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Chapter 1: Winning Poems
1st Place
Hell’s Angel – 9

2nd Place
Dear You – 10
Untitled – 11
“Nothing’s Respite” From a Land That Never Was – 12
Black White I am Both – 14
The Meek and Humble Shall Inherit This Earth – 16

3rd Place
A Place Called Home – 17
As the Grass Grows – 18
Tell Me About Me – 20
Sun Up to Sun Down – 21
Split Personality - 22

Popular Vote
Lost - 24

CEEAS Choice
Overcome - 25


Chapter 2: Consortium Poems
     Arkansas - 27
     Delaware - 28
     Florida - 32
     Idaho - 38
     Indiana - 45
     Missouri - 47
     New York - 48
     Oklahoma - 53
     Oregon - 54
     Texas - 55
     Utah - 61

Chapter 3: Additional State Poems
     Alaska - 63
     California - 64
     Colorado - 68
     Connecticut - 69
     District of Columbia - 70
     Illinois - 73
     Kansas - 74
     Kentucky - 76
     Maryland - 77
     Massachusetts - 79
     New Jersey - 80
     North Carolina - 82
     Ohio - 84
     Pennsylvania - 89
     Tennessee - 92
     Virginia - 93
     Washington - 96
     Wisconsin - 97


© 2013 Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings 2013 Edition All rights reserved. Thank you for respecting the hard work of these poets. iii . No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior permission of the publisher (except for educational purposes or by reviewers who may quote brief passages). This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold to others.

and regrets. Through poetry they have shared their hopes and dreams. and by publishing an anthology of their writing. We hope that you. This book is dedicated to all of the young people in juvenile facilities who had the courage to reflect on their lives and to share their feelings by participating in Words Unlocked. their fears and anger. revealing glimpse of what the authors have experienced and are experiencing—at home. By sponsoring a nationwide poetry initiative for detained and incarcerated youth. David Domenici June 2013 iv .Dedication Far too many young people are locked up around the country. the readers. in detention centers. We hope you will join us as we work to provide incarcerated youth with access to educational programs that will help them develop the skills they need to be successful in school and to lead fulfilling. will respond to the poems with the same level of conviction that our students demonstrated in writing them. productive lives when they are released. we have made sure that their words are not. Their poems offer a candid. in the streets.

working out what it means to be alive in the world and to have experienced the troubles they have experienced. we find the seeds of a future vibrant with hope. WAS ONE OF THE LEAD JUDGES IN THE WORDS UNLOCKED POETRY COMPETITION. Survival. R.  v . these students are. they represent a struggle that these young people are playing out on the page. and Coming of Age in Prison. DWAYNE BETTS. this eBook means that someone cares about these students and through that dual process. and the process of writing.These poems represent more than talent. More than that. Through these poems. POET AND AUTHOR OF A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning. the students working things out on the page. their supporters acknowledging their work and nurturing it. in part.

documenting conditions inside youth detention centers around the country. Blake. Richard. oversaw the publication process. working out of donated recording space at WBEZ’s studio.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Richard Ross granted us permission to use selected photos from his jarring collection Juvenile-in-Justice. which helped shape this anthology into the authentic and truly powerful document that it is. Thank you. administered the contest and provided technical support to teachers within juvenile correctional facilities. Bryonn Bain. Our judges. R. recorded the audio versions of the poems in this eBook. artists working with Young Chicago Authors. Hundreds of teachers. Thank you. a member of the CEEAS advisory board. Thank you to our friends in Chicago for giving a voice to our students and their poems. made the Words Unlocked initiative come alive in classrooms across the country. vi . Adam Peindl was the sound engineer. judges.  Arthur Evenchik. Thank you for encouraging thousands of incarcerated teens to write and express themselves through Words Unlocked. many working in trying conditions. We look forward to working with you again in the future.  Thank you each for your tireless efforts. Your engagement increased public awareness and showed the student poets that their words matter. and Chelsea Clinton. They also provided personal notes and comments to many of the participants. Kevin Coval and Jamila Woods. Kat Crawford and Christy Sampson-Kelly disseminated the Words Unlocked curricular units. John S. took on the difficult task of selecting the winners of our national poetry contest. Dwayne Betts.

Afterward.ABOUT THE POEMS IN THIS ANTHOLOGY All of the poems in this anthology were submitted by students being held in secure youth facilities around the country. Oklahoma. Missouri. we have listed poems from a consortium of eleven state juvenile justice agencies with which CEEAS works most closely: Arkansas. Idaho. Delaware. Texas. New York. and Utah. Oregon. The remainder of the poems are presented by state.000 poems down to the 75 in this anthology. Florida. we have included poems from students held in other states from around the country.  vii . First. Indiana. The Popular poem was selected by an online vote and the CEEAS Choice poem was randomly chosen from all submitted poems. The poems were selected by a team of volunteer judges who narrowed over 1. The First Place and Second Place poems were selected by our final judges.


She laid a kiss upon the devil’s lips. Heart wrapped in crystal smoke ribbons. I told the devil. “No. they keep on turning. And loaded your pipe as you fell.” He held a gun to my head! Pumped that fire through her veins. embrace this invitation. And he was thirty-six. Love is just a game. To a wonderland of sin. Sometimes angels go to hell. Escape for me. Sex is now her occupation. Albany. And laughed when she cried. ORD 9 . And all too soon. The gears. our dream Became a real hell-ride. and vulnerable. Come. Escape did come. But they’re bound to grind away. But she was young. cuz I watched you slip. But in a blur. How hard you’d hit your head. And this girl. And led her to his bed. I know this. I didn’t realize at the time. His radar tracked her damaged soul.FIRST PLACE Hell’s Angel Not all angels go to heaven. that I helped ruin. Still hides the scars beneath her lingerie Poet: Brianna Facility: Three Lakes High School. But not for her.

SECOND PLACE Dear You Dear Xanax bars. Is this who you really want to be? Locked into drugs With no key? Poet: Alina Facility: Champaign County Juvenile Detention Center. Please take me to Mars. IL 10 . Where I don’t have to do a thing for KLONDIKE BARS! Dear Spoon. Will you take me to the moon? Turn this filthy world into a cartoon? Dear Dope. Dear Me. Urbana. You fill me with hope Have me wrapped around your finger Tied with a rope.

As I’m thinkin’ for a second
My life is not perfected
My life is kinda hectic
But I don’t know what wrecked it
It’s probably my mom doing drugs when I was younger
The stuff that she had snorted in front of me and my brothers
She needed a needle when we had needed a mother
And then she got the nerve to ask us why we don’t love her?
I think it’s crazy
How she callin’ me her baby
When lately
She hasn’t been around to see me grow and changing
It kinda broke my heart
When I look back at the start
Man I turned the things to light when everything turned to dark
So now they call me Marc,
hope they remember my name
Cuz once I’m up in the game
It’s never gonna be the same
So I sit back and kinda thank my mom for what she did
Cuz I got the lyrics of an adult but I’m still just a kid
Poet: Marc
Facility: Minard E. Hulse Juvenile Detention Center, Vernon Hills, IL


“Nothing’s Respite”
From a Land That Never Was
I wish my parents could see,
The cause of all these changes in me
Is the ignition point of my family tree.
I wish my sisters could know,
The reason why my reaction is slow
Is because I grew on my very own bough.
I wish my family could see,
That all these changes weren’t meant for me,
And just like the child I intended to be,
I’m chained to the abyss, and I’m not sure,
About whether or not I even want to be free.
Because I know no matter how much I try to flee,
All these chains and shackles keep restraining me.
For I’m not the silver seraph, I’m not the one with the key.
My wings rusted away so many years ago,
Silver doesn’t fare well with my wet tears’ flow,
But the winds of change decided with fate, so
I’m so sorry I’m gone, I’m so sorry I’m dead.
I tried to go places no one’s dared to tread.
I went to purgatory to fix myself, but I fell
All the way down to the last pit of hell.
As I was sitting waist deep in ice-cold fire,
My rage flowed into this bright red pyre,
And tossed my soul away like a worn-out tire.
So now that I’m a demon with horns and all,
I can hear that dark wolf resound its call.
An angel flew down and gave me some mercy,
But all I did in return, was take its glowing soul,


My rage was burning inside, like an ember sea.
My heart turned cold as such is the toll,
For drinking innocence like emerald tea.
But as it beat its lust, it threw some pity,
And sent me a girl who wasn’t used to hell city.
I couldn’t take her warmth for my own love’s forlorn,
Dear God save me, I’m a glitch, I wasn’t meant to be born.
My very mind, my soul, even my body is torn.
I can’t go back to the light, happiness is just too foreign.

