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The Beat Within


									                      The Beat Within
                      nihtiW taeB ehT
The BeaT WiThin • a Weekly PuBlicaTion of WriTing and arT from The inside •Volume 13.05

          It’s dark in the streets; the whole block is in silence
      Then in the nex second, it erupts into gunshots and violence
                  A little scuffle that turns into a murder
             A tiny argument, but they had to take it further
        Instead of finding a solution and being the problem-solver
              Somebody got smart and pulled out the revolver
                                                       read the rest of LIl' Convict's POW on page 6
                        •Volume                                                13.05
Welcome back                to The Beat Within’s editorial
                                                             lives up to god during their stay in prison. But then
                                                             during the big game, (you know when it all counts —
page! can you believe it, last week we were handing
                                                             the super Bowl, being free) they drop the ball time and
out issue 13.04, and before you even finished reading
                                                             time again. The new england Patriots didn’t look like
that issue’s BWos, you’ve been handed our latest 13.05!
                                                             they’d lose a game all season and they didn’t until it
and as with every issue, The Beat Within is never a dull
                                                             really counted. and those who we’re comparing to the
read, so prepare yourself for some very powerful and
                                                             Patriots, didn’t look like they’d ever commit another
inspiring writing from our many workshops to those
                                                             crime again when they got released, but when it all
who only know of us through the mail.
                                                             counted and they finally did get released they dropped
     Today is a huge day if you’re into politics because
                                                             the ball and came back to jail. What will it take for us
all around the country they’re deeming today, “super
                                                             to not drop the ball? What will it take for you to score
Tuesday.” it’s such a super Tuesday because, as many of
                                                             a touchdown and come out victorious? We all know, but
you know, the country is holding its primary elections.
                                                             it’s the action that speaks loud and clear.
This is where we elect the representatives from each
                                                                  The new york giants were the underdog and many
party to compete against each other for the presidency.
                                                             of us get out as the underdog, however, with our own
and the reason today is “super Tuesday” is because the
                                                             game plan combined with passion and persistence, we
states with the highest populations (i.e. california,
                                                             too, can exceed and succeed when it really counts just
Texas, etc.) are voting today and the states with the
                                                             like quarterback eli manning and the giants. so, during
highest populations get the most votes represented
                                                             this primary, think about what would change if everyone
during election time. We, at The Beat, always start
                                                             in this country were allowed to vote. and then do us
wondering about things during election time because
                                                             all a favor and think about whether you want to spend
we deal with a population that’s most controlled by our
                                                             your season like the giants, ups and downs all season
government — the incarcerated. however, even though
                                                             and yet still successful, or like the Patriots, riding high
we’re the ones most controlled by our government, we
                                                             all season and then failing when it really counted. if
are also the most restricted as far as the voting process
                                                             you are able to do all of this, you’ll realize, just like we
goes. in fact, many of us can’t vote, so we wonder
                                                             do, why these past couple of days have been deemed so
how things would be different if the incarcerated were
allowed to vote. Would george W. Bush have won the
                                                                  lets get to the weekly topics, the ones many
last election if we were able to vote? Would we even be
                                                             of you considered, or wrote on, during our writing
at war if we were able to vote? We wonder…
     in our wonderment we bring ourselves back to this
                                                                  The first topic, “how many chances…” - most of the
very important primary, and furthermore, this very
                                                             time we get in trouble we hope for a chance to make
important “Tuesday.” The hottest topic during this
                                                             things right again. But nine times out of ten, we’ve been
election is who will represent the democrats in the
                                                             given a chance before. so our question to this week
presidential election. it’s obvious either hilary clinton
                                                             is how many chances have you gotten in life and how
or Barack obama will represent the democrats, which is
                                                             much more do you think you need in order to succeed?
big because if one of them goes on to become president,
                                                             We ask you how many more you think you need because
this will be the first time a white male isn’t running
                                                             we know some of you plan on getting out to the same
our country, since the days when it was stolen from
                                                             lifestyle you were a part of before you came. so when
the natives back in the 1700’s. What an exciting day in
                                                             do you plan on changing? how many chances have you
politics, and though most of us who’ve been incarcerated
                                                             gotten and how many more do you need? Tell us what
are thrust into politics because we’ve resided where we
                                                             you think is the problem and what is the solution to
have, we aren’t given the power to voice our opinions
                                                             breaking the cycle…
through the voting process — a process most would say
                                                                  The second topic, the equally popular, “What
is the most important in our country. if we were able
                                                             Wouldn’t you do for money?” - We all know we’d do
to vote, how do you think things would be different?
                                                             some pretty foolish things for money and there are some
Would the expected still win, or would we have more
                                                             of us who may believe we’d do anything if the price was
upsets, you know underdogs winning?
                                                             right, but are there things you can think of that you
     speaking of underdogs winning and an opportunity
                                                             wouldn’t do for money? like, would you hurt a family
to switch the subject off of such a gloomy fact that the
                                                             member for a million dollars? or would you betray your
people who are most affected by the government, can’t
                                                             mother for a quick buck? Would you be someone’s slave
vote, what about the ‘other’ super that just passed.
                                                             if he/she paid you enough? Think about it hard, what
We’re sure many people lost hygiene, ramens, and
                                                             wouldn’t you do for money and why wouldn’t you do it?
other snacks betting on the super Bowl. What an upset,
                                                             or if you’ve done something for money that you never
huh? We’re talking about an undefeated new england
                                                             thought you would do, tell us about what it was and
Patriots team that handed the whole league their own
                                                             why you never thought you would do it.
butts throughout the regular season, only to lose in the
                                                                  our last topic, “2008… What’s going To Be different?”
most popular game in our country. They were defeated
                                                             - We all have things to work on — every single human
14-10 in a surprisingly low scoring game against the
                                                             being. What will be different for you in 2008 than it
“wild card” new york giants, a team that was even
                                                             was in 2007? Will you do more reading? do you plan
counted out in the nfc championship game against
                                                             on being there for you family more than you were? and
Brett favre and the green Bay Packers. let’s see, how
                                                             if you think nothing will be different in 2008, why do
can we relate this to incarceration besides the fact that
                                                             you think this?
there are probably many prisoners whose lockers are
                                                                  on a final note, we want to thank you for visiting
still suffering because of such an upset.
                                                             us at this editorial page, and we hope the rest of your
     The new england Patriots, and how they played
                                                             journey through this latest issue will inspire you,
this entire season, remind this editor of some of the
                                                             challenge you and get you thinking about contributing
people who are locked up. you know the ones i’m
                                                             your first or another inspiring piece to this priceless
talking about… The ones that no matter what facility or
                                                             publication we all know and love.
institution they go to, they thrive — they kick ass. They
                                                                  This issue goes out to our friend and BWo writer
run a great program, maybe even take some college or
                                                             mike mckinney, who writes us often and from the
vocational classes, talk about how much they’re going
to change when they get out, maybe even give their
T                 t a b l e • o F • C o n t e n t S
                                                                                          Volume 13.05

The Beat Within,               a weekly newsletter of writing and art by
incarcerated youth, is published by Pacific News Service.                             editor's note                                          2
At The Beat Within, we go through a lot of trouble to censor inappropriate
sexual remarks, foul language, and gang references. 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.
                                                                                      Pieces of the week                                     4
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
                                                                                      Co -Pieces of the week                                10
are reserved. Nothing from this publication can be reproduced without our writ-
ten permission.

To our writers: What you write could be hazardous to you. Your words have
                                                                                      Standouts                                             16
consequences, and could be used to incriminate you. Try to illuminate your
feelings and viewpoints without running the risk of providing ammunition for              alameda .............................................    16
those who might use your words against you.
                                                                                          San Francisco .....................................      26
Co–founders: Sandy Close and David Inocencio                                              Santa Clara ........................................     34
Senior Editors: David Inocencio                                                           new mexico ........................................      39
Assistant Editors: Michael Kroll, Will Roy                                                marin ................................................   40
                                                                                          San mateo ..........................................     42
Graphics/Layout Editor: Manen Pau

                                                                                      the beat w ithout                                     50
Staff: Pauline Craig, Jill Wolfson, Allan Tinker, Patricia Johnson, Amanda
Ables, Omar Turcios, Dennis Morton, Sheerly Avni, Jennifer Clarke, Brit-
tany Bernard, Perry Jones, Tal Ariel, Margo Ariel Brockman, BrendaNavaro-
Duante, Elizabeth Crawford, Morghan Velez Young, Siliva Mortenson, Mi-
chaela Levin, Griffin Jones, Eric Lee, Andrew Barba, Estella Cisneros, Allen
Huang, Nic Reiner, Angelica Zabanal, Charles Labanowski, Kolby Hanson,
Chelsea Sprick, Akima Edwards, Alfred Dersidan and Neela Banerjee.

The Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona, Juvenile Probation Department
Beat Staff: Joe Szulecewski, M.A., Lisa Donsker, M.C., Hillary Shluker, M.C.,
Lisa Karczewski, M.A. The detention staff are: Tammie Utter, Shannon Lech-
ner, D. Scott Herrmann, Ph.D. Clinical Director.

Bernalillio County, New Mexico "The Land of Enchantment" Juvenile
Probation Department Beat Staff: Steve Serna

Art: Much props to everyone for the great art this week.

Spiritual Advisor: Jack Jacqua

Special Volunteer: Nancy DeMartini

Book Donor: Marisela Norte

Beat Supporters: The Beat Within greatefully acknowledges the generous sup-
port of funders of Pacific News Service’s Youth Communications Programs
– California Arts Council, California Wellness Foundation, Christensen Fund,
Community Foundation of Silicon Valley, Community Technology Foundation
of California, Compton Foundation, Creative Work Fund, Cricket Island Foun-
dation, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Ford Foundation, James Irvine Foun-
dation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Morris
Stulsaft Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Oakland Fund for Children
and Youth, Open Society Institute, Peninsula Community Foundation, Phil-
anthropic Ventures Foundation, S. H. Cowell 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 Alexan-
der Gerbode Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Youth Justice Funding
Collaborative, the Zellerbach Family Fund and individual donors.

Writers: Thanks to all the participants in our workshops in the San Francis-
co, Maricopa County Arizona, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Bernalillio
County New Mexico, Santa Cruz and Marin County Juvenile Halls. If you have
any questions or comments about The Beat Within, or if you would like to
become a subscriber, contact us at: 275 Ninth St. SF.CA. 94103 or call (415)
503-4170 or check us out at:
P                    W                    P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                Volume 12.20       Page 4

                   how many Chances                                                             2008… a new Year
I feel that it depends on who you are. Some people need                       This is the second time I’ve been locked up. Possession
more chances than others. I say that because it’s some                        of stolen property. Not too serious, but it seems that my
hard heads in the world. The hard heads need more                             past charge labels me already. The first charge was for
chances than others ‘cause they don’t get it the first                        armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. I served
couple of time. Just ‘cause somebody mess up and they                         three months in juvy, three months in a groupie, then
overcome that and mess up again, that don’t make you a                        one year probation. It was pretty serious, but they gave
hard head.                                                                    me a chance.
     A hard head to me is someone that does something                             I finished probation and was out of trouble for close
they not suppose to do, gets caught and try to do the same                    to a year. I recently had a confrontation where somebody
thing, but try to do it again. Get caught and do it again.                    dropped their phone after being hit. He got hit because he
     I can’t lie. I done been the hard head I’m talking ‘bout,                was swinging a bat towards me. The guy ran and I picked
but that’s when I was young and dumb. I’m still young,                        up the phone. The guy reported a robbery, and here I am.
but not as dumb. Being locked up, all you could do is                         Because of my past, the crimes look similar, but they’re
think.                                                                        not even close.
     I been thinkin’ ‘bout all the bs that I been doing and                       I was given a chance before from getting sent away to
stuff I do wit’ other people. Right now I only need one                       the Ranch. Now, the recommendation might be repeated.
chance. I’ve never been in the situation that I’m in right                    I’m almost 18 years old… three more months until
now                                                                           manhood. I completed three of the five required tests for
     I’m facing hella time, you feel me. It might be a min.                   my GED. I’m ready to grow up, get a job and live that
before I touch down. it’s lookin’ kind of good, but… I’m                      “Normal Life.” I just don’t want to sit idle at the Ranch
going to jinx myself, but all I need is one chance to make                    and waste time. I need this chance.
this right. I done enough thinking and enough searchin’                                                      -Phat Tom, San Francisco
to know that I done grew up in a lot of ways. Time could                      from The Beat: Thank you for making a very important point: The
                                                                              mistakes you make early in life can haunt you for a long time! We hope
be your best friend or your worst enemy. Right now, it’s                      your past is not the only thing the court takes into consideration,
both.                                                                         because it seems to us that you’ve made a conscious decision to change
                                                                              your future, which to us is the most important choice you can make.
     I’m doin’ my stuff even though I should have done                        if you do have to go to the ranch, we have confidence that you will
on the outs. It’s my worst enemy ‘cause it’s bringing me                      not allow it to be a waste of time. There are people and programs
                                                                              there that we’re sure you can benefit from, and with your attitude, we
farther and farther from my family. If I had to choose if it                  believe you will benefit from them. on the same hand, if you get that
hurt me or helped me, it helped me ‘cause it gave me time                     chance you’re looking for, we know you will make the changes you’ve
to think and to help me grow up a lot. Too bad it had to be                   promised yourself to make. don’t disappoint us and, more important,
                                                                              don’t disappoint yourself!
like this.,
                                    -Gold M, San Francisco
from The Beat: you say that all you can do when you’re locked up
is think. But, unfortunately, we know too many people who don’t use
their time to think. you’re so right that we each mature at our own rate,
so it fills us with pleasure to see that you have grown into a responsible
                                                                                                       the Chance
and thoughtful young man. But that growth comes because you wanted            In 2008, I made the decision to self-surrender myself
it and because you used your brain to think seriously about what is           to the main jail (county). I got the chance to make the
important in your life. We have heard that you got the “one chance” you
needed to live the life of a free and responsible adult, and we can’t tell    change for the better and I did. I got an offer of 30 days
you how happy that makes us. you deserve it. set your goals high, and         hall-time, and no probation upon my release date.
go after them. it’s been a great pleasure having you in The Beat.                 I feel like owning up to what I did affected my outcome
                                                                              big time, and now I finally get the chance to show the
                                                                              world what I really have in me. So to all facin’ time, keep
                                                                              your heads up.
                      wait and think                                                                                   -Brian, San Mateo
                                                                              from The Beat: you may not know it, Brian, but when you decided to
                                                                              face the music and turn yourself in, you already showed the world what
Sometimes you don’t know what to do. Me, I should stop                        you really have in you. congratulations on doing the responsible thing
and think. I should think about if I should have taken a                      and, by so doing, beginning to reap the rewards of the good karma
hit off the blunt or let my man drink, because I know he’s                    you’re building. good luck!
gonna call me a bitch later.
     Now, sometime I just wait and think about how much
my mama loves me and how I could be talking to her
about anything and kissing, hugging and playing with my                                 what i wouldn’t Do For money
babies. I know I should just do what I need to do and get                     Several things I won’t do for money is puttin’ my family
it over with, like getting a job. I need to do what I want and                on jeopardy, ‘cause my family is everything to me. Family
need to do and put everything – like going out – on the                       don’t’ come and go like money do. You only have one
side for later.                                                               family, and that’s the only family you have and would only
     Everyone, wait and think. Just put everything on                         have.
pause for a minute and ask yourself: Is it worth it to do                          Forget money! Family is all I got. They the only one
something or let someone hurt you so bad to the point                         here for me. I understand why the homies can’t visit me,
where you don’t care no more and now you just got to                          and I don’t trip on that, but family would always be there
take whatever comes your way, because that’s all you can                      for me.
really do? But you get something out of it, it makes you                           Another thing I won’t do for money is smoke crack,
a stronger person and you’ll know who you are and you                         titi, or heroin. I’ll never do anything stupid for money
know that’s what no one can ever take from you.                               ‘cause money’s just paper, and I got better things to do
                                      - WiseOne, Santa Clara                  than worry about money.
from The Beat: This is really, really amazing advice. a lot of times we get                                         -Alfy, San Francisco
in trouble because we haven’t done exactly this: stopping and thinking.       from The Beat: We agree with everything you said. Just remember, when
This is the key to leading a happy life. Think about important decisions,     you are on the outs, that “family is everything” to you, so that you don’t
like who to love and what to put into your body.                              do the kinds of things that risk being taken from them.
P                   W                   P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                           Volume 12.20       Page 5

              2008: a Year of Change                                                               what next?
2008 I will set positive goals that will make me want to                                   Are these people helping us
accomplish things like finish school, get a job do other                                   or are they making it worse?
things that will make me successful that my friends never                      Are we the reason why there’s so much violence
dreamed to do. That would’ve made their lives better                                                in this world?
beside being in jail or feeling like they have to hurt and                                  Are we ever gonna do good?
rob people for things they don’t have.                                                   Are we ever gonna stop fighting
    2008 I will try to stay out of trouble and be there my                                    just because of a hood?
for my baby boy, play with him more and take him places                           People kill for money, people kill for rides,
with me, buy new things for him and just be a better                       but I know that all of them are hiding something inside.
father to my son and have a better relationship with my                                       They’re hurt and lonely,
son than me and my own father.                                                                  depressed and alone.
    In 2008 I will go back to working with my uncle’s                            All of them are wondering which way do I go?
construction business and make money the right way.                                           Do I run from the cops?
                                                -Unknown                                         Do I turn myself in?
from The Beat: We’re not sure why you would want to hide behind the                            Every time I think of it,
name “unknown” when you write such important things! We hope you
are able to keep the wonderful promises you make in this piece because                     my world just starts to spin.
if you do, you’ll soon be amazed at just how much better things become                Do you see why I see this as reality?
in your life. Being there for your son is the most important thing you
can do for him, and worth more than all the new toys and clothes you                          Welcome to my streets,
could ever buy. you’re missing out on him, but he’s also missing out on                with people slangin’, gang bangin’ –
you. it’s time to fix that situation, and you sound ready to do it. good
luck!                                                                        this is the real deal. Everyday someone gets killed,
                                                                                 everyday someone gets robbed in their house
                                                                                    or in a shop. Is it the way we were born?
            2008… what’s Different?                                                        Is it the way we were raised?
                                                                                             Did our parents do it too?
In 2008, a lot of things is going to be different. For                                Is that the reason we do what we do?
instance, when I get out of here, I’m going to get a nice                        If we can’t do it together we can’t do it apart,
job and stay focused on doing what I do right, because                               then I can’t even think of how to start.
obviously I did something wrong because I’m up in here.                                           I need to get out.
    I’m also going to get more focused on saving money                             I’m getting depressed, but every time I do,
and not spending so much, because without money, you                                           all I think of is arrest.
can’t do nothing. And in here you can’t get any money.                                                 - Amber, Land Of Enchantment
    In 2008, I also plan on graduating, get a high school                  from The Beat: you ask a lot of valid questions, but asking them will
                                                                           get you nowhere. not breaking the law will not only keep you out
diploma. In 2008, I’m also getting a Lexus Coupe on                        of the d-home, it’ll also answer your questions. remember, we are all
24”.                                                                       makers of our own reality.
                                  -Dock, San Francisco
from The Beat: We really like the goals you’ve set for yourself, and
particularly one we seldom see in these pages — saving money! of
course, if you plan to get yourself a lexus, you might find the goal of
saving money much harder to achieve… anyway, we wish you luck in
moving away from a life that leads to negative consequences like this,
and into a future of self-sufficiency and freedom.
                                                                                      what’s going be Different?
                                                                            What’s gone be different? I’ma daddy now! Or should I
                                                                                                     say a father.
                                                                           They tell me organize ya changes. Why bother? Because
                     one mo’ Chance                                        I got responsibility. That’s all I hear, How I’ma handle all
What’s up wit’ it lil’ whodies? The amount of chances I                                my bidness in this brand new year
need to do good an’ to succeed is one, only on chance.                                  In which direction would I steer?
I’m up in here fo’ some serious shhh, ya heard me? What                       Would I stray away from the high “hard liquor” and
I did, I know it wasn’t right, an’ dat’s why I would like to                                             beer?
have one chance.                                                             Ninja, I was born a souljia before the pills and douljia.
      I would like to be with my family and my girl, ya dig?                 Now I got a lil’ mama I gotta push in a stroller For her
If I do get out, I would like to change. I know talk is cheap,                        mother there’s a chip on my shoulder
but my talk is real, ya dig? I’m still young. I’m fifteen                     We bumpin’ heads, even though we miss each other
years old, ya dig? And I would still like to experience my                         We’re no longer considered the newlyweds
childhood life while I’m young, instead of experiencing                      Don’t get me wrong, I believe we can make it and be a
my childhood life in da halls, ya dig?                                                                  family
      In my life, I’ma tell you da truth of how many chances                    But I’m all about my daughter until her mother
I had. I had about a few chances that would make da judge                                          understand me
tired of giving me chances. But I’m only asking for one                    I don’t know about a job but that’s a topic to think about
thing. I’m not trying to be selfish of asking da judge to                  ‘Cause I can’t keep tryna rob, ya know, runnin’ in people
give me one mo’ chance, I’m asking because my family                                                     house
needs me, and my girl needs me and now I’m failing them                                       I can’t jeopardize my life
fo’ not being there fo’ them, ya dig?                                                       I got a daughter and a wife
      If I get one mo’ chance, I will change, and dat’s my                              Right now I’m all about my ladies
word, ya heard me?                                                                        I think about ‘em every night!
                                       -Chris, San Francisco                                                 -P. Crooks, San Francisco
from The Beat: We hope your wish is granted, and that you get that         from The Beat: if you can truly stop doing the crimes that brought you
one more chance you are asking for. But do you know the story of the       here in exchange for pushing that baby stroller and doing the things
boy who cried wolf? We hope you’re not a victim of your own failure        you know you have to do for your daughter, then you not only will turn
to take advantage of earlier chances now that you’re ready to do the       your own life around, you will be more than just half your child’s dna,
right thing.                                                               you truly be her father!
P                    W                    P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                Volume 12.20       Page 6

                              alone                                                              how many Chances
           I walk through a long dark corridor…                                 How many chances do you get to consider enough?
                I see an apartment door open…                                         Does it take being stabbed or jumped?
                          What do I do…                                                Does it take having a 12 gauge pump
        I walk in, curious to see what’s going on…                                               Put to your head,
                          Nothingness…                                                 Or does it take living with the dead?
          Cupboards opened, clothes everywhere,                                 How many chances do you get to consider enough?
                dishes shattered on the floor…                                 So many people have been murdered, destroyed in the
            Bloodstains the walls and furniture…                                                       game,
                      Windows shattered…                                                   Everyone trying to maintain
                         The T.V. is on…                                           But end up with their brain on the concrete,
          Cartoons seems to be the only laughter                                                Now there’s silence,
                      that is to be heard…                                                 When will the violence stop?
    I see another door that leads from the living room                         Maybe it takes that one chance to make to be enough
                      to another hallway…                                       How many chances will it take to consider enough?
                         What do I see…                                                                         -Lil’ C, San Francisco
                             A baby…                                          from The Beat: We’ve been reading The Beat for twelve years, but we
                                                                              still can’t answer this most important question. We don’t know what it
                         Shriveled skin…                                      takes to make people value their own lives (and, therefore, the lives of
   I touch the little hand that rests on his or her little                    others). But we have seen that transformation come about, and that’s
                                                                              what gives us hope. We can’t tell you what makes it come about, but
                          chest… Cold…                                        we’re just glad it does, whatever the reasons. The tragedy lies in those
                               Feels…                                         who would have made the transition if they hadn’t waited too long, and
                                                                              seen their chances already run out… don’t be one of those tragedies.
  Cold, all of a sudden I feel a cold breath on my neck…
                       Death is in the air…
                     It pollutes the world…
             With a significance of depression…
          I walk outside the apartment building…                                                      Dark Streets
                     The streets are quite…                                     It’s dark in the streets; the whole block is in silence
        Cars are piled in the middle of the street…                             Then in the next second, it erupts into gunshots and
                       No one is in sight…                                                                violence
                              I walk…                                                   A little scuffle that turns into a murder
                           And walk…                                                A tiny argument, but they had to take it further
                           And walk…                                             Instead of finding a solution and being the problem-
                          Still nothing…                                                                   solver
                    Silence surrounds me…                                           Somebody got smart and pulled out the revolver
             I look up the sky is black like tar…                                   ‘Cause somebody stuck their nose in business
            What is wrong what have I become…                                                       that wasn’t there’s
                      I have become alone.                                           Business they should have minded their own
                                           -Smokey, Alameda                      Now the night ended in a body bag and the sound of
from The Beat: Very interesting and powerful piece of writing. you do                                      sirens
an excellent job describing the scenery around you. But what are you
trying to tell us in this end of the world type piece? is this how you                   Hit in the face, arm, stomach, and leg
picture being alone? death is in the air, but isn’t there also any life? We           My homie was a soldier, he didn’t even beg
can’t say it enough, keep creating and challenging yourself!
                                                                                           Growing up where I live, it’s hard
                                                                                 When you lose someone close to you, for life you’re
                                                                                                   - Lil’ Convict, Land Of Enchantment
         how many Chances will it take                                        from The Beat: you stated, “for life you’re scared”, yet you put yourself
                                                                              in these situations and call yourself “lil convict”. sounds like you’re
I have had many chances in my teenage life and I still do                     looking for the bullet. continue to call yourself a “convict” and you will
                                                                              be a life-long convict.
now, but I’m going to change who I hang around with and
stay out of trouble.
     As I’m in here, I think a lot about my situation because
that’s all you can do when you’re locked up. I just think to
myself about all the so-called “homies” that say that they’re
your “homie.” Where they at now? They’re not around, like
my mom tells me all the time. ‘Mija, you don’t have “homies.”                 It’s like I keep on rolling deeper and deeper. My addiction
’                                                                             sure as hell isn’t getting any cheaper. Getting blown was
     Shhh, I never listened to my mom until I got locked up                   something I never knew, that’s until I met you. I didn’t
and that was a big-ASS eye opening to me because she was                      think you and I would drift apart. Then that’s when the
the only one there for me – not my “homies.’ Well, what I’m                   abuse happened to start.
trying to say is that I am going to change the way I am for                        Now we have to deal with all this mess. I know it’s
myself and my family, because I had to see my mom sad and                     putting us both through all kinds of stress. Having to be
her eyes all puffy because of all the crying she does because                 without you and crack, plus being behind all these brick
of what I put her through.                                                    walls…
     When I get out, I’m gonna be a better person and stay out
of the “calles” and also stop being an “traviesa.” So, what I’m                    Damn, it’s like, who’s going to help me when I fall? I
trying to say is that when I get out am gonna do right.                       got to pick myself up and dust myself off. I already know
                                      - Lil’ Ezzy, Santa Clara                it’s going to be tough as hell.
from The Beat: That’s such a hard lesson to learn when you are a young                                     - Grim, Land Of Enchantment
person: that your homies often won’t be there for you when things             from The Beat: Thank you for being honest and straight with us. This
go down. But it seems like you have figured out how to change and             guy sounds like bad news; it’s better that you drifted apart. is the abuse
see your mother more clearly now. Thanks again for writing from the           worth taking more of? you’re right, it will be very tough. But if you
heart.                                                                        want to play, you have to pay.
P                   W                   P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                              Volume 12.20       Page 7

                 Dead in a heartbeat                                                            refusing to lose
                      Posted up at the spot                                I was born with a mind, a brain, arms, legs, a body, and a
                A lot of homeboys on the block                             head just like every one else.
                     Tryin’ to work the clock                                  But the thing that separates me from you, the thing
                 Slangin’ yay and slangin’ rock                            that make me unique, is my state of mind, my mentality.
                        Everythi ng is okay                                    Things that make me who I am: I think of myself as
                       Just an ordinary day                                having the heart of a beast, the courage of a lion. I refuse
                                But, anyway                                to retreat, even from death.
                   It’s turning dark into night                                 I choose to eliminate my enemy by using my brain
                       Everything is all right                             or being physical. For me everything doesn’t have to be
               Then some rivals jump into sight                            physical.
                            It’s time to fight                                 But if it must, so be it. Even when I know that I am
              But, instead, they pull out the heat                         defeated I will fight to the end physically mentally and
              All the homeboys get on they feet                            emotionally.
                      Damn, they’re coming                                      I refuse to lose.
                        They start gunning                                                                          -Jamil, Alameda
                        So we start running                                from The Beat: The spirit and strength of this piece is inspiring. What
                                                                           kinds of mental fights do you have to wage? What about emotional?
                                  Pop, pop                                 and most importantly, what are you fighting for? are you fighting for
                                    It’s hot                               honor and reputation, or for your future, and your dreams? are you
                                                                           fighting for your education?
             The bullet burning cells in my head
                     Another one to my back
                            Damn, I’m dead
                         But to my surprise                                      what wouldn’t You Do For money?
                             I open my eyes                                                      Hoes and Hobos
                  Out of everyone in the world                                      Anything for dope, now you’re on death row.
                                I see my girl                                                     Why give it up?
                                 On the bed                                            Alcoholics begging just for one cup.
                                                                                               You tried it one time.
                           My body is lying
                                                                                    Now your legs are open for a couple of lines.
                           My girl is crying                                                Dope friends on the track.
                                  I’m dying                                                All they get is a crack sack.
                  ‘Cause my body gets colder                                                   Why risk it for AIDS.
                         My girl, I hold her                                                Pretty soon your life fades.
                      This is what I told her                                                    Trying to recover
                            “You’re my lady                                                When the drug is your lover.
                  And this might sound crazy                                                                      -Fat Girl, Santa Clara
                                                                           from The Beat: nice writing, and true, too.
                      But I love you enough
                           To have my baby
                     Who did this?” I ask her
                   She says it wasn’t my rival
                             I need to know
                                                                                         resurrected From Death
                                                                                    As I walk through the valley of death,
                         It’s street survival                                 Over the years my heart left no emotions inside my
             “It was your home boy,” she told me                                                      chest.
                    She got closer, to hold me                                           No more tears inside my eyes
                          I tried to hear her                                                Since ‘95 I haven’t cried,
                           I tried to feel her                                      Came too far in this game to walk away,
                       I grabbed her cheeks                                   Chose the streets long ago and disowned my family,
                  And said, “I’m getting weak                                            Tu eres estupido de la cabeza
                    My vision’s getting blurry                                            I know that’s what you think
                        I start seeing white,                                But when you’ve been in my shoes ain’t no hesitation
                           Like McFlurry’s”                                     You’ll agree with me faster then you can blink.
             The last thing I said, is, “I love you”                                  Soy Shadow y en mi barrio es malo.
            ‘Cause I couldn’t believe my homeboy                                  Shootings, stabbings, and jacking carros,
                 I heard her yell out, “Doctor”                                 En nombre del Padre el Hijo y el Espiritu Santo
                   And it turns into a whisper                               My mom says as she prays, that her oldest son won’t
                      (Beep) (silence) (beep)                                                  end up in the grave.
                        My heart is stoppin’                                        Boricua y Aztecan a warrier since birth.
                  I feel my heartbeat droppin’                                 Most say I’ll end up in the pen doing life or dead,
                               (Beeeeeeeep)                                     Got so much pain from so many fallen people.
                                               -Sneaky, Marin                   Rest in peace to Speedy, Goofy, Fino and Chino
from The Beat: What a poem! What inspired this tragic piece? it’s hard
to know how much, if any, of your poem actually happened to you,             Brought back from the depths of hell, been gone too
because, obviously, you’re alive, but it sounds like you came close to                                 long.
death once. at least you’ve really thought hard about the possibility of
dying in the streets. Why would your homeboy shoot you? so whether             Resurrected from death this Shadow with his new
or not you’ve almost been shot to death, what does even that prospect                             bedtime song.
teach you? how has that caused you to change your life on the outs?
do you listen to your imagination, your intuition? maybe it’s the best                                              -Shadow, Alameda
teacher you’ll ever have.                                                  from The Beat: you say you have no emotions in your chest, but would
                                                                           you have been able to write a poem this powerful, charged, and full
                                                                           of love for the lost, fear for the future, and straight-up artistry, if you
                                                                           didn’t have a powerful, hopeful heart? no way. This is a serious song –
                                                                           don’t let it get cut-off mid-note.
P                   W                   P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                            Volume 12.20       Page 8

                          new life                                         Hey what’s cracking Beat? Well this is Steven coming
                                                                           from this unit. Well today I’m going to talk about girls,
                 My life is gonna be different
                 because it’s a brand new year                             ‘cause I see hella girls in here getting locked up these
          New attitude, new shoes, brand new gear                          days.
            I’m tryin’ to leave last year in the past                          It ain’t cool ‘cause the way I see it is messed up. There
                 because it was kind of rough                              are girls coming in here for selling themselves just to get
                   I was an addict to trouble                              a place to stay at night. I hate to see homegirls get used
                because I couldn’t get enough                              and then dumped to the side ‘cause the fool don’t need
     Had a boy, money problems made my life hectic                         her no more.
                      Enemies everywhere,                                      Damn, how many guys out there have sister? And
                       had to buy a weapon                                 how would you feel if you were locked up and your sister
 It was like they knew every place I was steppin’, now it’s 08’            had nowhere to go?
                       Im gonna start over,                                    The last time I was out, I saw hella girls getting used
               make these wrinkles get straight                            and shhh. For some reason I got hella mad at one of
      Get right with my enemies before it’s too late,                      this guy because he told something to this girl that had
                        no more strugglin’,                                nowhere to go. He said to her, “If you want, you can sleep
                         no more hustlin’,                                 in bed with me naked. If that’s cool with you” And I just
                get a job and keep on truckin’                             told her that she can come and sleep with homegirl at her
                       07’ had me thinkin’,                                pad.
                   08’ doesn’t want me here                                    See, I don’t like to see girls out on the streets, ‘cause
           Thank God I’m able to see the New Year                          I think of my sister as if she was doing all that shhh for
                     I don’t know about you                                money and just getting a place to stay when it’s really
                 But I know Im gonna change,                               cold outside.
        if you have a smart head on your shoulders                             Well for those out there that just use girls for what
                 you would do the same thing                               they got, shhh you should think about it as if she was
                             - Reggie, Land Of Enchantment                 your sister, mom or family member.
from The Beat: you’re on a positive start already by knowing what              I’ll see you guys on July 22, ‘08.
you’ve done wrong and what you have to do to get it right. Why do you                                             -Steven, Santa Clara
think it’s necessary to “get right with your enemies”? it might be wiser   from The Beat: if all men thought like you do, this world would be
to leave that part of your past alone. Powerful writing!                   different. imagine, if we all put a little effort in changing things and
                                                                           helping each other like brothers and sister. you have great heart. We
                                                                           wish from the bottom of our heart that they listen to your words and
                                                                           that your words make a difference. What do you think would be the
                                                                           solution to end this epidemic?
              the Power of the heart
I once heard that science has shown there are more
nerves from the heart to the brain then vise versa, showing                There are girls coming in here for selling them-
that we think more with our heart. It’s wisely accepted in
men cultures. Interesting stuff.                                           selves just to get a place to stay at night.
    Recently I was reading a Buddhist sutra called the
“bodhicaryavatara” when I came across this line: “all
fears and immeasurable sufferings arise from the mind
only “                                                                                                  2008
    I first doubted this and thought sure, a good attitude                    I will be more ruthless, more cunning, and far less
helps; but can suffering be 100% mental? No way! Right?                                                arrogant.
But the question stuck in my head. Eventually I found                             I can’t allow myself to over estimate myself or
myself reminded of the Vietnamese monks who protested                                        underestimate my enemies,
in the war, and one monk in particular; Thick Duc                                          which now include the system
something. For those unfamiliar with the way they did it:                   that has taken away my freedom, my brothers, and my
First they sat down in meditation, then they were doused                                                  love.
in gasoline and set on fire.                                                                 She meant so much to me.
    Amazingly they would just sit there smiling and                         I can’t allow weakness no more - half assing anything
burning until they died. Usually this would be done right                                            when I fight.
on the sidewalk in the middle of the town.                                           I’ll show no quarter, I’ll use my full fury.
    How long can you hold your breath for? Take that                         I will use every bit of wisdom and intelligence at my
amount of time and push it further. Is it hard? Imagine                                                disposal.
the strength and purity of mind it takes to sit peacefully,                 I will give up my emotions and bathe in my pain, both
smiling and not letting the fire brother you.                                                 physical and emotional,
    In the case of one such monk. After Thick Duc                           until the point to which I become numb - no anger, no
something was contentedly eaten alive by the flames,                                               joy, just apathy.
they discovered something odd. The purity of his mind let                             For apathy is death, death of your soul.
him endure death; the raging flames did not, and could                         I will be the me that society does not see or know,
not consume him fully. In the ashes of the body become                                          human only by birth.
there was found an undamaged human heart.                                    I will not be any ethnicity or be in any social clique.
                                      -Monk, Santa Clara                                          I WILL JUST BE!
from The Beat: This is an amazing story. We’re wondering if it’s                                                    -Jesus, Santa Clara
apocryphal or not – but either way, it’s amazing to hear. have you done    from The Beat: We suspect you might JusT Be a writer, Jesus. We’re
a lot of meditating since becoming incarcerated? and has it helped you     guessing that you are fascinated with words. have you ever looked up
make peace with your situation, or helped you stay calm and focused        the word ruth? it’s not such a bad thing to have. We need more ruth, and
in general?                                                                less ruthlessness, in the world.
P                 W                P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                       Volume 12.20       Page 9

