Published by The Waterways Project ofTen Penny Players, Inc.
(a not for profit corporation) with funding support from participating principals, N.YC. Public Schools, Learn & Serve America
and the N.YS. Council on the Arts.
Barbara Fisher & Richard A. Spiegel, Co-editors
Stephen E. Phillips, Superintendent
Office of Alternative High Schools and Programs
Belinda Barnes, Kenneth Bernstein, Margaret Bing-Wade,
Franklyn Brickler, Shirley Edwards, Anthony Embriano, Judy Goldman, Rochelle Granville, Coran James, Sharon Jones, Ellen Kirshbaum,
John Lee, Timothy Lisante, Jerry Long, Janet Mann,
Sharyn Marr-Wetjen, Michael Mirakian, Ellen Poje, James Reed, Lois Rekosh, Geneviev Richards-Wright, Jean Sansevera,
Donna Shaneson, Steven Stoll, Colin Thomas, Marie Torchia,
Jack Usuriello, Maritza Vega, Ruthellyn Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Alan Werner, Loretta White, Sherry Zekowski
Participating Principals, Program Directors and Administrators
Ofelia Rodriguez Goldstein, Matthew Hejna, Ronald King, 'Ibm Mitchelson, Thomas Perry, Rodolfo Rodriguez,
Leila Riley, Paul Takis
of zeal sparkles with real fire, and not
of sun and moon.
Ralph Waldo Emerson from Nature
Streams has been selected by librarians at the New York Public Library as a recommended book for the teen age reader for seven consecutive years.
We thank the young adult librarians under the leadership of Marilee Fogelsong for this honor.
The Waterways Project is a program ofTen Penny Players, Inc. a N.Y.S. chartered not for profit 501c3 corporation.
Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, N. Y 10304-2127
Printed by The Print Center
© 1996, Ten Penny Players, Inc.
School faculty members recognizing and publishing student poets:
Paul Auerbach, Norman Benjamin, Charles Brandwein, J.A. Brathwaite, Debbie Browne, Jennifer Browne, Jane Califf, Sal Canale, Joanna Chin, Mary Ann Cornell, Kerry Dowling, Paul Douglas, Olga Economos, Bert Ephraim, Chantal Firstman, Margaret A. Friscia, George Goldschlag, Maura Gouck, Eleanor B. Goz, Joan Granston, Florence Hector, Jo Ann Hickman, Chris Johnson, Stuart Kaufman, Roslyn Kay, Bernie Kramer, Lucy Keummerle, Alison Komer, James Lavali, Miriam Lock, Luzmila Machado, Joan Martinez, Cosbie Mbele, Louise McKenzie, Max Mendes, Barbara Merlis, Matt Meyer, Nancy Morrobel, Al Nickerson, James Patton, Kissoonlall Ramkaran, Dennis Regier, Michelle Roberts, Judith Rosenbaum, Paul Rotondo, Jonathan Shapiro, Reina Siallos, Mary Simeni, Sheila Slater, Madeline Slovenz-Low, Frank Sullivan, Wendy Thorpe, Gail Tuch, Angelita Untalan, Linda Wulff, Barbara Youngman, Rose Ziti
Student contributors attend the following NYC schools and programs:
Adolescent Alternative Day Program, Austin MacCormick Island Academy, Auxiliary Services for High Schools, Beacon School, BedlStuy Outreach, Brooklyn College Academy, Brooklyn Technical High School, Bushwick Family Residence, Career Education Center, Center for Continuing Education, Cobble Hill Nursing Home, Concord High School, Dunlevy Milbank Children Center, East Third Street Respite, EBC High School for Public Service (Bushwick), EBC High School for Public Service (East New York), Frederick Douglass Literacy Center, High School Redirection, Jamaica Learning Center, James Baldwin Literacy Center, Jeffrey C. Tenzer Learning Center, Kennedy Education Enrichment Service, Lower Eastside Prep., Maimonides Hospital, NYC Public School Repertory Co., NYC Vocational Training Center, Program for Pregnant & Parenting Services, Rikers Island Educational Facility, Saint George School, Saratoga Interfaith Family Inn, Shorefront YMHA, South Bronx Job Corp, Street Academy, Town and Country Family Center, Youth Options Unlimited
Cover Photo Barbara Fisher Book Design Richard Spiegel
of a Woman's Heart Doris Nieves
9 Moments Sonia T. Gordon 10 Stravitz
Ben Felton 11-12
The 125th Street Massacre Freddy Muriel
Colleen Francesca Lee 16-17
The Argument Josephine Cherry 17-18
My Mother Angdust
My Story Lena Mustafa 19-20 Small Biography Angdust
STREAMS 10 Table of Contents
Part 1 Songs and Stories
Music Starr Shell 2
This Song Is for You Patrick Vilmenay 3
On My Block Priscilla Hawthorne 4
During the Weekend Doris Acevedo
Rhythmic Sound of My Life Teresa Mejia
Forbidden Dance John Barnwell
My Country Antoinette Taylor 8
How My Parents Met Carlos Alvarez
The Good Times Tarus Hardy 23
Chip Off the Old Block Lordikim Allah aka L. Boogie 24-28
A Day in the System John E. Brown
The Life of
A Chinese Gang Member Jack Ho
We Almost Made It There!
Akbar Muhammad 33-34
Poem Ordette Colon 34
My Father Angdust
35 Incarcerated Fathers Lamont Bryant 36-38
Death Mask Melinda Padin
A Trip Down Memory Lane by Gary Brown (Abdul-LatifD
Use Your Head Luis Rios
We See Him Coming Dylan Tucker
Haiku Mervin Budham 46
J ermaine Stokes 46
Tears and Triumph
The Color of Ashes Sherisse Alvarez 48
The Child Karin Monsanto 49 Watching Him Go!!! Cinemon Joy Sobers 50
Anger Lordikim Allah 50
Tears with the Pain Claudette Velez 51-52 Emotions Dean Deida
Why Things Are the Way They Are
So Alone Sabrina Carter 53
Inner Part Anthonee L. Pinnock 55
Rainy Days John Padilla
aka J. Blaze/aka Chin 56
My Mother Precious Wilhams 57
The Scariest Thing Tanika Ortiz
Beware. It's a Scare.
Jesus Gonzalez 59 Mataja Coleman 60 Carlyle Hall 60 Losing a Friend Chepyrl Harrell 61
When I Sleep Althea Serrao 61
Diana Ramos 62
A Crush Tashema Allen 63 Haiku Lisa Kraus 63 Wondering Dante Ihsan 64
The Time That Brought Me Happiness Yan - Xia Xiao
Wishing I Could Fly Equasia Henegan 66 Strength Chrissy Buono 67 Lakesha Anderson 68
Thank The Lord For Mama Karin Monsanto
Even Though We Are Far Apart
MyGED Tashika Coates
Teachers Kevin Gillespie 71
Believe in Yourself Johnny Santiago 72
About This Book Lisa Carrero 73
My Life As A Poet Andrew Lewis 74
Grace Turner 75
Si Ella Supiera Pony
Alone Elizabeth Ortiz 76
Para Xiomara Pony
77 Someday Karin Monsanto 78
Una Noche Conti go Maritza Collado 80
ABC Poem Kevin Wells
Haiku Melodi Jones Clint McLeod 82 Destiny Karin Monsanto 83
Ends and Emblems
Nicholas Lopez 85
Who Am I?
Gwynn Glasgow 86
In the Beginning Kevin Francis aka Kool Kev 87-90 Robert Campbell 91
A Reflection Tina Amado 91 Myself Naomi Francois 92
Giving and Receiving Paloma Allen-Davis 92
Family Problem Richard Florencio 93
16 Candles Janelle Taylor 94
Time Carlos Soto 95~96
In Loving Memory of Sheldon J. C. Suragh Erica Black 97~99 Sheldon J. C. Suragh 99
Death Is Seen
By Adolescents' Eyes Orlando Heredia aka Mad Lion 100
Harry C. Daugherty 101
I've Searched Chama Robinson 102
Final Awakening Andrew Lewis 102 Wanting You Yonaleska Russo 103
It's Not the End Venus Payne 104
Life and Death Sharyn Sjohn 105
Dew Life Yan~Xia Xiao 106
The Most Important Person In My Life
Jaklyn V. Olson
La Vida En El Bronx Catalina Moreno 108
Edna Gengenbach 110
Lara Mogilefsky 111
Black Shades Tanisha Crichlow 112
Roads Samuel Rodriguez 113
Dream Artur Rabinovitch 113
My Treasure Sam uel Rodriguez 114
He's My Child Janice Garcia 115
I Love Them Both Jorge L. Mulero 116
A Father Should Be Shand ora M. Moore 117
Mom Stanley Jerome 117
Son to Mother Josh Wolinsky 118
I Never Knew; .
I've Always Known by Lordikim Allah aka L. Boogie 119-120 Responsibilities
of an Incarcerated Dad by Angel Rivera 121-123
I Own That Jamal Baker 123 L.A.PD.
Jeffrey Cradle aka Kool-Aid 124
no hope Renata Anne Balev 125
This Park Claudette Velez 126
Ingrate Christina M. Lopez 127
Show and Tell Danny Barrera 128 Summer Day Rodin Ramirez 129
Music by Starr Shell
Music is art.
Music tells stories.
Music expresses feelings; Whether happy or sad. Music deals with emotions; Feelings good or bad. Music is joyous
Music is sober
When feeling drunk.
Music is jive.
Music creates feelings.
Music is soap to wash away tears. Music creates people.
Music is a society
Dealing with life and death. Music is the jewel of my life.
This Song Is for You by
This song is for you Because it is true. This song is for you
Because it is from the heart. May this song bring
Us together whenever we're apart. This song is for you
And for you only.
It cannot be combined, copied Or stolen. For this song belongs
To two hearts, and two hearts only. May this song last in our
Hearts and souls every single
Day and night.
These are the words, the Words of inspiration. With these words may
We always remember that Words are there
For me and you; and That is the truth.
On My Block by Priscilla Hawthorne
On my block, the kids they play.
They play in the Johnny pump most of the day.
And when the sun is shining bright and the mood is just right
they go to the pool
to get really carried away. On my block
music can be heard from Nostrand to Bedford. Yo, that's my word.
On my block
you can smell charcoal burning, smoke roaming the air and many activities going on
here and there.
During the Weekend by
On Saturday mornings during the weekend People used to play music real loud.
