The Beat Within
The Beat Within • A Weekly Publication of Writing and Art from the Inside • Volume 16.12/13
When you first saw a picture of me, what did you see?
Did you see a lost confused mislead African-American girl?
Or a girl that looked like she had big dreams?
The picture you saw came with strong emotion.
It was a called a “picture of promise”
read the rest of Shequis' POW on page 4
"We love you Beat"
volume 16.12/13 editor's note
sibling. They also wait for me to come home from the hall to hear about
the topics, conversations and the most of all to read the most recent Beat.
elcome back editorial note readers! We’re glad you stopped by before The Beat Within is now apart of my family, I share the latest publications
taking on this knockout of a double issue – issue 16.12/13. This week’s with all who enter my home by having them on my coffee table and all are
writing is awesome, and we are sure you’ll soon agree. Thank you writers! amazed by such writings that are full of heartfelt emotion, self expression
This week our guest editorial note writer is our wonderful Santa Clara and artistic ability. For those that I personally work with each week, your
County facilitator, Cynthia Hanlon. Cynthia has been a part of The Beat respect, thoughts and writings have touched my heart deeply and for those
Within for well over a year now. Her amazing dedication speaks volumes, where I am just able to read your thoughts, your work have also touched
and we think the following piece she wrote for us all, tells her truths, my soul. In addition, to my dedication to the program my daughter will
regarding her love for the work –The Beat Within. also be joining my journey to San Jose each week and will help out then
hopefully facilitate her own unit.
It’s a foggy and gray Saturday morning here in the San Francisco Bay I would like to close this note by saying that each of you have the
Area, up early due to my 5 year old telling me that he needs to have a ability to light up a dark room, keep up the positive thoughts and I look
Kit Kat candy bar this morning, do I give in to him and maybe I can start forward until the next time I can work with the youths in my units and hear
rambling some thoughts into what I hope can be an editorial note for this from all of you in The Beat. Keep writing and illustrating while your work
week’s publication? Or do I say, “Not now” and give him the traditional is very much admired by many.
breakfast of hot oatmeal or cold cereal? I give in and he gets his candy, he
is happy for a brief moment so I think it is quiet for awhile since my older Thank you Cynthia, for touching us with your thoughts on The Beat Within
two kids are sleeping and will not be up until about noon time. I think I am and what the work means to you. We’re moved.
ready to start this note, so hang on and enjoy the ride. The two weeks of topics that are addressed in this issue are (16.12),
It’s been over a year since I entered San Jose’s Juvenile Hall for my “Saying good-bye is the hardest thing” – Saying good-bye can be one of the
first Beat Within Workshop. I did not know what to expect, but I was eager hardest things we ever have to do. Saying good-bye to someone permanently
to get back in my comfort zone of working with youths. I remember my first because they have passed or because they (or you) are going somewhere
visit in the boy’s max unit; I felt that the youths did not feel comfortable and never coming back can be heart breaking, But even temporary good-
with me, I introduced myself to them, but most of them seemed that they byes can bring tears to our eyes. Can you tell The Beat about a particularly
were not interested in what I had to say. I had to stay patient with many of painful good-bye you had to express to someone? What did this person
the youths and I wanted them to trust me immediate but, the Golden Gate mean to you before you had to say good-bye? Why did you have to say good-
Bridge was not built in a day so I stayed patient, consistent and showed up bye? What’s the saddest time you remember someone saying good-bye to
each week with a positive attitude. I knew in time the youths were going to you?
be comfortable with me and I with them. The second topic, “The thing I hate to hear the most” – There are things
Many showed physical scars and tattoos of their life on the outs but we often hear that we wish we didn’t ever have to hear again. It could be the
to me that did not matter. I was there to give them unconditional support alarm clock waking you too early in the morning. It could be a parent or
while they were in the hall and to listen what they all had to say .Through counselor or teacher or Beat facilitator warning you that unless you change
their writings they shared their concerns, regrets, fears, love, family and this or that, bad things will happen. It could be your own voice in your head
goals for the future. At that time I realized that these youths that sat in telling you things you would rather not hear. Whatever it is, can you tell The
front of me literally have been to hell and back emotionally and physically. Beat what you hate to hear the most, and why you hate hearing it?
Where most of them had given up on themselves mentally and some lacked The third topic, “A practical joke that didn’t work” – Practical jokes
self esteem but each of them showed such determination, strength and are those tricks we pull on people that make other people laugh at their
courage to better them selves for a positive future. When I started to read expense. For example, some people think it’s funny to pull the chair out for
the youths writings I was amazed on how well these youths expressed someone, then jerk it away at the last minute. Some people bake cookies
themselves through written expression; either in a form of a poem, writing laced with hot pepper (or worse), and think it’s funny when someone bites
or illustration. Their work literally left me speechless. into them. Have you ever pulled a practical joke like this that went wrong?
Being a Mom it was very difficult for me to see these youths away Did a joke you or your friends were responsible for end badly, and not the
from their families, holidays, birthdays and time just being a kid. The life way you wanted it to go? Tell us what the joke was, and why it didn’t work.
that they were now living in juvenile hall has interrupted their childhood 16.13 topics, “The Ghetto” - Define the word "ghetto." When people say
memories. I put myself in the place of the youth’s own mother and being "that's ghetto," what do they mean? What is the "ghetto mentality"? What
separated from their child(ren) was very hard for me to digest and I felt makes you ghetto? Is there a difference between the ghetto, the hood, or the
that as a mom it was very natural for me to give all the youths I personally barrio? What are some positive or negative aspects about the ghetto? Do
worked with the support in a motherly nurturing way. I often told myself you see the ghetto as something that influences you to live a certain
not to get attached emotionally to these youths but I am a Mom and I care lifestyle or do you see the ghetto as a place where you feel most at home
about each and every one of them like if they were my own child and I or both? What is the opposite of a ghetto? Are you ashamed of living in a
often tell them that, many laugh but they know from my dedication and ghetto or proud of it, and why? Now tell us what defines ghetto from what
consistently that I mean it. I also remind the youths that our relationship you've seen or been a part of.
doesn’t have to end once they leave the hall, I encourage all of them to Second topic, “The Ride” - Cars play an important part in our
keep in touch with the Beat or I personally since the endless support can lives. This week, The Beat wants to hear one of your many car stories. Give
continue. us the low down of spending time in yours or someone else's car. Think
For those who know me, once I commit to something, that person or about the number of things you have done in cars. From driving with
something will get the best of me. I am the type of person that keeps their mom and dad across the country, to partying with the homies, cruising the
word and will always be there for those who need me. To me, it does not strip, riding solo with the radio blaring your favorite song, making out with
matter where these youths come from; West, East, South or North what your lady or man on a hot summer night, or taking that major road trip by
colors they wear and what situation landed them in the hall. I don’t judge yourself or with a close friend.
people based on their background or beliefs, I respect them all equally. I Also if you dare tell us the ugliness you've witnessed or been a part
had mentioned to them each week that I am a volunteer that travels 80 of revolving around cars, such as drive-bys, high speed chases, major car
miles round trip during the peak of traffic, sometimes in the worse weather accidents, breaking into cars, or driving under the influence. (Don't just
conditions, I leave my 3 kids at home to work with them in the hall and all glorify the ugly incidents though, we won't be able to print it. Tell us why
I asked of them is to show respect to the program and the other writers. that incident was important, what you learned, how it affected how you think
But, everything has consequences when I was focusing on my role about cars, drive-bys, etc.). What is it about cars that turns you on? Do you
as a mentor and volunteer to these kids in juvenile hall my children were like 'em long and sleek, fast and compact, low and slow, or don't care as
left home without me every Thursday night. I am a Mom who is always long as it runs? What type of cars have you owned? What is your car of
there every night to help them with their homework, drive them to their choice? Whatever the case, we're interested in you breaking it down, give
activities and the most important of all eat dinner together where my kids us the DETAILS of your car tales. We all have a car story to share.
and I exchange thoughts about what happen during our day. I had to think Lastly, “What CAN’T you imagine yourself being or doing?” - Most
about what I was getting myself into by volunteering with these youths in of us think about the future whether we want to or not. But we all think
the hall vs. being home with my 3 kids, especially at the time my youngest about it in different ways. Perhaps you see a future of being in and out
was 4. I felt stuck between two large boulder rocks, one being Juvenile hall of the system. Perhaps not. Maybe your future is one of getting a steady
and the other my 3 kids. I had to really think about what I wanted to do, job and raising a family. Maybe not. But what about the UNIMAGINABLE
I did not have too many people to talk to about what choice or solution future? What can’t you imagine about your own future? Can you NOT
could work. My only support team that I have ever had was my beloved imagine life outside your hood or click? Can you NOT see yourself graduating
parents who both passed away several years before I started volunteering. from high school, college? Can you NOT seeing yourself living to old age,
Now I was starting to feel isolated and alone like the kids in the hall. How holding your grandchildren? Why? Think beyond what you’re “supposed to
could I give these youths the support that I was lacking? I wanted to be in say.” Be honest and don’t edit yourself.
two places at the same time but reality would not allow me to do so. All right editorial note readers, thanks for your time! This issue goes
Presently, I have been attending workshops every Thursday in San out to all our wonderful volunteers, like Cynthia, who are a big reason why
Jose’s Juvenile Hall; my children have continued to support me in my we can continue to do this important work. Thanks!
passion of working with youths and to help with the care of their younger
a l o o tn s
tb e fc n e t
table of contents
The Beat Within, a weekly newsletter of writing and art by incarcerated youth, is published by Pacific
Piece of the Week ............ 4
At The Beat Within, we go through a lot of trouble to censor inappropriate sexual remarks, foul language, and gang refer-
ences. There is enough tension in our commuities already–we don’t aim to bolster it. It is in The Beat’s interest to promote
peace and unity. Our goal is to educate one another.
Co-Piece of the Week ...... 11
The Beat Within publishes the opinions and views expressed by the participants in our workshops. This is simply the
pure voice of the youth. The views you read do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, editor or staff. All rights are
Alameda ..................................................... 17
reserved. Nothing from this publication can be reproduced without our written permission.
San Francisco ............................................ 25
To our writers: What you write could be hazardous to you. Your words have consequences, and could be used to incrimi-
nate you. Try to illuminate your feelings and viewpoints without running the risk of providing ammunition for those who Santa Clara ............................................... 33
might use your words against you.
New Mexico .............................................. 35
Co–founders: Sandy Close and David Inocencio
Marin ........................................................ 36
Senior Editors: David Inocencio Santa Cruz ............................................... 38
Graphics/Layout Editor: Manen Pau Los Angeles .............................................. 40
Staff: Pauline Craig, Jill Wolfson, Suzanne Mennah, Sheerly Auni, Annie Wong, Carolyn Goosen, Breana Marino, Lisa Fresno ......................................................... 43
Lavaysse, Maisha Johnson, Ellie Guterrez, Sarah Ikemoto, Sherman Scholten, Angelica Zabanal, Ryan Teixeira, Mario
Navarro, Allan Martinez, Nora Dwyer, Michael Kroll, Kolby Hanson, Cynthia Hanlon, Erik Loewen, Inga Buchbinder,
Julia Penrose, Kathy Ellison, Elena Berman, Patricia Johnson, Dennis Morton, Kim Nelson, Tara Foley, Adela Genochio,
Maddie Rutherford, Johnny Le, Gwendolyn Hubner, Allie Horevitz, Stephanie Morrison and Peggy Simmons. The Beat Without .............. 54
Los Angeles: Karen Hunt, Jost Parr, Efty Sharony, LA COE
San Diego: Desiree Woods, SD COE
San Bernardino: Jen Tilton, University of Redlands
Frome The Beat: Ms. Webbfrom the Alameda County
Juvenile Justice Center shares her wisdom with
Riverside: Jennifer Boyea The Beat – this time by talking about some of
the obstacles she faced in the past, and how she
New Beginnings - Washington, DC Staff: Alex Moe, Messiah Ramkissoon, Andrew Gauldin, Emily Tucker, and Khalil overcame them. Thanks as always Ms. Webb, for
Abdullah sharing your inspiration with The Beat!
Yolo County: Lynn Gerner and David Gerner
I Can’t Imagine
Bernalillio County Juvenile Detention & Youth Services Center New Mexico Beat Staff: Steve Serna
Myself EVER Giving Up
Dona Ana County, New Mexico: Voices Behind Walls - Lee Rhyanes No matter how hard life has been for me, I never
gave up. When I didn’t have a job, and was on
Fresno: Mai Der Vang, Aaron Benson and Lily Romero public assistance, I never gave up looking for
work. When I as down to my last dollar, I never
Monterey : Sam Peterson, Brandon Swanson and Sarah DAmico
gave up. When I was told no to certain things, I
Hawaii: Dina Brooks never gave up. When I have problems at work, I
never gave up. When I have problems at home,
Portland, Oregon: Deb Arthur, Portland State University I never give up. Like I said in the beginning, no
matter how hard life has been for me or how hard
Art: Much props to everyone for the great art this week. life will get for me, I will never give up. I will push
harder to get the things that I want. I feel like
Spiritual Advisor: Jack Jacqua
giving up is when you turn to other means for
Special Volunteer: Nancy DeMartini money outside of a job and earning a paycheck.
OR not doing well in school, and dropping out.
Book Donor: Marisela Norte and Alexander Book Co. in SF, Ca Or not getting along at home and running away.
I think giving up is a cop out, and it is running
Beat Supporters: The Beat Within greatefully acknowledges the generous support of funders of Pacific News Service’s away from your problems. And running away from
Youth Communications Programs – California Arts Council, California Wellness Foundation, Christensen Fund, Com- your problems will never solve anything.
munity Foundation of Silicon Valley, Community Technology Foundation of California, Compton Foundation, Creative
Work Fund, Cricket Island Foundation, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Ford Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, -Mrs. Webb
Marguerite Casey Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Southern Exposure, Atherton Family Foundation, Morris
Stulsaft Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, Open Society Institute, Pen-
insula Community Foundation, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, S. H. Cowell Foundation, Monterey, Fresno, Solano, I Hate To Hear Lies
New Beginnings - Washington DC, DC Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation, DC Humanities Council, Morris I hate to hear lies, and I’m not talking about little
and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Shinnyo-en Founda- white lies (For example: Santa Claus is real, that
tion, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Stone Circles Foundation, Stuart Foundation, Surdna Foundation, The is a white lie), I’m talking about real huge lies. I
California Endowment, Tides Foundation, Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation, Vanguard Public Foundation, Wal- can’t stand to be lied to or to be lied about. I feel
lace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Youth Justice Funding Collaborative, the Zellerbach
Family Fund and individual donors. that the truth is the only way out. You may not
feel it is when it happens, but I do believe highly
Writers: Thanks to all the participants in our workshops in the San Francisco, Maricopa County Arizona, Santa Clara, in Karma. Meaning what goes around comes
New Beginnings, Alameda, Bernalillio County New Mexico, Solano County, Monterey County, Dade County, Floriday, around. I always teach my kids that honesty is
Fresno County, Washington DC, Santa Cruz and Marin County Juvenile Halls. If you have any questions or comments the policy. At the time a lie may seem like the
about The Beat Within, or if you would like to become a subscriber, contact us at: 275 Ninth St. SF.CA. 94103 or call best way out, but what is done in the dark will
(415) 503-4170 or check us out at: eventually be brought to the light.
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e pieces of the week
Picture of Promise Don’t Let Nobody
When you first saw a picture of me, what did you see?
Did you see a lost confused mislead African-American girl? Pick Your Life For You
Or a girl that looked like she had big dreams? When my uncle got killed it put a real crazy face on me. I didn’t
The picture you saw came with strong emotion. think he would die out of nowhere or know that in a few days we
It was a called a “picture of promise” would have to bury him.
The cold part about the situation is he was always lookin'
The image you saw held a promise and colorless pride. out for me. Now that I think about it, he was a pimp and he sold
It also held the confusion of pain drugs, but when he had to watch me he put everything on hold.
But you could see it in my eyes It was me, him and like three women. They all loved me and
A picture of promise called me little daddy, and that’s when I knew my uncle was the
man. I was young and I didn’t really understand his life.
I held pride- but sometimes neglect. I hate when people say no, and I hate to hear bad news.
Non-existing spit, and broken glass everywhere. When you don’t know, it’s sometimes better, but eventually you
And then I’d see that my hands, which held this picture, want to know what’s happening. Life has been going up and
had started to bleed. down for me, and I really don’t like the situation I’m in ‘cause
It was my heart that overdosed on love long ago, I can’t be home when I wanna be, and I can’t eat when I wanna
This picture is immortal, not subject to death eat, and I can’t shower when I wanna shower. But I feel like if I
But my memory runs way back and im inclined to remind wasn’t here, I would be doin ‘ the same thing that I’d been doin’.
People of the things they’d most like to forget I think bein’ here saved me from death because it was multiple
But this picture I held was a picture of promise. times I almost lost my life on the streets. In my hood I watch
every car that comes through because people from other hoods
It was a cry for help, a new change try to come hit us up, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. The
A thinkable thought. streets is where the little money’s at and guns and drugs and
I’m sorry but I have to lock you away gangs, and it’s life.
I held you in my heart too long hoping you would have If you not in a gang or robbin’ you ain’t with the street. I’m
changed by now. here to tell you that’s BS. Do what you wanna do, not what yo’
But some things never change. boys want you to do. Sometimes you don’ t see how good you
As I lay on your casket, I cry got it until it’s gone, and if you don’t got it good, then make it
Because this is a picture of promise, good for yourself the right way! You can go up or down, or down
I’ll make the change! and up, you pick… but most of us regret it when it’s too late to
take action. Man, life is crazy but life is full of choices – you
But you’ll never change. have a bad choice to make or a good choice, it’s all on you. But
-Shequis, Los Angeles I feel like cats are too scared to do them, so they follow their
From The Beat: We love your poems! You have style, originality, and boys or their OG's 'cause they got money and cars, girls and
most importantly, the ability to be honest and speak your mind to the guns… But that shhh don’t mean nothing when you dead or in
world! The sky in the limit! Keep it up!
jail, that girl gon’ move on, and yo' cars and yo' boys' cards gon'
get towed. I don’t get why ninjas want cars with new L’s and you
on 46 and 7s…ninja when you towed or stripped, it'll be gone as
fast as it came. If you pop a ninja for trans, take your shot, they
Change gon' slap you with a 25 with an L!
Because I didn’t listen to anyone, I kept a closed mind. So you pick your life, don’t let nobody pick it for you. You
Because I kept a closed mind, my eyes too were shut. can only come to the hall so many times, then they gon’ bump
Because of shut eyes, I saw nothing. it up to CYA, and then it’s most likely it's too late: You turned
Because I saw nothing, I missed experience. out and ready for the pen and then you either gonna get got or
Because I missed experience, I became discontent. you get it if you know what I mean. We all got talent, we got to
‘Cause I was discontent, I began to light a blunt. take time to see what they are. Some people can rap, sing, play
Because I lit a blunt, I opened my eyes, sports etc. Do what you were pot on earth to do, and if you
And when I opened them, I seen reality, don’t believe there is a God, but you have to believe to see and
And in reality, I opened my mind, know….
And because I opened my mind, I saw the silver lining -Lil Ant, Alameda
And when I saw the silver lining, I seen a different world, From The Beat: This is such a powerful piece, especially because you’re
speaking based on things you’ve seen with your own eyes, pains you’ve
In that different world, I became content, suffered in your own life. And now to practice what you speak on,
Because I’m content, I kept my mind open, what do you, Lil Ant, think you were put on earth to do. What is your
Because I have an open mind, I listen to what people have purpose?
So you pick your life,
And because I listen to them, I had more experiences,
And with those experiences, I became wiser.
don’t let nobody pick
-Angel, Los Angeles
From The Beat: It’s funny that to begin the change from closing your
mind to opening it, you smoked weed. Think about this: maybe you
it for you.
wanted to open yourself to life long before the weed got passed your
Page 4 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e
pieces of the week
My Life is One Big Mistake Relate Or Take A Walk, If You Can
My life is one big mistake
I love gettin’ money. I believe it’s my addiction.
No love from the people who ought to love me,
I was taught ways to get it, ‘specially with my homies.
No protection from the people who ought to protect me,
I know a lot of females with broken hearts; is there any fixing?
But this is what I get.
They say ninjas is all the same, but, personally, I believe
I get parents who both gangbang to different gangs who
are out to get each other.
Walk in my shoes—can you continue to move ya legs?
I get a mom who uses my body for her own enjoyment
‘Cause seeing what I’ve seen and done, could make a ninja shake.
I get a mother who uses me as a prostitute to get money
Keep ya balance, homeboy, you look like you finna break.
for her drugs.
Matter fact, never try to walk in my shoes, you might faint.
But no that’s not all.
Ever had a close friend get hit with the kada?
I got taken away from her and adopted.
Ever had a goon that won’t hesitate to do you a favor?
The I got abused by my drunken adopted parents.
What about a moms so janky, you gotta watch her stare?
Always worry what time im going to be in the hospital
Kickin’ with ya boy, then he gone, as if he disappeared?
On ya own at thirteen; then, at that, death was near.
I’m a girl who wishes for help to stop the madness that’s
I’ma blessin’ being alive—my gangsta wound on my ear.
happening to me.
Ever had a solid female, but you pushed her away?
I want to be free from my changes.
Too bad a lot of ninjas think that all females the same.
Free from drugs
Them ninjas across the Bay probably felt my pain.
Free from gang life
Or them ninjas down from here, that probably felt my rage.
Free form sex
Well, being up from here, it’s all the same.
Free from abuse
-Obie One, Marin
Free from the pain From The Beat: You’ve walked a long way through an often-treacherous
I need to know a way out path, and you deserve our hearts. You’ve basically raised yourself, and
I need to find a way to be sane you’ve emerged as a fabulous poet, writing your experiences. Can you
use your strengths to stay free?
I need a way to survive or I’ll be dead by the age of 18.
I need a new life.
I want to be a new me.
Loving and caring, and not scared of life. A Few Things To Say Today!
-Imani, Los Angeles What’s up Beat? This is Creeper, and there’s a few things I want
From The Beat: One thing they can never take from you is your life and
your hope for a better future. But guard those closely, and hold them to talk about, ummm I just found out that I’m not going to be
dear. They are your gift to keep. Starting there, with love for yourself, charged as an adult and I got lucky with them charging me as
and all other things will come together around that.
When I get out for sure I’m not going to come back cause
I’m going to change my life to God and it’s not about gangs any
Wish I Could Say Goodbye more and there are some ugly girls in JDC.
My mom was always a special person in my life, which is why, The thing I hate to hear the most is that I’m gonna end
after fourteen years, I couldn’t understand why she was sending up in prison or dead or paralyzed and this shhh I hear a lot
me and my brothers and sisters away to foster care. from my family, some older friends and my PO and a lot of other
Well, the morning the social worker came to take us away, people but you know what I never cared or listened because I
while walking out of my room with my bags ready to go, and with was stubborn and hardheaded just like my dad. That’s why my
so many emotions, and thoughts of curiosity racing through my mom gave me the same name as my dad, but now I’m starting
mind, I walked past my mother of fourteen years and shouted, to realize that now I got to change my life around to God and do
“F.. you, … !” I was so mad, and upset and confused. better in my life and get my education.
Me and my brother stayed together throughout, moving And my Frustration, damn, it sucks being here in lockup
house to house in foster care, but we both planned on leaving to and waking up to the same shhh every day and hearing the staff
go see my mother. We missed her, and wanted to go say hello. yelling all the time, but heck with them you know, it’s all good
One regular day, me and my bro were coming home from I’ll be out someday. Now, what can’t I imagine myself not being,
school, and our foster parents are in the living room, waiting. I can’t imagine myself in prison cause I would never want to
They sit me and my brother down, and have me call my auntie. end up there. That’s why I got to change my life for the better
My auntie tells me my mother has died in the hospital. because I would lose my freedom and I can’t stand when people
The first thing that came to my mind, were the last words watch you use the bathroom, and take a shower and have to
I said to her- then I knew that she had been dying all of those shower with other guys, so that is why I’m gonna stay out of
fourteen years and never told us. It’s a secret thought I hide lock up, so for you all that are reading this keep your head up
inside my thoughts, and even three years later, I think about and do better in life cause it’s not worth it no more to get locked
those last words I told my mom. Now, I wish I could replace up.
those words with good bye. Turn your life to God ‘cause He’s the only one that’s going
-Blake, Los Angeles to help you in your life alright.
From The Beat- We feel your pain. But your confusion and anger were -Creeper, Land of Enchantment, New Mexico
legitimate, in that you did not know why things were going down the From The Beat: Thank you for sharing your story, we were able to see
way they were. It’s hard to know the reasons for things when people your fear, anger frustration and relief all in one short story. Do you
don’t tell us. have any plans once you get out? If so would you care to share them?
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 5
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e pieces of the week
My Family Always Moves Suddenly Goodbye
Saying goodbye is hard, I assume. I, myself, don’t have much I hate to say goodbye, but what I hate even more is not
experience with that. Some people don’t take advantage of being able to say goodbye.
saying good-bye, they think of it as a burden. I view it as a gift. My uncle passed away a year ago due to a nasty cocaine
I’ve been to thirteen different schools in my life. A lot of habit, and a bad alcohol problem.
people move around. Moving is one thing, but not knowing That plus an attitude that made sure this world knew he
you’re moving, is another. My mom was a druggie and she would didn’t give a flake.
get so paranoid, she’d pack our stuff up and move across the He sustained these characteristics for years, you would
state in a single day’s notice. She thought people were trying have thought he’d be gone sooner or later.
to kill us. Don’t do crack. So, since I didn’t know I was leaving, Well, time went by and he ended up in prison for along time
I never got to say bye. All those relationships gone without - all of my family kept their fingers crossed that he’d come
closure. Guess this is my chance. Good-bye, everybody. out learning from his mistakes;
well, their desires went to hell and their hearts grew cold
Orange and blue; used underwear, no shoes towards this man.
Hair in the sheets; nasty-ass toilet seats All the while, I grew more caring for him.
In my room, I make beats, something to rap to You see, we both had drug habits no one understood, and
To pass wasted time; I’m searching for a sign everyone expected us to walk away
Does the above sound appealing? Doing drugs, fighting like it was as easy as stealing candy from a baby;
and stealing? they never understood and still don’t.
But it doesn’t sink into the dome; this is the place we call He had just gotten out once more only to continue who he
-Britney, Marin Well, I found out he died March of last year.
From The Beat: Will you go home with your mother, maybe talk her into My heart grew angry and even furious towards my mother
getting treatment? You need a secure family, to go to school, make real
friends, get a job, not juvy as your home. Thank you for your beautiful and father, aunts and uncles
stories and poems. Goodbye. for not letting me know. They never gave me the chance
to stand by him and say goodbye,
to hold his hand and let him know I loved him, and didn’t
Across The Way want him to go.
While he deteriorated on the inside, I put more and more
I see you a little but my vision is getting blurry.
crystal meth in my system..
Tell Nario to take me to the Golden Gates in a hurry.
-Jesssica, Los Angeles
From The Beat- It’s important to discuss what kind of help would have
I'll touch his face and get a glimpse just for one more day. kept him alive. Obviously what your family was doing didn’t help- what
will help you? Do you want to help yourself?
When I die, I will try to make it across the way.
Keep him posted in a place until we're apart.
It will beat like a drum, the place is my heart.
Covered Up With Lies
Think of memories, shed a tear for the last I’m living in a world that’s corrupt and full of hate.
I'll miss my big brother and always think of the past. I could do life in the pen, up state.
I know deep down that this is not my fate.
To dream of your smile, big, white and koolaid. I can’t go back, so it’s a little too late.
I'll be mad at air-it-out, but pay attention to who's made. My life is not a blessing that’s been in disguise.
It’s a remarkable story that’s been covered up with lies.
Every night, I can't sleep 'cause your shadow is there. It was swept under the rug with no intention to arise.
I cry all the time 'cause your spirt is everywhere. Well, guess what homeboy – here comes another surprise.
-C, Santa Cruz
From The Beat: Another piece of fine writing C. Keep it up. Let it rise
Past all yo' females down to your jr. baby Nardy and rise and rise. Words can fly, as you’ve discovered.
He gonna put 'm on the track, bring it back and push
Brother, wait for me and Marco to come home. My Eye Bleeds the Streets
Heaven or Hell? I don't know. It's unknown. Poverty filled streets
Liquor sold on every street
I'll write this poem in my room 'til I turn blue Knocks selling their kids for a rock
But this shhh won't change how much I'm missin' you. Ninjas killing over blocks
The Ghetto give the Man something to mock
Live it up, big bra, haha. My eye bleeds the streets
-Natasia the Real, Alameda - Scario, Alameda
From The Beat: Again, we are sorry about your brother. You pay From The Beat: What a real piece. Thanks for sharing. Do you think
excellent tribute to him. What were his dreams for you? What would he other people in the Ghetto see it the way you do? What can be done
like your life to be? What advice would he be giving you? Can you try to fix these problems: poverty, killings, drug dealing? You know how
to live twice as long to live for him too? it really goes, so pls. share with us.
Page 6 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e
pieces of the week
Lost Souls Goodbye...
Black on black crime; to get, I snatch mine When I first saw your face, I fell in love.
Raised in the ‘hood where the youngstas catch time I looked at you and thanked the one up above.
Drug deals gone bad; little kids live sad Holding you in my arms,
Moms cry tears, and most kids never met Dad you were no bigger than a glove.
We still dream, but most of us never sleep The joy and happiness you brought me,
‘Cause the block is all day; man, it’s all week I always wanted it to show.
You bang it, then you die here I knew at the moment you were in my arms,
And when a young ninja die, we don’t cry tears I never wanted to let you go.
We pour liquor and hustle for our ninjas that ain’t here I never wanted to put you down.
RIP to Mac Mark, in my heart I hold dear I got sad whenever I saw you frown,
-Jordan, Marin I started to cry the day I had to say goodbye,
From The Beat: A beautiful poem about your sad, tragic young life. even though I knew we would be with each other again.
But you don’t get to snatch from other people. How can you use your
many skills to live beyond your block, before the drama induces you I held on to your little hand refusing to let go,
to stay for good? because the day I would see you again,
I did not know.
Holding you for what felt like the last time,
trying to hold on to you for as long as I could,
The Last Memory of My Father not knowing if I could put you down,
I used to believe my father was a great person, until the day he like I said I never would.
proved me wrong. I was a young teen, not that long ago. I did...
I woke up to screaming and crying. I ran to the kitchen, my Feeling the tears stroll down my face,
dad had my mom on the floor with a knife. At first, all I could do my head down, and my body just turn.
is cry and ask him to get off. I didn't want to cry,
My oldest sister woke up and so did my little brother. I I only felt like I would die because the word wouldn't come
couldn’t take it no more, so I started hitting him. He pushed me, out.
and I cried. That’s the day my dad left and he never came back. And that was good-bye.
I guess there was more to it, but I was too young to I closed the door and just walked away.
understand. I didn’t want to understand, even when I was older. When I turned around I asked myself why,
All that was left was confusion. I was lost, not knowing what to Even though I didn't want to.
believe. I should have taken that chance to say my goodbye.
-V, Los Angeles –Raven, Fresno
From The Beat- Whatever the reasons, you know what he did was From The Beat: Goodbyes are always difficult, and we are sorry you had
wrong. What a sad end to your childhood. However, do everything you to leave your child. We hope you will be reunited soon.
can to find your own bearings; that’s what will get you to a place you
can call home.
Unseen Permanent Marks On
Gloomy Night The Canvas Of My Heart
On this gloomy, rainy night
I can’t sleep. Unwillingly, I start to think. Unseen permanent marks on the canvas that is my heart
My eyes are blinking because I’m tired. Imaginary rips and tears pull my heart apart
But my mind is hyper. The pain is hard to cope with, and I keep it bundled up
My life? … still trying to decipher. My emotions are held hostage, like an inmate on death
Midnight has passed row
and I’m still trying to trick my mind. Or a patient in solitary confinement
At times, I wonder if I’m dreaming – No one knows the truth, but to myself, I can't hide it
so I can wake up. Escape plans and written routes, trying to find their way
But the sound of drops hitting the cement out
tells me it’s no lie. Not too far along, the feelings get lost, and they find their
Maybe the only way I could sleep way out
is by getting high. And hurt people, how they come across
But I can’t. There’s a cage at my window, The hurt directed towards others, is nowhere near mine
and no handle on the door. Compared to me, they're a virgin to pain, not sexual, not
Pillow under my head physical
as I lay staring into my mind. But in the mind, being mentally raped with the depressing
Look into my eyes – thoughts
you’ll see the mural. But these feelings never get the best of me, and it's a fight
-Daniel, Santa Cruz well fought
From The Beat: Maybe you needed to do that thinking. Another word -Samuel, San Francisco
for what you were engaged in is: introspection. Intro means in; spec From The Beat: Brilliant poem, Samuel. What, who has caused your
means sight, or seeing (as in spectacles); tion means the act of. The act wounds that are still suppurating? Since you know pain, can you stop
of looking into yourself. It’s a good thing. hurting others with it, especially those as vulnerable as you?
