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, April 28, 2015

Writing Exchange
Placer, Fresno, and Butte County Juvenile Halls
April 28, 2015

Entry #818
Six steps forward, six steps back
Pacing, always pacing, loosing track…
Losing track of time slowly slipping away
Slipping away until the day…
Until the day this is all over
Pacing in my cell missing my mother and father
Missing my siblings
For them freedom sings
But I’m alone
Stricken, cold to the bone
No visits or letters
A caged bird with clipped feathers
Pacing until my legs burn
Thinking “Why did it take me so long to learn?”
Almost eighteen now
After six years I barely learned how…
How to control the monster within me
Or at least to cage it so it can’t get free
It’s still in the shadows
No-one can ever tell, no-one ever knows…
Until it’s too late
The beast tempted me and I took the bait
So here I am in a cell
Fight the monster so no-one can tell
Six steps forward, six steps back
Pacing, always pacing, loosing track…

Entry #819
Seeds of Despair
A man’s thoughts
They can be his best friend
Or his worst enemy
Because when the seed of despair is planted it takes on its own entity
Is this all that’s meant for me?
A life of the bare essentials
Where atrocities committed
Count as your credentials
Living with the dregs of society
Left to fester and stew
Where everyone’s irritable by forced sobriety
And the lack of things to do
But nah
I know some things are out of my hands
But I’m going to do all I can to make a stand

Entry #820
Prime Time
May will be my one year anniversary with the juvenile hall. In this one year some would say I’ve had anger, depression, no hope, no zeal, and no thrive, but that’s in the past now. I got another chance with my education, a job, a girl, and especially my dad. “When I get out I’m gonna do good and get off probation.” This lie is what so many lames said to me in this year of my prime time. A couple months go by with the same old routine and I see they’re locked up again. I need to make my dad proud by getting off probation.  No I have to make my dad proud of me. The only thing that holds me back is the shine of that Christina.

Entry #821
My Hard Time
               When my mom passed away my whole life changed because I lost the person that I most needed in my life and that mattered to me a lot. My dad was on drugs, so my sisters and I were taken away from my dad. I started running away from home, to cover my hurt.
                 I was just an angry teenager. I disrespected my dad and my loved ones. I kept all my hurt built inside me. At one point I thought my dad didn’t care about me anymore. I was always “Daddy’s girl”, so that hurt me a lot. It was ten years ago when all this happened.
                  I’m sitting here right now in English class reflecting on the hardest time I have been through. Dad has been clean for six years and he’s trying to get custody of us again. I know no matter what, my dad loves me with all his heart. I’m incarcerated right now,  but I’m starting to change my life little by little. We are only human and we all make mistakes in life. Hopefully, I will learn from mine. I think about all the struggles I went through and  I know whatever hard times I have to face in the future, I’m STRONG enough to get through them.

Entry #822
Going 2 Court
There is bad news
There is good news
You might go
You might stay
Or you might even get sentenced
To a very long time
Two to four weeks used to seem long
Then a month or two
Hanging with the wrong crowd
or getting in trouble is not worth It
It isn’t for me
And I’m just now
Starting to see
This life is not worth living
If I always have to listen to adults
Instead of being free.

Entry #823
Unbreakable Glass
I haven’t accomplished much that makes me proud. I haven’t accomplished what I wanted to do in my life. Life itself is so very precious, so valuable, but I can’t grasp its power and what it’s worth until when… until it is too late. You miss out on memories, feats of success and freedom of choice. My parents will grow old without their son, limiting the time we spend together, time that’s irreplaceable up until we pass. Locked behind bars and unbreakable glass, stuck wondering how long it will last.

Entry #824
Old Friends
We don’t remember days, we remember moments. As the days all bleed together the moments we choose to remember are the drops of blood that stain us, the memories that scar us. Everything changes except those scars. Sure scars fade and memories may become distant but good or bad they make you who you are, or who you choose to be. Every day I bare a new scar. The old friends, those are scars that you can look back on and laugh at; those memories are my biggest scars and I wear them for each friend all over my body, out in the open.

Entry #825
All my friends are freaks
Never been incarcerated
But they’re on the streets
Smokin’ dope to stay sane
‘Cuz they thinks it takes away the pain,
when all it does is
Cause more depression and grief
You’re not going to like it out there
On the streets, slingin’ Hop to stay high.
I knew I had to stop
before I died.
But look at where I am
still ended up in the Baby Pen
But if not here you know I would have
Ended up the looney bin
Thought it would help,
and it did in the moment…
But in the long run…
sure as hell wasn’t fun
Just a downhill spiral to hell
It’s just going to kill me or put
Me in jail.

