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Within

These

Gates SPRING 2011


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: All of the poetry and artwork in this literary magazine was created by young men from Washington, DC while incarcerated at New Beginnings Youth Development Center.


Within

These

Gates SPRING 2011

A PRODUCTION OF MAYA ANGELOU ACADEMY • A SEE FOREVER SCHOOL •


DREAMS Markel I dream to be president, And the white house is my residence. I dream to be successful, And have a girl that’s blissful I dream to make honey, And sting like a bee. I dream to be on tv, And rich and famous. I dream to live a life, that’s free, And more painless. I dream to be Dr. King, And speak on my dream. I dream to sit on a throne, And wear a crown, and be king. I dream to be a star, And live out very, very far. I dream to live a life, Where people are accepted for who they are. I dream to shine, Brighter than the sun’s beam. I dream to swim in chocolate, And lots of whip cream. I dream to be a whishing well, And fulfill everyone’s wishes. I dream to be under water, And swim with the fishes. I dream…

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UNTITLED Martique I want to be free Man I wish I could see The light During the night On my block Of any hour of the clock I wish I could go home and just be Just be the one and only true me So I can show the fight I have in me that shows I’m bright So they can understand that I won’t stop Until my bright light shines at the very top This is what they’re going to see When they take a look or glance at me

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ODE TO FREEDOM By Makel A man is NOT free Until he is released But from what I know, Freedom is an amazing Word that gives me relief. The closer a man gets to Freedom the more Anxious a man gets. Freedom is a powerful word. Freedom is love. Freedom flies freely Like a baby bird new to the world. I can’t taste freedom yet But I know it’s somewhere there. I’m waiting to be here. I’ve done everything I need…now I wait to be Free.

Craig 6 | Within These Gates


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CAGED BIRD Adrian A free bird just goes about life taking life for granted. While the caged bird wishes it can be free like the free bird, And never take freedom for granted. Sometimes I feel like a caged bird, Because I been in the same spot for so long, Seeing the same people, Same places, Hearing the same voices. Sometimes I even come down on myself asking, How did I get here? What can I do? What am I doing? Can I do it better? I just want to be free, Like the free bird, And never take life for granted, If I am not physically free, all I want is just to be free of mind.

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HARD TO GET OUT Adrian They say it’s easy to get in trouble but hard to get out They give you your freedom and tell you to go about They don’t know your family and friends are in a drought They say it’s easy to get in trouble but hard to get out They label you as a menace to society But they don’t know you just want a salary While grinding trying to make it in today’s society They say it’s easy to get in trouble but hard to get out I’m wondering if people ever get out Or do they just tell you To go about

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WHAT IS A MAN? Kevin What is a man? A man is is someone who makes their own decisions, if so why can’t I make my own? Life is stressing I try to grow up like a bean stalk but people keep throwing me around like tree bark. I hate these gates, they’re talking back at me, but I try to free my mind and not stress over my fate. This shit is hard trying not to make a mistake. Like trying to find the right words on an important date. Life is a gamble you have to take a chance. All I want is for my people to give me one more chance.

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UNTITLED Daniel As I live in this life, loving the long lasting days, Looking in the sky at the sun's amazing rays, Every moment, every minute, every month, must become a memorable thought... that walks through the thin and thick, two-sided path in my head. My life has been recorded and remembered by the recipients that reminisce on the river of long lasting pain. I'm like a grain of sand there are many like me but my grain is mine.

Marco Spring 2011 | 11


WHO AM I!!?!? Darius I am the one who only submits to Allah I am the one who can see from afar I am the strongest and the wise I am a man, but still I cry They say I have a gift but what can it be? They say I’m rich with money I can’t see I will be deceased one day, but where would I go? To paradise or hell? Only Allah knows They say I have good heart, but it never shows No matter what I do, time still flows I am not a coward but what can I be? I am a lion in a cage but really can’t see People always say that boy is shy All I want to know is Who am I…

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SOMETIMES I FEEL Bradley Sometimes I feel like I got no place in front of me. Sometimes I feel like a lonely bumble bee, But I'm not free. Sometimes I feel like running away, but I feel I won't be safe. Sometimes I feel like a savage in tha wild. But deep down inside I'm just a young wild child. Sometimes I wonder should I play in a puddle or just go cuddle. Sometimes, sometimes I feel I should run and hide, but deep inside that aint my pride. Sometimes...

