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!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Entry # 843
At One Point In Time
My name is lost, wandering alone
A name broken like glass carved into bone
My name, a caged bird with clipped feathers
A name of an ill fate that’ll never get better
My name was free at one point in time
A name that was bright like summer sunshine
But oh, now a name full of shame
An empty glass, spilled, there’s no-one to blame…
Except for my name
My name is, and forever will be, a beaten animal
A name that is scared, afraid of all
My name has been set afire
A name shriveled, hung by a wire
Angry, angry, I destroyed my name
A name destroyed, and I the same
My name is a horrid beast                                                                                       
My true name is hatred unleashed

Entry # 844
In My Arms
I remember the first time I got taken away from my mom and promised I’d never repeat any of the things that happened to me, to my baby.
I remember the day I had my son. It didn’t feel real until I had him on my chest. It’s the day my whole life changed. It felt as if my life finally had reason.
I remember my son saying “Mommy” for the first time and being able to really hug me. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I remember the day I came here and my son got taken away. As CPS took him from my arms it was like the whole world came crashing down. All I want is for my baby to be in my arms again, and I’ll do anything to make that happen.

Entry # 845
I remember when life was so easy.
I remember being so little and innocent.
I remember having no worries.
I remember my town being my playground.
I remember having so many friends.
I remember being able to hang out with whomever I wanted to.
I remember. I remember being drug free.
I remember what freedom felt like.
I remember saying I would never get locked up.

Now, I remember to watch my back in the streets.
I remember to take a weapon with me wherever I go.
I remember to get high before I go have fun.
I remember the feeling of being locked up.
I remember to wake up and get on door check.
I remember how empty, sad, and lonely it feels to be trapped in a little room.
I remember the anxiety I would get before going to court wondering what my sentence was going to be.
I remember how it feels to leave this depressing place.
I remember to check in with my p.o.
I remember having to drug test every month.
I hope one day I will remember to learn from all my mistakes.

Entry # 846
Out here, in strange places,
Nowhere to hide
Don’t know where my spare is.
Out there, you walk alone
Miles between us
I can’t come home.
Someday, who knows when
If fates allow
We’ll meet again.

Entry # 847
To Not Feel At All
I'm frighten to get attached ,
but I loathe to be alone.
I long for that feeling
to not feel at all.
It seems like the higher I get,
the lower I sink.
I cannot drown my thoughts,
they know how to swim.

Entry # 848
Blinker’s On
If insanity was a place that could be visited, and experienced, I’d probably go just to feed my curiosity. But unfortunately that’s not the case. Insanity is a place in which you cannot return from, a desolate place at the end of a long winding, decaying road. And as I do a quick self-evaluation I am not surprised to see the turn-off to said road a fair distance ahead. Nor am I surprised to see my blinker on, or to so realize that I am steadily decelerating, I have not yet put my foot on the brake pedal, but have merely taken my foot off the gas. And as the turn-off comes into clearer view, I can now make out the one-way spike strip (the type you usually see at the entrances of paid-for parking lots) at the beginning of the road. By no means am I at the Point of No Return, but as I move ever close, I am not hit with a sense of foreboding or apprehension, but with bitter-sweet resignation. I don’t know much about the road leading to the place called Insanity, but I do know it is like any other road. I can drive as fast or as slow on it as I please, making my trip as quick or as long as I wish.

Entry # 849
The pill is unknown
It never lets go
One pop to another
I fall in front of my brother
I wonder why my family is sad
Just put down the pills: emotions turn glad
One pill is just too much, one coffin
Is just too rough.
Mom’s already buried one son so that’s enough
It hurt when it blends
In with the bottle, I forgot to tell you
I’m an alcoholic and I’m comin’off the throttle
A month has gone by and I’m still
Locked inside, take away the bottle
And you take away my pride

Entry # 850
Like Crazy
I remember when you use to take me to breakfast.
The love you gave me has kept me going through life and days.
You’re gone now and I miss you like crazy.
I don’t have that love anymore to keep me going through the day.
The hate comes back and it’s so negative.
I hate that He took you away. I remember when it was all love between everyone until the day you left.
That’s the day I started hating the world, hating the God that took you from me. Hate doesn’t even describe how I feel. It’s more anger and regret that I feel about the one that controls the world. I remember when everything was even and simple. I miss the man that I looked up to and made me the positive and good hearted person I am today.
The best revenge is living well.

Entry # 851
Love and Hate
Love takes care of me.
She makes me feel like I’m home.
She always says she is the one for me.

Hate’s always been abusive.
Pushing cigarettes my way and making me smoke as a child.
She stuffed me in a garbage bag to show she hated me.

