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FreeWritjaeil arts


Poetry Should Walk Alone Poetry should use the window to freeze a pop Poetry should wear a clown suit to a job interview and wear a business suit to McDonald’s, too


Poetry should sing its favorite song “Party Like a Poetry Star” Poetry should

Poetry Should...

ride in a red police car

Poetry should cry

and say that the

Poetry should lie

law of poetry is to have a poem

Poetry should rain Poetry should have pain

Poetry should

Poetry should sing

walk alone through the shadow of love

Poetry should think

and show respect to all the poets above

Poetry should have fun Poetry should go to school

Poetry should

Poetry should eat

kick you in the face

Poetry should play with her feet

when you wake up

Poetry should walk up the block

in the morning

Poetry should eat candy

looking like

Poetry should have a car

a disgrace

By Sharica F.

Jasma L.

Pain In My Life… I have so much pain in my life. Don’t know why people come in and out of my life

Poetry Will

Poetry Will Open You

Poetry Should...

Poetry will free me

Poetry will open up your mind

Poetry should sing to the birds

It will help me

like a child opening a gift

let itself be known to the high heavens.

do a lot of things

open you up like a can of pig feet

It might help me sing

open you up to a door that leads

Poetry should dance and jump around

Poetry will help me

to different ways of life

and stomp on the group til it gets to China.

be me


family I Come From

Where I’m From

open you like pores

Poetry can help me

spread you like wings

Poetry should whisper

love me

on a bird that soars


I come from a long line of people

to all the children in CCJTDC.

that really don’t care for me

which made me just want to be free

People say that I look just like you

understanding they only want the best for me

Poetry should love

but act just like her

They know I can be anything

one another

I wish that you cared about me

as long as I believe where I’m from

as it loves itself.

instead of caring about yourself

I had no Mother

but it seems that you will never change


Poetry should

Why can’t you do something

in most cases

lust for knowledge.

for me for a change?

people have no Father

Or why can’t you just do the

I am going to be

right thing in life?

my Dad’s successful daughter

People say that I shouldn’t hate you

but where I’m from is a family

open you like a tasty piece of chocolate open you like a never-ending book to read open you up to the point where you say I’mma be me

Poetry should bring peace. Poetry should feed the homeless.

No one knows where I’m from

Poetry should be Robin Hood

why I feel this way

I will succeed at poetry

steal from the rich

I feel this way because you never think

Andrea H.

and give to the poor.

about how stuff might affect me in life I blame you for getting me locked up

I fall in love so fast I think I need to slow down and think about me and my life So much pain in my life…

Brittany K.

I know I’m a sweet person but I just get my heart broken all the time Pain in my life… Mom, I want to say I’m sorry for putting you through so much pain We have pain in our lives Sorry for calling you out of your name and talking bad about you, Mom I love you dearly and will never stop loving you So much pain in my life… Grandma, I also want to let you know I’m so sorry for putting my hands on you I had no right to do something like that I know you deserve better

My Baby

Grandma and Mother

I blame you

I feel like I’m dying because my better half is

You’re my world

for everything I have been through

so far away. And after that, I’m not going to be

I will never put my hands on you

I blame you!!

able to finish my day. Not able to concentrate

or call you out of your name again


and making me sit in here for 7 months

should make you think.

Christine B.

A place where tough love surrounds me

but a part of me does I bet you are wondering

I’mma be free

I don’t know why

Why do people hurt me the way they do?

I love poetry

Faith P.

just breaking my little heart

Taijana T.

A Story About Breeana

on who is even next to me because it really does not matter to me as long as it’s not my


baby. I will not be happy. So when I think to

As I look in the mirror

myself, I wonder if the picture that is clued in

I can see the tears rolling down on my face

my head would come true. And now I’m ask-

I’m looking so sad and angry

ing you, would it? Will I ever get the chance to

Breeanna is nice to me sometimes.

feel my baby, hold my baby, feel her next to me

She helps me when I’m mad.

again. And as I pray, God tells me: yes, you will.

I think she is so pretty. She tried to help me get on level. We smile at each other and I like her because she is kind to me.

Onicka C.

Vanessa S.

Charma M.

Who Are You?



Optional Life

Look at me

Mom, I’m sorry for hurting you. Do you forgive

She is beautiful, strong and inspiring. She

It’s amazing

who do you see

me? I cry every night, thinking about you. I

inspired me to be strong as a woman. She is

the way stories can come out in rhymes

When I look at you

just wish I can be with you. I want to go home

filled with love and passion. She has an amazing

I see another me

with you again. I want to have a good relation-

mind for thinking and a loving part of her soul.

Also amazing

but I’m younger

ship with you and work things out with you.

She made me feel high when I felt low. It feels

are the events that occur in one’s lifetime

Who are you

I love you so much, Mom.

like I’ve known her my whole life. She helped me

Onicka C.

with my strife. Now, at night, I don’t cry. I smile

did you live my life were you in my shoes You’re my Mother aren’t you You’re the one who couldn’t take care of me but you call yourself my Mother Where is my Father is he a low life, too Where is here I say I waited for this day I don’t know how your life is but I know how’s mine and I got one question why?

Moms are your friends who help you when you’re in need Moms tend to your needs and teach you to say please parents often say that Moms know best but us as kids always second-guess we are taught to be obedient and listen

She makes the sun come out when it rains. Genie,

now it’s backwards

you are my Guardian Angel. You saved me from

you’ve taken a sinful misstep

Satan. You brightened my day up with the beauti-

Now you’re confused

ful heavens above. You are that beautiful white

and don’t know what to do

dove. You filled my heart up with love. Thank you

You know not what future lies ahead of you

so much for helping me through my pain. Now I’m on the road to happiness. I’m in the right

You had two options:

lane. Thanks for everything. You will always stay

Do good or do bad

in my heart. You will always be my other part. You didn’t have much to lose

crying and glistening

change my life and become a better person.

no Mom nor Dad

Moms try to help us and get us out

Jakira C.

but you had brothers and sisters

but we end up in jail

they always got our back Moms tell us to go right


we go left

Grandma, I love you and I really admire you.

little do we know

Grandma, I know you really miss me, too.

there are people planning our deaths

Grandma, I can’t wait to come home.

You need a shoulder?

Moms see it coming

Grandma, I really tried to call you on the phone.

and try to stop it

Grandma, you really is a mentor to me.

but life is destiny

Grandma, I know you wish I was free to be me.

and there’s no way to block it

I know you know that I really look up to you


and I love the way you smile and smell.

You need some comfort? I’ll be there. Need someone to talk to? I’ll listen. Need a helping hand? I’ll be glad to help. Need to tell a secret? My ears will listen. Need someone to see your pain? My eyes work perfect. You need a great audience? I got two hands. You need someone responsible? I got enough. Need a place to stay? I got plenty of room.

Jacqueline B.

you loved so dearly You would make one suffer

You Need I’ll be there.

You were once so sweet

Thank you so much, Genie. You inspired me to

no doubt


with happiness because Genie has granted my wish. My wish was to get away from my pain.


You go from a baby to a child to a full adult

You really make me happy when I am sad. Grandma, I just wish that you could have an opportunity to come and see me and be with me. Every night when I go to sleep, I pray the Lord your soul to keep. Grandma, I really admire you. Love always, your granddaughter

Breeanna T.

for hurting their feelings Don’t forget you had an aunt and a grandmother too! You still loved them even if they made you miserable They may make you suffer they may make you hurt No matter what happens show them love in return


identity I am a lion. Brown as a brick. I eat other lions. I play with my food. I can hunt. I can fight. I am a lion.

Darius D. Forgive them the way God would forgive you Love them the way God would love you If they’re ungrateful after you’ve given your all Hand it over to God Know that it’s not your fault

Maurice W Untitled

H.I.V. Thought

Looks Can Be Deceiving

In Praise of the Body

In Praise of the Body

Her eyes shine like a diamond in the rough

Praise my head because

I praise my head because

I wished I was just having fun

even though her life is rough

I’ll think of a way to

it’s big but

but I thought

save one’s heartbeat

inside my big head

the new life for me

from being dead

there’s a big brain

had just begun

She keeps her head high up She smiles with grace to hide her pain

At the time

He kisses you and Praise my feet because

I praise my hair because

tells you what’s right

Her heart beats fast

I’ll walk on them for justice

even though it’s short

You fall in love

when she sees visions of her past

even if they’re red

I know I’m still beautiful

and let him get it at night

when they look at her

Christina Newby

At first I praise my vocal cords because

it was all fun and games

when she looks in the mirror

I know my voice is deep

until outta nowhere

She sees an ugly beast

but that makes me a good speaker

you feel strange

Free to Be Me

I praise my feet because

He mushes you up

even though they are not the prettiest

Free to be me

and says

they are still mine

Being free is an opportunity

we need to talk

I praise my spirit because

Being free is like

You think it’s no problem

that’s what god gave me

and you look at the clock

Norkeisha W.

