The Beat Within
The Beat Within • A Weekly Publication of Writing and Art from the Inside • Volume 16.24/25
editor's note volume 16.24/25 editor's note
elcome back editorial note readers! We are thrilled that you stopped friends after the workshop on that first week and thinking to myself that the
by to read the latest meaningful ramble by one of our newest kids that I was just with do not get the chance to go out with their friends. I
colleagues, Christina Hanlon, daughter of Cynthia. You may think understand that they had got in a situation that landed them in Juvenile Hall,
this is our first mother daughter team, but we have had other family but I could not help feel sadness for them.
combos over the years, including Jill Wolfson and her daughter Gwen Hubner, Society has always put a negative view on young adults in Juvenile Hall,
who also currently run Beat workshops. it’s like they are failing the children by taking programs or sports away from
We’re going to keep our words at a minimum, so you can jump right into them but society needs someone else to blame it on, such as upbringing or where
Christina’s wonderful first person piece, that touches on her first night of they come from. Growing up in the suburbs, I often heard negative comments all
workshops, and the aftermath. the time on kids. I have always been the type of person that doesn’t judge, even
at a young age. Even though people would judge all around me, I always seemed
Walking down the halls brought coldness to my body. I don’t think it would have to get to know someone first and make my own judgments on them. Some say I
mattered if I wore a big snow jacket or not. The chilling feeling that I got as soon let my guard down too much, but I don’t judge because I know that I don’t want
as I walked in I will never forget. It’s one of those feelings that starts in your head people to judge me.
and runs all the way down to your toes. It creped down my back and I suddenly Whenever someone finds out that I volunteer they are impressed and
thought, “What am I doing here?” Excitement turned into nerves. Not only was surprised that I totally step out of my comfort zone to do this. They always ask
I putting up with the chills going down my back, I was also putting up with the how I got involved and it is all thanks to my mom. My mom started working at
nerves that suddenly appearing in the pit of my stomach. I went to the bathroom The Beat Within Feb of 2010. I remember her going for the first time and bringing
to calm down. But as soon as I stepped in there the nerves and the coldness back one of the issues. I remember that day perfectly. Seeing and reading the
only got worse. I told myself that this is something that I’ve been wanting to do, stories, poems, and pictures for the first time made me fall in love with this
that these feelings that I was feeling normal when someone is thrown in a new program. The young adults experienced so much in their life and had so much
situation, a situation they have never been in before. I somehow collected some to say. Right away I knew I wanted to volunteer but my age was in the way. To
courage in that bathroom, mentally preparing myself for the next two hours. volunteer I had to be 21. So for one full year I have been reading The Beats
So here I was excited but, nervous. I tried to keep my cool. But I was consistently. In Feb 2011 I turned 21. I turned in an application right away.
secretly freaking out. We got checked in and then it was time to go to the units. I I keep returning back to volunteer at The Beat Within because I want to
hugged the tablets of paper and pencils to me like a little kid on the first day give the kids a positive outlook on life. All of you can turn your life around; do
of school. I am never scared in any situation. And don’t get me wrong, I was not even think about the choices that were made. They are in the past, so move
very excited to work with these kids; I have waited a year to be able to do it. I forward from it and start living. Live your life being a kid. Go to school. Hang
was so thankful that I was here. I was not going to let my nerves stop me from out with friends. Have fun. I have made mistakes in the past; everyone has, but
something that I wanted to do. just learn from them. Do not let these mistakes shape your future. Overcome it.
The chill feeling did not go away. After I was checked in I turned the corner. Some of you may not agree with me, and for those of you that don't, I soon
A big long hall stood in front of me. The walls were tall, looking like they were hope that you will realize that your life can be different. I was once your age
going to swallow me up. The colors were not inviting. There were no colors. Only and whatever negative situation I was in I turned it around for the better. I
that ugly off white color that was in the bathroom. The doors looked huge, with constantly remind myself that life is too short for hate and violence, trying to
big long and cold metal handles. There was a dead cockroach on the floor. Or make myself the best person I can be. All of you are capable of doing this for
some kind of gross looking bug. The off white walls that were tall felt like they yourselves.
kept growing. The cold feeling just screamed at me. The only thing I could do I hope whatever path you decide for yourselves is a positive and safe one.
was follow my mother into the unit, as I clutched the yellow tablets and box of The Beat staff is always here for all of you.
pencils to my body.
We reached our unit. We were waiting in front of the big door, waiting for it There is not much more to say. Thank you for the wonderful read. A must
to unlock. The noise that the big lock made shook my body. It gave me a lump read for anyone who has any interest in facilitating workshops with The Beat
in my throat when I heard it and I suddenly felt sad. No one should have to live Within.
their lives in this coldness. Now, lets move on to The Beat topics for 16.24, which have been condensed
I started in the girls unit. As I was setting up the classroom with my mom given the limited space… 1. “School” - Tell the Beat about your school
I admitted my nerves to her. She told me it would be fine, just to sit and listen experiences. Do you feel like the teachers understood you and supported you?
to what these young women have to say. It was a small class, only seven of Did a teacher ever say something really nice to you? Really mean to you? What
them. The first girl that walked in, or should I say skipped in, had pigtails and kinds of problems did you have to deal with in and out of school? If you were the
sat in the front of the class. I can tell she was happy to be able to be here with Principal, what would you change to make school better for everyone? How is
me and my mom. The other girls came in one by one and once they saw me they school in the hall different from school on the outs?
instantly knew that I was Cynthia’s daughter. The hour went by so fast, and I 2. “First Memory of Violence” - How old were you the first time you
felt like I was just talking to my friends. These were girls that talked about the remember experiencing or witnessing violence? Try to recall the details of that
same things that I and my friends talked about. They were talking about boys, first experience, and write as much of what you remember as you can
makeup, going out and hanging out with friends. I connected with these girls by 3. “Has The Hall Helped You?”-- Are there things about being here that have
finding a common ground with them. One was getting out soon, and admitted given you new strength? We have heard many, many complaints about juvenile
that she was scared. Underneath it all, there was fear of being unsure at what hall (and we believe them). But we hear a lot less about those things that might
their future each holds. make you better, stronger, wiser, smarter.
The hour was up with the first unit, I proceeded out of the unit where I stood Here are the topics for the writing for issue 16.25… 1. “Decisions” – While
and waited for the sound of the big lock to unlock me out. It sounded like a ton of you are in juvenile hall you have a lot of decision to make about whether you
steal beams hitting the ground. I walked out of the unit and into the next one. As follow court orders to stay away from your friends, drugs, a specific neighborhood
soon as I walked in I noticed how quiet they were, probably because I was new etc. Is there a decision you need to make that you are worried about? What is that
and just like anyone who you meet for the first time, you can have your guard decision?
up. I did not expect them to tell me their whole life story either. I had to prove to 2. “Freedom” – How do you plan on using your freedom to help create
them that I was doing this program for them, and the only way to do that was to freedom for others? If you are not getting your freedom, how have you found
get to know one another. I remember this one young boy that was about to turn your freedom from the inside and what knowledge to have to share with younger
18. He was the loudest one of the group, a quick thinker with smart remarks. I generations who are potentially following in your footsteps?
really liked him. Before I knew it the second hour was up. Just like the hour in 3. Upholding The Law - At this very minute somebody is breaking the law.
the girls unit, I found a common ground with them and slowly we all started to Why is it so hard for some people to uphold the law? Why do you think people
open up to one another. I talked to a couple of them during the hour. I was not break the law? Do you remember the first time you broke the law and why you did
able to get around to all of them, and I could not wait ‘till next week so I could it?
get to know these kids more. All right readers, thanks for taking the time to read this editorial, enjoy the
I left Juvenile Hall that night feeling excited. I was so glad that I was rest of this fabulous double issue. This issue goes out to all our new volunteers.
working with these kids. I felt that I had finally found what I like to do. However, Thank you for believing and being a part of this special work.
on the 45 minute drive home I had some time to think to myself. The excitement
that I was feeling soon turned to sadness. I remember meeting up with my
a l o o tn s
tb e fc n e t
table of contents volume 16.24/25
The Beat Within, a weekly newsletter of writing and art by incarcerated youth, is published by Pacific
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.
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 reserved.
Nothing from this publication can be reproduced without our written permission.
To our writers: What you write could be hazardous to you. Your words have consequences, and could be used to incriminate
you. Try to illuminate your feelings and viewpoints without running the risk of providing ammunition for those who might
use your words against you.
Co–founders: Sandy Close and David Inocencio Pieces of the week
Senior Editor: David Inocencio
Program Director: Inga Buchbinder
Graphics/Layout Editor: Manen Pau
Co-Pieces of the week
Staff: Pauline Craig, Jill Wolfson, Suzanne Manneh, Sheerly Auni, Tara Foley, Michelle Wilson, Alizza BlackmanAnnie
Wong, Carolyn Goosen, Breana Marino, Lisa Lavaysse, Maisha Johnson, Ellie Guterrez, Sarah Ikemoto, Sherman Schol-
ten, Angelica Zabanal, Ryan Teixeira, Mario Navarro, Allan Martinez, Nora Dwyer, Kolby Hanson, Cynthia Hanlon, Erik
Loewen, Julia Penrose, Kathy Ellison, Elena Berman, Dennis Morton, Kim Nelson, Tara Foley, Adela Genochio, Maddie
Rutherford, Gwendolyn Hubner, Allie Horevitz, Stephanie Morrison, Abbie Hazen, Jane Robbins, Alexis Rhyner, Elizabeth
Henlein, Stephanie Burnett, Francesca Miller, Michelle Anindya, Amena Keshawarz, Oona Appel, Meredith Wheeler, Terry
Diggs, Andrew Lopez, Megan Boyle, Christina Hanlon and Peggy Simmons.
Los Angeles: Karen Hunt, Jost Parr, Efty Sharony, Sierra Girtly, LA COE
San Diego: Desiree Woods, SD COE
Alameda ....................................... 19
San Bernardino: Jen Tilton, University of Redlands San Francisco .................................. 24
Riverside: Jennifer Boyea
Santa Clara ..................................... 33
New Beginnings - Washington, DC Staff: Alex Moe, Messiah Ramkissoon, Andrew Gauldin, Emily Tucker, and Khalil Abdullah
Marin ............................................... 44
Yolo County: Lynn Gerner and David Gerner
Bernalillio County Juvenile Detention & Youth Services Center New Mexico Beat Staff: Steve Serna Hawaii ............................................... 45
Dona Ana County, New Mexico: Voices Behind Walls - Lee Rhyanes Santa Cruz ....................................... 46
Fresno: Mai Der Vang, Aaron Benson, Nigel Medhurst and Lily Romero
Los Angeles ................................... 48
Monterey : Sam Peterson, Brandon Swanson and Sarah DAmico
Solano .............................................. 50
Hawaii: Dina Brooks
Portland, Oregon: Deb Arthur, Portland State University Fresno .............................................. 56
Art: Much props to everyone for the great art this week. Washington, DC ................................ 58
Spiritual Advisor: Jack Jacqua
Special Volunteer: Nancy DeMartini
Book Donor: Marisela Norte and Alexander Book Co. in SF, Ca
Beat Supporters: The Beat Within greatefully acknowledges the generous support of funders of Pacific News Service’s We would like to thank Stat Delivery
Youth Communications Programs – California Arts Council, California Wellness Foundation, Christensen Fund, Com- Service, Inc for their generous support.
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,
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,
New Beginnings - Washington DC, DC Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation, DC Humanities Council, Morris and
Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Shinnyo-en Foundation, W.
Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Stone Circles Foundation, Stuart Foundation, Surdna Foundation, The California
Endowment, Tides Foundation, Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation, Vanguard Public Foundation, Wallace Alexander
Gerbode Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Youth Justice Funding Collaborative, the Zellerbach Family Fund and
Writers: Thanks to all the participants in our workshops in the San Francisco, Maricopa County Arizona, Santa Clara, New
Beginnings, Alameda, Bernalillio County New Mexico, Solano County, Monterey County, Dade County, Floriday, Fresno
County, Washington DC, Santa Cruz and Marin County Juvvenile Halls. If you have any questions or comments about The
Beat Within, contact us at: 275 Ninth St. SF.CA. 94103 or call (415) 503-4170 or check us out at: www.thebeatwithin.org
Counselor'scorner counselor's corner
From The Beat: Amen. Between the teachers, the library, the school,
From The Beat: Thank you as always, Ms. Webb, for sharing your the programs, and the “time out” from the drama of the streets that
insights and wisdom with all your fans at The Beat Within. Yes, when you can get in the hall, anyone should be able to find something useful
we make a bad decision, we can almost feel it physically. Why do you in it, even if, as you so wisely point out, the big thing you get out of it
think so many young people continue to make those bad decisions, and is learning how not to come back!”
ignore the strong feeling that is trying to warn them away?
How Juvenile Hall Even Helps
My Decision-Making Process Some Of The Staff
Right now I’m going through a decision-making process in my Juvenile Hall has helped me a lot even though I’m staff. It has
life. Making decisions for me are very hard because I have been also helped me have patience and also has helped me learn how
doing certain things for years and now I have to make a decision to love children that aren’t even mine. Juvenile Hall has also
to change. I know that deciding to make a change in my life helped me understand the kids in my community and how I can
would be so much better for me. teach and counsel them in a way to stay out of Juvenile Hall.
Change feels like a burden off my chest, because I know Juvenile Hall has also helped me be a better person inside
that the things I had to make decisions about are very helpful and out, and that what I’m gong through in my life isn’t as hard
for me. When I make bad decisions, my head hurts. I cant’ as I think. Juvenile Hall can help a lot of minors if they take
sleep, I feel sick inside. So I guess I’m going to try to make good in what Juvenile Hall has to offer – such as the programs, the
decisions for my life, because making bad ones just hurts me counseling, school, Chaplin services, and also the teaching of
emotionally and physically. how not to come back to Juvenile hall.
ie e f h w e
P c o te ek
Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, Counselor Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, Counselor
piece of the week
My Goals one person I’m saving.
7. Is to move my daughter and myself as far as possible in a
What’s up Beat? It’s Desiree. Well I found out today I’m probably
nice neighborhood and start a whole new life.
leaving tomorrow to a placement for nine months instead of
8. Is to succeed in rigorous entry requirement courses
eighteen so that’s good, but I wanted to say thank you guys for
and units in forensic science to be involved in the crime scene
coming and giving me good advice. To all who know me stay up,
investigation, homicides, DNA testing, evidence, etc.
they can’t keep you forever and for those who will, make the best
9. Is to become the best female crime scene team leader in
of your situation, your familia will always be there.
the business although it is one of the hardest roles because I’ll
Well the other day in class we wrote a few things we want to
be the one in control of the scene from start to end without any
do in our lifetime and it really got me thinking and I feel that
everyone else should do this too only because it really gets you
10. Is to take my family on vacation to New York once the
to think and not about your situation right now but what positive
bank is coming in!
things you want to do in your life time, so I want to share mine.
11. One day when my daughter is old enough to take her to go
There are many things I want to do in my lifetime before I die
visit my dad, her grandpa in the federal prison in Arizona that he’s
and I want them to be meaningful to my life so I can leave this
earth happy and satisfied.
12. Help my older brother Lil Man break out of his bad drug
1. I want to do is make peace with everyone I’ve never had
habits because it would break my heart to be the crime leader to
issues with or ever tormented because I’d feel better to leave this
find his body.
earth knowing I have no anger toward anyone.
13. Is to help my daughter understand life better and help her
2. Is to raise my daughter into a sweet, polite little girl with
succeed in it.
very good manners and make sure she gets the needed skills and
14. When I’m elderly to reflect on my life from where I started
and be proud I didn’t become recidivism of society.
3. As my daughter gets older I will always be there for her
15. Set goals for yourself and know that your capable of and
through her hardest situations and be the mother to her I wished
never give up. Write a list like this and push yourself to succeed
I could have had.
in the things you want to do. Well that’s it for now good luck to all,
4. Is to be the best friend to my mother and to truly and
meaningfully forgive each other and leave the past behind.
-Desiree, Santa Clara
5. Is to finish writing my book and get it published and hope From The Beat: You left The Beat speechless on your future goals. We
it inspires young adults that have gone through the same shhh are all proud of you, for how far you have come. Stay positive and your
goals will come true. The Beat is going to miss your contributions each
I’ve gone through to see there is still hope and to continue creative week and we hope that you check in with us to let us know how you are
writing. doing. We look forward to that book you want to write. Keep writing
and sharing to others not to give up on life, everyone has the power to
6. Is to volunteer in as many places I can to young girls in change it. The very best to you, lovely daughter and family.
same situations as myself, even if only one person listens, that’s
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pieces of the week
Letter From My Nino
Well what’s up Beat? I’m not feeling these topics. So I’m going
to write about a letter from my Nino (godfather). Well about two
days ago they told me I got a letter from someone but I couldn’t A Nice Day
get it because they are locked up too. It broke my heart in half An open field of grass
and I was sad because I knew who wrote me. Is my mom waiting for me
I was crying that night, then the next day they told me I run towards her
that I can read the letter but quickly. So I did and cried, feeling As if I haven’t seen her in a while
horrible. My Nino always does good and stays away from people
who will get in trouble. He wrote that he doesn’t want me in the We hug, as if it will be
system, like him. I never listened to him and now he is blaming The last time that we will hug
himself, saying he didn’t try hard and that he failed me. Then I realize that she had
The truth is I failed him. He always gave me advice and I Passed away a while ago
never took it and my Nino is taking it hard that I’m locked up.
And I don’t like seeing him sad so when I get out I’m will do good After we hug, I say good-bye
and show him he never failed me and because of him I’m going And then she says good-bye
to become someone in life. I walk away
-Kika, Santa Clara Knowing that I will never see her again
From The Beat: It’s nobody’s fault that you landed yourself in the hall, -Tommy, Marin
sometimes will get in situations because we thought we were making From The Beat: How tenderly you must feel towards your mother every
a good choice. But, tomorrow is your future, what do you need to do time you see and hug her in this dream vision. And how sad each time
to stay out of the system? Follow your goals and in the future we hope you have to remember she’s gone. You have our hearts.
that you and your Godfather will be united on the outs. Stay positive,
and the best of luck.
Not One Full Day Of Happiness
I don’t want to remember the way things used to be
Where I Stand The way I used to feel, the way I feel now, because of you
Where I stroll, I control. Of course, I have forgiveness. I would never hold it against
Where I stand, no one can. you
The territory of my thoughts Although it hurts, it has helped me
Will suck you up like quicksand. But my night terrors, and my unforgiving fears
One look into my eyes Have never let me have one full day of happiness
And you’ll fully understand Because of you, I don’t know how to love myself
The mystery in my silence How to take care of myself, or how to heal myself
And the respect I command. You never gave me, your child, the things I needed to
My tattooed hand make it
Holds the key to my plan. I’m lucky, though. I’m lucky, because I have myself
Visions in my mind I taught myself the right from the wrong I’ve been given
Show a full blown diagram. Thank you, God. I’ve been blessed
I wasn’t raised up like a child. -Erin, Marin
I was raised up as a man. From The Beat: Since you realize you may have to teach yourself to
love, care for, and heal yourself, you may be almost there to learning
So if you ask me where I stand – them. You’re an amazing writer who expresses so tenderly, feeling
I’m in the fog with my bros lonely, scared, and betrayed by whomever you wrote this to.
On a righteous path,
Single file, walking in rows.
-Alex, Santa Cruz
From The Beat: And where are you and your bros headed? Maybe to a Hall Life
poetry class that you’ll be teaching? You do have a lot to offer. What’s crackin’? It’s Arnold from the max once again, and about
to make it another month. It’s something, but nothing.
Well, the hall has helped me not only physically, by making
me stronger and mentally, but also showing me what’s valuable,
Rain On The Roof who to trust and how to act. The hall DOES help. If you think
The spitter, splatter of rain on the roof NEGATIVE, it might help just make you worse.
Recalls to my mind lonely walks of my youth I don’t have much to say, but I would like to spit some
Down swelled spring streams, by babbling brooks words of wisdom. Get educated, never give up and remember it’s
Twisting and turning at foamed churning crooks never too late. Alright then Beat, much love to all. “There comes
Through forests’ fraught fantasies, wild reckless dreams a point in your life where you realize who doesn’t matter, who
Where things seem what they seemed not to seem never did and who never will. There’s a reason why they didn’t
And things all impossible, grew lush verdant possible make it to your future.”
With life flowing toward flooding banks, yet unstoppable -Arnold, Santa Clara
-Luis, San Francisco From The Beat: You are wise to recognize that regardless of the mental
From The Beat: Who are you? How do you come up with these sensuous, or physical position in which you find yourself, there are opportunites
wild, mysterious images, spontaneously, out of your imagination? You everywhere to learn. Your attitude becomes your strength and conduit
have an extremely rare talent, so cherish it. from which you learn and grow.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 5
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P c so t ew e pieces of the week
School Life Neither A Punk Nor A Fool Be
In school I guess you can say I’m a baller. People always told me, if you don’t go to school.
Had the shot, had the grades, had the girl You’ll end up being nothing but a punk or a fool.
Couldn’t get along with the teachers But, like everyone knows, kids can be so cruel.
I would tell them off, I’d be the preacher I was so angry, using those memories as fuel.
It had cool features And I used it for fighting to the fullest extent.
Football field and handball courts People would watch me in horror, saying I was hell sent.
Good school teams and beautiful girls I’d ever seen I’m a criminal, thug, trouble-maker, whatever you wanna
Flirted with them all, got in gave first kiss call me.
Had a lot of friends and tried drugs for the first time I’ve heard it all before, so why can’t people let me be?
Damn, marijuana blew my mind There’s been so many times where I’ve asked myself,
School life is where my life will start “Why?”
Drugs got closer, family grew apart So many hardships I’ve been through, but, hell, no, I won’t
Everything went down hill cry.
I didn’t know how to make things better But I won’t give them the satisfaction.
Did programs and went to the hall Always trying to get me join the police’s factions.
Couldn’t figure out a change at all You want a soldier? Then, homie, I’ll give you one.
School was great, can’t wait to go back All this weight on my shoulders weighs a ton.
I got ‘till June, I’m out and a senior Call me all those names, but I don’t care what you say.
New school, environment and friends If I keep my positive mentality, then I’ll be okay.
I won’t ever come back here again -Sleepy, Marin
That’s were my new life will begin From The Beat: You can always write about whatever has happened
to you for The Beat. You can also cry. You don’t emanate criminality,
I’m ready and can’t wait and are usually wholesome, upbeat and funny. Who do you hope to
Do sports. Finish school, and find a good girl become?
It’s never too late.
-D, Santa Clara
From The Beat: What a positive vibrant you got there! We love it! Thank
you for sharing with us your experience and spread your enthusiasm
about life. Life is tough and unfair and we may fail countless times, but
as you put it, “it’s never too late.” Is it my decision to go left or right
Head heavy with ideas and my chest is light
Because my heart is small with nobody to love
I think and wonder what it feels like with somebody to
The Cycle Of Violence touch.
My memory of violence first started when I was about 6 or 7 Is it me or is it my surroundings?
years old. It was of my dad beating on my Mom and not just That got me in this place with all these new people around
like slaps I mean kicking her butt. She was a victim so she left me.
him for someone who changed my life forever. He would beat This thinkin’ give me headaches, head is always steady
her and me. Out of all my brothers and sisters only me and my pounding.
Mom were victims. I’m done with bad decisions they should keep me where
I used to hate my Mom for staying with him because she they found me.
knew what was going on and never once said anything. So when I think back on my mistake and say I’m sorry to my
I went to school I became a bully. Even when I was the smallest people.
person in my class I would fight with all the bigger kids. I got I mean my family 'cause what I feel they feeling equal.
into fights over little things. I’m not perfect but I do deserve another chance.
Most of all when bigger people picked on me I would fight When I get out of Camp you’re going to see that I am
them because I was mad inside I always had something to prove. another man.
Because of all the violence I became violent. I was the small Lastly …I made complete 180.
guy who would beat up all the big guys. So violence became my -Christopher, Alameda
nature. From The Beat: You’re right, everyone deserves a chance to redeem
themselves for a mistake. You’ll get that chance soon enough and when
Then it started to get me in trouble. I got locked up for the you do, make the most of it! You’ve had a lot to think about and it
first time as a young teen. From there it just escalated so I was sounds like you really want to change, so prove to the rest of the world
in and out for assault ‘till I was 16 then the judge gave me till I that you can make a complete 180. Now there’s an accomplishment you
can be proud of!
Three years at first I said forget it, I got into fights. I did a
year and three months ‘till realized this is not where I want to
spend my teenage life. I got out and stayed out 9 months, but My Whole Life
messed up again because of my anger. Now I'm back to finish My whole life I have struggled for survival.
the rest of my time. I'm done with this shhh. I never thought I could be taken out by a rival.
-Dillon, Hawaii But then I realized, upon this arrival…
From The Beat: We are sorry and sad to hear you were a victim of abuse.
You have mapped out eloquently the path this abuse led you down. Life is a gift as well as a trial.
Can you now see the future path? What will you change in order to -Christian, Santa Cruz
help yourself? From The Beat: A lot in a little – that’s what a good poem is. Good work.
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Swagger Of A King Freedom is my Freedom
Just when I thought I seen it all This topic caught me by surprise
I met a guy so short, but stood so tall. The freedom I had I clearly memorize
With a mind so keen he can diminish The dirt I did
Any problem with the conclusion at hand, The licks I pulled
But who would listen, because every one feels And drugs I used
That they are their own man, teacher, leader, My freedom I abused
But how do you become a man if you never Now it’s taken from me
Listen? How do you teach and you never Once i get out I know who I need to be
Been taught? How do you lead and In my future
You never been lead? For an open mouth Playing sports, finish school is what I see
And closed ears are the destruction of a This I could do
Man, but who would listen to a guy with I got the support, a good head
The swagger of a king for they feel Actions speak louder then what I said
That he feels he’s superior by the One more month and put it into action
Way he carries his self, and shares Damn can’t wait
His knowledgeable thoughts when in Need to start doing good before its too late
Reality he’s just trying to teach Life sometimes all about fate
You what he’s been taught. Prove my OP wrong and do right
From The Beat: Great piece Shaquille! The three questions in the middle I’ll put in all y strength
of the poem really balance your praises and a strong example of great I’ll do what it takes at any length
rhetorical technique. You’re probably not even aware you’re using these to stay out
techniques, which just shows that when it comes to poetry, you’re a
natural! Keep it up. 'Cause my next step, the big house
So now its time to get things straight
When I’m finally set free
-Ya Boy D, Santa Clara
He Abused Me From The Beat: That’s beautiful, D. We are glad that the problems you
His footsteps stop outside our room door had had shaped you to become a better person. And even more, we are
happy that you are willing to learn from problems, even in a hard way.
Suddenly the door opened-up. I open my eyes to see he's That’s a good quality D. When you get out, don’t let problems put you
all drugged up down. There would be plenty of them and there might not be little that
harder that what you’ve achieved now, but just remember that it’s your
I shake my head as I lie there in fear, knowing what will stepping stone for a better one. See them as a challenge! Good luck, D!
He shoves me to the floor as he yells at me
Continually abusing me learning from before not to say a
word The Love I Spread
I sit there and listen intimidated and terrified The love I spread, like seeds
A sudden blow to my cheek lets out a sigh, another blow Is growing like flowers in a garden
at my back Looking in your eyes
My legs, my head, my neck hurting so bad Not knowing when I’m going to die
Thinking what have I done wrong now Raising hell in a cell
The only thing in return is another strike for crying too Look away, the key being thrown away
loud Away, apart for my queen
Living in the barrio
It feels like a nightmare I'm in but too bad it's real
Always being judged
I'm getting slammed against the wall I can taste the blood
Brown Pride always so rough
in my mouth
Dressing and looking so tough
He yanks me by my hair dragging me across the floor
Like a G looking for money, and food to eat
My legs shaking as I look at my black and blue arms
Tomorrow, never a future
As I lay on the floor I wonder why things went this way
Yesterday, a past
I slowly drift away as he lays me back on our bed Today, a present
I wake up the next morning the sun is shining on me Never promised shhh
As he says "Babe, lets start our day" Never look forward to do good
Pretending like nothing happened I’m good at what I do
Until this day I hide it in me, but as you read this And I do it best
Please understand why I hide it so deep Always involved in deep shhh
So all I ask is to treat me better Didn’t know how to get out
And to not let him harm me again Wasn’t interested either
-Lana, Hawaii I like this game
From The Beat: This intense piece is all too real for many youth we
know. Let's start by saying, if you are with him still please leave him. I’m a G, and I’m going to play it
A certainty about violent relationships is that they don't get any better -Duende, San Francisco
and it sounds like you have experienced it quite bad. We are sorry this From The Beat: You spread beautiful love, but when you get into “deep
has happened and if you need someone to talk to about this issue, shhh…” Maybe being a G is who you’re the most proud of, but you’re
please start with a counselor at the facility, they want you safe. way more complex. Who else are you, who you respect and can develop?
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Decisions I Still Don’t Trust My Dad
What up Beat? When I was about eleven, my dad was arguing with my older
This is Temper from Gilroy posted up in the max unit. Well sister, and he has serious anger problems, like me, my brother
today I’m going to write about decisions. If I could turn back the and my other older sister. My dad was getting really pissed off,
time I would change my decisions that got me here, because I because my older sister was laughing in his face, because every
made a mistake and know I’m facing prison time. time he yells, we make fun of him behind his back. Anyways,
I think that this impacted my life very much. I have a month she was laughing at him in his face, and he got mad and lunged
old daughter that I haven’t even seen or held yet and it kills me. at her. My mom was screaming his name, and grabbed him out of
I didn’t think of her before I committed my crime. I just want to the room, and he turned around and yelled, “You always taking
get out and be with my daughter and family. up for these kids. Get out of my way. Stop holding me back.”
I know they really need me but I’m going to do my best to Then my mom said, “Stop, these are your kids. I’m tired of
get out and be a good dad, son and brother to my family. Well you beating on them.”
Beat, I’m out. Then he took her head and bashed it into the wall three
-Temper, Santa Clara times. I started screaming and crying, and my sisters and
From The Beat: We are sorry that you are not with your baby daughter
and family. But, it sounds like that you appreciate life, family and love brother pulled him off of her. My mom turned around and her
since you have been doing time. Try to set some goals for your future face was all bloody. She was crying and her nose was busted,
so you can enjoy life again.
and her lip. There was blood on the wall. I helped her to the
bathroom and cleaned her up.
After all of the drama died down, we all talked my mom into
My Freedom leaving him. She didn’t. He used to beat on her all the time, and
in front of me, and I would sit there and cry. He stopped beating
What’s up Beat?
on her, because she threatened to get a divorce with him. He
Well today’s topic is about freedom. If I was out I would be
started going to church, and being nice, and doing everything
helping the young ones not to make the same mistakes I did,
for her, and she forgot about it.
well especially not the mistakes I made.
Then things started getting back to normal, and he stopped
Well yeah, as I was growing up I had no one to teach me
going to church, and started yelling at everyone again. But he
about the wrong or right so I had to learn on my own; also there
stopped hitting us. I am now fifteen years old, and I still don’t
was no one to show me the consequences if I did this or that.
like him, because every time I look at him, I see him bashing
So the way I would help the uneducated would be by showing
her face into the wall, or beating my brother’s ass, like he was a
them what can happen for breaking the law, because I would
grown man, or him whooping me with an extension cord, a big-
think they don’t really understand what they’re doing at such
ass leather belt, or him slapping me full force in the face, and
a young age. So I think it would be helpful if they had someone
telling me to tell the teachers I got into a fight.
who’s been locked up and who knows by their experiences so
I tell my mom I still don’t like him, but she says, “Baby,
yeah, Beat that’s all I got for you today.
that was in the past. He changed.” And I say, “Because we’re
-V, Santa Clara
From The Beat: We know that most of us take freedom for granite until grown, and he know we will beat his ass, and he is getting old.”
it is taken away from us. Becoming a mentor for those kids that are at My mom says we don’t spend enough time with him, and I say,
risk is such an inspiration, you have come a long way and we are very
proud of your goals.
“I don’t give a crap.” Mom, I love you.
-Troubles, San Francisco
From The Beat: You totally have our hearts. How have your sisters
and brother handled your father’s abuse? When you’re home, can you
tolerate living with him, or will you move out? Can you help your mom
Cold Cold World without dealing with him? If you can’t forgive and trust him again,
then you can’t. How unhappy for you.
Yeah, you left me alone in this cold cold world
I just with you was home, yeah I remember those girls
I’m a son of a playa, I’m the son of Big Don
Without you I feel like my world don’t shine Be Yourself
Without you Dad, it feels like I can’t rhyme Well ladies and boys, Judge K made me stay away from the
That’s why I’m taking time to remember gangbangers. But I grew up with them. It's still hard staying
Big Don away from them when they're all over.
I really need you, Dad, man can’t you see that? But y'all just gotta do what the law tells you, 'til they say
And if she’ll take the time, maybe Mom would see that something else. If I get another chance to be free, I'll use it
I’m going through some things in this time of my life wisely. Trust and believe that. Going to counseling classes.
Without you I feel like the wrong is right They really do help. If I get out and get another chance, I will
That’s why it feels like I'm gonna have to take flight come back, and help all my ladies get free as well.
I just hope you made it through, so maybe you can see the It's had to obey the law. If you need food, well, you gotta do
light what you gotta do. DONT' BREAK THE LAW TO BE COOL!! I've
Perfection lost my best friend/brother/cousin. Just be yourself. Live today
-Lil Donny, Alameda like it's your last.
From The Beat: Another wonderful poem, Donny! Sometimes our -Maria, Alameda
parents have so many issues they don’t even know how to be parents. From The Beat: It must be really hard to stay away from the people you
We hope you and he are brought back together, but we also hope you grew up with. We are sorry you are in a position to have to do that.
know in your heart that YOU control your future, even if you have to We agree that you need to follow the law, it's the way to stay safe and
walk into that future without a father’s help. Peace. free. But isn't that living for your future and not just for today?
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My Story turned around, and, yes, she was as beautiful as yesterday.
“May I come in?” I asked her.
“Yes, come on in.”
I’m on my way to school, a new school. My family had to move
As I entered, I took in my surroundings. There was the
again. My father had another promotion, but it required him to
banner for their dance, punch bowls, table, speaker, and a dry-ice
move, so the move caused us to move almost half way into the
machine. There were a lot of things for the dance. I figured that
was where they put the things for the dance.
When I walked into school, the place looked as if it was fit for
“Hi, my name is Sharece.”
the President’s kid. The walls were white and the floor polished.
“What’s up? My name Damiray, and I’m here to help you out
They had a banner all over the wall, talking about their Snow
with the dance.”
Dance a month away.
“Well, thank you. I been working on this for two months, and
I walked into the office and got my class slip. They even had
they’re just now sendin’ me some help?”
a handout to where their classes were. My first class was math.
“Well, look at you. You sure have been busy.”
When I walked in, the class went silent. As I walked further in, the
“I would have to, because I want to go to the dance, and I want
teacher told me to introduce myself.
to go in style.”
“My name Damiray Black, and I just moved here from New
“I hear that, so let me know what I can do to help you. My time
is in your hands.”
“Well, nice to meet you. You may have a seat in the back, near
I could tell that she was blushin’. She probably never had
someone speak to her like it was all about her. I’m going to take
I went to take a seat. The teacher was writing a problem on
advantage of that and show her it’s all about her.
the board that I hadn’t done, so I just sat there and copied it all
“If you’d like.”
down. I went through most of my day like that, not knowing what
“It’s not about what I would like, it’s about what you want me
they were teaching. I figured they supposed my school was on
their level, so I had to catch up. I’ll see if they have tutoring.
“In that case, you can clean up my mess.”
Fourth period just ended, and I’m walking to lunch, and I’m
She must be out her damn mind, but I figured it would benefit
thinking, “I don’t know one kid in this school,” so I’m walkin’
me more, so I moved forward to do it, and she stopped me.
around, looking lost.
“I was only playin’. You don’t have to clean my mess, but how
When I got to the cafeteria, it was just like I knew it would
sweet of you.”
be, your basic high school. There were kids in all black, sitting in
“Okay, so what do you want me to do?”
the far back. They were goths. Then you had your school football
For the rest of lunch we brain stormed about more ideas for
team, the geeks, the popular crowd, and then the outcasts.
As I was walking away from the food line, I see her. I see her
“Guess I’ll see you later.”
get up from the geek table and go sit with the popular people.
