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!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Entry #1120
Fantasizing about my 18th birthday.
Ready, waiting for the real world.
Eager to prove myself.
Shunning this circulated air.
Hatred fills every fiber of my being, deprived of blue skies.

Another day will come and go.
Inaccurate clocks tick along slowly.
Raging, I'm ready to go home

Entry #1121
Arising from the depths of the earth
Nothing but darkness in front of me
Grotesque images of foul beasts lighten the path
Everything is in a blur
Life itself is ending for me
Something tells me I'm not being taken by angels

Entry #1122
Feelings of sorrow and loneliness
Above all I'm here without you
Realizing what I have done

Alive but feeling dead inside
Why must I feel this way
Agonizing pain of separation
Yelling, hoping you hear, but you’re so far away

Entry #1123
My Son
I’m trying to change but old ways are on me like a bad dream. Being locked up makes me think. I have a kid now. Now it’s time to work and make legal money. I hate being locked up; it gets on my nerves! I use to just fight in here. That’s the past. I’m done. I’m changing now. Now I will die doing everything I can for my son. I’m going to graduate from high school and go to college. I’m not going to jail! I’m not going to prison! I’m going to succeed and change.

Entry #1124
Through all the
Rapid burst of being an
Valuing my
Everyday struggle

Entry #1125
Gone for months at a time
Ultimately, never to be found
In a different state
Lying about my name
To the police and anyone suspicious
Yet I'm back again

Entry #1126
A Letter to Me at Age 7
You have no idea of what is to come in the years ahead. Right now you are innocent and know nothing, but soon that is going to change. When you cross paths with alcohol turn the other way! When it seems fun to be out all night with friends; it is not going to be worth it in the end.  It will all turn into much more than it seems and you will soon become addicted…addicted to drugs and alcohol. You will find yourself walking down the wrong path and lost in a scary world.  Quickly you will lose those who are close to you. You will become all alone. If you do not make the right choices you will get placed on probation and arrested numerous times. You will begin to hate your life. Stop yourself before it is too late! If you don’t, when you are 16 you will spend seven months where I am today, locked up!

Entry #1127
Thoughts of damnation and self-hatred pierce the brain.
Every day is the same a crippling force of sadness and repetition.
Even now it’s unbearable I can’t live with myself any longer.
Never able to see the truth that I am save-able.

Anxiety crushing my every bone a gut wrenching pain.
Negativity flooding my thoughts and spilling out my eyes.
Great cries for help lost within the void of society.
Shame within my eyes as I see what I have become.
The end has come and only I am to blame for the downfall of myself.

Entry #1128
Always locked up 
No freedom allowed
X-mas behind blue doors
I can’t leave when I want
Everyone always watching
Tempted to leave at every turn
Yet still time to go.

Entry #1129
A Family
The best vacation I’ve been on with my family is to Disneyland. My little brother, and my older brother, my mom and step dad and I went on every single ride. We went to a lot of gift shops and stayed in five star hotels. We ate out at many different restaurants. It was great because my mom was clean off drugs. She and my step dad were still together and we had our little brother with us and we were a family I really miss that.

Entry #1130
Having a moment that I wouldn’t want to end anytime soon.
Appreciating those who are near.
Playing around without a care in the world about how I look.
Pure bliss with every moment.
Inspiring others by just being myself.
No substances necessary
Expressing my inner child.
Saying silly stuff with confidence.
Simply sublime.

Entry #1131
Got stripped of my freedom
Over the life of incarceration
In and out all of my youth
Never free, always alone just me
Gone from my life on the outs
Home run!!! I just got the news
Over and out I guess this is it
Moving on with life, freedoms on its way
Everyone doubted me, but I graduated!

Entry #1132
Withstand the hard times
Accountable when needed
Ready at all times

Entry #1132
Everlasting thoughts of getting out
So tired of waiting
Conscience telling me not to
About to make the climb
People screaming to get down
Eating with my family at last

Entry #1133
Going down,
On my own.
Now, I’ve found the way,
Ending the day

Entry # 1134
Shadow of a Soul
When I think of her,
lie thoughts of suicide,
with a shadow of a soul that no one knows
It’s just how it goes,
never to let my pain fade.

Entry #1135
Doesn't anyone care?
Everyone surrounds me with unintentional love
At least I know he's somewhere safe
Today creates a new tomorrow, for him at least
Help, he never had it

Insecurity flushed his mind
Now grandpa's gone

My life is disastrous without him

Family is my top priority
Arms and hands pulling me down
My actions are not those of anticipation
I can’t see what the future brings
Letting go of the ones you loved most
You can only hope for the best
Grandfather will I ever see you again? Mom cries every night wishing and praying you come home with toffee like you used too, but you can’t anymore so this is goodbye for now grandpa, for now.
Yet I still find a way

Entry #1136
Time, the all consuming
Time I hate
We all do time, spend time
I myself do time
My bunkie and I do time together
He hates time
Why do we hate time
Time is the only logical answer
Time makes me feel depressed
Time locks me away
Time keeps me from my family
I really hate time
I wish I could get rid of time
I wish my time was over
I want to kill time
Make time go faster
I sit and think of time
Time goes by slower
When will be my time to leave?
Only time will tell
If time was non-existent Then I might love time
But until then I really, really hate time

Fighting against myself.
Energy spent on doing the wrong things
Entering Juvenile Hall again
Done being a failure and a disappointment
Opened my eyes.
My time is now

Entry #1138
Patience is key.
Ordinary life, wanting to be something bigger.
Severe depression
Into darkness with no escape
Time is running out
Isn't quitting an option?
Very determined to succeed
Envious of a better life!

