Category Archives: Pieces of the Week

Child of the Ghetto

by Lil Bane

Forgiving is hard, especially forgiving ourselves. I’ve always been the type of person to hold grudges and make silent moves, but when it comes to forgiving myself I just can’t do it.

I feel like the reason people believe in God is the idea that God can help them forgive themselves, but God has abandoned me.

So many choices from my past are coming back to haunt me every night. It’s like I’m living in a horror movie. I can never forgive myself for the things I’ve done since a young age. The streets swallowed me and turned me into something or someone I’ll never be able to forgive.

I wish I could forgive myself and be at peace with myself, but that’ll never happen the way I am living. Maybe one day I’ll stop carrying heat and selling dope, I just hope that won’tv be my last day. Until then I guess I’m just a child of the ghetto. read more

The Pain of My Life

by Makiah

Life has many pains; emotional pains, physical pains, etc. You can’t really measure pain but we all endure it. Everyone thinks his or her life is so hard and so bad when in reality someone always has it worse.

I think emotional pain is the worst because emotions are so complicated. Sadness can lead to anger, and anger can lead to physical pain—not only to yourself but to others also. Everything connects and pain, happiness, and anger seems like the glue to keep someone from falling apart, or it could be what makes someone break down, depending on the perspective. I mean you might like to be happy or maybe you like to be sad or angry, because that is who you are. If you don’t actually want to be happy, you won’t ever be able to actually be happy. Yeah, pain can keep you down, but you have to ip your perspective to a positive mentality. You cannot let what happened in the past dictate your future, no matter how right it seem. read more


by Jazmyn

One thing I’ve always wanted from my parents but never gotten is something a lot of my peers take for granted, their love. Most kids grow up getting hugs and hearing their parents say, “I love you”. Even if their situation wasn’t perfect they could always fall back on that. But for me it was different.

I can’t remember a single time in my life that my parents did either of those things. More often than not I felt the hard blow of my father’s hand, or heard the screams of my mother telling me to die already. Even to this day the one thing I’ve wanted but never gotten was my parents’ love. Yet I can’t say that it hasn’t made me stronger. Not being loved by anyone only taught me the value of my own love, how much I love myself and how protective I am of those I love. Not being loved has taught me how powerful love really is. read more

Why I Write

by Isaiah

Why I write is because I have to,
because that the only thing that brings me peace.
Why I write, because it brings me joy,
happiness and a passion to just keep writing.
Why I write, because people say I am a very quiet person,
but very lethal with my writing and what I write about.
Why I write, because I’m motivated by my parents
and they love to see all my writings.
Why I write, because it’s very fun writing on a blank piece of paper, and it reminds me of the friends I couldn’t talk about my problems to. Why I write, because I can write anything
and never be judged by this piece of paper, never.
Why I write, because through this pencil,
it produces a sound to me with a symphony of possibilities. Why I write, because of this unit,
and all the times I’ve been in jail,
and just to relieve the stress that all of this comes with.
Why I write, because in my mind I’m a free man,
but it’s my body that’s locked up.
Why I write, so I can prove to my teachers
who told me I couldn’t write.
Why I write, because this pencil and paper
have become my truest friends ever.
Why I write, because I can write down all the mistakes I’ve done, so I won’t do it again and come back to juvenile hall
and graduate to jail or prison.
Why I write, because it put a smile on my face,
knowing I lled this paper with my feelings, thoughts and what I have to say. read more

If They Only Understood

by Sas-Shay

Just when I thought my life was going to be easy! It only seems to get harder. I am just really over being in here. They think this would teach us a lesson but they don’t understand that this is a very traumatizing situation for our young minds. I understand that some of us don’t act young, or stay in a child’s place. At the same time people need to understand the life we live and the fears, struggle, and pain we go through and overcome every day by ourselves. There is nobody by our sides. They should understand and think about what we go through because it’s not easy. If they were in my shoes they would really get a great understanding about my life.

If we could just switch shoes for a day they would bow down to me and beg me to switch shoes back.

