STREAMS6

Published by The Waterways Project of Ten Penny Players, Inc. with funding support from participating principals, N.V.C. Public Schools, N.V.S. Council on the Arts, the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and Con Edison.

Barbara Fisher & R.ichard A. Spiegel, Co-editors

Stephen E. Phillips, Superintendent .

Office of Alternative High Schools and Programs

Marcia Brevot, Sheila Evans-Tranumn, Barbara Ford, Sharon Jones, Richard Organlsclak, Sherry Zekowskl Participating Principals and Program Directors.

Barbara Fisher, Carolyn Green, Matthew Hejna-Luque, Ronald G. King, Alison Koffler, Sonia Ostrum, Richard A.Spiege.1

Waterways teachers

Thomas Perry CUNYlntem

Irene Rivera Kimberly Davis Jennifer Rosado CAS/ntems

isbn 0-934830-50-9

And all my days are trances, And all my n.ightly dreams Are what thy gray eye glances,

And where thy footstep gleams --I n what ethereal dances,

By what eternal streams.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

from "To One In Paradise"

The Waterways Project is a program of Ten Penny Players, Inc. a N.V.S. chartered not for profit 501c3 corporation.

Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, N. Y. 10304-2127

Printed by The Print Center

® 1992, Ten Penny Players, Inc.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Copyright of all work reverts back to the authors after publication. To respect the privacy of the writers In some Instances, pen names (or only first names) are used.

Participating School Faculty: Zulma Amaya, Julian Aikin,

William Almedlna, Arthur Aponte, Magery Austin, Shelly Barham, Jeannine Borkowski, Elaine Castro, Josephine Chianese, Pat Clancy, Alicia Clifford, Geoffrey Cohl, Louis Crlfo, Gertrude G. Cromwell, Virginia Crosswalth, Joan Cummings, Nell Ende, Roger Flather,

Jill Fowler-Feldman,Margaret Friscia, Hector Geager, Brenda Glscombe, Ray Goldfeder, Gall Goldstein, Renee Goldstein, Frank Grabinski, Virginia Gray, Loretta Heller, Jeannie Hernandez, Tony Hernandez,

Carol HIli, Keith Honeywell, Ronald Hunt, Patricia T. Johnson,

Marion Kanarlc, Marcia Klein, Lucy Kuemmerle, Michael LaForgla, Builder Levy, Diane Linzer, Timothy Llsante, Maureen Lynch,

Paul Malstleman, Diane Mechanic, Garl Moss, John Murray,

Dorota Olender, Marcus Philip, Zenobia Pig got, Rodolfo Rabadad,

Mike Ragon, Rudy Rodriguez, Roseanne Rose, Mattie Roter, Pat Ryan, Tom Ryan, Raul Seda, Rhonda Silverman, Brad Smith, Josephine Smith, Ron Smolkln, Peter Spiro, Sharee Stewart, Roberto Vegas, Geneva Vera.

Participating sites and schools: ARDC, Aurora Concept, Auxllilary Services for High Schools, Boys Harbor, Brooklyn DAYTOP, Bronx DAYTOP, C- 76, Camelot, Career Education Center, Clty-As-School-Bronx, City-As-School-Brooklyn, CltyAs-School-Manhattan, Dyckman Houses, Community Sponsors for Young Mothers, Dyckman Community Center, Edenwald Houses, Gowanus Prep, H.E.L.P. Bronx, High Impact, The Hub, Island Academy, Jamaica DAYTOP, James Baldwin Literacy Center, JCAP I, JCAP II, Jeffrey C. Tenzer Learning Center, The Learning Center at Goldwater Hospital, Linden Learning Center, Marlboro Prep, Neighborhood Youth Diversions, New Beginnings, Odyssey House, Offslte Educational Services, P811, Phoenix House, PRACA, Project Blend, Project Contact, The Regent Hotel, EI Regreso, Rikers Island Educational Facility, The Rose M. Singer Facility, Rosewood High School, Sadie American LYFE Center, Saint George Center, Saratoga Interfaith Family Inn, The Sprungs, Vocational Foundations Inc., You Can Academy, YWCA Teen Parent Program

Cover by George Rodriguez Illustrations are from Dover Pictorial Archives Series unless otherwise noted.

Typeset on a Macintosh lIex

using Quark Xpress and Microsoft Word

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FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND HOME

LAUGHTER Tiffany Knight

"My parents kicked me out yesterday, and now I'm going to be put up for adoption," Billy tells me.

I ask him what he did, and he says he and his brother were arrested when they were caught breaking and entering.

I tell him my parents would never put me up for adoption, no matter what I did. Sadly, Billy says, "I didn't think

mine would either, but I guess you get tired after seven kids."

We sit in silence, and he rubs

his hands as if he were summoning a genie to grant him three wishes.

But the air is still, and he

quietly says, "The police

picked me up by the handcuffs." I can see the red marks

around his wrist, and watch him out of the corner of my eye. I can see silver tears in his eyes. I want to reach out and 1ell him everything will be all right,

but instead I sit silently.

"Where are you staying now?"

I ask. "I'm staying with

my friend, Gabe, until ... "

I knew he meant until he had to go to the foster home.

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,I asked, "What made you do it?" He answers, "This wasn't the first time, but if I knew

what made me do it, I could stop. All I know is that I'll never

do it again. My brother is 18, so he won't have to go to the home. I wish I didn't have to go." I know that more likely than not,

he won't be adopted, because who'd want a 15 year old criminal? The rest of the gym class is laughing at one of the kids who is throwing rocks at a sea gull,

but Billy and I sit,

and he's not laughing anymore.

8

A DAY OF BIRTH Yvette Joseph

Watching my aunt giving birth to my cousin when I was six or seven years old is still a vivid picture in my mind.

It was late at night, about twelve o'clock, when my mother's friend woke me and my friends, who were sleeping over with me. She had told us that my aunt would be ready to give birth at any moment. We became so excited. Our first thoughts were that she had woken us up for our early morning prayer and to ready ourselves for school. But, I guessed we were wrong.

She had told us to go and wash our hands and faces.

Before we knew what really was going on, she escorted us to the biggest room of the house. When we entered the room, my aunt was not there yet. My mother had told us not to worry, because my aunt was outside playing basketball. She said that it helps her to relieve her labor pains.

Being young, I did not understand what labor pains meant.

I was just amazed at the thought of a pregnant person playing basketball. I was trying to imagine my aunt doing so. I was saying to myself that she must have been courageous. As I got older however, and watched more of birthings, I began to realize what labor pains were and why my aunt was playing basketball to relieve them.

Labor pains are pains that come when each contraction appears about every couple of minutes. It tells us that the baby is on its way. Contractions come either very severely or less severe. Every woman experiences different labor pains and deals with them in a different way. This was why my aunt had played basketball-It eased her labor pains. You have_to try and ease these pains as best as you possibly can, so you could be comfortable and more relaxed.

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By the way, while we were waiting, my aunt appeared and all the adults that were there helped her position herself for the birth. The midwife was cleaning the utensils and lay the sheets and clothes for her and the baby. While she was doing so, she explained to us what was happening. At first, I was scared, because you see water coming from inside of her. Then it started opening a little, and it tooked kind of bluish. My aunt was making noises as if it were very painful; for some women it is, and for others not that much.

Anyway, I started leaving, because I was crying and scared. At that moment, I thought that my aunt was being ripped apart. My mother took me aside and said to me, "Don't you want to see how you were born also?" So I turned back. As I turned, I saw the bluish part come through; and all the adults "0 oed" and clapped. They also smiled as they saw a little head which was covered with lots of hair. The midwife checked around his neck, to make sure that the umbilical cord was not wrapped around it. With the help of the mother, the baby kept coming out. When he was finally out, the midwife said out loud, "It's a boy!" She turned him around towards us so we could get a good look at him. He urinated at that moment. Everyone laughed, and his mother said, "He surely is a bold boy!"

Until this day I remember it clearly. I always tell my cousin the story of his birth whenever I see him, to remind him he is still younger than I, even if he's taller.

Since then, I've watched about seven or eight births: and every last one of them is memorable. It brings a joyous feeling upon me, as if I'm on an exciting exploration.

10

MY PREGNANCY Tre'lisa

The women of the world are very much blessed. We have the opportunity to bear a child. Though there are many women who have no complications some aren't as fortunate. I'm speaking from recent experience. The first few weeks of my pregnancy had me in an uproar.

Finding out I was pregnant was the hardest thing for me at that time. How was I going to tell my parents? How would they react to becoming grandparents? There were so many questions that came to mind, but these two in particular stuck.

I knew being pregnant wasn't going to be easy, but I was ready for all of the changes ... at least I thought I was. These changes would include eating the right foods, bodily changes, gaining weight and of course the baby itself.

I was only seven weeks pregnant and experiencing morning sickness. I was expecting this. I wasn't expecting the spotting which I had also begun to experience. Spotting is just another name for bleeding which can be very serious at times. In my case it wasn't serious. I called my mid-wife immediately to tell her what had happened. She explained to me it was normal, but if I continued to spot to come in to the hospital as soon as possible. The spotting stopped. That made me feel a whole lot better.

I was now 10 1/2 weeks along. By this ti me I had gotten used to morning sickness. Again, I had started spotting. It was different this time. I was much heavier than before; and now I had passed a blood clot. Once again I called my midwife Mrs. Jones. She told me to come in immediately and bring the blood clot also. She had asked for the clot because I had explained to her that it was very large in size. It was almost the size of a five year old's hand.