10 pm

They see a beautiful girl

They can’t feel the pain she hides They don’t see the nightmares she fears at night She is begging for God’s light She is tired of the fight She is fighting a war she can’t win She begs dear Lord to forgive her

getting your act together Being free should be forever Being free to be me

as a friend He sits you down

for her sins

I feel free when I have support I feel free when I am comforted

I’m a Beauty

They don’t understand her

I feel free when I ignore negativity

Oh yeah, I’m a beauty

I feel free when I help in the community

but so uptight.

because they haven’t walked in her shoes She feels like she can never win but always lose

Yeah, I’m grown Being free to be me

and live on my own.

Being free to be me

Confident, independent and intelligent

It’s like I can never get free

But so gosh damn

get her worries and pain

I feel like I messed up

conceited with so many

Me, myself and I

retarded reasons.

She doesn’t know what sober is


Only 19 years old.

She consumes drugs to for-

All she knows is how high she lives She is tired of her life She wants to give up and quit She is tired of all the bullshit It’s hard for her to continue without pain It’s killing her to feel sorrow every day

By Jakira C.

Got 2 kids. Imagine me being free

Raised them on my own.

Imagine me being blind

Francesca R.

but still doing me Imagine me growing up from my childhood Imagine me growing up in the ghetto hood Being free to be me I love always

maybe he just needs an ear

I’m sorry I look at him and say Tonarie He wishes he never hurt me but he just ain’t clean I look at him and say I’m seventeen He said alright He thought it’ll slow me down I say it’s cool It’s pretty clear now He didn’t say a type so now it’s up to me I say I’m blind Damn right I should have seen Especially living clean until seventeen But for now I think I have H.I.V.


My Hood I’m from my hood It means a lot to me as the mystery man could see My hood is where I stay How I live could make me change Why is it that my hood could pull me away? What I’m good at in my dreams could be distorted because of my hood so I make it better It’s like what the mystery man could see The first Lady President of my hood So I say I could change

and tells you what’s real

to make it better

never realizing

as loyal as me

what he’ll reveal

I’d create it

In my head

as God created me

I think he’ll probably say he loves me and he wants to keep things real So I look at him and my heart squeals He looks into my brown eyes as I look back He tells me don’t be mad or don’t cry and be sad I think this is the end What happened with him needing a friend? I put my head down thinking crazy things Not knowing

Breeana T.

whatever he’s about to bring He lifts my head and says

In Praise of the Body

Bryara J

Praise my head because I can move my neck Praise my feet because I can wear shoes

Scar of Life

Praise my nose

That came from when I fell down the

because I can smell

stairs and my arm caught in the gate.

Praise my spirit

That’s from where I ate something too

because I can believe

hot and my body began to shake.

Praise my backbone

When I was 5, I was jumping in the bed and

because I can move my back

was stopped before I was going to get hurt

Praise my legs

with something metal with a cord and hot.

because I love to walk

Hey look, that one there, that scar came from

Praise my arms

when I was chasing my cousin and my hand hit

because I can touch

the door and 7 days later, it became a scar.

Vernadine H.

Hey, look at this came from when I was chasing my cousin and my hand broke the glass to the door.

Jasma L.

Where I’m From

Pain in my Life

Being from the Eazy Greazy

Get away

where everything ain’t easy

you ugly


unfriendly pain


I don’t want to go

mostly no loyalty

with you

with my new best friend who rhymes with happy a friend you could never be again

Jasma L.


Marks and Scars

That where I got scratched

Marks and scars

because I opened my big mouth

everywhere I look

thinking I was tough

How did they get there?

at the time

Could it be

Too bad now

through my mind

as much as it hurts and it feels like I’m stuck in a maze

Shambreya B.

Everyone just doing themselves

no longer

got a scar on my bright yellow face


Children being disobedient

You were the head and

That’s where I was stabbed at

or maybe my soul

In Praise of the Body

Parents being dopeheads

I was the feet

but I couldn’t be

Praise my head and face

No more being the follower

Who am I?

again because of my mouth


I opened it too soon

getting old

because they describe who I am

or alcoholics

while you lead me

Who am I?

saying stuff to guys

Scars on my arms

Praise my feet

All bad times

I’m tired

Just other black brother


scars on my back

because they help me

is what I would call it

of trying to prove myself

Who am I?

Shouldn’t have.

my body is aching

walk and run


to you

Somebody’s son and somebody’s big brother

Blood gushing from my thighs

my soul is shaking

Praise my nose


Get out

Who am I?


my mind is gone

because it makes me smell

and more

Get out!

To the police

That’s not right.

but where did all the pain come from?

all the good breezes of life

Why not just leave

Take your bags

I am just another n******

That’s where I fell flat

Is it that I have been hurt

Praise my backbone

just walk out the project door

and leave!

on the streets

on my stomach

so many times

because it lets me bend

100’s of dealers

Don’t even think

but to my Mom

knocked the wind outta me

that the sun will never shine

and stand tall as a tree

jailbirds and killers

about asking me

I am her 16-year-old son


or is it the hurt I have seen

Praise my hands

All living in the same environment

for a place to stay

Who am I?

A boy

with my eyes

because I can do

Ford Heights ( Da Eazy Greazy)

Leave me alone

I don’t know

in love

that makes me so blind

some pretty cool signs and

That’s where I’m from

Leave me alone

but I know I have a short temper


to what the world

I can grab what I need to be me

If you wanna try to


so irritate me

Yeah, dat was me

really looks like?

Praise my ears



and I will explode

jumped out

Did it come from the abuse

because I can hear

Akilya H.

No more hiding


my Momma calling me

My Soul My Soul shall rain My Soul runs free My Soul is my shadow My Soul feels me My Soul is dark My Soul dies My Soul never lies My Soul never leaves me in demise If you did not know, your soul is a concept of your spiritual being.

Herbert T.

like an M80

my third floor building

while you seek

Now I look back.


Praise my arms

You told me life was long

Who am I?

What a shame.

and physically

because I can reach for the Lord

and I believed you

That’s where I was

or the hurt I have seen

So praise me

and now you

at a moment

with my eyes

like you praise God!!!

short from me Move out

Jonathan B.

I was desperate

that makes me


so bling to who people really are?

move out

and stupid

So much so

screaming and yelling

Yeah, dat was me.

that I cannot trust

and bossing me around

Francesca R.

love or get close to

like you’re my Mom

because I am so worried

For I am happy now

about what they are going to do

and you are destroyed

or if they’re going to leave

Your world is down

But it might just be

and mine is up

in my head

Sleep away

The hurt

sleep away...

the pain

For tomorrow

and the stress

would be for me

I can’t handle this mess

a new day

I see the scars

Started over

as long as they are

started over

I feel the pain

Jasma L.

Who am I? I’m the definition of real and that’s everything I feel or do because I can’t afford to be fake because every step I take is monitored closely been under surveillance since I was young a poor man’s son so you know some of the things I’ve done were wrong in the eyes of the law but if you saw half of what I been through you’d break the law too and yeah I kept a tight crew who was down for whatever anytime anywhere we ain’t care get beside you in the lane aiming at your brain no, it ain’t fair but this is warfare we living in I’m just in it to win Wouldn’t matter if you was my kinfolk or just another gutter young rider me? I’m your worst night mare put you in the hospital give your mama one hell of a scare but at the same time I’m just me so let it be and we go our separate ways someone once told me ‘don’t throw no stones in the water won’t be no waves’ So I’ve tried to keep from the long sweep of the grim reaper but it’s hard because the further in you get the more the terrain gets steeper and I just wish I could sprout my wings

sometimes I feel wrapped up and surrounded and I drowned it was all too much so could you blame me or shame me I hope not and though I been through it all every day every year that’s 365 I’ve managed to stay alive and still I struggle and strive for what I want so the only font my life could be written in is the pain and maybe when the time is right I’ll tell it to the world how I used to rob steal and kill for real but no matter what I done Mama always had love for her first-born son. Or how I used to just kick it in the hood all day til about three in the morning then home I come yawning life was on a slow roll for me but moving fast-paced to my family while they sat back to see me turn into a G_A_N_G_S_T_A so when I sit back ask the question who am I? I got to say it could never be explained that easy you’ll have to see me in action because I’m the one the only

and fly off the edge but fear of the unknown keeps me grounded

Samuel S.