Entry #826
Not So Hood Things
What memories of me will stay?
What memories will fade?
What have I accomplished?

Aside from graduating from eighth grade,
That’s about it, if you’re thinking about the good things.
But I got a whole other list
If you want to talk about some hood things.
But nah,
That’s not what I really want to be remembered by,
Not the cat that hit licks, stole whips,
And sat around getting dummy high.
Though if I went away today
Those are the memories that’d stay,
Those and the monstrosity that I almost committed on that day,
The day that lead me to be here,
The day that’s trying to take away all my years.

Entry #827
CPS Came
CPS came and took me away
I should have listened to what they all say
Looking in my mom’s ambitious eyes, apologizing for all the lies
Dealing with suppression
Living a life with depression
Dealing with incarceration
Looking for motivation
Everlasting hope
Learning to cope
Learning the melody
Crying Heavenly
My hate-tainted heart
Is falling apart.
I’ll never forget it.
I will always regret it
As it gets colder, I cry the tears of a soldier

Entry #828
Abandoning This Stuff
The walls slowly inch their way in.
I feel uncomfortable in my own skin.
I sit and remember every little sin,
thinking about how stupid I’ve been.
Why do I even make these decisions?
My life is littered with dark admissions,
like threatening people into cowering submissions.
Highs and lows from drug transitions.
Constantly hurting the people I love
Cursing whoever is looking down from above.
Always searching for whiskey or rum,
a line, a pill, some sort of fun.
The knowing look at me, and they say I’m tough.
The ignorant look at me, and they say I’m rough.
I’m contemplating abandoning this stuff,
because in all honesty, I’ve had enough.
But it’s hard to get up and walk away,
the addiction screaming, “Please, just stay!”
I promise my family I’ll change my ways,
and I try, but I fail in just a few days.
Blaming it on the what I’ve seen.
The dark, the gruesome, the morbid, and obscene.
Backhand the one that calls me a fiend.
I hate being an addict, that shouldn’t be me.
I grew up with everyone saying I’m strong.
My future was bright and (“God-willing”) long.
Why did I decide to keep hitting the bong
until I felt weird, if I wasn’t on?
But I know I have the strength to rise above,
if I fill my life with people I love.
Because to go straight, I know I must,
at least try to learn to trust.

Entry #829
I wake up with tears running down my face
Feeling like I’m running out of space.
I try to hide, but
I still have all the fear inside.
My past is haunting me.
With every bad dream taunting me.
I can smell the cologne
When I wake up I feel alone.
Try and find the main source of happiness
To only find the pain source and nothingness
My hate-tainted heart
Is falling apart.

Entry #830
Weak Sauce
I’ve never been bullied in my life, but through my 4th grade year I saw a couple of incidents like that take place. A girl in my class in 4th grade had cancer. Most of the kids would bully her. Looking back to it is really sad. Well, at least it is sad to me. When I saw it, a lot of stuff came to my head. It was a pretty difficult situation for her. One day they started to throw pieces of carrots at her. That’s when I stood up for her.  I kept thinking about something like that happening to my little brother or sister. I would not like that to befall anyone. That’s what gets me so mad about bullying. Some people perhaps may think bullying makes them look tough but in reality their just a bunch of weaklings. That’s my opinion. In the future if I ever see anybody get bullied, I will stand up for them.

Entry #831
How sweet, how dear, the memories are;
of life and all it holds.
And just how precious they become,
with each remembrance that unfolds.
Our childhood days, so filled with fun,
we frolicked through the years,
then came the teens, with lively weeks,
together with our peers.
That first kiss, oh the bliss,
the wedding day, the joys.
The memories linger on our hearts
like brand new shiny toys.
Our mind can play the sad ones,
but goodness how they fade
because we’ve chosen to forgive,
the dismal can’t invade.
Thank the Lord for memories,
you’ve given us to hold,
that we may keep those we love,
forever in our fold.

Entry #832
Drugs Control
I been using drugs most of my life
Damn I can’t seem to make things right
It all started with pot, now I am twisted
Arguing with mom and getting into fights
Stuck here doing my time
Locked up for more than a few weeks
I picked myself up and stand on my two feet
It ain’t as bad as it seems
Maybe all this time will keep me off the streets
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see
‘cause I got five months left then I’ll be free.

Entry #833
Hi I am anonymous. My name is none of your business, but that is no big deal. I am sitting in juvenile hell and the day I get out of here I am going to give my cousin a big old hug and we are going to play Madden. See I have this problem and it keeps bringing me back and I don’t know if I want to tell you…. Ok, I will tell you. It is called stupidity.