“You know you will. But when is the next time we work on
I’m thinking, “Do she really got it like that?” I’ve never seen that
She had a light caramel skin color, with long, jet-black hair.
“I’ll see you, Lil’ Ma.” We smiled and went our separate ways.
She had the frame of a model. She had some big, black beady
The rest of my day went like my first—me not knowin’ how
eyes. She looked like she could have been black, but looking
to do this work, so I asked each teacher for additional work. They
more closely, I could tell she was mixed with something else. As
have given me a lot of practice work, so I can get caught up.
I walked by her table, our eyes met and I heard someone call her
On my way home from school, I stopped by the park and
Sharece. She had smiled and I’d seen her dimples, as pretty as her
watched them play football, and their receiver wasn’t good at all.
smile. I knew I had to talk to her.
He kept on dropping the ball, and he ran like he was scared to
At the end of school, I had to get a tutor, because I hadn’t
get hit. So I went over to the coach and asked him if he needed a
learned how this worked, so I went to the office, and they told
new player, and I told him that I played for my last school, and the
me there was tutoring after school every Monday, Wednesday, and
school before that.
Friday. Since it was Monday, I was going to go, but the woman in
“Okay, if you think you can play, go get fitted and come back
the office told me, “Just go on Wednesday.” She gave me a number
and told me to go to the school library after school, and put the
“All right,” I said.
number where I was sitting.
He then called one of the players over to help me out. “Jaquan,
When I got home that night, my mother was just coming home
go and help him get suited.”
from taking my lil’ sister to sign up for Tae Kwan Do. My sister,
“Got you, Coach T,” Jaquan said.
Elana, was already a black belt in karate, but she always felt she
When we walked off, Jaquan asked me what position I was
had to know more, to protect herself in any situation. She was
trying out for. When I told him, “Receiver,” he said, “Thank God,
only fifteen, so I always told her she could wipe my backside, so
because John suck.”
she could feel good, but it’s still true. Mom asked me how school
I got suited and went back out. When I got on the field, I was
went. I told her, then I went to bed.
The next day at school, I decided to start talkin’ to people.
“Hike!” He pitched the ball and I took off. I got fifteen yards
I never was an outcast, and never would be, so I decided to help
and got smacked. I felt like an idiot, but I knew I could do better,
out with the winter dance. That would mean I would have to give
so we did another play.
up my lunchtime to do this, but when I walked into the class,
“Hike!” The quarterback’s voice rang out, and I took off
Sharece was there. Her back was to me, but I just somehow knew
runnin’. I looked back and caught the ball. Then I put on my
it was her. Before I came all the way in, I knocked on the door. She
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burner and shook, hopped and spun over everyone that came my was at. She told us.
way, and made a touchdown. Couch T and the team were like, When we got to his room, the doctor told us he was not going
“Good job.” We did three more plays and then worked out. At the to make it. His lungs had been crushed by the steering wheel. The
end of practice, the coach said that I’d earned a spot on the team. only thing keeping him alive was the air machine.
When I got to the house, I told my mom about my day, that My mom and sister started to cry. “Why? Why did he have to
I was helping out with the school dance, and that I’d joined the go?”
football team. My lil’ sister was happy for me, because she knew I had to be strong for them. I couldn’t let them see me cry.
how much I liked football. We stayed at the hospital most of the night. When we got home, it
“So, what position are you playing?” my sis asked. was three, and my mother said, “Go get some sleep. You’ll need it.
I told her, “Receiver,” and she told me she knew that I’m going to You’re going to school in the morning.”
do good. “Mom, are you going to be all right?”
When I got to my room, I realized that I still hadn’t unpacked, “Yeah. Yeah. No, I’m not. I can’t live without your father.”
so I started to. When I got to one of my shoeboxes, it still had all “Mom, don’t talk like that. You’re going to live. We’re going to
my money in it. I was going to save it for college. I’ve done some live.”
things in life that I’m not proud of, but it had to be done for my “How, son? I don’t have a job. Where will we stay?”
future. I went to bed, thinking, “What if I ever had to live that life “Mom, leave that to me, all right?”
again?” “No, that shouldn’t be on your shoulders.”
As I was walkin’ through school, everyone acted like they “Mom, let’s both go to bed.”
knew me. I got, “Hi!” here, and, “Good job” there, and so on, We both went to our rooms. I went to check on my sister, but
throughout the day. When I got to lunch, I found out why people she had cried herself to sleep. When I got to my room, I took out
was all over me. It was because I had just made the team, and they my boxful of money and took it to my mom’ room, and I knocked
heard I was good for a receiver. When I sat at the Fenixt table (that’s on her door.
what their school logo is,) I learned some of the name, “Jaquan.” “Ma, ask me no question and I’ll tell you no lie. Can you do
I all read how he the quarterback. Then there was Malek. He was that?”
safety. Dimitri was forward block. Eddy was center lineman. I got “Son, what are you talking about?”
to know them somewhat during that time. “Ma, yes or no? Can you do that?”
After school, I went to the library. I sat at the desk and put “Yes.”
the number up. I still had fifteen minutes before, so I went to Cal I gave her the shoebox and told her it was 50 stacks. I lay in
Books. When I came back, Sherece was sitting at my table. When bed. I couldn’t sleep. I missed my father, and to know that he was
she looked up, we just looked into each other’s eyes. I was the one no longer here, hurt a lot.
to break the cycle. I was still up at six, when it was time to get ready for school.
“So, I guess you’re my teacher, Lil’ Ma.” I went to wake my sister up, but she was up, sitting on her bed.
“Yeah, I guess I am.” “How long you been up?” I asked her.
I took a seat and asked her, “What else do you do for this “A little while. I can’t believe Daddy gone. I miss him already.”
school? You a party planner and a tutor. You busy it like you just She started to cry. I put my arm around her, to comfort her.
like to help people.” She sat there and cried, while I told her it was going to be all right.
“Well, I do, and looking over your work, I can tell you need a When I left out for school, I looked up to the sky to see if I’d
lot of it,” she said, while laughing. see a sign of my father.
“Is it me, or does it just sound like you’re putting me down?” During the whole day of school, I just sat there and stared off
I said. into space. When lunch came, I just sat there. I didn’t talk to none
“Naw, I just want to help you.” of the guys. They didn’t know what was wrong. I just told them I
We got to work, and Sherece showed me a lot of ways to do didn’t want to talk.
these math problems. It wasn’t that hard to catch on, once you After school I didn’t want to go help set up for the dance, but
know what you was doing. I did. When I got there, Sherece was already there. When she seen
Ring Ring. me, she smiled. I gave her a weak smile back.
“Hello?” It was my mom calling. Probably wanted to see when “Hi, you. I heard that you made the football team. Why you
I was coming home. didn’t tell me? I also heard you got hit by a truck.”
“Baby, where you at?” When she said that, I broke down and cried. I can’t believe I
“I’m studyin’, Mom. What’s wrong?” did that in front of her.
“Come home, Baby. Your father just got into an accident. He’s “What’s wrong with you? Are you all right?”
at the hospital.” “Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay.” I started to cry again, and she held
“He what?” me like no one else has. I told her what happened, and why I left
Sherece kept asking me what was wrong, but I couldn’t hear yesterday. She didn’t interrupt. She listened, and it felt good.
her. I got myself together. “I’m sorry I put you through that.”
“It’s all right. If I can help you some other way, just let me
Chapter Two know.”
When I got to the house, my mom and sister was outside. “Thank you.”
“What happened, Mom? What kind of accident?” The bell rang, stating that lunch was over.
“He got into a car accident on his way home. He’s in critical “Hum, would you like to come over to my house on Saturday?
condition.” I mean, we didn’t get too much done. Maybe we can then,” she
When we got to the hospital, we asked the nurse where he said.
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“Yeah, I would. What time should I be by?” “Thank you for tellin’ me the truth, and I won’t tell Mom.”
“Maybe around one. That way we can have all afternoon.” I told her, “Thank you,” and she left out. I didn’t want to
“Okay, I’ll get at you later, Lil’ Ma.” tell her that, but I’m also not going to lie. I’m sure she may not
“Bye.” understand, but I’m sure she will try and see where I was coming
At the end of school, I had forgotten we had practice, but it from.
was all right for me to go. I needed to relieve some stress, and the Before I went to sleep that night, my mom came and knocked
best way to do that was on the field. on my door. I knew my sister didn’t say nothing, but I know my
When I got to the house, my sister was in my room, waiting mom. She wanted to say something.
for me. “Baby, I just wanted to let you know, thank you. But if you’re
“It shouldn’t be my business, but how did you get so much out there, getting hurt, I won’t be able to take it.”
money?” “Ma, I’m not hurting myself, I’m just trying to get by.”
I stood there and thought if I should tell her. She’s fragile, but “Just be safe, son. Don’t get into trouble. I’ll be able to get a
I also can’t lie to her. I never had, and I won’t start. “I think it’s job. That way, we can be off of that.”
best if you don’t know.” “Ma, it’s all right. That should last you a while, and I’ll have
“Why? Was it illegal?” more by the time it runs out.”
“Yes.” “No, ya will not. You will stop doing whatever you’ doing, and
“In a way that you can hurt someone?” just go to school.”
“Yes, mentally, not physically.” She left out, cryin’. I don’t know what to do. I want to help her,
“Why did you do it? Was it for a good reason?” but she don’t want my help.
“Yeah, I’ve done it so I can go to college, but that was…” I -Neal, San Francisco
hesitated, “before Dad got a promotion.” From The Beat: You’re an amazing storyteller. Your protagonist (main
character) has many fascinating aspects to his personality. He’s funny, a
She cringed, but still held her posture. “Would you mind little bit arrogant, but unsure of himself, ready to handle any situation,
tellin’ me what it was?” to help/take care of others. We can’t wait to find out more about who
Sherece is. Damiray’s mom and sister are also becoming unique characters.
“Drugs. I was selling drugs to dope fiends and weed to kids at All your characters are facing problems many of your Beat readers are
school.” I wanted her to stop asking me questions, but I couldn’t looking at. Great story beginning! Please write more!
tell her that… But I think she picked up on it.
A Hungry Kid
I think there are a lot of reasons why people are breaking the
law, like a little kid stealing candy bars, maybe that little kid has
to go out and find a meal by himself because no one wants to
take time to feed him and he has no choice.
He probably is hungry so he goes to the corner store and
sees all the stuff in the candy aisle and grabs a candy bar, puts it
in his pocket and the clerk sees that he took something and he
runs out the store. That candy bar he took is probably going to
be the only thing that will fill his stomach and make him happy
till he is hungry for more.
He probably will go back to the corner store but the clerk is
watching him. When the kid walks in wearing dirty clothes all
eyes are on him, so he grabs a candy bar and makes a run for
it, the clerk calls the cops and catch him down the street eating My Cave
the candy bar and gets thrown in the back of a cruiser and the This cave of mine I live in is dark with no sunshine in sight.
cops scares him a little just so he does not try to do it any more. I keep moving forward scared and afraid there’s something so
But that only works till he is hungry again. So when he gets cruel and heartless watching my every move. I don’t know which
older maybe it wont be a candy bar, maybe he tries to get clothes way I’m walking, forward or backward, left or right. There’re
and goes to a store and tries on some shoes and tries to walk scary eyes following me. It’s a terrifying monster who says it’s
out but the workers there see the new shoes on and stop him at there to help, but its vibration of it’s presence scares me.
the door then call the cops and he goes to the hall for the first I’m so alone but I know to be strong and keep moving
time for shoplifting. forward because at the end there’s something so wonderful full
He never wants to go back to the hall again, when he gets out of light and beautiful amazing things that want my company.
he will look back and say, I will never go to living hell again, but Why is this cave so dark but yet I’m so full of light? So I’ll keep
he will get hungry again. taking these steps I fear to take but I can’t wait to see this thing
-Youngster, Santa Clara that endless of beauty.
From The Beat: We would like to know what this youngster is going to -Jocelyn, Los Angeles
do so he does not return back to the hall? There are other choices and From The Beat: This is a really wonderful piece that captures your fear
programs that can help youngsters get food and clothes so they don’t and your hope all at the same time. What is your cave? Is it your time
have to break the law. in the hall? Is it your life outside of the hall?
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co-pieces of the week
How I Feel Some People
First I’m juiced ‘cause I just got a letter from both of my females What’s up wit’ it Beat? People be breakin’ the law for a numerous
and they were both great. amounts of reasons, Some people do it just to fit in. Some people
Second, proud because I love writing for The Beat Within. do it to show off, or prove points. Some people just can’t help it.
It gives viewers a chance to read and feel what the hall is sayin’ Some people too money hungry. Some people to impatient and
and doing. I love The Beat Within fo’ real because it makes a lazy to get a real job and work fo’ what they want. Some people
ninja’s time go faster when you write down how you feel and got uncontrollable sexual desires. Some people like hurtin’
see it published, you dig? My favorite day of the hall is when people like livin’ the’ life on the edge. Some people’s life is better
The Beat Within comes, every Tuesday in Max. I’m a rapper, I do when they do drugs. I can go on forever ‘bout why people break
poems and I love to write. Sometimes they’re not on the topic the law on the daily, but you get the point.
but The Beat still let’s you write it, that’s what’s up. I’m done But ‘bout me, when I was growin’ up as a youngster, I just
writing how I feel so now I’m ‘bout to head to this rap, deuces. didn’t know no better until that first time I got caught, man pops
-Eloheem, Alameda beat me like I stole something… (precisely!) As I got older I jus’
From The Beat: Thank you for your kind words about The Beat, Eloheem, did it cause it was the thing to do. Plus I grew up in a house were
although of course The Beat and the workshops are only ever as good
as you make them, so if you enjoy that hour on Tuesdays, than be sure we didn’t have money like that, so I took what I wanted.
to give the props to yourself and to all the other young writers, because The main reason I be breakin’ the law is because life is a
it is your words, expressions, soul and heart that make The Beat what
it is. Peace! STRUGGLE. I’ve been on the run so many times and there’s been
times I went hungry and it wasn’t pretty…
I also been on the run wit’ my lil bra and I couldn’t let him
go hungry, so I stripped people, broke into houses and etc.…
It’s not all bad! I feel bad ‘bout the victims, but I refuse to go hungry or let
I hate being in here my fam’ go hungry. I just worry bout the consequences later…
I’m all ways the first to say, “I’m never coming back,” laugh now, cry later… you have to do what you gotta do, by any
but when I sit down and think about it it’s not all bad… means, if you want to survive on those mean streets…outie…
I’m not speaking for everybody but for me it’s helped a lot. -Drupe, Solano
I’ve got a lot of high school credits, so much, that I can From The Beat: We nominated this CoPow given the wonderful time
graduate now. and effort you put into this topic, as you delivered your list as to why
people break the law, and your own examples as to why you live a
When I get out I’ll do that – graduate. life on the edge. Does all this mean, upon your return to freedom, you
Im also getting my head right, simply go back to taking these chances? Is there any other way for you
to live your life?
things I wouldn’t have done on the outs,
so it’s not all bad, but that’s just me.
I tend to do that in all situations I try to look at the glass
My advice to the people who read The Beat, use this time wisely.
I mean you have nothing but time, why not use it to better
don’t just get physically fit, get yo’ mind right
From The Beat: We like your inspiring words. We hope you will continue
to utilize The Beat to not only help yourself, but help all of us readers
see that better days are down the road, if we work towards getting a
clearer and healthier mind.
Violence At Home
My earliest memories in life are memories of violence. Getting
beaten from a man I thought was my father but was really my
brothers and sisters' father. He blamed a lot on me mostly when
he was mad, like I got him fired or arrested, but I would take
even more than I did then to have seen him beat my mom how
he did. One time he threatened her with a machete and broke
her leg with a baseball bat. That didn't change anything though,
she worked and cleaned he did nothing, but she bailed him out
Now she has finally gotten married to a better man, not
perfect but look where I am and he's the one protecting my
family. Life is rough but it's worth it the travel, so don't give up!!
From The Beat: We appreciate that you can be so positive at the end
because no matter what, life is worth the rough rides. That being
said, we understand the difficulty of watching a loved one go back to
violence. Although a very tough lesson, we hope you can learn from
this too as you make positive decisions about how you want your life
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co-pieces of the week
Freedom? Damn it’s been a really long time since I last had The Pain
complete freedom. As in able to walk around without worrying You know I never wanted to be like this. I wish I can go home.
about coming back to jail. I’ve been part of this system since the The gangs were never what I had in mind as my future. I grew up
age of 12. I’m now 18 and so close to finally getting out with my around homeboys. My dad was a home boy, but I never met him.
I wish I can go back to when I was a mamma’s boy always
around my mom doing nothing but good even though we lived in
In September I’m getting out without probation and it feels
a lot of places, but majority in San Jose. I was nine and I saw my
good to finally be able to do anything without having to check in
mom get beat by her boyfriends it was just me and my brother
or worry about violating probation. It opens up my eyes to finally
that’s three years younger than me. My oldest sister got taken
get my shhh together so I can at least enjoy freedom finally.
away from us when she was eleven do to my mom being hooked
I also got a lot of things to motivate me to stay out such as on drugs and beating her all the time. Her boyfriends use to beat
my kid, family, and my royal family. I might step back from this my mom in front of us.
with much love. Stay up. But there was nothing we can do. She would tell us everything
-King Slim, Santa Clara was all right. Then turn around and get punched in the mouth.
From The Beat: We’re sure that many feel the same like you, about
losing your freedom in the jail. What is freedom for you? That emotional pain stayed with me till this day. I love my mom
but hated her for not leaving him and beating us when we said
She finally left him but she no longer had us because we got
Right Before Trial taken away. She got her shhh straight and meet my stepdad.
She got us back when I was eleven. The years past and I turned
What up Beat!
I'm going to write a courtroom story of a young man in twelve in San Jose. T’was going on to middle school (sixth
jail: grade). I was hanging around with a group of friends playing
soccer when they threw me in this little stairwell and beat me
He gets out the van, in shackles, starts walking down the
for shhh at lunch.
hallway. Looks around wishing he could walk out the exit
I stopped hanging around with them and met some new
door. When he gets close, they make a sharp turn into the
friends. It was the end of sixth grade and I was getting more and
waiting cell. He turns around and they close the door in
more into gangs.
his face, and then lock the big metal door.
I seen two people got shot and die in front of me. I was
He sits down and sees all the writing of the wall about
traumatic and had nightmares till I was a teen.
"Free him!", "Free me!" and all that shhh… My bro Mikey was out of control because of the shhh he’s
He thinks, "This shhh is a God damn joke, sitting in this been through.
hole with this toilet, hella dirty, piss water comes out -J, Santa Clara
when you try to wash your hands. From The Beat: We are so sorry about your childhood. Sometimes when
He lays back on the bench and waits for them to call him we are children we don’t have the ability or power to make changes to
our life, but now you are becoming an adult and you know what is the
into the court room. He closes his eyes for a second and difference between right and wrong, you can make changes to better
just lies there. your future. Tell The Beat what changes you would like to make in your
life and how? What advice would you give to others that are in the
He hears the door open, wakes up fast and stands up. same predicament as you?
They say, "Time for court, hurry up!"
So he walks out back into the hallway, starts going to the
court room and stops, so they can open the door. He takes
a deep breath and walks in... RIP Grandma
To be continued next time Beat. Late Today is my grandma’s birthday, may she Rest in Peace. My
-Little Pj, Solano granny raised me from birth, till she died when I was 14. It
From The Beat: Damn, we want to read more from you. You deliver an
excellent descriptive piece that truly pulls the reader into the world of seemed that then my whole world came crashing down, it felt
a young man’s wait for court. Your description of the holding cell, will like a piece of me died, too! My grandma was a very beautiful
make most readers hope to never see the inside of such a room!
person. She could cook her ass off, nobody could cook like her,
and I don’t care what you say.
She used to always tell me, Cici we can get out of the hood
and I’m gonna get us a nice house far a way from here! She was
Decisions so special to me. She was funny but strict at the same time.
I got a lot of decisions I made. Some bad, some good. She was a caring person she had a big heart. She never judged
A bad decision I made was when I was a teen and I asked my nobody, she took me to church every Sunday, I remember when
big cousin to buy me a gun. When I got the gun, I said I would she would try to wake me up early in the morning to get ready.
use it just for my safety. But I started seeing people who had a I miss my grandma dearly and I know if she was still here I
lot of weed and money. So I started to use my gun to take those probablywould never came to the hall, ‘cause my grandma would
types of things and get things I want. always talk me outta situations, bad or good, if they weren’t in
A good decision I made was to stay in school and get my my best interest. I miss you grandma,
diploma. Also, playing football. -Cici, Alameda
-Dvece, Alameda From The Beat: Your grandma taught you right from wrong when she
From The Beat: We're sure you are not the only one who got a gun for was alive, right? So that means you know right from wrong, and you
safety and used it for other things. How important is that money to now how this wonderful woman would have wanted you to live. She
you? Worth jail? So what now? When you get out what decisions are gave you the tools to be positive in this world, and now it’s just on you
you going to make? How are you going to stay free and safe? to use them! Peace.
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co-pieces of the week
My Brighter Choices Thank You Mother
While I'm in juvenile, I know when I get out I'm going to make Mom I want to say thank you for creating me
brighter choices and teach my little brother how to read. I'm Telling me to be confident so the haters won’t phase me
going to give him good advice and I'm going to stay out of trouble Thank you for keeping me happy when I was a kid
and I'm going to make sure my little brother and sister stay out Thank you fro teaching me right to wrong
of trouble and take them to the park. Teaching me how to write so I write you a poem
When I get out I'm going to do better in school and do all my Thank you for being funny and for keeping a smile on my
school work. I hope I get out so I can go to my grandpa's funeral. face
I'm going to stop smoking and stop hanging out with guys Thank you for sharing your food if I wanted it you would
who steal and want me to do it with them. give me a taste
-Patrick, Alameda Thank you for showing me a second way to use belts
From The Beat: Sounds great! Your siblings are lucky. What's going to be Thank you fro being there for me through thick and thin
hard about these decisions? Who do you have to support you? (You've Thank you for teaching me when it’s time to turn around
Thank you for keeping me ready for life
Thank you for being you and teaching me to be me
Thank you mother
From The Streets To A Cell You’re welcome
Burglary. That was my decision. To go into an unknown persons -Eloheem, Alameda
From The Beat: Lovely poem, as always! Of course the best way to
house – you should know the rest. Family ask why, why did I do thank your mother is to take the emotions and depth of these words
what I did? Money. That’s all I could say: “Money.” It felt good and apply them to how you live your life on a daily basis. What kind of
life would your mother want to see you lead?
going into that house because of the results, all that money that
would soon be in my pocket. To everyone money is the world.
Who wouldn’t agree?
To me money is every thing so I kept going into houses.
Every time I stepped into a house my heart would start to pound
Here they come, as fast as the engine will go, looking for me. My
like drums. I was so nervous, but looking and getting everything
first instinct I start to run. It doesn't matter where I go as long
that cost money, my heart went back to normal. “This is too
as my hiding is not exposed. As I watch the police car ride by,
easy,” I would say. I was getting paid, I couldn’t stop now. Out of
I get up and keep running. There's no time to relax, yet, 'cause
the blue I got caught in my crimes. I never thought this would
I'm still not safe. Deep inside, I feel like I've done nothing wrong
but I still run.
From The Beat: Great piece B, thanks for contributing to The Beat! You Almost like clock-work, here comes my cousin (perfect
really have your own writing your style – your voice shows through cover-up), walking with her kids. She looks at me confused and
your words. Do you think there are better ways to make money? Do
you feel any guilt? Would you be mad if someone robbed you, or do you
what-not. I just smile, out of breath and pick up my little cousin
think it’s all just a part of the game? and proceed to walk her home. No words were exchanged as we
walked to her house. I said my good-byes and I continued to run
I made it home breathing like a 300-pound woman in need
Holding The Law of a cheeseburger. As I walk through my front door, I can see
Was good Beat? This is Travieso in the max doing tiempo. Well my mama pacing the floor. Shhh, I'm ten minutes late again.
the topic that really caught my eye is its really hard not to break Now why is it that I can dodge the police day after day but I can't
the law. For my little thing I ended up breaking the damn law. make curfew on time? I break the law countless times and got
For example, gang probation. They expect you not to hang out away, but my mother and my curfew are one law and one police
with gang members or anybody that is on probation or parole officer I can't get away from.
but it’s hard. -Zenobia, Alameda
Most of all my friends are gang members and are on From The Beat: You are a good story-teller. Sounds like your mother
is trying to help you keep away from the police by keeping you out
probation or parole. If they catch me with my girlfriend it’s a of trouble. Since you are writing this from jail, we are assuming you
wrap. They just want us to be locked up so they can make the weren't able to dodge them every time. Is it worth it? Is it wort all the
running and jail? You say both that you break the law and that you
money. Plus I’m getting sent to ROP Nevada for getting tattoos. don't think you do anything wrong. Can you explain that?
In my eyes that’s stupid. I’ve seen people do worse stuff than me
and they end up getting ranch, group homes or go home. The
thing I don’t like is that the people that do deserve to go to ROP
end up going home. I was getting paid,
But what gets me extremely mad is that others go home
on EMP and come back then end up coming back. If I could go
home on EMP I’ll do good. I rather be out there than here. That’s I couldn’t stop now.
-Travieso, Santa Clara
From The Beat: We know that it is hard to make changes, but something
has to change otherwise you will be living your life in and out of the
Out of the blue I got
hall or maybe prison. The Beat would like to know what changes need
to be made so you can live your life on the outs. Life is too short, you
are in control of what path you would like to follow. Stay positive.
caught in my crimes.
Page 14 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
co-pieces of the week
Decisions When I Got Shot
Through my life I made some crazy choices, My first memory of violence happened before I turned 15, when
That have filled my feelings with I got shot. I moved to Vallejo with my cousin, and I took some
Wickedness and evil poisons. weed from Oakland and brought it down with me. So my cousin
Livin’ life with two dead ends. and I smoked hella weed and got high. Then we seen a guy in a
It’s either tombs, black hoodie, and he had his arm in it. So we decided to go back
Or bullet wounds, to the house after we were done smoking. Then the guy followed
Tell me which one you choose. us. My cousin said “Oh shhh” and then he ran. Then I turned
It’s my crazy life, around, and before I know it, “bam” I got shot in my stomach
Risking getting shot or stuck with a knife. and then I ran while I was still high.
Been livin’ to long in the cold, Then right when I got to my house property, “Bam!” again.
Sometimes it seems to get old. I got shot in the leg twice, and then I noticed when I walked in
Will I make that decision, the house that my cousin was bleeding and laughing. Then I sat
Or wait till I get a bullet or incision. down on the couch from all the pain. Then my cousin sat down
-Arnold, Santa Clara next to me and sighed. Then he said, “cousin I'm hit,” smiling
From The Beat: Do you feel like you had a choice in this life? Did you
choose to live with the crazy choices or were they thrust upon you? Do really hard. “let’s go to the hospital.”
you really want it all to end with a bullet or an incision? Do you feel So my cousin drove us to the hospital without telling my
you have a choice?
auntie that we took her car, because we didn’t want her to know.
But, she ended up knowing anyways. And that was my first
memory of violence and a life or death situation.
It’s either tombs, -Jerron, Alameda
From The Beat: You sure know how to tell a story, Jerron. We were
biting our nails while reading this. No matter how brave a person is,
being shot is still a terrifying experience, and its effects can stay with
you for a long time. Do you think that this incident had a long-term
Or bullet wounds,
impact on you? And if so, what was it?
Tell me which Freedom--the word that will set us free
To a certain extent can stop us
To get carried away. To take for granted
one you choose.
This word’s meaning is strong, like liquor
Sweet, like candy. Neutral, like nature
Freedom, which I was born into
But have grown out of
You can see, but not touch
Breathe, but not taste
Being Down For Those Locked Up Examples of a word with the meanings of many
What’s good with The Beat? I’ve been down for a month and And the dreams of infinity
a week now, and I want to get out. Some days are better than -Aspen, San Francisco
others. What keeps my mind from slipping into depression is From The Beat: Amazing poem! Have you been contemplating your own
freedom, maybe your loss of it, long before you wrote this poem? Has
the thought of getting out soon. And kicking it with my friends, losing your freedom been anguishing for you? Write more!
and getting shhh lit for summer, especially to make up for this
time I’ve been in.
And the letters I get from my real friends. What I mean is,
people on the outs forget about those who are locked up. It Being Patient
shows people their true colors, and shows how down you really The hall has helped me to be patient, to give me time to reflect
are. I don’t want to take it to heart, but I know damn well, being on my life and what I need to do to change it. It also gave me the
down for someone means, even when they’re locked up, to be chance to get influenced by religion and study the Bible.
there for them, and support them as best they can. But, hey, Overall, the hall is positive for me and somewhat beneficial
maybe that’s just me? but at the same time I miss my family and want my life back.
I hope, when I get out, people haven’t changed, and they From being in the hall I learned that to to stay out of the
don’t try to act brand new, ‘cause that shhh be irkin’ me. Let me hall I need to stay out of trouble and be a productive member of
stop. But I’m counting down those days to be out, and we’ll get society.
back to those encounters down in my neighborhood, ha ha, and This is the longest stretch of time I have ever done and I still
see where it takes us. I know you want Daddy to write more, but have many months to go. This really has me eager to get out and
that’s it for now. be productive.
-Yanet, San Francisco -Jose, Solano
From The Beat: You’re true to those you love, and deserve their support, From The Beat: What steps are you going to take to stay out of trouble,
too. Friends can act “brand new” when you’ve been through something and be a productive member of society? Can you do it alone? Do you
heavy, like juvy. They can assume you’re somehow different now, even have a support group? Tell us what your goals are for the remainder of
if you aren’t, but it can hurt. your time, and what you hope to accomplish in and outside of juvenile.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 15
co-pieces of the week
Waiting What’s Your Opposite?
I feel like I’m in a hospital waiting room with a broken heart. There’s many opposites in this dangerous and amusing world.
I’m waiting for help, but my name is at the end of the chart. I’m The opposite of me I always find it in my own world that no body
looking at the clock and twelve minutes turn into a year. can enter. The things I do if they have bad thoughts I wonder
I’m looking out my window and for freedom, my heart hurts. what would have happened if it was a good choice.
I’m missing friends and family, this feels like a nightmare. I am Everything that happens I always think of the opposites of
in the waiting room with a broken heart except I can’t go home the situation. Sometimes I find myself thinking about a certain
anytime soon and my life has fallen apart. animal, how normal it looks to us, but to an outsider of this
-Precious, Santa Clara world it can see it completely strange.
From The Beat: We are so sorry about the pain that you are feeling. You Sometimes I just sit and think how I’m so polite and nice
have written a heartfelt piece describing your pain with one that may
be in the hospital. Waiting is the longest and most painful event, try and caring about other people. What if I was heartless, always
to stay positive and please take one day at a time. Your day will come had such a horrible attitude towards everybody add everything?
when your name will be on the top of the list and your broken heart
will be mended. Instead of being this color what if I was blue. What if instead of
brown eyes I had violet. What if instead of having long black hair
it was long and violet, feeling like spikes of a porcupine.
Of humanity the opposite of something out there we still
Chains don’t know about. Like what if there’s a world where everybody
worked backwards. The animals were people and we were the
Upholding the law gets
Heavy at times. animals. The boiling hot things were actually do cold to them
People make bad decisions and the cold is so hot. Maybe one day I’ll meet or discover my
Without using their minds… opposite that’s out of this universe.
Some rob banks, steal candy, -Jocelyn, Los Angeles
From The Beat: We really like that you explore your thoughts about
Rob houses, rob people, to eat… yourself and the world in this piece. What made you think about the
But that’s the way the power world’s opposites instead of just your own?
Needs it on the streets.
Can I continue
Physical slavery is over
And it’s a new age,
Our bodies are in the free,
But our minds still in the chains.
to depend on my
From The Beat: We really like this poem. It’s short, but it says what it
needs to say. But what makes you think our minds are in chains? What
do you mean by that and how can we unchain them?
spiritual and so-
cial life supports?
My evil ways, selling poison to fiends try to get paid
My evil ways, me and my ninjas bouncing out, going on
tangent with them k’s
My evil ways, I know it ain’t right but still do it every other day
My evil ways, I get on my knees every night and day and pray
My evil ways, still seem to refuse to go away
My evil ways, even when I’m not with my friends they still
mind me so where do I place the blame
That’s what they always say that I was saved. My mom reminds
My evil ways, will they just go away me every time she comes to visit me that I’m here for a reason.
My evil ways, I been robbin’ and mobbin’ According to her God this juvenile facility and my family are my
My evil ways, man this shhh is tiring saviors. On the outs I was addicted to drugs and after having
My evil ways, where do I go for retirement? overdosed a couple times, my mom is rather relieved I’m here.
My evil ways, or is it my environment, that require ‘em? Despite my hate for her actions she took against me
(that a shame) everything I stood before the judge. I realized she didn’t do any
My evil ways, is it simple or do I need a rocket scientist? wrong because she saved me, and I thank her for not giving up
My evil ways, it can’t be the way I was raised on me. But I stop and wonder how much longer can I continue
‘Cause for sure Moms did her thing to push my luck?
My evil ways, I’m lost I’m one of the fortunate ones I guess in a way, a survivor.
Where did they come from? Will I be saved every time? My intentions still aren’t clever even
My evil ways. after I’ve been incarcerated 8 months. In a while I’ll be out. Can
From The Beat: Another good poem Terrence. We’d love to see more like I continue to depend on my spiritual and social life supports?
this from you. If you know your evil ways aren’t right, why do you think -Jessica, Los Angeles
you still do it? What would have to happen for you to be able to lead a From The Beat: We think that spiritual and social life supports are
“good” life? Is it as simple as wanting a better life and making it happen EXACTLY what you need to stay clean and to continue surviving. We
or is it more complicated than that? are happy to hear that your life has turned around.
Page 16 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
co-pieces of the week
Steady gaining precision
I’m Saved? Ready for the mission at hand
Mom said don’t go Making a stand
To the party Against what people demand from me
I’ll be fine That’s what separates me from the wannabes
I said I’m having fun at the party I stay smoking trees, shaking off these fleas
early mornings I’m walking, I ain’t doing nothing that’s made to please
drunk of course, I ease off the trigger I don’t want to squeeze
now there’s a gun to my head. ‘Cause every decision comes with fees
“Where you from?!” It’s funny how fear
I hear, “come out ya pockets!” Can bring a man down to his knees
Naw, I said. But inflicting fear fills his heart with glee
Then next I hear, “blast him!” Why plead when your life’s coming to an end
”Blast em` on hood.” What happened to the tough bravado
Gun goes, click… click… click… click… Was it all pretend? I rend for myself
It won’t bust. Follow a trend that’s good for my health
Damn, “lets roll!” What I say is heart-felt
One hit to my head, all i feel is the steel Some decisions melt away the pain
I’m out cold Others deal you fortune to gain
I wake up, now I’m thinkin’ Im saved? But in the end
Head busted, shoes gone but I’m okay They leave feelings and experiences that remain
I’m saved, I said, I’m saved. -Mummie, San Francisco
From The Beat: Have you ever had to stand up to fear? What happened?
-Klokl, Los Angeles Beyond responding to what anyone else expects/wants from you, who
From The Beat: Saved from who? Saved from what? To live another day,
are you? Your mysterious poems rarely reveal who you are.
because the person that was going to kill you, their gun jammed? This
shot at living another day, has it helped you begin to live a new life.
A better life? Powerful and frightening piece of writing. YOU do an
excellent job of pulling us into a situation no one wants to be a part of.
If this is your truth, we sure hope you will do everything in your power
to live a safer and less violent life. The World
They say the world is going to end 2012,
they don’t know is that we are already in hell.
Cause all I’m doing is enforcing 2012
Doing The Right Thing In School Pushing out shells there goes the church bells and
School can get irritating for me. another funeral.
Trying my hardest for an A but Wiping every one of the faces of the earth,
Left with a negative C. These streets are evil some times it makes me wonder.
Especially students and kids who get I figure hell’s already on this earth
On my nerves. Trying to take my soul
Keeping us locked behind those cement cages with no
Makes me want to go off on a subject clemency
That includes physical and hateful verbs, So I figure this is the devil’s secret remedy
But handling that situation in that kind of Having people dying and addicted to met, it’s been from the
Manner, 60 to 70s.
We have been down since the beginning of time, but this
Leaves a big red target on me, that is life.
Says he's bad and no good to this school to Wish I can roll some dice and everything be right.
