Tag Archives: Poetry

PONGO POETRY: Why I Hate Basketball

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 children at the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants. Pongo believes there is power in creative expression, and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly 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.

Content Warning: Discussion of child sexual abuse.


WHY I HATE BASKETBALL

by a young person at CSTC

The nightmare started when I was 5 years old
I had just moved into the yellow house
Everything was going fine until I moved there
I had a really weird neighbor
He was a few years older than me
His name, which I’ll never forget, was C
He started out telling me words I didn’t understand
I told my parents, but they didn’t believe me
They said that I learned it from an inappropriate TV show
But that wasn’t where I learned it
From that point on, it just got worse
When he figured out what I said
he started asking me weird questions
And telling me to do weird things
I felt really embarrassed and violated
As the years went on, it just got worse
Now I know what he was doing
and I didn’t know how to stop it

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Why I Hate Basketball

PONGO POETRY: It Used to Be Different

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 monthly 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.


IT USED TO BE DIFFERENT

By a young person, age 17

It used to be different
because we used to drive around town
till midnight.
But when you passed away,
it was hard to see you go.

In some ways, it’s the same
because we still drive around town
speeding.
It’s not the same
without you.

Here’s how I want it to change:
I want to hear the car’s being loud—
speeding all the time,
drifting corners. Just so
you can see
from heaven.

Dedicated to family and friends

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: It Used to Be Different

PONGO POETRY: Never Give Up

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 children at the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants. Pongo believes there is power in creative expression, and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly 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.


LOVE IS FAKE

by a young person, age 17

I have too much experience 
with love not going well.

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Never Give Up

PONGO POETRY: I Wish I Knew

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 monthly 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.


I WISH I KNEW

by a young person, age 17

I wish I knew my biological dad
I wish I knew my dad’s side of the family
I wish my path was easier
I wish I knew how to get through life
I wish life was easier
I wish I could remember the talks
my auntie gave me
I wish lessons were easier to learn
I wish I knew how to make good, positive money
I wish living life wasn’t so hard
I wish I knew more about my education
I wish I knew ways to be better
than what I’ve become

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: I Wish I Knew

POETRY: On Watching This Rodomontade

by S. Rupsha Mitra

In the voice of Shakuntala


And there are days when the mad heart turns brave,
With its arrhythmic beat stuttering in a monotonous way
It wants to clutch onto something
Say
That something it beseeches itself to forget.

Someone somewhere lures you to ecstasies,
  You are mistaken — you know,
Yet you turn raw
In the sputtering sense, soiled, mati stained, marinate
Over and over and over
Again.

You want to summon them and say
_hey hold me until I fall_ _again_ ,
You want to traverse the rocky pathways, the granite mounts midst
Hushed breath
  You want to sink in
And fill the hollows with the smoothened slime,
  The sleek crystal waters
  That gush by
You want to say how you feel
But you lie knee-deep, sodden
Perforated with so many pauses like a poem.
You are afraid there is no coming back.
You are afraid
Of leaving,
you are afraid
It has never been so close with the earth. rather close, that you could talk of separation.
You can only sit
 Then
Wandering
  Taking in all the warmth that space could provide at that time and
  Tell yourself witness the self.
  Know the now, be still, turn to
All the power greater than anything else
feel the heavy thrumming beat,
Breathe.


S. Rupsha Mitra is a writer with a penchant for everything creative. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, London Reader, and Mekong Review. Find more of her work on her website

📸 Featured Image: Photo by Aleksey Fefelov/Shutterstock.com. Photo editing by Emerald Staff.

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PONGO POETRY: Home Base

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 children at the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants. Pongo believes there is power in creative expression, and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly 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.


Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Home Base