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It's Tuesday afternoon, another 

rushed editorial note is coming your way. Each letter 
as it forms into words aka babble coming hot off 
the press. We hope in the end, the note makes some 
sense to you few editorial note readers. We ask 
ourselves, why does the editor's note have to be this 
way? Why do we push ourselves to the final minutes 
each Tiiesday? Well, we suppose we could write 
this note some quiet evening at home, or an early 
morning while sipping coffee, but then it wouldn't 
have the same effect as it does now, where we're 
staring down the clock, getting ready to do a final 
proof of this fabulous 14.02 issue, as we prepare for 
our night of ivorkshops, or ivould it? 

Setting the stage, this editorial note writer 
glances out the window admiring this gorgeous San 
Francisco day and then looks across The Beat office 
to see Manen, headphones on and music blaring, 
as he's seriously laying out this issue, knowing 
his deadline is creeping up on him. Then there is 
Samantha, updating the out of control mailing list. 
Thank goodness she is on it, otherwise, there would 
be no mailing of The Beat Within. Across from her is 
Allan Martinez, editing the Spanish pieces for issue 
14.03 and across from him there's Michael keeping 
the San Francisco typing and edits in order for 
future upcoming issues. Around these few colleagues 
mentioned, are our fearless interns, quietly behind 
computers typing up workshop units and BWOs for 
future issues. As many of you know. The Beat Within 
is a relentless weekly. We complete this issue we 
move on to the next. 

Here's a BWO update given that we bet there 
are many of you who have submitted BWOs to us 
in the past and have yet to see your work shine in 
these pages. Well, we send our apologies to you. 
But we are happy to announce that Omar is putting 
together a BWO special edition, which will be wall to 
wall BWOs from Beat household names to the not so 
known (yet) contributors. He is about halfway done 
with the project, and we hope to get it into your 
hands by early February. We are thrilled about this 
special BWO issue, given how powerful you BWO 
writers are, so thank you for your dear patience, and 
believing in our effort, which is to touch lives and 
allow not just our young people in juvenile hall to 
tell their stories, but to also allow you elders to say 
your piece too. 

On a tragic note, as many of you have heard, 
out here in the Bay Area, particularly Oakland CA, 
the community is in protest on the killing of Oscar 
Grant, a young father, 22, who was shot in the back 
by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer 
early New Year's Day at the Oakland BART Fruitvale 
Station's platform, as officers were investigating 
a fight onboard a BART train. The shooting was 
captured on film, and has been seen by hundreds of 
thousands on You'nibe. 

Also, many activist in the Bay Area community 
are protesting the current handling of this senseiess 
killing. Just last night there was a protest in 
downtown San Francisco, and last week there was a 
protest in downtown Oakland, that turned to near 
rioting with the police, as cars and store fronts were 

At this point, we do not think the officer who 

shot Oscar Grant has been charged. We do know 
the officer resigned from his post as a BART police 
officer a iveek ago. We also knoiv the family of 
Oscar Grant is asking for 25 million dollars from 
BART in a lawsuit. Such a tragedy, but not the only 
tragedy as many of you readers know. Each week we 
read of death from you contributors who have lost 
important people in your life due to violence, be it 
because one is in the wrong place at the wrong time, 
or due to living an on the edge, a violent lifestyle, 
in the end, who pays, when one dies? Who mourns? 
Given ivhat ive knoiv, all sides. 

We've lost many Beat writers over the years to 
the gun, many resting in peace and others living 
the rest of their lives in cells. We feel the pain, and 
we are blessed to have this publication to share our 
hurt, our concern, our frustration. 

The topics addressed in this issue leading up the 
writing were 'To forgive" - How forgiving are you 
when your f riends/homies let you down? We all have 
run into a conflict one time or another with our 
friends/homies, so this week we want to hear from 
you of a time when you felt betrayed/let down by a 
non-family member, but someone who you respect, or 
once respected. Tell us what happened. Tell us how 
you dealt with it, or are dealing with it today. Yes, we 
get angry, we resent an action or behavior. Yes, one 
makes mistakes and there can be misunderstandings, 
or a wrongdoings or an inappropriate actions that 
occurs, so let us know how you responded, or didn't 
respond. How did it affect your relationship? Now 
think back to that time of disappointment, and tell 
us how you handled it. 

Our second topic, "Give it all up" - Of course 
you have your meetings with your PO, or you find 
yourself facing the judge at sentencing, and these 
two powerful individuals in your life are ordering 
you to make big-time changes if you want to stay 
out of the criminal justice system. Yet we all know 
how challenging that task truly is, and how few of 
us actually manage to make the ultimate change. 
With that said, what would it take to make you give 
up — or at least significantly change — your life as 
you know it, and face the unknown? What do you 
risk with such a change? What do you fear? What 
could you gain/lose by giving it all up, and starting 
afresh? Tell us readers. 

Third topic, "Learning from the past" - More 
than 100 years ago, a Spanish poet named George 
Santayana wrote: "Those who cannot remember the 
past are condemned to repeat it." What do you think 

Last but not least, "Sitting in my bedroom late 
last night..." 

As many of you readers know, if these topics 
move you tonight as you read this editorial note, we 
encourage you to write and submit your work our 
way. We'd be honored to print your thoughts and 
stories in an upcoming issue of The Beat Within. 

Thank you all for taking the time to read our 
editorial note. We know you'll dig this latest issue of 
truths, (for the most part). 

This issue goes out to the family and friends 
of Oscar Grant and to the officer who sadly and 
tragically lost control and fired his gun the fateful 
night. Two families lives destroyed in a blinding 
second! We hope all find peace. 

The BeStt Within^ a weekly newsletter of writing and art by incar- 
cerated youth, is published by Pacific News Service. 

At The Beat Within, we go through a lot of trouble to censor inappropriate sexm 
remarks, foul language, and gang references. There is enough tension in our corr 
muities already-we don't aim to bolster it. It is in The Beat's interest to promot 
peace and unity. Our goal is to educate one another. 

The Beat Within publishes the opinions and views expressed by the participants i 
our workshops. This is simply the pure voice of the youth. The views you read d 
not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, editor or staff. All rights are reservec 
Nothing from this oublication can be reproduced without our written permission. 

To our writers: What vo 

sequences, ana coma oe usei 

vou. Your wordj 

the nsk of providmg ammunition for those who might 

Co-founders: Sandy Close and David Inocencio 

Senior Editors: David Inocencio 

Assistant Editors: Michael Kroll, Omar Turcios 

Graphics/Layout Editor: Manen Pau 

Staff: Pauline Craig, Carolyn Goossen, Jill Wolfson, Allan Martinez, Patricia John 
son, Amanda Abies, Dennis Morton, Sheerly Avni, Hanif Bey, Brenda Navarro, Sa 
mantha Navarro, Johnny Le, Laura Vitaro, Karla Serrano, Allan Tinker, Nic Reiner 
Parra, Laura Goode, Molly Patterson, Peggy Simmons, Kirstin Dan, Angel Ryono 
Siliva Mortenson, Kolby Hanson, Sam Peterson, Kim Nelson, Gwendolyn Hubnei 
Oscar Peiia Jr., Julia Scheinbeim, and Neela Baneriee. 

The Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona, Juvenile Probation Department Beat 
Staff: Joe Szulecewski, M.A., Lisa Donsker, M.C., Hiflary Shluker, M.C., Lisa 
Karczewski, M.A. The detention staff are: CarissaAflen, Antoinette Flores, Mr. B., 
Tammie Utter, D. Scott Herrmann, Connie Pyburn, Ph. D. Clinical Director, Ph.D. 
Clinical Director. 

Bernalillio County Juvenile Detention & Youth Services Center Beat Staff: 

Steve Sema 

Oak Hill - Washington, DC Staff; 

)e and Gabrie 

Fresno : Mai Der Vang, Rosie Wentz, Liliana Romero, Nigel Me 
Rocker, and Cindy Jenson 

)s to everyone for the great art this week. 

Spiritual Advisor 

Special Volunteer: Nancy DeMartini 

Book Donor: Marisela Norte 

Beat Supporters: The Beat Within greatefully acknowledges the generous support 
of funders of Pacific News Service's Youth Communications Programs - California 
Arts Council, California Wellness Foundation, Christensen Fund, Community Foun- 
dation of Silicon Valley, Community Technology Foundation of California, Comp- 
ton Foundation, Creative Work Fund, Cricket Island Foundation, Evelyn and Walter 
Haas, Jr. Fund, Ford Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foun- 
dation, Marin Community Foundation, Morris Stulsaft Foundation, Nathan Cum- 
mings Foundation, Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, Open Society Institute, 
Peninsula Community Foundation, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, S. H. Cow- 
ell Foundation, Monterey, Fresno, Solano, Oak Hill - Washington DCSan Francisco 
Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Shinnyo-en Foundation, W Clem- 
ent and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Stone Circles Foundation, Stuart Foundation, 
Surdna Foundation, The California Endowment, Tides Foundation, Van Loben Sels/ 
Rembe Rock Foundation, Vanguard Public Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode 
Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Youth Justice Funding Collaborative, the 
Zellerbach Family Fund and individual donors. 

Writers: Thanks to all the participants in our workshops in the San Francisco, Mari- 
copa County Arizona, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Bernalillio County Ne^\ 
Mexico, Santa Cruz and Marin County Juvenile Halls. If you have any questions oi 
comments about The Beat Within, or if you would like to become a subscriber, con- 
tact us at: 275 Ninth St. SFCA. 94103 or call (415) 503-4170 or check us out at: 


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1. To Forgive 

What's good Beat? I had a conflict in my life that wasn't 
easy to get over and I blamed someone else who was close 
to that person and it was hard for me to forgive. 

I thought it was a set-up but it was just the streets. 
And at one point the streets got a hold of me and I ran wild 
through my neighbor in the city of Vallejo doing whatever 
and I'm tryna get over that situation but its hard. But I'm 
still working at it. 

2, Give It All Up 

What's rocking Beat? It young Koo again, I'm writing 
on this topic because I'm planning to change. Not change 
where I'm from but change the decisions I make. 

Cause I realize life is about choices and most of my 
choices I made in life haven't been the right ones but now 
I think more so hopefully my choices get better. 

-Markoo, Solano 

From The Beat: Well it sounds like you've learned about the consequences 
of "doing whatever," and have to forgive yourself to move on. You 
can make better's good to think clearly before you act. It's 
a brave decision to "give it all up," but you've had courage for other 
things, so now use that courage for yourself, and your life. 

Forgiving Isn't Easy 

Forgiving somebody ain't easy as everybody think it is. 
It's easy to just say, "I forgive you," but that ain't really 
forgiving, ya feel me? 

I had some shhh going with my boy in the outs, but 
I've learned to forgive, not by just saying, but from my 
heart. It was hard 'cause he did something that really got 
me mad. But I forgive him, not because of him, but for 

-Dk, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We agree with you that forgiving is not easy, which is 
why we wish you would tell us more about how you managed to forgive 
your boy from your heart? Also, can you explain what you mean by 
forgiving not for him, but for yourself? 

i'm Done Cutting 

I would like to talk about cutting and how it started. It 
started at age 16. 1 went to the mental hospital in Ventura 
because I wanted to kill myself and I had a knife to my 
throat. I was going to slice myself but my dad stopped me 
and the police came. They sent me to the mental hospital 
and that's where I learned to cut. 

There, a girl told me that whenever I'm depressed 
to get a razor or something sharp and that it'll take the 
pain away. I did that and started to do it more often and 
it turned into a habit because I did it not only when I was 
depressed but also when I got angry and also when I was 
bored. I wound up going to a group home because my 
family was scared of me. I look for anything to cut myself 
with. I now have scars that I have to live with forever and 
when I have children I am going to tell them the truth. 

I really want to change and prove to my family that I 
can be better than that. I want to show them that I am not 
going to hurt myself anymore. Let me tell you something 
if you do cut, please don't. It doesn't really make things 
better. It just leaves you with scars and damages your 
body. If you cut yourself already, try and stop. You can 
stop. I just thought and still do think that I didn't belong 
in the world. 

-Crazygurl, Fresno 

From The Beat: You do belong in this world. We admire your courage 
and honesty. Many people cut and many of them have stopped and 
healed. Many people destroy themselves and act out in other ways 
either drinking, fighting, drugging. We have to stop but when we are in 
it it is hard to see our way out. You have a special gift to offer all people 
who are still cutting. They will see that they can stop cutting too. 

To Forgive: Greed 

I'm not too forgiving when it comes to people, period. 
Humans, people, or whatever you call us, myself included, 
have a way of destroying and never being satisfied with 
anything. People tend to abuse forgiveness and always 
take kindness for weakness. There seems to always be a 
want for more, need for more. 

Why is it we/I can't be content with what it takes just 
to live? Even when some reach the point where they have 
so much money they couldn't spend it if they wanted to, 
they still rob others of THEIR needs, just to gain more 
unspendable money. 

I can ramble on and on with this, but I'm going to 
leave The Beat with this: the key to life is: Why? Think 
about that. I mean really think about it. 

-Nobody, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Your quite self-effacing, for a philosopher of your 
caliber! Don't get us wrong; we love how you question yourself along 
with all of us about wanting to acquire more and more. But you are far 
from "rambling," and you are far from a Mr. Nobody! Why? Why, indeed! 
Tell us, from your point of view, would there be a difference if you were 
forgiving rather than unforgiving when it comes to our all-too-human 
flaws? (Would it affect your judgment to learn that our need to acquire 
more is genetically built-in, an ancient but surviving code to help the 
species survive? Not saying that it is, but if...) 

Getting Tired 

I don't know about the rest of the people writing in The 
Beat, but I'm getting tired of this YGC thang. Just being 
locked up period. What about you? Don't you get tired of 
being incarcerated? 

I've been locked up almost six months. It might not 
seem like much, but it is. Being in here, you're just 
wasting your life. But while you're in here, you should do 
good and try to change your ways. You're just gonna keep 
coming back in here over and over. Someday you gotta get 
sick and tired of this life, the life of jail. 

-C-rider, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We couldn't have said it any better. When you truly 
get tired of coming here (and as you get deeper into the system, the 
"facilities" only get worse), you begin to make different choices that 
lead to different results. What new choices do you hope to make so that 
incarceration is not in your future? 

Iflistakes We Iflake 

Pop one pop two halves, that's three, 
now you sitting in juvenile hall and can't sleep, 
young and left alone in this world. 
Some have kids and bring them into a new era. 
Like I said before momma on crack 
daddy is too, 
don't go to school. 

Robbing 'cause they heart throbbing, 
they mama couldn't feel them. 
Used to loving being with her family, 
now she can't see them. 

They took her away because they felt she didn't need 

Will they really feel like her mama couldn't teach her? 
That's wrong, mama is too strong. 
She was lost and afraid to change her ways. 
Caught up with the game, all she feels is pain. 
'Till this day she screams and hollers we all make 
one love The Beat. 

-Kansha, Alameda 

From The Beat: You've told a compelling story here, and you've written 
it in a really interesting way. You've got a talent for telling stories - 
keeping writing! 


We Ever Change 

Some of us say that we are 

In a gang and never getting out. 

Some of us say that we can't wait 

To get out of the JJC and go smoke a blunt. 

Some of us say that we hope the judge 

Will give us a second chance, and that we will change no doubt. 

Some of us say that when we get out 
We are going straight to our girl's house. 
But for many of use change is our biggest fear. 

Guns, drugs, gangs, sex 

That's what we have all been seeing for a long time. 

We do what we want to at any moment 
And when we feel weak we never show it. 

We are growing up all different ways. 
But all still wanting to be the badass. 

One day we all want the OG to call us savage 
But now that we are here do we really want that? 

Some of us say that no we don't. 
But others still want to flaunt it. 

We wake up everyday with money on our minds. 

Thinking of all the many ways that we can get more in less 


People call us gangsters, rebels, thugs, and even pests. 
It is funny how they judge themselves against the rest. 

When they ask us if we will ever change 
We say for who and for why? 

So that we can look good in a world that is already screwed up? 
Some of us thou, want the good life. 

Some of us want to have a house, a bank account, some kids 

and a wife. 

So to some of us fellows that is doing wrong. 

Keep doing what makes you happy if it's worth it when you're gone. 

- GudTym, Fresno 
From The Beat: This is probably the most honest piece we have heard 
in a while. You touched on everything that most of the people in the 
JJC deal with on a daily basis. Just remember that after you recognize 
a fear, the hard part is over, now all you have to do is to face it. But to 
face change you need a plan, and people who want to help. And most 
of all you need faith in yourself that you deserve more than you have 
now, and that you can earn it with respect and honor. 

"Dedication Tn Tony (Lii' Gliopsticid" 

It's been a long trip, eight months a long time, 

I met a cool person, low key wit' a strong mind, 

Hope you keep yo' head up 'cause that's the best you can do, 

I'm gone be free one day for sure you will too. 

No more rap classes with the rappin' up in it. 

No more playin' hoop wit' the hackin' up in it. 

No more classroom talk no more game shows wins. 

No more reality checks no more Beat Wi thins. 

For real though man watch the people around you, 

'Cause the people you think close ain't close 

They a down you, while you sit in your cell think of a bright plan, 

I know you got knowledge use your head to see the light man, 

from one solid ninja to another. 

You gon' beat yo' case, ,cause I believe in you my brother. 

As long as I got yo' address you gonna receive my mail. 

Just think about what I said and succeed not fail. 

We all we got. 

-Lil' Purp, Alameda 
From The Beat: This farewell to Tony is full of heart and skill, your 
future success will depend on your will, read his biography and hear 
that it's true/the last three grafs could have been written for you. 

Ifly Wonderful Grandfatiier 

He is no longer on earth. He past away one week ago and 
my grandmother past away five years ago. That is a common 
thing. That is crazy I'm locked up. They didn't let me go, 
'cause they're sayin' I'm a flight risk. I haven't seen him in 
11 months, almost one year. I saw him only one time when 
he flrst got sick. I went to go see him at Highland Hospital 
in Oakland. 

I'm about to go to camp up the hill from the hall for 
six months. My grandfather hadn't even seen his great 
granddaughter. He didn't even know that his grandson had a 
lil' daughter. She will be three months tomorrow. 

I got to get my life right so I can go home and be with my 
daughter. But, I cut off my E.M. then I was on the run 'cause 
I wanted to see my daughter. 

My grandfather used to always have me with him when 
he went to sleep. I stayed with him for two years. I stopped 
staying with him because I wanted to be in the streets. Now 
I'm in jail doing time. If I would have stayed with him I would 
be out. But, I'm not tripping off the time. I'm tripping off 
my family. I stayed with him from 2004-2006. I used to play 
basketball. I stopped playing because the streets got into me 
and I was, like, forgetting him in the streets. I always went to 
school and got a 3.0. I don't know why I didn't stay in a good 

Now I'm about to turn my life around after I do this 
time for these white folks. I got to step my game up so I 
can live my life. Why I say that is because my life is going 
down the wrong way. I got a little problem in my life like 
people are trying to kill me and my friends just because we 
stick together and some other shhh. I can't get into all the 
details. Where I'm from in Oakland there are problems in my 
hood because ninjas are mad and females are mad, 'cause 
my circle of ninjas is out here and we stick together. You 

I'm going to bounce back, though this time just telling 
myself to slow down and think right before I let my life go to 
waste. I'm too solid to let my life go to waste. When the judge 
said I was going to camp, I was like, "I've got to run from that 
place." That was all that was in my head. 

Then I got on the phone and talked to my family. They 
were saying, "Don't do that. Spade. Stay there and get it over 

All I was thinking was of my baby and my girl. Ain't going 
to even lie. I was like, "I got to get out for my b-day." 

Then my girl was like, "Stay so you can come home for 
good, not the bad way, and you don't know when you will get 
caught up one day." 

I still was saying, "I'm going to run from camp." Then it 
took me some time to look at it like, "I can knock this time 
out." That's what those white folks want a ninja to do. Run. 
So they can lock me up for two years. I was about to stay. I 
got my mind made up to do this program. It took some time 
to think I can't go the bad way. I can go the good way. You 
dig? I was, like, "the time I will be on the run, I would be 
almost done with my program." 

I'll be going on home passes and seeing my baby, 
spending time with the family. I'll be in the house every home 
pass that they give me. 

I'm getting older. I got to look at things the good way. 

Running is not going to get me nowhere but back in jail, then 

I'd be saying "I should of done that program." It's going to be 

good for me because I don't have no problems in jail. 

- Young Spade, Alameda 
From The Beat: It is wonderful how this piece shows how your 
grandfather is so fully in your life even though he is gone. You have 
learned well from your mistakes. Your grandfather would be proud. 
Stick to it. Your girl is right, do your time and then go home for good. 
Thank you so much for sharing your family and the mistakes you made 
so that we can all learn from them. 


The Past And Repeating It 

Another writing once again... So, what's up to all the 
homeboys? Damn, it sucks that all you get to read my 
piece this week. 

Looking at the past, I remember it clearly, but I 
continue to repeat it. I don't learn from my mistakes, but 
I try not to get caught. A small percentage of people learn 
from them and never come back, but there's that other 
percentage that is in here reading my piece wishing they 
could've learned from their mistakes. 

Repeat is a strong word. It basically means to do the 
same thing over and over again. I've done many things in 
my life that I wish I could change, but once again, I do it 
again and find myself trapped in a cell. 

I've been here five times, and each time I tell myself 
that I'm not coming back. But that word "repeat" takes 
action once again. Mostly everyone in my unit is facing 
time since it's the max, and some won't get a chance to 
repeat their actions on the streets. 

I believe this statement means that it's like even 
though you remember your memories, you continue to 
do the same thing. It is like gambling. You continue to 
lose money and you keep coming back for more. And 
you lose until you believe you will win. This is like us. 
We keep doing criminal activities hoping an opportunity 
would present itself as in money, and revenge. 

Well, stay up to all the homies and try not to repeat 
what you've done and keep your head up. 

-Chango, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: We think you have accurately described why our habits 
can be bad for us, but we just keep doing them. In a way, that's the 
definition of habit. When habits continually produce bad consequences, 
then we call them addictions. By now, you've seen that trying "not to 
get caught" hasn't been a very successful strategy. To continue to use 
it is a sign of addiction, and like all addictions, it can be broken. Right 
now, it^ controlling you; time to regain control so that you are making 
real choices, and not just reacting predictably. 

Really Messed Up This Time 

Well, I'm back again. This time I really messed up. I was 
just here! They gave me a chance to go back with my 
family - with my dying grandma who raised me. All she 
asked me to do was to stay sober. She's due to die soon. 

What did I do when I got a blessing from the judge to 
go back with her and be there with her before she passes 
away? I went out and drank! I chose to go out and to live 
on the streets and drink whiskey with my man. 

How long did I last? Two weeks before I got picked 
up for a warrant and for being drunk in public. Now I'm 
sitting in here regretting it so much. My man is gonna be 
gone back home in Riverside and my grandma's going to 
pass soon. 

Well, the good news about everything is that I'm going 
back to my old rehab center. I think that's best for me 
because I know that I am a full-blown alcoholic. I'll have 
to do three months in rehab, then I'll be able to go back 
home. At least I'll get a chance to be sober and make my 
grandma happy before she dies. 

I feel so guilty for what I've done, but I can't change 
the past. I can only change the future. I'm really motivated 
to do this, do good, and stay out of trouble. 

To all the incarcerated: stay up! Do your program, 
and stay out. Stay away from alcohol. You don't want to 
end up being an alcoholic! Peace. 

-Shay, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: Thank you for this honest and difficult story Shay. 
History is on your side. Those who don't give up eventually succeed. We 
wish you good luck and peace. And peace to your grandmother. 

MotHer and FatHer, Why? 

I'm 17 and I'm alone with no one but me to hold 

My life is crushed 

My heart is torn 

My world is wandering around 

My soul is taken by the dark angel 

When I look to see you no one's around 

But trees and buildings that cover the ground 

What should I do when I don't see you 

Should I leave where I was, or cry for you until you hear 

my cries? 

Who am I when you're not around? 

I'm a lost soul looking to be found 

You both left me when I needed your help 

What should I do? 

Should I be buried alive? 

Or covered with dirt to my feet 

Who am I? 

Am I a woman, a young forgiving soul? 

Or am I a cruel unkind person looking to find love? 

Who am I? 

Am I the caring, sweet, and open person that every one 

can come to? 

Or am I heartless 

Because of the pain you both have caused for me 

You're my mother and father 

But you both left me and hurt me in ways people could 

never think 

How could you hurt your own blood? 

The person who looks like you more then anyone 

But it's ok because you both have made me the woman I 

am today 

The strong, caring, loving, sweet, honest, out going person 

Because of you two I'm a better person that I could be 

You're my mother and father even though you hurt me 

I'm showing you I'm a better person 

By forgiving you for everything we both have done 

I hear your cries, it's so loud that I know how you feel 

Even though mother you have died 

Your cry is in my heart and plays every day like a movie 

film that is broken 

The love you needed was right here 

But you could see because of the pain that you caused me 

I'm letting you know that your kids will know who you are 

But only by me 

And father o' father 

You are my best friend 

The other half of me 

The only person I can talk to 

Even though we had some problems 

But what family doesn't? 

I grew up without a mom 

I had one thing a lot of people don't and that is a full time 


- Shawnta, Land Of Enchantment 

From The Beat: This is a warm yet sorrowful piece. You only scratched 
the surface on how your parents hurt you. Would you care to share with 
us on how they hurt you? You state, "You both left me and hurt me in 
ways people could never think" but there is no indication as to why or 

At least I'll get a chance to 
he soher and ffiaKe mif graad- 
ma happif he fore she dies, 


Dear President Obama 

I'm a 15 year old kid locked up in juvenile hall thinking 
of ways to help other kids in my situation. We still think 
like kids because we're still growing up. 

The things that are wrong, we think are cool. You guys 
should stop trying us as adults just because we make 
mistakes. I learned from my mistake, and I bet other kids 
have too. 

I don't think locking us up and separating us from 
our parents is right. It's just making us worse. We're 
supposed to be with our parents, but instead we're being 
sent away to a place where we're just going to get into 
more trouble. That's why when we come back home, we're 
still the same. 

The only thing that's changed is our anger towards 
the police officers or the judge. They don't even know 
who we are. Just because a piece of paper says something 
doesn't mean that we're a bad type of person. I bet that 
if it were the judge's son in our place, it would be a 
different story. I bet he would feel very sad to see his son 
or daughter being sent away. It doesn't feel good seeing 
my parents and knowing that they can't take me home. 

-Jonathan, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: You've said a lot Jonathan. We hope the new president 
gets to read your piece. We're wondering about specific advice you 
might offer President Obama with regard to the juvenile justice system. 
What do you think you need to help you change the way you've been 

Give It Ali Up 

I think when people give something up, they get 
something in return. So say if gave up the bad, you will 
get something good in return. Or if you give up something 
good, you will get something bad in return. 

So now let me tell you what I gave up good and bad 
and got something in return. Something bad I gave up was 
drinking. In return, I helped out my life. 

When I gave up something good, it was my common 
sense, and what I got in return was my freedom taken 
away. Well, that's all I have to say. Late. 

-The One An* Only Monkey, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Basically, you are describing the law of consequences. 
It^ not hard to predict the likely consequences of various behaviors, 
including the consequences for giving up those behaviors. Everything 
we do, and everything we don't do, has consequences. Knowing that 
puts you ahead of the game... 

The Story Twists Tiie Trutii 

First off, what's your side of the story? My side of the 
story is that I'm in here. What got me in here I can't say. 
But what I can say is that every story has a twist to it. 

If you line up ten people and you tell someone from 
one end to another, you wont get the same story. It 
doesn't matter if it was only one word added. I'm talking 
when you get caught for a crime. The DA gathers enough 
information to question you. These informants told the 
DA a story about a serious crime. Next thing you know, 
your name comes out of their mouth. 

They pull you in and you don't know what's goin' 
on. They question you about some serious incident that 
occurred, and they don't get nothing from you. 

So now they begin to tell you part of the story they 
are certain of. Now you're sweating. They see it, so they 
pressure you. The story they told you is what you know. 
They aren't certain of the rest, so they make it up, and 
before you know realize it was improvised, the other DA 
tells you something else. 

You forget about the added words. Then you 
choke boom! They get you. They come back with more 
information, and now you're isolated from the world 
because of the twisted story. Don't let it get twisted. The 
twisted version only comes from the person for telling 

To all the homies locked down, one love, stay strong 
and keep your head up. One day your freedom will come. 

-Saetern, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: If your advice means that the story can only be twisted 
if you talk about it, then we think it's good advice. In fact, it's always 
a good idea to exercise your right to remain silent (until you talk to an 
attorney) if you can. We know the game you are describing ("Gossip"). 
The words always change along the way. 

Respect Is Tiie Key 

Some people think that pride is all they have, and without 
it they have nothing. Young minds destroyed through 
poverty. But respect is the key. Less pride more respect. 
With self-respect you have everything. And when you 
have everything, you get respect. Not material, but a heart. 
Which is what makes everything have life. 

-Dumpa, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Yes, poverty is a destructive disease! Have you always 
felt this way about pride, or did something open your eyes and mind? 
How have you discovered your self-respect? 


Closer and closer The walls keep getting 

Inside moving head to toe, but yet I'm still in this room 

Waiting fa this door to open, to hear you are free 

Lying down, the idea roams through my head 

"If only I had control of my anger, and listen to her 

I wouldn't be here" 

Smallest thing I never cherished 

Seem like the world now 

It took this much 

For me to realize 

I hurt my most loved ones 

Made them shed tears 

Now I want a reset button 

-Sindy, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Too bad there^ no reset button in life. But what we do 
have is a "play it forward" button that allows us to use the mistakes 
of the past to see a way to a better future. You named two things, 
your anger and listening to "her." Those are things you can work on. 
Knowing what to try to change is more than half the battle. 

Don't Fold 

Sitting in my room last night made me think. 

My life is like quicksand and it makes me sink. 

I wonder to myself how I'm going to make it in life. 

I really want to head for the good like my strife. 

Like getting my diploma and graduating school. 

If I really wanted to, I should have followed the rules. 

If life could be like that for every young man. 

Instead of being in the streets doing what he can. 

I know God gave us life and that's a blessing. 

But the future is like a mind game and it keeps me 


So follow your footsteps on the right road. 

Life is not a piece of paper and it shouldn't fold. 

-James, Fresno 

From The Beat: Thanks for sharing some very important words about 
life. Your poem reminds us that life is valuable and important, yet it also 
takes a realistic view by expressing that sometimes life can be a difficult 
road to walk with all of the challenges that get thrown our way. But 
your last line is powerful and uplifting. Your last line says it all. 



Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about 

the outs 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about 

the past 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about 

the present 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about 

the future 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about my 

days in here 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about the 

things I done 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about the 

things I want to change 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about the 

last day of my life. 

-Stomper, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This is what we're talicing about, Stomper. This tells us 
that you don't just accept your fife uncritically, that you think about 
the things that have led you here and the things that could lead you 
away from here. Thinking is the prerequisite for change, so don't stop 

Give It Ail Up 

What's poppin' with The Beat. This yo' boy, Yung J Newt. 
I wish I can give all this shhh up. Jail beef. Everything 
that bring negative energy towards me. It don't help you 
get nowhere but dead or in jail. 

I wanna make my mama proud, show her I can be 
something in life — a pro football player or a construction 
worker or something. But I'm in a situation where it's no 
in and out the beef. You can't just hop out of it and start 
doing something good. It's always somebody you goin'a 
run into that you bump heads with when you was young, 
and it's goin' get hectic. 

So I'm ready for whatever. I wish I can get out of it. But 
it's good. I'm go finish getting active and stay with till my 
casket drop, ya head me, lil' dawg. 

-Sergeant Newt, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Don't accept what you've heard until you explore every 
option for yourself. We know there are people who waited much longer 
than you, who were in much deeper than you, who found a way to get 
past it, so we know you can too. We're not saying that choice would be 
easy, but that you are faced with difficult choices, only. Which difficult 
choice you make will determine whether you make your mama proud or 
not — and all the excellent choices you wrote about are based on a good 
education. Finish school! 

On THe Corner 

On the corner where everything goes down. On the corner 
where our black brothas go down. On the corner where 
drugs is found. On the corner where we make ourselves 
look like clowns. 

On the corner is where all the corruption is at. On the 
corner where people get put on they back. On the corner 
where police brutality take place. On the corner where 
it's shame in our face. On the corner where you can catch 
a case. On the corner where you can get your life taken 

On the corner where violent activites is held, where 
your face can get drained and turn pale. On the corner 
where people stand with no jobs so they go around and 
rob. On the corner where the white man want us to be, we 
fight, try and cry just let us be Free on the corner. 

-Young Boobie, Alameda 

From The Beat: This is an interesting meditation on this place and what 
it has to do with your life. In the end when you say you "cry just let us 
be Free" that the corner is a kind of prison also? Do you plan to go back 
there when you are released? 

ilowi Feei inside 

Verse 1: 

Well, on the streets I might be occupied 

I might dress, but you don't know how I feel inside 

You don't know half the feelings I had to hide 

You don't know half of the times I truly cried 

Or the times I could have died 

Or with my new lil' daddy to the end I'm gonna ride 

Or so many times, not to others, but to myself, I lied 

If I wanna hit a lick, "Yes," I replied 

How many times I got jumped and let it slide 

Or when I'm locked up, the rules I have to go by 

They don't believe me, but I said, "I'll try" 

What am I supposed to do, still ask why 

The only time I don't think 'bout it is when I'm high 

Me and ma sis is a tie 

Or when I could've died 

In a car accident 

Right now I know that's not the place I should've been 

I keep on thinking what would've happened if I would've 

f went 

Or which way was in me God would've sent 

I can't blame nobody but myself 

Yes, that's a hint 

I'm hurting so badly inside, it doesn't make sense 


You might see me smile while that's a lot 

If I would've kept all the tears I cried 

It would've been a thousand of pots 

All this anger built up in me 

It never stops 

What would've happened if all this time 

I never got caught 

Would I be up in the spot 

Or, worse, popped? 

And still, 'til this day, I say I'm on top 

Verse 2: 

It's me times three 

I keep on telling the future I see 

Should I say sorry or should I make a plea? 

Should I go in the corner 

An' take out the beast within me? 

Or should I go around telling everybody who the real 


Or just crying, 'cause I'm hurting Prece 

I been here seven times 

Thank God I'm still gonna get released 

Would I have been in this predicament 

If my momma would've teach 

I ain't tryna go, I'm tryna go hard 

I'm tryna preach... 

Naw, really 

I'm tryna get to the goal 

I'm tryna reach 

-Caprice, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Without reaching, there can be no grasp/ Of life's great 
gifts as they come to pass/ Seven times locked is not to be proud of/ In a 
cage with girls — not one, but a crowd of/ But the past's just that, over 
and done/ What's important, is the direction you choose now to run. 

/ mifma make mif mama proMd, show her I can 
he something /h life — aj!?ro foothall plaifer or 
a coHstrMctioH worker or something 


//// /, 

My Jefita 

My jefita should be recognized for all the hard work she 
has done for me and my familia. She never had a job. My 
dad was away and she always did what she could to give 
me and my siblings what we needed. 

She didn't just leave us at a shelter or starving. She 
took care of us even though she really couldn't. She did 
whatever it took to take care of us whether it was legal 
or illegal. No she never prostituted, if that's what came 
to any of your minds, but sold dope. She babysat and 
cleaned houses. And having four kids was hard for her to 

For a long time she went through this struggling, 
when she could've just abandoned us, but she loved us 
and wouldn't do that. 

She recently got into a community college and has 
graduated and is now working a good job as a doctor's 
assistant and is able to support us well and I'm glad that 
she has done so much for us and never let us go. 

-Shorty, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: What a great story, one that we're sure you relate to, 
that your mother did what she had to do to survive but then figured out 
how to do it legit. Can you do the same? 

Where Your Home At 

Ninjas claim neighborhoods that they don't even own. 

Juvenile hall isn't a place called home. 

Bullets flying everywhere, make me not safe 

Trying to get through every single day! 

Only could see my mom 45 minutes a day. 

It's a pain in our heart but what can we say? 

We put ourselves in this position and situation. 

Promise, you won't see me in another police station. 

My life is led by sports and violence 

Living in a corrupted city, all I hear is sirens. 

Raised in the projects; you'll be addicted to the streets 

Smoking weed, selling rocks, trying to find a way to eat. 

People ain't what they be talking about 

Trying to beat my case but don't know how. 

-Hunter, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We hope you're successful in trying to beat your case. 
Hunter, but even if you don't, you have already set out a long-term goal 
that's worth much, much more. When you wrote, "Promise, you won't see 
me in another police station," you're laying down a path for yourself 
that leads away from places like this and towards school, family and 
work. Keep that promise, and all the rest will fall into place. 

Thooghts Of a Thog 

Sitting in my cell late last night 

Looking out my window 

A big fence in sight 

Thought about my life and every crime 

Now I reminiscing on doin' time 

Thought about the murders and stolen gats 

Thought about the poor old lady I attacked 

Thought about the money and mota too. 

Thought about my family and if they'd make it through 

Thought about the drugs and all the lies 

Thought about my mom and even heard her cries 

Thought about my cousin after being deceased 

But all those thoughts were gone after being released. 

-Wedo, Land Of Enchantment, New Mexico 

From The Beat: More often then not your words have hit the mark. 
Many if not all the people in lock up will say just about anything to get 
out of jail, but once they are released all that has been said and done 
is forgotten by then two simple words, "your released". When you're 
on the outs and your thinking about doing something against the law, 
think about what it was like sitting in that cell. 

My Life (part 2| 

Well, my life has been messed up most of my life, like 
now and today. I keep getting in trouble and locked up 
for shhh I didn't do and shhh I did do. Well, it's not easy 
being me, but most people say it is, but I don't think so. 

Most of you people are not in jail or lived the life that 
I have. I've lost people I love, I've lost my soul, I've lost 
love, I've lost my inner self and most of all I've lost myself 
to the streets and gangs. 

Well to me my only friends and family are my gang 
members. They're the people who care about me, love me 
show up when I need them and support me. Right now, 
I'm in here for something stupid and facing some time. It 
feels like a big dream and I can't wake up. It's because 
I've been running from my problems all my life and now 
it hit me hard and that's because I didn't play my cards 

Now, I've got to do this time, but one thing is I'm 
doing the time and I'm not letting it do me. Every night 
before I go to bed I read my bible and pray to God to help 
me and give me strength to keep going. I keep my head 
up no matter what happens to me. What I tell myself is 
that I put myself in this and I've got to get myself out. I'm 
tired of blaming my family, my mom, and my loved ones 
for being in here. What I've learned so far is that the only 
one who can judge me is God and no one else. 

I've got people who want me out so I need to keep my 
head up, do my time, and get out. I can't go back to my 
hood. It's not that they don't want me there it's because I 
don't want to get caught up any more and the streets ever 
did anything for me but get me locked up. All gangs get 
you pumped and for what, for you to be in prison for the 
rest of your life. I give up on gangs because every night 
I wonder if I'm going to see my kids have kids and their 
kids have kids. I'm done with this crazy life of mine. So 
I've got to do my time and not let it do me. 

God bless you all. 

-Young J, Alameda 

From The Beat: We admire the courage you show in facing your self so 
squarely and taking responsibility for getting your life back. Though 
you have faced major challenges in your life you are willing to get 
your mind clear and work for what's most important to you. We see 
you listening to yourself, and think this must mean that the inner self 
you fear you lost is returning, giving you strength and reminding you 
of what you love. If you continue with this courage and strength we 
believe you can achieve your goals! 

I'm Ready 

Chea though, man, life is crazy, ain't it? That sometimes 
I even think the same, but I look at reality and ain't a 
thang change. People getting' out and comin' right back. 

