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!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Entry #1094

The flame inside
my fragmented heart
gone off of lingering depression
existence and approval desired
Neurological nonexistence
In her world, lonely and abandoned
is the life I live.


Entry #1095
Finding My Way
Nights I lay awake gripping for sleep.
Blurs of a body passing my door.
A dull cursed space, and when I close my eyes; emptiness
The blessing of times I've destroyed, as I crash deeper.
Shit what now?
A bright flash destroys my open pathway to freedom.
I sit alone in the dark, smelling the emerald lake
full of chaotic screams pleading to be freed,
My hell house.
Can’t get much better than this.
Smashing my way through tough opportunities,
past the finger and unseen hand pulling me down.
Where is the end?   
Entry #1096
I Forgive You
Daddy, I forgive you for never being sober.
I forgive you for never being there for me when I was young, even when I got older.
I forgive you for all the birthdays you missed,
I forgive you for never telling me a bedtime story, or giving me a good night kiss.
I forgive you for breaking my heart before any guy had the chance.
I forgive you for not being there to pick me up in your big strong hands.
Entry #1097
My mind is yawning
Panic rises through me like a counter jinx
Flying in poinsettia noise
Embarrassment like a firecracker
Sinking into a cement cage
of hatred
Writing in a distrustful language
As regretful as a minister caught in the act
And life begins to dawn
Wondering why this place is suddenly feeling like home
Reminiscing on things that never happened
My mind is trapped in a cage
I will fly away the day I am released
I can't trust myself to do the things I promise

Entry #1098
Finding Peace
Sitting here pained,
Juvenile Hall is my temporary home
Looking at humiliating concrete walls
Lying on a cement slab, fighting for sleep
Pacing, struggling, waiting for my freedom
Trying to imagine a good, envious free life
Feeling stuck; unsure about how to move forward
wanting to throw chairs and classroom desks against the walls
Homelessness is not an option
Running blind, with what may seem to some, a horrible future
Inspired, elated to find peace
Dedicated for a better tomorrow
Entry #1099
Suspicious Times
It's easy being doubtful          
In suspicious times,
as I free my wary guilt I
realize that only real eyes
can see the truth that lies
trust lost
hope found
overcome by anxious hate
by your side
I woke surprised,
yet I did not mind
flickering shadows of our past
moments frozen like pictures           
afraid to love       
Entry #1100
Depressing jump ropes that I hate playing with,
reaching for falling smiles,
dreaming, striving that gets me going,
repeated volcanic impressions
I need to stop!
Messing with time to keep blocking my downfalls,
And flashing my handsomeness to feel good about myself,
girls always fall for it an give me there innocence,
but, boredom I bring from repeated scenes,
I keep searching for a forever happiness
I admit, love is what I need

Entry # 1101
Confused heartbeat,
quakes at the repetitive memories of my abused ego
Bruised envious laughter haunts my name
Stuck in the undertow in a wave of disparity
Trial and error
Hypothermia engulfs my very being
The ice peak walls wrap me in a warmth of security
Rusted blue doors boast with pleasure
that we are what's seems to be forever together
The traitor clock freezes, and time stands still
Entry #1102
Clutched Time
The frozen desert moss whispered, quit
Thoughts suddenly repeated,
Churning as the hopeful wall shattered.
Now the molten nocturnal sea departs,
Free, drawn toward tomorrow.
-a runner
Lost, broken, insane on the silver highways,
Slammed in the radar.
Cold breath, forgotten darkness
Swirling in the rage of truth.
Rejected by the city, awake in silence.
Slipping through the dry ruts,
A faceless journey gone.
Entry #1103
Daddy’s Little Girl
Daddy’s baby just turned 12,
She’s fighting her own demons,
Living in her own Hell.
Daddy’s Princess, just turned 13,
She is now drinking,
Has low self-esteem.
Daddy’s little girl, just turned 14,
She looks happy,
But the burns and cuts show more than it seems.
Daddy’s Angel, just turned 15,
The pills linger from her fingers, and
There’s whiskey on her breath.
Daddy’s soldier is now two years older, she’s 17,
But daddy’s baby wasn’t very strong,
His baby girl is gone.

Entry #1104
Getting Out
Locked up and tired of running
It’s not really fearlessness, 
it’s an adrenalin rush
of courageous
all done online
Yelling boredom
Actually it’s kind of fun
Anxious about getting out
I think everybody is though
Entry #1105
Horizon of Freedom
Locked doors frustrates me
as my mistakes pleasure the people that are doubtful in my ability
Reluctantly dusty mountains unwind the horizon of freedom
Tense uneasy feelings
Unsure love absorbed
Trapped in a cell, lost, uncertain
Floating in my weary lifeless body
Entry #1106
Love is not name calling and put downs,
Love is not constantly criticizing you or who you go around.
Love is not black eyes and unforgettable fights,
Love is not constant fear.
Love is not feeling ugly any time he is near,
Love is not bruises and made up excuses.
Love is not constant disgust,
Love is us.
Entry #1107
Destroyed thoughts to incarcerated freedom,
purchased in the undeserving vending machine
Echoing metal doors screaming as
they close me in
Unheard emotions drawn toward the sound of
Anonymous razor wire pierces the loneliness,
feelings I’ve yet to overcome
Curious education is the wall I’m destine to complete
Back to my cell once again,
alone just waiting to go home

Entry #1108
Valuable Time
Locked away behind these cold steel doors,
where the sound lingers in the stale air between concrete walls.
Where freedom is limited and you’re constantly reminded,
that you’ve done wrong.
Left with nothing but your unbound imagination and time to serve
is this lonely voyage through juvenile hall.
Losing valuable time I will never get back.
Entry #1109
Is This Real?
I can’t sleep so it must be real
All this pain inside I feel
Since I am dreamless it must be the real deal
I look at what I’ve done,
And in the moment it was fun
But I was drunk and being dumb
I wish I never did what I did
And never go through what I am going through.
So now I realize this is real,
And I will do what I need to do.