Love is always there when I need her.
She feeds me breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
She never regrets having me as a child of her new family.

Hate I haven’t seen for eleven years.
She would always scream in my ear.
She left me when I was four years old.
She is the one I won’t see again.

Love helps me to be successful.
Always telling me to stay higher than a “C.”
She grounds me when I’m not successful, and I will always try.

Hate didn’t care what I did.
She would never be there when I needed her.
Repeatedly finding other men instead of hanging and caring for her family.

Love would never leave the family behind.
Though if we all got into some trouble she would punish.
She will always be the one I will remember.

Hate would feed my sisters, but not me.
She would always hit me for shit I didn’t do.
She would scream and yell every day, for no apparent reason.

Love took care of me and took me into her family.
She never left my side.
She always stayed with the ones she loved.
I will always love you, MOM!!!!!

Entry # 852
My life so far is going well. I’m sadly in juvenile hall. My choices are going downhill. I’m back in and have served around a month, the court recommends I do 6 -8 months in boot camp; maybe it will be good for me. Court is on Monday, the 27th. I don’t think of the time I have to spend in my cell as it’s not that bad although the kids always like to open their mouths and say horrible things to please themselves and others. The food… is actually ok! It has its bad days but at the end of the day this is my fault for being in here. I keep violating my probation; cutting school, passing late curfew, not listening to instructions & DRINKING!
Why did I just capitalize and underline DRINKING?
Step 1: Drinking is a big part of my life
Step 2: I drink for fun & to forget about my life.
Step 3: I am an alcoholic.

Entry # 853
Through Blue Doors
The lifeless, walking in yellow shirts through blue doors, waiting for the day I’m not lonely and dull. Trailing behind myself like a shadow, looking at my reflection, wondering why I’m so drawn toward the cutthroat canyon of locked doors. Wondering how my life would have turned out if I just swallowed my pride and didn’t continue down the continental slope. Maybe I should not have drank so much cherry wine and stayed at home looking at the clock instead of rotting in the hall wondering how much time. I’m tired of being and ending up with yellow shirts on.

Entry # 854
My Name
My name is damaged
Like a wound with no bandage
So lonely and shaken
No love given or taken
Hungry and cold
Let the truth be told
My name rose higher
Like the flame of a fire
My name is unique
The smooth flow of a creek
My name still lives on
With no right or no wrong
Always surviving the battles fought
Yes, my name has been through a lot
My name has been the best it could be
My name is what I call me

Entry # 855
I don’t remember my mom
I don’t remember my dad’s birthday
I don’t remember what happened to me to make me this way.
I don’t remember my first high because I was too young.
I don’t remember the horrible things I did to get in here.

Entry # 856
Quicksand…I don’t know how to start.
I guess I have both love and hate in my heart.
My life is good my life is bad.
I’ve had good memories but most are bad.
I remember when my baby brother passed.
He was only three.
His life had just begun.
Too early he was put to rest.
But I know that he will be forever blessed.
I still have his name tattooed on my chest.
How I wish he were still alive.
He would be standing right by my side.
I need him back, I want him so bad.
I remember the cute smile he had.
We’d play a game called quicksand.
He would chase us around the house.
I remember how he was always happy.
When he was happy, so were we.
I love you so much!
I need him back, I want him so bad.
I miss you, I miss you! 

Entry # 857
No prom, no graduation, no sweetheart
No, try-agains, no do-overs, no restart
And it is what it is
So I’ma deal with what’s in front of me
What I put in front of me
I’ll clean this mess up
I don’t know how
But it’ll come to me
I’ll prove that I deserve a chance
I won’t be stopped here
My life will advance
So have faith
Don’t let your eyes make the conclusion
Because behind this nefarious face
Lies a mind of shrewd, sympathetic, and ambitious infusion

Entry # 858
Promise Kept
I remember when I used to struggle with my family to have a place to stay and food to eat. My dad would always tell us that one day he would make sure we wouldn’t have to struggle so much. He told me and my brother to not worry about anything besides staying in school and taking care of each other no matter what and that we made it to school every day and that we both made it home safely. I remember when my brother would walk me to school every day about a mile from home then walk himself to school on the other side of town and then made sure he’d walk back in time to walk us home after I got out of school. I remember my brother told me he would never have me feel that I was alone because our parents were never around. Mom was too busy getting high and my dad was trying to work as much as he could to support us. I remember that promise my brother made to me has never been broken….I remember my dad told me everything was going to get better and my mom would be a loving and caring mom again, just to never give up on that thought. I never did and he was right. I remember when my mom became sober and we moved out of the hood to live a better life like I always hoped for. I remember that I never gave up on hoping for life to get better for our family and it did.