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THUGS CRY Darius Thugs cry so why can’t I? I’m sitting in a cell wishing time passes by Thugs cry but why can’t you? Cause you want to play hard and you know that’s not you Thugs cry in a mean situation I’m sitting being patient, waiting for a placement And when they come and take me I’ll be sitting in the same situation Hoping someone just take me away from the drama Thugs cry so why can’t we? I’ll take this life and do me….

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Dayvaughn


NEVER ALONE Derrick I’m never alone in my neighborhood It is alive by nature The corner store smiles at me The sidewalk talks The houses gossip The school thinks “How can I teach these kids?” The bus laughs The trees sing lullabies My neighborhood is like a river That never stops running I’M FROM Markel I’m from a place where they use words Like nuclear weapons… Filled with soldiers like the army, they Get locked up and just focus on getting bigger And stronger…physically instead Of mentally… Where the murder rate is higher than the Test scores at schools… Where police stop you because you Look like a friend… Where you are found guilty but innocent From the beginning… We used to be slaves physically at first, But now mentally in the end…

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THE GHETTO Dearies Southwest misses me, The hood misses my humor. The money is calling me. The grass does not grow in my hood The project walls move at night. My hood takes a bath. The rain is hurtful like a 30-day hit.

Dayvaughn 16 | Within These Gates


THE HOOD OF MY LIFE Makel The buildings up Tyler House shout The stores cry because people are robbing them Macy’s is tired of seeing me The P6 creeps through the hood day n night The money calls out my name Andy’s carryout looks at me and says Eat but eat like you’re hungry The money at the crap game cries The streets look at me and laugh and tease me, Police cars hate me. This hood is me. My hood is trying to keep the peace It’s like a war with love. New faces come in every day The buildings call them in. And then they are pushed out. But I am still in My hood Day n nite. My hood.

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AROUND MY WAY Edward Around my way It is a good summer day around my way The breeze feels like a new open refrigerator The girls around my way bumble like bees The clothes I wear express how I feel My shoes call my mom to pay my bill I play outside like the teeth eat The building talks about the people on it Cooling is my drug so seeing the leaves raked and the kids play that’s Why it’s a day Around my way.

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Various

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REST IN PEACE Reggie Rest in peace to my opportunity of seeing my son's 1st step. Rest in peace to my opportunity of hearing my son's 1st word. Rest in peace… Rest in peace to my chance of seeing 2011 summer time sight. Rest in peace to my chance of taking pictures with my son at a young age, For him to see when he get older. Rest in peace… Rest in peace to my opportunity of being with my son his first time at Chucky Cheese. Rest in peace to my opportunity of my son really getting to know me. Rest in peace…

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RIP JAMAL Daniel He was 16 years old and put in a grave The pain will only stop with death like a slave He was 16 years old but he was still so brave To take a bullet to the head for the girl That he saved. 19 days will be 9 years ago he left 19 days will be the day I’ll regret For days, months, and years to come My friend is not replaceable like a Piece of gum. Every time I see a football I see my friend. I will love, I will cry till There are no more tears or love left.

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ROBBY D Lester When I was about 16 I used to Hang with my man Rob. He was like a bright star to meGuiding me and showing me the way. When he turned 17 he got shot. That messed my whole life up because I don’t know whether to Stay on the block Or go back to selling rocks Or just keep a stack in my sock And I was locked up and could not Go to his funeral. But I want To let you know Rob, that I will Always love you. You are that star in the sky That will always shine on me. When I look up, I will see you wink. Love you Robby D.

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RIP HEAD Dionte I remember you told me you would never Deal over a gunshot wound. Every time I hear a motorcycle I think about That one moment when you was in that Motorcycle crash that same day you said You wouldn’t deal over a gun. But I don’t got Much to say but RIP my friend I remember when we used to play ball together. One Thing we didn’t do together, I wish I would have got on The back of the motorcycle And we would be gone together.

