Here is some selected poetry from our Positive Alternatives Through Home Services (PATHS) youth.

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

Upside Down to Right Side Up
by Tay, 17

Something goes wrong
Then something gets fixed

Went from fucking and smoking weed
To becoming pregnant and drug-free

Went from ditching school and fighting
To making the honor roll
And receiving more friends than enemies

Went from getting cussed out and put out
To becoming stable and settled

Never giving up has brought me thus far
Being hard headed has opened my eyes

I Remember
by Gloria, 19

I remember when everyone doubted me
They said I was never going to get my son back
I remember when my mom disowned me
She said she should have aborted me when she had the chance
I remember when my dad almost killed my brother
He beat him so bad his face was a bucket of blood
I remember when I almost killed myself
Everything was reminding me of why I needed to be dead
I remember when I lost it all because of drugs
I thought they would take my pain but it added more
I remember when I had my son that day
I had never seen a baby angel before
I remember when my brother lost everything
He said I am a worthwhile sister who deserves it all
I remember when my son said I love you
He just made me feel so important
I remember when my mom said I love you while she was sober
She almost made my wish come true

by Harmony S

My dad was never in my life
But because of that
My big brother raised me
And I’d never change that for the world
I am who I am today
Thanks to my brother
I am strong because of all the things I’ve lost in life
My brother always taught me
No matter hard it is
You need to move on from the past
And it can’t hold you back
I can smile like I do today
Because of the hurt in my past

What I Would Say To You If Only
by Gloria, 19

I cannot be perfect so please just accept me
I feel so lost at this point
I feel like I am not even me anymore
I am too busy trying to be a person I am not
Who I don’t know if she exists
Please just understand I am not a perfect person
I know it is said God gives
The hardest battles to his strongest soldiers
But I am not that strong
I need a break

So please stop pushing me to be something
And just please accept who I am for once
Who knows you might start to like me better
If I may get my chance up a bit more
You might find out what a best friend just means
So please understand I am not perfect
So just please just stop
And give me a break

Give me a chance to show you
I am not just another Mexican girl
And learn that I can be more
Than just the person you want me to be
Please don’t torture me any more
With the things that happened way before
Learn that it’s good to just be you
And that I am fine just the way I dream to be

I just want you to understand
I am not perfect
I don’t want to be perfect
I never was perfect I will never be perfect
And this is exactly what I would say to you
If I could only get you to listen to me

Colorado Creative Industries Awards AfA $7,500

Colorado Creative Industries Awards AfA $7,500 to help fund the growth and introduction of new programs that foster self-realization and empowerment.

Poetry of June 2015

Enjoy some of our favorite poetry from June 2015!

Lyrical Miracle
By Kevin, 17

I am a lyrical miracle
Diving in through my words
Like a swimming pool
A criminal, snatching meanings
And dissecting them to a minimal
I am a scattered brain
That has no pain
And feels no shame
No regrets, place your bets,
Write down my name,
So you don’t forget

By Jodi, 12


Drawing on Air artwork by Solomon

Shy wears boring colors
Blending in with the crowd.
Shy lives in a house
Like the others around it.
Shy only talks around the people
She trusts.
Friends, family
Sometimes even pets.
She eats plain food
Nothing too fancy
She wants people to see her
But in a way they move on
After a few seconds
Being the center of attention
Makes her uncomfortable
So she hides whenever she can

By Jose, 10

Happy would wear regular clothes
A t-shirt, a yellow t-shirt
And pants with sneakers with strings
Happy lives in a house
With small dogs
And toys
Happy works as a baker
Making cakes for birthdays
And cookies

By Gabriel, 11

Love is the color of
Red like roses
Cool careful
And loving so it won’t die
Love is never ending

Love is the sound of
Wind chimes wind going
Threw and crystal like sounds

Love taste like warm huggs
In front of the fireplace

Love feels like everyone
In the family cares about you
And it like and oversized
Stuffed teddy bear

Love moves like a
Slow hugging and feeling
Like a million bucks

By Jesus, 12

I am a tree poet
I live in the ground
The tree grows seeds first
My poems the roots come out
Of the tree
The rain comes out
Then the branches come out

I am a snow poet
I fall out of the sky with clouds
The snow is white and on the floor
My poems do fall freeze then on
The floor then it gets big and bigger
Until the ground is full of snow

I am a flower poet
I am a flower and the flowers come
Out of a seed
My poem’s a seed
And seeds and water
Grow and the water
Makes flowers grow

I am a grass poet
I need water to grow and dirt
To make roots
My poems are making dirt and water
I need seeds and water
And I need dirt

By Matthew, 8

I am a dragon poet
I like dragons and they are cool
And they breath fire
My poems hunt
Be the best dragon

I Seem To Be
By Shada, 16

I seem to be smart
But really I am genius
I seem to be happy
But really I am super duper happy
I seem to be capable
But really I am able to do anything I want

2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalist!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 1.28.00 PM


In May 2015, Art from Ashes received the following notification letter from President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Congratulations! Your program’s work has been chosen for recognition as a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) Finalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We are highly impressed with the successful work your organization and the other Finalists have accomplished in youth after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities learning.

Your program’s selection as one of the 50 Finalists distinguishes it as one of the top arts- and humanities-based programs in the country.

Poets of Emily Griffith

CPT at Emily Griffith

Click here for a video clip.

Art from Ashes has partnered with Colorado Public Television to provide Phoenix Rising wordshops for youth at the Emily Griffith Technical College. Below are some of the 3-minute poems produced and a couple of videos!

