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!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writing Exchange
Fresno, Butte, and Lassen County Juvenile Halls
April 30, 2014

Entry #541

R-unning through walls like the hulk.
E-ntering deeper in my thoughts.
S-ounds like a waterfall.
I-ncreasing heat from the blissful sun.
L-earning  confidence to stand like it.
I-ndulged in my own will.
A- Regret is calling without a cause.
N-egotiating with prison.
C-enter the strength inside me!
E-choes from wounds try to grip me.

Entry #542
Packing My Bags

As I’m thrown into an empty room, a box, I try to turn around to leave but the door, it slams and locks.
So I sit here and I think about all the evil things I’ve done. I've lost where I was going because I forgot where I came from. Now every time I look straight into my brother’s eyes I see how hurt and broken down he is from all the times he had to watch the one he raised follow in his steps. The only option that he ever had was to hope for the best. My faith is weak; my soul is bound to this lonely road I travel down. I scrape my feet upon jagged ground. The cuts run deep into me now. Father, oh why aren't you here? I was so young when you disappeared. I know the truth is probably ugly, but did you truly ever love me?
I surrender. I still miss him no matter where I go. It's time for me to pack my bags. I will always be alone. The only thing I’ve ever known is a broken home.

Entry #543
My Brother and I

My brother and I
Are like the same guy
But we always
Cause our mom to cry
I sit and wonder
Why I steal
But to my brother
It’s not a big deal
Because it’s been
So long
And nothing has gone wrong
But to me
I think of the danger
And how I risk my life
Always having to possess
A knife
To protect me
From the way of life
My brother and I
Try to work
But the elders in the fields
Always act like jerks
So we go back to being perps
And always acting like punks
And losing everything we got
Just to make a little cash
For food that seems
To never last
I wonder how people
Made it through the past
And made sure our
Generation will last
Me and my brother
Always having to
Watch our backs
Of fear
Of being attacked
Me and my brother
We really try
But I influence him
And he influences me
I guess this is how life is going to be!

Entry #544

G-low on my families face
R-unning toward the end
A-dulthood coming fast
D-iploma in my hand
U-ltimately my release
A-nd off probation too.
T-rouble in my past
I- have to make it happen
O-n my way up!
N-o more worries.

Entry #545
My Little Family

M-ake best of what we have
Y-ear after year

L-ove like no other
I-’ll never stop loving her
T-ill the end of time
T-o kiss those lips
L-ying awake with memories of
E-verything about her

F-orever and always
A-r----- and my son
M-y minds going crazy
I- just want to be with them.
L-et her know how I really feel.
Y-ou will always be mine and I will always be yours.

Entry #546
My Day

I-nsane to be looking at age 15
N-o one to go to

C-an’t get this shit off my mind
O-h how I wish I could make it all go away
U-nderstanding the place that I'm in. It's hard to trust anyone, even my friends.
R-unning down my face are tears of anger.
T-he ones I thought were my boys got me charged with their banger.

Entry #547

G-oing against others thoughts
N-o one understands
O-rdinary, defiantly not
R-emembered by few
E-rosion of emotion
D-esigning thoughts to kill

Entry #548
S-taying out can be tough;
T-aking it day by day is sometimes not enough.
R-unnin' isn't the only answer though;
U-ltimate success is the way to go.
G-otta get my bread up;
G-ettin' kinda fed up.
L-ivin' life way too fast;
I-n the moment is what needs to last.
N-ever give up.

Entry #549

My Grandma is my life.
Everyday she’s on my mind.
She cries trying to find the light.
So high in pride, but yet so low in control.
She works day and night like she’s about to die.
She tries to find time to make things right.
So loving and caring to the word of God,
What shall I do if she should ever die?
I don’t know, but I hope she dies with pride.

Entry #550
Young Love

F-orever And Always,
O-nly you in my dreams.
R-eminding me of,
E-very moment we shared.