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 7
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e pieces of the week
The Thing I Hate To Hear The Most Saying Goodbye
The one thing I hate to hear the most is my mom crying. I
I'm gonna write because it was almost my time to say goodbye
thought that I was used to people crying and I thought it didn't
to this world. I had a close one. But feel me I’m still here. I
bother me, but what I realized is that when someone is crying,
knew it wasn’t my time to say goodbye. I struggled and made it
I always walk away.
through. I kept it in my head to live because I was too young to
Now that I'm locked up in the max, that option is taken from
die. I wasn’t going to b another Latino dead on the street.
me. When I got my first visit from my mom, I thought it would
The last thing I remember is rolling my eyes backwards and
be good because I didn't see her for some days and I missed her,
hearing people cry. SCREAMING. And my body was hot. And it
but as soon as I walked in, she started to cry. I didn't realize that
was excruciatingly painful, and I wake up days later. My dad and
my actions would result in this.
mom on the side. All I asked for is a sprite.
I had to sit through the whole visit just holding my mom,
God put me in the world for a reason if I were to get shot
telling her that it was going to be okay and that I'm safe in here.
and live to tell the tale I am a damn lucky blessed miracle! I
I felt like crying on the spot, but that would make my mom
have seen this to be an awakening. And to better my life and
worry more and I needed to man up until the visit was over.
Now I've been here for 42 days and not a minute goes by
- Awakened, Alameda
that I don't hear or see my mom crying in my thoughts. This is From The Beat: We’re sorry to hear that you’ve gone through so much
the one thing that I hate to hear the most. already! But we are happy that some good has come from it – that
you’ve taken this experience as a wake up call. What are you gonna
-Oliver, Santa Clara change about your life? How will you better yourself, now that you
From The Beat: Causing pain on someone you love is a terrible feeling, have this second chance?
but the only reason she's crying is because she loves you and she's
worried about you. You can see this as a challenge to change and make
your mom proud and happy that you've made such an improvement in
your attitude and behavior, and you can both forget about the past.
Mom and Me
Because I got incarcerated, my mom was irate.
Lights Out! Because my mom was irate, she cut me off.
The smoke burns but I still inhale Because she cut me off, I felt alone.
I’m broken but I still cut Because I felt all alone, I felt trapped.
My feet hurt but I still run Because I felt trapped, I became stressed, and the stress
I’m stuck and almost lifeless, I’m pissed made me put things in perspective.
And I knock down anything that comes my way Because I put things in perspective, my mom came back
I am an outsider with no flesh around.
I scream until my tonsils bleed She told me she loved me, and that she forgave me, and
I have too many nightmares so I don’t sleep that she would never leave my side because she knew I
I’m fat so I don’t eat, could get through these six long months.
I’m ugly so I’m against mirrors Because I have six long months, that gives me time to
I look around and no one’s there reflect on my wrongdoings,
I pushed then away, I’m cruel, I’m pushing Because I can reflect on my wrongdoings, I can be a
Myself I’m done with this shhh so… loving, caring person again.
Lights out! -Paulette, Los Angeles
From The Beat: Tell us more about your time in reflection. What more
-Helpless, Fresno have you learned?
From The Beat: Anyone who reads this will feel your pain – but they’ll
also feel your talent, your vivid images, the way you use your words
to teach, to share, and to let the world get an inside view of your
struggle. This is not the poem of a helpless person – it’s the poem of
someone with great strength. Lights on! Remorse
My freedom to take
Just a price
Saying Goodbye For my mistakes
When I was a kid my dad was never around. He was out long Because of my chemical dependency
enough to get my mom pregnant. Then he was locked up again. Now I’m waiting
He got out when I was five – for 36 days. Then he got locked up, For the court to sentence me
again. I’m looking at a lot of time
It was really hard to say goodbye to him. He’d get out and For a
then just disappear. Pestilential crime
He was down until just recently. He got out last April. It’s Feelings of great regret
hard to have a dad who constantly gets locked up. He missed What I did
out on my whole life. I pray I don’t follow in his footsteps. Is impossible to forget
All I can hop0e for is a good life. I just want my dad to stay With a void in my heart
out. I have a 12 year old brother who needs a dad. Have faith. Forgiving myself
-Zach, Santa Cruz Is only a start
From The Beat: A very moving piece, Zach. Thanks for opening up. We -Ck, San Jose
know there are a thousand heartfelt pieces inside you, waiting to get From The Beat: Have you begun to forgive yourself? If so, how? If not,
out. Keep them coming – please. why not? How do you deal with your remorse?
Page 8 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e
pieces of the week
Internal Tears Burning anger deep down inside
I want to cry, but my tear ducts won’t allow it. Aching pain alone in my mind
I’ve cried too much. I think I need a different outlet. When will it stop?
I cut myself. Watch me bleed out. When did it begin?
But it’s not enough, so I get the weed out. I fight pain somewhere inside my mind
Sex and drugs. Rock ‘an’ roll. Make it stop
But in my mom, I see the toll. Make it go away
A black hole in disguise. I can’t survive one more day
I pretend it’s not there. I close my eyes. Stranded in this world full of impossible demands
I’m crying from the inside out. Everywhere I turn I’m left with empty hands
Trying to get my emotions out. I have so much anger inside, locked away inside my mind
Trying to be like everybody else. I can’t keep control, I’m lost inside my mind
‘Cause there’s so much wrong with myself.
Each person at birth
On the outside, you see a smile.
Is born with mind and soul
But, if someone would only stay a while
And our search on earth,
You would see the darkness resides.
Begins with good
It hides inside, and comes out at night. This good we seek
All I need is light, a lil’ help in this fight. Is hard to achieve
But all have forsaken, and they left me Life can be mean
Crying from the inside out. But you have to believe
Trying to get my emotions out. Hope makes me strong
Trying to be like everybody else. With emotions so weak
‘Cause there’s no much wrong with myself. To know that I’m important
-Britney, Marin Makes my sadness retreat
From The Beat: You’re like nobody else, but that doesn’t mean there’s
anything wrong with you! What’s causing your black hole inside, that
- Cullie, Alameda
From The Beat: We applaud you for keeping hope amidst so much pain
drives you to cut yourself, smoke weed, party too much, hurt your mom
and anger. What makes you know that you’re important – family and
and yourself? Who has abandoned you? If you have anyone you trust,
loved ones, goals and dreams, plans for change, believing in yourself?
go to him/her, get the help you need.
We hope you share your positive attitude with everyone around you. It
really does make a difference!
The Sad Story Of A White Girl
And A Barrio Boy No Love Left In Your Eyes
Never knew how to say this, but it’s not right to delay this
Hey, what’s up, Beat? Man, I’ma tell you a sad story about his
Your kiss ain’t got the same flare and when I stare at your eyes
girl who was in love with a Latino boy from the barrio, but she
I try to find love that isn’t there, a reassurance that you care
couldn’t be with him, because she was a white girl from the
But there’s no trace of what we once shared; that tears me
Well, this story started when one day the white girl, name
But I don’t show it; the appearance of a rapper, but the
was Anne, was walking through the barrio because she got lost,
heart of a poet
and the reason why she got lost was because her rich white
Carry all this pain inside, like a vein added with the strain of life
mom forgot to pick her up, so she had to go and take the bus.
Slowly bleeding me like a knife. It’s all strife
While she was walking, some girls from the barrio came out
-Mummie, San Francisco
of an alley, and was trying to make fun of her, because she From The Beat: You’re an amazing rapper. There’s no pain like when you
was lost. One of the girls was, “Y’all dark hair and dress like see the death of the two of you in your love’s eyes. You have our hearts.
a pandillero (gang member.)” She punched Anne and the other
girls start jumping her. Oscar heard the screams and came out
of his house, and yelled at his homegirls to stop. They didn’t
stop, so he came out of the house and walked toward them and Who Knew?
yelled, “Stop the shhh, you are in front of my damn en cantana.” Who knew my mom wouldn't want me?
The girls recognized the voice and took off running. Who knew that my life would have so much pain?
Oscar walked and knelled down to help the girl. She trying Who knew people in this world could be so cruel?
to shake his hands off, screaming, “Get off me.” Who knew that when I turned thirteen I would be a prostitute?
“Quit doing the shhh, I’m trying to help you,” Oscar said, I sure didn't.
upset. Anne finally stopped struggling and let herself be pulled Who knew that I would get addicted to the fast life?
by Oscar’s stronger arms. “Damn, Gringa, you got messed up,” I never knew that life would be so bad!
Oscar said. Anne didn’t answer. She just stood there. But the thing that keeps my hopes up is that I'm still young and
-Duende, San Francisco have a chance.
From The Beat: Beautiful story, or, better yet, start to a story. Was -Lil' Ma', Alameda
Anne’s mother mad at herself for neglecting her? Does Oscar fall in love From The Beat: You are still young and have a chance. Probably quite a
with Anne, too? Who forbade them from being together, Anne’s mother, few chances, actually. So what's next? Have you broken your addiction
or Oscar’s family? Why do either of them listen to their families? Write to the fast life? Do you need help to do that? We look forward to
more! hearing what you do with your next chance!
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 9
ie e f h e k
P c so t ew e pieces of the week
Momma, Nario Still Loves You A Dream Of Us
When things are going wrong and I can't sing any songs One night I had a dream of us. You was hurt bad. You had
I try to put a smile on her face, her day, going long. bruises on yo’ back, couldn’t even say a word to me. You had a
Nario is watchin' over your soul 'cause you can't let go. deep stare that wouldn’t be broken. I carried you to my room,
Mama, smile for your baby and just go with the flow. laid you on my bed, took off yo’ soakin’ wet clothes and gave
Relax, lay back, don't be worried 'bout your baby, 'cause you a white tall T of mines, and you slipped it on and slipped
he's in a better place. right under my covers.
Please Mama, I know it's drivin' you crazy. I looked at you lying in my bed, with the same stare. You
Smell his shirt, see his picture, think back to when we don’t even bother to look at me, and less stare. Your eyes filled
were small. with tears. They blink and the tears start down yo’ face.
Revolve around his spirit, Mama, all after all. I walk up to you, pull yo’ hair from yo’ face. At the same
Miss his scent, smell his stench. time, I wipe the tears away, lean forward to kiss yo’ on your
Mama, he still loves you, so don't worry, don't flinch. cheek. When I did, I noticed tears that was waiting to fall from
RIP Nario. my face. You finally broke the endless stare, grabbed me, and
-Nardyentasia, Alameda the same time, while kissin’ me…
From The Beat: We are sorry about Nario. It's great you are thinking -Yopinator, San Francisco
about your mother. You must feel bad for being away from her and From The Beat: This is by far the most sensuous, romantic piece you’ve
in jail. How can you stay free so that you can be there for her, as she ever written. Congratulations! When this lady was hurt, you treated
needs? her so tenderly.
Am I… Heartbroken
Am I stupid because I carry a gun?
Am I stupid because I think it’s fun? ‘Cause we were kicking it in the hood
Ami I stupid because I’ll die for my own? We didn’t know what was going on at home.
Am I stupid, should I go home? ‘Cause we didn’t know what was going on at home, we
Am I stupid because I think I like this? were now enrolled in danger,
Am I stupid because of the identification on my wrist? ‘Cause of this danger, a crime was committed
Am I stupid because I snoot and I don’t plan to miss? Because of this crime, lives have been taken.
Am I stupid because of the life that I choose? ‘Cause of these lives being taken, hearts were broken.
Am I stupid because of the topic I use? Tears began falling like waves in the ocean.
Am I stupid because when someone’s hurt I’m amused? ‘Cause of this one moment, families will never have the
Am I stupid, just let me know before I die. love they used to hold.
- Unknown, Alameda ‘Cause of that, I feel like my heart is broken.
From The Beat: Are these rhetorical questions – in other words, are you -Ashley, Los Angeles
asking yourself these questions? Or are you asking your audience? Or From The Beat: We are sorry about your actions, an if it is only a
us? By asking, it seems like you are aware of the negative consequences poem, and did not happen to you, we are sure sadly it has happened
of your actions. Sometimes, it’s nice to stop and give yourself time to a number of our readers. IF this did occur, what next? If anything,
to think about the things you do. By doing this, you just may save we encourage you to teach and share your pain, ideas and thoughts
yourself from making some wrong choices in the future. through The Beat.
Massive Attack Escaping The Ghetto
Could I really be that stupid? Did I trust you with my Move from one ghetto to another, and being someone who is
soul? trapped in the ghetto, I don’t think the ghetto is something
I asked you for it back; you simply told me it was sold. to glorify. I have seen the ghetto take dreams and lives, and I
I gave you all my secrets; in return I received nil. would rather try to find a way out. It’s something to think about.
I thought that I could trust you; yo, Kid, what’s the deal? You could have the ghetto mentally, but only someone from the
I was warned about you, but told my sister I could trust ghetto, a real ghetto, would tell you to look for a way out.
you. I am from one of the ghettos of Fresno, and I have seen a
I let you hold my soul, so why would I just mess with you? lot of things happen. I have seen a lot of things happen that
But, instead, you messed with me; here’s my “the hell with I wouldn’t want anybody to go through. So I don’t praise the
you” right back. ghetto even though I am from there. I would always try to find a
You broke my heart, and that’s a massive attack. way to escape my mind set.
-Mak, Marin -Manuel, Fresno
From The Beat: Great poem, written out of a your anguish at being From The Beat: You’re right, there is nothing to glorify about the
betrayed. How and to whom did this youngster sell your soul? Can you ghetto. It is a difficult reality for those who experience it everyday.
heal it, grow it back? Next time, you could offer someone your heart, What do you think it would take for someone to be able to leave a
but keep your soul your own? place like that?
I have seen a lot of things happen that I wouldn’t
want anybody to go through.
Page 10 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
co-pieces of the week
Open My Eyes A Little Wider Saying Goodbye to My Baby
Saying goodbye to the struggle, The person I had to say goodbye to is my baby. Even though I
‘Cause that’s not the way I want to hustle. didn’t say the words. I just didn’t know I would get busted that
It’s harder to do good than to do evil, same day I walked out of the house. I wish I could go back and
So we all pick the easy way to live. be the best mother.
But at the end we’re only going to hit rock bottom. The other day, I called my sister-in-law, and I felt really sad
So live for myself is what I got to do in my mentality, because I heard my baby crying in the background. Sometimes I
My best bet is to push to my capacity, sit and wonder if he knows that his mom isn’t there taking care
Open my eyes a little wider, ‘cause I’m tired of living in this of him.
struggle, -Linda, Los Angeles
Called suffering and pain that’s running through my veins. From The Beat: It’s impossible to be a good mother from inside the
walls of the system. Get your life back, and be present and loving to
So saying goodbye to the struggle and pain until then, your baby.
here I remain.
From The Beat: Great poem! When you open your eyes a little wider,
what do you see? What kind of future do you see for yourself, and what
goals do you want to achieve? Tell us what “doing good” looks like to
The Ghetto Is What You Make Of It
I do not know why people call it the ghetto. An area, neighborhood,
street, or small city is not a ghetto at all. In my opinion it is only
what you make it, or what you experience in that area. You could
Why Do You Choose Him Over Me? be in a nice or well-behaved neighborhood, but one bad person
Growing up watching you get beat on daily,I tried to help but was or experience could make you think twice about that hood or
too strong for me. Then you sent me away and I wasn't loved, street.
just mistreated. And still to this day, I struggle watching you However, at the same time, you could have entered an area
with this man and I wonder why you choose to stay. I just want that would look bad, but could have nice people. For example,
to take you away...from all of it. you could be mugged in a good neighborhood as easily as you
Why ain't I good enough, Ma? Why don't you just leave him could in “the ghetto” and you could also be helped out in the
alone? You've got me and your son and we love you. I hate to see ghetto, as if it was a good neighborhood.
you with him and it makes me feel so powerless. You would not be surprised of the people you meet in
So now I'm doing all I can to take you away, doing things different areas. For example, I could be one of many people
I never through about doing. I know it's wrong what I'm doing, that could mug you, but easily help you out at the same time.
but I'm doing it. Selling my ass to get this money so I can take However, in many people’s eyes, the ghetto is a scary and
care of you... take you away from him. Even though I know you dangerous place, but if you know how to stick it out it is not
should be the one taking care of me. that bad. I see my hood as a pretty ghetto. It is my home. I am not
-Daughter, Alameda ashamed, but I am not proud. I just see it as another day living
From The Beat: You are brave. Sounds like you need to be taking care life.
of you. We don't think you should be taking care of your mother at the
expense of your self-respect and your freedom. In our experience, she -Ramon, Fresno
needs to decide herself to leave. Just make sure she always knows that From The Beat: Good point. Everyone has a different experience
you will be there for her when she does. Good luck. wherever they live. Although things seem bad sometimes, perceiving it
that way could be wrong. Thanks for sharing your point of view.
All this last summer I can remember being with my boyfriend— Farewell
laughing, smiling, crying, yelling, singing. We were so happy, Goodbye, farewell,
just spending time with each other. Nothing else mattered, but I will not come back to this hell
just the two of us, as well as our happiness. When we found This is not the place for me, not who I plan to be,
ourselves parked out at the beach, hearing the waves violently, All I crave is to be free,
yet soothingly, crash against the shore, staring deep into each I look at myself in the mirror,
other’s eyes, I would be sitting in his lap, my legs outstretched, My reflection is so severe
feet pressed firmly against the passenger door. His strong arms I think to myself this is reality
were holding me tightly, his soft skin soothing me. All the toughts in my head filled with only brutality
“Baby, don’t cry,” he says, calmly. STOP! NO!
It just hurts me. I just miss him. I need him here. We had This is not my life. Not how it’s going to go!
that conversation often, almost every summer night. Being here I am going to do me, and me is what I’m going to do.
makes me miss those nights. I was truly happy on those nights. I am not going to live the life that I’ve lived, a life that is
I would do anything, I would give everything, I would go to the never true.
end of the earth if I could just be back in those summer nights I I am going to succeed, I am going to prevail!
shared with him. So now I say goodbye, farewell
-Renee, Marin I will not come back to this hell.
From The Beat: What a lovely memory. What happened to those nights? -DruAngelique, Los Angeles
What has happened to this young man? What became more important From The Beat: We love it! Keep that attitude, and make your life the
to you than these nights, that brought you into juvy? one you want to live! Stay strong!
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 11
co-pieces of the week
My Dream Car is A Bentley Youngster
Every since I was little, I've been interested in cars. Unlike boys, Because I’m immature, I got busted.
I could care less what's up under the hood, I just want it to be Because I got busted, I realized I’m acting my shoe size,
really fancy, and I have to look really nice in the driver's seat. My Which implies that I’m home,
dream car is a Bentley '99. I, for some reason, have the hots for To make me a better man, a father to my daughter.
it. The look of it and the name.
As many should know, this is one of the most luxurious From a graffiti vandal to drug abusing,
cars on the road. I’m young and reckless.
And broke people sure can't have them. Well, unless you From dealing on the corner and stealing a woman’s
steal one. Lenard said she wants that car, and I think that's very necklace..
funny how you can get it if you work hard for it. When I was a A sign of a kid who never cared,
freshman, I though Escalades were the best, but now I say I want
an '06 Benner as my first car. But now I have a kid,
And I mean it. I'll settle on having a Cadillac for my first, but No more that life for me.
I really want an '06 BMW Gray, fully loaded. But I know what I I have a story to tell for all the homies in hell
want. So I really have my mind set. So hopefully, I can find one I’m sorry, I can’t see you,
in my reach and worth my value. I used to wanna be like you,
–Pepper Sauce, Alameda but now I despise you.
From The Beat: We all love a good ride, but is that your top priority?
Right now it seems like what you need is something that won’t break
down, something that can get you to school, to work, so you can get The Lord forgave me,
a good paying job…Once you have basic needs taken care of, then it’s He actually saved me
time to think about the luxuries, no?
He sent me a gift,
And now I must lift.
Dear Lord, thank you every day for my baby
Spitting Hard One day she’ll become a beautiful lady.
-Samuel, Los Angeles
I’ve been up all night, thinking to myself. From The Beat: Raising children and being a role model is no joke. Make
Why don’t nobody answer when a ninja call for help? sure you’re available for your children. Ask yourself, is there anything
I swear this shhh crazy. Feel like I’m talking to myself. worth giving up my kids for? And remember what it’s like when you’re
not with them. That’s a role in life you don’t want to miss.
I feel like a book, getting dusty on the shelf.
Damn, I just got one question:
What a ninja got to do to have a lesson?
No matter what I do, I can’t stop stressin’.
Calling out to God, “I’m just looking for a blessin’.”
Sooner Or Later
Saying goodbye to someone you love can be painful but it has to
And never again will I pick those friends. happen sooner or later. My worst goodbye was to my grandpa. It
The ones that hurt you and say, “Ninjas to the end.” was the worst thing that could have happened to me. It was like
They could smile in your face, but talk behind your back. someone just took my breath away and never gave it back to me.
And when I’m all mad, that ain’t no dream, it’s a stone cold I felt like I had a knot in my throat and I couldn't even pass
fact. my breath. It happened so quick and all out of nowhere. What
-Young Smash, San Francisco was the reason for his death? I will never know, but some things
From The Beat: We, your Beat readers, are listening. If your homies
have left you inside, without writing you, looking after your family on you just can't figure out. All I can say to him is, "Journey Well."
the outs, and are trash talking about you, you must be hurting so much. -James, Fresno
You write like you’re always loyal to them. You have our hearts. From The Beat: Sometimes we will never know the answers, and that’s
okay. Your grandpa is probably in a better place watching over you.
Being in the ghetto streets is really crazy
In my life experience it really amaze me
I seen a lot of people getting shot
My mama always told me to stay off the block
I didn’t listen, yeah I admit that
Look where I’m at
In the Hall, tryna get back home
Really tryna move on
I pray to God every day I stay strong.
From The Beat: This is a powerful poem, we almost called it “Tryna Move
On,” because that’s your next big challenge. You’ve struggled for so
long, but come out alive and strong, so now what will you do to move
on from your old ways so you can thrive?
Page 12 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
co-pieces of the week
Because I chose to hang out with the wrong person, I My Stress
ended up in Juvi. Because my brother invited me to a party I got drunk.
Because I’m in Juvi, I can’t do the things I want. Because I got drunk, I got in a fight.
Because I can’t do the things I want, it makes me And because I got down, they jumped me and chased me to
frustrated inside. my house,
Because I am frustrated, it’s hard for me to think straight. Because they were chasing me, I left the door open.
Because I can’t think straight, I can’t make the right Because I left the door open, my aunt’s pitbull she just
decisions. bought ran out, got run over, and died,
Because I can’t make the decisions, I can’t do what I’m Because her pitbull died, I got in a fight with my aunt.
supposed to do. Because I got in a fight with my aunt, my grandmother
Because I can’t do what I’m supposed to do, I can’t stay kicked me out.
out of trouble. Because I got kicked out, I had nowhere to stay
Because I can’t stay out of trouble, I’m gonna end up right Because I had nowhere to stay, I was staying in the street,
back in here when I get out. I had no money
But I can change all that, because I believe in myself. Because I had no money, I started robbing,and
-Kevin, Los Angeles Because I started robbing, I got locked up and now I’m
From The Beat: The chain of logic here is clear. Believe in yourself and here in juvi.
you will never fail.
Because I’m in juvi, I’m really messing up!
-Moises, Los Angeles
From The Beat- We should start the story like this: “Because I got some
stress I don’t know how to handle, I got to drink and fight.” Is this
Goodbyes true? And what other ways are there to deal with stress that won’t get
you locked up?
I was hit by a car on 9/11/09. I was supposed to die. I remember
looking up at the sky not wanting to say goodbye. I remember
fainting. I never knew I was going to wake up again. The last
thing I saw was a sky full of stars. Last thing I heard was my
friends talking. I heard arguments and everything. The last
Saying Good-Bye Is The Hardest
thing I touched with my fingertips was my cell-phone wanting to Thing
call my baby daddy, but I couldn’t- he was in prison. I couldn’t It was two weeks before Christmas when my tia (aunt) Corina
breathe. I was on the floor, left in the cold air. told me, “Mijo, you’re going to San Francisco. Tu papa said you
The worst thing about goodbyes is when a person leaves or have court and that you’re getting off probation on the 28th of
dies and you never had the chance to say goodbye. Such as my December.”
homies dying when I am locked up. Or when my baby’s father But I knew it was a set-up. I was only there for two and a
got locked up. I never knew. I have to wait five years to see him half, and my stay there was not going too good. I was not enrolled
again. And what’s worst is I left my best friend. I didn’t leave her in school. I started smoking and partying all day, every day, ‘til
a note or anything. I never even got the chance to say goodbye. finally I bought a .380 and really started messing up. I started
-Maria, Los Angeles fighting and caused a lot of stress to my tia.
From The Beat: Your writing speaks volumes, and we are glad you are
alive, and hopefully in a better position, to take a hold of your young I never knew that when I got back to the “states,” that I’d get
life, so you won’t anytime soon have to say goodbye. locked up. So, finally I realized I needed to get my act straight,
but I ran out of time. So, by the time I enrolled myself in school,
it was three days before my flight, and Christmas. I had so many
friends and I had a beautiful girlfriend, but I knew it was time to
The Ride leave. I didn’t want to give my family a bad reputation. I started
He was just a little boy but they didn’t know that. We decided to to say bye to the people I knew, but then the real friends I had--it
go mobbin’ one day, the homies in one G-ride and us in another. was real hard. I told my girlfriend at the time that I was leaving,
We just thought we were gonna floss the new wipes, but no, we but she didn’t believe it.
were rolling through a hood when they saw a boy wearing the Christmas finally came and I told my tia that I’m sorry and
wrong colors. Bang-bang we looked behind us and the homies to love me still for all the tough times I put her through. I got
were stopped with the shotti pointed out the window when we super drunk with my friends and we had it lite for my last hours
reversed. There was a boy lying on the floor bleeding from the in Peru, and I made love to my girlfriend for her first time. But
head and a basketball rolling on the floor, we just took off. then it took a lot of tears to tell her good-bye. My real friends
I felt so guilty as if I did it. The next day all the homies came were guys, so it was kinda easy to say good-bye. Then, to my
to the pad wearing black, they had a bottle wanting to drink from fam-bam, it wasn’t even a good-bye, it was a, “See ya later.” I was
the minute they walked in the door. We knew something was up, happy that I left, because if I didn’t and I ended up dead due to
they were flossing all their guns, but nothing ever happened. barrio wars, then I’d be sad, due to knowing that I could have
A few years later my homie told me that day they were going made some good out of being there. I also promised that when I
to kill me and my family that was in the house with me that came back, I’d be a whole different Anthony.
night ‘cause they thought we would leak. -El Peruanoso, San Francisco
-Deanna, Land of Enchantment, New Mexico From The Beat: Leaving everybody you loved in Peru must have been
From The Beat: This is both sad and scary, did your “homies” every get agonizing. Have you made a new family and friends, girlfriends here?
charged for shooting the young boy? You and your family were very Can you stay out of barrio wars in Peru and the US? How will you make
lucky; do you know why they didn’t follow through with their plans? “some good out there”?
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 13
co-pieces of the week
Nothing To Do With The Law
What I don't want to imagine myself doing in the future is being My worst experience
part of the law that includes policemen. The reason is because The worst experience disaster that I’ve ever experienced was
the cops put me in here and on the outs, they try to arrest me seeing my grandpa sick in the hospital.
for just walking in the middle of the day with a few friends. Then I got a phone call from my sister, she was all crying telling
they stop me and they try to harass me, and frame me with me that grandpa is really sick and in the hospital, saying that
things I didn't even do. he might not even make it through the weekend. I couldn’t
So that's why I wouldn't imagine myself working for the law even believe it didn’t’ even say anything after and then I started
although I do want to be in the Air Force or the Marines. I know crying. I was either at school or an appointment when I received
they have something do with the law, but it's better because I the call.
won’t be in the streets trying to catch my friend. That's why I I got picked up and dropped off at the Presbyterian hospital
don’t want to have anything to do with the law. to go see him in his room. I went up to the room, walked in and
–Carlos, Fresno found my whole dad’s side of the family in the room standing
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing your opinion. Do you think there are around the bed where my grandpa laid. I walked up and started
good cops out there who try to help people?
For me just to see him lying there in that bed like that,
I couldn’t’ stand it. Then they had to move him to a hospice
Click-Clack-Bow! because there wasn’t anything else that the Doctors could do.
It sounds like a lion’s roar I stayed there until like 7 then I had to leave because I was on
It spits fire like a dragon house arrest and couldn’t stay any longer. I got home and like at
It throws a metal spear 2 in the morning I got a call saying that my grandpa passed away
Everyone runs when the spears soar -Ashlee, Land of Enchantment, New Mexico
From The Beat: It must have been hard not being able to spend more
Spearing people straight through, smooth like Satan time with your grandpa because you had to get home because of
When you hear the lion’s roar, see the fire of the dragon probation? It is hard to loose some one you truly care about, the best
thing you can do is talk about it.
Run because death is near
And because of the gunshot all that is left
Is either MADNESS or SADNESS…
From The Beat: We like the different ways you describe the sound of Afterlife
a gunshot – like a lion’s roar, showing how the streets can be a jungle Life after me is only death, but you knew that.
in which people are just trying to survive. Your closing line is very
effective and demonstrates the danger of guns; even if they don’t end Tell ‘im, “Get gone,” “Kick rocks,” “Where ya shoes at?”
up taking your life, they contribute to madness (always questioning I should have known from the go, you was faulty.
your safety) and sadness (losing loved ones due to gun violence). In I’ll refund ya love, but keep everything you bought me.
what ways can you overcome the destruction brought on by guns?
The wedding band we would’ve said, “I do” to…
The night you said, “I love you,” and I said, “I do, too.”
But it’s cool. Tell ya man, I’ll holla.
I’m Losing My Mind I’ll catch ‘im at the bank when collecting yo’ dollas.
I’m losing my mind, From The Beat: So, this guy is after your lady’s cash, while you just
Goin’ crazy inside, wanted her heart? Instead of meeting her new man with her dollars at
My feelings I can’t hide, his bank, why not just leave them alone?
So I put them aside.
I just lay on my bed,
And think of the dead,
The comments I posted, I know you read, I Hate To Hear Police Sirens, The
As I wrote them, tears started to shed. Phone Ringing At Night
It’s me Lil NuNu, The thing I hate to hear the most are police sirens. Most people
Open my eyes and I can’t see you, feel relieved to know the police are around, because they feel
I don’t know what to do, that the police keep them safe. But for me, it’s the exact opposite.
You’re in my heart and that is true. Then the boys is around, I feel nervous, or not at ease, because
As days go by, I’m always at the opposite side of the law. They always tryna
I start to cry, mess with me, or try to keep me in places like this.
And I wonder why, Another thing I hate to hear is my phone constantly
Because I love and miss you, ringing in the middle of the night, because most of the time, it’s
That’s no lie. someone trying to tell me bad news. Last time that happened, it
You were very kind, was someone telling me my dad had got killed. Now I turn my
A very hard person to find, phone off before I go to sleep. These are just some things I hate
I’m losing my mind to hear.
I’m losing my mind. -Doodie, San Francisco
-NuNu, Fresno From The Beat: We’re so sorry about your dad. No wonder you hate
From The Beat: To feel like you are losing your mind is difficult and phone calls late at night. Why are you always “on the opposite side of
frustrating. Writing helps. Thanks for sharing this painful but deeply the law”? Can you use your street skills to create/sell/teach something
beautiful poem with The Beat. you enjoy, and make good money?
Page 14 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
co-pieces of the week
Things I Want To Say To My Girl
You are beautiful. Your beauty does not compare to that of
a goddess or that of a beautiful rose dipped in gold. We both
are like the earth and the sun, attracted to each other by the
gravitational force of love. I revolve around you, because without
you, I wouldn’t be warm inside, and it wouldn’t be daylight
without you, just darkness. I would just be a cold piece of rock,
floating in space, without a course. Thank you for your sunlight
and your gravitational force that keeps me on track.
-Weez, San Francisco
From The Beat: This lady must get lots of credit, because you write so
brightly and warmly, that you must glow, too, but it’s hard to believe
your moon merely reflects her sun.
Everything’s falling apart.
I lost the one I love over a stupid mistake
My grandma doesn’t want me
My mom doesn’t want me
It hurts not to be wanted by the ones you love. It sucks.
I guess that saying “love sucks” is true.
But hey no one said life was going to be easy, and it
certainly isn’t easy.
Life’s hard to live. I’m tired of repeating the same mistakes
over and over.