I used to see my uncle and his friends Playing congas in the park.
When everybody started cooking
You could smell sofrito miles away.
Grated onions, red and green peppers, tomatoes
and garlic Mixed with the smell of fried chicken, white rice
When I came home from school and went up the stairs, I used to eat alcapurrias from the cuchifrito that
was on the corner.
I used to play with the intercoms.
We used to knock on people's doors and run away.
Rhythmic Sound of My Life by
I dance to the rhythm oflife.
I move to the rhythm of music. I stir to the rhythm of sound.
I do gesture to the sound of nothing.
I symbolize art, life, living and my future.
You criticize me. You say I'm nothing. But, it doesn't reach me or hurt me Because I dance to the rhythm of life and You dance to the rhythm of nothing.
It's smokey and loud.
The music is pumping and so is the crowd.
Everyone's smoking, dancing and singing aloud.
It's peaceful and fun.
Just sit back, relax and look at the sun.
Forbidden Dance by
Forbidden dance for a forbidden chance;
To love for life, or for another; to forbid to kill; To stop to copy; to show false front, feign.
The ephemerality of it all.
The one time pleasure that can kill you forever. You are inside someone's mind
And then the forbidden makes you forbidden. Why waste it?
Then make it good
And take your chance. You can cover yourself. You don't want to go,
But you have to because you are forbidden
To all others; you are exiled, a mutant of nature. To be different, forbidden. But if we all become Forbidden, then what is change?
The people who were calling forbidden
Are now called forbidden because roles have changed. The insane are now sane
And the sane are insane;
Or who knows anyway?
My Country by Antoinette Taylor
It is a festival land.
When you there, you dance to the rhythm.
You eat lots offood, "So yuh belly full."
You scream from the mountain top. In the valley
Hear your voice echo. Isn't this the land
Of peace and quiet?
Haiku by June Clarke
Birds fly in the sky, chirping merry little tunes; their eggs in their nests.
The Heart of a Woman's Heart by
(dedicated to Maya Angelou)
When I hear your tremendous and magnificent voice, my heart desires more.
When I read your glorious and touching poems, I want them to be endless.
I study people and their heart is cold.
I study you and your heart is made of gold.
Oh Maya! Oh Maya! you thrill me.
Dh Maya! Dh Maya! I have you in my thoughts and heart when I write.
Oh Maya! Oh Maya! you are guiding me in the right path.
Hesitation is not known in you.
If I could be as remarkable as you, I would.
Your eyes have beautiful sparks that could be seen
in the darkness of nights.
Your achievement in life, it's like a kite: it flies and flies, but only this kite has been let go of and never has fallen
to the bottom.
Sonia T. Gordon
Moments, there are those that make me cry. Moments, there are those that step aside
and let me glide.
Moments, there are those when no one cares. Moments, there are those that are quite sincere. Moments, there are those when you really fear nothing
more than being dear.
Moments, there are those that are no longer, No longer here, no longer dear.
Moments, there are those to sit and cry, Nothing less would waste your time.
Stravitz by Ben Felton
I remember you from seventh grade ... or maybe it was sixth ...
You and I were friends,
one of my few friends in our schooL. Of course, you had more than me.
You got a guitar that was better than mine; and you asked me if I was jealous;
and I said no;
and that was a lie.
I was jealous of you from time to time. You had a new brother,
when we went on that audition with our acting class you got the call back.
You had a country house.
You seemed to often have something that I wished I had.
But then I saw your problems.
Your brother was mentally disabled; you were always really small;
you had to move.
When you moved
I thought that was going to be horrible for me. But, I realize it was probably worse for you.
I can't imagine anyone liking moving away from their home and friends.
I can imagine you now.
You probably got really tall;
your family is probably quite distressed over your brother;
you probably listen to music that I would hate.
I know I'll most likely never see you again. I can't imagine how or why I would.
I don't really get upset over that
and I'm sure you don't either.
I'm getting along fine.
I was quite upset when you left, being that you were my best friend.
I lived and so did you.
It just shows how much things can change.
The 125th Street Massacre by
On December 8, 1995, my focus of life was blanked. My best friend who I knew for ten years, was dead in a massacre burning. When this incident happened at 125th Street, in Freddy's Clothing Store, I was waiting for her to go to a party. My friend, Cynthia Martinez, was making a good move up in her life.
At one point, she was in a real bad situation. She wore dirty clothing. She drank a lot of beer. She also dropped out of high school, came home late from parties and had lots of arguments with her mother. Finally, she got her head together and made a power move. She started to work at Freddy's. She was working there for about four months.
Cynthia Martinez was getting herself together. She was wearing nice clothing. She stopped drinking beer, had lots of nice jewelry and also helped her mother with the rent. I was happy for her. I loved Cynthia as if she were my own sister. We laughed together. We went places together. We were just enjoying life. That was until December 8, 1995, when the disaster happened. A crazy person went inside Freddy's. He started to shoot everyone inside with a hand gun that he was carrying. He shot two people. The other six ran downstairs to the basement including Cynthia Martinez. They were downstairs terrified. The crazy man lit the whole store up. It was on fire. The people downstairs did not know what to do. The fire was getting bigger and bigger. The smoke was too much. It was so much that it killed four of the six that were downstairs in the basement. One of the victims who died was my best friend, Cynthia Martinez. The others were friends of hers. Two survived because they were getting air from a hole in the wall. Everyone else was killed,
The news reached me and my friends. We were all sad, mad and really emotional. Everybody was crying including myself. We all cried together and prayed together. I wish the Lord, Jesus Christ, that it wasn't true. Cynthia Martinez was deceased.
I could not believe that all of this was really happening.
She was a sweet and intelligent person trying to get her life together. She was always there to solve problems. One time she told me she was tired of working at Freddy's and was ready to quit her job. When I was speaking to her, though, I told her not to quit her job. "You are looking good and doing good for yourself." Now I feel guilty. I feel like I was the one that killed her. I wish now that she had quit her job. If she did, she would be alive.
December 12, 1995, was her funeral. Everyone who knew her was there. There was a lot of crying and sadness in the air around me. As I approached the coffin tears came down from my eyes, because I knew that this was the last time I was going to see her. I touched her hand. It was very cold and hard. I smelled nothing but flowers all around me. I kneeled down and just started to cry as I was looking straight into her closed eyes. "You will always be in my heart and I wi1l always love you." I knelt down for like three hours straight just crying and praying. I started to think about her little brother who was only seven years old and didn't know what was going on. I also got in mind that her mother is in great pain. First she lost her husband and now her nineteen year old daughter. All of us got together and did a piece, a graffiti mural, saying, "We all love you - In Memory of Cynthia Martinez." This is on the wall where we live, at the corner of my block.
I, Freddy Muriel, will have her in my heart and in my mind for the rest of my life. My life will never be the same as it was when she was alive. I know for a fact that she will be o.k. and will rest in peace with the Lord.
Memories by Kevin Gillespie
Memories may remain on a person's mind. They might pop up at any time.
Memories may fade away
Or might come as a thought another day. Memories can make you laugh or even cry. Memories may be everlasting or
Even the kind that dies.
But, memories will always be there As you use your mind.
My Story by
Colleen Francesca Lee
I was born on May 25, 1978, in Queens, New York. I am Chinese and, although I was raised the American way, I tend to stay around people of my own culture.
When I was little, my parents spoiled me a lot. My older brother, who is eight years older than I, never lived at home. My mother was very strict and didn't allow me to go out for more than ten minutes a day until I was twelve years old. My father owned a restaurant in Long Island. He always brought home a toy for me every night when he came home from work. Every time I got into trouble with my mother, my father would be the first one there to defend me.
My grandmother, who also lived with us, gave me everything a little girl could ever wish for. She took care of me while my parents went to work. Of all the people in this world, I loved my grandmother the most, but when I was twelve my grandmother died of cancer. Less than a year later, my father got really sick and he also died of cancer. It didn't affect me that much back then, probably because I was too little to understand.
Three days after my father's death I was raped by two ex-boyfriends. That's when everything started to affect me. My mother started to give me all the freedom she could possibly give me. I started to cut school all the time. I hung out with gangs; got into a lot of fights; stole other people's money and started smoking. When I went to high school, I attended school for three years. I decided to take my G.E.D., since I knew I couldn't finish school on time.
Now my life has changed a lot, and I plan to go to college and take dental hygiene as my major. With the two jobs that I have right now, as an Oral Surgeon's
Assistant and as a cashier at the restaurant that my father left us, I'm sure that I've made a big change in my life and I have a chance for a better future for myself.
The Argument by
Mama, I am not a little girl.
Look, I'm 18 years old.
I don't believe in Santa Claus And I don't sleep around.
I wish I had a penny
For everything you think you know, 'Cause we'd be living in a rut
And have no place to go.
I don't think this arrangement Is going to work out;
With you in your room
And me in mine,
We still manage to fight.
You think I say the things I say To prove that you're not right. I do,
But that isn't why we have These fights.
So, why do you insist
On telling me what to do?
Do you think I'm slow, dumb, or Haven't any clue?
No, I don't think you're Dumb or don't have a clue.
I think you need a little help
In knowing what to do. 17
Mom, you know I love you. Mom, you know I do.
But the life you lead
Is not exactly the way for me, too.
What you are saying
And I'm starting to realize, But you are still a little girl In your mother's eyes.
My Mother by
Loved her till the day she gave up on me. Predicted my future and always called me crazy;
Even called me a loser because of my behavior in school. Never took my side in disputes, that felt so cruel.
She fed me, gave me things every now and then,
But threw it in my face with any argument.
Showed me little love; never showed interest in my future "Get out." "Leave." are the words I got so used to.
Forgot about her son.
I thought the divorce was with my dad.
Brought me shame; spread I was no good and I was bad. Never showed in me she believed, just showed a grudge. I should have picked foster parents in front of the judge. There's only one mom, like they say treat her good.
I would if I could, but she never showed I should.
My Story by Lena Mustafa
I am 18 years old. I was born in North Shore Hospital on June 17, 1977. My cultural background is Palestinian.
I was born in the United States of America. I lived here until the age of four. Then I was sent to live with my grandparents and two sisters in Israel. I went to school and learned how to speak Arabic. My grandparents raised my sister and me for four years.
