Pongo Project Journal

Sharing stories of our work with teens
Feb 09
Letter to My Nephew

Letter to My Nephew

For 2021's Valentine's Day, Pongo wants to share this poem, which reminds us that even after enduring terrible hurts, even in their daily effort to make new lives for themselves in the fallout of core relationships, young people find the energy and heart to care for one another. Much love to all Pongo Poets & Readers --the Pongo Team

Letter to My Nephew, Happy Birthday
by Kalah, submitted on Pongo's website

I’m trying my best
I really am and I suppose that it's not going to be good enough
I hate how disappointing I am to those around me
I wish I was better for everyone

I wish I could give you a hug and tell you
“I am always going to be here for you, baby”
I miss you guys so much, and I wish I could see you all
You guys were my little monsters
I loved you more than I loved myself

You turned another year today, Jr.
and I am so proud of you, Papas
You are so great and wholesome
You care a lot about how others are feeling

and you worry a lot about your family
No one at your age should have to be worried about anything
I know that things have been tough without me around
I just hope that one day you will understand why I am where I am

I really miss you and love you so much,
I hope you had a great day today, Jr.
Just know that your tia loves you so much
and she can't wait to see you again
and let's hope that it's soon, my papas


Your Tia

Feb 01
"Stepping Up to Be a Queen"

"Stepping Up to Be a Queen"

In honor of Black History month, 2021, Pongo would like to share a poem by one of our authors. Like so many of the poems written by Pongo youth poets and like Black History itself--especially in the U.S., this poem is filled with resilience in the face of severe abuse. Read this author's realtime process of putting themselves back together--a process that for this poet is reminiscent of Audre Lorde's quote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

by an African American student writing with Pongo

I was hurt

I don’t know what to do
I can feel it in my soul
God, I can feel it through you
There’s this battle
that I’m fighting
This is exactly why I’m writing

I was misunderstood
I was misused
I was hurt
I was abused
I was beaten till I was black and blue
Nobody ever understood
what I was going through

I feel that’s all I really cared about
Was just not being someone’s toy
Not being someone that could always be hurt
Not knowing who I am

is what affects me now

I gotta step up to be a queen
and put on my crown
It’s a thorn crown
That’s why God died on the cross
because he knew that people in his nation
would be lost

I don’t know what to say
At times, I don’t know what to feel

I love writing
I love being myself
I love being a queen
and it’s not all about wealth
You don’t have to have money to care
You have to have a heart to be who you are
This is why I’ve gotten so far
This is why I’m cared for
and that is where this ends

Dedicated to my brothers