What's really goin' on with people? You ain't changed 
yo' thought process 'cause ya come back, and you did the 
same thing to get right back in here. That's called insanity, 
"Doing the same thing expectin' different results." Ha ha 

I just sit back and wait for my time to shine, and that's 
comin' real soon. And what I mean by that is that release, 
where that nice sun can finally hit my face. I can finally 
breathe that good air, and get back to what's needed of 
me. 'Cause one thang for sure, instead of "doin' time," 
it's time to change, 'cause the streets don't love no one, 
not even its own momma if it had one. But chea, I'm gone 
off the other side of this building "home." 

-Yf, San Francisco 

From The Beat: The achievement is already there, in your thinking, in 
your attitude. You understand the life-giving importance of freedom! 
You understand that the streets are nothing more than streets, and that 
you do not need to spill anyone^ blood, including your own, onto its 
uncaring, cold cement. Change can be intimidating, but also exciting 
and liberating. Let 2009 be a truly new year in every way! 


From Vietnam to Oakland to Fighting a 187 

What's up The Beat Within, it's me, Chopstick. Well I'm gonna 
write a biography today so you can get to know me better, so 
let's go ahead and get to the point. 

I was born in December 20, 1990, and the knowledge I 
was told is that I was in a serious condition when I was born. 
Not that something was wrong with me, but it just that I cried 
so much and had a serious fever and almost faded away. See, 
I shed so many tears, even when I was born ...What a life. 

Well I was born in Vietnam (Panang). Growing up over 
there wasn't easy at all because of my family's condition. If 
you were wealthy Vietnam then you be living like a king, but 
if you poor like my family, sometimes you don't even have 
food to eat. 

My grandmother was a soldier. Also, she had 11 kids 
and have all of them happy and healthy, and as you know 
the Vietnam war was going on back then and so my grandma 
brought 10 of her kids accept my mom to America by boat. 

The reason my mother got left behind is because she 
was the oldest kid, so she had to watch the property while my 
grandma, auntie and uncle found a better life. So you know 
my mother was struggling, trying to raise her five kids. I was 
the youngest. 

Growing up I remember mom owin' a lot of people 
money and stuff. They would always come over our house 
and demand money. Me and my brother were the boys in the 
house, and seeing mom and my older three sisters fighting 
people just to push them of our house was an unbelievable 

At that time, seeing my mother's eye swelling and crying, 
I wanted to grow up so fast and protect my mom, my siblings, 
and myself. I wanted to fight everybody for my mom. I hated 
the world at that time. I would sometimes go running around 
the house to go to a quiet place and promise to myself that 
I was going to be a big strong, rich man so I could repay my 
parents and have the power to embarrass people that were 
hurting my mom. 

I was growing up around violence. Left to right, me and my 
brother had to dodge our parents' enemies so they wouldn't 
hurt us. So my heart went cold and my mind got sharp and 
smart. It got so big to the point that I don't even know how to 
use it. I would steal a lot, pick fruit from people's trees, steal 
other kids' toys, and steal clothes, all so my mom wouldn't 
have to buy me anything. I don't want her to buy me nothing 
because she doesn't have any money, and I understood that 
so I had to have it the way I wanted it. 

This one time I was in a neighborhood (in Vietnam) and 
I saw a front door open. I went in there and tried to steal 
stuff and the owner came out of nowhere and was yelling. 
He caught me and brought me home and my parent started 
whooping my ass. I hated get whoopings because it hurt and 
it was useless. 

I mean sometimes it worked, like keeping me from doing 
the same thing next time, but all that didn't mean nothing 
when pressure came along. 

And as I grew up, when my parents hit me it didn't hurt 
anymore. And somehow I was suppose to be happy but I 
always feel sad because they were getting and that make me 
sad knowing that they didn't have the strength to even raise 
a broom or a stick to hit me no more... but I will get back to 
that in a little while. 

Well even though I was greedy I was still an innocent 
kid and go to school, I was the smart kid. In Vietnam they 
don't have report cards. They grade by the scale of 1-10, and 
I stayed getting 9.8 or 10 when I was in elementary school. 
Then often I would be so smart in math that the teacher 
would be surprised. 

Back to the family subject. We were doing whatever to 
have a good life. My mom wasn't wealthy but she would try 

whatever to keep me happy and full of love (she is the 
greatest and most beautiful woman in my eyes). 

It was around 1998, and I remember my mom telling me 
that we was going to America. I was around like 8 year old, I 
didn't know what America is so I was like whatever. As right 
now I kept thinking my mom was a real hustler. She was 
owing a lot of people money, left to right so it was impossible 
to leave the country to find a life we deserve. She put every 
dime in the project. It got to a point that she was broke on 
holidays and couldn't have a festival for my ancestors. 

I still remember this one event that I am never going 
to forget. In Vietnam we have this day when we honor our 
ancestors and we put out delicious dish like rice, chicken, 
pork, and beef, and we light up candles and talk to them. 
So my mom didn't have money, so she only have one or two 
foods on the table. I was playing soccer and walking around 
the neighborhood, and I saw this money bill on the floor (it 
was a $5 - American money). 

I thought is was fake money to burn, so I picked it up 
and it looked so nice and smelled so good that I put it in my 
pocket and went home. As soon I got home I showed it to 
my big sister and her eyes got so big, they were filled with 
happiness and she gave it to my mom and she bought some 
nice and stuff and gave me a lil' bit money to go buy candy. I 
felt so good that I wanted to do that all the time. 

Well it's you know I have three older sisters and one 
brother and I the youngest, my sister was around 26 or so 
when she have to leave our family to able to afford for the 
transfer to America, first to help out me and my family. My 
mom was the smartest person in the world, she calculates 
every step before she makes a move, and so she got my sister 
to America to get her education. My sister ended up getting 
married to a American Vietnamese citizen and become a 

And in 2000 we came to America by a paper through my 
grandmother. We had to get shots and complete all the paper 
work and come to America. As you know, only teenagers that 
are under 21 come to America with their family. My second 
oldest sister couldn't go because she was 23 or something, 
and she got left behind - and she also had to watch the 
property that belonged to my parent. I was so sad and I cried 
so much, knowing I was finna leave my sister for a long time, 
she was like my mom ...very down to earth when it come to 
us... She be riding us to school on a bicycle during the rain 
and stuff, I loved her the most out of all the sisters, I love her 
so much. 

I wanted to hide her in my suitcase and take her on the 
plane with me but it didn't work, my last tear dropped on 
the floor uf Vietnam as I stepped on the plane to leave my 
innocent life behind. 

I didn't know it was a whole different world this plane 
was taking me to. All the movies I seen about America was 
nothing compare to the real thing. As I say good bye Vietnam 
I said hello to America, my parent didn't come to America to 
look for money or try to be rich, all they wanted was for me 
and siblings to have good education and become someone 
that helped the community. Well when I got to America, I saw 
my sister (oldest). It had been so long I start kissing her and 
stuff, because I missed her so much. 

And then from SF airport we came to Oakland, land of the 
black panther, land of gangsters, land of drugs, land of guns, 
land of everything. 

And soon as I got there my mom signed me to got to 
school. I went to Bret Harte Middle School as a non-English 

Sixth grade wasn't easy. I had kids teasing me because of 
my clothes and English. I was determined not to let people 
make fun of me no more, so I was saving money, and also 
asking my mom or sister to buy me clothes and stuff so I 


could fit in with other kid, well I had my first pair of brand 
new expensive shoes, is a high top air forces one (all white). 
I was in love with them, so from that moment on I got greedy 
and wanted more and more stuff. 

I don't know, but when you have the money and the 
material stuff you got love from people. The ladies want you 
more and more, you are not going to feel left out, you are 
gonna feel loved, you're gonna get more friends. 

So I continued to hustle for money to get me new stuff. 
However the more you get famous and popular the more 
people envy or hate you. In the eighth grade I remember 
these two guy in my after school program. I was just having 
fun play football. Out of nowhere, they wanted to mess with 
me, and think I was a sucker, so I told them they could see 
me anytime and anywhere. Even though they were surprise 
by how brave I was he didn't wanted to get embarrassed on 
front of people so we fought. This was the first fight I have 
that was for real. I was hanging with him, winning, and his 
other friends came in and jumped me, but I still didn't give in. 
I fought two of them the at same time, and I didn't even lose. 

After the fight I called my brother to pick me up, and I 
said nothing. I even lied to him, but the brave and winning 
feeling took over my whole body and it made me a brand new 
person, I was no longer innocent. 

The next day when I came to school, kids was spreading 
word. Like it was nothing, I went from a nobody to having 
lot of people know me and want to be my friend. I liked the 
feeling so I continued to apply the bad guy image to my head 
and go with the flow. And it seemed like people liked it and 
showed me a lil' bit more love. 

I started to do a lot more bad stuff, so there was no more 
room for school. My grades went from 3.00 or above to like 
1.03 or 2.00 (gpa). I often hid my report card when they mail 
it from school. I would tear it up and my parents wouldn't 
know. They didn't speak English so they didn't know how to 
get the information about me in school. My brother was too 
busy doing his own thing so he also didn't know a lot about 
it. So I continued to do bad. When I got to high school after I 
graduated middle school. I attended Skyline High School. 

Wow, the first time I saw it was like a new world. It was so 
big compare to the middle school. I was happy and scared. I 
had to find new friends and I was all by myself trying to find 
a new way. 

I was doing good in school. And then one day at school, 
one of my friends introduced me to cigarettes and weed. I 
didn't like the weed feeling. But I enjoyed the cigarette feeling 
it. It relaxed my mind and kept stress away from me. And 
then this day change my life. After school he said come and 
kick it with him, so I agreed. 

I told my parents that I going to the gym playing 
basketball, so I went with him. Going around just chilling, 
smoking cigarettes and weed. He asked me do I want to come 
to the park. 

You know I like girls, so hearing the work park I thought 
it just gone be hella fun so I went there. It was a nice place, 
it has gym, basketball courts and girls. But it also has Asian 
thugs, gangsters and drug dealers everywhere. It like a 
place that Asian kids to go when they get out of school or 
something. So I went there. 

1 liked the feeling, I felt accepted. So I went there to 
play basketball, then to start talking to different kids. I got 
introduced to drugs, guns and violence. Man this was some 
big time G to me, and OG's on top of that. And my brother 
been here before me so I felt like this was home. So I kept 
doing my thing and after that I got introduced to the drug 
game. I started out selling weed and selling eights, and then 
I moved up to quarters and a zips. And believe me, I didn't 
need the money, my family was doing good. 

I just did it just because it was the thing to do and got 

me clothes and living good without asking my parents 
for stuff. And I was making a lot -- not a lot to adults but 
a lot to me. Then this was when pills was moving good. A 
lot of OG's was getting major money, so I decided to jump in 
the thizz game. I start out with 10 pills I get it for not even 
half of the price that I made, so I was eating for a 15 year old. 
I started moving up to 50 to 100 pills. It was all good then, 
until I got jacked for my pills in school. I came back to school 
with homeboy to demand it back, I got it back and we used 
violence to get it back. I also got snitched on by the guy. 
They snitchws on me so I got kicked out of school for drug 
possession and assault (what a coward, ha?). 

Then I went to the school district to see the board and 
see if I could go back to school. They said they didn't have 
any evidence to convict me, so I got back to school with no 
charges and nothing. Then I went back to doing the same 
thing. I wanted to quit and do good in school, but the money 
was too good, and the attention from girls, so I did the same 

I was being watched 24/7 when I wasn't in school, not 
only from the principal but also the police. It got to the point 
when I got harass for the little thing like all of the minor 
stuff. Well my family still didn't know what was going on, in 
their eyes I was still the same lil' boy they loved. 

So it kept on going, and the more I get bigger the more 
violent I got. I wanted to explode. I went around and did a 
lot of bad and made a lot of excuses so I would stay with 
my girlfriend and homeboy. I would run the streets all night, 
sleep in class in the morning. Then too one day when I caught 
my first case, assault with a deadly weapon I got caught. I 
wasn't even scare but I feel so bad seeing my mama cry and 
brother worry. 

I promised them I would do good, but deep down in my 
heart. I know the temptation gon' get me in bad place. Soon 
as they release me to my parent custody (because it was my 
first time), I stayed home for like the whole month. I went 
back to school, did good for lil' while and was back doing the 
same stuff. One day I sat back and talked to myself, listening 
to Tupac (my favorite rapper ever) and his words sank in, and 
it made me realize that it ain't no future for me if I keep being 
like this. A lot of my homeboys was dying and OGs getting 
locked away. 

But as soon as that night was over. I came back to reality 
man. I got arrested for a 187 case. God, my mom dropped 
down her knees crying... man my heart got stabbed that 
moment. Ain't nothing never hurt me more than this. It felt 
like 100 dudes beating me with bats. I wasn't even crying. 

Man, now I am fighting this case with no hope for the 
future. I always ask myself a lot of questions but the one 
I always ask is who am I? I am searching for the real me. I 
know my story can be related to a lot of people my age or 
even younger. All I am saying is do what's right. Homies and 
stuff ain't nothing compared to your real family. 

I hope you guys search for the real you before you want to 
be like someone that is completely opposite from you. Please 
don't follow my footsteps jail is not for you guy. Before I go 
I wish you find the right path and good choice of your life 
and become whoever you want to be. I know you can do it, if 
Obama can do it everyone can. And ask yourself who are you. 
My name is Lil Chopstick, it's was nice to share my story 
with you. 

Much love. 

-Lir Chopstick, Alameda 

From The Beat: What can we say, Tony. All the skills, storytelling ability, 
love, pain, hard lessons and wisdom you have gained over your year in 
Juvenile Hall shines in the story you shared with us all here. Your departure 
leaves a big hole in the unit, and it will leave a big hole in The Beat too, 
as we wait for your first installment forThe Beat Without. Wherever you 
go, whatever happens to you, we know that you will be inspiring others, 
sharing your spirit, and helping other people get through their suffering. 
Continue to learn and teach, Tony, we know you can! 


WMMMfJirf * fy//Jlf 

///////#/////,/// ////#///,// 

A Young Boy's Stroggle 

What's up The Beat, I'm back once again mad, stressing but 
them streets will eat you and break you. 

Man, coming straight from Oakland ain't no joke. Man, so 
many youngstas out here goin' around killing and robbing each 
other. Man, it seem like that's all we know, getting on, smoking 
purple, drinking, seems like the only way out. But it ain't. 

I feel we all can make it out the hood, you feel me? But we 
gotta stay strong, determined and positive. But how can some of 
my youngstas be positive when they're mama on crack, daddy 
is too and didn't go to school? Who can they run to? Granny 
gambling, grandpa drunk, the only friend he got is his pump. He 
think popping pills and drinking is fun. 

Next time you thinking he a punk, he thought the only thing 
that can help was that pump. Now 'cause nobody was there but 
his thang, now he gotta do twenty-five to life, full of pain. 

-Kanisha, Alameda 
From The Beat: Kanisha, there is this song called "Brenda's Got a Baby" 
by T^pac Shalcur and one of the lines says "...just 'cause you're in the 
ghetto doesn't mean you can't grow..." This line is true for many people. 
You have to work hard and fight if you want to grow. We know that this 
piece you have written will reach many kids in need. We just have to 
see if they hear you. 


Greetings to all. Tonight, I am going to write about 
attitude. The longer I live, the more I realize the impact 
of attitude on my life. Attitude to me is more important 
than the past, than education, than money, than 
circumstances, than failures, than success, than what 
other people think or say or do. It is more important than 
appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a 
person, a neighborhood, a company or a school. 

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday 
regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We 
cannot change our past; we cannot change the fact that 
people will act in a specific way. We cannot change what 
we can't see. The only thing we can do is play on the 
string we have, and that is attitude. I am convinced that 
life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. 

-Chucko, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This was a very wise and thoughtful piece. Realizing 
that life is impacted by your attitude just shows that you are growing sk% 
a person. It seems like you have learned a great deal. How will you make 
sure your reactions don't get you locked up? It takes many experiences 
(good and bad) and many years for someone to realize what you know 
now. Apply your knowledge for the better. 

Mom, Heavens Above 


Look up at the heavens 
And watch the clouds 

And maybe some other day you'll become proud. 
You live a life and a life gets taken 

Because some people just talk I call it high power fakin' 
My mom is a great woman, now she gone out of my life. 
Not because of old age, but because of that pipe. 
It ain't never been right going through that paiin 
Now I got a bad life and I don't feel the same 
I haven't seen my mom ever since I was little 
And now I never will it's like I got to solve this riddle 
It's a shcune she had to go 
I miss her so much 

I watch the heavens go by and I squeeze with much such 
I love her, I love her, I love her so much 
I wish she come back, my life will change 
I then damaged my career 
I messed up my brain 
My mom will soon come back 'cause the heaven's got her back. 

-Lir Black, Alameda 
From The Beat: The pain you have been through is real - and we hurt for 
you and every other family that has been battered by drug addiction, 
but you have the courage, the intelligence, and the spirit to get through 
this challenge. Just reread your own writing - see how much strength 
there is in each line you write. 

//// // 

Gun Violence 

A gun is a gun is a gun. 

Guns were made for one reason and that is violence. 

So talking about gun violence like it's a shocking 


has always surprised me. 

Where is the irony in guns leading to violence? 

Where is the surprise in that? 

People can have guns to feel protected and safe. 

That is logical but how can we tell if that is always the 

reason? How can we be sure 

that people won't use guns in inappropriate ways? 

We can't. 

Guns are too much of a risk. 

Results are permanent. 

We can't afford putting a gun in the hands of the wrong 


-but we do and now everyone complains about it. 

Everyone tries to figure out how gun violence can be 


but it can't. Now everyone wants a gun 

to protect themselves from other guns. 

I could use one. 

I would feel better if I knew 

my kids knew how to handle guns and eventually invested 

in one. You can't take guns back from society. 

You can't reverse gun violence. 

You can't give someone a gun and expect peace. 

The same way you can't give a child candy bars 

and expect a healthy diet or no cavities. 

-Eileen, Alameda 

From The Beat: This is a Met^ true view of the history of guns and where 
guns stand in society today. The thing is, people are still surprised by 
gun violence because no matter how many times it happens, murder is 
always surprising. What do you think is a reasonable solution to end 
gun violence? Excellent commentary! 


What's up wit it Beat? I aint gonna rap today. But I'm a 

talk about dreams. Here's a little poem. 

Some dreams are fake and some dreams are true. 

Some people don't believe in dreams so let me tell you 

When I have dreams, some be happening in reall life 

like when I got shot at buy a gun or stabbed by a knife 

Maybe I have bad dreams because I think negative 


about doin' everything I could before my life stops 

I hate having bad dreams I wish they would be good 

but maybe it's all catching up to me for all the dirt I did 

in the hood 

Maybe it's a sign to get my life straight 

cause in my room I don't do nothin' but think night and 


I gotta change and stop to the next level 

cause I know who's try'n to get me and it's the devil 

but I can't because I belong to the lord 

and I just answered my question on why I be having bad 

dreams for 

The reason I'm having bad dreams: one is because I think 

negative thoughts a lot and I also let the devil get to me 

for too long, but as of right now I'm walking in the light 

with the lord. 

-Lir Rolo, Alameda 

From The Beat: You're doing some good thinking. We agree positive 
thoughts are full of light and life, and negative thoughts fight against 
that light and life. Negative thinking can be a habit and it takes 
awareness to change, but it's certainly possible. You have to teach your 
mind new ways...eject the old patterns like a bad cd. 

y/// // 

\ i i i r 

Straight Up 

Straight up 

My life ain't right 

I got a little sister that watched me come in at night 

Straight up 

I ain't no gangsta' just trying to get by at night 

Straight up 

The judge don't even believe what I say 

Straight up 

The judge detained me yeah I was feeling stuffed 

Straight up 

I'm not just hurting me I'm hurting little sis' 

Man that's just straight up 

Straight up every time I get on the phone 

I feel all-alone can't even moan and groan. 

-Darrell, Alameda 

From The Beat: Your little sister might look up to you and think the 
things you're doing are cool. Sounds like this bothers you though, so 
right now is a good time to change your ways before your little sister 
does something you both regret. Be her big brother and show her the 
right path. Remember she looks up to you and she will listen to you, 
straight up. I 


I I I I I 

That Magnum 

'Till this day I remember the first time I held a gun. 
real gun. It was a .45 magnum, the older ones, a revolver. 
It was heavy and cold. I liked the feeling of having a real 
gun in my hand, a real gun with real bullets that could put 
a real hole in a real person. 

Guns have always been available for my use, various 
kinds of guns. Big ones, small ones, weak ones, strong 
ones, new ones and dirty ones, nine millimeters with an 
extended clip, twelve gauge shotguns, sniper rifles, and 
the list goes on. 

When I was younger I loved to pack guns, I especially 
liked to carry the 12-guage in my pants, liking the way the 
barrel tapped the side of my knee after every step I took. 
But now that I'm older and more knowledgeable about 
quetes (guns) and the consequences they come with, like 
gun enhancements, I choose to roam these dangerous 
streets without a pistol or shotgun, even though there 
can be deadly consequences for not packing. I know I'm 
making a good choice. Although I will carry a knife. 

Well Beat That's all for today, and for all doing time 
behind these walls or on the streets keep your chin held 
up high and be safe, until pen meets paper again, alrato 

-Flaco, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Wow, you have enormous strength to not follow the 
crowd and instead choose against holding a gun. It takes a big person 
to choose against the norm because we know how hard it is when peer 
pressure is all around you. What do you think can be done to make the 
streets safe enough to not even have to carry a knife? 

II I ii II I i II 

i I I 


Me and my girl have come up with the name and it is 
Jeremiah. It took us 7 months to come up with a name. 
At first I didn't want it because I thought it was girly but 
then after a while I started to like it. I'm very happy we 
came up with a good name. 

Now all I'm waitin' on is his birth and it is in February. 
I'm excited, happy, and very nervous because I never had 
this experience before but I know I'm ready, I've been 
wantin 'a child for a while now and now the lord has 
blessed me. "Thank you God." I'm very thankful. I love 
you my lord my family my son. See you soon 

-Elton, Alameda 

From The Beat: Jeremiah, what a beautiful name! And congratulations 
on starting off so well in fatherhood - meaning the way you co-operated 
with your girl, mother and father together choosing the name for him... 
you will love him and raise him together no matter what. 



Give It All Up 

The judge sent me to this correction facility because I 
didn't want to change. I was hard-headed. When I came in 
here I just gave up and was even more hard headed. 

But I found out my girlfriend was pregnant and now 
I want to change and I have to change not for me but for 
my child. The risk is that if I don't change my baby won't 
have a good life. 

If my baby don't have a good life I'm scared it's going 
to end up like me. So now I have to give up my life of 
crime and start fresh for my child. 

-Kevin, Alameda 

From The Beat: Congratulations on your child. Your right this is like 
a wake up call to change. If you continue to live the way you do your 
child's life will be affected by your lifestyle. In order to get that change 
for your child you yourself have to change and want to change. Good 
luck with fatherhood. 

Ready To Change 

I'm ready to change 

I'm ready to do the right thing 

I sit in my bed late at night 

Asking myself, "Why did I do this? 

Why did I put myself in this situation? 

What was I thinkin'?" 

See, I wasn't thinkin' 

'Cause if I was thinkin' 

I wouldn't did that 

I been here for four months now 

And I'm ready to go home, somewhere 

I just wanna leave this place 

-Dri Dri, San Francisco 
From The Beat: We don't blame you for wanting to leave this place. 
When you think back to that time you weren't thinking, were there 
other people with you? Was there peer pressure to do what you did? 
That's something to be careful about, because you can have the best 
intentions in the world, but if you find it hard just to ss^, "No," then 
you may end up doing something stupid again. Keep thinking about 
what you want in life, and how "slow and steady" wins the race. 

Lurking Against Life 

You might understand life, but do it understand you? 

Going to jail and robbing people, that's what you got to 


Sneak around in the night on a hot August night 

Tryin' to rob a little mo' 

Or just tryin' to pick a fight 

But that's just life, not Christ 

Because Christ will do right 

He'll put an end to this world with one single strike 

Have you ever taught yo' lil' brother how to ride a bike? 

I don't think that you have 'cause you on the street 

lookin' mad 

Next thing you know, you gone and yo' brother is sad. 

Never hold against your will, the strong will give you 


Or you'll be the next person on the streets askin' for 

them bills 

You could be who you want 

But don't take it to war 

Just be a famous ballplayer 

Shoot the hoop then you score 

It ain't over for me 

just a regular life play games all you want because 

You lurkin' against life 

-Lir Quan, Alameda 

From The Beat: Another powerful poem, Lil Quan, just bursting with 
talent and images that hit us right in the heart. \%'% like you see all the 
little moments that make life worth living, and you also see how many 
people throw those moments away and miss them. Keep puttin' it down, 
for The Beat and for yourself, because your voice needs to be heard! 


// ' ////// ' // ' /// ^-mmu^ 

y/// // 

\ I i i r 

f[MmffMmffmff.0m mmmi/^a/if^A 

No Moment To Rest 

Life through my blood shot eyes would scare a square 

to death. 

Poverty, murder, violence and never a moment to rest. 

You lost everything and found out nothing was left. 

I was a devil child born in 1991. 

Ever since I got locked up, everything was done. 

After a while, this comes to no fun. 

From now on my mind is set to do right. 

And if I follow it my days will be bright. 

But it doesn't matter if you bang red or blue. 

If you thank the man above, then God will bless you. 

So now I'm sitting in this weird place. 

I'm about to meet the judge with tears on my face. 

Thinking about how much time I'm gonna do. 

See what happens when you run the streets with them 

dumb fools. 

You thought it was right but that crap ain't cool. 

Now I'm going to put this to an end. 

I hope this never comes back to me again. 

-James, Fresno 

From The Beat: Mer^ nice! You've really got a knack for expressing 
yourself through words, and we can feel your deep emotions coming 
out. You describe life si% a stressful day-to-day battle, with no time to 
rest. We really hope in time you do get Skn opportunity to relax and 
reflect on everything you've been through and where you want to go 
in the future. 

My Mind Is Filled 

I wasted opportunities 'cause I show no pity 

life is gritty. I feel pissy. My mind runs like a committee. 

I have thoughts that rot inside my mind. 

I need to unwind, remind, self-define myself. 

They restrain him, drain him from positive ways. 

I see in a faze 'cause it's in a maze... 

They want me to go in a negative way, 'cause I chose 

this life. I 

say it's just a matter of days 'til I meet my fate. 

I belong to the state. 

Makes me contemplate. 

But this is my trait. 

What I write is very real. 

My heart and mind are made of steel. 

My body's like a mill. I want to give up. 

That's for real. 

-Ernesto, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: You may want to give up, sometimes, but don't. You're a 
mighty fine writer. We've watched your writing evolve from angry rants 
to thoughtful poems in a very short time. We're struck by the line - "My 
mind runs like a committee." That^ a line that Skny poet would be proud 
to have written. 

My Life In The Forest 

I like to live in the forest. I like all my friends there, like 
I have a bear as a friend. I like to eat bananas and run 
around in my underwear when I'm in the forest. I also 
like to sing songs with my bear. My favorite song is "Bear 
Necessities." He is my best friend and they took him away 
from me when they put me in here. I miss him a lot. I hope 
I get out soon, so I can go back to my life in the forest. I 
also built my house out of hay, but they blew it down and 
I have to rebuild it. 

-Edwin, Marin 

From The Beat: Apparently, you left the forest long enough to come in 
contact with the law of the city instead of the law of the jungle! If you 
want to be reunited with your bear, and run around in the forest bare, 
then you're going to have to make some changes. What are the chances 
of that? (Use your imagination; you've got a great one!) 


No Jnstlce 

The week before Thanksgiving the judge put me in 
Juvenile Hall. Before that happened, I had a terrible 
addiction to drugs. No matter how many times they put 
me in here I always turn back to the drugs to cure the 

Well during that week I realized that drugs ain't 
worth living in. I made the decision to quit and for the 
last month I have quit using. It was very hard and still is. 
I couldn't handle dealing with reality so I took off to my 
friends house for two days and then went home. I did stay 
drug-free but I got a violation of probation for not residing 
in my home. 

So here I am again in the awful place. I am awaiting 
court in about a month. They want me to put me in a six- 
month In-Patient Drug Program. I just don't understand 
why I have to be in a drug program now that I finally quit. 
I quit so I don't have to go into this program and I might 
have to anyways. Where's the justice in that? 

-Kristina, Fresno 

From The Beat:An addict is Skn addicted even when they ate no longer 
using their drug. Just because you quit, doesn't mean the feelings and 
ways of thinking that drove you to u%e have disappeared. The addict 
will do anything to get the $$ to get their drug. Any justice the addict 
had was sacrificed when they became addicted. Go to the Rehab and 
work on yourself. Get out of the slavery of addiction. 

Fnrgive, But Not Forget 

Its always good to forgive not for the person, but for 
yourself. Forgive is not forgetting about what that person 
did or said. 

What I did is forgive the person for what he did, but I 
can't forget it. It's good not to forget it because you'll be 
able not to make the mistake again. 

-Tyler, Solano 

From The Beat: It^ good to remember useful information, it^ just the 
stuff that pulls on you, that twists your gut, or makes you trip needlessly 
on the past...You don't have to hang onto facts you learn, you just know 
them when you need them. 

Gun Hazards 

To me, guns are dangerous. 

Guns are used for positive and negative reasons. 

Some positive reasons why guns are used are for safety. 

A negative reason is for violence. 

Violence is the whole reason guns are used. 

I've seen my grandmother with a gun and she shot a 
bullet on to the ground in her house. But lucky no one 
got hurt. 

My dad also tried to stop her. 
Guns are used in gangs. 

A lot of people have been killed in gangs by guns. 
If my oldest sister gets killed by a different group of 

it's her fault for being in a gang. 
Guns are used at no specific time or date. 
Most people die from getting shot. 

Once people are dead, they're always dead and no one can 
bring the back. 

Guns (and other weapons) are a danger to the world. 
Guns (and other weapons) should be used for emergencies, 
not for violence. 

-Jose, Fresno 

From The Beat: Jose, thanks for bringing the hazards of gun violence 
to light. You've %een the impact of guns in your own family, and in 
gangs. It's very sad to think about how many people have died from 
guns, whether it was intentional or by accident. We're sorry to hear 
your sister is in a tough situation right now. Do you think \%'% her fault 
completely? If she wanted to break away from the gang life, what do 
you think she can do? 

// ' ////// ' // ' /// ^-mmu^ 

y/// // 

\ I i i r 

f[MmffMmffmff.0m mmmi/^a/if^A 

You Better Recognize My Uncle 

I want to send a shout out to my uncle because he really 
needs to get recognized. I used to go to his house all the 
time to get drunk and high. I used to bring weed and he 
used to get the drink. 

My cousins and uncles used to go over every Friday 
night and just have a good time. But all of a sudden 
he started going to church and stopped smoking and 

I found out that not too long ago a kid, like 17 years 
old, ended up having nowhere to live because his mom 
had died because she was really sick. So he let the 17 
year old move into his house and treated him like family. 
So I just thought that it should be recognized, so stay up 
uncle and keep doing what your doing. 

-Moses, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Your uncle sounds like a great guy. Sometimes adults 
who give young people a safe place are the most important people in 
our communities. 

Giving it All Up 


In order for me to stay out of here there's a lot of things 
I need to give up. I keep telling myself that when I get out, 
I'm going to do better but in the back of my mind, I'm not 
sure I can. When I get out I have to completely change 
myself around all the way and I'm so scared that I'm not 
going to make it. 

"Hoeing" is my lifestyle at this moment and it's not 
easy to change your whole life around in a split second. 
It's very addicting and I'm not completely sure I want to 
give that up yet. To be honest I really don't want to stop 
at all but I know I need to for God, my family and for my 
life that is ahead of me. The only thing I'm giving up is 
the money. I don't think I can stop completely but I know 
I need to for now. 

All I want to do is finish high school and do maybe a 
couple years of college. I want to start "hoeing" when I'm 
at least 18 with high school out of the way so when I'm 
ready to stop for good, I have something to fall back on 
instead of depending on some fake-ass Fresno, wanna-be 
pimp who don't know shhh about the game! I'm not ready 
to give it all up for good but I know it's the thing I have to 
do for now, in order to stay out of this place. 

-Jewels, Fresno 

From The Beat: We admire your honesty and the way you tell us 
what you are thinking. We don't really hear smy plan to stop "hoeing" 
however. You sa^ you are going to quit so you can stay out of JJC but 
then you s^t^ you are not going to quit. If you find yourself returning 
to JJC then you have to accept the facts that exist. We think your idea 
of getting a high school degree is a good one. With skn education you 
could get a job that pays much better than hoeing and there is little or 
no chance of being arrested. 


Thank God... And My Lawyer 

What's up Beat? Man, it's ya boy KB once again. What 
going on with me? Shhh, I am finally done with going to 
court. I got four months life skill even though I should 
have went to YA and had a strike. My lawyer really did me 
right in the courtroom and got me that good life skill with 
no strike. Thank god for that. 

When I get out, I plan to get done with school and 
getting back in the sports. Hopefully all my plans go as 
planned. And for all ma peoples in this Beat shhh, good 
luck to you and keep ya heads up. I'm gone. 

-The Real Beast, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: It's very nice to read a piece acknowledging that your 
lawyer did a good job on your behalf. Now, it^ up to you to follow 
through on your promise to finish school so that the second chance your 
lawyer got for you will not be wasted. Good luck. 

Tn Fnrgive 

The hardest thing I ever did was forgive my old friend, 
now we was best friends 'till the very end. 
I taught this girl everything, 

shared my home 

just to find out she been giving my man dome. 
Now I let that shhh slide 
not trying to lose a friend 

'cause we was supposed to be tight to the very end, 
she denied it all, so I let that shhh fall. 
Taught her to hit the pipe, snort the lines 

just so we could keep those desired highs. 
After I broke it off with my man, 

she gonna ask if she can have a turn, God damn! 
I said I didn't care, really I didn't 
but he couldn't help but stare. 

So when they broke up 
he tried to go back with me 
crawling on his knees. 

She found out and started running her mouth, 
she said every little secret and more 
so our friendship went out the door. 
Now I could spread what I knew, 
but then her life would be through, 
'cause all the shhh she did ai'nt cool, 
but I'll keep my loyalty and remain known 
as a good friend and I'll keep them secrets 'till the very 

-Jordyn, Alameda 

From The Beat: Sounds like that friendship really fell apart. Holding on 
to your integrity, keeping her stuff secret, that really says a lot about 
who you are. Anyone would be luclcy to have someone like you »% a 

One Life 


One life then I'm gone and I don't know where I'ma go 

cause I aint never been dead before, steady thugging in 

the streets getting dirty every minute but the shhh get old 

shhh get old (2x) 

(Verse 1) 

Hush ya mouth you aint doing what you talking bout 

going off at the lip a get you aired out 

Should of stayed in school and made ya momma proud 

chose to run with them punks got ya messed now 

Get the money leave them suckas in the background 

cause when you stuck in the ocean they gone let you 


You only got one life and I aint afraid... 

shook hands with the devil made a hot deal 

So I keep the hood blazing like it's on the grill 

every time I wake up I'm back in jail 

But every time I touchdown it's on the land of paper 

so when you see the sun shining think of me hater 

In the streets it get cold then even colder plucking out 

them fake ninjas from them real soldiers 

Grew up with fake ninjas now I'm throwing cold shoulders 

hopefully they won't get sick catch ammonia 

I can fail a million times then stand up on ya 

it aint about who winning it's living longer 

All the money in the world couldn't stop death 

so if ya want ya life better watch ya next step 

(Chorus 2x) 

-Shawny D, Solano 

From The Beat: This is good writing and it's clear from your piece that 
the life you've been living isn't satisfying, so maybe you have some 
choices. You're right we only have one life, and all the money in the 
world won't stop death. You know what's up, what are you going to do 
with that knowledge? 

y/// // 

\ i i i r 

The One Person I Recognize 

Hey Beat, the one person that I want to recognize is my 
baby's mom because she does things for me that no one 
else would. She makes me feel right through this hell. 
She brings the biggest smile to my face and makes me 
feel like no other person in the world can. She makes me 
feel there's no other for her and she tells me the same. 

I also recognize how much effort she put into our 
relationship and how good she makes it and how she 
touched me in so many ways that my feelings for her 
grew strong and that I also touched her heart and now 
our relationship is stronger than ever, but one thing that 
she brought in the world that impacted me so much was 
my son and now I have changed my life around and I'm 
doing good for her and my son that she brought into the 
world and I won't ever forget it, but I also know she will 
always be here for me to help me support me in whatever 
way she can. 

I need help in here and she's the only one to seem to 
help me, her and my son, that's why when I go home I'm 
giving them the world, but it's so hard without them. 

I have nobody in this place, so at times I can't wait 
for The Beat Within, because this one person also brings 
the biggest smile on my face and I can also explain and 
let her know how I feel and I know she also understands 
my pain at times. I feel like she sees right through me, so 
that's who I wanted to recognize and that's The Beat and 
my baby's momma son. 

-Drifter, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Thanks Drifter. Your words inspire us and your dedication 
to your girl and baby is clear. Keep your head up and keep writing. 

Taking Advantage Of An Opportunity 

What's poppin' in the halls? I'm still in here goin' 
11 months. I'm waitin' on an interview from a grouper 
in Arizona. It's new, and the program is like Glen Mills. 
If I get this chance, I'm goin' take advantage on this and 
learn a trade and finish high school. I'ma be on some 
smooth shih. 

Me and my busty baby goin' to do it big . As long as 
she be on some cool shhh, and stop listening to bs and 
gossip, we goin' be smooth. But anyways, I'm over here 
holdin' it down, doin'. my thang, tryin' stay out of trouble. 
Keep my head above water. 

-D Boy, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We hope you get into the program, and that you find 
many opportunities there to take advantage of, so that when you touch 
down, you are better prepared and stronger to deal with life. If "attitude 
determines altitude," then you should be able to rise above your current 
circumstances and fly! 

L on I 

Packing Heat 

I grew up with guns all around getting set off, 

blasting fools to the ground. 

I've lost so many family and friends, 

so many lives brought to a quick end. 
You gotta pack heat so you don't reach defeat, 

guns will never go away 
so I suggest you sit up at night and pray 

'cause all it takes is to aim, pull the trigger and deliver. 
But suddenly you realize you was the one hit, 
now you lay on the ground and watch the blood drip 
you finally have been beat. 
Maybe you should've been packing heat. 

-Jacqueline, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This is a powerful poem of the realization of gun 
violence, Jacqueline. What does this mean to you? 


Well, I forgive because what I've done people shouldn't 
forgive me. But they do and that's why I forgive because I 
know that my heart can if other people can. 

Like for instance, my friends are talking shhh about 
some incident that happened, and they putting a bad 
report for me with without even knowing what happened. 
I feel betrayed because I didn't have it expected from 
this person. But I'll forgive him when he comes out and 
finds out the truth because my friendship ain't gonna get 
messed up over this. I'm going to forgive, and not let this 
get the best of me. So it's coo'. Do what you do. 

-Flea, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Forgiving is never easy, so we admire you for 
understanding what it means to forgive. We're especially impressed 
that you want to forgive because others have forgiven you. In the 
famous Lord^ Prayer, there is a line that goes, "Forgive us our sins Sk% 
we forgive those who sin against us." It sounds like you have followed 
this prayer. 

Is It iVIe Or The Beast WitiiinlVIe? 

I guess, yes, 

I'm back! What a mess. 

Did I leave for too long? 

Did y'all miss me at the nest? 

My talent I have, I can say I'm blessed 

And would I ever stop rapping? I think about it less 

It's nothing... just everything I experience, I express 

When are they gonna send me back to my address? 

Or leave me locked in a cage full of stress 

I don't need nobody to tell me I'm the best 

Momma always told me to go hard on the rest 

I can be nice, but just don't test 

How in the hell I got myself in this mess? 