                 “leave now, or else!”                              window. He was right in front of me and he punched me in
                                                                    my gut. I fell to my knees and then I woke up and everybody
A time I was scared was when two of my friends, my girlfriend       was looking at me. I said I was dreaming.
and I slept in an abandoned house. We arrived at the house at            When I woke up from my nightmare, I really had to go to the
about seven o’clock at night. We broke in through the back          bathroom. I walked up the stairs and I opened the bathroom
door. When I kicked the door in, two spiders fell from the          door. As I walked back to my room, someone started to scream
doorframe onto my leg. I smacked them off and they fell to the      in the closet again. I walked closer to the closet and I opened
ground and I stepped on them. When we entered the house, we         it. There was no one inside. I then saw the basement door and
looked for rooms to sleep in. my girlfriend and I had a room        I opened it. I saw nothing because it was so dark. I then got
and my friends had a room to themselves.                            a flashlight and I went back to the basement door. My friend
     As we got situated in our rooms, we laid down a blanket to     Julio and I went in and there was some blood on the walls and
sleep on and we also had an extra one to cover us to keep us        there was a table way in the back. I walked to the table and
warm. We started to eat some pizza. We had two boxes of pizza       there were two pictures on the back. I walked to the table and
and I ate six pieces. After we ate, we started to fall asleep.      there were two pictures on the table. I looked at one of the
     When we fell asleep, someone screamed, which woke me           pictures and there was just of a little girl in it and the other
up. I then heard someone walking up the stairs so I walked          one was a picture of a family.
to the stairs thinking it would be my friend. When I got to the          There was the strange man who I saw earlier in the window.
stairs, I saw something run up the stairs. I therefore ran up the   I went to show Julio and he was lying on the ground. I went to
stairs and the bathroom door closed. I knocked on it and no         wake him up and he wouldn’t wake up. I went to go get help
one answered. I opened the door and then the shower curtain         from my other friend, Jose.
closed, so I walked up to it and I opened it and nothing was             Then basement doors opened closed and I went to check
there.                                                              on Julio and he still was not waking up. I went back to the
     I started to look around in the bathroom, opened the door      basement door and I punched it. I hit a small nail and I started
and looked around by the stairs. Then I walked down the stairs.     to push really hard and finally opened. I went to go pick up
Next, I walked into the room my friends were in and they were       Julio but he was gone. I went looking around for him I could
both asleep.                                                        not find him. I climbed back out of the basement. When I got
     So I walked to the room my girlfriend was in and I laid        into our room, everybody was looking at me and I asked why
down with her and fell asleep with her. While everybody was         my friend left me. He told me that he went with me. I asked who
sleeping again, someone screamed. This time my friends ran          was that who was with me earlier. He told me that I never left
to my room to ask us if we heard that.                              his spot. I took a deep breath to calm down. So we were sitting
     I said “yes” I then asked where did it come from. My friend    and my friend asked what was down there and I told him and
said it came from the bathroom. We just stayed in my room           also said you should have came and see it for yourself. When I
and we just chilled down. As we were waiting in the room, my        was talking, I told him about the pictures. He said that strange
girlfriend suggested we all go to the living room. We sat down      man lived in the house and that he was a father.
in the living room and I looked at the sliding glass door and            As we were sitting in the room, we fell asleep and some
there was a man staring at us. My girlfriend jumped and in          one came in and someone wrote on the wall. We woke up and
a blink of an eye he was gone. Then my girlfriend lay on my         there was writing on the wall.
chest and she said she was scared.                                       The words read ‘leave now, or else!’ I got to touch the words
     One of my friends hit me and he said, “He just got back.” I    and my friend grabbed me and he told me not to. A couple off
looked at his face, which had blood on it. My friend had a knife    minutes later, it disappeared and we sat for a while.
in his hand and he was gone again. My girlfriend and I walked            So as I was going to the bathroom I tripped over something
to our room and again someone screamed. We looked back              and I looked at it. It was that big rat that jumped up from
and something shut the door. When we were back in our room,         the basement. When I looked at it, it looked like it had been
we laid down. I looked at the ceiling and it started to crack and   stabbed. I went into the bathroom. I opened the door and I
I closed my eyes.                                                   walked back to the room and we all fell asleep. When we woke
     Next, I opened them and it was gone. I started to relax and    up, we were late and it was 10:00 o’clock in the morning. We
something screamed again. I heard it come from the closet           got ready and we walked out of the scary house.
and we all backed up and it started to bang. I looked back               We were half way to the sidewalk when I turned around
and my girlfriend was sitting in the corner. I went to sit with     and I saw the strange man looking out the window at us. We
her and I fell asleep. I thought I woke up but I didn’t. Instead,   never looked back again.
I was dreaming and I had to go to the bathroom. I walked up                                                      -Desmond, Alameda
the bathroom to use it and I heard something outside of the         from The Beat: ok, that wasn’t just scary, it was Terrifying. We wish
bathroom. I yelled out loud “who is that” however, no one           we could have put this in our halloween issue. and you told it like a
                                                                    straight-up stephen king. We bet half The Beat readers will be sleeping
answered so I looked at the mirror and it was cracked.              with the lights on after reading this story. did you ever see or hear from
     When I was finished using the bathroom, I opened the           the guy again?
door and there was that one strange man I saw earlier in the

         how many Chances was i given?                                         All the lives you yanked away,
                                                                            While praying to God for another day,
                     All the repaid debts,                             How many chances have I got throughout my crazy
                  All the crimes committed,                                                fulfilled life?
       Delusional in the mind but only an emotion,                   The chances are unlimited because I’m still alive living
   Still on your feet running away from a flee of death,                            through this predicament.
      Through all the tears with those sacred fears,                   You want to know how many chances I was given?
     Are those who’s been given chances to still set,               Count the days when I was created, until the day I become
            Feet, on the unmarked destination,                                              desecrated.
              Chances are given left and right,                                                            -Bruce, Santa Clara
                     But no one in sight,                           from The Beat: Powerful peace Bruce! you got a great talent! We would
              Seems to take it in their might,                      love to know the reason your chances have escaped from your hands.
                                                                    What’s holding you back? you have a gift my friend, and through these
         So realize all the crimes you’ve committed                 challenging times, we hope you continue to touch us with your powerful
                                                                    and thoughtful pieces.
          P                        W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                    Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                            Page 10

             in the middle of the night                                                                 riP Jessie
                   In the middle of the night                                 I sit here and think about my baby dying. I miss my baby
           something always seems to haunt me.                                so much, He meant the world to me. It all happened like
          The choices I’ve made seem to follow me.                            this...
                  I ask my God for forgiveness                                I was sitting down smoking a blunt and than my cell
                       but you bear witness                                   phone rang.
                   that forgiveness of my sins                                I said hello. It was my sister.
                    have to come from within.                                 She was like, “guess what?”
             I feel like I have too many problems                              I was like, “what?”
                      that no one can solve,                                     She was like, “you about to be mad and you about to
               sometimes I’m fearful of the end                               cry.”
                ‘cause judgment will condemn,                                   I was like, “what are you talking about?”
                 my soul to everlasting flames,                                She was like, “your ex-boyfriend died. Jessie.”
                 to a place were it never pains.                                I was hella mad. I start crying.
                    In the middle of the night                                He had got shot September 31 and his funeral was on his
           something always seems to haunt me.                                birthday October 3.
                  When will I learn to carry on                               My baby got shot with a gage two times in his head. He
           from this pain I’ve held on for so long?                           was walking to the BART Station on Fruitvale and some
                                    -Lil’ Sapita, Santa Clara                 young man thought he was in a gang because he had a
from the Beat: another heart-wrenching poem about learning to live            red belt on.
with your past. you write a lot about god’s judgment. Perhaps you
should talk to a spiritual leader and find a way to find peace. it seems      Twin, you will always be my baby. I will always love you
that writing might be the way you find peace.                                 forever. Your girl, Niece.
                                                                                                                     -Triniece, Alameda
                                                                              from The Beat: We are deeply sorry about what happened to your ex-

              why i live the life i live                                      boyfriend. no matter how many times we hear about young men being
                                                                              shot and killed, we never ever get used to it. Thank you for sharing
                                                                              this story about him.
                   Why I live the life I live
              Nine years old with no guidance
                I’m sixteen now in the streets
                  Runnin’ from police sirens
         Why I live the life I live, I love the street life
                                                                                        hurting our Families For Free
                                                                              True I have done some pretty foolish thing to get paid,
                Born and raised in the streets                                and there are some things that I might consider doing if
                       So I’m streetwise                                      the payment had enough zeros behind it. There are also
                    Why I live the life I live                                things that would it take less money for me to do.
                     It’s how I was raised                                        I wouldn’t physically hurt my family members for
           A young ninja at a grown man stage                                 money, a million dollars or more… But when I think about
                        When I was nine                                       it, me and people being in these institutions have hurt
                My pops died and left his kids                                our families for free. Recollect: How much did it cost for
                          No guidance                                         you to get here? A fight, a robbery? And you didn’t keep
                That’s why I live the life I live                             what you stole, all that was free …and if your family's not
                                                           -Caddy             hurting by that I don’t believe your family cares for you.
from The Beat: This tight poem explains how you grew up to make the
choices you have made. But here’s the thing: you were a child then, and           I’ve betrayed my mother for several hundred dollars,
children believe what they are told and follow what they see. now you         and she never trusted me again. Since then I never did
are in charge of your own life, and can no longer put responsibility on
decisions that others made for you. The truth is that you “love the street    anything to hurt my family. Then I came here, and it didn’t
life,” so be prepared for all the consequences that come with it, including   just hurt my family -- it hurt me too. And now money is
periods of slavery like the one you’re experiencing right now.
                                                                              nothing but green paper …nothing to hurt anybody over
                                                                              ever again.
                                                                                                                            -J, Alameda
               the lawyer i Plan to be                                        from The Beat: This is so deep. The thing is, it’s easy to have that insight
                                                                              when you have time to think, like on lockdown… but it’s a lot harder
Man, I’m tryna get up out this place, fa real. That’s all                     when you’re caught up in everything that happens on the street. do you
I’m focused on right now, getting in and out this program                     think you will remember these wise words next time you get tempted to
                                                                              hurt your family and yourself “for free?”
I gotta go to and going back home. But other than that,
wassup? What’s good?
    My name is Kristy. Even though I’m sixteen and my
bra eighteen, we look a lot alike, so a lot of people call me
“Jay,” short for my brother’ name.
                                                                              Shhh, I hope I change this year to stop doing dumb
    Anyway, I don’t really know what to write about, so                       shhh that keeps bringing me back to these cold crummy
I’m just go’ tell y’all what I’m going to do when I get out:                  walls, and to actually spend more time with my family
Get out that program early, go back home, graduate high                       and homies because I’m not sure when I’m going to die or
school on time and on stage and get back to da money.                         when they are…
LOL. (Lots of laughs.) Nah, but I’ma get ma life straight, fa                     So I really feel like switching shhh up and actually
real, and stay on the right path and accomplish my career                     think about my life and where the hell I went wrong and
goal and become that lawyer I plan to be and get that legal                   when the hell will I make it right…
money, ya dig?                                                                                                              -Ramsone
                                                      -Kristy                 from The Beat: of course, we can’t answer your questions. But the fact
from The Beat: There’s lots of good reasons (in addition to money) for        that you are asking them is what makes us happy. Be very careful. one
you to pursue that dream of becoming a lawyer. We wish more lawyers           day, you will have to choose whether to do something you shouldn’t with
had the experience you can only get from the side of the walls you are        the homies or stay with the family. Both choices carry consequences. We
now behind. it’s not easy to become a lawyer, but it’s no harder than         hope you’re ready to accept those consequences, based on the choice
taking one step at a time.                                                    you make.
          P                        W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                   Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                          Page 11

                      Different ways                                                                 reality Check
Wha’s up wit’ da Beat? Chea, it’s ya boi Lil’ Rob just                        What’s good Beat? Me? Same shhh, different day. Still
holdin’ it down, just chillin’ wit’ da new year, feel me?                     here… been here like five months. Hopefully I get outta
One thing I’m gonna change in ‘08 than in ’07 is to never                     here soon. I’m sick of seein’ these same-ass faces all
take my freedom for granted. Also, I will also try to be                      day every day, sick of tossin’ my roommate around, sick
there for my family more, and be more positive towards                        of this fake-ass food, sick of this green shirt, khakis,
my family, and just do right for them.                                        slippers, sick of askin’ to get my light turned off and on,
    I’m gonna change the way I look at life for ‘08, because                  just sick of everything.
when you become locked up, you don’t have the regular                             All I can really say ‘bout this whole lil’ stay here is
rights you would have on the outs. Here in juvie, you are                     that it’s a reality check ‘cause I’m 18 and I can’t afford to
always told what to do, and you must always ask if you                        be messin’ up anymore. When I get out, I’ma take care of
can do something, which I think is BS, feel me.                               school, my fam and myself. I’m try and get a job. Basically,
    Well, Beat, that’s all I got for today.                                   I’m do things differently than I have been.
                                    -Lil Rob, San Francisco                       Well, Beat, I’ma warp it up here. Stay up.
from The Beat: it sounds like you didn’t know until you got here that                                   -Muslim Warrior, San Francisco
juvenile hall is a place where you have to answer to others for almost        from The Beat: if you are so sick of everything about this place that
everything. if this is your first time here, we might be able to understand   you’re going to do things differently on the outs, then this place served
this, but even if you’ve been here before, we still applaud your decision     its purpose for you. We know you can achieve the goals you’ve set for
to “change the way you look at life.” don’t wait til you get out to make      yourself, from staying out of trouble to succeeding at home and at
this change because it must begin in your head first. if you truly decide     school. don’t let yourself or your family down.
that giving up your freedom isn’t worth whatever got you here, then
you’re on your way to a better and a freer life.

          tomorrow is never Promised                                                         2008 will be Different
                   We get one chance in life                                  My 2008 is going to be different because of the issues
                   And we take it for granted                                 I went through in ‘07 has made me a better person and
                     We need not to do this                                   a better man. From me selling dope just to cop a pair of
                For tomorrow is never promised.                               ‘Forces, or go out on da weekend to get messed up wit’ da
                                                                              ninjas. Shhh, I even used to go to da block just to wanna
                  Gangsters killing each other                                go and get at dem ninjas. Fo’ da ninjas who know me
                      To get respect or turf                                  know dat I’ma hitta.
                  We don’t just hurt ourselves                                    A ninja like me, I’m what you call a real ninja. But
                  But also our loved ones hurt.                               after realizing how ninjas get down, I realized dat if you
                                                                              too real for a ninja, ninjas get scared, ‘cause a ninja start
                    Drugs are getting to us                                   to think you gone get on top. Which is true, ‘cause if a
                  And get us locked up also                                   ninja who runnin' shhh ‘cause he got dis or got dat, but
               We don’t see this is all killing us                            won’t bust a grape in a fruit fight or da ninja mind weak
               But tomorrow is never promised.                                and soft like a air soft pistol, who gone know when a real
                                                                              ninja come along and his ninjas ready to leave him ‘cause
                    We got one chance in life                                 dey know he fake.
                   And we take it for granted                                     But a ninja changed all dat. Now I’m focused on my
                     We need not to do this                                   family, my job, my wife, and myself. To my ninjas dat’s
                For tomorrow is never promised.                               reading, when it come down to it, dey gone mess you up!
                                           -Gorzo, Alameda                                                  -Yung Thizz, San Francisco
from The Beat: The first step is to see it – to understand what is at         from The Beat: We admire the fact that you’re making a clear line in
stake. and in this wonderful poem you show that you see, clearly, how         your life between the past, which has been exciting but at a high cost,
things happen around you. The next step is a plan of action? What’s           and the future, which you now recognize is not something you want to
yours? let us know!                                                           hand away to anyone. We had to take out some lines, so we hope you’ve
                                                                              really seen what you need to leave behind, because keeping your feet in
                                                                              two different worlds can only tear you up the middle.

                   For love or money
There are a lot more things that I wouldn’t do for the
money, then I would do for the money. I know that I
wouldn’t sell out certain people: my family and close                             what Does it Feel like to be broke?
friends. I wouldn’t sell out these people because I know                         It’s a mumble in my tummy and a hole in my sock.
that they wouldn’t put me in that situation or position                               Man I’m so broke I got to take what you got.
in the first place. But that also depends on what you                                         It must be a hole in my pocket
consider selling out. I wouldn’t do anything against my                                      Yesterday I sold a whole bundle
family, but I would do a lot of things for them.                                                 And made someone bleed.
    Now, if it comes down to the people that I work with                                    But the money I make ain’t shhh
then it might be different. I would hope none of those                                              When you got to eat.
people would do me dirty, but if I was put in that position                                        It’s hard on the street
where I could lose my life or my livelihood to feed my                                And if you ain’t got a mouthpiece and cheese
children or family then I would hope that they would                                     You ain’t gone never get no good girls
understand. As far as gaining material things for myself, I                        Being broke ain’t no joke -- that’s why I sell coke.
would do a lot of things. I’m sad that people get put in this                                                            -Sway-B, Alameda
                                                                              from The Beat: man – you wrote this off the top of your head in about
situation, but sometimes life is not fair.                                    ten minutes. any fool can sell coke, but it takes someone with style and
                               -The Lunable, Santa Clara                      intelligence to put words together the way you did just here. you should
from The Beat: We asked a tough question this week and you answered           be in college, learning how to turn that mouthpiece into a job as a fast-
it very honestly. But perhaps the answers to these questions would            talking lawyer, or a deal-making real estate agent, or a dazzling poet.
change a great deal when we are put in the actual situation.                  don’t make ‘em bleed/make ‘em read (your words).
          P                       W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                 Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                        Page 12

               afraid to lose my mom                                                  what’s going to be Different
I am most afraid of losing my mom. I’m afraid to lose                       A lot of stuff is going to be different from last year. First
her because I came from her. I am connected to her more                     off I’m about to stop coming to the hall. On the real, man!
than anybody I know and respect. I am a part of her and                     I’m tired of this lifestyle, coming back and forth to juvie.
she is a part of me. If and when I lose my mom, I can’t                     I’m planning on going to the group home where ver they
even imagine how I’m going to act. I really don’t even like                 send me to, and just do my program and just get it over
thinking like that. But nobody lives forever.                               with.
    I might not accept that she is gone. I might flip out                        Me and my bra twin (Derik) plan on doing our program
and lose all self-control. Only time will tell. I can’t imagine             and get it over with so we can be reunited, my other two
losing her or giving her up because she has never gave up                   bras the other twin (Donavon) and lil’ Sean and my sista
on me. She has stuck by me for real through thick and                       Aueasy handling they business and doing their programs.
thin, sickness and health. Only death can bring us apart.                   I mean we were all one and that’s what we plan on doing.
She is always there when I need her. She has never told                          I also plan on having a better relationship with my
me that she doesn’t love me or she gives up on me. She                      moms. Stuff been hella hard for me, growing up with out
might tell me what I’m doing is wrong or some of the stuff                  her at my side. We need to start communicating more so I
I do she doesn’t approve of.                                                can understand her problems and she can understand my
    Sometimes I did expect my mom to just give up on                        problems.
me. I put her through so much heartache. I’ve had my                             I plan when I get out the system to not come back
mom crying before because she wonders if I’m going to                       ‘cause the next step is Y-A.
make it home. I know her heart must have dropped when                            Man, I’m just trying to get back with my family. It’s
she first got that phone call from the police. Even though                  gonna be hella hard to go to this group home ‘cause I will
she was still hurt, she had to be relived that I was ok but                 be tempted to do stuff that’s going to get me in trouble,
hurt that I was getting locked up, and especially what I                    but can’t nobody control me, so I ain’t going to make
was getting locked up for.                                                  no wrong decision where somebody go tell me to do
    I’m about to go, but before I go, I want to tell my mom                 something and I do it.
that I love you with all my heart and every drop of my soul.                                                          -Bra Sis, Alameda
Sorry I been gone for so long; sorry I’m been putting you                   from The Beat: it’s good to hear you sound so determined about your
                                                                            life! and we deeply appreciate your honesty. you’re right-- it’s going to
through all this. And sorry I won’t be home for Christmas.                  be heard, but we know that you have the power to keep out of trouble,
I don’t say sorry about nothing or to anybody, but I want                   and be a strong person who’s there for your family. We wish you luck.
                                                                            remember what your goals are, those moments when you are tempted
to say sorry for putting you through all this and I love                    …
you. Merry Christmas Mom.
                                   -Gold M, San Francisco
from The Beat: We know your mother will want to read this wonderful
tribute to a wonderful person. We hope you have learned a valuable, if
painful lesson about what you owe to this woman who has unconditional                                 new Year
love for you… and how you pay her what you owe her, not in money            What’s good with The Beat Within? One thing I’ma do
but in body and soul.
                                                                            for the new year of ’08, you feel me, is spend more time
                                                                            with the fam. Staying out late kicking wit’ the homies and
                                                                            doing my so-called dirt with the homies, that’s what got
                                                                            me in the system.
                  remember me then                                              But feel me, I ain’t trippin’ though. You do the crime
                                                                            you gotta do the time. But it’s good it’s a new year to start
 I got nothing to care about, no one gives a shhh about
                                                                            fresh, ya heard.
                                                                                                               -Moreno, San Francisco
         I shed so many tears that I can’t even see.                        from The Beat: if you keep this one new year’s promise, you’ll be a
                     I really ain’t got a lot.                              lot happier at the end of ’08 than you were at the end of ’07. Just
                                                                            remember, it’s easier to make this promise now when all your decisions
      No real friends, no girl, just a family who’s lost,                   are made for you than out there when you can make your own choices.
                   Stuck in their own world,                                don’t forget your promise then.
  So I express my only feelings with this paper and pen,
  ‘Cause a lot of people can relate to the position I’m in.
          I think about death every morning I rise,
But I don’t know where I’m going after the day that I die.                         how many Chances Do You need?
                That’s why I smoke hella weed                                       How many chances does it take to get me?
 ‘Cause I’m in so much pain, drink a 40 of Mickey, snort                          How many chances will I get through out life?
                         a lot of cocaine.                                    Some times I sit and wonder how many chances would
     Just take me now; never wake me from my sleep,                                                    life handout?
          Life will be better, never worry about me,                           I’m so confused, my thoughts are cluttered together.
      No tears, no pain, just a memory that’s hidden,                              I feel so sick through all this stormy weather.
       Glad life’s over, ‘cause being here ain’t livin,’                    I wonder how life would be if I just got my shhh together.
   Now everybody don’t cry, they’re only wasting tears,                                         But then I don’t want to
  I never meant a damn thing, in all of these past years,                                    or it’s ‘cause I’m not ready…
Too, if you ever feel the same you should read this again,                                  Whatever it is, I just wonder…
    To my girl and my friends, just remember me then.                                       How many chances will I get?
                                             -Angelo, Alameda                 How many chances will I continue to give people when
from The Beat: sorry angelo, we know you too well by now to believe                           they continue to hurt me?
this is your fate. you mean a great deal to a lot of people, not just the
patnas you are writing back and forth with, but to the staff who watched          I don’t know, but my chances are getting thin.
you grow during your time in 150, to your father who is waiting to help                                                    -S, Alameda
you get a job, to all the people who have read your work in The Beat        from The Beat: These are some difficult questions you are asking
and been moved by it. keep writing, keep thinking, keep striving, and       yourself, and we are glad to see that you are strong enough and honest
remember that you’ve shown the real you in these pages. now you need        enough to do that. The main thing is, when you leave these walls, you
to be true to that real you.                                                have another chance. make the best of it. use it.
          P                        W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                  Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                          Page 13

                         block love                                                                the Challenges
What’s up Beat? It’s Too Militant still holdin’ it down for                  The challenges we young African American teenagers
the crown. Today I’m goin’ talk about the block because a                    put up with are a lot, but not as much as in the past.
lot of older people misjudge the block or ‘hood in a lot of                  Americans (some) think that most of us are failures, that
ways. Every day there is some older or elder person sittin’                  all our lives are good for is drugs, violence, prostitution,
at home or with some friend and talkin’ down about the                       and gang banging. But really, they don’t take the time to
block. They seem to believe that everybody involved in                       get to know us. They don’t try to put their feet in our
the block forces your son and daughter away from school                      shoes to see why we do the things we do. We struggle
and keep them out late at night.                                             more just being who we are - “Black”. We might not be
     I feel that it’s the home situation because what                        rich or perfect, but we try with all our might to get what we
reason would they have to be on street? There must be                        got now, and work even harder to get what we still have in
something wrong in the household. There are some who                         life to succeed. Take this to heart - we’re not bad people.
are in the streets for no absolute reasons, but others have                  We just live a whole ‘nother’ life style from others.
that choice too. Then parents and elders’ll go and say the                        But if you really want to know, it’s a dog eat dog world
block would trade on you. They don’t love you and it all a                   filled with give and take, love and hate, but mostly respect
trick. But its not.                                                          and disrespect. It’s the way we know how to survive and
     I’m in the streets and know there are people on the                     succeed in our lifestyle!
block who tell others to go to school. There are others                                                        -Boss Hogg, Santa Clara
who tell others not to do stupid and petty crimes. Another                   from The Beat: you are a young woman of many styles. We suspect the
                                                                             two we see here in this week’s Beat is just a hint of your capability. We
thing is some parents don’t complain when the street pay                     all learn by example, and by trial and error. it may be tough going, but
their bill and keep their water and heat on. I’m not saying                  when you have to work harder to succeed, the victories are that much
                                                                             sweeter. These days, you don’t have to look much further than the race
it’s good to be in the streets, but I say blame your kids                    for the presidential nomination. for the first time in the history of this
and not the streets and when I die, my block goin’ ride.                     country, a black man has a great chance of becoming The President
                                                                             of The united states. you can bet that he worked hard and that he
This rap is dedicated to the block I love:                                   didn’t give up. We know that you can have a great life too, no matter
   I’m from that block where ninja do dirt but still show                    how tough it’s been so far. Work hard. don’t ever give up. get a good
                             love                                            education. Become a great example for others to follow.
 Ninjas could say we don’t get money but still show dub
 Older people could say what they want but they ain’t in
                          the street
 And they don’t hear our thoughts ‘cause they don’t read
                           The Beat
 They think they know what we go through because they
                    only see the outside
  And we don’t tell how we feel and they judge when we
                          shout ride
               ‘Cause somebody ‘bout to die
                             -Too Militant, San Francisco
from The Beat: We like the message about the block much more than we
like your rap, which still threatens death to someone. When you write
that, you undermine the message you’re trying to educate us with about
how the block is not all one thing or another. We certainly agree with
you that what happens in the home is the most important predictor of
whether you will have serious problems or not, but that doesn’t let you
off the hook for your own choices. you’re right that those older people
are not in the streets, but that also means they are living long lives and
living them in freedom. can you say the same?

            Chances, Chances, Chances
                  Chances are a blessing…
                But when we get the chances,
                    We don’t take lessons
                      Why, I don’t know…
                                                                                           when You least expect it
                                                                             Life and death is something that comes when you least
                Is it because we don’t show?                                 expect it. When you get a phone call from a girl thinking
                 Chances are what we need                                    that you just about to have a conversation about some
                        1,2,3,4,5, etc…                                      pearl, then she flip the script and tell you that you brought
              The chances you don’t take heed                                something to life just like that.
                     Chances just fly by…                                        Death will creep on you like a raccoon creeps on its
          You get a chance, and you go get high…                             prey. You can be walking from the store, talking on the
              Screw up and do the same thang                                 phone and not worried about nothing until you look back
        But in the end you’re the only one to blame,                         and see three people creeping behind you… Then you
                  Now you’re back in here,                                   notice a gun in a hand of someone you don't know you
                Every night you shed a tear…                                 then run and hear shots then you fall and see a flash on
                         But don’t cry                                       the ground by your eyes run through an alley.
             Chances come, and go they go by.                                                                      -Doe Goody, Alameda
                                           -June, Alameda                    from The Beat: you’re writing is so good that this piece actually made
from The Beat: Wow – this poem captures that feeling of regret and           us look own shoulders to see what was coming up on us, even while we
missed opportunities brilliantly. With so much talent, don’t you think       were reading. The tragic part is that some people live a life (carrying
you should give yourself that “chance” to make it? next time you get         guns, doing dirt, etc…) where it’s almost like they’re chasing death,
out – what if you did something else besides going back to the old           putting themselves in the crosshairs every day. is that the kind of life
ways?                                                                        you live? if so, why?
          P                       W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                       Page 14

                            it’s me                                                               i was Cheated
                        I’m a lone ranger
                                                                                Been fighting for my freedom for a very long time
                          Sharp shooter
                                                                               I went to court and they finally let me out this time
                            Mind reader
                                                                                     Year of probation plus I’m on house arrest
                           Heart mover
                                                                                     But I’m at home getting a good night’s rest
                         A strong survivor
                                                                                                I’m following all the rules
                                                                                   Making my appointments and I’m checking in
                   Raised by a strong mother
                                                                            They were treating me so good that they were my friend
                   Straight out of the womb
                                                                                                  Grandma helps me out,
                    Into the concrete jungle
                                                                                        gave me a place to stay and food to eat
                                                                                 Little did I know she would hang it over my head
                       I watch my father
                                                                                                         every week
                   My father go hand in hand
                                                                             I have an anger problem and can’t take too much talk
                         With the rocks
                                                                             Grandma and I fell out and she tells me to take a walk
                     He sold on Randolph
                                                                                  I leave the house and call probation, told them
                                                                                  I was at a friend’s because I ran out of patience
                       I mean, he so crazy
                                                                                               I told them what happened
                     He’ll sell to his mother
                                                                                               They said I had to go home
                    For them dead presidents
                                                                                      I said cool, but she better leave me alone
                             He loves
                                                                              They talk to grandma, but she doesn’t want me back
                     More than his brother
                                                                            Called me and said find another place, call us right back
                                                                              I said I could go with my aunt, they said go and stay
                 That’s why I’m cold-blooded
                  And just don’t give a damn
                                                                                          All right, cool, well everything’s ok
                  I watched my grandmother
                                                                                                   Now this was Friday
                         Die from crack
                                                                                            Had to go check-in on Monday
                     Through my struggles
                                                                             I had been staying with my Aunt for three whole days
              But still won’t give the hustle up
                                                                                                 When I went to check in
                           I’m grinding
                                                                                            There’s a warrant for my arrest
                       I’m not giving up
                                                                                                       I ask for what
                Even though it may look like
                                                                                   Because you weren’t at your grandma’s house
                I’m on a path to self-destruct
                                                                            They told me to leave, I’m arrested for two more counts
                      I’m trying to show
                                                                                     I can’t get a break, go to jail for doing right
                    My thugs and my family
                                                                                              They think they know it all
            That there’s a method to my madness
                                                                                   But you tell me, who’s wrong and who’s right?
                    That they just can’t see
                                                                                                          - Reggie, Land Of Enchantment
                          It’s me, down                                     from The Beat: Who’s rules were you following? you were on house arrest
                                            -Dubb, Alameda                  and weren’t supposed to leave the house under any circumstance - that
from The Beat: you’ve seen and been through a lot! and you’ve learned-      alone violates your probation. you should have called your probation
-maybe that’s why you’re so young, already wise, and have already           before you went to your friend’s house - that would have saved you
become a really amazing poet. What has it done to you to watch your         from getting the warrant. you say, “she better leave me alone”, and “she
grandma and father destroy themselves? how are you going to treat           hangs it over your head”, she has every right to, you sound selfish and
yourself, once you’re out again, so you’ll protect yourself from their      unappreciative of your grandmother’s efforts to help you get back on
destinies and forge for yourself a life that’s productive, fun, safe and,   track you state that you “can’t take too much talk”, which is pathetic
most of all, free? What is the method to your madness?                      because that’s life!
          P                       W                C o • P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                                  Volume 12.20
                                                                                                                                          Page 15

                                                                                                lost in the Storm
                                                                                       Tryin’ to find my way thru the rain
         what i wouldn’t Do For money                                                Lost in the storm of the crazy weather
Well, da questions today is what wouldn’t I do for money?                            Waistband heavy thanks to my baretta
Well, I’ve been in situations dat I haven’t had da money                                    See the cops down the block
and needed it, but da thing I neva, eva, eva, eva, eva would                              But I ain’t scared it’s whatever
do for money is… is… is…. Well, I would neva prostitute,                                Raised in the hood that’s the city
sell myself for money. One is because I’m a young girl,                                     Scared of nobody to tame us
woman, whatever, but I love to value myself and I also                                        Just gangsters to raise us
have too much pride on myself to do something like dat. I                                        Now just imagine that
don’t put anybody down, but us, as girls, we need to value                                What good can they teach us?
ourselves.                                                                                        Loyalty with no love
    Once I had an experience. Well, first, I live on my                                          Livin' life off of drugs
own. Den my boy was on his way back from his country,                                        Trying to reach for the stars
Honduras. Well, I had a good job tryna lay low from da                                       But can’t get past the doves
street, tryna stay out of trouble. I had already been on                          Skippin’ school just to hold down the block
da run for almost a year and a half. Den I got caught up.                                  ‘Cause nobody could teach us
Da narcs caught me, came down on me. Someone had                                                   Watchin’ life fly by
snitched on me, so as soon as dese folks tried to get me,                                        As slugs thru the sky
I ran through da back, hopped on some houses and got                               Knowin' the Lord’s upstairs wonderin’ why
away. I lost my job. I lost everything. Dey raided ma house;                           But still there’s lil’ kids behind bars
everything was left broke. So at first I was like, “I’m not                 Ain’t going home ‘till they serve life two different times
goin’ to da street. I’m not.”                                                               Lifeless bodies, keys of coke,
    So den all of a sudden my boy calls, saying he made it                                           Pounds of dope
to Arizona and dey want $1,700 for him. I was like, “Hell,                                         It’s far from a joke
what can I do?” I really didn’t have a choice, so I went                               It’s all mixed up in this life of mine
to da block, collected da money I needed, den told my                               Never gave trust but now the love is gone
brother-in-law to get da rest. Shhh, I was startin’ to get                           ‘Cause I know they all gon’ drop dimes
used to da street again, so I stayed. Den, after a while,                     So take what yours lil’ homie ‘cause I’m gonna take
my boy got back and I was still out dere, selling. Got my                        what’s mine where I’m from love kills love life
apartment back. Got everything together, den I got caught                                    It’s so real spit some music
up.                                                                                              But none of them feel
    Now I’m in a system I can’t get out of. My boy, he                            You ever slept in the same bed as the devil?
was mad, because I was out dere, doin’ what I was doin’                      Nah you probably never even played with heavy metal
and now las piedras (rocks) and all. But den, since den                                        I’m on a journey thru life
everything been bad. Once I get out, get sent to Colorado.                      And I can’t wait until all the smoke has settled
Hey, I’m out. I’ma try to do 2008 big. I’ma try to change for               So keep living life on the edge while I’m grabbing life by
da betta because it’s not only affecting me, it also affect                                              the horns
my boy.                                                                                         No surrender no retreat
                                 -La Nectra, San Francisco                                  Just tryin’ to stay on my feet
from The Beat: What do you mean you’re in a system you can’t get
out of? Why can’t you? have you been sentenced to life in prison? no,        Now let me ask you, who's really willin’ to take a ride
you are in a difficult situation for sure, but you can get out of it. and                                with me?
anyone who is as obviously intelligent as you and writes as well as you
should set her goal to get out of it, and not to fall back into it again.
                                                                                                   -Kastro El Michoacano, Santa Clara
                                                                            from The Beat: you know how much The Beat respects your poetry
you’ve made it twice and you’ve lost it twice. how many more chances        and admires your talent. you’re one of our most valued contributors.
do you think you get?                                                       But this piece worries us – towards the end, you’re bragging about the
                                                                            life, trying to play it like there’s something cool or ‘hard’ about getting
                                                                            caught up in violence, about firing guns, about losing the people you
                                                                            love. That kind of bravado isn’t going to do you any good, or help you
                                                                            express the truth of who you are and what you’re looking for. We’d
               the lighter Side of me                                       take a ride with you anywhere, but first, we want to make sure you’re
                                                                            controlling the ride, not letting the ride control you.
               I’ve gotten so many chances.
                The system got me laughing.
                 This stuff got me confused.
             I’m steady in and out the system,                                      a new morning For every human
                So it got me going in circles.                              I’ve had so many chances in my life. I’ve had a lot of
        These people be judging by the way I look                           chances I let go. One of them was when my grandfather
            And don’t see the lighter side of me.                           died.
                    I hear angels calling me,                                   I was so ashamed that the night before I had just
 Telling me I need to flee from all this hate and poverty.                  talked to him. I had rushed his phone call, just to go and
 This lifestyle got me knee deep in the game. Raised in                     play a stupid video game. I use to think that I’ve already
          these streets of San Jose ain’t no play.                          heard it. I remember when I used to play football. I would
                  I was raised in a war zone,                               make a tackle and look to the sideline and see him smile.
          Where no one feels no remorse or pity                             I use to hear him say there will be a new morning for
 It’s just another day with a weapon around your waist                      every human.
    Until the end of time. May the Lord be with us all.                         But today all the chances I need are one to give my life
                                -Lil’ Knuckles, Santa Clara                 for my grandfather to help someone who cares.
from The Beat: if you’re trapped in the system is because you choose                                            -Lil’ Momo, Alameda
to be led and controlled by it. get it off from you. They don’t know any    from The Beat: We’re sorry you regret that last conversation with your
positive thing about you because you haven’t shown any. if you have         grandfather – but don’t worry, he knew how much you loved him, and
them, why are you hiding it?                                                his last thoughts of you were also love. so that
s               standOuts

                                                           a l a m e D a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                             i wouldn’t Sell my Soul
                                                                                                                         Volume 12.20        Page 16

I wouldn’t do anything gay for money. But other than                               What I wouldn’t do for money is sell my soul,
that I would do pretty much anything for money. I                                  even though people downgrade me for walkin’,
wouldn’t hurt any of my family for money either. Money                             for if they only knew, this ain’t the life I chose.
is not everything. I would rather be broke and happy than                        And yeah, I once did have dreams and goals that the
rich and unhappy. People tell me money is everything but                                              devil had stole.
I don’t agree. I know we need money to eat and survive.                            When I try to call for help I get left in the cold,
                                               -Pacheaco                                      tryin’ to make it on my own,
from The Beat: What you mean that you wouldn’t do anything gay for                          be grown, stay bold and hold on.
money? What’s your definition of “gay?” you’re right though we need
money to basically live, but it’s not everything. money can only buy                So do what you do- just don’t sell your soul.
materialistic things. it can’t buy heart, trust, loyalty, or a good friend.                                                      - Princess
                                                                              from The Beat: This is a beautiful and sad poem. We understand now
                                                                              that this isn’t the life you chose for yourself. But it’s time to put the
                                                                              past behind you. What we want to know is, what is the life you are

   2008… what’s going to be Different                                         going to choose for yourself when you get out of the hall?

This year 2008 I will not be so insecure and will try to
be faithful as I can be with my boyfriend, more open with
my little sister, set a more positive example for her, also                                  my lifestyle, my money
avoid jail and trouble with girls my age, which I used to                     I’ve done pretty foolish things for money everyone thing.
fight a lot. Also stay above the influence like I have done                   I don’t call it a job, it’s a lifestyle.
prior to being on the inside, and never again separating                           I will probably never change as much as people want
from my loved ones. And I will be more grateful for things                    me too. Maybe little or none at all. I think how much I
I have and cherish the things I have.                                         want to change my life, but know it will never happen,
                                              -Lady Nuttso                    but I can tell you this I will never sell my friends out for
from The Beat: This is an excellent set of goals, lady nuttso. We hope        money about he/she doing something ‘cause I’m not a
you can stick by them. What are the challenges that lie in your way,
and what is your plan for dealing with them? By the way, you are far          snitch for nothing.
from being nuttso.                                                                 I also won’t ever hurt my family members for a million
                                                                              dollars, ‘cause I love them -my family - and family’s all
                                                                              you got. I will never betray my mom for no money ‘cause
               i’m tired of livin’ a lie                                      I need her to help me in the future.
                                                                                   I wouldn’t be no one’s slave for money. I got my pride
I’m tired of being here in juvie. This lifestyle just isn’t                   and I ain’t going to let no other person pay me to down
for me. Got to do more and accept the consequences that                       grade me, tell me what I can and cannot do.
I put myself through, but damn, it’s like, how much can I                          I go back to me being foolish and non-petty things. I
take? I’ve been here for a month plus, and all I’m doing is                   never thought I would have done this. I guess it was just
watching the slow days pass me by.                                            that I lived in a group home that didn’t take care of me,
    I’m tired of living a lie, so when I get out I’m going to                 so I had to in this so called foolish job of mine.
act brand new. You know, be on some legal grown-up type                                                                           -Marisa
of shhh. Gotta be legit. I’m about to be 18.                                  from The Beat: life is all about change. you are still young—you have
                                                                              the ability to change a whole lot. don’t worry about what other people
    All these years I’ve wasted. I mean I graduated and                       want from you though—think about what you want from yourself. The
got my high school diploma. But I lost my innocence                           kind of person you want to be, so that you are proud of yourself. you
since I’ve graduated. Got into a lot of stuff, got addicted                   talk about things you believe in—loyalty, pride, being good to your
                                                                              mom…you clearly have principals. But the struggle is sticking to those
to money. But I’ve realized that instead of making the                        principals in times of difficulty—like when you are in a group home.
money, I let the money make me.                                               We think you can do it, but you have to stay strong. are you ready to
                                                                              do that?
    I realized that money isn’t everything. I don’t want to
end up in jail or six feet under, so I got to keep my head
up and stay strong. Gonna try and do nothing wrong.
Man, I just got to get out of here. I’ve been going through                                           not worth it
some things. Shhh has gotta change.                                                I wouldn’t do anything stupid for some money;
                                                   -Christina                       I wouldn’t kill another person for some money
from the Beat: christina, you are on the right track. sounds like you              I wouldn’t hurt anybody in my family for money.
know exactly what you don’T want to do, and where you don’T want
to be. so the question is- how are you going to make it happen? Think                  I did some time for only thirty-two dollars
about where you can refocus your mind and your energy, so fast money                   I wouldn’t do anything stupid for it again.
doesn’t lure you back…
                                                                              from The Beat: That’s good that you realize that money is evil. some
                                                                              people would do anything for money. They would do anybody dirty

                         i reminisce
                                                                              and hurt anybody. anything that’s gonna bring you here aint coo. you
                                                                              can get money at a steady pace, and not have to risk your life or your
I reminisce for you. I reminisce the days. I try to forget
but the feelings never go away. I reminisce for you. I
reminisce about the nights and how it was so right. I
reminisce for the love, for the love that was always there.
                                                                                                       this SuCkS!
I reminisce, I reminisce and I know in my heart that you                      What’s up Beat? It’s your boy Gordo form Hayward this
really did care even though my mind plays tricks on me                        is my first time being in here and I just want to say it
and I can’t seem to let you go. I believe its because you’re                  SUCKS!
still loving me. I reminisce, I reminisce and the memories                    But I’m doing what I gotta do!
tell me so….                                                                                                                  -Gordo
                                                                              from The Beat: What you “gotta do” is take this as a sign that it’s time to
                                                       -D-D                   quit the Bs that got you locked up. you want to stay true? stay true to
from The Beat: do you reminisce for freedom the way you reminisce for         yourself, your mother’s love, your possibilities of doing well and being
this person? are they one and the same?                                       something in life.
s              standOuts

                  how many Chances
                                                         a l a m e D a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                  i’ve been given Several Chances
                                                                                                                      Volume 12.20        Page 17

Well I had five chances to do right and get out of the                     I know I’ve been given several chances to change my life
system. I think that I messed up with those chances                        and habits, and been given several warnings. I believe
because I tried to do what everybody else was doing, but                   after this experience (and as this being my first time in
now coming back this time and knowing that I’m going to                    juvenile hall), I have realized a lot of mistakes that lead me
be far and be able to complete a program, I feel that this                 to this place and in this direction. I am willing to change
is my last chance. I need to get my life together so I know                this way of life in order to keep from coming continuously
I am going to do right. I’m close to getting out, and I pray               back or even from eventually coming back.
that I get out tomorrow. I’m just waiting and anxious.                         I think juvenile hall and my being here was a great
When I leave, I’m going to make better choices than the                    experience. It brought me to the attention that this isn’t
ones I’ve been making for myself. I feel that once I’m given               a place I want to be. I thank God I was sent here sooner
the opportunity, I will be very successful in life.                        than later.
                                                    -F Chick                                                                  -Ikaneasha
from The Beat: We are encouraged by your words, and your determination     from The Beat: These are very wise words, ikaneasha. you have come to
to make a big change in your life! We are also worried though. you         an important realization about what you want to your future, and you
say you’ve had 5 chances already, and each time you’ve ended up back       have now been given another chance. it’s time for you to act on it.
where you are now. Why is this time different? Tell us what you are
going to do to really break this pattern. What is going to help you
make the right choices this time, when you’ve made “bad” choices in
the past?
                                                                                        how many Chances on me
                                                                           What’s good wit’ The Beat? This be Monique.
                                                                               Well, how many chances I got? I had several chances
                       the go getter                                       being this is the first time I’ve been up in here but that
What wouldn’t I do for money? Ha! I might laugh at the                     don’t mean nothing due to the fact when I get out I just
question but ain’t nothing funny. They call me the stick                   might mess up and end right back up in here. That’s when
up kidd. If I’m desperate enough I’ll rob you and your                     the change comes in-- I want to change and calm down
kids. Shhh its nothing, you’ll live. Ha!                                   but the street keeps calling me.
    What wouldn’t I do for money? Work that track and                          I’ve been in here since Dec. 20 for some stupid stuff
bring it back. Ha! Never that. I’m all about my paper, tryin’              that wasn’t even worth it. The problem is I always want
to stack a mill so I can get another grill. For real. I’m all              to kick it with the homies 24-7.
about my skrill. I keep it real, for real! In the city tryin’ to               When I get released (this time) at least I’m a try and
get my dollar bills.                                                       hopefully I’ll achieve, but I’ll always have mad love for the
                                                  -Von-Dutch               homies! And I’m 17 ‘bout to be 18, so I need to change but
from The Beat: so. you know how to get money the dirty way. you
sound almost proud about it. But is this really how you want to live
                                                                           for some reason I always want to bang on the scene.
your life? sticking up moms and kids when you have to? There are other                                                        -Monique
ways to make money— the decision is up to you. keep sticking people        from The Beat: change is important, sometimes necessary, but it’s never
up, you are bound to go down, and we will be glad to get you off the       easy. The street will keep calling out to you. it’s up to you to answer, or
streets. stop violating others!!                                           to walk the other way. What choice will help you be the adult you are
                                                                           about to be? This is the first time you are up in here—but if you go back
                                                                           to the street, it will not be your last. is it worth it?

