Tag Archives: Poetry

PONGO POETRY | Looking Out the Window While Driving

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, register for Speaking Volumes 2022, its fall celebration.


Continue reading PONGO POETRY | Looking Out the Window While Driving

POETRY | Chaotic Curls

by Indigo Mays


The curly coiled strands of hair as soft as can be
refuse my plea to lay down to rest on my head today.
Combs, custards, creams, and conditioners all try to reason
with the hair,
But the curly coiled strands of hair still try to touch the sky.

Continue reading POETRY | Chaotic Curls

PONGO POETRY | I Wish I Could Tell You

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 and 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 bi-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. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, register for Speaking Volumes 2022, their fall celebration.


The Rising in My Heart

by a young person at CSTC

Hours feel like days
I feel like I’m living in a haze
Sometimes I wanna give up
Sometimes I feel like I’m not enough

Continue reading PONGO POETRY | I Wish I Could Tell You

PONGO POETRY | Real World

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. In the spring of 2022, Pongo began mentoring poetry with young people at the Echo Glen Children’s Center, a juvenile institution for youth serving criminal sentences. Studies of incarcerated youth indicate that up to 70% suffer from a mental health disorder and that many have experienced childhood trauma. The isolation, economic upheaval, and turmoil of the last two years have only exacerbated this issue. Youth at Echo Glen have endured significant mental and emotional challenges in the last two years, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, sleep issues, and behavioral challenges.

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. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, register for Speaking Volumes 2022, its fall celebration.


Different Colors in My Life

by a young person at the Echo Glen Children’s Center

I am feeling tired.
I want to talk about madness
because I have been through things in the past

Continue reading PONGO POETRY | Real World

PONGO POETRY | Where I’m From


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, register for Speaking Volumes 2022, its fall celebration.

Where I Come From

by a young person, age 14

I’m from a street where a lot have died
for little to nothing

I’m from faith in drugs, guns, and street runnin’.

Continue reading PONGO POETRY | Where I’m From

POETRY | Beacon Hill Dreams

Duwamish Land, Seattle

by Nic Masangkay


I. March 2021 

It’s a gorgeous night to fall in love. 

It’s a perfect moment to redefine “love.” 

Continue reading POETRY | Beacon Hill Dreams

PONGO POETRY: List of Lies

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 and 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 bi-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. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, register for Speaking Volumes 2022, their fall celebration.


List of Lies

by a young person at CSTC

I have a list of lies that I wish I could tell myself:

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: List of Lies

POETRY | Tell Me Again

by Noni Ervin


(Inspired by Mr. Delbert Richardson’s “1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation” exhibit, November 2021 to January 2022, for the City of Seattle Arts & Culture, ARTS at King Street Station.)

Tell me again
About my melanin skin
And how my story began
On the soil, rich with minerals and precious stones
Hot dirt, clay, and sand.

Continue reading POETRY | Tell Me Again

Clara Olivo Debuts ‘The Whisper, The Storm and The Light In Between’

by Patheresa Wells


Clara Olivo’s debut poetry collection, The Whisper, The Storm and The Light In Between (Alegría Magazine, 2022), examines how the storm, the quiet before its arrival, and the light that occurs between the two have shaped her identity and her voice as a poet. I sat down with her to discuss the book and her experiences as a fat, queer, neurodivergent Afro-Salvadoreña. 

Continue reading Clara Olivo Debuts ‘The Whisper, The Storm and The Light In Between’