I LOVE YOU Raymond I’m thinking hard… I know I was young when you passed away Everyday I hear you say- I love you. When you left I felt like a star lost in the sky. To me you were the best mom in the world. I will never forget about you as long as I live. At first I thought it was my fault, But Jerome told me, “It’s not your fault, it was just her time to go.” Now I know it was your time to go. But I still love you and will never forget. I love you mom.

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RIP L.I.P Adrian Boom Boom Boom Boom!! The sound of my friend getting killed made me think twice of my lifestyle I was living. Thinking back when we used to play football in deep snow and can barely run in it made me drop my head as my eyes watered and tears fell softly on my cheeks. The pain speaks to me and is unbearable when looking down at the person you used to play “Tag� with in a casket. Man it hurts. 24 | Within These Gates


TOMORROW’S NEVER PROMISED Darius 2morrow never promised So I wake up to get my cake up I’m out here grinding 2morrow never promised So I got to change my environment Aint nobody stoppin’ me Feds still watchin’ me Case worker always clockin’ me 2morrow never promised So I live for today And pray to Allah That he’ll guide me the righteous way 2morrow never promised So much I can do But if I die tomorrow I would want to die by you…

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ODE TO MY HAIR Martique My hair is my hat, keeps The shade from the sun My hair is my pet At least I take care of it like one You keep my scalp warm And the clippers from head You are my umbrella when the suns out there You relax me when you’re being done And being with you all the time is so much fun

OUT OF THE ORDINARY Martique The phone was as black as the carpet when it hid from me The window watched me as if it was a spy The dog walked with us like our shoes My coat wore me just as I wore it I am in money’s possession as it’s in my pocket I follow tomorrow as today follows me The letter spoke to me as she wrote to me As I watch TV the mirror watched us both Out of the ordinary watches me as I watch the ordinary.

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ODE TO THE DORITO Joseph O Dorito! You are as yellow as Homer Simson.Your blue and green speckles are like dots on a dalmation.You are my favorite food. You are not in the shape of regular chips, and this, Dorito, is what makes you so unique. You are the most fashionable chip. When I eat you I hear the crunch, crunch, then crinkle, crinkle of the bag. I always wish there were just one more dorito.

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Pencil Daniel My pencil has a mind of its own. It can write by itself all alone. No one is home but my pencil is There it talks to me all the time But the words I can’t hear. It can eat when it wants because it has that connection With the refrigerator who shows it affection. One day I caught it texting but not on a phone It was in my room writing all on its own. The title was life of DC And you won’t believe it was all about me It started real good but ended real bad And out of the blue it made me sad. Sad only because the words were true But I love my pencil and it loves me too.

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Sean

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MISSING YOU (I) Sean When we first met, I never imagined that we was gonna make it this far, It’s been so long and you’re still here, Our first conversation was how life would get better, I fell for you, I wish I could jump outta space and fall foreva, But now that you’re gone it’s hard to let go, As our love faded away slowly it was hard to hold on, But you’re no longer beside me, so I have to go on, And it’s hard to move on when you were here for so long, I took you through this and I took you through that, You treated me the same but you never came back, Now that you gone, I realize how much you meant to me, To me, it’s like you left so easily, I guess we weren’t meant to be, And as I think of you day by day, The love that I once had for you constantly fades away. MISSING YOU (II) Sean I’m still here and you’re away, but as you can see and hear, everything is okay, You flew away at sixteen, And you were hit eleven times, Every day I shed tears, but everything is fine, 30 | Within These Gates


You were here with me before, but now you are gone, while you’re taking your tour, I will continue to move on, Some days I wanna go, Some days I wanna cry, Most days I wanna know, Why life passed you by?

ALL ALONE Sean I wake up every morning and see the world smiling, I look outside and see the clouds crying in pain, I hear short heartbeats coming out of the rain, I witness the sun desperately asking for a change, and the football on the ground hoping for a game, as the cars scream the ground cracks up, the force of negativity is like the impact of a truck. I know how it feels to be a cigarette butt, to get put down and never picked up. As I sit back and watch the world make love with violence, the sun, moon, and stars are praying for silence, the ocean, trees, and mountains wish we were one, but by the power of the gun, more love-making will come.