         i need to live life as a Father
In 2008 I told myself I was going to be different, in
2008 I’ma be there for both my babymamas. One of my
                                                                                          2008: the Changes Yeat
                                                                           In 2008 there will be a lot of changes, changes in
baby mama’s is going to be two months, and the other is
                                                                           behavior, friends, actions, and everyday life. I will choose
several plus months.
                                                                           to make better choices for my self and my family. I will
    I need to work in a legal way, I can’t live life as a kid
                                                                           change the type of people I hang around with and how I
no more… I need to live life as a father. So I’ma have to
                                                                           decide to have fun. I will set a positive example for my
step up my game cause the life I was living ain’t the way.
                                                                           siblings and friends.
from The Beat: congratulations for stepping up to the plate on becoming                                                 -George Bush
a father. it’s good to see you take that responsibility. so what are the   from The Beat: Those are all great changes for you but also for your
changes you will have to make? do you have support from your family?       family and friend. it’s time to be a leader not a follower george. Be
do you have a good line on a possible job?                                 positive ‘cause nothing negative can really come from doing positive
                                                                           things and setting examples for others to follow.

                    winner or loser                                                          a new 2008 For me
        How many chances will I get this time?
           Eventually you are going to run out.                            What’s going to be different from 07 from 08 is that am
                 Look at the bigger picture.                               going to be there for my family more than I have, and do
            You wanna be a loser or a winner?                              better in school --like go on time and not cut and listen to
             If you keep repeating the pattern                             the teacher when she talks in class.
 of breakin’ laws and comin’ back to jail and the judge                        And I’ll also watch my temper and think before I act.
               keeps giving you the chances                                And quit smoking weed and Newport. And start looking
 he gives you, than you ain’t going to get nothing out of                  for a real job. And that’s what going to be different from
                            life.                                          ‘07 from ‘08.
                You are going to be a loser…                                                                                     -John
                                                                           from The Beat: if you could succeed in making these changes, your life
                                                  -Helena                  would end about three hundred times as good as it is now. But it will
from The Beat: helen- we believe that you have it in you to take this      also be a big challenge. What will you have to change? 1. The people
chance and make something out of it. more importantly, you need to         you spend your time with 2. your habits in terms of studying and doing
believe it yourself. you have the power to make some really positive       homework 3. Where you spend your time at night. and that’s just for
changes. focus on that.                                                    starters. are you ready to make these changes?
s               standOuts

                    what would i Do?
                                                            a l a m e D a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                                           i’m tired
                                                                                                                             Volume 12.20        Page 18

What I would do for money, almost everything except rob                        Hey my name is Robert and I’m from Berkeley. I Would
my own brother like he did me. But it’s good ‘cause what                       like to tell you a thing or two about me if You’re willing
goes around comes around.                                                                            to listen. It’s called
     I took a bullet ‘cause I didn’t want to give up the work                                “The Rob That Will Never Stop.”
or the fun! It’s crazy how it went down ‘cause they didn’t                                 I be everywhere, looking for money
know I was a G and live by my heart. They also didn’t                          Will even be your friend if you give me some money. I’m
know that if I had to I would die by it.                                                   hungry and I ain’t ate in like a week
                                                       -Seron                   I’m starving, I’m tired of wearing the same clothes I’m
from The Beat: What you mean you would die by what? money got                           thinking about going to sleep in Mervyn’s
two brothers funking, huh? money make people go crazy. We don’t see
why peeps out there acting like they starving when they really aren’t.                          They got everything I need
cats always talking about i need to eat, but they sporting $200 shoes?              From underwear and socks, and even black tees
That’s just being plain greedy. most greedy people end up losing a lot
in the end, like friends, loved ones, family, or sometimes their freedom                         I’ll never get caught, man
or their own lives.                                                                    What was the name of the last meal I bought
                                                                                                      I don’t even know
                                                                                                       And I’m not slow
        the worst Christmas i ever had                                                                      I’m fast
What’s up Beat, it’s yo' boy Miclo. I am just gonna tell you                                 So if the rollers decide to come
how bad my Christmas was. It was the worst Christmas                            I’ll just walk off because they’ll just see me as a bum.
I ever had. Why? Because we really didn’t do anything                                                                              -Robert
                                                                               from The Beat: so you’re only interest is money? do you even know
up in the unit. All we did was watch movies all day we                         how to get it? some thing isn’t working if you don’t even have enough
really didn’t get to talk. The only good thing we did on                       money to feed yourself. don’t you think it’s time to make a change?
Christmas day was eat good food other than that I had a
bad time.
    I was gonna tell you about my New Years but damn,
I think you had enough with what I told you about the                                   what wouldn’t i do for money?
Christmas.                                                                     There’s a lot of stuff I wouldn’t do for money, for example
                                                      -Miclo                   I wouldn’t betray any of my family members for any
from The Beat: miclo, we hope your next christmas’s have much more             amount of money. I wouldn’t do a lot of stuff for money
joy in them than this one, we hope you get to be with your family. What        just because I’m not a really greedy person. I mean don’t
will you need to do to make that dream come true?
                                                                               get me wrong I love to have money in my pocket just like
                                                                               everyone else, but I don’t love it so much that I would
                                                                               change my moral standards for it.
                            2008…                                                                                          -Man of Morals
Well, I’m going to do a lot of things different than I did                     from The Beat: That’s great to hear. you are a man of good morals.
                                                                               Why do you think people get so greedy? Why do people act like they
in ’07. Because I’m going to have to take up a whole new                       starving just cause they are not sporting Jordans’ or something? We’re
responsibility. I will be responsible for my son that will                     glad to hear that you’re not caught up in the web of “doing anything for
                                                                               money.” That kind of mentality will get you a long way.
be born in the middle of April.
     By the time he’s born I will be eighteen years old.
Hopefully I’ll at least have my GED and a job, to support
and be there for my own family. But then some things
wont be different about me, like I’m not going to stop
                                                                                                       Piece of mind
hanging out with all my friends. I mean of course I’m                                        If you don’t work you don’t eat
going to avoid hanging around the ones that are making                                           I’m on a mission for gwap
negative decisions but I also want to help some change                           I know the zombies rolling by so I post on the block
and be positive about their lives and help them do better.                                  You want your money all the time
                                                   -Aaron                                   When you come out of the ghetto
from The Beat: That’s a very good idea. nobody said you don’t have                You could be serving the knocks or pimping girls in
to stop hanging around your friends. We just don’t want you to make                                       stilettos
negative decisions that will cost you your freedom or even your life! you
have a good heart for trying to help your folks out. We wish you the                      However you get it, get it fast and hard
best with your kid and stay positive.                                                 Sell grapes, sell rocks, sell pills and shards
                                                                                    And I really don’t care if you don’t like my rap
                                                                                       I ain’t even a rapper you can keep all that
                            new life                                                    I’m a gangster, a rider, a hoodlum, a thug
                                                                                       Infatuated by money, guns, sex and drugs
In the year 2009 I plan on getting my GED, reading more,
writing more, starting a family. Be the father that I never                           I hit hard for real, I don’t ask no questions
had. Work for a living. Come home, play with my unborn                              I do all that I want to, I don’t take suggestions
and read him a book. Teach him to read and write and                                Right now I’m in the hall still doing some time
be a kid,                                                                                       But when I’m out and about
    Unlike 2008, being in jail for the whole year. Unlike                                        I’m back to pushin’ a line
2007, playing with guns. Drinking and driving, hoping to                       I might be wasting my lyrics ‘cause I’m straight from the
die. I’m alive and start a life.                                                                           streets
                                                    -Toney                     Plus they probably won’t put my little piece on The Beat.
from The Beat: new life. We’re glad to hear that you wanna change                                                                  -Gumby
your ways. We’re glad to hear that you’ve discovered a positive view of        from The Beat: you gave us a piece of mind and we will give you a piece
life. There a lot of wonderful things but it’s really up to you to see that.   of ours/ Would you like being locked down in a 6 by 9 cell for 24hrs/
sometimes we get caught up in the environment that we live in that             do you realize the outcome of those thoughts in yo’ head/ might leave
we don’t see there is more to life than just ghost riding, popping pills,      you lock down for life in the pen, or possibly dead/ We ain’t trying to
getting into trouble. nobody saying that you can’t have fun, but you           preach to you, but keep it real let’s face it/ it’s your life it’s up to you if
just have to be responsible about the situation.                               you wanna live, or just simply waste it/
s               standOuts

                    She needs a hug
                                                          a l a m e D a            C o u n t Y

                                                                                              how many Chances
                                                                                                                      Volume 12.20        Page 19

   She needs a hug sitting at home mad at the world.                       I feel I need one more chance because I’ve really changed
             Missing what’s going on outside                               my life in the heart and soul, so I’m trying to show my
           Nobody to talk to stuck on stupid.                              family and the judge that I need a second chance.
 She needs a hug, going to school with no friends at all                        In 2008 I will change my friends and my life, because
 Feeling so alone while everybody staring her down like                    it’s important to start off new and it’s a new year. In here
                  she from another world.                                  so it’s easier to change because you have plenty of time
   So she sit all alone by herself with nobody to care.                    to think and practice your change. In 2007 I hung around
   She needs a hug, now she got a job coming to work                       a group of people I called my friends, and I was told time
Trying to be cool with her coworkers and fit in but really                 and time they wasn’t bad.
                   don’t know what to do                                         I insisted that they were but ended up they weren’t
 So she do her shift, then straight home ‘cause she got                    and I am now stuck in here trying to get home. So I
                       nothing to do.                                      have learned my lesson and I planned to change my life
  She needs a hug, now it’s a new year and she want to                     around.
             find a whole new pick of friends                                                                                     -Trae
                   That she see every day                                  from The Beat: you deserve friends who bring out the best in you. We
                                                                           hope that you think about that in here, remember it, and prepare your
         But they don’t show her no type of love                           mental toughness so that you can stay away from all that Bs when you
                  So she stuck like chuck                                  hit the free world!
                ‘Cause nobody gives a shhh
                    So she needs a hug.
                                               -Lil’ Solid
from The Beat: as usual you come through with a poem that lives up
                                                                                                    back again
to your name. Bravo! We wish you’d tell us who this is dedicated to.       What’s good Beat? It’s Keith from Hayward.
your girl? your mom? anyone that’s ever been in this position? We hope         Well I’m back. I was gone for two weeks. I was at camp
there’s a “to be continued.”
                                                                           it was easy program. But I got in a fight and since he
                                                                           went to the hospital they violated my probation. I also
                              life                                         might get charged. When I think about it wasn’t worth it.
                                                                           I could’ve still been at camp.
   So I asked myself, how long will I live or will I die                       Also I got a case in San Mateo County so I’ll be writing
     To me it really don’t matter I’m a die some day                       you guys from Hillcrest till I get sentenced, and then I’ll
       And I’ma keep my head up high to the sky                            be back here at JJC. I’ll probably be gone next week to
     So I asked myself where will I be in ten years.                       Hillcrest so I’ll write you guys then take care.
               Dead in jail, wealthy, poor?                                                                                     -Keith
               Will I have a wife and kids?                                from The Beat: We’ll be here for you keith. keep writing for us no
                                                                           matter where you are – and also, it sounds like some kind of anger
 I look back at the people that said I won’t amount to                     management training would be good. There will be times when you
shhh in life. And look at me now—right where they said                     want to fight again, but now you know that the consequences of it just
                           I’d be.                                         aren’t worth it, right? Peace.
                      But not for long
                 Holler at yo’ boy Lil’ J.
                                                      -Lil’ J
from The Beat: other people can say whatever they want about you, and
                                                                                         wishing i was out there
sometimes it will be negative – but it sounds like you want something
                                                                           January 9 2008 was the day my cousin got popped.
better for yourself. “not for long,” you say. good! so what s your plan?   Luckily he survived, and now I’m up in this thang to
What will you do differently, so you can become something in life!         myself.
                                                                                 Why do ninjas gotta hate on my cousin, just because
                                                                           he out there getting it? You see, there are a lot of haters
                       getting over                                        in Oakland. Why ninjas just can’t live the life and stop
I wouldn’t get over on my family for money because                         hatin’?
that’s going against the grain and that’s not solid to do                       But as I think about this shhh it hurt me to know that
that. But anything else, I’m in it. My potnas depend on                    my cousin got shot but at the same time I’m mad because
who they is, that’s just da way it is because you never                    I ain’t out there but when I get out I’m gonna find out who
know what they thinking …                                                  did this.
                                             -Doe Goody                         “Payback gonna be a …, but at the same time, I can’t
from The Beat: so it’s not solid to get over on family, but it is solid
to get over on anyone else? and then doing that leads to fighting, or
                                                                           do none of that BS, because I know that shhh gon’ happen
shooting, and jail time, and then your family suffers because you’re       to me. Yeah I got shot at before, four times at that because
in here. This is the deal: every time you get yourself locked up, or in    of ninjas hating. Out of them four times, I only got shot
danger, you are hurting your family… either for money, or for free.
                                                                           twice in the leg … but that aint go stop me from living
                                                                           that town life, ya dig?
                    i miss my People                                            But like they say, what goes around comes around.
                                                                           Well I do believe in that karma, it’s like you mess wit’ one
I miss my people when we used to have fun together                         of my family you messin’ wit me.
when I little but now I’m just reading about my people                          But January 25 2008 is my 7th time going back to
every week. And so many died in this New Year of ‘08.                      court so hopefully I get free fast like Comcast
Man that’s a shame, how people I know that I can get                                                                      -Lil’ Rondale
knock off that fast.                                                       from The Beat: We can feel the way you’re torn in two directions. on
                                                                           the other hand, you want do fight back, and you’re totally caught up
    All they had to do is stay out the game.                               in the lifestyle – or should we say “deathstyle,” of the streets. on the
                                              -Lil’ Mat                    other side, there’s a part of you that seems to know where this would
from The Beat: it’s more than a shame; it’s     an absolute tragedy… we    take you – and you know you have a life to fight for – the life of your
don’t ever want to have to be writing this      about you. What are you    precious little girl, who needs her daddy. There’s a lot of work you need
doing to stay out of the game? Who are the      people you love most who   to do so you can get her back in your life, and it’s that love for her, not
are still alive? What kinds of plans have you   made for the future?       the hate for your enemies, that we hope you’ll listen to.
s               standOuts

                                                           a l a m e D a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                                                         Volume 12.20       Page 20

   A chance is an opportunity to do something right                           My chance was going to camp on 1/2/08 but I went out
     Whether it’s rapping on the mic or riding a bike                         that night and police fucked me up by locking me up. I
               Life is a fight, your battle to win                            messed up by going out the night I went to court. Now I’m
            You shall fight with the beast within                             locked up waiting to go to camp. I’m going to have to wait
                 If you lose, your life will end                              for another two weeks to a month to get there.
  Or change, who’s to say what sparks your inner flame                            2008 is going to be a better year for me because I am
      Life is insane it goes up and down like a crane                         going to try to change my ways and go straight. I’m going
            Or flies up and crashes like a plane                              to wait and go to camp then do well in there. Go home in
             But the same as my pants are tan                                 a month and kick it with moms and the homeboys.
                 And my county shirt is blue                                                                                   -Derrick
                       And the things I do                                    from The Beat: you did get a chance and messed up. But everyone
                                                                              makes mistakes even though they’ve been giving plenty of chances.
                 If I was a lawyer I would sue                                But you still have more chances. it’s up to you to decide when you want
         And dance god I wish I had more chances                              to actually stop making the mistakes because we only get so many
from The Beat: life is all about chances. We don’t know your current
situation but we know that you’re still in Juvenile hall. so whatever
you did forget about it and move on. The chance is presenting yourself
right in front of you. you can’t be lingering too much on what you did or                       how many Chances?
your past because what’s done is already done and can’t be undone. But                      How many chances will I get till I
however it’s up to you to give yourself a chance to move on.
                                                                                                   Hit the big prison?
                                                                                             How many chances will I get my
                     looking Forward                                                          How many chances will I get
I’m tryin' to break the cycle.                                                                          Till I die?
    I’m tryin' to get somewhere in this world. I would like                                  How many chances will I get till
to have a family to support in the right way. I wanna find                                      I stop eating this nasty
a way to live successful.                                                                             County food?
    But it’s kind of hard if you don’t have any examples in                                                                             -MidgetOne
your life, ya feel me?                                                        from The Beat: how many chances do you want? do you want to keep
                                                                              doing things that’s goin’ to bring you back to the halls? keep doing what
     How do people expect you to be a man if you ain’t                        you doing to bring you to the halls and it’s only going to eventually lead
never had one there to show you how to be one, you know                       you to county jail and the pen. This is your life, man, ask yourself how
                                                                              you want to live it. Behind bars, or free? it’s your choice so don’t be
what I’m saying?                                                              asking how many chances.
    I don’t know what it is that confuses me, but in a split
second my mind can turn so negative. And I constantly
ask God to help & guide me on those kind of situations.
I’m getting too old for this shhh. I’m going to be an
                                                                                                 For this new Year
                                                                              For the year 2008 I’m planning on staying out of jail and
adult in a couple of months & it’s time to start taking
                                                                              spending more time with my family. But I know it aint
responsibilities for my actions. I would like to live to be a
                                                                              going to be easy because when I’m around my partners I
grandfather and live to be at least 70.
                                                                              don’t think at all. ‘Cause when they say let’s go hit a lick,
    But I feel pretty good about what I’m gonna do. Don’t
                                                                              I’m act like I’m not on probation.
drop out & keep on staying true.
                                                                                  The cold thing about this situation is that if we get
                                                -Lil’ Rascal
from The Beat: if you don’t have a father to be that example in your          stopped by the cops I’m the only one that’s going to jail
life, are there other adult males you’ve known, met, or read about who        because most of my friends are eighteen or older. So they
live their life in an honorable, positive way. you say you ask god for
guidance – but do you think god would really want you to “stay true”          don’t need a parent to get them out, they can just walk
to all the violence, bloodshed, sorrow and suffering that make up that        out the front door.
lifestyle?                                                                                                                 -Young Hotta
                                                                              from The Beat: Well you need to either stop hanging around your
                                                                              friends, or you need to make wiser decisions. you can still hang around,

          what would we Do for money
                                                                              but when they want to go get into some trouble you must learn to be
                                                                              like “i’m coo’ i got shh to do.” Think about your life and freedom.

    Man, money can make you do some dumb shhh.
                Me, I would do hella shhh
              because I grew up hella poor.
                    Didn’t have nothing                                                    no money or more money
         I started to rob when I was old enough.                              My family has money, but don’t call me rich just because
                       Bought a gun                                           I grown up with everything. But to get what I want, I got to
                    bam bam in the air                                        work for it -- do chores and help around the house.
               to scare them and come up.                                         But would I trade my mom or family for a million
       So I went to stores, aww yea, ain’t much,                              dollars, no because I won’t be able to share the money
           but whatever. I always do what I do                                with or to give mom or my family what they really want.
           but in the process I want to change
                become a fine young man.                                          I used to live in Stockton in an apartment, and my
              But until then I don’t know…                                    mom wants to move to a house with a pool and Jacuzzi
                    the change begins.                                        with a lot of room for me and brother. So I won’t trade my
                                                 -James                       family for money.
from The Beat: We understand that you didn’t have anything growing                                                                 -Alan
up but there are many other things you can do for money besides               from The Beat: it’s good that you got some training in how to “work
robbing. doing hot shhh like that can get you a lot of time in “y” or         for your money” by doing chores at home. do you think you learned
in the Pen. in the end ask yourself it’s really worth it. There’s plenty of   how to be a good worker from that, and you’ll be able to get yourself
other ways to get money without getting into trouble.                         a good job?
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                                                         a l a m e D a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                                                     Volume 12.20       Page 21

               Throw my freedom to the wind                                What I think is going to be different in 2008. I’m going to
             As my heart and soul now disperse                             go back to school. And I’m gone complete my program.
       Like a handful of gravel tossed from the earth                                                                                -J
             My body will no longer be the same                            from The Beat: We hope that you don’t get distracted from your goals.
             That just so happens to be detained
        My body is tied to the weight of a nightmare
          As they stare and don’t care to awake me
       To free me from this facility that’s killin’ me,
                                                                              2008… what’s going to be Different
                                                                           Well the year of two thousand and seven I have made
                     Fighting this insanity
                                                                           a lot of mistakes. One of the mistakes I have made was
        It’s my own war I defeat ‘cause I’m a warrior,
                                                                           making the wrong decisions that I have made to come
                      No one can harm me
                                                                           here to juvenile hall. The five times that I have, I was not
                    I’ll take an entire army
                                                                           attending school.
               Inspire them to be what you see
                                                                               In 2007, I didn’t really pay attention to my family that
                 Yes indeed not make believe
                                                                           much. So some of the changes that I want to make is I
                           Believe in me
                                                                           want to start going to school and I want to stop coming
                 Assassin crushing hostility
                                                                           to juvenile hall. I’ve realized that my family is the most
                    Red beam on a coward
                                                                           important thing to me so hopefully I make some better
                    Sky high from a tower
                      That is I’m attacking
                                                                                                                           -Family guy
                   Equivalent to a genocide                                from The Beat: What’s stopping you from making better choices? get
                           Now I awake                                     your education and spend time with your family. learn from your
                                                                           mistakes and wise up.
                 You feel me, back to reality.
                         -No Hesitation Money’s Motivation
from The Beat: Very intriguing poem. you have a very interesting point
of view. But back to reality what do you mean nobody can harm you. you
are a very intelligent young man but why do you say things that aren’t
true? do you think you’re invincible? you think you can’t be touched?
                                                                                                      my goal
anybody can be harmed, nobody can escape earthquakes, hurricanes,
                                                                           What’s up wit’ it Beat? As for me just sitting here doing
tornadoes, blizzards, car accidents, or any type of accident that can      this lil’ time, hopefully in 2008 I change my ways so I
happen. step up to the plate and deliver The Beat your PoW!!               don’t have to be back this year.
                                                                               My goal is to get out the system and stay out. I know
                                                                           there’s rules I’m going to have to follow but it’s all good
                            hatred                                         because I’m ready for that. I’m also ready to get back in
           Hate is all I feel when I sit in my cell.                       school and get back in the studio.
       I think about my age and staying out of jail.                           I ain’t got to much to say to yall this time but I’m gone
             I fear to kill but if I have to I will.                       get at yall, rest in peace lil frank yall know I got to say it.
             I don’t know this just how I feel.                                                                                     - Ace
   I know people hate me in the world but I don’t care.                    from The Beat: once you get out, we hope that you stay determined to
                                                                           get of the system. everybody always talks about getting out the system
                       Would you care?                                     but they always seem to come back and write for the Beat again. We
                                                     -Marquis              hope that you don’t come back. We’re glad to know that you’re ready to
from The Beat: Why do you feel like you have so much hate? Why do you      follow the guidelines so you can get off probation and out the system.
feel like you have to hurt? Why is there so much hate in the community?    so have patience and soon you will be free from all of it!
Tell us where this anger comes from!

              no more Same mistakes                                                                   Chances
                                                                           We all ask for chances when we need them. Put it this
I think that ‘08 is going to be a lot different because I                  way, every time we get locked up we always want another
know I’m not going to make the same mistake. I will try                    chance. We always say give me another chance and I will
to go to school more than I did in ‘07.                                    change. I will never do anything stupid again. Then if they
                                                   -Trying                 give us a chance, and we get out we go back to doing
from The Beat: go ahead and handle your business. stay focused and
get your education. don’t let anything distract you from reaching your     the same thing we was doing before. Then we get locked
goals.                                                                     up again and want another chance. It’s the same routine
                                                                           over and over again. So I guess we don’t know how many
                                                                           chances we need until reality hits.
                        Same thing                                                                                       -Fat Looney
                                                                           from The Beat: you right. sometimes we don’t realize that we’re wasting
I think that 2008 will be kind of the same as 2007. But                    precious chances that we’re getting. We get the opportunity to do
not exactly the same there will be some things I’ll change                 something with ourselves and we blow it. But when we do make a
though. I’ll do whatever I can to not come back in here.                   mistake we have to learn from it. We can’t let it get us down. reality is
                                                                           that we do what we do but it’s your choice on how you wanna live your
I’ll be able to spend more time with my little brother and                 life. you can choose to have your freedom or you can choose to take
sister, so that they wont end up in here like me. I aint                   some other road.
saying that I’m going to change everything about me
because I just don’t think I can. I think this year will turn
out better than 2007 though.
                                                                                        Family better than money
from The Beat: change is hard. But eventually you’re gonna have to         I wouldn’t do anything for money. Money isn’t all that
make the decision whether you want to make a career out of coming to       big of a deal for me. Sure it can get you things that are
jail. you said you want to spend more time with your sister and brother.
you said you don’t want to see them come to jail. so what’s gonna be       nice but it can’t keep your family together.
your choice? you aint gotta square up or nothing but you just have pick                                                       -Beau
and choose your battles so you won’t have to risk your freedom and be      from The Beat: you’re right. There are things that money can’t buy. Why
writing us pieces from here.                                               do you think some people think that money is everything?
s              standOuts

                           my Flow
                                                         a l a m e D a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                     what’s going to be Different
                                                                                                                     Volume 12.20       Page 22

   You think you hard ‘cause y’all go around jumping                       This year is going to be different because I’m locked up.
                              fools                                        And I’m going to be locked up for a couple years. It’s going
I’m made man, kiddo you should already know the rules                      to be different because I will be writing and reading a lot
       You don like me ‘cause you broke and I’m not                        more. And I want to be a good role model for my young
               Your time is over on my watch                               brothers. And I’m going to stop doing drugs. How many
  You already know I hit my target when I play with the                    chances. I had a couple chances, even before I caught this
  lead Plus I lock like a pit bull wit’ dreads in his head                 charge I had a cool chances. I did some thing stupid.
      ABC are the only letters I know in the alphabet                          Then I got lucky and came out two weeks later,
                  I get money around clock                                 straight release. And I got kicked out of school but they
           While you wait for your welfare check                           were going to give me another chance when I got out of
                       I throw it around                                   the hall the first time. But since I caught this charge I lost
                 Like I was made of money                                  that chance. And I can’t go to school for a couple of years.
          Running yo’ mouth ain’t doing a thang                            What would you do for money?
                        I’m be who I am                                                                                              -Bp
             So I’m gonna let my dreads swang                              from The Beat: everybody gets chances. some of us get a lot of chances
                                                                           some of us only get a few. But that’s the way things work out. We have
                    I don’t even got to do it                              to take advantage of every chance we get. We can’t just waste them.
         Have my ninja peel you for some change                            We’re never guaranteed another chance. once we get one we have to
                                                                           take advantage of it and act like we’re not gonna get another one.
  Just because I don’t fight don’t let it get to your head                 you’re young and you have to learn from your mistakes. don’t waste
                         Like they said                                    these chances that you’re getting!
   Last night ninjas who think they hard end up dead
     Call me whatever but I’m known as a player man
        Push me to the limit guarantee I’ll get you
      You slapped me up ninja wake up and apologize
                                                                                                  Payday in ‘08
    I’m a youngsta but I will ride when its time to ride                   I’m going to be getting my money. I ain’t gone be getting
                   Your team against mine                                  in trouble with the law. I’m gone try to stay out the way
                        Call it a suicide                                  and try to do something different because everything is
         I rather yo’ mama cry than my mama cry                            getting old. Everybody’s dad is in jail, but I’m still gone
    This a new year you shouldn’t do nothing foolish.                      mob ‘till the end.
                                                -Young Mari                                                                 -Gayland
                                                                           from The Beat: What are you going to be doing differently this time?
from The Beat: you’re a talented writer but sometimes you mix up your      Why is everyone’s dad in jail? is that the reason why a lot of these
flow and write positive things, and sometimes you write about things       youngsters are getting caught up in the system? is it because they have
that are negative and foolish. so what are you trying to do? you trying    no male guidance? leave the mobbin’ and move into a better mindset!
to paint a negative picture or a positive one? Which lifestyle suits you
best? do you like coming to jail? or wouldn’t you rather be free going
to school, off probation and doing whatever you please?

                                                                                             2008 tryna be Free
                        Dope fiends                                        Yeah though I’m tryin’ to be back at Camp Sweeney,
                                                                           doing my program, ‘cause this hall shhh is hella funky
Well I never will steal for my family, but my uncle is a
dope fiend. The man will do anything for money, like one                   and bootsy.
day my uncle was trying to break into our house.                               I’m bout to be 18 years old in a few months and I
                                                -Nephew                    just want God to watch over me cause I’m tired of doing
from The Beat: That must have been hard for the family, to see someone     wrong, coming in and out of this facility. I’m on my way
they loved being brought so low by a drug. has that affected the way       to graduate from high school making my momma proud.
you look at drugs in general? has it made you want to stay away from
addiction?                                                                                                            -Lil’ Dedaman
                                                                           from The Beat: We hope that you have the strength to stay focused and
                                                                           fight the temptations that you will face in the street. make your momma
                                                                           proud, don’t let anything stop you.

   How many strikes are there in a baseball game?
          Three strikes in life and you are out
         How you play baseball with a ninja life
                                                                                                 always hating
          Tell me are you sharper than a knife                             What’s up Beat it’s yo’ boy Turk. Today I want to talk
              On the outs I don’t think a lot                              about hating ninjas. I just don’t like hating ninjas
            I gotta find money like Sherlock                               because they smile in yo’ face. But they envy you in the
             Never at home I’m on the move                                 back of they mind. That’s why me and my team funkin’
        Tryin’ to bubble like a fat woman’s boob                           with hella other ninjas in Oakland because they hate to
          I sit and stand and think of nothing                             see us shine. Here, take this for example, my ninja Tay
   Spark me up a blunt blow it fast like a crack fiend                     he doing his thang he got a Lexo and hella shhh. Hella
  Smooth as cream and I’m straight as a damn beam                          ninjas be talking about they gone strip him, he a sucka,
 See me everywhere you could call me yo’ worst dream                       but they never do shhh. But when they see him ride by
                Too much and I go so hard                                  they talk hella shhh in front of hella people. See that’s
      Ridin’ up town and I’m scraping in my car                            hating right there. But anyways I can spot a hater from a
       Locked behind a door young Boe got bars                             mile away.
           Can’t breathe no more I need CPR.                                                                                   -Turk
                                                                           from The Beat: sometimes people just love to hate because they are
                                                     -Boe                  jealous. But you can’t just stop and trip off of every hater. if you were
from The Beat: you got bars but you also locked up behind bars. stop       to stop and trip off every hater you wouldn’t have enough time to do
wasting your time coming to these facilities. and instead go spend         you. Just do you man don’t get side tracked by tripping off these haters.
some time in the studio and drop some rhymes on the mic and really         Put the guns down and hit the books, get some knowledge! don’t be
test yourself to see what kind of skills you got.                          a fool!
s              standOuts

                      Just one more
                                                         a l a m e D a             C o u n t Y

                                                                             2008… what’s going to be Different?
                                                                                                                       Volume 12.20       Page 23

How many chances I need I’m not sure how many, maybe                       The one thing that I could think of that’s going to be
it depends on what’s the situation. I’m up in here and I                   different is my game and the way I think. I’m gone do
aint been up in here hella times. This my second time in.                  things smarter and always stay on my toes. I’m gone do
That’s all I need is one more chance. Just get this time                   things different but keep getting money.
and I’m good I’m gone make it.                                                                                             -Pouge
                                                -Marcus                    from The Beat: What are you gonna do smarter? you always have to stay
from The Beat: Well don’t waste this chance you’re about to get.           on your toes. But what are you gonna do stop coming back to jail?
everybody always ask for chances when they mess up, but then they
never correct their mistake. They go out and come right back. Please
don’t waste another opportunity. handle business and seek support!
                                                                                                 Chances are…
                                                                           Man, I’ve been given more then enough chances. This is
                        losing time                                        my 15th time in the hall, and I’m really stressing right now.
                                                                           I was up at camp doing pretty much a perfect program. I
               I have dreams of being free
         And then I wake up in the same place                              was actually making it out the system. Well, I was on a
         Mad at myself cause I made a mistake                              home pass for New Years and caught two new cases. Now
      That will be with me for the rest of my life                         I’m in here again for two armed robberies. I didn’t even
   I’m losing time something I could never get back                        rob the two guys. They said something messed up to my
          I got to change the way I get scratch                            girl, so I scared them with a fake pistol.
        When the judge hit me with them words                                   I’ve never regretted something so much in my whole
                   It had a heavy impact                                   life. I hope to God that I don’t go to the Y. I have been
 And then I made a call and found out Twin got wacked                      given too many chances, but I need to be blessed with
       But I got to bounce back like a tennis ball                         one more. This is a life changing experience fo’ real. I’m
                       And stand tall                                      done with this lifestyle.
                        And man up                                              For all you new booty’s in the system, stop while
  I can’t stand being put in handcuffs and shackles.                       you’re ahead, please don’t mess up like me.
                                             -Young Mari                                                                          -Jake
from The Beat: yeah you’re losing freedom. Time you won’t lose ‘cause      from The Beat: you have to think before you act, come on. What if they
time passes by every second the clock is ticking. But what are you doing   had a real gun on them? Why would you pull a fake gun out? you have
with your time? Time is so valuable to you what are you doing with it?     to pick and choose your battles. What made you realize that you have
don’t let the time do you, you better do something productive while        to change your lifestyle? don’t you get tired of coming to these facilities
you’re in here. maybe you can plot and scheme on how you plan on           where staff have to tell you what to do all damn day? This is the year
staying out.                                                               of change, be a part of it!!

                      hella Chances                                                  what i wouldn’t Do For money
I’ve got about twenty chances and I don’t need anymore                                      I wouldn’t do anything
because when I get out I’m not coming back. I’ve already                                 To one of my family members
changed.                                                                        Because they’re way more important than money
     Something that I wouldn’t do for money is to hurt my                                     I wouldn’t rob people
mom.                                                                                         For money to get high
     Something that’s going to be different for me in 2008                                    I wouldn’t kill myself
is that I’m not going to do what I did in order for me to                                    For any type of money
get in here now. I also plan on being there for my family                                                                  -Chris
                                                                           from The Beat: money is not everything. family is way more important.
more because my mom needs all the help that she can                        money buys materialistic things, and it can buy a lot of cool things, but
get, especially while I’m in here.                                         it can’t buy love, happiness, loyalty, and friendship.
from The Beat: you need all the help you can get too. you need help on

                                                                                                 they Don’t Care
getting whatever you need to get so you won’t keep coming back here.
you said your mom needs help right? Then why are you wasting your
time here? how are you helping her out by being in here? We hope that
you get out and do good so you can help your mom. don’t come back!                   Why they wanna charge us as adult
                                                                               Why they try to have a ninja do a year for assault
                                                                                          Why they send us to the Y
                africa my home land                                               They know we gone fight and get extra time
                                                                                         They don’t wanna see us free
         Africa my homeland but I’m from Oakland
                The beautiful ladies are there                                      Why the governor kill Tookie Williams
                      Y’all ain’t knowing                                       They showed the whole world once you did bad
                  I would have a nice family                                               You could never do good
                      If I could in Africa                                   And that’s not true that’s a bad thing to tell the world
                Away from all this crazy stuff                                                And he was famous
                Out here I want to go to Africa                                    So I know they really don’t care about us
      But the punk police always capture me in Africa                                     And what we going through
                 That’s where I suppose to be                                  They want to see us locked up with no education
          And Jamaica that’s where I wanna go to                                 They say we die before twenty-one that’s their
             They got dreads and they smoke dro                                                   calculation.
   If I had a chance I would go to Africa the Homeland.                                                                  -Young Mari
                                                                           from The Beat: you’re the one that has to care. nobody can care for you.
                                                -Young Mari                forget about the governor, and the rest of the politicians out there, but
from The Beat: Why is the police capturing you? Please explain. What’s     it all starts off with you. if you truly feel they want to see you locked up
stopping you from going to your homeland? how do you plan on getting       with no education then maybe you should get out and get an education.
away from this drama? it all rests on you!                                 Why don’t you use this as motivation to succeed in life!
s               standOuts

        Don’t take anything For granted
                                                           a l a m e D a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                           2008 Do things Different
                                                                                                                         Volume 12.20        Page 24

I’ve been given so many chances to change my life                             This year I’m going to do everything different. I’m going
around but I took those chances for granted.                                  to plan things out before doing things. Make the right
    If someone was to give me one more chance I would                         choices. Be around my family members more. Stay of the
take that chance to my heart and change my life around. I                     streets. Most of all be out the boring halls.
just need one more chance. That one chance will change                            I’m off to the Y. I’m gonna handle my own program in
my whole life. My lifestyle would be different and my mind                    order to get out quick, we do the crime we pay the time,
would work better.                                                            so don’t cry once you behind these bars. Hold ya head up
    I already changed but I need to get out and prove to                      high and ride your time out. Be smart with what you do!
people. I been given to many chances but I just need one                      And stay solid to the game.
more chance. My solution is stop hanging out with stupid                                                                              -U
people.                                                                       from The Beat: We hope that you handle your business once you get up
                                                                              there to the y. Take advantage of everything it has to offer. you’re being
                                                    -Kevin                    very responsible by owning up and facing the consequences. We hope
from The Beat: if you want to change you have to prove it to yourself.        that you take this as a steppingstone and learn from it.
if you want to change it’s because you feel it truly in your heart. nobody
has to give you another chance. you need to give yourself a chance.
The time is now to decide that you wanna change, and give yourself a
chance so you can live a better life away from jail.
                                                                                                         new Year
                                                                              2008 I’m gonna stay out. My baby mama ‘bout to have a
              get money the right way                                         baby so I gotta be on my p’s and q’s. This jail stuff ain’t
                                                                              the spirit I been in here 5 and a half months when I get
There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t do for money. That                         out I’m gonna have to take care of my baby and stay out
is, not stealing from my family our hurting my friends. I                     the way.
would not kill for money. I would not hurt people to get                                                                  -Young Mari
money.                                                                        from The Beat: you’re gonna have to be more responsible now. you have
     I’ll get it the right way.                                               to think about your kid and leave that stupide gangsta thinking in the
                                                                              past. you don’t want your kid to be visiting you in jail now do you?
                                            -Lil’ Gunner                      When you get out stay focused on trying to be free and remember you
from The Beat: awesome. for you, what is the right way? do you have           have bigger responsibilities now.
a job lined up for when you get out? or do you plan to focus on school
so you can go to college and get a great job later?

                                                                                             he got too much Power
                     2008: a new me                                           The judge got too much power for one man. He thinks
Some things that I will be going to change in the New                         he’s above me but I know I did a lot but only God could
Year is the way I think and handle myself. I say the way I                    judge me. He read a file that’s how he knows of me. He
think because last year I messed up a lot by not thinking                     never had a conversation with me, because he says he
of the right thing to do, which I witness can hurt you.                       knows what’s best. How could that be when he only looks
    Another thing I’m going to change is I will be closer                     at the bad stuff not the good. Like the saying goes don’t
to my family than to the streets. When I’m being close to                     judge a book by it’s cover. He’s judging me from a file.
the streets I only receive trouble but when I’m closer to                     I feel like they need us more than we need them. If it
my family I receive help, love and guidance.                                  wasn’t for us they wouldn’t get paid.
    The last but not least thing I will change will be reading                                                             -Young Mari
                                                                              from The Beat: your god will judge you one day, but in the real world
The Bible more. I say reading The Bible because anything                      the judge is going to judge the mess you got yourself into.
is possible with God’s help, and what other better way
than to start a new year with God in your life? It can only
get better.
from The Beat: notice that we pulled the turf call part out of your name.
                                                                                                 Forget the money!
We did that because it’s a Beat rule, but also because that’s a big part of   I won’t kill anyone for some money. In 2008 I’m ‘bout to
the change you’ll have to make in your thinking…from what we’ve seen          graduate high school get a job and go to college.
in all our years watching young people get caught up in the system (and
sometimes break free), one of the first things they needed to do to be                                                           -Paris
successful was to break away from the idea of themselves as part of a         from The Beat: We’re glad to hear that you wouldn’t take someone’s life
set, a crew, or any kind of street conflicts. What do you think?              for money. We’re also glad to hear that you’re gonna get your education
                                                                              and go to college. stay focused and don’t let anything sidetrack you.

