Love is Like All the Colors of the Doors in Juvie

juvenile-justice-system_old-cell-doorHere's more poetry from teens in King County Juvenile Detention in Seattle. These youth participated in the Pongo Teen Writing program; their work appeared in a 2007 collection under the title, Love is Like All the Colors of the Doors in Juvie.
I'll start by quoting the closing stanza of a poem, "Dreams," by the Young Men's Group:
Hold on, be strong
Because if dreams die
Life is like being incarcerated
How's that for summing up the emotional and physical realities that teens in the justice system face? 

I thought the next poem was appropriate for this blog because of the insight the young writer shows into various kinds of addictions. (Follow the link in the title to see it on the Pongo site.)

by Adrienne (age 15)

I am addicted.
I am addicted to juvie,
where you stay locked up in a small cell,
a place where you have to eat what they serve you,
a place that is filled with lots of anger and hate.
I am addicted.
I am addicted to hate,
where every day is a constant battle with myself.
Hate – a place that leads to nowhere,
a self-destructing habit.
I am addicted.
I am addicted to weed,
a drug that makes everything seem better
but is just an illusion,
a drug that makes me happy for a minute
but when I come down
it’s me again –
a very sad and depressed person.

I am addicted.
I am addicted to sadness,
a place that I hate being,
but yet reside in that emotion.
It’s a very cold and scary place.

I am addicted.
I am addicted to my family.
My family is filled with hate, betrayal, lies,
and sadness.
My family –
I have to see them everyday struggling,
struggling to get through the day,
just even to get along.

I am addicted.
I am addicted to juvie, hate, weed, sadness,
and family.
My addiction isn’t a positive addiction.
It got me hooked.
I am addicted because I’ve never felt any different.
It’s the only thing I know.
It’s a constant battle.

I am addicted.

Want to read more? You can get your own copy of this collection and copies of other collections of teen writing at Pongo's online bookstore.
You can also read more from and about the teens in the following posts on our blog by Richard Gold, who founded Pongo:

And don't forget that Pongo has online writing activities and assistance for teachers who want to help disenfranchised youth start writing and expressing themselves. Check them out today!

Visit this post, "11 Things to Do with Teens in the Justice System," for more creative ideas to help teens in the juvenile justice system.
Photo: onemorechris.

Updated: February 08 2018