Can't blame nobody but myself for my 7th arrest 

Well, I'm gone for now, but wish me luck for the next 

-Caprice, San Francisco 

From The Beat: You don't need luck, you need a plan/ Stay positive, 
like Barack ssi^s, "Yes, we can!"/ Look at those 7 arrests and be honest 
about where you went wrong/ 'Cause the consequences get worse if you 
keep doing the same thing for long/ You express yourself well, there% 
no doubt about it/ But when you're free, you don't have to whisper, you 
can shout it! 

A Better Way To Be Beard 

All the people in here 

Are all the same 

They bump their gums 

But with nothing to really say 

They try so hard to get you mad 

They play their games to make you sad 

But they talk their mess because they're hurt 

They try so hard to be heard 

They cry at night 

But strong by day 

They're all the same 

With really nothing to say 

So I laugh in my room because I see their hurt 

They play their games only to be heard 

So I sit here with nothing to say 

Because I'm not going to be apart of their little kid 


They can talk their mess 

To feel good but it's not going to hurt me 

Because I found a better way to be heard 

- Shawnta, Land Of Enchantment, New Mexico 

From The Beat: These sound like the words from someone who is 
maturing. And what better way to be heard? Never stop sharing your 
voice in a positive way. 

y/// // 

\ i i i r 

Never Again 

I remember the night I punched my moms. It was 
Christmas eve of last year. We were on our way to the 
drive-in and I didn't want to go, but it was a family thing 
and I had to. So when I got in the car I had a real bad 
attitude and it was something she didn't like at all. I was 
back talking and being real rude. . 

Now, I don't know why I was trying to act like a bad I 
ass on the streets who could talk to her momma anyway, 
'cause one: she's black; two: she's from Compton, and 
she don't play that. 

I really regret hitting her. It wasn't worth it 'cause if 
I wasn't talking back to her, it wouldn't have given her a 
reason to hit me. 

In the end I didn't accomplish anything, but I did have 
a heart full of guilt, and I cried all night. I woke up the 
next morning and apologized to my mother and enjoyed 
Christmas with my family. I love you mom. 

-lyisha, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Good story about a very confused moment. Sounds like ■ 
your apology was accepted and all ended well. I 

My Mom 

To some people inspiration is just a word, but to me 
inspiration is way much more. 

I look at inspiration everyday when I look into my 
mother's eyes. How God has blessed me with such a 
wonderful woman in my life, someone who is so caring, 
and loves me unconditionally, a woman with a beautiful 
soul. God must have spent a little more time on her. 

I want to make her proud. She's an extraordinary 
woman, even through all the pain and stress, she still 
pulls through. She's so strong. When I feel down I close 
my eyes and imagine her smile, her comfort, her hugs. 

My dear mother - I love you so much. Inspiration is 
a word, but to me, I look at you mommy, and you are 
my inspiration. I'm proud to be your daughter. I'm truly 
blessed. One love. Loyalty, trust, respect, gone. 

-Christina, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Show this piece to your mom. We guarantee she'll keep 
it forever. 

Itiiihts On tui Viildce 


Ok, today I got into a heated conversation with a Beat 
staff about guns and she wanted me to write my thoughts 
on the situation so here I go. 

The way I see it is if you are in the life of the streets or 
not, you are going to need some type of gun. The reason I 
say that is 'cause people get hit on the daily no matter who 
they are— casualties, innocent by-stander or whatever, 
'cause this generation, the way the OGs see it, is a lost 
cause and ain't got no order or control. That's why I feel 
like this: I'd rather get caught with one then be slipping 
without one and risk getting over some bull, 'cause if I 
got one, then I got two choices, which are to shoot back 
and run, hoping that I don't get hit, or be completely 
slippin' and let the person run up on me because I'm not 
paying attention and they knock my wig completely back 
and people screaming out "(RIP) Lil' Solid!" which I'm not 
gonna let go down. That's a sucka way to go out and that's 
why I'm not going out like that or letting it go down that 
way, no siree bob, that's not my job. I don't do that, I 
thought ya'U knew that. 

-Deuces, Alameda 

From The Beat: You sound like a smart young man who doesn't want to 
get killed. What are your ideas for decreasing the violence then, if guns 
are needed for self-defence? 

Learning From The Past 

What's up Beat? The topic of today is learning from the 
past. Well, in my life I've been through a lot of hard times, 
but I think that has helped me a lot. I think it has helped 
me because I've learned from a lot of mistakes. They show 
me what I can change from my life. It also has helped me 
because now I know what to do and not what to do. 


From The Beat: We're glad that this negative experience might produce 
some positive results. But we wish you had told us some of what you 
have learned, and especially what you will change Sk% a result of being 

Forgive, Move On To Sometliing Better 

As time go by 

I think, I wonder, then I start to realize 

The girl I use to be vanished in thin air 

Everyday is a struggle to survive 

'Cause in this life you can go anytime 

2008 got beat with a pistol got drug by a car 

Got ran over 

Now look at me 

I'm behind bars 

But this time around 

I found the one 

But I don't know if he plays with guns 

He treats me like a queen 

Buy me diamonds show me things 

I'm his queen he's my king 

He treats me to the finer things 

Take me shopping at the mall 

Put minutes on the phone so I can call 

Together we gone to be forever 

Nothing can break us apart 

'Cause I'm his diamond and he's my star. 

-Shanae, Alameda 

From The Beat: This is a great piece - thanks for sharing with The Beat. 
Just keep in mind though that just because someone spends money 
on you doesn't mean they love or respect you. It doesn't mean they 
don't either, but make sure he can be there for you in more ways than 
I money. 

I M I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I M - 


I Well, first and foremost, I would like to give my most 
respect to the homeboys. This the homeboy G coming at 
you from the max unit. 
I Well, today, I'ma be writing about forgiveness. When 

I my homeboys let me down, sometimes I forgive them, but 
I never forget. And it depends on what they did for me to 
forgive them. 

One time I was betrayed was when I recently got 
locked up. I got locked up and somebody snitched on me. 
It's kind of messed up. I had respect for that foo'. I was 
coo' with him. He was kinda like family through family, 
or that's how I looked at it, even though I didn't know 
him for long. Well yeah, that foo' snitched on me, and it 
is kind of hard to deal with. But forget it, shhh happens, 
I responded in a messed up way 'cause I was hella 
mad. It messed up my relationship because now I say 
forget that foo'. I am facing life because somebody wants 
to go and run their mouth. But that's how shhh is. Some 
people are just afraid of these walls. And that foo's one of 

I those people. 
-Lir G, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Perhaps one day, ^s you mature, you'll realize that 
taking a life is the reason you've forfeited your freedom, and not that 
some foo' snitched on you. Until you get ii% angry at the crime that 
precipitated the "betrayal" Sk% you are about the snitch, you will miss 
something essential about your humanity. 

y/// // 

\ i i i r 

Stay True 

You may look at me and see 
The person you think I am 
Or who you want me to be. 

But looking into my eyes you can see differently, 
I'm not the misguided that you seem to believe. 
Seventeen-years old with no parents to be my guide, 
Just me and my sisters holding onto each other to 

No matter what I go through I know they will always be 

Listening supportively, letting me know they care 
Life is a struggle that you have to override 
Don't let anyone or anything take away your pride. 
Be who you are not who they want to be. 
Stay true to your heart and do your part 
To one day make them see 

That you were more than what they perceive to believe. 
I may be locked up but in my heart and my mind, I'm free. 
No one can take away your freedom to dream and 

So hold your head up go on and be strong and always 
remember this is just temporary one day you'll go home. 

-Sadisha, Alameda 

From The Beat: This is such a soul stirring poem. We icnow that 
sometimes parents aren't there for us but you're very lucicy to have such 
supportive sisters. Did you icnow that most people judge you by the 
way you iooic rather than who you really are? But it^ a very beautiful 
thing when you stay strong and true to yourself because so many Icids 
now lose themselves in the hype of fitting in. Have your sister's told 
you how you feel about you being locked up? If so, how did that make i 
you feel? I 


Veit, I loie Vii With All M) Heart 

What's really 'hood? It's ya boy, Tizzle, down here at the 
Ranch. Same ol' shhh. But, yeah, I been doing a lot of 
thinking 'bout my wifey. Man, I really miss her like crazy. 
We be talking 'bout hella shhh. She be telling me she 
want me to get out and do the right thing. I told her the 
only thing I could do is try. 

But sometimes I be havin' thoughts 'bout doing the 
right thing, 'cause a few years down the line I'm go' need 
a good job to support my family when I do have my kids. 
But, yeah, I really love my wifey. She hold me down when 
I need somebody to talk to. I could talk to her 'bout my 
problems and she understand where I come from. We 
relate on the things I bring up to her. 

But, yeah, I ain't go lie, I love her with all my heart. 
I truly think she the one for me and I'm the one for her. ■ 
We have our ups and we have our downs, but that's go' I 
happen in relationships. She really somebody special in 
my life, and I'm special in her life. When we, like, kinda 
old, we go' get married. 

But once I come home, we go' have a baby. I'm go' be 
there at all times. That's one thing we be talk about, and 
that's one thing I think 'bout every day. At first I wasn't 
go' have kids until I got with her. She the right one to 
have a baby with. But I got strong solid feelings for her. I 
really love her, and she know that, and I know she loves 
me, so when I get out I'm go spend a lot of time with her. 
I'm gone. One love. 

-Tizzle, San Francisco 

From The Beat: You're lucicy to have someone like this in your life, a true 
treasure you left behind by your own actions. But we urge you strongly 
to be with her for a while and to get yourself back on track (school, 
a job, etc.) before you bring another child into this world. There's no 
more difficult job than being a parent, so it's not something to do just 
because you and she love each other. Let your relationship grow slowly 
and naturally, and, meanwhile, finish school and get some real, legit 
work so you'll be able to support your family and feel the pride of 
responsible adulthood. 

In Jail 

In Jail where I never thought I"ll be. Sittin' in a cell ready 
to weep but I got to keep on going on with my life. Tryin' 
to accomplish something, it's only right. In jail where I'm 
sittin' for my crime I'm sittin' in my cell with nothin' but 
time. In Jail I wish somebody would have threw me a line 
so I could of caught on, now it feels like I'm dyin'. 

In Jail that's how it makes you feel then people sayin' 
you too hyper need to take these pills. In Jail where the 
white man makes money off us you have to be strong u 
have to be tough. Kids, adults on the basketball court, 
everybody plays rough you on the streets with yo heat on 
the corner where the white man want you to be gives you 
crack gives you weed sayin' I ain't gone get caught I'm 
gone do me fresh clothes new shoes on your feet dope 
in yo pocket ready grind, 5-0 hit the corner in Jail get in 
Line in Jail. 

-Young Boobie, Alameda 

From The Beat: Another powerful piece Boobie. We hear you working 
out the complicated issues and forces that bring people to jail. You 
have to fight back and not cooperate with this plan! Ultimately you are 
the creator of your life, even when the cards are stacked against you. 
What's the first step you can take to reclaim your life, and your self? 

To Go Hard Or Go Home 

What's up? It's Sleep. I been in here for a little bit now. 
I feel real stupid now I got myself here. I always walk up 
and down these halls very depressed. Coming here makes 
me feel like shhh. When I did what I did, I was going hard. 
I should have went home, but I wasn't thinking. I'm sure 
if I would have tooken a few more seconds, then I would 
have not done what I did. 

When I get out, I'm gone change my life and go to 
school and do my own thing and leave the thing the 
alone, you heard. Motivation plus determination equals 
achievement, and that's what I'm gone do — get out, get 
a legit job, and do my thang. So yeah, I'ma fall back, and 

-Sleepy, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We admire your determination to make the changes 
you Icnow you have to make if you want to move forward and be free. 
It^ not esksy, but neither is coming to lock-up esks^. Besides motivation 
and determination, we want to give you one more: attitude. As a friend 
recently told u%, your attitude will determine your altitude. 

How I'm Feeling 

Man, it's really getting phony in here. Staff starting 
to hate on me and my ninjas, but it's nothing. We gone 
handle that when we get out. I don't want to catch another 
case, but I'm feeling like "Forget it, fo' real. Plus I forgive 
for those who son I didn't do something to. 

If I can, I'll give all this up, especially these phony-ass 
girls. All they want is the D's. Then they want it from the 
enemy or who got they name out there. But that's just 

Yeah, I got two to three years, but the way I'm feeling 
right now ain't even cool, you hear me. Man, my ninjas 
keep coming back after saying they gone stay out. Man, I 
don't even know if I learned my lesson... 'cause this jail 
got me feeling worse, like I'll do it again. 

Catch me later. I'm gone. 

-Yung Rell, San Francisco 

From The Beat: You Icnow Yung Rell, if you think of all the people whose 
salaries depend on processing you through The System, then you'll 
understand why the system is prepared for you to go out and come back 
again. What the system is not prepared for is you finding the courage 
to take your part of the responsibility for why you are "feeling worse." 
Yes, the system is also responsible for how you feel, but you can only 
look at yourself Sk% skn agent for change, not the system. The system will 
not change. Can you? There are times in life when letting your brain 
overrule your heart is the right thing to do. 


y/// // 

\ i i I i i I i r 

\ i i i r 

I Have Given It 

I have given it all up 

My heart is empty 

And my spirit alive 

Feeling like giving up 

I write my feelings in The Beat 

Writing 'til the day I die 

'Til then, hoping not to mess up 

Trying not to weep 

Cuando pienso en ti (when I'm thinking about you) 

Life is messed up 

Also a trick 

Always tirando adelante 

Un dia espero albidarme de ti 

-Lavelle, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We can understand why you would feel like giving up 
sometimes. But feeling like it and doing it are two very different things, 
and we don't see you giving up for real. Each week you put it down for 
u%, and that tells us you are still very much a part of this world. You . 
have a future! I 

Sitting In My Cage 

Late last night, I sat and thought about why the judge 

gave me six months in this stupid program. 

I was already sentenced. There was nowhere to run. There 

was nothing I could do. 

I sat in my room in my Pod and found myself in deep 


Maybe it was a good thing that I was here after all. 

Maybe this is a good thing. I have a lot of work to do with 


They are going to send me to the other side to start my 

time so I wait patiently. 

-Juanita, Fresno 

From The BeatMt takes a lot of courage to look the actions we took 
which led to our incarceration. What did we do? Where were we? How 
could it have been different? What decisions or actions did we make? 
If we don't examine and acknowledge our actions then we will repeat 
them. We admire your courage. 

?iv.s I 

It Taiies A Lot To Gut A Song 

Sitting in my bedroom last night, I sat up and talked with 
my roommate about the music business like we always 
do. I currently intern at a recording studio engineering 
sessions. I've met a lot of people, seen a lot of things and 
been a lot of places, so I kind of know the business. I 
worked hard to get to that position, too. My roommate 
wants to be a rapper (he is good too) so we talk about a 
various amount of things, like what's a typical day like as 
a rapper, how studio time works, sound quality and all 
sorts of technical things. 

Before coming in this hellhole, I worked on a song with 
a local rap artist, and sat in multiple sessions with other 
artists. It takes a lot to make a song. It's hard work. I was 
talking to one of my patnas and he was like, "Ah bruh, 
it must be hella fun. You don't be doing nothing there, 
huh?" That's the funny thing, 'cause it actually takes a 
lot and goes through a lot of people just to make one song 
sound up to par — at least, four days to complete one 
good song. So I have talks with my roommate with the 
experiences I've had, things I've done, and the thing that 
I've been around. 

-Dan, San Francisco 

From The Beat: It sounds like you had a lot going for you before you 
put yourself in this "hellhole." We hope you are able to learn from this 
experience that the work you were doing out there and the things you 
were learning about the business are worth a lot more than whatever 
you gained from the behavior that got you here. (We know what you 
lost...) In any case, it sounds like you and your roommate are having 
some constructive discussions. 

Si(ip's Broadcast: Learning From The Past 

Young people, old people, the ones that cannot grow people! 
What's poppin', man? This the Fly Boy Skip holdin' this pencil 
down on this paper, while holdin' myself down in this hellhole. 

I'm 'bout to go knock this time out in Wyoming for six 
months its playtime really, so I'ma try to do it. 

But yeah, more than 100 years ago George Santayana wrote 
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat 
it." From my point of view I think what he meant by that is 
remember anything that you have done in the past because if it 
was wrong and you forget about it, you are bound to do it dX\ over 
again, and that's not a good look for anybody, man. Like if I went 
to jail for something really severe, and I just do my time and get 
out and not trip off it, I £im likely to do it again. 

-Skip Too Fly, San Francisco 
From The Beat: We hope you do more than just "knock your time out" in 
Wyoming, Skip. You are much too curious about the world to settle for 
so little. It's not play time, it's learn time. Learn »% much sk% you can. Soak 
in new experiences and new places so that you continue to grow. W% 
not just remembering our past that keeps us from repeating mistakes, 
it's also learning from our present. Remember that your attitude will 
determine your altitude, so be positive and soar high. 

Keep Ya Head Up |Twin| 

I can't remember, but I was told 

When I was two years old 

My mama started smoking dope 

And started playing with her nose 

I was taken from my moms 

An' put wit' my grams, 

Running around the courtroom 

The judge was like, "Dcimn 

Get a hold of lil' Twin, 

And please set her down" 

Growing up, ninjas stay smokin' in front of gram's house 

With the doors wide open, 

Running down he street 'cause I see my pops, 


An' when you get there, "Oh, shhh!" 

The cops, they hitting 'im all in the face, 

Even spraying him wit' mace 

Took out the joystick an' caught another damn case 

Beat 'im cill in his eyes, an' there ain't so surprise 

Until this day, my pops is 90% blind 


Ooh, child, things are gonna get easier 
Ooh, child, things will get brighter 
Ooh, child, things are gonna get easier 
Ooh, child, things will get brighter 

But that ain't stop 'im, my pops still a G 
Keep spittin' them raps, pops keep on makin' them beats 
'Cause you an' my grams just raised a hell of a beast 
So I moved to San Francisco an' ran into (Caprice) 
What? Who is she? A young version of me 
My lil' freakin' sister who she happen to be 
In, in-out the halls, running these TL streets 
I I'm so heavy on my grind, so respect my mind 
At 15 years and I made a hell of a dime (son) 


Ooh, child, things are gonna get easier 
Ooh, child, things will get brighter 
Ooh, child, things are gonna get easier 
Ooh, child, things will get brighter 

An' this is my sorry for all the things I did wrong 

When my grandma did her best to put me in a better home 

An' there was times I felt alone, 

Havin' nightmares that my big brother's gone 

'Cause a so-called friend put a nine to his dong 

My life is dead wrong 

-Mercedes, San Francisco 
From The Beat: How can you turn your considerable skills — your ability 
to turn pain into poetry — to your advantage? We know you don't see 
yourself SiS a prisoner in the future, so tell us what you see, and the 
path you see that will take you there. 


//// // 

To Forgive 

\ Every time I Go To Goort 

It takes time for me to forgive my friends/homies when 
they let me down because they supposed to be like family, 
they supposed to have my back. I felt betrayed by my best 
friend, she was supposed to be my friend 'till the end. We 
were so close I let her in. Into my home where me and my 
dude lived. 

She snuck behind my back to have an affair with my 
man, and she knew I didn't share. Gave him what he 
wanted, and didn't even care. I trusted her with all my 
heart, but what she did only made me see she wanted to 
be apart, forget what me and him had, me and her was 
fam. I thought it was a dream, but it wasn't. 

It was all cookies and cream, she was supposed to 
be my friend 'till the end, but instead she wanted my 


From The Beat: Betrayal by loved ones is probably the most difficult 
thing to forgive. Betrayal this deep takes more than "sorry" to regain 
the trust that was broken. We hope you've found other people in your 
life that you can trust, and that you hold on to them. I 


in iWy BedrooDi Late Last Night 

Late last night in my room, I was thinking about all 
these females on the outs who think we're together. I 
don't know what I'm gonna do. There's five of them, but 
three of them all live in the same city. Basically, I gotta 
make a plan because I'm gonna get caught up. 

When I was on the run, I somehow gave these broads 
the impression that we were in relationships. Now that I 
got caught up, they are all writing me and expect me to 
see them the day I get out. They all want to move in with 

I was in my room last night getting frustrated because 
these females all got something that's worth keeping. 
Three of them got a whip. Four of them got jobs and hella 
money. All five of them either job or a whip, or both. Three 
of them are squares. Two of them are dumbass crazy. 
If one of the hood females finds out about these other 
girls, they gonna get hurt. Basically, I think I gotta make 
a decision and pick the best one, but it's a hard decision. 
Life's tough. 

- Slick 

From The Beat: We agree life is tough. Which one do you have the 
deepest feelings for? We doubt that girlfriends can be chosen well 
based on who has more money or a car. We are glad, though, that you 
are being honest (aren't you?) and that you realize that it's probably 
best for everyone if you choose one. 

To Forgive 


It all started in high school and I was friends with Tanisha 
and her little sister Alisha. We was cool for hecka long, 
never had a problem or anything. We got into a little high 
speed chase one time and I ended up doing some ride or 
die friendship stuff. 

Me, her and her boyfriend was hecka cool until one 
day I went to his house and we was kicking it. Next thing 
you know he get a phone call and it's either Tanisha or 
Alisha saying "Anthony, this Teaira, I love you" and all 
that stuff not even knowing I'm next to him. I 

It was taking me awhile to talk to her until this day, I I 
will forgive her but we just can't be on the level we was on 
at first. 


From The Beat: Rebuilding trust takes time, it's not something you can 
rush. If your friend really cares about you and wants to make things 
right with you, they'll wait for you to get there. 

Every time I go to school, I get sweaty 

palms, rapid heartbeat. 

I can't even think what it's gonna be. 

Hopefully I will get out so I can show everybody what I'm 


People don't know what's going on in my dome. 

I want to be free. 

I want to be normal. 

I want one more chance in my hands. 

- Jamari 

From The Beat: We are very much looking forward to knowing more 
about what is going on in your dome and we hope you succeed in being 
your truest, best self. You'll get another chance. 

Tlie Fotore 


Sitting in my bedroom late last night, just thinking of 
my future. My future has been my biggest fear lately and 
I don't know how to overcome it. 

Sitting in my room late last night thinking about what 
my future holds for me. Being in the streets my future 
never was a big deal. All I ever thought about was what 
was happening at that moment. 

Now that I'm here my future is all I ever think of. Where 
would I be a few years from now, here or any institute for 
that matter. 

I cry to myself when I feel no one is listening, because 
I'm tired of being afraid of the life that lies before me. 

I I'm here because I want to change and stop being afraid 
of what might happen if I do this, or what could have 
happened when I did that. I want to know what my future 
has in store for me and the only way to know is to be here 
1. to get my thoughts together. And I thought it thru this 
^ or anyplace like it ain't for me, and I'm gonna do what it 
takes to make sure of it. 

I'm not afraid of my future anymore because I have 
goals and things to look forward to, and if being in here 
for the mean time, then that's what I'm willing to do to get 
my future in the condition I always wanted. I used to be 
afraid but not anymore. 


From The Beat: We're glad you're thinking about next steps and your 
future. Keeping the long term in mind is what's going to keep you out 
the hall. Just make sure you make this a habit - don't forget about the 
I future when you get out and become busy again. 

Being in Joveoiie Hail 

Being in juvenile hall sucks! The food is nasty, you're 
stuck in one room most of the day, people be yelling at 
you all the time for any little thing you do or forget to do, 
but mostly I miss my family and friends. They don't let 
you use the phone that much so you don't get to talk to 
a lot of people. 

This is my first time in juvenile hall. I've been in here 
for nine days but it feels like way longer, like I haven't 
been outside for a month. But now I realize how lucky I 
was before, how much I took for granted, just being able 
to go outside, hang out with my friends, to be able to talk 
on the phone for hours, to sleep in as late as I wanted, 
to eat what I want, when I want. But I guess it's true you 
don't know what you got till it's gone. I got court soon, 
hopefully they let me out of here 'cause now I know. 


From The Beat: It^ good you've learned your lesson, and we hope you 
never do come back. Learning to appreciate what you have, especially 
something like your freedom, is a really important thing to get in life. 




\ To Forgive 

When I get out I want to go to the beach and kick it all 

day. I want to go there because I'll be out and it will be 

almost summer. 

Also I could play football in the sand and kick it with 

my patnas and my family. It would be a good day because 

the beach has a clean scene and hecka females. 

-Lil' D 
From The Beat: This sounds like a beautiful day. What memories do you 
have of the beach? Did you go there with your family when you were 
young? With your patnas? 

Sitting In My Bedroom Late Last Nigiit x 

Last night I was just thinking about the outside world. 
Even though I've been locked up in this Juvenile Hall, I 
still have a life. 

So last night I was thinking about how I'm going to 
protect myself from this dangerous world that I have to go 
back to! Only thing I came up with is stay in school and 
go to college and make something of my life, than be like 
these busta azz jack jerks on the corner they whole life! 


From The Beat: That^ definitely a good start. If you stay away from the 
danger by keeping yourself occupied with positive things, you'll have a 
much better chance of being safe, and making something of your life. . 
It's all about who you spend your time with. I 

Lost Brotiiers 

I lost so many of my brothers within the last three 


Seen so many mamas cry so many tears. 

Gary, Donal, Jaee and Wayne. 

That's a couple of my brothers I lost to this game. 

I then lost a gang of boys on these streets in the war. 

- Brandon 

From The Beat: Brandon, we are so sorry you have lost so many loved 
ones. Do you have any ideas of how to end such violence? What can ■ 
change? What can each of us do? I 

I. I ain't ■ 


I forgave my brother for putting me in this place, 
tripping because he is my family, and the gang task force 
raided my house in Fremont. My brother had his stash of 
weed in my room. I couldn't snitch because that's against 
my religion. So now I'm looking at camp. I 

-M I 

From The Beat: Hey M, thank you for sharing this story. How did it 
feel when you took the blame for your brotherlE weed? Was there a 
part of you that wanted to tell the truth? Did forgiveness come to you 
automatically, or was it difficult to forgive him? We hope this is the last 
time you get put in this position.... 

Screw Forgiving 


When someone close to you let you down, some people 
forgive. Me myself I don't forgive anybody. Why? Because 
I feel that if you did something you know what you 
were doing, so in my opinion I don't forgive a soul, like 
especially if a ninja snitching or killed one of my family 
members or hurt them. I know I do stuff and karma can 
come back on one of my family members or someone I 
care about, but I still won't forgive anybody. 

-Krazy Dre 

From The Beat: Holding people accountable for their actions is 
important. But it does sound a little bit like you know you've betrayed 
others, and would expect their forgiveness, but you wouldn't do the 
same for them. Maybe we're misinterpreting what you're saying, but 
that^ definitely something to think about... 

If you can't forgive, how can you ask God for forgiveness? 
God's words are: 

Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be 
done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily 
bread as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead 
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen!! 

In other words, whenever you stand praying, if you 
have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your father 
in Heaven may also forgive you and your trespasses. 

- Flaco 

From The Beat: You make a good point, Flaco. Forgiving isn't esi%y. We 
are glad that you are so determined. Good luck. 


Today is my last day, 
a true and begotten day, 
never wish never yearn, 
my spirit just stay at bay, 
I'm with it you know I get it, 
ain't got it then I'm gone get it, 
I'ma cop it, I'ma flip it, get with it and I'm gone, 
stick with it, a duffle bad in my hand, 
L I'm the man, ten bricks in it, 
get it and I'm gone stick with it, 
hit it and I stay getting it. 


From The Beat: Mays, we wish you well. We hope you keep writing 
poetry and raps, and that you keep thinking critically. You are sat 
intelligent young man with real potential, so we hope you are speaking 
metaphorically when you talk about getting your 10 bricks... 

Sitting In illly Bedroom 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night I thought about all 
the mistakes I made in the life. From cutting school to 
smoking weed. 

Why did I do that, I want to succeed. 
I used to hit people and take all their money. 
Watching them scream and holler used to be so funny. 
Now I look back at it and it isn't funny at all. 
I asked God for forgiveness when I got locked up in the 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night 
I wanted to stab somebody with a butcher knife 

I but no... I want to change and that's not a good thing to 
I can't wait until I go home and see my boo! 


From The Beat: Wanting to change is half the battle - a lot of people 
will never change for the better because they don't see anything wrong 
with what they're doing. The next step is to figure out how. What do 
I you need to do to change? What does change look like to you? 

Give it Ali Up 

My life been bad decisions, most of it. 

I had to learn from my mistakes. 

Some of my mistakes I wish I had never experienced. 
Sometimes all I been through I want to give up - being in 
the hood. 

I want to give it all up. And selling drugs I want to give 

When I gave my life to God, I gave my bad ways up. I was 
getting tired of getting in trouble. 

- Marquise 

From The Beat: We know you didn't finish this, but we think this much 
is important to print! We hope you succeed in staying out of trouble! 
One step at a time. 


P4i^f 2^ 

In The Hall 

\ Can't Wait 

What's up Beat! I don't feel like writing on the topic so 
I'm just going to tell you what's it like up in the hall! 

This place is cold boring, and you can't have any fun. 
The staff is coo' but we only get to go outside for a little 

It's nothing like being at home, there's no family here 
for you to be with just strangers you don't know. 

I've been here for a month and a half already just 
waiting to go to camp. It's going to be at least another 
month then I do 6 to 9 months more. What makes it better 
in here is that I got my homies here with me. Doing their 
time trying to get back home. That's it for now. 

-Lil* Sticks 

From The Beat: Thanks for describing what being in the hall is like for 
you, especially for those readers who have never been where you are. 
Having good people around you (staff, homies) definitely makes things 
easier. DO your program so you do not return! Be smart! 

till I get out of being around all these dude. Can't come 
out my room when I want. Eating when they want us to 
eat. Go outside when they want us to go out side. That 
just aint me I know you feel me. 


From The Beat: We hear what you're saying and want you to be sure 
you've figured out what you need to do to never return. Have you? 

I I I I 

Get Out 

When I get out I'm never coming back here because I 
hate this place. And I miss my family members and my 
lil' sister and brothers. 


From The Beat: You need to figure out what you need to do differently 
in your life to make sure you don't come back. What changes do you 
need to make? Where do you slip? 


Intro: yeah, what's up with it this is just a little song I wrote, 
feel me, while on this 23-hour lock down. Been on it since 
11/12/08. Scope it out... 

I've been gone for a minute. I had to get my head straight 

I rose from the dirt resurrected from the grave 

the one who brought you solider an' bangin' is my 


another fallen casualty with too many tragedies 

blood flowin' down up on them streets, yeah, it's that 


everywhere it's all the same, people got guns an' got 


they dying for strive, but I'm dyin' to live 

'cause ain't nobody but me goin' struggle to feed my kids 

March, 25, 2006 you still in my memory 

rest in playadise and save me a spot for when I go, homie 

I'm pourin' out this forty an' a sheddin' bloody tears 

whoever thought this is what I'll become after all of these 


a poetic mind just like Professor Blackmind 

I'm from San Francisco, California, surrounded by 


still doin' time after all of these court dates 

been to camp, YGC, Stanislas, and Tulare County 

Alameda, Napa and Seneca Center couldn't hold me 

but that's part of the reason of why I'm so worthy 

Lil' Savage on the track 

whoever thought that was this soldado puttin' my lyrics on 

the map 

The dark comes to light after so much time 

people say I'm a gangsta, I just pour out my heart, when I 


that's straight from inside, so I know you feel this 

resurrected from the grave to spit an' rep for the realest 

Followed in daddy's footsteps, so like father like son 

it all started when under the couch I found that gun 

I took 'cause pops was in the county at the time 

at the time I was nine with only one thing on my mind 

was to be like daddy an' rep for my side 

pops got forty-to-life so now it was my time 

to keep my family's honor and also shine 

but let me take it further down my legacy 

I'm a nineties baby, a year after eighties ended 

born in El Salvador when the civil war was blazing 

Salvadorian an' Mexican Father 

Hawaiin an' Puerto Rican Momma 

eighteen years later Latin rap bomber 

take it a lil' farther, this latin civil war runs through my 


every generation got a member of my family as a thug 

but I'm a cholo, dickies or ben davis creased 

the veteranos is what influenced 

just let me be is what I tell my PO 

don't snitch, turn soft, or will ever become a DOA 

just keep on strivin', rep for my folks 

it's two sides to the game 'cause life ain't no joke 

The dark comes to the light after so much time 

people say I'm a gangsta, I just pour my heart when I 


that's straight from inside so I know you feel this 

resurrected from the grave to spit and rep for the realest 

A moment of silence to all of the fallen soldiers 

Now let me get back lacin' boots of these young recruits 

separate the real from the fake is what I'm 'bout to pursue 

down to do time in pen down to ride for yo cause 

down to hit that hole whenever duty calls 

you probably thinkin' I ain't never goin' hit the pen 

well you trippin' lil' homie, betta guess again 

ain't just 'bout sippin' Henn or sittin' on fours 

this new era is lost, don't even know what they bangin' for 

ain't no OG.s on the block, they all boxed up 

they either strung out on dope or in the pen locked up 

an' my generation crazy, we worse than before 

I gotta look both ways before I lock my door 

they see my tatoos, battlescars and the color of my rag 

Mission district police know my whole family now, ain't 

that sad 

Outro - yeah, just a lil' someting to think about. It's time 
to educate our youngstas, put 'm up on game, this war 
ain't ending anytime soon and that's real talk - look at the 
homeboys before us lookin' down on our generation talkin' 
'bout they got no heart or solid mind frame. We got to get 
this sewed up so they really can't stand us. 

- G-Shadow 

From The Beat: As for this song, it leaves us a little speechless, too 
moved for words. So we'll s^t^ what we've said before: 1)you have more 
choices than you know and 2) how are you going to help others find such 
strength in words? And, of course, 3) what if you were to put all this 
energy into ending the game, rather than playing it? 


//// // 

Let It Rain 

Verse 1: 

let it pour so I could conceal these tears 

never wept 'cause of joy 

never wept 'cause of fear 

they took my homeboy away 

March 25, 2006 was the day 

revenge is sweet but not so great 

it's grimy on my side of the bay 

too many losses too many casualties 

and to help me ease the pain I down a 5th of Hennessy 

I'm livin' up in misery 'cause they took a solid solider 

doin' donuts in the whip and bendin' corners 

Girbauds and throwbacks and thirty inch chains 

an' everytime he smiled gold teeth bling man 

I prayin' for better days but I still reminisce 

chillin' in the hood while stackin' chips 

ain't nothing changed except the new thugs that's here 

an' for the big homie in my heart, ain't but love here 

the whole hood sheddin' tears and was ready for revenge 

rest in peace chino, gone but not forgotten 

Chorus - repeat 2x: 

God why you couldn't take me 

I'm always on the run, always in them streets 

now I sayin' rest in peace an' I got too much pain 

so I could release my tears can you please let it rain 

Verse 2: 

as I sit in my cell I got hella frustration 

then my thoughts turn rotten unitl I'm contemplating 

why did you take my boy, why you couldn't take me 

I was ready to die, I was ready to rest in peace 

momma forgive me for the pain that I caused 

354 days strong behind these walls 

will I make it up to heaven, only time will tell 

at first I wasn't worthy, got casted down to hell 

I'm a soulja so I'm goin' rep the homie 'til I'm deceased 

and who ever tries to disrespect goin' to have to answer ^^ 

to me ^ 

It's been two years, three months and sixteen days you 

been gone 

my eyes are watery writin' for you this song 

it's kind of hard to say goodbye, so I won't say it that way 

rest in peace big homie, we goin' see you one day 

and when we met again, we goin' take our moment to 


drink in our Henny 'cause you wasn't into wasting liquor. 

Repeat chorus 2x 

Verse 3: 

deep sleep records gonna always be yo family 

I'm still pissed off just like yo brother P-Cee 

rest in playadise 'cause we got to get through this 

but now we ride and get this paper for your kids 

I remember the first day I met ya we blazed up the 


surrounded by big homies to who I pledge my respect and 


the older homie told me to mention that I know how to 


but now I'm pissed off because I never mentioned it 

I remember you told me to fight my brother 'cause he was 

talkin' mess 

an' also to prove our hood was the best over rest 

a true G to ever walk the mission district 

we miss ya 'cause you were the realest ninja that I knew 

so nothin' but the most love respect and loyalty too 

and when I got the phone call I couldn't take it, I just wept 

rest in peace, with much respect 

Dedicated to Chino, rest in peace homeboy, gone but not 

- G-Shadow 

From The Beat: What a great homage to a lost friend. Shadow. We hope 
this icnowledge and pain will motivate you to keep safe and do something 
with your life. Also, Happy Birthday! 


ito I 

Glad to Be Alive 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night, I was thinking 
about how I am going to change my life, how I am going 
make more money in many different ways. All I want is to 
go home and take care of my family and live like a grown 
man. Life with family, friends, and money is on my mind, 
so I am going to get it any way I can. 

- Kaulana 

From The Beat: Money is important, but so is being safe. So is building 
a future, slowly, carefully, legally. We worry that your good desire to 
take care of you family will lead you back to jail, where it will, again, 
be impossible to care for them. Be careful, be safe. Your family will be 
glad to see you everyday. 

Yeah when I get out no bad decisions I'm gonna get a job 
again and be with my lady and do good. I'm sick of being 
in here for wrong decisions and accidents. But I'm just 
glad to be alive and to have a lot of positive people to be 


From The Beat: That^ great you have positive people in your life. Good 
luck with your new job. We know many young men who have good 
relationships that help them make good decisions. 

I rela 

The Circle 



The youth in this year really don't fight anymore, 
everybody shooting people. These ninjas bootsy they 
all started poppin' pills and doin' shhh they wouldn't do 

These new generations don't know how to handle 
beef. The old school cats used to handle beef by chuckin' 
em but now everybody scared to fight right now! 

-Big Body 

From The Beat: Why do you think things changed this way, where people 
use guns so quickly? Are guns more available? Why would people be 
more afraid to fight now than in the old school? Do you think the pills 
make people prefer guns to fighting? 


I When it comes to forgiveness, God always test us as 

I human beings because God always forgive us, but when 

^ it comes to us forgiving others is the time when God sees 

what we do. So whenever someone betrays me, I turn 

to God and think of how many mistakes did I make that 

God forgave me for them. Then I instantly forgive that 

person, for example, my own brother had a set-up on me 

with police and the next thing I know, I got arrested and 

woke up in jail. Clearly, as the great man says, "what goes 

around, comes around." 

I -Brock Osama 

From The Beat: That sounds harsh being set up by your brother. Were 
you able to forgive him? Did something happen before that you feel 
came back around to this situation with you being set up by him? 


//// // 

Two Sides to the Game 

Verse 1 

got locked up back in '03 an' I thought I was shhh 

incarcerated for a murder case with a couple homies from 

the click 

but I soon found that not everyone is loyal 

an' not every vato stays true to the soil 

that was in the old YGC. unit B-1 

takin' off fools 'cause of funk an' just for fun 

spent a couple months locked down an' then got shipped 


to a placement with hella fools, so you know heads we 


so we was eliminatin' the drama down for my pride 

clicked up with a homeboy and he showed me the ropes 

chop it up for a bit an' come to find out he knew some of 

the folks 

so we made blood oath willingly to ride 'til we die 

an' down to watch each other's backs so like family together 

we would ride 

then one day came it was a full fledge riot 

seen my carnal get drop an' swingin' he wasn't even trying 

so I rushed 'm willin' to help that one I cared for 

then I hear a sucka talkin' 'bout my homeboy used to be 

one of them 

so in that point in my life I lost love and respect for him 

but I also did a background check to get my facts straight 

five years later I still reminisce 'bout how I lost a member 

of my family 

Chorus, repeat 2x 

everything ain't what seems so don't let illusions fool ya 

that's why I try to stay away from them hatas 

come up to me, better have yo facts straight 

'cause love and hate is two sides to the game 

Verse 2 

I lost a couple folks and lost a couple friends 

in return my heat turned cold in the end 

feel no remorse for a sucka, got no love for a chick 

they either snakes waiting to strike or gold diggers in the 


so I ain't got no friends, only family 

an' those who ain't blood-related got to prove that they 


never showed no mercy in the heat of a battle 

'cause most cats just up and go tattle 

and skiddaddle out of the town, leave everything behind 

send good homies up the river walkin' the main line 

you know we all shine 

an' if I had one wish it's for the buUshhh gone 

an' bring chino 'cause to you I dedicate this song 

'cause you was one of the illest an' realest in the game 

you are one of the reasons why I started to rap 

through me your legacy is goin' live on an' that's a fact 

jealous an' vicious is the two sides I can't trust 

I know them money orders ain't enough 'cause my pops 

and tio is still stuck 

an illusion can never let it blind what reality is 

come up to me, betta have yo facts straight 'cause it'll cost 

ya to cross us like bridges on the bay 

Chorus, repeat 2x, 

It's two sides to the game, which one you on? It's time to 
choose, don't get left in the dust. 