Bargaining Chip I’m tired of seeing my homies locked up or dead indicted under federal law you know what I tell him I’m tired of what I saw

give me an escape route

so many times before

and I’m out

I wish we could just find peace for the day

he pull back and tell me look to the word

where I’m from

but I don’t understand

we all got one thing in common

and so what can I do

we’re all young

when even the heavenly Father


can’t help me out this hole

poor and every time

I guess I’m going to just have to keep on living

we walk out the front door

with one foot in the grave

it’s wartime

and one foot out

same mind frame

and just hope things work out

“I got mine, so you get yours” It’s like we still animals down on all fours you cross me I’m going to bite

I had my own teacher tell me



that the way I’m living all I could hope for is death then I told her well, if that’s true how about you helping me get straight she told me flat out

Yeah, that’s right

“don’t make me waste my breath”

I’m going to fight

Escape Route

for my share

Man, these people

So now that you understand

as sure as the sun will shine

just don’t know what it’s like

how I got misdirected

you gon’ let me

or how I used to fight

to the worst possible route

get what’s mine

to keep myself above water

and how it was just for me

or feel the burn of my nine

what was expected it’s like we straight lamb

so on and on

Must I repeat myself

being sent to the slaughter

I went undetected

maybe spell it out

shit’s crazy

until they found something real

can you see it

you ain’t even safe

to put this brown male

why we live like this

with a full clip

in a jail cell

this shit got me so pissed

for life

that I said fuck it

I swear on my life

and risked my life

I’m tired of living in this bullshit

so here I am

for nothing

got the pastor in the pulpit

trapped up

calling me the culprit

all because

Oh so you thought

speaking out on my dealings with the devil

I got wrapped up

I was bluffing

everyday he say

in their misinformation


that someday

of my demonstration

I really meant it

I’m going to have to pay

Samuel S.

and my life I spent as a bargaining chip


Father Why

Flawlessly Flawful

Understand Me

Never Give Up

I Wish I Had/If Only

Where I Am

My soul speaks a pain

My hair doesn’t always stay in place

People judge me

When you’re about to give up

I wish I had millions of dollars

Where I am is a place

I cannot name

and sometimes I trip and fall

by the mistakes

and just about to fall

I wish I had a lot of hair

where most people would rather not be

Burning deep within

I’m not super skinny

I have made in the past

Just know that you have to catch yourself

I wish I had someone who cares

All the crackheads

a flame that’s black

and I’m not all that tall

They are fast to say something

and have to stand up tall

I wish that everyone in this world would be fair

and homeless people I see

From emotions I packed

I’m good at getting attitude

to break me down

Only because you made a mistake

I wish I wish I wish


and I know how to start a fight

Now I look down with a sad frown

doesn’t mean you haven’t learned

And the questions unasked

Sometimes I pick out arguments

I wish I was treated like a queen

You actually gained more

If only I had a mother and no other

is a place filled with dreams

leaving me like a glass

even though I know that I’m not right

I won’t hesitate to rock the crown

than what you lost

A mother who will make me go further

that will come true eventually

When I look in the mirror

and much more was earned

If only I had

Half full or half empty

Where I am

and I simply want to break down and cry

I’m full of imperfections

I see an ugly beast

You earned wisdom and courage

If only I had a family to be there

Where I am

but instead I suck it up

but my personality can never be called dull

I hate that they hate me

the most important things

to support me

is on the corner of Independence

give a heavy sigh

It shines like a star

cause I’m me

you could ever know

to help

where every time

look up to the sky

flaws only making me more beautiful

They take away my freedom

Just think about

to teach me how to love

you walk out the door

and whisper

and throw away the key

when you have thought

I would sit up

you have to be on your defense

“Father why?”

So maybe sometimes

I know some day

to have stooped so low

and play with some doves

only if people would have common sense

Samuel S

I don’t listen

I got a lot of potential

People give up so easily


leaving out important details

but I don’t

but you know it’s not the right thing to do

under a tree

that I miss

I doubt myself

God is always by your side

because the people I love

caring and also watching you

If only I was at home

cause if it wasn’t for the mis-


Where I am is where I want to be

Changes take place everyday

Or maybe sometimes

doubt me

So whatever happened

free to be and do me

takes and misery I see

Changes depend on what you say

my whole mind

I wish I could run away from my misery

forget about it

If only if only

I wouldn’t be able to claim victory

Is the choice right or wrong?

falls into a mental abyss

I wish I could stop the rush of my veins

leave that in the past

I wish I had every thing above

I wish I just stayed in the right lane

Don’t worry

and someone to love

Brittany K.

Breeanna T.

Go wit your boys or write a song

But I realize that I am not perfect

Why do I feel like my life will al-

about something you can’t change

The decision is up to you

and this is how I feel

ways stay the same

but what you can

I’ll live another day

so make it last

You should try to be just

Real girls ain’t perfect

and cry another tear

So know you’re never alone

Day by Day

Think about the guy before you bust

and perfect girls ain’t real

I wish I could run away

there are other people, too

Living day by day

from all of my fears

So never give up

praying I don’t go back

Try to envision what you do

Does he have children? Does he have a wife?

I’m comfortable with myself

If I had the strength

because you’ll always make it through

to the old me because

How can we kill him

and I am proud when I say

I would pick myself up once again

if I do

if he has a life?

I am flawlessly flawful

without doubt

Raquel R.

Why are we so strange?

and I wouldn’t want it any other way

I wish someone positive

where I hated to be

We all just need a change

Kristina J

could lead me to the right route

Can’t remember the last time

Jakira C.

Moms was proud of me

We grow up in the wrong places

I’m going to end up

We worship all the wrong faces

made some wrong turns

We are in a hypnosis

hopefully she won’t judge me

Moving too fast to focus

I’m trying to get back to my life got plans to be better

Osvaldo C.

gonna start fresh and rise to success in my life It’s gonna be the day when I’m finally released going to take life serious with my second chance to walk these streets

Ramon S.

What It’s Like to be a Smart Girl It starts with me being open-minded but I have a mother who’s so dumbfounded I always wanted to be challenged but can’t cause I live with so much violence My mind is a terrible thing to waste I try to entertain it in an increasing pace Book after book Day after day When is my mind going to get enough knowledge to stay? I think I should pray and have faith cause I know that my mind is a terrible thing to waste

Tatyanna E.

I am Love

Being in the Streets

With All I Been Through

Last Night...


Being in the streets

With all I been through

Last night

A friend

not knowing what it’s gon’ be

You see why

I said no...

Someone important

crying out for love

I act the way I do

A child of God

but no one could hear me

no changing me

to the lies

If you try

to the drama

you better change

to the little demon in my head


no to your thoughts

Someone with feelings A thinker

So I turned to gangs

A dreamer Important to someone

At least

Full of life

they cared

A worshipper

no to your heartbreaks Been in some tough s**t

no to the games you play

but still living 2 tell about it

A girlfriend

Putting myself

tried 2 stop but you can’t

Last night

A best friend

in dangerous situations

only could get like me.

I said no...

Somebody’s child

wanting to get

A believer

a good reputation

A fan

I do it 4 myself

to the nightmares

and forget everybody else

to the drugs to the unfit behavior

A member

But all that changed

hating just makes me stronger

One in a trillion

when my brother passed away...

and glad 2 be the guy I am.

A star



no to my childish ways Love yo’ self 2 the fullest

no to my childish thoughts no to the feeling of being lost.


I tell myself

and nothing could ever stop


maybe now it’s time


Most of all, I am ME.

to get out of the game

Last night Thought I wouldn’t make it


But I stop and think

I was wrong


they all there for me

just cause I’m alone


they won’t be

I still stand strong.


if I leave


I said no... Jacqueline B. Reap What You Sow


Plus my pride and soul


goes out


to my bro


but then again


where is this leading me?


Fu*k fame and fu*k the game


I’d rather be here


than in jail or dead


Jessica R.

to deliver a message from God He told me that my future was so bright that I would need sunglasses I have nothing to worry about if I put everything in His hands


New Day/Helping Hand

them words Only I should have listened when she told me instead of just saying I heard her Man, it seems like them words mean a lot to me Reap what you sow is taking away me being free I guess a lot of people reap what they sow in this world Not just me people parents grandparents boys and little girls Reap what you sow where those words come from? I told her I should have listened I’m talking about my Mom

Jasma L.

Every new day brings a chance to do things in a new way so eyes forward forget past occurrences if not you’ll lose the idea of what endurance is The present is the now in which we stay The past is what we threw away and the future isn’t here yet Well, that is to say it’s exactly what we make it So when you see opportunity you can take it Never leave a brother of the struggle behind Keep it in your mind that if you lend a helping hand you may never need one


But an angel came to me last night

“Reap what you sow”

My Mama used to tell me

Samuel S.

Untitled today we lost a soldier the streets took the upper hand the devil said life is in demand so them gutter guys reached out and touched him I was sorry to hear but I told him what was up so I can’t help but let him go now though a tear will fall down my cheek I’m still mad at him cuz he was weak I mean I told him every time we would speak I thought I told him right but I guess I was wrong he couldn’t see what I saw and so God’s word is law so now he’s gone no tragic song to explain the feeling just his mother struggling with her pain while she look to the ceiling saying

“Father, why? I know he was dead wrong but Father why he have to die?