Himself, or the star spangled banner. -Warlock, Santa Clara
From The Beat: The world will come to an end if people don’t stop
But that's just their theories and pushing out shells and hurting one another. We would like to know
how we can stop ending people’s life’s? We wish it was that easy where
Opinions on me. everyone can roll a dice and their life will be alright, but reality is
By doing the right thing, by conquering & people need to make changes to make living positive.
Controlling my anger, leaves me with wise
Knowledge from my class of psychology.
So thanks for school it's really made
Some decisions melt
A difference in my life.
From physical fitness, my family history,
A little bit of math…
away the pain
From The Beat: We love this poem, it is seemingly lighthearted yet very
truthful. We wish you had time to finish your thought so we could
Others deal you
fortune to gain
see where you would end it. Looks like you are handling school in the
manner you should be and even appreciating it for what it is.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 17
co-pieces of the week
Demons Being the Victim
Satan took me under When I first experienced violence, I was 8 years old. That’s when
Demons corrupt my mind I got molested. Up until I was 14 years old I experienced this
Fire all around type of violence. My cousin lived with me and my momma, and
Someone took my life whenever my mom would leave, he got his chance.
I got caught slippin’ I never told my mom because I didn’t know what would
In the wrong neighborhood happen. All I kept thinkin’ was “What will she say? What will she
These damn enimigas think?” But most of all, “will she believe me?” I finally got tired
I knew that they would and ran away when I was 14. The police found me and brought
Eventually get me me back home. When I got back home, my mom told me that I
Put me in my grave could tell her anything, so I told her and she beat my cousin into
Now I’m down in hell a concussion and kicked him out!
Satan laughin’ in my face This has affected me in a major way. I have bad anger
I already knew my fate problems, I can’t be anywhere where I know someone can get to
So I ain’t really trippin’ me, and I'm just miserable because family did this to me and it’s
I chose this life that came with it hard to forget about, but I did forgive him for what he did. People
Nothing in this world tell me, just put it in the past, but I just can’t! I’m tired of being
Is ever a given the victim.!
So you got to go take it -Cici, Alameda
Nothing in this world From The Beat: First off, you are not a victim. As soon as you were old
enough, you found a way to defend yourself, first by taking yourself
Is ever a given away from danger, and then by telling your mom the truth. So give
So you got to take it yourself props for taking the steps you needed to take to protect
yourself. Second, as time goes on, you will learn how to trust the world,
In this messed up world we live in and how to manage your anger. You are not the kind of person who
-Wyno, Santa Clara would just let your past become an excuse for destroying your present
From The Beat: That’s a beautiful peace, Wyno. You were right that we – we believe you will find a way to trust people again. What do you
have to strive for anything we want. What, do you think, are worth think?
Has The Hall Helped Me?
Life Struggles The hall has helped me, because when I first came in here I
Dear Beat, wanted to fight everyone, and just say, forget everything. But
I found out two days ago my mom is in the hospital and she since I’ve been in here, I’ve talked with people who can help me
might not make it out. I can’t talk to my roommate and I don’t and who have helped me. Like, when I sit down and talk with
want to seem like a cry baby gangster, but I need someone to them, I let out all the feelings that I have had in my life.
know. When I was out I would never talk to anyone or tell anyone
All the people on my unit are annoying. They show no anything about myself.
remorse for each other. It’s chill tho’. I just want to thank The Beat for letting me be able to write
I can only hope for the best. I gots forty or so days left and and say how I feel. I have changed because of it, and I am not
I hope my mom hangs in there at least until I get out. I hope really done changing. When I am fully done changing, you will
she gets out before me. I pray she gets better. I’m tired of her love it.
boyfriend putting her there. I’m tired of her boyfriend getting -C, Santa Cruz
drunk, I’m tired of his actions hurting my mom. I’m tired of From The Beat: Hey, we already love it. Thanks for the nice words about
us and about the hall.
having my mom living in fear – when I get out, new charge or
not, I’m going to change my moms life. Hopefully for the better.
What do I do Beat
Her boyfriend’s been doing this too long and the cops don’t do
anything but throw me in jail.
I need something to change but if I change it, it’s gonna end
to give me some
out bad for me.
What do I do Beat to give me some wisdom, some help, some
hope, some insight something please. I’m begging for advice.
wisdom, some help,
If something doesn’t give, I’m gonna break and I don’t need
to break any more than I already have. Every time I snap and
break, I end up here, there’s no hope in my mind an more. I’m
going to give up I think but if I do, that’s worse than breaking.
Damn now my head hurts and my heart hurts. Were do I go
with the scrambled pieces this time?
-Ninja, Santa Clara
From The Beat: We really hope that your mother gets better and that
you have an opportunity to see her soon, and tell your truths. Stay
positive and strong for her in this time of need. Your words speak to
your extreme frustration with the situation, but as long as you can find
the solution to help your mother, then you will be able to make those
changes needed to keep her safe.
Page 18 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
To Come to Terms Means My Baby Girl (Daughter)
What's poppin', Beat? This ya ninja Lil' Meezy tellin' ya'll what's
Coming to Peace goin' on in my life. I had my daughter about a month ago. She is the
I feel when and while I sit in here I lose everything and every most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my life. When she came into
chance such as opportunities to be with family. To be saved in my this world and when I saw her born, I knew my life wasn't about me
church. I believe while I sit in here I learn about myself. Who am any more. From now on, it's about my daughter, Zaniya. She is the
I? Maji. What am I? Criminal, intelligent, bold, brave. All, or none best thing that ever happened to me and I'm mad at myself for not
of the above. I know who I am, a strong intellectual and a beautiful being there for my daughter right now.
and creative artist. Jail I believe is for no one. I need to be free. But I can tell you this, Niya, when I get out, I promise you
-Maji and I swear to God I'm going to be there for you and make up the
From The Beat: Maji, you always submit excellent pieces. This one is no
exception. Based on your writings alone, we at The Beat know you are lost time I missed with you, baby girl. I swear to God. I love you so
intelligent. Criminal, you are not. Everyone makes mistakes. When you much.
are on the outs, realize the potential you have, and how juvenile hall
hinders you from fully utilizing all of your creative strengths. Use this as -Meezy
motivation, and you’ll excel. From The Beat: Congratulations, Meezy! What do you have to do to keep
your promises? What needs to change? What will be hard?
Has the Hall helped me? No, it messed my life up ever since I came. Keep Yo' Head Up
First time I was here I didn’t know anything about gangs. I started When I get out I want to change my life around. The hall is not the
banging here. Ever since that my mom never wanted me home. So place for me right now. I know I made a mistake to get here and I
I thought she didn’t love me so I chose the gang over my family. will do everything to change my ways, 'cause what I'm doing now
After that I kept coming to the Hall. Now I’m in here for a is not the way out.
pistol. My life is not the same since I started coming to the Hall. I want to keep my head up and do the right thing. So my mom
Now the only life I know now. There’s no turning back now. won't have to keep worrying about me and what I'm doing when I'm
-Jonathon not around her. The only way she knows I'm safe is if I'm in the
From The Beat: What do you mean you started banging here in the house or if I'm at one of my family's houses.
Hall? Do you still think your mom doesn’t love you? We don’t know the
relationship between you and your mother, but it’s rare to find a mother Too many people told me these streets ain't nothing nice. You
that doesn’t love her son. Now, some mothers are not as good at showing will end up dead or in jail. So I just pray and keep my head up as I
that love as others, but that doesn’t mean the love isn’t there. Do you get older.
really think there is no turning back from this life? You’re so young, you
can change now and make gangbanging a small part of your past. It’s not -Dijon
too late – think about it. From The Beat: Sounds great! Tell us more about what the “right” way
is. Are there no community or school programs or sports you could get
involved in that your mom would think are safe?
Rhythm or Hearts
I wrote this to put a smile on your face:
Part 1 My first memory of violence was when I was six. I got into a fight
You so beautiful at school with a fifth grader. I beat him up so I got suspended. The
Why don’t you be mine reason it started because he threw his backpack at me and didn’t
Don’t hesitate, let me know if I get out of line say sorry so I punched him. Then he hit me. Then I just started
I just had to let you know goin’ bad on him. Like I said I got suspended for a week. My mom
That you’re truly one of a kind yelled at me then took my game. Then that was it. Thank you Beat.
From The Beat: Did you learn from this or was this just the start of many
Part 2 more fights to come? It’s certainly OK to stand up for ourselves – but
You top quality, yeah you 100% prime violence is rarely, if ever, the right way to do it.
This is more than a letter
More than a poem
More than a rhyme
This that beat our hearts dance to Better From The Hall, Better Than
And I just can’t get you out my mind
Part 3 The hall has helped me by getting my mind back straight. Telling
You take my breath away me how much I can be doing better instead of doing the wrong
And while I’m gasping for air things in life, which is something I’m going to do when I leave. I
I slip away from reality know this is no place for me to be at any points and time in life.
And dream of you and I as a pair I want to grow and be somebody. This is the last time I’ll ever
When awake and realize you not there be here or in any jail period.
Only then is when I realize I got my chance to make the right decision in my life to fix
How much life isn’t fair? the wrongs I did. Also to not be back in places like these again.
-A Smile On Your Face Another decision I want to keep is keeping my change to my life.
From The Beat: Why did you decide to break this up structurally into -Henry
different parts? Is there a significant reason for this? We like the metaphor From The Beat: You are somebody Henry – go show the rest of the world
you use when you describe your hearts dancing to the beat – two hearts, who that somebody is! We know that being in the hall is never good,
uninhibited and in unison. Do you think your dream will come true? Can but we’re glad to hear that it did cause you to think about things from a
you do anything in your power to make it come true? different perspective.
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
Just Chillin’ Because Of Decisions
Saturday Morning time to show I ain’t shy Because of decisions I am who I am. Because of decision we are
Can’t wait for Saturday night ‘cause it’s time for club live who we are. Decisions bring us to negativity and positivity and
But the first thing I do is thank the Man upstairs decision makes me money. Decision made my baby. As if decisions
Throw on the fresh griffies, keep them by the pair are not here we as people are not here without decision.
Walk to the island and see Deandre, he say it’s time to go A hard decision I see everyday that people deal with is that, do
Shootin’ dice need change time to hit mo’ store I feel like going with my family and friends that push me to do the
Check on moms make sure she’ good wrong things and conflicts or should I go with these strangers who
Cause she knows I’m just chillin’ another day in the hood promises me this is not a failing road to go down.
-Eloheem The strangers say to me if I go to school, get some wisdom and
From The Beat: We like all aspects of your perfect Saturday (except the knowledge to be anything I would have a better change of living
illegal part), and especially the idea of starting off your day with gratitude
for the simple fact that you are alive. If we all remembered to keep that longer or to not have to watch my back for my enemies. In my eyes
gratitude in our hearts, wouldn’t it be much easier for us to avoid the I see this you have a chance of not having your freedom and life
anger and violence that hold us back?
taking if you follow your negative influences. If you down of the
strangers that have your positive road to go down, is that you will
live longer and have a safer life.
Better Decisions -Maji
From The Beat: Do all your family and friends push you to do wrong? Do
The decisions I make are very bad choices that lead me to breaking you have any positive influences in your life that aren’t strangers? Still, it
seems like that you want to listen to these strangers, knowing that they
the law. I don’t always get caught breaking the law but I don’t know are probably right and if you do listen to them, your life will probably be
at the time I’m in the risk of getting my freedom taken away. better. Maji, it takes a lot of courage and shows a lot of independence
It’s not that I don’t care about my freedom, but I like my in your thoughts and actions to follow the advice of strangers and go
against your family or friends. We really admire that. Do what you have to
needs to be met, whether it’s the right or the wrong way. With do to give yourself that better chance!
the consequences I experienced I’ve experienced I’m planning on
making better decisions for my freedom and also my future.
From The Beat: What is the first important decision you will have to make
when you get out? What will be the ‘bad’ answer, and what will be the
My First Pregnancy
‘good’ answer? Can you tell us what will be the challenges of making the I'm seventeen, soon to be eighteen in a month. This is my first
decision that is best for you in the long run? pregnancy and I'm going to keep it.
I feel happy but scared at the same time. I always wanted a kid
to love the way I was loved by my family.
Why I Do What I Do From The Beat: We are glad you have a loving family to help you. Having a
baby is never easy, especially when you are so young. Is the baby's father
Man first of all the Hall ain’t help shhh. Screw that, the Hall make going to be there for you? How is having a baby going to change your life?
a ninja life worse for real. Every time a ninja go down it seem like How will your life stay the same? How will you make sure to stay free and
with your baby?
God be trying to send a message cause I always lose somebody. So
I’m like man this shhh don’t help shhh.
Man a ninja get out and still do the same thing, thug it out and
trap it out. But hot head ninja like me get out and its like blitz. No I Need To Be Released
options on a ninja. Yea though Beat it, that fed-up ninja Ant and Once the judge tells me that I'm going to be released, that's going
I’m outta here. to be the happiest moment of my life. No more people telling me
-Ant what to do, when to eat, and using other people's clothes.
From The Beat: What could the Hall do to help you? Why do you say
they make your life worse? And do you really think there’s such a thing When I'm in the outs, I'm going to follow my probation because
as “no options”? Aren’t there always options? We have free choice! Not finding out that I'm pregnant while being in the hall makes me
everything is within our control, but we can make choices that either
improve our lives or worsen our lives. The option is always there, it’s up want to do good when I'm out. I now have to think about someone
to you to choose. else instead of always me.
When I leave, I never want to come back because that's not the
life I want to give my baby, a mother that's going to be in and out of
the hall. I want to better myself for my baby and our future.
The Hall Don’t Help -Azucena
To keep it real the Hall don’t help nobody. It’s not post to help the From The Beat: Will you feel that you can't do what you want to do when
you want to do it when you have a baby to take care of? How are you
kids. The main reason for the Hall is to get the kids ready for real going to make sure never to come back? It takes more than not wanting
jail. Some might disagree with what I just said, but then some will to. We know you didn't want to come this time.
agree with me. The Hall ain’t done shhh for me, but lock a ninja
behind a door. They try to be friends by being nice and let you work
in the unit. But really all that we do in by work in is make in they
job real easier. No More Mistakes!
The Hall just ain’t cool and this is the last time that I will have I think I should make better decisions to make sure I don’t come
my freedom took away. I just made 18 in May so it’s no more Hall back here and to make sure I go to a right place, instead of a wrong
for me it’s the real deal. Well the Hall don’t help nobody, never has mistake that I will regret. A good decision is not running away from
and never will. Peace Beat. home and selling stuff or doing illegal things to go to jail. A bad
-Tra decision is running away and robbin' a store.
From The Beat: Has Juvenile Hall supplied you with any resources? What -Atirra
about programs like The Beat Within and many others? Have you learned From The Beat: Good definitions, Atirra! Looking back, what is the BEST
anything from being in the Hall? Have you grown as a person because of decision you’ve made in recent months? And what is the WORST one? If
the Hall? you had a do-over, would you be able to correct the bad one? How?
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
G Is Going To The Y My Loss
What’s happenin’ Beat. Damn, still here. Got two to eight years I lost a lot since I came to jail
behind these walls. I’m tired of this place but t I made a mistake It’s hard seeing a juvenile without bail
that I call a choice. Everything I ever did was my choice, so I can’t Locked up in a cold cell
blame nobody but myself for my mistakes in life. The truth is when I get out I’m back to the same old thing
Last weekend I had a visit with my pops and we was talking I’m jumping back like a boxer in the ring
about the Y and the environment of the Y. I got an article from Last week I just lost my girl
somebody in here about the Y and it talks about how it costs Locked in here got me missing out on the world
$224,000 a year to house a minor in the Y and it only cost $70,000 I feel intense but I’m strong
to house somebody at Camp Sweeney. So they was saying that they I don’t know how I’ve made it this long
want to house all Alameda minors in camp but it would be like In this cold world I live another day
housing barely teenaged burglars with 25-year-old murderers so I know I’ll make it another way
they don’t want to. -Rj
-Lil G From The Beat: Great piece, RJ! How can you prevent yourself from doing
From The Beat: What matters most is what’s happening inside your own the “same old thing”. It sounds like you realize that the environment
mind and heart. Some people come out of doing time as worse criminals you are in on the outs is not helping you. What do you feel you can do
than before. Others leave with a new sense of self and drive for a positive to change this? Participate in sports? After-school programs? You leave
life. Which do you think it will be for you? your piece on an optimistic note; we would love to hear more about how
you plan to change your life when you leave juvenile hall.
The Hall Is Hella Boring! Losing My Fallen Angels
I plan on using my freedom to get back on the right track and to
Losing my fallen angels was the worst for me! To the point, I lost
help others because the hall is hella boring and dry. All you see is
my mind. Every night I think about everybody I lost. Sometimes I
walls and the light and there's nothing to do but read and sleep and
wonder why they didn't take me away with them. But not everybody
sometimes they don’t even let us look at the females!
dies. But not everybody lives.
From The Beat: What would the “right track” look like? What will it take They took my n-word, Vell. So you know we actin' out, swaggin'
for you to get back on it? And most importantly, how will the “right track” out for Lil' Ed. I miss you. And we goin' to mob for your name. And
take you to the future you want for yourself?
Lil' Shonte, still mobbin' for the gang. Verrybo was somebody who
always kept a smile on my face through everything. Ronnie was
like a big brother too, somebody I could always count on daily. Me
and Edward go way back. When I heard he was gone, it disgusted
Suspense me. He always used to use that word, “swag.”
I’m really mad that I got myself back in this situation, and then I So therefore I'm swaggin' out for my angel.
got terminated from my group home, ‘cause I ran and was using -Mika
drugs while at the group home, and I was really Messed up and now From The Beat: We're sorry you've lost so many loved ones. We'd like to
I might be pregnant. know more about what you mean exactly by mobbing and swagging for
them. What do you do for them? How much of that gets you in trouble?
I find out in two weeks, because I have to take another You have choices for you own life, and not everyone dies. You probably
pregnancy test I’m kinda hoping it comes out positive, but part of control more that more than you think.
me hopes it comes out negative
From The Beat: By now you have the answer to this question – would be
willing to share your results with The Beat? And let us know how you feel
about the results!
All I do is speak the truth. Who can I speak it to? I say to myself,
“I'll speak it to the youth. People, look at me and say you are a
youth.” Yeah, okay, that's true but this is what I'm gonna do: show
No More Violence the ones under what is right and never give up the fight.
It's all about the power. We've got to have the power to do
What’s up Beat this young T-Man from Oakland and in Oakland was
where I seen a body get dropped in the jets. anything that comes to mind. I know we can get out of here and
I was a contributor to violence once upon a time but I feel as grind. Time is ticking, no time to waste. We will overcome things,
a community we should stop the violence because I lost a lot of we will change things that we can change. And things that we can't
friends to it. When I get out it’s gonna be different. change we will overpower. Never trust the government 'cause they
-T-Man be full of lies, don't want us to uprise and better ourselves. We
From The Beat: How will it be different when you get out? Can you go gotta go through a whole lot of motions, once when we get where
from someone who contributed to violence to someone who prevents it? we need to be. Then no one can change that.
Keep your head up and never look down. We will fight and go
pound for pound. Even we can go round and rounds. It ain't going
to stop until my casket drop. We gonna keep moving until we can
Decision to Stop Smoking have the respect and power that we deserve. It's all about the black
power, chicano power. We will all unite as one. Keep going for our
When I get out of the Hall I want to do good but I know I might
screw up again. All I really have to do is stop smoking. It’s not that
- The Way, The Truth, The Guy Who's the Dude.
hard I’m gonna just wait till I get off probation. From The Beat: You can always speak your truth to us. What is the fight?
-Lalo Power over whom? Or just over yourself? Should people really be free
From The Beat: If it’s not that hard, why do you think you might screw up to do whatever comes to mind? Even if it means harming others? What
again? Don’t be afraid to admit you need help. We all need help sometimes, things do you need to overcome, to change, to overpower? Where do you
we can’t always do everything on our own. need to be? Respect from whom? We want understand your truth better.
sta n d o ut s ts
sta n d o u County
First Memory Of Violence Honest Truth
The first sign of violence was at twelve
Here’s your heart, before I break it,
The money was coming in daily like mail
I don’t deserve it,
It was broad day when I broke off the shell
For your love is too deep,
They say life should be good but why it seem like hell
And can’t be portrayed, not by some one of my nature,
Just watchin’ somebody face and the way it swell
But by some one of your own trait.
The power made me fell I’d never be in a cell
My love still burns for you
Now it’s hard times and I’m checkin’ for a bell
Just not in the same way,
Tryin’ to do rite and I gotta story to tell
Don’t take this as a break up,
From The Beat: Unfortunately, life can’t always be good. We have to take But make up of my past deceiving ways
the good with the bad. Did you feel any guilt after you partook in violence? I want to be everything I can to you,
What were you trying to accomplish? How difficult do you think it will be
to do a right? Keep telling your story Andre, but keep reshaping it And benefit you in the best of ways
You deserve much more than me
I just hope I’m write about my feelings
And don’t truly realize them before it’s too late.
Understanding Love -Shaquille
From The Beat: What can you do to improve yourself so that you can feel
Love isn't something everyone understands. You tell someone you like you deserve someone like this? Do you think you will continue your
love them but in a way you realize you don't know what it is. deceiving ways or are they a thing of the past?
I tell my boyfriend I love him. But when I try to explain to
myself what I mean, I don't know what to say or think.
When I tell my family that I mean.... I care for them, they are
my everything. I'd never let them down. But it doesn't feel the same The Hill of Nature
when I tell my boyfriend that. About two nights ago I seen a mouse. On the Big Hill I see a lot of
-Jade interesting things, but the mouse! I never seen a mouse before either,
From The Beat: Why are you trying to explain it? Do you feel confident that only on television. Besides the mouse I like the view of Bayfair and the
you love your boyfriend? Does your family approve of your relationship
with him? Poetry is a good way to explain love. You can ask the hall birds and sheep and goats and pigs and piglets and they have interested
librarian for some good love poems. bugs.
I saw a blue wasp the other day. It tried to sting me. Oh and I seen
a bunch of queen bees floating in the air going from papi flower to papi
flower, sucking nectar from them. I love the way they just go with the
College flow of the air. I wish that was how my life was. Camp is boring but it
Yes, Juvenile Hall has helped me but not rehabilitated me. I have gives you time to think and clear your head. I can’t wait to get my home
applied myself and used my resources to the fullest. I am a college pass so my time will go faster.
student now and I have a scholarship. -Don’t Trip
From The Beat: Whoa, it sounds like Camp Sweeney is almost like a zoo!
Also, I have found a new talent I didn’t know I had. That’s This is a good comprehensive list of all the animals you saw. Do you think
writing, doing poetry, helps me vent. I probably would of never you can ever get your life to “go with the flow”, just like the bees do? If
you have an interest in insects and animals, read up on them. There are so
realized my talent if not for The Beat Within. many fascinating creatures out there!
From The Beat: Great job Roach! We’re proud of you and so glad to
hear that The Beat played a role in your realization of your talents and
passions. Keep working hard and always strive to quench that thirst for
knowledge! Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
When I Get Out
What’s up wit' it Beat Within? It’s me Shawn in the hall. I’m gonna
write about when I get out and touch down. How I’m gonna do the right
Fix My Life thing and go back to school and find that special girl and start me a
family. But when I get out and touch down I’m gonna be with the fam
When I get out of jail, I'm going to stop rolling with my old homies bam and do my own thing. And go out to eat and have family time. Go
and try change what I do. I wish I could go back and not do crime. back to school, play football, basketball and run track.
I am going to stop doing crime and do community service and -Shawn
try to get off probation. From The Beat: It sounds like you’ve learned to appreciate the things in
your life, Shawn. Participating in sports is a great way to keep yourself
-Abdal active and busy throughout the day, and will help you with the negative
From The Beat: Sounds great! Do you have other friends to hang with? Will temptations that may surround you. You seem very family-oriented and
it be hard to avoid the others? are a responsible young adult. When you are on the outs, remember to
appreciate the times you share with your family and friends. It will be a
great motivational tool.
You make decisions everyday. The problem is if you make the right
decision or not. One wrong decision that I made cost me time. Around Violence
I should have stayed with my girlfriend instead of going off on I was real little when I first witnessed violence. It was on the
my own. The money that calling my name made me change my streets. It affects me of understanding how the environment is.
decision to go head and leave her and come to jail. What if it is was somebody I love a victim it shows that I’m around
-Tay violence. It was showing that I was gonna be in violence.
From The Beat: What happened when you went off on your own? Did you -Ricky
know you were taking a risk with big consequences or were you just not From The Beat: What was the first violence you witnessed on the streets?
thinking straight? Did your girlfriend know where you were going? Did Have you lost anybody you love to violence on the streets? Do you see a
she want you to go? way out of this violent environment you’re stuck in?
stan d o u t s
staCounty o u t s
Decisions I Have To Break Up With My Baby
I'm going to get sent to a group home in Arizona and I need to When I get out I need to choose to break up with my baby because
decide if I'm going to hang around with the same people that I get he’s really violent. It’s going to be hard because I really love him so
in trouble with. much but I have to look out for what’s best for me and my mom,
I want to do good because when I get back from my group 'cause I want to make sure we’re safe, and I know I don’t deserve
home, I'm going to be off probation and I don't want to get back on to be treated like that. I’ll miss him though, and all the things we
probation for something new. share. He always gonna have a place in my heart, but I gotta let
I'm going to stop doing bad things and I'm going to get a job. him go.
That's my decision. -Francesca
-Ana From The Beat: We hope you do let him go, because you do not deserve to
From The Beat: That sounds like a very good decision. We understand have to live in fear – especially around someone who claims to love you.
why you want to stay away from people who you get in trouble with. But Good luck and remember your own words “I know I don’t deserve to be
why do you want to hang around them? Can you explain what makes that treated like that.”
Looking Back In The Past Right now I feel ready. What I mean by that is I want camp to come
Right now it my last day here at the Hall and I’m so happy. Yes it my get me already. I want to start my time so I can get out and get on
first time ever coming here. And I plan on never coming back. A lot with my life. I’m ready to finish camp and get out and do what I
of people say that they don’t care about themselves coming back know is right. I’m ready.
here, and I even hear people say that when it time to go home. But -Davonte
From The Beat: What is it that you know is right, Davonte? It’s great to
that’s definitely not me. hear such an enthusiastic piece from you. It sounds like you’ve decided
I really dislike people and here, because they gain up on to put the juvenile hall behind you and move forward to do more positive
people. I just see thing some times. But people make fun of people things in your life. We love to hear when someone realizes their own
because they don’t have anything other to do, and they want to
make themselves look good. But anyway I’m going to do everything
in my power to never come here.
Everyday I think about my family and what I could be doing at The Struggle
the time. And I know that if I want to ever have my freedom taken Sometimes it’s real hard for me to follow the law because I always
from me that I know what to do to have it. I have been talking to watch my mama struggle with bills, feeding me, clothing me and
God and he really has been giving me good blessing and I just not keeping a roof over my head so I feel like it’s my responsibility to
talking to him because I want to get out but because I want to help her out because I am the man of the house.
change my life and I am going to keep doing when I get out. To me the things I do to get money is valid but not always
-Changed good. The first time I broke the law I was in second grade and I
From The Beat: Even though you hated the Hall, maybe it was a good
experience for you. Maybe you needed it. Do you think? But you do stole hella candy from Safeway. The reason I did it was because my
deserve a life of freedom, so do what you have to do to keep that a reality. mama told me she didn’t have enough money to buy it.
Make this first time your last time. It might not be easy, but we know you
can do it! I feel like I started committing crimes because that’s all I grew
up around all my life. I don’t want to use that as an excuse all my
life but when you so used to seeing something it’s hard to not do
it. Every time I get out the Hall the main I worry about is coming
Bad Day back because I always get out to the same stuff.
What’s up Beat. I’m still here. Well today the topic I want to write I think in order for me to stay outta trouble I got to do more
about is this place. These staff sometimes be thinking they can stuff to stay acting like sports or get a job. When I get out this time
treat us how they want to, and give us what they want when they I’m gonna try to get a job so I won’t have to do illegal stuff and stay
want. So this place is scandalous. in trouble.
I talked to my PO and went to court and found out I got to do -Mar
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing this in depth piece. You give details
some years in the Y. I had a bad the day the day I talked to my PO. from when you were younger to support your actions, but at the same
But I’ m good now, I just want to start my time already. But that’s time recognize that your past experiences can’t be used as an excuse.
That shows that you’re willing to accept personal responsibility and you
about it for me. even have a good game plan to fix your past mistakes: stay active! That’s
-Lil G a great idea. Discover a new hobby, exercise , get a job, etc., just stay
From The Beat: You handled your bad mood with a lot of outward calm and occupied and out of trouble.
grace, even though you were so stressed out by the news. This is just one
more example of how much you have grown since we’ve known you… how
have you managed to achieve this maturity?
What’s A Gun?
When I was really little me and my mom were walking home from
Freedom my Grandma’s house when I heard some one arguing across the
I plan on using my freedom by not being with people that are bad street. And he then pulled out something black and I heard a few
or doing bad things. loud bang, then my mom pulled me toward the floor. I remember
If you're there and your friend is doing something bad, I not feeling scared but very confused because at such a young age
suggest you leave. And if you have a stay-away, you should just I had no idea what a gun was.
stay away. It's not worth going to jail. -Ernesto
-Joneika From The Beat: This must have been a very strange thing to see so young.
From The Beat: Sounds good! What's going to be difficult about this? Who How many other memories do you have like this? Was this just the first of
will you miss? Will you have friends who will support you? many memories of violence?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
My Decisions Of Life
The decisions I`m trying to make are to go to school and stay away
from the block. The reason why I`m trying to stay away from the
block is ‘cause I wanna take a chance of life, and start going to
school more often, ‘cause ever since I`ve been eight years old, I`ve
Freedom had these visions of being around the world.
I’ve been thinking about my freedom. I would go to school, and the And lately, since I`ve been here, I`ve been thinking that if I
reason why is ‘cause the people around me, who care about me, spend the rest of my life being posted on the block, I will not make
would tell that, "I would be so proud of you if I were to see you those visions come true. Basically, that is my goal of life. Those are
graduate college or high school." my decisions of life.
The way I would use freedom wisely is staying out of trouble, -Baby Goofy
like keeping myself active, but in a good way--like to take a walk From The Beat: You have exciting, attainable goals. Can you work your
way around the world, doing jobs with the native peoples wherever you
on the beach with my girl. While I’m there, I would sit down on go? Or can you work here, save money, then travel the world?
the beach and watch the sunset, and talk with my girl about how I
would like to start and change my life. It would be a privilege to go
around the world and bring her along with me—that’s how I would
use my freedom. I’ll Be Messed Up When I Get Out
-Baby Goofy Being in the halls hasn’t helped me whatsoever. All it has done
From The Beat: Great use of your freedom! What do you learn in high is institutionalize me. That’s why, when I get out, I’ll still be in
school, and would like to study in college, that fascinates you about the
wild wide world, and lures you into it? You go, with your girl! a messed-up state of mind, because the damn juvenile hall’s
hypnotized my ass. It’s deep when you’ locked up in a one-man
cell. When you touch down, it’s gone be straight-up hell. Don’t get
no respect. You don’t deserve it anyway.
Headed For The NBA From The Beat: Even if it takes a minute to readjust to being responsible
for everything you need on the outs, that’s part of growing up anyway.
What’s up with The Beat? Man, this Frank Nitty, still in here, trying What’s going to be messed up the most? Who may disrespect you? If you re
proud of yourself, you’ll have the strength to stand up to anyone.
to go to the group home, so I can pass it. Also, I would want to go to
high school and graduate. Then go to college and play sports. Also,
I’m tryin’ to make it to the NBA.
From The Beat: If you’re serious about playing pro basketball, can you
My Girl Is Leaving
go to back school, onto the blacktop, sharpen your skills? Never let your
muscles or dreams atrophy, or you’ll never earn any NBA trophies. The States For A Minute
My most memorable phone call was when my girl told me she
leaving the states for a few months, feel me? It was a surprise to
me, but I told her, “It’s all right, as long as you come back to the
My Most Memorable Phone Call thug.” Then she said, “Of course.”
It’s yo’ mans, Chino. My most memorable phone call was on Then we were talking for, like, three minutes, then my time
Wednesday. I talked to a homie that I consider family, my big was up on the phone. I hate getting phone calls. It’s too short, and
cousin. Ha! But he was gone for quite some time, like a year and we only get one phone call a week.
a half. He ran from the Ranch. All on the news. But, yeah, I called -Aj
From The Beat: You must feel isolated, helpless to influence how your girl
him, talked, you know? is coping with life without you. Is her family sending her out of the US,
But in the middle of the conversation, he asked, “Where you to be exposed to life beyond your neighborhood drama? Why aren’t you
her man, not her thug? Will you write while she’s away, and so are you?
at?” but he wasn’t asking for my location, he asked, “Where is my
mind set?” And it just went on from there, talking ‘bout regrets,
middle school, the streets, girls, life in general, feel me? But it was
cool. No bullshhh, though. That’s it. Late.
From The Beat: You had a real conversation with your friend. Now you
both have been sent away, maybe neither of you will take anybody you
love for granted any more. Will you stay this alive, this real, when you’re
back home? Can you encourage each other to stay strong, out of any mess?
Man, I just signed out this thing; now I’m back for some bull. Don’t
know where they gone send a ninja, but I’m ‘bout to just sit down
and do my time, don’t run, and try my best to get off this paper
work. Try to get a job and do somethin’ with my life. Try to get in
real estate, or Job Corps, so I could get my dough up, ‘cause I know
I ain’t gone go to regular school, and it’s gone make you good with
yo’ hands. But I’m out this thing.
From The Beat: Can you go to a regular public school, and do your best
there, too? You have a beautiful attitude, to get some real work. All work
is honorable. Working with your hands can be fulfilling and fun.
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
Probation, Leave Me Alone Almost A Father
My most memorable phone call while I been locked up is when
I’m back up in YGC. Never thought I would be back here. I did my
my brother told me that the girl I was messing with on the outs
group home already. Like, damn, probation, leave me alone. I did
said she was pregnant, and that I was the dad. I think this sticks
six months in Tahoe. What's the point of probation after, to bring
out, because it was a huge surprise, and I never even thought it
me right back in here?
would’ve happened. It was negative, because although I want a kid,
I got two heavy charges now, and two other bullshhh charges.
I never wanted it with her, so when she said she was pregnant, I
Hopefully I don’t go back to a group home. I just want to go back
was lost as to what I would do about the situation.
I felt hopeless about the situation, mostly because I couldn’t
I’m feeling bad, because I let my mom and dad down. It’s
do nothing about it, and because if she had the kid, s/he would’ve
like the system plans for me to come back. They can’t let me
had a horrible life, because that girl was on the run from the
be peaceful. Always gotta pull me back, seeing the same faces;
police, and I had no plans on changing my lifestyle. Things were
nothing new but the charges. You know I’m up in here, praying for
made worse when she said she was gonna keep it. Eventually she
a release day. Hopefully I won’t be writing here again. I’ll be home.
got an abortion, which was probably the best thing for everyone,
including the child that was never born. Keeping it 100.
From The Beat: Why are your new charges probation’s fault? How can you -Nug
create a peaceful life? Sorry, “Just when I’m ready to get out, they pull me From The Beat: What if you’re with a lady you’d like children with? But she
back in” didn’t work for the Godfather, won’t work for you. wants you out of the streets, and home? She wants her Baby Daddy alive,
and to help her raise their children? What else can you do, to work for
your family, besides any illegal enterprise your “lifestyle” creates for you?
The worse experience I’ve ever had was when I got the phone call
that one of my homies had died, because I loved him like he was
Hello, Beat. This be Chuco. How we doing? Me? Holding it down,
one of my brothers. What made it negative was because he died. I
being a clown. So, yeah, this week was cool. I ain’t lost no weekly
was talking to some cousins. I felt like it wasn’t true, like I was day
points. I’m graduating on Monday, and I’m gonna see my baby
dreaming the whole time I was on the phone. It made me want to
niece and I’m happy. Everything is going good, though.
cherish every movement of my life with my homies and the family.
I want to say, “What it do?” to my brothers locked up, and for
It felt like the ones you love the most is the ones who die first. RIP,
y’all to keep your heads up. I’m about to touch down very soon,
Bezzla. You gone, but never forgotten, bra, ya heard me?
and gonna come with all my knowledge and apply it out there. And
I want to say, “What it do?” to all the pretty girls. Okay, much love,
Time: To get out
Beat. This vato is out.