Oh no, I’ve left them all on their own, all scrying*,
Because they see what I am, all those who are crying,
My leather wings let loose, in my moments of dying.
Heaven’s wrath returned, Hell’s fury incurred,
I betrayed them both: the light and the dark.
As I apologize to her, my words are all slurred,
I’m taken by the beauty of her angelic wings.
They’re beautiful and bright, and colorful like a bird.
She changed my un-life, made me a phantom,
She took off my mask, in return for one,
She hid me away, off into the opera,
Now I write from another prison, for my precious Christine.

Poet: Conan
Facility: Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center, Clearwater, FL

*The word scrying is the present participle of ‘scry,” which means to foretell the future using a crystal ball or
other reflective object or surface.


country black white I am both I am to be judged by both cultures why do I speak proper. college. shackles.SECOND PLACE Black White I am Both black white I am both oppressed but free bound to be an outcast black white I am both look into the mirror was ’up my nigga I’m proud of you am I wrong for loving myself black white I am both I speak two languages both English but both different slang. Levi. Trus but I enjoy books. bullets the streets business. caucasian. math black white I am both I cry as you do I bleed as you do I fight as you do I run as you do 14 . Lacoste. why do I live life in a beat look into the mirror I bet you see color but black white I am both ink on my skin fashion designers matter Polo. poetry. absorbing knowledge. hip-hop.

Jr. School. MD 15 . Hickey. Parkville.I’m used to the names it’s sad that they come from both sides I’m not white enough not black enough but black white I am both Poet: Marcus Facility: Charles H.

IL 16 . Jefferson Alternative H. Chicago.. Tonight they lay their lives to rest for these streets are our kingdom 59th street Poet: Angel Facility: Nancy B.S.SECOND PLACE The Meek and Humble Shall Inherit This Earth In night-filled alleys Where rats scurry over broken glass You find her The queen Strung out naked blanketed only by stars raped by life scrubbed clean till bones show her limp body lies mother earth comforts her whispering sweet nothings that sound like something when you want them to need them to police drive upon her with midnight stares they look at her that prevalent object just sprawling there knights in shadows match their stare young men rejected citizenship elsewhere stand in her defense with 45s knives bottles bricks & souls as shields.

While the wind blows leaves That is beautiful to see. Poet: Nathan Facility: Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Home School. Showing old wheat fields Hunched over from the breeze. Make a symphony For the city. The crunch of gravel As cars travel. Chesterfield. Then night comes With brilliant stars Piercing windows From afar. VA 17 . The warm summer rain Washes you away. Constellations from the Milky Way Leave when it’s time For a new day.THIRD PLACE A Place Called Home The fog descends upon us Wrapping us in a quilt Of white felt.

” 18 .THIRD PLACE As the Grass Grows As the grass grows… a clock ticks The earth spins A little boy becomes a man God holds the world in His hand As the grass grows… Gunshots in the midst of a city A little boy sucking at his mother’s breast grows to bust Simi’s Bang Bang! As the grass grows… A young girl becomes a victim of rape and filled with hate so deep She thinks chuck this purse grab a skirt and hit the streets For somethin’ to eat Sellin’ her body for a meal or a couple of bills As the grass grows… A mother on welfare with several kids strung out on heroin Applies for a job that she’ll never get As the grass grows… A bomb explodes and new orphans feel an orphanage home As the grass grows… Another baby aborted As the grass grows… A loving father loses his kids in a divorce A 90-year-old woman loses the love of her life in the middle of the night A child starves in a country hungry for life It can only be so long until that AIDS-infected teen spreads her disease out of a love she thought was deep But he left her on her knees for another chick then another as the cycle repeats in the mirror over and over again “I’m not scared” as he puts the rope around his head Stepping off the chair with a note that reads “I love Jimmy and if being gay is wrong in life then I want to be dead.

We fall deeper in sin than we began and become victims of our own demise. OR 19 . As the grass grows… Poet: Stephen Facility: Hope Partnership at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility. Under your eyes and beneath your feet the grass continues growing… And disaster continues to peak. You never bend down and say this strand of grass Was an airplane crash Or this football field is a graveyard But as time continues our planet accepts disaster. So be aware as we laugh and smile pretending life is chocolate and flowers. Woodburn.As the grass grows… You never see growing grass as a ticking time bomb.

Albany. OR 20 .THIRD PLACE Tell Me About Me Tell me why I feel abandoned When I abandoned you Tell me how I’m honest When I don’t know the truth Tell me why I sit in darkness When I could be in the light Tell me how I’m such a fighter When I don’t know how to fight Tell me why I write so much When I have nothing to say Tell me how I’m always fine When nothing is okay Tell me why I want to walk When I have nowhere to go Tell me how I am so high When I feel so very low Tell me why I run away When I have nothing to run from Tell me how I’m still alive When I make myself so numb You can’t tell me can you No one knows me like I do Tell me how that can be true When I don’t know as well as you Poet: Angie Facility: Three Lakes High School.

Johns Juvenile Correctional Facility. I sit in my cell and pray to God that I ignore negativity so I won’t catch time. St. As day by day goes by I hear and see the same people eating nasty food and going to school all year round. I wish I could have changed my mind. I wish I could go back in time to realign my mind. I think about the situation I put my parents through and all the money they spent when they could have spent the money on the loans they signed.THIRD PLACE Sun Up to Sun Down From sun up to sun down I think about how I’m doing 8 to 9. I sit in my cell and think of that one girl. I sit in my cell and think about how my life would be like if I haven’t committed a crime. Poet: Timmy Facility: St. Augustine. the one that hugged and kissed me all the time. So now you see. I’m doing 8 to 9. FL 21 .

Achieve her goals Grow strong and move forward Earn back some Respect and Quit the dope be Able to look myself in the eyes Do something and fail. fingers stained with nicotine I’m the girl whose life feels like a dream I’m the girl singing for spare change I’m the girl who has no shoes on my feet But I’m Also A girl who wants to…. but be able to say that I Tried 22 .THIRD PLACE Split Personality I’m the girl dazed and confused I’m the girl wearing rotten shoes I’m the work who’s Always on the news I’m the girl that smells like booze I’m the girl Askin' for a Dollar or two I’m the girl that’s lying to you I’m the girl skipping to her own tune I’m the girl who loves to make a Mess I’m the girl with Tracks on her neck I’m the girl who steals with no regret I’m the girl everyone says doesn’t care I’m the girl with bugs in her hair I’m the girl who sleeps under the bridge I’m the girl using Dirty rigs I’m the girl who screws fellows for a fix I’m the girl deep down in the Mix I’m the girl who needs to shower I’m the girl dopesick in the early hours I’m the girl flying a sign on the corner I’m the girl in line at the soup kitchen I’m the girl everyone thinks is a bitch I’m the girl domestically beaten I’m the girl without feelings I’m the girl daddy gave up on I’m the girl whose life’s like a rerun I’m the girl stuck in this place I’m the girl people say can’t change I’m the girl waiting for the next train I’m the girl.