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When I arrived at the hospital I was examined and said to be fine. I was also told that my embryo was fine. The doctor and I both thought the clot was the baby and I had miscarried. We were both relieved to know that it wasn't true. They labeled me what they call a high risk pregnancy and put me on a two-week's bed rest. Being the good patient that I am, I served my two weeks as prescribed.

I'm happy to say I'm now 22 weeks (5 months 2 weeks) along and I'm feeling fine. The baby is also fine and kicking up a storm. As for my parents, they are taking the news better than I thought they would. They are patiently waiting for their first grandchild. Boy, is this going to be a spoiled child!

If this pregnancy wasn't meant to be I guess I would have miscarried. The Lord has given me and my baby the strength to carry out this pregnancy. For this reason I feel, along with many women of the world, I am truly blessed.

SLEEP BABY SLEEP Lisa Perkins

The baby's asleep

Wrapped in his blanket so snug Isn't he sweet? Shh!

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13

DIAMOND Dorian

Diamond is my child

Diamond is my special jewel

Diamond makes me smile when

I'm mad

Diamond is what

I live for

A TRAGEDY Ni kkiyah Alston

It's not funny havi.ng a baby.

Some girls have babies because They think they will become a lady. Having a baby is no joke,

Especially when you and your man are broke.

LETTER TO MY SON Cathy R.

Dear Charlie, I hope

that when you receive this letter, you will be of age

and able to understand what you are going to read.

When I was pregnant with you,

at the end of term, I started to smoke marijuana. After you were born,

I had to attend a drug program.

I didn't want you to be taken away from me. Your father was in jail

so I had to be your father

as well as your mother.

I took extra care of you;

you never had anything missing. Anything you needed,.

you always had it right there.

Can you find it in your heart to forgive me.

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I WANT TO THANK YOU, MOM Jose R. (Joey)

I want to thank you, mom, for caring about me

when I was in jail;

and for visiting me;

and sending me

a package of clothes, and the things I needed.

I want to thank you, mom, for getting me out of jail,

because I had too many problems: fighting, and the C.O.'s beating me for disrespecting them.

I want to thank you, mom, for sending me to J-CAP to get my life together, have responsibilities, change my attitude

and my bad behavior problem.

I want to thank you, mom,

tor saying that God blessed me for coming to the program

and telling me that God

has forgiven me

for all the negativity

I have done in New York.

15

SMILES Joshua Charest

When you're far away from home, For miles and miles and miles, Remember the good times,

The smiles, the smiles, the smiles. When you're depressed,

And think dying is worth its while, Just look forward to seeing

Your dearest mother smile.

And for Mom who thinks of me in this place,

And how it's so vile,

Just think of me thinking of you, And on my face a smile.

FROM A SORRY SON TO MOM DUKE Joshua Charest

This is a poem to my mother,

For the simple fact, I love her. Man, she doesn't know how much, i miss her warm and loving touch.

'I wish I was with her at this moment,

I hope she knows for my sins I repent. It's hard not seeing her, I'll have to cope, 'Cause the only thing I. still have is hope.

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NO OTHER ONE LIKE YOU Charlotte W. Riley

(Dedicated to my mother, Chatyene Riley)

You gave birth to me and gave me life. If I was blind, you would be my sight.

I disobey which is not fair.

You're always there to love and care. You stick by me through thick and thin; Always there, my very best friend.

You yell and scream to make a change, But I know you love me just the same. You tell me always to give it my all.

I know you would catch me if I would fall. The way you love me is, oh, so rare; Always having time to share.

When I am hurt and will riot speak,

You hold out your hand for me to reach. Whenever you smile, you light up a room. When I am sad you change my mood. You notice things in me that I don't see; But most of all you love me for me.

There are so many reasons to love you Just because of the little things you do;

I am glad I have no other

Than you, Chatyene Riley, my beautiful mother.

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A DREAM BIRTHDAY Shariff Moore

Happy birthday, Olivia, for a lady real sweet;

This is from your grandson, Shariff nice and neat. I can't be with you, but I really wish I could;

I would hug you and kiss you like a real son should.

Roll out the red carpet, because you're the birthday queen; Then stroll on the scene in a long limousine.

I'd throw on my tuxedo and you'd put on your long dress; Here's a nice pair of shoes and some diamonds to impress. We'd go out on the town and dance for a while,

Then eat a three course meal (yeah) seafood style.

At this restaurant they'd play the violin,

Ladies are jealous because their husbands are admirin' Your style, your physique, you're unique so they're eyein' you; Not to mention all the drinks that the other men are buying you. Afterwards a play or an opera if you wish,

This is your night, so it's your choice, Miss.

There's nothing left to do, so we ride around the town, And talk about good times and compare them to now. Well the night is over, you let down your hair,

Then lay in your bed so you can dream about next year. I know it sounds good and it will happen some day,

(If God spares life) in exactly that way.

It's all in my mind, but dreams do come true; So happy birthday! I love you.

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RUDE AWAKENING Jabbar

"Now you all be quiet in there!"

"Okay, grandmother," I said smiling to myself. She turned and moved down the hallway, taking

conservative steps. I nudged my little brother and told hi m to quiet down. They were always noisy at Bible Class, and since I was the oldest of my six brothers, I had to keep them quiet.

I sank into the soft white leather sofa and began to initiate my escape from the noisy concert of family by disappearing into the January issue of "People Magazine." I reached for the magazine that lay on the white coffee table in front of me, but my attention was switched to a red and white blur under the table.

I reached down, and with my pointing finger, slid out a white and red laminated card across my grandmother's flawlessly polished wooden floor.

"Hotel Taft 1.0. Card," I read out loud. "Five foot, six, eye color brown, thirty three Ralph Avenue," was written, or you could say branded, into the small rectangle.

I flipped the card over and looked at a frozen piece of history in the face. My mouth dropped open as I looked into the photograph. The card there showed a photograph of a young lady, someone whom I had never seen before.

It was a beautiful young black lady's face that illuminated the card. Her long dark jet black hair draped down over her shoulders gave me the picture of an icy black lacquered ski slope twirling at the ends with a few delicate curls. Her unspoiled brown skin looked as if it had been bronzed by a god; and her eyes, God, her large beautiful eyes, they seemed to overflow with energy and raw ambition. Her long dark eye lashes helped to create a fragile feminine quality

19

about her generous face.

I was stunned, but even more shocked when I looked down at the name under the photo, "Agnes C." screamed off the card at me. For a couple of seconds I just sat there, dumbfounded, and though the room was filled with all my brothers, I seemed to be alone.

"Could this be?" I said to myself. "Could this be the same lady who just a few minutes aqo walked in the room and told us to be quiet?"

I leaned forward on the sofa and looked down the hallway at grandmother as she moved around the kitchen making dinner. It wasn't the same lady who was in the picture.

She had changed. I looked at the hair that was once an icy black lacquer, now it was a dull white and gray ponytail drawn up to the back of her head. Her skin was no longer that unspoiled bronze that it once was; now a dark aged scar trailed along her left ear to her mouth, and her eyes, they brought sadness. I didn't see that raw ambition any more, it was replaced with a sense of woes.

t got up off the sofa, card still in my hand and walked down the hallway to the kitchen.

"Grandmother, was this you?" I asked her.

She turned and looked at the picture and smiled. "Yes Jabbar, that was me," she said smiling.

"When?"

"Oh, a long time ago. That was back in 1943, when I first came to N.Y."

When you first came to New York?" I asked curiously.

"Well, where did you live at first?" I asked respectfully.

"Down South, then I came to New York to make a living," she said with her smile fading.

It was then that I had understood why she had changed so much. Grandmother had grown up down South, in the heart of prejudice, the cluster of racism. She had been alive during the days when blacks had no true civil rights; were

20

referred to as "niggers," treated as outcasts and banned from the most basic things that the Constitution guarantees to provide. She had been alive to see and feel the wrath of such things as the KKK, the Civil Rights movements and the Civil Rights leaders' assassinations.

She had traveled the deadly road that so many black people of the South had traveled and never completed. Grandmother had moved to New York hoping for a better life, a new found self respect, and the chance to live freely without fear, free from the belief in white superiority and black inferiority, freed from the scars of a racist society.

I could understand why she looked so lively and full of ambition in her picture. She had thought she would find a new life. Then I understood where it all went; the long underpaid hours working in the hotels as a housekeeper, the racist discrimination she had tried to escape only to find it reinforced in a slightly milder form.

Her husband had died, and she was forced to be a mother, a father, and a black woman in a society that used fascist methods, physically and mentally to prevent blacks from up grading themselves.

The fire in her eyes that once burned now only flickered; she was forced to give it up to provide for her family, and still overcome the racist ideals of this country. Her body now ached from work, and her face bore the scar of a Civil Rights march gone sour. Even her hair seemed to give up.

I understood now why she had changed. She couldn't avoid it. She had been forced to live in a world that hated who she was, despised what she stood for, and did everything imaginable in its power to make sure she never prevailed.

Now as I looked up at her, then down at the card, I understood why I no longer saw the woman I had once seen in the picture.

21

CONFUSIOUS William Gallego

His name is Confusio us. He's 17 years old, a teen-ager.

He likes to dress street style: baggy pants, gold teeth, rings and chains. He always seems to have a new pair of sneakers to match the color of his pants. His personality cannot be determined as of yet. You see, he has a split personality. At home he's quiet, helpful around the house, sensitive, patient and understanding. In other words, a normal teen-ager.