Mood: RIP, Bezzla
Place: Ranch From The Beat: You deserve to be happy and proud. Your diploma is a huge
Artist: YC Worldwide Ft. further accomplishment. You were so ecstatic at your graduation ceremony at San
Francisco City Hall. Will you soon go home to your family, to use and
Song: Rashs further your education? May that create true happiness for you.
Target: Kickin’ surfers off the surfboard
From The Beat: You have our sympathy for the loss of Bezzla. What
circumstances led up to his death, that may guide you to protect your own
young life on the outs? Will you have to stay out of any mess? If so, do
What’s The Problem With My Life?
you have the strength and heart to do it? Sometimes I sit back and wonder, “What`s the problem with my
life, and being here on earth?”
My mom is a strong woman. She`s been here through it all.
Sometimes I cry and hate that I put moms through this terrible
Celebrities situation, but I’m gone make up for missed time. I love my mother,
I admire Lil’ Wayne and Christina Milian, because of her looks and family.
his music. Lil’ Wayne expresses himself in a way I can relate to Until next time. Simba gone get at you next time.
myself. For example, the song “Cannon” and “Ask Them (Beezies.)” -Simba
He says, “I looked in the mirror and I seen a dolla sign. I had a From The Beat: You’re a wonderful, grateful son. Unfortunately your mom
and you are suffering from your mistake, but you’ve learned from it. How
cat-scan and I had money on my mind. I tell ‘em, ‘Hey, (beezie) can you make your mom’s and your lives better, on the outs?
go and get my name on yo’ spine, so I can feel good…’” It’s his
lyrics. They’re metaphoric. Also, “My money don’t fold nor Benz
About Christina—she’s beautiful. She a good movie actress.
She in “Money Don’t Cost A Thing.” She faithful to her man, until New Decisions Are The Best
her man cheated on her, so she left him and found her a new dude. Decisions are hard. We all want freedom, but it’s always up to
She smart all types of ways—educated, very down to earth, and certain excuses, at least that’s what they say. But if I had a chance
likes to do a lot of activities that me and her have in common— to change what I did, I would, because it feels like we’re all slaves,
traveling, shopping, educated. I would like to meet her and maybe because we stay here, eat, have a place to sleep, but don’t get paid.
start a family together. That is all a dream. Truthfully, the new decisions are the best. I got new decisions,
-Keith and don’t wanna be here again.
From The Beat: It’s always funny and interesting to read what your -Ll
responses, obsessions, are to things/people you’re attracted to. Fantasies From The Beat: It can be so tempting to do something illegal/messed up,
and dreams can encourage you to develop all your inspirations and talents, that any excuse will do. In a sense, everybody incarcerated is a modern-
so you can grow into a man you created the way you wanted. day slave, without work or pay. What new decisions will keep you free?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
Sweet Struggle It Seems Like Never To Me
Man, I’m tired of this strugglin’ I thought I was free
People hustlin’ But I’m not. Now stuck up in YGC.
Can you stand to see someone Youth Guidance Center. It`s a lie.
Walkin’ with a gun and comin’ in? The only place they guide you is inside.
I guess not, ‘cause I see you lookin’ strapped up They say they tryin’ to help you get out.
Run the streets ‘til the day you gettin’ smacked up If we was all free, they wouldn’t have no jobs, no doubt.
Hold it down, ‘cause my mom’s really worryin’ Treating us like clients, not humans.
Like a mouse, all you kids steady scurryin’ Always watching us, watching what we doing.
I’m not done, boy, so retrack and repeat How is this box gonna help me?
Suckas droppin’ out, so you only get a sneak peek What I need to do is be free.
It’s the hard life, people really livin’ in Spend time with my family.
Suckers fightin’ all day, just to make a win Let me guide myself to freedom. It’s my life.
What I’m sayin’ is, don’t follow in my footsteps Instead of shoving me inside this box, Jesus Christ.
Just open up to really look back at what’s left This ain’t my life, it’s a pattern.
-Sweet Instead of going up, I’m going down this ladder.
From The Beat: We can feel the frustration, exhaustion and pain of your I’m still waiting to wake up from this dream.
struggles, so why don’t you take your own great advice and leave the
hustling behind? Acknowledge the reality of what’s left? It seems like never to me.
From The Beat: Nice poem! But even if you’re somewhat right about juvy,
why are you passive about going back inside, being “watched,” descending
down an emotional ladder? It’s on you to protect your freedom.
What’s up with The Beat?
Gators on my feet
Like my name Crowmartie
Damn, baby. I miss you. Like, why did I do what I did? It only got
It’s a juvenile party
me took away from you. I left you out there alone, strugglin’, when
Nah nah, you can’t mess with this
I should be there, takin’ care of you, makin’ you happy. But I love
I’m from Florida, not Texas
you, baby. Hold me down.
Keep six girls. I’m reckless
I invented vanilla ice cream From The Beat: Nice note to your lady. You’re asking yourself all the right
My nephews play for NFL teams questions. Do your answers convince you, never to do whatever again?
Fishing pants every day, with suspenders
Mess around in my unit
I’ll suspend you're from the crew
How is this box
So don’t try and diss me
I eat filet mignon, like my kitty, Frisky
I love my counselor; yeah, I said it
I’m a gator dater, don’t forget it!
gonna help me?
Na na na, I don’t play that
I’m from Florida, and blind like a bat
I don’t play games or watch TV
I got special-made shoes for my feet
Southern cooked chapinas, what I eat
From The Beat: You use a lot of interesting images, but what does this
mean? Are they little notations about who you are—part imagination, part Nothing They Send Me To Do, Helps
reality? What does your numbers system rate? We deserve a ten! The hell with the world. Don’t ask me for shhh. Everything they
send me to do, don’t help. They keep me here locked up, like it
helps, but it doesn’t. It makes me feel like a lion in a cage. And
when they let me go, I’ll be in a rage.
From The Beat: Locking you up can have counterproductive affects, like
What’s up with The Beat Within? Shhh, you know this ninja is frustrating you, making your feel trapped, and furious. What would you
down again. Came down for a warrant, but it’s good, though. I’m recommend would really help you? Are you also mad at yourself?
going back to the grouper in Redwood City.
When I think ‘bout freedom, I think about people not telling
me what to do, unless it’s my momma. When I get out the group
home again, I’m gonna be on my game, feel me? A ninja’s really The Law Equals Time
tired of going down. Upholding the law and getting caught, equals to time
I’m not going to preach to the young homies about what to do, Decisions you make, leads to freedom
because I hated when people used to tell me what to do. All I can The knowledge you gain in here is a prize
do is tell them how to do it. I’m out. Use it wisely and never come back
-Lil’ Eps -Jl
From The Beat: It must be humiliating to be told what to do, now that From The Beat: Amazing way to look at your time in juvy. A brilliant man
you’re almost grown. Do you have more freedom/responsibility at your stays in the present, observes it all at once, sucks in all experience, all the
grouper? If youngsters are into mess, do you tell them why not to do it? time, wastes nothing, appreciates it all as precious.
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Could Use My Freedom More Wisely Freedom
What’s up with The Beat? I would use my freedom wiser by doin’ Freedom—that’s what I need
what I got to do, meanin’ I won’t violate my probation. I would tell Hurry up and let a ninja breathe
the young homies to be smarter with what they do, like robbin’ I won’t smoke trees and I won’t let people bleed
ninjas is hot now, feel me? Do what you gotta do. Aight, then, Beat. I’m in a hurry
-Flako Need to stop at McDonalds and grab me a McFlurry
From The Beat: Why violate anyone to “do what you gotta do”? Can you I need to see the fam, and need to make a living
just “do you”--get an education, a job? The young ones robbing anyone is
not only “hot,” it’s illegal, and hurts people, or worse. Why do they deserve If you know where I’m comin’ from
what others work for? You’re giving them bad advice. You be here, bangin’ on a drum
Some of the kids talk too much
Some day somebody might give ‘em a punch
That’s my freedom runnin’ by
Freedom I’m a chase it into the sky
Freedom? Where the hell mine go? -Juan
Six months down, got a year to go. From The Beat: You don’t need to make a living yet, but stay in school,
and soak your absorbent mind with knowledge. Why have you let your
I do my time, thug it out. freedom run by? You need it more than whatever brought you to juvy.
You already know I never snitch.
Loose lips sink ships.
Loud mouth ninjas get they wig split.
They all bark, no bite.
In the halls, ninjas scared to fight.
Being Incarcerated Is A Curse
Never really expected how it would be when you lose your freedom.
When I get out, I’ll be on that all-night hype.
Sucks, really does. You feel like an animal, trapped in the four-
Rock ice and make love to my wife.
sided box, always having to be commanded before doing anything.
Disrespect the ‘hood, ya’ cause strife.
“May I go use the restroom?” “May I stand up?” “ May I drink
From The Beat: Your freedom? How did you drive it away? Lose it? It seems water?”
like you’re going straight back to the streets, maybe to create more mess. The incarcerated not only act like animals, but are looked
Do you have any life beyond the streets?
at as animals, too. It’s like a curse. When I get out of this curse,
influencing my peers, not only helps me away from the curse, but
makes them learn from my mistakes, not to be added to the same
My PO’s Not Right -Khuu
From The Beat: Being in juvy can be humiliating, but you keep your
What’s good with The Beat once again? It’s that ninja, Jern. They dignity. In order to be cursed, do you have to acquiesce to its power? Can
need to move me up out of this unit, or let me out the halls. But my convincing youngsters not to go to juvy, break that curse for you?
PO thinkin’ of sending me to weak-ass program that sound hella
phony. They is going to help me.
But I think that he just trying to send me to ROP already,
especially since I told him I didn’t want to go to this program that I Miss Him
he trying to send me to. And I told him that if I go there, that I One day he’s here, the other, he’s gone
might run from there, or get kicked out of it. Then he was like, Where did he go?
“Oh, well. That sounds like a personal problem to me.” So I be, My dad told me what happened
like, “Forget that ninja and what he be talking about.” But, that’s I didn’t trip too much about it
all I got for now, Beat. Late After a while, I missed him
-Jern My sister told me the real story
From The Beat: Does that program have special therapy designed for I broke down and cried
a problem you have? Running, getting thrown out from ROP will solve She hugged me, but that shhh didn’t help
nothing. Can you suggest to your PO who/what could truly help you?
I wanted my brother to hug me
I left and got high and drunk
Stayed out of the ‘hood for days
When I went home, I felt alone
Life Is Precious And Real So I got more clothes, then left
What’s up with The Beat, man? Thinking about my life, and what`s My mom tried to talk to me
going to happen in the future. I gotta get it together. Things is very I told her to leave me alone
hard right now. I gotta make moms happy and break the cycle. I’m I got drunk, then forgot about it
on some other shhh. Definitely gotta get my mind right, and do Until my phone rang and it was my mom
it quick. Life is precious, and real at the same time. Make smart I remembered about my brother, and started to cry
decisions, and be wise, and make things happen out there. I never cried this bad for anyone
Life is too short to be bullshhhing, and not handle your I miss him so much, I don’t know what to do
business. But I’m not doing so good right now. I’m locked down. Now I’m sitting in YGC, Unit 5
When I get out, it’s a rap. Gotta take care of my business, school And I’m more mad than before
work, go out with the fellas or my family. Be good, stay out trouble, Because now my brother and me are incarcerated
make wise decisions. Simba`s Lifestyle. -Diamond
-Simba From The Beat: Is part of the reason you messed up/went to juvy, out of
From The Beat: You have a beautiful, positive attitude, that may be hard sympathy for your brother? If so, your getting in trouble doesn’t help him.
to sustain when you can’t see your freedom up ahead. But once you’re Can you stay strong for your parents, sister, yourself, and your brother,
back home, with your frame of mind, you won’t mess up. who is your heart?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
Decisions I’m Worried About Back To The Beat
The decision I need to make, that I am worried about, is self- What it is, Beat? It’s been hella long since I been back on these
control. I have a very hard time staying out of problems and letting pages, exactly a year. Now I’m a man… in eight days I will be
them go. I need to learn how to be more positive with others, and, turning eighteen. Yeeee.
most of all, myself. I also need to learn how to stay more motivated This my last time in juvy, ‘cause next is 850 Bryant, but I don’t
on becoming a better person. got plans for that right now. I’m planning to do it big. I’m about to
For me to do that, I first have to make peace with myself, then start City College, and I’m studying Culinary Arts.
others. I must also concentrate on keeping in touch with God and I already got my GED and started working at this private
letting him handle my problems mentally, instead of me doing it restaurant in downtown, but I quit, ‘cause I wasn’t having a good
physically. relationship with my boss, so I dropped it. Whateva, but I’m looking
-Aman’on forward to getting my own spot in a month. I’m ‘bout to be living
From The Beat: Learning to solve problems is part of growing up, but with my cousin and homie, so it’s gone be smooth.
it may be hard to know when to jump into whatever or to think things
through. Is spontaneity part of your charm? Defending the weak? It can Well, Beat, ya boy gone keep it light and solid. Yo’ boy has
be tough to know when to do what. changed something, but not everything. To my homies who are
down, keep it solid, keep yo’ heads up! Much love, and know that
brothers stay loyal, never stop.
Getting Through With Prayer -Woodie
From The Beat: Going to City College to learn cooking skills is an excellent
I’ve been here for seven days! I miss my boyfriend, my friends, and idea! Maybe your new life will entice you away from any street drama. Can
you get a job in another restaurant? That may help, too.
my family. I wanna leave already. I can’t stand being in here. The
first two days were the hardest. My head hurts in here, and I worry
about my family, because I’m not with them.
I pray for my family every night. I also pray for myself, so God
can help me get out. I’ll try my best to not come back. I get stressed
Times Be Hard
Times be hard. I ain’t trippin’. I’m a thug it out.
in here. I feel like crying, ‘cause I can’t just leave.
Made a couple slaps. Otha' rappers ain’t sayin’ nun’ now.
From The Beat: Juvy can be very stressful. Can you call/write your family, I talked to my main. She said, “Tell ‘em, ‘Let my husband
let them know you’re all right, and ask if they are? Go ahead and cry, if it out.’”
helps. Can reading/writing calm you? It’s great that prayer gives you hope.
And my boy said, tell the judge, let his cousin out.
Freedom ain’t free, so I had to learn the hard way.
In jail, shinin’ like oil on a bald fade.
My Freedom Gone Again Tell the police they could suck my name.
What’s trill with The Beat? Man, I just did thirteen months away from Always, times be hard, but I’m a do my thing all day.
my loved ones. I got out February 2, came back April 19. I was doing Money Mike real, I don’t care what you dudes say.
good, getting money, stacking my chips on my breezy shhh, driving -Money Mike
whips, going to school every day, going to Brothers Against Guns, From The Beat: You’re a real rapper. With times so hard for you, will you
stay in school? Get a job? You have good insights/sense of humor. Could
smoking weed off five ninjas. I was doing me, living my life, loving my you write funny/serious raps about work? Your life on the outs?
freedom, but I slipped up for a violation.
Now they trying to send me out of state to a group home,
anything, man. Man, they take a ninja’ freedom away for anything. It’s
unbelievable. I just wish I would have went with my first mind, man.
This shhh is crazy like, but I’m go’ remain trill, ya heard me? But I’m What Does The Judge See In Me?
out. A decision that I’m worried about is taking a strike over I don’t
-Captain know what yet. But I’m a patient person, so I can weigh this thing
From The Beat: You may have tried to stay out of trouble, but are you out.
playing yourself? Stacking chips on beezies, smoking weed off five of your
friends, doesn’t sound legal. How can you strengthen your first mind, so What does this judge see in me? Do they think I’m an animal?
you’ll stop messing up? What are they goin’ to decide? Do they even think when they see
me? The judge needs to free ya boy!
From The Beat: Since you feel helpless to impress the judge about who you
Why You Laughing? are, can you write him/her a letter? Maybe include your side of whatever
brought you into juvy? But, first, get your lawyer’s okay?
The halls have let me think about a lot of things, since I been down.
I can say juvenile have got my mind right. Why? Because I sit and
analyze a whole lot, but about my life, and see how important my
life is. Doing Time, Like, Yeeeh!
My freedom is very important to me. Things are real in life. What's up? Lately I’ve been chillaxin’ and waiting on trial. I got
Being in jail is so weak. Can’t do much. court in August. I’m waiting on when and where. I’m going to CYA.
The halls is not so bad, but once you be here for awhile, it gets Yup, the DA said it’s official. Max: ten years.
tiring and hella boring. If I had one more chance to do things right, I’m not gonna lie, I’m worried, but I’m living that life of a man,
I will do it the correct way, no other way. my homies should already know. I’ll come out big as heck. All the
People in here just think it’s a game. It’s really not a game, it’s girls gonna be, like, ”Oooh who’s that?” Then I’ll be, like, “I’m not.
reality over here, so check fame. Why you laughing, and think it’s You’re a homie hopper, Mamas.”
a joke or something? It’s not a game. Check Simba fame. -Peruano
-Simba From The Beat: Can you leave your life on the outs, even move out of town
From The Beat: It’s great that going to juvy has showed you that whatever to start your life over, without exposing anyone else, and get out of jail
brought you into juvy wasn’t worth it. You have a beautiful attitude. Once early? No wonder you’re worried. Ten years must seem like forever.
you’re home, you almost positively won’t be back.
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Can’t See My Man Any More In The City
When I look to the left and I don’t see my man. What’s good, Beat? It’s Menso back up in these halls. Y’all might
Hoping somebody got my back, so they can give me a hand. remember me from Alameda County. I was in Camp Sweeney for a
Twistin’ up good dark purple, weezin’ like Urkel. koo’ minute. Anyways, I’m in here, chillin’ up in the max in these
And guess what? Then the end was you. ‘Frisco halls.
When I look to the left and I don’t see my man. I was on some drunk shhh Friday night. I was leaving the strip
Hoping somebody got my back so they can give me a hand. club on Broadway, drunk as hell, lookin’ for my car. I guess I lost
Twistin’ up good dark purple, weezin’ like urkel. my keys or somethin’, so I did some hot shhh and got took in.
And guess what? Then the end was you. Long story short, I’m getting charged with robbery. I was so
Sponks, though. on, I don’t remember what happened. They said I threw up in the
Wow. This can’t be reality. Another fake totality. back of the cop car. Ha ha ha. I thought that part was funny.
A call from my homies. Man, is this real? Anyways, I fo’ sho’ regret doing what I did, because usually
Can’t be for real. A call from my homies. I get my mind set for jail when doing hot shhh. This time was
Sayin’ Sponks got killed. Not YP, not Sponks. different, though.
Now everybody tryin’ to ask Banga, “What’s wrong? I got court tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I get let out while
Why them angels had to come and carry that young life trial’s going on, so I don’t gotta be sitting in here. My public
home?” defender actually said, if they do decide to keep me in custody, I’m
Now I’m stuck in the zone, and my feelings is stone. a get transferred to Alameda County.
Now I’m like, no love for nobody. To be real, I rather do time out here in the city. The food is
And I’m feeling like, “Forget everybody.” actually real food, and we get seconds. That’s some crazy shhh,
Young Donnie, Young Gotti. I let ‘em ride on people. huh? In Alameda County, the food be hella nasty and skimp, like
And if dudes tried to ride on him, they gotta ride on me. somebody sold you an eighth for the price of a quarter. And I fo’
And us gettin’ rode on is something I can’t see. sho’ ain’t getting seconds out there.
-Db I guess me losing my keys that night prevented me from
From The Beat: We’re so sorry about your man, Sponks. But try not to let something worse that could’ve happened. Anyways. I’m a cut it
his passing freeze your heart. Aren’t his family and friends sad, too, and
need you now, for sympathy, understanding, and strength? What have short now.
you learned from his loss? -Menso
From The Beat: It’s good you never got in that car, nor drove around drunk.
Are you relieved now that you were stopped? Can you imagine what could
have happened if you had tried to drive? Disaster?
I grew up in the ghetto
That shhh you call poverty
Always got a gun on me When I Run Juvy
Paranoid, thinking someone gonna murder me When I run juvy
-Lil’ Lazy I would have parties, and room time would be no time.
From The Beat: You have our hearts that you’re living in poverty. Can you
get a job? Is it fantasy or reality that someone wants to shoot you? How I would let girls mack with boys, and I would play music all
can you protect yourself without threatening/hurting anyone else? night.
I would have Moms spend a night for a month.
And all the people that I don’t like
I would have in their rooms for ninety-nine months.
I would not give them no food to eat.
Upholding The Law And I would have them starve
Some people are criminal-minded, like me. Although you’re not And I would let them dry off with their sheet.
planning on breaking the law, or thinking about it, sometimes you I would not give them soap to wash.
just end up breaking it. People be breakin’ the law without even And I would make their court date a month longer.
knowing it. I broke the law, ‘cause I was on some drunken shhh. -David
Aight, then, Beat. From The Beat: You’d deprive kids in juvy you don’t like, more than they
-Flako are already? Wow! That’s harsh! But isn’t there mess with some kids one
From The Beat: Are you an accidental criminal, vague about laws, or do day, then you’re friends the next? How can you play favorites?
you just play dumb to yourself, to get out of responsibility for messing up/
getting locked up? Will any excuse, especially being drunk, do?
It’s Not Being Scared,
Streets It’s Being Smart
The streets get you nowhere that you want to be. What’s ‘hood, Beat? This Lil’ Escobar, coming out the grey unit.
Hustlin’, sellin’ drugs get you where I’m at—that’s locked up. I went down for some bull stuff. I got beat up a few times by rival
Streets turn into fights at school. gang members. This street life ain’t for me. I ain’t fit out for this.
Fights turn into you packin’ a tool. I see my big bruh starting to change after he got shot. He said,
And doin’ what you do. Handle your business! “It’s not being scared, it’s being smart,” but I know he’s smart.
From The Beat: You’ve already learned how street mess can become From The Beat: In what way is your big brah smart? What about whatever
contagious and out of control. When you get out, what can you get into he was into vs. the new life he created for himself after he was wounded?
that will use your skills, interest you, and earn you some legal cash? Are you also smart? Have you changed because he got shot?
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
Some Say Violence Is A Tragedy You Sound Crazy
Violence--some say it’s a tragedy. Has the halls helped me?
You could only stop it in your dreams. You sound stupid.
That’s a harsh reality. Makes me wanna be tucked up
You could only prevent it when it prevents you Or drunk. But I ran out of luck.
Not catchin’ a stray bullet to the head. Now I’m in here, like a sitting duck.
That’s the luck of the horseshoe Stuck in here with a mug.
Growin’ up in the ghetto. Doin’ hella drugs.
Tryin’ to be a role model. Doing things that I don’t remember of.
Kids fail to get the memo. Three o’clock in the morning
Yellin’, “Stop the violence!” Hitting the club.
Hoping it will echo. Cop, like, two or three dubs.
-Aspen When I see this place, I can’t move.
From The Beat: Nice writing! What is your day like, where you live? How I’m stuck. Man, being in here sucks.
do you protect yourself, your family, friends? As a role model, what do you
teach the young ones? By your words, actions, or both? Came in with three bucks.
Now you tell me if carrying a four-leaf clover
Gives you luck? I’m done.
-I Wanna Be Famous
Juvenile Football From The Beat: Maybe the halls haven’t helped you, but how are you
managing your life on the outs? Drugs and clubs, losing your memory,
If I ran this juvenile hall, I would provide the kids a chance to play having $3 to your name? Do you blame bad luck, or irresponsibility?
football and work out. The kids that do well in the juvenile school
program and have good conduct while serving time in the halls,
shall have a chance to play on the football team. Playing football
can help many different kids stay stress-free, and football can also
be a good source of letting out anger. Kids in juvenile tend to have
lots of anger, so football will be the best.
From The Beat: Great idea! Maybe offer the kids all kinds of sports—
swimming, tennis, baseball, track, also art and cooking classes? What
more could help them with their anger? A studio for making mixtapes?
I Miss Everybody
In My Outside Life
What’s happenin' with The Beat? This ya boy Jim, tunin’ in. I miss
my mom. I miss my girlfriend. I miss my ninjas. I miss my weed. I
miss my outside life--going to school, eating good food, real food,
like chicken and Burger King.
I miss my jewelry. I miss taking hot showers. I miss wearing my
own clothes--Polo down, Hollister down. Roca Wear down. I miss
spending time with my main buns, laying up all night, watching
CNN. I miss my life. They be trying to fry a ninja for anything. I’m
From The Beat: What value does whatever brought you into juvy hold
for you, vs. your freedom, family, friends, food, fits, watching TV? When
you’re home, facing some temptations that brought you inside, what will
Juvy Helped Me Reflect On My Life Patience Helps
The halls helped me realize where and what I need to do in life. I What’s trill with The Beat? I’m up in here, maintaining, keeping
set new goals for myself, so when I get out, I won’t come back. A my composure, staying focused, keeping my head up. This juvenile
few good things about the halls, is, that you have the time to reflect hall place is no good--same routine every day, five-minute showers,
back on your life, discipline yourself, and discover new hobbies, nasty food. It’s no good when you’re away from your family. I really
such as reading. do think jail make people worse, because you’ holding anger in
The juvenile programs aren’t hard at all. I don’t understand you. Can’t do what you wanna do.
why some kids can’t follow some simple directions. School here is But the only thing that helped me is patience, having patience.
way too easy. I think if you’re not taking the GED here, there is no But I keep putting myself in these predicaments--getting caught up
point in staying here. You won’t learn anything, and it’s just easy with serious charges. I gotta make a change.
credit. -Captain Jim
-Jl From The Beat: Patience does help, but even when you’re righteously
From The Beat: Some kids dropped out of school long before they went to angry, you already know you can’t lose it and take it out on anyone else.
juvy, so being in there reintegrates them into an education. Can you read, What’s making you so furious? Can you talk to someone you trust? Let out
think, write in juvy, then go home to your school on the outs? your anger slowly, harmlessly?
sta n County u t s
sta n d o u t s
I Can’t Think At Night
The halls have not helped me My Last Beat
Because you do the same shhh every day. Hey, what’s up, Beat? The veterano Duende’s last Beat. Man, I’m
Nothing new every day. leaving tomorrow to a new reality. Today is my nineteenth birthday.
It’s the same staff Getting ready to hit the adult system. Not really looking forward,
Thinking they can talk to you any way though, because I don’t want to leave my folks.
Say anything to you, and do anything. I’m not scared of the adult system, though. I just don’t want to
I can’t think at night. leave my homies and my cool counselor. That’s all, man, for today.
-Johnny I will keep writing to you.
From The Beat: Is being in juvy like being a child again, where the adults/
staff can control you all, overrule anything you want to do? If you ran -Duende
juvy, how would you have the counselors treat the youth? At night, can From The Beat: We will truly miss you. The Beat has grown up with you.
you sleep? Do you dream? Please send us letters, poems, stories, anything you want. We will be
happy publish them, and to write back to you.
We All Need Our Freedom Anything For My Baby Girl
We all need our freedom. Cracka' try to take it away, but we gotta
fight through the struggles and get back to the block, and our loved Locked in the box, I can’t see the ones I love
one, and our girlfriends. You know they got the young soldier down Pray to get out every day, to the one above
for a few, but we just gotta pray for a better day. I know I have to stop this now
They gonna send yo’ boy to a grouper for eighteen months. I know I have to make it through this phase somehow
Ninja need to go clear his mind. I’ll be back, though, like I never Every day, thinking about my baby
left. Her image in my head is driving me crazy
-Money Vern I don’t deserve her, but still she’s here
From The Beat: If authorities take away your freedom, what is your role in Even after all the things I’ve done
giving up your freedom to them? Will you give clearing your mind a real She still doesn’t go anywhere
chance to challenge your life as a young soldier on the outs?
For my girl, I will do anything
Even quit this game I once played in
So I won’t stay in a box
While she moves in with another man
First And Last Time She stayed with me through thick and thin
I’ve been here seven days. Today’s the seventh day. Tomorrow is my For her, I will do anything
court day, and I’m being released. -Goldilocks
While I was here, people have told me that I need to choose my From The Beat: Isn’t it best for you, your lady, everybody, for you to get
friends like I choose my fruit. I agree with it, so when I leave here, out of any game? Or will you wait for your girl to threaten to leave, before
you make real moves to stop playing? By then, will it be too late?
I’m going to find better people to hang around. I’m going to start
following my heart and choosing the right path, because I know I
don’t want to be here ever again.
I hate sharing bras, underwear, and clothes with these other
girls. And I want to see my family, friends, and peers again. I can’t
Her Sweet Caveman
What’s good, Beat? Man, I’m back in this thing, and looking to go
wait to get my phone again, and be free. I miss everything from the to the islands, because the courts and judges are fed up with me.
outside. It hurts to be here. I stress more than I ever stressed at I miss my girl. Her name is Sweet. I love her with all my heart
home. and soul, because she’s the best thing that happened to me. I miss
And I hate that we get in trouble for eye contact with the boys. her badly, and I hope to see her real soon. I love you, baby. Hold it
It’s hard not to look at boys when you’re a teenage girl, looking for down just for a lil’ longer, and, fo’ sure, I’ll hit you. Oh, and I know
everything, and no more trouble. I’m the Baby Daddy. Ha ha ha!
-Chyna Shout out to my moms, bruhs. She been with me through my
From The Beat: How do you choose your friends like you do fruit? Can you
stay strong within yourself, regardless of who anyone else is or what s/ ups and downs. I love you, Mom.
he does? How will you pursue your goals, without distractions? Go home -Sweet’s Caveman
and be happy! From The Beat: If the judge sends you to the islands, what about your
relationships with your lady and mom? Should you write your PD/the DA/
judge you’re about to be a father? Maybe they’ll let you stay home.
Being In The Hall Makes Me More
The hall didn’t help me, and really makes me more aggressive. Man, why, when I’m in your face
Bein’ in this place sucks. Gives me time to think. But as soon as I Everything’s all good and gravy?
get out, all the resentment comes back. But now that I’m down, you actin’ shady.
The system needs change. I feel as if this place needs a little At one point, you said you was my baby.
bit more space for people to still have contact with the outside You said that you was my one.
more, but the food and the restrictions. Am I going crazy?
From The Beat: Is most of your resentment toward being locked up, or From The Beat: Unfortunately, many youth locked up worry if your girl/
for something/one you think is unfair, on the outs? Can you express your boyfriends are messing around without you, or are you paranoid? It’s hard
feelings to whomever you resent, and try to settle it? not to obsess over what you can’t control, and it hurts.
n Francisco t s
sta Sand o ut s
sta n d o u County
I’m Growing Old With The Youngsters I Miss A Girl
Right now I’m doin’ all right, but something that got to me was that Can’t sleep, won’t eat, need her, this is so deep.
everybody I was in the young unit with, is now sittin’ in the oldest/ I feel like we so strong, but right now, I feel weak.
maximum unit with me. Damn, I just turned eighteen in my room I got a reason to be upset, ‘cause the person I spent all my
the other day. Man, it’s bad. I am praying for the best, screaming, time with
“Free me fast!” Since November—every day, night, morning, evening,
-Money Mike second!!
From The Beat: It’s time for all of you to get/stay out of juvy. If you mess I miss a girl, though, man.
up again, no more juvy, you go to adult jail. Now you know the law better
than to break it again, so, can you scream, “Keep my freedom!” Can’t even wonder how she feel without me!
I love you, baby. I’ll see you when I get back.
Talk to you when I get a call, baby. Promise.
School In The ‘Hood From The Beat: It must be lonely in juvy, without your girl. How is she
managing her life without you? Is whatever brought you into juvy still so
School in the ‘hood worth it, that you’d risk your relationship with her ever again?
They say it’s for fools
But is it? Or is they
Just fully trying to find their way?
Some people don’t listen Real Ninja
To what they say at school. Yeah, yeah, yeah, still in this bullshhh in the halls--the same
It’s not the time to play. every day, nothing new. I’m just real real sick of being in hea’.
-Khiri This is boring, man. I like movin’ around and ain’t no room to
From The Beat: Your neighborhood streets can be educational, but what
do you learn? Is it too easy for youngsters to be fooled by easy money, move around in hea’. I can’t stand this, for real, but I really ain’t no
drugs, bling bling, a rep? How can they/you apply your real school and stressful person, but being in hea’ for hella long, startin’ to make
street skills in the outside world?
a ninja stress.
But I’m kinda happy, though. You know I just graduated. Had
all my family there. It was lit, but it’d be better if I was out at my
On My Way To Iowa real school. But, I ain’t trippin’. I still got my diploma. But, yeah,
man. I’m gone.
I’m here. My stomach sound like a grizzly bear
I ain’t lyin’. My stomach sound like a lion From The Beat: You’re righteously proud of getting your diploma. If you
It’s ugly--staff eatin’ our food were free now, would you go back to the neighborhood drama, or get a
They got dough, though job, go to college? You’re smart and should definitely go to college.
The hell with ‘em. I can’t wait to go to Iowa
From The Beat: It’s not fair you guys sometimes don’t even get seconds
in juvy. Maybe in Iowa--a new program, staff, food, friends, farm, school,
sports, a new life, will ease you toward the world beyond juvy.
This goes for all my victims when I was out on the block, under
what the bridge, doing what I do. I feel bad for dealing to my “Raza.”
Read this: This goes for all my victims, and how I feel.
Why Can’t We Get Along? -Anonymous
From The Beat: Although it’s good you’ve stopped dealing crack to your
Running from the cop Raza, you don’t write, “what I used to do under the bridge.” Are you
Or running from the chop through selling drugs to, and hurting or worse, anyone? Way to go!
All violence, when will it stop?
When someone get caught?
Or when someone get shot?
Why can’t we get along?
From The Beat: Your poem shows your heart. How can you/anyone help
stop the violence? Is a truce among rivals possible? If you were your
neighborhood leader, how would you calm everybody down? Who would
you choose to help you?
Missing Home Cooking
I want to go home. I hate being on the run. I’m happy I came and
I’m getting it out of the way.
I miss my mom and my baby mama, but I really miss my
girlfriend. I miss getting up and she’s right with me, and kissing
me, and cooking me food. Them pancakes be so good. I miss my
mama’ cooking, too. I miss coming home to her cooking. I can
walk by my home and smell her food cooking.
From The Beat: It’s wonderful you’re no longer on the run, and will be
going home. Are your loved ones and their cooking worth staying out of
any mess? Do you also cook for your ladies? What are your special recipes
for all of you?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
Someone I Lost First Memory of Violence
What up Beat? It’s Chris once again coming from that beaver unit. Que anda…Beat? This is the homeboy Travieso posted up win the
Well today’s topics I wasn’t really feeling so I’m gonna write about max. My first memory of violence is when I was six years old.
my cousin I lost. I remember when it was him and I just walking to I remember playing hide and seek with my friends. Across the
my grandmas. All of a sudden we heard shooting and in the corner street was my homeboys from my hood and my cousin. Everything
of my eye he was just laying there shot bleeding to death. I broke was quiet and dark. I was having a hard time finding my friends.
down just watching him die. I looked across the street I see my cousin having a good time
The thing about it he died for no reason. He was a good athlete drinking with the homies.
and didn’t even bang. ‘Till this day I can’t forget about it because it I look in the corner and I see a car creeping up with tinted
was my rivals that did it. Gone but never forgotten. window. All I hear is the bass of the car. Out of no where I see the
-Chris car windows roll down and a guy pulls out a gun and starts blasting
From The Beat: We’re so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. Did my homies.
his death make you look at banging in a different way? That it can take
innocent lives? It ended up being rivals. Luckily all the bullets missed. Well
this is it. This is my last time writing in The Beat. I’m going to
Nevada for ROP doing a year or more months. Wish me luck. I’ll
stop banging till I’m bagged up, in my casket I’ll probably still be
What’s good Beat? This is Travieso. The topic I’m writing about is -Travieso
school. I remember doing really good in elementary school. When From The Beat: We would like to thank you for writing to The Beat each
week and giving the program the utmost respect. Your first memory of
I got to middle school it got hard. I got expelled from several years violence is really a heartfelt story, we wish the violence would stop so
over the years. everyone is free to walk and drive on any street they desire. Hopefully,
you will stop banging before it gets you. All the best to you.
There’s been much tension going on all the school years. I
had, but now that I’ve been maturing, I wish things were cool. I
never was in a regular school ever since. I got expelled from Middle
School. That’s it Beat.