Entry #1139
Lost in the Dark
Love is more deadly than drugs ever will be
open my eyes to the thing I cannot see
Valentine’s Day is always the worst for me,
Every time I think of her my mind goes crazy
no matter how hard I try to forget,
I still end up seeing her inside my mind
but it’s my fault for making a deal with the devil
and now I have to live a sad and lonely life,
I lost the only light that can help me move on in my life.

Entry #1140
Fighting for my freedom
Under constant watch
Time ticking slower and slower each day
Understanding what I have to do to become free
Really starting to visualize a hopeful life
Everything will be alright one day

Entry #1141        
Wonder who will be there for me,
Inside my mind I'll never be free,  
Crazy is a new sanity,                       
Knowing who I am, is nothing to understand,     
Escaping this way is never going to be,        
Drowning in thoughts that aren't really me,

Who is who and who is me,              
Awakened to nothing new, 
You’re not me and I'm not you,                         
So who am I, and who are yo

Entry #1142
Hecka High
The best vacation I have ever been on is when I went to Hawaii with my cousin, a foreign exchange student, mom, uncle, and sister. We went to Honolulu, Oahu. It was so beautiful, all of the different beaches and sights to see. We went surfing, hiking, boating, swimming, and parasailing. We did so many fun things there. We stayed on north shore for half the trip in a beach house and the rest in a hotel in Honolulu city on the beach. The hiking was so amazing. We hiked up Diamond Head and also to two different waterfalls. The surfing was the best though.  I surfed at north shore on the famous Pipeline. The parasailing was really rad. I went up hecka high and thought I was going to fall, the adrenaline rush was crazy. The most important part of the trip though was being there with my family. They made it the best vacation ever.

Entry # 1143
All I Need
Loyalty is what I cannot live without, over the years I see people with fake loyalty.
Yes, some people are loyal and those are the people I plan on keeping around.
As I opened my eyes, I can see the stuff I could not see in the past.
Life is too short to live a lie, so it’s time to man up
And stop lying to myself, and maybe life will get better.

Entry #1144
Fighting Demons
If you really knew me you’d know I’m actually very smart and mature for my age (despite the fact am locked up), but I can also be mean and sometimes rude (sorry).
If you really knew me you’d know I am also a sweet, kind-hearted, loving person with a lot of potential.
If you really knew me you’d know my mom is and always has been my hero. I admit sometimes we don’t get along but I will always love her.
If you’d really knew me you’d know I am sixteen years old and I was born in another state, and I’ve lived in a couple different places.
You’d know I am Mexican
You’d know I am a Christian with some sins.
You’d know my favorite food is spaghetti w/ meatballs.
If you really knew me you’d know I started using drugs when I was only eleven.
Above all that I still manage to do well in school and I managed to get my first job at fourteen.
You’d know I got locked up the first time at fifteen. I tried to leave home while on one and ended up fighting my brother.
If you really knew me you’d know I have a beautiful daughter… She’ll be two this coming June. I’m not the best mom in the world, am anything but, but I do my best to give her everything I can.
You’d know me and my daughter’s father are no longer together after almost three years of dating.
If you really knew me you’d know this is just a summary of the ongoing story of ME.
Just know there’s more to this story and everyone has demons they are fighting.

Entry #1145
All my soul and body are misunderstood,
but all I have has been misunderstood.
Always letting the pride decide,
feeling like my sin is all of my mind,
never to let me know my own kind.

Entry #1146
In My Thoughts
It’s crazy how people can change you and your perspective on life. When I was younger I used to always have a smile on my face and have fun, I never once thought that anything could go wrong, never did I think that mad people could or would even kill or hurt others physically either. My mom always told me, don’t go out so late because you never know who’s out there, she always warned me every day not to trust everyone and watch my surroundings wherever I went. I never really listened to her because I was never alone, I was always with my friends, until one night I was walking back from a friend’s house and there was an incident that threatened my safety.
Ever since then I never go anywhere by myself and I don’t trust anyone that I’m not close to. I always watch my surroundings now. Now almost everyone owns a gun, and a lot of people are letting drugs and alcohol take over. It’s not just this town though it’s all over the world, it seems things are getting worse day by day. It’s really sad to see on the news that young people are losing their lives over petty things and most of the time it’s just because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. May my old friend and older sister rest in peace, you guys are forever in my thoughts.

Entry #1147
As life goes on I feel the hate wishing I can escape,
Looking at the red gears I can see my death as my soul breaks.
 I can’t escape, I ‘m stuck living my evil ways
As I try to change, it’s straight to pain.
I try not to cheat the fame running from the blame,
Trying not to go inside as my mind is racing.