Confusious lives a different life out in the street. He plays the role of a gangster. Once he reaches the streets he becomes a cold blooded person, always afraid someone is going to get him killed or try to kill him as he did to many like him. He trusts no one, not even the people he hangs out with. He lives by the gun and is afraid of someday dying by it.

He knows about having fame and being known in the street; looked up to and feared at the same time. He'll stop at nothing to create a name for himself. He doesn't care about what people might think about him. Being a bad guy in the streets for him is an honor. Confusious creates his fame by having good clothes and people telling stories about him, how he robbed this person or when he got in a shoot-out with two people and killed one of them. He never sold drugs but always had money in his pockets from the stick-ups he and his people made.

22

It's not that he has any disabilities, in fact he's smart but doesn't use his knowledge for good things. But like most young teen-agers he wants money fast. To him money is very important. With money there's power, with power there's fame and it's all part of his game. He tries to be a role model to many young teen-agers wanting what he has, trying to gain the respect he has. In the streets people know his name and girls know his style. They fear him and love him at the same time. They would do anything for a chance to be with him or be seen talking to him.

All of this happens in the streets but at home to his mother he's just a normal teen with a boring life. If only she knew when she walked in the street with her son that she was looked up to as Confusious the gangster's mother. When he thought of it he laughed inside and thought to himself, if she only knew!

HOME A.J.

Home seems a place that exists Only in my mind.

My heart is in twists,

My head is in turmoil, tied up in a bind. I search for reality, not believing

This is real.

Tension builds with no relief, Frustration I cannot conceal.

I thought my life was my own, A right of birth forsaken,

Now the seeds of justice sown, My freedom has been taken.

23

MISSING Leena Helen Negron

It was three o'clock in the morning when I awoke. All that I could hear was the movement of the second hand on the Vietnam shaped clock that hung from the wall. I remember looking down the long hall, scared to take the first step. It was so very dark, but I knew I had to check to see if he was there. I needed to feel secure, to know he was there to protect me. As I crept my way down the hallway, I remember promising God that I would be a good girl -- just let him be there. I opened the bedroom door to see the emptiness. For the thousandth time, since age four, I was alone.

It was seven o'clock in the morning when I awoke. In one hour I would be on my way to second grade. Before I walked out the door, I had to witness him use his needle. Swaying from one side to another, he eventually would pass out. He would dream of being at any other place besides home with me.

It was seven o'clock in the morning when I awoke. Another day of second grade was waiting for me. He no longer lived with me. He had left. I felt so hurt. Once again, I was alone.

Several years passed without my seeing him. All throughout junior high and high school, I wondered about him. Trying to imagine what he looked like was my most curious thought; especially since I couldn't remember his face at all. Feeling very depressed one day, I sat in front of the East River crying. I didn't notice the stoned junkie sit down beside me until he inquired if I was all right. When I turned to him, I thought to myself how that must have been the most he had ever said to me in my entire life. Without him even noticing who I was, I replied, "Yes," and then headed for home.

24

My son turned fourteen months old today. My husband is a terrific father to him. He loves his son very much and spends more time with him than most young fathers do. Unfortunately, it's not enough for me. I think that, if my husband spent twenty four hours a day with him, it still

would not satisfy me. I have a phobia of my son growing up asking the same question as I did, "Where is daddy?"

FATHER TO SON Erin H.

(with apologies to Langston Hughes)

Son, life for me

Ain't been no ride in a limousine, It's been a beetle buggy,

With springs coming out of the seats, A broken steering wheel,

Making wrong turns,

And running red lights,

Going too fast and getting stopped. I have no license or registration, But I keep on moving

Until I get to the high roads.

When I make it to the top of the roads, I am going to trade this car in

For a stretch limousine.

25

INCIDENT Sharon C.

One incident 1 had Was very, very sad:

I yelled and I screamed all day at my stepdad. He yelled and screamed back;

Then we had a fight.

The next thing you know

He was out of sight.

I wonder why things like this Happen to me.

Is it because when I was little He put me over his knee?

I love him ---

I feel it deep down inside ---

But then I wonder, will that love always hide? We argue and scream,

We stomp and we shout,

Then I stop and wonder,

What are we arguing about?

My mother just stops

And starts to cry,

"When will you stop

And show your love inside?"

26

NO NAME Keisha Moore

My birth certltlcate says, "female Davis." It says, "female Davis," because my mother and father were having an argument over my name right after I was born while I was still in the hospital. The hospital people knew that my last name was Davis because it was my mother's last name. Since my mother and father couldn't come to an agreement on my name, it has been left as female in place of the first name on the birth certificate for the last sixteen years.

Originally, it was going to be Tikeisha Israel Davis. Then it was going to be Patricia Ann Davis -- that's my mother's name. Then when my mother got married, my name became Keisha Davis Smith. I liked that last name, because it is my father's.

Sometimes, when she got mad at him, my mother used to call my father, "Shitty Smitty." If he came in late, she would say, "Where you been, Shitty Smitty?" And he would get angry, roll his eyes, purse his lips, then wash up and go to sleep. My mother used to just laugh. I'd be in listening. Now that my mother passed away, he doesn't let anyone call him that. When I used to get mad at him,1 called him the same name, but I whispered it so he couldn't hear me.

27

A TIME IN MY CHILDHOOD Carolina G.

A time in my childhood that I very much remember was the day my family and I went fishing. I was about six years old. I remember that the place where we were was over a bridge. There was a very wide driveway that I was scared of. There were two sidewalks on each side. Between each sidewalk there was a very narrow driveway for bicycles and motorcycles to go through.

My father was busy fishing alone with my mother, and my older sister was busy playing with dolls. I was crossing the narrow street back and forth; and I stood in the middle. All of a sudden, I saw this huge bike coming towards me at a very fast speed. I guess I was in shock, because I just stood still. He couldn't stop. So, I got hit by the bike.

I remember falling on my forehead and screaming. My parents turned around and ran to me. My mother picked me up and my father started arguing with the man. The man kept on apoloqlzlnq, but my father still argued and was about to hit him. Then suddenly, I felt something really warm running down my face. So, I put my hands over my face and then looked at them. My hands were full of blood; and that's when I fainted. The next thing I remember was waking up in a children's hospital with a big band-aid on my forehead.

My mother told me that I was okay, and that we were going home. That is one incident that I'll never forget, because I still have the scar on my forehead.

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WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP T Love

What is a friend?

To be dissing you? No.

Loyal, and caring. A friend is some one Who will like you for who you are;

Not what you are,

Not for what you drive, Not how you live.

What you wear- that doesn't matter.

You don't need gold, money, rags-n-riches. You need your self respect.

You need to respect others.

A friend is someone you can pal around with; Joke around with.

A friendship is something that should be life long; Not life dissing.

That's not a friendship.

I have had that kind of experience with people. They say they are my friends,

but are they?

I don't think so.

You should give people a chance And judge from the inside,

Not the outside.

You shouldn't test people to see how they are. That's not friendship.

A friendship is very delicate;

Just as even more important - a relationship Between a girl-n-guy.

That should always be long lasting.

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SECRET DREAMS OF FANTASY Donna G.

Love and friendship are very delicate; If you ruin it or destroy it

It won't come back.

You'll feel messed up.

As Ice T would say,

"You played yourself."

Secret dreams of fantasy for no one else to know;

I keep myself together

with my mystic private show. There's things I want to happen, but only in my mind.

It happens when I'm sleeping, 'cause awake it's hard to find.

Secret dreams of fantasy; they take me into space. Now I lay me down to sleep; I leave without a trace.

If I should die before I wake, relaxation is my world;

I pray the Lord my soul to take back to a baby girl.

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FROM ONE FRIEND TO ANOTHER Shariff Moore

Shariff Don't jump-you have a lot to live for.

Andrew

My heart is aching and I can't take it anymore.

Shariff

Well talk to me, don't take your life away.

Andrew

My wife just died in a plane crash today.

Shariff

By taking your own life, you're just making matters worse, Now it's going to be your wife and YOU in a hearse.

Andrew

Without my wife my life cannot be complete ...

I feel like a raw piece of meat or a bum in the street. I know in my heart that I can never forget her,

But if I jump, that's my chance to be with her.

Shariff

I know you feel that way because your wife is gone,

But taking your own life is wrong, you have to be strong. Think of all the lovely things that you've both done together, Those memories of the past will last forever.

Just the thoughts in your mind are enough to give, Because as long as you live, the longer she lives. And remember, you have other people that love you, People that care and will always think of you.

Like myself, remember, I'm your friend,

Now what am I supposed to do if your life were to end?

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Andrew

I hear what you're saying, but my heart can't take it.

Shariff

I'm a friend you can lean on and together we can make it.

Andrew

You know, the more I think about her, the better I feel, It's all in my mind, but it seems so real.

Shariff, I'm glad you were here, now I see things clear.

Shariff

Whenever you need someone to talk to, I'll always be there.

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN AnaG.

, have seen the last of the rising sun, For my death is soon to come.

No longer willi walk the sandy shores. Or with my eyes the sky explore.

No longer love will I seek

For then I'll be down beneath.

For my life I will not seize,

Until my life has been complete.

So until then, I shall sit and wait, Until God and I have made our date.

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ON A COLD WINTER DAY Richie

When my friends and I were about eight years old, there was snow all over the place. I was wearing a green jacket, white pants and a yellow hat. My friend, Tommy, was wearing the same thing except his hat was orange.

We decided to build a house of snow and ice. We took his green garden hose and wet down the snow and started to build the house. It was done in about one week.

