Juvenile Hall

Juvenile Hall

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, May 28, 2014

This month we used a powerful writing prompt (My Real Name) from Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge's book POEMCRAZY.

Entry # 582
No One

My real name is unpredictable change,
Tomorrow my name will be where the wind takes me,
On weekends my name is Jack and Jim,
At home I'm known as I hope she's okay,
The judge knows me as walking felonies,
My parents know me as no one. They wonder where their little girl went,
My new name is Crystal Meth.

Entry # 583

My parent’s names are abandoned me when I was younger.
My real name is rock at the mountain top,
Yesterday my name was being hated by the haters,
People used to call me a failure in life, always going to be locked up.
Tomorrow my name will be success in life and a great father.
My daughter calls me daddy. 

Entry # 584
Her Title

My grandma says I'm lost in this world so big.
Daddy forgot to call this year, I'm no longer his little girl.
Two months till I turn eighteen the judge said he’s lost hope.
Haven't talked to my mom, she thinks her baby girl is on dope.
I remember my last boyfriend told me he didn’t specialize in healing hearts.
Big bro knew my name, now it’s bitch.
Nevertheless, I still shine bright

Entry # 585
Haunting Me

My real name is trouble in a cell, trying to keep my dark thoughts on lock.
It’s kind of hard to stop the crazy thinking I've been doing.
What I thought was the past is coming back and haunting me, some stuff I didn’t want to see.
And all I got is hell or prison, but I’m not really tripping. I'll see the friends I've been missing.

Entry # 586

My real name is trying to stay out of trouble.
At home I am known as a winner who's locked up.
My sister knows me as someone to argue over stupid things.
My dogs know me as a person who won’t let them down.
At school I'm known as doing what needs to be done.
My diploma knows me as almost completed
The CCC will know me as a diligent worker.
My P.O. knows me as a good person with bad decisions.
Tomorrow my name will be completing my goals.

Entry # 587
My Real Name

My real name is mountain ranges filled with people.
Yesterday, my name was freedom to do as I please.
Tomorrow, my name will be incarcerated for my own stupidity and dragging down those I care for.
At home, my name is happiness to be with those I love.
The judge, knows me as a minor that can't get her stuff straight.
In the hall, I'm known as a troubled child that wants to go home.
In the future, I will be known as a girl who learned from her mistakes.

Entry # 588
Sometimes a Warrior Must Walk Alone

Yesterday all my family and brothers were at home. Where did time go? Is this just a dream? Will I make it another day without my brothers? I miss you guys. Crazy how time flies and how fast they went out of my life. One of them is doing 10 years and the other is doing a year. How can this be? Will I make it without them? I looked up to them. They’re the only ones I ever looked up to.  I miss them. Why did drugs do this? Why did they let it get the best of them? Going on in life, lost without them.  I miss the old days.

Entry # 589
Spring Summer Winter Fall

My real name is locked up and steel doors,
Yesterday my name was free but trapped inside.
The police used to call me, “Oh, you again?”
My mom calls me a lost boy in an open field,
Tomorrow my name will be changing seasons.

Entry # 590
Known as Simply…

Tomorrow my name will be free to leave.
In the hall I’m only known as a memory.
In the streets I’m known as a solider in a war, fighting for a cause.
Others see me as a criminal.
In the presence of my loved ones my name is disappointment and failure.
In the eyes of my child I’m known as simply, DAD.

Entry # 591
A Day In Life

My name is a clock ticking.
Yesterday my name was maintaining anger in my cell.
My mom knew me as complicated but loving.
Society knows me as a felon from the streets.
My brothers know me as hardheaded.
Others know me as a troubled teen.
Tomorrow I'll be another juvenile inmate bringing tears to my families eyes.

Entry # 592
Which Way To Go?

My real name is seven different roads going in every which direction not knowing which path to take.
Yesterday I was known as a tortured soul not knowing how to get clean, heroin taking over all that’s left of me leaving nothing.
At home I was known as, wait, I didn’t have one. Scared and alone, which way do I go? Where to stay the night? Helpless, nowhere left to hide.
My real name is seven different roads going in every which direction not knowing which path to take.
I guess all my decisions remain the same, undecided like my name.

Entry # 593
Thought You Knew Me?

Everyone knows me as...
Owner of no fear, pain but no feeling.
But my real name is...
Love with no compassion,
Hate but no pain,
Numb to everything, surreal.
The Judge knows me as...
Just another runaway case.
In the Hall I'm known as...
Just another intake.
Tomorrow my name will be...
200+ days give or take

Entry # 594
Counting Bricks

I lay in my cell counting the bricks on my wall,
feeling remorse for the tears and the pain that I caused.
Tried staying out but I never could stop,
I have to raise my son, but it’s hard with no job,
just got to wait for the clock and keep pushing til’ I get to the top.

Entry # 595

Too much on my mind,
No help I can trust to find,
Trying to leave the criminal past behind,
but in front of me sits a line.
Cravings say f –it, numb my spine,
I wish there was a button called rewind,
now I sit and do my time.
Entry #596
Today my name is in the hall.
Yesterday my name was homeless on the streets.
My name is often walking the sidewalk.
My name is like my fixie.
The judge knows me as dumbass going nowhere.
My parents gave me my name, but they don't even know who I am.
My real name is time to change.

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