                           the 2008
I’m going to try and change a lot. I’m going to change                                          i guess i Did wrong
what I do, the way I think. I’m going to change some of                       What’s up Beat, this is Chikillo from Oakland. Well I’m
the people I mess wit because a lot of these ninjas aint                      right here in the hall. I had several chances but I messed
solid.                                                                        up so I guess I did wrong.
     I’m going to change my environment.                                          I just need one more chance, so I could do my best
    I might not even be out in ‘08, but I’m going to make                     to not get in trouble, and try to get closer to my family. I
the best of it. Hopefully I gonna be out soon though if                       want to change my life, get an education, go to school, and
they don’t play me. But yeah I’m gone do my time, like                        stop being in the streets. I also want to find new friends,
a real ninja and get out and still do my thang. This shhh                     so I won’t get in trouble and come back to the hall.
don’t change, but I’m just gone do it different.                                  Well Beat, this homeboy is out. Alratos.
                                                   -Ro Ro                                                                       -Chikillo
from The Beat: Well whatever you do we hope that you change whatever          from The Beat: These are all good steps; each one can make a serious
it was that is bringing you to this facility. after J-hall, it’s county and   difference in your life. Who is the most positive friend in your life right
the pen. We know that you need funds but don’t do anything stupid for         now, who could maybe encourage you and help you stay on this positive
money. your freedom is priceless!                                             path?
s              standOuts

                         new rules
                                                        a l a m e D a            C o u n t Y

                                                                                          Stealing From myself
                                                                                                                  Volume 12.20      Page 25

Well what’s up Beat? I’m in here for some dumb stuff, and                 At first I was just trying to make a name for my self, and
I’m going to a group home. I’m mad because it’s taking too                show people that I was no punk or someone to be messed
long and I want to get out. I just hope I get out. I try not              with. I never really gave thought to how many chances I
to get into trouble, but sometimes it’s hard. Some people                 had.
provoke me to do things, and I do like fighting. But I don’t
sometimes.                                                                     My only thought was thinking it through play by play
     I just want to get out.                                              before doing something, and I wouldn’t get caught. So by
    The thing that’s going to be different to me is it’s going            thinking the way I did if I wasn’t going to get caught there
to be new rules and regulations. To me it’s going to be hard              were no limits to what I would do for money.
and I might not make it but I’m going to try, hard because                     The only thing I would never do is hurt or steal from
sometimes I don’t want to listen to the rules that’s it Beat, I           my family. ‘Cause then I would be stealing from myself.
hope I get out so I can learn these new rules.                            I’ve done my share of crimes, but not ‘cause I want to.
                                                -Lil’ Whoday              More ‘cause I had to really I really needed the money.
from The Beat: We hope you get out too, but we also hope you find
someone to talk to who can help you figure out what you can do to keep    I’m not the person to speak on that because for me that
yourself from getting into fights. That means fights with other young     stayed in the past.
people and fighting against the rules… if you work on that, you’re life
will be much better, don't’ you think?                                         Now that I was caught and send to Juvenile Hall,
                                                                          none of that is worth it. The only person, I have to prove
                                                                          myself to is my mother as soon as I get out this life style
                                                                          is over. And I wanna go straight, go to school live my life
                           waiting                                        and make big money, then I get the females and give my
What’s up Beat. Well I’m still here waiting to get picked up              mother what my father never could. The only way I now
‘cause they took custody from my mom.                                     this is because I’m dedicated.
     I’m upset ‘cause they took me away, so I’m just waiting                                                                     -Adel
and I’m mad because the PO I had before, she was lying to                 from The Beat: By committing crimes, you stole the most valuable
me and now I have a new one, but I don’t know what’s gonna                things you have: time, and your mother’s pain. it’s good you see the
happen. I have no more court, so I’m just thinking, what’s                truth of that now, because like you say, you’re dedicated to something
                                                                          bigger and better than trying to “make a name.” now, one day when
finna happened with me? Well that’s it.                                   you get out, you will feel like you “really need the money”. What will
                                                     -Ernesto             you do to remind yourself that crime isn’t worth it? how will you get
from The Beat: We know it’s hard to wait while the system makes all       that legit job?
these decisions about custody, and about your future. keep us posted
on how things pan out, and remember that no matter where you are
we’ll always be here to listen.
                                                                                          time with my Family
                                                                          My resolution for this New Year is to change my life around.
                                                                          I’m going to stop kicking it with the wrong crowd, come
      another Chance to redeem myself                                     home early, take care of my family and especially my two
I’m writing about this topic because I have had chances in                little sisters Evanna and Lily.
my life, even though I have not took my second chances the                     They the ones that always be making me laugh -- and
proper way, I can still say I had them.                                   mad, but I forgives them for making me mad because they are
    But I think I should have more chances ‘cause I really                just some little girls. The other thing is to do something good
would use it now, especially in the situation I’m in. Now I               for the New Year, and to get out of this cell up in Juvenile
just got kicked out my group home for fighting. I been in the             Hall, and to be around the house most of the time to help
hall a month and a week, and I thought about all my actions.              clean up.
I know what I need to do to handle my business, so I’m just                                                                     -Lil’ Alex
hoping he gives me another chance to redeem myself.                       from The Beat: We hope you meet these goals, because you have those
                                                                          two little sisters who love and need you. and it sounds like you truly
    All I want to tell my readers is to take your chances more            love and need them too. Just think, to them you’re “Big alex,” a role
seriously, ‘cause you might not get another.                              model and a hero!
from The Beat: We do hope you get that chance, but also – we wonder if

                                                                                            my Plan For 2008
you’ve thought hard about how fighting messes up your chances. What
caused the fight? could you have controlled the outcome in any way?
                                                                          The thing that’s going to be different is that I'm going to
                                                                          try to stay out of here. I’m going to be getting more active
                           my art                                         and hang with a different crew.
                                                                                I’m going to go to school more, I ain’t saying I’m going
I wouldn’t do anything that could get me back in here. And
I know for sure I would never betray my mom for a quick                   to do a excellent program. But I am going to put effort in
buck.                                                                     it. I’m a try to be there for my family more, ‘cause lately
    What I would do is work and sells stuff. Legal stuff of               I’ve been hanging out with my hood family. ‘Cause they
course, like CD’s, drawings & artwork (my own), laser pens,               look out for me and I look at for them. They give me a lot
shocking pens, silly string and stuff like that…                          of support just like my other family. Like if I get kick out
    It sounds funny but I made bank my freshman year. But                 they house or something I always know I could go to my
I’m done with that. I also would trade the stuff for drawing              potna’s house, till I get back on my feet.
equipment from other people, like calligraphy pens, paint                       Another thing is I’m going to try to stop smoking
markers, pilots, sharpies, streakers and different kinds of               cigarettes ‘cause it’s not good for you when run away from
pencils & pens.                                                           a bad situation. The last thing that’s gon’ be different is
    I do a lot of art and if it’s real good I put it in my binder         that I’m going to upgrade on my whips, so by summer I’ll
and no matter where I’m at (except here) I always have my                 have at least a Park Ave.
binder on me to display my work to people.                                                                                 -Lil’ Marcus
                                                        -Anthony          from The Beat: We hope that you get all these things you want – but
from The Beat: sounds like we have another potential Beat cover artists   remember, 50 percent won’t cut it. if you really want a newer, better,
on our hands. so when will we see some work from you to honor in our      drama free and incarceration-free life, you need to commit to it 100
paper? We’re waiting!                                                     percent! can you do that?
s               standOuts

                          no regrets
                                                            S a n              F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                           First Piece?
                                                                                                                             Volume 12.20       Page 26

Every day I wake up thinking that I’m gonna wake up in                             Dear Beat, I’ve written you over a month ago, and I still
my house. But when I look around, I see me in a room                               yet haven’t seen my piece. I participate in your program
in juvenile hall. Sometimes I cant believe what I’ve done                          and in return I get nothing. Don’t get me wrong Beat, I
and how I could be out doing what I do best. Shhh, I don’t                         sometimes do enjoy your program. I just would like for
regret fo what I did, ninja. Forget dat shhh. I’ma keep my                         guys to cooperate with me.
head up, ya heard me?                                                                                                                 -Angel
    It’s cold and grim in da halls, but I’m a survivor. I do                       from The Beat: We’re not sure if we’ve dropped the ball or not, but at
                                                                                   least this piece is being published, with our apologies…
anything to survive, ya dig? I’m 15 years old in maximum
security unit. I ain’t proud about why I’m in here, but I’m
a savage and I’ma stay a savage. I’ma ride till I die.
                                                       -Chris                            who are You most afraid to lose?
from The Beat: We’re trying to understand who you are trying to impress            What’s poppin’ wit’ The Beat? This yo’ boy Lil’ Ant.
by announcing (to the very people that have you currently enslaved)
that you’re plan to stay “a savage” until you die. it doesn’t impress us in        Some know me, others hate me, just because who I am
any way at all, except for the pain it causes us knowing what you are              and what I be about!
throwing away. at the same time, we have hope that the changes we
know you must make if you plan to respect the gift that god gave (your
                                                                                       The person I’m afraid to loose is my mom Dukes
life and the lives of others) is still possible, even if from your youthful        mother. The reason why is because if it wasn’t you mom,
viewpoint you can’t see it yet.                                                    I would be so deep in this shhh ninjas would need a
                                                                                   shovel to catch up to ya by! Mom is my strength and my
                                                                                   guidance! And without her it’s cookies for ninjas.
                         love Stroke                                                                                               -Lil’ Ant
                                                                                   from The Beat: sounds like you owe your mom something you haven’t
              Wit’ yo’ beauty my heart you poke                                    been able to give her — and that’s you, at home, taking care of her
                                                                                   by not allowing yourself to be taken away from her. she’s sacrificed a
                   You drug me wit’ you love                                       whole lot for you. What are you planning to sacrifice for her?
                      Like a touch of cake
               The first sight I was love struck
            I know it ‘cause my heart has spoke a
               And you’re the one it has chose                                                       how many Chances
              You grew up to be a beautiful rose                                   What’s good with The Beat? Something I wouldn’t do for
                   From yo’ head to yo’ toes                                       money is betray my family, ‘cause they been there for me.
                   You’re just out of control                                      I would never let no one buy me, ‘cause it’s no money in
                    I will love as we get old                                      the world I would take.
                                                                   -Chris                                                              -Acie
from The Beat: When you have someone this special waiting for you,                 from The Beat: This is much too short for a decent piece of writing.
then it really becomes your top priority to find a way not just to get             instead of taking two topics, please write a lot more about just one. for
out of here (that will come) but to stay out of here. every time you do            example, what do you mean by letting someone “buy” you? Besides your
something that let’s the system take you away from your life (and your             family, are there others you wouldn’t betray? Would you ever snitch?
to-be wife), you’re choosing something that you love more than her…                if yes, then in what circumstances? you could have written so much

           my mom is more than a mom                                                                  Finding “the” one
I’m afraid to lose my mom because she is one of the                                What’s good wit’ The Beat? First, I wanna say I’m tired
people who is most important to me. Shhh, my mom is                                of writing y’all and seein’ ma stuff in da Beat. But anyway,
more than a mom to me. She also one of my best friends.                            someone dat I’m truly scared to lose is my girlfriend.
When I was sick as a kid, my mom was the one to take                               Actually, she’s my wife, and I’m not talking ‘bout a wifey
care of me. When I was at school acting up, my mom was                             like e’rybody say. I’m talking ‘bout my wife.
the one who had to come to my school to deal with the                                  But anyway, da reason why I’m scared to lose her is
teachers and principals.                                                           ‘cause I ain’t never felt dis way ‘bout no female ever. I
    And when I look back on all that, it’s like, damn, my                          mean, shhh, done told girls dat I loved dem before, but dat
mom been got out of school. But here I am making her                               was just runnin’ game to hit. But wit’ dis one, I tried da
come down here twice a week for my stupidity. Well, she                            same but I actually meant it when I said it. Even though
was at my school during my high school years more than                             she made me wait ten months for da party, I mean every
I was for a meeting or to come look for me. But no matter                          word.
what she always stuck by my side.                                                      Me and my wife have gone through everything a
                                              -Yung Thizz                          married couple goes through from da 100 breakups, to da
from The Beat: after all that she has done for you (and all that you
have put her through), it really is time for a little payback. The “pay” she       catching me cheating, to us fighting for one another, she
wants from you is a lifestyle that guarantees you won’t let some cold              stuck wit’ me through thick and thin, through da good
system take you out of the warm arms your mother provides. she wants
you! you owe her nothing less.                                                     and bad. She knows exactly what to do to make a ninja
                                                                                   happy when I was down. She stuck wit’ me even through
                                                                                   dis bullshhh I’m going through now. And dat’s why I’ma
                                                                                   stay wit’ my wife forever. We two years strong wit’ da rest
           how many Chances will i get                                             of our life to go. Love you Christina.
What is a chance when even when you sin, god will                                                                                 -Yung Thizz
                                                                                   from The Beat: We really can’t believe you have a real “wife” and not a
always forgive. I only got one chance and I’ma get it how                          wifey, because you’re too young to have gotten married. (a “real” wife
I live. Stay in school, play football and, when that time                          requires a real marriage license, a real ceremony, and a real recognition
                                                                                   by the state that you are married.) But clearly, this is the woman of
comes, provide for my kids.                                                        your dreams, and one worth holding onto. so why would you risk losing
                                               - Doe Boy                           someone as fine as this for whatever it was that gave the police the
from The Beat: “stay in school, play football and, when the time comes,            power they needed to remove you from her? Time to put your priorities
provide for my kids…” We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves!               in order…
s               standOuts

                  why i Do what i Do
                                                         S a n              F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                 to hell wit’ Da world
                                                                                                                           Volume 12.20       Page 27

Yeah man, this Lil’ Ant once again! The reason why I’m                             Chea, I said I said forget da world an’ let ‘em burn
wit’ it like I’m wit’ it is because ninjas hit low and been                       See, what I’m feeling man, yeah, dis is what I learned
on same sucka shhh! Some say I turned out the way that                           They said I’m walking in a bath path but I’m tryna turn
I did is because of my environment, but my response is,                                 I wanna do right but the judge concerned
I’m my own man and make my own decisions! To we meet                                    About what I’ma do and if I might emerge
again this Lil’ Ant.                                                               I go to church ‘cause I’m another god’s customer,
                                                    -Lil’ Ant                          To be forgiven and I hope He takes my word
from The Beat: We just don’t buy that very self-centered notion that you         But until dat, right now I’m saying to hell wit’ da world
make your own decisions and that you are totally responsible for how
you turned out. each of us got here with lots of help (and a fair amount                                                             -Chris
of hurt) that formed who we are and led to the decisions we make. do            from The Beat: it must be difficult to try to turn your life around while,
you think that all your successes are due to you alone, and that you owe        at the same time, you’re cursing out the entire world! What does it
no gratitude to anyone for the things you’ve accomplished other than            mean to be “god’s customer”? What changes, if any, do you foresee in
yourself? if your successes are due to the influence of many people,            your future?
then so are your failures…

                             2008                                                                        Switch ups
In 2008 I am goin’ to work on getting out of my program,                        Dear Beat,
which is going to take about ten months to complete. I                              My topic for today is switch ups. Nowadays you can’t
am planning to spend more time with my family.                                  trust people. The people that you think are your friend
                                                   -Clavo                       will be the first ones that’ll turn against you and become
from The Beat: This is way too short, and next time we won’t bother             enemies, I’m not going to say no names, but if they read
to print a two-sentence piece that could say so much more! What is the          this, they’ll know who they are. I think that’s pretty
ten-month program you need to complete? Where is it located? What
do you hope to accomplish in the program, and what do you hope to               messed up when, you’re all cool and you come to jail and
accomplish after the program? come on, clavo, being lazy is a way to            people switch up on you.
stay stuck in your head, and it’s not a good sign that you will deal with
the challenges your program will demand of you.                                     I’m not trippin’ ‘cause I’m not a construction worker,
                                                                                but when I get out, I’m going to switch them tools up.
                      going to the Y
                                                                                from The Beat: actually, we are hoping you’ll consider switching up
                                                                                yourself. you’ve seen where your choices have led you so far, so maybe
                                                                                it’s time to consider other choices, the kind that keep you free.
‘Sup’ Beat! Let me explain a little about what’s going on
with my case. Well, I went to court on 12/14/07 and their
recommendation was CYA. Even my PO said she thinks
that’s what’s best for me. Looking into a group hope is                                              Curse the hall!
out of the question only because of my escape from this                         What up Beat? Well, this your boy Lil’ Hennessey. First,
bullshh place. My next court is going to be a contested                         I want to say what’s up with my ninjas. But anyways Beat,
disposition arguing about the fact that I shouldn’t be                          I’m getting out next week. I just got interview from a
going to the Y.                                                                 group home from Oakland. The name of the group home I
                                                    -Angel                      going to is TNT. They told me that program is to 9 and 12
from The Beat: if going to the y is the result of running, then it’s
another example of why it’s important to think before you act. if you           month. They said I can complete in seven months if I do
do go to the y, try to avoid fighting. every fight will only add time to        good and graduate and go home.
your sentence.
                                                                                    All I got to say is I can’t wait to get out of this place.
                                                                                And when I get out and walk out of unit 7 door, I’m going
                                                                                to say to hell with all these staff that cause me some
                   Different in 2008                                            time and to hell with everybody here too (except for my
The first thing in 2008 that’s different is that I’m locked
up for the new year, and I’m going to be locked up for the                          Keep your head up. Don’t trip my ninjas. I see you on
whole 2008. So I guess when I’m released in 2009 I plan                         the out bra.
on living a good life.                                                                                                        -Lil’ Hennessy
                                                                                from The Beat: you can curse the staff and your fellow prisoners all
                                              -Fed-up Beam                      you want, but as long as you allow yourself to be put in places like
from The Beat: another lazy throw-away piece! come on! if you are               this, you’re really cursing yourself. The staff didn’t put you here. you
as lazy about what you need to accomplish as you are about writing              should be cursing yourself out for allowing yourself to hand away your
in The Beat, this next year will be a waste of your time. We’d like to          freedom. We hope that’s a lesson learned.
see something that showed us effort and thought, not just a couple of
sentences you could write anywhere, any time.

                                                                                              i’m gonna get my money
                 how many Chances?                                              I go wherever the money’s at. I’ll chase after it. I won’t
                                                                                stop till I get it all. Never fit to give up until I reach my
I just need one more chance to get back myself on the
right track. I just need someone positive in my life to keep                    goal. I gotta have it one way or another. No one, nobody
me doing good, like my big sister help me sometimes, and                        gonna stop me from getting it, you dig.
help me get on track so I would come back to juvenile hall                          Well that’s all fo’ now. I’m out. Keep y’all heads up.
never again.                                                                                                                               -V
                                                                                from The Beat: you missed the point, which was to think of the things
                                                       -Acie                    you would noT do for money. instead, you state that you’ll get your
from The Beat: again, we wish you would write a lot more about just             money one way or another, as if by saying it, then it becomes true.
one topic. for example, if your sister is helping you to stay on track,         unfortunately, we have to judge your belief by the facts as they are, and
how come you fell off? have you had chances in the past? if so, what            the facts as they are put you behind four walls and under the control of
would make “one more chance” different from the earlier ones? Where             strangers who can’t care about you as much as you care about yourself.
do you see yourself in five year’s time, and how do you see yourself            you say “no one gonna stop me,” but you are stopped, at least for now.
getting there?                                                                  That’s the reality we judge your piece by…
s               standOuts

                                                         S a n              F r a n C i S C o                 C o u n t Y

                                                                                                         my Sister
                                                                                                                         Volume 12.20       Page 28

This New Year I started it out kinda bad ‘cause I got                           The person I’m afraid to loss is my sister the reason I
locked up again on the Jan 3, 2008, and am going to get                         pick my sister is causes she is not only my sister she is
sent to a group home again, or go to the Ranch. But this                        my best friend.
year I’m planning on doing better than last. Well, at least                                                                        -Greg
get a job or graduate high school or get my GED since                           from The Beat: from now on, greg, we will not publish such lazy
                                                                                contributions. you managed just one sentence in an hour’s workshop,
I’m turning 18 soon. Well, let’s just hope I don’t catch                        which means you were playing around rather than doing what this
another case this year, and just go back to the house, just                     workshop requires: thinking and writing! We learned nothing here
                                                                                except that your sister is also your best friend. What does that mean?
like everyone wants.                                                            how old is she? is she free? What does she think of your being here?
                                                   -Smiley                      how can she help you stay free once you get out of here? all those are
from The Beat: it won’t do to “just hope” you don’t catch another case.         excellent questions, and could have made this a real Beat piece instead
That’s like wishing that somebody would give you a million dollars — a          of a lazy toss-off!
sweet thought, but it ain’t gonna happen! you say you “want to behave
more maturely,” so what is holding you back? you don’t have to “stay at
home” in order to do the things you should be doing. you just have to
stop doing the things you shouldn’t be doing!
                                                                                                        lost homies
                                                                                What made me what I am is the deaths on my block.
                                                                                Every time one of the thugs grow wings and leave, I lose
                  how many Choices?                                             a part of me. It really make an ninja like me laugh when I
What’s good with tha Beat? This dat ninja Na-Na F Holly                         hear people put shhh on they dead homies. Just because
holdin’ it down in unit 6. But yeah, I’ve had many chances                      you know the person name or seen him around does not
from he judge, my PO, my family. It’s just not working out                      mean he yo’ dead homie. If that person didn’t mess with
right. I’m addicted to the fast life an’ the fast money. Dat’s                  you personally, that ain’t yo dead homie…
just me. I’m truly never broke but broke ninja thievin’.                            But yeah, who am I? I’m a fed-up goon and the loss of
    But back to tha topic, I’ve made many choices, like                         my block goons made me what I am.
not going to school, being on tha block, not listenin’ to                                                                           -Gloss
                                                                                from The Beat: if part of you dies with every lost homie, you must be
my parents. But my words are getting short. For all the                         only a fraction of yourself, because we read in every issue of The Beat
homies, keep y’all heads up.                                                    of more losses, more dead homies, more violence, and more self-induced
                                                      -Na-Na                    slavery. you could end your part in this ongoing tragedy, but it doesn’t
from The Beat: anyone who looked at where you’ve been and what                  sound like that’s in your plans. Too bad.
you’re about would conclude that what you’re addicted to is having
others make your decisions for you. after all, your choices lead you to

hand away your freedom to a bunch of strangers who tell you who to
share a room with, when to play, when to work, what to eat, etc. etc. if
that’s the path to “fast money,” we’ll just keep walking slow and steady
toward that goal, and we bet we’ll get there before you…                        For me, the G-code always apply to me: death before
                                                                                dishonor, no matter where I am. I’ve never been a snitch;
                                                                                I stay true to the game. People try to crack me like an egg,
         2008 is going to be Different                                          but I simply tell them, “Just quit.”
                                                                                     Don’t care if it’s something too small. I still won’t
My plans for 2008 went completely opposite than what
it is now. My plans were to get a job, graduate from high                       squeal. That’s not my job. I don’t do that. I’m a gangstah.
school and make my mom very happy. In 2007 I was in an                          I got too much pride. ‘Specially if you in the game, you
out of jail for carrying a gun, and now 2008 it’s the same,                     should follow the regulations to the game. I was always
but a different year.                                                           told never to snitch on a homie or the enemy.
     But it’s the beginning of the year. I still have time to                        So, whenever you feel the pressure is tight, think
make a difference, but every day is a battle for my life,                       twice before you snitch. You a dead man walking. Nobody
whether if I’ma make it or not. That’s why I think I’m in                       like no snitch, not no girl, nobody. To all, keep yo’ chin
here. Things happen for a reason. I rather be in here than                      up high. This be that gangstah Big OSO, an’ I’m out.
up on a white T-shirt. I think God had this plan for me.                                                                           -Big Oso
                                                                                from The Beat: snitching is something you would never have to worry
That’s why not a day go by that I don’t thank Him.                              about if you were not doing things that somebody could snitch you
                                                        -Cam                    out for. your commitment not to snitch might be an honorable one, but
from The Beat: We hope that this is the year you make good on your              it won’t keep you out of harm’s way (as your present situation should
promises and goals. We think it shows maturity that you realize there           tell you). as long as you continue to boast about being a “gangstah,”
are worse things than being in here, and, in fact, being in here might          then you can expect all that comes with it, including snitches, cops,
well keep you from experience even worse consequences. That maturity            and cells.
should serve you well as you move forward with your life.

                                                                                              Chances, many Chances
                           Chances                                              Well, chances, many chances. I had many, but I always
If you need chances, you’re doing something wrong.                              screw up. I tried, but I just make it hard for myself. Well,
Maybe you’re not doing what you need to, or maybe                               for me, I know that this time when I get out, I just got to
you’re making the same mistakes. Either way, you’re not                         challenge myself. That was what I wasn’t doing, and yes,
thinking.                                                                       I do have to take a different path, ‘cause the one I been
     A lot of times we let our instincts take over and stop                     taking ain’t the right one.
thinking, make the same mistake and slip. A choice is a                             Well, I can’t say I regret gangbanging, ‘cause I don’t. I
crack at the same thing, trying to hit the path and make                        would be lying if I said I did, but just doing other stupid
it. The reasons we fall can be avoided, which lets us move                      shhh I used to do besides banging. But I’m ready to
on.                                                                             challenge myself and just start over.
                                                   -Vincent                                                                     -Monstrita
from The Beat: Well, since all of us make mistakes, all of us can benefit       from The Beat: We have a suggestion to make, monstrita. don’t try to
from second (and third) chances. it may be true that if we need those           do this alone. find others who’ve been where you are and get together
chances, we’re making mistakes, but then, how else do we learn except           to support each other, especially when temptation seems attractive.
by making mistakes?                                                             you’ve tried to do it on your own; now try with the help of others.
s              standOuts

                  how many Chances
                                                         S a n             F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                 Different in 2008?
                                                                                                                         Volume 12.20       Page 29

The first time they gave me a chance and the second                            What’s going to be different in 2008 is, I’m gone be there
time. Now I’m in here for the third time and I’m going to                      for my ninjas more often. Ever since my cousin Cec got
grouper and dat all I got.                                                     shot, that made me want to be there more often. So that’s
                                                 -Pookie                       what’s gone be different in 2008 than in 2007.
from The Beat: how many chances do you think you get before you                                                                  -Swiss D
make that one big mistake that has you wishing you could undo things           from The Beat: We’re very sorry about your cousin. But we’re also very
that can’t be undone?                                                          sorry that you’ve dedicated yourself to the crew and their future rather
                                                                               than to you and your future. an honest look at your own experience
                                                                               should tell you that the more you are “there for your ninjas,” the more
                                                                               2008 will be the same as 2007: more dirt, more cops, more charges and
             all the Chances i Can get                                         more lock-ups!

I’ve been given a couple of chances, but I’d be willing
to take as many as they give me. I’ll take all the chances
they give me and take advantage of them. I ain’t tryin’ to                               going to try it the legal way
let none of them go to waste. I’ll take all opportunities                      The hard part about graduating is being away from my
offered to me, even though they’re up here, tryin’ to play                     family. I have to go to Philly for five months to graduate
us.                                                                            when I could have done it here in San Francisco. All my
    They got us up in the hall, ‘cause the broke down ass                      life I’ve be in and out of placement. My time is really
Ranch don’t work. A little ass storm shut it down. But                         nothing compared to others, but I’ve been in and out for
me, I’m gonna keep taking and abusing all chances that                         too long. I plan to come home and get my chips the legal
they give me—that’s what they’re there for.                                    way. That’s my New Year’s resolution.
                                                 -Birdman                                                                           -Cash
from The Beat: you sound like you’re scorning the system for giving you        from The Beat: of course it will be hard to be away from your family,
any chances, as if you think the system is weak for even considering           but it will also help you grow toward the independence you will need
granting you or anyone in it another opportunity to stop messing up.           when you get out from under this situation. your goals are good ones.
But what happens when something in the streets that is so heavy that           now go and make them come true!
it’s finally goes down, and you’ve just used up your last chance? over
and out? The next world? oh, well?

                                                                                                        in and out
                                                                               I never be thinking about my family and how much time
        no rehabilitation, only Freedom                                        I’m missing with then. The reason now I’m thinking about
What’s up, Beat? I’m here at the halls, chilling. We had                       my family because I keep getting locked up and I been in
to come here from the Ranch. I got five months left, but                       and out like five to eight weeks.
the Ranch be kind of weak. I rather be here at the halls                                                                         -Lil’ T
and do the rest of my time, ‘cause at the Ranch, staff be                      from The Beat: When you think about your family and how much you
                                                                               miss them (and how much they miss you), does it help you to think
on some other, but at the halls, all you get for a fight be                    about a different future from your past?
a DRB, but at the Ranch, you catch 30 days. What kind of
shhh is that? Why don’t you just keep us locked up and
let us do our time? But instead, they send us to these
bullshhh programs and we end up running, then we never                                                 lots to Stop
do our time. That’s how they keep most of us in this weak                      I wouldn’t kill one of my homies for money. I have had
ass system, but want to rehabilitate by sending us to a                        lots of chances in my life but I messed up. This year I
program. If someone really wants to change, they going                         wanna stop smoking, stop drinking, stop thizzing, stop
to do it, but if they don’t, they better expect to come back                   robbing people, stop killing people, go to school.
to jail, it’s as simple as that.                                                                                              -Stephaun
                                                                               from The Beat: Please don’t write on all the topics. Just choose one
                                                     -Enano                    topic and write a whole lot more than you’ve given us here! let’s take
from The Beat: Why do you suppose all you think about is getting time          that last sentence by itself and ask you a few questions. Why do you
and how the staff is at the ranch? can’t you do a program without any          want to stop doing these things? do you think you will stop? Which will
drama? you wouldn’t have to worry about any programs if you stayed             be the hardest to give up?
clean and free of drama, can you do that much? how bad do you want to
change your ol’ ways? Bad enough, to make a change in your life?

                                                                                                  Snakes in Da Jets
                                                                               What’s up whodies? Yeah, let me spit something fo’ y’all
                  how many Chances                                             right quick, ya dig? In the jets it seems all good, playing
What’s good Beat? It’s Meez an’ I’m doin’ what I do,                           basketball, shooting dice, and havin’ sex. People in my
waitin’ to get transferred. But I’ma write about some of the                   jets, there’s a few snakes, ya heard me?
chances I done had in ma 18 years of life on dis earth.                             When the block is dried like a drought. No cannons
     While I been here, I done had a whole lot of chances                      on the block an’ they need money to get it, they’ll rob
and I been lock down a lot of times. Now that I sit here an’                   they own right-hand man fo’ his money to get the cannon
think about it, I wished I would have took advantage of all                    money. Then the next day the person that go robbed
the chance they gave me ‘cause if I would have, I probably                     from his own goons, they gone come right back the next
wouldn’t be goin’ to da CYA or prison. If I would have used                    clappin’ at they own homies.
all the chances, I would be out blowin’ an’ doin’ what I got                        Trust me. I seen it. You can’t trust ya homie. They
to do.                                                                         still would ride fo’ ya ass and put in work with you, but
                                                     -Meez                     you can’t trust ya own homie, ya dig?
from The Beat: We’re not sure at all that another chance would result in                                                       -Lil’ Canon
a different outcome. you say that if you had used the chances you got,         from The Beat: To be honest, this is one of the more depressing
you’d be out “blowin’ an’ doin’ what (you) got to do.” isn’t that what         descriptions we’ve ever read about life on the streets. it undermines
you did to get back inside? Why would it be different this time if you         the old saying that “there’s honor among thieves.” so, if you live a life
got another chance?                                                            where you have to fear the police, fear your “enemies” and fear your
                                                                               friends, are there any advantages to this lifestyle?
s              standOuts

            a beat interview with nae
                                                         S a n             F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                  Can’t trust nobody
                                                                                                                          Volume 12.20       Page 30

TBW: One topic for this week is what you would not do                          Ah can’t trust nobody but mah mom ‘cause it seem like
for money, and you said it would be easier for you to talk                     people always runnin’ words out they mouth like vomit.
about if you were interviewed, so that’s cool. You sound                       Dat’s why ah keep it solid tah mah mom at all times! She
like you’ve really thought about it.                                           know who ah be, who ah be with and what ah be having,
Nae: I’d do anything for money, as long as it’s enough.                        what ah go thru. But ah love mah mom though. Me and
TBW: Enough money?                                                             her like best friends
Nae: That’s right.                                                                                                              -Jabba
TBW: Why would you put yourself out there just for                             from The Beat: can you imagine just how much your “best friend” is
                                                                               missing you while you’re here? We can see how much you’re missing her,
money?                                                                         so when you’re back together, that’s the time to remember just what she
Nae: Why? ‘Cause money makes the world go ‘round.                              means to you, and the time to sacrifice some of what you like doing in
                                                                               favor of loving your mother.
TBW: Do you really mean “anything”?
Nae: Anything.
TBW: You sound like it’s true that you’ve already done
stuff you didn’t really want to do because of money?                                             how many Chances?
Nae: Yes.                                                                      When I think about this topic, I really don’t think about
TBW: Like what have you done, if you feel like talking                         how many more chances me or certain ninjas need to
about it, whether you really wanted to do it or not, because                   make things right. I think about when will we decide to
you wanted the money for it?                                                   make our choices right. I know for a fact for some people,
Nae: I’ve been selling dope before, I’ve been prostituting                     it don’t matter how many chances they get if they don’t
before. I’ve done robbed people. Been there, done that.                        want to make things right…
TBW: In your mind, was it worth doing whatever you did                             But for me, I just don’t know yet, but I hope I stop
to get that money?                                                             having the same screwed up mentality to change shhh in
Nae: We’re hungry out there. Me and my family, not having                      my life feel me…
nothin’ to eat.                                                                                                                 -Ramsone
TBW: Really? No food at all?                                                   from The Beat: When you say you “just don’t know yet,” do you mean
                                                                               you don’t know if you want to give up a certain way of living for an
Nae: Yes. I was eatin’ off my homie’s plate.                                   unknown future? if so, what is keeping you from knowing? here is
TBW: What was going on in your home that caused it to                          where the question of “chances” comes in because, the longer you
                                                                               postpone the hard decision to change, the greater the “chance” that
be that you were that hungry?                                                  something will happen to make you spend years wishing “if only…”
Nae: We was going to be evicted.
TBW: Well, you’re right. That’s real. When you were really
hungry, what did you do?
Nae: I already told.                                                                             2008… Different?
TBW: Well, then, when you’re hungry again, what are you                        What’s up with The Beat? It’s ya boy Mike writing out
going to do, do you think?                                                     of unit 4. I’ma write about this topic. For 2008 I plan on
Nae: I don’t want to talk about this any more. I’m                             spending more time with my family. In 2007 I was locking
through.                                                                       up the whole time (except for the last couple of days), so
                                                        -Nae                   I wasn’t able to spend time with them.
from The Beat: even though we asked you the questions, we had to                    I plan not to be locked up all this year. I’m ‘bout to be
take a few of them and your answers out, because we didn’t want you
to incriminate yourself. The one thing you didn’t really talk about is         18, so it’s time for me to get my shhh together. I’ma keep
the very question that we asked: What wouldn’t you do for money? The           thuggin’ with my ninjas. I’ma just calm my hot-ass down.
interview makes it sound like you’d do anything, but we bet that isn’t         It’s a new year, so it’s time to start thinking more. “We All
true. Would you snitch on a friend? rat out a family member? Would you
molest a child or torture a disabled old woman? We bet you wouldn’t            We Got”
do any of those things, even for money. But then, we’ve never actually                                                                 -Mike
been what you could call “hungry” so we don’t want to judge what we            from The Beat: ignoring the “we all we got” cliché for a minute, we see a
would be willing to do. There is one more question, though: if you had         real problem (for you) in your “plan.” you plan to “keep thuggin’” as well
to do these things to put food on the table, is your family now starving       as to spend more time with your family. unfortunately, those two goals
because you’re locked up?                                                      cannot both be realized. if you keep thugging, you will reap the same
                                                                               rewards as now: imprisonment of one kind or another. (The “system”
                                                                               will calm your “hot-ass down” if you don’t do it yourself.) if you spend
                                                                               more time with your family, you won’t be thugging. like a child, you
     2008: what’s going to be Different                                        want it all. We understand, because we’d like it all too. But we’re grown
                                                                               up enough to know that we can ‘t have it all. it’s time for choices.
To me nothing gone change for the new year because
the same people gone get killed and the same drugs gone
be used. So to me, it’s just gone be the same. But people
getting older and people acting like they don’t know you                                         it’s not that Simple
no more.                                                                       My man, my cousin and my closest guy friend is out there
                                                       -F                      waiting for me, stackin’ skrill so we could get our own
from The Beat: of course, there are many things which we have no               spot. It’s hard on me because they’re all just waiting on
control over and which will continue as they have in the past. But the
one thing we do have some control over is ourselves, and the choices           me to get out. My guy friend has a kid and wants me to be
we make for ourselves. is it possible that anything with change for you        his son’s godmother. My man is constantly messed with
in that department?
                                                                               by these new KKK people who moved in down the block.
                                                                               My cousin is out there doing so much just to survive. I’m
                                                                               so worried about my family. I go to trial tomorrow and I’m
              i wouldn’t Sell my Soul                                          hoping for the best. If I’m still here, you’ll hear from me
What wouldn’t I do for money? I wouldn’t sell my soul!                         next week.
                                                -Tercha                                                                         -Angelique
from The Beat: oh Tercha, you could have done so much with this                from The Beat: We’re hoping things work out for you in court, but
thought. for example, what do you mean by selling your soul? What is           beyond that, we hope you’re thinking long and hard about what you
your soul, and where does it come from? are there other, more concrete,        plan to do when you’re out of here. getting out will happen for sure. it’s
things that you might not do for money?                                        staying out that’s hard.
s               standOuts

                     met this boy…
                                                          S a n              F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                            real life
                                                                                                                           Volume 12.20       Page 31

I met this boy. He’s like no one I’ve ever met or thought I                                       Yeah, I’m pushing hard lines
would meet. He’s beautiful inside and out. I met this boy                                           Even through the bad times
that’s perfect. I met this boy with wonderful thoughts. I                                            Young cous’ want to shine
love to hear them. I can’t believe I met this perfect man                                               So I gotta gotta grind
who actually enjoys being with me. I met this boy… he’s                                      I gotta keep, I gotta keep, I gotta keep
smart, he’s funny, he’s optimistic, he’s willing to take a                                    A deadly gun right there by my side
chance. I met this boy… he’s perfect.                                                                  Every day it’s ride or die
                                                    -Nikkol                                    It’s like a jungle make you wonder
from The Beat: Well, as wonderful as it must feel to have met                                        How I keep on going under
someone so special, the fact that you think “he’s perfect” is a set-up for
disappointment. no one is perfect. if they were, we’d call them god.                               If you come around my corna
When you can accept the human failings that all of us have (including                       I’ma hit with that you wit’ that thunder
your mr. Perfect), that’s the measure of real love.
                                                                                                Every day no joke this is real life
                                                                                                                                -The Great Lano
                                                                                 from The Beat: We had to take out one threatening line (and almost
                  how many Chances?                                              another). if you have to guard the very corner you occupy, then you are
                                                                                 in prison both behind these walls and on the other side, too. We hope
Wassup wit’ it, Beat readers? This is ya girl, Angel, writing                    you can free yourself from the traps the streets have in store for you
                                                                                 before you fall through.
from Unit 5. Man, here I am once again. I have been in and
out of YGC and I’m getting tired of being locked up. We
only got once chance at life, but I keep trying my luck. No
one in the streets “really” care about me, they only care                                      Just a little Stealing…
about getting rich. Being rich is fine, but I just want to be                    I wouldn‘t do too much to harm people for money, just
wanted. I keep thinking I found love, but what I thought                         snatch a iPod or something like that. I wouldn’t hit nobody
was real, wasn’t. I think a true love is the love a mother                       for some money and maybe just snatch something like
has for her child.                                                               from a car or something like some money real quick. And
                                                      -Tercha                    that’s what I would do for some money.
from The Beat: certainly, there is no stronger love than that of a mother
for her child, but looking for love can often lead to frustration. Better
                                                                                 from The Beat: We’re curious about your moral values — your sense of
to love yourself, live a decent life, and let love find you. Be patient.         right and wrong. apparently, you think it’s wrong to hurt someone to
grow into womanhood. That special person will recognize you.                     get money, but not wrong to take things from someone. how is that not
                                                                                 also wrong? When someone takes your property, is it all right with you?
                                                                                 if you can justify taking what belongs to someone else, then can’t the
                                                                                 county justify taking time out of your life?
                  how many Chances?
Man, this that hitta D-Swoop straight out of unit 4. I
think everybody get another chance. Me? I got a second
chance when I got shot in the face. I thought I was go die
                                                                                                    i ain’t gonna Stop
                                                                                 Say Round, what’s poppin’ wit’ da Beat dawg? Y’all know
for real. I wasn’t even sure I was go make it, no lie. I’m                       who this young ninja is man. This be dat fly ninja Iggus
thankful to still be here.                                                       dawg. A lot of y’all know me by “Yesay” ya dig.
    It’s what you do with the second chance that you get.                            But say dawg, these police bammed ya lil’ ninja
Y’all know who I be.                                                             two days before Christmas, man. I mean two days befo’
                                                -D-Swoop                         Christmas, dawg. Man, this shhh ain’t right. That’s why I
from The Beat: What are you doing with this second chance at life you
have been given? does being “thankful to still be here” require any              stay hollerin’:
change in behavior? (We took out your last line; don’t use The Beat to               “Damn my PO. I ain’t gon stop grindin’.
make threats.)
                                                                                     Violate me if you want. Gon have to come find me,
                                                                                     Lookin’ fa me in da streets, I’m somewhere shinin’,
                                                                                     Live every goddamn day like it’s Friday.”
                           Success                                                                                                  -Iggus
The thing I plan to do different this year is succeed. I                         from The Beat: We had to remove your entire last paragraph as
                                                                                 inappropriate. if you sTill don’t understand why you can’t threaten
am going to succeed in school and in learning. I am going                        violence in our pages, ask your Beat facilitator to explain it to you! as
to succeed this program that I am going to in Philly. I                          for your declaration that you “ain’t gon stop grindin’,” just be prepared
                                                                                 for what comes along with that decision. far from damning your Po by
am going to succeed in life this year and all the years to                       that choice, it’s your Po who has the power to damn you! (Why would
come. I am going to succeed in having a successful life.                         your Po have to look for you in the streets when you can be found
                                                   -Beans                        right here!) if you think it’s shady that the cops picked you up two days
from The Beat: We admire your positive outlook. if you keep this in              before christmas, maybe you should have postponed whatever you did
mind, you almost can’t fail! We know you can succeed in everything you           that gave them the power to do it until after christmas!
try, even if you have to try more than once. good luck!