OR 23 . Albany. end the destructive cycle I’ve made Treat myself with dignity and be the girl Everyone knows I was born to be.Learn from my mistakes get educated. use my Brain Quit hurting my body and get healthy Again Overcome the streets. Poet: Angel Facility: Three Lakes High School. And one day own a home break these chains off and make my life my own feel secure And safe in my skin once more wants to stop causing her loved ones harm wake up and not wish I was dead one day work through and recover from the strife and pain believe in myself.

POPULAR VOTE Lost How do I do it? Ask me twice more There ain’t nothing to it Passin’ out on the floor I see spots in my eyes I’m still doing more Ima die in the sky The drugs plug my eyes From the tears of my actions All the stuff I’ve done Proves a soul is what I’m lacking I’ve been going hard all my life There ain’t no going back They say I have to change And I’ll say I’m scared of that What’s life for. Nampa. and freedom My words won’t even register to some Because my life has been a kind of 1 So don’t worry about me I’m trying to see that my future’s full of misery But the scary thing is it ain’t a thing to me That’s why I sold my soul So these things don’t bother me Poet: Hunter Facility: Juniper Hills High School. family. ID 24 . what’s the point? I can’t even smile ’less I’m rolling up a joint My girl says the same That my soul’s to blame What kind of person does the things I do? I can say I don’t have a clue I’ve lost it all from money.

Middletown. Poet: Maria Facility: Silver Lake Treatment Center. And I believe One day This world May overcome. But in the end.CEEAS CHOICE Overcome I believe That a fallen angel Can be forgiven. That the pain in the world Can be healed. It’ll all be worth the while. Who’s to say That a broken heart Can’t be stitched? And that love Won’t one day be more common than hate? Be strong. DE 25 . So once again: Overcome. Tears may fall Along this journey.


My Life
I’ve done wrong I must pay
living in my cell
not knowing if it’s night or day
I’ve lost everything that has
ever meant N-E thing to me
I’ve hit the bottom and did
not want to live you see
I’ve lived a life of drugs
and so much pain
the only way I didn’t hurt
was by putting dope
in my veins
then one day I got caught
and put in jail
crying and screaming as if I
was in hell
I had nowhere to go
and nowhere to turn
So then I picked up the Bible
and my heart began to burn
is this what I’ve been missing
all my life
caught up in drugs and living
on a knife
I’ve awakened now there is
so much to see
by reading the Word of God
I can better understand me
thank you Lord for calling on
you have opened my mind and
set me free.
Poet: B. W.
Facility: Arkansas Consolidated High School, Alexander, AR


Change Up Part III
I’m done doing things wrong.
I need to do what’s right.
I’m waiting for that single day,
When I see the one light.
When I see that one light,
I’m going to enter that range.
And maybe if I enter
My whole life is going to change.
I promise I’m not lying.
I swear I’m telling the truth.
And I hope when this happens,
My whole life is going to be trouble proof.
Poet: Claude
Facility: Cleveland White School, Wilmington, DE


Conversations with Myself
I have blood in my eyes
Ice in my veins
Hate in my heart
No love on my mind
(A gun is not a math problem I don’t even think)
When I was twelve years old
I wanted to kill myself
Was I depressed?
There was stress
I was never blessed
Love was never there
Hate was always home
Fear of God
Not there
But so be it
(Looking for that feeling)
Never had faith
But I had courage
Started at the end
Because there was no beginning
(Secrets are hidden within clouds of darkness)
Always had nightmares
But now I have dreams
Started poor
But ending rich
Poet: Marco
Facility: Ferris School for Boys, Wilmington, DE


Someone to Love Me All I want is someone to relate to Someone to understand my pain All I want is someone to give me words of encouragement instead of saying I’m making excuses. DE 30 . Wilmington. Someone to not leave me in the blind All I want is someone to comfort me when times get hard Believe in me Trust in me Someone to not judge me All I want is someone to not give up on me when I make mistakes Someone to see the internal and not just external Someone to show me loyalty time and time again. Someone to be my friend Someone to be there to the very end All I want is someone to love me Poet: Kareem Facility: New Castle County Detention Center. Someone to accept me for who I was created to be.

Milford. DE 31 .What Does it Mean? We live. We sing. We laugh. But that can’t be all life has for me Is there more Or is there less? This thing called life Have I lived it to the fullest? But as I go on thinking My question is about one thing This thing called life What does it mean? Poet: Jamal Facility: Stevenson House Detention Center. We love. But I have only one question What does it mean? The lives we live are all different but the same They all start and end in the very same way Everything happens for a reason Or so it may seem But I have only one question What does it mean? I have love for her and she loves me.

FLORIDA CRYING OUT I cry when I’m in pain. You set me up again. The rain may never stop – My circle is small. I won’t answer to your call. No love in my heart. Poet: Dimitri Facility: Avon Park Youth Academy. I cry. My blood becomes worn and thin – I cry. Life won’t ever be the same. Avon Park. FL 32 . My life is full with shame.

Poet: Cody Facility: Cypress Creek Academy.In Me In me Where the love lies Deep inside There is turmoil and unrest For the one I desire Only seems to hide So I take down the walls And peek out from behind the blinds There are so many choices I don’t know which one is mine Unsure and shy I wonder why I bother to even try Though now I’ve seen outside And feel it is no longer worth it To stay behind the wall and hide So I venture out to see what life Has in store this time. Lecanto. FL 33 .

Poet: Destinee Facility: Cypress School at Okeechobee Girls Academy. FL 34 . now I’m even with the rest. Okeechobee.Teardrops They can’t seem to stop Even with the thought Again and again they fall Roaring against my walls Dropping down my cheeks Restless while I weep Overwhelming with the pain People watch in vain So I take a deep breath.

that’s full of shame Falling victim to the game A citizen to the streets Poet: Hines Facility: Hastings Comprehensive Mental Health Treatment Facility. Hasting.My Life My life is full of bullets Something like a bulletproof vest No place for rookies Just pain-filled eyes Of a young soldier No army No base Just a one-man band Ready to play for anyone that stands against me Against all odds I’m still favored to win No place like earth where you’re favored to sin Mama seen where I was headed Graves. FL 35 . Dark Places.

I have dreams. Poet: Ikeim Facility: Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility. famous. FL 36 . I have dreams I battle my mind and reality every day because I have dreams. or just living long enough to make it out the hood I have dreams of just being confident with who I am And the skin I’m in But I have dreams.The Fight Between Dreams and Reality I have big dreams and simple dreams But the point is I have dreams I have dreams of being successful. I have dreams So I will strive like there is no tomorrow to make my dreams a reality I will be the best I can be like Martin Luther King because I have dreams. I have dreams The reality of my dreams is that they have been crushed like a car in a car crusher My dreams have been submerged in a layer of hate and depressing thoughts My dreams are like a dark tunnel without a light at the end In my home. I have dreams I cling to hope like a newborn baby does to its mother Because hope keeps me alive And hope gives me dreams I will not become another product of my environment Because I have dreams. dreams are the farthest things from your mind when you are trying to survive The reality of it is I have dreams. Ocala.