I returned to America by the age of eight. When I returned from Israel I wasn't able to speak English or Arabic very well. I went to school and started learning to speak and write in English. I met my first friend in the second grade. Her name was Audrey. We were inseparable. She was the only person that seemed to understand me.
I've been in the United States of America for ten years, and I've learned a lot. If I have to cite a major influence in my growth and life it would be the time I spent at PS 169. I was placed in special classes taught by special teachers who were very dedicated. They taught me how to read, write and do mathematics.
When I graduated from elementary school I took a test to get out of special ed., and I passed. I entered junior high school in regular classes, and attended resource room once a week. When I graduated from junior high school I was no longer in resource room. I entered high school with no need of special help. I attended high school for one year, and dropped out because I had to leave home.
I left home because my parents were influenced by their culture and religious beliefs. They thought that they had to marry my sisters and me at the age of sixteen. The
first time they tried to arrange a marriage for me I tried to commit suicide, because I didn't think there was another way out. The second time they tried to arrange a marriage for my sisters and me we decided that's not the way we wanted to live our lives. We wanted to live a normal and healthy life, have our education and become successful people. So we decided to leave home on June 12, 1994. We had to hide out for a year, and we weren't able to attend schooL Now we are both legal adults and are able to face our parents. We have decided to get our education and make something of ourselves.
My interests revolve around spiritual, mental and financial growth. I have hobbies and enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and family. I feel blessed because I do not fear but relish responsibility.
My life has been rough, but I am strong, and I have been a lucky person. Now I have a chance to make my own decisions as with whom and where my life is directed.
Small Biography by
I'm more or less a man that plans to do his dreams. Writing is my life and I love to rap and read.
I do not hang so much and my good friends are few. I love to play ball, I plan success in that too.
I don't believe in love any more, and I am not lazy.
I've been through so much hurt that's why I am so crazy. Divorced family and problems;
mad family has died (R.I.P.); I don't look like Tom Cruise, but my beauty lies inside. Everybody likes me. I'm respected everywhere;
'Cause for the good and bad,
Angdust will always be there.
I'm always all alone, writing a journal or a poem.
I speak little on the phone, and at weekends I stay home. Girls don't understand me;
my romance for them is bugged.
They rather have cheap sex
than my passion making love.
I like all types of girls, unless she is a misfit,
And I do not like fly girls, 'cause they stick to s---1
My hair is black and my eyes are much the same.
My left eye's color blind and my body's not a shame. Dogs are my best friends; when I move out I'll have ten. I love my older sister and my nephew to my end.
That's all that I could write. Before I go, know I'm polite. I treat the female right. Touch my face, and that's a fight.
How My Parents Met by
My parents were about seventeen and eighteen years of age. They were attending John Dewey High School. They both were at lunch and they didn't know each other until the incident.
My mother was sitting a few tables from my father. My mother decided to talk to one of her friends, and she yawns at the same time. My father saw her yawning, so he got ready and shot a spit ball straight into my mother's mouth. My mother choked for only a little bit. She stood up and walked towards my father.
In the meanwhile my father was cracking up on the other side of the lunch room. My mother confronted him saying, "Why did you do that?" He came out and said, "I'm sorry. I just wanted to get your attention. I wanna know if I can get to know you better. "
From then on it was all good between them.
The Good Times by
dedicated to all my childhood friends
I remember back in the days when it used to be fun, Getting wet in the johnny pumps
and squirting our water guns.
Remember playing skeHzy, hide 'n go seek, Tag and freeze tag every day of the week. How about all the rock fights
And begging our parents to let us stay out
on Friday nights?
Remember how we used to rock the Atari
And get into fights then later on we'd say sorry? Or how about the times of eating Mike-n-Ike, And asking our friends can we ride on their bike,
And bothering the girls while they played double dutch, And trying to buy a lot of candy from the store,
but not getting much?
What ever happened to those days?
Time has passed and we've all changed our ways.
Chip Off the Old Block by
aka L. Boogie
Dedicated to all the brothers going through hard times.
The streets. There's many rules and codes of the streets. As a young man growing up on Webster Avenue in the South Bronx, the streets were basically all I knew. I am the middle child of my mother's five children. My father went to prison a few months after my birth. But no matter what, my mother always did what she had to do to keep a nice clean apartment and food on the table.
Me and my two brothers (one older and one younger) always hung together when we first moved to Webster Avenue. As time went on we met new faces and soon began hanging with our own type of crowds. But still we stayed very close. Me, my brothers and my older sister mostly went to the same schools. My sister, being the oldest of us all, usually graduated from my next school before I got there. With a name like Lordikim Allah I've always had problems with other students, the school's staff and teachers, as did all my brothers who also have unusual names. I had many fights with my brothers and sisters, but none ever outside of the house.
As I got older, around 14 years old, I began to think the world revolved around me. Boy was I wrong. By the time I turned 15 I was in with the wrong crowd and more disrespectful than ever. Disrespectful to my brothers and sisters, disrespectful to my mother, disrespectful to everybody. Soon after that my mother was pretty fed up with my s%$t. At nights when I was supposed to be home at 8 p.m. I was home at 11 p.m. When I was supposed to be on punishment I would sneak out anyway. After
several warnings I was finally on the streets. Fifteen years old and on the streets. I couldn't believe my own mother would do that to me, not realizing I did it to myself. And come to find out all the n#$%s I ran with didn't give a f%$k about me. I mean these were the people I did crimes with and they wouldn't even give me a place to sleep or put a little food in my mouth. These were the people I thought I would kill for. After days of thinking and talking to my younger brother, I was finally back in the house, but I hadn't changed at all. Still on my same S$%A.
I've been rapping since 11 years old. The only times that I was off the streets and at ease was when I was home writing rhymes. Soon I exposed my talent and before I knew it everyone knew me as L.Boogie, the kid with mad skills. The excitement and publicity got to me, but it didn't swell my head up. It made me realize that this was the route for me. I was never a drug dealer; sticking people up was my thing. I figured -- why sell drugs for money when I could just take the money? That would be easier and, besides, that was the route my older brother took. There would be times when he'd come in the house with more loot than I'd ever seen in my life. Wishing I had the money he had I started to do the things he did. The only difference was I wanted to be a rapper, not a stick-up kid. My brother seemed to enjoy the crime life. For him and his crimies it was an everyday thing.
Before I knew it my brother was on Rikers Island, charged with several accounts of armed robbery. My brother supported me and my younger brother by buying us clothes and giving us cash; so, when he got knocked, money only came every once in a blue. Feeling I had the responsibility to keep me and my younger brother up to par, I really started to get "grimey." There were times I just couldn't do it, so my younger brother had to. One summer he worked for the Summer Youth Program. He
would tell me when they got paid, where, and who to rob every time it was payday. This went on for three summers. My oldest brother (still on the Island) wanted to know why we weren't looking out for him. At first I didn't realize it, but I was too caught up in the streets. It seems like I forgot that he took care of me and only thought about those around me. My brother always told me "Boogie, you just don't know what I'm going through." And the truth was I really didn't.
It was a few months after my 16th birthday when I met Ali. Ali is a white guy I met through this kid named VeIl. I used to go to school with Vell. VeIl, who was also rapping, kept money in his pocket by break dancing on the street with the Breeze Team. One day they had studio time and one of the group members never showed up. It just so happened that I was right there to fill in. We did a demo and Ali took it and shopped it around to record labels. People were interested in the group but wanted to know who was that kid in the last verse. I was that kid in the last verse. Nothing really happened because Ali was only interested in his own group. Then out of nowhere I received a call about three months later from Ali. He wanted to hear some of my material. He was impressed by the style but not too impressed with the lyrics. The style and the voice captured the moment. Telling me straight up he said, "You are much bigger than this (meaning what I rapped about). Everybody is kicking that same 01' killer s#$@. You have to think big. You can be as large as you wanna be."
Shortly after, we went to the studio and made some new demos which captured the attention of many. Now I started getting real money. Come to find out sticking with my flows really paid off. Still I felt I had to be in the streets. I started getting my act together, including my J.D. to go see my brother. Finally, I went to see my brother who I hadn't seen in a year and a half. Both in
tears as we hugged. The first thing he told me was, "Whatever you do, don't get locked up. This is not the place to be." I really started to feel his rage.
A while after that I come to find that my girl is pregnant. We discussed having a baby very carefully. We came to a reasonable agreement, both deciding on an abortion. At least that's what I thought. Spending most of my time in the studio with Ali, I didn't really see anyone for months, including my girl. Before I knew it she had the baby. I was furious because I thought she was getting an abortion. My family and everyone else was telling me to go see my child. I kept saying, "That's not my f#$%ing child." After a little thinking and being upset with myself I began to realize the child was mine. Plus I didn't want to be like all my other friends who had children and didn't take care of them. I wanted to be different and do the right. I'd always say to myself, "Why do people have unprotected sex knowing they just might produce a child?" And I was doing the same stuff I badmouthed my friends about. Reality finally hit me and now it was time to handle my responsibility, but that wasn't for two months after his birth. One look at my son and I was a changed man. I really felt I had something to live for. Not just for me, but for us. At times when I was angry I'd go see my son, who had a smile that would never leave, and that always made me laugh.
Now I'm sitting on Rikers Island, a place I never thought I'd be in. I guess it's time for me to feel what my brother felt. The only difference is, I'm being charged with a crime I didn't commit. I don't know when I'm going home. On top of that my life just started heading in the right direction. I pray every night that no man has to go through what I'm going through. Why me, is all I keep asking myself, why me? I guess all the negative things I did finally caught up with me. Now I feel like nothing
but a modern day slave. I eat when they say eat, sleep
when they say sleep, I do whatever they tell me to do or face the consequences. This is no way any man should be living. Eighty percent of my dreams are about my freedom. I feel I'm not an average kid. I'm a changed man. I have goals, responsibilities, and a future ahead of me now. But they don't care. To them I'm just another Black Man Biting the Dust. I'll show them, show them they can't do me like the rest. Hopefully they'll give me bail so I can fight this case from the outside. If not, I'll be waiting with my future on my mind.
Many people often make mistakes that affect their lives and the people around them. Many people often get blamed for things they didn't do. If you're ever in a situation such as this just hold your head and don't let the "System" get the best of you. Don't ever forget the ones who love you and watched your back. As for me, I got nothing but time and I might as well use it to educate my mind. If you're ever in jail don't waste your time trying to cut n$%#s or "bust your gat" and fighting. Make use of this time.