-Karina, Alameda Here To End
From The Beat: These separations sound incredibly painful, and we are Life is good, life is cruel
sorry for all the sadness you must feel right now. But there is a ray Hanging out with my friends playing pool
of hope in this piece, which is when you say “I’m tired of repeating
the same mistakes over and over.” Because that is something you can Never thought we would get caught
control yourself. What are some mistakes you’d like to stop making? Came up on us and we got caught
Went to jail got put in a cell
Doing some time
Waiting on the court
Can’t Imagine Talking about giving me four
I cannot imagine being a father. Not having one, I do not see Friends asking me what I did
myself ever being one. You see the people on TV with a family, So I told them what I did
a house, a car, and other things that seem so simple, but Now I’m in my cell suffering
impossible to imagine. Things like having a good job telling my Contemplating about my case
kids goodnight, every night in their own rooms with their own I just started this race
beds. End it to the end
I cannot ever see myself not struggling just to get up in Never going to get out
the morning. I feel I will always be just another Mexican whose Only way out is in a box
parents came here from Mexico. Living day by day, wondering Run up on me going to get pain
is this as good as it gets, is this all I will ever know? I cannot End up in the hospital with a broken jaw
imagine ever caring for my father. Now I got a big bill
He is probably not the worst person in the world, but I Just going to go and eat medicine
never seemed to like him or even love. He was that stranger that Going to escape reality that’s how I feel
picked me up from time to time as I was growing up. He was Worrying about court all the time
never there for me, mostly because he was in jail. For as long as Witnesses came to court and discussed
I can remember, I called him the stranger that told me he loved Now I’m doing time for my crime
me. Went to the pen and saw my friends
I can imagine one day being done with this, done with court, Started putting me up on game
and probation. Finishing school. I can imagine trying to do all Then he looked at me in shame
that I cannot imagine so that one day my kids can imagine what Said he through this was the last place we would
it is like to have a father. So really, it is not that I cannot imagine See and now I’m here to the end
it is just hard to imagine. Finish line’s coming up fast
-Danny, Fresno Crossed the finish line never
From The Beat: It hasn’t been easy for you but we hope you always keep
your head held high. It might be hard to imagine that things will get Thought that I would win and that is the end
better, but keep pushing forward in life, and when you’re done, you -Daniel, Fresno
won’t have to imagine anymore because you’ll be able to live out the From The Beat: You can still win if you don’t lose hope. The end can also
good things you want for yourself. Good luck! be a new beginning.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 15
co-pieces of the week
I'm actually proud of being from the barrio because it has made
me realize who I am and what I'm capable of doing. I'm not
ashamed of living in the barrio because that's where I have all
my friends. What defines the barrio is all the gangbanging.
The barrio makes me feel like I'm at home because, well
like I said, that's where all my friends are. I'm from the barrio
because of gangs. But if I continue what I'm doing, I see my
future being locked up all the time in Juvy or in prison, and I
don't really want all this to be like that.
I sometimes see myself in the future as a Marine or a cop
because that's my goal. But my future isn't going that good so
far. I'm in Juvy right now, and I'm hoping and looking forward to
actually changing my life around and accomplishing my dreams
From The Beat: In order to accomplish your dreams and goals, does that
mean you’ll have to leave the barrio? Or just the barrio mindset? What
does it take to make it out?
The Ghetto Is My Home
The ghetto in my eyes is like part of a city that is very poor or
not good looking and is different from the rest of the city. A
lot of people see it as more of a home than being at your real
home so you stay in the streets all night. Some people also think
the ghetto is not a good place to be at, but to me I live at the
ghetto and it’s my second home. And it has my other family in
A lot of stuff happens in the ghetto such as shootings,
stabbings, and killings plus nowadays people die in the ghetto
mostly every day. But everyone sees the ghetto through their
own eyes. I see it as a second home. Also a lot of celebrities
come from the ghetto and they made it and became big stars
such as Tupac. My Experience Under The Influence
Things happen in the ghetto like when my two friends and I A few months back, I was kicking it at my house with some of
were chillin’ at my house and then out of nowhere police officers my boys, just drinking, smoking, and living the life as many of
came at gunpoint in front of my house. Then they took my older us young teenagers do. There was one beer left for us, and we
homie to county for no reason that day. I’m glad I didn’t get all know how that goes. One drink after another, and before I
arrested that day either but now I’m here. Soon I’ll be back in know it, I'm behind the wheel of my mom's car, driving to the
the ghetto. store to get some munches, as we pot heads say. Well, I was on
-Angel, Fresno the intersections waiting for the red light to turn green, and I
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing a different perspective on the
ghetto. You remind us that the ghetto, although can be negative, is remember the radio slapping as loud as it could go.
also a place that many people proudly call home and where they can All I could hear was a song by Chris Brown. The light turned
feel a sense of community.
green and I started to rev the engine. I just floored the gas and
I was feeling the energy through my veins. I came through to a
light turning yellow, and I was going at least 85 to 100 miles per
hour. I thought that I could make it going at the speed.
Advice To Youngstas Before I know it, we were halfway up the hill. I felt as if I
Go to school! Don’t do drugs, but if you do, jus’ know when to couldn't move for a quick second, then the car came down and
do them and how to do them. Be responsible about it. School it was stuck on the dirt curb. My three friends and I got out
comes first. If you’re handling your shhh, then no one can stop and we were like what just happened? A million things were
you. When you do drugs, make sure you do the drug, don’t let going through my head. I went home to tell my mom what had
the drug do you! Meaning, don’t let them control you. If you feel happened.
you’re doing it too much, then stop. Take a break or, better yet, We went back to the scene and there were already cops on
jus’ quit altogether. I’m not tellin’ y’all to do drugs, but the truth the scene. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the back of the cop's
is, you most likely will one time or another, so jus’ be smart car. That’s the story of my wild ride.
about it. –Sergio, Fresno
-Tone Capone, San Francisco From The Beat: It’s a good thing no one got hurt, but the situation could
From The Beat: Realistically, many youngstas do experiment with drugs, have led to devastating results. One driver under the influence puts
but some become so addicted, they get scared they can’t quit, and some everyone at risk. What have you learned from this experience that you
never do. Why not also advise, “Don’t even start taking drugs?” could share with other young people?
Page 16 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
Me, Myself, and I Dedication to my brother, Yeyo
What’s up with The Beat? It’s young Cece. I know I’m still in this One hard goodbye for me was when my brother Yeyo left to Rita
thang, but I’m gonna be gone in a minute feel me. Today I want to (County Jail). We was both in the same unit but he was an adult
talk about just me. I’m beautiful, pretty, sexy. I’m very outgoing remand. So when his birthday came, he left in the morning. I’m
smart and very creative when I put my mind to it. I like to dress not gonna lie I cried when I said my goodbyes and gave him a hug
hella cute every day, and keep my hair done 24/7. I really like to be cause I know is gonna be a while until I see him again. I got to do
independent in whatever I do. I mostly like everything perfect on my time still at the “Y” and by the time I get out he’ll still be in the
me or whatever I do. I’m very sociable with people, and I’m mostly Penn… I was with him every day on the outs before he left. I could
caring to people. I like to help people with whatever I can. And last really trust him, talk to him about anything and I know he’ll have
but not least, I’m loving. my back. I just always remember all the memories with him. When
-Cece I got kicked out he gave me a place to stay. When I was hungry,
From The Beat: Yes, it is a wonderful thing to be smart, and to help other he fed me. If I needed a ride or was in trouble, I could go to him.
people. You feel like it’s important to look good on the outside – cute
outfits, being sexy, having good hair, etc..? How important is that to you? I miss him. Is really messed up when I think about how I’ll still
Are there people in your life that love you no matter how you look, no be young when I’m out and he’s gonna be old. As soon as I get off
matter what you wear?
parole Imma go see him. He was the one person who never asked
me to do something in the wrong.
Say Goodbye From The Beat: Thank you for sharing with us this piece about your
brother, Carlos. Do you have any other people in your life who have
What’s up Beat dis Lil Jay-Jay again. I’m finna be getting out of influenced you the way your brother has? How do you think you could
repay him (Do you think you could ever repay him)?
here tomorrow. I’m finally going to ROP, it felt like I was never
gonna go but I’m feelin this topic and I’m gonna write about it.
When one of my closest friends died I never got the chance to say
good-bye because I was in jail. This was one of the saddest days
of my life. I stayed in my room the whole day and when I was out I
I Am Excited To Become A Mother
When I first found out I was pregnant I was already 9 weeks, I really
had very little to say. But fosho I miss him. Rest in Paradise Love.
want a boy, but I would also be OK if I had a little girl. I already
- Lil Jay-Jay
From The Beat: Good luck with everything and thank you fur sharing picked out a name for my baby if it’s a boy.
so many pieces with us, Lil Jay-Jay. Are you happy that you’re one step I’m really excited to become a mother... I know I’m young, but
closer to freedom? What will you do to keep yourself from becoming
incarcerated again? Keep on writing and please keep us updated about
what does age have to do with it? My first baby has already made
yourself! changes in my life. The changes that I have made so far is I don’t
run the streets like I used to. Getting up, going to appointments
that on a regular basis I would not do. My baby has to be a big
change and inspiration in my life, and I feel thankful for that. I
My Boyfriend Is Something Special hope everyone else do too.
So I have a boyfriend and he is something special! I can’t imagine -Jaklia
myself with anybody else, real talk. The way we met was funny, From The Beat: You are already making changes, and that’s great. Are you
also seeking out support groups for teenaged mothers, to get info on
considering I had just got out of kind of a serious relationship with work, parenting classes, and all the things that can help you make sure
one of his close friends. your child has the best life he or she can? If not, it’s not too late to start…
the more help you get, the easier it will be, for you and your baby!
We met at a kick back, and since we started talking, I already
could tell we was koo’. We started talking and I could tell he was
feeling me! Well finally on February 19th, I decided to give him a
chance, and I told him not to make me regret it!
I messed up, got caught up and then got locked up, and I See You Later
thought that was going to break us up but when I talked to him he Say goodbye
showed me that he was really down for me and that he was going to my big bro John.
to wait for me, the minute I found out that to be true I knew what You looked out for me u keep me
we had was true! And what we had was love… safe you let no one come to my face
-Nicole but know you gone without no goodbye
From The Beat: We hope this relationship lasts and that this new boyfriend now all I can do is tell no one to cry
continues to treat you the way you deserve: Well! Is he a positive influence you’re in a safe place just wait for me
in your life in other ways, meaning do you think he will help you stay out
of trouble, stay out of illegal activities, and out of the system? but till then look over me.
From The Beat: What a great way to honor and remember a brother – that
was a very heartfelt poem and we appreciate it. Do you play this type
of role for someone in your life, as well? If so, what do you do for them?
I could never imagine myself working a regular 9 to 5 job like the
average American. The reason why is because I don’t look at myself
as average. I feel like I’m special, a one of a kind, a rare specimen. I Miss My Mom
They don’t make people like me anymore. I refuse to work hard for I miss my mom since the day she died. I love her too much, and I
someone else for little to nothing, living paycheck to paycheck, hate that she passed away. She told me “One day, if you keep doing
struggling. I want to own my own beauty salon. the same thing, it’s going to affect you later on in life.”
-Monica -Young Mainey
From The Beat: It is a great idea to decide you want to own your own From The Beat: Your mother sounds like a wise woman. We are sorry that
business! There are many legit ways to reach that goal. … Start off she is gone, but it’s good that you had her with you long enough to receive
working at a salon to learn skills? Take classes at a beauty school? Study some of her knowledge about the world. What other advice did she have
accounting or management? for you?
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
Not Just Puppy Love My Last Day With My Parents
Saying goodbye is the hardest thing. I had to say goodbye to my Well I had to say good-bye to my parents, the reason why was
boyfriend before I came here and it isn’t something easy or simple. because there were a lot of problems between us, and mostly
Things got complicated for me and him. He’s like my best friend. because I didn’t want to follow directions.
No, he’s more than that – he’s the love of my life. I never thought saying goodbye to the only two parents that I
And I know you might say, oh it’s just puppy love. No, I’ve never have was going to be so hard. Now that we can’t be together, I feel
thought I could feel this way about someone. I never thought it, but very sad, and sometimes I can’t believe that they were both sitting
here he is in my life. He’s the first guy that actually understands in front of court fighting -- it really makes me regret the last day we
me and accepts me for who I am, and is here for me and can treat a were together.
girl with respect. He is my love and my everything, and no one will It was horrible. There was a lot of screaming and arguments.
ever replace him, no matter where I may go in the world. I wish I could go back to that night and change what happened,
-Kb but I can’t. I guess my parents didn’t understand how I felt, and
From The Beat: It’s true, some people do meet the loves of their lives when weren’t able to take care of a teenager, but now I just have to keep
they are in their teens. Our big question is whether you think this new
boyfriend can support you to succeed in life? Is he your age? Is he a person on moving on with my life and try to be a better teen with my new
who works and goes to school, who follows the law, who encourages you family that I’m going to go with. And I’m willing to change for my
to do right?
parents because want one day I want to see them again.
From The Beat: Being separated from the two people who raised you must
be very hard. But now do you think maybe you will be able to focus on
Running From Cops getting stronger in yourself, away from all the screaming and arguments?
And then when you do see them again, it can be a happier reunion?
I remember when I broke from the cops
Me, my cousins and my patnas was hot
Ran in this house, went from the car lot
It was big didn’t come up on a lot A Painful Story
My cousin so high off the pot It started back in the day when I was seven. I would always do
When we found the pills, jewelry and the glock stunts on bikes, but after what happened to me, I thought I should
Walked back up the parking lot have been scared. It was me, my stepbrother and a couple of his
Seen 5.0 my heart just stop friends, and on e of his friends had a bike so I took it and I went for
All I remember “Put yo’ hands up it’s the cops” a jump over a ditch filled with rocks. The bike flew out from under
We all hit the gate me, I flew into the ditch, and man, I thought I was done. I thought
Police grab my hoodie I escaped I was dead.
But they still chasing us It was the most painful shhh of my life. I ended up breaking
Hiding in someone back yard tryna find my way both of my arms and both of my legs.
Someone told I’m in they backyard I ran into -Dontay
a whole army all I heard “stop before From The Beat: Wow, that must have been terrifying! How much time did
you have to spend in the hospital? Do you remember much about what it
I blast.” was like waiting for your arms heal? We are very grateful that you are
-Mar-Mar here today to tell the story.
From The Beat: What happened next? Did you stop or keep running? Do
you feel like you’re still being chased, even while you’re behind bars?
Goodbye Without Knowing
Giving Me Another Chance I made up my mind in here that my last good-bye to my babydaddy
I’m going to write about me having a new judge. was the day we both got arrested.
Well I got a new judge, he hella koo’. My old judge was trying I always knew in my heart that I loved him and the baby
to send me to Arizona. But since they switched my judge, and my I'm holding in my stomach right now! But all the shhh I've been
new judge is giving me a chance to go home on GPS. I’m happy to through for him made me think in here.
go home back to my family, but at the same time I’m sad because I made up my mind two days ago that that day in February was
my parents ain’t here. They got deported back to Tonga. Well my the last time I was to speak to him. So his cries and screaming,
sister got legal guardian over me so I’m getting released to her. “Jennifer” were the last time, I promised myself, to hear his voice.
For The Beat: We are sorry to hear that your parents will be so far away! From The Beat: You have made a very hard decision. Congratulations.
But still, congratulations on the other good news, and maybe you will Sometimes love isn't enough. How will you make sure to stay away from
get a chance to visit them soon, if everything goes well living with your him? How will you make sure that any future boyfriend will treat you and
sister. Peace! your baby right?
Saying Goodbye To Freddy Dear Mama
One of my close friends had got killed, and I was just with him the My pain is starting to settle. I feel I want to be here. I feel safe next
day before he got shot. I never got to say good-bye to him. But a few to you, but I still don't know what to do when I'm with you.
days after that, I had a dream that he came back to me and he told I stay pushing toward you but you stay pushing away. I think
me he was okay, and he was safe and he was in heaven. this is the only way you know how to love, but please try to help
-Monica me realize the difference between your love and my pain.
From The Beat: Sometimes our dreams can give us the comfort we need -Lil' Mama
deep down. We hope this one took away from some of the pain you must From The Beat: It's great that you are trying so hard with your mother and
be feeling. Do you ever worry about something like that happening to not giving up. Have you not always lived with her? When you say, “I want
you as well? to be here,” do you mean in the Hall or with your mother?
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
Saying “Goodbye Guns” I Don’t Want
Gone for good
The rush they give you. My Lil’ Sister To End Up Here
Never coming back I really want to change when I get out of here, because I really
I will never see you again don’t want to come back to Juvenile Hall. I mean the 9 days I been
They make you feel protected here has really been a life experience for me. I mean I’m so serious
Part of my heart is now gone about not coming back. I’m going to stop doing all the things I
The shiny look of it was doing before, and even stop hanging out with the people that’s
You're never gone, come back going to bring me down.
That's my best friend I also want to change for other people. The main person I want
But your memory will never leave to change is my lil ‘ sister because I really don’t want her to end
I am always thinking of you up here, because I really be hurt. So before she end up in here, I
And it never lets you down want to talk to her because I love her too much to see her end up
I will see you when I get there. in here.
From The Beat: Sounds like you are conflicted. Do guns really protect From The Beat: The first step to changing the habits that end up hurting
you or just make you feel protected? You don't say why you want to say you is deciding you want to do it, for real. Sounds like you’ve done that –
goodbye to guns, though we can guess. How many people have you lost and now for Step 2: Cutting off some people that could hold you back. Do
because of guns? you think that will be difficult? Do you have other, more positive friends
you could spend time with?
I remember when I was young and had no worries. My Raza (Ghetto)
My grandma use to make us oatmeal and tell us stories. When they say “That’s ghetto” they’re sayen it’s un-normal from
When my grandma died I cried and couldn’t stop. what people do that don’t live in a raza like Oakland. My raza
It’s like half of my heart was gone, it got chopped. (hood) is ghetto. And I say that because stuff that happens here
Then after that things started to get harder and harder. doesn’t normally happen in Caucasian populated cities. I don’t
It’s like I was trying to get a fresh cut but couldn’t find a really consider myself ghetto, I just think of my self as a product
barber. of my environment. I grew up in a hood where death, drugs and
My mama started trippin’ getting all these crazy boyfriends, violence are nothing new to me. I’m not surprised when someone
Hitting all on my mom like they were men. is killed, robbed or a drug addict because I see it so often. I wasn’t
I was mad, I had a knife, I was ready for him to do it again. really influenced by this stuff. I just liked stuff like that stuff for
When I was little my mama was always there for me and I was
some reason. I am not ashamed at all of where I live.
ready to defend.
But it’s good she dumped him, he got drugged out and From The Beat: You say you weren’t influenced by the ghetto, but then
eventually went to the pen. you say that you see things like murders, robberies and drug addicts so
But she still with the crazy boy friends I don’t understand. often that you’re used to it. Isn’t that being influenced? But, you certainly
shouldn’t be ashamed – it has made you the person you are today. If you
I just can’t wait till’ she come across a real man. came from a different background and lived in a different place, you
-Larry wouldn’t be the same person you are now.
From The Beat: Family is obviously very important to you. Do you talk to
your mother about who she brings into her life? Are you able to be honest
with her about her choices? Is there any way to prevent violence and
Just The Surface
domestic abuse without acting in a violent way yourself?
The Ghetto is a Role Model Good-bye, our time is up
It kills me to let you go
When I hear the word ghetto I think of people that don’t have much
But I have to break this hold
class and respect. I feel like the ghetto is where people come from
Goodbye to all the good and bad
and what people represent in life because people don’t have role
Times. Goodbye to all the
models and self-discipline. So the ghetto is their role model and
Tears I shed at night
the strets and drugs is where everybody’s at. The ghetto teaches
Goodbye to all the pain you caused me.
people negative knowledge. Like not going to school, not doin’
Goodbye to the old me
right in life.
Hello to the new me
Ghetto is not a person it’s people in the ghetto who turn
the ghetto out. That’s why lot’s of kids of all races don’t succeed
because they wanna ride rims and get high, etc. It’s not how you fix
The old me would
everything, the people just have to fix their self and make changes.
Stay out at night
There’s always a positive aspect in the ghetto, also is positive
Dancing through the streets
people in the ghetto who want to do right and mentor kids and
Drinking and smoking
older people to do right in life.
I was known as “Lil' let me hit that”
From The Beat: You bring up a lot of interesting issues and questions. On The new me sits at home
the one hand, it sounds like you’re saying the ghetto teaches people to With my baby, watching her
dream for the wrong things – the shiniest rims or the best weed; but this
same ghetto is home to kids and elders who see a different possibility, a Grow with every second
life of positive self-improvement. Do you think the environment of the - Lady Fweather
ghetto can be so overpowering that people lose sight of themselves? If all From The Beat: Sounds like you are making some hard decisions and good
you see in the ghetto is people not doing right, how can you constantly changes. What's going to be hardest about these changes? What else will
remind yourself to be the exception? you be doing to raise and support your daughter?
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
Saying Goodbye is the Hardest Thing
Saying goodbye to my granny was the hardest thing to me. Because Hella Disappointed
she was the rock of the family. She died and my whole family went I'm feeling disappointed just all around. It's like disappointment is
downhill. Meaning, when she was alive, the family was happy and all I've been feeling lately.
then when she died my family was devastated. Disappointment in myself. Disappointment in the people that
My cousins started doing stuff they would never do, like are supposed to be there for me. I can't remember the last time I
prostitution. And then my auntie got on crack and I started selling was happy.
crack. Then my little cousins started going to jail. I miss being happy. I miss feeling at peace.
Everything was just all bad. And it has never been the same -Amaris
From The Beat: What makes you happy? What are you disappointed in
since she left us. about yourself? What can you do to change that? What's the first, easiest,
RIP my granny. thing that would make you proud of yourself? What kind of support do
From The Beat: We are sorry you lost your granny. Why do you think
her loss had such a big effect on the family? How did she hold you all
together? Is that something you think you will be able to do when you
Response to "From The Beat:"
in 16.07 p.18
Hey Beat, this is De'Angelo, aka Anlo. I'm responding to what you
What I See in the Ghetto said about what I wrote about my best friend, aka brother Quis.
The ghetto is full of crack-heads an’ hoochie mamas and Toyota Mobbin' for him doesn't help, but it seems right to express and
Camry’s and old school Volvos. Section eight houses are all around show they took the wrong one.
the ghetto, low income family are on every street you turn on. If there were more people interacting with us "youth,” telling
-Bobby us and showing us what's right, it would be different.
From The Beat: Do you think the ghetto would still exist if the people
there were wealthy? Is the ghetto simply a result of poverty? Could the Signing out,
ghetto itself be a cause of the poverty that dominates it? -Anlo
From The Beat: Thanks for responding to us! But who are you showing that
they took the wrong one by mobbin'? Doesn't it have to stop somewhere?
How would you like people to interact more with youth? Does The Beat
help in this way? Do you need more youth programs in your neighborhood?
What kind? Do you think giving parents more support would help, so they
could be better role models? Give us your concrete ideas. Can you show
What's up Beat, I'm still in here. Shhh is really getting sick. I don't younger kids what's right? We think young men like you could make a
know what to do. I’m gonna just wait it out and see what happens. profound positive impact in your neighborhood.
But man, I just can’t wait to see my ninjas. When I get out I
don’t know what I'm gonna do. I just feel lost right now, but I got a
lot of time on my head, so I'm gonna make a plan so I won’t be lost
out there. Ghetto is a Degrading Term
-Daboo Ghetto to me is a degrading term. I think that the term is degrading
From The Beat: You do know what to do: make a plan. Take it step by because it says it of low-profit people and homes. Ghetto is a term
step, but try to think out the steps now that you have the time. What do
you want to achieve? How can you stay free? Tell us a little more of your for low income houses, people use it in a way that it is not suppose
thinking, your fears, and your hopes. to be used. That’s just what I think though, I could probably be
wrong, but that my opinion.
From The Beat: What do you feel is the proper way for the word “ghetto”
The Ride, A Bad Influence to be used? Can middle-class people be from the ghetto, or act “ghetto”?
One night, at around 11:00, my friend Sweet-Tooth hits me up on
my phone talking about “Ay let’s ride.” “We on it,” I said. I get
dressed and ask my little brothers if they want to kick it. They said
yea because they like hanging out with me. We get out from the
window and meet Sweet-Tooth down the block. We drive around, Is The Hardest Thing
race a few cars, and go to his house. When we get there, we blast When one of my good friends died and I went to the wake and I couldn’t
the music up and start rollin’ up chops. We start smokin’ about look at him without getting a chill down my whole body. The whole time
four blunts and the cars full of smoke. We’re sappin “Laid Back I was there I was thinking of what I was going to tell him, about how
Slap” by Husalah and B-Luv (which is made for listening to when thankful I am for the times I wouldn’t have had a place to sleep and
you’re high). My brothers are stupid lit. So am I and S.T. He starts for the food you would make late at night with a lot of different kinds
moving the steering wheel (we’re parked in his drive-way still) and of things, damn that was some funny times. I also wanted to tell him
my brothers are like “Where are we going?” Me and Sweet-Tooth sorry for the times I got mad at him and wanted to fight him. I realized
start laughing. We were so high! Now I realize that my influence on that I was immature for trying to fight for no good reason at all. When
my brothers was wrong and I should’ve been a better role model. it was time to go, I walked over to him and tried to say good-bye but
I kept quiet! I couldn’t help myself to say it, I just couldn’t. I wanted
I tell my little brothers to be the best they can and do good in
him to know how I felt, how guilty. I said good-bye because I knew I
school. And I regret ever having that bad influence on my family.
couldn’t ever say it again and look at him but that good-bye wasn’t the
From The Beat: We like the picture you’ve painted with your words – from one I wanted to say.
where you were at to what song you were listening to, these are all great -C.J.
details that help the reader get a better image of your story. Even though From The Beat: Thank you for this honest piece and the details about the
you might’ve made a mistake or two in the past with how you’ve acted range of emotions you were feeling – from reminiscing about good times
around your younger brothers, it’s not too late to become a better role to feeling guilty over fighting over trivial things. We are sorry about your
model. Have you done anything with your siblings that teaches them the loss, but hope it has helped you learn to express your feelings before it is
right things to do? too late to express them.
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
Respect and LEARN Put The Wrong Behind Me
My name is Lil' Kev. I have been here for three months. I have a
If you knew the truth?
little girl; she means the world to me. Her mom, I really love her
What would you do about it?
with my soul. I can’t wait to get out and see them.
If you found out money is equivalent to evil would you still
I have done a lot of wrong, but I have put that behind me. Hey,
my brother and sisters, stop going to jail. Because it’s not cool at
If what you believed in was proven way wrong what would
all. They say it’s a white man’s game, but it’s not, because we are
the ones in jail. Having our family pay for this when they can have
I have survived many battles and earned unimaginable pain
something to pay like rent. If you read this, you will know why it is
from what I’ve learned.
more jails than school.
Do what’s right and get educated to help the truth be what
Just do good.
you want! Jah bless, Respect.
-Lil' Etu From The Beat: You are right, it's not the white man in jail, at least not
From The Beat: Can you tell us more about what you've learned? What at the Alameda County facility, with a couple of exceptions. Why do you
did you believe that was proven wrong? Tell us more so we can learn from think that is? We agree you should just focus on what you need to do to
your lessons. for yourself and your family. But what can you do to change things so
fewer young men of color go to jail?
The Word “Ghetto”
When they say the word ghetto, they talking about loud-mouth Where I Grew Up Is Not Me
lady fighting, drugs being sold, robberies on the scene and people I don't take my homeland as the ghetto because that is my home.
getting killed every day – now that ghetto. It’s a lot of ways to say I love that I was able to be raised to live even if the homeplace is
what’s the word ghetto mean, but this my way. ghetto. I can say I made it out.
-L.R.G. I can't imagine me following in somebody else's footsteps and
From The Beat: Do you consider yourself to be from the ghetto? Do you not taking care of my responsibilities. I also can't see myself not
think the ghetto is a product of the people that live there or are the
people who live there a product of their environment? succeeding, after all my work. I wouldn't want anyone thinking the
way I grew up and where I grew up is me because they call it the
’69 Impala From The Beat: What do you call “succeeding” for yourself? Tell us more
about all the work you've done. What things do you like about where you
My car would have to be a ’69 Impala, big body! Candy apple red, grew up?
drop-top, 20’s on it (anything else kills the old schools), crème
leather seats, two 15” kickers, six 6x9’s in the car, grill speakers!
Engine suped up, hella horse power!
I Miss My Bro
From The Beat: Do you think this is just a dream car or do you see yourself I never wanted to say goodbye.
becoming successful enough to own one like it some day? I miss your smile,
I miss your crazy self dancing everywhere.
I miss your pretty white teeth and dreads.
I miss you always yelling at the top of your lungs “Wassup
Unknown Future Sis?”
I think of it like this: if everybody who is a crackhead today saw I miss you, seeing your face.
themselves becoming one when they were a teenager they would I miss seeing you throw up that nine.
have made different decisions. To a certain degree, circumstances I miss seeing you smoke 'ports and hitting the 'dro.
shape who we are. It also determines how we interpret, interact I miss my bro' J.R.
and act upon the subconscious thoughts that lead us through RIP J.R.
our lives. The more you play ignorant to the outcome of your -Purple Royalty
actions the more unknown your future will be. So I imagine myself From The Beat: We're sorry you lost your brother. How did he die? Was
succeeding, but if I ignore my faults I can also view a glimpse of there any connection with him “throwing up that nine?” We appreciate
your telling us a bit about what he was like.
failure in my future.
From The Beat: You have a powerful command of language and your choice
of words is excellent. What you say is true – we must be aware and able
to admit our mistakes, but also need to recognize the consequences of our Beautiful She
actions. If we go through life without admitting our mistakes, how can we She makes the sun shine in the morning
ever learn from them? The first step is acknowledging how our actions are
affecting our own lives and the lives of those around us. She also makes the moon shine at night
When I feel down, she gives me a smile so bright
With her long hair and beautiful eyes
It’s hard to tell her a lie
RIP So I write to say what’s on my mind.
That one day you was looking away, I was I could have seen you I will stand up, be a man, and you a beautiful woman
that one last day. Things ain’t been the same since you left. I been To say what’s hard to say in this situation
through it with so much stress. Every time I get a blessing I think I hope you understand how I feel
about you, because all the things from the past you used to do. I give you my heart to heal.
- Earl M. -Lil' Nunu
From the Beat: In what ways do you remember your friend? What made From The Beat: This is beautiful. What are you going to do to make sure
your friend such a great person? Share with us. you gain your freedom and aren't separated from her again?
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
Still Got Time Sayin’ Bye
Wuz gewd Beat diz Niko up in Alameda County Juvenile Hall, hella Say’n bye is never easy. I had to say bye to a lot of people in my
bored. Damn it’s da same shhh different day. Man I wish I was free life time. A really important person I had to say bye to was my
again. You never know what gud things you got till you lose it. brother Bert. That was a time when I never wanted to say bye to
Damn it sucks being locked up. You’re always being told what to somebody. Just seeing his body in that casket was breath-taking.
do and when to do it. It sucks. Damn I got a messed up case. They I would never thought they would take my brother away. I never
are tryna charge me with attempted murder, but it was really self- wanted him to leave my life, family – this world, to be exact. But I
defense. If I go to C.Y.A. for a couple years I’m fina come out beasty. would see him some day in the future.
But if I get out any time soon I’m finna go back to school and try to I just really hate the way he left this earth, an unnatural death.
graduate on time. I’m only fifteen so I still got my whole life ahead He died of Leukemia, a type of cancer. When he died in Highland it
of me. So I hope they will let me out soon so I can get my life back looked nothing like him – lost his hair, no body weight, can’t even
on track and help my family out. move. The worst day of his life and family life. But rest in paradise
-Niko Bert. I love you big bro. I pray for you every day and hope to see you
From The Beat: It’s never too late to turn your life around, but you’re lucky soon.
enough to have the opportunity to do so while still at a young age. We
hope you get a second chance and make the most of it – you owe it to -Daylon
your family, but more importantly to yourself, to give yourself the best From The Beat: We’re sorry about your brother. Watching someone go
opportunities to succeed. through the pain and struggle of cancer is not easy, especially when, like
you say, the cancer changes the way they look and how we remember
them. Did you get the chance to tell your brother what he meant to you,
to say good-bye the way you wanted to say it?
The Things I Hate to Hear the Most
The things I hate to hear the most,
Makes me burn up inside like toast, Being Told, “No”
Makes my blood heat up like roast, The thing I hear the most is “No!” Being in Juvenile Hall is most
Makes my mind sail out the coast. frustrating to me because there are many limits. I can't even make
I try so hard to just ignore, calls when I want to. Bed time. Blah blah.
But my fury builds up from the floor. Now, it wouldn't be so bad if you weren't one of those people
I can’t control what people say, like me, very controlling, usually gets what she wants and in most
So I let them talk out all the more. situations can talk her way out of anyone who tells her “no.”
After all, it’s just words, Sitting in a small, cold cell every day and being told when to brush
Racist comments, ignorant slurs, my teeth and all sorts of things. Ugh!
Wetback, beaner, spic or worse Alameda Juvenile Hall will definitely never seem me again
I don’t care about what they curse! once I'm gone! My job here is done, bye.
From The Beat: Some times it’s hard to ignore what people say about us, From The Beat: How do you think Juvenile Hall should be run? Do you
but it sounds like you are learning to turn the other cheek, a sign that think they should just let you do what you want when you want? Would
you are maturing. Words only have as much meaning as we give them; that still be a kind of punishment? Are there people in the Hall who
racial slurs only hurt if we let them hurt and assign more meaning than need and benefit from the discipline and being told “no?” Did you learn
they deserve. anything in the Hall?
No One Does Anything In This Thang!