Never judge a book by its cover. You thought I was a bad person because of the scars on my arms. You never opened my book and took the time to read me. You thought I had an attitude because when you looked into my eyes I always seemed to look angry. Johns Juvenile Correctional Facility. You were always so quick to judge me. FL 37 . St. Never once have you asked me because if you did I would have told you it was a sad look of being lonely.Never Judge a Book by Its Cover You never opened my book and took the time to read me. You never opened my book and took the time to read me. You saw the scars on my arms and the bruises under my eyes and assumed I was a troublemaker. You were always so quick to judge me. Poet: Demar Facility: St. You never opened my book and took the time to read me. Augustine. Never once have you asked me because if you did I would have told you I am a victim of abuse. Never judge a book by its cover. You looked at my cover and made a summary of what you thought of me. and the look in my eyes. the bruises on my face. Never judge a book by its cover. Never judge a book by its cover. Never once have you asked me because if you did I would have told you I have no place to stay. You saw me on the streets after 11 o’clock and assumed I was a hoodlum. You were always so quick to judge me. You were always so quick to judge me. I’m just a struggling soul trying to survive in this life.

Poet: Christian Facility: Juniper Hills High School. I am MIA. And leave me exhausted with tease. These days leave me shaking. You can hear birds elegantly chirping. Luscious green grass flowing over hills. Tall thick forest of trees. Lewiston. Clear blue skies that go on for miles.IDAHO Beautiful Day Cool breeze on a sunny day. And roosters singing As the morning sun peaks. I get the urge to run and cheer. These days give me the chills. I am nowhere to be found. Not with fear. Water flowing through creeks. but with a smile from ear to ear. Days like this are truly breathtaking. ID 38 . These are the days that always make me smile.

You so caught up you home boys don’t love you. Start being a man get out the barrio fool. Have you ever looked a rival in the eyes while he dies? Have you heard the endless screams or seen the tears that Neva dry. Getting ready to take a life so your homies show you love. Poet: Gabriel Facility: Juniper Hills High School. Your body full of hate so you act with aggression. ID 39 .Barrio Life You on your first mission you all hyped up. Nampa. Don’t you care about the family that lost their prized possession? Do you even take a chance to really look around? And see whose son or daughter you putting in the ground.

I got myself to blame I want to find answers. I want to be labeled sane But as long as the drug remains. ID 40 . I’ll always be the same Poet: Zack Facility: Juniper Hills High School. I’m always feeling pain I’m always feeling needles. It’s fucking with my brain It’s got me questioning everything. Nampa. Got me feeling strange It’s fucking with my memory.Meth This meth in my system. It’s got me going insane I’m always feeling hate.

the car speeds off and I go down. My son is looking up at me a smile on his face and shine in his eyes. Within a blink of an eye gunshots go off I take 2 in the chest. Now I’m lying on the concrete blood pooling up beside me I’m feeling numb but still it hurts to breathe. Tonight I’m slipping into death’s grip as each second passes by. I thanked god I was still alive I didn’t think I’d survive. the party stops. My heart melts within me a smile creeps upon my face.A Burning Memory It’s midnight but the block is full of life there’s a wild party inside this house. A car creeps up the block but I don’t think much of it. raise him right. Poet: Armondo Facility: Juniper Hills High School. My vision goes blurry how did my life get to this? Tonight I’m not going home to see my son asleep and give him a kiss goodnight. I’m starting to get teary-eyed I give my son a big hug then we chill together and watch cartoons. ID 41 . I want to always be there for my son. Flowers and balloons fill the room. I’m outside standing on the sidewalk just relaxing in the darkness of this night. But what is carved into my brain is when I woke up laying in a hospital. and watch him grow So I kiss my old ways goodbye and let it go. Paramedics show up don’t remember much after that. Glass shatters. Nampa. My vision’s going white but I’m telling myself I got to fight to stay alive keep my eyes open and steadily breathe.

ID 42 .Green Grass Threat to society Menace in home Surrounded by inmates Feel so alone Trapped in a cell Past is left to dwell Future seems bright Through the window to the right Awkward plastic mattress Resting on a comforting slab of concrete Contradicting that there is no sleep Toss and turn in the middle of the night Vivid Dream of a Crow’s flight Family is nowhere to be found Freedom is all around Awake to see bright lights Inhale prosthetic air False hope Sense of security In here Poet: Alexander Facility: Juniper Hills High School. Nampa.

Nampa.When I Got Beat When I got beat. ID 43 . I would sit there and cry Never knew when wondered why Now that I’m older I remember the pain It makes me just a little insane I just said one thing today I won’t be like him in any way Poet: Jerry Facility: Juniper Hills High School.

We will never forget the day That is slowly floating away. Saint Anthony. ID 44 .Enough Left to Live As I live in this life Diving down into fluorescent waters Picking up a million strifes And observing our adolescent peers With years that are shortly lived. So when we arise Back out of those clear waters With a splash within us that thrives. And now that our spirits are high We have enough energy to fly. And the extraordinary fun That we extract from our crimson sun. So sifting through my life Has left me to sit and die But since I have only begun I have just lost the tip of my thumb Poet: Tristyn Facility: Juniper Hills High School.

You will still have part of my soul to help you feel warm. I see your beauty and ultimate grace. unless it’s in a hearse. Poet: Chance Facility: Providence Jr. But only because I know that I made a formidable mistake. I think of two doves As they disappear together into the sun above. And even then. I quiver inside . The way your lips press gently against mine Makes me feel as if the world has stopped. Together we stay for better or worse. When I think of our love. as well as time. . . I will not leave your side. I feel our souls intertwine Like a fence and a spiderweb vine. When I feel your touch. IN 45 . Pendleton. High School. not there in physical form. When I look in your eyes. Because I know you will always be mine.INDIANA Byronic Love 
 When I see the smile bestow before your face.-Sr. It makes my heart fill with both love and hate.

What I used to have wasn’t fame. I also have forgot about my special lover. Hoping I would never come back to this place. Sitting here trying to stay cool. I just need to use my brain and try to maintain. Wrapping my family and school around me. I'm getting tired of my dreadful tears. I’m trying to stay out of trouble. we all have to show loyalty. striding for my goals At my own pace. So treat me differently. Logansport. Poet: Ken Facility: Vantage Pointe Learning Center. Thinking. I've been locked up for a couple of years. While they yell at me and ask me if I understood. Now. Almost done dropping my tears. I begin to cry. I begin to sigh. But people keep on bugging me and calling me a fool. am I really going insane. Trying to medicate my pain. Like a shoelace. Trying so hard just to be good. I have my own priorities. As the days and nights pass by. Waiting for that day to come near.Thinking to Myself As I sit here bowing my head. Being unstable. On my mind is my family. People rapping and giving me labels. IN 46 . As that day comes here. But people keep on making me stumble. Now. brother and mother. I should be out there instead. I’m dedicating my mind by doing my time. Thinking to myself.

Charles. St. Charles County Juvenile Justice Center. MO 47 . Mess up and drop At first I fail Then I get on track One mistake Makes a huge crack My life is a mess I want to go home I had things going good But now I’m all alone How long will I stay It’s way too cold I feel like a criminal This lifestyle is getting old Poet: Lukas Facility: St.MISSOURI Story of My Life It seems my whole life I work to the top Then I slip.

48 . lace-free. They are nicknamed after former NY governor George Pataki. jail sneakers. who was in office when the DOC started handing them out consistently to inmates.NEW YORK Untitled My mom saw this comin She said she had a vision I probably wouldn’t be here If I took the time to listen People make mistakes I made a bad decision I’m bout to lose 3 years of life In this prison They threw me in a cage And locked the door behind me 4 lower south 10 cell Is where you’ll find me Conspiracy to murder My friend caught a homi My prints was on the gun Now the courts tryna fry me They threw me in a box And they won’t let me out 25k Mom can’t bail me out All white drawers All white walls 74 cent For a 6 minute call Brown uniform Strapped up Patakis* Always on point In case somebody try to attack me * Patakis are NYC's government-issue.