                                                                                                a Chance to Start over
   what’s going to be Different in 2008                                          I know I screwed up many times by coming to juvenile.
                                                                                 I’m hoping to change things around and move from my
What I think is going to be different this new year is I                         neighborhood, and start a new life. Get money, stay out
am going to try and stay out of trouble and stay out of                          of trouble and put the guns down and do right. I would
juvenile hall. I’m going to try to go to the same school                         want to live in Hawaii, so I would ask for another chance
and watch my nieces and chill so I can get off this little                       to start over.
probation and get a job.                                                                                                              -Cfb
                                                   -John                         from The Beat: We hope you achieve your wish to live in hawaii and
from The Beat: We admire all the goals you set for yourself in this piece,       do it the right way. if you’re looking for dirt to get into, you can
John. But tell us, why do you want to make these changes in your life?           find it anywhere, including hawaii. if you’re looking to “start a new
Were you not ready to make them last year but you are ready to make              life… and do right,” you can also find that anywhere. live up to your
them this year? Why? What’s different?                                           expectations!
s               standOuts

                  was gone, now back
                                                            S a n              F r a n C i S C o                  C o u n t Y

                                                                                                          if You See me
                                                                                                                             Volume 12.20       Page 32

Man, what’s poppin’ with The Beat, dawg? I was gone for                            What’s good wit’ da Beat? Yeah, it me Lil’ Bra comin’
a second, but you know we all get into some shhh that                              out of Unit 2. I been in here for a month and a few days. I
brings us back. But anyways it’s 2008. Now ninjas need                             should be getting out and when I get out you know what
to step they game because ninjas is droppin’ and floppin'.                         it is. Leke F Holly walk around with the wally. If you see
B. Wizz is poppin’. Man, keep it rockin’. I’m out dawg.                            me come mess with Lil’ Bra.
                                                   -B Wizz                                                                              -Leke
from The Beat: no, not everybody gets into shhh that brings them back,             from The Beat: no, we don’t know “what it is” when you get out, but if
only the ones who haven’t yet learned that freedom is always better                it’s more of the same as what got you here, then we will see you comin’…
than slavery, and only those who don’t mind others controlling their               back. Be smart and stay free!
lives. Time for you to take control of yours!

               President and assassin                                                                how many Chances
                                                                                   I just want to get out and get money, and take care of my
             I’m cold like a midnight in Aspen
                                                                                   people the legit way. I want to shine and do what I always
            I am the President and the assassin
                                                                                   wanted to do, finish school and become somebody, ‘cause
                Cameras on big light action
                                                                                   this shhh out here in these streets getting old. I just need
        Welcome to da show, I’m the main attraction
                                                                                   one more chance and I get it together for real do dawg.
from The Beat: We think you’ve expressed something quite profound in                                                                  -Lil’ Cali
that one line, “i am the President and the assassin.” What that means to           from The Beat: We hope you really would take that chance to turn your
us is that you (like all of us) are capable of great good or great bad. it’s       life around. if you “always wanted to finish school,” what stood (or
true that we are all the main attraction of our lives, but we don’t think          stands) in your way?
you want to be an attraction in a cage…

                            amazing                                                         what i wouldn’t Do For money
                                                                                   What’s good wit’ da Beat? Man, it’s young Meez up in
                   The life I live is crazy                                        unit 7. I’m chillin’, doin’ what I got to do.
               But what I can be is amazing                                            But what something I wouldn’t do for money is sell
        Walkin’ around wit’ guns and black hoodies                                 ma butt, ‘cause I’m ninja, an’ no matter how much time
                   No ninjas can faze me                                           they give me or how long I do, ain’t sellin’ my body!
          But I know I’m driving my mama crazy                                         Another thing I wouldn’t do is go to prison for no
                  My little brother is Mani                                        money. I’m 18 an’ I pray to God that I don’t see the inside
                 But no ninja can faze me                                          of no prison or CYA.
                What I can be is amazing….                                                                                              -Meez
                                                -Mookey                            from The Beat: Well, meez, we don’t know why you’re here, but we bet
from The Beat: if you know you are driving your mama crazy, then                   that money had something to do with it. so, when you say you wouldn’t
maybe you should stop doing the things that make that happen.                      go to prison or cya for money, we hope you keep that promise!

                     rest in Paradise                                                                i Forfeit my Dream
What’s good wit’ The Beat? Yeah, this the ANT ninja still                          What’s up, Beat Within? Most of you know what’s up;
holding it down up here.                                                           other times most (things seem) to be the same, but I got
     Yeah, it’s going down on the outs right now. It’s                             two things for do right again, because before I came here,
mainy! I’m dedicating this to my fallen homies, rest in                            I doing good, but I know what I do, because I here, but I
paradise. It crazy because a ninja be ready to change his                          don’t worry about this because this life is too pequeno
life around, then I lose three homies in eight months! So,                         (short), an’ I know everybody know that. So anyways, my
like the NFL I’m ‘bout to touchdown and it’s cookies like                          first change in my life is go’ be the relationship with my
the monster!                                                                       fam, an’ I forfeit my dream.
                                                    -Anto                                                                          -Lil’ Morro
from The Beat: it sounds to us that being “ready to change your life               from The Beat: one thing about getting locked up can be that you find
around” was not enough. We’re sorry you lost your homies, but you will             out what really means a lot to you and what doesn’t, right? you can
always lose people to the violence of the streets because that’s the law           also realize that life is short, especially when you’re inside, so maybe
of the streets. if you use their deaths to retaliate, then you never were          it’s good that you now know how you love your family. Why have you
ready to make a change. There’s more than one way to react to the death            had to forfeit your dream? Why don’t you write an essay for The Beat
of people we care about. if we’d lost three of our friends because of the          about your dream? maybe there is a way to stay free and still accomplish
way we live, we’d consider changing the way we live.                               that dream.

                               2008                                                                         no Change
Yo! What’s good wit’ The Beat? You know me, same shhh,
just different day. I’m tryna get out and do something                             I wouldn’t change my style for all the money in the world
different. It’s ‘08 and it’s time for me to step it up because                     ‘cause I’m a real ninja straight up. Anybody know me go
I’m about to be 18 by the next time I see this writing. I                          say I’m a real ninja, feel me. I don’t change fah nobody,
blew up before I grew up. Got introduced to the game now                           ya dig. I be everywhere, and I ain’t changing fah all the
at ninjas’ heads like crew.                                                        money in the world. I’ma stay the same fed up gloss.
    It’s ’08, no crying!                                                                                                               -Gloss
                                                                                   from The Beat: real or not, a good part of your life will be spent taking
                                                -Da Lazy Boi                       orders from strangers (like now) if what you say is true. luckily, we
from The Beat: We had to take out one line at the end (no threats!), but           have enough experience to kow that no one can predict the changes
what we want to know is what you mean when you say you want to “do                 in store for them, including you. The question is not whether you will
something different.” What do you have in mind? if you just go back to             change or not — you will! The question is whether you want to bring
more of the same, expect more of the same…                                         that change about or let others do it for you.
s               standOuts

                  So Young but So old
                                                          S a n              F r a n C i S C o                 C o u n t Y

                                                                                          what’s going to be Different?
                                                                                                                          Volume 12.20       Page 33

Man, they say you done with juvie when you eighteen.                             What I’m going to be more about is about my money and
Well, I’ll be 18 January 29, but I ain’t done. After I get                       life and stop being lock up because I got better things in
outta here, I’ma be in a group home ‘til I’m 19. I’m too old                     life than getting lock up.
for juvenile probation, but apparently not old enough…                                                                            -Playboy
                                                -Jay Thizz                       from The Beat: come on. stop being so lazy! a one-sentence piece tells
from The Beat: you’ll be done with juvie, group homes, jail and all other        us one thing only: you are not using your time, but letting it use you?
forms of judicial control when you stop giving the system the power it           The Beat is an opportunity to tell us some things worth knowing. not
gets from your acts… When that happens, you’ll be old enough!                    grabbing that opportunity doesn’t give us a lot of confidence that you
                                                                                 will grab the opportunities freedom gives you when you get out from
                                                                                 under this situation. no more one or two-sentence pieces, please.

              i want out of the world
Man I can’t take this life any more. I just want to get out                                          Different in ‘08
this world and never come back. My world is all messed                           What’s good Beat? Dis yo' boy Mook F Holly. Yeah, I’m
up. I need to change, but I don’t want to. I’m just going                        back in here. It’s going to be different in ‘08. I’m gone get
to go away and never come back, but I just need to stop!                         my money game up a little bit more and go to Atlanta and
But I can’t. Peace.                                                              change my life around for da better. I got something to
                                                  -No Name                       live for, ya dig. But yeah man, Beat I’m short on words.
from The Beat: as long as you believe the lie that you can’t stop, you           Next time I’m gone hit you wit’ a poem. I’m out.
will just keep facing these longer and longer lock-ups. The truth is, you
“don’t want to” which means that you are willing to accept what comes                                                                   -Mook
with that choice. and what comes with that choice is more of this…               from The Beat: We hope you are able to change things around so that
                                                                                 you never have to spend another day under the control of someone else.
                                                                                 it won’t be easy, but then neither is this!

                        last Chance
I only need this last chance because I am about to be 18,
and I need to get this probation shhh over because I know
that if I keep on running away from a placement I will be
on my way to this juvenile hall. So when I get out, I will
prove these people wrong and move on wit’ my life.
from The Beat: We often say that success is the best revenge.

      what wouldn’t You Do For money?
I will sell drugs for money, rob ninjas, do dumb shhh for
money — things I shouldn’t do, things that will put me in
jail. But that’s how I got to live. It’s good though. I wish I
can take that back for real.
                                              -Young Stunna
                                                                                                    to be a good guy
from The Beat: We know what you Would do for money, because here
you are for doing it. But the question we asked is what Wouldn’T you
do for money? do you have any limits to what you would do? if so, what
are they, and why do you draw the line there?                                    I think I got a lot of chances because God. In this chance
                                                                                 I’m get out, but not do the same thing as last year.
                                                                                      I will never do nothing to make my family bad. And
                                                                                 will ever kill myself for money.
                     when i got info                                                  I think that if I get out of this shhh, I will change
What it do, Beat? ‘Bout to get out the Ranch. I’m goin’                          my life to a good guy and be with my family and go to
home this week, feel me? I’m back, like I never left. My                         school.
little sis got took down. I was hot, ’cause we was supposed                                                                           -Edgar
                                                                                 from The Beat: We put all three of your pieces in one, edgar, because we
to be out together and I was hot when I got the info. All I                      want you to write only about one topic, and not all of them! Take one
want to say is keep your heads up over there, and do your                        idea, like what it means to be a good guy and be with your family, and
                                                                                 tell us everything you can about it.
time, sis. Tryin’ to keep you on your shhh. Much love.
from The Beat: congratulations for completing your program and going

                                                                                                   how many Chances
home. do you think it would help your sister to know that you’re doing
really well on the outs, staying out of any mess, and will hang with her
when she’s home again?
                                                                                 I think I need hundred chances because you can never
                                                                                 get too many unless you’re a pure dummy. But with me,
                                                                                 this my second chance. I just need one mo’ to get my
                   i wouldn’t, i won’t                                           mind straight.
          I wouldn’t beat up my homie for money.                                     But fa real though, these judges be smooth but bras
                I wouldn’t snitch for money.                                     keep messing up on some other. We be out there too
              Anything that feels wrong to me                                    much. But we try to be smooth, but without too many
                    I won’t do for money.                                        chances I wont see dis no mo’.
                                                               -No way                                                          -Monyea
from The Beat: excellent! That’s a start. it sounds like you know yourself       from The Beat: The problem with hoping for just one more chance —
very well, and stand up for your principles. now the next question               and then not taking it to make the changes you need to make — is that
becomes--what will you do to earn some real, legitimate money, when              you can never tell when you’re luck will run out, and there are no more
you’re free again?                                                               chances to be had…
s               standOuts

                                                           S a n t a          C l a r a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                                                       Volume 12.20       Page 34

Something that I would change this year would be the                          I have many goals for 2008. But to accomplish my goals,
way I make choices about school. The first choices I made                     I must accomplish one of my goals, and that is to do
about school weren’t really good because I decided not to                     anything in my ability to get out of the hall.
go, but now I see how important school is and now I have                                                                     -Giovanni
to make better choices that I won’t regret – like staying                     from The Beat: But what are those “many goals” you have for 2008?
                                                                              if you are lazy, which is what it looks like when you only write two
in school in trying to do something better and not end up                     sentences, you can’t accomplish much of anything. getting out of the
getting locked up.                                                            hall is a certainty. The question is, what comes then? next time, write
                                                                              a lot more!
from The Beat: That sounds like a good resolution for the new year. do
you think being locked up and having to go to school in here has made
you feel better about going to school on the outs?
                                                                                                how many Chances
                                                                              I don’t think I have any more chances. They’re all gone.
                           roomates                                           I just need to change now. Nothing’s going to change by
Lugo: How is 2008 for you? Do you think that its going                        itself. Everything requires effort and dedication – so that’s
to be a better year?                                                          what imma try to do. I don’t think anyone gets too many
                                                                              chances. I think they just get enough to realize they need
Moreno: Hey you, well my year is doing good cause I have                      to change. They need to have desire. And know I know I
the coolest roommate you can ask for. I don’t know that’s                     have desire to change because I feel my chances are gone.
it can get better cause I lost a special person.                              I don’t have any more. I have to change on my own.
                                                                                                                                    - Mely
                                                                              from The Beat: it’s so interesting, a lot of the young men write about
Lugo: Hello! Well, I know you have the best roommate.                         having lots of chances left but it seems like the young women feel like
Thanks! It’s me! Well I hope and pray that you can pull                       they barely have any. What do you think this is about? But you’re right,
through it cause you don’t need to stress off of it.                          it doesn’t matter if you have a million chances to change, that desire
                                                                              must come from within.

Moreno: You are welcome girl. I think I can pull through
it because I have you by my side. I really don’t know what
to do. I just wake up. LOL!                                                                               a Flow
                                                                                            These four words can’t do spit,
Lugo: Aww thanks. I love you girl, to the fullest. I will                                      but make me mean as a pit.
always be there for you. Well my year is going bad cause                           Anger building up inside sometimes has me,
I’m in there.                                                                  remembering when my cousins used to do it live 9-5
                                                                                                    reppin’ the block
Moreno: I love you too girl. Thanks for being by my side.                                      always stayin’ on our toes,
Don’t be sad because you will be leaving soon. We’ll talk                                     on the corners spittin’ flows.
in the room.                                                                             Oh the life we live, and things we did.
                                                                                                  Since I was a little kid
Lugo: You are welcome once again. I’m pulling through                                         I always wanted to be a cop,
it. Ok girly. Bye!                                                                 till I became a teen, then that came to a stop.
                              - Lugo and Esmeralda                                                Now I’m on the block,
from The Beat: This was a creative way to address the topics. it seems
like you guys have found a good support system, even being locked                                 not just to be on top,
up.                                                                                          but keep money in my pocket,
                                                                                                 and keep my family fed.
                                                                                            Never need a school education,
                           i will try                                                      never made it to a four point oh,
I will try to make my ex- girlfriend happier. I still talk to                 but now I have enough money to by an ‘89 Mustang 5.0.
her. She wants me back and all but, she thinks I’m going                                                                         -Gilbert
                                                                              from The Beat: This flow seems to be about repping the street life and
to be the same as last time.                                                  bragging about the kind of things you can buy, than analyzing why you
    We would argue over stupid stuff. All I’ve ever done to                   are living this way. do you really think you don’t need an education?
her in the past was to make her sad and cry all the time.
    The thing I know she wants most is for me to get out
the hall and stay out of trouble. She still knows I love her
because I tell her do all the time.                                                           how many Chances…
                                                 -Saint New                   We get a lot of chances in life. Everyday we make our
from The Beat: it seems like this girl is willing to give you another         choices, whether it’s bad or good. It’s what we do. But
chance. if you love her so much, you’ll do the best for her. do it for her,   if we mess up or need to fix it, we’re able to have that
but it would be better if you do it for yourself. What are your plans?
                                                                              chance, but sometimes it’s different. It doesn’t always
                                                                              work out the way we want it to or go the way we want it
                                                                              to go.
                   what i told myself                                               Some people don’t always have that one chance
When I first came in here I told myself I was never coming                    that most people do – the chance to go outside, that one
back, but here I am sitting in 2008. I’m possibly going to a                  chance to be with that someone you love so dearly but
group-home. I think if I work on my anger, I can probably                     it’s because of that choice you made and you just have to
stay out.                                                                     pray and ask God if you can get that one more chance.
                                               -Lil’ Downer                                                                 - Unknown
from The Beat: do you think your anger got you in here? if so, look for       from The Beat: This piece seems to really talk about fate and faith.
way to control it. There are professionals that might help you. ask your      sometimes we can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time and that
Po for help.                                                                  can take us away from having chances or choices for a long time.
s               standOuts

                                                         S a n t a          C l a r a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                     what’s going to be Different?
                                                                                                                      Volume 12.20       Page 35

I’m not really feeling these topics, and I don’t really have                The one thing that’s going to be different is that I’m
anything on my mind. But I could tell you guys about                        making a commitment to making a change in the lifestyle
something that happened today in class. Well, I’ve been                     I was living that got me here for the fourth and fifth time.
in A-level for the hella longest I’ve ever been on A-level                      Now that I’m going to be 16 – it’s not no joke, because
for.                                                                        the system is not going to play with me no more. No more
     Today, in class, I came so close to getting on a C-level.              games.
I was in class and everyone was talking. We weren’t                             So now I’m tired of being in here, missing out on things
supposed to, but we were. Well, I don’t know why but I                      like family food and the fresh air outside, especially just
felt like getting on the teacher – some white dude. It’s not                stepping out of your door without being told anything.
that I don’t like him – I was just bored. He told me to turn                This is just some of the things.
in my pencil in and get out. He also said that I was getting                    So now that I’ am going to get released on Feb. 26th,
on a C-level. I said screw you and I walked out.                            I’m going to cherish my stay at home. I mean this because
     After class, when he was writing an I.R., I asked the                  people just say that they are going to change, but then
staff if I could talk to the teacher. I talked my way out of                when they get out, they go back to their old ways. But I’m
it.                                                                         going to let my actions speak louder than my words. All
                                                 -Yung Tone                 right then Beat – I’m out.
from The Beat: What did you say to talk your way out of it? even                                                             -Martizzie
though you don’t explicitly talk about it in the piece, it seems like you   from The Beat: coming back so many times must be hard since you
did feel bad about what you said to your teacher. This story is a great     know exactly what you are in for. cherish is a great word for the feeling
example of how frustrated even the most chill people feel when they         you must have after being locked up. good luck on making a radical
are locked up.                                                              change in your life.

                 how many Chances?                                                    what’s going to be Different
Yeah, it’s true that everybody gets into trouble and yet
most people get that second chance to do right. I think for                 In 2008, the different thing dat is going to be happening
some people it may take more than that second chance to                     is a different place and people ‘cause I am going to be
do things better. I’m not really sure of the best solution                  going to CYA and then to prison.
to answer this riddle except that most of the time it takes                                                              -Giant Samoa
                                                                            from The Beat: We can understand why it would be depressing to write
most of us time to get it right. I just hope that at least a                about what you are facing. But we know you can give us a lot more
bigger majority can turn their lives around for the better,                 that’s on your mind than this! When will you be leaving the hall? how
                                                                            long will you be in the ya? What are your worst fears? how are you
and do something great with the lives our creator has                       planning to move forward? These are all things you could educate us
blessed us with.                                                            about.,
from The Beat: you still didn’t answer the question about how many
chances people have. and perhaps it is more than just “a chance” to
turn our lives around, it has to do with actually working to make things
better as well.
                                                                                                     For money
                                                                            There are several things people would do for money,
                                                                            and even more things people wouldn’t do for money. The
                 how many Chances?                                          number one thing I wouldn’t do for money is kill or hurt
                                                                            someone who never did me wrong.
I think I have many chances left. I’m just 17. I’m still a                      The second thing I would never do is eat someone or
teen. I still have lots to learn, lots to see.                              their poop.
    The hall is nothing. It’s just a wake-up call. I’m not                      Another thing I would never do is rape someone or
going to be in here forever. I have many chances left. I                    hurt or kill a baby.
don’t plan on using all of them. I choose my destiny. I                         Other than that I’d do just about anything to fill up
choose my path. It’s up to me. It’s never too late to                       my pockets.
change. You can never get too many chances in life. You                                                                     - Nessa
can always help yourself more than ever whenever.                           from The Beat: This is a very clear list of things you would or wouldn’t
                                                                            do for money. it seems like you’ve given this question some thought!
from The Beat: so, did you choose to be locked up this time? While
your desire to be in control of your life is admirable, being locked up
is a serious thing and perhaps you can use that idea to help yourself
                                                                                       leavin’ lala land For good!
                                                                            What it don’t do Beat.
                                                                                It’s yo’ girl once again getting’ back at you. I am now
            won’t Snitch, Don’t Snitch                                      18 leaving this place for good. Off probation. Alice has
One of many things I won’t do for money is snitch                           found her way out of Wonderland. I enter the life of an
somebody. You can offer me all the money but my lips                        adult tryin’ to make it out the hood. No longer young and
would be shut. I really don’t know how someone could                        going through hell. It’s all right though - this baby girl
live a life as a witness knowing that you just ruined                       gonna make it through. No one to take care of me now.
someone else’s life, while you’re chilling and that person                  I’m all grown up.
is in lock down because of you? I personally don’t think                        11 brothers from my dad and wife, 5 sisters, one
that’s human, or should I say is normal. My point is money                  brother from my mom, another 18 year old from my dad
can’t buy everything and money is a man’s weakness and                      and his FWB. I’m the oldest 18 too. Damn, that’s a lot of
also a trip of misery and depression.                                       heads to tend to.
                                                    -Loony                                                                 --Boss Hogg
from The Beat: The way you put it about snitching is really interesting.    from The Beat: Well, you enter adulthood with a “distinctive style”.
dealing with the guilt would be hard, but what about if your family was     your family is just about the largest one we know of. do you have work
depending on you? Wouldn’t you be hurting them if you didn’t snitch?        lined up? Will you complete your schooling? What are your plans?
s              standOuts

              thank You and good bye
                                                        S a n t a          C l a r a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                             how many Chances
                                                                                                                    Volume 12.20      Page 36

                       Goodbye my friend.                                  Well I had many chances to stop doing what I do and
                         Life’s a wild ride.                               stop coming here. I had chances to get off probation and
    It could be described as a party, a game, a fantasy,                   do good but all the drugs got to me. I had chances to
       a dream come true, an adventure, a nightmare,                       better myself and do stuff with my family but all I was
                      or just a long journey.                              doing was taking stuff for granted. Chances can be given
    However, receive it is according to your mind and/                     to you but there are just so many they can give you.
   or thoughts. Rather, it’s to be happy, angry, or full of                                                              --Matthew
                        sadness or sorrow.                                 from The Beat: The evidence is that if you keep trying, that if you
                                                                           pick yourself back up after every fall, you will eventually master your
   It’s all up to you and everyone else including myself                   addictions. don’t give up!
                  to make the world what it is.
           I remember you once told me “Achieve,”
              and I thank you for opening my eyes
          thank you for getting locked here! Ha-ha.
                                                                              2008…what’s going to be Different?
                                                                           This year everything is gonna be different for me
    All this time up in here was actually pleasant, fun,
                                                                           because I’m pregnant – so I’m be a mommy. So, I’m just
  but sometimes annoying. It just depends on how you
                                                                           gonna change my bad ways that I used to do and just do
                             receive it.
                                                                           better for me and my baby. I might have problems with my
If you were a slave in some other country, and you came
                                                                           baby’s daddy. Well, I’m having them now. Me and him are
               here, this place would be paradise.
                                                                           not together, but it’s for a good reason. The good thing is
So when you hit the “Y” you better be reppin’ the postive
                                                                           that my family is gonna be there for me and my mommy
  I won’t forget you and you just try not to forget about
                                                                           too. I kind of feel sad in a way but things happen for a
                                                                           reason and we all learned from our mistakes.
         Take care bro, and I’ll see you on the outs.
                                                                                                                          - CandyGirl
 One life to live, living life to the fullest, ain’t no doubt.             from The Beat: Wow, having a baby seems like a really powerful reason
                            Stay up bro!                                   to change your ways. Being pregnant just forces you to act differently.
                                                                           Wouldn’t it be a trip if boy’s got pregnant, too?
                                                    -Viet Tiger
from The Beat: yes, over time you do find some incredible friends in
the strangest places, and that being the max unit in your hall. We
agree your unit over the last year has given not only your unit, but the
pages of The Beat some of the best pen pieces in years! Viet Tiger we
are counting on you to continue in that tradition as we are sure monk
                                                                                                   me and You
will do the same!                                                                          You say I got to step like this
                                                                                                      to be your girl,
                                                                                     but really you just need me in yo’ world.
                                                                                               Someone to care for you
         what’s going to be Different?                                                                  LOVE YOU
What’s going to be different is the question I keep asking                                               HUG YOU
myself ever since the first time I got put on probation.                                                 MISS YOU
    I could still remember my fist time like it was yesterday:                                          HELP YOU
the feeling of those cold handcuffs on my writs, and the                                         just be there for you.
hard black seat of a cop car. It’s something that has been                                           Like Cassie said:
dwelling in the back of my mind. The odd thing is that it                                        ‘It’s just me and you.’
didn’t set in until my second time around and the second                                All these hard times and struggles
rehab center is where I finally had the maturity to realize                                you know we can get through!
that this is the rest of my life. I have the chance to change                               Ain’t no question or no doubt
nothing and nothing would change for me, so I decide on                                   ‘cause you know that I love you!
the first one.                                                                                 Nothin’ can change that,
                                                       -Gregg                          not no shiny chains or damn jewels.
from The Beat: Those memories you have of the first time you got
caught by the police are really strong and chilling. it seems like you               Together we soar all the way to Neptune.
have found the maturity to realize that you want to change your life,                       Now I’m back from my dream,
so get to it.
                                                                                              how I wish it was all true
                                                                                              ‘cause when I’m with you
                                                                                              everything feels so right.
                      First and last                                                        Especially when you hold me
                                                                                                 all through the night.
This is my first time in the hall. I came here for a                                  Haters, yeah, they try to dim our light
bench warrant. I didn’t go to court just because it was                                     But they can’t cause our love
on Halloween and I wanted to party. If I just had went to                                       shines way too bright.
court – I wouldn’t be here. It really sucks in here. It’s my                           So when you feel everything’s going
first time and hopefully my last. I’ve been here already a                                     in the wrong directions
month. All this is doing for us is setting us up for failure                         Call on me boy, with no second-guessing
because it’s so easy. In prison, it’s nothing like this.                                       I’ll tell you I be there in
You don’t have parties, you don’t do shhh. I don’t think                                              two point five,
we should have any special privileges. But it’s coo’. I’m                                      so when I call you back
getting out next week.                                                                          you know I just arrived
     So, everybody I know: stay up. Late.                                                         and all you got to do
                                                  - Mousey                                             is come ride.
from The Beat: Wow, so are you saying that because they are so nice to
you in Juvenile hall that it encourages people to come back and sets                                                        -Kuriouse
them up for life in the system, and then – bam, prison is different? so,   from The Beat: This is quite the love poem. your writing is always
are you suggesting that they are a lot stricter with you guys?             exciting and interesting. Thanks for sharing something so personal.
s               standOuts

            this Year will be Different
                                                          S a n t a          C l a r a              C o u n t Y

                                                                                           time to Change in 2008
                                                                                                                       Volume 12.20       Page 37

This year is going to be different because I’ am planning                    I think I need to work on not getting locked up because
to move out of my house when I get out and live on my                        is too much money to pay. My family doesn’t have money
own, this way I can depend more on myself than my                            to pay for my dumb things I do on the streets. I need to
parents. This way I can teach my son to be independent.                      work on doing my time because if I keep running, it will
By depending on myself more, I won’t get into trouble. I                     be the same thing. So know that like the badass I am, I’m
plan to spend as much time with my son and girlfriend                        going to do my time and work in each bad thing I do.
as possible.                                                                      People tell me to change, but I can’t, but I’m going to
                                                -Unknown                     try I like the streets because of all the dumb things me
from The Beat: sometimes you really do have to separate yourself from        and my homies do. It’s fun.
your friends and take responsibility in order to do right. good luck.
                                                                                                                                 -M Tiny
                                                                             from The Beat: like you say, once you start running, it’s your family
                                                                             that pays, both with their money and their fear that something might

                                                                             happen to you. stick to your words and plans and you’ll see that you
                                                                             can overcome this. We promise there’s a whole world of real fun out
                                                                             there that doesn’t involve danger and pain.
                    I’m the type of person
                  That you will never forget.
                  I’m the type of person that
                  Don’t care what you think                                          an unknown number of Chances
                     I’m the type of person                                  It is true on how many chances we get. I think there is
          That if you tried to fight me you will lose.                       unknown amount of chances. Some people do just get
                  I’m the type of person that                                lucky on what they do and some get stuck on their first.
                    We can be best friends.                                       I myself have had many chances, but thought that it
                  I’m the type of person that                                was just the mouthpiece I had to manipulate anything I
                 We will be the best enemies.                                wanted and needed. It took me a couple of chances, but
                                               --Yo’ Boy Aok                 everything happens for a reason and by me coming back
from The Beat: you don’t care what we think? ok, maybe that’s so.            I would have never gotten a chance to get to know the
But we care what you think. and that’s exactly why we make The Beat
Within. We really care about what you and your colleagues have to say.
and we want to spread your voice as far as we can. We believe that by             Like it says in the Bible, “we came in this world
helping you tell your story, we can help make the world we all share a       without it and that we’re going to leave the same way.”
bit more livable.
                                                                                  What I want to change in this upcoming year is to get
                                                                             out of here, do well. I mean real good, like following the
                                                                             word of God and live happy as I should be doing, A-Men.
                        For Violation                                                                                               -Az
                                                                             from The Beat: We are glad that you’ve found a positive road by
I am in the hall this is my almost my fifth time in here.                    discovering your faith and the way that faith can show you how to do
Now I am in here for a violation just because I want to get                  right. if you keep doing right and thinking right, you are much more
high. Now I am getting 6-8.                                                  likely to get that happy healthy life you want. a-men!
    Just being here for New Years got me thinking if I
want to be here for my birthday.
from The Beat: Was it worth hitting that joint? if you continue violating
                                                                                                       this Year
your probation you might be here for your birthday, maybe christmas          What’s up Beat? It’s your homeboy Nino, coming from
and another new years ave. it’s all up on you.                               the Hall. 2008 is going to be different ‘cause I am planning
                                                                             on doing good this year ‘cause I am tired of being locked
                                                                             up. I got eight more months I am going to get a job n take
                    luck running out                                         care of my family.
I’m 18 years old. And I’m one lucky mother…, up until                        from The Beat: What will you do differently? We’re glad to hear this, but
about two months ago, when I made my way into the hall                       now we want to hear your plan. Break it down.
five days before my 18th b-day.
     But even then I was lucky (5 days and I would be
looking at way more shhh then I am in now. With my
charges I would be doing like 10 years). Now it’s the ranch
                                                                                               how many Chances
                                                                             What’s good wit’ it Beat. Me, nothing. Just back in a
or YA now.                                                                   locked facility. Man I had many chances, about six. But
     OK. Let me get back at what I really want to say. How                   some people had about eleven, twelve times locked up.
many chances is the question? And my answer is fifteen.                           Someday we will all try hard, or maybe not, but I know
I had fifteen times to get my head out of my ass. Ok (by                     this is my last time in here. They said after this if I mess
the way this is my first time in the hall, my first situation                up, it’s off to CYA. And I ain’t trying to have that, ‘cause
and not one of them went through. No PO. Nothing. Luck                       my charges that I have are real serious and horrible.
maybe, maybe not.                                                                 But I’m sure in 2008 everything will happen different,
     But I’ve been thinking to myself, if I would have come                  cause I can’t stand hearing that door closing behind me,
in here on the first situation I’m pretty sure I would not                   and somebody telling me when to take it down, how long
come back. This is my last chance to do right and if nine                    I got to shower. You just ain’t got no rights in here. But I
out ten people come back I am that one who doesn't.                          still make it through this place and I hope everybody else
Because everything I’ve left behind is stuff I will never                    makes it.
lose again.                                                                                                                     -Mookie
                                              -Slow Cooker                   from The Beat: and we hope so too. This seems to be the issue where
from The Beat: What will it take to be that one out of ten? What habits      we have to keep reminding you guys not to give up. We don’t mind
will have to change? What decisions will you have to make. Because like      repeating ourselves because we aren’t giving up on you. We really, truly,
you said, you’ve had a lot of chances and a lot of luck, but now it’s time   honestly want you to succeed. We want you to have good lives. so, here
to take your life into your own hands, for real.                             it comes again: don’t give up, never give up!
s              standOuts

                  how many Chances
                                                        S a n t a          C l a r a             C o u n t Y

                                                                                          time to help my Family
                                                                                                                    Volume 12.20       Page 38

When I get out, I am going to stop doing drugs, stay out                   In 2008, what is going to be different? I want to help
of trouble and spend more quality time with my family. I                   my mom because in 2007 I didn’t even care of my mom.
will succeed with graduating from probation, along with                    I didn’t listen to my mom, I didn’t go with my mom, and I
going to school and work.                                                  went with my friends instead.
    I just need change my environment and my so-called                         Now in 2008 I’m going to help her to pay the rent, help
friends I am surrounded by.                                                my mom and my sister to clean the house, and go to go to
    Well what going to be different in 2008 is going to be                 school like my sister.
me reading more often, working out more by myself in                           I want to be a soccer player. If I become one, I am
the unit, just try to do good and get all the education I                  going to help my mom get her a house, and make her
could get. Education is the key to everybody’s success,                    happy.
even mine.                                                                     I am going to help my sister too, and get my brother a
    Well I used to steal money from my mother, but I                       car, a little house as well as my mother. I want to help my
don’t want to do it anymore because my mother will get                     family to get a happy life and I’m going to help my friends
mad me at all the times. I’ve already done it to her. When I               to go to school.
get out, I promise that I will never take anything from my                                                                     -Rafael
mother again, because now I know that whatever is mine,                    from The Beat: you’ve listed the people who you want to make happy,
                                                                           but didn’t tell us what it will take. Will you need different friends? a
is hers.                                                                   tutor? help from your Po – if your Po is cool?
    She told me that whatever’s hers is mine also, and
that I never had to take anything from her in the first
    I’m sorry mom, I love you.                                                         thinking Positive thoughts
                                                       -Paul               What keeps me relaxed and going to sleep is thinking
from The Beat: good thinking! We are so glad to hear this from you. We     positive thoughts. It helps me a whole lot. I guess you can
have a good feeling that you will succeed and make all the plans you       say that it educates me in some sort of a strange way.
have in mind a reality. education opens many doors in all areas of life.
get a good education and make your life easier. also think about the           Just think positive things in your situation, you
precious mother who loves you so much. good luck in 2008!                  know. Well that’s all I have to say for now.
                                                                           from The Beat: Well, that’s a good start. you got positive thoughts

                 they Don’t miss You
                                                                           running over your head, therefore; don’t give up on them and apply
                                                                           them into your future decision.
I hate how people tell me they miss me. I don’t think
they really miss me. I write people all the time and I don’t
receive a letter back until after a month or so.
    If they missed me so much, how come they don’t write
                                                                                                    that’s me
                                                                           When you see some one beatin’ up the block on chrome
me then? If they missed me so much they would want to                      in an 87 Chevy Caprice, that’s me.
at least hear from me. Wouldn’t they? If only they knew                        When you see somebody with a sick Rolex, that’s
how much my day enlightens when I receive a letter from                    me.
them…                                                                          When you see some one sporting Nike Airforce 25’s,
                                                -Saint New                 that’s me. When you see some one with a clean fit on all
from The Beat: The outside world is very busy and you know that. We
suggest you to write to those who really appreciate you and want the       the time, that’s me. When you see me you can easily tell I
best for you. have you told them how happy they make you when they
                                                                           got hook ups, but how you will really know me is if I ask
                                                                           you for some…
I am going to help my sister too,
                                                                           from The Beat: you forgot one sentence. When you see me in Juvy doing
                                                                           time, away from my loved ones, without the privileges and rights i was
                                                                           born with, that’s me.

and get my brother a car, a little
house as well as my mother.                                                                      this long life
                                                                           Hey what’s crackin’ Beat. Here to write a short little
                                                                           story about my long life.
                                                                               I was born in 1993. A year of life went on, but in ‘94 I
                     lucky until now                                       got taken away from my family. The system tried to reunite
I’m 18 years old. Over my time in the hall, I’ve learned                   me with them when I was seven, but the family kept doing
many things. One of them is that I think I’ve been very                    drugs. When they found out they took me away again, but
lucky up until now. My question is how? About a week                       when I turned ten, I started running away and getting into
ago I found out.                                                           drugs, too, and started getting into gangs. But after four
    I learned that over the last six years of my life that I               years it caught up to me and I am here now. But when I
had more chances than most people in the system. I was                     get out I hope to straighten my life out. Well, I still have a
given fifteen chances to get my shhh together and none                     chance. Late Beat. Got to go. Holler at you later.
of my charges became a serious crime. I mean yeah, I am                                                                  --Young Life
                                                                           from The Beat: yes, you do have a chance. don’t you give up. life
a very lucky guy. Who gives a guy fifteen chances?                         can be much more than you now imagine. here’s an idea. start asking
                                       -One More Chance                    folks who “have it together” how they do it? We all learn by example.
from The Beat: you got a good point! if we were you, we would take         observe those around you very carefully. We’re talking about the adults
things seriously and think about tomorrow. you’ve been playing with        you admire. ask yourself what it is about them that you value. Then
your luck, and the next one may not be a lucky one. don’t be selfish       ask them for their stories. ask them how they came to be who they are.
with yourself and those who love you and want the best for you. how        you’ll be very surprised to learn that many of the finest folks around
do you fee about the next chance you will get? Will you take advantage     had a tough time when they were young. so look around and start
of it?                                                                     asking questions. and never, ever, ever, ever, give up.
s              standOuts

                                                         n e w            m e x i C o

                                                                                        the new Year! the new me!
                                                                                                                      Volume 12.20      Page 39

             Different year and different month                              For 2008 I’m going to change. For one, I’m not coming
                   But why does everything                                   in here anymore.
          And everybody got to be the same shhh?                                  I’m going to get things right with my Grandma, and
                 Like me being incarcerated                                  I’m going to start hanging out with the right people and
      I see it as, “same old shh, just a different day.”                     get back in school and try harder.
            My opinion – nada’s going to change.                                  I’m just going to do a lot of things differently. I’m
                    Shhh, I’m still in here                                  going to change everything I did wrong in 2007, it’s a new
                  My family is still the same                                year for me and I’m going to change it so I can do a lot
                  Everybody is still on drugs                                better in the things I do.
        See, everything is still going to be the same.                            To tell you the truth, I’ve never pictured myself in the
                                                    - Sophia                 D-home, but I’ve always thought, “Oh, cool, I want to end
from The Beat: you act like you’re the victim in this situation, but         up in the D-home”. But now that I’m here, I’m thinking
you’re only fooling yourself. What got you in here in the 1st place?
you say that everything and everybody is the same, what about you?           it’s not so fun. Anyway, that is what I’m going to change,
What are you willing to change? you should stop complaining about            and I’m not going to come back to the D-home. I’m not
everything and start doing something about your life.
                                                                             going to be stupid like a crack-head.
                                                                                                                               - Shanice
                                                                             from the Beat: Why would you “want to end up in the d-home? We hope
   2008…what’s going to be different?                                        that you’re serious about your willingness to change. you’re lucky to
                                                                             have a grandmother that cares about you.
I believe all things are made to change or to be different,
but in my case, I don’t really know how things are going
to be different for me.
    My case manager wants me to go into treatment
                                                                                                   the big 2008
again.                                                                       Now it’s 2008 and we need to start making changes for
    It’s just like a cycle for me since May 2007. I’ve been                  2008. I’m going to stop doing drugs, and once I get out,
in treatment since the last week of November.                                I’m going to get back into school. I will finish P.E.G and
    The first week of December I was at home with my                         probation. Once I finish all that, I’m going to stay out of
family. It’s not fair. My case manager only gives 2 weeks.                   trouble.
My probation officer signed a warrant, and they put me                           I’m only twelve and this is not the way I want to spend
back in the D-home. If they put me back in treatment,                        my life, and my New Year. It’s hard to stay out of trouble,
things won’t change or be different at all.                                  but I’m going to try. There’s a lot of temptations out there.
                                                    - Kevin                  I pray that I stay out of jail at least for a year. I don’t like
from The Beat: it sounds like you’re just making excuses so that you         to come in here, but it’s hard to be good to tell you the
don’t have to behave. Why else would you be here? you need to do             truth.
what’s right and stop complaining.
                                                                                 When I first came in here I thought I was all cool, but
                                                                             now that it’s my second time, it’s not cool. I sit in my cell
                                                                             wishing I had never messed up. The food in here is nasty,
                                                                             our cereal tastes like cardboard and our nuggets are still
                                                                             frozen when they give them to us.
                                                                                  Probably the only thing I like is we get candy on the
                                                                             weekend, but otherwise, I hate the D-home. It’s all ghetto.
                                                                             My shoes have holes, showing my toes, and they work us
                                                                             out like crazy on Mondays. It’s called, “Model Mondays”,
                                                                             that’s hard. I’m still sore from working out. It’s crazy, I
                                                                             come in here and there are some people that are crazy
                                                                             crack addicts.
                                                                                                                                   - Mallory
                                                                             from The Beat: you said, “i pray that i stay out of jail at least for a
                                                                             year”, why not for the rest of your life? Why would you want to come
                                                                             back after a year? remember that you’re no better than the “crazy crack
                                                                             addicts” because you’re sharing the same living space as them.