-Travieso Memories Of Violence
From The Beat: We are sorry that you did not have a positive school What’s up Beat? My first memory of violence is so personal that I
experience, but we can’t go back in time to start school again but you can
take advantage of the academic program that is offered in the hall. What cannot share but I will share a memory of violence that I remember
advice would you give to youths that are in the same situation that you when I was little in Mexico.
were in back in the days? I was about four or five years old. Well I was going to pick up
my cousin from school. We passed by a bus station and in Mexico
the buses carried a lot of people. So this guy was with his little kid
and there was only space for one, so this other guy cut in front of
Has The Hall Helped You? him then the other guy got mad and they started fighting, that was
The hall has helped me because it helps me learn from my the first time I saw a fight. They were both bleeding really badly.
mistakes. It makes me want to do better for myself but not just for -Lil L
myself but for my mother and family too. I think it’s sad that I had From The Beat: We are sorry that you have had this memory of violence
since you were a young child. Looking back on the fight, what are your
to come to the hall to realize it. I wish I didn’t have to learn this feelings on what happen?
way but I just have to “suck it up” and deal with it.
The hall has helped me out a lot with my manners and credits
for school. I hate being in here, but I just have to suck it up and
deal with it and not get in trouble and straighten out my life. I took
life for granted and I messed up badly with my family. First Memory
-Danny What’s cracking Beat readers? Today I’m going to be writing about
From The Beat: It’s very mature and honorable of you to acknowledge “First Memory of Violence.” Now I’ve seen fights and all but the
your mistakes and want to do better not just for yourself but for your very first time I remembered pure violence was when I was seven
family. Will you continue with school when you are released? How will you
remember to not take life for granted? years old.
I live in San Jose. My cousin lived a few blocks down the
street, so I got there in like a couple of minutes. When we started
walking to Kmart we saw an old school cougar car hauling towards
Wise Decisions - Freedom some guy crossing the street. Two guys came out the car and had
What’s up, Beat? It’s the end of May, which means I have a month a bat and shhh… the dude tried running but I guess he didn’t run
left and then I will never have to see this place again. Life is full fast enough.
of decisions, good and bad. But to me, honestly, it’s all on you. They got him by Wendy’s because cops were just posted up
Everyone should make their own decision. Be their own man or there, as me and my primo walked up to see what happened, we
woman and not blame others for their actions. Like peer pressure saw the dude beaten up bad … blood was all over the parking lot
- that’s bullshhh. and I’m pretty sure you can still see it.
If you’re going to blame other people or your friends then Well my mind was like, what? I’d just seen this dude walking
you’re confused in life. As for freedom, it’s all on the “decision” by and a couple of minutes later; gone and shh…. That wasn’t the
you make. If you can’t do the time don’t do the crime, or just don’t first death in that location. Well that’s all Beat.
get caught. You feel me? Well, I’m gone. -Lord Dwella
-Hati From The Beat: Life is too precious, any of us can be done in a blink of
From The Beat: You’re right that we should all take ownership of our an eye. But, when certain situations happen on the streets, it leaves us
decisions, good or bad. Since you will never have to see the Hall again asking, why? Too many life’s are lost on the streets. What can be done to
you must have decided to make some changes. What are they? Why do you make the streets safe for all to walk on?
think so many people succumb to peer pressure?
sta n d o ut s
d Clara t s
sta n Santao u County
Locked Up Again Starting College
I’m not feeling any of these topics so I’ll just write what’s goin’ on What’s up Beaters? Well today was a cool day. I went out on a pass,
with me. So I come in yesterday, my fifth time here. I’m hating it damn I felt free. Well, I’m starting college and I start my classes in
right now because I had a lot of stuff I was suppose to be doing on fall so that’s cool. I also ran into my boy in the hallway, ha ha the
the outs. last time I seen him we were at my pad. He picked up his girlfriend
I’m so mad because I only had nine days of EMP left and I and I was clowning him on his eyebrows, he has better eyebrows
fudged up and got my butt locked up again. I’m tired of this shh than me.
already. I wanna do well for myself. I hate not being able to see the It kinda sucks that I can’t talk to him cause we’re in here. We
people I’m close with or shhh and shower when I want. I shouldn’t are really good friends, but when ever I get out I’ll see him.
be in here long and I’m going to try my best to make a good example Anyways I got a sad letter last night from my girl that’s
for my younger sister and not come back. Wish me luck Beat, I’m pregnant and she’s really struggling and it hurts because me and
gone! her been through a lot. The situation ain’t cool at all. Her baby’s
-Rose dad is locked up he’s no good. She’s on the run because of him.
From The Beat: We are sorry that you are back in the hall. What changes But all I could do is hold it down for my homegirl. Alright well I
are you going to make so you don’t return. And what advice would you
give your younger sister so she does not go to the hall. You have the gotta go.
power to make chances to your life. We all wish you luck. -Priscilla
From The Beat: We are so proud of you that you will be starting college
in the fall. You have come a long way, and The Beat has enjoyed your
writings each week. We hope that you will continue to write in to The
Beat to tell us how you are doing. All the best to you. May your friend and
My Visit her unborn child find a safe and healthy environment.
What’s crackin’ Beat, it’s Silent. I ain’t feelin’ today’s topics so I’ll
write about my visit with my mom earlier. Well it wasn’t too good.
Before I came in here my primo got blasted. He was hurt pretty bad
and on top of that he was on the run. Has The Hall Helped You?
She told me he was sentenced at the ranch. My heart dropped The hall hasn’t helped me. I left worse than when I came in. All it
when she told me. I was hoping when he got out I would be able does is keep me in here when I can be on the outs working.
to see him but I guess not. On the bright side, we might get OT The worst thing is we got to pay to be here. The only that
together. Well that’s it for today. Alrato that’s cool about being in the hall is working out. The good thing
-Julissa is I’m not gonna be coming back. In July I’m off to county out of
From The Beat: We are sorry that your visit with your mom did not go this shhh hole.
well. Stay positive about what tomorrow brings, the best to you and your
family. How can you make the next visit with your mom better? -Woodie
From The Beat: We want to know how the hall has left you off worse than
when you came in? What were you doing on the outs? Are you getting
your high school diploma in here?
What I Miss
Being locked up in my cell without a phone, food, boyfriend and
to be hugged makes me feel so lonely. It makes me think twice Protecting Family
about taking my anger out on people. I also miss falling asleep and What’s good Beat I want to talk about my case. Man I’m here in max
waking up to my boyfriend voice. unit for trying to protect my baby bro who I love to death you know.
Most of all I hurts to know my mom is stressing and can’t get Me and my family got into it with fools at a party. We were badly
the rest she needs. When I get out I’m never coming back to this out numbered and some guys were badly beating my brother with
place, for me I’m a girl who likes to have fun. I’m willing to give up a bottle so I did what I had to do for his safety.
the blunts and streets if that what it takes to keep me free I ain’t goin’ to get into details, but I did what I did. So now I’m
-Ree here. I don’t know how long but I’ll know soon hopefully. I have a
From The Beat: We hope that you can keep your promise to yourself about
never coming back to a life behind bars. It seems that once people don’t
feeling everything will be okay. Well beat I don’t’ know what else to
have their freedom and not with friends and family we appreciate them say so. Aratos I’m out for now, peace.
more. How are you going to control your anger once you are out, any -King Monster
advice to others? From The Beat: We’re sorry to hear that protecting your brother meant
doing something that got you in trouble. We know sometimes it’s hard to
figure out what’s right or wrong in a situation, especially when it comes to
family. Would you do the same thing if the situation were to repeat itself
if you knew that you would end up here?
I reminisce on the days when I was free,
Just on the block hustling,
Making money to eat, Freedom
Now I’m locked in a cage, What’s good Beat? This be Lil Bryan comin’ from the max today
And I’m going insane, I’m going write about freedom, when I get out I’m gonna use my
It’s not my fault that I bang, freedom to help others to stay out. Like tell them about what I did
It’s just the way I was raised, wrong so they don’t do the same thing I did. When I get out I’m
Always up to no good. going to visit my family; my brothers and my ladies.
I don’t care if I’m misunderstood; -Lil Bryan
’Cause I got them intensions so don’t try to test me. From The Beat: We hope that you will be out soon and be reunited with
-Temper your loved ones. Being away from family and friends helps one to cherish
From The Beat: Memories of a happier time can help make your days in the and appreciate the relationships that we may share with others. Tell The
hall pass. We want to know why you are always up to no good? What can Beat what you are going to do once you are out?
you do to get your freedom back? Tell The Beat.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
On My Mind Getting Out
What’s cracking Beaters? It’s Clowny coming through from this What up Beat?
unit. Well Beat I’m not in a really good mood today. So I’m going It is Guero coming from the max just postin’ and kickin’ back
to write what’s on my mind. I just got off the phone with my man doing time. Man in months it will be my b-day. I hope I get out soon
and he’s not doing so well. To be honest I expected more from him. I want to be out with my family eating real food, you feel?
Within the first couple of weeks that he got released he would tell Anyway I think when I get out I am going to do good, go to
me he was going to school and about to graduate from San Jose school, get a job for real man and start to do good out there, well I
conservation corps. hope I can. Well that’s all tonight, to all doing time, stay up.
He had a positive mind set about bettering himself, but when I -Guero
was on the phone with him, he told me he got kicked out of school. From The Beat: We hope you will be out soon and reunited with your
family. It looks like that you have set some positive goals for yourself; we
I’m not going to lie, that did get me mad because, I care about him know that you can achieve them. Take one day at a time. What else do you
a lot and he also said that he was planning on moving in with his have planned once you get out? Tell The Beat.
homie. And to be honest I don’t think that’s a good idea I have a
feeling he’s gonna get caught up in the mix and the last thing I
want is to see him locked up again.
Because I’m trying to do something with my life and I’m going
Yes, the hall has helped me a lot. It’s helped me realize everything
to need him out with me. Anyways Beat, I would write more but my
that I have in my life, especially my family. They have been here for
times up. To all who know me. What’s good and stay up. I’m out
me since day one.
From The Beat We know that it is frustrating when one sees their loved I’ve seen what I put my mom through and how much I hurt
one making choices that may land themselves behind bars. Tell him your her. It made me regret everything I ever said mean to her. But sorry
feelings and concerns but you may have to make a big choice so you don’t
get caught up in his world. Stay positive and well. can’t fix that I know, but I wish I could, because there’s no words
to explain how much I’m sorry. Well, just wanted to say I love you
Decisions To Make From The Beat: We can’t go back in time and change things, but one can
make changes for the future to make your family proud. You are very
My decision is to be good and get out the hall so I could be with my fortunate to have a supportive family. Stay positive and the best to you.
family and not go back to my old life. I think if I read a lot of books
my time will be quicker and easier. My decision to be good and get
out to see my son and my baby’s momma and to be there when my
other son is born. Attitudes
That decision made a big impact on my life because that’s my What’s good Beat readers? Well today’s topic is if the hall has
own family that I got to worry about. My decision when I get out is helped me. I would say yes very much so. I was a youngster out
go with my family and be a big happy family that’s what I plan to do there in the streets just trying to make name.
when I get out. I came into the hall with a bad attitude, just trying to do my
-Family Man time. I soon realized that was going to get me nowhere. Once I
From The Beat: We love to hear about your decisions to be a good father started to try and make the best out of this place, things soon
and a part of your family! What are you going to do to have a big happy
family? What are your plans? changed.
One staff in particular made me open my eyes. Yes I am smart,
yes I can be somebody. If I was still on the outs I would have never
Will I Change? -Julissa
I just got to ask myself. Will I ever break free and fly away from the From The Beat: We are sorry that you had to land yourself in the hall to
realize that you are a smart person and have the ability to achieve any
need to put my life on the line? The need to be loved by a man who goal that you set for yourself. Only look back on your past to see how far
obviously doesn’t love me, only my money. I want to answer yes you have come. You have the power to achieve anything you want. Stay
positive about life, and all good will follow.
but when times get hard and the temptation is high? I’m coming in
for the second time, for prostitution.
The last time I swore to myself not to do it any more, and then
I did. I want to change. I see I am not, but sometimes I don’t want School
to, I don’t want to leave the struggle on the street, it’s so familiar, I remember when I was in 5th grade we had to do a volcano
the rules, the risk, the pain, it’s so familiar, yet I know if I don’t explosion. My group had five of us but one girl got mad because
stop now, when will I? I wasn’t listening and she threw an eraser at me. So I got up and
Will there ever be another opportunity to stop or will I be killed pushed her then hit her.
before my time? I was happy though to see all my work in the But it got broken up before she hit me back. Then we kept
Beat. The poem, “Boys in the Window” was for the boy’s max unit, working on it and we did it. It came out so good. The next day she
because in the girl’s unit would pass by their windows and they said sorry for throwing the eraser at me and I accepted it and I said
would be waiting. sorry too and we got an A+, it didn’t really work when she put the
I always felt bad seeing them in there knowing they’ll probably stuff in it to explode. It wasn’t working but it finally started to work
be in for a while. Well, I don’t have a poem today, I might be leaving and the teacher gave us an extra day to work on it. We got an A+. It
to Colorado soon, yup outta state placement but I want the change, was really cool.
so I ain’t tripping. I love you guys, so remember my name. alratos! -Marissa
-Sammuy From The Beat: We are sorry that you and another classmate got in an
From The Beat: We hope that you find the strength to put your past altercation over your school project. Cooperative learning is a vital tool to
situation to an end. Life is too precious, you may not have another chance help one succeed in school and the work place. Working in a group helps
because the next time may take your life. Each time you continue, you others to understand different thoughts and achieve a common goal.
are putting your life in danger. Look forward, set goals and stay positive. What advice can you give to others about working in a group project?
sta n d o ut s
d Clara t s
sta n Santao u County
I plan on using my freedom wisely and show my brothers the right Thank you Beat for this opportunity for me to write every one
way to live because living life in and out of jail is not the life. I about a decision. Sometimes there’s bad or good thing or a good
wanna be a mentor to them, my brother Mickey is heading down person to do a right thing. I hope you all do the right thing for a
the wrong path and I wish I could be there to tell him what to do good reputation on yourself. So that all you guys when your older
and what not to do. can look back and say I’m glad I did this or that for that person.
I still remember the day when I got locked up and I called my Well Beat thank you again for this opportunity to express my
home. I talked to my brother and he said that he was going to stab feelings and my emotions. God is Love.
someone to be with me. That hurt me that he’s thinking like that. -Joe
Beat I’m out. From The Beat: We’re glad that you take the time to talk your emotions
out with us—we like hearing it! What are some decisions you’ve made that
-Lil Ril affect your life, both good and bad?
From The Beat: We are sorry about the conversation that you had with
your brother and being in the hall must be so hard since you worry about
your brother following in your footsteps. What advice would you tell your
brother? And would you be willing to change to set an example?
What’s cracking Beat? Well I’ll write some lines about how being in
Violence here is messing me up in the inside (en mi cora) of my heart. Today
I got a visit from my mama she came to bring me some papers from
My first memory of violence, I was probably like four years old. My
dad used to beat my two older brothers, and it was the stupidest
You know it hurts me to put her through all of this, having her
reasons. But it was sad cause you got this grown man literally
come see me and not knowing how to communicate with the peeps
beating on two little six and eight year olds.
that work here because she don’t know how to speak English.
I remember I was walking to the bathroom and earlier my
Well, today I noticed my mom (mi jefita) is getting old. Wow!
brother had gotten in trouble at school so I seen my dad literally
That’s one of the last things I want for her to age, I want her to
kicking him in the stomach and chest and he was hysterical and
stay with me and you know as people get old a lot can happen. I’m
all my dad was saying was “get up you aren’t dying.”
scared of loosing my mom and me not being there. I love her she’s
I didn’t know what to do, it made me feel hella bad. I was only
an angel without her I ain’t shhh.
four or five. When my mom found out about everything my dad
was doing she felt hella guilty. He would always do things when From The Beat: We are sorry that you are hurt for the way your mom’s
she wasn’t home. She discovered him and now he is in prison for feels. Realistically, it is difficult for a parent to see their child behind bars.
But, one can’t look in the past only the future. What plans do you have for
twenty-five to life. the future so you and your Mom can stay young together? Tell The Beat.
From The Beat: We are so sorry about the violence you witnessed as a
young child. Unfortunately, some parents feel the pressure of life and
some take it out on children. The Beat wishes the best to your family and
may the future bring you happier memories.
What’s up Beat well its your boy Sharky once again at you from
the max unit. Well today I’m on the topic so I’m write about my
brother Kane that passed away. Man I really miss that fool. I wish
My Son I could go back to the days he was here. Man them were the fun
I want to be there when my child is born. But I got up on some days. We didn’t have to worry about nothing, it was always me and
charges and I’m looking at some serious time. It’s May and my son him. Man he the reason I got with my baby’s mama, so I will always
will be born in August. I really hope something good happens. I be thankful for that.
really think my life would change once I hold him for the first time. It’s messed up because I was going to the clinic one time and
I plan on showing my son right from wrong. And I know me I could have sworn I seen him coming my way. I was hella sad I
my baby’s mama are going to have a good future raising or son wanted to cry but I didn’t cry right there. When I got back to my
together. Well that’s it for now until nest time Ill be posted in the room I just let it all out and started to cry. My roommate was cool,
max unit. he was there for me and told me just let it out.
From The Beat: We really like your positive outlook about your new son, From The Beat: We’re sorry you lost a friend that was so close to you.
but how do you plan to be a part of his life if you are doing serious time? What were the things about Kane that you liked the most? Did he have
We hope that you CAN be a part of his life, because a son definitely needs any particular qualities that you liked? Did you feel better after you let
a father. your emotions out?
Libertad Easy Money
Q-vo Beat. Well freedom, damn! I would do anything to get my There are numerous reasons why people break the law…some do
freedom again. My charges are hella serious if I get found with it because they have to and others do it because they’re just dumb
guilty I would never be able to taste freedom again. or bored with their lives and “need” excitement.
And I miss those firme tiempos con los homies en mi varrio I mean I’m in here because I was bettering myself but that’s
and to honest, I would attempt to try anything to get out of this not how to get my own place and pay my way through college. But
place. It’s worth a chance. I got nothing to lose. Yo perferia que me apparently selling drugs and stacking cake the easy way is looked
kitaran toda la ferria en el mundo ke mi Libertad. down upon haha!
-Lil Smokey -Tee
From The Beat: Do you look at your life differently when you think you From The Beat: It is extremely difficult to work your way through college
won’t taste freedom again? What do you see for your future if you don’t while trying to maintain good grades. Is there another way you could
see freedom? have paid for college and other necessities without breaking the law?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
Respect Missing My Family
Yes a little bit because it has made me realize a lot of stuff, like The first thing I would do when I leave this place is go home and
appreciate my family more and better myself. It taught me to be be with my brothers and wrap my hands around the both of them
more respectful. Getting along with females. Plus I get closer to and never let go. Tell them how much I love them. Tell my mother
God! how much I love her and clean the bathroom because I’m sure it
-Silvana needs to be cleaned.
From The Beat: We are glad that you have a spiritual advisor that can Take the longest bath possible and my usual long shower, get
listen when you need them. Sometimes when life takes away what matters
to us, we appreciate everyone more. Being respectful to others will help dressed, and go to my nana’s house, help her clean up and hug
you succeed in your future goals. How are you going to be more respectful and kiss her every chance I get. When I go to church and praise for
to others? Tell The Beat.
letting me have my second chance!
Join the choir as I planned and take my math tutoring courses
that I had planned on taking. And just enjoy life surround myself
On My Mind with positive people and hopefully move out of San Jose.
Well I’m not really feeling any of these topics for this week so I’m From The Beat: We love your positive attitude and glad that once you
going to write what’s up on my mind. are out you will continue to enjoy and love your family. We love that you
want to continue on the plans that you set for your future. Keep in touch
I hope you read this cousin, because this is the only way I with The Beat, we would love to hear what you are doing when you are
could get a hold of you. First of all I want to say that I love you released. Good luck.
and hope you get out soon. Prove the system wrong that you’re
not guilty. It’s funny that we only see each other when we walk the
halls of Santa Clara County, just remembering seeing you in the
clinic and the doctor told me it’s a family reunion. Schools
Well I will be out in a few weeks. Well that’s all I gotta say, I This topic about schools is alright. I went to “Novc,” now known
hope and pray to see you soon hopefully when you get out. as “Foundry” also “Mt. Pleasant Stone Gate,” and as far as middle
-Sorrina schools, “Fischer.” That’s about it.
From The Beat: We are sorry that you and your cousin are both in the hall They call me Young Buck in this max unit because I’m the
at the same time. It must be very difficult for both of your families. In the
days ahead stay strong and positive.
youngest one – here for something I didn’t do – haha! Well, I just
got into trouble in this life. But it’s alright it just part of life. Well,
much love and respect to everyone locked in the box.
-Young Buck Joe
It’s Helped Me… From The Beat: Joe, we hope you can persevere, and get through this part
of your life and into the next, ready to be productive and to stay out of
Being in the hall, has made me grow up. It changed my way of trouble.
thinking and living. I’m kind of glad I got locked up because it
made me value my freedom. And it made me set goals so I can be
somebody in life, and also made me think twice about doing stuff.
Since I’ve been here I’ve valued my freedom and my family
The way I plan on using my freedom is going to all my drug
more, now I understand why my mom would tell me to do good stay
out of trouble, so did my Uncle Nino (godfather). He’s always told
Do what I have to do in order to complete my program in the
me to do right but I do wrong.
Now that I’m in here it’s sad because my mom and Nino think
I’m going to spend a lot of time with my family.
they failed me. When truth is, I failed them. So when I get out I’m
going to go to school, get my diploma and be somebody. So I can From The Beat: These are wonderful goals to have when you are given
show my Nino and mom they didn’t fail. back your freedom. Your family will be so happy to have you around
From The Beat: Life is full of choices and temptations, unfortunately you
made a choice that landed you in the hall. You have your future ahead of
you to do well. Achieve your goals of going to school and staying out of
trouble. Your family will be very proud; you have the power to better your
future. Stay positive and follow your dreams. Freedom
Freedom to live another day
Freedom to make life decisions
Sometimes I ask myself will
First Memory of Violence There ever be freedom for people like us.
What’s good Beat? Once again, it’s Manos coming out of the max What makes me care
unit. Today’s topic is about a first memory of violence. Well, my About myself and motivate me
first memory of violence was when I got jumped really bad. I mean To move on is positive people
really bad, by six other guys. Around me without positive people
It was when I was in the streets as a young teen, on my way Around a person that wants to
home coming from the movies with my girl. It was pretty late and Do good but bad seems to
the guys just came out of nowhere. It dosen't really impact me, Easy make life even harder
because now I need to know I got to be alert all the time and all this So be a man or woman
shhh happens to everyone. So to all, stay up, stay alert at all times. And take care of your own life.
Airatos God is Love.
From The Beat: Thank you for telling us this story. It’s too bad you have From The Beat: Do you surround yourself with people who are positive and
to keep your guard up all the time like that, but it is understandable. care about you? Did the people you associated with before you came in
Thankfully you are alive and able to share your experiences with us. here care about you? How do you take care of your life?
sta n d o ut s
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Stay Out Schools, Schools, Schools …
Well, I’ve been to many schools in San Jose, and some of my
When it was my first time in the hall, I was always get time because
favorites are Evergreen Valley High School, Silver Creek High
I don’t know the system but now I know to stay good now. But
School and Calero Community School. Well, I like Evergreen
when I get out, I don’t want to come back because I need to stay
because I met my girlfriend Chasity there. But I also don’t like that
out for my family because they don’t want me in here. That’s all I
school because I got jumped there… many times. Silver Creek is
got to say.
cool because all my frineds go there. Well, they used to but are now
From The Beat: Your family would be very happy to hear that you want there at different schools.
to stay out of the hall for them. They will be a great inspiration and The last one is Calero, and I just like that one because it’s very
motivation for you to stay on the right path.
easy there and the teachers are cool. Well, some are. Oh yeah, and
we get Chinese food every Thursday. Well, yeah enough about my
schools. Court hasn’t been good. It got continued 1 ½ months and
La Pathfinder yeah, I’ve just been waiting till the day I get out so I can see my
beautiful girlfriend again because I miss her so much. Well Beat, I
Q-vo Beat. This is me about to talk about my school-boy days.
got to go. Late.
When I was on the outs, I used to go to Path Finder Academy. It
was a school that all my friends went to. Most of us had to ride the From The Beat: Wow, you have jumped around a bit as far a schools go.
bus to school. But so did our enemies. So a lot of times we would It must be hard to keep the same group of friends intact.
You know, this one time, me and my friends punked some fool
for his speakers. The fools got mad and called for back up. Now the
odds were against us (like 20 to 5), so we said screw that and got Change and Being True to Your Word
more friends from school to put the odds back in our favor (45 to Right now there is nothing much to talk about. I have too much on
20). Even the teachers came. my mind, I’ve only been here for only two weeks and my PO wants
It was hella funny, ‘cause one of the teachers, got hit wth a to send me to ROP in Nevada for 12-18 months.
rock and wanted to take-on them fools. Well, we ended up chasing I’m kinda stressed out, not about how much time I’m going to
those fools all the way down the street. And then the cops came. It do, but because of the fact both of my lil sisters and my lil brother
was pretty cool though. The teacher said they didn’t hear anything. too are asking me when I was going to get out because they miss
So, no one got locked-up for that. So, that was good. By far, I think me. Thing that got to me the most was when they asked me if I was
that was the funniest day at school. going to change and to promise them that I would. This is the only
-Lil Smokey thing I can think about, and I’m going to do it for them. The real
From The Beat: That is a good story, but it is sad to see that kids who test toward my promise starts the day I get released.
attend the same school cannot figure out a way to get along.
From The Beat: Your siblings seem to be a great inspiration to you to do
right once you are released. What are you going do to make sure you keep
The hall has helped in many ways. One way is that it helps me be
a man – to do stuff by yourself – to be responsible for your actions,
because you’re accountable in here. And when I get out, I have to Being in The Hall
look for a job and make some money. Being in the hall has put me through lots of stuff. The reason it has
- Joe been putting me through a lot of stuff is because I miss my family
From The Beat: That’s really good you are growing as a person and seeing and friends. Another reason is that now instead of me wanting to
that being responsible and accountable are excellent traits that can get out, I don’t want to because I’m so used to being here and being
help you in virtually every aspect of your life – work, family, personal
accomplishment. told what to do.
From The Beat: We can understand how being inside the institution can
become the only life you know. But you alos know that you cannot enjoy
your family and friends while you are here. You need to decide what you
Better Days want your life to be and go there. We hope you will chose not to stay
Q-vo Beat? This is Serio coming at you from this boring unit. Well,
I’m going to write about the hall helping me. Well, this time I got
locked-up it has helped me out a lot because when I got locked-up,
I was 15 and now I’m 17 – going on18 next month. But yeah, when
I first got locked, I was very immature and doing drugs. Now that I
Has The Hall Helped You?
Wus up wit the Beat though? I think the hall has helped me
have been here many months, it has helped me mature-up a lot and because I think before I do something.
it has definitely helped me stay sober. Being in the hall, we always have to keep our rooms clean, so
I thank the hall because now I feel much stronger and in better I think staying has make me kind like a clean freak.
condition. The hall has taught me a lot. I got better at my drawing But having the staff always on me it has taught me discipline
skills and I actually got all my credits for high school. Well Beat, and how to respect my elders because we always have to say, “yes/
this is it for today, so stay up and I’ll see you next week. You know no maam” or “sir.” Being in the hall has been a wake up call for me.
what’s up. Alratos. But that’s it Beat. I ma dip. Until next time if there will be a next
From The Beat: Serio, it is good to hear you are improving as a person time.
in the hall. It is especially great that you are getting fit – both mentally -Mars
and physically. This will do you well for the rest of your life. We always From The Beat: We are so glad to hear that the hall has taught you so
appreciate it when you share your experience in the hall and how it has many valuable lessons. How will you apply these things in your every day
affected you life outside the hall?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
No Joke Helping My Family
Yo, what up? This is your boy Chuey. I got locked up and got down
Well this be Yg coming from Kindergarten Jail. I got brought back
when I came in, so now I’m staying in max. I’m going to trial for
from Elmwood County Jail to finish my juvenile probation…Hella
that new charge, “gang enhancement,” and assault with deadly
wack huh?! County is way better tho’. I get commissary and more
weapon. This shhh sucks.
time out, more respect and they don’t treat you like kids. I’m out
You know, I realized that when you get gang enhancement, if
soon tho’, so I ain’t trippin.
you get a felony, it turns into a strike. The assault with the deadly
Stay up Beat!! Thanks for always letting me release my
weapon is what I came in for. Assult is what I picked-up for fighting
in another unit and now it turns into a strike because of the gang
I used to break the law all the time but it was for a good
reason. I was nine, my family was going thru a lot. My mom had
I’m telling everyone out there, gang enhancement aint no joke.
two jobs and five kids to feed. I had a choice. to slang or to go to
You can get an extra 15 years because of it. So I’m telling you all,
be cool. Keep your head up and stay solid. Don’t step lightly. Late.
I would buy large amounts of purps and sell them pricey to
From The Beat: Thank you for sharing what you now have to learn the dumb kids. Most would be too stupid to know the real amount is
hard way. True, the laws that brought you in to the hall are still in effect worth but I didn’t care. They kept on coming back. I was making
while you are inside the hall.
crazy money every week, but it all went to my mom and groceries.
Every time she asked me where I got it from, I walked away
and went back to hustling.
My Boys from My Hood As I grew, I graduated to bigger things like sips, pounds or
What’s up Beat? This is Sharky – once again coming out of the max sometimes brownies/edibles. I was supporting my family but still
unit. Well Beat, I’m not on the topics today, so I am going to talk breaking the law.
about my friends. There is one guy from my hood that I know I can It wasn’t ‘till the first time I got caught that I thought about it
always trust no matter what. I know, when ever I need someone to but family was more important. The more money I make the more
talk to, he will be there for me. problems I had. I got shot on my leg by a jealous dealer. It didn’t
Man Beat, I love this fool like hie's my brother, and the day I stop my hustle just made me stronger.
have to go to the county, I know it’s going to be hard for me because My shine stopped when I got locked up for sales and did six
right now, at least, he can be next door, in the other max. months. I realized that I was causing more grief on her and that
Well Beat, I love all my boys from my hood and will never was when I turned my life to God. He saved my life and helped me
turn my back on them. I don’t know what else to say, and time is get thru this. I was always in a dark hole it seemed, until I found
running out. So to all locked up, stay up. I’m out. the light. Thanks be to the Lord. He will always be there.
-S That was a short story about life. Maybe I can continue if I
From The Beat: Good luck when you go to County. Maybe you can figure come back…not!
out a way to work within the regulations to let your good-friend know
you are ok in County and sending him well-wishes – and he can do the -Yg
same for you. From The Beat: It was very noble of you to help out your family in their
time of need, even though you knew there were serious consequences for
your actions. Do you think helping your family was the only reason you
continued to break the law?
I was telling how I’d like to write a book about my life later on in
life. For the first time it actually sounded pretty awesome. It could Tough Decision
help young teens make certain decisions that won’t lead them Well this is Grumpy. Well, tomorrow is my court day. I hope I don’t
down to a messed up lane. get out because they going to put me on EMP for 90 days. I feel like
I don’t do the whole gang crap so I don’t think it’d aim for them. I’m going to run and come back. So, I want to be here rather than
Something I’ve always liked doing was helping my friends with any home. At home, I can’t go out or anything. Much love to all. Well I
problems they would have. Like a counselor just ‘cause I’ve got my got to go. Late.
experience and I’m a whole different person. Not someone reading -Grumpy
From The Beat: OK, so home doesn’t sound like it’s too fun (or stimulating),
this shh expecting it to actually be able to help someone who’s but it is good to get on the outs and start to put into motion a plan to
been through shh. lead a better life, outside and away from the system. If you feel like you
So yeah I’d hope the book could do something helpful and I just are going to run, maybe you should talk to somebody (a counselor, a legal
aide or any adult really). Maybe talking about your problem with someone
really wanna write about my days. I’ve been through and have seen will reveal more options or a different attitude.
way too much dude. And I really want to get it out. I’m a super-
reserved dude but I never had a problem if any one wanted to know
any history. I like talking about it.
I realize I’m going on and on. I’m just writing as it comes up. To Do Good
This place sucks. But unfortunately I’ll admit that it helped me a What’s up Beat? Today’s topic is going to be about what I am going
lot. Not the building or the people but just being incarcerated, away to do when I’m out in the outside world. Well, first thing when I get
from my family and girlfriend. She’s not just a normal girlfriend out of this place, is to start gong to school and get my high school
either. We’ve been together four years. So it’s way different/ she diploma. Then, I’ll look for a job and start helping my family. I will
means more to me than my life. Anyway, help me think of a title buy my own pad. I also want a car – to go cruising all over San
for the book. Peace Jose. Well, that’s it Beat. To all keep your head up.
From The Beat: We think that it would be a great idea if you write a book From The Beat: We think what you want is great! Get an education, some
about your life, experience and advice to those who may be in the same steady income, a place and some wheels. It is especially good that you
situation as you. Not sure what the title would be, but keep thinking and want to help your family. A life rich in family and accomplishment awaits
something will spark an idea. Keep writing your thoughts to The Beat. you. Go get it!
sta n d o ut s
d Clara t s
sta n Santao u County
I Miss Middle School My Reality
My favorite experience from school was middle school. I liked that I learn the hard way who my friends are and my foes are.
experience because I met lots of new people. The reason I know this is too many funeral roses.
I had lots of fun during middle school. I also like middle I’ve seen the teary eyes mothers of my neighborhood friends.
school because all my teachers supported me and helped me out All we gave them was a car wash then we jump in another.
with my school work. We retaliated of course and talk about them for the weekend.
In middle school my grades were not that good. I thought Right here feelings are a virtue so we resort to tweaking.
middle school was challenging because my teachers gave me lots See you don’t see the reality ‘cause all you got was a peeking.
of work and I couldn’t do it. You think my varrio poses the love that you are seeking.
I also like middle school because that when I started to meet See I ain’t never meet a homie that I could look up to.
different types of girls. I wish I was still in middle school because Who makes something with their lives with no intention to
I miss my teacher and my friends. corrupt to.
-C They took me under their wing and talk about family and
From The Beat: What kinds of fun did you have in middle school? Did you culture.
like that the work was challenging? Did your teachers encourage you to
keep trying? Said that they would watch over me like a vulture.
Now my life is dead to me. Course I seen the lies I wasn’t
meant to see.
School Was Fun When I Went Yeah I ain’t got regrets but learn from my mistake.
‘Cause every other week comes another friend’s wake.
When I first went to high school, I loved it. It was a good experience. -My pain
I attended Oak Grove High School. I was only there for one year. I From The Beat: You words speak to a lot of the pain that you and your
met a lot of people. It was a lot of fun until I got expelled. Then I community have experienced when losing those you care about. How do
you think you can help change this once you are released? Is there any
never went to any other high school. way to end the violence so that death does not have to be so common in
Now I want to go back to high school. It’s been years since your life?
I went to a regular high school. It was crakcin’ when I went. But
yeah, I’ll cut it short here.
From The Beat: What made it a good experience? What do you miss most
about a regular high school?
Q-vole Beat? Well this is Downer once again up in here. Today’s
topic I’m gonna write about is the high school I went to. It’s called
Pathfinder. It’s my first high school I went to in the outs because I
Random was locked up for 1 year and 2 months.
What’s cracking everybody? Well, it’s Robert coming out of this I only went to that school for two months and I liked it because
unit. I know everybody who’s been through this unit. the teachers help you out with your work and stuff. They helped
Since everybody comes through here and they’re older, they me get my subjects that I needed to graduate early since I’m ahead
talk shhh about us youngin’s in here – like saying, “Everybody on my credits.
in here hella immature.” Really, it’s not like that – most of us are The most fun I had in school was when no body at school
mature. I ain’t trying talk shhh, but it’s true. did nothing and some of the boys and girls left school or just did
I still didn’t get a letter from my girl – some shady shhh. It’s whatever we wanted in the school. We got in trouble but who
good though because I’m going to put her in-check. cares.
Well, change of subject; I still haven’t bounced from this -Downer
From The Beat: It is great that you had teachers that would help you
whack place. I was supposed to bounce already to a group home, succeed with your work. What things did your school need to improve
but should be bouncing soon! Well everybody stay up! Late! upon in order to help you more? What resources would you have liked to
been given in high school on the outside?
From The Beat: Your girl not writing you is hard. Sometimes silence (or
nothing) is the most heatbreaking thing one can say to another. Anyway,
regadless of someone talking shhh or someone not saying anything, we
hope you can take it all in stride, keep an open mind and a pep in your
step when you bounce.