NY 49 .Rock-hard bed My body always hurtin Middle of the winter And my heater aint workin Stuck it up Spent 4 days in intake I don’t even stress that That’s the life of an inmate Poet: Tykeem Facility: East River Academy. East Elmhurst.

Dear Music Life can turn your whole world upside down. Give it every bit of me until I can no longer speak. I stand here Microphone in front of me The beat going as loud as ever can be HERE! Here and only here! I feel safe This rite here The pen to the paper It’s fun to me like kids playing or eating ice cream Like a bottle lost at sea I have a message in me Dying to get out. NO! Not me I stay It does not matter what I wear Naked or not. Things changed A lot of people come and go But not me. Leaving you lost Mind drifting away Like a bottle at sea I have a message in me That no one can read Where I feel home. So when I get home I put the beat on the microphone In front of me and scream and shout. I can’t … no longer…speak 50 .

NY 51 .For the message That was once in me Is now out! Poet: Allan Facility: Passages Academy. New York City.

“Tonight is going to be the night. I would watch dope fiends on the corner pleading for money and drugs. if it’s good it may come true.” Old people would shout. When I was home my dog would giggle and cuddle with me. scream.2 bouncing up and down a crackle to the ground up in the air. In my neighborhood the moon whispered. I see children jumping 1. In the middle of the night my bed would question me why I’m not sleeping. Poet: Doris Facility: Taberg Residential Center for Girls. I hear guns hollering all night. The stars would catch a wish. and waddle all day long. Taberg. NY 52 .In My Neighborhood In my neighborhood there are cars that jump to the beat of the music. Kids clapping hands and smiling and having fun. My grandmother barked goodnight.

Light can bestow upon it power. My heart has hidden its many treasures. And rip apart the soul. All the pleasures of this world will lead to sorrow. That’s charms were shattered if revealed. And my lips have kept them sealed. It can either wilt or bloom.OKLAHOMA My Treasures The tiring nights and the harsh tomorrows. hopes and pleasures. All my thoughts. Tecumseh. I hope to one day be free of this unrest. ideas. Those lonely nights can make you fear. And the love that assumes complete control. OK 53 . Your life is a flower. Your gaze makes me feel as if unblest. The drawn-out days with skies unclear. Poet: Charlie Facility: Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center. Or upon it darkness can loom.

Make you think about cutting your wrists. a disease. you don’t want people to see the pain in your eyes. The second is the ability to keep your head up.OREGON It Doesn’t Hurt When people tell you. It doesn’t hurt. you feel like nobody will understand or listen to you. you are emotionless. They say it doesn’t hurt. The first thing to go are your feelings. you’re treated like an animal. The fourth and last one is being able to believe that you are human. Poet: Jonathon Facility: MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility. You start to go numb. that it won’t cause you any pain. The third is being able to speak. what you believe is wrong. that’s what they say. Let’s hope death is the same way. It won’t make you think of death. Woodburn. OR 54 . That you are never going to succeed and make it in life.

Poet: Sawyer Facility: Corsicana Residential Treatment Center.TEXAS 9/11 Pride used to be in our steps Pride was in our minds and in our hearts. In this world there is a trace of happiness. We look above and ask why all the innocent people have to die. now we cry out loud for help. TX 55 . We ask if freedom is just a lie If we continue to fight The sun will rise but the nights will fade away. Corsicana. If we accept that we are just the same Put away the foolishness and put away all the shame. If we let this sink us. what will everybody think of us? Our country once so proud.

I will be able to soon feed. arguments. I wish I could buy the key. TX 56 . big-hearted. Going home is my ultimate wish With a strong-minded. NEVER. fights. And free is what I should be. But because the gates are like a lock. Drama period but they just won’t stay on the prize. Edinburg.Thoughts of a Troubled Juvenile Every morning I open my eyes I try to look past negativity. Watts Facility: Evins Regional Juvenile Corrections. Will I ever leave remains the same. But this time I just cannot. freedom is the key. In my case. There is no such thing as a bad seed. but my hunger for being free. super-supportive mom For hugs and a kiss. Love and affection is what most of us need. MDT and making stages seem like forever and a CAT I means no state. Poet: D. The same question I ask myself.

TX 57 . Use your helmet or lose your sight.Welding Poem As the arc bursts from my machine. Miller Facility: Gainesville State School. I am proud to say that’s my plate. I’m glad I took this vocation. Poet: R. The pull of my trigger casts a ghastly beam A weld so strong you cannot break. Gainesville. You may not understand the complication. But man. From the glow of my cherry that is so bright.

Mom. Everybody’s starting to go crazy. Mom. Mom. But I didn’t drink at all. Mom. But she just wouldn’t listen. Poet: Otis Facility: Giddings State School. It’s like a bad dream. Mom. In a bathroom stall. I couldn’t take it anymore. TX 58 . If she could please take me home. I asked my friend. But she ignored me and drove herself. Mom. I promise I tried to talk her out of it. In that condition. She told me to hold on. Giddings.Mad Mothers & Drunk Driving I went to a club. I’m all by myself. Mom. And let her talk on the phone. I even told her she probably wouldn’t make it home. Mom. I tried to change her mind. Now that’s she’s crashed. Mom. So I started to scream. Mom. One of my friends was drinking too much.

Mart. I’m still here. Hatred silently screamed. Dreams Of returning home.Lost Lost in the crowd. The sound of your tears. Nights hard and cold. I feel the judgment in my bones. TX 59 . Haunt me like hallow fears. Poet: Heath Facility: McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility. Days long. I dream this is a dream then I wake.

loves and pains in my life. My fists throb and my lips bleed as I bite down hard. I sketch. . Perfectly imperfect. methods used to express the “Tempest” inside of me. Balance. TX 60 . thoughts. proportion. as I express my choices. mold. I lay out the soft and rough feelings. Emotions are everywhere.Beautiful Disaster My tear ducts fill and drip. the texture. Poet: Tempest Facility: Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correction Center. not. as well as my art. All while continuing to express art in my life until the very end. My heart aches and I ease back into my shell. it’s just the kind it should be. My artwork never ceases. create and blend. Many shades. God only knows what will be revealed with my wild card Unless I take the hues of my emotions and transcend them onto paper. . mediums. my pupils swell. Whether it’s beautiful and clear or dark and deep or like a large frightening knife. measurements and symmetry are things you’re likely to find . Brownwood.

The Uintas weren’t born to me. This is my home. how the mountains peak. I was born to them. Salt Lake City. This place is not yet destroyed by the works of the government.UTAH Uintas I am this place. this is who I am. It is all I have ever known. this is my life. This place completes me. it gives me meaning. the reservation wakes to the beautiful birds singing. Oh. Poet: Matt Facility: Granite Youth Educational Support School Program. The beauty still stands from 300 years ago. UT 61 .


The butchering of a Bowhead whale brings Great smiles and fills freezers for the season We truly believe the whales give themselves up Back then and to this day still. You have to hit rewind. Poet: Price Facility: District.ALASKA Barrow Barrow may be the top of the world. Barrow may be the top of the world. You have to hit rewind. Fairbanks. Although we continue to climb Sometimes in order to move forward. Although we continue to climb Sometimes in order to move forward. AK 63 . We are barrow whalers The sea is our whole life We can shine all together With the next generation as our light. Respect mother nature by eating what you kill.