EDUCATE THE MIND, EDUCATE THE MIND.
A Day in the System by
John E. Brown
A day in the system
is run by rules and regulations, constant directives
can cause harmful agitations. Five-thirty wakeup,
seven o'clock breakfast;
your day is planned in advance. Living institutionalized
is simply living in a trance. Looking out the window
with thoughts of freedom on your mind; reminiscing about the things
in life you left behind.
Doing time is a set back,
time's worth more than gold.
The world still turns,
while yours is put on hold.
The Life of
A Chinese Gang Member by
I was born and raised in Taiwan. When I was born my mother and father didn't treat me well. Actually, my grandmother and grandfather raised me until I was 3. My grandparents went to the U.S. and left me with my parents. After one year my grandparents called and told my parents to come to the U.S. to live. I left Taiwan when I was 7. I didn't want to leave but I was happy to see my grandparents, though that's something I do not want to talk about because my grandfather passed away when r was hanging out.
Let's talk about the age of 13. r was attending I.S. 131M Junior High School, an 85 student in every class, pretty much turning a bad boy but still on track when r went to an arcade called Chinatown Fair. It was about 8 p.m. r was playing Street Fighter 2 Turbo. A group of guys came in. They had money, beepers, cellular phones and girls around them. One guy came to join in to play with me. I beat him for about five dollars of games and he started to get mad.
"Who the f--- you hang out with?" he asked me.
r looked at him and said, "What?" and told him that r was going to school.
"Do you want to hang out with me?" he said while putting another quarter in the machine. "To be like me. Have girls and money on you?"
I told him maybe. "I'll come back tomorrow and tell you." So r went home and thought about it. It seemed pretty cool. Why not? The next day r went back to the arcade to see how it would be to hang out for a couple of days. r started doing bad things. At first I didn't like it
because I didn't want to be looking like a bully. The things I did were terrible. I used to punch people in the face for no reason and set homeless people on fire plus a lot of bad things which I don't even remember. Later on I didn't care anymore.
I joined Ghost Shadows in the summer of 1990. One reason I joined the gang was because my grandfather passed away and my mother divorced my father. I had nobody to take care of me so I ran away from home. Life is not easy out there. You have to do anything to survive in the streets. Once I was involved in a shoot out with The Flying Dragons. It was dangerous and exciting. I shot somebody in the leg who was 30 yards away. For about ten months I was out there doing things that I knew were bad.
Let me tell you how the Chinese Mafia works. There's ten different gangs throughout the Chinese community. They call themselves the Ghost Shadows, Flying Dragons, Fu Ching, T.O. Boys, 14K Boys, White Tigers, Green Dragons, Born to Kill, T.E. Boys and Golden Star There's ranks to every group: boss, captain, lieutenant, sergeants and soldiers. They make easy money through extortion, robberies, gambling joints, prostitution, kidnappings, fireworks, cocaine, etc.
My specialty in the gang was armed robberies and extortion. I could do a robbery within three minutes, searching the victim included. For extortion all I had to do was find any Chinese business in any town. I'd go up to them and say, "I am from Ghost Shadows. From now on your store will give $1000 a month to me or else something will happen to you." If they didn't pay the first thing I would do is throw a Blockbuster (M-80) in the store and scare the customers away. The second thing I would do is to warn them to clear out and then throw a grenade through the window and blow it up.
Almost all the people knew me and hated me. I got
arrested six times. The first time I was arrested was for extortion with about ten other guys. The second was for robbing a house in Brooklyn. When I finished I went with my friends to Chinatown and got out of the car and walked to the restaurant. Then like four minutes later police came in and arrested me and three other guys. The third, fourth and fifth times I was arrested were for the same kind of things. Finally the sixth time I was arrested for a homicide. I didn't do it but I have nothing to say. All I can say is what goes around, comes around. Like people say, things always happen.
This time I learned crime does not pay. I am in here for second degree murder, second degree attempted murder and second degree assault. I think a lot in jail about how much fun it was outside. But now I want to forget about the past and start a new beginning when I beat trial. If I blow I am facing 25 to life.
Let's talk about Rikers Island, C-74, A.R.D.C., the building of pain and sorrow. This is life in jail. If you snitch you will get cut. The most important things in jail is the phone and commissary. Without them things would be very wild. How to survive in jail: The way I see it is when somebody is trying to hurt and play you, either you fight or cut them. If you don't, you're the herb. I found that being a Chinese minority in jail is not hard. If you don't get loose the people won't violate you or try to hurt you. When other Chinese come in, me and other Chinese brothers will try to tell them everything about jail. If they don't do the right thing, we will correct them. Just keep to yourself and try not to make a lot of friends, because you came in by yourself or with your codefendant and you don't need too many friends.
When and if I go home, I am turning good this time.
The life of a Chinese gangster is over.
We Almost Made It There! by
We almost made it there, to the March, that is.
What March? The historical Million Man March. My father and I had been planning to attend the March for a little over a month, before it took place. We had anticipated the spiritual and positive vibe the event would hold and bring out of us all, the million brothers that would attend. We knew it would reach a million.
The preparation for the March excited us to the full extent.We saved money, collected food, and inspired others to attend throughout the whole month. We had a lot of inspiration from many sisters within the
community as well as my mother and aunt, who actually bought the tickets. The excitement grew to the point we actually visualized ourselves there.
The day of the March was a day I felt intense pride for my black heritage. The bus was said to leave at one A.M. We arrived at the bus site at midnight with tickets in hand. When we got there, there were a little under a thousand people and brothers were still coming in flocks. It was a cold bitter night, but our adrenaline was pumping so hard it kept us warm. The buses began to roll out at about one twenty A.M., one by one. approximately thirty minutes apart. When the first bus arrived, the process was done in an orderly fashion. They seated people on the bus according to their particular ticket. Different ticket, different bus. Then as the next bus arrived there were orders to get on any bus available. As every bus came you saw a bum-rush take place, brothers racing in flocks to the bus. My father and I had in mind we didn't want to get trampled in the crowd and would lay low for the right bus. More buses arrived and more stampedes took place. It got later and later.
Two thirty came. No bus. No bus came since one thirty, the longest break since the buses began arriving. At three thirty there were approximately two hundred people still awaiting a bus, including my father and me. We began to worry if the buses would come. It was so cold my eyes began to swell from the harsh wind. At four ten we lost all hope and the crowd began to disperse slowly. My father gave the word to move it on out. We walked toward home, waiting for a dollar van. While walking and waiting we saw a bus zoom pass.We ran three blocks back to the bus site, to see it loading up and one hundred fifty people surrounding it. The driver got out and really broke down the go home news. He said, "The bus only holds forty seven people. I'm sorry, I can't take all of you." From what we understood he said, there were more buses supposedly stuck on the other side of the Williamsburg Bridge. These were private buses. A hundred of us were left. Time to go home. I wish we made it there. Don't you know that the day after the march I was arrested. Damn! I wish we made it there ....
by Ordette Colon
I like to take long walks, Maybe in a park with
Birds eating, and kids playing. I like to feel the air hitting me
In my face or even the rain drops On my head. I like walking, Through malls, window shopping,
Or just thinking. I like to take long walks.
My Father by Angdust
He was mad cool when he stood here.
We saw big games all through those years.
Our love was strong till my parents went wrong. He met a new lover, then he was gone.
I would ask for attention, he gave it too small. Would ask about mom, and that would be all.
I loved him. He gave me a home when moms was tuff. His lover hated me, so back home I'll be stuck.
He said he'll be here for me. He came every month I should go to him he said. I felt like a brim. Found myself broke. Asked him for some loot.
He said that's all I want. To his new kids he stays mute. His wife has his wallet. Her kids run the checks.
While me and my sister need clothes for our necks.
The holidays came not even a card.
To me he has died or really left for far.
Incarcerated Fathers by
Being incarcerated as a father is the wrong way to get to know your child as he or she grows older. One reason I believe this is that you can't show love. Also, you can't be there when helshe is ill. Another reason is you can't teach your child to do right, or things helshe shouldn't do and about what life is really based on. In this article you will see how incarceration affected the lives of a father and a child
Let me tell you this story. I have a friend who has been incarcerated for six years. When Ernest was first arrested his child was l-year-old. As it is known, all human beings need to be loved by their parents. Ernest loves his child, but since he was incarcerated things changed. His baby's mother being lonely felt she needed someone to be with. She started seeing another man who was there when she needed him and would help give love to her child. Kevin became closer and closer to Renee and her child. A year went by and little Lenny began calling the mother's boyfriend "Daddy."
As time went by the baby developed certain illnesses.
Because of the seriousness of the illnesses Lenny was hospitalized. Kevin would visit Lenny with Renee and show that he cared about him. As Lenny began to grow older, Kevin felt that the boy needed to learn what life was really about. Kevin taught Lenny how to make friends and be responsible. Inside, Lenny was feeling a bond between him and his new found father.
After six long, lonely years Ernest was released from his incarceration. He came home eager to see his son, but did not know what was going on with Lenny, Renee, and her boyfriend. He knocked on the door and was
surprised, not knowing who the man was that answered the door.
"May I ask who you're looking for?" Kevin asked. Ernest replied, "I'm looking for my baby, Lenny and his
"Who are you supposed to be?" "I'm Lenny's father."
As they continued to talk, Kevin and Ernest became angry and began to argue. Words were going back and forth then they began fighting. One thing led to another and Kevin wound up dead from a stab wound through the chest. Now Ernest is upstate doing a 25 to life bid in a maximum state prison. He has a child who never knew him, and an ex-girlfriend who hates him.
Now I'm going to describe another situation from my point of view, of how I grew up dealing with a mother on drugs and a father that was incarcerated. Almost the same situation happened with my family and I when I was five years old living in the South Bronx with my mother. My father was already incarcerated for a murder doing an eight and a third to twenty five years in prison. Instead of my mother feeling lonely and in need of a man, she was sad and depressed, which made her start doing drugsicrack). At times she would take her anger out on me. I was young and there was a lot that I didn't understand about the things she did, but as I grew older I became more familiar with the environment around me. lt was the drugs she was doing and how she felt inside since my father was gone. She would never talk to me and tell me how she felt, yet she just took it out on me because of the resemblance I have to my father. As I became an early teenager I began to do things for myself, but since I had no role model and grew up around a negative type of environment, I began doing negative things such as selling drugs, hanging out with negative friends and robbing people for money.