Entry #834
A Little Lost
If you really knew me you would know,
The challenges I face daily
If you really knew me you would know,
I’ve fallen yet picked myself back up
If you really knew me you would know,
If you really knew me you would know,
That I’m changing for the better
If you really knew me you would know,
The reason tears fill my eyes
If you really knew me you would know,
I’m NOT someone who pretends
If you really knew me you would know,
Why I act the way I do
If you really knew me you would know,
The struggles I face
If you really knew me you would know,
I’m that girl that’s still a little lost.

Entry #835
Where We Left Off
I know you love me a lot
I know you miss me too
I know you’re upset with the choices I’ve made
and I know I’m just a person but one that hopefully has a big impact on you
and the only one that can truly love you the way I do
I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused you, but I know you truly love me the way I love you because you’re the only one that has stayed by me through thick and thin
I’m sorry I can’t be there for you because I’m going to be locked up for the next seven years
Sorry to tell you like this but you really are my soul mate and my one and only love
I hope we can pick up where we left off once I get out.

Entry #836
When I Leave
When I leave juvenile hall I will do my best to never look back.
For the past 5 years I’ve been spiraling downward on a one-way track.
I will feel relieved to finally breathe fresh air as I please.
My mind and soul will finally be at ease.
I will think to myself how wonderful it is to be free.
Gradually putting this distasteful lifestyle forever behind me.
I will go places in life bigger and better.
For once finally breaking free of this dark and stormy weather.

Entry #837
Outside Fresh Air
I miss the outside fresh air, missing everything about it. I miss going to school chilling with my friends. And wishing I could go back in time and not be where I am right now. I really should have listened to my mom more often and I wouldn’t be making her cry for me because I’m in here. . I don’t listen and look where I ended up… in juvenile hall. I really feel horrible about it. Two months down two more to go.  Hopefully I get out.  I have a lot of family praying for me. I really do accept that and I pray for myself too. When I get out I’m going to restart, graduate, and go to college. That’s my plan.

Entry #838
Motherly love
Over protective
Magnificently amazing
Matter of fact, sent from above
Always respected

My mom is my heart
Even when we are dead
We will never be apart
When I see my mom’s eyes today
I think about the lies I used to say
She’s stood by me the whole way
I am grateful and I love her!
What more can I say?

Entry #839
Trouble Maker
I am trouble
Look my way
It’s all in my face
Some people can see it,
but not many
Family see it more than
Any friends or strangers
I talk back and fight
Bark and I run away
Sometimes you may even
See me as an angel
But when I’m fighting
It makes me happy
Because people no longer see me as
a person that’s scared
and always letting people walk on her, until
I got locked up
Everything changed from that day on.

Entry #840
My Teachings
You are my God, father and teacher.
I love and worship you. You granted me with my best features.
When I was born I was cursed with sin, making our relationship weaker.
Me and my love were two people on the same path, yet he was ahead.
We had the same demeanor.
In this time Lord, I washed away our relation with liquor and crystal, the fear of rejection was Satan’s biggest advantage.
You cannot expect to know what a day may bring and how you react is the key.
Why did my guy have to hit her? Why was he so composed of liquor? I know he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger. Is he now stuck being a sinner?
I’m sorry lord. Who am I to second guess you or ask why you know the truth behind his alibi. Now the man that was supposed to be the love of my life is locked away while I go on day by day. Thank you for letting our eyes meet and letting me move on. I’m no longer stuck in defeat. They say love at first sight doesn’t exist but I disagree.

Entry #841
When I Went Wrong
Killing someone is certainly something I don’t think I could do.
 The pain would be too overwhelming to pursue.
-When will they be back,- they always come back….
 Kids these days think it’s easy and nothing else.
 All the people that loved that person and how they will never have them in their lives.
 Nobody thinks about the kids or wives.
Rappers rap about- what happen to the youth, they’re crazy, crazy,- only to turn around and rap about drugs, murder for hire.
But with murder comes pain.
Wanted to be a player, now homeboys out the game.
Now both our families fell into depression and are long, long gone.
I’m trying to remember that age I went wrong.

Entry #842
My Story
At four years old I almost kicked the bucket
my momma in the house to high she said f**k it
I couldn’t help it I was too damn young
I tried to bounce back and look what I’ve become
locked up in juvie and my daddy in jail
I wanted to see him so bad but I couldn’t pay his bail
and now I’m sitting here in this cold block cell
thinking about my past and if I’m going to go to hell
but I’ve learned from the best to expect the worst
I heard my homie got popped with a three round burst
We were just getting close so you know it hurt
and if another friend died I think I’d go berserk
and I’m only 15, I guess I’ve seen the worse
I pray to God that everything works