CA 64 . La Honda.CALIFORNIA TROUBLES Locked up in a cage wasting all ma days In here for getting money all the wrong ways Auntie told me change ma life no need to Misbehave My dad say all these wrong doings gon’ lead To an early grave I told him that I doubt it but it has been on Ma mind If death was a person would it arrive on time Or would it be late? I’m trying ta change ma life so I pray to God That for it wait Some people can’t see when love it’s in they Face I was too stubborn to look and when I did It flew away Now for me the sun don’t shine the sky is Always gray. Poet: Jamil Facility: Log Cabin Ranch School.

it happens way too fast Way too quickly life is gone and your present becomes the past Living is easy with eyes closed is what the Beatles sang Those words stuck as truth & forever in my ears they rang Optimism is more a talent than it is a trait Just how it is harder to love than it is to hate If only there was a handbook on living in the dark Then life’s lows wouldn’t be leaving such a mark Tears of pain would be uncommon & tears of joy would be consistent People would open to real love & stop being so resistant Peace wouldn’t be just in books but instead a way of life No longer would we suffer such pain and horrid strifeBut this is just a dream the mist had once consumed I guess I held on tight before life went on to resume 65 .Dreams in the Mist Life was simpler as a young childish fool Life only consisted of what was lame or what was cool Love was even simpler it was holding my girlfriend’s hand No worrying about being ignored like a simple grain of sand Neither did I worry that the girl I loved loved another man Depression was just a word not much of a feeling And doing drugs wasn’t my way of healing I hadn’t begun to cope by smoking up a storm Neither had drinking away my life become my conscious norm Smiles were so common they were plastered to my face But now it seems that was another time and place Once you open the doors life rushes in so quick With fury it knocks you down and makes you feel so sick Dreams become so distant a vague figure in the mist Flaws become so clear you go and add one to the list No longer do you wonder what is wrong but what is right Then you understand when they say life is black and white Eyes are pried open to so much negativity.

I hope my dream is clear in your eyes like it was in mine Because once you read this I would have forgotten every line Poet: Angel Facility: Camp David Gonzales. Calabasa. CA 66 .

where it rotted and died? Poet: Daniel Facility: Hartman School Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall. I’m still trying to trick my mind Who can I speak to. would I even recognize a flower? I’m not alone because all my friends Are filling up the empty cells in every pen Is this what my life is meant to be? Is this society’s solution for peace in the streets? The system penalizes the action Did they forget the humanity? The clock tick tocks to my sentence In prison now since adolescence This pain bottled up inside knocks on my chest Somebody get me a vest Because my mom’s tears hit me like bullets with no rest They say it’s the evil that I should be scared of in here But it’s me who I really fear Where’s the American dream when it dropped from the vine? Did you follow it too. who can I trust When this pain is turning my heart to dust? Can I continue walking with my feet on ice? Can I continue walking with the hope of a brighter day? How can I understand this time when everything is sour? It’s been so long since my feet have walked on grass I wonder. CA 67 . Santa Cruz.American Dream What is love When all I have ever known is hate? Should I pray or is it too late? Maybe some faith But how? When everything is full of anger Full of rage.

or much rather articulate the marvels of this Lovely form of Art much known As Lyricism cause my finesse is intricate and convoluted…. And having minds that are impervious I hope you learned from this. it’s my mission to Rip My Heart Out And Make It Thump out a prose… I Try to exhibit The Wonders of Witty Verbiage. Innovative.… The only rhythm suitable for such an influence is the uproar it elicits when it’s Illustrated.… I’m commonly known to most as Rose The Unruly Rogue. creatively fabricated for the Brilliant facetious crowd of pilgrims I can relate with. and when we grasp The Potency Of Versatility And the Ability To Influence. painting vivid pictures while orating seductive lectures Come venture with me… And I can demonstrate. Poet: Damaris Facility: Lookout Mountain Academy. Though then again I’m fairly lucid to those who’ve acquired Unobstructed Rationalities’ reality no longer fondles us… obscurity is our Formality. Golden. CO 68 .COLORADO Untitled I am envisioning… a mellow musical Sophisticated elegance relevant to bring upon a complicated eloquence persuasive and florid Not to be contradicted.

A thought that came out of me. Poet: Shaquille Facility: Connecticut Juvenile Training School . The one who people have never seen what I've been through. A feeling you hold deep down inside. Then think it's a normal way to survive.CONNECTICUT Untitled Anger is a Feeling. But deep down inside it was a thought. People cut their self and start bleeding. Cady School. And I say make the right choices. But who am I? I am the one who has always spoke the truth. But some people ask me why.Walter G. CT 69 . Then one day you will be someone wise. Wise enough to not cry and then ask for help. And let it be known that one day. I think otherwise. You might be the one to harm yourself as a pleasure. Middletown. This may sound like someone's misery. So take my advice as a treasure. Wise enough to not harm yourself.

Lost in D. Poet: Moesha Facility: FAIR Girls.C. Where can I go? Lost in D. DC 70 . But you’ll never know.DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Lost in D.C. Maybe you should know. Washington. My future is in front of me. But I can’t let them go. I made mistakes.C.

Moon One time I was tired of being Young. But I was dying The children gathered around saying Don’t die Let’s go out and have a good day Look the moon is forgiving us with another sun But I was sweating and said it is time That log has hollowed itself out and waits for me My old spirit already has its Shoes on Then I crawled into the log With the moon Just beginning To forgive me. so I wished myself into an Old man. Poet: Reshawn Facility: Maya Angelou Academy. Washington. DC 71 .

Washington.Life Goes By Time is flyin As my life goes by I look out my window But all I see is barbwire Another day locked up Thinkin and missin You even more Sittin in my cell As da CO Knocks on my door It’s time 2 come out I wipe da Tears from my face Thinkin bout da long nite I just had Up contemplatin all nite Fightin not 2 go 2 sleep Keep picturing da Next life Poet: Emilio Facility: Maya Angelou Academy. DC 72 .

I hope this would all just go away. I hope that one day I will not have to think about nothing and just be happy. I hope that one day my kids will not make mistakes like I did. IL 73 . I hope one day I’m someone in life. Charles. I hope I am not judged by my looks and my actions. Poet: Uriel Facility: Kane Juvenile Justice Center. I hope problems will fade away and not get bigger. I hope today goes by fast. I hope the future forgets my past. I hope one day I am successful. I hope the past does not ruin my future. I hope one day I get out. St.ILLINOIS I Hope I hope in the future I have a better life. I hope I will be reunited with my family one day.

oh my brother my brother… Now my life is like a mission that seems impossible Every day I can feel my brother in my presence watching me My life is like a word that has many meanings to it And you can never choose the right word. So I stayed up most of that night waiting on that uninvited moment. Now even when I watch the news and it’s about a shooting I Think of my brother. Oh my brother. What my brother had got he did not deserve But you know what people say. He was one of the brothers that I could never fight. God works in mysterious ways Even though we had different mothers we still had the same love for one another. My brother was my role model. He treated me like a god but I know there’s only one God. by a hot fiery bullet as hot as the flaming pits of hell Now my life is incomplete like a missing piece of a puzzle Now every night I wish I was in the fiery pits of hell All I can think about now is my brother. and that made me feel even worse. my brother was not old. I watched my dad jump up and grab his shoes I asked him what was wrong. Later that night my dad received a phone call. I and my brother were always together like a bird and its feathers. he always gave me good advice that could save my life He would tell me the things that were wrong and he would tell me the things that were right. I and my brother needed each other like cars need gas When I found out that my brother died I couldn’t cry But I wonder why. my brother… My brother had been shot yes shot.KANSAS My Brother… My brother was 26 years old. But on that hollow night I felt that something wasn’t right. 74 . My aunt was on the phone and I knew it had to be bad news. I try to change my selfish ways every day because they’re like a pair of shoes that don’t fit. I and my brother were like two peas in a pod. I knew something was wrong because I just didn’t feel right.