My mother is in South Carolina supposedly rehabilitating herself from her drug problem. I'm not with her so I'm going to think positively of how she's doing. My father has finally come home but doesn't have anywhere to live, so he's living on the streets, doing drugs, and might just wind up in the same place he was before; once again an incarcerated father. As for myself, I'm in Rikers Island Correctional Facility facing large felony charges.
There are more things a child needs when growing up besides material things. If I were to have a child I know there would be a lot of work in it for me. I'll have to be financially secure and have completed certain goals I've made for myself. Then I would be able to give him the things I never had; such as showing him/her basic ways of life, letting him/her know that I care and that there is love between us, and last of all, being the role model my child can look up to.
Death Mask by Melinda Padin
Pale, free from emotion
He doesn't speak; he doesn't move. The smile he always had in his face, gone forever.
He used to laugh a lot; not anymore.
His eyes glowed with that special light;
another thing that's gone away, his eyes are covered now.
She stares at him lying there. She sees a ghost.
Everything silent, everyone still. Reality has come in a dark form. Death has found its way again.
A Trip Down Memory Lane by
Gary Brown (Abdul-Latiff)
I remember myself as a little boy about 12 living with my mother in Jamaica. My father was living here in America, so I didn't get to see him much; except when he let me and my little brother, Bolo, spend holidays with him. My mother didn't have much to offer us but she always tried hard as hell to give us the best whenever she could. I was a straight A student, my moms made sure of that. Whenever she heard I was messing up she would put the belt to my butt. I used to scream and beg my mother to stop whipping me. But, she would just say, "You violated and now you will be violated." So I always tried my best not to give my mother a reason to hit me. But when she found out I was smoking weed and following bad company, firing guns and robbing other people, she decided it was time for me to go and spend time with my pops in Manhattan.
My pops was a tough and rugged person, quick to step on my chest whenever I f*&!ed up. I used to always tell my brother, Bolo, how much I really hated my father but when he got sentenced to a couple of years for drugs and left us in the care of our step moms, I found out how much I really loved him. I never realized the use of my father until he was gone.
My father's absence got me loose. I started doing things that I never dreamed of doing before. I caught my first body at 13 by accident, so I went to the church and asked God for forgiveness. (See, I was a church type.
One that had to go to church every Sunday because I believe in God and always try to keep the faith spiritually
and mentally.) But, a man got to do what a man got to do.
Late 1990 is when the craziness really began--the guns, cars, drugs, women and money. I started to live the life of a thug, looting and shooting, killing on a rampage, didn't care if you were big and puffed up with pride, small and wimpy or a little derelict--if you were in my way you'd just have to get it too. My moms used to tell me over the phone, "Son, you've got to slow your roll. You're moving too fast for your age." But I refused to listen 'cause I was too grown to be taking orders from someone else. See, I was the Man, but too much of a man. Every party you can think of I was there getting high and bagging crazy chicks. Every day you'd see me with a different girL No wonder why a little n*&"%r like me got six baby moms. Some people say I take after my dad. Some just can't comprehend why.
I still remember the night I got arrested. That was the last time I had me some ... you know what. It went down like this: At 2:30 in the morning I was home with my wife. Suddenly I heard the door knock. I ran and got the gat. I went to the door. I could see my uncle sweating on the other side of the peephole. It looked as if he had been through hen and back. His clothes were all bloody and dirty and his curly hair laid straight. His pretty face had a frown. I opened the door and let him in. My wife asked him what he was so shook up about. Come to find out some b@#$s n*&"%s that wanted to take over my spot just killed my other uncle, Rob.
Damn man, I thought, why couldn't it be me? My uncle didn't deserve to die like that. He was so much of a good man. I remember when my step moms put me and my little brother out of our pop's house. He was the first one that took us in. He provided for us food, clothes and money. He even gave us a fat@#s crib to live in. He's the one that put me on top with the drug game so that I could
provide for my own family. And to see his life end like that; some punk*&$s tricks got to pay.
I got dressed and left my crib madder than a mother *&"%$. When I arrived on the spot the block was calm and deserted. No one was around for the showdown. I was panicking for a minute not sure if I wanted to go through with this. At the sight of my uncle's blood on the sidewalk I could feel the beast bursting out of me. My eyes were bloodshot red, my heart became cold as ice. I started thinking like a dog. I got to strike first. I stepped out of my ride not giving a f*&% if them n*&%$s was hiding or what 'cause I know I'm gonna get mines using the Tech 9. Win or lose I knew I wasn't going home. If I lost, I was going to die; if I won, I was going to jail. This time I was ready to kill without stopping or praying.
I could see them coming towards my direction from the corner of my eye. I turned my back, took the gun out from my waist and took off the safety. Oh yeah, here come those mother*&"S now. Yeah, boys, bring the noise. They walked right up to me not knowing who I was from behind. I turned around with the toast in my hand. "Yo, pussies, get hype!" BLAlVI. BLAlVI. BLAM BLAM BLAlVI. BLAM. I fired six shots, killed two, wounded one; the other one got away and snitched.
Now I'm facing life imprisonment, no parole. My mother always told me there'd be days like this so now I know what to expect. Being incarcerated ain't easy, especially when you have a smaller brother growing up in your footsteps. I tell him to go to school and stay away from drugs. I even let him know that he would be a fool to get caught up in the same situation like me and my pops did. Now he's living with his girl having kids, struggling for survival the right way, because he realizes that you can't take money with you when you die. In reality, life in the fast lane does not pay. All the cars, drugs, women and money that I had can't help me now
'cause there's nothing I could possibly do with them in jail.
I remember when I first came to jail I couldn't read or write because after my father went to jail I started cutting class and staying away from school. After I was in the penal system, I decided it was time to do something to further my education so I started reading. I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington. In those books I saw something that really stimulated me deep inside, so I decided to turn Muslim which turned my life all the way back around. I now pray five times a day hoping that Allah will forgive me for my sins and bless me with my freedom.
Use Your Head by
I am only 17, going on 18, trying to make money To see if I can get honey.
It wasn't funny.
Am I a dummy?
I wasn't thinking, or making up my mind; I became a stickup kid to commit crimes. With a glock 9 in my hand,
Taking anything that came my way Or that I wanted;
Robbing drug dealers, even people I didn't know. It was like I was the star of the show.
lfyou were with me, you'd become like me.
I almost got killed,
but I got to thank God, down on my knees, Because He let me live.
I'm only leaving one message:
Use your head!
Don't end up in jailor buried 6 feet under. I'm in here for a crime I didn't do.
So, use your head.
We See Him Coming by
We see him coming into our territory, entering our tunnels. He doesn't belong here. We see him in his state of pathetic wretchedness, coming in here seeking peace. This is not a place of peace. This is a place of war. War and vicious fighting over food, territory and whatever else we can get our little hands on.
This is not a place for the weak. The abused, sickly people of the streets sometimes come here to escape the world's harsh reality. I and my brothers prey on them. We steal their little pieces of food and fight amongst ourselves over them.
This man. He's no different. He thinks he's found a retreat. Someplace, however lonely and dirty it may be, where he can relax. Where he can get away from the rapists and muggers who plague him out in the streets. But we will drive him from here. My brothers and I will torment him; going through his possessions in the night while he sleeps; running toward him in packs; making his heart leap with fear; even ripping the very skin from his bones to make him scream with pain. Soon he'll fear us. He'll waken in mid sleep with vivid pictures of us in his head. He will know true fear when he looks into our eyes. He will see it. He will see the look of the scavenger eyeing its prey. When he sees this look he will realize. He will realize he doesn't belong in our tunnels. He will realize that it's not the people of the surface he fears most. It's the dwellers of the underground. He will realize that the true terror that makes his heart jump and his stomach turn is us: the rats.
by Mervin Budham
A drunken man walked. He stumbled and fell down. He went to sleep there.
J ermaine Stokes
Today our teacher, Ram, was talking about why it is important to write. He said it is important for your own good. You must know how to write a simple paragraph or two. He said that he is here to teach us. He said don't be scared to ask for help. We will need to know how to write to be successful in life.
You will have to do a lot of writing if you want a job in an office. We have a writing test on our GED test. If we don't learn now, we will fail the test. If you don't know how to write you can't get many of the jobs in the world today.
Ram said that people ask three or four times a day to go to the bathroom so they don't have to read or write. He said he will have to start keeping a paper and you will have to sign it so he can see who went to the bathroom and how many times.
The Color of Ashes by
In a moment of despair when we choose war
When we choose to kill our boys and rape our women
When we choose to hate rather than love
In that moment when tears fly When yet another brother has died
Why don't we stop and realize that we are dying
because of our own blind eyes
Why do I say this?
Because when babies cry for their fathers when mothers call for their sons
and sleep without husbands
When the bullets and bombs
have wounded, and bruised bodies have been buried or burned
Ashes of Sadness
will have absolutely no color
The Child by
For I am the carrier of the lonely heart My pain knows no end
Once it starts
For I am the carrier of the broken dreams My truth is a dagger
In the moonlight it gleams
For I am the carrier of the fallen tears My sadness is isolation
Imprisoned in my fears
For I am the carrier of the last hope Silent and alone
for the cure, I blindly grope
For I am the carrier of the beguiled Lost in wonder
Like a dying child
For I am the child left in the dark Whose betrayal by those close to her Have finally left their mark
For I am the child of the broken dreams Left alone to die in misery
With a soul so heavy it screams:
HELP ME! I'm alone!
Watching Him Go!!! by
Cinemon Joy Sobers
dedicated to my father
Eyes down and bleeding red
Body motionless feeling dead
Feet tapping endlessly
Knees shaking about to flee
Mind wandering up and down Heart beating all around
Mouth scared, will not speak
Face in shock so it won't peak Watching him fan in the hole Watching him die; watching him go!
by Lordikim Allah
Anger is when I'm mad and don't wanna talk. Anger is when I feel I need a nice long walk. Anger is a feeling inside that makes me feel
That I could just kill, 'cause the hate becomes real. Anger is when I wish to be left alone,
Thinking no one understands the pain that I moan. Anger brings out my "f#$@ the world" attitude. Anger is the reason I give for being rude.
Anger is strange but you know what's even stranger? I am the cause for an my anger.
Tears with the Pain by
Down over there on 124th and 3rd People tend to gather like flocks of birds; White top, blue top, red and grey;
Enough crack for everyone to rot and decay. Certain days of the month -- the 16th and the 1st, Cashiers an fined with junkies unnursed.