Entry # 859
Hate Tryed To Take Fate Away
Hate took me by surprise at a young age,
Lonely and cold stuck in one place.
Hate filled the room with every exhale
Gripping my lungs and burning my throat.
Nodding away can this be my day?

The monster inside is taking my fate
Day by day it's fading away.
Tears fill my eyes,
I'm dying inside.

Love came along and took hate away
Opened my eyes
She helped me realize
There's no need to hide,  “Go ahead and cry”
Dodging my past is not going to last
I got to let go in order to grow.

She gave me back trust
I'm no longer stuck
She took away the monster inside
Replaced it with love

Love was my fate, now she's my date
Love is my smile
I cherish this gift
I can't explain this feeling she gives.

Entry # 860
Love sits in her room and wonders why,
staring at the ceiling and starts to cry.
Living inside her stirs an unborn life.
Love's sick and tired of boldface lies.

Hate loves her from earth to sky.
Hate is her brother, who always tries,
but leading her down the path of sins in life,
sleep all day and party all night.

Love and hate always chilled,
before the baby came the thrills.
Sister and brother close as can be,
sippen on syrup and popping mollies.
Living the life of freedom and fun,
till one day dad had a new son.

Love gets pregnant and hates locked up,
the world we live in it's so messed up.
Children having children running amuck.

Love realizes that life is short,
while hates waiting for celli port door.
10 months tell he walks out the front door.

Praying and wishing that he gets out,
Head held high and chest held out,
push pull strive without a doubt.

Entry # 861
I'm sick of doing time always locked up in my cell.
Trying to call my mom to get money for my bail.
I'm sitting in the pod and I'm waiting for my mail.
Another dirty drug test and they know I failed.
I bounce like a bunny when I'm out on the trail.
One of these days I'm going to set off and sail.
But until that day I’ll rot out in jail.
I'm done!
Entry # 863
My Living Motivation
I remember when my god daughter was born,
the day she was brought home she and I were inseparable.
I think her eyes were one of the first things I noticed, they’re so blue, like the ocean.
I remember the first time she walked. It was so funny because we had to use food to get her to walk,she wouldn’t walk for anything else.
I remember the first time I fed her my favorite food, noodles. She loved it and for a while that’s all she would eat.
I remember when I hadn’t seen her in almost a month. She was in her crib and when I walked up to her and she finally realized it was me she nearly jumped out of her crib.
I remember every day that I’m not able to see her.
I think about how much I love her and how much she loves me and how much she makes me smile.
I remember that she is my motivation.
Entry # 864
Love is determined
Hates undecided
Love wants it to work
but Hate ain't even tryin’
Love gives all her trust
Hate takes it for granted
Love gives all her love
Hates mis-led and backhands it
Love stays at home
Hates never around
She takes care of the children
Hate just wants to blow clouds
Love knows what she wants
Hate’s heads all messed up
Love wants to get married
Hate just wants to run amuck
Love stays regardless, she knows where her hearts at
Hate realizes too and turns his back on his dark party.

Entry # 865
There’s a strain in my heart.
We are the last of a dying breed, street terrorists to the norms.
Peasants to the wealthy.
We are the merciless to the forgivers.
Killas to the lovas.
The dirty to the clean.
The last of a dying breed.

Entry # 866
No More
I thought my life was cool
I thought it was fine
Now that I’ve thought about it, my life is on the line
No more drugs
No more alcohol
I always thought I had it all
Now my life is on the line,
I have less than a dime,
And I want to change.
Go ahead.
I know I can do it.
It’s all about the movement
In which we pace ourselves
I’ve got all these photos,
Sitting on empty shelves
They want me to get help
I know I want it
It’s all about the involvement
I gotta get myself going
Get the blood flowing.

Entry # 867
My Name, My World
My name does not exist in a world like this
It does not fight or argue
It does not use or abuse
My name does not take away
But does give without being given
My name does not judge
And is not judged
My name is kind and gracious
And is enjoyed so much by others
My name is your name
Something we share together
My name stands in a place
A place where we get along
My name is my world where I stand and want to be
A land that I have yet to see

Entry # 868
Juvenile Hall
I’m in juvenile hall
And all I want to do is curl up in a ball.
In my cell,
It’s something I don’t ever want to tell
Being in here
It makes me want to SHED EVERY TEAR
But I guess since I’m here
I’ll just have to face my fears.