Paradise Poet: Nathan Facility: Judge Riddel Boys Ranch.I. Goddard. my brother had accomplished many things in life My life is a garbage disposal everything goes down the drain Oh my brother. my brother… My brother will be missed it seems a little too soon but now it’s too late I will always remember my brother and I pray to God that he R.I always wanted to be like my brother but I could never get it right. KS 75 .

I won’t be complete I can’t seem to function or think straight Without knowing that I have successfully conquered Your total existence I’m inspired by twisted minds To initiate wicked crimes But I appreciate the subtle signs I’ve sustained plenty of pain without any gain Just to maintain My heart bleeds for you I’d sacrifice my freedom for you Even die for you What I wouldn’t do to have you My Enemy Poet: Brandon Facility: Louisville Metro Youth Detention Center. Louisville.KENTUCKY My Enemy What I wouldn’t do to have you My desire to acquire you Is inspired by intolerable times You’re the first person I think of when I wake up And the last person I think of when I go to sleep I would do anything to have you I need you like I need to sleep or eat I’ll get no peace till we meet Until I have you. KY 76 .

Baltimore. MD *The Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center is known locally as Baby Booking.MARYLAND Baby Bookings They got me in Baby Bookings* Eating all this nasty cooking Telling me what to do Even the size of my right shoe Now I don’t even want to listen To their complaining So I hop in the shower Then they lock us in our cell for hours That’s my life in Baby Bookings Poet: Brandon Facility: Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. 77 .

Baltimore. But the inhabitants it seeks to help. If only we would realize that we’re putting this earth in such compromise. yet nobody seems to care about its art. and maybe if we could come together. Poet: Ivey Facility: William Donald Schaefer House.Our Earth The world we live in it’s falling apart. we would be able to share a healthy earth for the rest of its plain forever. “Take care of it and it will take care of you” Is what we are supposed to do. put it in as much danger as an asteroid belt. MD 78 .

MA 79 .MASSACHUSETTS Dear Mom I’m sorry for the pain I brought you And also the stress I can’t live without you Or I’ll be depressed My father ain’t here To teach me how to be a man I was 15. Boston. Poet: Derric Facility: Metro Treatment Unit. selling drugs Thinking that was my only plan I knew it was wrong But I thought it was right Now I’m in a cell thinking about my life.

Blackwood.NEW JERSEY Untitled A couple of months in the land Is like being locked in a small box With not a thing in it Not even a window or a door You think it’s all a dream Till you wake up and just see walls And a light over top of you You hear the door go beep and a buzz You hear your last name being called Get up at 5:30 in the A.M. NJ 80 . Brush your teeth You talk about your life on the outside What you used to do Now you wanna do right Want to get out and live a teenager life It ain’t going to feel right When you used to selling white So get out go to school and change your life You talk about the wrong side But deep down inside you wanna do right Poet: Anthony Facility: Camden County Youth Center.

Linden. You can Like me or Hate Me I stand Tall with my Head High in the sky Shed No tears. Does anyone care? Who Knows I keep my head up through thick and thin. The Life I chose. I see Kids dying left and right This All happens in one night I shake My head constantly. NJ 81 . Us Young kids Need to live a better life Before we do something wrong. I wish it could be better I wish I never chose this life. Just think twice.Life I Chose The Life I Chose was a mean life The Stuff I do. Poet: Andrew Facility: Union County Juvenile Detention Center. The Life I Chose Was Just wrong. I go through a lot but at the end of the day I’m just trying to win See this smile on my face It’s just a grin. Ever. I don’t cry. We Know right from wrong. The Life I chose is crazy. Don’t even think twice about it The Life I Chose. Choose The Better Life That’s all.

not sure how long I can withhold it. A brilliant plan but I’ll never be able to unfold it. till the day of its closing. Boomer. What happens when you can’t have what you live for? Do you push the limit. and for it you will tell any lie? What happens when you can’t move on. For you my arms will always be open. We all hate waking up anyway. Poet: Mark Facility: Eckerd Boomer. I have a secret. but maybe that’s because before it was frozen. NC 82 . For you I will always be hoping. For you my heart is always open.NORTH CAROLINA Untitled What happens when you don’t want to live and you don’t want to die? What happens when you only want one thing. even till the end? My heart has been cracked. What’s the point in being alive if you can’t live? Which would you choose? A coma and happy or awake and sad? I would take happiness any day. can’t say bye? What do you do when something’s in arm’s reach but you will never be able to hold it? I have the strongest force known to man but I can’t control it. then more? What happens when happiness stands beside you but will never be within? What happens when you’re so sure it’ll never be there.

“POOF!” Surviving is hard. or thrive. Concord NC 83 . Cashing meaningless checks. but it’s not smarter. You settle for less. withstand. Giving up is easy. I am an honest worker I always tell the truth. Some people are alive but they just aren’t living.Surviving Surviving Down and depressed. trying is harder. Survive is to abide. Debtors inject worry and indirect threats. That money you worked hard for goes fast. Some people are living an honest day’s pay. They have to clear their mind and know who they are inside. Survive is to be alive in the body and in the mind. You have a family you give your last. the ones that are not have to change their ways. Trying your best but diving in debt. prosper. Emotional from stress. Poet: J’uan Facility: Stonewall Jackson. What would you do if the bank comes for you? I don’t know I have no clue.

OHIO To You. Who Live in a Perfect World I assume you live in a perfect world. Using lies as disguise For your mental protection But don’t forget to mention That though I’m in need of Divine intervention My mind is not in question I assume you live in black and white 84 . …I assume you’ve never felt irrelevant And while you sit You assume I feel dead Like my head isn’t fed As if I don’t know that every last word that we heard And every last word that you said Is like lead Glowing red in the depths of my mind And my head’s never clear Since my chances were blind I assume you’ve done everything right I assume you measure success in currency… I assume you scrutinize my freedom of expression. I assume you get paid to make People like you Step over people like me In the streets Like a disease Labeling us freaks And pulling sheets Over their eyes Because what will it take For you to realize I’m hurting and I’m sick.

And my mind runs on hope And your thoughts are not worth this Kaleidoscope slope And you’re speaking in riddles On your words I will choke I assume you’re stuck living your life on a rope But you see. misery is your life in a bottle You bottle it up Drink it up Then you swallow Only a fool would live life by The books I assume that you’re living For money and looks I assume you live In a perfect world Poet: Catia Facility: Center for Adolescent Services Academy. OH 85 . New Lebanon.My life runs on love.

The day you turned ten. But was caught by my Aunt Jen. From age eight to age ten. You’d ignore the question. And I never asked. Alone in the moonlight. Thinking and wondering If you were alright. Why your life was so bad. You never went into detail. 86 . You’d beg me not to forget you.A Tribute to Katie: Our Spot You used to find happiness Every Wednesday at midnight. All we’d do was talk For an hour each week. Those were the only Times I’ve ever had fun. And just sit there and cry. And how they’d seem so bleak. We’d talk about our lives. From midnight to one. On a special Wednesday night. I tried to sneak out. She sent me back to bed. Where I laid awake all night. And I’d always ask why. Why you knew it wouldn’t last. As we spoke in the treehouse.