- G-Shadow 

From The Beat: There is such esitne%%ne%%, in this piece. Yet, it's not too 
clear what you are striving for. In our experience, relationships, whether 
with friends or family, require some forgiveness. Maybe a lot of forgiveness. 
You are on some solid ground, with your flow and your rhyme and your 
understanding. Isn't it easier to forgive when you are "solid?" 

Homicide Rate 


I think the homicide rate is increasing because peopl 
are money hungry and there's a lot of robberies gone bad. 
I think pills have a lot to do with it because pills make 
ninjas hella mad and do stupid stuff. 


From The Beat: Others agree with you that pills are making people make 
worse decisions now. How about you? Do you pop pills, and if so do 
you intend to stop? What gets you caught up? 


^5^ 1 
got I 

Life is crazy in a lot of different ways, people come they 
go never stays they get a job work so they can get paid g 
to feed they family everyday. Gotta have concentration 
like a chess game when Life gets hard you gotta keep 
your head up even when you fed up with Life. 

Life sometimes it can be nothing nice, some people 
all they got to eat is rice. Can't pay the bills so they don't 
have lights, can't take baths no water and Life just get 
harder and harder. Momma on drugs Daddy is too so you 
got to go rob and steal fo new shoes. Life sometimes it's 
just not right tryn to drown you but you gain yo height, 
but when that time comes no mo Life. 

-Young Boobie 

From The Beat: Another good piece. We like this style of writing you're 
doing, focusing on one issue and looking at it many different ways. We 
notice though that everything here is really hard. We acknowledge that 
all you %9!^ is true, yet we also see you smiling a lot. We wonder what 
keeps you going in life? What is good about life to you? 

Glianges: Sitting In My Bedroom Late Last Nigiit 

Late last night I was thinking about making an ultimate 
change. I was thinking that the only way I can make that 
happen is if I stop doing some of the things I was doing 
before, and stop kicking it with the whole same crowd of 

Talking with my brothers and sisters on the phone 
now I know what I want, and barely getting to talk to my 
dad because he's mad at what I did. I know myself since 
day one that I wasn't going to get any visits from no one 
and that is also one of the reasons I want to change my 

I am going to lose lots of friends but it is something 
that I am just going to have to do if I really want to change. 
I'm not going to lose a lot of things but I'm going to get 
my family back to be able to be together, have good days 
together like old times, and get me out of here. 


From The Beat: It's hard letting go of things you're so used to, especially 
people. But you know what you need to do to do right by you. You may 
lose some friends, but you'll gain some family. Not such a bad thing! 

Ya Touch 

Sittin' in my bedroom last night 
Tryna remember what ya touch feel like 
It ain't no secret I been gone for awhile 
ya Brighten up my day wif jus one smile 

From The Beat: This is a great beginning... 



//// // 

Givin Thanks 

\ ' Still Cool Wit Him 

I would like to say thanks to the lord, then my family for 
not ever accusing or turning their backs on me. I know 
I did a lot of things when I was a knucklehead, but to the 
lord and my family all of that is dead. 

That's why I would like to say thanks to the lord and 
my family, because you were the ones who really could 
understand me. I couldn't understand myself and that's 
where I went wrong. Ya'U always had my back that's why 
I'm givin' thanks up in this song. 

When I said my potnas were my friends, ya'U would 

say they were not-if I keep hangin' out with them I'm a get 

killed or get knocked. I would like to say thank you for 

all that ya'U done because when I get out this time ya'U 

gonna see the change in ya'U son. Thank You. 

From The Beat: This is a beautiful statement of gratitude and intention 
for the future. Share this with your family, and walk it. 

Give it All Up 

I want to change my life around and get back on the 
right path of changing my life around and getting more 
freedom. Because that is not the life when you're coming 
in and out of jail. But always remember that block you be 
on is always going to be there and that gang you're in is 
always going to be here, but your life is not going to live 
as long as your block/gang is. 

So you got to make a choice. Because my block is 
still going to be living even when my kids get my age. So 
pick your life now and live it because that block and gang 
claim is still going to be in you forever. So live your life! 
RIP to my big brother Miguel. 

-Lil* Miguel 

From The Beat: You're writing is a little bit confusing - you %9^ that 
you should live your life because the street will be there forever. Are 
you encouraging people to live the street life? Are you suggesting 
people should stay away because the streets go on with or without you, 
without a second thought? Be more specific! 

Memories are Harmful in Here 

I was sitting in my bedroom last, and reading my book 
All of a sudden I started going back in time reminiscing 
about a time I was on the outs. Damn, memories 

are harmful in here, it makes me feel very bad. I have 7.5 
month locked up and I miss my family, my friends write 
me and say that they miss me. It breaks my heart to know 
and to see my mom cry. 

-Sad Boy 

From The Beat: What were the memories that you were having? Does 
it hurt you to think back on your good memories, or does it sometimes 
give you comfort? What about just knowing that in %eMen months 
you will be home with your family. Are you focusing on that, are you 
preparing for it? 



Money and Power 

I think people is killing people because it's cause 
money and power. People want power they want to get 
money and die trying and that's it. 

People want to live the rich life like me, I got a dream 
to go pro in the NBA. I want my son to live his dream, not 
mine ya dig. 


From The Beat: We wish you success with your dream and hope you are 
practicing every chance you get. Money and power seduce people and 
sometimes they forget what they really love trying to get it. We're glad 
you want your son to live his dream, he'll need your help! 

I had a conflict with one of my patnas one day. We got 
into an argument about something and we started fighting. 
When we was finished we started walking. Only cause he 
was my patna we were cool after we was chunkin 'em. I'm 
still cool wit him. 


From The Beat: We think it^ good you made it through this conflict 
without Sknyone doing more damage. What if one of you had a gun, do 
you think either of you would have used it? In the Beat piece this week 
titled "2008" they say that nowadays people are afraid to fight, and 
that people don't fight because they're poppin' pills etc. Were you guys 
sober when this happened? 

To My Mama 

I would like to say thanks to my Mama 

always got my back through all my drama 

that's a must cause that'a a mother's job 

gonna have her child back till her body drop 

My mama got my respect to the good, good fullest 

and when I get in trouble she tell me it's the end of the 


I love my Mama forever with all my heart 

ain't nobody gonna ever tear us apart 

The only one that can do it is God 

but whatever happens, happens but she gonna be my 


I don't with nothin' bad to go wrong 

but I love my Mama to death 

so I mention her in the song. 

-Lil* Rolo 
From The Beat: We're sure she'd appreciate this tribute, have you 
showed it to her? 

Switcii it Up 

It would be hard for me to give everything up because 
I'm so used to these streets I've been in them my whole 
life, feel me. 

But it looks like I'm going to have to switch it up 
because I'm finna be 18, a grown man so I'm tryna get my 
grown man up, feel me? Get me a 9-5 job, be able to do 
something good wit my life. 


From The Beat: We respect that though you're used to the street life 
you've decided to change. We think it may be hard, but worth it! Make 
good plans, work on your skills while you're locked up. You can do it. 

A Good Staff Helps 

Sitting in my bedroom last night I thought of a lot of 
things. I thought about me getting out and being with 
my family. And try to change my life. But it's not easy 
stopping what you doing. Lots of people can't stop what 
they doing because they go broke and people these days 
don't like bein' broke, other do it to feed the family. But 
you can make a difference in your life, just have hope. 

A couple of weeks ago I didn't really believe in God, 
but when I prayed to Him, He helped me a lot. Now I do 
believe in God, that's what's helping me get through these 
days and with the best staff in jail it's all better. Special 
thanks to the staff, Smitty, T-will, Ms. Vaughn, Fig, and 
Johnson. Much love. 


From The Beat: We're glad you get along with staff - having that support 
probably makes being there a lot better than it could be. And while it 
is hard to change your lifestyle, that doesn't make it right. Usually the 
hard stuff is the most important to do. 


//// // 

Learning From The Past 

\ Sitting in ifly Bedroom 

On July 5, 2008 I came to jail for the first time. I came in 
here for robbing a man. Even though I knew it was wrong 
and I paid the consequences I spent a month and two 
weeks in this hellhole. 

Now I'm back and I already been in here for two weeks 
and the reason I'm in here again is because I beat up this 
older guy because he bumped into me. 

So yeah I guess I didn't learn from my past by not 
coming in here. So I'm telling you this because I'm asking 
you to pray for me to get out of here. 


From The Beat: Do you think beating up the older man was worth going 
to jail for? Just for him bumping into you? In life you have to learn not 
to use violence for everything. If you keep thinking that way you're 
going to be fighting your whole life and going in and out of jail. Think 
of your actions and is this how you want to continue to live your life? 
I We will pray for you. I 

I I I I r 

1 I I I I I r 

I I \ I r 


Sitting In Tiie Hail 

Sitting in the hall late last night 

Imagine mama saying what's it gonna take for this boy to 

do right 

Future fading away soon to be out of sight 

They say you can't win every fight 

I'm going to make sure like yay I'm going to go my 


Like a Barry Bonds homerun I'm going to go my farthest 

Out of the hall turn my life around so a ninjas can ball 

Life up the tree and rise above it all. 


From The Beat: Good poem. You can rise above it. This is a temporary set 
back. Live and learn and it sounds like you got your mama by your side. 
Continue to think positive and good things will happen. 

Tn Forgive, It Depends 

It depends what my homie does when he lets me down. 
Some things I can forgive but some I can't. Someone I 
once respected always told me stay away from drugs. 
Then one day I found out he was using cocaine. I lost all 
my respect for him. 

After that I started smoking weed. And I've been 
smoking ever since. Our relationship didn't change I just 
lost my respect for the guy. I guess I was hurt that's why I 
started smoking and after reading this I realize that I have 
to stop smoking, so I quit. 


From The Beat: You stopped being friends with your homie because 
he started using drugs? Then you turned around and started smoking. 
Sometimes our friends need advice and need for us to tell them how we 
feel. Maybe things would of turned out different, they still can. 

Prnblems With Drugs 

One day I'm going to go to the park to smoke some trees 
and I gave him the money the day before last. So I waited 
and my friend didn't come so I left. When I saw him on the 
street a month later. I said, "where you been?" he said he 
locked himself in his room for three weeks. 

I told him you still got my money he said to tell 
you the truth I use drugs. I looked at him with a mug and 
he told me that's what he spent my money on. I turned 
around and walked away. 

-Lir Roro 

From The Beat: By your friend telling you he uses drugs could be a way 
of asking for your help. People get heavily addicted to drugs and end 
up lost and need someone to help them get out of their ugly situation. 
What if you were in his shoes? 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night I think about when 
I'm going to go home. I'm stuck here today praying but it 
didn't work. 

I'm getting sent away again, but God is keeping me 
safe, that's the good thing. I wish I could be at my house 
chilling but it's not going to be for a while. 

I've already been away for 8 months but that was all a 
waste now I have to start over. I want to go back into time 
when I was a little kid playing video games not in a cell 
with four walls closing into you or getting sent to a place 
where every mistake you do, you get in trouble. Life is 
hard but you have to go along with it. 


From The Beat: You bring up a really good point - the law is rarely 
forgiving. If you make a mistake and your parents find out, they're 
more likely to let small stuff slide. But if the cops find out, you don't 
get that leeway. That's a good thing to remember when it comes to your 
actions inside and outside the house. 

Tailing Words into Consideratinn 

I have a friend by the name of Jasmine. Now we have 
been good friends since the 6th grade. 

Now since we have gotten older we're not as close as 
we used to be but it's like every time I really need her, 
she's always there for me. 

I've been in this relationship for nearly four years 
and its had its up's and down's. Now I have been in a little 
trouble lately and she has been really upset with me. I 
got in trouble and ended up in jail and she was really 
disappointed in me. 

When I was finally released they put me in a group 
home and I ended up running. Every time I needed her 
Jasmine was there. Well, I ended up missing court and a 
warrant was sent out. 

I called Jasmine in a panic and I told her that I didn't 
want to go back to jail. She told me, from a real friend 
point of view, how she cared and loved me and was just 
so worried about me and where my life was headed. 

I was sitting alone one day and just started to think 
about all the stuff I was putting myself and my friend 

Well, the next day I ended up turning myself in. I'm not 
so happy about it but now I have a better understanding 
of life itself. 


From The Beat: Sometimes we worry the people we love more than we 
worry ourselves! We're happy to hear that you're on the road to doing 
better and we know that you'll work hard to stay on that road. Have 
you spoken to your friend since then? Did she have a large impact on 
you turning yourself in? 

My Friend's Girl Was Taicen 

One day when I was at home late at night. My friend's 
^ girlfriend, who stayed up stairs from me, came downstairs 
to my house and I took her to my room. 

But my friend found out and he was mad at me for a 
couple days. But I talk to him and he forgave me. Then the 
girl said she didn't want to go with him no more because 
she was sprung off me. 

He got mad again at me but I was like oh well it ain't 
my fault. She said I had more swipe then him. Then he 
forgave me after a couple days because he got a new girl 

I now. But I took that one too. 
From The Beat: They ssiy what goes around comes around. Taking your 
boy^ ladies isn't cool. What if one of your friend^ takes your girl and 
you really liked her? OK! 


PJSf 1/ 

Two Females 

\ Look Now, I'fli Gooe 

What's up with it Beat, this is yo' boy Kash Money from 
Oakland, and I'm still locked up in Camp Sweeney, and 
I've already been here for a cool ass night. I'm just waiting 
for my release so I can get out of this place because it's 
hella stressful here. 

Well my last weekend was on the outs was cool, 
because I found a new female at a party, and she's hella 
pretty. Well the next day I was asleep. I don't know how 
she got my number but she asked me out and I said yes, 
and I don't know why I said yes, but I just didn't know 
what to do, because I got this other female that I like and 
her name is Jackie. I'd rather be with her, because she 
is hella pretty, and hella fine and she's hella solid, she is 
the solidest female that I know and I ain't gonna let her 
go 'cause she likes me hella and I like her hella too. 

-Kash Money 

From The Beat: We're not gonna lecture you on juggling women, you're 
still young and not married, but whatever you do, we hope you show 
respect to both of these girls by being honest with them about how 
single you are, because lying to either one of these girls is what could 
make you lose both! 



My true inspiration is a band called "Allesana". I 
Love them! Search them up and listen to the song 

"Sweat drips in my eyes, screams of lust we cry, 
tonight you are everything, you're everything to me..." 
Yes it is Screamo but it's true inspiration. 


From The Beat: No matter what genre it is, music can always be 
inspirational. Do you think that you would ever be interested in writing 
your own music? 

tins Scare le 


I never held a gun but I seen one. It wasn't too long 
ago. When I think about guns it scares me especially the 
sound of it. 

Yes, I do believe we should have guns in our 
communities to keep it safe for a good reason not bad. 

No, I don't want my child to pack a gun, it's not safe 
for youth at such a young age. 


From The Beat: Who do you think should be allowed to have guns and 
what age should a person get one? 

1 TT 

\\ I i r 

av I 

A Day ifl The Hood 

What's up Beat? I'ma take you on a tour of every day 
struggle through my hood. 

First I wake up after a long night on the spot, kickin' 
it with my folks, getting' drunk. I get up and take a trip 
down the main to see who's out. Every block I pass I meet 
up with another homie as we get deeper and deeper. 

We stare down everyone we pass to let them know 
who runs the block . On the way to the liquor store to get 
a swisher, we see a car full of people I don't recognize so 
I throw up the set to let them remember where they at. 

They keep driving as I tell my homies, "They know 
what time it is." After smokin' a blunt, we call up some 
people to see where it's crackin' fo' the night. 


From The Beat: We're looking forward to hearing more about your 
life on the streets. So far it seems like you're living for today, but not 
tomorrow. Do you see yourself in this same position ten years from now, 
or do you have a different vision for your future? 

What's up Beat, it's yo' boy Bugsy. I'm just writing to 
say that I'm doing good in Camp Sweeney. And I'm just 
coo' right now, because I just started going home. I used 
not give a shhh. but I would like to say that I am almost 
halfway done with my program. 

When I first got here, I was going to run, but my boys 
were telling me, don't run, and look you'll be gone in a 
minute. To everyone locked up, be cool, I'm out. 


From The Beat: Congratulations on feeling better about yourself, 
your program, and your life. It's good that you changed your attitude, 
because when you think about it, if you don't give a ... about your life, 
who else will? 

I whi 

Really Mad! 

Sitting in my bedroom last night in juvenile, I was 

thinking about calling my PO so she can send me home 

on GPS. But these stupid staff police that watch us kept 

doing hella much saying stupid stuff. 

They won't even let me call, so I can be released. I was 

hella mad but I couldn't do shhh about it. I'm still mad. I 

hope to get out of here tomorrow and go home. 

-Lil' C 
From The Beat: Incarceration can get very annoying especially since 
they can tell u% what to do, and all control is forever taken. If you get 
out, what are you going to do to not come back? 

Pigs Feet 

I I 

My mom and grandmother like to eat pig's feet. They 
both told me they grew up eating it. I guess eating pig 
feet runs on my mom's side of the family. I tried eating 
it before but every time my mom cooks I think it's going 
to taste nasty because of the way it smelled. They cook it 
mostly on holidays. 

Another weird food I don't like is mayonnaise. I'll eat 
ketchup or mustard but I won't eat mayonnaise. I have 
tried it before (unlike pig's feet) but it's the taste and 
look, plus the smell of it. Every time I tried to eat it I 
felt like throwing up. I tried it on my sandwich, tuna and 
even when my mom put in in her potato salad. I just don't 
understand! Everyone in my family loves them some of 
that on almost everything they eat. But like people say, 
everyone is different... 


From The Beat: Too true, everyone is different and we can understand 
your dislike of mayonnaise and pig's feet. Do you think that when you 
are older you will like these foods more? 


//// // 

You Win!!! 

I give, 

You take 

I'm real, 

You're fake. 

I love. 

You don't. 

I commit. 

You won't. 

I need. 

You don't give in. 

I lose. 

You win. 

...Never Again. 


From The Beat: So few words, and yet such a clear feeling of love and 
anger. We bet anyone who has ever fought for love and lost (and we all 
have, at least once, haven't we) will feel you 1 00 percent. 

A Lot A Lot A Lot 

Hey what's up Beat? Today I am going to talk about how 
bad I want to go home. 

Damn, I want to go home hella bad, I need to be with 
my family and my girlfriend. I haven't been with them for 
four months. I really miss them a lot, but when I be with 
them, I am NOT going to get separated from them again. I 
am going to do right because I really want to go home and 
not come back. 

I miss my girlfriend a lot, a lot, a lot - what you call: A 
lot. I been going out with her for almost four years already, 
so I really love her and want to be with her so I am hoping 
to see her soon. Wow, that's about it for today. 


From The Beat: Four years! That^ a long time. We can feel all the love 
and determination coming out in this piece... love for your girl and 
family, determination to make your life better. Are there things you can 
do starting now, in camp, to help make things easier for you when you 
get out? 

One Change 


I forgive but never forget. Through the years, I learned 
that trust is an important thing and if you give it to the 
wrong person then you could get back stabbed in the 
back and messed over. 

I only give people one chance and if you mess it up 
man, no second chance but I still forgive. But you ain't 
never getting my trust again. Why I'm hella strict 'bout 
this? It's just how it is. 

-Vietnamese Kid 

From The Beat: What if someone gave you their trust and you messed 
that up. Would you want them to forgive you? Sometimes people make 
mistakes but if they do it over and over it is hard to trust them and i 
think to your self is it worth it. I 

This Ain't the Life 

What's up Beat? I been away from home for a bout ten 
months. I have no one to blame but one person: Myself. 
But I found two people. One person who could get you out 
of anything: God. 

The other is myself. I am going to stay out of jail. 
Because Juvenile Hall is over for me. I get out in eight 
days. But for the ones who think that this is the life, it 
ain't. Change it or you will hurt more than yourself. 

-Gone Bad Reese 

From The Beat: There is a lot of positivity and hope in this piece, plus 
wisdom too. It reminds of that saying "God helps he who helps himself" 
Do you believe that is true? 

Thinliin' Ahout Loved Ones 

What's up Beat? I want to talk about inspiration. The 
person who inspires me is my girlfriend. She inspires me 
to be a better person, because when I do illegal things 
or violate probation, or I end up in jail, she is the first 
person I think of. 

I know I should think of her beforehand, but that's 
where I mess up... when I'm sitting in my room, she is 
the person I think of and I start regretting my actions 
because I miss her a lot. I've been to the hall about 9 
times and it sucks that I can't listen to my own advice. 

To all the first and second timers to the hall, here's 
my advice. Think about loved ones before you do anything 
illegal, you know. And I bet you won't spend as much 
time as I have in the hall. That's all I got for ya Beat! Over 
and out! 


From The Beat: You have been doing some deep thinking in here - and 
you touched a truth about losing what we love. ... we forget we love 
it until we lose it. Is this only about your girl, or is it also about other 
parts of being out: The wind on your face, the chance to buy a taco, 
everything there is about freedom that we take for granted? Is it human 
nature to forget our blessings until we lose them? Or is there something 
we can do to learn how to treasure what we have, in the moment? 

To Forgive 

To forgive is a big step in being in here. When you forgive 
people that brought you here you start to feel better and 
start to cope with being here. 

For the first week I was here, I hated the cops that 
arrested me, and the judge who detained me. But when I 
forgave them my time in here started going faster. When 
you realize that it's your fault that you're in here, it's 
easier to forgive and forget. Peace out Beat I'm going 
home tomorrow. 


From The Beat: Your right people go to jail because of there own 
actions. The Police and the judge are just doing their job. So being mad 
at them isn't going to get you anywhere. Good luck with going home. 

To Forgive 

It's been a couple of times in my life I had to forgive one 
of my ninjas. For all me and my ninja did something back 
in the day. Then I didn't get caught but he told them I was 
involved. Then I got charged with extra charges. 

It took a lot to forgive him but eventually I forgave him. 
But every now and then I still look at him like can I trust 
this dude or not. In the back of my mind I think I can't 
trust him. 


From The Beat: Most of the time it^ good to go with are instincts. Maybe 
your friend was scared and told on you. Just go with your feelings but 
don't lose a friend if it isn't worth it. 

\ Not Forgive 

.« I I One day I was 

One day I was with my friend about to go to a party and 
one of my friend's called his girlfriend. They came and 
seen him we was about to go to a party but he had catted 
on us. 

The next day he did the same thing. He made us follow 
him. He wanted us to forgive but we didn't. We stopped 
being his potna. 

-Lil* Dada 

From The Beat: Yea, it isn't fun when people ditch you especially more 
then once. Maybe he felt embarrassed to tell you he wanted to spend 
time with his girl. To stop being friends with someone is hard and you 
might end up regretting it in the long run. Wouldn't you want to talk it 
out with your friends? 



I'm Thinkin' 

What's happenin' with The Beat? You know me, livin' 
to the fullest, ya dig. But I'm going good going through 
it. But I'm good. They ain't tryna let me go. They act like 
they can't give a thug another chance. 

I'm in this thang thinking 'bout my girl. She say she 
holdin' me down out there. But I got a feeling she not. But 
it's my fault coming to jail, but all I can't say. 

For you thugs out there locked up thinking 'bout 
your girlfriend, keep yo' head up. And don't love no 
breezy because she gone get you and rap you. When that 
happens, when you in jail, it's all bad. But I'm gone. 


From The Beat: Keep thinking, but get deeper. If you don't do things 
that lead to places like this, then you won't have to worry about 
someone rapping you... 

Ain't No Forgiving 


Aabout this forgiving shhh, I hope my people I hurt that 
care about me forgive me, but as far as ninjas on the outs, 
they seem like they holdin' grudges, fo' real. My homie 
beat a ninja' ass and he ain't forgiving him, so it's looking 
like the streets gone keep holding grudges. I'm gone. 

-The Shotty Ninja 

From The Beat: Have you ever asked to be forgiven? Who did you ask? 
Has anyone ever asked you to forgive them? Whether the streets hold 
grudges or not, what about you, personally? How does holding a grudge 
affect what you do or don't do? I 

M]f Famiijf Gonoa IMiss A Ninja 


What's good with The Beat? This your goon, J.O. You 
know me! So what's poppin' on the outs? This Ranch ain't 
the code. Right about now Christmas comin' up soon. My 
family goin' to miss a ninja. It's cool. I be back in a few 
months, you know, from finishing fifteen months. 

I learn from the past. When one of the homie's purpose 
to snitch, that makes me vicious, because you don't know 
who goin' to snitch. 


From The Beat: We're sorry you had to spend your Christmas here, and 
that you family had to spend it without you. But we're wondering 
whether the lesson you "learned" from the past will really help to keep 
you at home with your family when you get out of here. Yes, you will 
be back in the warmth of your family's love soon, but that's the esis,^ 
part. The hard part is staying out. What do you plan to do to accomplish 

Reai, But Giieci(eil 


I went to sleep real 

Woke up reala 


Ex drug deala 

Resume silent 

Street credit bigger 

Click full of soldiers 

I neva seen one 

I'm what they call a real ninja 

Pocket full of cash 

Body full of liquor 


From The Beat: Why are all the "real ninjas" we read about locked up? 
We guess this makes ninjas like President-elect Obama fake? 

Hard Situation 

It's hard to beef wit' a ninja you don't know shhh about. 
A ninja like me, I keep all my business lower than flat 
tires on a scrape. But I actually like when a ninja don't 
take me serious, 'cause then when you get on 'em, the 
ninja'U neva know what to do next. Like, fo' real, if y'all 
gon' beef, at least make everything you do count. 

I ain't wit' all that drive-by shhh. If anything, I'm 
hoppin' out an' let a ninja try to run. I'm too fast. And 
trust me, you will be mad you can't get away, but a good 
thing about speed is playin' football. That what I wanna 
do. But the hard situation is the streets. How can I do the 
football shhh if I'm beefln'? 

-Cam D 

From The Beat: The short answer to your question is: You can't play 
football and beef at the same time. You have choices to make, that you 
can't avoid. If you choose the path you've been on, you'll end up with 
the same consequences you're experiencing now. If you pursue football 
(which means pursuing school), you will put yourself on a much better 
footing for a decent future. But you can't choose both without splitting 
yourself up the middle. You have a calm core, courage, kindness and 
especially humor. These are great strengths, but it's up to you to put 
them to a good cause. Then you can use your own time, energy and 
talent to scrimmage on the football field. 

Tlianlcsgiving, Giiristmas And New Year's 

George: On Thanksgiving, we wake up, clean up, eat 

breakfast and do nothin'. Then we eat dinner and do 

nothin'. The Friday after Thanksgiving comes, we wake up 

and do nothin'. On Thanksgiving, we had watered down 

turkey soup for dinner, look-alike stuffing with raisins in 

it, fake cornbread, no mashed potatoes, no candied yams, 

and no cranberry sauce. How you gonna have stuffing 

with raisins? 

Chris: We had raisins for all three meals on Thanksgiving — 

breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Jordan: On Christmas, we won't get home passes. We 

never get home passes. Our family can come up here on 

rotation. If there's ten guys up here, we get a family visit 

once every ten weeks. If there's eleven guys up here, our 

family can come up here every eleven weeks. That's all. 

Lil' Rob: They used to get home passes, but they wrecked 


Jordan: We don't even get phone calls for sure. Sometimes 

we do. 

Chris: They decorate Christmas trees to make us feel 

bad. When we say we want to be with our families at 

Christmas, they say we all family. 

JT: Their idea of Christmas is putting Christmas lights 

on a tree. 

George: We've got three trees with no presents under 

them. I've never seen a Christmas tree with no presents 


Young Cam: Guess what we're gonna do on Christmas? 


Chris: They said they gonna make us run two miles on 

Christmas. We're supposed to be with our families. We 

don't have no field trips no more. The last field trip we 

had, we walked down the hill and ran back up. 

Young Cam: Guess what we're gonna do for New Years'... 


-Chris, JT, Cam, Jordan, George, Lil* Rob 

From The Beat: Well, at least the six of you can turn a bleak holiday 
at the Ranch into a funny (not so funny) description for Beat readers. 
Your sad description of the NOTHING that happens on Christmas, etc., 
should spur you into making some changes — the kind that mean you 
won't have to be locked up again, the kind of changes that lead to a 
truly "Merry Christmas" at home with your families. 



Out An' Dangerous 

This yo' boy Curt Co-B, hit you with the no braina! I'm 
back in this shhhhole once more. But hopefully not long. 
They got a ninja on a weak-ass warrant. I go back to court 
on the 18th. I'm tryna get out before Xmas hopefully. 

They mess with me, but for that time I was out, my 
name been ringing bells. I been touching shhh, but ain't 
body shhhh. 

But that's all gone change when I touch down and 
cause hell this time.. But y'all know what's going down 
with these ninjas. I ain't gone say too much about that, so 
until we meet again, stay up. 

-Curt Co-B 

From The Beat: We hate seeing you back here, but Si% long sk% you 
continue to see the world in terms of u% and them (the cops are "them," 
the "enemies" who are some steps and blocks away are "them"), you will 
keep coming back, maybe not to YGC but to some other place, just as 
bad or worse. It's a no braina! You're doing what you were taught to do, 
so we have to ask: do you have the courage it takes to do something 
unexpected, something that will move you away from the violence and 
toward a decent life in freedom? You have the brains for it, but do you 

What's up Beat Within? I remember when I got 
backstabbed. My homie was talking crap behind my back, 
so what I did was beat his ass. Every time I see him, I beat 
his ass. Since that happened, I don't trust people. He was 
my best homie. Not no more, though. 


From The Beat: We're sorry your friend double-crossed you, Snaxx. What 
did he get out of this betrayal? (As long as you're doing things that 
someone else can benefit from talking to the cops about, you won't be 
truly free.) 

Stupid Mnves 

have the heart for it? 


Staring Intn The Future 

Staring at myself in the mirror, I see a beast 

Can't express the situation so my mind is in the streets 

I feel caged in my mind 

It's like my flow doin' time 

It's going crazy inside 

But when it comes out it's fine 

But its not, so I hope it gets better with time 

Went to court, judge might give ya bruh six years 

My mind's in a state of flux so it ain't really clear 

And there's a grim outlook so right now that's my fear 

I should've thought of that when I instilled that fear 

So again, I see myself looking in the mirror 

Can't express the situation so my mind is in fear 

-Young Scooby 

From The Beat: You closer in that mirror and put the image into the 
future. What you "should've thought" or done is much less important 
than what you will think and do to stay out of here, once you touch 
down. So, what are your thoughts about that? 

I just messed up hella bad. I made a dumb-ass choice 
of writing a statement for the PO. I'm trying to save my 
cuddle's ass, and I put myself in a stupid position. I found 
out we Anna get let go if the fool we supposedly jumped or 
robbed don't show up at court. 

I'm hella mad right now, ya feel me. I'm Anna take the 
blame for all this dumb stuff. I didn't do nothing either, 
so how mad would y'all be, bruh? I'm Anna be up in this 
thang for hella long. I should've just saved my dumb 


From The Beat: You know. Swag, if you act with honesty and integrity, 
you wont' ever be faced with worrying about what you "should've" done. 
If you don't jump or rob anyone; don't tell your PO things that aren't 
true just to protect someone else; and most of all, don't do anything 
that will put you in the position of losing your freedom and having to 
do what others tell you to do, then you won't have to worry about what 
should've been! 

I'm Back 

What's up Beat? It's Yung Kada. People been like, "Where 
you been?" I say "MIA." But I'm back again in yo' face. I'm 
gone tell everybody that I'm back. You better stay out my 
way. You know I don't play. I'm out, but I be back. 

-Yung Kada 

From The Beat: We took out your threat. It^ not appropriate in The 
Beat! We think you said all that needs to be said when you wrote, "I'm 
back again..." 

Tired Of Piaying Here 

Yo, this your boy. Lam. W hat it do Beat? It yo' boy Lam 
money talking in YGC. I mean, it ain't bad doing my time 
in here, going to this bs school in here, no problem. 

I'm tired of coming here and ain't tryna do it no mo'. 
I'ma stay out and money talk, no problem, ya feel me? 


From The Beat: We had to take out some of your x-rated lines (even 
if you tried to camouflage them; they made us laugh, but they aren't 
appropriate for The Beat), and also any efforts to communicate with 
others locked up here. Can you tell us what you plan to change so that 
you won't be coming back? 

\ [Give it Up 

What it do Beat? It's ya boy Kada back again. But yeah, 
I'm 'bout to tell everybody how I tell people to give it up, 
give it up before I hit 'em up. People talk a lot, but they 
not 'bout nothing. Then I holla. 

-Yung Kada 

From The Beat: As long as you're proud of robbing people, then we're 
not surprised that you're "back again." But then, you must know the 
connection between what you did and the consequences, so maybe you 
like it here. 

Betrayai Ain't Good 


illliss iUy Homies 

One time I felt betrayed by my homie was when I was in a 
situation with some homies and my homie turned against 
me, even though I've been through a lot with my homie. So 
dude, you feel me, dude just made a wrong move. I forgave 
him the first time, but now this, the second time, and 
there ain't no more forgiveness I got left for this person. 


From The Beat: (Are we spelling your Beat name right?) It seems like 
you learned a really important lesson the hard way. Which is, if you're 
doing things that can get you in trouble, there^ always going to be 
somebody willing to sell you out. The obvious solution is: don't do those 
kinds of things. 

What's up with The Beat? This ya boy Isaiah from the 
city. But I'm up in here still from September and it's been 
hella long since I been in here for three months about to 
be four months. But I'm tripping to see my homies. 

They know I'm up in JJC for a minute, but it's good. 
If I was out, I be smoking and drinking and popping pills. 
But I don't care. When I get out I'm going to the homie's 
house to party for me getting out. 


From The Beat: Be careful about that partying, because it's easy to forget 
consequences when you're messed up. Four months is a long time, but 
when you think about all the people who are doing years, it might make 
you rethink that "I don't care" mindset. After all, if you don't care, who 



//// // 

Last Time Here 

\ Sitting In My Room Last Nigiit 

What up Beat? This ya boy Lil' Bra still in this G-thang 
. My main girl got out, and I hope she stay out. I will try 
— key word, TRY — to stay out myself. 

This I think is my last time in here 'cause this life 
style ain't me. I can't do what I want to when I want to. I 
never had a curfew and I have to go to bed by eight-thirty. 
But yeah, this shhh hella boosie. Stay strong. Lil' Bra 

-Lil' Bra 

From The Beat: We hope you follow through on your plan to make this 
the last time you're here. You've given u% good tesk%on% to want to stay 
out of here, but you haven't told us what you plan to do differently so . 
that you can keep that promise. I 


No Equai 

What's up? What's happenin', dog? This ya lil' Canon, 
a real cutthroat ninja. All these other cats is somethin' 
phony, ya heard? They be poppin' off at the mouth like 
they just that ninja, for real. But they ain't 'bout it 'bout 
it, ya heard me? 

Most of these clowns I wouldn't even walk or talk 
with if we was on the outs. They ain't my equal. I can see 
through these wussy-ass ninjas, dog. And those types 
don't get no kinda respect from me. I'm just sayin' don't 
hang with suckas 'cause you could turn into one. I'm 


From The Beat: You keep looking down your nose at other boys instead 
of turning your eyes inward and taking stock of what you see there. You 
^Sky you wouldn't talk or walk with most of the young men locked up with 
you if you were free, but that's the part you're missing: what makes you 
EQUAL to everyone else in this place is that you are locked into cages, 
fed by your keepers like zoo animals, and forced to accommodate each 
other — no females around! Robert Stroud — the Birdman of Alcatraz — 
was very smart, and thought of himself Si% better than all the other men 
he was in prison with. But like all of them, he died a prisoner. 

We Botta Eat 


To sum up al this bs, I hate coming in and out this 
hellhole. I mean, what I do ain't right, but damn, we gotta 
eat somehow. Jobs ain't messin' with most black folks, 
unless we educated or on our shhh. But we usually end 
up like this because our parents are drug addicts. But at 
the same time, or they never car. So, if your parents relate 
to this, try avoiding negative ish. 


From The Beat: Do you steal because you have to eat or because you 
want something that you don't really have to have? It's important that 
you understand the importance of getting a good education, especially 
if your parents don't care about your future. Do you think that there 
would be less crime — less stealing — if the government paid young 
people like you to do work around the city (cleaning up, etc.)? 

Man, what's good with The Beat? This ya boy D-Boom, 
and I'm writin', talkin' 'bout sitting in my room last night. 
Man, that shhh crazy. I was in my room like, "Damn. I'm 
missin' my thugs. I'm missin' the block. But most of all, 
I miss my wife Jazanae. I really need to get home to my 
baby on some real shhh. 


From The Beat: Getting home is hard enough. But staying home, that% 
what you should be shooting for. 

Million Miles 


I'll be a million miles away when you get this letter 

Smoke bud in the streets can't shake the pain. 

I write to remember you, my ninja 

And I never would let you down 

Ninjas change, but the world still go around 

We from the slums 

Many nights we done been without 

This a letter to my thugs that I'm sending out 


From The Beat: Read the Beat Without section to read what some of 
those "thugs" write, crying out in pain, and wishing, "If only..." 

I rroi 

I tho; 

IVIy Life 

When I was in El Salvador, I was very sad because all 
my family was here in USA. and I was in El Salvador with 
my grandmother, my grandfather and two brothers. I 
remember that I liked to go to the Plaza Mundo every day 
with my friends and my girlfriends. 

My girlfriend like to go to my house and played video 
games. She like to play soccer, but in September 2006, 
my mother take me here to the USA with my brothers. 

But today I'm here in the jail because I was in my 
school cutting class and my principal checked my 
backpack and I have a knife. 


The Beat Within: Do you wish you were back at the Plaza Mundo with 
your friends? How far do you think you can advance in life if you don't 
go to school? 

I ywMi 

I go* 

No Way Tn Ciinnse 

To make me give it all up is because I come YGC again. I 
can't do nothing 'cause I got no way to choose. I need to 
do back my own thing. 

-Ka Cheung 

From The Beat: When you are outside, you will be free to choose, again. 
What will you choose? 

Feeiing A Little Sad 

When I have problems with my homies or family, when 

they don't respect me, I feel bad because me homies are 

like my family. I love my homie like my brother so you 

feel messed up when they let you down. 

But sometimes you need to talk with them to feel 

so good because sometimes they are misunderstood, or 

something like that. Right now I feel a little sad 'cause I 

can't see my family because I'm locked up. I can't see my 

homie and girlfriend. 

-Young Drifter 
From The Beat: This place is designed to make you feel sad, and to miss 
the things you left behind. Some people come back here over and over, 
9k% if they like it here better than they like freedom. We hope you aren't 
like that. 