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Juan

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THE TEARS I CRY Markel The tears I cry represent the pain inside… The tears I cry represent the fear I hide… The tears I cry represent the anger and frustration… The tears I cry represent my incarceration… The tears I cry represent my life as a handful… The tears I cry represent me being successful… The tears I cry represent I’m not being demolished… The tears I cry represent that I’m bound for college…. So stay strong and never be shy because Everything represents the tears you cry.

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UNTITLED Martique It’s a fine Friday, flying Like an hourglass Seconds fly past as the clock Tick tocks. Me, mad, and missing All the things I don’t see Me, mad, and missing All that is missing me.

STRUGGLE Gerald The pain The hardship Of knowing the truth It hurts It hurts Badly

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NIGHT MOVES- NEW BEGINNINGS Daniel I lie in my bed, My head full with thoughts. My thoughts talk to me Telling me to go to sleep. I hear the sssssst of a snake in the grass by my window. When I get up to see, It stops. I’m thinking my mind is playing tricks on me. I lie back down And it starts again. But then it turns to the boom of thunder. I hear drip drop when the rain stops. My thoughts are now yelling at me. It’s like the storm without an end. I want to be home It’s a nightmare At a New Beginnings home.

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THE SITUATION I PUT MYSELF IN Markel My inner body feels like a volcano, Ready to explode… I don’t know how much more of this anger I can hold… I get a stomach ache, and my body shakes, like an earthquake… I punch all walls until my knuckles break, I don’t know how much more of this Shit I can take… My eyes are still burning from the tears That I shed…My back is still hurting from that hard ass bed…Every time I try I always fall down…I do the slightest things and get hit with a 30th round… down here where I’m at, they put you to a test…Group, group, group, you barely get rest…When you come down here you gotta hide your pride…Because in a place like this, only the strongest survive…Everyday and every night I’m around all dudes…Some of them are Wild niggaz, and some of them are cool… Every week day at six o’clock, we watch BET… I sit back and think, damn all of them are free…Every night before 8:30, you gotta Be in the shower…Only 10 minutes, why not an hour…? In every check in we gotta say How we’re feeling…Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is always chicken, chicken, chicken… Some people are playing spades…And some are playing the game…While I walk around lost, trying to figure out a way how to express my pain…Always watch your back, never call no one a friend…All this because of the situation I put myself in… 36 | Within These Gates


STRESS Darius What Is Going On, Why Am I Here? I’m Losing My Mind, Because I’m Not With Ordinary Peers. I Wanna Break Out, But Where Can I Go? It Feels As If I’m Stuck Deep Down In The Snow. I Just Can’t Wait Until I Leave, I’m Suffocating In Here Like I Can’t Breathe. I’m Almost Home, So Please, No Stress I Don’t Wanna Do More Than 6 So I Better Do My Best. When I Leave, I Hope I Never Come Back Because I’m Only 14 And I Been Here A Lot. Oh My God I Hate This Place. I Just Wanna See My Little One’s Face.

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ODE TO MY MOTHER Reggie She is as nice as summer weather Supports me through my trials and tribulations Gives me advice when I need it Raise me to shine like the sun And to never play with guns But what happen to me? Locked up for 9 to 10 months like a hoodlum or To have a baby at 16 like Maya Angelou Oh no my mother did not raise me like dat What happen to me… I apologize dear mamma. LOVE OF MY LIFE Derrick My grandmother always told me That you can be what you want to be, If you put your mind to it. She was a short lady With long hair that came to her shoulders With light brown eyes like a cookie. This was my grandmother: cooking chicken, chitlins, and cheesecake Watching “The Price is Right” Coming to get me when I was in trouble Swooping down like a bird.

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MARSHAY Karie Marshay is a flower in heaven Marshay is a gentle summer breeze that blows me into her arms Marshay is like the sun beaming down on my heart melting into the palm of her hand. Marshay is like the sea that comes and goes with my love. Marshay is like a bird that flies gracefully with my heart under her wings Marshay is the sweet, succulent smell of pie on Thanksgiving day Marshay Marshay oh sweet Marshay.