R.I.P. Baby Kaper Gee

please bring him back”

So Many Days Lost


With so many days lost

never going to happen he gone forever his Mom’s heart is in the coldest weather and as for his brothers not 1 but 2

and so many thoughts my life is at a pause because the state has a cost

they true

So many tears shed

so I know it’s wartime

that’s really sad

especially after seeing Momma crying I know somebody dying some time soon so until then keep the double 4s loaded because its killa season what’s reason you already let’em know

from loved ones

Praying I can be free and once again walk the streets Only this time I’m a changed man forget all the pain I seen and forgotten all the pain I did

Ramon S

Behind Brick Walls Sitting down behind brick walls. Once a week I make a call. No one to pick up the phone.


being in jail A Gun This isn’t for fun. This is a gun. Don’t touch it. Run from it. The hollow tip bullets don’t tickle. They hurt. They rip through a shirt or they can even merk A.K.A. kill. Damn, don’t that give you chills? A quarter century behind bars in a little cell depending on mail. It isn’t the gun killing. It’s stupid people using guns to kill!


All I Do Is Think I’m in my room thinking thinking about what I did. Saying to myself why?

get locked up? How did I get locked up? I’m in my room late at night thinking about my Mom and wishing she would understand and give me another chance. She was my age and she still don’t know how I feel keep doing the things you do you going to be locked up

When I was out on the street

wishing you was at home.

I was young and bad

But back to me...

Now I’m locked up

My Mom just wants what’s right for me

ain’t that sad?

and when I get out

What else could I say?

I’mma do what’s right.

I couldn’t be glad

Jonathan B.

I was thinking about the future but I remembered the past What else could it be? Could I be mad? All angry and fired up ready to blast? or could I go back into the past and change my life?

Andrew R.

I try and try to figure what’s wrong. Counting the bricks while I sing a song not realizing what I have done. Accepting responsibility had just begun. Now I’m sitting in a cell while the girls are raising hell. Try me and you will see that living in a cell is not the way to be.

Alexandra R.

Why did I

but what my Mom told me was

Another Chance

Figure no one’s home.

Black Men We as young black men need to wake up. Wake up and see what they are doing to us. They continue our cases to keep us here. The way I see it is you need a paid lawyer to get up out of here. Young black boys like me get killed in drive-bys shoot-outs wars and we can’t help it. It’s just a cold world but to me life is like a dream. I’m spending time in jail. I spent my last birthday in jail. This is not a place to be.

Jonathan B.


Doing Hard Time

Change is something that happens

Being in here

from time to time

is what you call hell

Young boys

locked in these cold dark cells

out there on the streets

A moment of freedom

trying to get on the grind

we do not see

Saying they need money

five minutes of air

so they can shine

is what we breathe

Posted on the block

Didn’t blame it on the victim

with a bundle and a nine

or the suspect

No need to hustle

is what he supposed to be

because your mother loves you

just blamed it on me

When you’re out on the street

Ok I did it

she’s always thinking of you

I confess

When they buddy says

but it wasn’t that bad

I’m about to shoot

to go through this stress

and they say

Doing hard time is what it be

me too!

Cold food and raw meat is what we eat

Most young boys are incarcerated

Getting told when to sleep

facing 6 to 30 or

and how long to shower

25 to life

The minutes go past like hours

All because

Living with all these girls

he stabbed dude with that knife

taking they sh*t

Trying to show off for old girl

This is not me

who claims to be his wife

I can’t do this

but now doing this time

Doing hard time

ain’t nothing nice

all alone

Just because

Not knowing when I’ll go home

you wanted to live the fast life

It’s hard in here

In the penitentiary

locked in a room

everyday is strife

between a thousand bricks I need my freedom

You got to shank someone

I am ready to go

just to get by

I can’t take it no mo’

Telling all the guys in there

Living by they laws

when you was out

obeying by they rules

and it’s a lie

Can’t take a piss when I choose

but just try and do right

I will never be in CCJTDC again

so you can go home

We are their property

and see the light

They get all the revenge

Johnathan D.

Jail is hard Jail is rough You’ll be in here after one big f*ck up A old body is what they call me but I consider myself different

nor is these niggas They sit back and clown you to they friends. doing hard time like in the pen Yeah, that’s it I never wanna do hard time again

Demetria R.

Untitled Always up on it couldn’t catch me snoozing Cousin Lynette who’s now resting in peace told me “you snooze, you lose”

This Morning I Woke Up

and “be up on it”

This morning I woke up

Cousin Hector told me

thinking I was in my own bed “Time to wash up!” is what the guard said I opened my eyes and realized I was stuck between two brick walls and that this was not home at all This morning I woke up I decided that I wasn’t going to sleep no more I’m tired of waking up in jail so now I’m restless and starving for a taste of freedom This morning I woke up and asked myself “who put me here?” I answered “me” then I asked “where do I want to be?” I answered “wherever God needs me.” This morning I woke up and read the Holy Koran It said “One finds himself where it is easiest for him to solve his Problem.”

“you gotta be a soldier” but brother-in-law told me “being low key is the way to be” even though he told me “you don’t wanna bang” Wasn’t smart in school but I was a square head smoking packs a day and when the first time inhaling the weed Miss Mary Jane was my need First time drink was a wine cooler then it was cocaine That was the doer Pistol packin locked and loadin G-unit all I was claimin… Now I’m locked up for 2 and half years fighting a serious case I was always running but now no escape I was thinking no way out so I’m left in the ocean to drown Ever since I’ve been sitting here I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior and now I’m nearer to Him then ever

You should never wanna be in my position These girls is not yo friends

Chaseton W.

In all the wisdom, knowledge,

and understanding I got

I’m not gonna whisper

I’m more clever then ever

I’m gonna burst

They say it’s the white men

Cursed since birth

I should fear

but now a new creature in Christ

but its my own same kind

clean from wickedness and evil

doing all the killing here

devil isn’t my friend

Man, it’s just so painful

He’s a liar

to see my family

So devil

leave the visiting room

I retire from the GAME My name’s the same

I just break down…

but my mind ain’t

I just have to keep running the race

My mentality changed

like it says in Philippians 3:14 So the old me is gone I was sixteen

because a new person

coming in a place

will be at the house

that got me cool and calm

God knows all things he got my spouse

It may seem I’ve been here long but no

If I was to trade a story I wouldn’t

My time went by fast.

because it’s who I am

My time has come.

it was my choice and God made me

February 23rd will be the time that I would soon depart


I’m ready in my mind

charged as adult

but I don’t think in my heart

It wasn’t no one’s fault I was just young

I wonder what it will be like

thuggin and lovin the streets

entering the world

smoking and drinking hard liquor

I know it’s gonna feel good

got me to God quicker

I’m gonna feel like a newborn baby and my choices are gonna be for sure

Now if you see me

not maybes

you wouldn’t even picture



I see you as LORD of LORDS

David A.


Gangs Locked Up When gangbangers locked up they be cool with they worst enemy even the ones who made their head bleed Do we see it or try to ignore it? I experienced it myself It happened cuz we in jail Some say we soft or maybe lost but naw It isn’t lack of balls It’s just because we relate

A Message to the Youth A lot of road to drive doesn’t even seem like you were alive! That’s exactly like my mind! Either you cop out or you think you gonna win without a doubt! Motion after motion month after month sitting incarcerated No freedom. Don’t even want to go through this!

Humberto G.


It isn’t as easy as it seems

It’s dark where I am

if you know what I mean

and I cannot find the light

sleeping behind bars

There are shadows all around me

having real good dreams

and my heart is full of fright everyone is cheerful

Not knowing if you leaving

they never even see

dead or alive

that storm clouds are forming

so your mother cries

upon the peaceful sea

You’ve been in this place

I cannot see the future

a couple of times

and I cannot change the past

but the judge says no more tries

but the present is so heavy I don’t think I’m going to last

Next step is Cook County jail but you shouldn’t be surprised

Kendell H.

Deep down

Thinking about when you were on the bricks

I’m Innocent

we are related


Life Will Be Tough

man, this smell makes me sick

Many people say they innocent,

Others try to instigate it

Life will be tough

even try to humiliate

if you don’t believe to change

Now you say

Life will be tough

I want to go home


That’s the truth

if you don’t receive the change

but you don’t get to pick

I do

That’s life

Life will be tough

yet some still on bullsh*t

from now til then

Out there with the older guys

I wasn’t there

trying to be slick

I didn’t shoot dude

I do admit

but do they mean it?

I do sometimes too

Life will be tough

I just wish this time would fly

I was at home

but that’s life!

if you try to deceive

is all you think

yes that sounds like once in a blue moon.