Entry # 869
I remember when my life was like a cool breeze on a hot day,
doing good things, not just wasting away.
I remember being optimistic about my future,
I’m going to thrive, not hoping everyday just to stay alive.
I remember when my parents said they were proud of their son,
not saying, “Well, you’re going to prison, but you’re not the only one.”
Life was a cool breeze, nice and pleasant,
Now it’s just my natural depressant.
I will succeed.
I will thrive.
I’m a human being, I’m that’s going to survive!

Entry # 870
Endless nights with endless fights
All these fights
And endless nights
It’s too much
I’m afraid to touch
I want to be happy
But it sounds so sappy
I want to be happy, I really do
But sometimes I just don’t have a clue
I want to hate you, I really do
Trust me when I tell you.

Entry # 871
On My Mind
Too drunk to even respond
The only thought in my mind
Was when are they going to get me
The world before my eyes
Pulled out from under my feet
I remember how her skin felt on mine
Now that I’m here
It’s continuously on my mind
Continuously wanting to cry
I remember her birthday
So close to this time
Filled with regret that I’ll miss it
I hope she’s doing fine

Entry # 872
In the Mountains
I remember when my family lived together and we did family dinners, all the good times.
I remember when our family got broken apart and everything went downhill.
I remember when I lived up in the mountains, stacked wood, had chores.
I remember when my mom drove me and my sisters to California from Indiana.
I remember when I used to grow flowers and vegetables in the mountains.
I remember when I had my freedom.

Entry # 873
It’s a New Day
It’s a new day
It’s a new dawn
I sit up and take a big yawn
I sit up looking at the clouds, the flowers, and the sea
Thinking of all the things I wish I could be

It’s a new day
It’s a new dawn
Things are really starting to come along
As my life slowly puts itself back together
I only hope this will last forever.

Entry # 874
Winged Bird
Driving down the court,
the swish of strings,
red hot silk cheering me on,
A splintered backboard screaming at me,
My dreams have died, but I'm a winged bird that can fly,
I'm shooting slipknots,
Mercury's insignia on our kicks,
Feeling spiritual beyond the physical. 

Entry # 875
All That Joy
I remember when my brother and I got adopted.
I remember being scared.
I remember the new name that they gave me.
I remember when I met my new family.
I remember all of that joy.
I remember my first Christmas with my new family.
I remember all of those gifts.
I remember my first Thanksgiving.
I remember the turkey was bigger than me.
I remember my first Halloween.
I remember when I got that first fresh bike.
I remember that first day of school.
I remember when I met those other kids and I made some friends.
I remember my first A.
I remember that great day.
I remember when I tried out for the first sport.
I remember when I got my first touchdown.
I remember all of that praise.
I remember when I made that awesome 3 pointer.
I remember when I got that first homerun.
I remember when I got all of those trophies.
I remember all of my pride.
I remember my first fight.
I remember all of that anger.
I remember when I got that first black eye.
I remember my first high.
I remember when my baby brother was born.
I remember I was ecstatic because he was a miracle.
I remember my first girlfriend.
I remember all of that joy.

Entry # 876
Mom’s Eyes
I remember when I was on the outs hanging with my friends.
I remember all the good and the bad.
I remember how my mother said, “Don’t do this,” but I’d do it anyway.
I remember all the tears coming out of my mom’s eyes. It’s horrible.
I remember my sister coming to visit me and all her tears.
I feel bad and I feel I don’t belong here.
I remember going to school, and then, not going.
I’m wishing I didn’t ditch to go smoke some weed.
I remember how I left all the time to continue to go smoke some more weed.
I remember how me and my brother fought and now my little brother is crying because he is missing me. I miss him a lot too.
I remember how everyone told me I was a good kid. Look where that good kid brought me, here in juvenile hall.

Entry # 877
To Love and to Want
Forget about all the roses,
The flowers and the memories
It’s not a necessity
To love and to want
It’s something I wish I didn’t flaunt
To love and to hold
And to cherish like gold
So proud of who you are
You always shone like a star

Entry # 878
Crystal Clear Love
Love is like soaring on cloud 9
Hate comes down like rain in the winter
Love is the moon and stars
Hate is the ground beneath her feet
Love is untrustworthy
Hate is unsteady
Love walks with the shadows
Hate cries and shakes
Love is like a never ending roller coaster
Hate is like a pair of pants that won’t `fit
Love is like a high
Hate is like a waterfall, always falling down
Love is clouds in the sky
Hate is calling everyone and anyone
Love is Crystal
Hate is coming down

Entry # 879
I remember when I was little
I remember when I was little and had a dog
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff who got hit
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff who got hit by a car
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff who got hit by a car and died
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff who got hit by a car and died which we had a funeral for
I remember when I was little and had a dog named Jeff who got hit by a car and died which we had a funeral for, now may Jeff “R.I.P”