Entry #551
I Miss When

I miss when we used to kick it all the time. I miss when we would be together. We would both be high as a kite but I always had a good time and I was ready for anything. I had your back and you had mine. I miss when I could still look up to you. I learned a lot from you. That glass pipe took you over. Now you’re in prison and I’m in the Hall. You got ten years.  I got one. I hope you learned from your mistakes. I hope I learned from mine. I love and miss you bro.

Entry #552

R-eady to slice
A-lways there
Z-oo-- trapped inside

W-ith maximum correction
I-nside these walls

Entry #553

C-ool as a brother should be
H-ero in the army
R-an together as a team in any game
S-niping me out in the woods
T-ogether in a fight
P-eople impresser
H-ellion when he wants to be
R-aced forward all the time

Entry #554
New Student

When I get out I am going change my life around and make better decisions .I’ll stay out of jail and keep my head clean. I won’t make any more bad choices. I’ll stay with my family, keeping them happy and not disappointed in me. I want them to see me graduate from high school and college. That will make life easier and make me very proud. I don’t want to be homeless, so I have to find a good job so I can get a house and not be in the streets asking everybody for money. I am about to be 18 so it’s time to do everything on my own.

Entry #555

Darting out of her path,
Annoying she is,
Righteous she's not,
Thank God she’s out cold!

Entry #556

E-lemental Love
L-ove and strength is what I sing
E-lemental love is what she will bring
M-other Nature, winter, summer, fall, and spring
E-lemental love, the chimes of her song ring
N-othing can stop her from caring and loving
T-ogether we are one, bending and weaving
A- beautiful sight, her trees are gleaming
L-onging to meet her, I sit here dreaming

L-ingering touch leaves my skin tingling
O-ver the days I greet her singing
V-oices are chiming, her love never

Entry #557
Escape Reality

I remember being everyone’s best friend, not doing anything bad or anything that would get me in trouble.  My dad was my best friend.  He and my mom weren’t together.  I lived with my mom.  I despised her for my dad not being around.  It started out with me being disrespectful to my mom, which always led to punches, slaps, or the belt.  This led to trouble at school, suspensions, truancy, and not going anywhere.  This led to being locked up, because I decided that smoking, drinking, and pills were my best friend instead of my dad.

Entry #558
21 credits

L-ooking at the walls for hours
O-ver thinking the past
C-aught up in a moment
K-eepsake of this letter
E-ffecting in my emotions
D-one with all the bullshit

U-ltimately I'll never be back
P-aralyzed by the memories

Entry #559

D-rinking for my age is not right
R-elax and think before I drink and drive
U-nder pressure I just might
N-ow I got slurred words and blurred sight
K-neeling before her I cry sorry for the wreckage and the lost lives

A-waiting trial now for someone to judge
N-ow I’m hoping he feels my sorrow and doesn’t give me life
D-rowning as I pray to have clarity in my life

S-erenity is now my remedy to strive
O-ver now-- I’m sober and it feels right
B-eer to me is now nowhere in sight
E-very day in my recovery, I take it as a low strife
R-egaining strength on my own time because one day is all it takes to be haunted for the rest of your life
Entry #560
War Zone

W-arriors breathe and walk, even die on their feet.
A-ggression and fear, clear thoughts are never in their comfort.
R-ecalling the battle grounds that suffer from blood.

Z-ip gun in my grip of courage.
O-bsessive thoughts of loved ones give me hope to keep on fighting.
N-evertheless I stood my ground when the enemy charged us.
E-limination is at hand.   

Entry #561

L-onely, all alone
O-verwhelmed with the world
C-razy, but not insane
K-indhearted, but don’t take it for weakness
E-ducated and never slipping
D-ark room every night

U-nderstand this is not a place you want to be
P-eople everywhere

Entry #562

R-espect is something that is earned not just given.
E-arning someone’s respect can take a while, years perhaps but you can lose it in seconds.
S-taying respectful to a person will always make a relationship stronger no matter what kind of relationship it is.
P-eople should always show respect to the ones they truly love and care for.
E-xpecting a person’s sincere respect is important and will show your respect too.
C-herish the respect that is given to you, no matter who it’s from.
T-aking care of the respect you have earned is important.