Life will be tough Humberto G.

because you feel like you’re going to descend

Not knowing you’ll be home as soon as your eyes blink

Guilty till Proven Innocent The system is crooked Guilty until proven innocent is how it seems

I never was inside until this

Life will be tough if you don’t forgive yourself

Man, you ain’t never leaving

Life will be tough

all the other dudes tries to jinks

if I don’t try something new

but then you tell the guys

6 to 30

but life will be tough

my boat going to float

come on

because being locked up

as ya’ll going to sink

what a journey

never crossed my mind

should not be something I have to do Many people’s dreams are to go home from an adult charge

Kenneth L.

So before you do wrong

I was at the house

think about the consequence

with my Moms

then maybe next time The age 14 to 16

you’ll stay away from nonsense

Dude also pointed me out

this is what I mean


I wanted to shout but without a doubt

They hold you till trial like driving millions of miles

what goes around comes around!

like the energizer bunny I’ve been locked up since June 07

I keep going and going

I even remember what time I was locked up

I have to confess

at 11:00 That’s why I’m innocent

on my worst day I couldn’t be

Well guilty until proven innocent!

compared to the rest

Humberto G.

Of these guys that front and tell me these lies


they could never compare and like up to those cries

Incarcerated you have to keep hope


like a drug dealer keeps dope It might seem hard but be patient because just like it came


it’s over


and you can live on

it’s a sh*thole

as a man

if you ask me

not a fallen soldier It’s what I make it See now

and it’s all that I see

I can actually say that I told ya and I been through it

The staff talk like

so never say I didn’t show ya

they’re for you when only they take

I wish I would have learned earlier

and don’t care for you

that things you do stick with you People tend to play favorites Depending on the severity

until someone goes crazy

it can sick with you

and someone gets hit

I think I’m a hop

Only thing they want

jump skip

is to get rid of you

from the best

and send you away

Brothers want to see me

but I’ll survive

drip blood and show fear

as long as I see another day

so they give me the test

cuz when I’m down I’ll find a way

My mind is impenetrable like a bulletproof vest


Locked Up


Damn man!

May you all

What the f**k?


How could I be here? Damn!

To all my friends

These tears that come out of my eyes

even just the ones I knew

And then I laugh and walk away I guess that you can say that this isn’t the life you want but when you are going down the wrong path God helps you change yo life around and get you on the right path.

By Taijana T.

Life of Crime

A Day in This Crazy Place

Please Don’t Take Our Freedom

I once had a life of crime

First, I wake up to the sound of some-

Please don’t take our freedom from us. As

Just chillin

one screaming my name.

we lay in the place that took our freedom,

drinking and getting high

So startled at that moment, I

all we want is to be able to see the outside

Posted up like a light post

don’t know what to do.

and spend time together and do things that

Talking on the phone

Then I try so hard to push myself out of bed

we can’t do in here. I just wish me and Van-

in our own codes

but I can’t cause I’ve been up since 5am.

essa will get our freedom back again.

All this pain and hurt I feel

now you up there somewhere

doesn’t even matter anymore

with the stars and moon

Cursing in our Chevy Blazer K5

Moms wants me locked up

I’ve been locked up since last June

ready to ram

Then, when I do decide to get up, I’m frus-

Please don’t take my friend as she sheds

and doesn’t want to let me get right

Now my friends

Damn, I thought I was cool

trated because I’ve come to find out that

her tears. I feel her pain as she weeps

“B**ch, you ain’t going to bust a move”

can’t see the flowers bloom

thought I was a goon

I can’t even brush my teeth because I’ve

and sobs and I listen and throb.

“Then do something then”

or even hear the thunder “BOOM”

Now, come to think of it

missed my call for the bathroom.

The s*ht I go through Can’t wait until that day comes

At least ya’ll out of this misery and now only rest in peace

Trying to stay to myself

I miss y’all a lot

just doesn’t work

I knew ya’ll

Getting right just can’t get right

If I didn’t

cuz of all the b.s.

it’s a shame I didn’t get to know ya’ll!

Sitting in my cell just thinking

I was in this place, I didn’t get to see ya’ll face

Damn, these thoughts

before the burial

pain and hurt

at the wake

Phony a** girls

For God’s sake, rest in peace!

just can’t get right

Humberto G.

People sit and laugh wit you but go behind yo back and talk sh*t People tell you to keep yo head up

Where I Am I’m in a situation all alone trying to find my way home

getting used

Next, it’s time for breakfast but what I see

like a tool.

makes me mad because it tastes like dry cotton

Stuck between

I always used to tell the boys

but supposed to be sausage and biscuits.

the midst of

to go get the four-nickels

Dalia B.

Judge Studdley’s palm

Well, that’s how “it” goes

And so on with the day I go. Now I’m in what they

A Cell

always protecting the block

call school, but the programs are so slow that I

Sitting down behind brick walls.

I am a struggling Black sister

keeping it on lock

feel like I’m in what I call daycare, but I never

Once a week, I make a call.

in a terrible, deserted place

I guess I needed to stop

complain because all it’ll do is make me upset

No one to pick up the phone.

Charged with a class x crime

and remind me of how much I hate being here.

Figure to me, no one’s home.

With a gun on my waist

I could be looking at a very long time

I try and I try to figure what’s wrong.

I used to gangbang hard

Now I’m in school, constantly reading papers

Counting the bricks while I sing a song.

in my project home!

stealing cars

after papers, thinking “What’s going on? I mean,

Not realizing what I have done.

breaking hearts

where’s the learning?” But still...I don’t complain.

Accepting responsibility had just begun.

I am trapped in the Greazy

Crime rate

stuck all alone

Now I’m sitting in a cell.

until times get easy

climbing up the charts

Now I’m on my section and I have to ask for

While the girls are raising hell.

had no shame

permission to even scratch my head without

Try me and you will see

Where I am

I had my fame

hearing three people scream “What you do-

That living in a cell in not the way to be.

what I thought

ing?” I mean, cut me some slack. I’ve already

was lame

been forced here against my own will.


turned out to be

Alexis G.

Akilya H.

I’m doing time

is somewhere I hope not to be

what I wanted to do for all the crimes

and stay strong but if they really knew

It could have been worse

how life was for us

I was soon to end up here or in a hearse

They would know why we give up

I feel your pain.

I was a fool

but in my family I guess we cursed

So much time on our hands now

all affiliated

starting to get fed up wit all the b.s.

in the local gang thought it was fun and games,

Girls come back every time they get a chance

until this day

“I ain’t never coming back”

I got to pay

I just look and say

for my life of crimes

“That’s what they all say”

Humberto G.

Alexandra R.

CCJTDC Life The pain that I have no one but me can explain it Living in jail feels like sh*t It went from slanging

My judge is going send me to DOC or 115

Man, I Wish

I always regret for all of this mess I seen blood and seen tears Man, I want to stay out of here.

As I stare out the window See, these streets is vicious

All I see

I wish I had listened

is how the wind blows

if only I can go back

People starting to wear

and find all the things I been missin’.

2 or 3 pairs of clothes

David N.

It’s getting colder

to gangbanging

My granny gave me what I wanted

to liquor and weed.

but I took it for granted

I didn’t have to buy squares


because girls is all I need

It is a place where I sleep

I’m the only Asian in the Audy home Man, that’s crazy. I’m at the table looking at my guy’s lady As the girls walk past my section I reminisce All I’m thinking is I’m tired of all this My struggle my pain my freedom taken away Man, I’m not doing a crime again. Yesterday I seen my mother at visitation crying about how she miss me

JTDC It is a place where I eat do time and think Nykia is sittin’ up in JTDC dreamin’ wishin’ thinkin’ beggin’ also pleading wishing I was home instead crying feel like flying sleeping wishing I was drinking the begging to the end of JTDC is a place for people that shouldn’t be


Out the Window

Both the weather and the world All I hear

man, I just couldn’t understand

is people getting shot

what life had to offer

Yeah, I hear that a lot

instead of being locked or in a coffin

Is it an evil plot?

with your spirit coughing

Or do we just need to stop?

then you turn rotten then to bones,

Leaves are falling off the trees

then everything you have now

People becoming thieves

is gone

Always having something

then you gonna find yourself in a real home.

up their sleeves

And hopefully that’s heaven

Just for money

or it could be hell

to eat a piece of bread

just sitting and thinking

So they fill people with lead

about how you got down there. It sucks I’m going to heaven

but people want to stay alive

with my father, cousin, uncle, granddaddy,

Anything to survive

and my aunts Ann and Martha. Cars zoom by

This is the last time

Why is dying so easy

They also take away time

I’m in the nation

and death so hard?