All standing and looking for something to steal Or fussing and cursing about a fallen deaL
"Bitch move," or "excuse me," "I was here first," Others pushing the issue to make matters worse. Some stood hunched over waiting to see;
One left the line to take a pee.
I stood back and watched and decided to hide .. That welfare card I'll always deny.
I started to think, Is that me too?
Am I a zombie in this same zoo?
I walked and turned up my collar to the cold,
I returned to a room where my life would unfold. I reached in my pocket and took out a joint;
Lit up my problems to make a damn point.
Back to nowhere on Coster Street,
Where whores by their pimps always get beat. Inhaling my sorrows, holding in my pain. Burning my worries along with the rain.
In back of my window the rooster crows Reminding me still how sorrow flows.
The cold how it seeps through the cracks of my door, Looking for me to torture some more.
My mind at edge, scrambled to think
About my life, it's missing link.
Being high gave me dreams of being someone
Other than a dancer always having fun. Jumping and swaying for dirty old men
Sa-ying, "How are ya?" or "Where have you been?" Smoke in the air, the smell of lust,
Dampened floors and mildewed dust.
And then it's time at 4 a.m.,
Time to be alone at horror mayhem. Being so young I thought it was fun
As long as I had a special someone. Anyone, maybe you, I really didn't care.
I loathed being alone; to me it wasn't fair. And now as I sit in this room of pain,
I listen to my tears along with the rain.
Emotions by Dean Deida
A tear falls when a little boy calls his mother
but she does not listen.
A tear falls when a mother gives birth to a newborn.
A tear falls every time a prisoner looks out his window. A tear falls every time a brother gets twenty-five to life. A tear falls every time a family goes homeless.
A tear falls when a little boy gets a new puppy.
A tear falls every time I get no love.
A tear falls every time someone commits suicide. A tear falls for every baby that is born with AIDS. A tear falls when an old lady passes away.
A tear falls the day I go home.
Why Things Are the Way They Are by
Why do I sell myself short?
Why do I always need someone's support?
Why, when I want to smile, All I do is sigh?
Why, when I need magic, All I get is tragic?
Why, when I get my hardest hit, Do I want to quit?
Why do I need someone's approval To feel lovable?
I walk with my head down in the snow Trying to find a way to know
Why things are the way they are.
So Alone by Sabrina Carter
11m so alone.
Sometimes I feel I don't belong.
The people around me and I don't get along. I feel so alone.
The lake was still, as was everything else around me. There was no sign of life in the woods surrounding me, no chirping of the birds, no tiny animals rustling the grass. But most of all, he was not standing next to me, nor would he ever be able to stand next to me again. This chilling thought occurred to me as I stared into the dead, unmoving lake, and then I looked around and was surrounded by the dead woods. Today was death. Everything seen through my eyes was in black and was in white, not color as it normally was. Even my reflection in the lake standing before me. What a horrid sight, my face. How would I ever be able to look in the mirror again. I quickly turned away from the sight of myself. My tired eyes, my knotted brown hair, my clothes covered in mud and in blood. The tears traveled down my cheeks, like a waterfall. Does this make me a horrible person? Am I selfish and evil? He lay about a mile away from where I stood; yet, I could still see his face in my mind, the fear in his eyes, his life flashing before him just one more time. I pushed this thought out of my mind and removed all my clothes; then I slowly indulged myself in the water to remove the caked blood on my hands and endless tears in my eyes.
by Anthonee L. Pinnock
I work an year round -
I never get a break. I hate where I am. I never get any compliments, only complaints.
I work all year round - beating a tune on a drum. Since no one sees me, no one cares about me.
I work all year round - People often do things that crack me up. I hate this place, but I have to stay. If you were in here What would you do?
Rainy Days by
John Padilla aka J. Blaze/aka Chin
Rainy days bring stress and pain, Sunny days just broaden my mind For knowledge to gain.
If I was smart I would have used my brain.
I'll go back in time, start all over and erase the pain. I'm a good kid, everyone says,
So why was I on the move from the cops By the speed of my legs?
The system is a cycle.
You come home or go in.
Believe when you leave,
Someone takes your place and starts the cycle again. I got lucky, was hit with a one to three,
And I max out next year.
Soon I'll be free of this cycle.
So from my loved ones all over,
No more pain nor tears.
Life is f$#@ed up in every possible way. Take life easy, with caution,
Before you lose the chance to see the next day.
The scariest thing that ever happened to me was when my mother became sick and caught pneumonia.
My mother had a bad cold for about a week. The next week a fever accompanied her cold. She kept insisting that she only had the flu. At first I accepted this but then, two days later, it seemed that her body had just deteriorated away. This was when I became really afraid. Not only did she lose a lot of weight she also became so weak that she couldn't get out of the bed. She had to use a bed pan. This is when I decided enough was enough. I called 911 immediately. While they were on their way I gave her a sponge bath and dressed her.
The outcome was that she didn't have the flu at all but in fact had a severe case of pneumonia. The doctors informed me that if she hadn't come to the hospital she would have died. Her lungs would have collapsed.
That was the scariest night I ever lived through. I was so afraid my mother would die.
My Mother by Precious Williams
My mother was the sweetest woman I know She always took me to Christmas shows
My mother was sweet and caring like me Like mother like daughter as you can see
But when my mother got sick
He took her away too quick
My mother -- I'll never forget
My mother went back to the essence
If I could only bring her into my presence
The Scariest Thing by
This experience you may not believe, but this is a true story.
In December of 1993 I was very sick. I had 1020 fever and I was throwing up all the time. My heart was constantly beating fast, and my head was hurting. My mother figured it was a flu going around; so I drank tea, took cold medicine and drank lots of soup.
The sickness lasted too long. My mother decided, after two weeks, it was time to take me to the hospital. On the way there I blacked out. My heart stopped after beating uncontrollably. I was feeling cold. I saw myself walking through this big door with a beautiful white light behind it. It felt like I was standing there an eternity. As soon as I stepped into the light I felt like someone was choking me. I couldn't breathe.
Opening my eyes, I saw there were ten doctors, standing over me, smiling and asking if I was okay.
Days passed and I wouldn't talk because I didn't know what had happened. Did I die? Was I dreaming? It was so scary, thinking I wouldn't be here. The doctors said I went flatline for a short time. It may not sound scary to you, but it was the worst feeling anybody could ever have.
Beware. It's a Scare. by
Beware -- It comes. A monster
beyond compare. Something never fought. Something I only fear.
It comes in dreams with pain. It lives
in blood like rain. It has been preordained. It may destroy until restrained.
It can conquer all. Turn mountains to grain. If you scream or call, it would go insane.
It gave me chase, but I found a
hiding place. It just stands in its own thought. I am all but caught. I can't help
but stare. All my anger brought ... is focused
over there. It now becomes aware of my angry stare. I know the fight's not fair, but face to face,
I now don't care, suddenly it falls to one knee. So I can now see this monster's part of me, but twisted evilly.
I look in its eyes, tainted yet so clear. Because
he's part of me, I know he's always near.
My man lived a fast life.
He had to make a way for himself.
All his life he had a new plan to survive, And did not need anyone else.
I just received the word that
He got blasted in the head twice. Every time I turn around
There is another friend gone from my life. All my people are going.
But, when will it be my turn? Will my soul go to heaven,
Or will it eternally burn?
Here today, gone tomorrow; This path we will all follow. This world holds nothing for me But pain and sorrow.
N eno, why did you have to go? You did not even say good bye. I know you were a strong man. And I'm a brave woman,
So I won't cry.
I remember when I had to move a dead body. I didn't have to move it by myself. One of my co-workers, at the hospital where I volunteer, was with me. We had to take the body to the morgue. I was kind of scared at first, because we were moving a dead guy. When we got there I had to grab the legs. He grabbed the head. We had to slide the body over, put it in the tray and close the door. It was over.
Losing a Friend by
Losing a friend is on my mind;
Running across my head time after time; Wanting to cry, but can't shed a tear.
Death is on my mind and it's something I fear. One thing is done and that's nothing sweet, Because me and my friend again won't meet. So, good-bye my friend, deeply with love, Because today you are the one I'm thinking of.
When I Sleep by
AI theo Serrao
I weep myself to sleep and cry Thinking of all the ways I tried Wondering why my father died.
All the days we laughed and played All the joy has been taken away.
The day you ran and dropped on the sand I came over to give a helping hand
Yet I knew I was too slow.
I wonder if we'll ever meet again
But until then you'll be my eternal friend.
When I was younger I used to live in the upstairs of my grandmother's house. My older brother and sister (my dad's kids) used to come to stay with us on the weekends. I was sitting on my parents' bed, waiting for Lydia (their mom) to call and tell my dad to pick my brother and sister up.
My mom came up the stairs crying and trying to hold my dad back from doing some thing. I have never seen my father as furious as I saw him that night. His eyes were watery, and his dark brown cheeks were turning red. I asked what was wrong. My dad told me to go to sleep. I climbed into the corner of the room between the bed and the television. My dad put on his long leather coat. He grabbed the bat and banged it against the door so hard he made the floor under my feet shake. All I kept hearing was my mom crying, "No, Berg, don't go. Call the police."
I went downstairs to my aunt's room. She was closer to my age, and I knew she would tell me what was going on. When I opened the door my aunt had her face in her hands and her hands in her lap. Her long red hair covered her whole face and her legs down to her ankles. I called her so she would look. I said, "Aunt Rosie, what's wrong? Is everyone okay?" When she looked at me her face was so red and wet from tears it mixed in with her freckles. She picked me up and sat me on the bed next to her. She told me my brother and sister wouldn't be coming today. She said Lizzie (my sister) was in the hospital. A man had attacked her in the elevator and my dad went to take care of things.
That scared me more than everyone. Crying, I lay in my aunt's bed all night, waiting for my dad to come home. When I woke up in the morning my mom took me to the hospital.
The thing that scared me the most out of this whole thing is that I saw my big strong daddy crying.
A Crush by Tashema Allen
I had a crush Which felt like love.
You told me I wasn't ready. Or is it
You didn't want to go steady? As time went on
I realized something about you. You weren't worthy of me.
So, I will just let you be.
Every time I saw you,
I thought I would die, Seeing your cute face, And now I wonder why?