About The Ghetto Hello Beat. I’m in dis and I hate being in Juvenile Hall. I hate to
hear the people talking on the walky-talky. I also hate when the
The ghetto to me means slums, the hood, radish-y, dirty, triflin’,
staff wakes me up every morning banging on the window. I hate
loud, improper grammar. It is also a stereotype that refers to black
to hear the staff telling me what to do. I hate that I have to listen.
people. People are born in the ghetto all the time, but no one does
I hate to hear the door click. I hate to hear when the staff say you
anything about those people, or the hood, meaning the ghetto.
got five mins in the shower. I also hate in my guts when the staff
Everyone talks about the ghetto, --- but no one does anything
say “On your door!” I hate being in this unit and my room number.
-Lil PC From The Beat: Do you think you can use the fact that you hate being in
From The Beat: What kinds of things do you think should be ‘done’ about the Hall as motivation to stay out? Life should be enjoyed – we hope you
the issues in the ghetto? What can we all do, as a community, to make can get yours back on track so you can be free and happy.
things better for everyone who lives in our cities and towns?
They Play A Part In My Heart
I just really hate the
For me, just temporarily saying goodbye is tough, especially when
I haven’t been around then in a long time. For example I had come way he left this earth,
an unnatural death.
home on a 5 day pass; I was savoring every moment being at home.
I tried even though it was hard to spend a lot of time with each
individual in my family, because they play a part in my heart.
From The Beat: It sounds like you had a really good visit… and got to He died of Leukemia, a
type of cancer.
share meaningful time with the people who love you best, and who mean
the most to you. Do you think these new good memories will help inspire
you to succeed, both here and when you move on?
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
Some People Wanna Be Ghetto The Joyride
I think being ghetto is about people who talk trash, being loud on I was sitting at my mom’s house, hella drunk. My girlfriend had
the bus and gossiping about each other. Where I’m from I think broke up with me earlier in the day. It was around 10 a.m., so an
my hood is ghetto because there has been killing and robbery and idea popped into my head to take my Mom’s Audi-A6. Out I snuck,
stealing going on, and gang-banging and because a young teenager into her room while she was dead asleep and took the car key off
that was pregnant got shot, and I think ghetto is when girls pick the keychain.
fights and fight people for no reason. I then quietly left the house, it was in the carport. I started
There are some people that wanna be ghetto by tryin’ to steal, the car outside of our apartment, I put on some slap and burned
kill, and end up in jail, and most wannabes don’t have anything so rubber out the driveway. I was gunnin’ it – hittin’ like 120 down the
they steal, kill and gangbang to get their stress out when they’re boulevard, straight smashin’. Then I hit the corner and ripped it at
mad or something. And some people from the ghetto don’t deal like 25, and then I gunned it again. I was doin’ like 80 and then I
with the ghetto. seen a BMW. I cut him off and started to profile, then I took off and
-Ar got as far away from the Beamer as possible,’cause I just made that
From The Beat: How would a person from the ghetto “not deal with the spot hot…
ghetto”? Do you mean by staying out of trouble, even when trouble is
around them? How do they do it, and stay out of all the drama? Share And I profiled for a little longer until I got bored and parked
your knowledge! the car back at the house. Once I got back in the house, I realized
how much trouble I coulda got in if I got blurped. I was heated in
the beginning and it made me act out a impulse to go for a joyride.
I coulda been locked up for a minute if I got caught.
From The Beat: Great storytelling as always, though we have to admit
it’s hard to think about all the ways you could have hurt yourself (or an
innocent stranger!) on that ride. You say you acted out on impulse – does
that happen a lot, and is that connected to how you ended up in the hall?
The Things I Hate
The things I hate is when people try to tell me what to do feel me
like you know how I’m in jail right now n they always try to tell you
what to do like they really know you but they don’t…but I really
changed my life being in here ‘cause when I first came to jail the
counselors was always getting in my ear about stuff feel me ‘cause
I came messing up doing this n doing that I wasn’t used to older
counselors telling me what to do ‘cause I came from the street life
Kev I Miss You n ain’t nobody told me what do to do.
Damn I couldn’t say goodbye I really let the counselors words sink in me and realized that
It’s so hard to let go but we all gotta die. they was telling me ‘cause the street life really wasn’t for me n all
Kev I miss u it seems that it was just too soon. I wanna do when I get out is get a job n take care of my family and
Bro this shhh hurt that’s why I get so b with the wifey feel me be something in life.
High that it feels that I’m on the moon - Dame
From the Beat: Isn’t it crazy how first impressions are not always the right
At least you found a away out of this concrete jungle impressions? Do you have people like the counselors on the outs – people
Bro I’m trying to pick up my life that encourage you to do right? We love hearing how you’ve had a change
But I continue to tumble of heart. Next step: making a plan for yourself!
Being locked up is holding me down
It feels like I’m about to drown
One life…one love…one struggle
From the Beat: It is a part of being human to die, but do you think it
makes a difference as to when (what part of life) we die at? Keep your Is The Hardest Thing
hopes up – there is a light at the end of the tunnel here. You still have They say keep your friend close but your enemies closer, but
plenty of time to make changes in your life that will let you take control.
We believe in you – don’t give up! that is not true. Your friend can as easily take your life as your
enemies. This is what happened to my old gee. The last person he
expected smacked him. He had kids and another on the way. When
they had told me what happened, my high went down. Real life hit
Swagg me. The least person I expected to go. This taught me a lesson.
I’m all about that clean cut, H&M, penciled down swagg, That everyone is touchable even if you don’t think you are. Seeing
That fresh kid picture perfect blind ya’ ass swagg my friend in a casket was hard. Tears ran down my face because I
That if you stare too long you might wanna bite swagg didn’t want to say goodbye. This is the hardest thing to do because
That unbelievably right there’ nothing like Swagg you’re not gonna be able to see him anymore. Saying goodbye is
That she know I’m her type and she matter my rides swagg the hardest thing.
SO! If you ridin’ wit’ me, one isn’t enough, throw it in nine - Fat Dan
From the Beat: Sometimes it takes really large experiences to teach us
bags. things. We’re sorry to hear about your friend, Dan. But we ask you: would
-Lil Rondo you actually consider people “friends” if they could turn on you at any
From The Beat: Good rhymes all the way through, keep them coming and moment? We believe it’s possible to make great relationships with people
don’t be afraid to step up and write some flows that show your serious and find true friends. What, in, your opinion, is the best way to figure out
side as well! if someone’s a true friend or not?
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
The Hood A Concussion And A Close Call
See check this out, I was born in the ghetto. Growing up in the
Alright Bra. I remember one night I was on my way to a party. I
ghetto is a hard place to live. The streets are bad, people get hurt,
was with a group of friends and these two guys we knew in a had a
shot at, people die, people go to jail. You see people on big rims,
stolen vehicle and asked us did we want a ride. Unaware that it was
26”s, 24”s, listening to Lil Boosie. If you from somewhere ELSE
a stolen vehicle at the time, we said “Yeah!”
you got to be safe ‘cuz people fonking.
So we got in, it was hella people, and soon we got on a main
From The Beat: You describe the streets as “bad”, so are you proud or street, so we decided to kick a high speed, feel me? We did it but in
ashamed to have been born in the ghetto? It might have been difficult to the meantime we dropped some people off at the function. Me and
grow up in a place where you see people get shot and killed, but has it
made you a tougher, stronger person? my friend were still in the car. She jumped out while the car was
moving, and then we crashed into a pole and flew to the front of the
I had a concussion, but I had to get on the bus and BART to
My Oldest Sister the hospital. Then my Mom came to get me. She had to make sure
At this moment in my life I’m feeling kinda anxious because I have I didn’t go to sleep ‘cause I could have gone into a coma. That was
court tomorrow, and I’m really ready to be out of here. I’ve been like a near death experience, and I learned to never get in a car with
here already for a month and some weeks, and really it isn’t fun. I a non-experienced driver. That’s OUT.
have experienced a lot at the same time. -Nay
From The Beat: Your mom must have been scared that day. It sounds as if
But I’m also kind of sad because probably I’m going to be you got some hard-won wisdom out of the experience too… so now that
separated from my oldest sister, and I don’t want to, but people you know the dangers, who ARE the only people you would now get in
have told me to focus on me and not to worry that sooner or later a car with?
I will be able to see my sister later on in life, and I’m trying to but
it’s very hard because I’ve always lived with my sister and never in
my life imagined being separated from one of my family members,
especially my oldest sister.
Things I Would Do Not To Come Back
This is my first time at Juvenile Hall. There are several things that
From The Beat: That does sound sad. Was she always your closest sister? I would have to do to not come back. Some of the things are, go
Do you look up to her? Do you think you’ll at least be able to write to each to all my court dates, stop stealing, follow all directions, and stop
other and see each other, or is this a court-ordered thing?
Going to my court dates will help me because then I can
understand what is gong on. This will help me because if I don’t go
Stressing to my court dates, I won’t know if they are trying to detain me or
not. This will also show the judge that I’m really willing to change
S is for being with stupid hoodlums
T is for trauma that I go through every day and that he didn’t make a mistake by letting me go home.
R is for respond to people with good behavior Stop stealing. This will help me in my types of ways because it
E is for getting my education helps people trust me more. This is important because I wouldn’t
S is for sitting lonely in the cell want anyone trying to hide they things from me when I go in they
S is for stressing house. Stopping stealing would also help me because I won’t come
I is for being with ignorant people / people who influence bad here anymore if I ain’t doin’ nothing wrong.
things Following directions will help me because if I’m listening to
N is for nature people’s directions then I will get far in life.
G is for guidance with young / be a tutor -Coco
From The Beat: We’re sorry this piece got cut off, because you there is
definitely a lot of smart thinking in it. Everyone knows that they are
I stress a lot. Hard for me to get on track. “supposed” to do this stuff, but you took it one step further, saying not
why you’re supposed to do it, but why you WANT to do it, so you can have
- Manman the life you want and deserve. That’s a big step, congratulations!
From the Beat: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of key ideas in your poem.
We can see that you’re unhappy with what’s going on in life, but that you
have some idea of how to get yourself to a better place. Education….
being a tutor and guiding others….how will you achieve this? What’s your
I Can’t See Myself In Jail
What’s up Beat? I’m gonna write about what I can’t see myself
being or doing. I can’t see myself in Santa Rita or Chowchilla. I can
already see how miserable I’ll be. It’s already bad enough sitting
here up in Alameda County Juvenile Hall. Well what I can see
myself doing is getting my 4 year degree of college, having my own
little family. I also can see myself working at San Quentin or Santa
Rita. Well that’s pretty much it.
But anyway, for right now I’m focusing on myself, tryna get
myself together. I’m tryna get off probation by the end of this year.
Well I’m just taking it one day at a time. I have court tomorrow, and
I’m hoping I get my GPS release.
From The Beat: It would be great if you could find a way to work with
young people who have struggled with the same things you have – you
would understand their point of view, and be able to show them a model
of success. Keep us posted as you continue to move forward with your
life, and good luck!
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Hate The Word “No!” I Hate To Be In That Cold Box
The thing I hate the most, is the word, 'No'. When I hear that word, What’s up, Beat Within, though? This MD, real name Melvin. I
I get very angry. I do all I can to get around the situation, but when been in here for a month and a week. I might get out this week,
I’m locked up and the staff play me, it's like these ninjas got they hopefully. The staff is getting on my nerves, trying to give me time.
favorites, and they know who they are and all that, but for the rest I hate to be in that cold box, getting room trays. I be mad as hell. I
of us, we end up with a bunch of angry feelings and have mostly no yell out my door and think and think.
outlet for 'em, at least I do. It's just like right now. I miss my dad and my friends, and loved ones. When I get out
Yeah, The Beat is a healthy way of expressing my feelings, I’m going to be on my smoove stuff, you know what I’m sayin’?
but does my shhh ever get in? No. I speak the real, and nothin’ I know my dad is stressin’ and stuff, but when I get out, I’ma do
happens. good, ‘cause you know people in here like myself be mad as hell,
I just noticed I made The Beat! Right on, y'all, about time! comin’ in here to do time and stuff.
-Mophed The school here be can as hell, but I do it so I can get out this
From The Beat: No matter where you go, somebody plays favorites. When hellhole. The hard beds are hard to sleep on, and the food don’t fill
it’s not you, can you live with it, although it’s never fair? Thanks for your
patience in seeing your writings published! When you write something you up. Be boring as hell in the cell.
fabulous, it will be in The Beat! I like to see the girls in their classes in the halls, but we can’t
talk to them, so that’s messed up an’ all. So, what I’m sayin’ is,
stay out the halls and be free, and never come back.
Goodbye For Now -Melvin
From The Beat: What is your “smoove stuff”? Do you go to school on the
A time when I said, ”Bye” to someone important, was to my mom, outs? Take challenging classes? Can you take your own wise advice and
not come back?
when I got locked up. This happened at my house when they came
and got me. Even though I was still going to see her, it wasn't
going to be the same.
At that moment, I also had to say “Bye” to my freedom. At
the same time, when this happened, she started to cry, because
I Hate When They Tell Me I Ain’t
I was just at my house, then next thing, I was in cuffs. I didn't Getting Out
know what was going to happen, so I had to make our hug at my I hate when they tell me I ain’t getting out.
house count. Seeing tears come from her didn't help the situation, I be, like, damn, y’all bullshhhing, tryna hold a real ninja
either. Though I still see her, it won't be the same, now that I'm down
gone. Well, non-stop love to my mom and folks. But they can’t fo’ too long.
-Moreno I hate when they wake me up for shower time early as hell.
From The Beat: Is one of the worst things about juvy, knowing your mom
is lonely, maybe scared, worried about you? Do you ever think about your
“Look,” I tell them, “Fall back, get me last.”
mom suffering, before you mess up, then not do what you intended? -Shawdy
From The Beat: Juvy could let you go to sleep and get up later, have better
food, your own clothes, but if you got too comfortable, would you still
struggle to keep your freedom, once you’re out?
It’s February 22nd, 2011. It’s yo’ boy, Simba. I’m still down at the
moment, hella mad, but not really, though. I went to court today I’m Still Planning
and I’m finna get sent off, probably to a group home. That’s what I
hope that’s going to happen. But, hey, gotta get back on track and
On Becoming A Doctor
Dear Mama, I’m sorry for the stress I put you though. It wasn’t on
do me out there on the outs. purpose, but sorry. I love you with all my heart. I just want you to
I miss school and my “dawgs,” man. Been down awhile, now, watch over me. I’m still getting in trouble, but one day I’m gone
fa real, missing the family. It’s hard being locked up, brodey, like stop. I still plan on going to college and becoming a doctor, it’s just
seriously on everything. But I gotta dust my Jersey off and get I’m trying to get my money straight. I love you, Mom, and rest easy.
back up. My mind is focused now and I know what I want to do— -Ali
positive things, man. Get up outta jail. Tired—my body is tired of From The Beat: If you’re trying to get money illegally to pay for medical
wearing juvenile clothes, tired of the box, tired of the jail shhh. school, don’t. Can you do well in school; get a real, at least a part-time
job, even if it pays small money? Investigate now, how to get grants for
Gotta keep my head up and above water. medical school?
From The Beat: What positive things are you eager for, that you are willing
to work hard to achieve?
Ashton And Aroz’s Future Spot!
We’re finna get an apartment when we get out, and have our
I Hate To Hear My Mom Yell At Me boyfriends come live with us. And the homies can stay, but you
What’s up with The Beat? I just wanted to tell you what I hate to gotta pay rent, and we’ll feed you. Ha ha. It will be like a telly.
hear the most. I hate to hear my mom yellin’ at me, ‘cause I messed It can’t be made hot, though, so we don’t all get wrapped. We’re
up on something. The worst words that I heard were the ones that already planning it out. We want to get a dog, too, for decoration.
came out her mouth when she said, “At least your brother isn’t Ha ha. It’s going to be fun. Can’t wait. We’re going to get a bunch
like you.” of furniture and art work and plants from our friend’s house, while
-Weez she’s sleeping. And a jellyfish in an aquarium.
From The Beat: As painful as your mother’s words were, could whatever -Ashton and Aroz
you’re into influence your younger brother so strongly, that he could start From The Beat: You already know you’ll have to find jobs to pay rent, food,
seriously messing up? Does he look up to you, follow your example? What regardless of your homies’ contributions. What work are you planning for,
about him? that can also expand your talents and interests? Have fun!
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
An Eye For An Eye True Story
Mood: Even. Place: Space. Time: To leave. Song: “Thuggin’.” Scribblin’ down stories on my notebook.
Album: “Savage Life 2.” Remember, Young Ninja trying to get the dope cooked.
Artist: Webbie Ninjas mug when they look, ’cause they halfway crooked.
I like to get even. If you cross me, it’s “An eye for an eye.” I Jay B, I’m like 911 with the heat, had a nine with eleven, but,
keep grudges. There’s a verse in a Bible I’m going to get tatted: mayne, got it took.
Leviticus 24:17. “If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must Uncle Sam sell the bangas when his life is in danger.
be put to death. Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal, Beezie ninjas ain’t solid; they show their true colors, like
must make restitution; Life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, Power Rangers.
whatever he has done, must be done to him. Fracture for fracture, Just left the lawyer’s office; shhh done got real.
eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he injured the other, so he is to be Four months ‘fore I drop, now they got a deal.
injured.” It’s not all, but that’s how I feel. Do six months, and the other charges disappear.
-Chino Look ‘cross the table; T-Lady, my momma, up in tears.
From The Beat: This quote from Leviticus may be righteous, but what Should I take ‘em to trial and play with my life?
about what Mahatma Gandhi, who helped free India from the British, said,
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”? If everyone always My name Jay B; I’m wrong and I’m right.
sought revenge when s/he was wronged, the retribution would be endless, They got me on DVDs, smokin’ wood, gave the picture to the
destroying us all. When someone disses or really hurts you, how can you
deal with it, without causing anyone pain? judge.
Shhh I don’t need; lawyers say I’m found guilty and it’s
Friday, the fourth.
All the money I gave out, ninjas sold me out, gave me two
The Projects weeks to take the time.
And it’s messing with me; the hell with the city; damn judge,
The projects--cocaine and gunshots.
I ain’t even convicted.
In the nighttime, all you hear is guns pop.
My homie told me, “Don’t play with ‘em,” Another told me to
Young thugs strapped, just to watch each other’s backs.
I walk around the block with house slippers, ‘cause I’m so
Mayne, my mind going through two damn cycles. Got my
movement to told me down. When I’m gone away seven
I show love to the ‘hood, and they show love back.
months, sixty days--the most I ever did.
When I go to the suburbs, I get nervous and grit my teeth
The hell with it, send me up the road.
‘Cause when I walk down the streets, it’s all eyes on me.
I ain’t goin’ to trial; take my lick and sit down. Put on a
And I love my projects, because I feel safe
Around people that look like me.
Told my round, hold me down.
From The Beat: Nice poem! Your neighborhood sounds dangerous, so how Shhh finna get real; take care of my family, don’t be poppin’
do you maneuver around it and stay safe? How would you solve all the pills.
drugs, shootouts, and with young men strapped, in your community? How
do you protect your family, your homies, your young ones? I’m coming home with a grudge, going off like Pac.
Any ninjas who owe me money; we gone come and get it
Any ninja actin’ funny; I’ma expose they ass.
I Was Being A Belligerent Drunk Think my career is over with? I’ma show my sass.
What’s up with The Beat? I’m chillin’, doin’ my time. Today I’ll Call my NFL cats; I’ma need a couple stacks.
write about when I was in a car with my big homie and a couple of They got a ninja, like, whooa, man. This court shhh done.
my cousins. I didn’t go to school that day; instead, I kicked it with Got out of control, mayne; gone, but not forgotten.
my homies and got drunk all day. At some point we got together Just remember, I’ll be back.
with my big homie in his car and was posted on the block, slappin’ -Jay B
From The Beat: Although this poem is about your street thugging and
and drinkin’ hella 4 Lokos. difficult court decisions, it also shows your despair, hurt at your homies
I remember that there was a car in the middle of the street, and ladies betraying you. Even with righteous grudges, you were in the
mess, too. You have a good heart, but won’t your thugging instincts
and my big homie told me to check him out. I mistook it as him sabotage everything you’ve ever dreamed of?
tellin’ me to run up on the car, so I did. I ran up and pulled the door
open, and asked him where he was from. In a panic he hit the gas
and sent me to the ground. I got up and went back to where my big
homie was parked. The Ghetto
We kept drinkin’ and all I remember is hella hella police all I’m from the ghetto, where all we know is to get that dough. Get
around the car with guns drawn. They slammed me up and I went that dough. Get that dough. Yeah, though, it ain’t no safe place or
crazy, talking hella shhh and tellin’ them they can’t hurt me. I no good community, so don’t come around. Nah, the ghetto is just
remember that they put me in the car and drove me to the hospital, another way to say “the projects” or “the ‘hood.”
where they strapped me up on a hospital bed, ‘cause I was being In the ghetto it goes down fo’ real. People’s lives get took and
a belligerent drunk. They cut my shirt open and somehow I ended houses get robbed, if the thugs got to get it. I like the ghetto and
up in YGC. They charged me with disturbing the peace, and I was would never want to move out. Me and my thugs like fam--we look
back at it in, like, two weeks. They was peed. Por vida. Keepin’ it out for each other, so I’m proud I’m from the ‘hood, though, a.k.a.
one hundred. the ghetto.
From The Beat: That’s a funny story, but you were really lucky the man in From The Beat: Where are you in this scenario? Are you a “thug” who preys
the car didn’t go at you, or hurt you when he drove away. In the streets, on your community? Breaks into cars/houses, and steals? Sells drugs to
do you still have to do what a “big homie” tells you, or can you choose your neighbors? Mugs visitors? How could/do you make your community
what is/isn’t worthy of you? wholesome and safe for your children, homies, and strangers?
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
The Ride The Ghetto
My hype is taking them Camrys, feel me? If you got bars at
The ghetto is my stomping ground! Growing up my whole life, I
whippin’, then, shhh, you know what Young Smash talking about!
been living in the ghetto! Now we say the jets! But my experiences
I’m talking ‘bout the day I was with my sis and I was smacking
growing up in the jets ain’t like how people say it is! I look at
across the Bay Bridge, like, up to 110, high as hell. Ha. I remember
it as one big family looking out for everybody in the community!
my sis was like, “Damn, bra, calm down!” Well, that’s it for now.
The difference between ghetto and ‘hood--ghetto is like the slums,
and ‘hood is like the area where you from! That’s what I think the
From The Beat: What if you’d flipped the stolen Camry over the Bay Bridge difference between ghetto and ‘hood is!
railing and risked your sister’s and your lives? Has your sister ever gotten I don’t think that the jets can be a bad influence on people!
into a car with you again? You write like you think this story is funny. If
so, you’ve learned nothing. I think what you see on TV is a bad influence on people, and that
inspires people to do those things in the ‘hood they grow up in!
Some positive aspects about the ‘hood, is they have lil’
programs that help youth find jobs to help kids stay off the streets!
My Boyfriend, My Lover I don’t see the ‘hood as something to influence me to live a certain
I love my boyfriend so much and miss him like crazy. I know he’s lifestyle! I see the ‘hood as a place I could call home! I couldn’t
upset that I’m here, and I hate that. This is really gonna be my last see myself livin’ in a house! I could, but I wouldn’t feel how I feel,
time in here, because he misses me too much, and we hate the living in the ‘hood, like in a regular house! ‘Cause all my ninjas
fact that we can’t see each other. So I’m not go’ come back, and I live in the ‘hood, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything. I’m not
promise you that. ashamed of living in the ‘hood, because when I make it to the top,
I can’t see him mad, because he gets to the point to where he I’ma make it there from the bottom, and people will look at me and
goes off. He loves me that much to cry over me, ‘cause I’m in here say, “He made it growing up in the ‘hood.”
and not with him. I’m not go’ come here again, because he is gonna -Slim
From The Beat: It’s wonderful all of you in your neighborhood protect each
be sad, and I don’t want him to be that way. I can’t wait to see him other. It must be teaching you some wholesome values, especially if your
when I get a chance. family/homies encourage you to become a success. How could you help out
-Jah’nai your community, when you’re out and/or when you’re grown?
From The Beat: How does your boyfriend feel about you doing whatever,
that brought you into juvy? Is that his real issue, and your challenge, not
to do it again?
I was fifteen last year, and I was with my bra, Prince, and we hopped
My Heart Done Turned Cold in his car. It was a ’55 Impala, and it was me, his baby momma, and
Stuck up in the cell, going through hell his daughter, who was about a year old. My bra pulled a Philly out
Got room time; now I’m really in jail and I pulled a blunt out. I’m thinking we finna drive somewhere
Miss my family, friends, and even my ex and smoke there, but he says we hot-boxin’ it. I’m like, “Wit’ the
Yeah, I’m still love the girl, but it’s on to the next baby?”
‘Cause females like clocks, cash them in and then I’m out He, like, “Yeah, we be doin’ it sometimes. She koo’.”
Thought I loved this one, but I still have doubts The blunt was as thick as his thumb, and longer than his
‘Cause who knows what love is? Not me, grew up in my ‘hood middle finger. I was ready, he was ready; we sparked and got higher
No affect, ‘cause affect is time and time is money to me than Twin Peaks! The baby got high, too, and was all sleepy, and
All this money I see, turned my heart into debris then started crying, and Baby Mamma gave her the bottle and she
So now I have to use my brain to steer me away from the stopped. We kept smoking, finished the blunt, then I hit the block.
penitentiary That’s my ninja, but that was mainey. Then, again, that his baby.
‘Cause my heart done turned cold, hiding my soul of gold -Mophed
From The Beat: Could you have told your bra and his baby mama that you
Got a get out of this system; it got me on hold wouldn’t smoke blunts around their baby, and why it’s harmful to her?
-Forest Maybe they would think later that you’re very right, and stop smoking
From The Beat: Terrific blues poem/song! If you’ve never been profoundly around her, themselves.
in love, maybe you will be! If the money you see can affect your heart, just
wait ‘til some lady you love, breaks it. Then you can write another song,
this one about, “Whoa, it’s all about the pain.”
I’m Not Gone Self-Destruct
My body might, but my mind won’t self-destruct.
Thoughts I always ran into bad luck, and still haven’t learned to duck.
It was something I wasn’t used to, my chin faced to the Police came to our neighborhoods, and colored faces, they
Askin’ the Lord, “Will I ever make it out these clothes?” Crazy people run the streets, killin’ for a couple bucks.
It’s like I’m runnin’ outta options, with no way to turn. Everybody look at me, like, “How you do it?”
They say we livin’ in a dark world, so I’m back interned. ‘Cause I got a master plan, and I’m goin’ through with it.
I’m lookin’ all around; I see them crooked smiles Don’t believe everything; it may be fairy tales.
But they don’t ever bother me, ‘cause I be up an’ out. Little white lies turn as big as whales.
I start to hear the rumors, but it don’t get to me. Can’t complain about my life, so I do not fuss.
My aunty, Meipo, told me, “Baby, love ya enemies!” I’m not gone self–destruct, but I just don’t trust.
From The Beat: What do you think of “Love your enemies?” Have you ever From The Beat: What is your master plan to protect your physical and
tried that? If so, what happened? Did you stay enemies? Call a truce? emotional safety, so you won’t self-destruct? Even if you don’t believe
Become friends? anyone else, you must trust yourself!
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
Day By Day The Black Man Sang To The Beat
What’s trappin’ with The Beat? You heard me. Still at the Ranch, The Black man sang to the beat; he sang good with the music
thugging. Trying to let the time pass by every day. We always doing The Black man sang to the beat; he sang good with the music
something productive every day. Time fly by, though. Before I know He sing so good, the ‘hold lady humming
it, my time going to be up and I’ll be ready to go home, y’amsayin’? Started to fall out of her seat and cry
I got this bad old lady at the house, waitin’ for me. She stay
writing me and telling me to change. It’s hard to change, and I’m The Black man sing so good to the music
going to. I just got to take it step by step, you know, ‘cause if you The Black man sing so good to the music
don’t, you going to fall in that same hole you were in before, so His tone for the music set off like LL Cool J
don’t rush things. It takes time. In the beats, blue’s wandering
I’m about to get my GED, and when I’m done with this program,
I’m going straight to college--do something with my life, instead of His tone made the lady gig
always being on the street, standing on a corner and wasting my His tone made the lady gig
life. She started gigging out of nowhere
Just to let ninjas know, if you just posted in the ‘hood, you The old lady had no fear
just a standing target out there. You’re not hustling, why post up She gig, went crazy, on the dance floor
for nothing? You just waiting to get killed. I just wanted to put that -Ivory
in air. From The Beat: Great blues/rap! We can almost hear that man singing so
good, that we also wanna gig.
Anyways, back to me. I still got five months to go. This dead
time be killing me. You heard me? I caught seven more weeks of
dead time for fighting. I really think this is bullshhh. I only caught
time for a fight since I been here at the Ranch. But I ain’t going to
let that faze me or stop me for what I really want, and that is going
I Won’t Let You Get Me Down
Y’all do too much; you think you hurting me, but I’m
to back to my ol’ lady and the family. I got to take care of business laughing at you
and do my thing to get out off probation. So that’s it for now. A-Jay Y’all do too much; you think you hurting me, but I’m
out this thing. laughing at you
-A-Jay I bet you thought you got me back, but you didn’t, boo
From The Beat: Don’t get discouraged changing your life—it’s slow, not
dead time. You’ve earned your GED, are ready for college, will stay out of Over using, and abusing power; over using, and abusing
the streets and hang with your lady and family, so you’ve accomplished a power
lot, and should be proud.
You wish I really did something, so you could give me an
I won’t let you get me down; I ain’t did nothing wrong
Rock My City Hard I won’t let you get me down; I ain’t did nothing wrong
I want to stay free; I want to never return Now you could say I did something wrong ‘cause I wrote you
I want to change my ways; but still rock the Bay this poem
Rock my city hard, each and every day -Sara
From The Beat: You can write almost anything your heart is feeling,
I’m telling it heavy, like a set of weights especially this poem. Sometimes it must feel like the counselors can
I’m trying to be free, like a hook with no bait control your every move, but now you’re free, with only yourself to tell
you what to do.
From The Beat: Can you rock without messing up? Probably not. Even if
it’s wonderful to never have to be responsible for what you do, because it
is weighty, that’s what it means to be grown.
I thought I couldn’t live without you.
But now that we’re not together, I’m better than ever.
I Can’t See Myself… Supposedly, there was spark, but there was no fire.
I can’t see myself being in and out of the system for the rest of my I spent thirteen long months with you. I regret it all.
life. I can’t see myself killing someone. I can’t see myself hurting We were like a multiple, like two times two.
someone else. I can’t see myself having an abortion. I can’t see But the division process told me to subtract you.
myself not having a house. -Aroz
-Brenda From The Beat: We can feel the sadness in your heart, even though you
From The Beat: You know what you don’t ever want to do, because you write that you’re better off without him.
have a tender self. If The Beat asked you, “I Can See Myself…?” what
would you write?
Shivering In The Cold
My baby left me, left me all alone
Don’t Get Locked Up My baby left me, left me all alone
Be home on time, go to school Left me feeling like a dog without a bone
Don’t smoke that hilla, don’t drink that Henn My heart is aching, like he ripped part of my soul
Don’t fight; don’t get caught up My heart is aching, like he ripped part of my soul
Don’t get stopped by the boys Now I’m sitting out here, shivering in the cold
Do you -Sherbria
-Young Smash From The Beat: Nice, tender, anguished poem, that’s like a country/folk
From The Beat: Sorry, we cut one line, but you’ve written some good song. We hope you find your way home, get warm under the covers, and
advice. Will you take it? compose a song about how you’ll heal your heart.
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Can Be Loud, But I’m Not Ghetto My Imagination
Hi, Beat! I’ma talk about my imagination. My imagination is, “Do
I’m not ghetto, so let’s put it like that. Ha! So, what’s up with The my business by myself.” For example, I want to be a mechanic and
Beat? This Jazzy. I’m back in here. I’m hella bored. Hey, you open work with a company that could need my help, like, repair cars. Or
the door! Twenty dollars! I just wanna say something--it’s to my I can call other persons who are interested in cars, and maybe we
girl. “Love hurts, but I’ll go through all the pain for you.” Siempre can work together.
mijita. I can be loud, but I ain’t racket, fa real. -V
-Jazzy From The Beat: Great imagination! If there’s a garage near your home,
From The Beat: You may be loud, but you’re young and full of enthusiasms. can you ask the mechanic if you can watch him work on cars? When you
You’re also way intelligent, not just jokey funny, so we hope you develop learned the basics, maybe he’ll pay you to do them.
Life Accused Of Being Ghetto
Me and my friends walked into DSW and my friends were kinda
I’m a lost teen in a world with guns and drugs
loud. This lady was, like, white, and said matter-of factly, “Do you
I tried it out and for a second, I won
have to be so ghetto?” I can’t imagine myself using coke or any
Gangbangin’ with my ninjas, it was fun
hard drug. I think it can be addicting.
When I got caught up, I was the one
-Lil’ Shake From The Beat: Could you forgive this lady’s ignorance?
From The Beat: You may feel lost when you find yourself in a violent
world, but it’s on you to get any mess out of your life.
