Poems, interviews, artwork and testimonials by youth participants, with some poems and testimonials written by adult participants.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ART FROM ASHES HAS A NO-CENSORSHIP POLICY TO ALLOW YOUTH COMPLETE CREATIVE FREEDOM!

Poems

Below are some of the 3-minute youth poems written during our Phoenix Rising workshops.

It’s Time You Spoke
by Dakota, age 15

Changing yourself to satisfy others
Committing harm to yourself
To feel the pain being released
Is your pleasure
Closing yourself away
To hide what people dislike about you
Why, I ask?
This isn’t another song
Telling you to stop
This is a message to you
From you

You’re a stranger to yourself
A distant picture on your mom’s fridge
Fading away
You walk to the mirror above the sink
You see a person filled with hope
And the power to lift the sun
But
You listen to people who tell you no
That say change your look
Do a bunch to stay
In a soon drifted away craze
Speak this
Take this
Drink this
Now is the day to speak
Say no

Say yes to what you want
Not what they say
After you’ve done this
You see the picture coming back
You see what you wanted this whole time
YOU HAVE SPOKEN

Who I Am
by Myth, age 12

Who am I?
The question that comes most unanswered in the world
It is the easiest question but still goes unanswered
Everyone is afraid
But no one but you can know the answer or the outcome
In the deepest way, you already know
You know who you are
But who am I?
I am the earth, wind and sky
I wield the elements of fire, wind, earth and water
I am life
I am you
I am the universe learning about itself
I am Myth
Who are you?

My Poems
by Estefania, age 17

If I were a white poem I would be free
To express my emotions
I would be what everybody wants me to be
If I were a tiger poem I would let myself be free
I would speak of nothing but of everything
I would have freedom to say what I like
If I were a tree poet I would write about broken things
I would write about the things people want to hear
Just so they won’t tear me apart
If I were a cold poet I would shoot down the negative people
And just be myself
I would be a cold poet who doesn’t do what people want

I Seem to Be... But Really I Am
by Christian, age 17

I seem to be in a lost world that I can’t find a way out
I’m the only one who understands me
People see me as a monster
But really I am a good kid who made a bad decision
I was at the wrong place at the wrong time
I try to stay out of trouble
But somehow it keeps finding me
It has me trapped
Every time I get up
It knocks me down
I am a bright young man
I try not to judge
In order to not be judged
I choose to be the kid that everyone has
Something nice to say all the time
The person that people look up to
Most importantly
The person my brother wants to look up to

Paper Moon
by Hibaq Osman, 17

Under the paper moon
She thinks she has the basics
But then a demon grabs her dreams
And makes a break for it
It’s a simple equation
Dreams and creation
I’m in love with the person I haven’t me
And that one place I’ve never lived
Please tell me how you can lead a life of 17 years and never live
Chained to a chain link fence
Woven by the hearts which you’ve torn from their place
It’s not a ‘whatever you think it is,’ darling It’s an arms race
And I swear, I scream at the top of my lungs
I swear
I will make a change to this world
I will change the voice of freedom
Bestow power amongst the girls
And I’ll make it to where color doesn’t matter
And race is just a four letter word
Where being queer is not weird
Where homophobia is absurd
Where society links arms with the misfit toys
And welcomes them to their island
Where the raped girl doesn’t cry when she sees her young boy
Because she wished his father’s actions didn’t define him
I swear
These faulty pieces do not define us
I swear the skies are so clear on the other side
I swear the sun will wake you up from this nightmare
And say “It’s okay honey, you don’t have to hide
You’re absolutely fine right by my side”

If Only You Would Listen

Shiloh Michels, 17
“In the workshops, everyone opens up to each other because we don’t have to be the person that others ‘expect’ us or need us to be. We can just be ourselves and support each other.”

Shiloh Michels3-Minute Poem: If Only You Would Listen

Dear Mother, Mother.
Have you ever heard me cry?
Scream to myself late at night?
Do you even know that I am gay?
Will you accept me anyway?
All I want to do is run away.
Forget everything that you say.
Sing a song I once heard.
Maybe it will ease the pain.
Maybe we’ll find out another day.
Before it becomes too late.

It’s time I spoke

3-Minute poem by Chasity, 17 (in residential treatment)
It’s time I spoke

I was told I was fat and ugly, because I didn’t
look like the girls on TV or in magazines.
Why should we? Why do we even try?
I used to try to be like them,
but now I love myself
for who I am inside and out
without a doubt,
because we are all beautiful
in our own way.
We don’t have to change for anyone,
we just have to be ourselves.
Being ourselves is the best thing
that you can do and/or be.
If we doubt ourselves or who we are,
we will never know who we will be
and/or become.