                         Don’t Cry
In her eyes, I can see that she wants to cry inside. All I
can say to myself, each and everyday is, “Nana don’t cry.
                                                                                                  the Difference
Nana, I didn’t mean to, please Nana, now is not the time                     My goals for 2008 are going to be different from 2007.
to say goodbye”.                                                             I’m going to complete the treatment that they are going
     I know I messed up, that is not a lie. It killed me                     to send me to.
inside, the first time I saw you cry. I know it may seem                         My goal is to discharge successfully, and once I
like I don’t care, and everything I had said and done was                    discharge, I will be going home with my grandma. I plan
all a lie.                                                                   on doing the right thing this time, and not running from
     Please Nana, don’t cry anymore, because you’re going                    my probation. If I run this time from treatment, I know
to get your baby-girl back. Just sit and watch her walk                      I will be getting my commitment, and that is not what
through the door. I’m going to do what I have to and mean                    I want to happen. I know I need to get my act together
what I say because deep down inside, I’ll always be that                     before it is too late in life.
way.                                                                                                                         - Shorty
                                                                             from The Beat: you said that you’re going home with your grandmother,
                                                 - Kristen                   where are your parents? since you’ve made the same mistake repeatedly,
from The Beat: it sounds like you’ve hurt your “nana’s” feelings and         why are you putting your grandmother through that mess? you seem
that’s sad. The good thing is that you have a chance to make up for it.      selfish in your ways because you’ve pushed your limits. We hope you
We hope that you “do what you have to” and make her happy.                   “get your act together”. keep us posted.
s               standOuts

         what’s going to be Different?
                                                           m a r i n

                                                                                                                       Volume 12.20       Page 40

I don’t know what’s going to be different. Now it is 2008 and                                       Sittin’ in math
there should be some changes. I just don’t know what and                                               Textin’ away
if I want to change for the year of ’08. People always ask me,                                Networkin’ with the females
“Are you going to change? What are you going to change,                                            That’s all I can say
now that it’s ’08?? But I never respond, because I don’t know                                            I look up
yet.                                                                                        And see the boys comin’ my way
     For instance, yesterday one of the staff asked me, “Do                                         Before I know it
you want to change? Are you gonna go to school? Are you                                          I’m being taken away
gonna come back here to the halls?” But all I was able to say,                                     Sitting in the halls
was, “I don’t know.”                                                                                   Is really gay
     I told the staff that it wasn’t like I want to come back.                                                                                    -E
But the truth anyways, is, I’m going to turn eighteen in three               from The Beat: you got expelled from school for texting in your math
                                                                             class? Well, that may be extreme, but whether or not there’s more to the
months, but I’m not sure if I’m going to get off probation                   story, what have you learned from this incident?
yet. Hopefully I do good in these three months. I do good so
I can get off probation when I turn eighteen. And hopefully,
when I’m eighteen, I don’t get caught doing something bad,
because if I get caught, I get a free ride to county jail. Right
now mi carnal is doing about seven months in county jail. He
                                                                                                  First Screw up
                                                                             Hey, this is Haleigh. I’m a young teen and this is my first
barely entered last week, too.                                               time being locked up. I’m here for stealing my mom’s car,
     My cousin, Oso, is in there, too. He’s about to get out this            hit and run, driving without a license, and running away.
February. Hopefully we get to kick it when he gets out, ‘cause                   I honestly never thought I would end up in the halls,
I’m about to get out in a month, too. I’m not too sure if he                 but over the last eight months, I haven’t been me. I started
will want to, though, because I heard he’s trying to change. I               perkin’ and smokin’ and having too much sex.
guess everyone around me wants to change, but I don’t. I still                   I want to be different, I want to be me again… But as
want to be me. My original me.                                               much as I want to change, I want to stay the same. I’m
     I guess I really don’t want to change… At the same time
                                                                             starting to “find” my high power. I’m getting out in eight
I do, though, ‘cause if I don’t, I already know where I’m going
                                                                             days (I’ve been here 25 days) and I might go to placement,
to end up—either county jail, the pen, or even thirteen feet
                                                                             so all I can ask is, “Will you please pray for me?” Love
under the dirt, but it’s whatever.
                                                                             and peace.
     I know I can change and make my future a better future.
Sometime I think of what I’ve done and how it hurts mi jefita,               from The Beat: can you be you without the drugs? do you feel like
pero I don’t regret my action from the past.                                 you’re your old self again while sober? how do you feel about what
                                                                             you’re in juvy for—with your mom’s car? is your car accident enough of
     Also, I saw mi carnal before I got locked up, and he was                a wake-up call for you to be glad you are and can remain “normal” i.e.,
telling me that he didn’t want to go back to county jail. I’m                drug free, again? how is your “high power” guiding you?
not sure if he regrets his past actions, but it looked like he
did. Anyways, if I want things to be different for the year of
’08, it’s up to me to make it different. It’s my choice.
     If I want, I can have a good job in the future. I guess a
good job would be something good. I guess it’s better than
                                                                                                thank You, Diosito
                                                                             I have one chance in this world, but now I know I have a
robbing car stereos and houses and risking myself from                       second chance. And I thank God, because He never leave
getting locked up. But like I said, it’s whatever. It’s my choice.           me. He always helps me. Thank you, Diosito, por darme
I can change if I want, but I guess I’m still going to be doing              otra oportunidad (God, for giving me another opportunity.)
what I’m doing… except I won’t get locked up in the halls.                   I thank my family for giving me a second chance, and I
Who knows?                                                                   thank my girl for giving me another chance. Thanks to
     Maybe, when I get out from here, I will do something                    everybody. Al ratos.
different that will make me change. Maybe there will be a                                                                    - Barbon
difference in me. Maybe things will be different when I get                  from The Beat: your gratitude to god, your family and girlfriend is
out. Al ratos.                                                               wonderful. so what are you going to do with your new chance? What
                                                                             have you already learned that has taught you you don’t want to mess
                                                         -Shy Boy            up and go back to juvy ever again?
 from The Beat: you’ve got your options analyzed, but why do you
seem to be so passive about the possibility that you’ll end up in the
penitentiary or even be killed? What’s wrong with your life that you
won’t fight to keep it fresh and free? What is your life like on the outs?
since you can pretty much develop your life any way you want, how will
you design it and keep yourself free?                                                     what Your ex had tell You
                                                                                         My ex, Ervin, had broke up with me
                                                                                    And then he said, “(Witches) come and go”
              the Deceptive love Song                                                      I was just mad and then he said
                                                                                                  That I was a (beezie)
              Anger rushes through my veins                                      Also that people had told him to break up with me
                 It’s because of these pains                                                 So I was all like, “Okay, then
                       So stuck on love                                                          Go with your friends
                      Because I thought                                                And thank you for saying those words”
               You were my angel from above                                           I love you, but it takes two to fall in love
                       You did me wrong                                                       You’re my angel from above
            Even though you sung me a love song                                                                               -Lonely Girl
                                              -Lil’ Mama                     from The Beat: good, sad poem. you show a lot of spunk, standing up to
from The Beat: love does hurt. it’s worse to be in love with someone         your ex. you’re right—any guy that listens to his friends about who to
while you’re locked up, because there’s not too much you can do to make      be with as his girlfriend doesn’t deserve you. This must have really hurt
things better.                                                               you, but you’re already stronger and amazingly wise.
s              standOuts

                 roylan talks to the beat
                                                       m a r i n

                                                                        TBW: You’ll be completely free and clear?
                                                                                                                     Volume 12.20       Page 41

                                                                        R: Yep.
TBW: Hi, Roylan! So what ‘s in your heart? What are you                 TBW: That’s beautiful. What do you want to do when you
thinking about these days?                                              go home?
R: Too much violence, killing, fighting.                                R: Get a job.
TBW: Do you mean too much violence in your personal life,               TBW: What kind of job do you want?
or in life in general?                                                  R: Painting. I paint houses. I like to draw, paint.
R: In my life. I was in San Rafael. San Rafael is where I live.         TBW: What do you like to draw?
I used to live in Canal. Now I live in Novato. With my mom              R: Gangsters, my girl.
brother and two sisters.                                                TBW: Are you a good at drawing?
TBW: How long have you lived there?                                     R: Yeah. I have a lot of pictures in my room. I’ll bring you
R: A year.                                                              some next week for The Beat.
TBW: What happened in San Rafael, that involved you in                  TBW: That’s fabulous. Thank you. Have you worked painting
some violence?                                                          houses before?
R: I got into a fight. One of my homies pulled a gun and                R: Yes. I like it.
they (rivals) pulled their guns, but (my homie’s gun) wasn’t            TBW: So you have a girlfriend? What’s she like?
bullets. We run away, ‘cause the cops were behind me and                R: She shorter than me. She’s fine.
the enemies tried to shoot my head, but they missed.                    TBW: So she’s been waiting for you all this time?
After that, I was in San Rafael. We were there, like, two hours,        R: Yeah.
getting drunk. Then the next day I went to the hospital. I              TBW: That’s beautiful. Will you go back to school, too,
come back. I was in my house, like 6:30. The cops called                when you get out?
my house. They arrest me in my house. I’m here ever since,              R: No, I hate school.
but I get to go home soon.                                              TBW: What’s wrong with school for you?
TBW: How is your family managing without you being                      R: It’s boring. I don’t learn anything. But I’m going back to
home?                                                                   Mexico.
R: Good.                                                                TBW: You’re going back to Mexico to live, for good?
TBW: Is your brother older or younger than you?                         R: Yeah.
R: He’s my twin.                                                        TBW: Why?
TBW: You’re kidding? You have a twin?                                   R: Too much violence here.
R: Yeah.                                                                TBW: Is your brother going with you?
TBW: Does he look like you? Is he an identical or a fraternal           R: Nope. Just me.
twin?                                                                   TBW: And you’re the only one in your family who’s going?
R: He don’t look like me.                                               R: Yep.
TBW: What does he look like?                                            TBW: How do you feel about it? Are you excited? Scared?
R: He skinnier and taller than me. And crazier.                         Eager?
TBW: Crazier? In what way is he crazier than you are?                   R: Good.
R: Violence… He loves violence.                                         TBW: Well, that’s fabulous. We’re happy for you. We hope
TBW: But you said you like to fight, too, right?                        you’re happy back home and do well. That takes a lot of
R: Yeah.                                                                courage.
TBW: So you’re about to go home, right?                                 R: No it don’t.
R: Yep.                                                                 TBW: Well, you go! Best of luck to you.
TBW: Congratulations. How long have you been here in                    R: Thank you!
juvy?                                                                                                                        -Roylan
R: A year.                                                              from The Beat: We hope your decision to return to mexico will be one you’ll
TBW: That’s a really long time. Well, you did it. Good for              be happy with, but knowing you, you will be able to make it anywhere
                                                                        you go. Beautiful luck on the outs and to your new life in mexico – away
you! Will you be on probation when you get out?                         from the drama! What about your family, your girl? are they going too?
R: Nope.

               how You make me Feel                                                                 on Stolos
                                                                          In 2008, I’m definitely going to turn over a new leaf. In 2007,
Have you ever had that special person that you look at                    I went crazy on stolos (stolen cars) and on Christmas day I
                and can’t stop smiling at?                                got arrested.
          Or having stars dancing in your eyes?                                Now that I’m looking at getting nine years, I got to change.
                  Well, that’s how I feel.                                I have already informed my “friends” that I’m not going to
               I love the fact when I wake,                               kick it with them any more, because they are the reason why
                                                                          I do stupid stuff. When I called my parents, the whole family
my thought is on that special person, and I can’t get my                  was there, and they all heard.
                       mind off him.                                           I also had three jobs waiting for me on the outs, and a
      When I’m sad, he knows how to cheer me up.                          $500airbrush machine that I’m no longer getting.
   He gives me a look, saying, “This is a phase and the                        So in 2008, I’m hoping I get another chance from the
           days are almost gone, so be happy.”                            system and this time I guarantee I will prove the courts
 I love how he speaks Spanish and English, because he                     wrong and get off probation. When I get out I am going all
                                                                          legit. I ain’t even gonna smoke no more. I already been clean
               sounds so sexy doing both.                                 for a month. Why not?
 Well, my heart is with him and I can’t get my mind off                                                                               -Alok
                            him.                                          from The Beat: maybe your friends influenced you when you decided to
                                               -Lil’ Mama                 steal cars, but isn’t the real lesson that you have to learn, to think for
from The Beat: how does he react when you mess up? does he                yourself, especially when someone you love tries to encourage you to
encourage you to go to school? get some work? stay out of juvy? how       do something you know is wrong? This is on you, really, not them. Plus,
is he managing with you gone? send him this note that you wrote about     would it hurt you to consider what it must be like for someone to have
him? esta una buena idea or no?                                           their car stolen by you.
sm                     ChillCreSt                              hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                      P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                       Volume 12.27       Page 42

                                                                                      I’m gone forever
                                                                                      I’m sorry, Mom
                                                                                          Slaves of our Crime
                                                                                          Criminals, they call us
                                                                                           Slaves of our crime…
                                                                                          Unknown as the people
                                                                                            We were at one time
                                                                                           Murderers and thieves
                                                                                          Gangbangers and thugs
                                                                                           Something we became
                                                                                           Unbeknownst to love
                                                                                            Locked on our cells
                                                                                             Of metal and stone
                                                                                           Not permitted outside
                                                                                            Nor allowed to roam
                                                                                           Cut off from the world
                                                                                            That we once knew
                                                                                            The visits that come
                                                                                            Are desperate few…
                                                                                              Criminals we are
                                                                                              That is our name
                                                                                          To treat us like animals
                                                                                            We see your game…
                                                                                              But look beyond
                                                                                         This façade that you see
                                                                                          And gaze on the person
                                                                                             We will soon be…
                                                                                  Enclosed and imprisoned, alone but alive
                                                                                            There is one hope…
                                                                                            Some day to be free!
                                                                         from The Beat: stone walls cannot imprison the mind/and human
                                                                         beings cannot be so easily defined/murderers and thieves some children
                                                                         are/But so much more (and good) defines them, by far/We are all capable

                             mom                                         of both good and ill/as likely victims as the ones who kill/so don’t be
                                                                         enslaved by the labels we give/They pretend to describe, but a life is to
                                                                         live/criminals? yes! (Who is not one of those?)/and teachers to lovers
                    She hasn’t been there                                and… my list grows/Treasure your brain that no one can enslave/it’s a
                           She’s lost                                    gift that can guide you to the freedom you crave
                          Gone forever
                     Left to raise myself
                     Her alcohol is here
                          She lost me                                                          in the Streets
                       I’m gone forever                                  It’s hard to stay in the streets. If you doing something
                        I’m sorry, Mom                                   wrong, that might be the last move you make. And if
                     I’m gonna miss you                                  you’re doin’ something to stay alive, you end up in the
                           Bye, Mom                                      hall. And once you in the system, you can’t even go down
                                                        -Breeanna        your street without getting a violation, so it hard to stay
from The Beat: There is so much pain and tragedy in these few lines.     in the streets.
We are so sorry that you had to be the one who bears the price of your
mothers alcoholism. it’s a serious disease that destroys families.
                                                                              If you kick it with your friends, you get another
                                                                         violation. And if you a gang member when you in the
                                                                         streets, you got to know how to hang, you got to control

    Criminals we are
                                                                         and represent where you from. You get jumped when you
                                                                         in the wrong side of town, or you have to jump somebody
                                                                         else when dey disrespect you. So it’s really hard to stay in

   That is our name
                                                                         da streets and hang around with the homies, but it’s still
                                                                         coo’ , ‘cause I’ma ride ‘til I die.
                                                                         from The Beat: even though we disagree with your conclusion (‘cause

To treat us like animals                                                 nobody knows what they’re gonna do ‘til they die, including us), we
                                                                         think you did a fine job of describing the trap you are in. We wish we
                                                                         could make you see that the “enemies” you fight are much more like
                                                                         you than different; and we wish we could make our government see

  We see your game…
                                                                         that they owe your communities respect and resources to change the
                                                                         conditions that too many of our children are forced to grow up in and
                                                                         to accommodate, one way or the other…
sm                      ChillCreSt                               hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                        P i e C e S • o F • t h e • w e e k
                                                                                           Volume 12.27       Page 43

                         I’m trapped…
                 Surrounded by these walls
                                                                                    Can’t sleep
                          Wasting time
                           Wasting life                                     Feelings of regret enter me
                          Can’t breathe
                           Can’t sleep
                 Feelings of regret enter me
               Disturb my mind, body and soul                                        humanity: For what it’s worth
                              I weep                                                            Man seeks knowledge
                               Tears                                                             But this is his defeat
                  Running down my cheeks                                                       For many use it incorrect
                    Get down on my knees                                                        Destroying all they meet
                 Thank God for teaching me                                                  Instead of using head and heart
                   That it’s better out there                                                  They prefer being “smart”
                    There’s a life out there                                                  With their ambitions abound
                      It’s waiting for me                                                      Soaring far above ground
                           Impatiently                                                           These masters of fear
                             My life---                                                              Shed no tears
                        It yearns for me                                                       And through all the years
                           I’m trapped                                                             Not one struggles
                                                                                                  To look into mirrors
            Trapped like a fly on a closed window                                                                                              -Sky
                                                                            from The Beat: sometimes we think that the brain’s a mistake/Based
                 Trying to fly through glass                                on some of the choices we make/among nations we kill thousands
                        Unsuccessfully                                      if they are the “others”/While at home black and brown children kill
                                                                            their brothers/looking deeply in that mirror is more than just a clue/it’s
                  I’m parted by these walls                                 something that every one of us should do
                        Half of me here
                             Half free
                  How I wish I could reach                                               wilderness and Stillness
                     The other side of me                                                     The morning mist rolls on
               How I wish the fist in my guts                                                 Before the mountain’s dawn
                       Would escape me                                                           Such a sight to behold
                     I need a date, please                                                    This beauty is nature’s mold
                    When will all this end?                                                         A sun so bright
                     When will life begin?                                                     The moon fades from sight
                 I need to get out of here…                                                       And all you can see
                        And those tears                                                         Is a colorful symphony
                              Of fear
                        Near my cheeks                                                      With hawks that fly to heights
                      Run down my chin                                                       Flapping wings of their might
                        God, how I wish                                                         Searching for their prey
                 This place was somewhere                                                       Wherever they may lay…
                         I’d never been                                                     While the trees sway with wind
                                                 -Kimberly                                  The river goes ‘round the bend
from The Beat: did you write poetry as powerful as this before you were
locked up? Perhaps that’s the “silver lining” of this bitter experience.                         Over from the placids
you have a unique and passionate voice that expresses so much with                             To the raging water rapids
so little! yes, you are exactly “half free, incomplete,” but you are that
rare person (in or out of jail) who seeks to be complete and whole, and
sees her goal lying ahead. We wish we could lighten the pain of this                               Bears catching fish
experience for you, but we can reassure you that it is not a permanent                          Its paw moving, “swish”
condition, and that this moment of anguish is merely a snapshot in a
moving picture that — we predict — will have one of those happy and                          Back and forth through matter
uplifting endings we all want.                                                                  Stillness is so shattered
                                                                                               By the call of birds so free
                                                                                              A wonder comes over me…
    While the trees sway                                                                         This wilderness is wild
                                                                                                  So fierce, not so mild
           with wind                                                                         And a thought comes to mind
                                                                                                    Where shall I find

 The river goes ‘round the bend                                                                Another place as beautiful
                                                                                                         As this?
     Over from the placids                                                  from The Beat: is this wonderful and poetic description of wilderness
                                                                            from a real memory or a hoped for experience? it reminds us of an
                                                                            american writer by the name of henry david Thoreau who, before the

  To the raging water rapids                                                civil War, wrote: “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” if this
                                                                            is a description of something you experienced, where were you? We
                                                                            hope you have many more brushes with beauty, and that you’re able to
                                                                            capture them with words as well as you do here.
sm                        ChillCreSt                                   hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                              w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                   Volume 12.27       Page 44

                     random thoughts                                                                        myself, an’
                                                                                                       me,People can see my souli
                       Is it possible for haters
                                To turn to hope                                                            When they look in my eyes
                                  For a fiend                                                              They can see if I’m hurting
                            To put down the dope                                                           Or how recently I’ve cried
                          And walk back to sanity                                                          On my wrists you can see
                                    Is it true                                                              Past attempts at suicide
                           God has a plan for me?                                                             Sometimes the pain
                       Am I saved through his blood?                                                           Drives me insane
                          Am I really able to love?                                                             Clouds my brain
                          My heart tells me, “Yes.”                                                          All happiness drains
                       But I refuse to be second best                                                        Replaced with shame
                           It’s either life or death                                                           So who’s to blame
                          Each day brings choices                                                                  By name?
                        Some decisions last forever                                                             None other than
                            My mind is a treasure                                                             Me, myself, and I…
                            As well as a pleasure                                                                 I’m my own
                    Maybe you should take the time to see                                                         Reason why
                          It’s quite a deep venture                                                                                            -Friskie
                               But I don’t think                                  from The Beat: unless you take full and sole credit for all your
                              You can handle me                                   accomplishments, how can you take full and sole blame for all your
                                                               -Friskie           mistakes? We’re not sure how useful it is to think in terms of blame
from The Beat: We can’t answer for god, we don’t know his plan/But                (though we confess, knowing some of the details of your early
we know who you are, so count us a fan/you may not yet have found                 experiences, we think there’s plenty of blame to go around) or even
a mate that’s your match/as deep as you and as hard to catch/But he’s             shame. What’s important is what choices you make from today forward.
out there, if not the first than the twelfth/The question we have: can
you handle yourself?

                                                                                                            love affair
                          Paul Jamesme                                                                  You say you don’t cheat on me
                                                                                                          Yet you’re with her every day
                           He’s looking over
                                    I feel him                                                                 You stay touching her
                         He knows more than anyone                                                               She takes you away
                                   He sees all                                                                      How can I stay?
                           He is missing someone                                                            You try to hide it from me
                                        Me                                                                        But everyone sees
                            I love you, Paul James                                                       You’re making a fool out of me
                               You are gone now                                                                You’re addicted to her
                                       Dead                                                                 While I’m addicted to you
                             RIP, My baby brother                                                                    My love so true
                                                                    -Breeanna                             I don’t wanna be without you
from The Beat: We are sorry for your loss, Breeanna.                                                 But will you change tha things you do?
                                                                                                               ‘Cause if you want me
                                                                                                      Then you and her must be through
                                                                                                               I wont’ be second best

                                 ole guy
                     the Samehome since ’06                                                                      I’m not like tha rest
                                                                                                                     When I’m away
                                                                                                         You make love to her every day
                       Away from
                     Judge got tired of me not changing                                                       She’s tryna take control
                            I was sent out of state                                                                    Of your soul
                                 To do my time                                                               You promised me forever
                            Hoping that I’ll change                                                            Say I make you better
                            And stop doing crimes                                                        Sending me “I love you” letters
                        They thought they’ll scare me                                                         But if I make you happy
                       Into being good and doing fine                                                          Then why are you still
                   But, chale, I’m still the same ol’ person                                                         Stuck on her?
                               The same old guy                                                                    I trust your word
                       Brought back to finish my time                                                       I don’t listen or pay mind
                             Back to getting visits                                                           To tha things I’ve heard
                         Telling my mom I’m all right                                                            But I don’t want her
                               So she won’t cry                                                            To keep coming between us
                             ‘Bout to get released                                                           Interfering with our trust
                            Only two more months                                                                           A must
                                                                -Spooky                                                  If it’s lust
from The Beat: if the same old tricks define the “same old guy”/you                                          Then pick who you want
should prepare to kiss your ass good-bye/Take it from us as if from a                                              To make you bust
friend:/only a fool hopes the same behavior leads to a different end!/if                                           I know her name
released, but your mind is enslaved to the past/your freedom will surely                                            It’s crystal meth
be sweet, but it can’t last                                                                                      But her love is sure
                                                                                                         To bring you misery an’ death
                                                                                                               And once you’re gone
                                                                                                                 She’ll just move on
                                                                                                                        To tha next
                   to my homie, Doopy                                                                            But I’m here to stay
                                                                                                                Unless you continue
Even though you’re gone, we still have you in our hearts. You will never be                                   To let her get in tha way
forgotten. You were a cool homie and a good soldado to the streets. You always                                 My heart is screaming
were there for the homies and never acted cold to them.                                                      Can’t you hear its noise?
     I can’t believe it’s almost one year since you have been gone. We all miss                                  It’s either me or her
you. We miss kicking it with you after school, walking around the town. You                                    You made your choice
always kept it real. You were never fake. When we leave this world, we would                                              It’s over
kick it with you like we used to, homie. Pero como tu desias todos vamos a                                                                             -Friskie
morir (but we’re all going to die) someday, so I’ll see you soon.                 from The Beat: you are stronger than he is, friskie. he has his own
RIP, Moises Jimenez 2/18/93 to 1/21/07.                                           demons to deal with, and has not been able to face them as squarely
                                                      -Shadow and Luckey          as you have faced yours. you cannot save him, and trying to can only
from The Beat: We read these sad tributes in every issue of The Beat,             bring you down. in way, the “choice” he made is part of a sickness that
and each one saddens us for the individual’s loss and for what it means           he is not strong enough on his own to cure. We all need all the help we
about our country. The tragedy of being “a good soldier” at such a                can get in life, but we have to want it to get it. as painful as it is to see
young age is that the job of a soldier is to stand in harm’s way and —            meth conquering this man, it’s as uplifting to see you take control of
once taken out by injury, age or death — quickly get lost in memory as            your life and deal with what you must with open eyes and a clear mind.
new “soldiers” step in to take their places. We’re sorry for your loss, and       maybe he will survive and overcome his addiction, but in the meantime,
wonder when it will ever end.                                                     continue to focus on your own recovery and future.
sm                        ChillCreSt                                   hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                             w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                  Volume 12.27      Page 45

                         reality Check                                                                           God
                          Mom, I’m sorry for what I did…                                                Why aren’t you here for me?
                        17 years old and still act like a kid                                           I get it—you want me to suffer
               I know you love me, but I want you to understand                                                My heart is broken
          Just give me one more chance and I’ll show you I’m a man                                            My family is broken
            The way you love and cared for me I got to show it back                                            My trust is broken
                 Poor single working’ mother breaking her back                                               By passions is broken
                I’m really sorry. I never meant to make you cry…                                                My soul is broken
                       I ready do love you and that’s no lie!                                                  My spirit is broken
                       There’s no excuse for what I’ve done                                                    God, you broke me
              I’m a smart person; the decision I made was dumb                                                  Now what’s next?
                         I just want to let you know, Mom,                                                                                        -Beeanna
                  I love, cherish and adore you more than ever                    from The Beat: Perhaps, if god broke you, it’s because you need to be
     In the past I was blind and didn’t see your love because I was a rebel       mended, put back together in a way that respects and honors the gifts
              But now I see by me being brings you a lot of tears                 (like freedom) that god gives along with the gift of life. We don’t know
                             I’m sorry, Mom, I love you                           “what’s next,” but we do know that using your own brain and ability to
                                                                     -Block Boi   make choices will determine the answer to that question.
from The Beat: The truth of the matter is that you’re not yet a man
because you are still maturing. in fact, at your age, your brain is still
developing, and especially that part of the brain that controls impulse
and planning, that considers consequences before action. (That’s why
you can be the smart person you are while still making dumb mistakes.)                                          too much
                                                                                                     thinkin’I could tell you
so, don’t be too hard on yourself. your mom knows you love her, even                                     I wish
though you’ve let her (and yourself) down. it’s a very nice thing to                                          What’s on my mind
apologize for hurting someone who deserves so much more, and to                                                I wish time would
express your love for your mom, but the best way to show both remorse                                                   Rewind
and love is through your actions. keep this piece close so you’re not                                            To better times
tempted to take the gifts you have in life for granted.                                                              That shine
                                                                                                             ‘Cause tha fire’s out
                                                                                                           And has been replaced
                                                                                                                    With doubt

                 never trustbyasome
                                                                                                                   Hurt an’ fear
                                                                                                                 No more smiles
                        Loved                                                                                         Just tears
                                   Hated by most                                                                      With you
                                  Respected by all                                                         My heart’s had it made
                               My release has come                                                        But at tha same time now
                                    I will not fall                                                               I feel betrayed
                                      I’m grown                                                              Maybe I’ve just been
                                     About to be                                                              Thinking too much
                                     On my own                                                                 I miss your touch
                                  Going to college                                                               An’ tender care
                                 To gain knowledge                                                         I hoped you’d be there
                                 For a better future                                                               I trusted you
                     So I won’t become another statistic                                                             I loved you
                               In prison computers                                                         I put no one above you
                     I’ve learned to never trust a shadow                                                    Nothing and no one
                                      After dark                                                         You were tha one I’d chosen
                                And to trust no one                                                   You were my hope and my strength
                                   With my heart                                                              At least that’s what
                           That I’m willing to cross out                                                         I used to think
                           Beyond a shadow of a doubt                                                                                               -Friskie
                              I know what I’m about                               from The Beat: There’s a special place we reserve for our first real love.
                                I know my potential                               even when first love ends, we remember the special trill it was (and
                        I just want to share my success                           the special pain) forever. you will be able to move on from this because
                              With someone special                                there is no other choice. you have a life to live.
                               I’m tha one and only
                                  But never lonely
                                   Hated my many
                               But wanted by plenty
                             However, I’m committed
                             To tha one who’s wit’ it                                                         Let   love you
                                   I’m on my way                                                              Let me keep you
                                  In a couple days                                                             Let me hug you
                                To a brighter future                                                         And never leave you
                                   With more light
                                And I’ll tell you this                                                        We can be lovers
                                    It’s gonna be                                                           Or we can be friends
                                   A lovely sight…                                                          Boy, just tell me that
                                                                    -Friskie                               This love won’t ever end
from The Beat: you already are a lovely sight/Working by day, reading
by night/from your life we don’t want to bow out/it can’t get better                                       It was love at first sight
than to know what you’re about/you know what you’re facing and what                                          You caught my eyes
you’re leaving behind/and you know that knowledge, comfort and love                                      You was looking mighty fine
are there to find/it stretches before you, a path to create, to be found/a                                    But can I trust you
path that is yours if you just keep your feet on the ground                                                To never leave my side?

                                                                                                          You can be my ride and die
                                                                                                             That I can really like
                                                                                                             Lovers in crime, boy
                           to Salvation
                    SlaveSlave to salvation                                                                        And that
                                                                                                           I would really love to try

                            Punishment to mercy                                                         Boy, let’s be out to Wonderland
                            Sorrow to happiness                                                             And trust that our love
                                 Anger to calm                                                                   Will always last
                               Emotions around                                                            Let’s say, “Screw the past”
                              People slow down                                                           It’s just you and me tonight
                              ‘Til the last breath                                                        And for the rest of my life
                          We take these to the death                                                                                            -Green Eyes
                                                                 -Sky             from The Beat: Well, there’s nothing wrong with playing around with
from The Beat: your word creations lead us to ask (again?), what kind             fantasy. But when you’re ready, we hope you open your eyes wide to
of poetry did you write before you found yourself here, forced into               where you are and how you got here. you can’t just say screw the past,
becoming a writer?                                                                because if you do, it’s much more like that the past will screw you!
sm                       ChillCreSt                                hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                             w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                    Volume 12.27          Page 46

                            emotions                                                                    nowhere to go
                       Tears dripping down my face                                                 Nowhere to go nowhere to be found
                                  Wondering                                                      Family looking for you every place in town
                       Will this depression ever end?                                              Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                                                                                             People say they seen you on flyers and the news
                                I cry a river                                     But you just look at them and say, “No, that’s not me. You’re confused”
                           ‘Cause of ma people                                                     Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                           Screw these feelings                                            Been gone five months and tired of dealing dope now
                                    God,                                                           Nowhere to be, nowhere to be found
                        Do they have any meaning?                                                 Jumping from city to city, town to town
                                                                                                   Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                              Tears dripping                                    Being on the block all day to pay for some little hotel room you just found
                              I start to think                                                     Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                          My life used to be good                                            Making so much money but why still the frown?
                                  But now                                                          Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                           It’s wanting to sink                                             Thinking about the death rate you’re heading down
                          Why does it have to be                                                   Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                                This cruel?                                            Got way older men looking at you every time you turn around
                                                                                                   Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                          My days inside this cell                                             Thinking what your family thinks of you now
                             Be feeling like hell                                                  Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                            Too much emotions                                                   Thinking when God plans to shut this down
                          I don’t know what to do                                                  Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                                                                                              Got caught and serving the consequences now
                          I think I’m gone go crazy                                                Nowhere to go, nowhere to be found
                             Crazy in love, though                                                                                             -Nienie Babie
                                  Sigh, love                                  from The Beat: What a tragic life style you describe in this tight poem!
                         Love is the only happiness                           all day on the street to earn enough for a shady hotel room. There must
                            That’s why I look for it                          be an easier way! Whether god shuts it down or not, when do you plan
                                                                              to shut it down?
                           But when it leave me
                           My emotions fly free…
                               All over me
                           So what’s it gone be?
                                                                                                            lil’ Smiley
                         Tears are starting to come                           Today is a special Christmas day for me ‘cause my pops told me that my lil’
                               Like in a play                                 princess just learned how to walk. She is one year and a month old. Her name
                                Row by row                                    is Amanyuri, but I call her Lil’ Smiley ‘cause she always be smiling. I can’t wait
                            And never fade away                               ‘til I get out so I can see her. She the only reason I’m strong, If it wasn’t for her,
                                                             -Green Eyes      I wouldn’t care of being here, locked up like an animal in a cage.
from The Beat: of all the things you think about, we hope you focus in                I’m really happy that she learned how to walk, but at the same time, I’m
on how that life that “used to be good” has turned to one that leaves         sad, ‘cause I wasn’t there with her to see her take her first steps, feel me? I
you crying and enslaved. if you can find the “why” of that, you’ll be well    really miss her, ‘cause whenever I was having a bad day, I would look at her in
on your way to a new understanding and a new life.                            the eyes and for some reason, I would start smiling. It’s like if she was telling
                                                                              me t hat everything was gong to be okay.
                                                                                      A’ight, then, I got to go. But one thing I want everyone to know is that no
                                                                              one will ever separate me from my lil’ princess, not even the cops.
                                 me                                           from The Beat: We are glad you take so much pleasure in your daughter’s

                  To the judge, I am a ward of the court                      development. The sad truth is that you’ve contributed to the cops
                           To my mom, I am a son                              ability to take you out of her life, and that doesn’t just hurt you, it
                         To my dad, I am worthless                            also hurts her. We hope you remember, when you touch down, that your
                        To my neighbor, I am a thief                          first responsibility is no longer to yourself but to your lil’ princess. That
                         To my girl, I am a cheater                           requires some sacrifices on your part. We hope you are man enough to
                         To my ‘hood, I am worthy                             make them. good luck.
                          To my lawyer, I am guilty
                      To my little brother, I am a blur
                    To my older sister, I am a pothead
                      To my teachers, I am a mess up
                          To the law, I’m a statistic
                 To my aunties an’ uncles, I am a stranger
                                                                                                         now i’m gone
                                                                                                 What’s to become of this lonesome soul?
                       To the police, I am a criminal                                             Since now I’m gone, I’ma be missing you
                       To the people who know me,                                                  How do we know that this love is true?
                            They think I don’t care                                                   Is it because I’m looking at you?
                            To you, I am confusing                                                 Or your beautiful blue eyes I get lost in
                    But do I care what they think? No!                                                        Now I’m out-an’ about
                           ‘Cause I know who I am                                                        Confused as a rock in sand
                   Ati que te importa (Why do you care)                                               Lost as a boy without his mother
                              Who the hell I am                                                           A lover without my partner
                                                                  -El Jimmy                                     For you are my love
from The Beat: it’s interesting that you gave us everyone else’s                                                  And we shall be
perception of who you are except your own! you may be surprised that                                        Be like that Bumble Bee
from your list, there is only one we think is important for you, and that                                   And I’ll make you sweet
is your little brother’s view of you as a blur. do you really not care what                                       You know why?
he thinks? is that really something you want to live with?                                                  ‘Cause you’re my honey
                                                                                                                   Just as lovely
                                                                                                             Sweetie, can’t you see?
                                                                                                             I’ll be lost without you

                              to friend
                  Dedicatedvicious Speedy
                       To my
                                                                                                           Please say you’ll be there
                                                                                                                  Just as the baby
                                                                                                     Needs its mother for its protection
                                I’ll see you again                                                              My infection is you
                        Be good and don’t even trip                                                           I need you, I want you
                          I’ll keep you on your toes                                                You’re all I have and now I’m lonely
                                So as not to slip                                                  Please say you’ll be a phone call away
                             My darkness is fading                                                   ‘Cause that’s what I’m gong to say
                    Your light is shining through for you                                                          ‘Cause today
                                   I’ll be waiting                                               What’s to become of this lonesome soul?
                                    I’ll miss you                                                                                           -Antonio
                        I’m gonna continue to write                           from The Beat: if you have such a precious treasure waiting outside
                       Hopefully, you’ll feel my light                        for you, then why would you risk so much and lose it all? if she stays
                                                              -Friskie        in love with you throughout this experience, we hope it’s been enough
from The Beat: Be real friends to each other by keeping each other on         for you to see that there are some things that aren’t worth the risk of
a path that moves forward and not back.                                       losing.
sm                        ChillCreSt                                    hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                               w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                        Volume 12.27         Page 47

                this memory that Fades                                                                  Seems like Forever
                      The beat starts bumpin’                                       When will I get released? I have court February 19th. People say that I will
                           The heart keeps pumpin’                                  leave that day, but I really don’t know. People say it’s soon, but soon takes
                             This clock that turns                                  forever. It seems like I’m gonna be in here forever. I wish that I didn’t mess up,
                             This mind that learns                                  but I guess this is the life for me. Judge Diaz says that I’m violent and a danger
                            Shows wisdom beyond                                     to the community. I just wish that I can get a chance to change. Everybody that
                             In the breaking dawn                                   I ask for help, they say that I’m gonna keep banging to the end. I guess that’s
                              As we learn within                                    true.
                           There’s no time like then                                                                                                           -Diablo
                              The future and past                                   from The Beat: forget what people say about life. What do you want
                             We want them to last                                   life to be? forget what others label you. What kind of label do you want
                            This memory that fades                                  for yourself? are you “violent and a danger to the community?” if so,
                         From the dreams we’ve made                                 why do you think so? if not, why do you think others put that label on
                                                                   -Sky             you? don’t give up on your life and your future so casually as “guessing”
from The Beat: What we find most interesting from our perspective of                whether or not you’ll always be what you are today. We know of no one
age is that while young, the clock seems to turn achingly slowly. We                who is the same person today that he was five years ago.
can’t wait to be adults… But, of course, what we mean by “adults” is
defined by our children’s concepts at the time. and then, as we move
past a certain age, the clock seems to pick up speed and we want to
slow it down. The reality is, in the words of the ancient proverb: Time
and tide wait for no man.
                                                                                                      Special relationships
                                                                                    Girls can be your friends. Some could be your best friend, and the one kind of
                                                                                    special relationship with one is the best kind. But you have to make sure she’s
                                                                                    right for you. I knew this girl for two years and she did me wrong. I treated her
                                   ice                                              right. She was a lover/friend. I thought I could trust her. I thought I could be
                                                                                    good with her.
                              My body gets a rush                                          I was there for her when she suffered the loss of her mother, but her father
                             My eyes start spinning                                 discovered me. He liked me as if I was his son, but one day she ran from home
                                 My body is free                                    and came over because of a fight. So she came and we talked, and one thing
                       I’m speeding like a shooting star                            turned into another, and sex came into the picture (not the first time). I thought
                            I’m high as a black hole                                I knew her but I guess not…
                            I feel like I’m in a dream                                     The next day my dad calls me, saying, is Jennifer with me? I said, “Yeah.”
                                  I pinch myself                                    He told me that her father knew she was with me and he put out a missing
                                Oh, no, this is real                                person report. So we turned her in and the next day I get questioned about rape!
                                    The new me                                      She apparently said I forced her to come out and I stole her car, broke in her
                                      I like it                                     house and raped her! I couldn’t believe it. I thought I could trust her, but she
                                Forget the old me                                   lied to her father so she could have his good side. I thought she was the one,
                          I’m turning my life over to…                              but it doesn’t take a lot of time to know someone.
                                         Ice                                               But that doesn’t mean I was going to give up. I have a close thing to a
                                                                -Breeanna           girlfriend. I love her because she trusts me even though she has been raped.
from The Beat: can we keep it real? if you turn your life over to ice, you          That shows real love/trust. She’s at my side and she’s waiting for me. I need
will get a rush. But when you rush life, the end comes so much more                 to get out of this place because I miss her and she misses me. I need her; she
quickly. don’t pretend you don’t know where his particular choice leads,            needs me.
because you do. after being enslaved here, why would you turn your                                                                                           -Spencer
life over to anything or anyone? don’t you think it’s time to take back             from The Beat: Pointing the finger at someone else to avoid one’s own
your life from all you’ve turned it over to?                                        responsibility (to get out of trouble) is something prosecutors count on,
                                                                                    from fathers to das. We’re sorry she told a story on you to get out of
                                                                                    trouble, and we hope it makes you more careful in the future.

                       the Young angel
Right now I’m in my room, thinking of all the good things God has done for
me, especially by sending me a young angel named Ziomara. This young angel
has given me hope, courage, and strength. She is always there for me when I                                          lovely
need her, especially when I’m depressed. She is always telling me not to hang                           You got me confessing and telling you
out with people who will get me into trouble. I really like Ziomara a lot, ‘cause                                      Baby, I’m for real
if it wasn’t for her, I would be a different person.                                                                  Give me a lil’ sign
       I should have listened to her when she told me to present myself in court.                          Don’t be afraid of the way you feel
If I would have shown up for court, I wouldn’t be in this place right now. When                                       Dreaming casually
I get out on February 29th, I’m going to get my stuff straight so I won’t have to                                   I’d rather be with you
come back to this place ever again. Thank you so much, Ziomara aka Young                                     Cruising on a Sunday afternoon
Angel.                                                                                                         This is for the lover in you
                                                                         -Speedy                                      Stay in my corner
from The Beat: you really are lucky to have someone who cares this much                                     And I promise to always stay true
for you standing by your side and reminding you what is in your best                                                 Be my one and only
interests. Why do you think you didn’t listen to her good advice the first                                     And never play me for a fool
time? it probably would be a good idea to try to answer that question,                                        You got the making of a lover
so that you don’t find yourself making the same mistake twice.                                           Let me hold you in these arms of mine
                                                                                                                    Take a chance on me
                                                                                                          I want you around to tell it like it is
                                                                                                           And I’ll be there to hold you down
                                                                                                              When worst comes to worse
                        For ahomegirl—my lil’ sis                                                             I’ll be there to dry your eyes
                                                                                                               Never will I leave your side
                         To my                                                                               Because you got me hypnotized
                     Come on, girl, you’re better than this                                                      I know you’ve been hurt
                   So young, you can do anything you wish                                                       But why don’t you try me?
              I know you’re hurting and undeserving of the pain                                                   You’ll lose a good thing
                       That pours down on you like rain                                                 Open your eyes and put your trust in me
                        You front like everything’s cool                                                                Baby, you got it
                 But I know inside something’s bothering you                                                            I’m your puppet
            Just know I’m here if you ever feel like shedding tears                                                       I do love you
                      Or if you feel like facing those fears                                                      I only have eyes for you
                     You know I’m here, just give me a call                                                      Look over your shoulder
                   I got your back, and I won’t let you fall…                                                    And I’ll be there for you
                                   That’s a fact                                                                   You’re my earth angel
                                                                 -Friskie                                                  Me an’ you
from The Beat: it’s a wonderful gesture to be the hand that reaches out.                                        For the hyna I haven’t met
often, that is all it takes to pull someone back from the precipice. But,                                                                             -Spooky
at the same time, you can only do so much for another person who, if                from The Beat: are you sure you’re not writing this love poem to someone
she’s not ready to change, can only pull you down in the effort to save             you have met, someone real? in any case, we can only imagine how
her. We wish her luck, but we hope you are very careful, and realize the            lonely it can get in here and how easy it is to make undying promises of
sad truth that you can’t save the world.                                            love, whether that’s the way it turns out or not…
sm                          ChillCreSt                                       hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                                  w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                            Volume 12.27         Page 48

                   we Do what we got to
I am a 16-year-old male from San Francisco, California. I am a cool guy, but
if someone test you, you got to let ‘em have it. That’s just the way it is. For
                                                                                                                         my life
everybody it’s different. They get surprised when shhh like that happens.                                          Me, am a youngsta on probation
      Fights, they happen all the time. If you don’t stand up, people just gone                                                You got funk
punk you. Anyways, when there’s a fight or shooting, people around. Some                                         I’ll run upon ya with no hesitation
gone get very scared. Obviously, they don’t have lots of violence around them.                                       And try not to catch violation
Every one gone get scared when there’s a shooting, though… It’s just if they’re                                         But I ain’t got patience
used to it or not. Those people who ain’t, are going to be talking about it for a                                        I stay doing what I do
long time.                                                                                                   But I realize that I’m losing ma freedom
      My point is for some people they don’t live to fight or don’t want to, it’s just                                  For being a stupid foo’
that they have to in order to live and keep respect. It’s not like we start shhh                                         I need to keep it coo’
every day, we just fight when you got to. If you fight, people gone see you wrong,                                              And lay low
like a thug or something. It don’t matter what they think, you know who you are                                             ‘Cause I got a PO
and you are a great person… All you want is your respect.                                                                  Who be on my ass
                                                                 -Wanting Respect                                               Like the 5.0
from The Beat: you forgot to put a name on this piece, so we gave you                                               Every time I see ‘im I run past
one… do you think that if we were all taught to respect each other, and                                       ‘Cause I ain’t tryna go back to the hall
also taught a way to demand our respect without fighting each time it’s                                                 But that’s where I’m at
challenged, things could be different?                                                                                  Hoping I get back home
                                                                                                                              I trust no one
                                                                                                                ‘Cause I got out of shhh on my own
                                                                                                                        I can’t stop, won’t stop

                                  listen                                                                                 And won’t be stopped
                                                                                                                        I try to pick up my life
                                                                                                                           But it always drops
                           Choices come in every form
                     Just like there’s many mazes to a storm                                                           San Mateo is where I stay
                             Decide where you belong                                                                      And where I’m from
                     You have the choice to be right or wrong                                                                  I pray to God
                   I don’t know if you believe in having a soul                                                           To show me the way
                  But it will guide you to where you need to go                                                           But if he should not
                              In your darkest of hours                                                                      Please forgive me
                              Trust in your own power                                                                         For being lost
                               Trust in your potential                                                                                                 -Patience
                  ‘Cause with you’self it’s always confidential                          from The Beat: how much sense does it make for anyone to listen to the
                            You can still make choices                                   “wisdom” of one who is behind walls yet boasts: “i won’t be stopped.”
                          Even in your current position                                  you are stopped, and if you think they can’t stop you again (and for
                                   So I advise you                                       ever longer periods of time, right up to forever), then you’re in for a
                             From personal experience                                    very tough learning curve.
                               Take the time to listen
from The Beat: We hear you! We hope others do too.