Years fly past

in the poem room

Oh my god

Will all us people last?

in the school area

when I get out

So as I’m writing this poem

I gotta get a job

Murder after murder

I reminisce again

get back in school

Us teenagers getting caught

about all the girls I had fun with

and go all over from the start.

and now being charged as an adult

I’m in there for the nation

I wish I had listened

and making rivals head duck

instead of trying to be grown

Facing six to thirty Don’t you think we hurting?

on all these types of missions. that’s all I hear What is this feeling about going to court I think it’s fear

What can I really say? Will we see another day? Or will we be locked up until we lay? I really don’t know All I can do is stare out the window!

Humberto G.

when I was out there slangin’ dope

Boom boom

or get put away

All our life gone away I wish I had listened

All we can really do is wait

lots of things I’ve been missin’.

Continue after continue

Antonio L.

until our trial date Either we go home

If I Were A Color

If I Were A Color...

If I were a color

If I were a color

I would be red

I’d be green because

because that is the color of love and anger.

it describes my personality.

If I were a sound

If I were a sound

I would be the sound of joyful tears

I would be a nice wave

because it brings bright smiles.

of wind on a summer’s day because it describes my attitude.

If I were a season I would be late Fall

If I were an animal

because it’s neutral...

I would be a cheetah

not too hot or too cold.

because they can run far and I would want to get far away.

If I were an animal I would be a winter fox

If I were a time of day

because its white fur is so pure.

I would be night

If I were an animal


I would be a dog

how many of us

because dogs are very smart and cute.

don’t get to do home or see the outside

If I were a time of day


I would be night

how long

because that’s when I have

you keep going

the most fun.

to court to hear the same thing

If I were a city

over and over again

I would be Chicago

Imagine how

because I love to wander around.

every time someone comes in

If I were a hope

to the CCJTDC

I would want to be freedom

Imagine how many

because I can’t stand being locked up.

people are drowning in the deep, blue sea

Debra Morris

because sometimes If I were a time of day because of the darkened irony.


If I were a city


how many people

I would be Chicago

Imagine me going out

Imagine imagine imagine

on doing the wrong thing

why all this

Imagine if I really had fangs

is happening in the world

to defend myself


Imagine how many times


I was supposed to go right


If I were a city

because it’s the Windy City

I would be a loud city

and I like to float.

because it makes me feel not so alone. If I were a hope If I were a hope

I would send everybody

I would be a peaceful hope

to heaven

because it is peace that

because I’m a nice person.

would bring us closer.

but I went left Imagine Imagine how

Christina Newby Rainee Shaw

who tried to run for President in the United States

I like to stay in the dark.

I would be midnight’s darkness

Imagine how many people

we all feel up in here

If I Were A Color... If I were a color I would be green because it makes me feel happy inside. If I were a sound I would be breeze because I love to feel the wind smack my face. If I were a season I would be summer because I like going outside and chillin’.

Imagine how many people are going through fear Imagine how many staff care about you Imagine Imagine Imagine how long most of us been here for so many years so many months so many weeks so many days

are suffering from depression

The Man Of My Dreams

I Have a Dream

It is my dream I have a dream that one day all to the man

short people will become tall.

of no one’s dream

I have a dream that one day I will be the

but my own

President of the United States of America. I have a dream that one day I will

I ponder and wonder

give back to my community.

what a man of my dreams look like

I have a dream that one day I will be-

what does he do?

come a professional writer. I have a dream that one day I


will make it to the NFL.

what does he deserve?

I have a dream that one day I will go to

What are his desires and his will?

Ohio State University for ministry.

What does he look forward to?

I have a dream that one day I will have a change of heart.

Can he

I have a dream that one day I will be

is he

a great husband when I get older.

willing to make better

I have a dream that one day my fam-

his present and future

ily will get back together.

than his past? One love A man of my dreams is a man of responsibility and leadership

David Johnson

a person who takes charge and demonstrates self-control He is a man of integrity and is filled with love

I wish I wish I could change overnight. I wish I could be grown with a Master’s degree

Breeanna Taylor He spreads that love

making good money.

to those in need

I wish I can hang with my guys

and those who deserve it

without getting in trouble. I wish everything was free.

He shows a good personality

I wish money wasn’t a problem.

and a sound mind

I wish there is a cure for every disease. I wish…

A man of my dreams is loyal

David Nguyen Impossible


Impossible by life


or impossible by your mind

and honest

Impossible by man or impossible by time

The man of my dreams also has faults but learns from his mistakes The man of my dreams happens to be pieces of me

Maurice W.

Jacqueline Bright

Imagine Freedom Imagine free dancing not physically but spiritually Free singing with a voice of an angel Only I wish I could see my halo Imagine me free running

about dreams

& memories

Hardcore Streets Hardcore streets Hardcore streets

for President

Messing with that crack cocaine operation

on stage

popos catch you while you sleep

singing a song from heaven sent

Hardcore streets Hardcore streets

Imagine me tasting all the food I enjoy

Playing with somebody’s money

feeling free to be 7 again

makes the whole crowd

to play with all my toys

want to knock out yo teeth No wonder the old lady talking ‘bout

Imagine me and my father

we can’t keep the peace

having a strong relationship Hardcore streets Imagine them

Hardcore streets

slave running free without being whipped

My brothers, my uncles, my nephews at the same plate


trying to eat

I don’t have to imagine

So you know

being a free writer

if somebody plays with the fam’s cash

or dancer

my big brother about to grab the heat

The only thing

Hardcore streets

I have to imagine

Hardcore streets

is me being free



Jasma Lane

Dear Little Antonio –

Antonio J.

My name is David J.

When you were coming up you were doing

and today I am going to talk to you about

what was right. But then something changed

teenage gun violence in Chicago. The reason

because you are being around the wrong

why this is a problem is that teenagers are

people. I would like you to be more respect-

killing each other and innocent bystand-

ful and go to school. Stay away from the

ers. They are also ‘killing’ themselves.

wrong people. Don’t sell drugs on the block and run from the cops. Your moms tells you

The shooting victims are not the only

“Whatever you need, I give it to you, long

victims of gun violence; the teenagers who

as you be in school and not out there with

shoot are also “killing” themselves. They

guns. You only got one life, so don’t let the

face years and sometimes decades of life

streets take it away from you. Everybody

in prison. I know because I am here, a

going to miss you if you be locked up. It’s

resident of the Cook County Juvenile Deten-

not cool being behind bars. You need to

tion Center. My peers have been given

be somewhere driving a car. Be somebody

sentences of 100 or even as much as 150

in life, not out there killing people for no

years. When they pulled the trigger, they

reason. I want you to get a job and a lady.”

shot themselves, they shot their futures.

I know people that think smoking weed or other drugs is cool, but it’s not. It kills

What is the best way to address this

your brain and you can die from that. Be

problem? We need to have more pro-

the one in school who is more success-

grams for teenagers and children. Sports

ful. My people never told me that so that’s

programs like football, basketball, and

why I’m taking the time to tell you. When

soccer. Also we should have commu-

I was 7, no one ever told me any advice

nity service learning projects for teen-

about staying out of trouble. It’s like people

agers such as helping the elderly.

from off the street, they always used to tell me be more of a man and tell the truth.

In order to do this, it is necessary that

Never lie. Lying make you less of a man.

adults provide the money. After all, it

One time I got jumped on really bad and

cost more money to lock up children

there wasn’t anyone to help me. I was re-

and teenagers than it does to keep then

ally thinking about hurting the people who

out of jail with programs like these.

jumped on me, but I had to think about my actions before I act because them boys

This is important to all of us because

had guns. I’m not about to lose my life

. . . we are tired of seeing kids killing

over nothing because I got a family. My

each others and we are tired of see-

grandma was there every time I got hurt.

ing our youth getting locked up.

That’s why I love her so much. Now when I got locked up I know she don’t like that

My name is Ronnie B. and today I am go-

my moms never was there. But I still love

ing to talk to you about growing up in the

my mom. When they kick me out of school

hood. Gangs and violence are what runs

my mama tried her best to get me back

the hood. If you want to have the things

in there. She told me, “Don’t let no one

other kids have gangs and violence will

disrespect you because they got to show you

help you get them. Growing up in the

respect to get it.” I was a bad kid grow-

hood is growing up in the wrong place.

ing up but I’m realizing the stuff I did ain’t cool. Now look at me. I’m 14 years young

Young men like me find ourselves in

getting lock up and shot at. I want to live

trouble when all we want is what other kids

my life. I can’t let no one take it from me.

have. Poverty in the hood is the problem. Black children are more than three

Love Always,

themselves. It allows them to self medi-

In order to do this it is necessary that you

The best way to address this issue is

cate, to numb the pain of a turbulent world

help kids like me stick together and help

by giving black and Hispanic teenage

around them. Alcohol use in teenagers can

each other survive rather than shoot at

The best way to address this issue is for

males opportunities to prosper in their

get out of control and lead to death.”

each other. Help us maintain non-violence

us to stay out of the hood, but that is

neighborhoods other than the only op-

not possible, because that is where we

portunity there is – joining gangs and

The best way to address this issue is to

to go into the streets to encourage young

live. We would need permission from

resorting to violence. The best way the

tell people to stop buying alcohol for young

black males to go to school and one day

our parents to leave the hood, but where

community can help is to create after

people. That is not the right thing to do. An-

become someone positive and good.

would we go? Who would we stay with?

school programs and jobs for juveniles.

other way to address this issue is to tell liquor

A community recreation center will give

stores to stop selling alcohol to young people.

white children. Being born in the hood and growing up in the hood is the problem.

and show us how to form groups willing

This is important to all of us because we

In order to do this, it is necessary that you

boys an opportunity to have fun with

help kids like me find ways to get out of the

each other and not to fight each other.