I climbed up and walked in. Poet: Connick Facility: Indian River School. And headed to our spot. I’ve visited our spot.I got up the next morning. OH 87 . And tell you I haven’t forgot. To pay my respects. I discovered why you hated life. And buried you in a plot. Massillon. After they moved your body. And tears began to pour. To see you hanging from a knot. Some Wednesdays since then. You were abused at home. Maybe you wouldn’t have done it If I’d been there before. Since you were two. My jaw dropped in awe. And escaped to our spot. Now I wish You’d have taken me with you.

Don’t know how. Poet: Sarah Facility: Montgomery County Juvenile Court Schools. OH 88 . Get it together. Dayton. I want to love myself.Untitled I love you.

both of you. for my first day in school. But I will think of you. It was not. DAD I know you will never think about me. Well not since three hours old. Where are my mom and dad? I move around from place to place Because I had no home. PA 89 . For half a second. You left me in the hospital So young and so alone. I love you mom or dad. When I said my first sentence. There for every fear. It was probably something like. I know we never met. Nobody to say good night. and never cared. Poet: Matt Facility: Montgomery County Youth Center. And now I’m seventeen still without a mom and dad. I wished you were there. My only wish is for you both to think of me. There for every tear. One day. Norristown. Of how you left me. mom and dad Not mom or just dad but both of you.PENNSYLVANIA MOM. Nobody to say good morning. Nobody to say good luck.

I’m still ill. like poverty. like sickness. don’t be afraid to be yourself Where have all your values gone The picture-perfect world that you tried to create Is crumbling under my feet The bubble protecting your sheltered mind is popping I see through you. what happened to your face Where are those rosy cheeks That perfect smile? Your bright white teeth.Today We Move Forward 
America. I have none left. and so does everybody else Nothing has changed We are told to speak out Become an individual But your perfect mold has not melted yet It still attacks me Still… I have to go to college Where’s my opportunity? That’s right. I’m living an average life I have everything at the tips of my fingers And want to just throw it all away And all I can complain about is what I don’t have done I don’t have real problems Like starvation. Glaring at me. mocking my existence Looking at you. 90 . Everything you strived for Is lost That diversity Those family values Just say no Spend some quality time with the “rents” Go to college Keep up those A’s Talk it out. I must dwell on the vexing details of my life to pass time Where’s my prescription to ease the painAll this corruption is a part of life.

so we don’t solve our problems But they have a limiting factor Soon they will encompass the spectrum We’ll get there anyway If solved. that’s where We all know this. if left alone We move forward… Poet: Andrew Facility: The Bridge. PA 91 . life wouldn’t be the same This chaos comforts me All these problems make up our society Where would we be without them? No where.It makes sense If it didn’t happen. Philadelphia.

Daddy. you taught me to stand strong And never be ashamed when I’m wrong While you stay up for days at a time. why can’t you see You’ve hurt me so much in the past Daddy. it’s time for me to let you go and be my own seed Poet: Haley Facility: G4S Academy for Young Women. I linger around you just trying to shine While I hold tears in my eyes You just look and pass me by I try not to cry So for now I’ll just sigh and wonder why I ask myself why you love meth more than me I want your love. TN 92 . Nashville. I guess that’s all you need Daddy. why didn’t your love last? With meth by your side.TENNESSEE Daddy Daddy.

VIRGINIA In the Mirror In the mirror a broken past In one side he cries in one side he laughs Pain is here a home for fear No place for hope no place for cheers In the mirror the devil calls In the mirror one side is last A soul is deprived and taken for granted A war of fate from not this planet Confusion occurs in a constant struggle The price to pay is more than double The mirror’s life is late at night Cutting through with roaring knives 93 .

Poet: Andrew Lord Botetourt High School. Daleville. VA 94 .His eyes gaze For some answer A heartbeat away from under pressure In the mirror Is not his own In the mirror he awaits his casket The end of times an open basket Don’t look to the mirror if you are afraid For in the mirror holds a flame A flame of courage his sin is pride In what he believes his name shall die.

Manassas. VA 95 .WHEN DARKNESS SEE THE LIGHT Only the Lord knows my thug life has brought many tears caught up in the Streets trying to make ends meet hoping and praying darkness see the light Many days just waiting to die neglected in my pain that made me ask why Nothing left to do so I just cry wondering will darkness see the light Young and wild yet letting my ego scream blind by lonely nights caught up In many fights still praying that darkness see the light my mind being abused And my heart feeling used fingers pointed being accused yet still hoping that Darkness see the light the ones you love fade away the pain in my heart want To stay soon the pain starts to decay full of love so still I pray that darkness See the light so easy to quit from suffering I’m sick watching time tick falling to My knees when that hour hits with nothing but hope that darkness see the light only He knows the time on the streets with no food to eat hoping why I’m still weak that Darkness see the light blind not by sight hoping before he take my life that darkness see the light 
 Poet: Antoine Facility: Prince William County Schools .Adult Detention Center.

Begging for life Suffering pain. They weeble. We’re not alone.WASHINGTON Bridge Souls cast away Like empty bottles. Can I start again? Ropes of repetition. This is destruction. Washington 96 . We strive through the night This is our refuge. Bind us in light. And wobble Broken tents Nearest to kin. Vacant of spirits within They don’t fall. Poet: Emily Facility: Denney Juvenile Justice Center. Everett. I’m not alright. This is our home. Tied together.

People torment me. afraid of the world. they don’t know my past. I’m locked behind a fence.WISCONSIN My Fear Fear is what makes me cry. Don’t call me names. They don’t know me. Don’t kick me out. it causes me pain. Silence is like darkness. They judge me. ostracize me. I need your help. I lost the ones I loved. everything. I’ve grown to hate everyone. I fear people. I cry because I’m afraid. Do you think that’s fair? I’m alone in this world. everyplace. I fear love. an endless void with no end. Fear haunts me. 97 . ridicule me. will I be alone? The silence closes in. will I be loved? don’t raise your hand unclose that fist don’t throw that lamp please just miss— don’t hit me with that belt for it will leave many welts. keeps me up at night.

be friends with. I am a lover. I am a fighter. People can be haters. to confide in. I fear I’ve screwed my life up so bad it can’t be fixed.No one to turn to. I fear for every living thing. to laugh with. I fear for others. what are you afraid of? Poet: Rhonda Facility: Copper Lake/Lincoln Hills High School. People can even be lovers. WI 98 . Irma. people can be fighters. Now tell me.

 Words Unlocked. ActivBoard. and publishing venues.About Words Unlocked In the spirit of National Poetry Month (April). for student work. DC. including those who are incarcerated. will attend schools that value them and provide them with the tools they need to become free. xcix . Texas and Los Angeles. please visit our website. including this ebook. student-focused practices designed to significantly improve the life chances of the students they serve. and more. and in an effort to encourage literary exploration by young people held in juvenile facilities. For additional information about CEEAS. rubrics and assessments. our mission is to help alternative schools in both community settings and locked facilities implement transformational. At CEEAS we envision a future when all students. MS Word. At CEEAS.. The wiki had a robust set of tools available for public use: daily lesson plans and teacher-ready classroom materials. All materials for the initiative were available at our wiki site.  Thousands of students from more than 50 locked facilities from around the country participated in Words Unlocked. Handouts and classroom materials are available in SMARTBoard. The initiative culminated in a nationwide poetry contest. a month-long poetry initiative that included practitioner-ready curricular materials.000 incarcerated students submitted poems
 About CEEAS CEEAS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington. contributing members of our democratic society. It included both a seven-day and a month-long poetry curriculum. California. teacher tips. a nationwide competition. with offices in Austin. the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) sponsored Words Unlocked. and PDF formats. Over 1.

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