Entry #563
Love and Hate

L-ove is something I didn’t have growing up.
O-nly My Mom could’ve given me that love.
V-iolence is something I had to go through as a child.
E-xperiencing what I’ve seen is hard.

A-nd even when I failed I know I tried.
N-obody told me I can’t make it.
D-oing what I do is something I can change.

H-aving to be on the streets is part of my life.
A-nd going through my struggles was not easy.
T-oday I still can’t believe I’m here.
E-ventually, everyone will see what I’m trying to accomplish.

Entry #564
The Struggle

G-rowing up in the hood isn't always good
A-lways becoming close to those you love, but one way or another you always find out
N-o one has your back, but you. Throwing up your set doesn't do you no
G-ood. That life brings the bad out of you. Causing you to do things you usually wouldn't do.

L-owering your self-worth isn't what's up.
I-n reality I’ll always be from my stomping grounds, but if I want my
F-reedom I have to start going down the right road.
E-verything is going to fall in place, I just have to sit back and be cool.

Entry #565
Leaving Home

Where or when in my life have I been a shadow? I would have to say when my father would get mad. I would not want to get noticed because then I’d have to wear his anger or get scared by his words. I would tread as lightly as possible and work diligently so that he would not have a reason to do any damage. A place I wish I could not be seen would be home. It felt like going home was like leaving the light and settling deep into some place dark. Every moment was filled with fear. My father did not do drugs nor did he intoxicate himself with beer. He was completely sober. He brought his work and everything that comes with it including anger and frustration home. So when he came home, I hid because I was afraid and got in trouble for it because it meant to him that I was weak. I did not want to hurt anymore, I did not want to hide anymore, and most of all I did not want to fear the man I loved most, my father. So I ran. Now the place I wish I was a shadow is now nothing more than just a shadow left in the past, yet always following me.

Entry #566
Away From My Son

M-ini me
Y-ou'd know if you ever saw him.

S-o much love I have for him.
O-ver and over again he keeps running through my mind.
N-o one should have to feel this way.

Entry #567
My Life

M-alicious and painfully fun
Y-ou wouldn't last a day in my run

L-ighters flicking on an off
I-t's been three days, no sleep, and constant cough
F-inding the next lash
E-nding my freedom early an fast

Entry #568
Through It Together

My mom has ten kids and my dad has two from other women. So I have a lot of siblings and a different relationship with each one. But my sister and I are very close to each other. We are only eighteen months apart. My parents and other people say we are different because I’m loud, she is quiet. She is book smart; me, not so much. I am outgoing; she is more conservative. But we are alike in some ways too. We both get into trouble, we are hard headed and don’t like to leave our comfort zones. I love my sister even though we fight. We have a love hate relationship. She is my little rider even though she is my older sister. We have been through a lot together having been locked up and placed in a group home. I wish we didn’t commit our crime, but I am glad we went through it together.

Entry #569

Scars on my back from trusting a few.  They stabbed me there.  I am no longer friendly.  I have changed.  I hate the world.  I trust no one.  It sucks feeling this way.  I hope one day I can change.  Maybe just a little.  But I don’t know if I can.  I’m scared of the future.  I hate my past.  I don’t know what will happen.  Can I last in this state of mind?  I hope I can. For now, I walk around, always on my toes, expecting the worst, ready to fight the world.

Entry #570
Momma’s Proud

M-omma’s proud,
Y-ou can do it,

F-----g up is not the answer,
U-nite your powers,
T-here, inside your heart,
U-pside down,
R-ight side up,
E-nough talk just make momma proud.

Entry #571

“M-om, can I go to the mall with Gracy?”
“O-h, honey, we were supposed to go
  T-o Josie’s party. Aren’t you coming?”
“H-eavens no, Mother! I hate parties!”
“E-veryone’s going to be there; Jake, Ryan-”
“R-yan?! I’ll embarrass myself!”
“O-h I don’t know… I really like him, Mom.”
“O-h, well too bad, you’re going!”