In order to do this it is necessary that

in the judicial system as defendants. Ev-

hood, even if only for a little while, like a

With positive options, they won’t have to

you march around the block where liquor

eryone wants to have a good life.

day. A field trip like we have sometimes in

resort to violence or other criminal activi-

stores sell to young people or where people

school would help. Maybe a camp in the

ties in order to survive or get respect.

buy liquor for young people. Carry signs

don’t want our families and others to be

telling people to stop buying liquor for

woods would help. Maybe something that would let us be safe would help. Maybe

In order to do this it is necessary that

young people. Tell people that the law

going to church would help. Maybe having

parents and community leaders like the

says to STOP! That would help a lot.

Dear Little Larry –

a football team outside of school would

alderman, and state representatives

help. Maybe YMCA sports that did not

and other politicians find the money

This is important to all of us because I

I’m 14 now and I been doing bad. I don’t want

cost $20.00 a month would help. Maybe a

necessary to make this happen. I want

don’t want anybody to develop diseases

you to go through the same things I been

library I could walk to safely would help.

you to write letters to these politicians

from alcohol. I don’t want to lose them.

through. I have been in and out of jail and

Maybe going to school and feeling good

telling them about the problems in our

keep committing crimes. I want you to do

about it would help. I want you to make

community, and telling them to put up

better than I did. I was having guns, fight-

this happen for me and other kids grow-

the money to fix these problems.

ing, shooting, getting shot at, selling drugs. My name is LeShawn C. Today I am go-

When you get to be my age, I just want you

This is important to all of us because

ing to talk to you about the problem of

to do better than I am. I didn’t go to school

it’s wasted potential to have all of these

growing up as a young black male.

that much and when I did go to school I was

ing up in the hood with me. This issue is important because I want to grow up!

young blacks and Hispanics locked up.

fighting, getting suspended, or running the

Black and Hispanic boys need to be de-

The judicial system works on the mistaken

halls. Just do better than I did in school. I’m

My name is Kendall F

fined by something other than their color

belief that all young, black males are a menace

writing this letter to tell you don’t do the same

and I want to talk to you about prejudice

and their gender. I hope that one day soon

to out society. It operates as if young black

things I did. The things I did I could be dead

in the legal system. You’re young, you’re

“you’re young, you’re black, and you’re

males have no self-control and will only end

or in jail for a long time. I was stealing cars

black, and you’re on trial – that’s all the jury

on trial” no longer means you’re guilty.

up in jail or dead because we won’t stop the

a lot, selling drugs at night. When I was 13,

needs. This is a quote from the novel Mon-

violence and go to school and get an educa-

one night I was hanging out with the grown

ster by Walter Dean Myers, this means you

tion. Statistics show that nearly one of every

people trying to steal a man’s car. He came

will be found guilty based on these three

four of the country’s black males in their 20s

out and shot me twice in my leg. I thought I

is behind bars, on parole, or on probation.

was dead. My mom was scared and we prayed

facts, and not the evidence of the case. According to the “Success Network for Black Boys and Men” a black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime, a Latino boy has a 1 in 6 chance and a white boy has a 1 in 17 chance. This applies to so many black and Hispanic boys, who fit this description today and are in the juvenile justice system, because of the impoverished, and underprivileged communities that these minorities are forced to live in.

My name is Jimmie K. Today I am going to talk to you about teenagers and alcohol. Alcohol wastes your mind. Being drunk makes teenagers do what they really don’t want to do or wouldn’t do if they were not drunk. Alcohol can mess up a teenager’s health. According to Alcohol Abuse and Troubled Teens, “Alcohol gives teenagers the power to express

to the Lord that I can walk again. He blessed The best was to address this issue is for

me. I just want you to do better than I did.

the judicial system and the government

JTDC is not a place to be. You don’t want

systems to start good community activi-

a grown man or a grown woman telling you

ties like basketball and football. We have

what to do in jail. I need you to do better. At

to encourage ourselves and they have to

least you can try to do good. I can’t make you

encourage us. This has to be done so that

change, but by writing this I’m trying to help

our kids and others will be able to live right,

you to see what may happen to you. I don’t

get the proper education and make it in life.

want you to end up in jail. Just promise me you will try to not come in this place. I was young when I did those things that got me locked up. I need you to do the right thing.

times likely to be born into poverty than

Larry Willis

A True Friend

I knew from the moment we met

I’ll never touch another weapon

Sometimes I do crazy things

I don’t fight back

because you never misled me

Meaning of a true friend

that you were the one for me

I’m trying to show you

just to make you mad

because I feel so weak


someone who’s there no matter what

Making me laugh

how much I love you

Sometimes you do nothing

My eyes start to leak

I thank you for that wish

just because

making me see

and that everything I say

but still I make you feel bad

My heart seeks

I can repay you in every way

Not what you was

that you were the one to be

in this poem

I might even start a fight

for my soul mate

Now it’s just a fantasy

is true

just so you can yell at me

who loves me

but I’m soon to make that

or is

I hit you and push you around

Never to express my feelings freely

so you can get angry

into reality Jakira C.

Ramon S.

A Story About Taijana


I have so much love for you

Taijana is nice

Everyday I wish to see your face

It may be a mister or miss

but I always wondered

So if you feel the same way

but my true friend is a miss

how long this would last

just go on and say

To you, it makes no sense

I love her like a sister

Are we getting too deep

that you’ll be with me

why I do the things I do

She’s there for me

or going too fast?

until the end of our days

But it is only because

no matter what

But my thoughts come to an ease

Johnathan D.

when I hear those 3 little words

I love you with all my heart

Taijana said that my hair is nice

cause if you were here

She writes back quick


If I Could Have Just One Wish …

so I play this game

I tell her every time she is pretty

I’d believe in better days

She answers my calls

spill off her mouth

I would wish to wake up everyday

Only to make sure

She helps me with my work

and doesn’t want to click

My mind going north

to the sound of your breath

that you feel the same

especially math

I remember your smile

but my heart going south Even though I’m facing 6 to 30

I love you shawty

she’ll stick with me

and I’m ready to come home

through the journey

but this time when I do

against my neck The warmth of your lips on my cheek The touch of your warm fingers

I’m never letting go… I’m like her diary

across my skin

Armando C.

she tells me everything

And the feel of your heart

When you yell and get worked up

Taijana is also funny

and how we used to play

it shows me that you care

She makes me laugh every night

but in my mind

Because you wouldn’t let it get to you

and I like talk to her every night

you will always stay

if the feelings weren’t there

I wish she was my sister

I love you so much

I will be a good sister to her

Everyday I wish you were here

and it feels good to know

I love her

but the further I feel from you

that you love me too

but sometimes

just brings me to tears

and when you get mad

I just want to hug her

I tell her, too

How I Feel

but I’m not a fool

Being in jail

it shows

thinking of you

When you put your hands on me


since you’ve been gone

it’s because of feelings we share

Onicka Carter

I cry every time

Onicka C.

I sing your song

A Love Note

Many also forgot about you

beating with mine Knowing that I can never find

She’s cool as hell

dreaming of all the things

She won’t tell

we can do

anyone other than you

And I do this to you

Now that’s a true friend

Sitting in jail

With your love close to my heart…

just to know that you care

(Dedicated to Beatriz)

for all this time

Babe, I can never ask

Humberto G.

thinking of your body

for nothing more

that feeling with

being close to mine

but for us to forever last


It’s been a whole year

and not break apart

Crazy world filled with crazy girls

of me not there

Pick one and keep her like a special pearl

and you with someone else

and she’ll turn out to be your world

is something I can’t bear but I’ll be home soon

near or far

Kristina J

My life has been rough

The love for you

not me

is never-ending

I still remember

Love is Blind

This is the start

when you were on the news

People say we are meant to be

It’s just beginning

but I doubt them all

Never wish to hurt you

They said

My love for you will forever adore!!!

because I’m hurting internally

is what I say

you got shot four times

Wherever I go… But remember I love no whore.