Why aren't you the man of my dreams? Everything I thought about you,
Is not what it seemed.
You were not the one for me So I guess I'll go on
Living with this crush
That can't be gone.
Haiku by Lisa Kraus
Everywhere I look snow is all I ever see; I don't like it though.
Wondering by Dante Ihsan
Discarded dreams ofa mind
brainwashed into submission by the powers that be;
Who are they to say that
my art is not art?
my writing not literature? my pain not a song?
Dreams once dreamt and discarded are a repression
a SIn ...
That Brought Me Happiness by
The time that brought me happiness
Was the time when I was in high school in China It was the time
when I first studied and lived in the city alone It was the time
when I only went home once every month or two
The time that brought me happiness
Was the time when I changed a lot for the better It was the time
when I changed from a conservative shy girl To a progressive young lady
It was the time
when I changed from
an indecisive dependent person To an independent youth
Who knew what to do when problems came up
The time that brought me happiness
Was the time when I learned to do many things It was the time
when I learned how to take care of myself and others It was the time
when I learned how to arrange my daily life
The time that brought me happiness
Was the time when I was in high school in China It was the time
when I knew how to make good use of my time It was the time when I made many good friends
Wishing I Could Fly by
Laying here thinking
in the middle of the night watching the moon and the stars shine so bright
See the shining stars lit up in the sky wishing and hoping one day I could fly
Through the clouds feeling drops of rain up and down
again and again
Touching everything that seems so high, touching the sky
oh my, ohmy
A wonderful thing
that you only could dream an imaginary place
is just what it seems
My beautiful vision of everything high
I'm wishing and hoping one day I can fly
Strength by Chrissy Buono
Problems on the brain,
That you cannot maintain, Rundown, not appreciated, used, Confused, and stressed out,
You never made us get out,
With us you took such precaution; Feeling neglected,
Things too hectic,
You could have picked up and left it, Time just seems too long,
Deep down inside,
You wished you could just run and hide, Yet, you stayed ..
When times were rough, 'lou always stood tough,
When ever you would fall to your knees and want to die, Never did you run out and get high,
You got up and stood tall,
Scared to be on your own, You were never alone, You never abandoned us, You took great care of us,
All the pain inside, you try to hide, I'm always by your side,
Noone could ever take your place in my heart, Take pride in your name,
It will always remain,
This is a story of a strong, black woman; A woman who sacrificed her life
for the love of her child
She tried to give and show her child
All the love she had the best way she could. She provided the best and tried her best
to raise her child
the best way she knew how.
It was hard and difficult for her
Being that she was a young, black, single mother. Times were hard and became even more difficult, But she always stayed strong.
Now she's married and blessed
with two more lovely children.
But, her troubles haven't ended;
they have only begun.
Her first child is pregnant at a young age. She sees her following in her foot-steps, But at an earlier stage.
She wants to see her child succeed,
But it's very difficult when her child is breeding. She feels disappointed and hurt.
She feels betrayed as though she was to be left
to perish in the dirt.
Her life has never been an easy one.
It has always been filled with obstacles. Now is just another time to be strong And pull through the struggle.
This woman has taught me to be
a strong, black woman.
For she is my mother;
The strongest black woman I've ever known!
Thank The Lord For Mama by
Thank the Lord for Mama;
She's the light that makes the day. o Lord don't let my Mama die; Don't take my sunshine away.
Thank the Lord for Mama;
She's there when I need a hand.
She opens her ears and heart to me; My problems she tries to understand.
Thank the Lord for Mama;
For without her, where would I be?
She's the inspirational goddess of wisdom and love; She's the woman who made me.
by Dianne Krimsky
Dreams can be based on how we feel
And to many of us seem so vivid and real Dreaming is a way to set our minds free
Allowing us to view things we can't always see Some dreams have meanings which are very deep
It's amazing how our minds work as we drift into sleep I believe we all dream as a way of showing
What our minds are so capable of knowing.
Even Though We Are Far Apart by
Even though we are far apart You are still near in my heart. I reflect and remember
the special times we shared as sisters, Laughing and talking.
When the road I am trudging seems all up hill, You are there pushing me and comforting me. Ifit hadn't been for you helping me go through
the rough times and the smooth ones, I don't know what would have happened.
I think God put you down on this earth
to lend a helping hand.
I want to tell you,
Even though we are far apart, You are still in my heart.
You are special to me.
You don't only act like a sister But also as a mother.
I want to thank you for everything
that you have done for me And what you are still doing.
Even though we are far apart, you are special. God bless you.
MyGED by Tashika Coates
My GED is like water, a need not a want,
a beginning not an end, education unlimited just for me .. Look who's got her GED!
My life will never be full of pleasure unless I take the time to measure me. Whatever it takes to go to the very top, if it makes me happy, I wouldn't stop.
At one point I didn't know the meaning oflife. Now I'm ready to become a wife. My life is not over. It has just begun.
I will touch many lives and make them warm as the sun.
Teachers by Kevin Gillespie
Teachers will teach you.
Also they will preach to you. Just to reach out to you. Showing you what's right to do.
Things you don't have a clue to -- teachers
Believe in Yourself by
All alone in the world wondering about yourself with problems on your mind with no one to find
to help you.
You were always told that you'll be alone with no one to hold without any hope, but that's not true.
You always believe everyone else, but for once in your life
believe in yourself.
About This Book by
I never liked reading books
or boring stories. But, thanks
to my seventh period teacher,
this one book took over my mind. Every time I had a free five minutes
I would run to the book my teacher gave me. This isn't just any book.
It's a book of the lives of teenagers; how they took the wrong path;
how they did ignorant things just for money. This book didn't only have one story.
It had many different ones.
As I read this book, my mind took over
and I was hypnotized by the people on the next page. I wouldn't mind reading stuff like this at alL
Not once did any teacher in my life
give me a book like this.
My Life As A Poet by
My life is a very strange one Filled with action and lots of fun
I'm always doing something, never bored Because I'm a poet and the pen is my sword
I'm just a regular teenage guy
Who has his faults, and who's told a few lies And I know no one will call me lord
But who cares, I'm a poet and the pen is my sword
Sometimes I really do stupid stuff
Like make my lungs bleed with every cigarette puff And people think I belong in a psycho ward
But I don't, I'm a poet and the pen is my sword
I'm a modern guy always up to date
Always wondering what's gonna be my fate I'd like to be a president like Lincoln or Ford But I probably won't, but I'm still a poet
and the pen is my sword
All good things come to an end But I'll never drop my pen Because I cannot afford
To be defenseless, 'cuz the pen is my sword
On a rainy night I was coming from my aunt's house. She lived in Brooklyn. I lived in the Bronx. My aunt was driving the car and I was in the back seat. I was feeling kind of mellow listening to slow jam tapes and I saw from the rear window another car that was riding along side of us. It was pretty close. It grabbed my attention to look towards it. I saw a young male around the age of seventeen who had stuck half of his body out of the car window. He was holding on to the most beautiful rose.
Quickly I rolled down my window and did the same as him except I tried to grasp the rose. Although I remember the heavy rain it seemed so lovely as he said, "Here, take it."
But the person who was driving the car had no idea what we were trying to do. Therefore we were too far apart. I almost gave up until this voice inside me said, keep yourself half way out of the window. You're not two fools. Go for the rose.
I reached, and reached, and reached, then finally when his driver noticed what we had in mind the cars drew closer and I took the rose from his hand, fell back in my seat. I brought the rose up to my nose, took a deep breath and the car he was in drove away.
I'll always remember this special night. Most of all if I don't remember his face I'll never forget his smile and the rose. If I could ever see him again to thank him so that this wouldn't seem so mysterious, I would. But on the other hand, it feels good just wondering who he was, where he came from, and why he did it. I wish he knew how grateful I was to receive such a wonderful memory.
Si Ella Supiera by
Si ella supiera que al mirada me derrito.
Que siendo yo un hombre no soy nada y me limito A ser su esclavo su guardian y su elutivo
Si ella supiera aunque no le digo nada,
Reina mi alma y crea un mundo en su mirada.
Si ella supiera que yo tiemblo si la rozo, Y si me mira en un momento me son rojo .. Si adivina que yo sufro si me ignora,
En noches claras llenas de amarguras.
Si ella supiera que yo extrafio su presencia y que La amo mas que a nada en mi existencia.
by Elizabeth Ortiz
Sometimes I think I shall always be alone,
Why can't I find the path that will take me home, For me love is never successful or true,
And as time goes by, I'm always destined to lose, Maybe someday my path will change,
Maybe I'll meet the man who will remain,
But hope is little and time is endless,
Hopefully, I'll meet him as life intends it.
Para Xiomara by
Hola! Como estas? Yo me siento bien.
Y espero que te sientas como yo tambien.
Asi seremos fehces de noche y de dia preparate, Para que leas esta poesia.
Yo soy el mar y tu eres el pez,
Yo te of res co la vida y el amor a la vez ...
Donde quiera que yo vaya siempre estas en mi, Y con las olas que yo hago te persigo a ti ... Pues yo soy el arbol y tu eres el fruto,
No te alejes de mi ni tan siquiera un minuto, Si te caes en mi tu vuelves a nacer, 8inceramente no te quisiera perder.
I hope and I pray
You'll let me love you again Someday
I wish every night And pray every day
that we'll never again fight Someday
I cry in my sleep
And fall into a hole during the day A black hole so large and deep But I hope to leave it soon
When you return to me
One day we'll know bliss And heaven
When we kiss
And romantic nights And days without fights
And our love won't fade away Once you return to me Someday
Amor by Pony
No puedo vivir sin ti.
Solos tu y yo eramos 10 mejor. Cuando te vi por primera vez Mi corazon queria explotar,
No tengo mucho que decirte Pero algo S1 es seguro,
Que no puedo vivir sin tu arnor.
Dios es mi testigo y no puedo mentir,
Que cuando ciero mis ojos solo pienso en ti.
Quisiera abrasarte y decirte al oido 10 mucho que te amo, Porque sinceramente de ti estoy locamente enamorado. Porque te ama ...