                                                                                                                      rain Pain
                                                                                                                     Pain is all around me
                                                                                                                In the walls, my bed, my letters
                               who i am                                                                                 It surrounds me
                                                                                                                   When I think of my family
A boss. Got there by being me and my family experiences, seeing them run                                              I feel like of cloudy
stuff like a boss, and I figured I want to run stuff, too, and be on top like a boss.                            I want to let go and let it rain
Then I figured to get there I gotta be eating, like eating harder than anybody                                 But even that won’t stop the pain
else, so they can look up to someone like me and say, “Dang, that female is a                                             I hope my girl
true boss” and to get to the top fast. The only way to me was the game.                                      Doesn’t throw my love down the drain
      Yeah, my neighborhood sort of infected me, because everybody was in it,                                    My God, take this pain away!
but besides that, I realized it not always about runnin’ stuff, ‘cause the only                                                                       -Block Boy
things I was runnin’ my knocks, ninjas, and my money, for real, But that’s one           from The Beat: how much power do you have to take the pain away?
of the biggest definitions for me. I’m also a talkative person, hyper, and got the       When you “hope” your girl doesn’t throw your love away, how do you
biggest attitude that I love, but besides that, yup, that’s who I am.                    think she feels about you letting the system take you from her (because
                                                                      -Nienie Babie      you gave them that power)? in other words, who risked that love, you
from The Beat: doing things that let strangers take you from those you                   or her?
love and lock you away in a cage doesn’t equal “boss” in any definition
that we know of. We don’t know any bosses who are told when to talk
and when to shut up, when to sleep and when to get up, when to pee
and when to be. no, you were not a boss. But now that you’ve had a
change of heart and are moving along a different path, you have every
chance of becoming a true boss, the kind that defines her own future
                                                                                                     my “Caught Cheating” Story
                                                                                         Well, first of all, I just needed to get something off my chest. When I cheated
and leaves lock-up behind.                                                               on my girlfriend, her cousin caught me wit’ some other girls. But now I’m just
                                                                                         like, I want to go back to the day I messed up and change what I’ve done. But
                                                                                         now I can’t change the past. All I goat to do now is think about my future, and
                                                                                         sometimes, when a memory passes by me, I just turn sad. That one girl I just
                                                                                         once had, I will never forget.
                        Caught Cheating                                                  from The Beat: We think the most important lesson to be learned

There was one time last year way back in my freshman year, I had a girlfriend            from this sad experience is that some mistakes have consequences
named Karla. Every time we went out somewhere, we had a blast. It’s just like            that can’t be undone or overcome. losing someone you love is a major
that we were meant to be.                                                                consequence. losing your freedom or your life are even worse ones.
      But the one thing that messed all that up was when I went with my older
brother to this house party. When we did, like, I got drunk and I started kissing
on this other girl. I was so drunk that I didn’t even know that the girl that I had
kissed was my girlfriend’s friend. So the very next day I got a call from Karla and
she told me everything. She was so sad and she was crying on the phone and,
like, I felt so bad. Like, man, I really messed up and I really hurt her so much
                                                                                                                     who am i?
                                                                                         To myself I am a good kid, but to the judge and people who know what I have
that she broke up with me. And when she did, like, I was so hurt about what              done, they think of me as a common criminal. If the judge think you are just
I had did, like I told her I was sorry I messed up and maybe we can start over           another criminal, you won’t get a fair trial. Some people can just look at you
again. She said, “Yes, but not now.”                                                     and see that you are a criminal and give you a hard time, but to me, I am who I
      Six weeks later, we started talking again and we started working things            want to be. If people don’t like me for what I have done, they should try to like
out, so since then, me and her go out and I haven’t cheated on her since then.           me for who I am.
The end.                                                                                                                                                           -Ryan
                                                                       -Christopher      from The Beat: We’re trying to understand you ryan. What makes you
from The Beat: it’s very hard for boys of any age, but especially your                   “a good kid?” do you want the judge to see more of you than he has
age, to stay faithful to a single female. But when you find one that’s                   on paper, or do you just want him (and others) to accept you for who
worth that kind of sacrifice, it takes only one mistake to risk losing it                you are, including the crimes you commit? if you are saying that you
forever. so it sounds like you both have learned a valuable lesson, and                  are more than your crimes, we definitely agree. so tell us, who are you?
that this time should be better than last.                                               don’t just tell us you’re a good kid, tell us what that means.
sm                         ChillCreSt                                     hollerS, San mateo CountY
                                                w e e k lY • w r i t i n g S
                                                                                                         Volume 12.27         Page 49

                    what is life about?                                                                     my Poor Choices
What is life about? Somebody tell me what is life about? I wonder if life just        My poor choices hurt so many people in the world. They hurt my family. They
about gang members killing each other? Or is it about people doing crimes just        hurt my girl, and they even can hurt strangers. My choices hurt me because I
for the gangs? Is life about hurting your family, making people you love cry? I       choose to be a gangster. And I know that breaks my parents’ hearts, so I think
wonder, what is life about?                                                           I need to change my life.
      Sometimes I have so much pain inside of me and I feel like just dying so I            Also, my bad choices hurt my girl, because I am locked up, so it means
won’t feel pain. Sometimes I wonder why my parents brought me to this world if        that I can’t be with her during her hard times. I can’t be with her in the good
I’m just a big disappointment to everybody—my girl and family. So I tell myself,      times. I just wish she can forgive me. Baby, I’m sorry. I love you.
why am I here? So I tell myself, what is life about?                                        My choices also hurt strangers because it just not be hurting gang member
                                                                   -Lil’ Sparky       and its’ breaking other family’s hearts. So, to everybody I hurt, I’m sorry.
from The Beat: life is (or at least should be) a long book, lil’ sparky.                                                                                   -Lil’ Sparky
don’t judge the entire book by a few early chapters. When you feel like               from The Beat: you are right that you are at the center of a pond,
giving it all up, try to think what those later chapters might have in                and that the ripples of your choices radiate out from you and touch
store. The decisions you make today and from today, and the education                 countless people. if you are truly sorry to all that you have hurt, that is
you choose to get, will determine how your book will turn out.                        the beginning of the end of hurting people.

                                my girl                                                                               alone
There was this one time I cheated on this nice lookin’ Asian girl. I mean, she                             Sometimes don’t you feel all alone
had it goin’ on. But before I went out with her, she was goin’ out with this punk-                              Like no one’s around you
ass white boy. It’s funny, ‘cause after I broke up with the girl I was seein’, she                        Nothin’ but four walls surroundin’ you
dropped her boy like it was nothin’. She had been with him for a minute, too.                                 Your homeboys is all missin’
So after she broke up with her boy, she came right to me. I mean, couldn’t even                                                                       -Mack
leave my side. She was stuck on my leg. So I said, alright, I mess with her. As       from The Beat: The problem is, when you’re back with your homeboys,
me and her started dating, I started seein’ this other girl. She was from the past.   you’ll be back doing the things that lead you back into the loneliness
I had messed with her before.                                                         of the lock-up.
      So then a couple weeks passed and she started figurin’ that somethin’ was
up. So this other girl, she was like my sister. Told that girl everything, and told
her that I was cheatin’ on my girl. But what I didn’t know was that she was at
my girl’s house when I told her. And the girl I was messin’ with, they were all
friends. So it was kinda like a bomb ready to blow up in my face.
      So my girl calls, hella mad, and says that it’s over on my house phone. But
                                                                                                             a Simple Prayer
                                                                                                      My emotions got me all jacked up in da head
she leaves a message. So on the message she’s cryin’ and like, chokin’ on her                               I feel at times I’m slowly going insane
spit. But the funny part is I felt like, well, it ain’t nothin’—I could get another                                    I go from happy to sad
one next week.                                                                                                            From glad to mad
      So a couple years pass and I send her a message on Myspace, sayin’, you                                        In a short period of time
know how it was wrong an’ shhh that I cheated on her. But the funniest part is                                   Too much going on around me
that I think she still want to mess with me. I just got to wait to set out to see                               I keep fighting battle after battle
what she says.                                                                                                       Too much hurt to handle
                                                                    -Self-Centered                                I shed a tear for every candle
from The Beat: since you didn’t give yourself a Beat name, we gave you                                                         I light up
one… it seems to us that even if you lose the love of all your women,                                                 For all da homies I lost
you’ll still be in love with yourself! That message you sent about how                                                        In da past
wrong you were. Was that just a pose to get her back, or do you feel                                       I show my respect, say a simple prayer
something about all this is wrong?                                                               An’ play da role like what I’m going through is not major
                                                                                                                How can I release all dis anger?
                                                                                                        I feel I’m being condemned at a young age
                                                                                                      My life is not a book, but as you flip every page

                              the truth
                                                                                                                      It will get you in a daze
                                                                                                                 Dis is what I been born to face
                                                                                                                    Been living in da fast lane
What’s up, Beat? It’s hard saying the truth, missing the fam, knowing that you
                                                                                                      An’ now I’m ready to overcome my worst fears
made a mistake. You stuck in green, missing yo’ girl that you know you love to
                                                                                                       My brother in da hospital, fighting for his life
death. Being locked up ain’t no game. I know all yo’ feel the same.
                                                                                                                  Dis brings me too many tears
     ‘Bout to get transferred all the way to San Fran. I pray and pray I get
                                                                                                                  So is life after all these years
released. I got lots of faith.
                                                                                                                     When will I switch gears
     Have you ever been engaged before? ‘Bout to get married and ready to
                                                                                                                    An’ stop living life in sin?
change my life. It’s time to be a man and do my thing—take care of my fam,
                                                                                                       Knowing my actions will take me to the pen
number 1. Take care of my wife. Beat, when you in love with a special one, she
                                                                                                         I’m just really confused about everything
help change yo’ life.
                                                                                                                  I really want to do something
                                                                       -Lil’ Jao
                                                                                                                          Find my way out
from The Beat: Wow, going from lock-up to marriage so soon! We wish
                                                                                                    Not da one serving rhymes when there is draught
you’d take a little more time to catch your breath, to get your feet on
                                                                                                                         What is life about?
the ground, to get your life into a positive routine. none of these things
are easy, but they’re all made more complicated by marriage. maybe you
                                                                                      from The Beat: We’ve heard rumors that you got out, and then you
should both agree to test things out first. in any case, of course you’re
                                                                                      got back in. We hope they are nothing more than rumors because if
right: it’s time to take care of your responsibilities.
                                                                                      what we’ve heard is true, then it’s apparent that you didn’t find a
                                                                                      way to stop your “life of sin.” That’s a choice, giggles. you knoW the
                                                                                      consequences, so all we can conclude is that losing your freedom was
                                                                                      not a hard enough result for you to stop doing what leads to you losing

            Dedicated to Speedy Lil’ ChingonVicious                                   your freedom. What else can we conclude?

              Ya, you change your name from
          You told me que you didn’t care about my dots on my ankle
                          I was close to being your jaina
                        Now you say dat you love another
           I dedicated that song “Summer Nights” to you, by Lil’ Rob
                                                                                                                  the Choice
                                                                                                       At night I laid awake, looking at the moon
                       I stopped wearing my color for you                                            Knowing that my fate will be now or come soon
                                  My past I denied                                                          I close my eyes an’ fall into a dream
                               Other boys I declined                                                    Life strolling by fast, as if it were a stream
                         I regret also talking to that one                                             I open my eyes, not knowing what to expect
                           Porque ustedes eran homies                                                        That I was an inch closer to death
                           Oh, well, we have to move on                                                   And now, even though I did not survive
                           But I’ll never forget our song                                                 I gave it my best and the hardest I tried
                                                                -Maria                                 Now I look from the sky and accept my fate
from The Beat: it is only when love flies that we look back and realize                          An’ looking back through my past, I found my mistakes
the sacrifices we made in its name. sometimes they pay off; sometimes                                                                                     -Luis
they don’t. We don’t think it’s about blaming anyone, because things                  from The Beat: you sound like you’re very much alive to us. finding
change. We admire you for putting your feelings down so gracefully,                   your mistakes is critical, but avoiding make them again is what really
which tells us that you are already following your own fine advice to                 counts. We think you’re not just ready to accept your fate, you’re ready
move on.                                                                              to change it.
T o
 BW                         t h e • b e a t • w i t h o u t
            my Spiritual experience
                                                     •Michael McKinney•
                                                                                     Volume 12.20 Page 50

                                                                   This next writer is a poet that just doesn’t stop. his consistency
                                                                   and persistence never cease to amaze us and every time he sends his
                                                                   work from the union correctional institution in raiford, ca, we can’t
My spiritual experience has a greater influence on me.             help but keep an attentive eye on his influential thoughts. This week
             Then my prison environment.                           he mostly talks about what’s going on in his head and how difficult it
              And through my experience                            is to deal with being incarcerated. it’s a great read but please don’t take
                                                                   our word for it…
 I have learned not to be affected by my environment.
                  But rise above them.
       And to stay headed on the spiritual path.
  So God could keep many blessings coming my way.                                               Prison
              And my spiritual experience,                                            So many steel bars.
  Has come from reading and studying the holy bible.                               Too many invisible scars.
 From praying and keeping faith and trusting in God.                 Always being treated unfair by some prison guards.
    And this is how I keep a spiritual peace of mind.                    And time never seems to stop getting hard.
              And my spiritual experience                          So much mental stress fighting to break down the best.
Is what helps me make it through my troubling times.                                Long steel waist chains.
     And my spiritual experiences is what help me                  Brick made walls seeking to destroy the minds of us all.
           Fight my way through temptation.                               So much talent hidden within these walls.
      And while gaining that spiritual inspiration.                                   The days pass away.
                                                                                   I don’t have much to say.
                                                                                    Always needing to pray.
                 trapped in a hole                                                    Collect phone calls.
                                                                                  Nothing is being played fair.
My life is a prison hole. But I will not fold. I been kept
                                                                          Prison life sometimes seems hard to bear.
in this prison hell hole for a great number of years, more
                                                                     Friends and family members are leaving me behind
years then I can count on my hands put together. I have
                                                                                      As if they don’t care.
become to be somewhat clever, quick to learn and apply
                                                                     Mind games are being played and coming from every
my ideas. This is what helps me survive this hole I have
been trapped in fir so many years at a time. And while
                                                                             Nick names in every kind of fashion.
being in the hell hole. Many times the system has tried
                                                                                Prison smells long stairwells.
to push me to that breaking point hoping I lose my mind.
                                                                      Unknown strangers. Prisoners’ lives are in danger.
But my inner strength kept my hanging on strong.
                                                                        Rattle of keys, convicts shaking at the knees.
     My inner strength kept me from letting this system
                                                                                  Hoping to see another day.
break me into selling my soul. And that’s something
                                                                    And putting the past behind me. As I look for a better
that was never going to happen. Cause I will keep up my
struggle until I grow old. But only the wise way. And God
                                                                   Surrounded around many broken spirits as they bleed.
is the only one I will allow to have full control over my
                                                                              The corrupted prison atmosphere
soul. And God’s word was my source of hope in this mad
                                                                     Are planting in so many lost minds negative seeds.
and bad hell hold I have been trapped in. and in this hole
I have heard there are times to bend but just don’t break.
And I took that saying as one would have to be flexible in a
situation like this. ‘Cause in this hell hole of prison life, in
prison every circumstance conspires to make a prisoner
                                                                                  to endure the Struggle
lose his hold. So he won’t have any control. But in this                                 No pain no gain.
hole I still have the freedom and ability to chose what             So let’s endure the struggle, like showing we can stand
attitude would be like in a given set of circumstance.                                       the rain.
                                                                   Times would get hard, and the bumpy roads in life would
                                                                                            get rough,
                                                                      But to endure the struggle shall always be a must.
                 who Can i trust?                                    Suffering times will stand in your way in every which
                                                                                             they can,
        Who can I trust than God and myself?
            Who can I trust to be a friend?                          But to endure the struggle, would bring out your best
             Who can I trust to be there?                                         And show that you are a man.
           Who can I trust to treat me fair?                         And help you to understand the reason for suffering,
           Who can I trust to keep it real?                                To see if you could stand the tests of time.
       Who can I trust with my life and my soul?                        To endure the struggle is what life is all about,
      Who can I trust to love me until I grow old?                         So in this struggle you must never give out
     Who can I trust to wipe the tears from my eyes                                And to endure the struggle
               when I am treated coldly?                                  May sometimes seem so hard for you to do.
       Who can I trust to put my confidence in?                         But how you come out would be left up to you.
     Who can I trust to share that closeness with?                            There would be obstacles all around
          Who can I trust for some support?                                  And they will never try to get your way
      Who can I trust for some true brotherhood?                          But you must endure the struggle each day.
     Who can I trust to make me feel understood?                    And when you are feeling down and out to endure each
       Who can I trust to past the ultimate test?                                              day.
        Who can I trust to give me their best?                               And when you are feeling down and out
      Who can I trust to deliver me from bondage?                    To endure the struggle is what it is going to be about.
            Who can I trust to be around?                            Keep your head up high to the sky and never ask god
           Who can I trust with my crown?                                                      why.
T o
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                      in a Cell
                                        •Michael McKinney


                                                                            i want to See the truth
                                                                                                        Volume 12.20 Page 51

In this cell it seems like I’m living in a four-walled hell.   The truth is what is going to set me free. Living the truth is
  I sit here all alone with no friend and without a home.      living above all things. I know God would move the blinders
   But I struggle with myself to still keep a smile on my      away from my eyes; that has kept me from seeing his true
                              face.                            nature, and my own true nature. I want to see the truth for
                                                               what it is and not for what the world wants it to be. God is
                Instead of letting out the rage.               truth. His way of living is the light, and that’s the truth I want
 In my cell I look out my cell window and see that it is a     to see. That’s the way I want to be. The truth is what is going
                           sunny day.                          to enlighten the eyes of my heart, to see the riches of his
          And my life is in search of a better way.            glory, that one day I shall inherit. I pray that God heals my
 And as I look, my mind is racing back over all my down        eyes to see a to the path of the truth.
                              falls.                                The world is full of lies and to a fool a lie holds more
  And now I can see all the mistakes I have made as my         weight than the truth. It is an old saying, which says the
                          wake up call.                        truth hurts. When I was young I did not know any better, I
                    And I am very thankful.                    used to get mad at the truth. I was living against the truth,
                                                               that’s why I was never free, ‘cause I was living against the key
     Because God has been on my side through it all.           to true freedom. Just know the truth and it will set you free.
            And I keep living to see another day.              That’s why I’m struggling to know, to learn true knowledge
               Even though I am locked away.                   of self. So I could free myself from the world with the truth.
           But it’s all-good because I love to pray.           Because for years I have been living in the devils hands of
          And from these God would lead my way,                wickedness and trick-knowledge and at that time of my life I
              In my cell, all around I see steel,              was never free, because I did not know the truth.
                And I feel that this life is real.                  I was blind to the ways of the world. But I constantly
  Right now I am just going through the suffering end of       kept seeking the path of the truth. It seemed like the harder
                            the deal.                          I kept seeking the path of truth, the further away I was from
                                                               getting it. But the path starts with the self. I got to get my
    And I can feel all the years I have spent in this cell.    life right with God. Because so many untruthful ways of
                                                               living and thinking has held me down. But I haven’t reached
                                                               that turning point in my life where I refuse to be held down
                    Your Smile                                 anymore, because I see the truth. I want to know the truth,
                                                               and I want to live by the truth.
Danielle your smile is one of the most beautiful smiles
                 I would ever want to see.
        Your smile is truly what I want you to be.
      Your smile is what makes me feel your love.
 Your smile comes down on me like an angel from up
                                                                                    my thoughts
                                                                     I am in deep thoughts, my mind is in a zone,
                                                               I’m locked up in the prison world, trying to live all alone.
       Your smile to me is like a blessing of love.
                                                                        Not because I don’t have love for others.
             Your smile is what I live to see.
                                                                 But when I am alone many things about myself I have
               ‘Cause with you I want to be.
                                                                                      come to discover.
      I love it when you are always smiling at me.
                                                                        And my mind helps me to reflect on it all.
         Your smile makes me feel ever so free.
                                                                        As I see life in prison as my wake up call.
    And my soul always needed a connection with
                                                                           And I look out my cell into the hall.
something that’s beautiful. Your smile made a beautiful
                                                                       All my eyes can see is the prison big walls.
                 connection with my soul.
                                                                       And these walls never seem to want to fall.
              Your smile has taken control.
                                                                    As I stand here, and contemplate my next move.
     And in my life your smile will never grow old.
                                                                       And now I wish I would of stayed in school.
Thoughts of your beautiful smile will always be apart of
                                                                 But for some of my past years I have played the role of
                         my mind.
                                                                                           the fool.
     Your beautiful smile will never be left behind.
                                                                         Which now I see that role was not cool.
Even when you are not around I can vision the beautiful
                    smile on your face.
‘Cause you smile makes everything that’s apart of your
     face, eyes, lips, looks ever so beautiful to me.
                                                                         hated by many loved by Few
                                                               I am loved by few and hated by so many. It’s hard for me
                                                               to keep up with the enemy. Many smile in my face and
                    the tongue                                 the same ones talk behind my back; just waiting to take
What I say out of my mouth does affect others. So I no         my life away from me without cutting me any slack. The
longer overlook the effect my reckless words have on me        same ones smile in my face as if everything is all right;
and others. The tongue of the wise promotes life, so I         are the same ones who wait on the time to put a knife in
try my best to let the words that come out of my mouth         my back.
promote good and not destruction. Because there have                Many come in the disguise as a friend, but this is
been times when my little tongue has gotten me in more         something they only try to pretend to use me in some
trouble than a little bit.                                     kind of way to their own advantage. When they see they
    From reading and studying the bible, I have come to        cannot do so, the hate in their heart for me only grows.
learn that my tongue is a very small part on my body that      That kind of friend I do not need. Enemies are the ones
has great power for good and evil. The tongue must be          I learned to trust the most, ‘cause I know what to expect
tamed, which at times has been something hard for me to        out of an enemy. Respect is always there, so I have more
do.                                                            love for my enemy then I have for a so-called friend.
T o
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                                         •Michael McKinney

                                                                                                cont.   •
                                                                                                            Volume 12.20 Page 52

          my Psychological State of mind                            While I was waiting in Jackson County, to be sent up
                                                                    the road. Which is prison. And while in this lil’ red neck
My psychological state of mind has been damaged kind
                                                                    jail I caught hell ‘cause I was a young black kid and I didn’t
of bad and most people don’t seem to understand my
                                                                    like to be called a nigga. Some of the white guards who act
psychological state of mind at this point. And I learned that
                                                                    like they did not like blacks used to talk to me any kind of
people are afraid of what they don’t understand. People
                                                                    way for no reason at all. Always calling me a lil’ nigga. And
are afraid of me ‘cause they don’t understand me and what
                                                                    always telling me how much they hate black niggas. And I
I have been through. They don’t know the psychological
                                                                    was very rebellious when it came down to being treated this
feeling of walking miles in my shoes. I’m not a bad person
                                                                    way. And they was always hanging me up on the bars, with
at all and I’m very easy to get along with. If you just get to
                                                                    handcuffs and chains, in the holding cell that was right
learn me and the psychological damage that has been done
                                                                    across from the guards station. And all the way up ‘til I
to me.
                                                                    left Jackson County Jail, I was always fighting the guards,
     I have become to be very sensitive to everything that’s
                                                                    they would chain me down to the bed a steel bed with
around me, especially to the prison security. Sometimes
                                                                    chain handcuffs and leg iron and they would tie something
I get that paranoid schizophrenic feeling, thinking that
                                                                    around my mouth. And some say I went to court to get
everybody is against me and out to get me. And this
                                                                    sentence they had jumped on me and carried me into the
paranoid schizophrenic feeling also has me thinking people
                                                                    courtroom tied. And I was given three years to do in prison.
are talking bad about me. Which on the other hand I do
                                                                    And through out the prison system for three years I was
know that a lot of behind people’s back talk goes on. But
                                                                    a violent and rebellious young inmate. Known for fighting
sometime I think I just be a little too paranoid from the
                                                                    other inmates and fighting with the guards. Cursing out
years of psychological damage that has been done to me.
                                                                    the guards. I was in and out of the hole, which was locked
And this is something that cannot be over looked, when
                                                                    up. And I was a very angry young kid. I had been injured,
making a judgment on me and my actions.
                                                                    defeated, and deprived by a power structure that was bent
     This paranoid schizophrenic state sometimes made
                                                                    on breaking me or trying to make me lose my mind - my
it hard for me to trust many people in prison. And this
                                                                    psychological state of mind.
something that had me going through some changes with a
                                                                         And I got out of prison after doing the whole three years.
few dudes that I really could have become friends with. But
                                                                    I was 17 years old, full of anger and bitterness. I ended up
I did not see it that way until later on down the line.
                                                                    going on a shooting rampage and much more. And once
     And prison done changed so much over the years. Until
                                                                    again I was back in the county jail with so much time hanging
most new wave type mind set people in prison think doing
                                                                    over my head. And while being held in the Tampa County
time is a joke. And they take everything that’s around them
                                                                    Jail, I got into many fights with the inmates and guards.
as a joke. And that make it hard for me. And my experience
                                                                    So much, until they had to keep locked down in a one-man
in prison has been too painful for me to take any of this I
                                                                    cell. I ended up getting two life sentences and much more.
have been through as a joke.
                                                                    And this was not going to be any help on my psychological
     They cannot feel my pain. They see far enough to
                                                                    state of mind, ‘cause I did not have no understanding. I
understand the psychological and emotional damage that
                                                                    was ready for trouble at any cost. And went to a few camps
has been done to me. I am a strong dude. I have a strong
                                                                    and then I ended back at the east unit for going on a little
mind. I have courage. I have a strong will. I have strong
                                                                    rampages at Martin Correctional Institutions. And the east
determination to do better. And to do better, but all the
                                                                    unit was Florida State Prison and I did like a year and a half
damage that has been done, all the rough years of being in
                                                                    on close management lock down.
isolation locked down in a one man cell Florida State Prison
                                                                         Then in 1994 I was released to open pop. Then in 1996
had taken it’s toll. If all this could just be understood, people
                                                                    I got into a big fight in the Chow Hall. And I was placed
would get along with me real good. But the psychological
                                                                    back on C.M. on 1996 and right now today I am still locked
damage that has been done to me did not start just right
                                                                    down in close management. And I been locked down for 12
here in prison.
                                                                    years and at this point I had spent five years in Disciplinary
     When I was young my only father, who I did not get to
                                                                    Confinement. And for years I have not been able possess
know all that well was taken away from me by a number of
                                                                    my legal material do to the fact that the guards in Florida
gun shots in the back and in the head. And I really wanted
                                                                    state prison have thrown side material away on more than
to get to know my father Big Mike for myself. We spent time
                                                                    one occasion and not being able to obtain and possess my
together but, the times were so short, and I had talks with
                                                                    legal material restrains any and all options I have for due
my father on the phone when he was doing time in prison
                                                                    process under the law. As I need all my legal material to
up in Alabama. During these times he expressed much love
                                                                    proceed in my appeals on my criminal case or I will end
for me and my baby brother, Sedrick. And when Big Mike,
                                                                    up being stuck in prison for the rest of my life. And this is
aka Chief Crazy Horse got killed there was a big turning
                                                                    enough for any many to lost control. I have been a victim of
point in my life. And there also was a big turning point in
                                                                    much abuse. I been locked down in a strip cell for weeks at
my psychological state of mind. I got wilder and worse than
                                                                    a time, at a times, and a few times for more than a month
I already was, ‘cause I already had a bad temper just like
                                                                    with no mattress, no clothing, no property. And I have been
my father Big Mike. And after his death my psychological
                                                                    gassed more times than I can care to count. And I have
state of mind went down hill. I went to getting in all kinds
                                                                    been a victim of starvation and the anger I feel from living
of trouble with the law. Which landed me in prison in 1985
                                                                    like this for so many years sets off emotions that few will
at the age of fourteen years old.
                                                                    ever know. Sort of being in a hostage situation. And for
     My psychological state of mind did not get any better.
                                                                    years I have suffered greatly from sensory deprivation.
Anger and bitterness was building up in me by the days.
T o
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         reforming behind the walls
                                        •Michael McKinney


                                                                                 the anger i Feel
                                                                                                      Volume 12.20 Page 53

        These prison walls are not going to fall.               The anger I feel is so real. The anger I feel has been
       They are well built enough to hold us all.               ever so rooted down deep in my blood. This anger feeling
But while being in prison locked up behind these walls.         has been something that is so hard of me to get rid of.
 We must come to understand that it is not where you are        The anger I feel started into my life at a very young age,
                It’s all about who you are.                     and at the same time has filled me with so much rage.
 And prison alone is not going to make into the person          Making me sometimes cold and bitter. I have struggled
              you need to be. And I can say.                    with this anger feeling for so many years. And I have seen
 Prison is the place to reform our values, attitude, and        coming from my own eyes, so many tears from the cause
                           behavior                             of my anger feeling. The hurt I felt from this anger feeling
  But we would have to be the ones who are willing to           has brought into my life so much pain. Pain that almost
work on ourselves. Cause prison can be used as one of           makes me mad or go insane. Pain, that hurts deep in my
        the best reforming schools in the world.                brain. Causing pain. I could no longer stand.
 These walls are placed for repentance, a turning point.             But deep in my heart I know I had to be a man. And
A place for change and being behind these prison walls,         this anger feeling had become to be a somewhat strong
         Gives us time to look inside ourselves                 feeling of annoyance and displeasure. It caused me to
And see all the changes that need to be made in our life.       damage parts of my youthful life that I missed out on.
          And this what to reform is all about.                 And for years I did not have much knowledge as to what
     And to reform behind these walls is an affect.             this anger feeling was. But years later I learned that this
            We have to put something into it.                   anger feeling was normal.
             To receive the power of change.                         My father whom I knew but not much about, also
  And some convicts are more capable of reforming in            throughout his life struggled with the same anger feeling.
              these conditions than others.                     It caused his life to be taking away from him by gunshots.
     In these cells you got to get to know yourself.            At that time little that I knew, I had a long road ahead of
  And God gives us time to reform behind these walls.           me, with that anger. Anger feeling has driven me so many
                                                                times into the state of being a violent person, fighting with
                                                                some people about the smallest things. This same anger
                                                                feeling had me fighting with some people for no reason at
                  we Shall honor                                all. This same anger feeling even had me fighting against
           We shall honor, the land that we live on.            myself for so many years. I shot and badly hurt many
‘Cause we never know when this world may come to an end.        people, over these anger feelings. That has made me feel
                   And the land will be gone.                   very bad about my actions. And these anger feelings were
   We shall honor kings and queens, who have sat on the         most of the time like a full-fledged rage.
                             throne.                                 But from a little studying about my anger feeling, I
             We shall honor, our mother and father              came to learn that anger was a healthy human emotion.
     ‘Cause they work very hard to bring up our homes.          But when these feelings get out of control and turn
            We shall honor our sisters and brothers             destructive, that’s when the problem come in at. And I did
               ‘Cause they are our blood of love.               not have any control over my anger feelings. There was
                         We shall honor.                        no space around my anger feelings. When I had reached
      We shall honor our grandmother and grandfather.           the state of being angry, and with my anger feelings I was
               They are a true blessing from God,               lashing out at everybody and everything irritated me. The
        Who would influence us throughout our lives.            only way I knew how to express my anger was in a very
       With the great knowledge and wisdom they have.           aggressive manner.
  We shall honor the food that grows from the land and the           But as the years went on I learned, as I got wiser and
                               tree,                            mature, how to express my anger in a more assertive way.
   ‘Cause this is the natural food from the land that helps     And while in prison, I have many times been taken out of
                 keep us going. We shall honor.                 the one-man cell close management unit and transferred
            We shall honor all the kids of the world,           to the mental health unit in Union and treated for
  ‘Cause they are our future and the upcoming generation.       anger management. I picked up from some of the anger
                   We shall honor our family,                   management groups that the goal of anger management
      ‘Cause a family that prays together stays together.       was to help people like me to reduce my anger emotional
         We shall honor our ancestors from the past,            feelings and physiological arousal that my anger feelings
Who was caught up in the struggle of the white man’s world      caused. My anger feeling had got me in prison for the rest
    Which caused them to struggle through many difficult        of my life. My anger feeling with no control over them
                              times                             caused me to be locked down in a one-man cell for almost
 Which was painful, but they fought to make it better for us.   12 years of my life. And I have been through so much
    We shall honor our leaders of the past such as Martin       more, because I didn’t know how to control my anger
    Luther King ‘Cause as long as he was alive he always        feelings that I have suffered with for most of my life.
                   strived towards his dream.
                 We shall honor Mother Nature.