The Memory You Can’t Forget
The Ride I can’t imagine myself coming back here to this place
One time I had flaked on my female to go to a party. Right before I It’s torture, staying in that little space
got into the party, she called me, saying she had her brother’s girl’s Regretting what you did to get here everyday
Mustang. Off tops, I had her come swoop me up. She let me drive. Always thinking about it, night and day
I was running that Mustang. That shhh was lit. I got some Cuddy It’s like a memory that won’t get out of your brain
that night, fa’ sholy. Like it’s locked in there with a chain
-Young No And won’t let it out
From The Beat: As fun as running that Mustang must have been, but No matter how hard you try and take it out
especially if you’re drinking while driving, you can trash your girlfriend,
yourself, and the car, and destroy a whole lot of lives. You might stop thinking about it for a second
But it comes back, and you feel the same way
Ashamed, in pain, and full of regret
A memory you can’t forget
Master Plan From The Beat: Does your mind keep reworking whatever you messed up,
Yeah, man. You know ya boy ‘bouta get out real soon, so I’m ‘bouta to see if it can come up with a solution to fix it, even though it may be too
go to City College for two years, then get my AA, then go to San late for now? Maybe, when you get out, can you make better whatever is
obsessing you, even if it’s only to never do it again?
Francisco State. Then be there for four years, then move to Florida,
have my kids and wife, and just be koo’ and be stay out the way. I’m
just tryna stay alive and free.
From The Beat: Great plan! Can you write or go on-line for a catalog of I Hate To Hear That Somebody Died
classes, and enroll in City for the summer or fall? What do you want to What up with The Beat? This ya boy, Beeskee. The hardest thing
learn? Moving to Florida is a good idea, too!
I hate to hear the most is people lettin’ you know that somebody
died. I remember when they told me my sister died. I swear I almost
passed out. That shhh knocked the wind out of me. After I heard
Everybody In The Barrio Knows that, I was in shock for, like, years. Matter of fact, I’m still in shock.
One of the reasons is I didn’t even hear from my family. I heard it
Who You Are from “Authority.” But the years passed, an’ I learned how to cope
The barrio is a place were you can find the carnales. Positive with it. That be bullshhh when you gotta hear shhh like that.
things about the barrio is that you know all your Latino people. -Beeskee
A barrio, for me, is where you grew up, the rest of your life, and From The Beat: Were you in juvy, where your family thought they couldn’t
get through to you when your sister died? Were they punishing you for
everybody knows who you are. Sippin’ on some cervezas (beer) y messing up? No matter why you were in juvy, you need to hear about your
fumando (smoking.) Cholos that be laced up with Cortezes (Nike sister from your family.
shoes) and buttoned up shirts, fighting other Latinos because they
claim another set. Homies kicking it all together, doing our thing.
El barrio influenced me growing up. I’m not ashamed of living
where I live. I’m proud to rep where I’m from. It influenced me Saying Goodbye
because I was out there with other homies, and I seen the style of The day I had to turn myself in was hard. I had to say goodbye to
everybody else. Much love to my folks posted in the barrio. my family. I should have run, because I miss my family. I miss
-Moreno being around my mom, and I just miss her company.
From The Beat: Your loyalty to your homies is wonderful, and your -Jonathan
community’s musica, comida (food), beautiful Spanish language, dress From The Beat: If you’d run, you might have gotten picked up again, and
style, how you tease, play with, and support each other, is a joy to hang had to start your program all over again. Can you just not mess up, stay
around. out of juvy, and hang with your precious family?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
Car Story My Lifestyle
One night I was with my best friend, and it was hella late. We were It’s hella hard, bein’ here, for real. That’s why I been thinking about
over in the Haight with some of our people, and we got tired and what I’m going to do when I get out. I been praying every night to
wanted to knock out, so we called our friend, and asked to go make me a better person, because who I’m am right now is getting
spend the night at his spot. None of the buses were running, so me in this YGC hall, so I been thinking of a plan--that’s going to
we got in a taxi, planning to just hop out when we got to Forest be important in my life. See, I been thinking, “Should I give up,
Hill Station. or what?” But God made me think, “Naw, can’t do that, so I’m go
Well, we got there, and my friend ran out of the taxi and I was keep trying.”
laggin’ it, and got left behind. I tried to explain that I had no money, -Ay Bee
and that I was really sorry, and then he reached back and grabbed From The Beat: Absolutely, always keep trying. What is important in your
life? Can you build on what you’ve already accomplished, on your family,
my thigh and said, “Well, you can pay me in another way.” Then I homies, girlfriend, anyone who supports and cares about you, to fulfill
booked it out so fast and found my friend, and lived happily ever your ambitions and dreams?
From The Beat: Why go out at night without money, and be willing to
cheat a taxi driver? Wouldn’t your friend whose spot you were spending
the night, front you the taxi fare? The taxi driver had no business
My Moms Will Never Forgive Me
propositioning you, so he’s wrong, too. My moms will never forgive me for my mistakes and my life I live
I’m living in the halls. I’m learning from mistakes, but she’ll
always pray for me anyway. Life is hard when you don’t focus, but
I Can’t Imagine Being Old, With don’t give up; “God” ain’t hopeless.
Ain’t nobody said it way easy, just keep praying; he’ll help you
Grandkids so much that he’ll make you speechless.
I can’t imagine myself being old and having grandkids. I don’t -Bandit
know why, I just can’t see that far ahead of me. I hope I’ll be sweet From The Beat: Do you think your mom will forgive you for your mistakes,
if she’s convinced you’ve stopped committing them? God is never hopeless;
and wise, like my grandma. I need to live a little bit differently from neither are you!
now on, so I have some better stories to tell them. I hope I will have
grown old with the love of my life and start a family, but I still can’t
imagine it at this point in my life.
From The Beat: If you want to become sweet and wise like your grandma,
just be who you are now. Since you have no husband or children yet, Saying bye is crazy. I hate the feeling. When you in the back of that
maybe just live your life now, and also create stories that please and make cop car, saying “Bye” to the world, ya friends, ya family, ya female,
you sitting in the car, mad as hell, fo’ real. But all you can think
about is that you messed up, but there ain’t shhh you can do. I
needa stop going down. I’m tired of this shhh.
The Ride -Young No
From The Beat: You’re right, enough mess. Can you plan for a mess-less
My old friends and I had a fun (but illegal) summer in 2009. We future?
would go around our neighborhood, taking cars, left to right.
Every day we would slide around in a new car. First we would go
to another neighborhood. We went through everywhere, smokin’,
and just havin’ no cares for the law. All we needed was a pair of My Daisy For Life
scissors and fifteen dollars for gas. Sunflowers are a beautiful sight
No weapons, just four wheels to slide past anybody. Some Smells good, shines under light
didn’t like the way we moved, but you know we do what we want, 100 sunflowers in a vase
when we want. We were all through the hills nonstop. Many times It’s like they’re smiling in my face
we chased people for fun--people on feet and people in whips. Sunflowers, known as daisies
Them Toyota Camrys is cheap. A pair of scissors could give you a Cute and yellow, I love the smell
cross county trip for free. Take a whiff, leaving you under a spell
-Ray I sleep with my Daisy every night
From The Beat: Although you had fun stealing cars two years ago, you Yellow petals shining bright
don’t do it any more, right? Why would you terrify someone by chasing, I love my Daisy, yes, for life
hitting, or running over him? When you get out, can you get a job, buy a
car, and go on a road trip cross-country legally? Daisy, Daisy, marry me
I will treat you right, until eternity
Comfort you and hold you tight
I love my Daisy, yes, for life
Hype Without my Daisy, my heart fails
I remember when I was with my ninja in a 5-0, jus’ ridin’ around Without my Daisy, life is hell
smoking, drinking, getting phone knocks, and racing on the I love you, Daisy, that’s the truth
freeway with anybody. We did some donuts under the bridge. One Without you by my side, my world is blue
time our car tag expired and we went to park downtown in an alley, When you’re gone, I’m feeling gloom
and we used a razor and cut the 2012 sticker and put it on ours. Come back, Daisy, I can’t live without you
-T-Top -Na Na
From The Beat: You may consider stealing someone’s license plate sticker a From The Beat: Do you love your lady, Daisy, or the flowers, or both? She
prank, but someone is minus his/her sticker and you get in major mess if certainly has inspired you! How did she disappear from your life? Nice
you get caught. Would you ever do this again, or not? poem!
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Can’t Bring People Down With Me
I can’t imagine myself becoming a snitch Just Lost
Because I, myself, have landed myself in this ditch I feel lost without you
And can’t bring people down with me, ‘cause I can’t take the So much we’ve been through
time But I hate it when I left you
So I ain’t dropping no dimes Without you, I’m just lost
Purity among this slime; loyalty among all these grimy You were the key to my success
people You stood by me; you were the best
-Mummie Every tear for you I shed
From The Beat: Taking total responsibility for any mess you created, even Without you, I’m just lost
or especially if others are in it, can be a tough lesson, but you seem like
you’ve profoundly learned it.
My soul broke to pieces
I let you go and now they cheesin’
I let you go and now you’ leavin’
Without you, I’m just lost
Caged Like A Bear -Lil’ Shake
From The Beat: Why did you walk away from this girl? Did you break her
I miss the dark night, ‘cause there’s always a fight heart, as well as your own? Does she know how you feel? What could you
But I hear no sound; all I see is a person with a frown do to get her back?
I’m locked up, caged like a bear
I look in my room and ask myself if it’s fair
Fair to be in, not out, but I imagine I’m free
Free as a bird, just free Someone Once Told Me
But I look and it was all a dream Someone once told me that when it’s all said and done, we’re gonna
-Monster regret things we haven’t done more than things we have done. That
From The Beat: It must be awful to shuffle from wall to wall in your cell really made me think. Life’s too short to wish you did something
every night, like a caged bear. Does it help to know that someday you’ll be
free, even though the bear may never be? you know you should have or wanted to do, but didn’t. I got “Live
Till I Die” tatted on my rib cage and I’m glad I did, so I never forget.
It doesn’t just mean to live until you die, it means to do it live every
day, no matter what. And that’s what I intend on doing.
What’s To Expect? -Ashton
From The Beat: Can you live a wild life without messing up or hurting
What’s good with The Beat, mayne? Damn, tomorrow I got court. anyone? How about “Live While I’m Alive”? You also know life is serious,
I’m finally gonna be out this thing, but going to a stricter place. so can you have fun and keep it legal?
I’m finna get transferred to my county fo’ my sentencing. Might go
to YA, it’s a possibility. Home, probably. Camp? Maybe. Still don’t
know how my future looking like, but what can I do but to hope
for the best, feel me? ‘Cause knowing how the system is not fair, My Homie
what’s to expect? This your girl, Aroz, back here again. I been down for a month
-Lil’ Menace already and still haven’t got transferred. Since I been here, I got my
From The Beat: What sentence would you give yourself, if you were the
judge? What have you learned from being in juvy? If you were freed mind set for what’s gon’ to happen when I get released. First and
tonight, how would you treat the world in a way that’s fair to everybody? foremost, I’ma see what’s up with my homie.
After, me and my friend are going to get an apartment and
throw parties. It’s hard to change this lifestyle. It’s not time to
change yet. I’m still living life like it’s my last day. No regrets.
I Hate Hearing About The Deaths Homies can stay at the apartment, but you gotta pay some money
The thing I hate hearing the most is the deaths. I was hot when keepin’ it lit.
they told me Bezzla died. Man, I miss you, bra. This shhh ain’t -Aroz
koo’. They killed my man four days after his birthday. Just know From The Beat: Your release day will be the first of your freedom, hopefully
I’m a rock for him. Man, I remember we used to rock and smoke, not your last day on earth. Your lifestyle is messing with your freedom, so
should you get a job to pay for your apartment and to keep your lights lit?
and me with the females on deck.
From The Beat: You were good to each other while your homie was alive,
so you’ll have beautiful, but sad, memories of him. Definitely rock for him,
celebrate his life, but, can you also protect your own life on the outs? Females That Wear They Toes Out
I love females that like to wear they toes out
Call me a fire hydrant, I bring the beezies out
I gotta lotta people want what’s hangin’ from my neck
Off To Iowa Again Call me what you want, just don’t call me collect
What’s up, Beat? This is the homeboy, Malo, back in juvy. This is Tell me what’s the deal, what to do with this beef shhh
my last time in here. I’m ‘bout to be eighteen. They’re shipping me Say the hell with me in yo’ cell, but when you see me, you
back out to Iowa for nine months. When I’m done over there, I’m don’t do shhh
getting off probation, so that’s gonna be the best shhh ever. I’ma I don’t believe you actors, who you kidding, dog?
have a big party, strictly for homeboys and homegirls. Hopefully Save yo’ lame game fo’ yo’ damn memory card
thing turn out good. -Wis-Munz
-Maloso From The Beat: You have ladies, cash, real poetic talent, and guys jealous
From The Beat: What was your life in Iowa like, the last time you were of your bling, so you make it in your neighborhood. But can you convert
there? How did Iowa change you, expand your idea of the country you live your many talents into success in the outside world? Probably! Can you
in? What do you hope to learn now? challenge yourself more?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
My Life, My Life Mind On Success
Man, it’s hard out there in this world. I’m havin’ a good time. They just tryna ruin it.
It’s like the world’s coming to an end. Shout out to the fact that I’m the realist ninja doin’ it.
You know, I been thinking in my head Everybody die, but not everybody lives.
About what I’m going to do when I get out. I wish I can have this moment for life!
I been trying to change, for real. Yeah, though, man, I’m sittin’ here ‘til they free the thug
I’m trying to make up for my mistakes. ‘Bout time this in The Beat, I be gone.
Make my family happy. I’ma change when I’m free
Stay out the way of the place Ya homies ain’t ya homies unless they a stay alive for you.
That was bringing me back in here. -Gucci Goo
-Ay Bee From The Beat: What makes you more real than your homies? Is dying
From The Beat: Is it a place, some homies, or you, that brings you into somehow a weakness in character? When your homies die, how are they
juvy? Can you make up for your mistakes by not making them again? What letting you down?
does your family want for you, that you want, too?
A Kiss Sent From God
Saying Goodbye This morning, when I got up, I felt the sun rise on my face, and
I remember saying “Bye' to my mom. I had been on the run for a when I looked up, someone told me, “I love you forever,” and that
year. I got cocky and thought I wouldn't get caught, but the one was my mom and dad. They told me, “I will be with you forever,”
time I didn't expect it, the police pulled me over and recognized and that made me smile for life. And when someone gave me a kiss
me. They put me in the car. I called my mom, told her I got caught. blow, it was sent from God, and the sun rose and sent the angels
There was a moment of silence, then she told me, "Don't worry, down to my brothers and sister, to give them praise, but I knew
Mijo, I'll go visit you today." Now, three months later, I'm still in that it was not coming back. So I said to you all, “I will be coming
here, waiting to go to trial. Hopefully I'll get out in a month o' two. I back again, sooner or later, but at the time I will be missing and
miss you, Mama. Hope to get out and be with you soon!! missing you all, but now I am here with you, mom and dad. I love
From The Beat: It must have broken your mom’s heart, too, to see you go. -La’Kiesha
Whenever you get out, will you go home and live with her, at least until From The Beat: What a beautiful prayer to your parents.
you’re grown? You’re fortunate to have such a loyal, loving mother.
I Hate To Hear “Talk Is Dead”
Forced To Say Good-Bye The thing I hate to hear constantly in jail is, "Talk is dead.” I wish
It’s neva a right time to say good-bye. Gotta make the first move, somebody on the outs try to tell me talk is dead. But yeah, though,
‘cause if I don’t, you gonna start hatin’ me. I neva felt the way I they trying to, basically, tell us we got to shut up right away. I don't
once felt about you, girl. It’s not you; it’s me. I kinda gotta figga be feeling that, for real. I wish we could switch places, and they
out what I need. were in my predicament, and I would say, “Talk is dead” every time
I had to say good-bye to this one female, but I really didn’t they move their lips.
want to. I had to say good-bye by force. If I had a choice, I would -D-Eas
neva leave her side. But she is not just a girl, she is a woman, From The Beat: Being told, “Talk is dead,” must be insulting, like being
treated as a child. Is the staff at juvy trying to teach all of you not to take
full-grown. I think I love her. Seriously, I neva felt like this about your freedoms, including speech, for granted on the outs?
nobody before. But at this very moment, we are apart, and we
haven’t talked since I got took away. I haven’t heard her voice,
touched her body, felt her soft, light-complexion skin or nothin’,
but when I get out, we most definitely go’ be back. Real Life In These Streets
-Tu-Man My mind is filled with bad thoughts and crime. I was twelve years
From The Beat: You must be writing about two different girls. Why did you old when I fell in love with the deadly weapon they call a gun. Ever
risk losing the second girl by messing up, when you love her? You have a
romantic heart. since then, I been crazy, having to watch my back, everywhere I go.
This shhh isn’t good, not just for you, but for your family, because
they have to worry and wonder where you are or if anything is
going to happen to you.
I Couldn’t Feel My Heart I’ve been a victim to being jumped, had guns pulled out on
I remember this time when I said good-bye to someone important me, shootings, and all types of other stuff. Still I remain the same,
in my family, and that day was the most hard for me, because I was because ain’t no calling quits or saying you’re out of the game.
losing someone important in my life. So when she die, I feel so sad. That’s ‘cause the enemy still will be after you.
I wasn’t feelin’ my heart, I was feeling that everything was comin’ People always wonder why thugs carry guns. Well, I’m telling
down. It’s like someone was killin’ a part of me, the one I wasn’t you they don’t wanna die, so they keep one for protection, because
gonna see no more. they wanna stay alive. No one wants to live like this, but that’s how
So when you lose someone, you feel like something is killing it goes. Sometimes it’s a dog-eat-dog world, kill or be killed, and
the inside of your body, and that’s hard for us. So when you lose better someone else’s mama cry than my mama cry, so I’ma get you
someone, that person would be in your mind, or in your heart in before you get to me. Hey, I’m just lettin’ y’all know how I feel. Be
the end when you die. cool how you be cool.
From The Beat: You’re right, when someone you love dies, it can be like From The Beat: When you carry a weapon, do you take more chances,
your own heart is dying, too, and even if your heart can heal, maybe never go dangerous places, rely on it when there’s trouble, when you wouldn’t/
completely. You have our sympathy. couldn’t without one?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
The Park and It’s Games
Today is my last day here in juvenile hall and I’m never coming
back…To be honest though it’s not that I’m changing my ways, I’m
just changing the way I do it. I’ve calmed down ever since 1 year
ago. I still have a few things to do before I end my youth hood, but
Another Day, Another Dollar
Another day in the max, more restitution that I'm being taxed. I
I ain’t trippin’, I still got 3 years to do it. But I’m still gonna go to
wish I could just kick back and relax, but I'm stressing off the fact
college for four years and then become a staff here in juvenile hall.
that I'm sitting here and I'm not sure what to write. Just expressing
Well that’s all I got. Hopefully I’ll never write for you guys again.
myself and living that life, though I wish I wasn't.
From The Beat: Why do you want to work in juvenile hall? Have you I thought I was living unique, but we come a dime a dozen,
thought about things you would like to study in college? We’re glad you we're all just trying to survive doing whatever is necessary just
hear that you are on your way out and that you have plans for your future.
to stay alive. What's different is the real person that is inside,
because no matter what you did it's the same story that thousands
of others have lived.
So I'm just doing me regardless of what anyone might think,
My Dog it's been 7 long months and all I can think about it getting out and
What's up, Beat Within? I don't remember the last time I got to se getting drunk! (Haha, nah I got plans and I got goals and hopefully
my dog, so I miss him. I want to see him one more time. My dog soon I'll be able to go home.) I'm tired of sitting here and just
grew up with me. My dog is from Mexico. feeling alone.
The first time I met him was when I was five, but I was scared I can't complain, it just sucks I'm innocent and spending time
of him. But, he just came to me and tried to tell me not to be in this environment. Yeah, that's what everyone says, but I don’t
afraid of him and that he is a good dog. Then I started to get along care! I really didn't do it, but I gotta go. Just some stuff that's been
with him. He is a pitbull and I hope that he is still alive. I still will running through my dome, See you next week, yo!!
remember him. -Young Zai
From The Beat: You seem to have some very insightful ideas, Young Zai.
-Luis However, although you claim to be innocent, think about the things that
From The Beat: What’s your dog’s name? Why were you scared of him at the you've done that may have placed you in the situation of being falsely
beginning? What about him made you not scared anymore? accused. Perhaps you were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time,
but putting yourself in dangerous situations could be a lot riskier than
you think. We really hope that the plans and goals that you speak of when
you get out are to discontinue putting yourself in these situations so you
The Thing I Hate To Hear The Most
won't have any reason to be unfairly accused and punished.
Q-vole. Well, the thing I hate to hear the most us my mom telling
me to change. It's hard because I always say yes but I know I'm
lying. I feel messed up because she always believes in me and I lie The Ride
all the time. The best time I remember is coming back from New Mexico with my
I hope one day I change so I can make my mom proud, not sad best friend Roshelle before I lost her. As we rode into the setting
about me. I know one day I'll change but I hope it's not too late sun all I could think about was how lucky I was to be there with
when I change. Well that's it. Later. her at that moment as we rode back home. I guess days like that
-Chiquilin keep me going.
From The Beat: Your mom is telling you to change because she cares about
you. And it's obvious that you care about her as well because you want -Greg
to make her proud. Changing your life takes time and discipline, but it's From The Beat: Why did you lose Roshelle? Why were you in New Mexico?
never too late. You have everything you need to change, you just need What about the ride was so memorable? What about days like that keep
to want it. you going?
Setting an Example The “G” Ride
One hard goodbye I had to say was when my little brother saw me
get arrested. The cop asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to him Q-vole Beat how’s it going? Well as for your firme vato, I find myself
and I said yes so he walked my little brother up to the window and I doing cool, just doing time in this max unit wating to bounce to
had to say goodbye through the cop car. It hurt me to have my little county in three months. Well I’m going to tell you guys about a
brother see me drunk and getting arrested. car story.
-Young Well one time I was cruising on Story and Capitol on the
From The Beat: What do you wish you could have told your brother in Kollmar apartments when out of nowhere a cop starts coming in
that moment? What do you want him to know about your experience in my direction. I panic and I took off hella quick trying to get away.
Oh by the way I was in a stolen truck.
Well yeah I kept speeding, hitting every corner try to drift as
best I could, but then I got tired of high speeding it. Then I came to
Goodbyes a sudden stop and I flew out the car running, but when I got out I
The last time I said goodbye was when my mom was moving forgot to put the car in park, so when I got out the car kept going
somewhere else with my brothers and sisters and it was hard for like five miles per hour. Then I looked to the side of me and I saw
me because I thought that I wouldn't see her anymore. I started the cop car going after the car.
crying because it's hard to say goodbye to someone you love the But yeah that day I got away and it was funny. Well Beat, this
most and took care of you your whole life. firme vato is out to all next door stay up.
-Lil' Quin -Serio
From The Beat: Where did your mom and siblings go? Why didn’t you go From The Beat: Although we do not condone the stealing of the car, that’s
with them? Did you get to see them again? a pretty funny story. Thanks for sharing!
sta n d o ut s
d Clara t s
sta n Santao u County
Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Thing One night
Was when my cousin passed away. My cousin was 25 years old One knife
when he passed away. He had some kind of cancer all of his life. He One big mistake.
was one of my best cousins because I spent 24/7 with him because It was fight or flight,
he was like my big brother. I made a bad decision.
It's been five years since he went away and I still pray and Now I'm looking at Y.A. or prison
hope that I will see him soon. Every time I'm walking in the streets I'm only a teen,
late at night, I pray that he's looking out for me and every time I Messed up my teenage dream.
do pray I end up safe, relaxed and thankful that someone I love is No girl, no car,
looking out for me. I might not make it to ever sit in a bar.
Well, that's all for today, Beat readers, until next time. To all Locked up in a cell,
my loved ones, I love you and miss you. A juvenile hell.
-Manos My mind is stuck in sadness
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing this with us Manos. We’re sorry to hear while I live a life of madness.
about your cousin. What about your him made him like a big brother? Did
you grow up together? Tell us more about the relationship.
From The Beat: We like how powerful yet simple this poem is, C.K. How
do you think differently about your future when the things you thought
were basic (a girl, a car, sitting in a bar) could be taken from you?
The Thing I Hate To Hear
Well, what's up, Beat? The thing I hate to hear is people complaining
at me. Every time they, it's usually something stupid. All I do is
leave or just tell them to shut up and stop complaining. Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Thing
When I'm talking on the phone with a girl, and she's Saying goodbye is a painful thing for me because I've had to say
complaining at me for whatever reason, I just click and don't pick a lot of goodbyes in my life and I'm only 17. I've had to say some
up for days or weeks. Well, that's it, Beat. Alratos. hard, bad, tragic byes.
-Temper My first goodbye was to my big brother. That's why I don't
From The Beat: How is this method working for you? Does it accomplish
anything? Instead of walking away, or hanging up, try to have a show no sympathy for no one that is not my loved one. I say All
conversation and work whatever it is out. Stupid or not. family, No Friends.
My big bro got killed when I was 10, that was in 2004, that's
when everything turned maine in Oakland, California. I've lost
close friends and family to violence and to the streets.
Saying Goodbye The past always haunts you in good ways and bad ways. When
To me, saying goodbye wasn't to a person, it was to my freedom on you see someone you know get shot in front of you, you will be
January 21st. The last thing I remember is driving down Capitol like, boy, the game ain't no joke, the game is thick on everything.
Expressway behind a police car looking back at the S & S market. Bruh. The East Bay is where I'm from but that don't mean I
They got me on a murder charge, so just knowing that there's always gotta carry a gun that's what you got me in hear today on
a possibility I may never get out of prison made it very difficult to some high shhh.
look back on Capitol and Story and say goodbye. To everyone doin' time, stay strong. I'm doin' major time. love
-Lil' Smokey you, mom. This comes from the heart. Thanks, Beat, for your time.
From The Beat: We understand how important freedom is to everyone,
especially a young person. But it sounds like you made some very serious -A. Bruh
mistakes, Lil' Smokey. It's very important that you realize what you did From The Beat: Are there different types of goodbyes? Do you think that
was wrong and understand the difference between feeling remorseful saying goodbye makes us stronger?
for actually committing the crime, or simply feeling bad because you got
caught. We hope that doing time will help you see these things clearly so
you won't continue to make the same mistakes.
What I Hate To Hear
I hate to hear gun shots, police sirens and the toilet flushing in
Card Games the morning! That shh’s annoying! The reason I hate hearing gun
shots is because I've been shot at and it scares the shh out of me
They say everything happens for a reason, that there are no
because you don't know if you're gonna get hit. It's either you or
accidents, that’s why I don’t trip off my mistakes because they
are lessons and experiences to go through. I may be in a difficult
I also hate hearing police sirens because every time I get
position right now, fighting for my freedom with my whole life on
stopped by cops, I end up getting hit with the cuffs so that's
the line, bt these are just the cards I was dealt and I’m not folding
why I run. Well, alright then. Sonido los vemos alrato and for the
case I still got some ace’s up my sleeve.
homeboys that know me stay up and don't let this system keep you
I smile in the face of adversity because I know what kind of
down! There will be better days.
man I am and this whole ordeal is just making me strong. My court
date is coming up on the 11th and soon trial so show me some love From The Beat: We admire your positive outlook, but it's not good to run
and send some prayers my way. Much love. I’ll have some poetry away from your problems because they will catch up with you eventually,
as you've noticed because running from the cops has landed you in
next week. juvenile hall. Also, if you continue putting yourself in the same situations
-Young Zai where you and your boys are getting shot at, worse things can happen.
From The Beat: We admire your strength that comes through so clearly Take this time in the hall to think about what kind of changes you want
in this piece. You’re fighting for your freedom, but what will you do with to make in your life when you get out so you won't have to listen to the
it once you get it? Have you thought about how to better play the cards sounds that you dislike so much (unfortunately you can't really avoid the
you were dealt? sound of the toilet flushing in the morning! sorry!)
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
The Unknown “Ghetto”
Well, to me the hardest time when I had to say goodbye is when I define the word “ghetto” as the hood, to where you don’t have no
I told my parents goodbye and I had to leave. I don't know if I'm kind of money, and you have to “hustle” to get the money to support
going to be able to see them again or not and it's not that it's hard, yourself and family to get by. Sacrifice things like going to jail, not
it's just the fact that you don't know what happens to your family seeing your family, getting shot, robbed.
members while you're locked up. When people say “that’s ghetto” they probably mean the way you
It sucks because you can't jut leave to go see them if anything dress, the way you talk or where you come from. The ghetto mentality
happens to them so to me that's why saying goodbye is so hard. is not giving a damn what you do as long as you get by, make you money
and handle your family the right way. The ghetto doesn’t influence me
From The Beat: Considering the fact that you seem very worried about it is just what you have to do to make it out of the hood.
your family, we're sure they're just as worried (if not more) about you. The opposite of a ghetto is living in a four bedroom house with no
Make sure they know how much you care about them and try to better
yourself for both yourself and your family members.
cops harassing you, pilling you over for no reason. I am not ashamed of
living in the hood because it’s where you’re from and you have to deal
with it always!!!
You will never forget where you’re from. Something that defines
Saying Goodbye is the Hardest Thing ghetto from what I seen is seeing people get shot, robbed or having to
When I got locked up, I didn't really get to say goodbye to my
girlfriend, but I think if I got the chance to it would be really hard -Kid Benjamin
From The Beat: What do you need to do to make it out of the hood? Do
for me because I love her so much. people make sacrifices like going to jail and not seeing family in other
I'm really used to hanging out with her every day and now I'm neighborhoods? What makes the “ghetto” different?
locked up in B-9 and I have to get used to only calling her on the
weekends because there is not that much activity time during the
Well, now I'm just waiting until I see her again because I really
“Ghetto”—it has many different meanings. It could mean anything
miss her. I hope that day comes real soon.
from bad looking people to people saying it’s cool. I personally
From The Beat: Goodbyes are never easy, and it's always hard being believe the ghetto is something that people should overcome and
apart from your loved ones. But it seems like the pain of being apart make something of themselves to show that people can come from
from your girlfriend is really resonating with you. Next time you have
the opportunity to do something illegal, think about how hard it is being bad backgrounds and still make it.
locked up and away from her. Hopefully, the feeling of being without her -Greg
will help prevent you from doing something that could possibly land you From The Beat: Why do you think “ghetto” means so many different
in juvie again. things? How would you overcome being part of a bad background?
The hardest decision Sixth Sense
The hardest decision that I had ever had to make was to consider, I believe I was born with a sixth sense because I member one time
and go through with an abortion. I wasn’t even for sure I was my cousin killed himself, and about an hour before It happened I
pregnant until I was about six months. I wasn’t even showing, and saw him do it. I asked my mom to call Cali but she said I was crazy
it was already going on my fourth trimester, but I made my decision when I told her what I day dreamed.
and my final decision was to go through with it. About an hour later my Auntie called and told my mom what
I don’t regret it because I love my hijito till the day that I die, happened, I asked to talk to her and when I did I asked about the
and with this my life changing experience would have to be having weight bench, and a couple books I saw on his bed and the gun.
my lil hijito on April 24th 2010. The gun fell between my cousins legs point first, and when my
I know people tell me he could have been a 4-20 baby but I Auntie asked how I knew the things I said, I told her I had a day
don’t’ really mind I really don’t care about that. My water partially dream about it.
broke on 4-20, but the tricky part about it is that on my way to the Another time was when I had been partying with one of my
hospital I started getting my contractions. I little while after I was Uncles and we went back to my pad to pick up some cloths. After
giving birth to my son while I was still in the ambulance. getting my cloths I got in the car and just had the feeling something
After my son came out we finally arrived at UNM hospital, and bad was going to happen. I didn’t go with him, and an hour later my
the Doctors took my son to the nursery while they took me to mom got a call that my Uncle was in a wreck.
this room so I could get my stitches. A few seconds later my sons’ The only thing I could think about was me dying that day,
dad walks in the room with a big smile on his face. I got taken so I had to see the car and when I did the hood on the passenger
up to a new room after I was done and was still in pain. Then the side was pressed all the way into the seat where I would have
nurse brought my son in the room to me so I could feed him, I been sitting. My Uncle hit a telephone pole and it ended up in the
couldn’t believe my eyes. Once second that baby! My son was in passenger seat. If I would have gone with him to his house I would
my stomach and now, I’m well, I was holding him in my arms just have died. Good thing for my sixth sense because there is more
smiling away. then just these two times.
-Ashlee -Sixth sense
From The Beat: It sounds like you made the right decision? We’re glad From The Beat: If there is more we would like to hear more of your stories.
every thing turned out the way you wanted it to. Now get out of lock up Have you ever been able to prevent anything you’ve seen in a “day dream”?
and take care of your son, don’t loose out on the best years of his and
sta n d o ut sts
sta n d o u County
Streets I Relapse
Living in the streets is hard, because you never know what’s goin’
I messed up—I’m angry as can be
to happen. You might get shot, get beat up, anything can happen,
Actin’ out in the halls—too much anger to be released
but I still like the streets. When I get out of juvy hall, I want to say,
I don’t care--I does this, but it neva benefits
“What up?” to all my homies, but ‘specially say, “Hi,” to my mom,
But, just thinkin’ of these shhhs; maybe I should change a
because without her I wouldn’t be here.
