
I remember leaving you in the hospital, not even calling, when they told me you had to be resuscitated.
I remember choosing to smoke dope, snort heroin and screw my boyfriend for more. I should have been home.
But there you are, my beautiful, amazing, angel of a mother. Loving me, forgiving me, taking me back home.
And after all this time, I realize what I've done. I know I don't have much time left, but I'm different, so I'll show you how much I love you. Despite my evil past.
I guess you don't need to tell me why you forgave me. You did, and I can't thank the Lord enough for that… For you.
I love you, can I still be your baby? Can I still be your daughter? Can I still stay young and innocent in your eyes forever?
I left the drugs, divorced actually. For myself, for you, and for the Lord.
Thank you for your forgiveness, I finally forgive myself too.
Mom, more than anything, I love you.

Entry # 444
Mom’s Eyes
The moment in my life that I realized I wasn’t a child anymore was when my mom passed away. You could say I was just a kid, but that day I knew it was time to become a man. I lost someone I loved more than anyone in this world. That day I lost a part of my heart and the rest of it turned cold. My heart will never be filled again. The best I can do is try to do good for my mom and show her that I was brought to this life for a reason. I know I make mistakes but I can learn from them. It hurts when your locked in a cage over and over again. I miss my mom every minute of every day. I can’t ever forgive myself for the ways I used to treat her. I would do anything in this life to bring her back. I hope my mom’s is proud of me and forgives me for my evil ways. Every day I look at myself I see my mom’s eyes. I know she still lives in me. I LOVE YOU MOM!

Entry # 445
The Devil (Inspired by Entry #419 I am)
Once you try it, you can never turn back.  Your family turns away.  Your friends hate the new you.  Why, you ask?  Because you had a trip with the Devil’s drug.  You try to stop, but she gets you back.  You keep wondering why you love that needle.  Now you know.  You’ve been introduced to the Crystal Meth.  And the Devil lets you know you can’t ever turn back. 
My soul is black, black with sin.  I am trying real hard not to let the devil back in.  He introduced me to his drug.  It ruined my life.  I will quit!  This is not just jail talk.  It is coming from the heart.  I wonder what will happen in my future.  Right now, I’m just taking it day by day.  And I come up with ways to keep the Devil away.

Entry # 447
The Day
I stepped out the back door and fell down the stairs
Filling my lungs with fresh cold air
Impatient and wanting to go somewhere
I was only thirteen when death spoke in my ear
Telling me that he wouldn’t live another year
I cried and cried
Slowly dying inside
It had been a week since the "accident"
Those slobs had lied
"It was an accident I swear! I just wanted to show what I had and he died!"
"That's what they all say!” I shouted.
______ in the hospital bed
Head swollen as a balloon and brain dead
All these people talking all this he said she said
Until that day I was happy and persistent
Believing that nothing bad ever existed
I haven't visited this day in awhile
The day I learned I was no longer a child

Entry # 449
Whose She?
I was no longer a child when there was a bottle in my hand, and a cigarette in the other. I was no longer a child when I would wake up with no memory. I didn't know I was losing my childhood until it was too late. My memories from the age of twelve always start the same; pop a few pills, walk to a store and slip a bottle into my purse, and then go back to the group. That's all I have; no sports, activities, or friends my age. I remember thinking it was so cool, until I realized that I was hurting my family, myself and kids I barely knew, but it was too late, she had me. Whose she? Her name is Crystal. I was no longer a child when I met her. I was no longer a child when I knew the game. I thought I could have fun like a kid, a kid who drank. Same group, same routine, different day. I was no longer a child when I heard the words, "You're under arrest."

Entry # 451
Kid No More
Was there a time in my life when I realized I wasn't a kid anymore? Yes, that day came when me and my family moved to California. About a month after we moved the manager came knocking and said "Your rent is late you have 30 days to pay!" We got kicked out 30 days later and became homeless due to moms drug addiction... that day we got kicked out I finally realized that I couldn't rely on my mother to take care of me. I had to take care of myself. For the first two years of being homeless I bunked around with my generous friends. After I used up my welcomes at friends’ houses, I hit the streets at the age of 15. Having nowhere to go I started to sleep behind dumpsters, under bridges, and occasionally at homeless shelters. To stay warm at night, or not sleep at all, I started to use meth. For a long time it seemed to help being homeless... now that I’m sober I see that it was slowly destroying me, and turning my life upside down. But those experiences have also shown me how to be a better person for myself and for the ones I love. I dislike how I had to grow up so young, because now that I am older I feel like I was robbed if my childhood. 

Entry # 452
Christmas Miracle
Locked up for the holidays once again,
Angered by this all too familiar trend.
Watching old friends leave while I'm forced to stay,
For a Christmas miracle is all that I pray.
Leaving my radio off for it is nothing but a toy,
Filling my heart up with all this false Christmas joy.
Reminiscing on my 12-year-old innocence that was my last Christmas at home,
Fourth year in a row & I still be posted here like an old garden gnome.
Yet I accept my reality for what it relevantly is,
Feeling sorry for myself is just not the biz.
Although forlorn shadows slowly swallow my heart,
I refuse to give up this battle & dodge dart after dart.
No one can see the pain I've learned to disguise so well,
Even though my mind seems to desperately shout and yell.
Un-shed tears drown my head,
All I want is to be home in my bed.
Maybe one day I'll follow the path that leads the right way,
But until then this is where I'll stay.

Entry # 453
Power of Right
For me it’s not just being locked up, it’s about not being welcome home. Sure I've screwed up many times but I could have been home two months ago if my mom still cared. All she wants is her three little angels home with her third baby-daddy… perfect little family of three children. Why have the kids she can’t tell what to do home? It’s worked for the last ten years, first the oldest, now with the second oldest: If you’re done with me ma, then don’t pretend to love me anymore. I only stand to put up with your craziness because of my siblings. I’m done with the lies and the emotional ride you’ve put me through the last 18 drowning years. For once when I get out I’ll be in power of getting it right without your attempts to ruin my life.

Entry # 454
My Couch
I fall asleep on my couch
Exhausted, overly tired
I wake up in my bed
Ready to go.
I’ve been moved.
Don’t know how or why
But I don’t mind
I fall asleep on my couch
Ready to wake up moved.
I wake up alarmed
I’m still on my couch.
I scream
I yell
I cry
I don’t understand why.
All I know is I’m no longer a child.

Entry # 455
3 Years

Locked up for the holidays. Damn! I sit here alone, locked away because of my selfish ways. I pray to the lord for my pain, regrets, and mistakes to go away. In and out of juvenile hall, where I’ve stayed from 2010-2013. I’ve only spent a few holidays with my family over the years , the rest of the holidays I’ve spent locked away. The things I miss the most about holidays spent with the ones I love are just being free with my family like when my life was at ease. Holidays spent in a place like this will never be the same. Being locked up for the holidays will never change. It’ll always be the same. Locked up for the holidays, I’m the one to blame, But, That’ll all change.

Entry # 456
Those Few Hours

Year number two being away for the holidays. Last year was my first time being locked up. Just my 10th day and it was Christmas. Scared, alone, away from my family. Never would I wish that feeling on anyone. Yeah, there is visiting on Christmas. It's cool and means a lot to see my mom and dad, but nothing like if it was actually at home. Waking up to hot chocolate and opening presents. Playing outside with your family. Watching all of the NBA games and the smell of my mom baking the Christmas ham. I'd give up all of my mistakes for just those few hours. I know that there are many more Christmases to come, but I'll never get the ones back that I sat in my cell without my own clothes, without my family. The only thing mine is my tears.

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