Monthly Archives: July 2011

3 More Love Poems

Published By: Olivia

We (quite erroneously) don’t often think of violent criminals as being hopeless romantics, and in general have the unfortunate tendency to write off teenagers as incapable of being in love.  The incarcerated young women we work with speak of love more than hate, share about their first loves and betrayal, becoming teenage widows, and the pain of separation due to incarceration.  They tell stories about their loves all the time: one girl has received 3 years because she refused in court to peg the blame on her boyfriend, another left her whole life and fled to Mexico with a boyfriend who was in trouble, others have killed to prove loyalty to boyfriends in the gang.  Whether or not we agree with the actions of these girls, we cannot deny the fact that they are capable of great sacrifice for love.  Their writing shows us, as well.


Young Woman, age 15

Even in the midst of the storm
the distance and pain that
overwhelm my heart, i can’t seem to forget you
Although time passes and
your memory is always
present in my mind, you
Are the person who lights up my existence

Eternal Heart

Young Woman, age 17

Eternal heart, the sun could cloud over eternally,  feel love or it could dry the ocean in an instant.

The axis of the earth could break like an eternal heart!

Everything will happen.  A dark clould could cover me with its mournful band but your great love will never break within me


When You Try to Forget

Young Woman, age 17

When you try to forget you think of
Taking everything out of your heart and
reason again
When you try to forget you don’t think
You just act and you don’t want to be the same again.
When you try to forget it’s time
To glue your heart together again
Piece by piece, you get it back and still nothing
Is the same.
When you try to forget you remember more
And it comes to your mind
all the moments in which you
felt the most in love
When you try to forget still
you have wounds to heal that
any moment open again and
are hard to close
When you try to forget it’s something
That happens that you can’t avoid
It is so painful to want to take out
The thorns that you hurt yourself more.


I’d Like to Fly Free

Published by: Olivia

I’d Like to Fly Free

Young woman, age 15

I would like to be free like a dove, to admire from the sky what God has created for us, to fly over the immense ocean, fly free is what I want, to leave these walls and fly towards where the wind carries me.  I feel like I am a caged bird whose Kings have been cut.  There are moments where I am forgotten and I try to call attention to myself so they remember that I exist.  There are moments in which I can’t go on and I feel like in this dark tunnel there can’t be Light at the end, but time passes and I will never lose hope to someday be able to fly free and be able to fly off course.  When will the day come in which I can break these chains and cross these barriers that keep me from moving forward.  I just want to fly free…


Published by: Olivia

This poem was written by a young woman in the center after she learned in history class about congressmen and women in El Salvador who are paid to represent the society (that continues to suffer), and reflects her strong critique of the separation of classes.


Young woman, age 15

Society is lousy, dirty, trash
While high society people enjoy
Life sitting in porcelain chairs
Drinking a nice hot coffee
We the poor suffer
Hunger, cold,
Walking the streets of our Salvador
Trying to bring even just beans for our family.
If only they could accept that from the sweat of our backs
They the richachones* of the high-society eat,
The congressmen from the round table
Just for raising their hand and giving a damned opinion
They are paid a fortune
And we who spend all damn day enduring the sun in our face
When will the day come when there is no difference between
The upper, middle, and lower class …
Cursed society in which we live.
*slang, pejorative for a rich person

A Love in Bartolinas

Published By: Olivia

Most adolescents are in constant search for a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Young girls in detention are no exception.  Some have boyfriends on the outside that visit them, many have boyfriends who are also serving time, (communications is tricky) many sadly are widowed, and the single ones search for flings while they’re in the holding cell [known as bartolinas] waiting for their hearings.   The following poem is about an innocent but impossible crush that came to be between her and a boy she met in bartolinas waiting to meet her judge.

A Love in Bartolinas

 Young Woman, age 19

One day without expecting it the following happened to me:
I met a guy, handsome, tall, dark-skinned with light brown eyes
He was well-dressed and carried a really big bible, he looked like a pastor

You know what captivated me about him?
I asked him why he had looked for god
He stayed quiet about 5 seconds
and told me, “Because he wanted me to change the life I was leading.”
I stayed quiet 5 seconds

and we touched hands
I felt butterflies in my stomach, slightly immature for the excitement
he gave me his mom’s phone number for me to call her
and I have dreamed about him that we see each other and many more things

It’s like sustaining the heart with hope
Because I don’t know if one day I will really hug him.
But while I know that he is locked up I can ask my judge to
change my court date

The plan was:
I was going to say he was the father of my daughter and that we knew each other outside
He told me his full name.
He wants to accept me just as I am and not just anyone is like that.
Despite what I have been (that I am here inside) I know that he thinks of me.

This is the point of the year:
We get to see each other in September…