                                                                   We have to put something
                  We shall honor our culture.
                 We shall honor our education,
          ‘Cause from it we gain so much information
 That helps us to learn about ourselves and the reality that
     we live in. We shall honor every breath that we take,
                                                                             into it.
         ‘Cause it’s a blessing we shall never forsake.
                                                                 To receive the power of change.
T o
             Pot of gold
                             t h e • b e a t • w i t h o u t
                                                                               •Fred smith•
                                                                                         Volume 12.20 Page 54

                                                 This is such a treat… We haven’t heard from this next writer in quite some time now, so it’s
                                                 our pleasure to welcome him back in our pages. We really missed his fabulous writing and jaw-
 I’ve done jacked it, bag it, stack it, lost     dropping ideas. his loyalties are with his higher power and he makes that evident with almost
                                                 everything he writes, so we know he’s genuine. This week he hits us with two very powerful
                     it, floss it                poems. The first, “Take my hand,” is him extending himself to those who need a helping hand.
   Been in the gutters with the addicts          and the second is about the light at the end of the tunnel. he’s writing from high desert state
Smoke it been hopeless live life with no         Prison in susanville, ca. We appreciate his words and we can almost guarantee that most of you
                                                 readers will too…
Let my dreams slip away and they were
            gone like hocus-pocus                     would be born in hell for life             Watching my back for shady moves and
              Live life on the run                      I know I’m not innocent                                      the crack
       A loaded pipe and a loaded gun              Look where I’m at man its evident                    I’m hustling so my pockets fat
   Embrace the shadows like a chain to                 That I didn’t care about the                    Got me watching out for the jack
           the beast until I’m done                           consequences                                Never had a moments peace
   Never thought that I would see a day                    They were irrelevant                       My enemy is to sleep clutching my
        that wasn’t about that cream                I can’t even justify the way I live                                 piece
           Or them felony schemes               My life like slow suicide looking in the         For safety in case they tried to come for me
         The clouded mind of a fiend                         mirror as you die                     My mother’s only son and my father’s
   So many years wasted if they made it        So many victimize so many tear-stained                                only child
                  then I taste it                                   eyes                          I’ve been starving for his guidance ever
  Didn’t want to deal with reality so the        Seeing all the people that I’ve hurt at                        since I was a child
             dope helps me face it                     night when I close my eyes                           I’m left to carry the name
But didn’t replace it I keep running but          Lord please set me free and help me                  Don’t want to burn out the flame
                 it keep chasing                            finally be at peace                      I wish my son was still here I think
Cold hands of death running next to me              ‘Cause I’m drowning in my sins                              about him everyday
                  can’t shake it               Don’t want to miss eternity I use to pray          I would trade his place and give my life
                 So I embrace it                   Why me when my kids pass away                                   for the grave
   Selling my soul, hardening my heart         Tried to medicate my mind the only way              If he could just feel the sunshine and
                and made it cold                               I stayed sane                                 have a smile on his face
 I keep busting at these demons but it’s       I was told that my sins was the reasons                  But no matter how much I pray
           getting harder to reload                           they pass away                              It will never bring him back
          Lord please take this load              Ex-wife best friend now she’s going            It took awhile to accept that fact and lift
‘Cause I’m about to explode and release                     through the same                                 that burden off my back
            this pain like acid rain            I couldn’t deal with life nothing I tried             It’s Gods plan even though I don’t
And throw my life down the drain before                        made it right                              understand it’s in his hand
                I reach the fame                  She’s popping pills left me alone for          The trials we go through in life to make
   And hear the crowd scream my name                 dead with the pain I had inside                           us stronger as a man
 I got a message for the masses that rap         She said she couldn’t deal with mine               It’s all a test to see the worst and the
            has bond up in chains                ‘Cause she was dealing with her own                            best if you succeed
  That we’re all the same and life is one      Thought that’s what a husband and wife             Like job and break that yoke off your neck
                      big train                                    was for                              Just know that you can change
Plenty stops and different destinies but              But I guess that I was wrong                    And you don’t have to be the same
              it all ends the same             The love is gone but we tried to hold on          God is there all you have to do is call on
   So why do we hate the next for their             But I couldn’t be around her so I                                 his name
               color and their sex                        stopped coming home                             And let the lord take control
     The hate is un-check this world is          And started to cheat having an affair                         Mind, body and soul
               headed for a wreck                             with the streets                   Takes my struggle as a lesson and know
Most of us afraid to die because how we                  It never questioned me                                      at the end
                   live our lives               Thought it brought out the best in me                          There’s a pot of gold
    If this world was to end today most          Got me sleeping with that vest on me

                  take my hand ii & iii                                                         (Take my hand)
                              (Part II)                                                              (Part III)
         And let me pull you out of the depths of hell                      Even the toughest get weak in times of pain and sorrow
Time is running like your running like Johoa trapped in the whale              Living life on the edge — no thought for tomorrow
    Never been successful ‘cause you were afraid to fail                              Hands bloody from the color of money
Now you wasting your life away trapped in this spiritual hell           Wait a minute and stop smiling cause everything is fine when
            Who could tell through all the what if,                                 its sunny But when the lows hit the lows
                  If you would have been shhh                                                 And the money is slow
  Kind of hard to tell from all the drugs and jailhouse trips           And you’re stuck at the light and don’t know which way to go
   Hard to keep a job from all those school days skipped                    Everybody having cash and you don’t want to be broke
     Taken penitentiary chances for every rock you spit                             Rent is due in a minute and the car note
 Harden your heart against society from your countless falls                    Everybody pushing for you to stay off the block
      Even a baby knows he can’t walk before he crawls                          Stick with minimum wage and not open up shop
                       But you want it fast                                 But temptation of them streets keep calling your name
                Women, cars, jewels, and cash                           It’s funny how we remember the good times and forget the pain
                     Hitting fences from task                              But you draw strength by looking in your children’s eyes
              Anybody in your way get smashed                                 Want to do right by them and help them grow in life
                      ‘Till one day you blast                                         It took some time for you to recognize
                  Now all of that is in the past                                 That you don’t have to trap in those devil lies
   They call you uncle now washing cars recycling trash                                           (Take my hand)
           Stuck in a haze like your lost in a maze
       Moma still shedding tears every time she prays                          I pray that this can be an inspiration to someone.
T o
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                   never Fear!
                                                     •Greggory sleeth•
                                                                                  Volume 12.20 Page 55

                                                                 These next two poems were sent to us from the rJ donovan
                                                                 correctional facility in san diego, ca. They both make references to
                                                                 a higher power, so we’re assuming we’re hearing from a man of god. in
         Though at times the clouds hang low,                    his first poem, “remember,” he lists things we should forget and then he
                         Never fear!                             goes into things we should remember. it’s a pretty good poem. Then he
          Though the winds may fiercely blow,                    concludes with a poem titled, “never fear,” where he lets us know that
                                                                 as long as we have god in our life we don’t have anything to fear. We
                         Never fear!                             hope people take heed to what he has to say because we have a feeling
              God is still upon his throne;                      he’s sincere with each and every one of his words.
                He is mindful of his own;
            Let this blessed truth be known
                         Never fear!
          Though at times the way seems long,                                              remember
                         Never fear!                                          Forget each kindness that you do
              Murmur not but sing a song;                                        As soon as you have done it.
                         Never fear!                                          Forget the praise that falls to you
              If you trust in God and pray;                                     The moment you have won it.
               Help to you he will convey.                                     Forget the slander that you hear
               You’ll find roses by the way                                        Before you can repeat it.
                         Never fear!                                            Forget each slight, each spite,
           Though a friend may prove untrue                                 Each sneer, whenever you may meet it.
                         Never fear!                                           Remember every kindness done
              Seek his friendship to renew                                      To you whatever it’s measure.
                         Never fear!                                           Remember praise by others won
             This one thing remember well:                                       And pass it on with pleasure
                 Christ is our Immanuel                                        Remember every promise made
               He will ever with you dwell.                                        And keep it to the letter.
                         Never fear!                                            Remember those who lend you
            Though the river may seem dark,                                      Aid and be a grateful debtor.
                         Never fear!                                             Remember all the happiness
               Wit the pilot you’ll embark                                      That causes your way in living
                 “Jesus, savior, pilot me                                    Forget each other worry and distress
              Our lives tempestuous sea,”                                          Be hopeful and forgiving
               Hear him whisper tenderly                                      Remember good, remember truth
                        “Never fear!”                                          Remember heaven is above you

                                                                 •Jeremiah Gilbert•
              to whom it may Concern                             some people use The Beat to get steam off of their chest, some use
                                                                 it to tell someone else how much they love them, and then there are
                                                                 those who, like this next writer, use The Beat to bring about change.
My name is Jeremiah J. Gilbert. I am currently serving a Life    Though we appreciate any writing sent our way, we have to say that the
Without Parole (LWOP) sentence for a crime I committed           latter of the three is our favorite because we our country is in desperate
                                                                 need of change. he’s writing about children receiving crazy sentences
when I was 15 years old. I’ll be 31 on November 27th.            like life Without Parole and evidently he wants the madness to stop.
    I would like to share with you some of the facts             he’s writing from the clallam Bay corrections center in clallam Bay,
                                                                 Washington. hopefully, someone out there will read this and help him
concerning Juvenile LWOP. In doing so I hope to change           out…
this sentence in the United States. Please read the following
and should you decide to assist me in this change, I will       sentence.
direct you to a few options.                                        The average cost of incarceration is $45,000 per inmate
    On February 16, 1995 the United States signed an            per year. The average life expectancy is now 75 years. I came
International Human Rights Treaty called the Convention         to prison when I was 15, should I reach the average, you
of the Rights of the Child (CRC). In June of 2006 the U.N.      (the tax paying public) will have paid at least $2,800,000.
admonished the United States for not ratifying to the Treaty.       A quarter of a million teens under the age of 18 are
The United States and Somalia are the only two countries        sent to the adult criminal justice system across the nation
to have not yet ratified.                                       each year according to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in
    A 2004 estimate by Human Rights Watch shows the U.S.        Washington D.C. In spite of all research showing that youth
has over 2,228 juvenile lifers; there are only 12 in the rest   treated like adults are more likely to re-offend.
of the world.                                                       If you or anyone you know can or will be able to help
    In 11 of the 17 years between 1985 and 2001 a juvenile      all of us who as a child were told that we were beyond
was more likely than an adult to be sentence to LWOP for        redemption, please go to my website, the address is, http://
the same crime. And 59 percent of these children were  Should
sentenced to LWOP for their first convictions.                  you wish to add your name to the online petition to abolish
    In March of 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that          this sentence or research for yourself some of the facts
juveniles possessed a diminished culpability and therefore      I have stated, the Favorite Links page will direct you to
could not be sentenced to death. The same reasoning             various groups to assist you in doing so.
applies to LWOP. Life Without Parole has no date; one is in         Thank you for your time and consideration. May your
prison until their death, making LWOP the same as a death       paths be peaceful and your Creator grant your dreams.
T o
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                                          •Michael Cabral•
                                                              Volume 12.20 Page 56

                                             We’ve waited a long time for the penetrating poetry from this
                                             truly gifted writer, michael cabral. But, as we knew it would be, the
                                             wait is well worth it! from the mysterious love-hate poem “With you,”

           one Victim                        through the brutally honest description of his crime in rhyme (“should’ve
                                             Been all alone” – which he wrote while still a teen), to the chilling
                                             description of another killing of another child on another street, these
            Eight flying fists               poems are a testament both to his talent and to his spirit. We’re holding
       Four right soles dropping             the remarkable autobiography he shared with us until next week. like
              On one victim                  these poems, it’ll knock you off your feet! michael writes from salinas
                                             Valley state Prison in soledad, ca.
     There’s punching and kicking
      And screaming obscenities
      Somebody’s mother yelling
             “Stop it! Stop it!                         The one victim up
            Leave him alone!”
        Sadly thinking to herself
            “He’s a good kid,”
         As if already mourning
              more punching
                                                  Toward the red and blue lights
               more kicking
  “Barrio this side! Barrio this side!”
                                                Servers and protectors commanding
     Sirens wailing in the distance
            Closer and louder                         “Get down! Get down!”
         Then closer and louder
         “The cops are coming!
            Let’s go! Let’s go!”
               Panic strikes
                                                                        with You
                                                         How many nights have I spent
        Six fists, three soles flee                                 Laying next to you
       Two fists turn to one knife                                Curled up against you
          With one last plunge                               Protecting me from the world
        One victim left bleeding                                And all of its elements?
     Crying and hurt and confused                         How many nights have I spent
         Tires screech to a halt                          Wishing you would just disappear
         That mother hollering                                         Loathing you
           “In the parking lot!                          Feeling mad, anxious and trapped?
         Behind that building!”                          How many nights have you been
            The one victim up                                       All I had to talk to
                 Staggering                                             To confide in
     Toward the red and blue lights                            To trust with my secrets?
 Servers and protectors commanding                    How many nights have you stood there
         “Get down! Get down!”                            Cold and unmoving and uncaring
            one victim begging                                    Just watching me cry?
            “They stabbed me,                       How many nights have you showed off to me
            Please help me…”                               Under the white lights of our sky
      “Get on the damn ground!”                            All the names of those before me
         One victim continuing                                  Tattooed onto your body
        Approaching his heroes,                            Telling me where they were from
            “If you don’t stop,                           And how long they were with you?
                 we will…!”                            How many nights did you remind me
        Eight times, Bang! Bang!                               That eventually I would be
          Knife still in his back                                      Nothing more
       One heaven making room                            Than just another of those names?
           For one more victim                        How many nights have you allowed me
                17 years old                                    To see right through you
       Two brothers and a sister                          And hear the freely beautiful voice
          A mother and a father                                 Of the other side of you
 16- and 17-year old childhood friends                            Sing to my strengths?
     A community in need of hope                        How may nights have you worked
                Left behind                                         Trying to break me
                                                           Indistinctly yelling at my sanity
                                                                         With voices
                                                               From another side of you?
                                                       How many nights have you promised
                                                              You’d always be here for me
                                                                  Waiting, ready, willing
                                                            To go through it all over again?
                                                       How many nights have I assured you
                                                                  That once I finally find
                                                                The courage to leave you
                                                                 I will never come back?
T o
   Should’ve been all alone
                           t h e • b e a t • w i t h o u t
                                               •Michael Cabral
                                                            But I felt regret

                                                                                                   cont.    •
                                                                                                                Volume 12.20 Page 57

                                                                                                         Became your fate
                                                      And I wept in the blood                      Became my consequences
        I should’ve been by myself                       Stepped in the sun                             Struggling constantly
               With nobody else                   Saw the stains on my hands                               Creeping up on me
               My fifth of Bacardi                      Now I know I’ll never                                 You died alone
        Like “here’s to my health”                          Become a man                                 Now I’m dying lonely
           I just wanted to kick it                      Still, I just can’t let                          Surrounded by hate
            No homies, no women                         Two lives go to waste                          And mistrustful enemies
           No love and no trippin’                         So I pray to God                              Wondering when is it
          Just me and my kitchen                    Every day and give thanks                          That I’ll begin to breathe
      But you had to come through                       And with all my heart                                  Begin to see
           Say you was a gangster                      You shouldn’t be gone                          Exactly what’s happening
              And let it be known                         Eleven-six-o-three                             It becomes too much
      Murder’s your second nature                   I should’ve been all alone                      I fall to my hands and knees
            You called me a punk                      I told you to leave, man                           Mad because my past
         Said my life’s on the line                      I felt it that evenin’                          Is stabbing my every
              Said that my family                   My heartbeat was freezin’                            Thought that I think
               Was also gon’ die                  The demons were screamin’                             Every move that I make
               So I just snapped                    Cold tell by my wheezing                             I’ve tried to run away
         And I lost my damn mind                    The liquor was squeezin’                               But I can’t escape
          I wanted to stop, though                     Off all of my breathing                        Your plan was to separate
               All forty-six times                     The killer me fiendin’                              Me from my family
            I’d put down my knife                        For a taste of blood                            Thought that I could
      But you wouldn’t stop moving                      And bully’s in season                        Prevent it with this tragedy
            I prayed up to heaven                     I’m sick of your threats                             Fantasy overcame
  “God, help me… I’m losing control of           And I’m done with your teasin’                              Who I really am
                     myself”                         I’m thinkin’ your reason                          It was the hatred inside
      I never wanted this slaughter                For bleeding young soldier                             My mind descended
              Just had to protect                         No longer matters                           But all of my false efforts
    My sister’s two-year-old daughter                     It’s over, it’s over!                             Were not enough
          My mother, my brothers                   I’m eighteen years old now                     ‘Cause I’m still stuck missing
              My sister, my father                      And doing some time                                 The people I love
        I love them, you used them                           Sixteen-to-life                                Faces and voices
            To get me all bothered                Te cheap price of my crime                               Now have become
              And when I realized                           I live every day                             The faces of choices
         What the hell I was doin’                With your face on my mind                                  I made as a son
    I dropped to my knees and cried                     The blood on the rug                      I bathe in the shunned results
              “My life is ruined!”                  And the fear in your eyes                               Of what’s begun
               I wanted to front                       The pain in your tears                            So smile Carlos Ruiz
      Like you messed with a thug                 And the loss of your senses                          You won, man, you won!

                      teaching love                                 Writing from folsom state Prison in represa, ca, we give you this
                                                                    courageous and powerful mind. We say he’s courageous because he
                                                                    openly admits to being transgender when most of us would cower
We need to teach our youth tolerance. Learning to respect           at the thought of even telling someone that. however, not only is he
others is first taught at home and applied at school. School        courageous, but he’s also wise in that he challenges us to teach our
is where we first encounter the different colors life has to        kids tolerance. We’d go even further and say we need to teach our kids
                                                                    acceptance because it’s one thing to tolerate what we don’t understand,
offer: the color of race, the color of cultures, and the color      but when we finally experience it, we should come to a place where
of love. We need to respect each and every color in order           we can do more than just tolerate it. That’s where acceptance comes in.
                                                                    We really enjoyed what lola had to say and hopefully you’ll be able to
to be able to love and respect the many colors that radiate         ‘tolerate’ the way he is.
from us.
    In using “color” metaphorically, color designating race,          I had a nice childhood. I liked pretty things. I played
cultures and sexual orientation; everybody has something          dress up with my sister. I loved make-up and clothes with
“different” from someone else. Whether it be the color of         ruffles and lace. Unfortunately this led to me being labeled
your skin, traditions, or who you love among other things.        gay before I even knew what gay meant. But I didn’t consider
We need to respect others so we can respect ourselves.            myself gay. I was born inter-sex, but considered male
    Many of our youth today commit crimes out of fear of          because of my male chromosomes. I chose to live my life
what they don’t understand, such as, hate crimes, murder          transgender, a life without heartache and disappointments,
etc. Two boys holding hands and someone pops up and rip           but I am happy.
their souls apart with verbal abuse and violence. These               So teaching youth tolerance is as important as teaching
people simply don’t understand that love is universal and         them the virtues of honesty, justice and compassion.
love does not discriminate.                                       Education is the most important service our society can
    I am an example, I am transgender, and my name is             give youth. This is a foundation of Plato’s philosophy. The
Lola. I am currently at Folsom State Prison — not a pretty        teaching of Christ primarily focuses on love.
place. I have a problem with drugs. Drugs have brought me             I believe these two ingredients (love and education) will
face to face with one of society’s ills: state prison.            create a just society. A society without hate, therefore no
    I’ve tried to hide behind the cloud that drugs provide. I     need for prisons. This will one day lead to a world without
did not understand myself as a boy — let alone other people       war. Now, isn’t this vision beautiful? Children of tomorrow,
trying to understand me.                                          you be the judge, for the power lies within your heart.
T o
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       never ending Fight For love

                                                                                                     Volume 12.20 Page 58

                                                         in his letter to us, this next writer does a great job of introducing
                                                         himself. “my name is donald delahanty, my family calls me donny
                                                         and my friends call me dreamer. i’m 21 and looking at nothing less
              Why must we continue to fight?             than life unless i win my case, just pray for the truth and prepare for
             The love we have for one another.           the worst. i originate from riverside, ca. i moved to arizona in ’03 then
                     We both try to ignore it,           went back to serve four months to be let out on my eighteenth birthday.
                                                         i’ve spent time in Juvy and placement, the latter i escaped from which
            Yet we both know there’s no other.           is why i went back to cali to serve that four months. i guess it wasn’t
                      When I lay on my bed,              enough ‘cause look at me now. i was doing, going good but then like a
                                                         country song: lost my girl, lost my car, lost my mind, and got into drugs
                  On these cold lonely nights            and made bad company and now i’m locked up and they won’t let me
     In the dark your face consumes my thoughts,         out!” We already feel like we know him more. he’s a great poet and he
                                                         sends us three poems, two are love poems to his girl and one is about
      And for that moment everything seems right         standing tall through adversity. he’s writing from a facility in Phoenix,
                 Then I come back to reality,            arizona.
                And realize I’ve ‘bout lost you
                    I know what it’s cost me,
              Do you know what it’s cost you?
                    A once in a lifetime love?
                 That’s so pure and precious                      Living in the deepest darkest despair,
             So unconditional and passionate,                 Mind and body broken with no hope of repair
    It’s impossible to walk away and live regretless           But what can you do when your losing hope
                   You are my sun, my light,                        Just grin and bear it and try to cope
                  The center of my universe,                      There are times when I laugh out loud,
                Now without you it’s so dark,                Reminiscing and thinking of old times in a cloud
             And I know it can’t get any worse                       I will not let this fate get me down
            But I continue to hold my head up,              You’ll always catch on my face a smile not a frown
                 Because I know life goes on                          Regardless how sad it should get,
            Yet it still does not change the fact                ‘Cause pain and sorrow I’ve already met.
              That without you I feel so wrong                  What can I say but this was my own doing
                    I lost a major part of me,            One of the things that got me down was the drug I was
        And allowed my pride to stand in the way.                                     using
           But no longer will anything stop me,           You know I’m sure I may deserve whatever comes my
              From saying what I have to say,                                         way,
               I’ve come to get my heart back,             Being innocent I’m glad the hell I’m living is not an
                    And with it the life I lost.                                  eternal stay
        It’s taking me so much to reach you now,                 But sooner or later I will leave this place,
          The entire surface of hell I’ve crossed.             Whether it’s in a casket or my own two legs
 I’ve stepped out of hells fires bruised and battered,    No matter what though they will always remember my
                     With blisters on my feet                                         name
        Heart broken with dreams that shattered,                     For I’ve played thee ultimate game
      And still calling your name though I’m weak                       I’ve showed my heart and grit
        My strength is my love and desire for you             And I know one on one this system isn’t shhh
              And the reason why I still stand,                       But back to the subject at hand,
  After my souls diminished and mentally tortured,              Forget despair ‘cause tall I’ll always stand
              I still love you with all that I am          Even when I embrace death, which is surely to come
     Even though I don’t pray as much as I should,                              soon some day
                  I still have faith in the lord.         For right before I embrace this friend I shall fall to my
         And that he will rescue me through you,                                knees and pray
        And save me from the wrath of the sword,          But no matter ‘cause I will follow this road wherever it
You know I still think of your eyes and see my future                            shall take me
          But not as something that once was…                     I just hope my savior doesn’t forget me
            But something that is and yet to be
                       A never ending love
                                                                                  Phone Call
                                                                              I called you tonight,
                                                                           And got to hear your voice
                                                                          Our conversation went great,
                                                                          And my heart was in rejoice.
                                                                           To know you still love me,
                                                                      That made my heart and soul smile
                                                                                  I feel so great,
                                                                     Knowing you loved me all the while.
                                                                       I can’t believe I heard your voice,
                                                                    My goodness! You answered the phone.
                                                                           Then you accepted my call,
                                                                     And right then I knew I wasn’t alone.
                                                                        The stress I was going through,
                                                                            My emotions were so raw.
                                                                       And you made everything better,
                                                                            With a simple phone call.
T o
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                Dear beat within
                                                         •Valerie seeley•
                                                                                  Volume 12.20 Page 59

                                                               Writing way from the Bedford hills correctional facility in Bedford
                                                               hills, new york, we give you a woman who’s definitely on a mission
                                                               to be heard. and we’re going to do our best to fulfill her mission. in
It’s been a long time since I wrote to you, because the        this issue, 13.05, she writes a letter to us and then a short missive
last time I wrote you I asked for you to put my poem in        about jail. she uses the line, “as i sit here” repetitively and it gives the
your next issue of The Beat Within so please send me a         effect of emphasis on that phrase because it’s highlighted by repetition.
                                                               We are ecstatic to keep publishing her because again she’s definitely on
copy of your next issue. My life being locked up in prison     a mission to be heard.
is an every day struggle for me, because I’m not used to
somebody running my life and telling me what I can or
cannot do. It’s a place where you have to learn how to
take control of your own life and you have to learn how to
deal with different attitudes and different personalities,
plus you have to be very strong and careful not to get
                                                               As I sit here in this jail I think about what I did to get
into an argument with other inmates. I had to learn how
                                                               here. As I sit in my cell I think about all of the pain, stress,
to survive with the things that surround me in here.
                                                               destruction that’s all around this prison, as I sit in this
I haven’t learned that being away from my family and
                                                               jail I see the dark clouds that hang over this prison. I
friends because they keep me strong and I know that I do
                                                               look out of my cell window and see nothing but wires that
still have a life outside of these walls. I may be locked up
                                                               surround this place.
but I still have a mind and can think for myself that’s one
                                                                    As I sit in this jail I see everything from self-destruction,
thing that prison can’t ever take away from me.
                                                               to suicide, I wonder why it has to be this way. I think of
     Prison is a place where you have to be strong and
                                                               being free from my chains, but then I realized that it was
keep fighting for things to be right and to make it a better
                                                               just a dream. As I sit here in this jail I think about all the
place, but not to get comfortable to the point that you go
                                                               pain, stress, and hurt that I feel because I took a life to
home and be out for two weeks or five months and come
                                                               save mine.
back. Since I’ve been here I’ve been getting everything that
                                                                    As I sit here I wonder will I ever be free. As I sit here
the state has to offer me. I learned how to deal with the
                                                               I feel that there’s no way out, as I sit here I wonder if I’ll
issues that I had before and I don’t let anybody rule me
                                                               ever be whole. I wonder will I ever get a chance to walk
because I’ve become more independent than I was before.
                                                               the streets as a free woman. As I sit here in prison and
I’ve learn things about the abuse I went through and now
                                                               think of ways to end my life, then I realized that it’s the
I have a better understanding about why I stayed in that
                                                               devil trying to make me slip so that he can end my life.
relationship for that long. This is why I can understand
                                                               As I sit here in prison I know that “God” has a plan for
the youths that write you and I hope that they learned
                                                               me. So I keep pressing on to make things right for me.
from their mistakes as well. Please put this poem in your
                                                               Because “God” has forgiven me for my sins. Now it’s time
next issue. I’m enclosing a copy of my poem. Second page
                                                               that I forgive myself.
is my poem.

                      missing                                  •shawn•
        I remember the times we had together,
                                                               introduced to us by our good friend and veteran Beat writer,
         Gottie and Clyde and now you’re gone,                 sammy capers, we give you a man who’s fighting a murder charge
 We raised one another and we knew right from wrong            in san Bernardino county Jail in rancho cucamonga, ca. he sends us
     The life we chose to walk, stole you from me              three very short poems and for his first time we don’t think he did that
                                                               bad of a job. however, we’re curious to know what you readers think, so
         And oh my lord I’m missing you truly!                 please don’t hesitate to give us your feedback so we can then relay it to
  But one day our mishaps will once again bring us             our newest writer. Thank you for extending yourself, we hope this isn’t
                                                               the last time we hear from you…
                    Lil’ J, I love you!

                                                                                            my life
The life we chose to walk, stole                                        Day in and day out, unfinished tactics,
                                                                       Unsure of the realness of self-endurance,

          you from me                                             Energies unchanged but I’m in an unforgiving mode,
                                                                                  But do I hold it in?
                                                                                  Or let it be known?
         And oh my lord I                                                            I gots to live!

      ’m missing you truly!
                                                                  The mind is like an equation that is equal to death,
                       reason                                                      Only ‘cause of sin,
  The only reason I live is to serve, but who is right?                              It’s all around.
Life or death is always seemin’ to hunt the right/wrong,                Contemplatin’ moves to exit the world,
  But why don’t we have a reason for our questions?                The lies inside the mind is to cover up the truth,
Are we bound to a sinful livin’ for any reason we want?                         But who knows about it?
            You have yours and I have mine                                    Not even the smartest man
T o
 BW                       t h e • b e a t • w i t h o u t
                Search Part one

                                                                      •H. shepard•
                                                                                                         Volume 12.20 Page 60

                                                              We are assuredly going to have a great issue this week and this
                                                              next great poet is a big reason why. he sends us a very inspiring
                                                              letter and about four poems, all equally powerful. he’s writing from
                     My spirit is tired…                      kern Valley state Prison in delano, ca, and when you read what he’s
 For so long it has traveled through the unbearable heat      written you’ll understand why we enjoy this writer so much. he talks
                         of the desert.                       about loneliness and searching for something, but most of what he
                                                              writes is inspirational. he’s a natural born educator and motivator so
              In search for the watery abyss…                 please don’t be reluctant in being motivated by him. read on and let us
           It adventured over bottomless pits…                know what you think…
Slept inside caves of hell standing on G without no place
                            to rest…
                    Its eyes grow weary…
               At the sight of its living place…                              what up beat Family?
                 Because of it’s hatefulness.                 I hope all of our readers are feeding their brains and
                      My spirit is tired…                     spirits and doing the work of their hearts.
            Tired of seeing the world like this.                  I hope that we all are doing our part at being a positive
                                                              influence in somebody’s life. Everyday we should help
                                                              someone! And it should be someone who we don’t know,
                                                              because it has a greater effect on you and that person
                                                              hearts. This will bring you the good wishes or karma you
             Search For Sunshine                              need. But you must truly give or help someone because
                                                              you truly feel that person’s pain, not because you need
    We can never be satisfied without understanding
                                                              the good karma! It don’t work like that, you can try but I
       The reasons why we hurt in the first place…
                                                              promise you that you’ll get nothing but more confusion.
                What I am seeking to find.
                                                                  The key is to give or help someone because you truly
             My life is cloudy on the outside.
                                                              feel that person’s struggle.
   There are only more confused people searching for
                                                                  Alright! I hope these poems… help someone
                                                              understand their lives and mold their paths towards the
No one knows where to look or how to find the peaceful
                                                              truth, which are unity and universal brotherhood… one
rays of sunshine. “I am” hurt and don’t understand the
                       reason why…
                So how can I be at peace?
 Show me a reason why I should spare anyone’s lives…
When our days are filled with so much vanity and lack of
  Death seems to be the only way to end our weak and
                        fragile lives.
   But wait! There is one place I never enter to find…
        The heart this must be the reason why…
   At the second of these new found thoughts I vibe…
             Instantly those clouds give way
       To the powerful rays of unlimited sunshine.

                   only You Can
               Never let anyone tell you…
     That I love you “but” I won’t help support you
                With these crazy dreams…
               Because I just can’t see you.
                Being “this or doing that,”
But don’t get me wrong “homie” I still gots love for you.
                Never let anyone tell you…
               “Oh that’s impossible Baby”
        Because you have been locked up before.
                  “They won’t hire you”
                Never let anyone tell you…
 “Give it up son” because you’re “not good at that… try
But set your mind and put your heart into anything you
                           believe                                          a lesson on loneliness
                     And want to do.                                 It’s been too long since you have been gone.
And I promise that if you try anything worthy of the two                     I can’t seem to forget about you…
(Mind) (Heart) you will surely succeed and live the life of                My heart cries tears of loneliness….
                       your dreams!                                            As my mind tries to reminisce
  Remembering that you only fail when “you” refuse to              I hate how when I try to hold on to these images
                             try.                                        I slowly awaken from this long dream…
              Never let anyone sell you a lie.                              To only find out they never existed.
T o
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                 Snail of walls

                                                                                                      Volume 12.20 Page 61

                                                           We want to welcome this next first time writer to our precious
                                                           pages. he is a skilled writer and poet who writes us from dVi (deuel
                                                           Vocational institution) in Tracy, ca. he’s really into religion and god
                 i hope i’m not in bondage                 so many of you who believe will find his poems refreshing. he also
     of these snails of walls and how can i get out        writes about life and what it means for him to stay away from drugs.
       well i'll tell you again how can i be set free      a great first time writer and we’re sure he’ll send us more once he sees
                                                           this published.
               through these snails of walls,
       he is the real thing trust him and love him
                      with all your heart
       because he awaits for you to come to him
                        with open arms
                                                                                      near by
 to guide your path with peace love and understanding             it’s cloudy outside as doom it’s so near by,
                 to rightness and kindness,                        for the lost are scattered all over the world
     he desires you to sing, clap, stomp and shout          but if they would only be still and hear the cries of our
                       he, kings of kings                                               lord
                          lord of lords                     the light would shine through like a twinkle in the sky
    he can set you free within these snails of walls,               near by, god has so much in store for us,
      and if god is for you who can be against you                  if his people would only yield to his call,
                 within these snails of walls                  for he is coming for his bride who will be waiting
  no matter how much someone tries to put you down                            in the still of the night
 jesus will always be with you in these snails of walls,              be patient and learn the things of him
     so i leave you with one thing, read your bible,       for that day is very near when the trumpets shall sound
   god is your only hope within these snails of walls,                         as our savior arrives
                       god bless you all

        mothers unconditional love
             a mother and grandmothers love,
      where does it all begin, with joy and happiness,
            when her eyes finally meet the child,
                 god has placed in her arms,
           to protect and nourish it’s way in life,
                watching as her child grows,
                  the gentle smile on a face
             a gesture of love instead of a word
or when a wound is found she hurries to comfort and aid
                         the pain away
                       reassuring it’s ok
                 teaching the simple things
                        to walk and talk
                       or eat by yourself,
 learning to say "please," "thank you," and "excuse me"                        Clean and Sober
                       or even "can i go"                  Today I am clean and sober with many trails in my way
                 with lots of love and kisses                            withholding not my future
                      for a job well done,                              not knowing what lies ahead
        as the years pass by another child sparkles
                with her unconditional love,                              Today I am clean and sober
                all the other children gather               With all the struggles, frustration and snares all along
     to praise and admire the little one that has come                   my way that I need to endure
            working together to build the family
                      that came from afar                                Today I am clean and sober
    never did she imagine it would someday be a star          with sorrow at my side for all those who still are in
                       of reality and joy,                                bondage crying to be free.
as the years have gone by we all gone our separate ways
  only to find that we need to go back and embrace our                      Today I am clean and sober
                mothers’ unconditional love,                                     resting in my Lord.
              so proud of a mother or grandma                  That’s it is not a dream but a reality that He alone
                or even a great grandmother                                   is carrying me and you.
    as she sits back and sees her task of life has been
                             fulfilled                                    Today I am clean and sober
              as she eases into her eternal life                    thankfully, that I’ve finally surrendered
            waiting our day at those pearly gates                       for today and all the tomorrows
           when reunited with our mothers love                 that I need to share with everyone so they can be
                    that has directed us to                                         blessed
                 mothers unconditional love                      to be clean and sober, the Lord wants you to.
T o
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                       25 with an l
                                                                 •darron Garcia•
                                                                                     Volume 12.20 Page 62

                                                                   if you want to hear true game and exactly where ones head
                                                                   should be while locked up, then you definitely would want to keep
                                                                   reading. This next writer, who’s writing from a california state Prison
    For most of my life I’ve been remembered by a song.            in sacramento, ca, sends us a poem that blew us away. after we picked
    The consequence of choices I’ve made gone wrong.               our jaws up off the floor, we looked at this poem for the amazement
            They turn on the radio or pop in a CD.                 that it is. for while most of us would complain about such a situation
                                                                   he wisely offers how he does his time and we hope young people locked
            Spill a lil’ liquor while thinking of me               up can take a few pointers from him because it sounds like he’s handling
 I pledged allegiance to the streets, where I was born and         his time as well as he can. “25 With an l” is a very hard sentence to pull,
                                                                   but some of us are headed down that path right now as we speak. What
                              raised                               will it take for us to get it?
   But it never got me nothing but locked up in this cage
   I love those who love me but I can’t let love cloud my
                               vision                               You see I’ve been where you’re at and I’ve lived how you
‘Cause you’re gonna find out who’s “real” doin’ time up in                                      live
                              prison                                  And that “time” that you’re facing… I’ve already did!
    I don’t need fake homies that are blinded by a color                 I brought fifteen years straight, on a level four
    Got no life of their own, so they plot on each other.                        Pelican Bay and a whole lot more
  For “cowards run in packs,” I could see it in their eyes              I’ve been through the wars that you’ll never see
       “A real man stands alone,” so I severed all ties.                       I earned the right to be called a “G”
         United they stand… so together they’ll fall              It doesn’t matter what you claim, or what you think you’re
         Are you gonna be the next “shot” they call?                                           about
 So peep the game that I’m spittin’ ‘cause it’s real like no         There’s a new game in town and “three strikes you’re
                               other.                                                          out!”
   You better shake that fool that’s calling you “brother”                  So play if you want… but you’ll never win
                                                                               25 with an “L” doin’ life in the pen.

                                                                   •sammy Cabrera•
              living life For no one
                                                                   This next writer is certainly in love as he sends us three poems all
                                                                   containing that feeling. in his letter to us he says, “i just wanted to
                                                                   send you guys some of my thoughts in hopes that people may be able
I was living life responsible for no one; answering to             to see that inmates are smart and loving people that have made some
no one and committed only to myself. During this time              poor decisions in their lives. hopefully, you guys are feeling what i sent
                                                                   and i wanted to thank you guys for what you guys are doing for us. last
I considered the world mine for the taking and I truly             but never least, god bless.” But our thanks is what should be extended
believed I was living life to the fullest.                         to him because without writing like his, The Beat Within would have
                                                                   nothing to publish. he’s writing from the california substance abuse
    Then you came into the picture and I realized that I           Training facility in corcoran, ca, and we hope he sent these to the
was deceiving myself. I’m an incomplete man in need of             person who they’re dedicated to because that would make us feel a lot
                                                                   better about publishing them.
wholeness. I find that my life is not all that I thought it
was. In fact it was lacking many things, the foremost being
love. I have found love and a long with it the person who
can make my life truly complete. You are that person and
somehow I have fallen hopelessly in love with you. I never
                                                                                            missing You
                                                                   Tonight I sit in my cell vividly re-living all those pleasant
thought that I would ever utter those words, but now they          moments we shared like it was yesterday. Even though
come forth effortlessly and with great sincerity.                  our physical separation is a fact of life, which we can’t
    I’m forever grateful to you for showing me just how            change, we are still united in spirit because the love we
shallow my life was. Finally I have a chance to give it            share knows no boundaries.
depth and purpose. Until I here from you again.                        The excitement from our last visit will not easily fade
                                                                   from my memory and my pulse will always quicken with
                                                                   anticipation of our next rendezvous. I feel this emptiness
                                                                   inside which I must learn to live with. This emptiness is
                                                                   caused by your absence. The memories of us are the only
               i wish You knew…                                    thing that sustains me. Knowing that you are alive and I
A moment does not pass without my thoughts turning                 can’t be with you is torment. When can I see you again?
to you. My mind is linked directly to my heart where my                I yearn to gaze at your captive eyes; I crave your tender
passion burns out of control. The truth is, your captivating       touch, your warm embrace and your gentle passionate
beauty, exciting personality and intelligence attract me           kiss. When you write me, I savor every word and read and
so much that at times I cannot bear the thought of even            re-read every line. Its sweetness will be there whenever I
the shortest separation for fear that my desires will              get the urge to partake of it.
overwhelm me.
    Each day your hold on me gets even stronger and
my emotions climb to greater heights. You provide that
electric potential which gives my life that spark of vitality.
                                                                    I pledged allegiance to the streets,
You are strong emotionally yet you seem to have a gentle
and compassionate nature. You are beautiful yet not at all              where I was born and raised
    All those are endearing qualities which attract me to             But it never got me nothing but
you. Whether you know it or not, you are the focus of all
my dreams and hopes for a brighter future.                                  locked up in this cage
T o
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                     to Change

                                                                                                             Volume 12.20 Page 63

                                                                This is leon writing to us from solano state Prison. in the following
                                                                pieces he shares plenty of advice and wisdom with all of us. he’ll fit
                                                                right in the scheme of things as he has compassion for the younger
First and foremost allow me to extend my salutations to         generation. hopefully we can get him to write again soon because the
all! I would like to elaborate on why it is of importance       young people really need to hear this.
and a must to change.
     I myself have lost 10 years behind these walls, doing
it to the best of my ability without losing hope for change.
Remember, you can’t change the world but you can                I cannot focus on my past nor
change what you do in it. As like how your former course
of conduct can become anew. For we were not created
to do time, but to become somebody in life, we all have
                                                                can I change it, but what I can
talents. Whether it be big or small, never limit your mind,
body, or soul.                                                  do is learn off my wrongs and
     I see so much talent in The Beat, it inspires me to
continue forward in shedding some of my talent. For we          prepare for a better tomorrow.
learn from one another, yes it is how we use what we learn
and never judge a book by its cover.
     Explore with a strong and positive attitude in all areas
and on all levels. With this said, stay strong with your
head up and smile. We all have a true purpose and a true                                to the Youth
meaning in life.                                                This piece goes out to the youth of today in and out
     Sincerely.                                                 of the system. As you all know, mistakes are bound to
                                                                happen due to the fact, we are not perfect, nor are we
                                                                     I once thought I was unstoppable and never paid
                      the Facts                                 no mind to the words of wisdom my folks were trying to
The Beat Within, allow me the moment to extend all              establish in my mind at a young age. Now at the age of
you young and old men and women the honor of my                 28 years old and still doing time. From the Hall, to the
salutations.                                                    county and now the big house, CDC. I wish I would have
    I find myself in administration segregation. Yes, to        paid some mind, it would have saved me a lot of heartache
the best of my ability not blaming no one or nothing for        and sorrow and most of all tears to those whom really
my own actions of instinct. The system is against all           love me.
whom choose to break the law, a fact. Yes, it is corrupt            I cannot focus on my past nor can I change it, but
within itself. It is at this moment we must realize within      what I can do is learn off my wrongs and prepare for a
yourselves.                                                     better tomorrow. I don't blame no one, based on I've made
    Can we win if we choose to do our thuggish thing? A         my own choices in life. But one thing I can change now
fact, for only so long. It is why we must learn as likewise     is my next choice. Apply your time wisely, whether you
myself to construct a positive point and set forth goals to     be on the outs or in the system learning whether it be
accomplish whether it be small or big.                          small or big, it is essential in life. Never limit yourselves,
    Remind yourselves-never give up. Never limit yourself.      explore all new horizons and enjoy your youth. It's so
Reminder-united we stand, divided we fall.                      valuable. With this said I humbly exit and enter with all
    With this said, I humbly excuse myself.                     due respects.

                                                                •Young Larry•
                      3 Strikes
                                                                in baseball when you get three strikes you’re just out, but you get
                                                                to go to the plate and try again at a later time — maybe even in the
                                                                same game, but in california “three strikes” also means a whole lot
     I was taught I was cursed because I’m black                more. in the great state of california three strikes also means that if
            The only thing I know was crack                     you commit three felonies that carry a strike, you’re going to prison for
                                                                life. This is a law that can make a pebble cause a ripple of effect of a
      We got smart, so they couldn’t hold us back               tidal wave. meaning if our third strike is something miniscule, it doesn’t
        Latinos and Blacks, so they taught fast                 matter you’re going to jail for life. This next writer challenges us voters
                                                                to vote against the three strikes law, but in order to do that it would
    Lock us up for 3 strikes, blame it on Polly Klass           have to be on the ballot again. he’s writing from corcoran state Prison
             They don’t want us to produce                      in corcoran, ca. We appreciate his genuine interest in what’s going on
              So they made that an excuse                       with our defective government.
                To lock up my black ass
              We don’t rape or molest kids
                They should do 25 bids
                    If we do it’s rare
               They got their dicks’ hard
                 Looking at babies bare
                They rarely get any time
                  Now tell me is it fair
            With help from The Beat Within
        Make sure we vote, to give us some hope
       You the voters can set the system straight
        Vote to amend the three strikes in 2008
                   Eight flying fists
           Four right soles dropping
                       On one victim
         There’s punching and kicking
         And screaming obscenities
          Somebody’s mother yelling
                   “Stop it! Stop it!
                    Leave him alone!”
           Sadly thinking to herself
                   “He’s a good kid,”
             As if already mourning
                       more punching
                         more kicking
“Barrio this side! Barrio this side!”
      Sirens wailing in the distance
                    Closer and louder
              Then closer and louder
               “The cops are coming!
                 Let’s go! Let’s go!”
          read the rest of Michael Cabral's POW on page 56

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