We were in the house on November 23 for about ten hours before the house melted. It fell on my friend and killed him.

The funeral was on December 2.1, a month later. All of the people were crying and asking God why he had to die; and if he could come back.

THRIVING FOR JUSTICE John H.

Death, Death plays an important part in this cycle. Death rids us of the old and worn down to make way for the new, the fresh.

The smartest of all wise men have not found a way around Death's grasp.

Therefore, Death is sly and cunning. No matter how elusive you can be, Death can find you. If you try to hide, Death might just be waiting with open arms, as its Hfedraining hand glides across your face and leaves a limp shell lifeless upon the ground.

But then again, who am I to say? For I am still running.

33

URBAN SCENES

34

WANTING TO LEAVE A BAD NEIGHBORHOOD FOR SOMETHING BETTER

Roxanne N.

Trying to get an apartment in New York is very hard. I've been trying since 1988 and living in a hotel.

I've got an apartment now. I've been living in the building for ten months; and the city is going to close the building because it is very old. There have been too many fires in the building. People there are fighting every day, robbing the store and robbing one another. During the summer, a shot killed a boy on the corner. You can't even walk down the street without someone trying to sell crack to you.

Now I'm trying to get out of the neighborhood. Everywhere you go, there are drugs and violence. I will find something a lot better than where I'm at now if I can save some money and leave. The most important thing is the safety of my family. That's why I want to leave a bad neighborhood for something better.

35

GROWING UP IN THE HOOD Poppa

I grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Brownsville). In the "ville" people live the dangerous life day in and day out. There are mad robberies and homicides and the crime rate is only rising. I guess that's why I'm locked up now. I never really had a chance to do something with myself because those around me were always helping to bring me down. It looked cool to be robbing people and going back and forth to jail.

Now I'm here and it looks like I'm going to stay for a while.

I wish I realized what lay ahead for me when I was younger. I most certainly would have changed my path in life, but now it's too late. It's not too late for those of you making a career out of crime. Change your lifestyles now because if it could happen to me it can happen to you or anybody. Nobody is too slick for the law. Just remember, when you're growing up in the hood, life ain't nothing but bitches and money. Just try to do it the legit way. And for those from "8" ville I know life has been hectic, but try to represent in a quieter way.

Peace.

36

ORDINARY SUMMER DAY Tyrone Tucker

aka Ratman

It was early one summer day morning,

Got the f--- out of bed, stretched my body and yawned, Then went into the bathroom for a nice cold shower,

I was in the motherf---er for at least an hour.

When I got out of bed I grabbed the Aim and brushed my teeth, Then I went up to the kitchen for a bite to eat.

Breakfast was over now it was time to get dressed,

I went into my wardrobe but didn't take out my best, Just a little something that made me look right,

Because I knew I'd change again before the end of the night. It was my Guess Jumper, my Reebok pumps or the Jordans, And my little Gucci link that I be sportin'.

Took the garbage outside to grab the papers,

It was so damn hot you'd catch the vapors,

Then I went back in to grab my hat

And on the front of the hat spelled out "RAT." Rat is short for Ratman,

It's a name that a lot of people don't understand. Right now I don't want to dwell on my name,

So let's just get back to the everyday summer games. I was chillin' on the porch for a little while,

'Cause I was waiting for my boy that they call Child. Me and Child, we did the same thing every day.

He picked me up in his car and we'd go on our way. We be going to this place that we call the Ville,

Because around that part of town they're not afraid to get ill.

37

Chillln' on the corner drinking beer and getting drunk, Smoking skunk waiting for the next punk

To beat down because he shouldn't come around, Knowing that this isn't his part of town. Sometimes we seemed to get carried away,

And there's another Black down on this hot summer day. I know that this happened once around your way,

So in the summertime the place to stay

Is around your way.

ICE CREAM Sandra

I love when the people buy me for those hot summer nights so that I can cool them off

and make them feel good. Also, I love when the kids jump up and down for me

just to taste all of my flavors.

38

IT'S A BROWNSVillE THING Jamel Allen

Running around robbing and stealing Is what I was dealing.

One after another, left or right, Day or night,

I'm going to rob that brother.

Going to get raw because he went in the store, Went to the crib to get the "nine,"

'Cause I think it's showtime.

Throw on a bulletproof vest in case it gets too loose. Spotlight's on me now I give my nine a boost.

A hundred miles and running, can my nine kick? Now I'm doing twenty-five to click,

Ain't that a trip?

Might as well dream away, The joke's on me now, And I ain't feeling fine,

Wish I was home busting off the nine.

39

PERSONAL HISTORY Jeff

It all started last year in May, running with my posse. I was what you would call a small-time drug dealer. I sold anything from an eig.hth of a key to five grams of cocaine.

Ii had loaned a so-called friend five grams and wanted my money back. He didn't want to give me my money back; so we began fighting. I was getting the best of him. On May 18th, 1990, at one a.m. I pushed him into a fence. He rose from the fence and shot me in the abdomen.

It's a tragedy for something like that to happen. My friends were horrified. I was going to die. My best friend Fernando cried with anger, "Jeff got shot." And my other best friend was too shocked to say anything and cried.

After I got shot, I started to walk to my house. That made things worse. It resulted in hemorrhaging. The paramedIcs didn't think I was going to make it.

I had been shot on a street called Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. I was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. There they performed surgery on me for four hours; and had to stop because of loss of blood. They had to wait until my blood rebuilt. I had already lost four pints.

I endured a lot of pain from the original operation. When I woke up, I freaked out. It was like a trauma. I saw my intestines and all these staples in my stomach. I tried to tear the tubes out. They had 10 come and tie me down.

Well after they began the second surgery they proceeded with the colostomy. This was the result of the twenty two caliber slug going through the intestine and the colon. When the doctor told me the colostomy was only temporary, I calmed down.

40

My first stay in the hospital was one and a half months in which I didn't eat anything. I lost a tremendous amount of weight. The day I got out I went to a beach party with my colostomy. I was drinking, got intoxicated and ended up going to the hospital that same night. The colon almost got infected because it was still on the outside sewed to my skin. I was throwing up every five or seven minutes because they didn't drain the bile correctly. I stayed five days in the hospital and went back a couple of times again. The closure of the colostomy took place about three months later..

I calmed down a lot after the closure. But I was for a little while suspicious of everyone; I was always looking behind my back. I was kind of what you'd call paranoid. When I moved with my mother to the Regent Family Residence three months ago, I could relax as I was out of the neighborhood. I started thinking.

EDUCATION Dartagnan Lowe aka Moet D.A.D.

We need a book and a teacher to shine the light on us.

Education is the key so all of us can be free. We've got to educate the mind and free the soul.

The people of today don't need drugs to fly. Come get some of this education and you can fly anywhere you want. Drug users are very persistent. When it comes to drugs, if they don't have it they go out and do anything to get it. Why can't we be persistent in getting an education? All we need is a strong mind and patience.

Stay in school people of all races.

41

REALITY Jamel Allen

Growing up in the world is real, Little kids running around with steel. It's either ki,11 or be killed,

That's the fact of life.

Some people running around getting sliced, Others go around catching "wreck,"

Just to get a rep, what the heck!

A nine to five is better than a gun,

Hunning around busti.ng off dum-dums. Now he's marked for death,

Throw on a bullet proof vest

To relieve the stress.

Some people think they're hard to kill, Others think they have a license to kill. Some say the world belongs to them,

I say pretty soon they'll be going to heaven, That's what happens when you pick up a Mac-11 , Or a three-fifty-seven,

Or any gun for that matter. Life is what you make it, So make the best of it.

Be the best you can be, Don't try to be like me.

42

LIFE IS F. .. ED UP Country

To me life is f---ed up because nuff things are goin' dat me don't understand. Like for instance

people getting shot up every day for no friggi n' reason at all.

Look at me for instance.

I'm eighteen years old and my life is f---.

It wasn't my fault dat I got shot, but it seem like somebody

is getting me back

for what I have been doing.

Now dat me g'ot time on my hands me just sit down and try see what me gonna do about it.

Now dat I'm in a wheelchair.

To understand me

(which I think no one does)

you have to understand one thing:

I don't scare at nobody.

But being in a wheelchair.

Really scared me sometime you know.

43

Thinking of all the things dat me used to do out there

and now me can't do it no more. Half of me can't even more know bombu cloth.

Me no wanna be like dis ya for de rest of me life.

But if push come to shove,

there's nothing me can do about it.

As me always say what happen happen and there's nothing dat me can do about it but live with it.

Jah know me no want to.

44

ON MY OWN A.J.

When I wondered about the facts of life, And how to become a man,

Who guided me? Who nurtured me? Who took me by the hand?

When I was harassed and needed protection, I had nowhere to turn,

No shoulder to cry on, no open ears, So on my own I learned.

When 2+2 was a riddle as perplexing As rocket science,

And a book was beyond comprehension,

I said, "Teacher please, I need help to read," And ended up in detention.

I left the system without looking back, They didn't care, they weren't concerned. With book in hand, I became a man,

And on my own I learned.

45

NEWVORK T. Rogers

New York, New York is a hell of a town when the sun comes up, I head uptown.

You get to the

station to buy a token, but you sneak through

the gate when no one's looking.

As you get off the train you been riding all riight, there's the 'frankfooter' man. Alright!

He g.ives you a frank, sends you on your way; that will hold you for some of the day.

My brother's on the corner drinking wine,

"Hey, what's up my man?" "Hey, I'm fine."

As I turn the corner, out of sight, I see

my man, Joe, who's been smoking all night.