My mom is my everything. I been an idiot to her, but I still love
But so many excuses for actions—I’m really ruthless
her. She is my everything. I love her with my heart. I feel bad when
Bein’ who I am, I won’t hesitate to leave you useless
I make her cry, because it makes me feel like a fool. I got love for
Now I’m back to stress. I made a choice that was wrong
my family, but I got love for the streets, because all my homies got
Yellin’ and screamin,’ “I’m in a place where I really don’t
my back and I know they miss me, but that’s just me. Later.
From The Beat: Is your mom grieving because she fears she’s losing you to The system got it wrong, but to them, they got it right
the streets? Does she blame herself? Is she looking into what may be your Even if the wrong decision was made outta fright
future, which could include state prison, if you stay hanging with your
homies? Is she right? Got me tryna sneak a tear in the middle of the night
I try to be coo’, but too bad, I’ma goon
I had to admit it—why don’t they admit it, too?
I neva try to act hard, like, I don’t miss my family
Late Realizations I take it out in the halls—I know the staff can’t stand me
Breathing heavy, palms are sweaty, stomach queezy If I even think trouble, it’s like they prepared to grab me
I think I’m gonna puke I say this—don’t you think, but it still makes me feel madder
Head’s poundin’, body’s shakin’, foot tappin’ They tryna take away my phone calls—the shhh makes me
I think I’m gonna cry sadder
What’s wrong? What’s not? Body’s gettin’ hot Tryna say, “Don’t show out”—ninja, I can get badder
I think I’m triggered Now I ain’t got shhh to lose—I might go bad faster
People surrenderin’, feelin’ alone, vision blurin’ Have they ass spooked—I get a good laughter
I think I’m blacked out Manipulatin’ they ass—like I’m they own master
Curled up in a ball, blood on the floor, it’s not mine I wish to see freedom, but that’s a wish I won’t get today
I think I’m crazy Organize my life the right way, as I try to do the same
-Britney -Obie One
From The Beat: You’re an amazing poet, and you’re not crazy, but what From The Beat: You may be righteously angry, but can you not take it out
is causing the blood? Why are people surrendering? Why is your body on the other youths or staff? You’re not a goon, and even if you can be
reacting so extremely? ruthless, can you hold yourself back and not hurt anyone, especially those
more vulnerable than you?
Anxiety’s building up, time’s wasting Growing Up In These Streets
Money’s goin’ down the drain San Rafael, City of the Mission
And I’m going crazy Growing up on these streets
Waiting, waiting, watchin’ the clock It ain’t easy, but only the strong survive
It seems both the hour and the minute hand stopped And staying on your toes is a must
Waiting, waiting, frozen in time Me and my ninjas walking up
I feel like I can’t breathe, I’m losing my mind And down these hot-ass streets
Waiting, waiting, for my fresh start Keeping it lit, with the 5.0 making it hot
I know it’s coming, even though I’m waiting in the dark But it’s good. We ain’t gettin’ wrapped
Waiting, waiting, I hope I don’t grow old and die Free me
Waiting for this plan to unfold -Jack
From The Beat: You’re wrapped up now, so it can’t be that good. The
-Britney streets have raised you, but what have they taught you, that you can
From The Beat: Will you initiate your plans now or when you leave juvy? use wisely in the world beyond? You’re strong now; how can you use that
You’ve already changed your attitude, a beautiful start! What are your strength to make it in the world?
Missing Him Beautiful Genious, Part Two
Damn, I sit in here, just thinking on him. I remember all the good Word to my motha, I’m ill, ask my brotha
times we spent together. We would go to the clubs and we went to Things on my mind, I still haven’t uncovered
parties. We just did a lot of things. Also, one thing we did the most Dreams unseen. I’m just tryin’ to get the cream
was kicking with the homies and we all stay true to one thing only. Cash rules everything around me
I miss him like crazy. He is the world. He got the homie taking care The seams to my clothes, the minds of my bros
of me, so I ain’t trippin’. I might get out, so if I do, I’m going with The television shows, the hearts of the beezies
him, so, yeah. Trust nobody, fear nobody. People say I’m crazy, The Beat say I’m lazy
-Sad Girl But I give The Beat my pieces, so Pauline need to pay me…
From The Beat: You advise your Beat readers to trust nobody, but you trust -J Mak
this young man. Be careful of limiting your friends/family to one person, From The Beat: Nobody from The Beat would ever say you’re crazy or lazy,
especially while you’re both so young. Don’t give up your education. You because with your wild, funny, insightful, tragic mind, you almost never
need it. rest. Why not trust your imagination to create your real riches?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
I’m Going To Save Myself Summer Jam
I hate this place. At the same time, I’m glad this place is here and Last year, Summer Jam was smackin’. It was at the Oakland Oracle
am super thankful. This place has helped me see the light. No Arena last year, when Drake, D-Lo and hella other people came.
matter how long I say here, I will walk out of this place ready to E-40, Husalah, all performed, but it was crackin’. I went up there,
have a happy cig-free, drug/alcohol-free life. smacked on two of them things.
Cigs have screwed my life. I hold the record for the shortest I met me a lil’ bad beezie. She had on some cute shhh. Me and
time out of juvy. I was released after five days. In the parking lot I my bra was smoking inside that thing. It was live. I’m hopefully
picked a cig off the ground. They saw it on camera and rebooked going to this year’s, but I might not make it. Just a lil’ somethin’.
me. My life is at its turning point and I’m going to embrace it and -Obie One
save myself. From The Beat: It’s great you had a beautiful time at Summer Jam. Being in
juvy can sabotage your entertainment on the outs, so…?
From The Beat: Until you accept that cigarettes can not only sabotage
your freedom, they can ruin your health irreparably and cause your death,
will you still keep smoking? Can you tell a cigarette, you’re not its slave?
Because you aren’t.
Help The Beat
The Beat is going through economical problems. A suggestion
I would consider is publishing books with the best writing and
What You Would drawings. Kids need The Beat and employees need the income.
See In My Neighborhood From The Beat: Great idea! Many of the most heart-felt and imaginative
writings come from you in Marin juvy, to be in any “Best of The Beat.”
There would be trailers all over the place. People of all different Thank you.
colors and races. People would be running around, chasing kids
all over the place. People would be out drinking and smoking.
From The Beat: Nice start for a description of your community. Does ‘Hood Life
everybody get along? Do kids play games in a park? At a school nearby? Coming from where girls want you for the car you drive.
Do yours neighbors and you share babysitting? Expenses? Meals? Job
ideas? Music? Gossip? Living in the ghetto seem kool, but it ain’t right.
Pushing white all night, then you do time.
It looks like it’s worth it, but we all blind.
So fine, but the ‘hood rats mackin’
World’s End An’ gettin’ money is all we good at.
I’m the soul for the devil’s cause -June Bug
From The Beat: None of you is blind. Why can’t you get cash by earning it
Believe the words coming from my jaws with a job of your own? Girls, everybody, can be materialistic, so can you
Goin’ in circles, round of applause ignore them? Can you morph your drug sale talents into selling something
I’ll be the last man standing on doomsday legal, that interests you? Clothes? Toys? Videogames, etc? Yes, you can.
Receive a standing ovation, like Broadway
My head spinning, web of lies
Sad to be alive
They say I’m living in the world, go and die
Arguments In My Mind
The streets is all I know. How do we go about it?
Heart broke, and my soul got a hole in it Gettin’ gwop, guns, females, it’s automatic.
Weed’s there, I console in it All I see is money. How do I get it?
Life’s a day; I’m living in the minute I think I’m a fanatic.
Born in the heavens, but I descended Sometimes I wonder what my purpose in life is.
Dummies won’t understand, the intellects will comprehend it A father in life, I think I miss.
From the ashes I’ve ascended So, Lil’ Ma, come over here and gimme a fat kiss.
The phoenix rose, now live with it Truly gangsta in the heart, don’t know when it will stop.
-Mak So, I guess that’s what will keep us apart.
From The Beat: Don’t deceive yourself, any hell on earth you’re living in
is partly of your creation. It can’t make you happy, and you write like you Out every day, like open shop.
already know that. Your heart is broken, but if you cherish it, it can heal. So, pray for me, an’ hope the choices I make are smart.
From The Beat: Do young ladies like men who are gangsters, in your
experience? Or are they afraid to hook up their lives with “Gs”? Have you
ever lost a woman, because you’re a gangster? Is any woman worth giving
My High-Speed Chase up your G life in the streets?
I get this feelin’, ‘cause you’re so appealin’
I’m on a high-speed chase, ‘cause you got a gorgeous face
I see you lookin’ at me. Go ahead, I’m free
I know you like me. I’m stuntin’, stop frontin’ My Maybe Miracle—My Freedom
Every time I see you, my heart skips a beat I miss my homies every time and day when I’m here. Hopefully I get
Don’t worry, I’ll protect you. I got the beat out on Friday and never come back. That will be a miracle. When I
So hook me up, ‘cause you lookin’ good get out I want to go get some good food, some hamburger or some
Your boy will be in a better mood Mexican food, but I want to go see my mom and my brother. I want
-Fino to see my homies, have a party, and get drunk.
From The Beat: Is this poem written to a special lady? Is this how you -Travieso
talk to a young woman you hardly know—“stop frontin’”? After a female From The Beat: You’ll deserve some good fun and food, but beyond the
hears this, does she usually “hook you up”? Maybe write her a poem, when partying, what do you want for your future that will keep you educated,
you’re in a better mood. working, and free?
d o uts
sta n Santa u t s
sta n d oCruz County
I’d Rather… Promises
It’s a trip how the homies fall in love. I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t gonna keep getting locked
I’d rather post up with the fellas and not care about a chick. up, but for some reason, I couldn’t keep my promise. I got out and
Too many fools today be falling in love. committed a crime, and I’m back in juvenile hall.
The only love I got is for my set and for my thugs. I also made a promise to my PO that I wasn’t going to keep
Girls come and go. smoking or doing other drugs – and I broke those promises.
It ain’t nothing new. I don’t know why I make promises that I know I’m not gonna
But no matter what my boys are going through – keep. The most serious promise was to my girl – that I wasn’t
I got they back, and homie, that’s the truth. gonna cheat on her.
So, when you bury me, don’t put me in a funeral suit. But there’s one promise I did keep. When my homie got locked
Put me in a Pendleton, Ben Davis, and Chuck Taylor shoes. up he asked me to go to his family and make sure that they were
From The Beat: Love is good. Why do you think your homies fall in love? -Broken Promises
Love is natural. Don’t get down on folks who are exercising their right to From The Beat: You keep the promises you feel are important, or maybe
enjoy the greatest of all human emotions in a way, that at this time, you the ones that are easy to keep. You need to examine your priorities,
don’t. closely. What’s really important?
I don’t know why When It Began
Well, to start off – my struggles began the day I was born because
I make promises
my parents used to always fight. And my dad was making money
off those yolos until he got locked up when I was three.
He did nine straight and then got deported and he couldn’t
that I know I’m
return or else he would do life. I haven’t talked to him since I was
When I was eight, I started kicking it with the homies. Then
not gonna keep.
I hit nine and started smoking. Ever since then I’ve been a little
I caught my first felony when I was twelve, ‘cause I had a machete
on me. I was out looking for some rivals that rushed my home, and
when I hit them up, they ended up putting rat and calling the cops
A Few Phone Calls When I was in sixth grade I started being a bully at school, so
I’ll be getting out soon. I made a phone call yesterday to one of my that got me kicked out.
boys. I asked him about a carnale and he told me that the guy had Then a year later, when I was a young teen, I met some homies
just been sentenced to ten years in prison, with one strike. that liked to go out robbing and stealing. So we would go out to get
And then I asked him about another carnale who had just sto-lows and smash all over town – smoking blunts.
been released. He went back in after just four days on the outs. I I remember once when I was fifteen I came upon my first G
was hoping to see him, but now I’ll have to wait a few years. stack. (Well – it was more like 3.) But I was out with the homies
To all doing time – stay up. spending like crazy.
-Ce Ache Well, that’s the end of it. RIP to my homies. You will never be
From The Beat: This is tragic. Rehabilitation and reform were once the forgotten.
goals of the system. We hope you’ve learned enough to stay out of it, from
this time on. -P
From The Beat: That’s quite a story P We know there’s a lot more to it, too.
But you’ve given us a strong sense of how you came to find yourself in
Beat, I have been going crazy thinking about my lady who is having
my baby. Maybe we’ll call her Sadie, or Haley. Something I Hate To Hear
Also going crazy because I talked to my homies on the phone Something I hate to hear is when it’s pasta for lunch, or lasagna for
and learned that my friend Willy has died. It’s over someone we dinner, or spaghetti for dinner. I’m tired of getting the same food
don’t get along with. each week. I like some of it, but most of it is whack.
-Lt Oh, and also – chicken and potatoes is also whack.
From The Beat: With a child on the way, you have some heavy -Daniel
responsibilities coming. Get out of here. Get busy. (We’re very sorry about From The Beat: You should ask to speak with the chef. (Perhaps your tips
your friend.) are too small.)
When I get mad I ask for a pencil instead of banging on my door. I’m gonna talk about when my homie disappointed me. I was
Thanks Beat, for the opportunity to escape my problems through getting jumped by like nine fools and my homie ran away from me.
paper and pencil. I thought he was ‘down’ and stuff, but I guess I was wrong.
From The Beat: You are very welcome. And thank you for your terrific From The Beat: We’re glad you survived.
sta Countyo u t s
sta n d o u t s
The Thing I Hate To Hear The Most
The one thing I hate to hear the most is when my mom wakes me
up in the morning and then when I leave she tells me: te portas bien
(you behave now). Or when she says: no te metas en problemas
(don’t get in any trouble). That’s the thing I hate the most.
But I also love hearing it every time I leave. She makes me feel
all warm inside.
-Loving my mom’s voice
From The Beat: Life’s like that – full of contradictions. This is a sweet piece.
I Know I’ve Told You Things…
Mom, I know I’ve told you things and got out and didn’t do what I
said. But this time I’ll give you my word and I’m gonna stick to it.
And we will have a better life. Hold me to it.
I’m going to be 18, and I don’t want to go to prison, and not
be there for you. I’m going to work to take care of my kid and I’m
going to stay away from certain people.
From The Beat: Hey D, you’ve got to hold yourself to it. No one can do it
for you. If you want a home and family, you have to work for them. Are
Folding Under Pressure
The weather is hella damp and I’m feeling kinda blue.
You said you were my homie and that you’d always stay true.
You folded under pressure and for that you are a fool.
I’m posted in the hall and you know I keep it lit.
I’m not the kind of person that is gonna talk shhh.
I’ll see you in the pen, in a year or two.
Talk all that then, and we’ll see who’s still true.
I’m a real ninja. I won’t go out like a mole.
I’d rather spend the rest of my life sitting in the hole.
From The Beat: We won’t comment on that issue. But we will say that
you’re a fine poet and that you can write poems anywhere.
The Biggest Surprise
The biggest surprise of my life was when I found out that my
cousin got shot, in Mexico, at a night club. It was tragic. He was
the one who let me drive a car for the first time. (I was only seven.) Today
I’m never gonna forget him. I’m 18 today. I don’t get out for a few months, but it’s coo. When I
Manuel, you are in my heart every day. get out Ima just live life and see where it goes for a year. When I’m
-Ge 19, Ima probably try to go to college. But who knows? I might just
From The Beat: We’re very sorry about your cousin. And…. are you telling like living off my girl. I’m gonna try to find a fat chick who’s gonna
us that you drove a car when you were seven years old? Yikes!
be a doctor.
Yeah, that’s a good idea. Big girls need love too. They are also
more generous. Plus, it means she will be loyal.
Saying Goodbye -Zach
From The Beat: Well, good to have a plan. But your plan doesn’t sound
Saying goodbye is the hardest thing. One time, back in ’08, my ‘coo’ to us. Sounds like you want to create a situation that will allow you
to sponge off of someone else, rather than work for your keep. By the
girlfriend was moving out of town. She was going to return, but way – all people need love.
since then, I’ve been involved in gangs. I knew even then that I was
going to get into trouble, that I was going to get caught up.
As it turned out, that day she moved out of town was the same
day I got caught up. She was gone for two years and a month and What I Hate To Hear
a half. And when I said goodbye to her it was kind of sad because I The thing I hate to hear the most is when my mom tells me to be
knew it would be the last time I would talk with her. good. And now I’m in here. I try to be good, but I can’t. Trouble
To this day, I still think about her. follows me, no matter what I do.
-Missing you -Abel
From The Beat: Hey – you never know. Straighten yourself out. Do it for From The Beat: Trouble isn’t a dog that knows your scent and won’t let you
yourself. But sometime down the road – you could turn a corner, and there go. It’s the other way around. You have a nose for trouble. You’re doing
she’d be. the following.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d oLos Angeles
Peach This One Time
One day me and my mom went to a pet store to buy me a lizard and One day in school it was lunch and some kid that I used to call a
a Pitbull. No luck for the lizard, so we went to a dog pound to adopt friend was trying to mess around with my lady, so she told me that
my Pitbull, but they were all sold out, or they were three years old. he kept slapping her ass, and she didn’t like him doing that. So I
I was looking around, and then, I saw her- a brown and white Boxer, saw him, almost to get down with him, and he and some other kid
a girl. My mom said, “Take that one!” So I adopted her, and named were talking smack to each other, and he came up to me telling
her Peach, because her color is like a peach’s color. me he was almost going to get down. So I was instigating him in
Now my dog is two years old, and she gets along with my getting down, so I was telling him, ”just get down, don’t be a ….”
Rottweiler like sisters. I love them a lot, because they take care of So he said, “all right,” and went up to that guy, said, “what’s
the house, and they play with me when I am sad. up?” Then socked him, and they both fell to the ground. I came in
-Diego and stomped both of them, as hard as I could, and that’s why I’m
From The Beat: You’re a dog lover, what can we say. We agree with you, locked up.
having a dog as a pet is special. Tell us more about your dogs.
From The Beat: Why did you feel the need to stomp both kids? We can
understand how angry you must have been at this so-called friend for
messing with your lady, but…. Look where your actions took you! Would
These Changes you have done anything different?
I’ve been gone for some months already
I’m going through changes in my life.
I’m going crazy all in my mind.
Stuck in this room
Because I got high
Staring out this window.
I wasted my time
Watching time go by.
Got addicted to crimes
Hearing myself cry.
Sold nickels and dimes
Asking my Lord, “Oh why?”
Upgraded to lines,
But I know why.
Had women on my side
Because the things I did in my past.
Never paid attention to their lies,
This life is too short. I need to change while I can.
Just wanted to squeeze my limes,
From The Beat: How do you plan to change? Tell us your plans! But she was shy, started to cry,
In my left arm
Then I knew I stepped out of line..
I had to pay that fine.
Searching So I bought her a new diamond necklace to shine
I’m looking for my destiny, I made her mine
So I got to give her the best of me. Now we’re together ‘til we die.
Making it through the days while staff and kids testing me. -William
From The Beat: This must be hard for the two of you, that you are locked
I look for better ways, up. Don’t take your lady for granted. It’s not easy for her either to have
To make it through the days you away from home.
From The Beat: Can you share with us some of yoru ideas for “better ways”?
Saying Good Bye to Dad
I never got to say goodbye to my dad when he passed away. I haven’t
The Talk seen him for a cool minute if I could I would have stuffed him and
The thing I hate to hear the most is when I try to help someone put him in my room to see him everyday and tell him what I never
out and give them advice to keep their heads up. They talk to got to tell him. I wish I could have been by his side when he was
me, telling me that they want to change, and then the next day, dying.
I hear them talking about nonsense and just acting immature -Jennifer
and disrespectful. There’s times where I want to help out others, From The Beat: This would be funny if it wasn’t also sad. Keep his voice in
your mind, and his wisdom in your heart- that’s better than a stuffed papi.
especially when they don’t want help.
From The Beat: You can only do so much, they too have to want change.
Who Am I?
I will never know
I never took the time to understand
Looking Back Search for the real me
I didn’t get to say goodbye to my homie, who died because walking You see I always hide behind a shadow
late night. I was on house arrest, but if I had been there, he woudn’t A shadow whom I myself never knew
have passed. First, because I wouldn’t have let him leave- he could A shadow who loved to live fast
have kicked it wherever I was. Or, I would have walked with him. Sex and drugs
I had his gun, so, I kinda hate myself for that ‘cause I could A shadow I can’t cast away
have saved his life. How can I ever learn about myself?
From The Beat: A better way to not have to say goodbye to your friends From The Beat: Have you connected with the real you, now that you are
and family is to find a safe way to live. A real leader does that. sober and locked up?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Rumble Can You See Right Through Me?
Because I didn’t talk to my girl one day, People look at the walls of my cover
I was walking in the wrong place at the wrong time. Think they can paint a picture of me
Because I was in the wrong place, I got into a rumble. Diagnose me with something I don’t have.
I got into a rumble because I’m cocky about beating someone up, Tell me I have problems
I’m not quick to run. Who said I can’t live as a Rastafarian?
Because I’m not quick, it took me a long time to move, and I Politically free.
knocked out a kid, Who said I couldn’t do what interests me?
got a charge, and six months. But they’d rather have me in a picture, all drugged up, calm
Because I got six months, I lost everything that means as a zombie.
something to me. Running the program they want me to run.
-Jonathan People look at the walls of my cover
From The Beat: If you could relive this experience, would you have handled And add in their odd piece
it differently? How?
Some imagine me beat up, sluggin’ around and quiet
But I would speak my mind.
But the Lord above still holds me tight.
Big Headed I dare not change for no one, but myself because I want good.
Because I went home I got busted People look at the walls of my cover and they think they can
Because I got busted, I haven’t gotten a woman in months. paint a picture of me
Because I haven’t had a woman in five months, I’ve been Can you see right through me?
From The Beat: Who are the people you write about? Are you talking
Because I’ve been stressed, I’ve been flirting with ugly girls, about the system? Well, we encourage you to use this forum, to tell your
Because I’ve been flirting with ugly girls, they think they’re truths, to teach, and to break the stereotypes and judgments placed on
Because they think they’re sexy, they get rejected.
Because they get rejected, they get mad at me,
Because they get mad at me, I don’t holler at ugly girls no
more. My Goal
Because I don’t like the ugly girls, I only flirt with the sexy See there was a time when I was labeled the good one,
ones, But now switched up and certified just like a hoodlum,
Because I can only flirt with the sexy ones, I got to wait til I In and out of courts and stuck in fierce places
get out. Just lucky that I’m living and I’m gone from hell’s basis,
-Jesse You judging me well tell me what you want to see
From The Beat: Jesse, step up and teach, you talking too much BS. To be Corruption or a person graduating with a GED?
frank, we want to know what are you going to do to stay out!?
From the Beat- Go get that degree kid. That’s what we all want to see!
Saying Goodbye to Mom
It was hard for me to say goodbye
to my mom
Because I love my family, I can’t let them go.
when I got locked up. Because we get into it, it separates us from loving each other.
When they called my mom Because we argue we start to fight
to tell her that I’m in Eastlake, Because we fight, I do shhh to my cousin,
she started to cry, and it just broke my heart. Like spit in her juice, throw her clothes away,
-Yoselin put holes in her shoes, and mess up her body wash.
From The Beat: Is this enough for you to make changes in your life?
Because I love my family, no matter what we go through, I
Because if you don’t have Because if you don’t have family, what is there?
Because I had problems at home, I became close to my
family, what is there? boyfriend’s family
Because I became close, they would do anything for me, and
Because I had problems at it makes me feel loved
Even though I sometimes hate my granny, I love her with all
home, I became close to my my heart.
Because I love her with all my heart, I wouldn’t know what to
do if she died,
Except hurt another.
But I know she wouldn’t want me to do that, so I would just
Because I became close, they turn to my family.
That’s what family is for.
would do anything for me, and -Shaquenta
From The Beat: How is your relationship with your family today? Better?
it makes me feel loved Sure the love is unconditional, but what are you doing to make your
sta n d o u t s
sta n d oLos Angeles
I hate saying goodbye, because that also means saying hello, and I
hate being in new surroundings. I have been in five schools, eight
placements, and three jails.
From The Beat: Definitely too many institutions. Although you hate
it, tell us the secrets to surviving in all these placements, schools, and
I hate most hearing cops tell me I ain’t gonna be nothing when I
grow up, and just be a low life on the street, who keeps getting in
trouble, getting high ,drunk, and into bigger and more dangerous
In my heart, I know those two cops are wrong, and don’t
believe that somebody from the streets could change and chase
dreams and become somebody.
From The Beat: What’s the goal to prove to yourself you can and will be
The thing I hate the most is hearing that I have to stop fighting in
jail and get out. Also, I hate it when the judge announced additional
time to my regular sentence. Everyday, this bothers me. It makes
me feel like I’m never getting out of here, and like my mom raised a
bad kid. But overall, I clear my mind, and just focus on the positive.
From The Beat: What is the positive? What will it take to succeed?
I woke up super early, like at five in the moring to go to the pier
to catch some sharks. I was chilling for like five hours, without a
My heart beats fast
bite, so I decided to smoke. Next thing you know, my pole starts
from seeing people die
buzzing out of control, so I grab it with a big smile, and start
from gangbanging and doing drugs.
fighting. I thought I caught a giant thresher shark; I was fighting
Seeing people die from doing drugs makes me think of
for like fourty minutes then got so tired, so my uncle finished
Because I don’t want to be in that position.
It wound up being a big stingray, that weighed nearly 250
pounds. It was the catch of the day along with a four foot leopard From The Beat: Do you use drugs? Can you stay sober? What will it take?
From The Beat: Damn, that must have been exciting. How long have you
been fishing? Where do you like to go fish?
There is no progress without a struggle.
So I have to sit around and hustle,
Rumors Hurt Watching for the police, because they try and stop me.
Because I wasn’t on her side, she started rumors about me. From The Beat: What about school? A job? Succeeding in the community?
Because she said I was a two faced …, I went off on her. Take on that struggle!
Because I went off on her, I had to fight her.
Because I fought her, my body is sore.
Because my body is sore, I can’t go to school.
Because I can’t go to school, I miss those days. Because
Because I miss those days, I missed the test and failed the Because I got locked up, I went to placement.
class. Because I went to placement, I went AWOL.
Now I have an F. Because I went AWOL, I’m locked up.
Because of that F, I’m stuck at the house, grounded. Because I’m locked up, I’m waiting!
From The Beat: To relive this, would you have done anything different? From The Beat: And you are waiting for? Be smart about that next move
How is school going now? of yours.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Desperation Saying Good-Bye My To Family
Saying goodbye can be very hard, and I remember when my uncle About a year and a half ago my dad got locked up. It wasn't all so
used to live with us about four years ago. I remember the day he bad because I was still able to see him. When I was in court one
got a phone call from his mom saying that his wife had taken off day I saw him and he told me he was getting sent to prison for four
with his son and another man. It seemed like he was going crazy. years and that broke my heart. My dad is my hero. We are like best
He was breaking everything in his room. friends. I haven't seen him for about a year already and now I'm
The last thing I remember was him talking about his situation in the same position he is in. Before that, the hardest thing I had
with my step dad. He was trying to get a gun because he said life to do was say goodbye to my mom and dad when I got taken away
wasn't worth living, but my mom convinced him not to. He said if from them at five years old.
he wasn't going to kill himself he was going to go back to live with In my life, I have also had to say goodbye to my girlfriend.
his mom. My mom gave him money for his plane ticket and he left When I turned myself in she came with me. We've been together
as soon as he was able to. The next day my stepdad’s mom called for one year and four months. We've been through so much stuff
and they said he was shot three blocks down from her house. together and I hope we stay together forever. I want to live a happy
-Erik life with her and teach our kids to do better. I don't want our kids
From The Beat: What a terrible thing to have happen. It sounds like your to go through the same stuff we've been through.
uncle needed some help to cope through his crisis. What will take from his
story for your own life? -Isaac
From The Beat: It’s difficult to not have your parents consistently in your
life. Take time to think through your situation, and hopefully as you begin
to make better decisions, you’ll be able to move forward without re-living
your father’s footsteps.
Saying goodbye is the hardest thing for me to do when I said
goodbye to my Mom. Well, it was not even a goodbye until several
days later when I saw her in the courtroom. It hurt me so much Saying Good-Bye To Jackie,
and I know it hurt her also to see me the way I was. It is not the
same, it feels so weird and it is an ugly feeling when you have to My Grandma
say goodbye to someone you truly love and most definatly do not When my Grandma passed away, it was the hardest thing for me to
want to leave. see. I did not want to believe it. I did not even get to say goodbye;
In those two words, I was temporarily brought to tears. I know and now that I think about her not being here, I cannot believe my
I do not want to be where I was and my mother wanted me back at eyes. Sometimes it makes me want to cry when I think back to
home, but at that point, in the situation; it was not in either her when she died. This was on March 9, 2009.
hands or mine. All the pain was so hurtful. That was the hardest That was the worst day of our life. We got the phone call from
thing I feel I had to do. my Aunt, who informed my Mother, and I already knew. I just broke
-Gorge down and cried. Why did she have to go so fast, so young? I do not
From The Beat: Hopefully you will be reunited with your mother and you like that the cancer took her life. The Doctor’s said it was too late,
will be able to work to rebuild your relationship. because the cancer had developed throughout her entire body. It
just crushed me that I never got to say goodbye. Rest in peace
Living in the Ghetto From The Beat: We are sorry you never got a chance to say goodbye to
your Grandma. You’re Grandma knows how much you love her and a part
I live in the ghetto. I don't really like it because my homies and I of her will always be with you.
keep getting shot at. The last time I got shot at I almost got killed.
My homies keep on getting shot and their moms think it's because
of me. Anyway, I live in the ghetto. I would rather live somewhere
where I don't get shot at.
I see my friends die but that's what happens when you join a
Sitting Waiting Patiently!
Here I sit waiting patiently for things to change.
gang. You have to keep on fighting and fighting for your life.
Months went past, but things still stayed the same!
From The Beat: We wish you the best of luck and protection. We want you Same bullet in my heart, new bullet in my mind,
to be safe and we don’t want you to hurt others. We have met people that I hate to say it but I make the same mistakes in life!
left the gangs behind. They don’t betray anyone, they just move on. Do
you think you could do that? So now, I sit in this stupid place.
Do not know when I am going home,
but it was supposed to be any day!
However, they said that two months ago now
Gonna Stay Out I am starting to give up because deep down I know
I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m back. I’m very irritated. I’m 6 the system really does not give a crap!
months pregnant and was supposed to be released a few days ago. “Another day, another dollar.”
I hope my P.O. releases me soon, that’s all I’m waiting for. All I need That is what the staff yells out.
is for him to sign a paper. When they say that I know what they talking about!
Things probably aren’t going to work out my way because I’m My PO does not care, he has stopped doing my paperwork and
still in here. When I get out I’m going to stay out of here because will not even come see me.
I’m going to have my baby. My P.O. might lock me up for no reason. However he wants me to keep my cool and keep waiting
From The Beat: We also hope once you leave you don’t come back. Because -Brii-Brii
now you can’t just worry about yourself, soon you will be responsible for From The Beat: Work at maintaining your peace. Be cool. When you get
another life. You need to work on being the best parent you can; your out this place will just be some nightmare you remember when you wake
baby needs you to be present in their life. at night.
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
A Terrible Tragedy Feels So Sad
I’ve said bye to a lot of people, but one of the most painful goodbyes Every time I go to visiting to see my mom I don’t want to say good-
I’ve ever had to say was probably about nine to ten years ago when bye. I want to go with her. I don’t like being without my mom
I went to visit my uncle with my mom in the downtown jail house. because it seems like we don’t have each other’s love anymore.
My uncle has always been over-protective of his sisters, which When I say bye to my mom it feels like it will be the last time I will
would be my mom or my auntie. ever get to see her again.
One night we got a call from the hospital. The nurse explained When my homie got locked up he said bye, that he was goin,
to my mother that her sister had internal bleeding in her stomach and that I could do a lot more. But when I said bye it was like there
and was lying in the hospital bed unconscious. Well anyways her was no one there for me to kick it with or talk to. I had to say bye
boyfriend had beat her in the middle of the night over a fight for to a lot of people. Some of my homies like to tell jokes and talk
her not giving him the rent money to spend on drugs. And I’m not about each other and when they’re gone it feels like everything just
talking about weed either if you know what I mean. breaks apart.
My uncle ended up doing something bad to her boyfriend The thing I hate to hear the most is when somebody calls your
and we went to go visit him in the downtown jail before he was house to say that your best friend has gotten shot or has died.
transferred to prison. It was like those old movies we used to Then when I have to go to the funeral and say my goodbyes to the
watch together when the gangsters would stick their knuckles to family, it makes me mad.
the window because you can’t shake hands. Or when you would -Mandell
talk through a phone with glass in between even though you’re From The Beat: Those are all difficult things to deal with. We all struggle
with saying goodbye in our own way. Stay up!
just a few feet away from each other because they consider you a
threat, which would make you a liability.
To the judge he’s a criminal but to my aunt and family he’s a
big brother. What would be your opinion? I know mine. Losing A Parent
-Justin Saying Good-bye is the hardest thing. My father passed away. It
From The Beat: We’re sorry to hear how things turned out for your uncle.
He must love his sisters very much. However, do you think he could have was so hard to say good-bye because my dad meant a lot to me.
handled the situation in a different way? Until this day, it hurts me so much to know that my father is not
here with me anymore. But he's always going to me in my heart.