I was ten when I first witnessed violence. I was with my older
brother and one of his boys, in the car. My brother pulled up on
six guys and asked where they where from. They said where they
School on the Outs were from. Then me and his boy got out. I had a machete and his
I really didn’t like regular high school. I’m from Sunnyvale, but I boy had a revolver.
went to Santa Clara High School. I didn’t like most of my teachers My brother stayed in the car and tried to run them over. The
because they either didn’t help you or they would be goody and get two scattered like roaches, my brother hit one of the two that ran,
me off track by talking too much off subject. and I swung the machete at one of them but missed. Then I caught
But my math teacher Mr. Rylee always asked me to come a rock to the head.
spend time with him, so he could help me on what I was struggling My brother’s boy saw it and started shooting. From there, all I
in. He was always willing to help, but I didn’t take advantage remember is hearing popping sounds and me hella bleeding from
because I was too busy hanging out with my friends and doing my top left eyebrow. My brother came back, picked us up and took
others things. I think if every teacher was like him there would be us home.
a higher success rate. -Smokey
-Munoz From The Beat: That is a well-told, violent story. It sounds like your piece
From The Beat: When you get out do you want to go back to school and should be called ‘Attack’ rather than its current title. It sounds like you
take advantage of the learning opportunities you are given? What was it were lucky to escape with your life. Do you think it was right to instigate
about Mr. Rylee’s teaching style that you liked most? that brutality on the others because of where they were from?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
Upholding The Law J-Hall Has Helped Me…
The reason someone’s always breaking the law is because we have What’s cracking Beat and Beat readers? It’s Dopey coming out of
too many bs laws. There’s a law for everything in the book twice. life skills. Well I got a few more days and I’m out this cage. Well I
I promise that they got a law about life. Laws aren’t to protect might drop a few lines on how J-hall helped me here.
people, they’re there to harden lives. J-hall helped me by finding true feelings on my ex. Shy, she
-Yonex got out started writing me, say she loves me then come to show,
From The Beat: Imagine that you are the governor. What are the ways to she did me dirty. I ain’t gonna lie, I had deep feelings for her. I was
protect your country without laws?
writing her for ten months but it’s all good. Comes to show she
ain’t a solid female.
But tell me why, me being up in here checking out the females
How I Came Here on movement I see this one cutie that stand out the most talking
to a few, made me learn more about her and I kinda fell for. Sucks
Hi Beat and everyone reading this, I just want to share what brought
me to the hall and why I never want to do those things again . . . she with a vato and she playing hard to get but one day it will be
Just a few, maybe a couple weeks ago I stashed up on me and you mark those words.
methamphetamines after being clean for 6 months. I smoked and A big shout out to your graduation wish all your dreams come
snorted it for like a few days, then the person who gave birth to true and stay solid pray for the ups prepare for the downs even
me handed me a needle and offered me a “hot shot.” I did it and though we ain’t together you can always count on me.
overdosed for the third time in my life…. So, J-hall kinda helped me just helped me have more hopes
I survived and continued to tweak out some more for a few and dreams and keeps me striving through all the ups and downs
days. When all of this was over, I went home and crashed for three and to all keep pulling and striving and don’t let the law get you
days. I woke up for a couple of hours to smoke some weed and fall down. We are our own soldiers with our own mind and heart so
back asleep. keep that pride solid and much love.
One morning, I woke up again and my PO is standing right in -Dopey
From The Beat: We like that the Hall has taught you to keep pursuing your
front of me and at first I’m like “damn it!” dreams. What dreams do you have for your future?
But now I’m a week in the hall and I’m thankful because I
think I’d be dead by now … I’m just waiting for my interview from
Advent now. There’s a bed for me, all my paperwork has been
turned in to the program, and once I get accepted I’m leaving the School of Drama
following Tuesday! My school, on the outs was specifically known for its drama and
Thank you Luis my PO and my Dad for saving my life! It’s drugs. Other schools are known for being full of gangs and drugs.
weird to say but I love you both for it regardless of the pain I feel My school wasn’t full of lower class people. I came from upper-
being here in the hall … at least I’m safe here! middle class. No gangs or poverty, so where did I fit in at my school?
-Young Writer There’s so much I could and want to tell but it’s not easy/
From The Beat: Thank you for sharing with us what you went through. We insane to others, an awesome friends (but still insane). I chilled
hope for the best when you enter your new program. The important part
is you’re safe and you’re taking the steps to improve yourself. with the metal heads while I got drugs from everybody. Girls fell for
me like crazy. NO LIE!!
My rep to girls was I lied to get with them. That wasn’t true,
haha. Of course I really liked ‘em and wanted to be with them but
Just Me I didn’t want them to think we would be forever. So thanks to my
lack of commitment they all, well some of them got super mad.
Q-vole Beat. Well this be Clumsy back in this hell hole. But I ain’t
Thus the rumors and drama. But I had a hell of a life. This was
trippin’. I am about to get out soon and for sure and I ain’t come in
brutally long story turned short. I got an idea from someone to
back to this place because I’m about to have another kid from the
write a book in the future. It didn’t occur to as much as it did. Now,
same girl. Well it won’t be my second kid because I lost my first.
I’m really looking forward to doing so. In time, darling.
I’m sad but shhh there’s nothing I could do, you know?
Well I’m back because I got in a fight with my brother-in-law From The Beat: Do you think that drugs added drama to your friendship
and my Mom called the cops on me. I ran away and I was two weeks with the girls? How did you deal with the drama and were you and your
friends able to talk things out? We would love to read your book one day,
fresh out of the group. Homey I got caught two weeks later. so start writing? Tell The Beat more.
From The Beat: You are about to have a child; keep your child in mind
next time you are feeling angry and ready to fight. You need to be there
for your child.
Your Own Time
What’s up Beat? How are you guys doing out there? Well, today
am not feeling the topic, so I’m going to write about my own time.
The Hall Before I got locked up, I remember having my own time, in my
This is Mousie gonna talk about how the hall has helped me, or room, just chilling, smoking. I just sat, thinking about what to do
in this case how it hasn’t. The reason it hasn’t changed me is next. Here, you can’t think right because you have a lot of other
because I didn’t let it. The halls gave me a lot of tools and programs things to think about – like court and family. Well, that’s all I got
that promote change and show you how to stay clean, but me for right now. ‘Til next time, to all: keep your head up.
personally, I just never took advantage. Now I’m 18 and get out in -Jose
July with no probation, so I guess I’ll see what happens, til next From The Beat: True that when you are locked-up, there is more pressure
to behave a certain way, be someplace at a certain time and do things that
time. are not all that fun – like appear infront of a judge in court. It’s good you
-Mousie are focusing on your case and thinking about your family. When you get
From The Beat: It is great to hear how the hall has provided you with tools this behind you and you are free, you will have even more time for your
and programs to change, but why didn’t you take advantage of them? family … and for yourself, on your terms.
sta n d o ut s
d Clara t s
sta n Santao u County
School In The Outs Clean
Q-vo’s with the Beat? Pues this is Boogieman coming out the max The Hall has helped me. I was a slob on the outs, but now I almost
unit. Today’s topics are not firme pero pues I don’t have nothing clean everything. Now I really think about it the Hall has cleaned
in mind so I’ll write about one anyway. Pues the one I’ll write about up my bad habits you can learn good things in the Hall. You just
is the one about “school”. gotta look at things more positive. Well that’s all I got late.
Pues to tell you the truth Beat in the outs I didn’t really -A
attend school. I would always get there in the morning and then From The Beat: We are glad that you are keeping busy and staying positive
while you are in the hall. What else has the hall helped you with? When
bounce out with the comarads to go get high or just to drink. It’s you get out are you going to keep your room clean at home?
a trip ‘cause I never thought I would graduate from high school.
Pero para que vean I’m about to get my diploma. I guess that’s
something the Hall is good for.
Pues Beat this has got to be it for now so I’ll drop in right here. First Memory of Violence
To all in the torcida a big what’s up. Alratos. The first memory of violence was with my mom and my dad.
-Boogieman My dad always hit my mom when I was born ‘till I was 7. ‘Till
From The Beat: Congratulations on your achievement. Looking back on my mom left him and I never heard from him again.
your journey through school on the outs, do you wish that you would
have taken education more seriously and attended school instead of -Wyno
leaving and meeting up with your friends? What advice would you give to From The Beat: Your past has a huge impact on your later life and your
the younger youths entering school that don’t attend on a regular basis? future. But you have the control to decide if your past will affect you or
We would like to know. not. So how do you see this event shape you positively or negatively?
The mistakes that I’ve made got me locked up in the Hall. Bored So I wanted to talk about change in myself. Pretty much I miss
as hell in my room again. My hood up on the wall. No stress I my mom, my girlfriend, and most importantly my freedom. When
can’t shake it off and stand tall ‘cause a real soldier never breaks, I spent my first day in here I automatically changed my way of
just learns from their mistakes ‘cause I’m in it to win it. I’ll do thought. When I get out I’m staying clean, going to sign up for
whatever it takes. summer school, do whatever I can to make my family and girlfriend
From The Beat: We are glad that you understand the mistakes that you I really am going to change and plus its my fist time in here so
made which landed you in the hall, but would you do them again? If you
are in it to win, then you will be in the hall for a long time. Think positive, I want it to be my last. The only thing keeping me from that is my
since you will have to live with your choice and the consequences. court date. I really hope I get out that day with everything clear so
I can actually make that change. Thank you and I LOVE YOU MOM.
By the way, for everyone life isn’t hard it’s only hard if you want it
to be or make it.
ALL FOR YOU -Parhum
You’re my one and only From The Beat: What was it about coming to the hall that made you
change the way you think about how you were living your life? Do you
My one true love remember what your first thoughts were when you came here?
I still can’t believe
That you came from above
He sent you for me
And I’m still asking why It’s Life
Because all I ever did Demons all around
Was mess up your life Trying to take me under
I didn’t mean to do it Guns going off
I’m honest it’s true Shhh sounding like thunder
There’s nothing more that I want Violence in the streets
Than to just be with you Running from the police
I’m trying my hardest Dealers selling crack
To alter my evil ways There I never no peace
It gets hard at times One wrong move
I just end up astray You’re sitting in a cell
I’m pushing and pulling 25 to life
Struggle to strive So there is no kind of bail
I can’t live without Or you get popped
And girl that no lie Going to the store
My times almost up Last time seeing mom
I’m out this place When you walked out that door
So instead I’m just writing it But it’s life
I’ll prove it to your face And all you can do
-Wyno Is hope that death
From The Beat: Wyno, that’s a really nice poem! You are so lucky to have
such girlfriend. Is your girlfriend one of your biggest motivations to Doesn’t choose you
change? People often trapped in the wish to change for someone else. -Wyno
This is good, but what’s better is if your motivation is your own goodness. From The Beat: Great poem, Wyno! Indeed, life is tough but it doesn’t
Change so that you’ll have more respect, change so that you value yourself mean that we couldn’t win over life’s harshness. Keep your mind in a
more. Don’t change simply to please someone else. positive state and you’ll see more light in this dark world.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Santa Clara County
First Memory Of Violence Old Ways
Hey, what’s cool Beat? This be Speedy San Jose. Just chilling up in I be up on the black but I keep myself in a distance.
the max unit. Well today’s topic is “First Memory of Violence.” Well So many ninjas switch up you never know who be snitchin’
it caught my attention because the first time I ever saw violence A lot of dimes getting’ dropped too many homies getting
was in my neighborhood. popped
I seen my best friend get shot in the chest several times and And this shhh got me trippin’ wanderin’ if it’s ever gonna’
one in the face. He was a loving father. That’s all for me Beat, stop.
much love to all who know me. It’s a shame that it happens especially in my city.
-Speedy Through all I’m a ride and keep it lit like I’m supposed too
From The Beat: We are sorry about your friend. Has the violence on the So when you see me on the streets, recognize who it be that
streets increased or decreased since your first memory? How long is the
violence on the streets going to continue? one and only,
That they call Lil G.
From The Beat: We want to know what will it take for it to stop. Too many
losing their lives to the street. Tell The Beat what changes you would like
Our Love for your city and how can it happen?
There are many types of love
Good and bad
But I swear the love
I got for you First Fight
I ain’t never had What’s up Beat? What have you been up to? Well this topic got my
The things we’ve been through attention “first memory of violence.” My first memory of violence
They will never know is when I was in the 6th grade. I was a little troublemaker.
But one thing for sure, our love Well I was at school this one day at school doing my business.
Will always grow Out of no where this fight breaks down. I went running towards it
I know I’ve said nothing lasts forever and I saw my friend, then saw he was winning, but out of nowhere
But I’m feeling you boo the other guy went in to the fight.
And I promise you this I saw my friend get beaten up then I jumped in and I started to
I will always stay true! beat him up. Then this whole riot breaks down. Out of nowhere the
Just a little something I cops and the teachers came to stop. They arrested all the kids and
Thought real quick. I love took them to the office. I got away, that’s the cool part. Well, Beat I
You baby! Muuaw don’t have anything else to say. This vato is out.
(Always) your papi -Chino
From The Beat: Do you feel any changes in dealing with such situation
-Ar now compared to when you were in 6th grade? Will you help your friend
From The Beat: This is a sweet love poem that seems to be rooted in by beating someone else up or since you were more mature now, you will
some shared trials. Growing together through those experiences is a good try something more respectful and fair?
foundation for a healthy relationship. Cheers to you both!
Chilling Life in the hall sucks. I’m in here for attempted murder. I got lucky
because it was in self-defense, so they almost dropped my charges.
I’m chilling in this unit with
Now I’ll do thirty and sixty days EMP. So, life looks a lot better for
My folks and peers
We don’t have no fear
I have an infant daughter so I can’t wait to get out and go back
These ninjas on the top full of cries and tears
to school because life in here sucks too much to ever come back.
The boys in max doing hella years
So I’m going to do big things for my family and myself.
But I ain’t the one to say
I smoke more weed than Andre Nickatina does From The Beat: Going back to school and spending time with your
I’m from SJ born and raised daughter sound like great goals. Why is life in the hall so hard? What
have you learned there? Remember that “big” things can actually be small
These ninjas in the streets they dying everyday things that your child will remember forever. Just spending time with your
Times is rough in the heart of SJ child and being a good role model can be enough.
You wake up in the morning thinking you’re gonna live the
You got to be tough can’t be weak
Come across the wrong homie you might catch heat The Hall
You gotta live right fulfill your dreams The hall has just got me to realize,
You’re sitting in your cell That life is too short to be wasting.
Thinking to yourself There’s plenty of shhh you could do with yourself.
When am I getting out So why waste it? So basically,
I know I’m doing the time Do something with yourself and strive
But soon I’m gonna bounce For the better!
From The Beat: That’s a beautiful rap, really. We’re glad that you want From The Beat: Good advice. What are some of the things that one could
to share your fear and tear with us. We understand how it takes lots of do? Is time in the hall always wasteful? How did your time there lead to
courage to do that. And so we admire your courage to share this with us. this epiphany? What can one do while in the hall to start striving for the
We hope that everybody else would be inspired by you. better?
sta n d o ut sts
sta n d o u County
Never Coming Back What The Halls Have Done
I am back in here. I’m mad, because of that, but there’s nothing I What have I learned from the halls?
can do but do my time. I’m mad, because I’m supposed to be out I’ve learned to acknowledge myself
and I’m not, all because of some stupid test I came dirty on. But By staring at my walls
I’m getting out this Thursday, hopefully not coming back in a long I’m more sincere and strong
time. So I’ll walk in my new world
I’m happy, though, I have a roommate. I love her. She knows There’s a lot of struggle
everything, so I know I can talk to her with trust. So it’s not that But I’m never gonna fall
bad in here, and with my roommate, I know days are going to pass You suckas wanna bring me down
by fast. But I’ll stand tall
-Isabel I’ll do for my family
From The Beat: Why don’t you plan on never coming back? You know you And I’ll do for my girl
can’t use drugs. It’s good you have a roommate you trust and have fun
with, but stay out of juvy. Can you two be friends on the outs, too? The judge don’t believe me
So it’s a big freaking swirl
They got me by the almonds
Just like some damn squirrels
School I’m done with this twirl
Honestly, I like school. I love to learn, but the people at school I’m sick and tired
start drama, and it makes it hard for me to want to go to school. So, next Monday, come back
I think school is important. Some people might say, “Oh, ‘Cause Listo still be here.
school doesn’t teach us stuff we need to know in real life,” but I -Listo
From The Beat: If you’ve proven yourself to yourself, then being in juvy
disagree. I mean, it might not have everything, but it has a lot to really has helped you. Taking care of your family and lady is a big job. Do
learn from. you have any plans just for you, your future, first?
If you’re like me and want to learn to be a medical assistant,
join the Air Force and study about ancient Greek gods, and all
those things you need to know--science, math, and history. No
matter what you study in life, you are going to either use math, I Keep Coming Back To Juvy
science, English, history, languages, and I could go on. You need Juvenile hall has changed me by hating it, and not wanting to come
to know at least one of those things, whether you want to be a back, but I do come back. But I know every time I’m in here, all I
doctor, scientist, engineer, be in the Air Force, a cook, and so on. can think about is getting out and staying out of this place that
If you want to study something that your school doesn’t teach, sucks and does do nothing. But all I do is waste my time and days
there are places like the College of Marin, Santa Rosa JC, and many in here.
other places, so don’t give yourself an excuse, because there will -Isabel
From The Beat: What is your life like on the outs? Do you go to school?
always be at least one opportunity for you to learn what you want Have friends? A job? Play basketball? Swim? Construct collages? Baby-sit
to become, so go find that one place and learn! little ones? Teach them to read? Why waste time anywhere?
From The Beat: Great advice! Where are you in school on the outs? Medical
assistants have to learn all the basics of medicine doctors know. This
summer can you work as a hospital volunteer? See if you like it?
When I Show Up
When I show up, ya’ goin’ blow up
Breakin’ rules and breakin’ you
Just doin’ what I wanna do
I’m the new version; y’all better upgrade
But can’t no one be like me, ‘cause I’m custom made
Never play me or mistake me
‘Cause you don’t know me; I can be crazy
Don’t mess with suckas that got two faces
‘Cause they a waste of flesh, a bunch of disgraces
You lie to fit in
But, on the real, you ain’t no better than them
You try to act hard, but the softness comes out
When its time for the funk, you’ the first to dip out
I ain’t never been no square, so get it right
And if you don’t, you might just mess around and cause a fight
I’m causin’ so much ruckus
And, on the real, you can’t see us, ‘cause we all about
-Fino and Chubs
From The Beat: Who is this poem written to, who fronts all s/he’s about?
The poem has many insights into his/her personality. You two, who write
as one, may be on the Eve of Destruction, but for now we can see you in
stan d o u t s
sta Hawaii o u t s
Not Havin’ It Incarcerated
Has "the hall" helped me? I struggle day after day
Probably not Wondering when I'll be on my way
I'm still gonna be a 'G' I smile on the outside
On the block Cry on the inside
Posted up running my I feel there's no reason to try
Game See this is my first time
In or out Getting locked up for a stupid crime
It's all the same All status offenses got me captured behind these walls
All I've learned is No contact to the outs
Not to get caught Only in letters and calls
Keep my cool There's no one but me to pick
When it gets hot Me up when I fall
Forget the cops I'm struggling to stay on my feet
Forget the hall And can't wait until I'm released
You know what -Lana
Forget it all! From The Beat: You say no one is there to pick you up, but have you
learned to trust yourself in these alone times and pick yourself up? We
-Kaneohe believe in you.
From The Beat: You say you only learned to not get caught, but can that
be really foolproof? What happens if you do get caught and come back?
We hope that you can look further and find ways to stay away from all
Turning Violence Around
My first memory of violence I remember was when my step dad
No contact to the outs
and my mom were fighting about something then he punched her
in the face, making a two inch gash on her upper lip to her nose.
To me, I was the victim but it still hurt me to see my mom get
Only in letters and calls
beaten up and to see all the blood. That's why I promise to myself
to never hit my wife or girlfriend or any girl like that ever.
From The Beat: That is terrible for anyone to witness or be a part, we
are sorry to hear that. Good for you for taking the higher ground and
deciding to stop the violence in your life!
Juvie Helped Me With School
The only thing the hall helped me with was school, everything else
came natural to me. So being locked up is bad but it can be good,
one, two, three's
it’s all on how you make of it. The one thing it has also done for
A B C's
me is it help me with my anger problem. They showed me how to
bottle up my anger and let it out in a good way.
It might sound a little off but it's possible because I tried it
and it work but the downfall from being here is your mentality goes
up when you get out, you think your cool and you think you're a
bad ass and that's what lands you back in here back to where you
started, on that same cycle, on the other hand I lead by faith not by
From The Beat: Well having seen or learned that there is a cycle to getting First through sixth that's just the start
out of juvie, we hope you break it this time. Don't come back. You sounds Drugs
like you have mulled this over and can change it this time around.v
Stayin’ up late
That's the best of
Early Violence At Home Seventh and eight
nine, ten, eleven, twelve
First memory of violence when I was a little kid. I witnessed
violence, it was at home I didn't know what to do to stop it. It still four years of pure hell
affects me because I didn't help my Mom from getting beat up from Cliques
my Dad. It was hard for me to witness someone I love being the Chicks
All I remember is seeing my Mom face all scarred up and Pricks
helpless. If I see that happen to someone I love again I'm going to A (+) sign on a pregnancy stick
look for that person and beat him up so he knows how his victim School is complicated
feels. School is hard, go to school
-Keane Or be a retard
From The Beat: We do understand your anger at your Dad hurting your -Kaneohe Bangah
Mom and we are sorry to hear about it, but please ponder how the cycle From The Beat: Sounds like school is much more than a simple textbook
of violence can keep continuing and continuing if you turn that past hurt education for you. Besides all the outside influences, did you like school
into more violence, whether it be justified or not. or learn from your classes? What would like to still learn?
d o uts
sta n Santa u t s
sta n d oCruz County
Being Locked Up Labor
Being locked up isn’t so fun - sitting in my room thinking about As I wash my hands at the employee sink, the next step of the
the things that I used to do out there. Man how I loved to kick routine is putting my bun in a hair net. I feel my shoes are worn
back with my boyfriend and my mom, just watching TV or going on out in the spots where I can touch any detail on the ground.
missions. We used to have so much fun. But I’m in here because It’s just past the fifth hour of work, and the madness is dying
of the things I was doing. down. I feel a pain in my back but I shouldn’t complain, the
Being in here has changed my life. I want to do good and prove definition of this is LABOR.
everyone wrong. I want to do good but it’s hard because I’m used The women I work with are mothers, the women I work with
to doing bad. are lovers, the women I work with are my companions, the women
Well, when I get out I’m going to try really hard to change the I work with could climb canyons.
life I lead and show my mom that I really do care about her and love I have a labor scar from the oven, but these women suffer life-
her. long conditions. I admire their hard efforts to serve strangers, to
I really do love you mom and I’m going to change for you, and grow and learn another language. To some they are just hands of
for me. labor, to me they are beautiful neighbors.
-Maria So next time you get served, appreciate the taste of overtime
From The Beat: You’re right, Maria, it is hard to change your life. But your hard labor.
honesty gives us hope that you can do it.
From The Beat: This poem is beautiful, just like the women you described.
Thank you for reminding us that we should always appreciate the labor
In The Cell
Sitting in the cell
Bored as hell,
But only time could tell, Decisions
When I can bail. There is a decision that I am worried about. I’ve been smoking pot
I’m never comin’ back for the last three years. Now that I’m in the Hall I realize that those
To a cold room and hacky sack were the three years that I had the most problems in my life. I said
Because that stuff is whack. that when I get out that I would stop smoking, but now I wonder,
-Waiting what am I going to do? I don’t remember doing anything other
From The Beat: We’re glad to hear that you want to stay out of the hall. than smoking pot with my friends everyday after work or school.
What decisions will you make to keep yourself out? Tell us your plans in
So what else can I do if that is the only thing I remember doing?
The thing that I would like to do is have fun with my friends
without having to use drugs or getting in some kind of trouble.
Because in my town it seems that using drugs or getting in trouble
School is the only way to have fun. In my free time I like to practice mixed
I have had many influential teachers and older role models. The martial arts and that is something I really enjoy doing. When I do
most positive and influential teacher I’ve had is Mr. K. He’s an old that I don’t remember about anyone or anything.
history teacher and helps out by substituting in Santa Barbara. He -Ulises
From The Beat: We’re glad you’ve realized you don’t need to smoke to
has helped me out a lot, and for that I am thankful. have fun. It’s tough when all your friends are using drugs, but making
-Thankful good decisions will help you to stay free. Maybe you could teach your
From The Beat: Are you still in touch with him? If not, why not give it a friends a few of your martial arts moves.
Staff Has Helped Me
Freedom The hall has not helped me. It’s the staff that has helped me,
I work at the Boys & Girls club down town, so when I get back into because when I get mad I feel like getting into fights with the other
town I will influence the kids there in good ways by letting them inmates, but the staff helps me to calm down. They talk with me
know that crime will never get them anywhere in life. I will tell and then I don’t get into a fight. That’s why I respect the staff here
them that that freedom is a big responsibility. I’m going to wait at the hall. And they help me not get put in my room by talking
until a kid provokes a fight, or talks about gangs, and then be a with me. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t help, but
voice of guidance to them. they try to help me.
From The Beat: Good plan, Trevor. But maybe you don’t need to wait for From The Beat: Hey D, it’s good of you to acknowledge and be grateful
the kids to fight. You could talk with them about your experiences before for the help of the staff. Show them your piece when it comes out. It will
those things happen. make them feel good.
My Heart Burns The Cricket
My heart burns for you like no other, I went to the supermarket riding on my bicycle, and I got bit by a
You’re my only love as well as my daughter. cricket on my forehead. He left lots of poison and I was suffering.
I love you, baby girl. I was really mad, so I killed it with my shoes. Then I wiped them
I will give you all I have to offer. with a tissue.
I promise, baby girl, I will be a good father… -Anonymous
-Christian From The Beat: Hmmm…. you’re the first person in the world ever bitten
From The Beat: Thank you for such a touching poem. by a cricket. We’re calling the media. You’ll become famous.
sta Countyo u t s
sta n d o u t s
Lets' End This
hollow points flying through the air.
dead bodies dropping everywhere.
I have never made “the right” decision. Nor have I ever been
Bangers, the community is not aware.
allowed to make what I felt was “the right” decision for me.
Bangers, the cops don’t even care.
I’ve been the court’s puppet with a variety of authorities as
Bangers, gangs only inflict scare.
my puppet master. Imagine my decisions as either allowing them
Bangers, can’t you see I am aware?
to play out my life for me or cutting my strings and watching me
Bangers, and that I truly care?
crumple to a lifeless heap.
Bangers, I wish someone would dare,
So in the long run, the decision isn’t yours to make. There is
Bangers, to put an end to this stuff.
no happy medium. It’s almost as if you have to decide on what the
authorities want or you’re instantly making the wrong choice and
From The Beat: Thank you for your poem. We’re glad you are aware and facing the punishment for it. I think it’s time to work together and
that you care about your community. And that you care about the kids meet in the middle.
who haven’t yet figured out what you’ve learned.
I’m not saying that what I was doing was right. What I’m
saying is that I do know what’s best for me and people need to give
me a chance to prove it.
Also, an outsider can’t come in and act as if they understand
Has The Hall Helped Me? the situation.
Yes, the hall has helped me grow up to be who I am today. If I’d From The Beat: We hear your frustration, and even though we’re listening
never come to the hall when I was little I would not be the man I closely, we don’t know enough about your situation to offer hard advice.
Do your best to listen carefully to the ‘authorities’ and when you respond
have grown to be today. to what they say, do so with respect. Among reasonable people, there is
I’m turning 18 next week and I won’t come back here again. room for honest disagreement.
I don’t plan on going to jail, either. Thank you to the system for
helping me grow up fast.
And thank you to The Beat Within for helping my time locked
down as a teen not seem so bad, and also for helping me put my When I’m Free
feelings on paper. Please wake me when I’m free.
To everybody locked down, keep your head up, and cherish I’m in my cell, feeling lonely.
your freedom when you get it back, ‘cause anything can happen. My mind’s lost at sea
Much love. reminiscing about my homie –
-Lucas living life up in a struggle.
From The Beat: We wish you well, Lucas, and we’re glad to have provided
you with a means to share your voice.
“Stay strong”, is what he told me.
Now I’m drifting on a memory.
Man, I love how that dream stole me.
So please wake me when I’m free,
Decisions but for now I want to dream.
The Beat: Jesse, you’ve got a stitch on your face and a bandage on -A
From The Beat: OK, we’re waking you. This is “life”, tapping you on the
your arm. What happened? shoulder. You’ve got work to do. Get at it, pal.
Jesse: I got stabbed in the arm and sliced on my face. And had
a knife thrown at the back of my head.
The Beat: Did they catch the person who stabbed you?
Jesse: No. First Memory Of Violence
The Beat: Do you know him? My first memory of violence is when I was eight years old. I heard
Jesse: No. loud noises outside my house. Then two guys jumped out of a car
The Beat: What have you learned from this terrible experience? and shot my neighbor four times. He died.
Jesse: I’ve learned that I have to make better decisions in the It kinda shook me up. I saw all this through my window. I
future. learned you can be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Beat: Did your behavior contribute to what happened? -Anonymous
Jesse: No. He tried to rob me. He told me to pull my money From The Beat: That was a horrible thing to see. We’re sorry you were
exposed to it – at any age.
out of my pockets.
The Beat: Some people would be thinking about revenge, but
revenge just brings problems. What are your thoughts, honestly?
Jesse: My negative thoughts were to retaliate. My positive My Baby
thoughts were that what happened to me was a wake up call to When I had you I was only a young teen. But never once did I think
change my behavior. that my love for you was wrong. I loved you mija since the day I
The Beat: So how will you go about changing your behavior? knew I was pregnant. I already knew what I would name you. I can
Jesse: I’ll go back to school. Complete high school, get a see your little eyes, and your little hand grabbing my finger. I thank
diploma and then get a job. I’m interested in becoming a mechanic you for taking that finger. I’m so glad that I had you. If there’s
or working in a group home. I know how to talk with the kids anything to say, it’s “Baby, I love you”.
because I’ve been there, been one of them. -Maria
-Jesse From The Beat: Very lovely, Maria. So… you can’t be with your baby while
From The Beat: Jesse, thank you for having this conversation with us. you’re in the hall, as you’ve sadly discovered. And to stay out of the hall,
You made the right decision when you followed your positive thoughts. you’ll need to change your behavior. When temptation calls, remember
Finishing high school and getting a job are great goals. Keep focused. that little hand reaching for yours.
d o uts
sta n d o u t s
sta nLos Angeles County
My Saturday morning consists of wakin’ up at 12:00 noon and
...I just wanted to
starting to cook egg and bacon sandwich, French toast, pancakes
and other stuff for my baby sister. I start to clean up the house and control the remote.
make sure it looks good.
Then I go on to me lookin’ for something to do for the day.
Then when I find it I get my iPod and put it on full blast so that Hate the System
everybody can hear playing DH Quick, 2Pac, Too Short, Keisha Damn life is hard. Well not life, but no lie the system is a damn
Cole, Trina, NWA, Sugerfree, and some new stuff. game that never ends. Screw the system. Screw the system is in
After I hop out the shower, do my makeup, and hair then I my head ‘cause since ’08 the system tries to find different ways,
go to my clothes. Pick my clothes out and then double check placement, camp, Kirby, different ways to keep me lost in here
myself make sure I look fresh an then I’m out. That’s my Saturday without hope, without a release date. I try my best. I’m ready, but
morning. the judge doesn’t want to give me a chance. Finding and bringing
-Big Sister up old stuff just to say “9 months camp.”
From The Beat: We really like your details in this piece. Is this routine I can’t go, I won’t go. Going is like extending my time. But
different on other days or do you do everything the same way? Do you what time? All they want to do is keep me in here ‘till I explode,
always take care of your little sister? What is her favorite thing that you
make her for breakfast? and let out a load. Next thin you know they’ll say YA just like that.
Screw the system. Screw the system. All they’re doing is
making me go insane till the day I go update. Screw the system,
screw the system. I can; and I don’t let it get the best of me.
From The Beat: We really feel your anger in this piece and we are glad that
On my Saturday Morning I used to get up early in the morning you are able to express your frustrations on the paper. How can you make
to watch my favorite cartoon Yu-Gi-Oh and Batman Beyond. Then the negatives of the system into a positive? Are there things that you are
right after that I’d get a bowl of Honey Comb and take the box doing or thinking about now that you weren’t on the outs?
with me and watch the re-run of the Lakers game the night before
because I had to go to bed early on Fridays. Well early to a 15 year
My brother and sister would get mad at who would get the Problems
remote. My sister used to want to watch Barney or whatever and This is my final breath
my big brother wanted to watch the same thing, but just wanted to All my problems and my pain
watch the same thing, but I just wanted to control the remote. Will be gone in a minute, thanks to meth.
-Fernando -Drug Addict
From The Beat: What did you like most about Saturday morning? Was From The Beat: What is it about meth that makes all your problems go
it spending time with your brother and sister, having a relaxing time away? Does it solve your problems completely or do they always come
watching your cartoons? back?
I Tossed It Luck
I remember one day I was in my hood just high and bored by myself. I was supposed to go with my homies and kick it at my friends pad
So I decide to go to the homie’s house, also in the hood, and just to and when I was walking down I seen my girl and she talked to me
mention I had a gun on me. The homie comes out and kicks it with for a couple of minutes. I was only around the corner when I heard
me and we just walking up and down the hood just patrolling the the gun shots. Me and my girl ran to my friends house and I found
hood and as soon as we hit one corner to go into a little alley we out two of my friends had gotten shot.
see a cop car. So I just start running ‘cause I have a gun, so I run I was only five minutes behind and if it wasn’t for my girl
into an alley, and I just throw the gun. talking to me I could have gotten shot. (I think I was by God
-S because my girl wasn’t supposed to be around that day but the bus
From The Beat: Then what happened? And, why did you have a gun on never came so she was going to my house.)
you? Why are you risking your life with packing?
From The Beat: Did you believe in God before this happened? Why or why
not? Did you feel like God was always watching over you?
Well before, when I was still a baby, I used to love Saturdays. I
used to way up late and have breakfast. It will barely be cereal, but Music
it was mostly tamales and whatever my mom felt like making. My Something no one knows about me is that I can sing really good.
favorite cartoons were The Adventure of Billy and Mandy and The The only people that know are if you check me, but other than that
Grim Reaper. no one knows.
But now when I’m at home my Saturday mornings are My inspirations are Jasmine Sullivan, Keri Hilson, Kelly Price,
different. Yeah I still wake up late, but now I wake up smoking, eat, India Ire, Keisha Cole, Monica, and Flowitry. These people might
get my clothes, go to the bathroom, start the shower and smoke sing about the same situations but they all have different voices.
while showering. My Saturday morning is the best because no lie, And I look at them to see how I can hit different notes. Because
the first smoke out of the day is the best. Saturday mornings are that’s how much I really love music. I hope to one day fill this
always the best. dream because it really is a big part of who I am.
from The Beat: Do you miss the Saturday mornings you used to have when From The Beat: What do you like most about singing? What is it about
you were a little kid? If not, why? music that speaks to you?
sta n d o u t s
sta nCounty u t s
What’s your opposite? This World
My opposite my left to his right When we are born we know nothing,
I’m the salt to his breakfast and he’s my pepper we are influenced from the start
He’s the brown to my white by parents first
He does things I don’t think are right then by school friends
I do things he loves or likes people on the street.
I hate his ways And by TV
I long to love those days where he’s here to stay we are told to go to school
And stop those troubled ways but for what? T
Putting yourself out there like you got nothing to lose, stop To be taught the same thing as all the kids in America?
acting like a fool. To get a job?
Vee your my better half that’s why I want this to last, you’re get money, but what is money?
always on my ass. for it`s just a way for the government to control us
That’s what he always says to me when I’m about to leave he it means nothing to them
start to plead out to me. but it’s everything to us.
Oh what he does to me I just can’t leave because I do believe The workforce slaves away for them and they make us buy
we were meant to be. everything
He’s my opposite, I’ve never met somebody who completes we produce... No one knows what life is about
me in such a perfect puzzle piece. they drove that out of our minds
-Christy and made us bunch of ignorant and easily manipulated
From The Beat: We like this poem, an ode to the man you love. Your people....
visuals on how you are opposites are really great. Nicely done!
Free the world!