46

47

Jumping back on the trai n, goi ng downtown, I bump into some friends just hanging around; they were pl~aying some music on

the L, just jiving around; oh what

the hell.

People dropping money in the hat, oh well,

that's the end of that.

Got off the train

went to the store

here was a man aiming a forty four; dropped to my knees, out of sight,

prayed everything would be alright.

Heard two shots; looked up to see there was the man coming for me; got to my feet ran out

the door. Oh God New York, I

can't take any more.

48

MY LITTLE KINGDOM Sam Liotta S. Jr.

(Inside My Kitchen)

Before you step through the doors of my kitchen the gleam of the cappucino machine

will blind you like a flash of lightning.

It stands at the entrance

Like a sentry.

Everyone rushes around frantically As if it were Santa's workshop

At Christmas time.

If I had a mustache

I'd look like the man

On the chef Boy-R-Dee can. If I had a crazy white hairstyle With the white I wear

You might mistake me

For a mad scientist

In my chemistry lab.

In a place hot as hell,

I would cut pieces of chicken like the executioner

at a beheading.

I stir, chop, slice, dice, mix and puree. My hands are my utensils.

My hands are my blenders.

It will be done,

as a picture of the past Following in his footsteps is his dream of success.

49

PETS, PETALS AND SEASONS

A HANDY BIRD Roberto O.

I was walking down the road flipping on my hands and my words, and suddenly I became a bird.

I was flying high in the sky"

and did not know how to glide,

I did not know how to land.

That was the end of my hands.

MY STORY Lilly

Living in a house, apartment, streets or jail; being a cat isn't easy. When I get upset, I like to tear things up. When I'm happy, I like to purr and let people know I want to be petted. '

When I'm hungry, I signal a meow. I'm very neat. I like to be kept clean. I'm purrrfect.1 never look like a mess. I like to brush my hair with the stroke of my tongue. I am gentle, but if you get on my nerves, I can scratch you. And, if you want to be my friend, call me Kitty.

50

NICHELLE AND JENNIFER Shakenya B.

Nichelle stood in front of the door. She heard the wind blow. She reached her hand to the door. She opened it and there was a little kitten there. She let it in and gave it something to eat. She was wondering if the cat belonged to anyone.

She put up a sign to let anyone know where the cat was if it was lost. The cat had no collar on its neck. The cat seemed to be healthy. The cat was a girl.

Nichelle was going to name her Jennifer if she got to keep her.

One day, they were sitting on the sofa looking at tv when someone was at the door. It was the eat's owner. He'd come for his cat. It seems that his daughter was playing with the cat outside of the door. The eat's owner saw Nichelle's sign in the hallway as he was checking his mailbox.

Nichelle was hoping that she would be able to keep the cat and now Nichelle's all alone. You see, Nichelle just moved there and didn't get a chance to make friends with anyone yet.

51

A HOUSE CAT Mary

They call me Fluffy. I live in nice, warm surroundings. At night, I run and play while people sleep. Whenever I want to be petted, I rub against a leg. My food is always waiting for me. When it's hot, I just yell till I get some. The people in my house always pet my tummy. I like that. I get up and run after them when they stop.

ALISA THE JAGUAR Alisa M

I am a jaguar, fast and fierce. But, I'm a different kind of jaguar; I have earrings in my ears. I live in a cool jungle hut with other wild animals; like tigers, lions and bears. Oh, these are my friends and family.

At the end of the year, the bears usually disappear. We usually give a party before the new year. We have turkey, deer and plenty of pints of beer. We hang at the Forest Left, one of the best night clubs in the forest.

We argue and fight, but no one bothers. I go with the girls because we are all in one dance group called, "The Jag~ lets."

52

WHY Craig H.

Why is this man sitting here? In whom does he put his trust? Look at this place ---

As both our houses turn to dust. Why is this man sitting,

staring off into space?

His beard grows even longer Than the whiskers upon my face. Me, the obedient servant;

Him, the master I call.

Him, eating from a table;

Me, grabbing scraps that may fall. Why is this man sitting there,

With that old hat he wears like a crown? Him, holding his head to the heavens; Me, laying mine close to the ground. Why is this man sitting there,

With that crown upon his head?

Him, remembering trophies he's captured; Me, remembering friends that are dead ... Why is this man sitting here,

Thinking of days gone by?

Sharing all of those memories

Almost makes me cry.

And all the days we've shared together, And all the days we'll spend,

I'll always remember that old man -This dog's most loyal friend.

53

CLOUDS IN THE HEAVEN David L.

It's the morning and it feels brisk in the morning. I slowly walk out of the cabin feeling the cold around my entire body. It's dark in the cabin and I feel my way to the door and finally open it.

I smell the dampness in the air as well as the dew on the grass. I hear the wind blowing in between the trees and in one of the trees there are a few big holes, and when the wind blows through the tree I hear a humming that is hypnotic.

By the cabin, I see a lake that is large and peaceful. I also hear a breaking point in the lake, but I see it is a dam. The water is pouring over the side and splashing against the rocks below .

. 1 start walking on a path and I see a constant glimmer all around me. I am walking down this path and I hear birds chirping in the morning, frantically, as they awaken. The sun is rising and it starts getting warmer and I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face and of course I close my eyes because the sunlight blinds me.

While my eyes are closed, I see the color red glaring the sun through my eyelids and it's a beautiful color, like a soft reddish color that is really indescribable, but imaginable.

I look around and to my shock, the sun gleaming through the trees resembles diamonds of immense proportion.

I proceed walking down the path, distant from the cabin, and alii can do is feel the warmth surrounding my entire body. But you see, it's a warmth from within because 01 my surroundings. All the colors around me give off a warm, satisfying feeling.

54

55

As the afternoon approaches, there is a chilling feeling and also a feeling of warmth in the air. The sun's strength is weaker as the night falls as well as the sun. The moon begins to rise and the night also starts to set. There is a silence that is incredible, and again I close my eyes to imagine and see a different perspective of life in darkness. I close my eyes and there is total darkness, I see circular light images that have a beauty of their own. It's like fireworks.

Lights of pure white, and as the night falls, my imagination runs wild in my dreams like clouds in the heavens.

SHE'S A ROSE LaTrecia

She's a rose petal falling from the stem, leaving her family behind.

He's the farmer who picks her up and replants her with his heart. They grow together

until it's time to bring her home to Mama. Mama's like a lady, a fairy of the world who gives them best wishes.

Then it's time to create a home

by planting his seed once more.

SALTY AIR David L.

As I lie here rested upon the sand, I can feel the moisture of the salty air slowly caressing my entire body, as well as feel drops of salt water slowly forming on the edge of my lip and also on my chest. I begin to sit up slowly, feeling each individual drop unite and roll down my chest.

For each one that fell, there was a drip-drop sound that ended when it hit the sand below me. The sound it made was incredible to hear. It was like tapping a piece of paper lightly with my index finger. I just sit there gazing into the ocean. As I began to fantasize, the water turned to an aqua blue color and the ocean suddenly split in half from where I was sitting.

The sun glared and beams of light pierced the ocean's depths. The beams of light bouncing off the different colored corals with many lustrous beams gleamed through the separation of the ocean. In my excitement and amazement, the colored beams began to dance, the ocean began to swish and swash, and a cool caressing breeze surrounded me entirely. In the great separation in the ocean appeared some dolphins.

They were beautiful mammals in an array of colors and they danced about on their hind fins. They would try to talk, but all they made was a cackling sound as if they were laughing in great delight. In their laughter was all the beauty their world possessed. They splashed around and the water slapped against the rocks; the drips from them appeared like diamonds glimmering. The divide in the ocean was a playground for the dolphins leaping from one side to the other. In my amazement, though, I just sat there enjoying the vista before me.

56

I slowly lay back and took in the warmth of the sun and the water splashing around me, just wishing that the sea would take me away.

The sea slowly caressed me entirely and was beginning again to take me on another adventurous escapade.

57

AN ISLAND Laurie Cumella

As I walk along the beach,

I stare at an island within my eyes reach ... This island seems to be following me,

As I walk on ... it looks so free ...

Free as the winds and the birds flying high, Free as the flowers and the blue sky,

Free as the moon and the stars shining bright, Free as the sun which shines with deHght. ..

Walking on I heard it say, "Think of me,

As free as you may. I'm not as free as you think I am. There's a lot of water surrounding my land ... "

FIRE ISLAND Jonathan C.

It is about twelve o'clock on a hot dry day. The boiling sun is beating down unbearably. I am on a ferry ride to Fire Island. A cool ocean breeze offers temporary relief from the scorching heat.

As we drift farther and farther from the docks, the land starts appearing smaller and smaller until it has all disappeared into the distance. The waves cause the boat to rock in a soothing way. Above, I can hear the sea gulls chanting.

After a few minutes, I begin 10 notice land coming into sight. As we get closer, I realize we are almost there. The ferry docks and the people start to crowd off the boat. It is beautiful here. The air smells fresh. It appears to be quiet and peaceful.

After I meet with my friends, we start to head off to the other side of the island. When we get there we see a beautiful beach that seems to stretch on and on endlessly. For the rest of the day we go swimming.

As six o'clock rolls by, we pack up and look one last time at Fire Island. From there we get on the ferry and head back to the mainland. Exhausted from the long day, we start home.

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59

SNOW T.G.

I am little white flakes which fall upon the floor. I start out as water but I freeze and turn into something beautiful. As I drift slowly to the ground I look down. J see little children dancing around with smiles on their faces and bright red noses.