It hurts to know that someone that you love so much is gone.
I cried like never before. I didn't have a chance to say to him that
My Friend Joseph I loved him one more time before he passed away. It hurt me so
The hardest good-bye is a good-bye I never got to say. My friend much, but my father is always with me, and looking over me.
passed away almost a year ago, and I never got to let him know how He's in a better place now. But yes, it hurts to say good-bye to
much he meant to me. I really wish he hadn't died the way he did. a loved one.
Joseph was a kind and beautiful young man who was hit by a train. –Leticia
I know a lot of people who cared for him very much, and his From The Beat: We are so sorry for your loss. We wish you healing and
death brought a lot of sorrow and pain. He was one of those people
who brought a smile to your face without meaning to. Anyways, I
really hope he rests in peace. Good-bye and I love you.
From The Beat: We are sorry for your loss. You may not have gotten to say The Thing I hate Hearing the
goodbye in person, but you just said it in writing.
Well, I’m going to tell you about what I hate to hear the most; it’s
when my baby daddy calls my phone every 10 or 15 minutes to ask
The Hardest Thing what I’m doing. It makes me mad because sometimes I’ll be asleep,
The hardest thing to do was say goodbye to my mom. It was when or in the shower, or cleaning up, or feeding my daughter.
I got arrested and my mom had to go to the police car and I had That’s why I hate having a cell phone, hearing it ring every 10
to say good-bye. My mom had to say goodbye to me too, and when or 15 minutes. I’d rather him call me twice a day.
I looked back my mom started to cry. She doesn’t have anyone -Bothered
else because she was sick when I left and my brother was already From The Beat: We can understand how that would be annoying. Have
you ever tried talking to him about it and asking him to stop calling so
moving out the house. When my mom was sick she had no one frequently?
else but me.
From The Beat: We hope you get out soon. Your mom needs you!
Hearing About Death
The thing I hate to hear the most is when the staff calls for visiting
Devastating Earthquake In Japan and I don’t get one. The thing I hate to hear is when one of my
Today, a disastrous earthquake hit the lands of Japan taking family members dies like my best cousin Armando. He was driving
lives, people's homes and food. It started as an 8.9 earthquake, away from the police on a high-speed chase.
which led to a tsunami that washed a big part of Japan. I just want His girlfriend was driving and going a 100 miles per hour and
to say sorry to those people who lost their families overseas in he didn’t have a seat belt. She cut a corner hella fast and he flew
this disaster. I hope that help from the U.S. gets over there quick out the window and hit the edge of the wall. He was alive for ten
enough to rescue those survivors. minutes before the ambulance got to him.
From The Beat: We also hope the same thing too. Our prayers go out to From The Beat: It sounds like your cousin wasn’t in a very good situation.
those devastated by this disaster. It is very painful to hear that a loved one has passed.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Life In Probation School
I can't imagine being here again. Once I'm done with my time, my
probation will be terminated. The one thing that will stop me is the
school I'm going to is a probation school. The main thing I don't
like about that school is when you walk into the gates, you get
checked with a metal detector.
You can't wear any gang colors. The second thing is the school
food. We eat the same thing everyday. Ham sandwiches with an
apple dulce. It reminds me of the same thing about here but I don't
have to eat alone.
I only like one thing about school and it is the snack stand.
They have noodles, chips, and fruit snacks. The one thing I like are
fruit snacks. They are the bomb. The third thing is that I don't like
From The Beat: It won’t be easy surviving probation school, but stick with
it and pretty soon you’ll be done. Stay up!
“The Ride” Story
Two months ago, my two older cousins and I were going to the
mall, and we had lots of weed and just started smoking a lot, until
we were all falling asleep on the freeway. We then stopped at a
liquor store and we brought four beers, parked at the mall and
started drinking them. When we finished, we got the munchies and
went to Burger King.
We finally went into the mall, and we were all messed up,
with our eyes red, and lowered, people staring at us, and we were
staring back at them. We all had over $100 and we met back at a
store bought a lot of stuff.
From The Beat: Sounds like you and your friends had an interesting day
at the mall. You obviously know that underage drinking and smoking is
illegal. What was it that compelled you all to behave in the negative way
that you did? Would it help to have more positive activities for young
people to do?
Life In The Ghetto
The ghetto is the where you grow up most of the time, either if
you’re poor or don’t know where else to stay. The ghetto is where
mostly poor people stay. You know you’re in the ghetto when you
see all kinds of kids outside playing in the street, little kids with
no clothes or when you see babies just wearing pampers.
To some people the ghetto is home because that’s all they
know. The opposite of the ghetto is where rich people live and are
more uptight with their kids. When I was in the ghetto I saw bums,
people getting in fights and people who don’t care.
From The Beat: Sadly, the ghetto is home to most young children as you
point out. What do you think the ghetto needs in order to become a better
I Could Have Dies
Almost Died In A Car Chase Well in the accident I was in, me and the homeboys were messing
I have been in a crazy ride where we were trying to get away from around peeling out and burning rubber. We were drifting around
the cops. We crashed but we all got away except some of my friends corners and speeding when out of nowhere we hit a car and I broke
got hurt. my leg and hit my head on the dashboard.
We crashed into a tree going about 50mph down a side street. I blacked out and woke up seconds later and got out of the
There were three people in the car and I say I was the lucky one. I car. I ran home, but went to the hospital. After that I didn't like
say God was there to protect us cause a lot of worse things could messing around in cars because I could have died.
have happened. -Eduardo
-Vincent From The Beat: Yes, you could have. We are glad you didn’t, and we’re even
From The Beat: You were very lucky to survive. What was going through more glad that you decided to stop messing in cars after that. Otherwise
your mind as all of that happened? you’d have wasted that second chance you got!
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
Stand Up To Bullying The Ghetto
The things I hate to hear the most are when people try to bully The Ghetto is a form of style. When people say, “that’s ghetto”,
others. I hate this the most because I think that's not correct, and they probably mean that whatever they are referring to reminds
it's mean. I think that people that get bullied don't say anything, them of the ghetto. Ghetto mentality is the state of mind, like the
and I think that's not correct for anybody not to speak up. I think, way people talk, think, or do certain things.
in my opinion, that they should defend themselves. What makes me ghetto is my mood towards certain things.
In my opinion, if I see someone else try and bully, I would The ghetto is where there are run-down houses, drug dealers,
stand up and stop it because, like I said, it's not correct. I had a and where a majority of people on welfare live. The hood is
little situation before with my older cousin and my little cousin. basically anywhere, no matter where you live. The barrio is a very
My cousin was trying to bully my little cousin, and I stood up for well-respected place, and the people who mainly live there are very
my little cousin and stopped my little brother. respectful.
–Liz The positive aspects of the ghetto is -- that there are
From The Beat: We agree, bullying is wrong, and unfortunately we are all none. Negative aspects about the ghetto is that there are drug
affected by it. Good for you for standing up for your little cousin, we hope
more people stand up to bullies. dealers (who sell drugs in the neighborhood, and shoots up the
neighborhood, without caring if kids or out or not.) I do not want
any part of my life in the ghetto. The opposite of ghetto to me is
a rich neighborhood. I am proud of living some of my life in the
The Things I Hate to Hear the Most ghetto because it made me stronger. For me, the ghetto is a very
The things I hate to hear the most are when my grandma talks to rough neighborhood.
me, but she talks really loud even though I'm right in front of her. -Samantha
From The Beat: You have great insights, his is a very thoughtful piece.
Sometimes, I get mad. I say something like, “Grandma, I'm right Now that you have gotten stronger, what kind of mentality do you want
here, you don't have to talk that loud.” to have? You sound like a person capable of living a successful happy life.
Will you have to leave some of your “ghetto habits” behind?
The worst thing about it is that she's not deaf. When I'm on
the phone, she'll be calling my name and talking, and the person
I'm talking to can hear it. Maybe she is deaf. I also hate it when
I'm outside and she calls my name so loud it echoes, especially Saying Goodbye
when I'm on the way to the store and she forgot to tell my to get Saying goodbye was the hardest thing on the day that my best
something. friend passed away. She and I grew up together. She and her sister
–John passed away last year. They were hit by a drunk driver, and got into
From The Beat: When people get old their hearing tends to go. Have
patience with your Grandma; maybe she doesn’t know how loud she a car accident. That day, their mother lost two daughters, and was
sounds. left with only a baby son. My friend meant a lot to me, so it hurt to
know that I had lost her. We’d gotten into a fight, and I’m glad that
we were able to make peace before she passed on into another life.
I miss her the most on her birthday.
Goodbye Mom -Pookie
The last time it was hard for me to say goodbye was when I got From The Beat: We are sorry for your loss but we are glad you were able
to reconnect before she passed. On her birthday, when you miss her the
arrested. It was midnight and I was in my house. I was asleep on most, try doing something special in her honor so you can celebrate her
my couch when five or six cops came in to arrest me. life in a positive way.
My mom was with me. The cops handcuffed me, and my
mom said goodbye to me one last time. She can't come to see me
because she doesn't have her I.D. She hasn't seen me in two and a
half months. So, that was the hardest goodbye I ever had to make.
I Am Alone
The thing that I hate to hear the most
From The Beat: We hope your connect with your mom soon! Can you write is me telling myself that I’m alone.
her a letter? I hate it, but I can’t stop thinking about it.
It goes over and over in my head,
“You’re alone. You’re nothing.”
I tell myself that I’m worthless.
The Thing That I Hate Sometimes I believe it.
My mind hates me.
To Hear The Most I think that I think these things
I hate when I go over to my aunt’s house and I have to share a because I feel guilty for the things I have done.
twin sized bed with my cousin, who has Asthma. My cousin sleeps I feel so guilty that I’m punishing myself.
really hard, and makes some kind of irritating noise. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m dirty.
she snores extremely loud, too. I have no friends.
If she isn’t breathing right, she turns on a machine because I hate hearing that voice in my head
her Asthma is really bad. The machine is really loud. Sometimes telling me negative things.
she makes a weird noise while snoring, and she’ll have the machine I don’t want to believe it, but I do.
on, too. I try to keep the voices out, but I can’t.
I hate it, because I can’t sleep at night. Then she’ll wake up I don’t know what to do or what to believe anymore.
super early –way earlier than me– so I’ll be really upset with her All I know is that I’m alone.
and tell her to go sleep in her mama’s room. -Summers
-Alexandria From The Beat: You may be alone but you are something worthwhile. We
From The Beat: That sounds uncomfortable; maybe you could try sleeping know the wars of the mind and we suggest positive mantras. Fake it until
on the couch. A good night sleep makes all the difference. you make it. Peace, luck and love.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
My Heart Hurts Saying Goodbye
My heart is telling me to do right, and do not worry. I just want to Saying goodbye is the hardest thing when you love that person.
go home with my family. I miss them so much, and love them so Saying goodbye is the hardest thing when they say that they’ll
much. I just want to get out of here. I do not know why I did what I come back when you know, deep down inside, that they will never
did to be in here, I just do not want to be here no more. return. Saying goodbye is the hardest thing when you watch that
I hope I go home tomorrow to be with my family. person pack their bags, and you know that there’s nothing you can
Please let that happen, I just want to be in my own home and do or say to stop them.
my own room with my sister and my dogs. I just want to be with Saying goodbye is the hardest thing when the last words you
my parents. Just let me go home. I missed my home. This is my will ever hear them say are “I love you.” You watch them walk out
first time in; I am scared to be here in these clothes. I miss going the door and count every step they take. Saying goodbye is the
outside of my house and playing with my dogs, and my brothers hardest thing when you see them get into that car and realize that
and sisters. you will never see them again.
It really hurts my heart. I just want to go to my family that Saying goodbye is the hardest thing when you realize that the
I love. I do not like it in here. I hope I can go home a day early, person who promised to come back isn’t coming back. They said
because like I said, it is just my first time in here. I do not want to that they love you, but they’re not coming back.
be here again. -Yaritza
-Justina From The Beat: Saying goodbye is never easy, but we all must say goodbye
From The Beat: We hope you get out and you never come back here again. to the people we love at some point. Keep with you the good memories
of your time together.
A Practical Joke that Didn't Work A Hard Thing
Well, it was one night when we had a big sleepover with my cousins Saying goodbye can be some of the hardest things ever done.
and our friends. We were writing on their faces, like we normally do However, when one does not get to say goodbye, it is one of the
at sleepovers, so my cousin and I wanted to do something different. worse things that could happen. Even though saying good-bye can
We went inside our grandpa's room and grabbed the crazy glue out. be hard, at the end of times you feel alright, when that person goes
We thought it would be funny to do what we were planning. to heaven, you will feel just fine, that you got to say goodbye. Even
So we were looking for one of our friends, but couldn't find him. though it hurts and it aches.
Then we heard someone snoring in the closet. We opened it up and I wish I had gotten to say goodbye to that angel high in the sky.
found him in there. We grabbed his hand, put crazy glue on his It is so sad to say good-bye, but at the end of times it is best to say
hand, and put it on his face. good-bye, because you will never know when it will be the last time
The next morning, we woke up, thinking it was cool until we you see that person before they go into the sky.
heard someone yelling. It was him. He had yanked his hand off his -Hershey
face, ripping out his eyebrow, eye lashes, and the skin on his lips. From The Beat: We agree. That means live everyday with your family as
if it is your last.
It didn't look pretty after that.
He was bleeding, so his mom took him to the emergency. We
felt so bad. Our parents yelled at us, and we were grounded for a
Three Questions, Three Answers
From The Beat: That’s unfortunate. We know you didn’t mean any harm To me, the ghetto is an old, beat-down town where drugs, gangs,
but think about what you do even when you are joking. hookers and prostitutes live.
My car would have 24 spinners on a white or black caddy. I
wouldn't have a vato. I'm better off riding solo.
I cannot imagine myself down, down, doing all the bad. That's
Saying Goodbye not where I want to be. I would like to be in a good neighborhood
A very painful goodbye that I had to go through was on January or community with no drugs, violence, or games. I would do a good
7, 2009. I had to say goodbye to a very important part of me. My job of raising my own family and having a good job, car, and home.
Aunt Jane had passed away due to blood clots that were in her –Angela
legs and they unexpectedly burst. The bad part was that my Great- From The Beat: Good. We don’t want you to imagine doing bad, or going
even a little bit down. If you start going down then you are on the way
Grandmother, which was her Mother, had been in the hospital the to bad.
last two months because she had a major heart attack. It was
especially hard to break the news to her that her own daughter
This was totally unbearable to me because she meant so The Ghetto Vs. The Hood
much to me. About three weeks went by, and I was just trying When people say, “That's so ghetto,” they mean it isn't somewhere
to cope with the loss of my Aunt, when I get the news that My to be at or something. I do think there's a difference between
Great-Grandmother had past away as well. At this point, I was just the ghetto and the ‘hood because the hood doesn't always look
heartbroken. ugly. I grew up around people from the hood and it makes me feel
Losing two of my close family members in less than a month comfortable.
just tore me apart. I had no idea how to handle this at all. However, I feel safe. I'm not ashamed of where I'm from. I honestly don't
with time, you slowly start to realize they are in a better place, and care if people think I'm ghetto. I like where I'm from and the people
they will always be in your heart, no matter what. that I hang out with. I am not ashamed.
From The Beat: WE are sorry for your loss, but it sounds like you have a From The Beat: Good. You should not be ashamed of who you are or where
strong and positive outlook on things. You’re right, they will always be you are from. There are criminal opportunities in the hood. Just ‘cause
in your heart. your from there does that mean you have to do them.
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
The Ghetto Good And Bad Car Stories
People see the ghetto and they talk bad about it. Well, I’m from I have never had my own car before, but I have many car stories. I
the hood, you could call me ghetto all you want, but ain’t nothing have good and bad ones. Starting off with one of the good ones. I
gonna change. I’m not ashamed to be called ghetto or live in the use to live in Pennsylvania. My brother, his wife and I decided to
ghetto. I grew up in the hood, and so did my parents. When I have drive back to Fresno, CA. It was the longest road trip for me ever. It
kids one day, they’re gonna be from the same hood I’m from so I took us about four days just to get here. The fun part was stopping
don’t know why people are ashamed of the ghetto. in every state at the rest stops.
That’s my home always. No matter where I live, I will always We passed about seven or eight states. It was nice seeing
go back to visit the hood. You feel me? 'Cause I’m hood, hood, different things in every state. We also rested in three different
hood. Where all the gangstas get hyphy. Like it or not, I’m who I am hotels. It was a nice experience, and a long, long trip.
and not gonna change for anybody. One of the worst things that had happened to me involving a
-Shala car was when I went to sleep over at my cousin’s house. The next
From The Beat: It’s great to be proud of where you are from, we wouldn’t day early in the morning, my mom came and made me go home. I
want it any other way. It’s your home! The question is how you live in
your home, how you treat yourself, how you act towards your neighbors, asked my mom, “What was the rush?” She then explained to me
and how you set a model for the people who look up to you. Can you be that our house had been involved in a drive-by when I was not
‘ghetto’ and positive at the same time?
home that night. I was furious after my mom told me the problem.
Ever since that situation happened, I do not leave my house
at night anymore. Therefore, I know I will be there to protect my
I Can’t See Myself Being Sick or family.
Poor or Homeless From The Beat: You’re right, long road trips can be a lot of fun but can also
be exhausting. Hearing about the drive-by must have been scary. Do you
I can't see myself being a bum. I see myself with a middle class life, know why it happened. Hopefully no one got hurt.
living good with my own family. I want to live in the same hood I
stay in now. I do picture myself graduating from high school and
college with a good job. I see myself living a long life, watching my
kids grow older and have babies of their own as well. Saying Goodbye
Because I see myself changing my life from bad to good, I I think that saying goodbye is that hardest thing to do because
believe I can do it with the help of some loved ones. And that is once I had this boyfriend, and he told me that he loved me, and I
how I see myself in the future. believed him. I thought that I loved him too.
–Amber Later on, I felt something strange. He was acting really strange.
From The Beat: What steps are you taking to make sure that you change
your life into what you want it to be? It’s great that you have support, Then I found out that he was cheating. My heart was broken, and
what will you need your loved ones to help you with? I cried so much when I found out; but, at the same time, I was
saying, “I’m so stupid!” and that I knew that this would happen.
Later one, he text me and said, “It’s best for us not to talk
anymore.” I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to do. It was
My Ninth Time In The Hall really hard for me to just let him go, but I manned up and said,
I am 15 years old and this is my 9th time in JJC. It's not nice to “Okay then, I understand. Have a nice life.”
keep coming back to this place for some stupid stuff. I get tired of I haven’t talked to him since. Even though it was really hard to
coming in and going out. I get hella bored and you have to get up say goodbye, it’s actually way better now.
early in the morning to do some PT, and then the staff gets on my -Marlene
nerves. From The Beat: That guy does not sound like he is respecting you. It was
courageous of you to completely stop talking to him, that’s not always
They talk bull when they tell you when to go to bed at night. I easy to do. You deserve to be treated with respect, move on and someday
don't even listen to my own mom when she tells me to go to sleep. you’ll find someone who treats you better.
I'm ready to get out of this place. I've got a kid and I'm in here for a
dumb reason. I need to take care of my baby and my girl needs me.
From The Beat: We agree that you should be with your kid. Get straight
and get out and never come back (But DO write to The Beat Without and
The Ghetto Is Everywhere
let us know how you’re doing!)
The ghetto will follow you everywhere you go. I was brought into
the ghetto. The ghetto is everywhere you go, from a street or a
hood. It is everywhere, and in any country. The ghetto is what you
make of it, and ask yourself, is it hard to leave your hood and
That'll Never Happen all your homies? Is it hard to move out your hood in the ghetto,
When I think about my future, I think about the cars, house, and because you miss doing drugs or drinking with your homies?
career that will become my happiness. I know even though my past Now, those were not your homies. Homies do not give you
is bad, and I've been in here ten times, my future is still bright! In drugs or tell you lets rob somebody. When you live in the ghetto,
my future, I'll never be homeless or unhappy. you will soon live the life style that is around you the most. I don’t
I can't imagine myself without a job or a diploma. I plan to feel living in the ghetto at all.
go to college, open a restaurant, and be successful. I hope to Everyday my hood is at war with all my enemies. You do not
marry my girlfriend, and adopt some kids from the Philippines. know when an enemy can come and do a drive by. We are also on a
I can't imagine myself leading a life that isn't full of success and drug war, with other drug sellers. A crack house on every corner of
happiness. the block. Everywhere you go on the ghetto; you must always pack
–Miah heat, or carry a knife on you. Your enemies are everywhere you go.
From The Beat: Wow! You have a great attitude and outlook on life. What -J
concrete steps are you taking to make sure these dreams come true, and From The Beat: We agree that the ghetto is not the place to be. No young
that there is no eleventh time? person should have to be raised in this kind of setting.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Smashing Cars The Ghetto
I remember when my aunt and her friends were in the car driving Some people say that the word "ghetto" means something like, if
down the street to go buy some groceries. We stopped at the light someone tells a person he looks ghetto it's probably because he
when all of a sudden a car crashed on the front light of my aunt's wears ugly clothes and he has torn up shoes. Or it could mean that
car. Our car skidded back and when the ambulance got there they he probably has a messed up house, or the block he lives on is
asked us a couple of questions. probably a dysfunctional place.
After that they told us that we were free to go so my aunt took The ghetto is for people who have dysfunctional families. Also,
me to my house and we just called it a day. on the ghetto side there are gangs with guns, drugs, and money.
-Miguel Gangs have to protect their drugs, because if they don't people will
From The Beat: Accidents always slow down the action and freeze frame
it. We’re glad you were OK. start to shoot each other and that makes a huge problem.
From The Beat: Dysfunctional is a good way to put it – it’s a place where
things don’t “function” or work, in a way that helps the people who live
there. What do you think would need to happen to get the function back
I’m Not Going To Be A Bad Mother in these communities?
I know I’m not going to be a bad mother. I know I’m not going to
stay in the same bad place I stayed for years. My kids will love and
appreciate me and they will remember my name, and tell stories
about me to their kids and their kids’ kids. My Crazy Car Ride
I want them to realize what not to be and what not to try and One day, my cousin called me and said he was drinking at his
what route they should go on. I’m not trying to tell them how to live friends. He told his brother and myself to go and pick up his Chevy
their lives, just to visualize and think where they are going to go, Suburban but his brother stopped by my aunt’s house to pick up
and what they are going to become. I want to live in a place where his sister. When we were picking up his sister, my aunt came out
my children can have a free education and a place where they feel and said to get off and have a drink with her so my cousin said
they can be themselves. I imagine myself not being able to talk to okay.
my children, and actually listen to them. We got off and were there at my aunt’s for a while. My cousin
These are the things I can’t imagine, and if they do, this is how kept calling me to ask where we were so an hour and a half later we
I will fix them. left and were on the way to pick up the Suburban finally. When we
-Alexis got there my cousin was drunk and all his friends came out with
From The Beat: We hear you saying you want to be a good parent. Have him. My cousin wanted to go cruising and I was like, “I don’t know,
you thought about what you want to do before having kids, what kind if you want to I guess.”
of a job you want to have, so you can support them? And what kind of
partner would you want, to help you raise your kids well? So then we left. I got on the freeway and we were on our way.
We were cruising on a big street on the way back home. My cousin
wanted to drive but I didn’t want to let him cause he was drunk and
we stopped to talk to my cousin and my other cousin jumped into
My Cruiser the driver seat.
I spend plenty of time using my car as a cruiser. My friends and I I didn’t want to go but my brother asked me to because I was
had fun. We went to a lot of places, like a restaurant and spending the only sober one so I went. We got on the freeway and my cousin
time with family. I own an Acura Legend and I have been thinking was swerving. A cop got on a high-speed chase and we crashed. I
about selling it. In reality, I have not had any accidents. I just move will never forget that day. One of my friends almost died.
when the cars are moving. I stay at the speed limit and I learned -Cinco
From The Beat: You guys were very lucky to survive. The results could have
how to parallel park when I was 15 years old. been far worse. You guys could have crashed into another car and hurt
What makes me happy is having a car that a lot of girls like. or killed innocent people. What has this experienced taught you about
One time I drove to a bus stop and I parked there because I saw a engaging in risky behavior?
pretty girl. Then I hollered at her and she walked over, and she gave
me her number and then we started dating.
A few months later, our relationship went to a whole new level.
We ended up doing things in the car that you can’t imagine and I The Ride
ended up getting a $100 ticket. I paid it, but I was mad. The only What's crackin' Beat? Today I'm gonna write about the ride! It was
reason I was able to pay it was because I have a job, and I worked the 4th of July, summer of 09'. My homeboy gave me a phone call
hard to pay it off. I only get paid $10 per hour. and said, "Let’s chill tonight." I gave him an OK and he said he'd
-Sonic pick me up in a little bit. He picked me up and we left.
From The Beat: It takes a lot of responsibility to own a car and it sounds When we got there we started drinking, smoking, and
like you learned the hard way. What will you do to make sure you engage
in responsible behavior as a driver in the future? smacking. Another boy hit me up and asked if I could pick him
up. On my way I picked up three more people. When we got back
to the spot we drank and smoked some more. It was about 11:50
I’m not trying to tell them how PM when I was asked if I can drive them home before I left. I said,
"Yeah, come on."
to live their lives, just to So as I was leaving I was going about 55mph shifting into 5th
when one of the girls touched the stick with her knee. I slammed
visualize and think where they on the clutch, rode it, down shifted, and ended up crashing into an
are going to go, and what they -Kraze
From The Beat: Oh wow. You must have been freaked out, knowing
are going to become. children could have been killed, in addition to you and the girls you were
with. Did this make you stop driving under the influence? We hope so.
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
I Can’t See But I Know I Can’t Imagine Myself Not Being
Where I am Going In And Out Of Jail!
I want to do a lot in my life. I want a good future. So far it’s not
Why? Because I love to have fun, party, break the rules. I can’t
going so great. When I get out of here, I want to change my ways.
see myself not doing that stuff; life would be so dull and boring.
But I know it’s about to be hard.
I also can’t see myself being homeless and on the street anymore
Other people may not understand. They may think, what’s so
because it is way too damn cold, that’s why I need to get my act
hard about it? But to me, it is. I’m so used to that type of lifestyle,
together and stop leaving my group home.
anything else would be different. But I know if I want a good future,
Another thing I can’t see myself doing is staying in a group
I got a lot to change. It’s not going to happen overnight, I know it’s
home until I am 18. Either I will get locked up or graduate from the
going to take some time. I can’t imagine myself being in and out
group home program, and go to a foster home. I can’t see myself
of jail. But they way I’m going, it just might happen. But I know, I
failing in life any longer after this.
don’t want that for my future. My future is about to be cool! Just
watch and see! From The Beat: You are saying two different things in this piece, like
-Serena you are being pulled in two different directions. Do you feel this way
From The Beat: You are absolutely right, it is hard. If it were easy, everyone inside too? Conflicted? Because sure breaking rules is fun, but didn’t it
would do it. But you are a step ahead because you can see that it’s easy, also create a lot of unhappiness in your life?
and look the challenge straight in the face. What is your next step?
I Love Cars
I Am Ready I love riding in cars for some reason, especially when I’m riding
It’s hard seeing me successful. Like really, I don’t. That shhh with my friends. I always go on road trips with my friends. We will
seems to happen to other ninjas. For me, it’s the grind it out type go to the river, or just ride around cruising. When I’m riding in a
of life. I don’t know what I have to do to break out of this. I want car, I like the music to be loud and the window down.
to have boundaries. I want to be able to provide for my family, but I have seen a lot of stuff happen in a car. I have seen car wrecks.
I always wind up short. I have seen a car hit people and lots of other stuff. I remember
I could get some more education and some skills, but I know when my mom would be sleeping at night and I would take her
what I am, struggling with this in my soul. God wants to give me keys and smash her van. I use to drive it down the alley.
the gold. I want to accept it but still it does not come to me. What My mom used to let my friends drive it too, until it got
am I doing or what am I not doing? God please, I am ready. Deliver repossessed. Then my mom got a Honda. Then I smashed it too.
it to me. I remember I was parking it one time and I went up the curb and
-Jamalia almost into my house.
From The Beat: Hang in there, don’t quit. Can you find positive mentors, One time I was sitting on the car. While my mom took off in it I
join a support group, get advice? If you really want these things, there are
organizations that can help you get them! was still on it, and I jumped off while she was still driving it. Then I
fell backwards, which hurt. But I like fast cars, my car of choice is
a muscle car, but I prefer a scraper on some 24s with a brand new
The Ghetto -Russell
From The Beat: Sounds like you’ve been in some crazy and dangerous
Well I like being in the ghetto because that's where I was raised scenarios with cars. Cars can be a lot of fun, but remember to always be
in. I like it because it's fun and because I like to fight, and for safe.
some reason it's because of the people there. I like walking with
my people and cruising with them. It's always loud and I feel like
it's my home.
-Eduardo This Week’s Topics
From The Beat: It’s fun fighting, until it isn’t. Are there some ways you can When I hear the word ghetto I think of someone who is poor and
have fun without the pain that comes with it? The people you hurt, the doesn’t have a lot of money, people who live in low-income housing
hurt you feel, the dangers of losing your freedom or your life?
and people who have clothes that don’t fit. I like living in the ghetto.
There are a lot of things you can do and when you walk around
people don’t say anything to you because all of us are the same. It
I Cannot! feels the same way when you’re up in here because when you talk
I cannot see myself behind another door and not being able to walk to someone, they listen and want to hear what you are saying.
out when ever I want. Being told what to do and what not to do. I When I am in other people’s cars I don’t feel right. I think to
cannot see myself asking someone to use the restroom and get myself, does this person know how to drive or is the car stolen?
some water. I cannot see myself wearing other people’s clothing The car I want to own one day is a 64 Mustang with a 5.0 motor,
again. with two white stripes from the trunk to the hood.
Eating some nasty cold beans and unable to see my family. I What I see myself not doing is going to the pen for some
cannot and will not see myself in another jail or prison. I cannot years. I don’t see myself walking around with no shoes or asking
see myself stressing at night before court. Seeing my mom in so for money and sleeping under a bridge and going to the homeless
much pain. I will not suffer lack of sleep each night again. I cannot shelter. I do not see myself doing drugs when I am older. I see
see myself having to gamble my food with cellmates to satisfy my myself getting out of here and going to the NFL and playing for the
hunger. I cannot see myself in this corrupt system anymore. 49ers one day. I can imagine myself walking across the stage and
-Flipp getting a high school diploma and making my mom proud.
From The Beat: It sounds like you have a lot of motivation and drive to -Maurice
improve your current situation so that you never have to be in it again. From The Beat: Wow, thanks for taking the time to share your positive
We’ll be there to support you! mindset and wonderful writing with us!
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
My Closest Call The Ride
Last year before I got locked up my dad used to let me borrow his The worse car wreck I have seen in my entire life was when I was
car, and I liked driving his car because I went everywhere and was going to my brother's house. My brother and I were close by his
out late. It was a 1996 Mustang and it was a cool car. house but we were on the busy street. There was a black truck in
I remember one day I asked my dad to let me borrow the car front of us. He was driving kind of crazy and he was driving fast.
and he let me. I went to a party and got drunk and high. When I was My brother was honking the horn at him, but he wasn't
on my way to the store with my boy to get some beer we saw a cop. I listening. He kept driving crazy. So I was thinking he was drunk
got scared because I thought he was going to pull me over. I tried to driving. We were going by a pole and he was driving near it and he
look older. When we got to the store I told my friend to drive back was still going fast. Then he hit the pole so hard his engine came
because he had his license, so it was all good that day. out.
I didn't go home that night because I didn't want to get pulled We thought he was dead because he wasn't getting out of his
over for being drunk. That was my closest call. Well that's all Beat, car. We went to help him and went near his car. When we were near,
I'm chillin' here up in my pod training to switch pods. he got out and started limping, so we thought his leg was broken.
-Lil Smiley He sat down on the curb and he called the police.
From The Beat: We’re glad you didn’t get caught drunk driving. Both you I was glad he wasn't dead.
and your dad would have to pay then. Did you ever do it again? Or did you
learn from this close call? -Jimari
From The Beat: We are glad he is alright, although his car isn’t. The price
of drinking and driving is too high. It’s not worth it. Imagine if he’d killed
someone else, and would have to have that on his shoulders for the rest
of his life!
I Would Like To Break The Chain
I can't imagine myself doing a lot of things. First off, I couldn't see
myself not graduating high school. Graduating at least high school
would make my family proud of me and I would be too. I cannot see Seeing Myself For The Better
myself as a homeless person on drugs. What I can imagine myself doing is being somebody big. I cannot
I was raised better than that. I would like to break the chain. be a teacher because I don’t have those skills, but I keep trying
Meaning, most of my family has been through the struggle, or is then I know I can. Also I want to be someone with a good record,
going through it, and I know how to avoid that mess, if only I'd get because I am already in here, so that’s forever. If I could take it
my head out of my butt. I couldn't see myself strung out on drugs back, I would take it all back, just imagine that. I cannot see myself
period. I was raised better than that. I just need to show my family in another jail being locked up. I do not like being in here.
and myself. If I were to get out, I would never come back. I miss my family
–Meme and I love them so much, I cannot take it anymore in here. All
From The Beat: Rock on, but just because you were raised a certain way I want to do is be on the outside and spend the rest of my life
doesn’t mean these things couldn’t happen. Did ever see yourself being
locked up for example? What can you do to control where and how you outside with my family, and not be behind the walls.
end up? I cannot imagine myself in here anymore. I just want out and
when I get out, I am going to cry and hug my family, and tell them
how much I love them. I do not like seeing my mom suffer, and also
my family. I know they do not like to see me like that way, and I
It’s Called Life know for sure that they are never going to see me like that again. I
Do I find life or does life miss them so much, that I just want to break out already.