I I 

M) Life Wllliit M) Bal) 

Well, I have been locked up for four weeks and miss my 
baby girl. Before I got locked up, I was thinking about 
what I was supposed to do when I got out from my school, 
and my girl was always telling me this, "Pigase, don't 
fight. I don't want you to get in trouble because I don't 
want to go see you locked up!" 

And look at me now. I'm locked up in this juvenile, 
and I want to tell all you guys here and juvenile that be in 
this place, it's buUshhh. Listen to your family, your girl, 
or somebody else... 


The Beat Within: Your girl gave you good advice. It turns out, she knew 
what she was talking about. (We had to take out your shout-outs at the 
end. We don't do lists...) 



P4i^f // 

To Give All Up 

\ is mat You 

To make me give it all up, it would take a lot. See me, I'm 
not like every one else. Me? I do what I want to. Sometimes 
I be cool, but most of the time I be grimy, posted up with 
all the homies, smokin'. Then the P.D.s come and start to 
take us down. If we got the things, they take us and them. 
Then we end up in here writing in The Beat. 

-Lil' Recko 

The Beat Within: So if you're different because you do what you want 
to do, are you doing what you want to do right now? Sometimes, acting 
mature means putting off doing what you want to do right now so that 
you will have the freedom to do what you want to do in the future. I 

ng I 

Forgive Or Not, Give It Up Ur Not 

It's a lot of thing that you can forgive, but sending 
somebody to this caged hell hole is not something you 
can forgive where I come from. So mind your business, 
family. You will live a lot longer. 

Is it worth giving it all up? Is it worth losing your life, 
your family, your money, your friends, your kids, because 
when you on the side of my team and looking down a dark 
barrel of a gun, you better think to yourself: is it worth 
giving it all up. 


From The Beat: You should put that last question to yourself. You could 
soon be looking down the dark barrel of a criminal justice system able 
to put you behind bars for the rest of your natural life. (Read The Beat 
Without if you don't believe us.) If that happened, if you never got to 
walk in freedom again or touch a woman or eat a meal of your choice, 

L would it be worth it? Don't think it can't happen, because it happens 
every day! (By the way, we had to combine your two pieces into one 
because we're not publishing one or two sentence pieces. You need to ■ 
%siL'^ more than that to get into The Beat.) I 


My nogs 

This is my story of my pit bull and my min-pin. I was 
going to buy my pit, and the boys pull me over saying 
why I'm not at school and some other bs. So I just started 
running 'cause I didn't want to come to YGC, and lucky 
me, I got away and went to go buy my pit. 

But a month or so later I got caught, but with a little 
sum-sum, and now I'm up in this bs. Every time I call my 
mom, I hear two of them fighting, barking, going crazy... 


The Beat Within: Sounds like you ran out of luck. Why did you want to 
get a pit in the first place? What's so special about pit bulls? Do you see 
9kny connection between your choices (not to go to school, for example), 
and your current situation? If this place is bs, then why do the things 
that lead here? 

Give It All Up 

Yeah man, you know I'm still up in here tryna knock this 
little time out like a real ninja, ya heard me? But chea 
though, I ain't thinking 'bout giving this shhh up right 
now. I been off the porch for real, for real. I feel it's too 
late to come and try to stop this shhh. 

But yeah, man, I ain't never really thought about what 
would make me give it up. That's something I'ma think 
about. But as I think about my life, something gone have 
to make me give it up. 

-Lil' Danny 

From The Beat: Of course \%'% not too late, but it soon could be. How 
many chances do you think you get before you make that one fatal 
mistake and lose everything? We just finished reading a letter from 
someone who wrote from YGC exactly ii% you are writing now; he wasn't 
ready to give it up. He's now sitting in jail at age 1 9 waiting to hear if 
he'll go to death row or to prison for the rest of his life. He waited too 
long to make the change he now wishes he had when he was still able 
to. Yes, think about it before you're in a place where all you can do is 
think about it... 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night 

Found myself looking in the mirror. 

I asked myself,: 

"Who is you?" Is that me? 

They think I'ma fool, but I'ma G. 

Is that you,? You don't have a clue who you are, 

Ya so fake I know you'll break. 

Ya got caught — you, not me — y'all talk... 

Again looking in the mirror 

Ask myself, "Who is you, is that me?" 

They think I'ma fool but I'ma G. 

Is that chu? Ya don't have a clue who ya are... 


From The Beat: Sometimes, there's no difference between a G and a fool. 
Only a fool would give away his freedom! We just got a letter from a 
G who wrote exactly what you wrote when he was locked up in YGC. 
Now, he's 1 9, sitting in county jail and facing a death sentence or life 
in prison (without parole). He's a G, all right, but he'll never know a 
woman's love, never stack another chip, neMet take a walk outdoors 
without a gun being trained on him from above... Think about it. 

Gao't Sleep At Night! 

Can't sleep at night thinkin' about court, thinkin' 'bout 
my family, about my brother, the girl I was supposed to 
call the night I got caught. 

I have no love, only the love of my homies. The love 
of my family. I prey every night hopin' I get out. Not losin' 
my hope, so I keep my faith 'cause that's all I have and the 
lord above me. 

Tears in my eye but can never cry. 

-Feel Like Cryin' 

The Beat Within: When you pray, are you asking only to get out? If so, 
is it possible that "the lord above" you is also praying to you, asking 
you for something? 

M]f Family's Sad 'Cause Of Me 

Damn, Beat, but I ain't feeling the topics. Right now I 
was thinking about what I did, and I feel hella sad 'cause I 
just got a 15-year sentence. But it's all right. I'm gonna do 
my best, and I know that I can do it. Shhh, man, the only 
thing I think about is my family — my mom, my sisters — 
that they're sad 'cause what I did. 

But it's all right. My brother is in prison, too, so I 
know that I ain't gonna be by myself in there. All right. 
Beat. Lates. 


From The Beat: We're so sorry that you have to go to prison for what 
you did, but you can do it, just like you said. When you look back, 
is there anything that you realistically could have done differently so 
that your mom and sister would not be crying over two boys gone? 
Take advantage of every program the prison offers to make yourself 
a stronger person so that when you get out, you will make them and 
yourself proud. 

riiTTlie 'Hood 

Give it all up? That ain't neva goin'a happen. I love where 
I came from. The 'hood made me who I am, and when I 
turn pro. I ain't goin'a switch on ma home, like most of 
the famous do. I'm goin'a put my ninjas on if I'm shining 
like the moon. I'm goin'a give some of that light to the 
stars around me. 

I'm in the 'hood, I'm in the 'hood. Straight out the 


From The Beat: You wrote, "I'm in the 'hood, I'm in the 'hood," but there 
are four thick walls keeping you here. So where are you really? You want 
to help your boys if you become famous, but you never tell us how you 
plan to become famous. 



//// // 

Marked Men 

\ To Give It Up 

I believe that people come back to YGC because they 
are already tagged by the police officers. So, no matter 
how good they try to do, police officers stay on your line. 
Sooner or later they catch you slipping and you end up 
locked up for making an honest mistake. 

-Godfather Nug 

The Beat Within: You can blame the cop if you want, but he only got to 
"catch" you because you slipped, you gave him all the power he needed. 
So spread a little of that blame around. Not everybody comes back here, 
so we know it can be done! 

I Jisl let It Bo 


I really have a hard time forgiving anyone, so I guess 
over time, I just let it go. I felt betrayed by a few people 
and it just went away after time. I thought this boy loved 
me the way I loved him, but he ended up leaving me for 
another girl and I really hurted, but I let it go. 


From The Beat: This may not be forgiveness, exactly, but we admire 
your way of handling disappointments and betrayals. Most of the role 
models boys have growing up teach them that it^ all right to disrespect 
females, which is too bad. Maybe with your patience, you might be able 
to educate one or two. 

Giving It All Up 


When I get a job, I will be getting paid, but not right on 
sight. When I stole something and sell it, I get the money 
all in the same day. 

I don't think I fear it. I think everybody would think I 
changed, that I ain't got they back no more, and I'm going ,, 
up messing with them. But I would gain my freedom, I 
which is very important to me, and being with my mom, 
who I love a lot. I still have my boys. 


The Beat Within: We don't allow a list of shout-outs, so we had to take 
your last part out. Are you saying that when you get out of here, you're 
going to change so that you don't have to give away your freedom 
again? If so, we applaud your decision! 


Pain since I've lost you, I am lost too 

Ninja feeling like he at the bottom, like a horseshoe 

Sorry for all the trouble that I put you and your heart 


You know that I would do anything for a part two. 

Ought to be praying for the day you come back to me 

saying you forgive me 

Give me another chance, I'm needing it like a kidney 

I don't wanna advance, gimme back her hands. 

Gimme back her touch, 

I don't ask for much, \ 

But I messed up, 

I know I messed up, 

I admit I messed up. 

But everybody mess up. 

Now this other ninja locked up. 

Telling me and my click don't give a crock 

'Cause I from the block 

She was my down chick, 

I was her soldier, 

I was a gangster, she was my shoulder, 


From The Beat: If you define yourself iis a gangster with his girl, you're 
bound to be separated Sks you are now. You have to make choices. In this 
case, you chose to do whatever it was that got you here over her. Maybe 
next time you'll make a different choice and have a different outcome. 

I would have to put down the heat. I would have to stop 
coming around. I wouldn't be able to be anywhere around 
the Bay. I would have to do it movin'! Sometimes I wish it 
was that easy, but it ain't! 

The streets stay hot even in the coldest winter. If I 
could do it, I probably would. But in the streets of San 
Francisco don't get caught without yours. The 'hood is 
all I got, and I'm trying to make something positive out of 

Living like this is hell. I keep my prayers with God, 
and always leave the house with the gun and kept my 
prayers with God. 


The Beat Within: Of course it's not "that easy," T-Ras, but is this life 
easy? You describe it Sk% hell, so it must not be. When all you have is 
a choice between two difficult options, then you should look at them 
equally. Don't just say it can't be done with exploring. There are people 
who have done it. Maybe "doin' it movin'" is exactly what needs to 
happen, but you'll ever know without asking some questions. 


These dudes out there always speaking my name 

When you look into my eyes all you see is flames 

The devil enjoy himself he come to play games 

Girls say stuff don't know me or my name 

You go to jail, be gone, come back, it's still the same 

When you leave for a long time your relationship down 

the drain I'm just saying it's a new ball game 


From The Beat: If nothing changes, it's always the same/ Then expecting 
something different is really \n%sknet If want things to be different, we'll 
I give you this tip/ Nothing will change until you flip the script! 

Running Tliangs 

What's up with The Beat? This ya boy Jeez. I ain't been 
on this thang for a minute, but I'm back active on this 
thang. As y'all know, this new unit open and you know 
we running thangs. Running boys out the unit ya know 
how we do. 

-P Jeezy 

From The Beat: So, letls see if we understand... You're locked up taking 
orders from a bunch of strangers telling you when to talk and when to 
shut up, when to walk and when to lock up, when to sleep and when to 
get up... but you're running things? 

Slilp's Rroadcast: Sittin' In My Ronm 

Yesterday I made a retarded decision 

Lil dawg said something so we had a condition 

Now I'm sitting in my room thinking, "Just my luck!" 

But I had to stand tall like a monster truck 

I coulda swallowed my pride and walked away 

But bruh kept talking so he lost his day 

A I sit in this room looking at the stars 

I wonder if the aliens could have a party on Mars 

See stuff like this wall mess wit' ya brain 

Now the time moving fast like the carpool lane 

These ninjas on the vent making lots a static 

Man, these little boys slow like mornin' traffic 

Now I see the nurse to get my sleeping pill 

Say was up to my ninjas, gotta keep it trill 

Thinking 'bout my mama, trying not to weep 

I pull my sheet over my head and slowly fall asleep 

-Skip Too Fly 

From The Beat: There are days when the only real thing we can do 
weep... or sleep. The thing to remember is that they are only some days. 
Other days are what to look forward to. 



//// // 

Fake Ninjas Got Me In Here 

I don't forgive people who disrespect me, and my family. 
Because what if I forgive him and he just turned around 
and just backstabbed me or something like that? That's 
why I don't forgive people who really disrespected my 
family or me. 

I'll give up hangin' with the people got me in here 
because I ain't gonna come back out and chill with the 
same people who snitched on me. I know they're gonna 
do the same thing once they know that I am out. So I'll 
give up hangin' with fake-ass ninjas. 

-Not Signed 

From The Beat: We combined your two pieces into one because by 
themselves, they weren't long enough. If the lesson you learned by 
coming here is just don't hang with the wrong people, then you have 
more lessons to learn. As long sk% you do the things that others can 
snitch you out for doing, then you won't escape places like this. It's 
your behavior, and not whatever smyone else does, that will determine 
your future. 

\ Midget Mac 

Fast Life 

I lead a crazy life, man. It's very much crazy where I come 
from. It's either kill or be killed, I hate that I have to live 
this way because it make my mama and papa cry. I was 
raised this way not by my parents, but by my brother. He 
was my papa for more than twelve years. 

-Super Taco 

From The Beat: Why did your brother raise you, and not your parents? 
What can you do to dry those tears your mama and papa are crying for 
you? I 

M I I M ■ I I I I 1 I I I i 


Wrong Piace, Wrong time 

I wanna get out 'cause I'm being blamed for something, 
didn't do anything wrong. I guess I was at the wrong place 
at the wrong time, I'm just hoping that you can help me . 
out 'cause I have a homie that was there. He was in the I 
situation and he said that I didn't do anything. 

My birthday is coming in four days, I just hope I get 
out then, to be with my family and stuff you know? I just 
hope you support me. Thanks! 


From The Beat: We read a lot of pieces about being in the wrong place 
at the wrong time. Is there anything you can learn from this experience 
so that you can avoid the wrong people and the wrong places and the 
wrong times in the future? 

A Diamond In Tiie Hougii 

I'ma diamond in the rough 

Then to make things smooth, out here on the hustle 

Trying to get this loot. 

Not trying to die, so I keep my boot. 

They label us thugs, some of us just got somethin' to 


And some things just a need to survive, 

I'm not ready to die. 

They calling me a threat to society. 

But they don't know shhh 'bout my built-up anxiety. 

They lock me up, take me away from my home. 

So I can run from the grouper, to the street that I roam 

So I can come back and become a paycheck 

I hit you next week 'cause Pancho ain't done yet... 


From The Beat: We know what THEY call you, but how do you see 
yourself? You mentioned your "built-up anxiety," but didn't do smy 
explaining. How can you direct that anxiety away from the behavior 
that leads "them" to make negative labels to attach to you? How can 

I you become a paycheck for yourself without turning yourself into a 

I commodity for the system to make money off you? 

'Sup Beat\? This Kidd aka Midget Mac baby face! Yeah, 
just here chillin', waitin' to see when I get out this thang. 
Damn! Do you know what I hate a lot? That there's hella 
fakes in the unit. I don't care who's reading this, but I'm 
just saying what's real — wanna he's! Too many wanna 
he's! But it's all goodie. 

Finna go to the grouper for seven months. I don't 
know about knocking it out though.. Finna be out this 
thang maybe by my birthday on December 29th. It's finna 
be cracking. All right then. 


-Lil* Kidd 

From The Beat: We're not sure we understand you. If you're on your way 
to a grouper, how can you be planning to have a cracking birthday party? 
We hope you're not planning to run, because you'll only be running back 
into this big bad place. Anyway, hope you had a happy birthday! 


My momma said I'm crazy 
And my girls said I'm amazing 
But I don't listen to no lady 
Bu the one said I'm hot 
But I said, "No, girl," 
I'm blazing!" 

-Young Rell 

From The Beat: It's too bad your blaze is confined behind these walls! 
How much truth is there in what your momma said, and to what extent 
I does that keep you confined? 

Don't Test iVIe! 

What's happenin' with The Beat? You know this boy CB. 
I'm at this Ranch thang, doing my thug thang. And dude 
tried to run up, so I shut him up, ya dig? He was speakin' 
on the homies, so I had to break his shhh. And you see 
I'm holdin' it down. I'm'a be back. The system can't hold 
me down, ya dig? I'm gone. 


From The Beat: Our prisons are stuffed to the max with people who 
thought the system couldn't hold them down. If you believe — while 
you're in jail — that you can keep doing what you do (going off on 
others, for example) without facing ever-stricter restraints, then you 
are not thinking clearly. 

'Cause I'm Me 

Chea. Yeah, we in this shhh. Ninjas get money on the 
block, tryin' to get rich. I'm in this thang. Jus' signed up 
for college, tryin' to touch down an' cause hell, ya know? 
My ninjas in the streets gettin' it by any means necessary. 
An' ninjas sho' like to hop in this Beat, talkin' like they 
'bout it. Talk all they do — talk all the big dawg shhh in 
The Beat, an' as soon as shhh start goin' bad fo' ah ninja, 
then he get back to the sucka shhh. 

Ninja, I'm 'bout that action, been 'bout it, but when 
a ninja eighteen an' locked up, you got boundaries. 
Especially if you physically hurt a ninja, they gone' 
straight try to new charge a ninja. But my last fight was 
in the halls, ya dig? I keep my shhh on the low. I'm really 
YND (young an' disrespectful). 

-Young D 

From The Beat: Maybe it's time to focus less on others, even if they're 
fronting, and more on your own situation, and what you want out of 
life. It appears to us from what you've written, that you want more of 
the same SiS what you have, since you're down for more of the same 
that got you here. Are we wrong? If so, tell us what you plan to change 
on the outs so that you can change the consequences and stay free. 
(By the way, we had to take out some of your references since they 
either named a clique or referred to initials we do not recognize, and 
therefore, cannot useJS 

To Forgive 

\ 199 Days 

What's cracking Beat it's your homeboy coming out of 
San Jose. Anyways, the topic I am about to write about 
is to forgive. 

I forgave my lady because she cheated on me in the 
past with some vato (guy). But I forgave her because she 
said she wasn't going to do it again. But I regret forgiving 
her because I have a feeling again. 

This is what I think, once a girl cheats, she will always 
cheat. But it's whatever, like right now since I am in the 
hall, I think my girl is cheating on me. It's cool 'cause you 
know what, my family always told me there are plenty of 
fish out in the sea. 

My version is there are plenty of guys out in the sea. 
But other then that I'm going to get out in three weeks. 
That's it for this time Beat. To all the homeboys in here 
stay up and get out. This is the homeboy M and I'm out. 


From The Beat: It sounds like it is very hard for you to trust her again, 
which is normal after being lied to. It takes a lot to forgive someone but 
when you do it requires you to put it in the past. Are you ready to let it 
all go? If not, then you can search for another fish in the sea. 

In Loving illiemorir 

In loving memory of the homie Speedie, 

just chilling like a G boy rest in peace 

Damn homie this shhh got me 

In a daze. 

Got the homies 

Reminiscing about back in the days. 

Look at you now watching 

Me from the sky 

I can't believe 

You left without a goodbye... 

Just remember you're with Lefty 

And Augie too... 

Damn, as I think back, I can't believe that your gone. 

You left the family without saying a goodbye 

but we love you with all out hearts. 

And look you're in a better place while we're still in this 

living hell, we so call life, 

but we'll be with you soon enough. 

Hermano (brother) you were as strong 

Don't you ever forget that. 

RIP Pete "Speedie" 

We love you and miss you 

One love 


From The Beat: This is a great tribute. It is very hard to lose someone 
you care about and this poem shows us the pain you feel. We hope that 
with time those wounds will heal. For your own good, don't let the same 
story that happened to them happen to you. 

What's up everybody this is Mark from San Jose. Well, I 
got sentenced to 199 days life skills and when I complete 
it that I'm going to be off probation. So, when I get out I'm 
going to try my best to not come back. 

Well that's all I have to say for now late. 


From The Beat: We're glad to hear that you plan on not returning. Do 

I you have a plan? Sometimes making a plan for yourself can help you get 
back on your feet when you're on the outs. 

I I 


Change Reguirements 

Well what's up Beat? I'm going to drop some lines on 
this stuff that's been on my mind. I get out in two and a 
half months. I been locked up for a few and a half months. 
I know in order for me to stay out, I need to make some 

I've got a plan and have a job waiting for me when I 
get out. Don't get me wrong. I ain't never going to put 
down my paiio (bandana). I bang till I reach the sky like a 
star, but I have a lady that's there for me and I hella love 
her so I need to stay out and be a homeboy that makes it 

Change requires effort. I think I can do it. you'll read 
about me one day watch. Well thank you Beat. I'm out to 
all stop fighting each other. Do the time; don't let the time 
do you. 


From The Beat: It does requires effort, something you're not thinking to 
do. How long do you think you will last with your job while being in the 
gang? On one hand, you are trying to find something that will help you 
stay out of trouble; on the other hand, you're still going to be part of 
something that will get you back in here or it might get you kill. 

Learn From Ifly Past 

In my short adolescent life, I've leaned a tremendous 
amount of knowledge. I've also met so many people that 
assisted making me who I am at this very moment. 

When I was just a kid I got manipulated by people, I 
was forced to do things that I didn't want to participate 
in. I participated in those things because I wanted to be 

Now that I am older and understand everything clearly, 
I see now that I was weak and I just wanted to belong and 
be loved. Now I am a part of a family, which I love and care 
for until I leave this unfair world. 


From The Beat: We are glad to hear that you love and care for your 
family. It sounds like you have learned a lot from your past. You should 
use your knowledge to keep you out the halls so that you can be with 
the people you love back home. How do you plan to live your life now 
after realizing the reality? 

pHistory Repeats itself" 

I What's up Beat?Well I'm going to write about this topic 
"learning about the past." 

History repeats itself. If you remember your past it 

I refuse to continue to make the same mistakes. I 

speeded through life without hitting the breaks. But I've 

never got. Nowhere and my problems were still out there 

'cause I didn't care. So now I continue to recognize my 

past, I also made mistakes not a life task. 

From The Beat: We often realize the mistakes that we make but yet 
some of us repeat them. What will you do to make sure you don't repeat 
the same mistakes? You realize that you have made mistakes in the 
past, but now you have to find out why you make the ones that get 
you in the hall. 


\ What's Really Good? 

My name is Crystal, and I'm going to write about what 
I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for having my mom by my 
side. I wouldn't trade her for any other mom in the world. 
She has put up with me through all my bad times. She 
never gives up on me. We had our good times and bad 
times. I love my mom with all my heart. She always has 
my back no matter what. I look up to her 'cause she's 
a strong person and she knows what's right. She has 
always had a roof over my head, and food. She struggled 
and still struggles. 

My dad ain't around but I really don't care 'cause he 
used to treat my mom bad, and he tells lies. My mom has 
me and my brother, plus the family. 

Well, I could go on for days about my mom, but these 
are some reasons why I'm so thankful to have a mom like 
her. And I love her cooking, especially her rice. 

Well, that's it for now. To everybody facing hard time: 

keep your head up and never regret anything, 'cause it's 

exactly what you wanted at one time. Just take this as 

a lesson learned and don't focus on what you didn't do. 

Focus on what you're going to do when you get out. Much 

love and respect. 

From The Beat: Pretty sound advice. We don't agree with every detail, 
but it's not bad. We wish you well. We sense you may have learned your 

( stir) of M) life 


It all started on May 2nd, 2008. 1 was with my best friend 
and her sister. We went to the Mexican March, downtown. 
My friend's sister and I met some people. They invited 
us to a kickback. My friend didn't like hanging out with 
them because they were too much drama, but I ignored 
my friend and started hanging around with the people I'd 
barely met. I had a brand new iPod Nano that my mom gave 
me on my birthday, in April. I let some stranger borrow it 
that I met at the kickback. And he never gave it back. 

So I was cool with my friend. I would do a lot of stuff 
with her. I met her friend one day on August 22. We were 
going to throw a kickback. It was 1PM. We were on our 
way to get some bottles, but first we went and stole some 
clothes. We got caught. We went to juvenile hall, and my 
friend went home. I got house arrest. My friend got house 
arrest. She got locked up first, then me. It is our first time 
here. She left, but I'm still here, waiting to get released. 

This is what happens for picking bad friends. Say no 
to them if they are going to do bad stuff. You don't want 
to be here in juvie. It is ugly and bad. 


From The Beat: That^ good advice. Be sure to follow it when you get 


Love Or Like 

I've been thinking Beat, about this saying, and I want to 
say I think it's so true, and here's the saying: "Never leave 
the one you love for the one you like. Because the one 
you like will leave you for the one they love." 

It has a meaning behind it and I think people should 
really think about it. I want to say I know I will never leave 
the one I love because I am so blessed to have him and I 
would do nothing to mess that up. So, everyone stay up 
and do good. 


From The Beat: Lots of fish in the ocean, (or so they say), but only one 
is right for your bait. Let^ see - where did we hear that.... 

Hey, what's really good? Well, let's see. I'm almost out of 
here. Yay - 1 can't wait. I'm so excited. I finally got to see 
my lil' brother. I'm so happy. I miss him hella much, and 
hopefully, if he behaves, he'll come home too. I hate to 
see him at that group home. Well, that's it for now. 


From The Beat: OK, that's good enough. 

Wlat's Good? 


Damn, I've been here for so long and I've missed out on 
so much - but I've learned my lesson. I have a job and I 
start school in January. I've learned a lot, as well. 

To all you reading this, you really need to stop taking 
things for granted. Cherish every moment. Life is not 
measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments 
that take your breath away, and being locked you lose 
a lot. I am truly thankful for my beautiful mother who 
has been there every step of the way. She's my backbone. 
Without her I would crumble. I thank God every day for 
blessing me with her. How'd I get so lucky? Only God 
knows. Well, that's it for now. 


From The Beat: OK, get out. Catch up on the good stuff. When temptation 
bites you, tell it to buzz off. You have a life to live, and no time for 
distractions. Do good. Make your mamma proud. 

M]f Calming Park 

Hey Beat what's cracking? Well, the place that I think 
would be calm is a beautiful park in Gilroy. I love it there. 
When I'm there it reminds of when I was younger, back in 
the good days when the streets weren't so hot. 

You know, before they made a gang task force, I 
could just go there and most of the time and forget all 
the drama. Well, that pretty much explains the place that 
calms me. Plus it has hella handball courts for all to play 
boUa! Which I know how to play now, so we will see what's 
up when I get out. 

Much love and respect for all those locked up, stay 
up, and keep your head held high! So for now later, 'till 
next time. 

-Baby L 

From The Beat: How did you learn to play handball? Was it in here? See, 
now you can't say that you didn't learn anything on the inside. Maybe 
you can write some tips for handball players in your next piece. 


Why do we do stupid things? 

Why do we get locked up? 

Why are we born in the hood? 

Why do we gotta look good? 

Why do we stay on the grind? 

Why is money always on our mind? 

Why we always tryna floss? 

Why we gotta be the boss? 

People always asking us why we like this, 

and they judge us from being in here, 

but they aint us 

and they'll never understand! 


From The Beat: If we knew the answers to all of your questions, we'd be 
fabulously wealthy. Then we'd take that money and wipe out poverty, 
and provide good houses and education, and good jobs and health 
care for everyone. Sadly, we do not know how to answer all of your 
questions. But we're working on it. You work on it too. Let us know 
when you come up with a good one, a good answer. 

Some Good Things 

A Story Aboot Kiodoess 

My life, as of today, kind of sucks. I found out that if 
my grandparents don't accept me back, or if something 
doesn't work out the right way, then I may end up in a 
group home. Not cool. 

I miss my mom hella much too. And my little sis. I 
haven't seen them since before I came in here. But if I 
talk to her soon, or go home next week, I'll be happy. 

Plus, one good thing is I got a letter from my boo, 
well, my ex, but we still talkin'. I'm happy. Now I'm just 
waiting for him to write me back. Well, that's it for now. 


From The Beat: Those are some good things. We hope your grandparents 
give you another shot at it. If they do, reward them with your best 
behavior. We bet they've put up with a lot. Now pay them bade. We 
know they want the best for you. 


Never Agaio 

What's good? I'm here to talk about what I would never 
do again, but to be completely honest, there's nothing I've 
done that I won't do 1 or 2 more times. 

Even though I know it's wrong, and know the 
consequences, I'm gonna test the law, 'cause that's the 
way I am. I never promised that I would never do anything 
again, and I will never promise that I will never do 
something, 'cause that will be a lie. 

I don't make promises I don't keep. I live life and I love 
the rush! So that's why I don't say never and don't make 
promises I don't keep. Just remember - we don't make 
regrets, we make mistakes. Life's too short to regret 


From The Beat: We disagree with you. When we do something wrong, 
for instance, if we hurt someone, or cause pain to an innocent person 
-regret is a normal emotion to feel, after we realize what we've done. 
Regret may be painful, but it's part of the price each of us must pay for 
making an avoidable mistake. That you would willingly repeat certain 
of your mistakes is a troubling thought. Do you like the hall? Does 
the thought of spending a long time locked away from the rest of the 
world really appeal to you? What^ the story K? Is there really nothing 
you regret? 

Cao't Fight 

"Stop talking shhh...come say it to my face." 
A threat I can't respond to, ever again. 
No excuses. I'm lucky that this time wasn't my end. 
Burglary, robbery, assault - and why? 
I thought there was no other way, but I didn't even try. 
Why did I fight her? I can't even say. 
Months later - still in dismay. 


From The Beat: It's a good sign that you are dismayed by your behavior. 
Keep thinking. You will work your way through it. You will learn to 
forgive yourself and you will build your resolve to never behave that 
way again. 

Seasofl Change 


As the seasons change, I feel myself becoming like 


Every morning as I wake up, there's a smile on my face 

even though I know I gotta be here for four months. 

I gotta make the best of being in a place 

I really don't want to be. 

I keep my spirits high and try to give off a good vibe to 

my peers. 


From The Beat: Good for you. When you get out, rent a movie called: 
Happy Go Lucky. You might recognize the main character. 

A thing I remember was something my dad told me. He 
told me one time he was in jail, and it was Christmas, 
so he and all the other inmates decided to share their 
noodles with the ones who didn't have any noodles. So 
they boiled their things and got a big garbage bag and 
put all their noodles in the bag, shook them up, and 
everybody got a cup. Kinda like the ones you drink out 
of, and everybody got some noodles. 

-The daughter 

From The Beat: That's a very good story. We hope your dad is doing 
better now, and that you'll soon be doing better, too. 


Days continue to go on 

Time is non-stop 

No matter where you are 

If you are free or locked inside 

A brick box 

It's hard to see my 

My life go to waste 

And see my homegirls 

With worse cases 

Living days and days 

Of their life in this 

Brick cage 

Confined and locked away 

With authorities being able 

To tell you "too bad, 

I'm throwing away the key" 

Not caring whether you're innocent 

Or not 'cause all they see 

Is a kid that needs to be 


With days continuing to go on and 

Time will always be nonstop 

For you, me, and everyone to be. 

-Mary Jane 

From The Beat: It can't and won't stop, time keeps running into the 
future. Thanks for this poem! 

Gufl Violence Horts 

Gun violence took a few of my homies lives. Some of 
them got shot and they passed away and the other one 
was drunk and he was playing with a gun and he shot 
himself and he passed away. 

I have more homies that have past away because of 
gun violence, but this was just last year. I just want to say 
rest in peace to my homies. 

-Lil* Casper 

From The Beat: We're sorry for your loss. How are you moving forward 
from these tragedies? Has this changed your way of thinking, how? 

My Beaoty Qoeen 

To my lady, to my love. 

She's my angel from up above. 

Hopin' that you stay by me through thick and thin. 

You'll be my best friend. 

Can't wait to see you smile, just once, again. 

I hope you're not sad, and not mad at me, 

'cause you're my one and only Beauty Queen. 


From The Beat: Good poem, V. Your friend will like it. Be sure to saire 
a copy. 

Never Again 

Of course I've always promised, like many others, that 
I will never come back again. But for some reason some 
of us tend to go back doing the same things when we get 

Some of us don't have a choice. We were born in it. 
But I promise myself - this time I'm not coming back, 
because I can't. If I mess up I'm 

going to county now, and I for sure don't want to go 
there. I've thought long and hard about what I'm gonna 
do when I get out, and that's rise above all the bad things 
surrounding me, and put more positive things in my life. 

A few more days left here and I put myself to the test. 
Stay up all Beat readers! 


From The Beat: You sound convincing to us. We wish you great good . 
lucic and happiness. I 

as very I 
;. I mean I 

My Buddy 

My first time picking up a gun was when I was 
young. I don't mean the first time I touched one. 
that's when I started carrying one. 

My homeboy gave me a .380, since then, I've had a .45 
auto. I carry it everyday, and to me, I won't leave my house 
without it. Ever since these fools ran up in my house, I've 
never felt safe, even "home." 

I believe in my case, it's necessary. But a lot of other 
people have them to show off, or talk about having them 
when they don't. 

The gun violence ain't gone never stop and neither 
will gang-banging. It goes hand-in-hand, you can't have 
one without the other. My loved ones always tell me to 
stop carrying a gun. They think I do this for the "fun" ■ 
of it. But I'm always gonna carry my gun. You can lock I 
me up or take it away, but I'll always protect myself with 


From The Beat: We can understand that you need protection due to 
your conflicts with gangs, but we also think that carrying a gun is not 
necessary. There are other solutions to your problems. There^ always a 
way out. The problem is that you don't want to be helped and ask for 
help. Talk to your parents. Look for a way out. Carrying a gun is not 
safe for you or others. Carrying a gun is a guarantee ticket to jail or 
to death. . 

Thank You For My Mom 

Well hi. My name is Esmeralda, and I'm thankful for my 
mom. The reason why I'm thankful is because without 
my mom I would be a no-one, and also, because my mom 
is always there for me no matter what I do or say. She will 
always be there for me. So that's why I'm so thankful for 
my mom. 


From The Beat: Be sure she gets a copy of your appreciation. It will 
mean a lot to her. 

Back In Time 

The person I recognize is my brother Khanh. He gave me 
many tips, so I don't end up like him. He been through 
more things then I can imagine. 

I wonder what it would be like if I haven't got locked 
up last year and got to the system. I missed part of my life 
for something stupid. 


From The Beat: This is a powerful piece and we often learn the best 
lessons from our siblings, don't we? There is still time for you to take 
those lessons to heart. 

Well I'm off topic but this has been on my mind for a 
while. So here it goes: 

Loyalty: faithful; as to a person, ideal, cause, or duty. 

Faithful: adhering firmly and devotedly; loyal; worthy 
of trust; reliable. 

Respect: to have regard for; esteem, to avoid violation 

Trust: firm reliance on the integrity or ability of a 
person or thing; something committed into the care of 

This is what so many people claim to be! But turns 
out they're really not. They're the complete opposite. And 
I can't stand this. I'm tired of all these fake people, always 
claiming they're these things, and that's what they abide 
by, and live up to everyday. But do they abide by and live up 
to these qualities everyday - do they really? Hell naw, and 
I'm gonna let it be known, too! I just don't get it? It's like 
when you get locked up you've all of a sudden changed 
into this big Christian and you don't want to gang bang 
no more! Next thing you know, you're chopping it up with 
the rivals, and you're bunked up with them! What's with 
that shhh!? You say you're this and that - you're loyal to 
this and that - but I got just this to say "you ain't shhh!" 
For real, so stop acting like it. 

See, I keep it gangsta, and live by these! It's always 
been that way for me. Death before dishonor. And to those 
who can't stand the heat, get out the kitchen! 

Beat and Beat readers - 1 just had to express myself. 
It's been on my mind for a while. To those who are in it 
for keeps, much love and respect. Stay up. Be cool. Much 


I From The Beat: Jessica, like you, we believe that loyalty can be a good 
quality, an admirable quality. We also believe that loyalty in and of 
itself is not necessarily a good thing. Imagine the racist who believes 
that people of a different color from his own are less than human. His 
loyalty to his own skin color is hardly a good thing, is it? Imagine the 
Nazi who hated "gypsies", and Jews, and gay people. His loyalty to 
Hitler, the biggest 'hater' of all time, is hardly a good thing, is it? So, 
it very much matters what one is loyal to. There are lots of very good 
people, maybe even your parents and relatives (we don't know that for 
sure) who believe that loyalty to a gang is misplaced loyalty. We honor 
your capacity to be loyal and true, but we urge you to reconsider the 
issue with this in mind: who deserves loyalty - which organizations and 
groups deserve loyalty? People and groups have to earn loyalty, by 

I being good and decent, and kind and helpful. Please, think a whole lot 
more about this. And let us know if what we've said makes any sense. 

\ r 

M) (riidna 

What's up Beat, this is Gabriel. 

My grandma died of breast cancer in 2004 and I was 
really close to her. 

She was like another mother to me so when people 
talk about her that gets me really mad. 

One time I got kicked out of school for fighting 'cause 
some guy said some thing about her. 


I From The Beat: It's hard to hear our peers belittle the one's we love but 
sometimes we have to restrain ourselves and know that they have no 
idea what they're talking about. You knew your grandmother, Gabriel, 
and we're sure that she would have never wanted to see her grandson 
fighting. Be strong, there are other ways to honor her memory. 

J L 


Weird Foods 

My grandma makes all kinds of Mexican food. She is like 
a chef basically. She cooks menudo, posale, carne asada, 
mole, tamales, and my all time favorite food enchiladas y 
arroz cun frijoles. 


From The Beat: You call that weird food? That sounds very tasty! 

Never Take Anything Back 

Gun Violence in 2008 

Well, I want to say I hope everybody is in great spirits and 
health at least. Well it's me Nena once again, dropping a 
few lines. 

Well, to be honest I wouldn't have been where I am 
today if it weren't for my past. Yeah, I think sometimes 
about stuff I regret, but I would never take anything back, 
from people in my life, to places that I experienced. I 
went through a lot, and I'm pretty much happy on what 
I experienced. I wouldn't be the person I am today. I love 
myself. Well that's if for now, so yeah. Later! 


From The Beat: Nena, your positivity and determination to accept your 
past and your future inspires us, but we believe that you can find space 
to change and stiff respect your past. 

There's 1 Piece Fer Me 

\ I 

When there's too much going on and I'm tired and 
irritated and I just want to get away from everybody and 
everything. I'll just go home and take a shower and go to 
my room, shut the door and listen to music and put my 
phone on silent. 

I like to be out and doing my thing, but when it gets 
too that point when I just want to be by myself that's what 
I'll mist likely do, or hit up one of my boys that I'm really 
close to, because to me guys are more calm and when I 
talk to my boy, he's nothing like the girls. The boys are 
more relaxed. Well Beat, that's all I got for now. 


From The Beat: That sounds nice, having a space to just be afone is 
important to everyone, especiaffy when you thinic about it from the 
perspective of being foclced up. And you're right, sometimes we need 
someone of the opposite sex as a friend to Iceep things coof. 


I'm in I 

I regret some things I do and one of them is what 

here for. 

I came down for a concert in San Jose from Santa Rosa 

and a cop pulled us over 

at a motel and the cop asked my cousin if they can search 

the car and they found coke 

in a bag. It wasn't mine, but I took the blame i 

so my cousin wouldn't get locked up. | 

-Lir Los 
From The Beat: Urgh, that is rough, being far from home and deafing 
with a system that you shoufdn't even be in, but what you did was 
honorabfe. WE hope you have the power to woric your way out of the 
system once you get out. Foffow your probation! Do what is astced of 
you. I 

^1 1 11 I I I !! I I H 


TT — rr 

Once Again 

How are all you that are in here right now? I hope they're 
all keeping their heads up. Well, here is an update from 
me. I'm doing really well in college class and I'm really 
happy 'cause I am going to be going to school when I get 
out. I have been out of school for a year and it's time to go 
to college. I have 45 days left. 

I think it's funny how there are so many boys in here 
that say that they know how to treat a lady and shhh like 
that, then it turns out they already have onc.hmm, I 
think there is something wrong with that! 

Well Beat, I'm going to go, but stay up and be cool to 
all doing time. 


From The Beat: Weff, you're afmost out and this is the fast response we'ff 
be writing to you, so the best of fucfc with fife and schoof. We'ff miss 
your positive attitude and we fcnow you'ff do reaffy good. 