Some people don't like me because they can't drive in me, but I know deep down I bring out the little children in them.

As I drift closer and closer I start to cry. I see men In an alley with ripped up brown clothes and alcohol on their breath. They try to hide under newspapers, but I know I am hurting them. Suddenly the wind blows and I float silently to another place. Beautiful mountains hover above white fields. Jagged bare branches extend from brown trunks. They fill the scenery with patches of brown and gray. The cool wind blows on me keeping me cold all the time. Finally I reach the ground and mix in with all of my friends. I am very peaceful here. I go to sleep.

HAIKU Carolina G.

Spring's pretty flowers, trees with new baby leaves, the wind, a cool breeze.

ROSE Michelle R.

My rose to you is my heart of love. My blood pumps in my veins

Just like the petal of a rose.

When a rose blossoms it is fresh and new Just like my love is for you.

THEY SAID Charissee Robinson

They said love is like a little bird on a sunny day. If you let it fly in the sky it will flyaway.

Now I'm sitting here. I'm crying, wishing you were here. Let me hold you in my arms, you'll never fear.

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LIFE IS LIKE A LEAF Jennifer

FALL Phinese

Life is like a leaf

that falls from a tree. It can fall quickly ... or it

can fall

slow.

When it hits the ground ... it's all over.

When the cold wind blows

The leaves go down to the ground They dance round and round.

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62

LOVE, SEX, AND THE BLUES

BE Ngai Greene

Be as gentle as the newly fallen snow

so that I might let all of my inner feelings show. Do not believe what is not there

for illusions are not real and shall soon disappear

Do not throwaway what you are feeling inside, for if you do, you shall never grow

but only as time goes on eternally disappear until nothing remains.

Do not run away from my gentle touch the one your body cries out for so much. When you lie down, alone at night,

I will be watching you as you sleep

to protect you from all that is empty and unholy.

Dig deep, my love, for life is too short to hide away due to hurt. Allow me

to search your mind to find your true self and then we can become as one

and then my job will be done.

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A MOONLIGHT Santa Rivera

We were walking' slowly hand in hand, making footprints il the sand. You held me tight and we looked into each other'~ eyes.

I told you it was love I saw in your eyes. You whispered to me, "I love you." And you meant it. I told you that you didn't have to say it, because I noticed in the way you hold my hand, and in the way you gave me our first kiss.

UN PINTOR Santa Rivera

Un pintor puede pintar Una rosa y un clavel Pera no puede pintar

EI arnor de una mujer ...

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LOVE Donna W.

Love,

you can compare it to a two-way street,

a deep thought,

a confusing puzzle,

the ever-changing seasons, hell when it's over.

The color I'd choose for love is white because you can create the type of picture you see fit for your love.

The sound of love would be an unsteady heart beat.

You seem to never know

the answer to the question--How do you feel?

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L.

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EMOTIONS Freddie L.

Love is the way I feel for my girl;

and I hate to see any guy standing next to her. Joy is what I feel when she's right next to me.

Fear is what I feel 'cause if I tell her that it's jealousy, she might just walk away.

If love was a color, it would be red; because red is bright and it can be sweet. Red can be too bright,

and just make you blind to see the truth.

If love was a sound, it would be like a piper playing the same tune over and over again.

The first few times, you like the tune, then you start to get tired, and you don't want to listen to it anymore.

Love is like a balancer. First, when you start, the balancer is leveled, but then the balancer has two different sides,

the good side and the bad side.

If it falls on the good side, you'll probably end up getting married. If it falls on the bad side, it was never meant to be.

LOVE GOES ON Tanya M.

(to Mike M.)

Love continues well through the years;

It's what makes you happy and comforts your fears. Even if you can't see them, because they've passed on, Just always remember --- your love carries on.

I LOVE YOU Kenneth Martinez aka K.C.

I love you.

I am telling you now

So that you never need to wonder Or to feel unsure.

If I wait for the perfect moment To tell you

It may never come.

And if I just assume that you know, You may never be certain.

So I am telling you now,

And I shall tell you

Many times again ...

That I love you.

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68

THE GIRL WITH THE IRON FIST Feliberto Rivera

When I was 13 after my mother passed away I met a girl.

The love I felt for her was indestructible. We were going together for a year, and then she moved in with my family. People would tell me that she would do this and that with my friends, but I wouldn't believe it. Then my father found out that she slept with one of my best friends so he kicked her out.

I told my father, "If she goes, I'm going." So I left. Then I started working at a carnival to support this girl. I was only fifteen but I told them I was nineteen. Five months later they found out my real age sol had to leave.

She had told me that her mother kicked her out of the house. I went to the Bronx to talk to her mother and asked if she could go home. Her mother told me that she had never kicked her out.. When I talked to my girl, she said her mother was a liar. She told me she couldn't go back because her mother used to beat her. Even though I didn't believe her, I stayed with her. She had my heart in an iron fist.

Then I started selling drugs to support her. I got her an apartment with a roommate, and I went back with my father. One morning I got arrested. I stayed in the system for three days. Instead of her coming to court, she gave me an excuse. She said she didn't know where the courthouse was; but it was two blocks from her place. After they released me, I found my friend in the bedroom and my girl in her panties and a tee shirt in the living room. That broke my heart. We had a fight; then I left.

But the grip of her fist was so tight around my heart that I couldn't get it loose. I kept on selling drugs. J didn't care about my life. It was like my life was over. One day the cops raided her apartment. I went over before the raid,

because one of the fellas on the block knew a cop and told me about it. Instead of her listening to me and leaving the apartment, she stood there overcome by her roommate who was telling her to ignore me. I just looked at her roommate, shook my head and left.

I went back to the spot. About two hours later, my friends told me that TNT was going to roll. I ran to the building and up to the apartment. I tried to talk to her again, but she wouldn't listen. About two hours later I saw her and her roommate coming out in handcuffs. At first she gave me the look like she didn't care. As the cars were driven away, she started crying. She told me she loved me. Her mother took her out of custody, because she was only fourteen years old. Every day I'd go looking for her. Her mother blamed me for everything that happened, so she moved. Her family wouldn't tell me anything about her. I found her three months later. I got back with her because I wanted to find out if everything my friend said about her having another affair behind my back was true. She finally told me the truth. She had slept with three of my friends. I stayed with her for two months more then I gave up all hopes for her. To this day she still comes looking for me.

Now I have a wife and a son. She knows alii ever wanted was a son. All the love I ever felt for her, I feel for my son now. If she only knew he's the key to my heart. There is nothing that she can do to change that. What she did to me, I can't ever forgive her for. Now I'm happy with my lovi ng wife and son.

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II

I

FORGET HER Robert Rios

Forget her. Down your way will come another.

Forget her beautiful eyes; concentrate on her lies.

Forget the way she kissed you deeply and her way of teasing. Forget her beautiful smile,

the one which brightened your day and remember the games

that she would play.

Forget her slim body

begging for your caress.

Just because she is beautiful, it doesn't mean she's the best. Forget that princess-like face

and recall that she can be replaced. Forget all about her

and the love that you had. Forget the good times, remember the bad.

Soon your way there will come another who'll probably be a much better lover.

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I'LL NEVER GET OVER YOU Robert Rios

Why did I do it

When deep down I knew That if you ever left me I'd never get over you

I hurt your feelings

I made you feel blue Now I'm hurting knowing I'll never get over you

Seeing you walk out the door And knowing we were through Started me to realize

I'll never get over you

Hearing the door slam

I didn't know what to do Because I knew in my heart I'll never get over you

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INCARCERATED VALENTINE Pedro Martinez Van Dam

Valentine, I am invalid at this time

Because instead of seeing beautiful bright hearts I see dull brown suits. Who do I

got to blame; it's a shame.

If I were with you I would love and caress you go to the gardens of love,

Softly talk as we drink champagne

But now that I'm here I have myself to blame.

Now that I've ascended from the streets;

I miss your smile, love and chocolate covered treats And with your lips I would make a feast.

My love to you is pure, especially when you stare; l've tried to make it up with balloons and teddy bears For the biggest fear I prepare

I'm afraid that when I come out you won't be there

Please, I hope my valentines, you won't share Who do I got to blame when my heart

is burning in eternal flames

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THE PENAL BLUES Angel Ayala aka Pita

flay on my bunk wondering when

I will be with my family and loved ones again. The feelings I have are impossible to cope, But in this jail alii have is hope.

I call my girl to tell her I love her,

Saying to myself, "I hope she's not with another." I go to court praying something will change,

But they bring me back feeling the same.

I don't see the judge and they don't tell me nothing new, So I lay on my bed still with penal blues.

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I 'I

THE DAY OF CONTINUOUS BLUES Frank D.

It was a cold and dreary day And I was sad,

It was a cold and dreary day And I was sad,

From the moment I woke up, Things started getting me mad.

I went to make some coffee, But the coffee pot broke,

I went to make some coffee, Butthe coffee pot broke,

I reached for my cigarettes, So I could have a smoke.

So I tried to watch some tv, Specifically the news,

So I tried to watch some tv, Specifically the news,

But when I turned it on, it didn't work, This just added to my serious blues.

I called the tv repair man Early that day,

I called the tv repair man Early that day,

He called me back that night

To say he couldn't come 'round my way.

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75

After that, my girlfriend called, She just started yellin',

After that, my girlfriend called, She just started yellin',

I had to take the phone from my ear, 'Cause it felt like my head was swellin',

My case of the blues

Is really getting me down, My case of the blues

.15 really getting me down, But hopefully by tomorrow, A new light I will have found.