Find me with every door I cannot not see myself in that cop car anymore. I am going to
Opening, did reality find make sure that I am not in here anymore. I am going to make sure
Me or did I find reality that I have one big loving family.
With every thought -Shawn
Hidden left and right From The Beat: We can tell that you really miss your family. But you just
have to be strong and hang on until you get out because when you do,
Did the mine frame and thought you can really have the experience that you want with your family. How
Find me or did the thought find me will you make sure you never end up in the hall again?
From The Beat: There are some deep thoughts in this poem, the kinds that
keep people up at night. As for life, you’re living it right now. Do you feel
I Can’t See Good
I can't imagine myself doing the right thing like staying out of
JJC. This is my second time in here, but for being my second
My Princess time, I might be hitting CYA and I'm just barely a teenager! Being
so young and hitting CYA, that's not good for me, but you know
I can't wait to get out and spend time with the love of my life. She
things happen. It's not like I can go back and change my past, but
is the most amazing thing in my life besides my family. She stayed
I'm going to change my future.
with me through all this drama and she's the only thing that keeps
I don't want to keep coming back to a place like this. It's not
me from doing bad.
good in here. There are some nasty food that people don't like to
Her name's Misty. I just can't wait to marry her. Her personality
eat. But we chose to be in here. It's not like we could go back and
is nice and good. Another good thing about her is she's a twin and
change our lives, or else we would.
I'm also a twin. So, we might have twins, but I just want her to
know that I will always love her forever. From The Beat: It sounds like you a part of you thinks you can’t imagine
-Juan the good, and another part of you is already trying to get there. We have
From The Beat: We are glad you have found someone you want to be with. faith in that second part of you. CYA is no place to be, but for a person
We hope you can get out and be together – and then stay together by not with intelligence, it doesn’t have to be the end. Like you say – the past is
getting caught back up in the system! done, but you still get to make your future!
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
Car Thief Story The Ghetto
My story about a car is when one of my friends and I drove across Most people think the ghetto is
town. We were driving to Los Angeles. It was my first time actually A hood, but it’s not. The ghetto
driving a long way without a parent. I was cool because I got to see Is mostly houses that are abandoned
a lot of stuff. I saw car accidents, and high speed chases. It was Or messed up. Street signs turned. Etc…
pretty cool to be able to see all of that stuff. The ghetto and the hood is something
I have also had a lot of bad events involving cars. One of them Way different. The hood is where
was with my brother’s car getting broken into. My brother and I You are from and something you bag
were going out to the car to leave and we seen him, so I started to Up. The ghetto is a part of town
run after him with a bat and I got close to him and then my brother A place where you can relax and
pulled in front of him with the car. My brother got out and I hit him. The ‘hood is where you have to watch
Nevertheless, I am getting a little too far into it, so that is my car Your back before someone shoots you or
story. Jumps you. That’s my way of
-Paul Speaking about the ghetto…
From The Beat: Sorry to hear about your brother’s car, but hopefully you
guys didn’t mess up the guy. Is there another way you could have resolved -P. Macc’n
this situation instead of resorting to violence? From The Beat: Sounds like there’s a lot of stress in the life you describe…
do you think this is what your life will always be like, or do you have a
different idea for your future?
In the future, I can’t see myself not doing something. I can’t and
don’t want to see myself not going anywhere in life. I am going
Laying Out My Plans
When I think about my future I see success, happiness, and what
to go to school and graduate with a degree in whatever it is that could be called the perfect life. When I look back and think about
I decide to do. I see myself as a teacher, musician, historian, or all the things I’ve done, I notice that my actions have given me a
following a career path in one of the things I like to do. negative future. So now I’m trying to change my ways in life so my
I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like without at least future will change into a positive one.
a high school diploma, and some sort of college education. I can’t I plan on attending school every day, so I can graduate high
see myself watching everyone I know and love growing up, and school. With a high school diploma I can get a job where I can make
moving on with their lives; while I’m left standing there asking good money. My money that I get should provide me with my wants
myself what happened, wondering what happened to my friends, and needs. With this future plan I see myself being successful with
my family. a nice home, nice car, and a fridge full of food.
I can’t imagine myself at rock bottom saying, “What do With all these things, I can start my own family. Hopefully I
I do now?” but knowing that there’s nothing I can do, because will be happy especially if I do the right things that I know will get
I’ve already messed up too much. That’s the future that I cannot me in a better situation than I am in now. I know this is going to be
imagine myself being in. hard and takes a lot of work, but to me it will be worth it.
-Still Life -Ethan
From The Beat: You imagine some great things for yourself and we know From The Beat: It sounds like you’re setting yourself up for success! That’s
you can get there. Believe in yourself as much as we believe in you. wonderful to hear. On the other hand, there may be times when you stray
from your plans. What will you do during those times to get yourself back
A Teenage Heart
Another day has went by
Another night to cry why So Many Things
The things I can’t see myself without is my family, friends, food,
I couldn’t get it through my head
TV, sports, and girls. The reason I can’t see myself without any
This is where I am going to stay
family is because I have been around them all my life. They are
If I continue ahead
the main people I care about the most, and I would do anything
Gone is what I’ll most likely be
If I end up in the pen
That’s why when I get out; I’m not going to mess up anymore,
I often think of my elementary days
so I can be there with my family when anything happens. I love my
When I didn’t have to worry about getting sprayed
family and will do anything for them.
By old friends I used to play with
I can’t live without food because it is delicious. There are
I choose the other way, the other friends,
many different types of it and I like a lot of it. I like to watch TV
And found happiness in what I gained
because it tells me what’s going on in our world and it keeps me
Even though in the future it will cause me pain
occupied for a long time. There are shows that interest me.
In many ways, I would not need to explain
I can’t live without being active or doing sports. I love playing
Life is hard coming from a teenage heart
sports because it keeps me active and healthy, and it is something
My life is young, even though I have had a hard run
fun to do with friends. I also can’t live without girls. That’s only
I’ve come close to the end on a few occasions
because I love women and want to find love in my life. I think that’s
So I will hold on to the last breath
what can make life better for me so I don’t’ end up locked up or in
Till the impact rips my chest
Causing me to make one last request
Let the time take the rest From The Beat: These are all things we need in our life to stay happy,
-John healthy and productive. What plans do you have to make sure you don’t
From The Beat: Beautiful poem, John. Thank you for sharing it with us. return to the hall?
Not everyone is what they appear to be. A lot of people regardless if The Beat Without
Reginald A. Goison
you are in prison or not have secrets and things that you could never
tell just from looking at them. Behind peoples eyes can be a lot of pain
and hidden worries. Reginald Goison who wries us from Pleasant Valley
State Prison in Coalinga, CA, shares with us what you can see from
looking into his eyes...
Can you see the tears
Grown Man that wont stop pouring
Another bottle being popped
out of me
Another thought being stopped
All this stress Is building up
I just about had enough
Cause for years ive lived in a dark world
And could never forget the face of a grown man shedding Look Into My Eyes
tears Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
Behind a mean mug Can you see the burning hatred eating at me
Cause that grown man ready Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
To take his life just for freedom Can you see the loneliness that keeps on haunting me
Cause that grown man locked in a box Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
I bet my people wouldn’t notice me Can you see the tears that wont stop pouring out of me
If they did they’d get up and run from me Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
They use to call me Mr. nice Can you see the fears that surrounding me
Way back before this dark poison invaded my veins Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
And made me insane Can you see where the love used to be
Now when I close my eyes Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
I see hate, pain and misery Can you see the evil that’s taking over me
There friends to me close like kin Look into my eyes and tell me what you see
You don’t see life man Can you see the suicidal thoughts growing in me
‘Cause I’m a grown man Look into my eyes and tell you cant see all of these
Grown man locked in a box emotions deep inside me
You'll recognize me by the loud slamming doors
I am a prison
Steven J. Avalos
Some are in prison but are in a prison within themselves. They feel so
locked up in there mind and spirit that even when you're free it can feel
like you're still locked up. This is how Steven J Avalos feel in this poem
he has written to us from Oakland, CA.
I Am A Prison I have no answers
So don't ask me why
I am a prison
I put those tears in your children’s eyes
I'm damp and I’m cold
I am a prison
I hold men that are young
Where nobody wants to be
And men that are old
I confine men who were once free
I'm surrounded by fences and gates that have locks
I control their pace
my walls are all made of concrete blocks
I slow down their stride
I am a prison
I strip them of dignity. I take their pride
And I’m feared by all
like animals that you might put in a cage
I'll give you a chill
I contain these men and watch them age
When you hear me call
I am a prison
Your name becomes a number
I am full of despair
Your face just another
I can be a mans worst nightmare
I'll show you no pity
I've been here many years and will be many more
I am not your mother
You'll recognize me by the loud slamming doors
I am a prison
I am a prison
Designed to be rough
A place you don’t want to live
I am where society houses its tough
I've so much to take but nothing to give
Nobody has beat me
But there is one who does
Though many have tried
And he hears all your pleas
But mostly they all still remain inside
So pray to the Lord Jesus for He has the keys
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 53
The Beat Without
Frank Ramirez writes to us from Ironwood State Prison in Blythe,
California, and he shares with us what it is like inside the prison walls.
How lonely and depressing it is and how it can drive you crazy. You can
almost even imagine what he is feeling just through his words.
The Prison Game Blind to the outside
Nowhere to run
Drab grey walls
No where to hid
Cold steel cage
Left 24 hours
Vindictive police These Lonely Walls
Chase cheap thrills If you could see life
To build up rage Through these lonely eyes
Voices scream You'd see the need for my disguise for who I am I
When souls are lost Hold within holding my thoughts
Concrete Walls Behind this grin for time has
Drives you insane
Cold like frost Ways to make you strong when
Trapped and alone You are not where you belong
Of the prison game
All people know is what they
Are told makes them believe my
Heart is cold with time I pay
What Am I Afraid Of For my mistakes as they all try
I am not afraid of death, nor of pain. I am afraid of my family My will to break but inside
dying and not being able to tell them goodbye. I am afraid of my Of me are walls of my own
children forgetting me, and my grand kids never knowing me. Harder than brick or even of
I am afraid of never being able to hold them in my arms, nor Stone they're part of a home
feeling the bate of your heart next to mine. Most of all I am afraid That's waiting to be complete
of losing you before we ever had our moment in life. Once again...
We can feel sometimes that we were born with a curse or just born to
do wrong and that is why we are in the situation that we're in. Maybe
that is true, and maybe it isn't. There is a plan for all of us and it is up
to each person individually if we follow it or not. If not, then we might
become “sheep to wolves in the pen” as Clarence Reese tells us. He
writes to us from Kern Valley State Prison in Delano CA.
Governor Jerry Brown Amidst leaves
I was but a kid
Chained to men Souls the wind blew
While so young Hopefully to be gathered or stored
Even sentenced harsher then the men fate has hung For a certain point in time
They tell me kid what crime casts a boy amidst men Are the souls
My reply “is youth” Who rather be gathered or stored
My youth is sheep to wolves in the pen Opposed to rid of like its prime
To be abused, harassed, mislead Which heart represents you
And used till all hope escapes away The one that believes
Leaving nothing but anger Or the heart that don’t
To fill the void emptiness came to display Am I human or paper
Sometimes I ponder Like a check who could but won't
Should I curse life for being born Upon ending
Or its bed of roses The sun sets, dust settles and smoke will clear
Whose beauty I observe pierced by lives torn While you cry the tear, you've felt
Then I think Yet held from me
Life makes mistakes Never letting near
And leaves victims like unlucky few Near til its to late, for me
Rather unlucky or unfortunate Societies forgotten tear of a tear
Page 54 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without
William Chaplar is a new contributor who has been introduced to The
Beat by our long time friend, Ismail Rahman. William writes from Wynne
Unit in Huntsville, Texas. Thank you and welcome! ,
The Power of Dismissal Stay the Course
Whether Hip Hop music is art or not is a matter of individual The Olympic Games have always provided truly motivational
taste. Since it cannot be argued, however, that it is a form of stories, but one in particular should be recalled whenever
expression, then those who perform it have the right to do so. someone is thinking about giving up. In the 1968 summer
If the lyrics are too violent, too degrading to women, or too games in Mexico City, the marathon was won by Mamo Wolde of
accepting of the drug culture, then that’s society’s problem and Ethiopia. But the real hero of the event crossed the finish line
society needs to do something about it. Rather than poking over an hour after Wolde’s triumph.
holes in the First Amendment, though, perhaps a different tactic John Akwari of Tanzania had fallen earlier on the course
should be employed by your generation. and seriously injured his knee. When he entered the stadium,
In 1999, a song came out entitled, “Everybody’s Free to he was bloodied and bandaged but he still crossed the line.
Wear Sunscreen.” It’s perfectly understandable if you’ve never When asked later why he didn’t quit, he answered, “My country
heard of it. I would hazard a guess that very few people have. And did not send me 7000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7000
therein lies the problem (and hopefully the solution). You see, miles to finish it.”
the song was highly motivational to teenagers. Indeed, it was Today, high school students face a myriad of obstacles on
initially a commencement address that was put to music. And yet their road to that all-important diploma. There are high-stakes
it was allowed to come and to go virtually unnoticed. Meanwhile, exams, curriculum changes, teacher lay-offs, and a host of other
any song perceived as being negative quickly becomes a target hurdles that can make finishing school seem like running a
for decency police squads nationwide, who rush to provide the marathon with an injured knee. But whenever the road seems
song with as much free publicity as possible. impassable, just think back to that very first day you went to
But wouldn’t it be a better use of energy and resources for school. Your parents probably did all they could to prepare you
the forces of morality to rally behind songs like “Everybody’s to embark on your educational journey. And it’s highly unlikely
Free to Wear Sunscreen” and ignore the gangsta rap? I may that they made the sacrifices they did so that you could start
be naïve, but it seems to me that such a tactic might cause the that journey. They made them with the hope that you might one
gangsta rap to fad e into musical obscurity. An excellent way to day finish it.
test this theory would be to ask your parents if they have any
recollection of the Sunscreen song. My guess is that they won’t.
Such is the power of dismissal. Maybe your generation will be
Your parents probably did all they could
able to figure out how to dismiss the bad and praise the good. to prepare you to embark on your educa-
Mine sure couldn’t.
tional journey. And it’s highly unlikely that
they made the sacrifices they did so that
Those Who Can… you could start that journey. They made
There’s a saying that, “those who can, do.”
But that’s only partially true. them with the hope that you might one
‘Cause it can’t be forgot
That they wouldn’t know squat day finish it.
If a teacher had not gotten through.
Fill It Up
School Daze Positive thinking and resilience differ quite a lot,
So here’s a way to figure out which one of these you’ve got.
In school it’s real hard to compete
Positive thinking looks at life as being a half-full cup.
When you spend all your time in the street.
Resilience sees it half-empty, then tries to fill it up.
Never tryin’ to get educated,
Math and science are things to be hated.
You spend all day actin’ a fool;
Just another punk breakin’ the rules.
Soon the other kids leave you behind
The talents we possess are what allow us to excel,
While they all try to broaden their minds.
And each of us can claim at least a few.
Scared to bring your report card to Mama;
So rather than improving at those things you don’t do well,
Still don’t know what to do with a comma.
Get more proficient at those things you do.
Failed more classes than you wanna tell,
Now you can’t read and write very well.
Don’t do nothin’ in school except play.
Probably end up in prison one day. On Being Taught
But it’s cool because you ain’t to blame; How much will you mourn in the end,
Your failure’s the school system’s shame. When your eyes they have seen their last years,
But it’s your life that’s a half-empty cup, How you’ve always despised being taught;
So stop playin’ dumb and grow up! How, to teachers, you turned a deaf ear?
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 55
The Beat Without When you're locked up nothing is funny. You have to watch your back
double the amount than you would on the streets. Life ain't no joke
when you're in jail and Robert Ramirez isn't joking around. He writes to
us from Santa Rita County Jail in Dublin, California.
No Joke And play this game how it goes
There ain’t telling if I’ll win or get washed by the system
Shhh aint no joke when yo’ life’s on the line
Rest in peace lil Rick
A product of the streets
I swear to god that I miss him
Who fell victim to doing time
Life has its ways of taking wrong turns
Paper and books seem to be my best friend
That leave you with a thousand questions
Work outs keep me focused
And a feeling that burns
Pushing hard till the end
I accept shit for what it is
I wake up every day
Because it was all meant to happen
Roll up my shhh and sip coffee
My door racked
Clean my cell a million times
It's pod time now lets make this shhh happen
‘Cause I think it looks sloppy
A real leader of my squad
As I walk to chow
I don’t know what’s left to happen
I send mines thru the glass
Keep my mouth shut and listen
Another day to tackle on the edge
Because I ain’t with too much yeppin
Ready to flash
I'll let my ink pen speak for me
Hardship and struggle is all the kid knows
And tell you what I’m thinkin’
So ant my feet firm with my people
As I mob through this week and mob harder for the weekend
Prison is nothing but a community, according to DeAngelo Coritjo,
who shares with us what it is like in a few lines. He writes to us from
Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California.
Caught Up in Prison back to a sharp tip.
I'm still in college, at Coastline Community College taking
For a while I told myself that I will not succomb to the conditions
political science and business English. I still play chess, but the
of prison: in short, that I will not become institutionalized, but life
outside seems like a fantasy, it seems like a dream.
here I find myself getting caught up in the bullshhh, the politics,
This place is set up like a society, with guys getting pimped,
and I realize that this place is taking away my intellect, and
and in the closet fags paying for sexual favors, drug dealing, all this
autonomy. The social I'm surrounded by punks, queers, killers,
shhh. I can't get into detail about it, but this shhh is crazy. I view
rapists, and people who think they’re the next (John) Gotti, but in
this as follows; you put a mouse with a bunch of other mouses
reality their not shhh.
in an area, and you set up 24 hours surveillance, and study the
Fake gang/race leaders that I know are dumb, and weak. I
interactions like an experiment. Where they see you smoke, sell,
stopped thinking outside the box, and I put my thoughts back
and you thi k your getting away with it, but your not, because your
inside the box. Maybe its because of the non-intellectual books
on camera 24/7. you can work, or choose to be lazy, or deal drugs,
they have here, or because of all the stupidity surrounding me. I
it’s just like a society, except that females are harder to come by
don't know what it is, all I know is that I need to sharpen my mind
to a certain extent. This is inhumane.
Tony Baker We welcome Tony Baker, who sends this message from the California
Medical Facility in Vacaville, CA. This week Tony speaks on “Fear.”
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented,
fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We are all children
of God; your playing small does not serve the world; there is
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t
feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of
God that is within us; it is in everyone; and as we let our lights
shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the
same. So, my dear youth, as you are liberated from your own
fear, your presence automatically liberates others; and with this
in mind, fear not and push forward…
Page 56 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without Throwbacks!
Eddie M. Vargas Sr.
It has been many years since we last heard from the mighty Eddie M.
Vargas Sr., who wrote the following piece from Mule Creek State Prison,
Ione, CA. This piece was first published in Beat issue 7.22. Eddie Sr.
tackled the topic of why people continue to re-offend. We think you’ll
appreciate his insight. We also hope to be hearing from Eddie one of
these days, he has always made a point to reach out to us and check
in. We first met Eddie Sr, thanks to his son Eddie Jr. who was once in
with what caused you to turn to drugs. Most times people tend
our weekly workshops many many years in ago in Santa Clara County. to not deal with the issues or problems at hand and and that’s
where the problem begins and that’s where the system comes in
play. When it’s all over, said and done, and you are forced to deal
No One Answer with those problems, it’s that much more harder to deal with,
In all honesty, there is no one answer as to why people re-offend and along with all you’ve done, it's brought more problems to
and do the things they do. It is a fact though that once you get deal with. As we have failed ourselves, we’ve no one to blame but
caught up in the system’s web of deceit, you can assure yourself ourselves because from the time we are born to the day we die,
a life of misery and of self-destruction, because the system is not we alone have the sole right to decide how we choose to live our
built or made to rehabilitate, because if it were, they wouldn’t be life. Sure, as children, minors, adults, citizens, we are governed
building new facilities to house those of you who continue to play by rules, guidelines, laws, etc., and we can either follow them
the system’s game. and walk a straight line or we can go against them and suffer the
Once the system has a hold of you, it’s hard to break away consequences. My point is the decision is yours alone, and you
from that hold. There are programs designed to try and rehabilitate can either offend or reoffend, and whatever you choose, you alone
individuals who are in need of different types of rehabilitation such will suffer the consequences “without excuses.”
as, drug problems, anger management, depression, self-abuse, I’ve know people who have tried to do the right thing and make
abuse by others, etc. But the real problem is those responsible a positive change out in the free world, but they failed in their
for trying to rehabilitate the ones in need are so overloaded with attempts because they weren’t given a chance or the opportunity
large caseloads that not every individual gets the proper care to prove themselves, and in turn, they were forced to commit
or attention they so much need, and in turn, it makes those crimes just to survive. I’m not excusing their actions, but how
individuals feel neglected and not worthy of their time. do you parole a man from prison with $200.00, the clothes on his
I honestly believe the main reasons most people reoffend is back, and nothing more, and expect him to have a fair chance out
out is out of peer pressure, lack of proper parental supervision, in the free world, especially when he’s got no loved ones or home?
drugs and criminal activity. It’s sad that nowadays people tend to It just ain’t gonna happen, and nine out of ten people released
pay more attention to their peers rather than their family, parents under those type of circumstances are gonna end up reoffending.
and loved ones. You ain’t cool if you don’t go along with the in I’ve also known people paroled from prison with nice homes
crowd or the ones you kick it with, monkey see, monkey do, and and families to go to, even a nice job, but for some reason that’s
that’s what it comes down to because if you go against the ways still not enough and many in that situation end up reoffending.
of your in crowd, then you risk being outcastby them and it’s that Why? Well, like I said, there is no one reason as to why, because
doubt and fear that’s placed inside your head that causes you not every person/case is different and everyone has their reasons why
to think twice about your actions until it’s too late and you’ve they choose to keep the system in their lives. We can say that the
reoffended. system doesn’t do enough to rehabilitate these people. We can say
Many times nowadays there is only one parent home raising there aren’t enough programs. We can say the laws are to lenient
the kids or the parents are so caught up with other things that they or not harsh enough. One can say whatever they choose to, but
fail to give their children the proper love, guidance and attention I honestly believe that until people start showing an appreciation
that they so much deserve and that causes them to stray away and for themselves and their freedom people will continue to reoffend.
look elsewhere for some type of attention so they’re acknowledged It shouldn’t be up to the system or anybody else to rehabilitate a
and recognized. If parents or guardians would just take a moment person, instead, it should be up to that one person to rehabilitate
each and every day to spend with their children and at the same themselves. If a person is in need of a push to get them going in
time give them a voice of their own to be heard, then maybe, just the right direction, then seek it, ask for it, need it and want it, but
maybe, that would be just enough to fuel that fire within their don’t abuse it as we so often do.
hearts to keep them warm, comforted, and feeling needed rather The reasons why I continue to reoffend is because I didn’t
than just let their heart turn cold and callused. A warm heart give a damn about anyone but myself and I was too immature to
leads to positive things, a cold heart leads to destruction and realize the consequences of my actions in the long run. Back then
negativity. I’d commit a crime, get busted, they’d slap me on the hand and let
Drugs play a big role in why most people reoffend because me go, but it ain’t like that nowadays and the consequences now
when you're on drugs you don’t think right or act right and for your actions are much more harsh.
nowadays most drug programs don’t offer enough attention to I’ve been involved with the system since the age of seven and
each individual or assistance to be a successful program so, how it wasn’t until my late twenty’s that I finally realized that this was
is one to cure their habit or so-called need for using drugs? Most not the life for me. I wanted to be able to make a life and future
people are not strong enough to just kick their habit cold turkey not only for myself, but mainly for my four children. I wanted to
or by themselves ,and if the program isn’t right, then how are they be able to be there for them to watch and help them grow, and I
expected to get right? Whether it’s drugs or alcohol, while one is just wanted to be a productive person in society. Believe me, I
under the influence of one or both, you’re no longer in control of tried, and it wasn’t easy. I applied for jobs at various places just
your actions. Sure, they may relieve you of feelings or thoughts to be able to have some type of legitimate employment, but no one
you wish not to feel or deal with at the time, but the high doesn’t would give me the time of day. I believe a lot of why I was turned
last forever, and the more you use, the better your chances of away and down from so many jobs was because of my appearance
getting strung-out are. and criminal background. Tattooed from head-to-toe and having
In the meantime, sooner or later you’re gonna be faced to deal spent more time incarcerated than out in the free world, would
continued on next page
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 57
The Beat Without Throwbacks!
Eddie M. Vargas Sr. cont.
continued from previous page
you hire me? I think not and I wouldn’t blame you either. But I’ve said before that I’ve known people who work for the system
see, had just one of those companies given me a chance and hired that really do care and will do all they can to help you succeed in
me, they would never have regretted it because I was determined life, but there are more who just don’t give a damn about you, and
to succeed in life and leave the system behind for good. regardless if you make it or not, they still get paid and because of
Still, I didn’t let this discourage me one bit because I knew what that, the system has many flaws and the bad outnumber the good
the consequences would be had I allowed my criminal instincts to in the system.
take over. Being that I was unable to find employment, instead, My main reason for reoffending this last time was because I
I enrolled in college to occupy my time and better my education chose not to be responsible or take responsibility. Drugs were not
value for future job opportunities. It was hard for me because I an issue because I’ve been drug-free since 1985. I don’t blame the
was unable to properly provide for my family in the way I wanted way I am because I didn’t have a father in my home. 80% of the
to, but I was out, and I was there for them and doing the right thing time growing up, I made my own decisions without any pressure
like I knew I had to. With a snap of my finger I knew I could have a from anyone or anything. I was abused as a child and still didn’t
wad of bills in my pocket, and it was very tempting, but I was free lash out in in a negative way because of that. It wasn’t due to a
and that’s what was more important. lack of love or attention in my home because I was very much
Then one day, my whole world came tumbling down. It was my loved and very spoiled at that. So why did I reoffend? Because
past that caught up to me and they really hit it to me this time. I’m I was irresponsible verbally, mentally and physically. Now I’m a
now on the tenth year of my life sentence, and not one day goes by lifer. Any questions?
that I don’t wish I’d have opened my eyes when I had the chance. My name is Eddie M. Vargas, Sr., and I’m a father of four. Born
My innocence or guilt is not the issue here, the issue is I had and raised in San Jose, California. I’m a lifer with hope that one
many, many opportunities to straighten up my act and do the right day soon, I’ll win back my freedom through my appeal. I’m an
thing, but I chose to pass on them all. Then when I decided to take ex-prison gang member, ex-drug addict, and because of that, I’m a
that chance, it was too late and I’ve no one to blame but myself, better man for who I am now. I share with you of me in hopes it
and unless you want to spend the rest of your life incarcerated, helps you to better yourself, and because it’s what I wish someone
then I’d advise you to open your eyes now. It’s never too late, but would have done with me growing up. Have hope, keep the faith
you have to really want it. Don’t continue to feed off the system, and know that it’s never too late to turn a new leaf in life. God
instead, let the system starve. By reoffending, all you’re doing is bless.
making the system a richer empire to control your every move and May 15, 2002. Mule Creek State Prison.
that’s what they thrive on.
The following two pieces are truly blasts from the past. We first met
Marcus Montgomery when he was a youngster fighting for his life in
Alameda County Juvenile Hall, well over a decade ago. Marcus was
aka Socratise The Scholar
definitely one of the great Alameda writers of all time. Unfortunately
he was sentence to many years (if not life) in prison. The following two
pieces were written when he was housed in Pelican Bay State Prison
in Crescent City, CA. We are thinking of Marcus, and will end it, as
he use to end his pieces, “In A Constant Struggle Marcus Montgomery
aka Socratise The Scholar.” His pieces were first published in Beat issue
Improper Payback 6.10/11.
The account that I share is sad but true, it's about the hell
that a friend is going through Laying there naked, clothes ripped off, Tamika desperately
Though his life was filled with happiness from day to day, I'll tried to stay alive, and the woman held her and rocked her
tell you how a sick coward took his happiness away until the ambulance arrived
One day last year, on a day sunny and cool, his sister Tamika The woman knows Tamika, her mother, and even her
was on her way home from school brother, and plenty of times she's seen the man, she gives a
Tamika is an eight-year-old who bothers no one, and thinks report to the police, but aidin’ them in the search is not in
the sole purpose in life is to laugh and have fun her plan
Yet on her way home she was approached by a man, and My friend Tamika’s brother, his name is Mike, the lady pulls
saying hello and walking by was not in his plan him to the side, and says that she'll stay as long as he does
He cupped her mouth, picked her up, and took her to a at the hospital, if he'll only give her a ride
vacant lot, and this is where the sicko fulfilled his plot On the way home, she sees the man in front of the store
She struggled and screamed as he raped and beat her about laughing as if he's relaxed and gay,
the face, Lord, why wasn't this child protected by your Mike has a mind to crush the man between the car and the
grace? building, but thinks of a better way
And when he was finished, he beat the child as if he held a The next day Mike finds the man and approaches him in a
grudge, if it were up to me, I'd have killed him myself, but friendly sort of way,
I'm not God, so I cannot judge but when Mike pulls out a gun and hits the man in the face,
Lucky for Tamika, a nosy neighbor saw when the man he doesn't know what to say
grabbed her and watched him leave, and when she ran down He forces the man into the car and drives into the hills,
the street to the vacant lot, the sight she couldn't believe and as I think of what he did next, I get goosebumps and
continued on next page
Page 58 Volume 16.12/13 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without Throwbacks!
Marcus Montgomery aka Socratise The Scholar cont.
continued from previous page
He handcuffs the pervert, kicks him to the ground and starts
to cut off his clothes, This is by all means a true story and only written with the
he ripped and tore away the man’s clothing until the man’s permission of my dear friend. May God have mercy on him.
genitals were exposed Tamika received multiple concussions, a broken jaw, and fractured
He stood rigidly and explained to the man just what he had ribs. She will never bear children because of this incident. Mike
done and who he had done it to, is serving life imprisonment for first-degree murder, aggravated
and I can just imagine was he looked in Mike’s eyes he knew mayhem, and more than a dozen other serious felonies. The
his life was through only reason why he did not receive the death penalty is because
With that the man was castrated, and his organs stuffed into when Tamika came to trial, not only the jury, but the judge and
his mouth, he was then shot eight times for Tamika’s age. prosecutor wept. Say a prayer for them.
Killin’ Me Softly How do you help someone who's full of hatred and
walks the yard with disregard, and thinks he's death
what's life worth if your parents contemplate your death
Never loved, considered a nuisance even before your
You can't help 'cause it's obvious from life he wants a
Yet abortion is out of the question because money is
So what we do is step to the side and let death take its
used for rocks
Yes, this is the introduction of a fetus
And day by day, it's the way he lives, a new enemy is
to the life we call "hard knocks"
Welcome to the world,
Until that the long-awaited day when the sirens sound,
thank God you're not a girl, we couldn't handle the pain
shots are fired, and our boy is no longer around
Yet it's not a welcome at all, it's the beginning of the
But remember, I am not a prophet,
I am just telling you what is to come
to this life of scorn, unacceptance, and disdain
Yet, we can change the course of this newborn’s life
I'm not a prophet, but I will tell the future
if we change where he's coming from.
for we know this scenario too well
The child will be hooked on phonics 'cause crack and
chronic has ripped and destroyed his brain cells
Poverty is a well-known factor before you leave the crib
Parents smoke crack, ain't no get back, not enough
food to live
No self-esteem, unloved, unwanted, undernourished
from day one
Wonder why as an adolescent the seed would steal and
carry a gun
And obviously, there's room for change, you say there's
But what do you tell someone that at age three
fell victim to mental abuse
True there's help, but we all know psychoanalysis is for
So the boy grows up
hatin' every man and calling every woman a bitch
And no matter what age, you'll fall victim to his rage
as he goes on another rampage
And this continuous criminal lifestyle leads him to
another chapter, yet a different stage
Now he's been to group homes, boot camps, juvenile
halls, and even CYA
But now he's introduced to Quentin, Soledad, Mule
Creek, and Pelican Bay
he's what the system classifies a narrow-minded
He never gets visits from family and friends,
because he stabs them all in the back
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.12/13 Page 59
The child will be hooked on phonics 'cause crack and chronic has
ripped and destroyed his brain cells
Poverty is a well-known factor before you leave the crib
Parents smoke crack, ain't no get back, not enough food to live
No self-esteem, unloved, unwanted, undernourished from day one
Wonder why as an adolescent the seed would steal and carry a gun
read the rest of Marcus Montgomery's BWO piece on page 59