Me being them, would just say no so that they could be locked up all day like a caged animal. They would eat when I say eat and sleep when I say sleep. I wouldn’t switch lives totally; I would just switch for two weeks to give them a taste of their own medicine. That way they can feel the pain I feel every day I am in here. Then I wonder how would they act toward us? Would they still try and give us juvenile’s life? Would they still want to put us in 23-hour lockdown facilities? Would they still let us wash up in cold water with a sock that was on somebody you don’t even know the day before? Would they still have us eat food that we are not happy about? Would they still let us get an OC warning and then all our points taken away? Maybe then the staff wouldn’t be so petty. read more

Real Advice

by Davante

Having your freedom taken away is not a very happy feeling. In fact, you live with a feeling of hate at yourself and others if you feel they put you in here, but you are the one that had your freedom taken away. It’s not nice waking up early in the morning to sit up and see four brick walls and a bright or dim light and having no privacy whatsoever.

This is not a place of happiness. This is a place of hate and sadness. These walls do close in on you and everyday someone tells you when to get up when to take a shower, and when to go to bed. Please do not come to a place like this. Keep your freedom. Freedom. Freedom!


by Jooglord

A lot of lies, the truth is silenced
I really wanna know, who’s behind it The greed feeds, the ruthless violence People don’t care,
All this useless silence
Speak up, get loud
You should try it
The truth is vibrant, it’s time to shut down The stupid tyrant
Because I walk through
Man rooms get quiet,
Speaking my mind
I can produce a riot
A lot of propaganda
And you losers buy it
Wake up world!
The truth is silence

Solitude? More like Solitary

by Quani

After being in here for a moment, you think about life, about how things could’ve been better if you never made your move.

But it’s different in your cell. As soon as that door closes, there’s like a whole different life waiting for you. It’s like a nightmare because you’re only thinking about how long you’re gonna be in there, how long you’ll be staring at that locked door.

Then boredom hits. Instead of being stimulated, that isolation makes you cry. You think about your mom, about what might be happening to her. When you think about so much at one time, eventually you start to shut down. You can’t sleep. You stare at the walls and they start closing in on you. The space gets tighter, so you talk to yourself inside of your head. After a minute, you start to hit your push-ups. You physically tire yourself out and then you end up passing out. read more

The Cry of My City, Oakland

by Dejon

My city cries for help in so many ways.
People think we kill ‘cause we senseless,
but it’s really hurt and pain.
From the outside looking in, people say we’re possessed by evil. But come from where we come from,
we all trapped from our mindset to our freedom.
Look into my eyes, I’m the tears of my city,
I’m the pain and the suffering, I come from the nitty-gritty. All we want is help, we want a lending hand.
We want somebody to care and don’t give up and understand. Don’t judge us from the out, try to nd the inner secret,
We rob and take to survive and live,
no father so money becomes my leader
Oakland, California, the town as you may call it,
I was born and raised, streets full of murderers and cof ns. The cry of my city, a cry of pain and help, don’t judge us ‘Till you walk a mile in our shoes and see what’s up.
Our pain from death of close loved ones,
pain from fathers being absent.
Pain from lack of money and struggle,
The struggle causes us to hustle read more

The End Of My Beginning

by Big Boone

I used to question life. I used to plot on the lives of others with malicious intent. My own life was a test to see how far I could push myself: how much I could take and how it would change me, to hurt another person, to have low regard for life. How would it make me feel; would I be the same person after that I was before? Would it make me a better person or a worse person? Would I feel sorry or not?

The things I did and things I learned made me the person I am today. The person I am is the person I wanted to be and knew I would become: a strong individual, who can survive when others would die, who could stand in the storm of life (guns, gangs, drugs, death, poverty, prison) and say “you can’t break me”. I am a person who has nothing and still strives to live; who does not fear death; who does things just because I can. The life I lived is what made me the person I am. I’m a firm believer in the idea that what makes you laugh will make you cry. What makes you will break you. read more