A TEAR Jackie M.

A tear in my eye

It is still so ve ry warm When it falls it's cold

THE WORLD AND ITS PROBLEMS Ann C.

When :1: look around the city all I could see

is people suffering.

When I look around the world

alii could see

is people without homes.

When we look at all the homeless people they are stoned

'cause they wonder why they should fight for their lives

living on crack and drugs.

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RIKERS ISLAND BING Alan Michael Bergamini

Being in here

makes me want to cry.

They say losers like me deserve to die. I often think about committing suicide; more and more I think I might try.

I think of the day I will be free;

back with my people in New York City. Sometimes it's hard and I can't thi nk straight. I learn more every day

the true meaning of hate.

I can't take this place no more. Everything in the world seems distant and far.

I have no other way to release my inner rage.

I feel like an animal trapped inside a cage.

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

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WE FALL DOWN, WE GET UP J.W. Booth

It was in the winter. I was hanging out with my friends

(who I know now were the wrong people). One niqht.we decided to break into a supermarket. We had the place to ourselves. Once inside, the feeling of control was overwhelming. We filled shopping carts with stolen goods and proceeded out the back door. It wasn't very long before the police spotted us wheeling shopping carts down the street at three o'clock in the morning. We ran away, but were eventually caught.

I spent that night, my first night, in jail. It was on Friday. A day that remains vivid in my memory. For on the eve of my sixteenth birthday, Judge Roach remanded me to Spofford Detention Center for Youth. Thus beginning the worst birthday weekend of my entire life. So far, there were no birthday greetings, birthday cake and no presents from family and friends. During my three day vacation (HA! HA!), I was told when to eat, when to shower and when to sleep. Suddenly, my freedom was taken right from under me. That sense of control of my own life was gone. I felt powerless. , promised never to put myself in that position again. My time served was an eye opening experience, and I have been on the straight and narrow since.

So, there is some good in all this. It's never too late to change and never too late to learn. Knowledge is power! No matter how bad off you think your life is, remember this: I once complained, because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. It has me not taking things for granted; and always comes to mind when I think of people who are less fortunate than I.

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THE BIG HOUSE Marado King

About a year after I entered Rikers Island, they woke me up at three o'clock in the morning and told me to pack my stuff. "You're going to Elmira!" Before they put me on the bus, they handcuffed me and put shackles on my legs. The iron shackles clamped around my ankles felt like someone was pinching my skin. The bus ride was long.

I woke up when the Corrections Officer started banging on the gate. He yelled, "This is Elmira!" As the bus entered the gate, I saw razor sharp barbed wire rolls on top of the fences. Guards with shotguns were all over the place.

As we got off the bus, two C.O.'s grabbed me to make sure I didn't fall. My legs were still shackled. We walked slowly inside the building where they unshackled us. When we got off the bus, we were marched to the main building. As soon as we stepped into the "Big House," the captain came up to me and said, "Boy, this is Elmira. This is not Rikers Island. Rikers Island is a playground, boy. You're in the 'Big House' now." He cursed at me and he cursed my mother and said, "If you start any trouble or sh-t, you die."

As soon as the captain finished talking to us, we were taken to a big shower room where we had to strip. They put our clothes on the side. Then they told us to face the wall and put our hands up against it. Then they turned fire hoses on, spraying cold water under high pressure all over our bodies.

In every prison, every captain has a special inmate who has been in there for a long time. If you flip on a C.O. or a captain, the captain's inmate will kill you or hurt you real bad and nothing will happen to him.

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One day, some guy jumped off the chow line and stabbed a kid in the head. Everybody began fighting each other. I began defending myself. The riot squad, a whole bunch of C.O.'s, started beating the inmates with their sticks. The hits I received from their clubs made one of my legs swell up.

I said to myself, "This is not for me. I've got to get out of this place as soon as possible."

After the riot was over, I went back to the "house." I thought, "The best way to get out of here is to do my time, avoiding as much trouble as possible."

In every group, there is always some little clown starting trouble. One day, on the way to chow, one of these "clowns" ~- a stupid, ignorant punk -- said to me, "What's up with your sister? When is she going to come to see me?" He had overheard me talking on the phone with my sister earlier that afternoon. I had asked her to come visit me. She's three years older than I am, light skinned and pretty. She has a two and a half year old daughter, named Monique, my favorite little niece.

The way he asked about my sister was insulting. He deserved an ass whipping. But I just walked away and didn't pay any attention to him.

Every day after chow we had to sit down on our bunk so the house gang could clean up. Once when a C.O. told me to sit down on the bunk, I sat down, but I got up very quickly to get a Walkman from my man in the next bunk. The C.O. told me to come out into the hallway. Then he said, "Didn't I tell you to sit down!?" Then he slapped me in the face. He had no right to hit me. The C.O. 's are not supposed to touch the inmates unless it is for self defense or to break up a fight. Despite the rule, some C.O.'s hit inmates all the time, as long as there are no inmate witnesses.

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I felt like killing him. Five C.O.'s were standing right there next to him. I was by myself. Alii wanted to do was to punch him in the mouth with all my might. Instead, I just walked back to my bunk without doing or saying anything.

A week later, the same C.O. came into the dorm and said

,

"Marado King, pack your bags. You're getting released."

The captain gave me tickets to get on a bus and train to get home. His final words were, "Stay out of trouble. Don't come back."

I came home. I have been going to school, trying to change and improve my life ever since.

WHY DID YOU LEAD ME ON?

Carlos Mendez

In the beginning it was fun, But why did you lead me on?

We were making so much money, But why di.d you lead me on?

I got my first expensive car,

Had a lot of girlfriends,

I went everywhere I wanted to go, Even the place I didn't want to go, Like to jail.

You didn't tell me the consequences-So why did you lead me on?

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ON THE RUN William Alexander

There once was a kid who was on the run for shooting at people, thinking it was fun. One day he planned to rob someone,

take all the money, shoot and run.

He pulled it off, shot a man and ran free. With the money in his hand, he felt at ease. He got back around his way,

thinking he was the man;

when five guys walked up to him, pointing guns to his head.

The kid was scared

and didn't know what to do.

If you were looking down the barrel of a gun, I'm sure you wouldn't know too.

The kid was begging

and screaming for his life, but little did he know

there was someone he had shot. The kid didn't know

because he had shot so many. He thought it was someone trying to make a penny.

The kid ran, trying not to get hit. Two of the man's bullets

struck the kid in the neck.

The kid hit the ground,

looking up at the sky;

while all the bad things he did raced through his mind.

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SPREADING FEAR John H.

Spreading fear as you near closer to the victim,

talking 'bout how you are going to slam him, ram him, kick him, 'cause see,

I mention that attention is what you're looking for---

two fools strapped with tools as you step through the door. BUT the owner of the store was down with the corps,

he was ready for war

'cause in the register drawer,

he had blades, grenades, guns and more. Like a maniac, he let off shots galore,

I believe about four,

as his bullet kissed your wrist, your iron fell to the floor.

It was all pure luck like the flip of a coin,

'cause your man lay dead with a slug in the groin. You didn't even get to slap him the final five,

you, still alive, deprived, when cops arrived.

Now you're in a trance in the ambulance, thinkin' 'bout the bus when you used to look in, don't put up a fuss, 'cause first central booking.

In the courtroom your anger burns, then turns into fury, you curse as it gets worse 'cause it's you versus the jury. It's like you got a need to feed off of hate,

that old judge didn't budge when he sent you upstate.

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A small, little box is now your home,

those hard rocks be chewing chumps to the bone. When it was time to get pay, you was in it to win it. but now you're passing the day minute by minute.

As those minutes devour the hour, you need maximum power when you step in the shower.

The suspense is intense when you're washing your feet 'cause when fists filled with fury and your face meet. you'll fall down to the ground,

and then come the feet,

they just beat, and beat, and beat, and beat. Now what is going to give,

your head or the concrete?

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86

I-GOD Jamar Davis

He was I-God. He was around 18 years old. His wardrobe was mostly army pants, sweat hoods, denim jeans. He was a stubborn young man who wanted to do everything his way. If there was a girl that was trouble, I-God would mess with her just for the challenge. If he saw something he wanted on somebody else, he would go after it regardless. l-Goo was also quick to react to a situation. One time when we were down South together, he shot some guy in front of a police trailer because of the way the guy was looking at him.

On the other hand, when he was with his friends he was just calm and funny. Around me he was just a brother. He would do anything for anyone of his people. One summer one of my friends left his car in some southern state because of a wheel alignment problem. But he couldn't . remember what state he left it in. All he knew was that it was in a Holiday Inn parking lot. I-God took me, my friend and another guy in his jeep to look in every Holiday Inn down South trying to locate the vehicle. We finally found it after about 16 hours.

I-God did just about everything he could think of for loot.

He had a spot in New York but wanted more money so he moved to the South. He set up a spot in South Carolina but every time he got himself set, he had to visit jail. He was able to accumulate a jeep and a trailer home but he never made "Gatti" status.

I-God and the rest of the "Top Ten" used to pull childish pranks when we were kids. Then we got involved in robberies, then drugs. We were so bad it got to a point where me and him were the only two in the foundation left on the street. Everyone else was locked up somewhere. Then we got into bigger and better things and I myself got locked up. This started a struggle in the crew. With me, Rick, Jane and Skates on the Island, I-God didn't have any crew look-outs. We were all facing football numbers. He had to go solo in his business. He was trying to get me a bail together since I was the only one who had bail. He was determined to reunite our crew. In the midst of his money struggle he still got my bail. In the week I was to be released, he got things straight for me to come home to.