ME AND YOU Damon Me and you That’s what I want to be true I like the way the wind blows Just can’t wait till I talk to her I like the way the rain comes down And the way the sun runs around I see the moon every night I like the way it turns into a light Me and you can always come true

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ODE TO PARENTS Sean You are the sun and the moon, Because when one can’t be there, I’ll always have the other to turn to. The beatings, The punishments Didn’t last long, But it did help out a little all along. Mommy ain’t raise no dummy, And Dad ain’t raise no cupcake. The love, Your support, Is what I appreciate. Whether I’m right or wrong, You always look at me the same, From schoolhouse to jailhouse things never changed, I just wanted 2 let u know, That the things I do ain’t got nothin’ to do with how you raised me, I’m still your baby, This just how the streets made me, The billions of good things I do for you, Can’t even touch the things you did for me. I’ll do anything to be a family again, But even though you’re not together, Your love will never go away. Dad, Moon is the night, And Mom, Sun is my day.

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AS I WATCH YOU GROW Eric As I sit and watch my nephew grow From knee to toe I notice when he smiles it glows and he Is not afraid to show That’s how you know When he gets older And becomes a teenager He will be bold with a heart full of gold When he becomes an adult He will be nice to his wife and hopefully they will never fight Because he is bright And his skills are tight And he can ball just like Mike After he retires he should be in the hall of fame It’s a shame he had to school these young cats in this game One love, because he is above And he never party at clubs And his house is never dirty or full of bugs When I see him ill, give him lots of hugs One love, cuz.

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CHERISH Martique Most real men cherish their woman But when it comes to another girl they’re quick to go at ‘em You can’t live with them, an’ we can’t live without them The struggle they put you through, most of us grow tired But during our downfalls we always need one beside us But on the other hand, we feel we can go without them People say a dog is a man’s best friend But I believe a man’s best friend is the second thing God put in The world, and that’s a girl Like Adam and Eve, it’s a woman so each man can be Pleased An’ I found mine, but I still struggle with mine But my commitment to love an’ jealously keeps me from Giving up on trying An’ deep inside a man knows he never runs out of time As long as that’s the vision he has in his mind But when he sets his mind, he has to give up on the grind Of pimping women An’ start to take in consideration of that woman’s feeling An’ for the love of these women’s feelings Make sure you continue to deal with them ‘Cause if deep inside, you know you ready to take that ride An’ you sticking with her Make sure every night you repeatedly kiss her For the times you go through, when you really miss her You will know inside you really with her ‘Cause in your soul Y’all always together as a whole And this I know For my experience of these things tells me so.

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Gerald

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OAK TREE Eric Tall and strong Cant be knocked down An oak tree holds its ground Leaves live life on the oak tree And they frown Then fall down Just like me But Spring brings new rings And leaves are shining, singing, bling, bling

MY LIFE Abdulah I made a decision that I regret In my lifetime. And I take it as I go on, And I am gaining experiences. I'm human. I'm not perfect like anyone.

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THUNDER David I’m like thunder that brings the boom, bang, and bumps to everyone I roar unexpected like death The lighting follows and the clouds darken The rain falls, the pain washes away Everything gets quiet and I still roar Then people brace themselves for more, but I roar no more I keep everyone on edge like a mountain But like thunder I’m unexpected, I roar

Joseph Spring 2011 | 45


EDITIORS: Christina Campbell Chelsea Kirk A SPECIAL THANKS TO: David Domenici Emily Haines Matt Barinholtz Mara Clark Barbara O'Neal Malcolm Jay Amanda McKenna Trenell Eaton Jailyn Briggs Tinnell Slade Alicia Holloway Kate Schrepfer Maggie Kennedy See Forever Foundation Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services

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A PRODUCTION OF MAYA ANGELOU ACADEMY • A SEE FOREVER SCHOOL •

No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission from the authors, artists, and editors.

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Within These Gates (Spring 2011)