Gun violence is at an all-time in the year 2008. I didn't 
really pay attention to the news when they talked about 
others dying from guns until an associate of mine was 

Amariae Sanders has been my friend since third grade. 
We hung out everyday until I moved out of Richmond. 
When he got to high school his life style changed, he 
went to Richmond High and I went to Fairfield High. 

I heard he went to jail for robbery and I didn't think 
he was going to get out until December. On Sept. 16 1 was 
watching the news and I heard them say something about 
a teenager killed in an attempt to rob A & L Posters. They 
didn't mention any names on the nightly report that I 

Sept. 17, while sitting in Spanish class, I got a text 
message from my best friend. In the message she was 
telling me that the teen killed was my friend, Amariae. 
I refused to believe it because I thought he was still in 
jail. I got another text message from my friend Marvin and 
he told me the same thing. I called Marvin's big brother 
because he knew how to get in touch with Amariae's 
uncle. I gave his uncle a call but he didn't answer. When 
he called me back I told him who I was and asked him 
"was my ninja really gone" and he said, "yup he gone." I 
watched the ten o'clock news that night. 

Amariae and a friend of his walked into the store, 
Amariae ran and jumped on the counter; with no hesitation 
the owner shot him several times and he was pronounced 
dead at the scene. 


From The Beat: We're sorry to hear of your foss, Bfacfc, we fcnow that 
death is a hard thing to accept especiaffy when the person was very 
cfose to you. fs there anything you woufd have said to him to try and 
taffc him out of the robbery? How do you fceep his memory afive? 

DoD't Go Tliere 

What's cracking , Beat? Well one thing that I think people 
shouldn't joke or mess around about is your family. I 
take this very personal because someone is speaking 
badly on my loved ones. And I don't speak or joke around 
someone's family because I believe someone else feels 
the same way I do. 

One time at school some kid kept joking about "moms" 
and I told him don't make any 'bout mine because it's just 
going to piss me off. But the kid did anyway after I told 
him not to and I beat him up. It's a pretty severe action 
but I'm very protective when it comes to my family. Well 
my times up so got to go. 

- Family 

From the Beat: Weff, we understand your protectiveness over your famify 
but there are other ways to sofve your probfems. Have you ever thought 
about using your words instead of your fists to settfe a dispute? 

Tiie Good Book 

What's up Beat and Beat readers. Ima write about the 
first book I remember reading. It was Dr. Suess' "Green 
Eggs and Ham". 

The first book that ever influenced me was A Million 
Little Pieces. It's a good book it's about a drug addict who 
goes to rehab. I'm not finished with it yet. I can't seem to 
read when I'm out, but I like reading when I'm locked up. 
It kills time. 


From The Beat: Reading boofcs is one of the best habits any human can 
devefop. ft reaffy onfy tafces one reaffy good boofc to start a fifetime 
habit of reading. You coufd read for a hundred years and never run out 
of reaffy good boofcs. What's next on your fist? 

Piece of the Week 

RIP Grandpa 

Well today, I'm going to write about my grandfather, 
'cause I don't like none of these topics. 

Well first off, I want to say rest in peace to him. He 
passed away May 13, 2008. My grandfather was loving and 
caring. He was really cool and kick back, but he was also 
disabled. See, he couldn't really do anything. My grandpa 
became disabled because he had two strokes five years 
ago. So then I moved in with my grandparents to help my 
grandma out with my abuelo. I made him something to 
eat, and helped him out with anything he needed. 

If he had his last $5 he would give to me, or any of my 
cousins. He really loved his grandkids a lot, especially 
the little ones. But I was the oldest out of all. But he still 
showed me love. 

The last time I seen him was two months before he 
passed away. I just wish I could go back in time just to 
chill with him one last time, but life goes on and I still 
pray to him to look over the familia. 

Well that's it for now. Beat - until next time. 

-Mikeyo, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This is a really powerful story. We see that a lot of young 
people find their grandparents to play huge roles in their lives. You 
were luclcy to have spent such good time with your grandfather. 

Speak Up 

I notice that sometimes my good friend gets out of hand 
and wants to hit things or do drugs. His parents don't 
really treat him right. He feels that there's no one really 
there for him. 

Me and my friends try to help him out through his 
hard times. I knew he had been threw some rough stuff, 
he was addicted to crystal meth. I am glad he let go but 
he still has to fight the fiend inside him. Now that I am 
locked up. I don't know who's out there watching his 
back. Hopefully he can hold his own for now. 


From the Beat: Have you thought of sending this over to your friend? 
This letter was so heart touching because it takes a lot for someone 
to step it up and say, "Hey, I'm not the only one who matters." You've 
just taken a step out of childhood and you are now on your way to 

Get A Job! 

Today I'm going to hit ya'U up with some shizz nuts 
and spit some real game to ya'U. See I'm locked up and 
they wont let me out. My birthday's around the block. I'm 
about to be seventeen. If I get out before My B-Day it's still 
going to suck sweet and sour shhh, the steamy kind. 

Well 'bouts the game I want ya'U to soak up on is about 
to land on ya'U head. Here it go: I be reading all these 
piece's about how "yeah, I miss my Mom's and I'm sorry." 
Also "I'm never coming back" or "Damn I'm Back". Check 
this out,, when y'all get out If you can get a job even if it 
don't pay what you want. Get it! Also, when kicking back 
with the homies go home at night and stop drinking when 
you're at a cool buzz.... 

If you get a job you'll be busy and making money. If 
you go home at night you'll be at a lower chance of getting 
rapped up. 

Also spend time with the family and it's proving that 
you'll say out. So for me I'm out. 


From The Beat: You gave some great advice but do you think that you 
will end up doing the same? What are you going to do once you get 
out, Cyclopse? 


Elena: Miranda, are you going to be doing a lot of time? 

Miranda: I don't want to say yeah, but most likely. I 
should be out by the time I'm 20, but damn, it's better 
than doing what I'm supposed to be doing. What's up with 
you though, how long are you getting? 

Elena: Well, I don't know, a cool minute, but it's cool. So, 
I start trial like in May or something next year. But, by 
that time, I'll be about almost 18, so who knows. I just 
might get transferred to Elmwood. And damn, my brother 
got 25 to life, so what do you think? We'll be going to 
prison by 2011? Because our situation isn't anything 
nice, homegirl! 

Miranda: Don't trip homie, they can't keep us down 
forever -just keep positive. Hopefully we will get sent you 
to the same place. I'll be leaving in May, so damn homie. 
I'm going to miss you and I've barely met you, but damn 
we all got hella close to each other, and I know the law is 
screwed up but we just got to do our time and move on. 

Elena: Gracias homegirl. Well yes, we just got to keep our 
feet planted, head above shoulders and not let nobody 
keep us down. So, if you hit prison would you have 
support? Hey, so what do you think about females crying 
over EMP? I hate them sissy ladies. 

Miranda: Yeah I'll get support, don't trip you already know 
what's up. I got you, and aww homie, the females that 
come in here for something dumb and they stay crying, 
damn, that gets me heated because we are going to be 
down for a cool minute and you don't see us crying. But 
damn what do you think about them females? 

Elena: Whatever. So I'm hella going to miss you, but don't 
trip. Can't keep us away. Well, it's about that time, so 
we're going to wrap it up with utmost respect. Well, until 
next tine. One love, we have to hit the showers! 

Miranda: All right, well yeah, it's about that time to take it 
down, well stay up! Don't let anyone get you down. 

- Miranda and Elena 

From The Beat: This is a pretty interesting conversation you two 
I transcribed for us and it really does get into your feelings about the 
I serious time you are both looking at, but even though you two are so 
I tough you should have empathy for those girls who are having a hard 
I time being in here. 

My First DT 

My first OT was the third time I was here locked up in 
Santa Clara juvenile hall. When I was in my room I was 
sleeping and the staff buzzed in and said my last name and 
said you got an OT. My OT was hecka cool. The saddest 
part was coming back and now it's my sixth time here and 
I had one OT already for Thanksgiving, it was cool. I got to 
see my son and when I came back my son and sister were 
crying. I felt bad but its not like I wanted to leave them, I 
can't wait till my next OT. 

I get out February 6th 2008, but this time I get out I'm 
going to do things right, I'm going to get a job and be a 
dad. Well that's it till next time! 


From The Beat: We're rooting for you, to stay out and move on from this 
part of your life. Your son needs you and we're sure that he is a great 
inspiration to you. Keep your plans in mind and you'll achieve whatever 
you set yourself out to do. 

Packin' Heat 

Guns Are No Joke 

Us youngster's packin' heat 

Beefing with us, we could put you to sleep. 

I'm just a young goon only 16, 

Trying to make it in the game. 

Gotta hustle and grind to make my ways. 

I gotta run those streets. 

Gutter pollute the streets 

I gotta get this cheese 

If ya know what I mean 


I'm out here grinding, hustling gotta 
Get this paper, never fallin' 
Steady ballin' 

I'm out here grinding, hustling 
Gotta get this paper 
Never fallen, steady ballin 

I was raised from the gutter 

Goin' thru struggles and pain. 

But I always gotta maintain 

Running the place never to facing the game 

Its amusing 2 hear about haters 

Protecting the block due to anger - and pain. 

It's just a lil flow I wanted 
To write stuck in this place 


From The Beat: This is a nice flow, Tanics, but what does it mean to 
you? Do you thinic that hurting and violating people for the love of 
your block and for money is the right or smart thing to do? How could 
you handle your beef differently? There are other ways to make money 
legitimately so what could you do to make money in a more safer way, 
other than selling drugs? 

Gufl Violence 

Where do I start? I held a gun at the age of 8 years old. It 
was a duce-duce and a shotgun. 

I shot a gun when I was 12 in the hood, you know. 
Just ain't up to no good but its whatever and I was chilling 
with some homeboys in a stolo and they told me to load 
up the 45 so I did and we just mobbing around but we 
didn't see who we wanted but that's all I got today Beat 


From The Beat: You were extremely lucky that you did not get caught 
riding in a stolen vehicle with a loaded gun, looking for someone to 
shoot! Where do you see your life heading if you keep going in this 
direction? Just because your friends tell you to load up a gun doesn't 
mean you have to do it. Life is all about choices. Sometimes the wrong 
choice means leaving in a body bag. Think about what you want in your 
life, because if this is the road you want to travel then you are headed 

for a short ride. 

Jailhouse Newsletter 



Ya'U know who it is: The leader of yo' life, aka. Mr. 
Pay me, hittin' straight gas, no brake on these fools, ya 
understand me? It's Pay Me, ya dig me? I can't wait to 
get out of this little Disneyland vacation. Yo' boy getting 
lonely in this thang, man. Anyway it's Pay me, dig it like 
a shovel. 

- Pay me 

From The Beat: You certainly seem to be enjoying this vacation that 
you're on, a little too much, perhaps. But everyone has their own way 
of getting through a hard time. 

What up Beat, this is Marco. Well today I'm gonna write 
about gun violence. Guns are no joke, man, they could 
destroy so many things, they could destroy people's 

I once got shot at, I was like five feet away from the 
shooter. It was me and my brother but thanks to God I got 
safe and no bullet got me, I was very lucky. 

My brother didn't have the luck I had and he got shot 
seven times but he made it and he lives but he left to 
Mexico. Well, actually he didn't leave he got locked up 
and got deported. I don't know any of my friends that I 
know had never died. 

I once held a gun but at the moment that I got it I 
was scared, it was probably like three years ago and the 
second time I saw two guns pointing at me and my brother 
it was like a year ago. 

We don't need no guns in this world all they do is 
kill and it stops people's goals. I wouldn't want my kid 
to pack a gun nor even to know that there's guns in 
this world one way to stop the gun violence is by having 
more police watching the streets, the hoods. If it doesn't 
happen many will die. Hopefully the gun violence stops. 


From The Beat: Even though there are others whose only knowledge 
is about guns that doesn't mean they always take that path. You're a 
strong person, Marco, for admitting that you do not like guns and that 
you do not think guns are cool because you are choosing your path 
instead of following another^. What do you think can be done to stop 
gun and gang violence? 

I Don't Itiik Itiit It 


What's up Beat? Today I am writing about learning 
from the past. Learning from the past is something that 
happens to everyone. Some people learn and don't do the 
same things, but other people say they learn and go do 
the same thing. 

I learned a lot of the things I done but don't really 
think about them. I just go back and do the same things 
no matter the consequences are. I guess that's not really 
smart. I don't really care what people say about that 
because you got to keep it gangster. 


From The Beat: You're going to have to explain things to us better than 
this, Stomper. You seem to be saying that you have to be a gangster, 
so you won't think about the consequences, like the ones you're living 
right now. Isn't that just another way of saying you know you're going 
to give your young life to the state to be its slave and prisoner, and 
there's nothing you can do about that! Like we said, you're going to 
have to explain things better than that! 

Me and My Town 

Love this place 
Gilroy is the name 
Fame out my game 
Careless what you think 
Knock you out in a blink 
I know what I'm about 
True G's never doubt 
I am just an ordinary guy 
With a solid abstract mind. 
Keeping my time 
Always on the grind 
Shining in my prime time. 


From The Beat: This is a good piece. We can really see that you love your 
hometown. But do you think it's wise to knock someone out because 
they are careless in their way of thinking? A person will always have 
their own opinions but it^ important to know that your opinion of 
yourself is what matters most! 


Well, the topic today is about yesterday. To me, that 
means how would I have done things in the past. 

If only I would of thought about my actions, well I 
would of thought about not drinking as much and not 
giving a what. I messed up and now I have 'till Valentine's 
Day to really get it together. 

My life right now is going good. My lady is having my 
baby in less than four weeks and I'm gonna be a daddy 
pretty soon! I'm happy and thankful for her being my girl 
and baby's mom because I always knew this was the girl 
for me. 

My daughter Aaliyah will be home on the 15th of 

I got 86 days left and I'm out. I'm gonna handle 
business now cause I'm 18 and don't want to be back 

I love you baby, daddy's coming home soon to stay. 

To all incarcerated - you guys know what time it is! 
This is your boy Julio to all who know me what up! I'm 

My baby will be born before this comes out! 


From The Beat: Congrats on your new baby, hopefully your girl had a 
safe delivery and you will all be reunited soon and you can keep your 
promises. Have you seen your newborn yet? All the best young man 

Ril lepricliin 


I can't believe it's been over a year. I remember waking 
up to that phone call. Your homegirl on the phone, saying 
you passed away. That was the beginning of a really dark 
day. I can't believe the police thought I had something to 
do with your death. This is just a moment in these dark 
times to say we miss you. Rip Leprochaun 89-07. 


From The Beat: We are sorry for your loss and the pain from this 


What's up. Beat, this is Abimael. Well I'm gonna talk 
about the first time that I held a 9mm. I was a very young 
teen and my cousin let me hold his 9mm and he told 
me," You want to blast someone?" I told him no because 
I wasn't ready to shoot somebody.. 


From The Beat: Abmael, do you think that shooting your enemies will 
get you anywhere? Are you happy being locked up because if you head 
down that road then you'll find yourself back behind bars and it could 
be permanent. It^ never too late to change your mind and change the 
direction your going in. 


Well, one time I should have listened to Friends that 
were speaking up was when my Girlfriend told me to stop 
slanging. I always said I wouldn't get caught up, I was so 
sure I wasn't. But then I did and I ended up here. I always 
wish I could have really listened and stopped but I was 
too big headed and didn't listen. 

When I get out one thing I'm going to change is that 
when someone who I care about gives me advice I will 
always listen and try to do what I believe is best. 


From The Beat: It takes someone with strength to admit that they were 
wrong and didn't listen. Now you can look back on this moment in your 
life and know that you have grown so much, more than most adults 
now. What do you think that you can do to make your goal of college a 
reality? How will you change your lifestyle to stay out of trouble? 

Gun Violence Is A Part Of Life 

The first time I held a gun was when my homeboy 
showed me his. He had a .45 and .22. The things that 
come to my mind when it comes to guns is that they're 
cool and whenever it comes to use them then you should 
use them. I believe we should have guns in our lives and 
communities so we can protect ourselves from danger. I 
don't think they could stop gun violence and I think it's 
going to get worse in the future. 


From The Beat: When do you think it is a right time to use a gun? 
Sometimes innocent people are killed from the result of someone 
thinking a gun is cool and firing a random people. Do you think that 
peer pressure/fitting in has something to do with gun violence? What 
do you think could be done to keep kids away from guns and instead 
focused on their future? 

Tlie Life We Live 

The life we live ain't no joke. 

You got to watch where you goin' 'cause you might get 


Slangin' dope to kids, man that ain't the way to go. 

Get your money right, homeboy. Slow your roll, you gotta 
do things right. 

Just take life slow, cuz the life we live is all fun and games 
until you're the one shot and you holdin' your brains. 
So take a second to think about what you do, 'cause the 
life we live one second your life could be through. 
Don't be selfish, stop thinking 'bout you. Think about 
your family too. 

Now a day in the life we live, all the people think about is 
themselves and their crew. 

You can change, forget what people say cuz in reality 
those people will trade you for money any day. 
Man so stop and think cuz the life we live ain't no joke! 


From The Beat: This is a beautiful flow, Guerro, and so very true. Not 
many people stop to think about their peers anymore because if they 
did then there wouldn't be murders or violence in our cities. We know 
that this piece will reach out to someone in need of guidance and 
hopefully they heed your words and open their eyes to what you have 

said in this flow. 

Siiouiil've, CouiiI've, Wnuld've 

What's really good. Beat? It's me again. 

Well, the topic is something that I'm feeling 
lightweight, so I'm gonna start it like this. Well, there is 
a time when I would've made a different choice I would've 
changed the fact that I left the pad to go with the homie 
from the hood. 

If I would've stayed home, I would've still been out. 
I even had a feeling that something was gonna happen 
as well as everyone else in my family. Even my girl had 
a feeling. My aunt told me to be careful like three times 
before I left and she usually never tells me that. My girl 
told me to be careful and call as soon as I get to my 
destination. But a cop called my girl instead, because I 
got into a fight, talking 'bout if she's my aunt because 
that's the number I gave. 

Now, I'm in here missing my fam and my wife and I'm 
getting a strike with hopefully life skills. So, that's why I 
wish I could of stayed home. 

To all those on the train with no love, be cool, keep that 
head up because pain is only temporary. And remember, 
you can't keep a good man down. Late. 


From The Beat: Those premonitions that we have sometimes really need 
to be listened to, but now you know to listen to your inner feelings. 

To Forgive 

rufein Juvie 

First, I would like to say what's up to the people from The 
Beat, especially my girl Samantha. It's funny how they 
talk about this topic to forgive when I was barely talking 
about that with the homies up in here in the Max unit. I 
was talking to them about this vato that snitched on me 
for some stupid-ass pedo. That's why I'm up in here for 
some stupid-ass hale that went down a year or so ago. 

I would never forget this lil' vato. He could go to hell 
for what he did. I never thought that I would wish this to 
him, but life is hard and he messed up by telling on me. 

But it's firme one day he would get what he has coming 
for him. That's it for big temper right now. 


From The Beat: Why are people who do wrong {as you admit you did) 
so quick to blame the person that fingered them instead of blaming 
themselves? The entire criminal justice system, right up to the death 
penalty, is built on a foundation of snitches. So, if you don't want to be 
snitched out, don't give the snitches the ammunition they need to save 
themselves. It's in your hands. 

Shot Twice 

Well this topic really caught my attention because 

got shot at mi varrio plenty of times. If I can recall I got 

shot two times. 

One time, I got shot at the corner of my hood but 
never been caught by the bullet but my homie Mousey 
from my neighborhood didn't get so lucky, he got shot in 
both legs and I helped him up, put him in a pasisa's car 
and homies took him to the hospital. 

The second time I got shot at was once again in my 
hood by the freeway. We were having a hood meeting and 
some dumb vato shot at us from the freeway but none of 
us got hit. I'm telling you these streets are crazy. 


From The Beat: Wow, that must have been scary to have been shot at 
not once but twice. What do you think could be done to stop this kind 
of random violence? Do you think that kids have taken the love of their 
streets too far or does the violence stem from something deeper? 


Today, we are writing about yesterday. If I had a clock to 
turn back the hands of time and I would go back to the 
girl I was messing with and now I supposedly got this girl 
pregnant and I think it is some BS. So now my motto is: 
Fear no man, trust no.... So, when I get out what do you 
think is going to happen? 


From The Beat: Animal, Animal, your motto doesn't seem to be a positive 
way to live your life. Perhaps you should soften your heart. 



Chillen Trippin 

Beat! This is your boy Elmo. Well I came back 'cause 
shhh went wrong in Unity Care I started messing up, 
drinking and blazing and so I decided it wasn't really 
helping me so I decided to cut out. 

I was on the run for forty-three days and now I'm in 
here tripping 'cause my lady got pregnant and yeah my 
PO is being unreasonable. So I'm gonna make the best 
out of it and cross my fingers. Hopefully they don't send 
me to the Y. and shhh. 


From The Beat: Congratulations on your girlfriend^ pregnancy! We're 
sure that you'll think twice now before you choose to run away. What 
do you think that you can do now to keep out of trouble and stay in 
your child's life? Be strong, Elmo, soon you'll be out and you'll get to 
experience the wonderment of you child and being a dad that is there! 

The hall sucks because we eat this nasty food. We can't 
leave our rooms when we want. We can't shower when we 
want to. We can't shower when we want to and you always 
got people telling you what to do and when you can do it. 
I've lost my freedom being in here. I can't wait to be on 
the outs again. 


From The Beat: It must feel awful to have your freedom taken from you 
but everyone must take responsibility for his or her own actions. When 
you're released do you think that your lifestyle will change from the 
result of your incarceration or will you go back to your old life? \ 


There is a place for me on the outs, which is with my 
homey in my neighborhood. I have a place to sleep, food, 
and people got me on beer and weed. I can go to my 
homie's pad whenever and if he's not there, then my other 
homies will be there so I always got somewhere to go and 
my homie's family are coo' with me going to their pad. I 
don't bother them, it's firme. 


From The Beat: What about your own family? Are they not there for you 
in the same way? But it is good that you have people who are so down 
for you, when you have nowhere to go. 


J I 

Posole is a Mexican type of food that would be made 
on special occasions. Which be a birthday, holiday, or 
whenever something great happens. 

When my mom makes some posole damn! It's hella 
bomb, I eat about five plates at the most and then fall 
asleep 'cause I'll be so stuffed. 

Posole is a soup with beef and if you want you can put 
some lettuce and lemon to make it taste better, giving it a 
little flavor. 


From The Beat: Sounds yummy, Oscar. When you have a family of your 
own are you going to cook them posole? 

[carrying Guns 

What's popping? This is that Young G coming at you once 
again from the max. Today's topic is about gun violence. 
There are many people that have passed away from gun 
violence, but that's just the way today's life is. 

When I get out, the first thing I'm gonna do is get a 
gun. I'm never gonna walk the streets without a gun 'cause 
these days it ain't safe. I just had a homeboy passed away. 
That's about it for now. 

-Young G 

From The Beat: It's not safe because of guys who carry guns like you. 
Do you know how many years you can do in jail if you got caught with 
a gun? And how many extra years you will get if the gun is loaded? 
Always remember this, "live by the gun, die by gun." 


On The Outs 

Can't wait to be on the outs with my family. And do 
whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do. And eat 
what I want to eat and shower when I want to. I also won't 
have anyone telling me what to do. 


From The Beat: It^ hard to listen to someone telling you what to do 
when you have your own plans in mind. But sometimes it^ good to have 
some sort of structure because it% that structure that helps keep many 
of us grounded. 


My Riches and My Wealth 

I'm fly, I wanna fly, I don't wanna die, 

I don't wanna get high no more. 

They say my heart is stone cold so I don't love or hate 


I know my faith is hustlin' that's why I'm like this. 

They say I'm emotionless I can even seem lifeless 

But the gift and the curse that I posses is priceless. 

This ain't the first time that I've appeared in a physical, 

my father is a genius, my character rose to a criminal. 

My life is subliminal. 

Inspired by my coke dreams. 

My life seem bright but it's as dark as the dope fiends. 

Can anybody see me I think I'm fallin', I'm slipping, I'm 

balling, I'm dipping. 

But my heart went stone cold 

I don't know which way to go. 

I want to get it back, busting guns dealing crack. 

Reminds me of my youth. 

I got a gorgeous face when my heart is crying the blues, 

I started lying to dudes, then the girls, then myself 

Sacrificing my soul for my riches and my wealth. 


From The Beat: Wow D, this is a very heart wrenching flow but you icnow 
that "all that glitters is not gold". Although there might be people who 
^Sky that selling dope, doing drugs and packing heat is stn admirable 
way of living, it's really not. In the end, it just makes you a follower and 
does not get you anywhere in life. What can you do to make your life 
brighter without the "coke dreams" or the criminal character? 


This Hurt 


I spent my 15th birthday in the same room and same 
unit, then now my 17th birthday up in here. Then my 
second Thanksgiving in the same unit. 

It hurts me deep in my heart that I can't be with my 
family for the holiday. I hurt just being away from my 
family. I say to myself, man who am I hurting, nobody but 
my family and 1. 1 changed from the path I was on before. 

I'm on a better path that's a good and positive path. 
I'm trying to do good so I could make my family happy, 
especially my mother and father who deserve it. I love my 
mom and dad, and my brothers and sisters more than 
anything in this world. 


From The Beat: We're sure your peers in your unit feel the same and we 
can understand how hard it can be to pull through another day waiting 
for your release date. But you can use your family sk% a goal to getting 
out and staying out and when that happens you can look back on this 
9ks a very valuable lesson. 

Be Smart 

Hey what's up. Beat. 

Well, my topic is guns. Wow, how many people do ya'U 
know that been killed by a gun? Too many to count, right? 
Guns, for me, is protection. Lately this world be too 
crazy, you got to be strapped in order to walk around, 
ain't that some shhh? 

Well, sometimes it don't got to be like that, it all 
depends on the person behind the trigger but lately we 
been making the wrong choices ya'U got to be smart 
about it. I know I said it's protection but ya'U, sometimes 
I think it's nothing, that just ain't right. I'm just saying if 
you going to have a gun then be grown about it and learn 
from your mistakes. 


From The Beat: We know how hard it must be to be away from your 
family but your family is also going through the same emotions »% you. 
Stay strong for yourself and your family. 

To be hurt, lost, SGareil,anil hroiion 

Alright, today I'm just writing (please publish this so 
people can know that the pain they cause goes much 
further than the surface) I've been hassled so much in 
this lifetime about being who I am; the valedictorian who 
is always right when it comes to common sense and 
education. A man can only tell so much. 

Why do you think people die? Why do you think people 
commit suicide? Because the pain cuts too deep. I know 
that I will never give pain that satisfaction of knowing 
that I bent to its will, that it'll get the better of me. Yet I'm 
still scarred, broken, hurt, lost, ostracized and so many 

There's a song named "Welcome to My Life". The 
chorus is "to be hurt, to feel lost, to be kicked out in the 
dust. To be kicked when you're down, to feel like you 
been pushed around..." That song describes my life right 
now.. Everyone thinks it's funny to pick on the smart 
guy but a man can only take so much. And thank God 
that I have a very high tolerance for that kind of shhh. 
Everyone's heard of the nerd that got picked on, then 
comes to school with a gun. I'm not saying that I have 
a gun, I'm just saying you don't know anyone until they 

All my life I've been a misfit, a nobody, someone used 
for jokes and what not. But the first time I try to show 
my true potential I get shot down by people who I am 
superior to. 

So here's the message," Open your eyes and think 
about what you say because it will come back to haunt 

This pain you instill in me. 

Is something of which I will never be free. 

You forged your chains, took away my name. 

I am but a shadow upon your grave. 

You can't see inside of me. 

The scars rest there and fester ever deep. 

The things your say, the things you do. 

They're always there, haunting you. 

To be hurt, lost, broken and scared. 

My worst memories are always there. 

Unforge your chains, give me my name. 

You'll find another and let my memory fade... 


From The Beat: Derrick, we can really feel how much you're hurting 
through reading this piece and we are so sorry that you have went 
through all this bullying. The one thing you have to remember is to keep 
your head high and to turn the other cheek when someone is trying to 
bring you down. Everyone goes through hurtful times in their life but 
you always have the choice of taking the higher path or going down the 
same road Sk% the people who pick on you. Retaliating against someone 
with intentions to hurt them would put yourself in the same boat 9k% 
these bullies. Focus on your life and make %ute that you go somewhere 
because in the long run, you will know who "won" in the end. 

Spread, it Does a Body Good 

What's up Beat? This is JR, well I'm 'bout to write about 
the weird foods. Some people think that spread is kind of 
weird when they see all the different kinds of foods being 
thrown in the bowl or pan. But when they taste it they get 
blown away by taste because its hella good. I would put 
some ingredients but it's up to whatever you got in your 


From The Beat: You're right, many people would think that spread is 
weird but it's really just a creative way to make not so good foods taste 
even better. Do you think that you could market spread to a wider 

Weird Delicacies 

How I Tiiinii 

Hey Beat! How you guy's been? Me, I'm cool just waiting 
to go to the ranch. I'm happy that I'm leaving and I'll 
probably not be here to read my own Beat when it comes 
out. Well I guess I'm just going to do my program. I'm 
about to graduate so I'm happy for that and I'm going to 
be taking college courses online. Well, my homie just got 
demoted to B level, right now as I right this. 

Well, the weird food thing kind of caught my attention, 
I don't know or remember the weirdest food that I have 
eaten. I've seen people eat frog legs and my family ate 
this weird little bug. I think well I've eaten sushi (the 
dragon roll) and squid, pig's feet (what Mexican I eat it is 
also i menudo) I've even eaten duck and tofu. I wouldn't 
mind eating any foreign food. I would actually like to try 
everything there is like snake to scorpions (dead one's 
not alive one's). I want to go to France and try their food 
because I heard they got some good food, I also would 
like to eat some Asian food like Cambodian, Filipino, or it 
doesn't matter. I want to travel and that would be fun just 
go places and taste food. I would like to get a job getting 
paid to taste food. 

All right then Beat, stay up to all, hopefully I'm gone 
before the next one. Hopefully I do good. All right then. 

- Victor 

From The Beat: That^ a great goal to have, Mr. Victor. There are people 
who travel just to taste different foods and experiment with different 
food cultures. What do you think that you would have to do, once out, 
to reach these goals? I 




Ever since Monday, 12-01-08, my life has been hoot 
really don't understand how this shhh happen. It was like 
one day I'm climbing to the top and the next I'm falling, 
and I'm still falling hard and fast. 

This last week of my life has been so terrible. I ain't 
received nothing but bad news and it ain't getting better. 
At this moment, my life is unpredictable. All I'm hoping is 
that somebody is there to break my fall. Real, real soon. 

-Papi Chula 

From The Beat: Have you ever heard the expression, "what you do in the 
dark will come out in the light"? We're not sure what is falling apart in 
your life, but we are sure that you are the one who has to break your own 
fall. That means you'd better examine your own contribution to your 
life's meltdown, and take steps to stop making those contributions. 

Late Higiit TV 


Sitting in my bedroom late last night in the outs 
watching TV, looking at a show that was about poker. A 
player that was playing bet over $25,000.00. The guy had 
a trap because the guy knew he was going to lose, he was 
going to give everything up. 


From The Beat: What do you think, when you see a person who throws 
away money so carelessly? For us, we get angry! I 



IS IS mv I 

Ifly Hream 

My dream is to become president of the US. This is my 
goal and I'm going for it. I'm going to be the first Mexican 
president. Well I'm out for now. Stay up to everyone and 
keep the faith. Jesus loves you. 


From The Beat: This is a very high and hard goal to make. People will 
try to discourage you and put you down for your desire to become 
President but remember that perseverance and hard work will get you 
to where you need to go. 

What's up Beat? This your boy Yung Uso Kefi. When 
somebody does you wrong and you feel the need to be 
taught a lesson, you don't always act right then. You play 
your position, make them get so comfortable with you 
not reacting. They start slipping because they think you 
are weak. 

Then you react by doing the same thing to them, but 
you do it in a keener way. The cat won't know what hit 

Well that what I got for today. Until next time. 

-Young Uso Kefi 

From The Beat: One thing that would make your writing much stronger 
would be an example. Think of a sentence that begins something like: 
'This one time..." then tell us about that one time, to illustrate what you 
mean. We do have a question though. If "the cat won't know what hit 
him," then what^ the value of the lesson? 

If You Can't Do Tiie Tioie, Don't Do Tiie Grime \ 

Tonight I want to touch on a subject, pertaining to 
committing a crime and not being able to do the time. 
There are some individuals that aren't fit to do time. 
Living the life that we live is an incredibly, roller-coaster 
type of living, many ups and downs, and many unfortunate 

Real talk, stop gang-banging if you don't want to 
suffer the consequences. Obviously, speaking in general, 
you're all aware of the pain and severe suffering that our 
families go through because of how we live. You know 
you're getting locked up, you know you might lose your 
life but you do it anyways. Eventually, your going to do 
time and statistics prove that our life expectancy is pretty 
short. Know what you're getting into before you get into 
it. Expect the unexpected but remain on your toes. 

Keep that solid composure and keep your mind 
straight. Remember what we're intensely striving for. Get 
your education, get out and stay out. Like I said in the 
beginning don't do the crime if you can't do the time! 


From The Beat: We know that a lot of other kids out there will read this 
and think twice to themselves before they do something they aren't 
supposed to. Our actions affect more than just us but we rarely realize 
this until we've hurt the ones closest to us. What do you think should 
be done to keep kids out of trouble? 

m Life 

Hey Beat readers! Ms. Jacki'z, putting my two cents in 
once again. Well, this is gonna be about a topic & what's 
going on in my life. 

So for the "Don't Go There" topic honestly I think the 
only thing that would be wrong to talk about is their race 
or their family life. I don't really get offended 'bout that 
though 'cause common, white girl, somebody's always 
clowning on me and bringing that up but I don't care, ya 

Well, so the las test with my life kinda sucks. Three 
months tomorrow & still no sentencing yet so its dead 

Plus me and my man finally got back together but it 
going to be a minute before I see him. I'm just hoping I 
get the sentencing I want. Ugh. I keep wishing to go back 
in time but honestly I believe everything happens for a 
reason. So yeah, 'till next time Beat! 


From The Beat: You know, racial stereotyping doesn't just go for Blacks, 
Asians or Mexicans because Caucasian people are "classified" also. No 
one has the right to belittle anyone because of their race and you're a 
very strong woman for turning the other check to your peers teasing. 
What do you think can be done to stop racial stigmas? 

Tonight's Topic 

Well on tonight's topic about guns, the thing that comes 
to my mind is my hood. I always think when is the time 
gonna come when I get blasted and pass away or when 
am I gonna get caught up for murder. Well that's the only 
thing that comes to mind so I'm gone 'cause I gotta let 
my mind rest. 


From The Beat: Thatls the thing, Pancho, you don't have to die early. It's 
never too late to pick yourself up and get out of that lifestyle. Cycles 
can be broken but it^ up to you to make yourself different. 

Gon VioieoGO 


Weli ,Woil, Woli 

IVIissing Yoo Aireody 

Well, I just had court and I had to plead guilty to a charge 
that I didn't even commit. Just sitting there in that chair 
lying to the judge when he asked you if you are agreeing 
to this because you committed the crime. 
I just busted out in tears knowing that my PO is gonna 
send me out of state since I got that charge. I have a lot 
of things going through my head. I wanna be around with 
my sister and watch her grow and my mom and my man. 
It's hard to go away for so long. But I know everyone will 
be there for me that's in my life right now. And I know my 
babe will be there for me no matter what. 


From The Beat: Being away from the one's you love is always hard but 
you just have to push through these tough times in your life and in the 
end you'll be a more mature and knowledgeable person. What can you 
do to make sure that you aren't in this situation again? 

Hey Beat, what's good? Well this yo' girl Malae just 
dropping a couple of lines for everyone to read. So yeah, 
for the first time I'm feeling the topic and I just want to 
say that I lost my friend this year to gun violence. It really 
did break my heart, I cried so much and that was the first 
person that I ever lost that I was close to. 

When I seen him in the hospital the next day I found 
out he got shot in the head, his whole body was swollen 
and he was ran over by a car full of gang members. 

Well, even though he did bad in life he was finally 
getting his act together and was going to programs to do 
good for his son. And on his way home he had got shot 
and ran over. 

If my older brother was out of jail it could have been 
him. I'm not saying I'm glad but I'm saying that I really do 
miss him and will always love him. 

So Beat, got to take it down. Thanks for taking time to 
read this Beat. Much love and respect, your girl. 


From The Beat: That is a very hard experience to go through, Malae and 
we are sorry that you and your friend^ family went through such pain. 
Moving on is always hard but we're sure that your friend would want 
you to live your life the best way you can. What do you think you and i 
his family can do to remember his life? I 

J ■■■111 J 

Well, I'll be writing a little about myself. 

Well, I'll be getting out soon like in two months. 

Well the good thing is I'll be getting my high school 


in here so it will be cool, dude. 


From The Beat: We're happy to hear that you'll be out soon, Chico! 
Although we love your pieces it would be a wonderful thing to hear 
from you in person rather than locked up. Keep your goals and sight i 
and your hard work will show itself in the long run. I 

I I 

Some things just aren't to be joked about. One thing 
that some people think is funny, but can be taken real 
seriously is calling someone a bitch that word can turn 
the conversation from a friendly one to a fight instantly. 
I personally hate that word. I don't say that word unless 
I truly mean to for a reason. It's just a very disrespectful 
thing to say. It's like another word for a punk or telling 
someone they're nothing. 


From The Beat: Being called out of your name is never a good thing 
and for some, they're answer is to resort to violence. The saying "Sticks 
and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me" is not 
always true because words do have a big impact on people. Although 
sometimes we're just joking when we call someone a b**** we don't 
know how that person will feel. 

I Was Wroog 

Damn, I can't believe 

What is happening to me. 

I believed that our love was ever lasting 

But I was wrong. 

I can't believe that I really thought you loved me 

And cared about me, but I was wrong. 

I can't believe that I really thought I was your one and 


But I was wrong. 

I cant believe I thought everything was going to be ok 

when you said it would be. 

But I was wrong. I can't believe I thought we were meant 

to be. 

But I was wrong. I can't believe I thought this day would 

never come. 

But I was wrong. 


From The Beat: Lost love is always a painful thing to go through. Have 
you tried sending this poem to that special someone to let him/her 
know how you feel? 


What's going down. Beat Within and Beat readers? This 
is Peanut. I'm going to write about today's topic "Speak 

My roommate is hella annoying because he gets mad 
at the stupidest things and make a big ass argument that 
he swears he's right, but really in the wrong. But I know 
him from the outs! So I decided to tell him to stop acting 
like a fool! But we settle it by making each other tap out! 


From The Beat: Sometimes we're afraid to tell someone that they're 
wrong but you took a chance and told you're roommate to stop acting 
the way he does. How did that make you feel, to have to call him out 
on his actions? 

Learning From Tlie Past 

Well, I don't really know on what I've learned from my 
past. Let me think.... Oh yeah, solving my problems with 
violence. I once told myself I wasn't ever gonna solve my 
problems like that, but I did anyways. 

Now I'm here about to get sentenced to 35 to life. Oh 
well. Don't get me wrong. I've learned but I guess the only 
way I did was the hard way. 


From The Beat: We hope some other boy, reading what you are facing, 
will learn the lesson before facing the same future! Violence may 
have solved one problem for you, but look at the other problem it has 

My Sentence 

Fresh Start 

What's up Beat? This your boy Young Uso Kefi coming 
from the max, Today, I'm going to talk about my 

Last week I got sentenced to life skills. But it could 
have been worse. The DA was trying to send me to CYA 
'cause this is my fourth 211. 