From The Beat: Yes, we are influenced by our families, friends and TV, that
is why education is so important, so we can formulate our own opinions
Whats Your Opposite? and not remain the ignorant and easily manipulated individuals you write
on. Life is all about learning, start by picking up a book! We encourage
My opposite would be my brother you to keep writing and asking those hard questions.
He ain`t just any brother. He`s my twin brother.
I love him with a passion.
My love for him is real unconditional and everlasting,
he is my right hand.
I know right now we both are in a dark deep hole,
stuck in the halls for battery, criminal threats and assault.
Check this out though, the system got us caught up in some
when really we were just horseplaying,
that’s what brothers and sisters do.
Mi hermanito is one smart cat,
he ain’t just street smart he`s also book smart.
Yeah they may have us living life behind the walls, but its all
I`ll always feel him in my heart.
I can hear him day in day out.
The system won’t play us through.
I love you hermanito.
From The Beat: We sense the love for your brother, but do not be surprised
if you do get played by the system. The system is no joke! You have
to stay focused, do your program, and trust that in the end you will be
released and the truth will come out. Upon your release, what is your
I Was Happy
When I was on the run I was happy ,
happy to be back in my man`s arms.
Happy to be back in my mother’s presence.
It was the best,
after being in and out.
It just felt good to be at home with her.
The only thing was when I went out I would have to run from
I got caught by gang injunction.
-Gang Injunction No Joke
From The Beat: Yeah, it is no joke. If you are ordered stay aways and you
break them, well, trouble will follow. We hope things get easier
sta n d o u t s
sta n d Solano County
The Bull Stranded
What's happenin' Beat, you know these story fairy tellin’ ass fools Once upon a time, I woke up in the morning to my partner callin'
be in the max cattin' out, talkin' bout how many hammas they got, me, when I was in a group home in Oakland. He was tellin' me: "Ay
had and gonna get, and on top of all that, these nerds say they got bruh let's get to Fort Brag, it's beezies out there."
stacks and racks and cheese talkin' bout they sell cream, talkin' Then I was like, "You expect me to dip?"
bout they move mean. Half these fools be sayin' they be rockin' Then he was like, "Yeah, we gonna live in a beach house, we
and mobbin'. gonna have hell dojah, and when we run out of money we gonna
Maybe half of them do what they speak, the other half be fakin’ sell weed and pills."
to make it. Keep it solid that's the realest thing a person can do. So I thought about it, and it sounded hella coo’." So I said,
Hello, free all my real peeps! "Hell yeah I'll be there in two days."
-Chinese Ant So I packed my bags and called for a ride back to Vallejo, then
From The Beat: Such is life, there is always going to be people who put I caught the bus to Napa, and when I got there, he said, “we gotta
more on the story than is necessary. We bet you have learned how to work
with these story telling individuals, and simply laugh it off, as you stay wait for two weeks,” so I did.
focus on your program. I went to parties, popped quad stack smacks, and did some
thangz wit' model chicks (just kidding). Then when it was time for
us to get there he was making hella excuses, so to make a long
Lyin' story short, I got hella mad and dipped.
Then when I called some people who were close to me to pick
(Dedicated to Jon and Scott)
me up, they start cattin', and basically I was stranded in another
A lot of these people in here by lyin'.
city by myself with no one to help me. And if that ain't pain tell me
They always lyin' about what they got or what they be doin'
what is...Outie five
on the outs. Some of these people be just speakin' out they
grill. From The Beat: Thanks for sharing your stranded story. We need to ask,
I tell them straight like this, stop fakin' you ain't got to lie to how did you get home? What happened to this friend of yours? Still
To all you liars out there and in here, stop wastin' your lies,
keep it one hundred.
From The Beat: You will be better off when you can let go of not worrying School Wise
about whose lying, or why they are lying. Remain true to yourself, do your I think the hall helped me school wise. I caught up, got all my
program, and move on with your life. credits, and learned a lot of stuff that I never knew. I think the hall
helped me to be a better person, and to be smarter. I also learned
while in the hall that I am a patient person. And since I been in
All Bad the hall I think more positive. The only thing about being in here
is that the staff talk down on you and they don’t wont to see you
What's up Beat, still in max.
The first time I ever got in a fight with my brother I almost
beat him up. One day I was outside at front of my house, me and From The Beat: Do you really think the staff does not want you to succeed?
him started drinking on the side of my car and my friend was there If anything, that should be an inspiration to you, to show these system
people, yes you can do it! We’re pulling for you Kidd!
too. Then my brother started talkin' shhh! Then I started talkin'
shhh. Then he kicked me in the balls, when I was leaning against
his car, and dented his car, then I ran in the house and grabbed a
fire poker by the fireplace and ran outside and hit him with a fire
poker. Then my friend knocked the fire poker out of my hand. Then
It Is What It Is
What's poppin Beat? I ain't feelin’ the topics so I'll go off subject:
he started beating my butt, and I hit him a couple of times. But at
It's not often youngsters get a chance to enjoy riches and
the same time, it hurt me inside because he is my brother. We did
legitimate fashions, so many of us say screw it, get a bucket, run
that because I was drunk. That's all Beat Within, peace.
up in somethin’ and keep smashin'.
From The Beat: Excessive drinking is all-bad. Can you imagine how many It's all about survival, but jealous rivals make it hard for us
relationship have been destroyed thanks to alcohol? We appreciate your to do this, so many of us gun, but when we was young, the only
piece, and do hope you and your brother are in a better place.
weapon was our two firsts.
Now who missed the first lesson of life? Don't be no punk if
you a man have heart, be a savage, whether you sober or drunk.
A Rough Night I seen a bruh get his ass dug out for some hop and a pack of
What's up Beat. I'm gonna talk about why I'm in here. The reason Camels, but that’s the game, and every move you make is a gamble.
I'm in here is because I stole a car and was driving around late at Them squares don't understand, so it takes real youngstas, like
night in it, and then the cops tried to pull me over. I decided not to me to explain. I show vengeance, violence and hurt, because I see
stop. I took them on a high speed chase. I got away one time, then so much pain. I aint no sucka or punk so don't trip if you seen me
I went back for some more. cryin'. I'm just hella mad. My potna is dead and folks keep on dyin',
On the second time I took a turn too fast and lost control and my enemies feel the same way, they think I'm the one who put they
crashed the car. Then I took off on foot then they tackled me and potna six feet under, and left they son with no father figure.
arrested me. I live day by day not givin a shhh but when they ask me why, I
-D pause for a minute, and then I reply, life's a bitch and then you die.
From The Beat: And the lesson to this story is? We hope we know the -Jay
answer, but only you know how you will respond in moving forward. We’re From The Beat: Looking back on your life, can you pin point how your
glad that in this chase, you did not physically hurt anyone, let alone life got to this point, where it sounds to us like you really could care less
yourself, other than getting arrested. what people think.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Lied To I'm Always Keepin' It Real
What's good with you Beat! Well I want to let you know about one Hey, what's up with you, Beat. Man, I'm not gonna write too much
of my main homies that I thought was solid. I'll tell you how close 'cause I'm never in the Beat anyways. I think it's because I tell it
I was to this person! Me and Chino were damn near like brothers. how it is, instead of tellin' you all I'll change, I'll do this, and that,
I spent more time with him than I did my own lil brother. We did when I'm not. I'm just gonna do what I gotta do to eat. You feel me?
hella shhh together- got off on rivals, kicked it with hella females, I got fifteen days left till I get out. I’m eighteen years old! I've
committed the crime I did to be here right now, and he snitched been down over two and a half years, one-thousand-thirty-nine
on me. days, but it's no thang. I'll check it to the game, ya digg? I'll bounce
You want to know the exact words he told me when we were back 'cause I disappeared like Houdini. But now I did magic and
at the police station getting questioned? "That's on the hood I'm back.
I'm never gonna snitch on you." But look what happened, I been Fake people, all in tThe Beat, tellin' y’all they gonna change,
locked up for over a year and now I gonna be locked up for a few and they gonna be good when they get out. More than half is fake
plus years. Well that's about it! Stay up! straight up! Why don't y’all just keep it real? Y’all choose to be in
-Nieto this game!
From The Beat: Don’t ever forget that the criminal justice system is built To me there's only one way out, and I'm speakin’ from the
on snitches. People on all sides are talking, talking, talking to help
themselves. Your goal must be to learn from this experience, succeed in heart. I've been down two and a half years and that ain't change my
the CYA, and learn how to be a leader that can succeed in the free world. mind then I don't know what will!
For all you real ninjas out there, keep it real, keep yo' head up,
and forget these haters.
Changing My Ways A Little Bit From The Beat: We thank you for your commentary, and we are sorry you
The hall has helped me because I be going to some classes that never got to see your work in print, oh well, we hope you handle yourself
legitly in the free world, so you never have to see inside the adult system,
would help me when I get out. Now, I’m eighteen, I have to stop then again, the choice is yours! As for who is a fake and who isn’t you/we
doing the stuff I’ve been doing, because I would go to county jail will never know. Lets face it, no one wants to be locked up, and most of
us truly want to succeed.
next time I mess up. Now I have to change my ways and I have to
change the people I hang out with.
-Working towards change
From The Beat: You have no choice, unless you are comfortable in staying
connected to the criminal justice system. Harsh Pain
When you feel pain, your feelings get hurt.
I been through lots of pain before and at some points
I felt like I couldn't deal with it no more.
Easy Way Out I never really talked to nobody about it.
A lot of people break the law because it's hard to do right but so I just tried to forget about it and smoke weed
easy to do wrong. Well at least that's how a lot of people look at to get by and relieve my stress.
it. Like its easy for people to steal a TV or a car but don’t want to I felt pain when my family or friends get killed or die,
do the right thing and save up money and go buy a TV or a car. It’s get a life sentence or hella years in prison.
easier to sell drugs and rob people than to get a job. -Circle
From The Beat: What you briefly describe is a tremendous amount of pain
I have been doing wrong my whole life but now Im going to to have to deal with. We hope you have the courage to tell us more about
be strong and make sure I do the right things in life so I can be your life and the struggles you have had/ are going through. This is one
big outlet to help in the relieving the pain, writing!
a successful man. I want to be a good citizen not an inmate in
prison. It's time for me to change and follow the law.
From The Beat: Don’t you think that the price of robbing or selling drugs
makes it harder than getting money the legit way? Isn’t doing time, either My Time in The Hall
in the hall or in prison, hard? Man, I’m adjusting up in here, holding it down in this unit, as they
are talking about sending me to New Foundations. When my PO
and my attorney told me I may get sixty to ninety days in county,
I’d just have to hold it down an keep my head up high an hopefully
The Hall they will just send me to county.
What's up Beat? Well today I’m going to write about how the hall I got a lil baby girl on the outs that I need to take care of when
has helped me. I been in here for almost eight months now and It I get out, so I must get my shhh together an go to school an get a
has helped me a lot because I don’t really think about doing the job to support my lil one. I love you Analisa, don’t trip mami, daddy
stuff that I really had planned for when I get out and it brought me will be home soon an everything will be all right, ‘cause either way
and my brother together ‘cause me and him really never liked each it goes I’ll be off probation an do straight and not have to worry
other. We always fought each other but it’s all good now, me and about the police anymore ‘cause I can keep my head up an look
him are close. straight cause i’ll be a free man and be able to do what I want to do
One other thing that the hall has helped me is the skills they when I want to do it.
taught to stay focused on getting out and doing good ‘cause I really I just hope my days go by quick so I can get everything over,
don’t want to go back to the life that I lived before I came in here. with my babe mama sticking by my side to ride this out. I know it’s
But now I only got 5 months left and hopefully I use the skills that hard, but she keeping up with it. I love you Alicia. When I get out
I learned in here So I can better my self when I get out well. Beat everything would be back to how it was.
I’m out -Chuckles
-Chulo From The Beat: Tell us more about how it use to be, and how you are
From The Beat: What was it about being in the hall that brought you and going to live your life free of the system. What must you do to succeed on
your brother together? How are you going to use the skills that the Hall probation? What do you want to do for your family? Your daughter? We
gave you when you get out? want to hear your dreams and thoughts on life after the hall!
sta n d o u t s
sta n d Solano County
Dealing With Pain Taking My Chances at Great America
The pain of incarceration is sometimes too much to bare. What’s Good Beat? Me I’m doing good, just hella bored. Well I’m
I miss my life outside of here, going to talk about the first time I stole something.
my mom, and most of all my daughter. I was 8 years old. I was with my cousins and we went to Great
Although I made a choice to be here America. We stayed there almost until closing time. When it’s
by committing a crime, my crime was based on self close to closing, the work people leave their stand, and people just
betterment walk by. So we were walking by a Dots ice cream vendor, they had
for me and my family. soda and toys and things. So while we walked, my cousin told me
To know that I made a choice to be here to go get some. I was trippin’ because I thought they would catch
is what gets me down a lot. me. But I went over there and got a cup. Then I got like five sodas,
I just remind myself that I do have a release date and some toys and things.
and while I'm here I can better myself. Then we left that place and we when around the whole Great
To set goals is how I deal with the pain. America and took hella more stuff. It was fun for me because It
-Jose was exiting, I just started doing all that again when I left. But when
From The Beat: Tell us how you are bettering youself, and what goals you ever It happens it still feels weird and I do think again.
are setting for yourself upon your release. We look forward to reading/
hearing your plan! Well that all Beat, I’ll write later. Late.
From The Beat: We appreciate the story. We hope this is no longer a
problem for you, stealing things, especially now, as you are growing into
a young adult.
What’s Going On With Me
Whats good, It’s Lil Neto from max. Well today I just feel like writing
about what’s going down with me. I was facing a lot of years in
prison for something I didn’t do. I was trippin’, but now it’s good, College
I’m going home! What’s up Beat? But the topic that y’all picked today is cool. But
I got two years in the pen with good time and half time, so I’ll yeah I think that juvenile hall helped me a little bit because if I was
be out by October. I’m thankful for everything the Lord has done on the outs I wouldn't be goin’ to school and the staff here has
for me. helped me a lot because when I get out I’m going back to school so
Well to everyone doing time, be strong, be happy ,that your that I can go to college and play basketball.
getting out and not doing a lot of time. To my ninjas, stay up. Later -Shady D
From The Beat: We like that you have plans for after the hall and college.
-Lil Neto What did the staff do that helped you realize that you wanted to pursue
From The Beat: All good to read Neto. What’s your plan upon reaching
Better Person The Pain in Me
I've been through a lot of pain in my life. Some caused by myself
I would say the hall just had me mad, going to court, talking about
and some others have done to me.
that I'm not gonna go home for a long time, that I'm not gonna see
Now when I say I caused myself pain I don't mean like cut my
my family. But after being here, I've been thinking about that I've
self or none of that, I mean like I've done things like get locked up
put myself in here, in that I got know one to blame but me. So it's
and now I'm in Juvie suffering.
my fault that I'm not home with my family.
Now I can't hold my new born son, that was just born 5/8/11.
So after I get out I want to change by listening to my mom,
Man, I wish I could be there to hold him and see him smile. My
going to school and not hanging around with the wrong crowd.
son, Spade is the one who I feel the most pain for!
Being in here as made me smarter about my actions and that I
should be a better person and hopefully that this is my last time From The Beat: We can only imagine the pain/guilt you must feel for
here. And overall juvenile hall has made me a better person. not being present for your son. We look forward to hearing more from
you LooT, you have the gifts to teach many of us readers from your life
-Antonie experiences –for better or for worse, as you continue to work on yourself,
From The Beat: We like that you are taking responsibility for your actions— and grow to be that special father, that is free! Free is the goal!
it is a very mature thing to do. When you say you should be a “better
person,” what does that mean? What does a “better person” look like?
No More Messin’ Up What's up Beat I’m going to tell you a little bit about what I’ve
I’m just tryin’ to get out so I can be free. I’m going to try to stop learned while being locked up. Well the first thing I’ve learned is
messin’ up. My family needs me right now and I'm trying to do responsibility. I’ve learned to always take responsibility for your
good because wrongs so easy and it’s what I'm used to. But look own actions because if you don't your not real.
where I ended up. Another thing I’ve learned is to never lie because sooner or
But it ain't as easy as it sounds. But I’ll do my best and hope I later the truth comes out one last thing I’ve learned is to control
don't get caught up again, or just get a job and do it legit so I don't my anger because I’m in this lame program and I’m not trying to
gotta worry ‘bout the cops ‘cause it ain’t new to have to run from get kicked out so I’ve had to learn to control my anger.
the cops. -D-Boy
-Lil Chris From the Beat: Learning to control your anger is a very important thing
From The Beat: The first step to not messing up is to have a plan. What are and sometimes it takes people a very long time to learn how to do it. So
you going to do for your family and yourself? It’s not going to be easy, it’s we are very happy that you have it under control. Have you seen a change
going to be hard, but we know you can do it. in yourself since you learning this new skill?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Search for Happiness Taking on The Beat Topics
I think people break the law because they try to get around the law,
A lot of people break laws because they are not happy and want to but end up getting caught. I don’t really break the law, but I broke
be happy. Breaking the law to have fun or be happy is a vicious it couple of times, because to get something that I didn’t have or
cycle. You may be having fun while you have all that money, or peer pressure.
drugs, but it won't make you happy in the long run. My first time experiencing violence was maybe at school,
You’re either gonna get shot or go to jail or have a baby and seeing a fight or something, the memory doesn’t really affect me.
then your gonna want to change your life. I was blessed because I It’s harder seeing someone I love being the victim, and the
can see things like this before it happens and some people can't. victim for me too because I wouldn’t want to see someone I love get
From The Beat: How do you use this foresight? Do you make sure that you hurt or me get hurt.
stay out of trouble? How do you see your life after you get out of the hall? Since I’ve been in here I been thinking a lot about my family
and friends. Also since I’ve been in here I learned a lot, and learned
that I don’t belong in here because this is not a place for me, Also
since I’ve been in here, I learned that I don’t want to come back
Tired here ever again. This is not really a good place to be, but it’s not a
What’s up Beat, it’s Sniffrox here. The last time I wrote y’all you good place to be either, but it’s a good place to sit you down, if you
guys butchered my song. It’s all right, though, I’ll get over it. done something wrong. Also being in here has made me a better
So the topic I chose is upholding the law. I don’t got much to person and wiser and smarter because, when I get out of here I’ll
say about that except that I’m tired of breaking the law so here’s be more aware of good choices and stay away from the bad choices.
a piece of a song I wrote last year when I was locked up, its titled -James
“Tired”… From The Beat: We are encouraged by your desire to improve on yourself
since you have been locked up. What’s the plan to staying out of juvenile?
Its either you like me or you don’t,
you might see where I’m from or won’t,
to me it doesn’t matter I just want to go home,
so quit your bull shhh and just leave me alone,
My earliest memory of violence would be me fighting everyone
I’m sittin’ on my bed of stone,
'cause my bruh made me. I remember walking with my bruh and
I’m in the zone, reminiscin’ about the past I just want to
him telling me to go take flight if he hits you I’m going to beat
him, so I did. I used to do this all the time. It’s why I all ways fight
with my life shhh, but I can’t when I’m stuck in this crisis
people. that’s my earliest memory of violence. The way it’s affected
that my life’s in. I know life is priceless
me today is that I just like to fight people and beat them up.
but when your in my situation you just want to be lifeless
I might miss my 18th birthday for the shhh that I did From The Beat: Has fighting people ever done anything good for you?
I’ve lost all my innocence and I probably deserve it Does it ever turn out the way you want it to? If not, do you think it might
be time to figure out another way to express your anger with people?
but it still hurts shhh, wouldn’t it hurt you?
if you were in my position you’d be feelin’ it too.
So I just sit in my room prayin’ to God
I don’t wanna be alive but He says it’s my job. Six More Days
Lastly, I did miss my 18th birthday Six more days until a brother free.
-Sniffrox I only got to sit down for tha rest of the week.
From The Beat: Apologies for the butchered piece you spoke about. Our
program aims to do the best job possible as guests of the system, thogh
at times we do make typos or miss lines etc. Glad you stepped up to share I let my time fade with only six days
your song. What do you want to see happen towards improving your life?
What are you going to do upon touching down? Thinkin’ if I’m gonna give up having my sick ways.
Back to the block or stayin’ in my books.
I’m so used to bein’ a crook, I got myself hooked.
Well I think that the hall has helped me better myself. Being here I gotta get it together, give my lifestyle a new look.
has made me want change. I have goals for myself now. I want to ’Casue if I keep at it my freedom can get took.
go to college and when I get older and finish school I either want to
be a vet or a counselor. I know that I am capable of doing whatever Get a job or sell drugs, be a man or be a thug.
I set my mind to as long as I try my best at it. Would you catch me at college or catch me at the club?
I used to hate being sober because I couldn't accept myself
who I really was so I would drink or smoke to get out of myself. What m gonna do when I get out? I don’t even know.
Now sobriety is a great thing to me. Others don't understand where But I’m still thinkin’ ‘bout it with these six days to go.
I’m coming from but that doesn't matter as long as I understand.
I’m ready to get out and accept the challenges life throws at I’m not gonna be here to read my piece.
me. Thanks to staff here, my family, and myself, I am more able to ’Cause I’m gone be free, yeha, fresh off the leash.
think for myself now. Let's just say I'm more independent. If I fall
down I'll get right back up. Only a week left then ya boy get released.
-Sabrina Back on the street, back bein’ a beast.
From The Beat: We love this! And we are so happy that you have discovered -Young Gut
that all the strength you need is in yourself and comes from the support From The Beat: We are happy to hear that you are heading out of the hall
of those who love you. But The Beat is curious why weren’t you able to Young Gut. Your piece is clear about how excited you are to get out, but
accept yourself? what happens after that? What are you going to do with your freedom?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d Solano County
Bunch of Bull Judge’s Mercy
What's up Beat? One day somebody had a fight and one of them got Fake way it has, but mostly the judge. When he looked at me and
beat-up, and after the fight the person who lost was bragging about said you got lucky this time cause of your back. But if you come
it saying that he won the fight. But the person who told me the back for any given reason whether you get into a fight or anything.
story, who was the fighter, was lyin about everything. I’m going to send you to DJJ (CYA) and you will be doing your max
-B confinement. So you better take this as your last chance. I'll be
From The Beat: We suppose it depends on who you’re talking to, and monitoring your case so be on your toes. I
though he looked like he lost the fight, he must of felt he was the winner?
I’ve been in here for nine months and I have one and a half
more months. It’s a short time and I'm ready to go home. I'm
thankful that I got a deal on these charges. But you know what
Juvenile Hall Has Helped Me really changed me is loosing everything I had except my family. I
I've learned a lot from being here and I take my education more lost my money, my girl, my pride, and dignity. I'm ashamed to have
seriously. And I've been free of marijuana for a month in a half. I my moms fears on a page and to have my brother wondering when
feel that I'm a better person not because I'm in here but because I I'm coming home. My sister was born in April and now I'm going to
feel that I'm a better person, and more natural. But yeah Juvenile get out so I can be there for her.
Hall has helped me out a lot and I'm grateful for it. Can't wait to -Que B.
From The Beat: It sounds like the judge was looking out for your best
get out and see my mom, and show her that I'm a changed man. interests. Have you learned anything in your time in the hall? You said you
-Kumonee lost your dignity—do you think you can get it back?
From The Beat: We hear a lot about “changed men,” do you think you will
be able to keep up with your education and staying clean on the outs? We
know you can if you put your mind to it.
Hard Law to Follow
I think that its hard to uphold the law because some people don't
Unity like being in a lower authority or having somebody trying to run
I’m hungry for dough their life and give authority to them.
I gotta get more Well, there’s many different reasons it’s hard to follow the law.
By any means necessary One, some people don't even know all the laws. Two, people don't
Violence is an absolute necessity want to follow the law, and three, people think the law is nonsense,
On the block fighting with my community and see it as if its there for no reason. I think it’s hard to follow the
Me and violence is in perfect unity law because I don't like people controlling my life, and telling me
Every where I go what I can and cant do.
Family or a foe But besides me, I think people break the law to get something
Violence is a major part of what I know out of crimes, or they like the feeling of doing crimes, and running
-Kc their own life, meaning breaking the law. Well, my opinion on the
From The Beat: How has the violence you’ve known shaped you as a
person? law, and break it is different that many others peoples opinions,
and therefore, I have no more input on this topic.
From The Beat: Why do you think the law is nonsense? Do you think the
To The Beat law protects you or your family? Is there anything that laws are good for?
Would you be interested in learning more about laws?
My earliest memory was when my older brother was killed in my
arms. He was shot 2 times in the head. That is the same day I had
an overdose. I had a major heart attack. And I was 10 years old at
that time. A few days later my best friend Chalie was posted with Has the Hall Helped Me?
some other homies, and some boy's crept up and opened fire. My Its funny how the police can lock you down so much that you can
god brother and my homie was shot. My homie Chalie was killed. get used to it. But its funnier when they don't notice how many
-Cyco times gonna come when it’s like they try and threaten you with “I’ll
From the Beat: We are very sorry to hear about this experience. When you lock you up,” “I’m gonna get you locked down,” and what I would
look back on these traumatic times, what do you think about them? Can
you learn anything from them? say is “so.” I don't think they notice that every time they lock you
up you get out smarter, stronger, wiser, or sometimes careless.
What I learned about myself in here though is how smart I am
and what I’m capable of. I want to change, but all I do is say that
Lied To and do the same thing. I could that I want to change but my actions
I hate liars. I feel that people that habitually lie should be put in don't follow what I’m sayin’ sometimes.
jail for life. There are about a thousand stories I could tell about Well recently every time I try and sleep I can't because of all
people that lied to me. So since I can't remember every story, so the things I've done. All the violence I caused and took part in.
I'm only going to tell you the most recent one. Something’s I done it's like it haunts me in my sleep. I sweat,
Well there’s this nerd, that continually lies about what he does toss, turn, and then wake up and struggle to go back to sleep.
on the streets. He tells people he has all these guns and how he Sometimes I say I regret what I've done, but I feel like I'm lying
has so many cars on fours and sixes. When people tell me what he to myself and when I get out I do the same thing. It’s habit and I
tells them, I be like what the? That fool is a nerd. Like why do you wonder if I’m an addict.
need to lie? I personally don't understand, so I can't easily speak -Miguel
From The Beat: Why do you think it’s so hard for you to change? If you
on it. That's the end of the story. feel like you regret what you’ve done, then you do—you’re not lying to
-Young Slim yourself. It’s hard to make a change deep down inside, it doesn’t just
From The Beat: Only the liar knows. happen over night.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
Peer Pressure Forget the Law
I think one of the biggest reasons why people break the law is It's hard to uphold the law for me because, I don't like the laws at
because of peer pressure. No matter what I think it always come all even if they’re provided to keep people safe, "I don’t care about
down to peer pressure. Whether it be kids in your neighborhood, none of that." If I’m going to be doing something I need to get
friends, your homies in a gang, and for many people your family or done. It's some times hard to do. It ‘cause there’s always a threat
even parents pressure you into joining a gang or introduce you to of being arrested, but if there wasn’t a law for the stuff I do against
drugs even show you how to sell them. it I would just be another person running errands, in the street.
Another reason why so many people break the law is because But since it is against the law I’m particularly a criminal of
I think a lot more of the newer generation of Americans are having what I do. But some other thing's about it is if people get in my
less and less respect and regard for the law. I think that is probably way. I will run them over...no question about that. Some people
because of the many want to be gangsters, gang members, drug though I'll respect, it depends who. I have no respect if they don't
dealers, dope fiends, and kids with crack heads and dope fiends for give it.
parents and family members. To my baby girl Mallory, love you girl! But my feelings toward the world is forget it all, all people die,
-Gabriel I'll die to and me I believe in paradise when I go. The most perfect
From The Beat: This is very insightful of you, Gabriel. Is there any way to spot in my mind words and imagination can think it up. I'll meet
change this? Is there any way to keep kids from feeling pressured to break
the law? Where does a young person turn when their parents are the ones all my family there as well.
telling them to gangbang? -Mickey
From The Beat: It’s an interesting point you make that if there weren’t
laws the things you do are just “errands.” Of course we will all die, but
why are you thinking about that now? You should think about the many,
My Earliest Memory of Violence many years you have ahead of you to spend with your family.
My earliest memory of violence I was about eleven or twelve. I
always hung out with older kids. We were hanging out a park and
some people my friends didn't like were walking past. They were
in a different gang. One of my friends started fighting two of them.
Doing Your Thing
There are many people that don’t follow the law! It’s hard for some
My other friends fought the other three guys. Eventually they were
people to uphold the law because some people were grown up in a
all jumping the "enemies."
family that broke the law their whole lives and it has developed a
And ever since that day other kids looked at us differently
lifestyle, the way you live.
with more respect. Even though I just watched, I still got props.
So I was thinking how much more powerful I would look and feel It becomes something you do everyday that you may not even
if I was the one beating up the other gang. So I started doing it realize you are doing because when it turns into a lifestyle, it’s a
and by sixteen I was holding guns and running around looking for habit that you do every single day of your life. Like smoking weed.
trouble. And to this day I got deep in the gang life. Its a lifestyle that develops and it starts getting to just be one of
And now I’m in jail for my first time with a pregnant girlfriend. your daily routines.
And I’m sixteen. When I get out I plan to slow down. And get It makes it hard to follow the law when you’re young also
money the legal way. Stay out of jail and stay alive for my unborn because most kids want to live life, and just do their thing. Stay
child. And really avoid my other gang banging friends. Or else I’ll solid.
keep getting in trouble. -PJ Funny Bunny
-Dominic From The Beat: Is there a way to live life and “do your thing” while not
From The Beat: We like that you are ready to “slow down” and take care of breaking the law when you’re young? Do you think a young person who
your family. Why do you think you wanted people to fear and respect you? comes from a family that breaks the law can every break the cycle?
Are there other ways to gain respect?
Room Time Anatomy is the study of the body. Think about what's inside of
Well to say the truth I really don't think that the Hall has changed you. Your heart; organs; brain; bones and skin. Each of those
me in anyway. They really don't help us change in here. But it things got a function. The heart keeps you alive by pumping blood
really makes you think about stuff while in your room. Also you throughout the body. The brain thinks for you. It's supposed to
miss your family & friends a lot that all I got to say! One love. decide right from wrong. It also gives you emotions like happy,
-Mickey sad, mad, love, and many more.
From The Beat: What stuff did you think about in your room? Did you Everybody so different emotions and think different. When
figure anything out about yourself?
you watch the news and someone has just committed a crime like
murder or something the people that are watching are thinking or
saying like this why do people think like that? But nobody knows
The Graduate because we all see things in a different way.
The Hall helped me finish my High School education and get a Upholding the law is harder for some people cause they’re
diploma. If I was out in the real world I wouldn’t be focused I would so used to living there life style that’s its hard to change. Some
be out doing my own thing, on my hype, but now I’m closer to people think that it’s ok to do what they do because they think that
becoming what I want to be in life, so I’m glad I got this chance to they’re not hurting or nothing wrong with it. But for me I think
accomplish this first goal, because your average seventeen year smoking weed is bad, but I like to do it because it calms me down
old Black African American male doesn’t finish high school, or if and makes things more fun, but it does hurt the body well that's
they do, its a very low percentage. all Beat late.
-Chinese Ant -Creeper
From The Beat: Congrats on getting your high school diploma! Ready for From The Beat: You’re very right that everyone thinks about things
college? Remember, this world is yours, you simply need to put your mind differently. But don’t we all react to tragedies like murders the same way?
to it, and if means overcoming the odds, then do it! Prove the doomsayers With sadness and a little bit of fear? What do you think about the law?
wrong! We look forward to hearing more from you. Is it important?
sta n d Fresno t s
sta n d o u County
A Brighter Future The Things I Know
The hall has helped me calm down from life on the outs. Helped I wasn't stupid during school, it just took me longer to understand
me remember I am alive, and a person of society. The hall has also how to do math sometimes, and I couldn't get a one on one with
made me feel comfortable to where I feel like I’m not incarcerated the teacher because they were too busy teaching the class. I got
and am in just a normal daily life, which isn’t good. into fights a lot because my name was Campbell and some kids
You always have to remember you’re here and it’s just would call me "Campbell Soup" which is funny to me now but
temporary. The hall has made me feel like it’s the only place that would piss me off when I was little.
accepts me into a living situation, because my mom thinks I’m My parents were always there to support me though, which
crazy, and I can’t stay with my father. The outs have helped me was great. My first memory of violence was when my parents were
the most, the hall has ultimately set me back from moving forward arguing. Then I saw my friend's older brother get shot when I was
with life. walking with him from school. I couldn't move, all I saw was blood
But I get time to think to myself, and plan for a brighter future. and him yelling "Get somebody! I'm dying fool!"
Now I wait for that opportunity to take action. Juvenile Hall has its pros and cons. It helps me to be a man
-Trent and figure what I need to work on. At the same time I'm in with
From The Beat: A brighter future awaits you. What action do you plan to kids that are better or worse off than me. That tells me about their
experiences and how to get away with all kinds of crimes. Things
like how to pick a lock, how to rob a house, how to properly shoot
I learned that if you are shot by a 22, you should put a tampon
in the wound and that will stop the bleeding. Things like that
makes me wonder if I'm gonna be back here. I know because of the
things I do, I'm more likely than other people to go to jail. I just
hope it never happens because certain things I do, I can't change
From The Beat: You’re a smart young man. It is up to you to decide if you
come back or not. We hope you make the right decisions that will allow
you to succeed in life.
Witness Of Violence
My first memory of violence was when I was nine years old. I was
at my house playing with my uncle and some guy drove up talking
crap. My uncle got up and went over to where he was because my
uncle did not want the man to come over to where I was.
So my uncle protected me from the person who wanted to hurt
me and I was looking over where my uncle was and the man pulled
out a 45 and shot my uncle and the beginning of this year my
Grandma passed away when I was locked up.
From the Beat: It must have been traumatic for you to witness this as a
young child. Looking back on it, how has it impacted you up to this day?
I can still remember the smell of the gun smoke, it was last year
when my homie got shot. I ran inside to my house to get my gun
and by the time I came back out my homie had been shot two
times in the back and I found myself at his side. His funeral was
the same month. I remember seeing his mom cry as she went up
to his casket.
From The Beat: What a tragedy! Why did this happen? What could have
been done to prevent it?
Time To Think
Being in the hall has given me time to think about my life. Where I
was heading, and how I can change. Being in here has changed my
mind on the way I want to live. And also what I want to do with my
life, I don’t want to hang with the bad crowd anymore.
From The Beat: What do you want to do with your life? How can you
isolate yourself from the bad crowd?
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
When My Father Died
There was a time when I was a kid and wanted to experience new I Wanna Be Out There
things but one day I experienced the death of my father. He died I think that being in the hall changed me because I get the chance
when I was five. It was the worst experience I ever had but I've to think. I think about what I do on the outs, I think about my
moved on in my life. family and my son and how I need to be out there with them, I don’t
I don't remember the bad things about my father but I need to be in here. No one does, so I learned that I need to change
remember the good times we had in life. I hope that he's in a better the way I act because I want to be out there with my family.
place right now. That is my story I wanted to give out to those who -Derrick
are going through the same thing. Remember, don't remember the From The Beat: The hall gives so many young people a chance to do some
serious thinking. Have you also thought about how you will achieve your
bad, but remember the good times. goal of staying out?
From The Beat: These are good words to keep in mind. What are some of
the best moments you had with your father?
My Love And My Daughter
I'm locked up here in the juvenile hall, sitting down in my cell
Rather Be At Home thinking about my little girl Yvette. She is barely nine months old
Well no, the hall has not helped me. The hall has helped me a little and what hurts me more is that I am not going to be out there to
bit but not that much, and because I have been in here since I was see her grow up.
ten years old and now it’s five years later. I have been locked up in I regret what I did. My crime is what got me here and now
three other county halls, and the one up north toward San Mateo look at myself sitting down in this cell thinking about all the good
helped me because they treated me good and showed respect, but I things I could be doing out there with my girl and my baby Yvette.
don't want to be in the hall because it is not a place to be in. Every day that I'm alone in my cell with tears in my eyes, the only
I'd rather be at home with my two little brothers and mom but thing I think of is my girl and my baby Yvette. Sometimes I ask
I can't because now I have to go to a group home out of state. It's myself why I'm in the gang because the only thing I got from it is
so screwed up but it is okay. So what I am saying is stay out of the being away from my loved ones. So I write a poem to my girl:
halls. So later! Having dreams of being with you again hopefully this time till
-Shrek the very end. Missing the times we would be together, wish they
From The Beat: Thanks for writing. We encourage you not to give up no could've lasted forever. Thinking of you so very much. Making my
matter how difficult things get.
head feel like it is about to erupt.
