July 14, 2014

Pacific Lodge Boys Home Offers Fellowship, Poetry


Nearby and adjacent to Topanga’s foothills north of Mulholland, Topangan Maggie Brammall was setting up the annual fundraiser for the Pacific Lodge Boys Home in Woodland Hills.

She had filled at least 20 baskets with accumulated yard sale items for the raffle and some high-end items, among them prints and photographs by Topanga artists, for the silent auction. Since 1923, Pacific Lodge Youth Services (plys.org) has been providing shelter, safety and therapy to adolescent boys, ages 13-18, who are experiencing psychological, emotional or behavioral problems. On that overcast November day, four young men read their poems, their gifts to the assembled patrons who support the facility.

While the Messenger cannot publish their photos or give their full names here, on that day they stood tall in the fullness of who they are and where they come from, a little nervous, uncomfortable, but determined to overcome the obstacles of the moment and open a window on their lives—for us and for themselves.

“Today, my pain meets paper,” read C.H., age 15, and with that phrase, you knew that simple exercise of pen meeting paper was an essential step in his journey.


Today, my pain meets paper

The emotions I feel are deeper than the deep blue sea itself

I was in these streets

Where brothas is packin’ heat

A lot of young’ns tryna eat

And me?

I was the same

I used to rob, shoot, steal and bang a gang

I was out late with no place to sleep

So flockin’ was a mando

For rent signs and open windows

I was sleepin’ in bandos

It gets worse if not that

‘Cause no for rent sign means sleeping in a Laundromat

Top Ramen and change of clothes in my Jansport

Living life day to day wondering what do I stand for?

Or why do I stand at all?

All I know is that I walk alone

Way too young/But way too grown

Need something to ease my mind

Come to think of it I lost my daddy when I was only nine

How I miss my daddy dearly

Oh, yes, I do

My pain that hasn’t met this paper…

If you knew

—C.H., age 15


I spent a portion of my life going down a bumpy road.

I didn’t care where it went, just where it brought me

I look back and see the trouble I caused and the pain I felt.

There’s nothing I can do to change it.

But there is something I can do to make it better./I do my best to forget.

But it haunts me like a nightmare.

A nightmare I can’t escape.

Oh, how I wish I can change the past.

But the past is there for a reason.

And that is why I am still here.

Not to change the past

But to change my future.

That bumpy road I once walked on

Has disappeared and is never coming back.

I have now found this new road

Where there are no bumps or cracks in them.

I can now move on and not have to worry about that road again.

—S.S, age 16


Life is like a shooting star

How fast it flies by

You get old, then you die

Start to ask God why?

Can’t we live forever young?

And live infinite lives?

So everyone could be rich and drive in foreign rides

Poverty is like a trench

That one is born in

But you make it to the top

You appreciate what you have

When you’re somewhere you don’t want to be

You start to live miserable and sad

But you don’t take the time

To make good out of bad

Use it for what it has

Don’t hate it for what it lacks.

—A.R., age 17


My mind is filled with pain

But there is no one to blame

Love is filled with misery

Broken dreams and broken hearts

There is no more room for love for me

That is all that I can see

For all the things that I can be

Time was when by that I can never get to see

I don’t know what to say to you

My heart is broken here for you

Nothing more that I can say

But just don’t stop loving your pray

—E.Z., age 17