The first time I got locked up, I did a year and a half. I 
went to the Ranch and I got into a fight. So I got sentenced 
back to the Ranch and that took longer to go back. When 
I went back to the 2nd time, it was hella easy to run, but 
I didn't run. 

This is my 2nd time up in here, and the judge said 
that I don't have any more chances to go any other place 
except CYA. I ain't trippin' off going there 'cause most of 
my usos that locked up that are up in there. 

The DA and my attorney, he was just going to sit 
there and let the DA talk down on me. The DA don't know 
shhh about me except only paperwork of all the bad shhh 
I done. 

I could get two strikes, charged as an adult when 
I committed the 211. But I was only 15 years old. If I 
would've committed two days before, I would've got it. 

Well, that all I got for today. Until next time, to all my 
usos, keep your head up! 

-Young Uso Kefi 

From The Beat: It doesn't matter how many usos you have locked up in 
YA, it^ not a place you want to be! Your lawyer's job is not to protect I 
you from the bad things the DA says about you, but to protect you from , 
being sent to CYA. It sounds like you had a lawyer who did his job well! 
But what about your job? If you are so close to state prison (that's what 
YA is) and to multiple strikes, then you're not doing the best job you 
could be doing for yourself. Time to focus on some changes that will do 
you and your future the most good. 

Guns Will Be Aronnd 


Hey Beat! I think that guns will always be around. I mean 
if you think about it the most place you see a gun is on a 
cops belt along with the stick. On the other hand you see 
mostly gang members with a gun though it's because lots 
of things happen on the streets so it's for protection. 

Other people also use guns for if their houses get 
robbed. So basically I'm saying there is many different 
uses for guns, even though some are the right reasons. 
Like law enforcement deaths would still happen. This 
world is horrible but hella cool at the same time. Well, all 
my creative juices are gone, late! 


From The Beat: Yes, the world can be a horrible place but it doesn't have 
to be. There will always be a way to end bad things from happening, 
we just have to work together as a united society to try and stop these 
murders from happening. 

M]f Family 

I just want to go home and be with my family, the only 
people I ever see is my mom and my dad. I want to be able 
to see my brother and my sister. I really want to go and 
see my baby and my girlfriend. I haven't seen them since 
three days after my baby was born, I think it's a mistake 
to be away from her for so long. 

I don't know when I'm getting out but I hope I get out 
soon its almost been a month since I've been away from 


From The Beat: You're family misses you as much as you miss them and 
they are hurting as much as you are. Why don't you ask your family to 
spend some time and write you letters every once and a while? Writing 
is a great way of communicating and getting your thoughts and feelings 

I across and plus you get to keep the letters and reread them whenever 

I you feel lonely. 

What's really the business? What's really good. Beat? So 
I had court yesterday and I finally got my sentence! I get 
out on my 18th bday with no probation. I'm hella excited. 
I get to start off fresh without being in the system. 

I graduated from high school Jan. 30. A juvie hall 
diploma but it's good, it release is a couple 
days before Valentines day. 

But uh ya that's all and that's just an update.... until 
pencil meets paper again. Stay up all... 


From The Beat: That^ great! We know that this letter will inspire other 
I kids to do good and succeed. We hope everything goes well for you! 


What's up Beat? This is your boy Dopey coming out the 
ranch unit, keeping a solid abstract mind. I am here to 
tell about the weird foods. One of the weird foods I've ever 
had was maybe goat and oysters, they're hella bomb but 
it's weird, that's the weirdest. Well Beat, I am out so to all 
stay up. 


From The Beat: Did you know that in other countries, goat is more of 
a staple than beef or chicken? Do you think that you could convince 
someone from another country to eat a burger if they thought it was 

Gun Violence Killed My Boyfriend 

We were together for two years and we were gonna have 
a kid but I had a miscarriage, unfortunately. I miss him 
sooooo much, he passed away March 27, 2007. I was in 
here when it happened so I thought I was going to go 
crazy because I couldn't do pay back. 


From The Beat: You've went through very tough ordeals at a very 
young age but Claudia, don't continue the cycle. Have you ever tried 
writing poetry to get your feelings out? There are different ways to 
vent your sadness, anger, etc. Have you tried starting a memorial for 
I your boyfriend? 


One thing to think on, if somebody controls your 
emotions they can control your attitude. If they can 
control your attitude, then they can control your actions. 
If someone controls your actions, then they control your 

You Do The Time, Don't Let The Time Do You. 

-Young Uso Kefi 

From The Beat: So, does this mean you are in control of your own 
emotions and attitude? If so, what is your attitude? How will it keep 
you free (or not)? If "attitude determines altitude," then will you fly or 


1 Messaie Ii Ilise li Prisii 


Que onda carnales? How you soldados doing? Hope you 
guys keeping your heads up and not letting that stress get 
to you. Pues, I night be getting sentenced in Feb. That's 
pretty firme 'cause I been here for like a year already and 
they haven't told me anything about my case. 

I just wanted to say q-onda to all of the homies up 
there doing their pedos. 


From The Beat: Take some time to read the "Beat Without" section if you 
want to know how it is to spend years as a slave in the huge California 
prison system. So many young (and formerly young) men spending so 
many hours of so many days of so many years saying, "If only..." 

No Regrets! 

Learning From The Past 

Today I'm going to write about sitting in my room but 
first let me introduce myself, my name is Lil' L. 

Well, I got locked up Nov. 26th, 2007 and haven't 
seen my bedroom since I was too busy stealing cars and 
smoking with the homeboys. 

We use to drive all through San Jose, it was fun at the 
time but now look we're all locked up and I'm waiting to 
do 12-18 months. 

I still don't regret nothing I've done and I know they 

don't either. 

-Lil' L 
From The Beat: Is this what you want with your life? Getting high and 
stealing cars for a living? It's time to grow up and realize that there is a 
bigger world out there and this type of life is not the only option. i 

The Let Down 


When a homie lets you down, your heart stops. You 

think," Why me?" And the moment that you're in 

(juvenile), everything stops and becomes reality. All the 

alcohol, the drugs are gone, you're sober. You believe that 

it didn't happen, but you accept the fact that it's real and 

move on. That feeling of a girl can be replaced, but a great 

homie cannot. Love you you're my boy for life, be safe. 

-Arty D 
From The Beat: It must hurt when your close friends let you down. 
When something like this happens what can you do to try and patch up 
the relationship? Are you both living a legit life, or are you living a life 
where betrayal and hurt can re-occur? 


ing. It I 

A mistake I've made over and over again is fighting 
keeps bringing me back (here). I'm tired of it, 

I hate coming back here it's to the point where I don't 
get to go home anymore I have to complete a group home 
first. It shouldn't take that for me to learn from fighting. 


From The Beat: On the fighting issue you have, what can you do rather 
than fighting to work out a dispute? Look where this action has taken 

Well, today I'm gonna write about "learning from the 
past". Well, what I've learned from the past is not to 
disrespect my family. It sucks when you think that it's 
cool what you're doing on the streets but what you're 
doing is hurting your family and sometimes that make 
your family forget you. 

It sucks because when you get locked up sometimes 
you feel lonely because no one visits you or writes you or 
anything, just because you were so stupid and dumb to 
not listen to your parents. Well that's it for today. Beat. 
'Til next time. 


From The Beat: Sometimes it takes something big to make us realize 
that what we're doing is wrong. Just remember that it is never too late 
to learn because we are always growing and we are always learning. 
You're family might be disappointed in you but they will always love 
you and care for you. Maybe you should try speaking up to your parents 
and tell them your feelings and concerns? 

Sitting and Thinking 

Sitting in my cell always makes me think of all the times 
I was on the outs with my family, thinking if everything's 
alright with them. 

I'm also always in here praying, hoping to get out 
soon on EMP. Just thinking that they don't recommend 
something else 'cause really I been coming in and out 
just for weed and not going to school but most of the 
times just for the weed. 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night always got me 
praying hoping that I get out on EMP before Christmas 
to be with my family because my PO, might recommend 

residential treatment. 


Sitting in my bedroom late last night got me praying 
to the Lord, Jesus and the Virgin Mary hoping I get out on 

I EMP on my court date... 

From The Beat: We hope that your prayers are answered, Ivan, but 
sometimes praying can only take you so far. You also have to try to stay 
out of these situations so that you wont have to be incarcerated in the 
first place. If you get placed on residential treatment then what will you 
do to make sure you don't make the same mistakes again? 


Never Too late to Change 

Hey Beat! Well, I would like to say that I'm back 
change for the good. 

I was and tired of living on the streets, breaking the 
law, hurting people and being on the run. I don't want to 
live my life like that anymore! 

I've been coming in and out since the age of fourteen, 
I am now seventeen years old and I am glad it finally 
clicked in, you know? 

I got 120 days here and when I get released I finally 
go home to my dad. I leave in March and I should be 
graduating before I leave here. I want to go to Junior 
College to become something. I'm too old for this stuff 
you know? I'm not gonna keep playing this cat and mouse 
game with the system. I love my family and I am glad to 
say I now love and value my life. Thanks Beat, you've 
always been here so I can write out my problems. 

Well, hope I succeed this time and I'm tryna reach out 
to those who are trying to help me. 


From The Beat: We hope that this is a change for the better too, Corina 
and we know that if you want it hard enough, if you work hard enough 
then you can do it. It is never too late to change because humans are 
always growing. That's the beauty of being alive, you never have to 
stay the same. 

For My Lady 

Sitting in my room late last night, I couldn't stop 
thinking about my lady. We've been together for about 
fourteen months now and she's stayed with me through 
three incarcerations but I can't stop thinking it's over it 
this time and that's changed my thinking a lot. 

I'm not sure if it's fear of losing her, or a sign of 
maturity, but I've never had a stronger desire to do well in 

During my stay I've been working on my GED, when 
I get released I will be on house arrest for four months 
and I'm going to get a job and my license to use this time 

After this school year I'm going to go to West Valley 
Community College for two years and then SJSU and if 
you knew me before, you'd know how much improvement 
that really is. 

I just want to make my lady proud. Beat. Enough of 
this useless wall of words, stay up Beat, this is... 


From The Beat: Have you thought of sending this letter out to your 
girlfriend? You'll never know how she feels about your stay unless you 
ask and asking never hurts. Let her know that she^ your motivational 
force to do better. But remember, Eric, that you have to also want to do 
better for yourself not just for your girl. 


\ Sitting in Ifly Bedroom Tliiniiing Of Love 

G-Riding is cool, you do it once, you do it twice then 
you start doing it everyday, it's sick when you don't get 
caught up. 

Go pick up some homies, hot box, burn rubber and all 
of that shhh but when you get caught up it's a bitch. 

You get locked up and they're just making money 
off of you. Once you start G-ridin' it's hard to stop but 
you're just walking down the street and you see a car that 
you could turn on, you'll be like forget it and the next 
thing you see is yourself in the back of a cop car. So don't 
think that by doing it once you're gonna stop because 
sometimes it's hard to stop. 


From The Beat: Have you ever thought of the lives you effect when you 
steal someone's car? Put yourself in their place and picture in your mind 
that it is YOUR car that is getting stolen. Maybe it's a single mother 
who's car you've stolen or maybe it's a family on welfare who doesn't 
have the money to pay the pound? Maybe it could be your mother or 
father or grandparents who get their car stolen. How would that make 
you feel? Mature up and stop being so selfish! 

Going Insane 

Sitting in my room late last night 
watching the cars drive out of sight, 
I wish the judge could feel my pain 
of being in a cell going insane. 
I wish I could go run and play 
but all I can do is sit and pray, 
I want to go back to the city 
where we always post. 

I'm going to be here until '09 

with my parents paying a hefty fine. 
I keep my head up and do my time 
'cause I was caught for my boy's crime. 
It's not on him 
'cause I'm to blame 
For putting in work 

to earn my name. 
I'm out for now, 
' till next week and the new year is what I seek. 


From The Beat: We understand the craziness of only being able to see 
the same four walls over and over again everyday, Mousie. One thing 
you can do to try and lessen the boredom is to make up stories and to 
keep writing. What else can you do to make your stay less mundane? 

Site's ifly Addictiofl 

She's like the monkey on my back, she is my addiction. 

Even when I'm locked up, she still plays her position. 

Through all the pain and misery, 

she don't know how much she mean to me 

I've been shot at, stabbed, and almost beaten to death. 

But this girl is real, she'll be here to my last breathe. 

They say love is blind, and hard to find. 

But they never met a girl, quite like mine. 

When she's around, I feel a rush. 

Like heroin in the needle, when I feel her touch. 

It's too late; I can't go back now, 

I'm feeling for her, I don't know how 

She's been mine, through the good and the bad, 

I never meant to hurt her, or make her sad. 

Them other girls jealous, all they do is hate. 

But this girl, and me we were destined by fate. 


From The Beat: This is a nice poem! It seems like this girl is the one. If 
you really care for her, what are you willing to do for her. Love is not 
forever. Love is like plants— you have to water it or else it dies. 

re \ 

As I was sitting in my bedroom late last night I couldn't 
stop thinking about how much I love my fiance and son. 
It seems as if I can never get them off my mind. I always 
think about their smiles or laughs. 

I realized that I need to be at home with them. I 
miss them both like I never missed no other. I feel empty 
without my new family. 

I made some bad choices baby, and I'm sorry I have 
to be away from you and our son. I know that 111 miss 
his b-day this month. I promise you, hun, that I won't 
ever leave your side because I know that you're struggling 
too and I know things would be easier with me around 
but don't worry, beautiful, I'm coming home soon and I'm 
changing my ways to improve our life. Babe, I love you and 
I'm going to do things right now. I miss you BEAUTIFUL! 


From the Beat: We are so thrilled to know that you are ready to change 
yourself for the better and step out of the world of childhood to the 
world of adulthood. We know that having a child makes you grow up 
and for some people, a baby can either make you or break you. We 
know that you are strong and we know that your wife and child can 
help you on the way to a better life. 

I Got Siiot 

What up Beat? This is James coming from life skills 
unit. Well, today's topic is about gun violence. I've had 
experiences with both sides. I've had one. I even got shot 
by one. I think that it would be ok to carry one for self- 

I lost a homie once, right in front of me and it wasn't 
that good. But that's why we should be packing. 

So yeah my kids, I don't know if they should be 
packing unless the streets were more crazier than they 
are now. 


From The Beat: We're glad that you've given us your insight on guns, 
James and we're very sorry to hear of your loss. You said that you think 
it^ okay to carry a gun for self-defense but what do you think about the 
people who carry guns just to look powerful? 

Sitting In My Bedrnnm Late Last Nigiit... 

I was in a critical situation 

between whom I should trust. 

My terrible ignorant, abusive, psycho, 

maniac excuse for a father, 

or a scared runaway, abandoning, useless mother 

who was never there. 

My mind was racing, too many thoughts at once... wanted 

to run, but nowhere to go, 

wanted an answer, but all I got were lies. 

Still can't think straight, damn! 

Pissing me off. 

Didn't need or deserve any of them, 

but my heart is too soft. 

Want to tell them to ef off, 

but now that are not what I really wanted. 

Mind all of a sudden starting to become clear, 

mom and dad aren't there any more... 

staff in my head 


Breakfast time. 


From The Beat: We are sorry that you are going through a hard life 
without the support of your parents. It must have been hard for you 
to put up with all this pain. If you got this far without them, you can 
do much more and better. Don't give up. You don't need them. Put your 
feelings you feel towards them aside and start living a clean life. Who 
can you lean on for support? What^ the plan? 

Never Giving Up 

Give Some Up! 

Seems like everyone telling me to change. 

Probation, the judge, girlfriends, and family, 

they're all the same. 

I tell them that real people will always care and be with 

me, no matter what. 

I am who I am, and they should accept me for that. 
I know I got to sacrifice certain things, 

but there are some things they need to accept 
as part of me. 


From The Beat: What is there to accept? To throw your life away? Why 
not giving a try to what they want you to do or be, if all they want is to I 
see you in a better situation? Give it a try. Stop being so stubborn! I 



Well, today I'm gonna talk about appearances 'cause I 
don't like any of these topics. 

Don't you just hate it when someone judges you by 
your appearance? By the way you dress some people 
automatically think that you're gang related, the people I 
you hang around with also. That is some B.S. 

For example, I had court yesterday and my public 
defender was telling me to cut my hair because the D.A. 
is going to judge me by my appearance. To tell you the 
truth I really don't care what people think of me! Have jj 
you ever heard "don't judge a book by its cover"? Well, I 
hate it when people do it because the people that judge 
you don't really know you like how your family does and 
your homies. 

Well, that's it for now, I'll end it here, 'til next week. 


From The Beat: People are quick to judge, Mikeyo and many of us make 
the wrong choice in doing so. You will never really know a person until 
you try to get to know them. We know how frustrating it must be to 
have a stranger judge you on your appearance without trying to know 
who you really are. What do you think society can do to change these 
stereotypes? What do you think you can do? 

Late Night Tiilnking 

Well, I was thinking late last night. I was thinking about 
the girl of my dreams. I was thinking of the only girl 
that's been there for me through think and thin. I was 
thinking about her smile. I was thinking about holding 
her cute little hands. I thought of how I held her while we 
stared at the ocean on a hot summer day. I was thinking 
about the love right after the fights. I was thinking about 
our anniversary. I also thought about our first kiss on 
a cold winter night. I also was thinking about how we 
would spend hours on the phone. I was thinking about 
our smiles and tears. I thought about the night I asked 
her out o Feb. 4, 2007 and the day I asked her to marry 
me. I was thinking of her lips and when we would kiss 
each other so softly then I would tell her I love her and 
she would stare in my eyes with the most beautiful look 
and say, "I love you too, Johnny." I was thinking about 
how I miss her so. But out of all this thinking, I got to 
the conclusion that I love her and I ain't ever gotta think 
twice about that. 

This is for you, Rebecca. I love you way too much. 
We've been through a lot and we're still goin' on strong. 
Let's keep up the good work, babe! I love you! 


From The Beat: Wow Johnny, you must love Rebecca very much to have 
poured your heart out so willingly. Have you spoken to Rebecca of your 
feelings? What are you going to do in the future to stay out of lock up 
and instead stay with your girl? 


Q-vo Beat? This is Vic coming straight from Gilroy. Well 
today's topic is "give it all up." Basically, I don't think 
that anyone up in here makes big changes just because 
of a PO or a judge. 

I think that the people who do make changes do it for 
themselves and for their loved ones. What do you mean 
by meaning changes and starting over? There's only so 
much change a person could do. 

I mean I know that many gang members can't stop 
'cause we go all the way. But we could change other 
things like going to school or getting a job. At the same 
time, we're still going to be doing our thing. 

Well to all up in here, keep your head up and do what 
you got to do. 


From The Beat: And what are your plans? Are you thinking about 
changing? Going to school or something positive that lead your life to 
a better future? What do you mean by "gang members can't stop? We 
know many, so many young people have been very stuck into gangs, 
have gotten out of out it and now living a better and happier life. 
There is a way out. Don't blind yourself because that's the worst thing 
someone can do to oneself. 

Un Late Niglit Trip 

What's good. Beat? It's your boy getting at you with some 
of my thoughts. 

Well, last night I was chilling with my boy, Johnny 
and just reminiscing of that good life! But I be always 
thinking about my girl, my baby momma with no drama! 
But man, I can't wait to touchdown and be with my wifey 
and daughter. 

I just sit and daze off to the future, how I would of 
ended up without her and live without her. I am waiting to 
go to another unit. 

I got 'til Jan. 30th to really think about how to be a 
good father. My time is almost up and I am hella happy! 
My first time getting hall time and I am 18! Been at ranch 
twice, etc. ..but anyways, I am gonna fix up my car when I 
get out and do it big and legit! 

To all, handle your business and be gone. Don't cry 
about your time, you should already know what time it is 
when you risking your freedom. Don't do the crime if you 
can't do the time. To all who know me, stay up. I love you, 
baby and I'll be home soon...! 


From The Beat: Too true, do NOT do the crime if you don't want to do 
the time. You've been very luclcy for this to be the first time you've been 
given halltime, but what about when you get out? What will you be 
doing to try and stay out? Maybe you can discuss this with your girl and 
she could give you her insight on what the two of you can do to better 
your lives as young adults. 

Give it AN Up 

Man my PO is literally macking down on me hard. It's 
getting to the point where I'm pretty much screwed 
financially for the next five years. I'm so much in debt in 

To me, it gives new meaning to the topic I'm writing 
about. I owe over ten thousand dollars and as I can recall 
my dad owed about that much when he first got full 
custody of me about 10 years ago. He said it took him 
many years to pay it off. 

No doubt I'm not going to give up though, it isn't going 
to be easy, but I'm going to make it count. 


From The Beat: What are you going to do? What's your plan? The best 
thing to do is to do your best in getting out, staying out, getting a job, 
and help your parents to pay this debt off. It^ your responsibility. 

Forgiving is Hard 

\ Sitting in ifly Bedroom Late Last nigiit... '^ 

Hey Beater's, what up? Hopefully this reaches all in the 
best health and respect! Well, today's topic is about all 
the people that let me down.... 

Well, I've had homies let me down before, it sucks 
but it happens! To all it's happened to I give my all above 
sorrow! Well back to the subject, I ain't going to talk about 
something big, just a so-called homegirl that I ended up 
finding out she was messing around with my ex. 

I don't understand how females that say they're your 
homegirl then 5 minutes later they stab you in the back. 
Or when they get into some shhh with you and end up 
snitching. I get irritated with all that bull. 

Stay up to all... I pray and hope the best to you all. 'Til 
pencil meets paper... 


From The Beat: People will do things that are going to hurt you even 
though they sometimes don't realize it. It sucks but you have to get to 
that point where you begin to put it past yourself and you start moving 
on. And the best way to keep people form snitching is to not get into 
trouble in the first place! 

How To Live? 

Greetings Beat. This is Eagle coming from the max. Well 
Beat, I find myself sitting in my cell thinking back on 
times that I could've made better choices. I might have 
not ended up here today. 

I also try to think of ways to better myself as an 
individual, but it's hard when all you've ever known is 
how to take and when reality hits, it's like damn I haven't 
done shhhh with my life so far except make things hard 
on myself. 

Rascal and me were up late last night just talking 
about how to live more positive and do something more 
productive instead of just robbing people all the time, 
fighting, and drinking. At the same time no ones ever 
taught me anything else, so I just don't know how and 
when I see people out there in society talking about how 
they are struggling with money all this and that. 

I just hate picturing myself like that. I prefer doing 
things the easy way. One minute you're broke, ten 
minutes later you got a couple hundreds in your pocket 
(which will only last a day or two) some weed, brand new 
clothes, and your ready to start all over again. 

I understand as people get older, you just stop doing 
shhh like that and that's my problem I just don't know 
how. So I need to start getting myself prepared for all that 
because by the time I get out, I'll be probably 18 or 19 out 
on parole. 

I'm going to have to do something to make ends meet. 
Unless I want to go back to my ways, I need to know how 
to do something for society and myself. 

Well that's it for now Beat. I'm still going through 
fitness, today is Dec.l2, and I'm about 45 days fresh into 
my known habitat. I'll probably getting a couple years 
in the Y and hopefully not get tried as an adult. But 
it's whatever now, I can't go back in time, but everyone 
knows how we get down. My life has been good I can't 

We'll I'm out. I hope you take care of yourself. I'll see 


From The Beat: Hey life is hard, in side and out. In order to earn what 
you need to survive, you have to work hard to get it. The easy way will 
always give you nothing and back to where you are. Go back to the 
beginning of your writing when you are thinking positive. You will need 
to be prepared when you get out. You're not a child anymore. You're a 

I grown up and if you're thinking positive — don't worry about because 

I thatls a good thing. We call that becoming mature. 


Sitting in my bedroom late last night there's a couple 
things that run through my mind. 

The first thing running through my mind is my girl, 
she's always on my mind 'cause I wonder what she's 
thinking or if she thinks about me. I talk to her every 
night before I take it down to my cell and when I tell 
her it's time to go she gets sad and I tell her I'll call her 
tomorrow but she don't want to hang up. 

I know I'm always on her mind, we've been together 
eight plus months now and still strong. This is the longest 
relationship I've had, we've been through some good and 
bad situations but it ends up with a good note after a long 
argument. Other than that everything is mas firme. 

- Tinley 

The Beat Within: We're sure that your girl is missing you as much as you 
do. Try telling her how you feel, you never know what a little openness 
can do for a relationship. 


Sitting in my room last night the thoughts that were 
going through my head were time's when I was out and 
about with all my homeboys. Shhh I miss doing a lot of 
those things like going to parties or BBQ's and all that. 

When me and my roommate just chill and tell stories, 
it takes me back to those days. To me, really it's a way to 
escape all the stress and problems and going through. 

I'm stuck in the max, looking at some years. All this, 
waiting to see what's going to happen is driving me crazy. 
That's when I just drift off in my head that's a place where 
I could be free. I hate knowing that some one else is going 
to run my life for the next couple of years. 

But not to get off topic, other thoughts that go through 
my head are times with family, times that I really didn't 
take advantage of. Knowing the things I know now, it's 
just like damn, I wasted a lot of my time and I still am 
today by being in here. 

I'm going to try to make the best of this, but I guess 
will see what happens. I'll have to get through all the 
dark nights, but what keeps me going is knowing there's 
always a brighter day. Your whole world could seem like 
it's coming down on you, but really when you look at the 
bigger picture it isn't that bad. 

Well this Rascal is running out of things to say so 
I'm going to cut this here with much love and respect I'm 


From The Beat: Yes, you're right! There will always be a brighter day 
for you. Don't give up on hopes. Do your time. Keep your spirit up and 
strong. There will be your time to live a life, a different life. When you 
get to that, you will need to be prepared. There's a life and many more 

I things to experience in this world. It^ waiting for you. How does it feel 
to release your stress through writing? 

Last Niglit 

It's the same as every other night. 
I sit there and drift on memory. 
I always think why am I still here? 
I know what I did, but I've done enough time, 
why won't they let me go? 

I I've seen rapist and murders get more time than me. So 
why, why is y'all doing this to me? 

From The Beat: We understand your frustrations, but you don't have 
another choice but to find other things that can help you ignore your 
struggles. Your time will come sooner or later. Use this time to learn 
something positive that can help you in your future. 




9 vole, Beat. What's cracking, this is your boy. Dopey, 
coming out from the ranch unit. 

Well Beat, today's topic that I am writing about is 
"Learning From The Past". Well Beat, I think I've finally 
learned. Beat, every time I get so close to getting out of 
this system I always mess it up and make things worse, 
this time, I am just going to stay positive and get out. I got 
a little bit of knowledge, I would say, to stay out and if you 
get time just do it. 

Don't turn a few months into years for stupid things. 
Well Beat, that's all for today. 'Til next time this vato is 


From The Beat: It^ hard to stay positive and out of trouble in the type 
of world we live in now, but many of us make it through and we think 
you will too. Just do »% you say, stay positive and have hope that soon 
you'll be out and moving on to bigger and better things. 

Sitting In Ifly Bedrnnm Late Last Nigiit 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night... Damn to be 
honest, I wasn't doing anything but laying down and 
reading a book because my roommate Young G decided 
to bail on me and go to another unit. 

Now I'm stuck in a room by myself. The only thing 
that is cool about being locked up is that you realize 
which homies are true and which ones aren't. 

The real ones are rare, but when you come across 
them you will know. All I can say about him is that he's a 
true lil' homie. 

Well back to when I was sitting in my room last night 
and reading a book. I kept stopping because that's what I 
was thinking about. Well to all the homies that are staying 
solid. I just want to say keep to keep your head up and do 
your time and get out. 

I'm about to head out back to mi casa in the max unit 
and read a book. 


From The Beat: So, what's your conclusion? Can the down and solid 
homies help you stay out of trouble? Can they guide you to a better 
road? You should also consider thinking about that and other important 
things, so your life will only improve. 

Tn Not Forgive 


I will never forgive someone if they were really close to 
me and they stabbed me in the back. I had two so-called 
"homies" do the same thing to me. 

First, it was my best friend (homie/best friend like a 
brother) he messed with my ex and got her pregnant and 
was telling everyone that I killed the baby but I didn't 
'cause I was locked up and the second so-called homie 
was my best friend. I let her move in to my pad 'cause she 
had nowhere to live so I told her to live with me. 

When I wasn't there, she tried to get at my girl in my 
room, so the next day I found out and I took her shhh and 
told her to leave and she did, but me and my ex weren't 
together so she got with my ex best friend so I kicked her 
ass and now we're not coo' no more!!!!! 


From The Beat: Wow, it's hard when people you love betray your trust 
like that and even harder to begin the healing process afterwards. 
You're not alone though, women everywhere have gon' through many 
of the things you've gone through but you have to stay strong! Learn 
from this! Don't let these girls get the best of who you are ii% a woman! 
You don't have to settle things with your fists whenever a close friend 
betrays you because you don't want to go down to their level. Keep 
your head up and remember that you're better than that and when you 
get out you go ahead and do what's best for you because in the long 
run, everyone will see who ended up with the last laugh! 


I miss being young. When I was little, I use to tell my 
dad, "I wish I were 18, so I could do what I want." 

Now that I am 18, I just want to be little again. I wish 
I could go back with what I know now and re-live my 

When you're a kid everything is so much less 
complicated. You don't have bills to pay and you don't have 
responsibility. It kind of sounds weak 'cause everyone 
has to face responsibility in life and I'm not saying that I 
wish I wouldn't have taken my childhood for granted. 


From The Beat: You're right! Childhood is the best phase of human 
beings. You lived it already like we all have. Now it is time for you to 
use what you know to continue to live the rest of your life's phases. 
Keep those memories alive, but keep moving on. 

Let Down By A Suciia 


What good. Beat? I jjust got sentenced to 60 days hall 
time. I tried to get out but the judge wasn't havin' it 
thanks to the D-A. talkin' all that trash. 60 days, can't 
complain though! 

Anyways, I'm going to write 'bout some times fools let 
me down. Well, up in here my shhh gets let down nearly 
every night when I don't get mail from the boys. That 
shhh pisses me off especially when they tell you on the 
phone that they're gon' write but they don't But I always 
forgive 'em 'cause it ain't that big of a deal, plus, I know 
they're busy doing the things that they do. 

Another time is when I went back to my boy T.J. 
and got jumped by the fools that jumped him. My other 
boy was there and didn't run up to get my back and even 
out the fight so I told that fool he was a punk and never 
trusted him in situations like that. We still talk when we 
see each other and I'll let him know where the party's at 
but we don't kick it the same. 

Anyways, I'm out but what's poppin' to my boy Play 
N. I'm out with no probation in February so we gon' be 
tearin' some shhh up. Peace. 

-K Mess 

From The Beat: We know how you must feel to be let down by your 
friends but we're sure that you're comrades care about you but they 
probably don't know how to express themselves. Have you ever tried 
telling them how you feel? AS for thanking the DA for your hall time, 
how 'bout take a look at yourself and see why you got those 60 days! 
WE think it's time to look at you! IN the end you make the choices that 
will keep you out or get you locked up again. 

Forever I'll Be Here For You 

What's good, Beat? Well, I ain't feeling the topic today 
so I'ma talk about my fiance. 

Baby, I love you so much, words aren't ever gonna 
explain how I truly feel about you. I'll give you the world 
if that would show how much I love you and care for you 
and that I will forever stand by your side. I just can't seem 
to seem to not stop loving you. I fall in love with you over 
and over again and I'm happy that you're going to be my 
wife. I will always love you unconditionally forever, there 
will be a spot in my heart for you. I miss everything about 
you and your sweet smell. You make me feel like there's 
no other for me, like there's no other for you. Marissa 
baby, I love you and Xavier. I wont ever leave your side; 
I'll stick with you through think and think just like you 
have with me. There's no one in this world that can do the 
things you do or make me feel the way you do. Forever, I'll 
always be here for you. I love you. 


From The Beat: This is beautiful, have you told this to your fiance? Just 
remember that you're still extremely young and you have your whole 
life ahead of you. Maybe try stabilizing your future before that big step 
into married life? Be smart! 

Give it All Up 


Leaving Soon RDP 

Well I'm in max right now writing to you guys. Well they 
told me that I might leave pretty soon and I'm kind of 
happy because I've been here for ten months and they hit 
me with one year in Nevada (ROP). 

Well to tell you the truth, I've been in the maximum- 
security a few days already and damn I've been stressing 
really bad 23 hours in the room, and no roommate. Shhh 
it's really whack. I'm all alone in a cell and it's giving me ™ 
hell. I can't take it anymore. Let another person look at 
me wrong and I'm going to go bad and that's on the real. 


From The Beat: Hang in there amigo. We understand that being here 
is hard, but the best thing to do is not to get into more trouble. You 
already got yourself into trouble, and you should use that experience 
to learn from your mistakes. The only way out of here is by completing 
your program. 

Sitting In My Bedroom Late Last night... \ 

What's good with it. Beat? Well, as for me I'm chillin', 
you know. Anyways, I was laying in my room late last 
night thinking about my family. Also I drifted into a little 
dream, pero, I wasn't asleep. 

It was cool you know I was chilling at my pad and all 
my friends were there with me just having a good time, 
just like them days you know? 

I was so happy that I couldn't wipe the smile off my 
face, everybody was happy also. My daughter was there 
and she was happy, but then all the smiles went to the 
trash because my baby's mama came with her family and 
everything went all bad. 

The homies started to bounce because they are the 
reason I am here and then I heard my fat roommate snored 
and I came back to this whack ass place. I was sad, pero, I i 
then cheered up because some other homies got it worse | 
than me. So to all facing time, don't let no one bring you 
down. Much love! 


From The Beat: How do you feel about being locked up for your homies? 
Have you ever told them how you feel about your incarceration? Lazy, 
there are people out there who will use you and abuse your friendship 
to their own advantage but that doesn't mean there aren't trust worthy 
people out there. A friend would never put you in the situation that 
you're in. 

Well, today's topic is pretty coo' so I'll write a little about 
it. Well, I'm in a situation that I have to change. Well, not 
really have to, but I want to because when I get out I'll 
have a strike and I'll be on gang probation, so for any 
little thing I'll be back doing a coo' minute. Not only the 
charges I caught but the one's I got right now and I'm not 
tryin' to be locked up half my life. 

I have two attempted murder charges and damn I 
hope and pray they will see me through but if I get out 
soon I'll change the way I am and the way I think. I need 
to be coo', I want a family and a good job and I'm ready to 
start my life. 

I'm going to be 18 in a few months and I still don't 
know what's going to happen but I see it as there's people 
with worse charges than me so I see that as a high for me 
but if I do get a while I'm still going to improve myself in 
here. I'm getting my diploma in here so when I get out I 
can go straight to college and start my life because I know 
I'm not going to be down forever and as for the unknown, 
to tell you the truth it trips me out because I don't know 
what I'm going to be doing in a couple of months or in a 
couple of years. Hopefully I'm not locked up, I know for 
a fact I'm going to maintain myself when I get out. Well, 
that's all for now. Beat. 


From The Beat: The unknown is very scary for many of us because when 
we're facing situations that we don't even know the outcome of, we're 
afraid of what will happen. It^ never too late to be ready for a change, a 
better change especially. We haven't lost hope for you, Miranda and we 
hope that you don't lose the faith in yourself. What will you do to make 
sure that you are on the right path to college? 

On All Tnplcs 

To forgive... I know there have been times where I haven't 
been able to forgive and other times that I have. I know 
the one I couldn't forgive was when I found out about my 
ex-lady and my ex-homegirl. It ended all bad, my ex ended 
up throwing up and my ex-homegirl ended up crying and 
I left to get faded. 

Another time I walked in on my homeboy messing 
around with my homegirl and at first I got hella pissed 
but then I forgave him 'cause that female turned out hella 

I know that there's some things I'm giving up because 
when I get out I'm gonna be going to school, stayin' clean 
and bein' a lady that stays outta jail to be there for my 

I believe that if I don't remember the shhh that 
happened then it will continue, 'cause that has happened 
before when I was faded. I ain't tryin' to have that happen 

A quick update: Well, I am doin' good in my class 
on the computer. I registered for my classes at De Anza 
(Junior College) and I have classes on Tuesdays and 
Thursdays and in March I'm starting at my job. I'm gonna 
be coming by on the 31st of January and picking up my 
king , so if ya'U hear honking hella early (8 or 9am) then 
that's me showing my love. 

To my king, be good, by the time you read this I'll be 

And to all, keep your heads up! Alrato, 


From The Beat: It^ great that you're doing so well in your classes, and 
you're already registering for classes! Relationships are triclcy and when 
you're dealing with infidelity then it gets even harder, just remember 
that boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go but with each one you 
learn valuable lessons and you grow so much. You're a strong woman, 
but you have to do things for yourself also, not just for your man. 

Money On My Mind 

Caught up in this game it's a struggle 

Every day I wake up with money on my mind, 

Always gotta hustle, gotta stay on the grind. 

Caught up in the system man, it's all a mess. 

They think it's a game, they say it's a test. 

Staff tellin' you to do this and that, 

Man don't judge me 'cause I got some tats. 

This system's all corrupt in everything they do. 

What you think I'm a change just 'cause you throw me in 

a room? 

I'll be out again 'cause all I got is time. 

Now the only thing I got is money on my mind. 

So when I get out, all I'll stack are chips 

And try not to get caught up in all this buUshhh. 


From The Beat: Everywhere you go people will judge you based on your 
looks. People fear the "strange" and "different" and sometimes we have 
to live with it. That doesn't mean it's right but there are things in this 
world we have to tolerate. We know who you are inside, because we read 
you're writing and we see the creativity in you. Don't let yourself get 
caught up into everyone's opinions because the only opinion of yourself 
that matters is yours. Do right for you and those that love you. 

Let Down 


Hey what up? This is Smiley coming at you. The only 
time I've ever been let down was about four months ago. 
Well, let me tell you the story. .. 

It was me and my homies chillin' at my pad at two in 
the morning drinking . I decided to go get more drink, so 
I called up my brother-in-law to come pick me up and take 
me to 7-Eleven. 

On our way back from the store we got pulled over for 
passing a stop sign. The cop started asking me what my 
name was. 

You know how it goes, I was on the run so I gave him 
a fake name. My brother-in-law told the cops he didn't 
know who I was and that he was just giving me a ride 
home from the store. The cops ended up taking me in. 
The took my fingerprints and found out who I was and 
now I'm in here. I feel like he let me down. I don't think 
I'm gonna ever forgive him. 


From The Beat: It really hurts when someone let^ you down, but it^ 
even worse when it's a family member. Have you spoken to your brother- 
in-law since the incident? He might have been scared to be with you 
since you were on the run, afraid that he would also get into trouble. 
You should try speaking with your brothei^in-law and patching up the 
problem between you two because burying it wont get you anywhere. 

I I 

Cildani Fleis! 

Well, one day I was drunk as hell and I was with my 
friends in their squat listening to a song called, "Let's 
Get Drunk" by Antidote and we were just talkin' about 
stuff and I went to take a piss so I went to the kitchen and 
started takin' a piss and I found a kitten and I really liked 
it, so I got it and went back to the room with the cat in my 
hand and I fell and I dropped it, but I picked it up again 
and I was layin' down with it. 

My friend asked me if I was going home and I said I 
didn't know but then I did go home. When I was going 
home, the drunk started going away and I started feeling 
this weird shhh crawling on me and I looked and they 
were freaking fleas! So I just threw that stupid cat and 
started to take some of the fleas off, but not all of them. 
I was far away from my house so I broke into someone's 
backyard and got some funny lookin' bike and went home. 
The End! 


From The Beat: This is a very great story, Jose. Is it fictional or based 
on real life? If this is based from a real life experience then you want 
to rethink the next time you want to drink excessively. And the bicycle 
mentioned in the story, would you like your little brothers or sisters 
bike to get stolen? Or your bike for that matter? 