They don’t see the pain he causes me

Always stayed real

Just relax and trust your conscience

and back by your side

But love that one girl that came to me

He locks me down and I want to break free

so why change today?

and stop thinking all that nonsense

and my feelings are something

from the skies from up above

I’m blinded by his abuse

Tell you I love you

I remember it clearly

I won’t be able to hide

a girl named Crystal

I’m blinded by his virile hate

and I mean what I say

cause I thought

I’m writing this poem

who will forever be

My faith is slowly staring to erase

I know in your heart

I would lose my mind

My one

I love him so much

you feel the same way


showing affection

but I don’t understand why

Been away for some time

I thought about you today

All he does is make me cry

when we talk

and the love for you

Me being away this long

I’m really starting to realize that love is blind

you claim

never went away

has taught me a lesson

I know he plays games

everything’s going fine

He is playing with my mind

Believe you when you say it

Forever Love

and me being home with you

The pact we made together

is how you’re going to have protection

was something brought by fate Always knew what was wrong we were always able to relate

so when I come home

true love!!! Anonymous Just to Know That You Care...

My buddy

Robert M.

My girl is my future wife

I want some more

My girl is my life

I hate to see you close the door

Robert M.

you writing me

when I say I trust you

and the air

but only me who feels

I remember the first kiss

What happened till the end

I have to choose

it was like a mist of tears

I lift my head up

Only a real man

and that’s the love I send

can dictate these feelings I have

we shared

or do you not

Starting now


You told me once

I will make this plan to love

imagining my love

but I forgot

This for you

you show respect

and trust you for always

having a baby

So tell me now

the one I love

you promised me


Alexandra Rodriguez


I’m writing back

Do you love me My Love

I can’t wait til the day I get you back on the phone

and tell the truth

the one I miss

to keep it wet

and I will say

My feelings for her

So I can tell you

the one I used to always kiss.

loving you is something true

Wishing you were by my side

it’s a proud trade

are deep in the heart

I love you too

You’re my lover and my friend

marrying is what to do

since you left

Just trust me

deeper then my family love

Out of all the females

you’re my woman

you got me smart

wishing that we never break apart

I ever met

I’m your man.

you got me wise

you’re the one

We were always together

you got me to finally open my eyes

By My Side

Love me back

I lost my pride. Holding you that special night

Anonymous This love is so deep

I’ll never forget

making love

I spit my game

Lil Mook

It’s a shame

and if I die

you didn’t mind or care

told no lies

God blessed me

This love is rare

the way my heart beeps

before you do

if I was a thug.

and finally got you

to have you in my life

like DNA or Hair

I’m stuck

I’ll go to heaven

But now

to open your thighs

Who told you to leave my side?

within my life

and wait for you

I’m locked up in here

promised you to provide

Hold me now

anything I can bare

Don’t know what to do

if you not there

with dudes who soft

I just want you to have my child

and make me feel proud

and by your side I will stand

but I’ll never forget

by judgment day

but act tough.

close my son’s eyes

Tell me you love me


the thing we did together

But I’ll be home

this twenty-two karat ring

and say it out loud

I swear

to love so deep

I’ll know you went

to kiss those lips

I’m proposing

the other way

and to caress those hips.

might blind his eyes

so I’ll give the angels

So don’t trip

everything that’s yours is mines

back their wings

it’s just a vacation

and you very smart

and take the risk

going back and forth to court

so you know the next line

of everything

with my lawyer contemplating.

you said you got belief in me

I love you Should I feel right?

Do you know I care? Anonymous

That’s why my eyes always stare


This love was real from the start Trust

Love, lust, and desire

Like the Stars in the Sky

NOTHING CAN TEAR US APART My love has a mind

Like the stars in the sky

Just to show to you

I know you’ll be waiting

and love too

and not nobody else?

My love is smart

I am calling for you

my love is true

remember when I got caught

so I’m ready for marriage

Can I trust you not to cheat on me

because it let me love you from the start

what about you?

Can I trust you to love me

and think of my presence even when you’re by yourself?

Alyasa B.

From the heavens above

I’ll go to hell

and you was at the station?

I am looking for you

and wait for you

Just be patient.

In the depths of my soul


I’ll be home real soon

You got me.

and we’ll be together all day

Marvin F.

I will live and breathe for you

When I say I love you

Sadness dwells inside you

My Girl

just me and you.

You have nothing to fear

My girl is pretty

Johnathan D.

Love Is

My love is so deep

For I am next to you

My girl is smart

and I don’t know why

I think about my true love

I can feel your sadness

My girl is an angel

You Got Me

love can’t see you

If you only knew

every time I go to sleep

Let me be sad for you

My girl is precious

My rage is high

but you can’t see it

how hard I try to believe you

She the apple of my eye

So you could feel love once again

My girl I love

the cage is low

and saying loving me

she the one I want to marry

Worry not about life

My girl is sweet

I redeem my thoughts

Love is a sneaky thing, I guess

can become old news

and live with

Let me worry for you

My girl is kind

and continue to grow

sort of slick

I can’t figure out

the rest of my life

You should love life

My girl is nice

you got me once

Love can hurt and love can heal

why I really feel this way

I want to stand on a hill

For it is part of you

My girl keeps me out of trouble

you won’t no more

Love can be born and love can kill

but I love you

me and her

I’ll be there when you fall

My girl I put through a lot of s**t

I develop my skills

Love has won and love has lost

and I hope these feelings stay

watching the balloon of love

To catch you and say I love you

My girl loves me

I’m not slow no more

Love can catch and love is tossed

I don’t understand myself

floating away

My girl has my kid

you got me whipped

Love can stand and love can fall

I put in all my trust

Love So Deep

But when you say you love me I throw this fuss

What is love

Love is small and love is tall

Desire’s burning so hot tonight

so listen to the words of the poem

Love is right and love is wrong

if you don’t hurry

because here comes your favorite part

Love is weak but love is strong

I’ll go out of my mind

from the beginning to the end

Love is up and love is down

So rush on over

I will never leave

Love can smile and love can frown

close to my side

like a bullet outta gun

Love is good and love can be bad

Only you

I’m coming for you

Love is quiet and love brags

can make it right

please don’t run

Love is a little and love is a lot

I need your lips

I’m not coming to harm you

Love continues and love stops

whispering songs to me

I’m coming to love

Love can hope and love can dream

the tenderness of your body

I’m the king of this jungle

Love can talk and love can sing

laying here next to me

but yet so young

Love can be a word or love can be a ring

I need to share your passion

young and dumb

Love can be nothing or love can be everything

your ecstasy

Eric S.

So where is this thing we call love

Only you

I don’t know

can make it right

Ode to Cheezits

the only real love we have

Only you

the little red package

comes from above

can do those things to me

they call them Cheezits

From Jr.

you go straight to my head

so tiny and gold

so in love with Te-Te

until I’m high as a kite

sometimes crispy

My T-baby


little square bite-size chips

you make me feel like I can fly

when you eat them

Only you!

they drop to your pit

Unfaithful Love Love truly is a wonderful feeling

Every time I close my eyes

too many bites

but sometimes we abuse it

I think of you

you might take a sh*t

We see a chance to have what we need in life

and every time I close my eyes

but don’t you just love Cheezits

but we pass it right up

I discover something new

crunchy and good

Mistakes are easily made

I’m almost to the point

they’re always around

but can be hard to make up for

where I believe in you

when you’re high

When you see the opportunity

and I want to be with you

damn, they’re good

to have the love of your life

and only you

when you got the munchies

take it

at the height of passion

She may be your ticket to a better life

I breathe with you

you never know

and we breathe together

But not all relationships are meant to be

in the darkness

Sailing Away

only when you see one

something inside of me

this is a love boat that I am sailing today

that is fit for you

holds close

sailing it through the cool ocean

take it and run with it

to something inside of you

breeze and watery waves

Make sure that you hold on

Only you

but without the wind sailing this love boat

to that special bond

can make it right

it would just leave this boat afloat

that you and your loved one share

Johnathan D.

in the ocean all alone

Eric S.

on the deck

Hold tight to that sacred love between the two of you

Young and Dumb

writing this poem

Treat each other right

Young and dumb

soon, my boat

Be faithful

to think I’m in love

drifting again

Be trustworthy

because your love flies

coming home to you

and don’t be afraid to let your emotions show

like a dove

swift like the wind

far away from me every day

but right now

it gets to me in every way

I’m trapped at sea

my only wish is to be with you

and your love seems

til death do us part

to keep sailing away from me

Maurice ‘Wallo’ Whatley Only You Can Make It Right

Eric S.

Profile for Free Write Arts & Literacy

Free Write Anthology #05: Escape Route, 2010  

Escape Route is the fifth anthology of Free Write student creative writing and visual art. More information can be found at www.freewritechi...

Free Write Anthology #05: Escape Route, 2010  

Escape Route is the fifth anthology of Free Write student creative writing and visual art. More information can be found at www.freewritechi...