Te quiero mi amor con todo mi corazon.
Becoming A Changed Person Por favor no te pongas triste con este poema que te hice.
All day I stare at walls. Thinking to myself, is this what I want? No
Expressing all my love to you, my angel from above.
one likes to be locked up. So it makes me think I have better things
It is like we were meant to be now I know you were meant for
in life to take care of, like being a better dad by staying out of here
and becoming someone good in life, someone to look up to.
To me I feel the hall has helped me in little ways, but there are From The Beat: You know what you need to do to improve your life, but
a lot of things that didn't help. It helped me to think about what those changes won’t be easy. Will you stay in the gang when you get
out of the hall? How will being in a gang affect your daughter and your
I really want to do with myself. It's taught me how to grow up. It relationship with your girl?
taught me how to get along with the people I don't like. It taught
me there is more than this. Now I ask you, what has the hall helped
From The Beat: Thanks for reminding our readers of all the possibilities Seeing The Good In The Bad
that exist out there, and that yes, there is so much more than this. Keep Being here in juvenile hall has been a bad experience for me, but
there have been a few major benefits. The bad experiences are
being away from my family. I think every one’s real weakness is
being taken away from their loved ones.
You feel alone and weak without them, but when your parents
come to visit it makes things a lot more bearable. After you get
passed that, you just got to focus on serving your time without any
problems and time will pass faster than you think. The good few
benefits juvenile hall has given me are that I have a lot of time to
think things over and ways to change, for me and my family.
Another reason is if I hadn’t gotten caught and locked up, I
would have never stopped doing what I was doing and my behavior
might have gotten worse. Another thing is I can quit my bad habits.
And best of all is I can read the bible almost every night. So if
I would have never gotten in here, I would have never changed.
The lesson I learned is that in life you have to be optimistic about
situations and see the good in even the worst of things.
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing your wisdom with our readers. It sounds
like you’ve been able to make something positive out of this experience.
We encourage you to continue on this path.
sta n d o u t s
sta n d o u t s
New Beginnings Washington, DC
I Love You On Being Incarcerated
I tell my mother, I love you. I think what we just watched was very important and made me
I tell my girl, I love you. think about my future when I come home. I won’t be a profit to
Love to me is strong. the white man any more.
Sometimes love can be pain. -Kelsey
Love comes in all shapes and sizes. From the Beat: Understand that a prison system that is self-perpetuating
has no color. What’s the next step to be of profit to yourself and your
People sometimes become blind to the word family?
And become crazy when love is said to them.
So make sure you find the one to say
I love you to.
From The Beat: Great advice in the last line. Have you ever considered
Spoken But Not Heard
how fortunate you are that you have at least two people in your life you
Babies in Haiti need water …
can say that to? DYRS kids need chances …
Kids need families …
Spoken but not heard…
Communities need recreation centers …
Love People with disabilities need help …
Drug addicts need treatment …
I wanna hold your hand and walk a mile. Spoken but not heard …
Don’t wanna leave you not even a while We were slaves physically in the beginning,
I wanna kiss you and never say the words But now mentally in the end ...
I miss you. I wanna hug you and see you SPOKEN BUT NOT HEARD.
Smile. Don’t ever wanna hurt you or make -Beetle Juice
From The Beat: You have some strong statements and a powerful theme.
You cry. Just thinking about it makes Here are some questions: Spoken by whom; not heard by whom? Was
Me wanna die. there no time before slavery? How are people mental slaves; how can you
-Joke set them free? What if they like being slaves, can you help them? Here’s
From The Beat: Very direct and nicely done. Keep writing and keep what Harriet Tubman said: "I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed
reading. a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves." Last question for
now, why is now the end? Can it be the beginning?
Stop Coming Who Knows?
Forget The Beat Within. Always geeking for their stupid ass Life’s just a test with so many rules
groups. Stop coming. I know y’all got a life out there. It’s Unable to pass
summertime. Stop coming. So you pass with the best
-Your Boy. And the rest don’t make it
From The Beat: Has losing your freedom put you in the angriest mental
space you’ve ever been? Thanks for participating. See Your Next Week. Even if they fake it. Give it or take it.
From The Beat: Are we who we think we are or are we what we do? If
you decide who you are, are you willing to do what you would have to
do to be the best in that category? What rules would you change? If
there were no rules, how would you measure?
Incarceration population over rates education.
People commit crimes but don’t know the time they’re facing.
Knowledge is the key. Knowledge is in me.
Caged in like an animal.
That’s all they see you as.
On Level 1, I’m about to try and get my life together, hoping I
Not showing your talent, visiting family through plexiglass.
Sitting wasting time while you’re facing nine.
don’t do nothing to get myself in trouble. Sticking to myself and
Reading books but not getting the meanings, program, that’s all I ’m going to try and do so I can get to go home
so you’re basically in the blind. and do right instead of going back to my first mistake.
Incarceration population over rates education, -Joshua
but if it was the other way around, blacks would run the town. From The Beat: While charting your own path and being your own man is
part of growing up, you’re still going to have to deal with other human
-Dj beings. Who can you learn from them while you’re there? How did they
From The Beat: There’s a saying: if you think education is expensive get their levels?
try ignorance. Are you sure you meant over rates education or under
rates education? When you don’t understand the meaning of something,
do you go find the tools or the knowledge that will enable you to
understand? What would be different if you ran the town? Why can’t you
run it one day? What’s stopping you?
Respect for Others
I have respect for who ever has respect for me. Show me respect,
you get respect.
Dead Time It seemed like a good idea at the time. So that’s why I’m down
I’m locked up doing dead time down New Beginnings on Level 6. I here sticking to the code.
want to go home and cool with the girls and my family. -Fat Smacks
-DK From The Beat: Part of respect is being patient with other people. Are
From The Beat: You’re very close to being out the door. Is any time really you? As far as sticking to the code, is that for your self-respect or because
dead time, or just what you do with it? you’re concerned about how other people might judge you?
stan d o u t s
staNewd o u t s
It’s a New Day Why Is it So Hard?
The day I leave this place, it’s going to be a new day. New me, new Why is it so hard for me to follow directions and abide by the
style and thinking forward and never looking back ‘til I reach the program and do the right thing?
top. People will enjoy the change in me and they will see it’s a new -Mac
day. From The Beat: You’ve made an important step; you’re asking the first
question you need to answer.
From The Beat: We’re pulling for you. The question always seems to be,
what will your old friends think about the new you? How will you react
if your old friends don’t like the new you?
If I ever get the chance to say hi, probably wave goodbye at the
same time, I say I’m movin’ too fast, I said I’m movin’ too fast. A
The NBA Championship couple uh drinks of Patron on ice. Come to my suite, baby, you can
My opinion of The Dallas championship is; it was some bull crap. I spend the night . I said I’m movin’ to fast. I said I movin’ too fast.
really think it was something fishy going on, under the table. I say -Vegaz
Dallas had someone to can my man and threw the game for about $16 From The Beat: Vegaz has not only graduated New Beginnings but was
million. awarded his GED on June 10, 2011. Don’t judge him by how he wants to
celebrate, but by the effort he put in to get out. Congratulations.
My opinion about Dirk winning the MVP isn’t really nothing
because he is a good player and he played good, so I say yes, he did
deserve it. I think the Big Three should stay together because it is
only their first year with each other, so they got plenty of time to
get back next year and win the championship. Who knows? Maybe Dallas Victory
next year we would have done got some new rookies or trades that My opinion of the Dallas victory is that something was funny or
would better our inside game and three-point shooting, but we going was not right with that game. I wanted the Heat to win.
be alright. -Delonte
-Martique From The Beat: They lost more than one game. How do you explain the
From The Beat: You make some really good points about the Miami Heat, other losses?
but we still disagree about someone throwing the game. Why would
someone risk his salary and commercial endorsement money for a bribe,
even at $16 million? If you’re talking about James, he took a $2 million
cut to move to Miami in order to have a shot at the championship, and
he came close. And he still made about $14.5 million in salary alone. Getting My levels
Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept the simplest answer. The Heat got I’m doing good, need to stop playing with certain individuals ‘cause
Beat. Is there a simple answer in your life that’s hard to accept?
if I’m playing with them I might get a step back.
From The Beat: Can you change the conversation with them? Have you
ever considered asking them to help you? How can you help them or help
I’m stressed out.
This shhh is stressful. Watching Time Pass
I’m sooo tired. Sitting in Unity watching time pass. Look at the TV and nothing to
-Southside Shawdii do. Time is getting longer, I have to stay here to October. Summer
From The Beat: Stress does make us tired. How do you break the cycle?
What’s the first step? What is the thing that only you can change? Is it is telling me goodbye. I can’t wait to go home. I know my mother
attitude? Outlook? Kim miss her boy. But it is ok. I be home in October, if I do what
I have to do.
From The Beat: Right now, it sounds like the time is doing you. You have
a moment to explore other areas of thought. We doubt you’ll find them in
See You In October front of the TV. What is it that you think you want to do in life? Why not
take the time to learn about that between now and October?
Misha, you know I miss you, right? I can’t wait to get home so I
can see your face like I want to. Also, you are like my wife, my
life. You mean so much to me, Misha, I’m telling you that I love
you. See you in October something, 2011. I hope you don’t forget Thinking
about me, LOL. If you do, on to the next one. Thinking of a better day, rich in an amazing way. Blessed from the
-Abdulah angels, but I built up so much anger, so many strangers. Danger
From The Beat: Have you considered writing her a letter? If you do, still thinking about being famous. Feel like I got two brains, I’m
could we suggest that you leave out on to the next one? Why not try to
make the relationship that you’re in work? What can you do to improve the shhh Blue Plains. Thinking of a better life, something got to
yourself? give for me to change. Poverty and being famous seems dangerous.
Young brothers these days shootin’, but ain’t aiming, no
thoughts about retaliation. So when he dies, he’ll feel it, but his
mom’s will still be aching. Thinking of a better way, rich or poor,
Real Live I’ll still enjoy the life I was born …
I’ve been going through some things and don’t nobody understand -Dj
it, man. I’ve been going through some things hoping my ninjas From The Beat: We know Blue Plains is a solid waste treatment plant
for D.C., so we’ll let the reader figure out whether you’re the process
stay the same but they always change. or the product. You have a good use of contrasts here. Why or how is
-Sixx being famous dangerous? How are you rich in an amazing way; through
From The Beat: Though most of us feel this way at some point, usually knowledge, self-discovery, letting your anger go? Your writing deals with
someone does understand. Have you really sought counsel or do you feel provocative questions. What about taking more time to stretch out to let
the situation is just too personal? your readers see how you’re arriving at your conclusions?
The Beat Without We welcome back the fantastic writing of Brandon Zarfos from Santa
Rosa Correctional Unit in Milton, FL. Brandon uses poetry to speak on
some of the bigger issues we all deal with: reflection on memories,
regrets and troubles revolving around family members and how his
spirituality helps him through daily life. His imagery and content are,
as always, inspirational.
If I Could….I Should Have
Your words pierce my heart like the sharpest blade, Believe
They aren’t words of anger or hate, I was walkin’ down the valley of the shadow of death with
But they’re words that emit the deepest pain. nothin’ but the clothes on my back,
As I sat down on a rock to rest my feet a bright light
I feel the hurt through every letter written, appeared before me,
I hear the sadness of your voice with every stroke of your You approached me with bread and some fine wine
pen. You sat beside me and spoke,
And you opened my eyes to truths I’ve never know,
Anger arises within myself as I dwell on words said and Showed me the purest love I’ve ever felt,
unsaid, Dealt me a hand of cards with everything and guaranteeing
Anger not for you, but for myself instead. good days and spiritual wealth.
You gave me hope and help even though I thought none
I feel shame, existed,
I feel shame for I know I could’ve helped in some way, And all you asked is that I believe,
I could’ve been there as your protector on that wicked day, Give up my life, take up my cross, and follow your lead,
But I wasn’t. And I agreed,
I apologize and I do with more than mere words can say From that day on I’ve followed the principals outlined in
I wish I could stand in your place and take your pain, your true word,
I wish I could live your nightmares so you’d never live Yeah, I’ve fallen here and there, but doesn’t every baby
them again, bird?
But I cant, and yet it hurts me the same Still, I continue to stand face to face with the opposition,
If every word I wrote and spoke could offer you comfort, Take charge of the position I’ve been given and dedicate
safety, and hope, I’d write it all, speak it all, just so that every loss to the holy mission,
you could cope. I may die ‘cause I stand by your side and defend your
I feel empty of soul for not standing in my duties as an I may have to suffer and have shame placed upon my face,
older brother, You told me, “You’ll be hated by all for my names sake.”
I feel the most violent hate towards myself in that I failed I accept that ‘cause I know I’m saved,
as your protector, I believe,
But I hope that my condolences some how make you feel Now as I walk down that valley of the shadow of death I
better, fear nothing for I know that you are with me,
So much better. Because I believe.
You’ve kicked me so far away only adding to my troubles
I want to hate you but my heart and God wont let me
Don’t Understand I don’t understand.
No letter, no call, no “Hey, how ya doin’?”,
I’ve been trying to figure you out, but there are too many
Pop, you just add to my life’s ruins,
missing pieces from the puzzle,
You add to the pain, anger, and despair,
I don’t understand you or why you’ve locked me in this
If I tapped your chest the only sound would be a hollow
You’ve kicked me so far away only adding to my troubles
You ain’t got a heart; it was never there,
I want to hate you but my heart and God wont let me
I can’t condemn you,
I don’t understand; you make me so freakin’ angry!
No, I won’t judge,
I could’ve taken my drink plain, simple, and spiked with
I don’t even hold the lightest grudge,
To be real you need to be real to yourself,
Yet you tainted my cup with false promises and lies
Karma ain’t no joke.
One day you’ll need my help,
I fell for it ‘cause my hurting was so deep,
And you might not get it,
You’ve left me in a dark closet with no room to speak or
Yo Dad, one thing is for certain, two things are fo’ sho’,
I don’t understand you and its good that I don’t.
You’ve left me to battle on my own,
Page 60 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without
Brandon Zarfos cont.
Sixty Five Seconds
Ashes to ashes and
I contend and I won’t amend that I’m pure fire with an ink
pen, dust to dust,
A sword so serious revealing feelings and teachings from a
heart that beats furiously within the walls of my chest,
I feel best,
Rest in Peace Momma,
I ain’t going to sweat under the pressure or stress,
Been strugglin’ since day one, but I passed all my tests, You was more
Who wants to compete with me?
You? Them? All three?
C’mon B, I ain’t no MC but I can spit that fire on anything
I speak the realest, can't you see?
I been away for a lil minute, but I can still spit it, Memories
Anything you want I’m wit' it and in it I keep memories locked in my head to view when I’m not
I’ll always be on top and no one can get me off of the high at best,
horse life let me cop, All the good, bad, sometimes, and in-betweens.
I’ve been dealt a troubled hand and I play it the best I can, Some happy, some ugly, some bittersweet, a lil’ of
I put all my chips on the table and I gamble with the sanity everything.
of my mind 'cause it aint too stable A walk home from school,
One day at a time; I live by the hour, My dawg movin’ away,
I feel so good, A fight with my lil bro,
Anger used to taste sweet, but now its only bitter and sour Memories that I more than know.
I won’t bow,
The system can’t make me break I remember hot summer days walkin’ through Yia Yia’s
I ain’t never depended on ‘em anyways, neighborhood,
I always counted on myself to get straight, The unwrappin’ of presents on a cold Christmas night,
I’ve done damn good, Milk and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies,
I still got my faults and I’m cleanin’ up some old ways, Damn good!
But I ain’t never gonna retreat to the recesses of my old A Greek salad here,
self Some feta cheese and a gyro (yee-doe) there,
I won't give in, Baklava in lemon oil,
I got change, Greek family traditions,
Since I found God nothing’s been the same, Me, my family would always spoil.
Amazing grace saved a wretch like me, My first joint and how much I coughed,
Yeah, look at me now, My first fight and how I lost,
Can’t drag me down, Memories are what?
So funny, I just laugh at them clowns, always doubting me Straight.
and tryin’ to make me look bad,
I just side step these fools, Momma’s loving tough,
Way too sad, I hated watchin’ her fight death and it’s steel grip,
Fire still proceeds from the ink of my pen, Oh, how I lost it.
Wouldn’t you say so, Beat Within? Psalm 23,
Ya dig! Last rites,
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
Rest in Peace Momma,
You was more than tough.
I left my mind somewhere out west,
Yeah, in Phoenix, where it was all the best.
My first love and how she tore my heart,
My first poem and the beauty of its art.
I remember it all and it keeps me sane,
Memories; Ah, yea, I’d do it all again,
The pleasure, nix on the pain
I relive the bad so it’ll keep me strong
Memories that are forever mine,
The sweetest of songs.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 61
The Beat Without We welcome back our friend, the powerful teaching and lyrics by Ray
Ray Sanchez Jr.
Sanchez Jr. No writer drops game like our friend Ray. He keeps it real
with the letter to his daughter, “Dear Sassy,” and delivers a knockout
flow/poem in “Driven.” His truths are felt from his heartfelt letter to
powerful poetry. We sure hope that one day, we will meet Ray and he
can read his work aloud, we can only imagine how powerful that would
be. Until then we are grateful to give Ray this avenue to touch our lives
with his mighty sword aka the pen. Thank you ol’ friend, for reaching
“Driven” The gate
out and doing what you do best. We already can’t wait for the next
batch of writings! Ray Sanchez Jr. writes us from Pleasant Valley State
Livin’ ain’t livin’ when you livin’ fist Prison in Coalinga, CA.
To buy the tools
Figured out ‘Bag, the aftamath of the last blast
to take money
That addictions were a paycheck, Half glass
Busy as a bee, honey
Pay me this amount Pessimist
‘Cause that state money isn’t great,
Next epiphany Hit ‘em
Picture me, pitchin’ D Get a hearse, and blast back
To individual grindas, Last laugh, opinionated
Level up form one-timers Quit yo’ hatin’,
In the pen, I learned some lessons
Creatin’ buffers Check yo’ facts
Like they ain’t gonna hire felons
It’s tougher on this level
So I fell upon connections
But I was sick of servin’ pebbles Genetically hybrid
Just picture me base ballin’
Plus, it costs to wear bezzles Lyrically all gas
When they tryna strike me like star
The witches come like sickness Shabu and shards,
Sap ya’ health with a quickness What we pushin’ is all glass
This shhh is serious
Take yo’ mail, when you finished Stock market drug traffic,
So I cancel them hardy-har figgas
Disappear, wit’ no witness Prices drop and it’s all crack
You learn yo’ lesson once In all black,
Shrug it off Mad at
Tried to go straight,
It’s just business The shhh that I’m lacking
But now you jaded, hated, Sellin’ a piece of my soul,
No meth, no dope
Envied With every rock to that crack fiend
No opportunity, no hope
And filthy ballin’ Stocking
I’m tired of tryin’ and failin
The money is appalin’ Macking, grind away at tha’ female
So I’ll do like Sarah Palin
Hittin’ lobsta from Top Ramen Feelin’ justified ‘cause they faker
2012, go feder-el
Yo’ momma askin’ you than nails
Post office, hella mail
Where you got yo’ new shoes? Press on,
Loadin’ scales, bustin’ sales
Where you got yo’ new clothes? Wit a vest on
When I’m popped, never tell
Why yo’ ass ain’t in school? Ain’t buyin’ nothin’ that’s stepped on
Either clap to make a path,
What yo’ butt gonna do, Beat my cases like stepsons
Or make it back to tha’ jail
When yo’ caught wit’ a few? Dirtier than my weap-ons
So I’m back to tha’ track,
Hold yo’ mud like a thug Cleaner than Ajax
Gotta stack fo’ future bail
Who be destined fo’ the SHU Bleach white powder in weighed
It never fails, ruthless cycle
Psycho wit’ a mac sacks
GTF hit ya set Greatness waits fo’ no man
When a snitch, So I rush, to touch stacks
Hit yo’ crew Driven by raw greed
Draped in black
‘Cause this is what it do, And negative ambitions, non-fiction
When you driven to some sinnin’, The story’s a tragedy,
Figga driven to a livin’,
Sick ambitions spread like flu But gettin’ better’s the mission
Where I gotta blap-blap
(Hook x2) (Hook) x 2
My chips ain’t fat enough! My chips ain’t fat enough!
My chips ain’t fat enough!
My chick ain’t bad enough! My chick ain’t bad enough!
My chick ain’t bad enough!
My whip ain’t fast enough! My whip ain’t fast enough!
My whip ain’t fast enough!
My pit ain’t mad enough! My pit ain’t mad enough!
My pit ain’t mad enough!
I can do better I can do better
I can do better
Yeah, I can do better! Yeah, I can do better!
Yeah, I can do better!
This is ambition, This is ambition,
This is ambition,
Thoroughly driven Thoroughly driven
The witches come like sickness
Sap ya’ health with a quickness
Page 62 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without
Ray Sanchez Jr. cont.
“Dear Sassy” make sure you are safe and happy. I’m different though. I will
always explain stuff to you so you can understand why things are
the way they are. I think it’ll help you learn more about life if you
Hey there, stink-butt! Smile. Have I ever told you how happy
can see why your parents do what they do.
you make me? How thinking of you just makes me smile? I want
There is no such thing as a stupid question, and I want you
so many good times for you. I also wish I could be there to share
to know you can ask me anything. As your Daddy and Mommy, it
the things I remember about my own dad, your grandpa.
is our jobs to guide you through life while you are growing up so
I remember sleeping in ‘till 9 or 10 on Saturday mornings
that’s way, when you are a grown up, you will be able to make good
and waking up to Makavelli or Curtis Mayfield playing on the
decisions on your own.
stereo, while he cooked breakfast for us. Sometimes, Grandma
I have already lived through falling in love, relationships,
would surprise your uncles and I with breakfast from McDonald’s.
sex, the feeling of a broken heart, the pressure to be popular, the
Waking up to music and the smell of bacon always made me feel
need to belong, and the attractions to gangs; I know the urge to
warm and safe. I wish you could’ve grown up with me around to
escape reality when you feel small and alone, and the seductive
give you memories like that, so you could share them with your
call of drugs. I know how it feels to be bullied, and to be the
own son or daughter. That would’ve made me really happy.
one doing the bullying, the addictive, heady feeling of power when
You know what my biggest worry is? It’s that you’ll be too
you hurt someone who’s either bigger than you, or has hurt you
scared or embarrassed to come to me with your problems. I know
themselves. I know what it is to be respected, loved and feared;
I sometimes felt that way about my own mom or dad. I always
fear and respect are two different animals, Sass’, and don’t make
thought that they wouldn’t understand what I was going through,
the mistake of believing otherwise.
or be too mad at me because of what I’d done, to bother to listen.
I also know how it feels to help others to succeed in life to
I never felt that the things that were important to me were all that
succeed in life, to do something really well and have others admire
important to them.
you for it.
But, you know what? Because I felt I couldn’t talk to them, I
I know what it feels like to lose it all, too. I’ve had to remake
ended up not even bothering to try, and got into a lot of trouble,
myself, start over, and rebuild from the ashes of destructive
because I tried to do things my own way. I don’t want you to make
behavior. I believe I’ve been through all that so you can learn from
same mistake, Selena Angeligue Sanchez. I want you to know I
it, and avoid it. Parts of my life have been crappy as fertilizer, but
will always love you, be proud of you and listen to your concerns.
I’ve grown from hardship and been fruitful. You are one of those
I never even gave my parents a chance to tell me what they thought
few things I’ve done right, and are my reason for becoming a better
about the decisions I made. They might not have understood, and
person. I just wanted you to know that I will always be there for
could’ve been really mad, but they also might have had really good
you to open up to when you feel crowded, or lonely, or hurt, or
advice that could’ve kept me out of a lot of trouble.
confused. No matter how grown you get, or who you grow to be,
I know your mommy sometimes just tells you, “No!”, without
you’ll always be daddy’s little girl.
telling you why—maybe she’ll give a reluctant, “‘cause I said so,
that’s why.” She’s not much of a talker and doesn’t always make
clear why she does the things she does, but she is only trying to
Beat workshop graduate, David Jacobs aka Too Much Hot Sauce, and
was also known in these Beat pages as JCubbs was honored to have
his illustrations on three covers of The Beat Within while he was
incarcerated in San Mateo and San Francisco juvenile halls. Today, David
makes his living customizing cars, by painting designs on the sides,
back, hoods of cars in San Mateo, San Francisco and Oakland, all over
the Bay Area. He also paints people’s portraits and does illustrations
professionally. We recently ran into David on the bus, now 23, who
quickly wrote the following for us Beat readers.
Always Remember This! Art!
Art is a language. Some speak it, some sing it, and some even
breathe it. It’s poetic. It’s life. It keeps me alive.
Time is precious. Time is not forever. But art has a way
of fortifying itself in civilization. I express my art in portraits,
pastels, custom paint on cars, even with a tattoo gun.
Art flows through my blood. Art surges through my
fingertips. Art! When I lay something on canvas, whether it be
paper or skin, it screams, “Always remember this! ART!”
Whether you’re a pro, like Da Vinci, or just beginning,
I encourage everybody to keep practicing ‘til you get calluses
on your fingers and ink in your bloodline. It’s the only way to
This is coming from an individual who made the cover
of The Beat several times when he was in San Mateo and San
Francisco juvenile halls. Much love. I send mines.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 63
The Beat Without We are honored that our old friend from the max unit in Santa Clara
Etevan Savage Rocha
County Juvenile Hall has reached out to us from next door, County Jail.
This young man has plenty to offer, as he touches on his perspective
on the youth of today, as well as reflecting on himself and the life he
has lead, that pulls him away from his family – his daughter. We hope
this is not the last time we hear from Etevan Savage Rocha, whom we
enjoyed working with in the hall, and of course we look forward to
his next installment of poetry and commentary from the Santa Clara
County Jail in San Jose CA.
Hey there long time no see! Well, sorry I’ve taken so long to For I’m Only Human
write, lets just say this place is a whole ‘nother world. By the There are many things I wish I didn’t do
way this Savage from the max in J- Hall to refresh, or Sav, but But I continue learning
yea I been good. I’m just waiting ‘till I get sentence. I hope you I never meant to do these things to you.
and everyone else at The Beat is doing good. I just want you to know
Well, I’m in a unit called Little Max aka the hole. It sucks I I found a reason to start over, anew
never come out. When I do it’s to shower or go to court or if I am And the reason is Destiny and you
lucky a vist. I’m so sorry that I hurt you
You know, I’ve been waiting to get The Beat address, and I It is something I must live with everyday
got it tonight, so here I am. I got a lot to share a lot of poetry. And all the pain I put you through
I’d appreciate if you can send me each weeks topics, with a I wish I can be the one that takes it all away
Beat. And be the one who catches all your tears
Once again, I am sorry it took so long, but also when I get I know that it hurt for me to be here
out how do I go about helping or working with The Beat? For I am not a perfect person
Well here some pieces hope you like them tell me what you But I found a reason to change and breathe
think! Take care. The reason is you and Destiny.
Hey there long time no see! Well, sorry I’ve taken so long
to write, lets just say this place is a whole ‘nother world.
no but you don’t see,
you’re too worried about sipping on tea,
They Never See in a high branch tree,
you listen but never hear, while the streets are just another crime scene,
hear but never listen, while another mother is crying for her son,
see but never seen, to be dead or to be free,
all this agony, see our youth need guidance, but some how turn to street
speak but never talk, and violence,
talk but never speak shhh, you hear the silence,
so hear me scream he’s trying to think,
as the words i speak have a meaning, as he sits on his cot and sinks in his own thoughts,
lines that may never be define, of misery,
so open your eyes and see and feel my rhymes, well he reminisces about all the things that he truly misses –
for they are one of a kind, then reality kicks in,
very divine, so fine, while the loneliness blows in the wind and becomes his best
you wander why i committed a crime, friend,
why i’m doing time, for these days it’s hard to have a vision the way society is
maybe it time to open up your eyes, today,
for all are not alike, rap has clouded so many,
it’s wrong to judge one for others, to the point where they will never give in,
but instead look and see beyond the lines, even if it means spending life in prison,
search deep into one’s soul and see that person’s life unfold, it sad how our youth these days would rather be locked up
a story that’s never been told, and go to prison,
then judge, rather then get an education,
ask, what happened to our youth to turn cold, but rather be on these streets,
first off it was poverty in this society, what’s the truth to this game and when will it change,
that got a hold of them, for so many get used to the game they become tamed,
don’t you see what happen, some even go insane,
running the streets day and night, it’s time for a change,
trying to find something to eat, for no one told these youth that gangs can be so cruel,
when all they really need is a family, so somebody tell me what are these youngsters to do,
to give them love, i guess they’ll never see….
Page 64 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
thebea without The Beat Without
Etevan Savage Rocha cont.
You and Me Hook
I should’ve seen you were trouble right from the start (Hook)
taught me so many lessons how not to play with broken Without you, without you, without you, I cannot sleep. I
hearts cannot think. I cannot breathe.
so many questions, when we first began we were the
perfect match This agony is killing me.
perhaps we had some problems but we were working at How can this be. How can this be.
them I… Just need to feel your touch and see your face
now the arguments are getting loud. And know you’re ok, ‘cause everyday without you it’s
I want to stay but I can’t help from walking out, killing me,
just throw it away So slowly… day and night, I look into the sky and I see
(Hook) that’s when I start to cry.
See I tried everything, but it seems things won’t change
your still the same, playing your games ‘Cause without you, without you I cannot sleep, I cannot
think. I cannot breathe.
See I never planned to be a man it just wasn’t me.
But now I’m searching for comment in your arm, I lost the best part of me,
don’t be alarmed your attitude was the cause This agony is killing me…
you got me stressing Please forgive me for who I used to be
as soon as I opened up the door I was stuck in darkness
I get your jealous questions. My actions were thoughtless
Like were can I be So give me a chance to show you who I really am and what
You kill me with your jealousy I feel
now my ambition is to be free So please take my hand and wash away all my pain.
but I can’t leave All my pain..
as soon as I thought I broke away and I’m happy ‘Cause without you, without you I don’t know what to do.
you trap me and say your pregnant and guess who the I’m feeling lost and confused
baby daddy is I need you day and night
I don’t want to fall for it, but in this case what can I do By my side, to hold you tight
got me steady making promises to you
trying to keep it, but what if I’m wrong and a lick keep me ‘Cause without you, without you I cannot sleep, I cannot
going, think. I cannot breathe.
see I’m about to lose my composer and get closer
and leaving notes and get ghost
so who knows where a peaceful place is where I can go
where I don’t have to sell my soul but where I can raise my
See I tried everything, but it seems things won’t change
your still the same playing your games
Now he left you with tears and scars
While you sit and pray hoping the beatings with go away.
See it wasn’t always a hit and run relationship
it used to be love, happiness and companionship
I remember when I treated you good,
though when it came to getting back together it was all a lie,
but I was trapped in your eyes
no need to lie
you were getting tossed
but you told me don’t worry about it
we can do it
see girl if you can see I want to take your misery and
replace it with happiness
but I need your faith in me
‘cause I want to be there for you and my Destiny.
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 65
The Beat Without Anthony Owens is back! This week he describes poetically the love
he has for this special person in his life. Make no mistake about it,
our friend Anthony is in love, and he so kindly shared his love with
us readers. Anthony Owens delivers the love from Kern Valley State
Prison in Delano, CA.
You Love Me, I love You
between us is so unique Its seems you got the game on lock,
like how Peter Pan sweeps
most often you fill my soul with shock.
Its’ as if you’ve invented a laboratory of love
the kind of love sent from above.
Wendy off her feet. You carry the key that makes my heart beat,
you hold the words that make my knees weak
You throw the word The chemistry between us is so unique
like how Peter Pan sweeps Wendy off her feet.
l-o-v-e aimlessly around, You throw the word l-o-v-e aimlessly around,
but when you tell me it, I feel so safe and sound,
but when you tell me it, I feel I love it when you reassure me,
Telling me how much you miss me,
so safe and sound or how much you wanna kiss me.
I wanna be there next to my boo,
being able to make love to you,
“Me And You” if we were to break up, I’d cry an ocean full of tears,
‘cause right now that’s my number one fear
Life, look into my history.. always thought about mines
I want to hold on to what we’ve got,
kind of differently..
‘cause your all I got babe
All I really need here is my girl with me.
Close and open my eyes. I’m her instantly,
let me take you closer to your destiny,
and have things the way its supposed to be
Listen when I’m speaking, it’s your mind I’m reaching,
but your heart is the part that does most of the speaking,
now it’s time, open your heart to me no matter what,
your always gonna be apart of me,
I find myself falling deeper when I talk to you and write,
big things, fine things, this ain’t no one day thing,
when we getting older baby it’s a promise thing as a king,
this is your destiny and pure fate, sweet kisses, picnic by
and take mad Polaroids capturing the opportunity
the times of love and happiness together,
you’re my last and final choice in this world
after you their will be no other.
My heart and love is yours now and for eternity.
No matter what together we will make this work,
but it won’t be hard ‘cause its not hard
for a match made in heaven
Love you so much xoxoxo
Baby (Dedicated to Tracey)
Your eyes are so warm and gentle
they sing as they melt into a smile
my skin tingles as you press against me
feeling apart of me all the while
I feel breathless, almost dizzy
In anticipation of your lips
My hands glide from your shoulders
Down your back and to your hips
I am amazed to feel this feeling
It grows every single day
This love I feel is so unlike
Any feeling that has come my way
Page 66 Volume 16.24/25 thebeatwithin.org
This week, as always, our poets from the Washington, DC adult jail The Beat Without
THE FREE MINDS BOOK CLUB
have a lot to say about their past and their memories. We don’t think
any of the below was easy to write, and you can see the struggle in
their words – but you can also see hope, and you can see growth, and
most of all, you can see talent.
AND WRITING WORKSHOP
Here’s A Day
Get up, take my girl to Starbuck’s around 9:00 am
Get a coffee, newspaper, and walk down the street to Au
Bon Pan, and get a muffin
Talk and kiss my girl and tell her how much I love her
Leave in the smack out Audi R8
Hang around the house talking until 12:00
That’s a wrap.
From The Beat: One of the things we really like to drive home about
poetry is its ability to capture really simple and beautiful moments in
Dreams Deferred (Remix)
life. Every poem doesn’t have to be about eternal love, or intense pain, What happens to a Dream Deferred?
or heaven and hell. It can be about something really simple, and if you Does it get clear right before you wake up?
describe it well enough, you can read that poem and live inside that Is it one of your best experiences?
Does it put you in a place full of fun and love,
Then you wake up in a horrible place?
Do you forget it
Do you forget it as soon as you finish sleeping,
Or do you never dream?
From The Beat: Langston Hughes! Fantastic! This poem is great, and we
as soon as you
want to use this opportunity to drive home a great point about poetry:
Being inspired by other poets is good! But there’s a big difference
between “stealing” and “inspiration.” When you steal, you don’t change
anything – you just put your name on top of another person’s poem.
When you are INSPIRED by someone, you take that person’s poem and
you change it. You add new words, take out other words, and you say
something new. This poem is an example of the latter – great job.
Or do you I Miss You
I miss you less
Than I thought I would
I miss you more
Than you think I do
And I love you more
Than you ever know
From The Beat: We picked this poem to end on because, like the first
Born Into a Small World one, it’s a really simple idea and, like the first one, it communicates
it beautifully. You challenge convention at first (“I miss you less”) but
I was born into a small world then you end strong. Well done, good pattern, good honesty. We love
Trapped in a hood that had me
I was born into
I was born into a small world
Because I was trying to
Find away in the big world
With my love my heart my
a small world
I was born into a small world
Alone unspoken inside of a
Trying to free
I was born into a small world
Trying to free my mind and
I was born into a small
World trying to be forgiven
For what I did I was
Born into a small world.
my mind and
From The Beat: We love that you’re talking about being forgiven, of
course, but we’re really intrigued by one thing: you seem to be asking
to be forgiven for being born – tell us more about that. Alternatively,
tell us more about finding a big world. What makes a world big, as
opposed to small?
thebeatwithin.org Volume 16.24/25 Page 67
I keep memories locked in my head
to view when I’m not at best,
All the good, bad, sometimes,
Some happy, some ugly, some
bittersweet, a lil’ of everything.
A walk home from school,
My dawg movin’ away,
A fight with my lil bro,
Memories that I more than know.
read the rest of Brandon Zarfos' BWO piece on page 61