Entry #572

S-o impatient
C-lassmates singled out
H-iding behind textbooks
O-pen like a book
O-n its favorite page
L-ooking for more input, searching, but not found.

Entry #573

L-etting go of the negative
E-vil going away
A-nd positive coming back
R-unning away is not an option
N-ow time to change my ways
I-`m going to learn from my mistakes
N-ot turning back on you
G-oing home is what I want to do

Entry #574
Faraway Goal

F-uture is bright with consistent hard work.
A-t this time it seems too difficult, but what pushes me forward is
R-emembering my friends and family and also

A-chieving goals I have set for myself.
Won't let others keep me down. My goal may be far
A-way but I won't let anyone else take it away.
Y-outh is on my side, so I still have time to get the
G-lory I fight so hard to deserve.

O-nly I will know how hard I have pursued such
A faraway goal, but this pursuit of a successful
L-ife has just started. 9 more months.

Entry #575
Rest In Peace

M-issing all the memories we shared together.
I-’ve realized sometimes happy moments don't last forever
S-haking and wagging of her tail
S-orrow and pain fills my heart and living without you is so hard
Y-esterday tears flooded down my face, but today the unforgettable memories that we shared are filling my heart instead of feeling alone with nothing to bear.

Entry #576

H-appy days
A-lmost over
N-ever thought this
D-ay would come
C-an’t believe
U-nderstanding my

Entry #577

B-atting first is always best
A-lways stay focused on the ball
S-hortstop is Derek Jeter’s position
E-nding the game with a win is the best feeling ever
B-atting takes a lot of concentration
A-lways give your very best when playing
L-aunch the ball when pitching
L-et the ball pass you if it’s a bad pitch

Entry #578
My “Chuck Taylors”

C- Can I remember when I bought my first pair?
H – How they weren’t very comfortable at first
U- until after my feet grew to know them they became
C - comfy and I really enjoyed them after a while.  They were
K- keepers, even though they were really flimsy so they

T - tore easily, but the longer I wore them
A – around the more character my Chucks seemed they had. 
Y – You know, they could have been named if I really tried.  I
L- love my Chuck Taylors.
0 – On top of all that, I will never
R – really differentiate a single pair I wear.
S – So please, don’t go anywhere, my Chuck Taylor.

Entry #579

D-reaming lavish
I-nside I'm dying
A-nything can go wrong
M-iserable behind locked doors
O-h how I hate the unfair laws
N-ever knew life would be like this
D-edicated to making something out of nothing

Entry #580
Little Brother

       My little brother is fourteen years old. He is my closest friend and also the most loyal person that I have ever known. He is two years younger than me and acts almost exactly like me. My little brother looks up to me even though sometimes I don’t realize it. I am his greatest influence; he observes and analyzes everything I do. He learns all of my habits, even the ones I don’t want him to. He gains all of this knowledge and applies it to his life. My habits have become his and my actions are reflected in his. The past few years I have tried to correct the damage my actions have caused but to no avail. The reason that I cannot change what my actions have done is that they are no longer my actions, but his. They have manifested themselves and have become interwoven into his personality. I will never be able to completely change them. Now I realize my actions have had consequences that I could not have foreseen. They have permanently altered what he would have become and changed him into what he is. He is my little brother, who, I would do anything for and wouldn’t give up for anything or anyone else.
B-est friend I have ever known.
R-espected more than most people.
O-ne of a kind.
T-rusted over all others.
H-eld in high regard.
E-ntitled to love and protection.
R-eally something special.

Entry #581

M-emerable random thoughts.
E-ndless clouds pass through my mind.
D-ecisions to choose.
I-t's my fate being where I am.
T-ill’ the day life will take me to the ground.
A-ll that is happening can change.
T-ell me when the time is right.
I-ndependence is calling out to me.
O-nly this can unlock it.
N-otes from breathing become my map to enlightenment.