Tag Archives: Children & Family Justice Center

PONGO POETRY: Curiosity

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bimonthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, join their upcoming training on May 21.


NO HOOK

by a young person, age 17

My life’s a game of chess —
you make the wrong moves, 
you get your life taken.
Sometimes I have nothing but my brother,
I followed his steps.
I regret choosing this life — 
my mom tried her best.
But when I grow older 
I’m gonna get rich,
put some money in her pockets
and buy her a crib.
The only plotting I been 
doing is up in my cell,
Caught a fade once or twice
and sent them to hell
Got respect on my name
my name ringing them bells
Call me lefty in these streets
I never will tell.

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Curiosity

PONGO POETRY: Streets Come With That

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bimonthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, join their upcoming training on May 21.


STREETS COME WITH THAT

by a young person, age 16

I never realized the streets come
with all these feelings
till I was in my cell thinking
about what the judge said after the sentence
not knowing which of my brothers
turned into a witness.
I never went into the streets for attention,
just trying to take me and my mama out the trenches.
But I keep going to jail.
Can’t help it because people keep switching.
Tryna to do good but charges keep popping up
because people keep snitching.
It’s like a double-edged sword
’cause every time I go to jail
it’s like an intervention
to get away from these streets
that feel like hell but they get so cold though.
All these dead brothers —
I cry every time I see each one’s photo.
I’m trying to grow.
I’m trying to stay on my 7-4.*
I can’t fold. Can’t let them see me crumble.
It’s like every time I f*ck up,
the whole team fumbles.

Got to march through these units
and always stand tall.
Especially in my cell,
staring at these 4×4 cell walls.
Dealin’ with all these suckas
in these halls.
But they wouldn’t try me though,
they don’t got the balls.
I’m just tryin’ to make it out,
but this system’s so flawed.
It wouldn’t be a fight at all
if these lawyers did their job
like when that police got off
when they outlined my brother in chalk.
And it’s like I can’t even go out to walk
without being scared
that I’m the next one to get shot.
It’s crazy to think
after all my ancestors fought,
this is all we got.
Tryin’ to get money
to get my peoples off the block
but I just keep getting sent
to jail to rot.

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Streets Come With That