Then he just dies on me. What a life to lead. But it's all part of the game.

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WHAT BLOWS UP MUST COME DOWN Sean Hyson

Yo, my name is Sean and I'm no joke,

When I come from up north it's time to sell some dope. When I was in New York, my pockets were never broke, Had this, had that, I knew I was dope.

Late nights, my frog lights,

Rolling uptown where the girls are hype. My S.M., who's in it?

The girls can't see, the windows are tinted. I know I'm bad, I took the lights,

Five-O didn't mess with me,

My car is hype.

I like the way I'm living,

It took a long time to get where I'm at.

I had to lie, steal and kill, even run off with packs. I was on the move with this and that,

Until I got locked up and lost my whole stack. My car, my gold, my house and my fame, Now I sit and say, "What a shame."

"What blows up must come down!"

This is Sean from the uptown.

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AS MY LIFE GOES ON Sean Hyson

As my life goes on I realize there's no friends in my life.

The only friends .1 have are my mother, father, kids and wife. Yes, I am a father of three, with twins and another set on the way and a little boy who misses me. The reason for his tears is because I am an incarcerated dad. It's hard to support a family of three for a 17-year-old man. Yes, I have worked but the money was not much. To feed a family of three and a woman is tough. I never robbed or stole from my family to eat, but there had to be a way to make ends meet.

I started selling drugs on the streets and within a year's time I had my own thing. I was doing very fine. My family was well taken care of and my girlfriend had got on her feet. She was working and making good money at last and never had any more thoughts about the past. As my money started to come in I bought myself a car. My girlfriend put her foot down and said I was going too far. "Now that we are on our way, stop and get a job."

But I did not listen and my car became my new home. I was still taking care of my family, even took them down South. I never thought that I would get locked up 'cause I had too much good luck. One day hanging out on the block my workers did not come in yet.

"What's going on? It's almost six o'clock."

A customer came up to me and asked, "Do you have any rocks?"

I said, "How many do you want?"

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She said, "I want one and my friend wants three." As I gave them what they wanted and walked up the street, a blue car pulled over and it was the cops. "You're under arrest."

I said, "For what?"

"For selling to an undercover cop."

Now I'm going upstate with a one to three. God gave me time to realize that life wasn't all about money, and for me and my family to work things out.

P.S. To you brothers out there who have a family to take care of, do it the right way. Don't let anyone stop you from doing what you think is best for your family in life, Peace.

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DRUGS AND CRIME Cassandra F.

I think that drugs and crime are common for many factors.

The first being that so many people are uneducated about drugs and the effects that they have on a person until it is too late; and they are already addicted to drugs. If more people really knew the effects of the drugs then more of them would stay away from them.

Another factor is where these drugs are being sold. In this day in most of the minority neighborhoods practically every block has someone or even a few people who stand on the corners or the middle of the block selling drugs. This leads to easy availability for the person that uses drugs. After someone is turned on to drugs and becomes addicted that person can go to virtually any corner to buy these drugs.

'This is where the crime comes in, once a person is addicted and feels that their body just has to have this drug they want money to buy the drugs. Being that most of these people are relatively poor, they do not have the money to support their drug habits, so they go and commit any crime that they have to just to get money to get high off the drugs.

Besides the users, there are the people that sell the drugs.

Being that they make so much money off the people that buy the drugs they are actually fighting over who gets to see their drugs where, This brings on more crime. The people who sell drugs think that it's such a thriving business that they sell to anyone who comes by asking for it. Because of the price at which they sell the drugs, people think that they are getting it cheaply, but once addicted all they want is more and more.

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The drug pushers are out there encouraging people with no money to buy drugs and these people would commit any kind of crime just for money. Plenty have even gone so far as to kill their own families for drug money.

The solution to the problems are very simple. Put more of the tax payers' money into drug enforcement police to clean up the streets and get the drugs off every corner. Long term would be to be stricter on any type of vehicle that brings drugs into the country. Check ali boats, planes, cars and people.

Drugs should not be decriminalized or legalized. I think most of the problem comes from people being able to get drugs so easily. Making it legal for someone to sell a drug that takes over a person's mi nd would be the worst thing to do. I think the people that sell the drugs should get harsher sentences, because not only are they committing crimes, but they are causing even worse crimes: the ones being committed by the addicts who would lie, cheat and kill to support their drug habits.

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IN THE U.S.

Joy Aviles

In the United States, prison has been the preferred method of rehabilitating criminals. But prisons are almost always under attack as being over-crowded, violent and unsanitary. Rehabilitation used to be a modest goal, but little is known or heard about it in these days. Plato said a person that is subjected to punishment should emerge "a better man or failing that less of a wretch." The point is that the punishment should come to terms with redeeming pain, not cause debilitating harm. If prisons are to be settings of punishment then the pain of prison should be rehabilitating. Inmates serve hard time and prisons are there for that purpose. Not many prisoners are rehabilitated by the time they spend behind bars and most learn little of value there mostly because they adapt to prison in immature ways and the outcome is that they leave prison no better and sometimes considerably worse than when they went in. But people can live normal healthy lives in prison and come out to live normal healthy lives out of prison. Inmates can learn something worthwhile during confinement. The best and most valuable lessons that prisoners can learn are those that enable them to cope maturely with the pain of imprisonment. Prisoners that cope maturely handle

problems instead of ignoring them. Only a handful of prisoners cope maturely with the pressures of prison life. Those who don't can be helped and taught how and will have a greater perspective on solving problems first in

prison and later in the free world.

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COPING WITH IT ALL

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ARRIBA, MEN

Jose Martin "Duba" Morales M6ran

ARRIBA, MEN.

PONTE DE PIE HOMBRE

no porqua ta hayas caido, No te puedes levantar, sigue Caminando,

par al camino que te guie, tu propia luz.

todos somos distintos, pero lIevamos el mismo rumbo. ponte de pie hombre,

y sigue andando, reflexionando, que es 10 que haces, recordando 10 que hiciste,

viendo con buenos ojos hacia adelante,

no porque te hayas tropezado quiere decir que rodaras, sigue caminando, aunque en tu camino, no encuentres, ningun manantial para calmar la sed,

sera mas duro, pero lIegaras al mar, 0 al rio. ponte de pie hombre,

cubre tu cuerpo, sin descuidar el alma para las tormentas que hay en el camino,

y resguarda tu corazon, mirando hacia todos, deja que alguien 10 invada, sin herirlo,

sea tu campanera 0 tu amigo,

ponte de pie hombre,

no te dejes lIevar por ilusiones falsas,

si tienes la tuya y sientes que es buena, muestrala ... sin que se rompa,

solo sabes que eres tu y ella. " uno mismo ... ponte de pie hombre 0 mujer ...

porque todos tenemos que vivir,

Sin implorar morir,

todos tenemos metas, que queremos alcanzar, la vida siempre nos cobra alga ...

ponte a pensar .. , Y 10 unico veras ...

es el precio ... del esfuerzo.

ponte de pie hombre ...

y apoya la rodilla, si sientes que no puedes andar ... 95

GIVE EVERYONE RESPECT Bernard Collier

We got to love one another not for his or her color; and we got to stop fighting one another and have a good time. I hate to see someone get killed for jewelry, or an eightball jacket, or for a drug. We don't need this in our schools and our homes; because it hurts to see a little boy or girl using drugs and using guns to kill someone for respect, or drugs or money. Some people will sell drugs to their own mother. What's more important--you, your mother or drugs? We got to stop acting like hoodlums.

Jail is not the place to be. To love is a big feeling. Today someone can say I love you and tomorrow they can say I hate you, but sometimes they don't mean it. I know in your heart you got to love somebody. God can help you a lot, but you have to help yourself before someone can help you.

We got to stick with the pencil and paper and not with a gun or a drug, because God is watching you.

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I WISH I WERE NOT SO AFRAID Pamela Andrews

Of being in this jail. This is my first

lime here. And I was so scared. I pictured This place to be like a prison movie. As

The months went by I learned how to cope With my situation. If it wasn't for the Lord, Jssus Christ, in my life, who gave me strength And courage to get through each day. I

Would have never made it this far. But still

I wish I were not so afraid.

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ONE WISH Usa Perkins

If I had only one wish I'd wish for everyone on this earth

to love one another

and not look at each other as different

look at one another with equal eyes and treat everyone as your brother

TO MY FANTASY GIRL John Marte

To my fantasy girl, The girl of my dreams, The one I hope for; She's alii need,

No more.

If you can find her, My heart will be free, My love will rise

Like the sun over the sea. That's all I need,

No more.

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MY TWO LOVES Leena Helen Negron

How the guilty lived with no conscience.

How the innocent lived with unbearable pain, How lives were stolen throughout the dark night, But can anyone place the blame?

Confusion, destruction, anger and death,

My people suffered the pain of a thousand years, It was supposed to be an insignificant war,

But to this day you still see the tears.

Confusion, destruction, anger and death, My country was killed by its own failing, She wanted her freedom, but had no faith, For what she lacked she is still paying.

It was a war my people never should have seen, It was a war my country lost from the start,

Boys were taken, men were born,

And hatred was planted for the Vietnam part.

What my people don't understand,

Is that my country was the innocent one, It was raped and then killed,

Only to be left with the Viet Congo

Some Americans were left with death,

Some Vietnamese were left branded as the bloody knife, I, on the other hand,

Was left with nothing, but life.

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