Entry #1110
Hesitant to collide with stealthy serpents, Stuck
All around the casualties of booming locks bathed in vibrant terror, Lost
What the hell to do when reliable turns to sarcastic which feeds off of my terror, Envy
The glowing cells haunt my never ending wicked companions, Frozen
Shimmering in my dreamy haze and the coiled legends seek my demise, Paranoid
Demolished behavior booming me into the bottomless pit named Juvie, Trippy
Another bowl with the dancing sun who seems to love my despair, Gone       
Entry # 1111
Recognize the Real and the Fake
Recognize the real and the fake,
Because the reapers comin’ to take.
And your staring death in the face,
He recognizes the fake.
He doesn’t hesitate or debate, you better pray before it’s too late -
Oops, it’s already too late.
He deceived and led you away from them gates,
Should’ve never doubted the real.
And now he’s comin’ to kill,
Should’ve never gave up faith.
But now it’s already too late,
Because Satan awaits.
And now that you gave up your faith,
Satan knows he’s got another playmate.

Entry #1112
An impulsive sword slashes through my arms and legs
A mad war in the bar
The battle was a horror site
There were people in beds
Injured warriors that needed surgery
Entry #1113
My Favorite Outdoor Activities
The first thing I strived to perfect was riding horses. The power I felt being in control was just amazing. Sitting out at the lake with my step dad is what I miss the most. I killed a coyote once with my friends. Never Again… My family used to go camping at the beach years ago. My best memories ever was when the campfire glowed. Midday we ran straight to the ocean for body surfing. We played hide and seek, got home and rode bikes. But, there’s nothing like skating on a new road with a shiny new board.

Entry #1114
Who Am I?
I’M a young black man crying out for help,
I’M a young black man who is going to make it in life;
I’M a young black man, who is trying to stay strong,
I’M a young black man, who’s been hurt by life.
I’M a young black man people put down, that I’d never know success,
I’M that young black man, who keeps going in and out of jail.
I’M that young black man who stays in trouble.
But still I ask myself, who am I?
Entry #1115
Into the Sky
Running hopelessly
A shoot out on the news
Dizzy and intoxicated
Walking to school in panic
Bandaged fingers
Warning shots fired
Swung and punched in the back
Mellow yellow sky, like heaven
Calm and brave
Lost and loved
Entry #1116
An Imprisoned Slave
WHY does my heart see so cold and dark?
IT feels as if it’s been torn apart.
MY life feels like an imprisoned slave.
I’M told when to sit and when to bathe.
IS it because of the mistakes I’ve made?
It’s hard to say.

Entry #1117
My whole year of being seventeen, I couldn’t wait to turn eighteen. I couldn’t wait because I was already on the streetsdoing what I wanted, so I couldn’t wait to officially be legal even though I knew I wasn’t finishing my last year of  high school. That was a total wreck.

               Now I finally turned eighteen and it feels exactly the same, probably because I had nothing to fall back on. I ended up getting back locked up and its giving me a lot of time to think. I know this isn’t how I want my life to be and I know what I want to do. I was doing well before that last year that I messed up and I shouldn’t have wait until then to do what I was doing.  I waited until the most important year of my life.

                When I get out I plan to get a job and finish up my schooling. Most people would hear what I just said and think I’m BS-ing. That doesn’t matter to me though because I know this time I’m not.  I’ve already talked to people like counselors and stuff to hook me up with a job and short term checks to get me on my feet. Legally! Macy’s hires people without diplomas? I’m thinking about applying there and working while I get my diploma from adult school or a regular school. I will not be a downfall anymore! I’m going to succeed and prove everyone wrong.

Entry #1118
I’m a skater that got sent to juvy for a while and I miss my friend. My favorite sport is soccer. I got a scholarship. I live with my mom…my dad died of lungs cancer when I was ten years old. When I was about 13 my mom got a brain aneurism. I was in Indiana for about a year. In Indiana, they hit me and I was a bleeding. I hate it there. And, now I’m in juvy and I don’t know when I’m getting out.

Entry #1119
Mind of Mine
I feel like insanity is key to be free,
If you follow these words, our worlds will collide,
So pick a side or you better hide.
I will ask you to decide,
If you do, you’ll be feed my pride,
But the thoughts of my mind, and
The view of society,
Do not coincide.
The laws I’m forced to abide,
I’d rather drink cyanide,
To free my mind.
Others are so kind,
But are blind,
So I must find myself,
In my oblivious thoughts,
And that I never sought.