Words Unlocked: Poetry from Young Offenders

Yesterday, The Chronicle of Social Change published the Second Place winners of the Words Unlocked poetry contest, which was held by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS). Click here to read those poems, and here to read the Third Place winners.

Today, we are proud to publish “Hell’s Angel,” by Brianna, the winner of the first annual Words Unlocked contest. Below the poem are comments from the final judges.

Check back tomorrow for a look at how CEEAS put together the contest.

Poem Title: Hell’s Angel
Facility: Three Lakes High School Albany, OR

Not all angels go to heaven.

Sometimes angels go to hell.

I know this, cuz I watched you slip.

And loaded your pipe as you fell.

I didn’t realize at the time,

How hard you’d hit your head.

His radar tracked her damaged soul,

And lead her to his bed.

But she was young, and vulnerable.

And he was thirty-six.

Heart wrapped in crystal smoke ribbons,

She laid a kiss upon the devil’s lips.

Come, embrace this invitation,

To a wonderland of sin.

I told the devil, “No,”

He held a gun to my head!

Pumped that fire through her veins,

And laughed when she cried,

And all too soon, our dream

Became a real hell-ride.

Escape did come,

But in a blur.

Escape for me,

But not for her.

And this girl, that I helped ruin,

Still hides the scars beneath her lingerie

Sex is now her occupation,

Love is just a game.

The gears, they keep on turning,

But they’re bound to grind away.

Judges Comments

  • Bryonn Bain: “You have a wonderful sense of imagery! You are painting powerful images with your words.”
  • Chelsea Clinton: “This poem will stay with me for a long while.”
  • R. Dwayne Betts: “This is a painful, honest work, written with care and thought.”
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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
About John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change 1210 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at jkelly@chronicleofsocialchange.org.