Rant, written April 6, 2015
by Walter, 18

From the time I could remember
I’ve wanted to die not because I was sad but because I’m tired of living
The one thing stopping me is the fact people will always need art
And the one reason I’m still here is a faulty round or bad firing pin
Or something told me or compelled me to puke up the pills I took
People make me sick honestly
I know firsthand with my brother raping and killing one of his own cousins
Or a father not calling me until I’m 14 to sell drugs for him
My art is not out of anger
But it is of the good in my life
And the good times
Honestly I’m not ready to die
But I’m sick of living

Walter-imageWithout Fear, written May 18, 2015
by Walter, 18

My life would be easier
I’d be able to wake up
And say I’m happy
How about yourself?
If I were given the chance
I’d always wake up fearless
With the ability to love my fellow man
And he would be able to say
I love this planet
And everything on it
Including you
It is a nice dream to keep

Video of Esther, 19

What I Would Say to You if Only You Would Listen
by Tamara, 20

I’m talking to the cord or am I really talking to myself
I feel empty my heart is out of beats
I fake my last breath of life and say
God forgive me for my sins
I’m not perfect, you know
Maybe it was the pain that made me come in rage
Where were you mom no one can explain
I still respect you and love you
Because in the end I am a product of you
But then again that’s not true
I’m Tamara let me say that again
I don’t drink because of you
All the time I got alcohol abused they wanted me
To follow your footsteps
But I refused to be something
That I could never even like
You hated me but I loved you
I know you were hurt
Has a kid who could ever know

Video of Darrian, 19

Affirmation Poem
by Lilly, 17

I love and approve of myself.
I accept the difference between us
Between you and me
And not only do I accept you
Most of all I accept me
I am the raging wind carrying the shadows over a raven’s wing
Never stopping to ask, just knowing that it is
I am the blood in your veins working you alive
Working us alive and you never give me a second thought
I know what I do is worth it
I know I matter
Without the sound on your tongue


Jessie Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez in a photo provided by the family. Photo provided by familyJessie was killed Jan. 26, 2015, by Denver police in an alley between the 2500 blocks of Niagara and Newport streets in the Park Hill neighborhood. Jessie and four other teens inside the stolen Honda sedan had refused to get out. The Denver Police Department said officers opened fire on Jessie when she drove a stolen car toward them, but the autopsy performed by Denver Chief Medical Examiner James Caruso shows Jessie was shot two times in the left side of her torso. Two more gunshot wounds in her pelvis and right thigh may have resulted from the same bullet, according to the autopsy. The bullets fatally wounded Jessie’s heart and both lungs.

“There was no evidence of close range discharge of a firearm associated with any of the entrance wounds,” Denver Chief Medical Examiner James Caruso said in the report.

The family’s lawyer Qusair Mohamedbhai said in a statement that the autopsy doesn’t indicate that Jessie was driving toward the officers who shot her since since the bullet wounds entered her body from the driver’s side of the car and were not fired at close range. He told NBC News on Saturday that the left-to-right wound path and trajectory of the bullets that struck Jessie “undermine the version of the events put forth by the Denver Police Department.”

Denver Post article
NBC News article

video of Jessie’s parents

3-Minute Poems written by Jessie during Art from Ashes workshops over two years:

I am love
Jessie Hernandez, 15

I am a brand new baby
I am sweet and smooth
I can get crunchy,
but that sweet taste never disappears
I am a baby’s laughter
I am warm—pink or red
I am quick
but have my slow paces

I seem to be, but really I am
Jessie Hernandez, 15

I seem to be reckless
But really I am more caring
I seem to be an asshole
But really I am nice
I seem to be loud and obnoxious
But really I am chill and hardly talk
I seem to be dumb and stupid
But really I am the smartest kid out there
I seem to be a non-smoker
But really I’m basically a stoner
I seem to be like a kid who doesn’t need drugs to be happy
But really I do need them because of the shit I have going on

I want to know…
Jessie Hernandez, 15

I want to know how you could go days without trying to get ahold of someone
I want to know how you are, but with no message I know nothing
I want to know the purpose of life
I want to know why they push us so hard
I want to know why people gotta lie about rules and stuff they say
I want to know why we die and just get buried 6 feet deep
I want to know why we have to do so much
Just to die in the end

I choose to be
Jessie Hernandez, 16

I am going to be a successful woman
I am going to be a plane driver
I am going to be a nurse
After surgery I am going to be a boy
I am going to be something all my haters won’t be
I am going to be a good wealthy—well maybe not too wealthy
But I will be someone I can be
I am going to be a billionaire


The Colors My Mother Taught Me
My mother taught me yellow and red
She taught me the right words
My manners
How to be generous
And how to be happy
How to smile at worse times
She taught me all I know now
But she also taught me to be patient
And not to hurt others
If they’re not hurting me
But there’s one thing she taught me the most
Is how to look joyful and to respect things
That are not mine

The Dance I Danced With My Father
The dance my father taught me was some type of dance
He taught me how to stomp my feet with combos
And how to keep his tradition going
He taught me all the kicks he did
I learned them
And now I could probably knock someone out
With a kick
Because he got me working on my legs



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
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

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”

Art from Ashes deemed one of the top 50 youth arts organizations in nation

nahypAfA was named a Finalist for the prestigious President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. In the certificate from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Art from Ashes is noted as “one of the top arts and humanities-based programs in the country.” The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities “bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation and excellence in the arts and humanities and helps incorporate these disciplines into White House objectives under our Honorary Chairperson First Lady Michelle Obama.”

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.