Words Unlocked Winning Poems


First Place



Poet: D.A.C.

School: Granite YES School

Teacher: Bonnie Shaw


What I know for sure is that my mother

loves me,

but her addiction might be forever.

What I know for sure is the sun

will come up tomorrow,

people will die, and life will keep

moving on.

I know that life is hard sometimes,

and some days I won’t want to get up.

A child of an addict craving my mothers’ love,

it makes my heart sick.

What I know for sure is I made a little girl

of my own.

I know I don’t want to cause the same

pain I felt

to my daughter in her life.

What I know for sure is I love

my daughter

with my whole heart.

Running away will never work.

A mother cannot run away.

It only causes more pain.

I also know forgiving my mother and then myself

might take a long time,

but in the end, I need to remember

my mother did, still does, and always will

love me.

Now that I’ve grown up a lot, I’ve come to realize

that I want to love my mother from


a distance.

I know that I can show my daughter that

I love her in a different way.

What I know for sure is I will

break the cycle of drug addiction.

My mother loves me, and because of me,

her addiction won’t be forever,

and the sun will come up tomorrow.

I know if I break the cycle, then

through me,

her addiction won’t last forever.

Second Place



Poet: McKenzie

School: Juniper Hills HS

Facility: Juvenile Correctional Center, Nampa

Teacher: Alice Marlow


I am white and crystalized,

My world is through the eyes of people that see dark skies,

I take him or her through it all, I am running through the veins when they overdose and fall,

I love the addicts who come back for more,

I get inside little girls and close the door,

I don’t want to be me but I’m too scared to die,

I can see everyone lie, I watch men rape girls and sell me,

I am hard to make so they pay their fee,

I see the men who think their able to treat them and me this way,

I know it’s all because they shoot me into their bodies every day,

My name is tweak but the guys with the flashing lights call me methamphetamine,

Why live when people only want you to use,

I want to win but they always get caught and I lose,

I always end up taking a family away,

Why can’t they just love me without all these prices to pay?

I don’t want you to be addicted I just want you to want more,

That is who I am, I’m rotten to the core.

I know you heard about tweak but let me tell you about me,

Paranoia taken over my mind,

Needed to get away,

I hid the side of me I didn’t want them to find,

I belong to the game, the game that you don’t want to play,

Where big guys make you take your clothes off,

Hands sliding down,

Needles entering them just to feel that cough,

The big man won’t sell me anymore,

He doesn’t allow anyone else to touch me,

He is what I am for,

Padlocks on the windows and of course they locked me inside,

He put his hands around my neck,

I screamed and he said don’t worry it’ll be alright,

He said I just want to show you what it feels like,

I let him of course, Ride me like a bike,

He let me go in hopes I would come right back,

I ran as fast as I could,

I hid in someone’s backyard and that’s when I heard the pack,

The sound of their heavy breathing finally stopped,

I ran out because I thought they had left,

They grabbed me in an instant,

I went back and he shoved me full of meth,

The man who did this to me for months was never far away,

I got pregnant and that was it he was going to be a daddy now,

He got really mad one night and kicked me, I started to cry and held my side,

The baby was gone it died,

I got away to get pregnancy tests without him knowing,

He searched for me scared I might not come back,

The cops found me and wouldn’t let me go,

They found the drugs in a house raid,

I hope this will change some way,

This is happening behind closed doors every day.




Poet: Anthony

Facility: Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center

Teacher: Derek Sanders


I’m locked up, choked, covered, and tied by iron and steel chains,

Chains that cannot be fought by strength but by brains,

These chains have bound around my body, mind and soul,

Two-to-three years of my growing adolescence have they stole,

Too many times have I had these metal snakes biting into my skin,

Sharp teeth digging at my wrists and ankles digging deeper within.


Too many times I seen another like myself having turned and made mistakes,

Wishing they could go back and change their ways,

Looking for someone else to blame and who should pay,

I remember when I was that same way a few years remain.


But, I understand I’m riding this road alone; if want to pass their will be a toll,

Luckily for me, I’ll soon be home and free,

But many others are not able to say the same,

Some have chosen to stick to this life and claim it for themselves to be,

Others plead and cry and hate themselves for joining their friend’s stupid “game”.


One mistake will change a life more than they may think,

Our choices will lead you down paths and roads you will either love or hate,

Only very few make it out without being pushed to the brink,

I hope my words have gotten through to help, before it’s too late!


Third Place



Poet:  Jahamahn

School: Nancy B. Jefferson High School

Facility: Cook County Juvenile Corrections

Teacher: Carol Moran


A place,

where fear is non-existent.

A place,

where you’re not forced to move decisions.

It’s the same place

where no sane man is a citizen;

it’s the same place,

for me to go visiting,

my grasp on

reality must be slipping.


Honorable Mention



Poet: Samantha

Facility: Golden Ridge Juvenile Hall

Teacher: Aiko Akers


As she flies higher and higher

She finally feels free again

No Worries

No problems

Just the occasional bird

Also free of worries and problems

As she reaches the summit

She has her life planned out

Her dreams

Her passion

Her responsibility

All being shone before her eyes

But what she knows from previous life lessons

Is that what goes up must come down

But she will not lose her touch

She is smart

She is talented

She is unique

Free of flaws and imperfections

She is what every girl wants to be

She is unstoppable

She is determined

She will not let anything get in between

Her goals

Her dreams

Her life

As I awake from my dream

I sit up

And I look around my cell





Cloud my thoughts

And fill my brain

I want to be

Who I am meant to be

I am meant to be

Who I am created to be

But I’m created to be me

So that’s who I’ll be.



Poet: Trinity

School: Promise Jr./Sr. High School

Facility: LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facility

Teacher: Janet Freeman

I’m the wind in a golden Baritone

Blowing away the pain.

As the symphony’s loud noises

Float in the air

It drowns out the agony you

Feel in your body,

The music is the warmth

In the heart and it

Vibrates my body and

Makes me alive in new ways.

The silence comes after

Our magnificent work.

The conductor taps

And says “One more round”

And away we go.




Poet: M.T. 

Facility: Summit County Juvenile Detention Center

Teacher: Ruth Edge


I am a 15-year-old Menace to society,

Well, through the eyes of my prosecutor and Jury, 


whose life simultaneously

came to a halt due to Felony of the first offense.


I fell as if my sympathetic state of mind 

has vanished


and left my emotion Blacker

than Usain Bolt.


My heart is colder than

the Second week of January


and the reason I feel so pale

Is because Nobody has Sympathy


remorse, or emotions for me

except my Mom, 


who cries everyday 

and genuinely loves me. 


Yes. I am a Felon. 

Yes. I made a bad decision.


But, should I go to Prison for more

years than I have lived on this earth.


No. I am not a Menace.

I am a child.