Una Noche Contigo by
Era de noche. Una noche muy linda. Estaba en un campo en mi pais. Estaba sentada sobre la hierba, bajo la luz de la luna, de las estrellas y los luceros que habitan en el cielo. Una dulce y suave brisa rosaba mi piel; esa dulce y suave brisa e traia un pensamiento. Un pensamiento muy linda porque en ese pensamiento estabas til. Til que venias para hacere compafia,
Siempre estas en mi pensamiento, pero en ese momento al ver que quien llegaba eras tu, me dio mucho miedo y vergiienza: y en un momento pasaron mucas cosas por mi mente. Pero a la vez senti una alegria muy grande dentro de mi. Fue algo inexplicable porque hacia tiempo deseaba que llegara un momento como este. Cuando llegaste me senti un poco extrafia y confundida. Pero a la misma vez me senti muy contenta y segura de 10 que sentia; tambien senti 10 que podia pasar esa nochem bajo la luz de la luna.
Fue una noche maravillosa. Nunca podre olvidarla; fueron tantas las cosas que nos dijimos. tantas las cosas que hicimos, que se me quit6 el miedo y la vergiienza. No hubo restricciones, ni nada que pudiera empafiar esa noche. Esos momentos tan inolvidables que pasamos nunca los olvidare. Gracias por todos e808 momentos; ojala y tu tambien los recuerdes como yo. Y otra vez podamos pasarla igual 0 jejor. l,Por que no?
ABC Poem by Kevin Wells
A long time ago,
Before anyone could count, Charlie went for a walk Down a dark forest.
Everyone else was too scared to go;
Forgetting that there was treasure somewhere
in the forest.
Great big bears circled around him
as he entered the forest.
"Help!" he cried.
In a desperate attempt to save him Jake shot the bear in the head and Killed the bear on the spot.
Loud roars came from the forest.
Many people in town thought Jake and Charlie were dead. Nobody wanted to go into the forest to see.
On the way deeper into the forest Jake fell and was Paralyzed from the waist down.
Quickly, Charlie ran deeper in the forest. Reluctantly, he went into a cave;
Stepped down into what looked like a dragon's mouth. Treasure was now in his sight;
Uttering to himself, "yes."
Various people took the other bear that was injured
to the vet.
Whining and hurting, the bear was given an X-ray and got a needle. Then the bear yelled. Yearning to get out, Charlie exited the forest
with the treasure.
Zack tried to get some of Charlie's treasure,
but Charlie said, "Don't even think of it."
Peacefully I lie
under the shades of these trees; sky above my head.
People are suffering
So let us combine our wealth To save each other
Passing through the world I met a lot of problems But I kept going
My empty heart feels no pain
My immoral body knows no shame
To reach my goals, there's many to gain Everybody's a pawn in my game
My voice sings out loud My pen won't stop
I attract a male crowd Most of whom get dropped
I know no limits
I travel far across the sea Gotta be the first to finish Gotta find my Destiny
Money, sex, power
Mmm, How I love the sound I've only an hour
To reach the higher ground
And when I'm there, I'll reminisce On the way things used to be
But those days I'll never miss Once I find my Destiny
I have pained and I have toiled But it's well worth it, you see
My face, by my tears, no longer will be soiled Once I find my Destiny
At times I wonder about How I ended up in this world And what life is about.
Deep inside I know that
I have a mission to accomplish. I just don't know what it is.
I have dreams just like other people; and I have qualities like many people.
I am not perfect and often make mistakes.
I wonder what's the purpose of the positive and negative, The good and bad, the dark and light,
Love and hate.
I wonder why this whole universe was made;
And if our souls are just a small part of a whole energy That is placed in material nature
For a temporary existence that is a test To elevate ourselves spiritually.
Then again, I wonder if this world is the first stage
of my test; And, if not, I wonder why I can't recall a past existence.
I ask myself, "Is it because memory is part of the brain And the brain belongs to the earth?"
So if we came down here to elevate ourselves, How can we know if we're making progress?
How can we know what difference we are making Compared to our past existence?
Or is someone somewhere watching and judging
I often judge myself about the good and wrong; But I wonder ifit would matter whether I
Did more good than bad or more bad than good.
Who Am I? by Gwynn Glasgow
I am somebody who cares not a lot, but somewhat,
for what happens to others, but not herself. I'm someone
who is growing up in today's world; who needs to know
what she's going to do in her life. I'm someone
who is willing to learn a lot and keep on learning.
I'm a young black girl
who has to do her absolute best to go far in this world I'm smart, pretty, and young.
I don't know much, but am loving to others. I'm someone who is sad all the time
and needs someone to make me smile.
I'm someone who has a true best friend since the day I was born.
I'm someone who has nine brothers and sisters. I'm someone who has a big family
and loves every last one of them.
In the Beginning by
Kevin Francis aka Kool Kev
In the beginning I remember heartache, pain, sorrow, and everything else that comes with being locked up. If you heard of that expression "I don't wanna talk!" Well that was my attitude every day all day. For about six months, I didn't want to hear s$%t, say s$%t, I was just gone to the world. I'm all right now though, but it wasn't easy and I remember on top of all that they threw me in school.
That's somethin' different altogether but I remember when I was first actually put here. Being hunted down and locked up didn't come easy to a dude like me. I had to do a lot of mental checking; a cat can go crazy in this piece if he ain't mentally right. It ain't easy to adapt to, believe me. And for anybody who's never been locked up, this s$%t ain't cool. No sir, not cool at all.
When down in Mod 5, I was really scared to death but the feeling of what my moms was thinking scared me even more. She warned me plenty of times. So here I am laying in this bed next to 49 other dudes and I make 50, saying to myself, "somebody save me." I laid in that damn bed in a fetal position for about a week straight. The only time I got up was for the bathroom. Word!
Then they transferred me to Mod 2. That's when I ran into the thugs. This dude, named Lemonhead, tried to rob me .. It's funny now looking back on it, but at the moment I was under pressure. He was about six foot three and here I am five foot eight and he's got two of his boys behind him. Ha ha ha ha ha --- word! S$%t is mad crazy. This is another blow to my brain. About two weeks later I got transferred to Mod 4 lower and that's
when I got thrown in school.
In the beginning comin' up on the school floor didn't really help. I mean teachers weren't sayin' nothin' that I wanted to hear, so I was like, "Man, f@#k ana' that. I ain't gotta deal with this s$%t." But I was forced to. The worst thing you can do is force something on somebody. Whoever came in the classroom, they didn't know me from a hole in the wall, and here they are putting paper and pencils on my desk. I mean I'm not a fool. I wouldn't hit them or strike them, but if looks could kill, that teacher would've been dead a long time ago. I'd just grill a teacher. Just watch him closely like he was a primary source of food. They would come into the class smiling, saying, "Good morning," and I'm like, "Why so damn jolly? Can't you see I'm locked Up?" But I didn't see it yet, or understand. They weren't looking out of my eyes. They were looking out of theirs, so they had no understanding of what I was going through. And that's where a lack of communication came in.
But as time went on I kinda opened my ears instead of being so ignorant. My ears were always open; but, just one day out of nowhere all of what my mother had been saying to me for about 16 years finally smacked me in the face. The realization of it all was that she's on my side. Me and my moms just got cool. My father was always there too but he's a merchant marine, and he's hardly ever home, so as you can see, my moms was the father and the mother. My moms did two jobs. I realized that I wasn't just doing time, she was too. My whole family is doing time with me. That's pretty messed up to put your family through all this when it could have been avoided by simply opening your damn ears.
After about five months of grilling and feuding with teachers like Ms. Steele and Mr. Ames, I guess they got used to seeing the angry kid in the back and went on with their lessons. I remember the day things started
looking up. My man Preacher Earl said something funny and I started rolling. And that's when my English teacher, Ms. McCants, said to me, "Why don't you smile more often?" I said, "Because I don't want to smile. Ain't nothing to smile about." She said, "But it makes your insides look better." She made me smile. You don't hear things like that when you're locked up.
And to tell you the truth it got kinda cool. I made some friends with the staff that I looked forward to seeing every day. It got to the point where I started to look forward to coming to school. I had this art teacher named Mr. Maze!' He was like the ultimate cool azz white dude. At first I'm like, "Look at this lame azz dude comin' in here talkin' about -- 'o.k. class, today we're going to learn how to draw. "' I'm like, "Mannn, if you don't get the f@#k from in front of me, I'll show you how to draw all right!" But like I said, as time went on we got real tight. Some days after the class was done I would experiment and ask him what type of things did he like, music and little stuff like that. You know, the basic questions when asking a teacher something, especially a Caucasian man. I wanted to know if he was a racist; was he just working here to get paid and leave. But it turned out that he didn't fill any of those bills. This dude was really down to earth when you got to know him. I mean really Mr.Mazel was definitely cool in the gang, but basically it was all a matter of communication. That's all it really is--communication.
We as students have to take that step to see what's really happening with a teacher ... just gotta take that step!
Just by talking to the teachers I've been able to see their side of the tracks of things. It wasn't easy for the teachers either, and I still don't think it is, dealing with some of the most difficult and arrogant kids of the city. No I don't think it's easy for them at all, but if this is what they choose to do, so be it. Since they're up here they have to understand that they're doing a job and
business is business, but along with doing a job comes understanding and when working with adolescents teachers must learn not to stoop to their level. Teachers shouldn't take insults personally. I mean what would you expect? You're dealing with a bunch of kids that's locked up so you shouldn't be too quick to infract them or have an officer wild on them. For instance, I remember one time when I got into a little something with a teacher, where I tried to avoid a situation and ended up arguing and getting infracted. That day about 4th period, me and my man, Preacher Earl, were making beats on the desk when this teacher entered the room. Preacher Earl said, "Yo, Kev let's make some noise." So I said, "Chill, I ain't f@#kingwith this bitch." And at that same moment she walked in the door and heard the word "bitch." We were always on bad terms so as you know automatically she persecuted me with no second thought. It p@##"d me off because I really wanted to avoid confrontation in the first place. I got ten days in the Bing. I learned two things from that day: the pen (write-ups) is mightier than the sword, and always watch your mouth. You never know who might be listening.
And this is still only the beginning. Looking down a fifteen year old pipe ain't nothin' to f@#k with. Well I see it like this: these are the cards that I plucked so now I gotta play my hand and throw down. On days when I'm feeling mad at the world and I come into a classroom and see teachers doing a lesson I won't even interrupt anymore, I just go along with the class. Because, I know by me interrupting their lesson I don't get any joy out of it and neither do they; and it takes a lot of energy to argue, so half the time I don't even waste it. But it's all to the good. The school floor did a lot for me, probably more than I'd like to admit. But hey! What can I say? I'm just passing through ...