My Mentality 

Gang banging is just another causality. 
I'm a man with a messed up mentality. 
I grew up in a neighborhood 
where I was always up to no good. 
I still stand tall and refuse to fall. 
Where I live, we say funk the law. 
If a grown man seen what I saw, he piss his pants. 
I got aunts and uncles doing 25 to life without parole. 
That's the only life I know, slanging and selling dope. 


From The Beat: Are you saying that you are down to repeat the same 
story of your aunts and uncles? 

I Dofl't Know 

What's up. Beat? Well, I would like to say I hope everyone 
is in great health and spirits. Well, lately I've been feeling 
like shhh. I pleaded guilty in my case, man, I gave it all 

A lot of psycho thoughts running through my head 
about my sister. It's crazy, this female snitched on me 
and my best friend and older brother for some buUshhh 
ass case. I took a strike, my brother just got out of YA. in 
the end of May and got locked up then took 3 strikes. I 
can't even think right anymore. 

I try to maintain my composure when my mom talks 
about her but when I think about it I say to myself, 
everything happens for a reason. Karma is a bitch and it's 
all going to come back to her. Then I say, I'm always going 
to keep myself two steps ahead of the game and no matter 
what she could never match up to Nena. Well, I got to go, 
one love to those who got my love. 


From The Beat: Wow, you are going through very tough times. Family is 
supposed to come first and it hurts when a family member betrays your 
trust. Have you spoken to your sister at all since your incarceration? She 
was probably scared and her instinct was to find a way out of trouble 
and her way was to turn you, your brother and your friend in. Not 
admirable but it's to be expected from someone who feels scared and 
trapped. She will always be your sister no matter what and taking that 
step into forgiveness is hard but when it's done you'll feel a thousand 
times more relieved. Try speaking with her or if that's too hard write her 
a letter. Words can heal a broken relationship or it can push it beyond 
ruin. You choose which way you want it to go. Good luck, we wish you 
the best! Remember to focus on your future. 

When I'm Out 

\ Dedicated to Lorena 

As soon as I get out, I'm going to fly with my dad to 
Arizona to learn how to make fake teeth from my cousins'. 
My income would be really good for someone my age. 
120K a year would be the minimum and that's a lot of 

I'm going to go to a community college and then 
transfer to USF or UCSD. I will go to church and be 
spiritually strong too. 

Once I make enough money, I will take real good care 
of my family. By that time I might decide to become a 

I remember like it was yesterday. I was sleeping in my 
comfortable king size bed and waking up pretty late and 
blasting my music with a lot of bass. 

I'm always on my computer chatting, or playing games. 
I would go out and kick it with my friends for a long time, 
then go home to eat and sleep. At home I would take long 
showers and be comfortable. Then I watch some T.V. and 
eat snacks. I will soon get to go home. 


From The Beat: Hold those thoughts and make them a reality. You're 
on the right road! Actions speaks, but foir now we are thrilled about 
your words! 

Breaking Dnt 

I hate being in here, 
I feel so powerless 

I can't control anything that's happening on the outs. 
Missing Christmas was bad enough to miss s 
o hopefully I won't miss anything else. 
I think I'Ubreak out tonight though so I'll be good. 

-Cliff the Gift 

From the Beat: What do you think will happen. Cliff? If you break out 
then what happens if you get caught? Break out in your dreams and in 
your writing! Be smart! We know how you must be feeling right now 
trapped, scared and anxious to get this time over with but you have to 
stay strong and stick it out. 

I love you with all my heart. 

Baby I just want you to know that you're on my mind 

everyday. I miss you. 

That's right 




Baby I'm your gangster 


Reina de mi vida 

(Queen of my life) 

I love you with all my hart 

Ever since the first day 

Back from the very first start that 

We met 

You're so lovely 

I had to make you mine 

Your breath taking likes an angel 

You had me hypnotized 

Me recuerdo todos los tiempos 

(I remember all the time) 

The times we spent together 

Nuestro amor sincero 

(our sincere love) 

I promise you my angel 

I'll be right by your side 

Me and you por vida (for life) 

A love that never dies 

I vow on my knees 

To always prove my love 

Here's a ring with a diamond 

Let's unite as one 

You know that I miss you girl 

(that girl) 

You have my heart hasta 

Que yo muera 

(Until I die) 

From now until I die 

Baby girl cause I love you 

Always and forever 

Espera mija dame tu mano 

(wait girl, give me your hand) 

Don't be sad you're not alone 

I love you till death I'll protect you 

With my soul 

I'm your gangster 

For you I will kill 

Cementios I will fill with 

Hollow chrome or steel 

Just a little bit, can't get carried 

Away hun, but serio this song is firme. 


From The Beat: Instead of giving your life away for her, why don't you 
stay out for her? Nice poem. What about another poem about your life? 
About your experiences? 

Give It Ail Up 

I would give everything or anything up for my son, 
Andrew, or my mom or little sister. I would give up 
anything for them because I love them with all my heart. 
My sister, mom and son are the loves of my life I would do 
anything for them. 


From The Beat: Are you willing to change your lifestyle and the decisions 
you make that take you away from the ones you love? The greatest 
thing you can do is be there for your son and for your family. If you are 
willing to give everything for them, show it. 


How Do I Cope With The World? 

What it do? Me? Just chilling up in this shhhhole, doin' 
nothing, just wondering when the hell I'm leaving this 
place. I feel like taking my anger out on somebody. Yeah, 
I'm about to turn 17 in about 9 more days, December 20th 
and I need to know how to cope with the world, because 
this teen is almost becoming a man. The only good thing 
I know is stealing, robbing and hustling. 

-Baby Pitt 

From The Beat: None of things you know — stealing, robbing and 
hutling — are "good" things. And the proof of that is where you are 
right now, having your birthday behind walls! What do you have in your 
life that will help you avoid all this? Family? Friends? A good future 
begins with a decent education. Go back to school, and think about 
what you really like to do (that^ legal) and learn si% much sks you can 
about it. Pursue your interests, then develop your skills into a life that 
helps you become happy, proud and free. 

\ Money And Lnve 

\ I I I I I I I I I I lii I in I I i i I iM I I i 

Free Marine! 

Ahhh, it's now my fourth time here. That's not that 
many times compared to most of the people up in here, 
but still, that's four times messing up real bad. I still got 
19 days, but I'm probably gonna get less, because my PO 
wants me out for Christmas, so I'ma get out early on the 
ankle bracelet. 

Damn, everybody's gettin' sent out of placement, and 
fo' real, I'm already missing one that just got out today. 
Can you believe that I'm the only girl here? That's not 
even right. But sometimes it's okay, because I'm out of 
my room more. 

I was put on TRG for 48 hours and I just got off of it 
yesterday, because a girl snitched on me, saying I had 
notes and pencils. So a staff member woke me up early 
and searched my room. She found three pencils, which 
is funny, because the snitch gave two of 'em to me. That 
night, while I was taking a shower, my room got searched 
again, and they found hella notes that I was passing, so 
that was that. But, damn, I can't wait to get out and kick 
it with everybody again. Free the caged, all of them. 


From The Beat: We can't tell from what you've written whether you plan 
to make smy changes when you "get out and kick it with everybody." 
If not, prepare yourself for the same results Sk% you're facing right now. 
Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath and do what you're 
supposed to do (follow the rules in juvie, don't break the law on the 
outs), so you can kick it without losing your freedom! By now, this is a 

i L 

Money is money, love is love. You can have it at the same 
time, so you have to do what you got to do. So I wish I 
could get money, 'cause it's power and love is love. 


From The Beat: We all wish we could have money, but getting it illegally 
only promises handing over your life to a bunch of strangers telling you 
what to do. The slow and steady way — a legit, job — is the only way 
to stack your chips little by little. As for love, stop looking and it will 
find you. 

I Need My Ruca By My Side 

Ever since I laid my eyes on you, I knew you were the 
right one. I love, I need you. You're my world. Without 
you I wouldn't live. I need to stop all this shhh, but I can't 
do it without you, so please be with me. Don't leave me. 
I need you. Every gangsta needs a ruca ready to ride by 
this man's side. 

-Baby Pitt 

From The Beat: You're lucky to have a female you love, but it^ not up to 
her to keep you free, it's up to you! If you get out and fail to stay out, 
then she must be less important to you than what you do to get locked 
up. Yes, she can help you, but she can't control your actions. Only you 
can do that. 

In My Auntie Shadows 

My auntie got a loud mouth, always funking wit' ninjas, 
ready to show 'em what she about. She don't take no 
shhh, and her stomach stay full. She go bad on ninjas. 
I'm wit' her when I'm on, wit' her when I'm sober, bustin' 
at them suckas won't stop 'til it's ova. I wake up in the 
morning wit' a murda in my eyes. Click, clack bow bow. 
Wake up! Surprise! 


From The Beat: What^ your auntie teaching you except to have a loud 
mouth and to bust people? You may be waking up with murder in your 
eyes, but if you take a closer look, you'll see four thick walls and a 
bunch of boys to share your life with. It might be time to switch up a 
few things so that you can open your e^e% in your own room in your 

own house! 

\ I Another Chance TnShnw I Can Change 

at I I When I first got here I didn't think much of it. I thought 
I would serve my time and be fine with knowing I'll be 
out before I know it. Now I feel different. Every day seems 
slower than the last, and now I wish I could have another 
chance to show that I can change. 

I'm tired of being in here. I want to be out there. I 
would give anything to be set free. I would stop stealing, 
dealing, and wouldn't put up a fight. 


From The Beat: We all mature at different rates, and some of us never 
mature. But it sounds like that is what is happening to you. You're 
looking around and seeing the reality of your choices, and you realize 
you're going to have to make different choices if you want to change 
that reality. That is maturity. What changes will be hardest? What 
obstacles will you have to face? Think about them now, so you can 
prepare for how to deal with them in a way that will keep you free. 

\ L 


lesson you should have learned. 

I like ice cream flavored sandwiches. My Chinaya Lovely 
loves to knock over forties and lick it off the ground and 
tweak also. I like to go to stores and steal candy balls that 
say Pinky on them. 


From The Beat: If Chinaya Lovely^ habit of getting drunk and tweaking 
led her to the dog pound, would you let her do it? Your Rainbow World 
sounds like fun — until you have to pay for it. If Chinay Lovely could 
talk (and we could understand), what funny or secret stories would she 
tell about you that only she knows? 


//// // 


This poem is the future becoming the past 

Ten minutes ago now 

Being born in a grave 

Or a baby giving birth 

A frog becoming a tadpole 

Big Brother in the sky is really on the ground 

It's all ass-backwards 

But that's life 

-Kool Aid Don*t Sleep 

From The Beat: Have you %een the movie 'The Curious Case of Benjamin 
Button" where a baby boy is born sk% skn old man, and iceeps growing 
younger until he dies 9k% skn infant? Now that^ truly bass-aclcivards! 


Peeing is fun. You pee designs on walls or your name. It's 
plain fun, like riding a bike. Smoking tweak and staying 
up for three weeks is not fun. 


From The Beat: So you're becoming your own special version of a graffiti 
artist? (Have you ever created your "art" in snow?) You sure know how 
to have a good time (and, apparently, a bad time, too; stay away from 
what leads to tweaking for three weeks...) 

I I I I I I 

Ain't No Talk 

ley I 

What's thizz it, Beat? This ya boy still in this weak-ass 
shhh. I gone talk about ANT. Ninjas always talk, but they 
not about that action. They always say ANT — which 
means Ain't No Talk, and they keep talking. They never 
say it's ANT and start talk. Like these dudes always say, 
ANT, and they snitch on me. I'm out. 


From The Beat: Snitching is epidemic in the criminal justice system, from 
juvy to death row! You can't keep people from snitching, so you either 
have to stop messing up, or count on spending more time in places like 
So which will you choose? 


I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I T 

Siitctes Are Fikes 


In my 'hood we check our homies by jumping them, 
because they may let a homie down, or run from our 
enemies, or back down from a fight. But the thing we don't 
forgive is that somebody snitch on a homie. We consider 
them fake and they have to get out of the 'hood. 


From The Beat: Snitches are everywhere, and there^ no way to stop 
them. All you can control is yourself by not doing anything that you can 
be snitched out about. For every "fake" you run out of the 'hood, there 
will always be two more to take his place... 

The Seconds Hnld Me 

My hourglass holds minutes 
The minutes hold seconds 
And the seconds hold me 

-Kool Aid Don*t Sleep 

From The Beat: You're right — time has you trapped, at least for now. But 
those seconds just keep ticking away, so don't wait to make changes 
you know you have to make until the hourglass is empty... 

I'll Cherish His Tonch 

Next time I'll cherish his touch 

Because even though it didn't mean much 

I'll never get enough 


From The Beat: It^ not just his touch you should cherish, but your own 
freedom so that you can enjoy his touch. Will miss him make you change 
anything when you're on the outs again? 


Mi Vida 

Mi vida is a hard life. I was born in Mexico and brought 
to the neighborhood. When I got here, I was raised by 
the hardcore gangbangers there. They raised me to be a 
hardcore gangster, and now I'm in juvie. I hope to get out 


From The Beat: Now that you know that becoming a gangster is 
sabotaging your freedom and future, what do you plan to change when 
you get out of here so that you never have to come back? 

in My Cell 

My cell is hella boring. I can't take being in my cell most 
of the day, and when we go out we practically do the same 
thing every day. It just sucks being in here, juvy. 


From The Beat: Juvie is designed for you to hate it so you won't ever 
mess up again and have to go back. Will this work for you? 

Being Grateful 

The thing I'm most grateful for is my fiance. She is 
the reason I haven't given up yet. She made me myself 

The last time I came to juvie, I lost part of myself but 
she helped me to find things to look forward to. 

Now I'm in juvie again, but I don't mind. As long as 
she is by my side, nothing can hurt me. I owe her my life 
for what she has done for me. I will marry her one day. 


From The Beat: What is it she's done for you that you haven't learned 
to do for yourself, yet? Don't give up, and don't be in a hurry to get 
married. You each deserve more time for such a big decision. We're glad 
that you know how to be grateful. Gratitude and humility are fine 

President Oiiama 


I think Obama is going to be a good president. He is 
going to make life easier. He is going to help a lot of 
people on taxes and many other things. He is the first 
black president. He promised a lot of things and I know 
he'll keep his promises. But people play the part just to 
get the part. And also, I hope he'll stop the war. 


From The Beat: Jonathan, it takes more than one person, even if he is 
the president, to make the kind of changes that will make our country a 
better, fairer place for all of our citizens. You can help. We all can help 



I worry about not getting out. I just want to see my family. 
Every day I wonder what the judge is going to say. I'll do 
a little bit of time, but I can't do a lot of time. I have to 
be out with my friends, and my girl. I just hope that they 
will put me on the monitor. I'd rather be on house arrest 
than be in this Juvenile Hall. But whatever happened, 
happened. I can't change the past. This is what I worry 
about every day. 


From The Beat: Thank you for responding honestly to the topic. And 
now we want to urge you not to worry about your situation. We want, 
instead, for you to do something about it. Start by going deep inside 
and being as honest as you can about the reasons you've found yourself 
in the situation you now face. 

Great Memory 


My family and I drove to LA, boarded a cruise ship and 
sailed to Mexico. On the way to Mexico, we danced and 
swam in the pool. The food was really good - pizzas, 
spaghetti, and Mexican food. When we got to Encinada, 
we got off of the ship. Then we boarded a bus and drove 
all around. It was a great trip. 


From The Beat: Good, compact description of a 'great memory'. 

Lociieil Up 

Being lockup up in J. Hall 

when you come back to your room 

you stare at the wall, 

your family or friends. 

All I did... just wanted to be the best. 

I hate doing crimes. 

I hate doing time. 


From The Beat: Sounds like you had a misconception about what it 
means to be the best. Perhaps this stint in the hall will have given you 
pause to think about what it really means "to be the best". 

I think that Obama is going to be a good president 
because he is talking about changing things around. I 
want to see free education because I think everyone 
should be educated. 


From The Beat: We agree that education is a human right, and that it 
should be available to everyone. 

I rrvi 

I sho 

J 1 


Have you ever had to look over your 

shoulder on every street corner? 

Hopping into riders with quickness, no hesitation? 

Having the strain on your brain that you can't tame? 

Paranoia from watching your best friend 

get locked up at a young age? 

Man, I never thought they would catch me 

going a bill thirty up Hwy. 17, 

red lights flashing. 

Pull over. 

Nope, nope... not with a car full o'smoke 

and a truck full o'dope. 

Thanks for listening. Beat. 



From The Beat: Well, you did pull over, eventually, and here you are. 
You got a pretty good poem out of your scary adventure. But you put 
yourself, and others, at great risk, if the events in your poem actually 
happened. Nah - they couldn't really have happened. No one can go 
that fast on Highway 1 7. You've no doubt lost your driver^ license, but 
we'd say that your poetic license is still in tact. 

Worrying Aliout Me 

Yeah, I'm worrying about what's going to happen in court. 
Will they release me or make me spend more time here in 
juvenile hall? Plus, I just want to go home already. 

I haven't seen my family in almost a year. I left to go 
to Indiana, then came back on a Thursday at around 1pm. 
Then at around 10pm the cops came to my home and 
arrested me in front of my family. I asked them what I was 
getting arrested for and they said that my ex-girlfriend 
said I had threatened her with a gun. That was a big lie. 
I would never do that to her. I'm worried about my mom, 
my little brother and sister, my friends, and my new 
^ girlfriend. 

Yeah, I just want to get out already so I can have 
freedom to kick it with my friends and girlfriend, and do 
whatever I want. It sucks in here. I wish I was at home. 


From The Beat: Doing whatever you want sounds a bit rislcy, at least 
if you want to stay out of the hall. What have you learned from this 
experience? If you don't want to have to worry about your mom, your 
brother, and your sister, you're going to have to make some changes. 
Are you ready to do that? 

I I I I I I 

Tiie New President 

I think Obama will be a good president. We'll just have 
to wait and see. I think he's better than Bush. He has a 
family and will understand how it is to have a family. So 
far he's trying to make better laws and decisions. He's on 
the people's side. He should be a better president. 


From The Beat: You're right - we'll have to see how it all comes out. But 
we shouldn't just be waiting. We should be willing to take part in the 
changes that are necessary. You are inheriting a world that's been half 
destroyed by greed and selfishness. There's so much work to be done. 
We hope you're ready to do your part. 

Can't Wait 

\ Changes We Need 

Well, I have a boyfriend in Watsonville and I really miss 
him. His name is Angel. Last time that I was with him was 
all bad. I left with handcuffs on me. He actually didn't see 
me in them, but he did see me before I bounced. I was 
supposed to meet him a while after that, but I ended up 
leaving in a cop car. It was all bad. 

I got here a week and a half ago. I haven't even talked 
to him. That's the sad part. The worst part is that he's 
probably cheating on me. 

Well, OK, but I just can't wait to get out! When I do, 
they're going to put me on the monitor for a while and 
I'll be on probation. I have to do 24 hours of community 
service and go to the evening center. That's all bad. The 
good part is that right when I get out, I get long hair 
extensions. Yeah! When I go back home the thing that I'm 
going to do different is to not run away. I will listen to and 
respect my mom, go to school, and do everything right 
that's possible. 

I can't wait to get the hell out of here. I swear that if 
my man is doing stupid stuff — I'm not going to deal with 
it. I don't need that in my life. I don't know, I just need to 
make better choices or else I'll get nowhere! 


From The Beat: Better choices... yes, that's the trick. But what^ the plan? 
Do you know why you made the bad choices? Hard to change unless you 
understand why you've messed up. Get to the root of the problem. That 
can be a very painful process, but it% necessary. 

Worry Sick Blues 

My main worry right now is about my parents. I worry 
about my parents because I'm not there to protect them. 
I am also worried about them because I have made them 
very mad. I don't know what they're going to do without 
me. I hope they are doing OK. 

- Hurt Inside 

From The Beat: We hope so too, and we are touched by your concern for 
your parents. Do what you need to do to get back home. And let your 
PO know of your concerns about your parents. 



iiii Of Worn 

Yes, I am worried. The thing is, I just want to get out of 
here. I'm just worried about my family and I'm worried 
about myself. I'm worried that if I don't get out, I'm going 
to go to a group home. If I don't get out I'm going to miss 
my family and friends and my town. When I go to sleep, I 
dream that I'm on the outs, and then when I wake up, it 
feels real. 


From The Beat: It feels real for about five seconds, doesn't it? Then the 
real reality hits you. If you do what you need to do, you won't have to 
worry how your family is doing. You'll be right there with them, where 
you belong. Are you ready to get serious about your life? 

We need to have programs that will help families to get 
good jobs and to help teenagers to stay out of trouble, not 
to just put them behind bars but to actually help them. 

I think every person should get a free education. That 
would help America a lot because people would gain a 
dream of becoming something big. 

We need counselors that help you, not just punish 
you. I know many staff people and they don't help you 
with anything. We need more programs that help us and 
allow us to have more privileges. 


From The Beat: Imagine being in your counselors' shoes. There are so 
many kids who need help and so few adults available to provide that 
help. What we're saying is that we mostly agree with you, about the 
need for help. But it's simply not possible to provide the level of help 
that is needed with so little in the way of resources. If we had our way, 
every kid in trouble would have a trained and caring adult available for 
as long as it took to address the real roots of the problems. 

The Beiul) Wliere I live 


Where I live in Santa Cruz is beautiful. I think it is 
beautiful because of the beach and the women. It is 
unique because it is not like any other towns. We have a 
lot of nice sights. 

One of my favorite spots is called "The Top of the 
World". From there, you can see all of Santa Cruz, 

Another spot I like is the cliffs. You can chill right 
there and watch the water. I also like the weather in 
Santa Cruz. It never really gets too hot in the summer or 
too cold in the winter. The best things about Santa Cruz, 
though, are my friends. 


From The Beat: Lovely piece. Don't let this one get around though, or 
everyone will want to live in Santa Cruz. 

Getting Out 

I hate being locked up, even though it's like day care. I 
can't be here anymore. I want to be with my family. I'm 
in here with friends but that still isn't enough. I can't 
wait to leave, well... I'm not really sure if I'll get out, but 
it's OK. I'm not tripping. I'll get out some day. 


From The Beat: Yes, you will get out someday. But if you don't want to 
graduate to a facility that is as far from day care as you can imagine, 
you'll need to make some changes in your life style. And you know what 
those are. 

Ciianges We Need 

We need to have good jobs and to create new jobs. 
We also need programs that will financially help the 
needy people. 

We need to have more of these types of programs instead 
of being sent to the hall. 

We need programs that would provide a counselor 
to dedicate his/her time to you, and try to understand 
what you are going through, 
instead of just screwing you over in the hall. 


From The Beat: Ruben, we doubt that any counselor wants to "screw 
you over". Each of your counselors has a big job and many juveniles 
to serve. They're human and sometimes they get frustrated. But your 
suggestion that each juvenile ought to have a caring adult to work with 
when he or she gets into trouble is a good one. We know that are a lot 
of people trying to make that happen. Keep writing and keep talking 
about what you see. But please, keep in mind that your counselors do 
want you to succeed. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Most of them 
are trying very hard to be of service. 


//// // 

Give it aii up 

All the negativity and all the bad friends 

those were the things in my life that I let come in. 

I thought I learned everything I needed to know from 


But the only place I got me was locked up at the end. 

And while I'm in here I'm saying, "Man I miss my 


The same same friends that taught me all these bad 


But yet their the same friends I knew since I was 13. 

Sometimes the best thing to do is let go... 

Cause holding on to somethings is trouble, you should 


And if I continues this way, I'm guaranteed to get 


I guess the best thing to do is "Give it all up" 

- Ivory 

From The Beat: We agree but we never forget giving something up can 
be hard. Whether it is not hanging out with friends who always seem 
to lead u% into trouble or if it is no longer doing drugs, we always try 
to have support so when we start to waver our support system will 
keep us on track. I 


You may get killed before you get your money. 

Hurt before they call you honey. 

Yeah, I knew this white girl, they called her Snow Bunny 

and when she got out there on her job, she did it good. 

And where she made her money, man was mostly in the 


Out there in them hills, could have sworn she was 


16 year old making money on her own. 

But now that ain't ain't good money, that sh&t is hella 


and when you were done didn't you feel hella trashy 

Nasty? Me I'm just asking. 

Did that make you happy? 

Gone head and ask me hell now I ain't no hoe. 

Me? I'm just no-no 

It is what it is so Hoes you need to stop hoeing 

I know this so I'm betting on it. 

If you get an STD I guarantee your gonna regret it. 

-Dunno me. 

From The Beat: Yes, the allure of money may be attractive but the 
emotional, psychic and physical damage do not make prostitution 
worthwhile. Don't do it. Love yourself and others. Peace and walk the 
right path. 

Sitting In Ifly Ceil 

I was sitting in my cell last night and I was thinking 
about my family. I was thinking about what they are doing 
right now. 

I was also thinking about what they would be doing 
this Christmas. I wish I was out for Christmas. This is the 
first time I am not gonna be there for Christmas. I hope 
they have a good Christmas without me. 

I also hope I get to see them soon. I hope my baby 
siblings don't forget about me. I just want to go home. I 
was also thinking about my court date. I hope I get to go 
home by my next court date. 


From The Beat: We realize how hard it is being away from your family. 
Try to be strong and to get through this hard people. Remember there 
are many people who are not at home with their families. Work to make 
sure you are home every year from now on. We promise you that your 
brothers and sisters will not forget who you are. 


Frienls Ii He Enl 

When it comes down to my friends and something goes 
wrong between other relationships. We know how to work 
things out when there is our Ups and downs. Yes, we get 
angry but there's always a kiss and make-up. Now I'm 
stuck in here. She's not by my side. She would always tell 
me we're homies 'til the day we die. 


From The Beat: Having a good friend is a great place to be. Loneliness 
is a hard road to walk. We need people and we need to live with others. 
We wish you the best in hanging in there. 


If I stand on tiptoe would you laugh out loud? 

If I color your windowsill would you laugh out loud? 

If I cry out loud would you laugh then? 

Or would you hold my hand until the end? 

I woke up this morning exhausted from hiding the me 

from me. 

So I stand here confiding there's more to see 

than killing and shooting. There's more to life than 



From The Beat: We like to hear that. Until we get real and look at 
ourselves and stop trying to posture we will never know ourselves. The 
person that does not know themselves has nothing to offer. 

My Sister 

Well first of all I want my sister to forgive of what I did 

and I want her to know that I didn't mean what I did. She 

made me mad that night but I promise to never do it again 

and I know I was wrong for what I did and if I had not done 

it then I wouldn't be in this place right now. But no, I had 

to go and do it like a dummy. Oh, I didn't mean to hit my 

mom but she hit me first and I would have walked outside 

and calmed down but my mom pushed me on the floor. 

So now, I'm stuck in this dumb place and I wouldn't be if 

I wasn't so stupid. 

From The Beat: Take it esk%y. We all make mistakes. We all react in ways 
that we didn't want to. The key is we have to learn from it. We have to 
look at our actions and change them. We have to work on it so we do 
not repeat them. 


Will, I think friendships are not a good thing because 
you might not know they will get your back. They might 
snitch on you. The you will be in here. That's what I think 
about friends. 

I respect my mom. When I'm at home, I cook for her to 
eat and clean up. But you know when my sister, Nancy, 
got locked up, my mom came to my sister's court date 
and not to mine. I feel sad and depressed for my mom 
because she wasn't there at my court. 

I love my mom so much but I think she just doesn't 
know. She thought that I did a bad thing but it was not 
that bad. Whenever I have a problem my mom was never 
there. Whenever my sister had a problem my mother was 
always there. This is what I always think about. 

-Me, myself and I 

From The Beat: Sometimes we have ruined relationships that we didn't 
have to because we got resentful. We need friends and family and we 
know how easy it seems to dismiss friends and even family rather than 
working through our issues with them. Relationships aren't easy. They 
are complicated and evei^changing but we need them. We are social 


You Did Me Wrong 

Have you ever heard a song 

that you like and kept turning it on and on. 

Well guess what? You're not alone. 

I hope you know better than I show. 

I trusted you. I thought you knew what was up. 

You to me, were nothing but a screw-up. 

There is no "us." 

You did me wrong so I wrote this poem. 

Explaining why life will go on and on. 

I will not ever forget you but will never miss you. 

Can you relate to my face? 

It's a frown every time you let me down. 

You shocked? Well, I'm not, sitting up until 10 o'clock. 

Are you coming? Have me wondering? 

This relationship was so corrupt. Was it right or was I 


What do you think when you sit down to read this 


I'll be done with my promising poem. 

Life will go on and on. I hope you realize you did me 



From The Beat: We are sorry to hear about your bad relationship. Take all 
the time you need to heal and work to keep your heart open. A healthy 
relationship that is respectful of each person involver is a wonderful 
experience everyone should have. 

Harmless Joke or Not 

I really don't like it or find it amusing when an individual 
talks about my family depending on what they converse 
about. It offends me highly because my family may have 
seen them as a member of the family. This affects me in 
the worst way and I'll feel like using force against them. 
But most people expect me to take it as a harmless joke 
when in my mind I'm not suited to do so. 

The first thing that comes to my mind is to release the 
beast within and act accordingly. But I try not to express 
my feelings like that. Talking it out is very important so 
I don't lose my best friend over four words I could have 
said "please don't do that" it very simple to me now so we 
still can have a joke or two. 


From The Beat: You explained how to handle this type of situation quite 
well. It's all about communication and letting someone know that they 
have crossed the line. 


"Lil Brother" 


My lil' brother is the light of my life. He's my everything 
When they put the cuffs on me, he watched them. Seeing 
him kick and scream and cry killed me. Every ounce of 
life in me was taken. Now I see who it affects the most. 

I do not want to go through what I've been through. 
I've promised myself and him that this would be it. No 
more messing up my world. Everything came crashing 
down in a matter of seconds. Richie, you're my world. I 
love you. 


From The Beat: We hope it all works out and this will be the last time 
you are separated from him but if you find yourself reverting back to 
your old ways then you need to get honest with yourself and change 
your ways. You know what you want. Honor those feelings. 


He was more than my man. He was my best friend. He 
was always their for me. He understood I was a goon. He 
knew the whole get down. I ride for him to the fullest. Got 
down for him and all. 

Well I was out getting this paper. He stayed with bread 
but then he started acting funny. I found out he was 
creeping so I dogged the bitch. Called him afterwards and 
told him about it. How I punked her out her phone and 
stomped her on the ground. 

Now I am working at two years for these charges. He 
had me on speaker in front of the boys the whole time. He 
was in my life for three and a half years. Hell no, I never 
forgive him. 


From The Beat: Honor and integrity are qualities we all value but we 
seldom expect them from others. We always wonder why those who 
have so much to offer seem to not value themselves and give it away to 
people who do not appreciate them. 


Say No" 


Say no to drugs 
Say no to sex 
Say no to to the call outs 
Say no to the fall out 
Say no to my mom 
Say yes to jail 
Say yes to the PO 
Say yes to the staff 
Which leads back to 
Say no to the ignorance 
Say no to the drugs 
which will lead to the fight 
then after the fight I need sex 
which leads to the tricks 
Which is saying "Yes to sex." 
When at first I said no 
but I really meant yes 
because I need the money 
So at last I say "No." 
because I have no choice 
because I said yes to jail. 

-Hear me, Fresno 

From The Beat: Wow! We hear you. Yes, we say yes and we don't even 
know we are saying it. One thing does lead to another that is why 
we walk the line and stay right and we stop and we check ourselves 
constantly to make sure we are on the right track. 


I Never Give up 

Go> I'm heading for it 
Need> I want it. 
GivoI'm going to take it. 
Will>I will never stop 
Strong>rm holding on. 
Patient>rm not giving up! 
Negatives> Are killing me. 
Help> God Save me! 
"....Giving up..." Stop! 
I'm thinking about it. 

I will never give up! 


From The Beat: "Winners never quit and quitters never win." Makes 
sense when we're playing a game but this saying also applies to life. 
How many times we have thought about taking the day off and checking 
out but that wouldn't be helping my life so we persist. Sometimes, just 
showing up takes all we have but then we find once we show up, we 
find the energy to keep going. 


//// // 

Sitting In Ifly Bedroom 

\ Paying tiie Consequences 

Sitting in my bedroom last night. I keep on thinking 
about all my family. I feel so messed up because I'm in 
here and I don't want my little brother and sister to think 
this is okay to keep on getting locked up. See you're 
thinking it's cool to get locked up and you tell all of 
you're ninjas "oh I'm cool because I've been locked up , 
and I'm fresh out." I 

We'll see. I'm sitting in my bedroom in J.J.C. Well I 
hate this place. Nothing to do and people telling you what 
to do. Well see sitting in my room thinking about when 
I'm going to get out of here. It's not what I want or what I 
want them to want. 


From The Beat: We hear you loud and clear but you know kids, especially 
little sisters and brothers, they want to be just like their bigger older 
siblings so no matter what you think, you're actions will carry the most 

Don't Go Tliere 

I really like to laugh. If someone thinks they're funny 
I like to hear their jokes and see how funny they really 
are. One topic I could never stand for are "mama" jokes. 
Growing up I got in a lot of fights over people just trying 
to tell jokes about my mom. They didn't ever mean what 
they said but that's a real sensitive subject for me. 


From The Beat: We agree that it is quite immature to make fun of 
anyone's mother. The key would be not to lose your cool and firmly let 
that person know that this kind of joking is not appreciated. 

Get Tiiat Respect 

I respected this girl named Jasmine until she got with 
my ex-boyfriend behind my back. Once I heard she got 
with him I was really angry especially because she was 
like my best friend and she wanted to take pictures and 
stuff like that. What she really wanted was to get close to 
him. When I found out and everybody else confronted her 
about it and we started fighting. 

People may ask why I fought for a guy that cheated 
on me. Well, it was about respect. Ever since that day we 
were no longer friends because I don't need someone like 
him in my life. I handled the situation pretty good and 
just moved on to the good life with my girls. 


From The Beat: We agree that he and she are no longer worth your 
consideration and we agree that the best thing to do is to move on but 
you did give her another chance by fighting her. By returning to her to 
fight her " for your respect" Sk% you said, you gave her another chance to 
talk and to get her shots in at you. We would not have even given her 
this opportunity and would have preferred to walk away from both of 
the. The actions they did only disrespected them. You do not have to do 
anything to regain your respect. 

life Is Shirt. 


You only live once. Ain't no telling when you're leaving so 
I'm going to do it all and have a ball while I am still living j 
and breathing. See, I'm a philosopher and my philosophy | 
is this, "Don't be no punk young homey. Take that risk." 
Anything is possible but nothing for sure. Take advantage 
of all opportunities and get your money. 


From The Beat: Every risk has a cost. Use the mind God gave you 
and consider the repercussions of your actions. It is important to 
acknowledge that many people have died in their daring to "do it all." 
We are all humans living in society. If we do stupid things and get 
locked up or drive drunk and smash up our car, well it's hard to live life 
to the fullest when we rest in a box or spend our days in a cell. Think 
about the consequences. 

I had got out and now I'm back. I told myself that I won't 
come back. Now, I going to do serious time and I pray to 
God that He takes care of my family. 


From The Beat: We are very dismayed that young people like yourself 

find themselves back in Juvenile Hall we hope that this would be your 

I last time and find a hopeful future with your family. 

I I I I 

Notice tiiis. 

So many things happen in this world yet nobody notice 
it. There's much drugs, gangs and other things. You wish 
to change the past but you can't. Sometimes, you want 
to be Superman but you're not. When you see people die, 
you just can't get it out of your mind. 

You thought you will never in your life see death but 
then it happens. You wonder why that person had to go 
and not you. When things go wrong you just want to get 
away and when it gets worse you just want to die yourself. 
When your family wants to get you some help cause you 
shut things out, you don't want their help. When you see 
something that reminds you of your loved one who just 
past away, you just want to cry. 

Life is so painful that I have to think about my family 
to keep me alive. A year and ten months going on two 
years, being here is really making me change. I have until 
March. People want to say I'm nothing but they don't 
know me. I'm just another human being like everybody 
else. Sometimes, I wish life was just a dream. 

People don't know each other so they disrespect 
them instead of getting to know them. I may be locked 
up. I may be a gang member. I may be a crystal meth user 
but I am really a good person in life. 


From The Beat: You have been through a lot but so have many other 
people. We all want to be Superman. We all want to be respected. We 
all feel disrespected. There are times we want to escape and not have 
to "Live" life but that is living. Life is about showing up and facing our 
responsibilities and dealing with it. We are not saying it is easy. It can 
be very hard but it is the best way to live it. 

"Tliose wlio cannot rememlier tiie past \ 
are condemneil to repeat it." 

Everyday I have to remember the past or I can't go on. 
When I was young I tried to forget the past by doing drugs 
and getting in trouble because it numbed my pain and 
made me feel alive. But all that happened was I caused 
myself more pain by making the wrong choices. Now, I've 
decided to stop running from my past, to use it to remind 
me of where I have come from and where I want to go in 
my life. 

I got pregnant when I was seventeen and I made the 
choice not to keep it. The old me used to do drugs to 
try to hide the pain. I felt for choosing to not have my 
baby. But the new me, the woman I am now, makes me 

I remember everyday the decision I made and why I made it 
so that I know what kind of situation to never put myself 
in again because if I did end up in that position again I 
would not make the same decision again. I could not. The 
pain I feel, the pain I remember everyday helps me to not 
repeat my past. 


From The Beat: We hear you and we identify with you. We have made 
tough decisions in the past too but punishing ourselves today for a 
decision we made in the past is not going to change what happened. 
Punishing ourselves will just make us feel worse so we choose to accept 
the things we cannot change and to make the actions we can make 


//// // 

Doing It The Hood Way 

One day I'll be rolling on twenty-fours .. 

And getting ghost, off probation with no parole 

No sellin' dope and hittin' licks when I'm goin' broke 

Just blowin' smoke, no need to worry bout gettin' rolled 

But 'til then I'm a do it the hood way 

And even when I'm struggling, I'm havin' a good day 

I could take the other route and just get away 

You need to change, yeah that's easy for you to say 

As crooked as it is I'm in love with the West Coast 

Done been through a lot in the city of Fresno 

To test those, 'cause foo's be bustin' with teflon 

With guns big enough to give a bulletproof vest holes. 

-Chuck G 

From The Beat: It's not esks,y for us to understand what you're goin' 
through. Living in the hood means toughening up against life's daily 
struggles. In the middle part of your rap, you tell us that change is 
not esk%y even though some people make it look that way, and you're 
right. You are a talented writer, and we encourage you to continue to 
u%e your words to let the world know about the harsh realities of life 
in the hood. 

Taking tiie Hits 

I was not feeling today's topics, so I'm going to give some 
words of wisdom to all the people that are feeling low. 

Let me tell you something, the world is not all 
sunshine and rainbows. It's a dirty, mean, and cruel 
world, and it will beat you down to your knees, and keep 
you there permanently. 

It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving 
forward that's how winning is done! If you know what 
you're worth, then go get what you're worth, but you got 
to be willing to take the hits. And not say, "I am not 
where I am because of him or her." Cowards do that, and 
that is not you. You're better than that. But if you don't 
believe yourself you will never find yourself. Peace Beat. 


From The Beat: Having a good constitution and building a strong 
character is a good thing. 

Ho Joke 

Guns are no joke in this world. Right now by godbrother 
is resting in peace. I still can't get that vision out of my 
head. I saw my homie get shot. It's sad. I can't believe it. 
We were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Bullets 
have no name, date, and time. A bullet is anyone's. That's 
why guns are no joke. 

RIP Lil Scrappy. We miss you. To all out there locked 
up, keep your head up. RIP to everyone that is gone and 
six feet deep. See you next time Beat. 


From The Beat: We're sad to hear about those you've lost to gun 
violence. Guns are serious and can bring devastating results that can 
impact u% for the rest of our lives. Thanks for sharing your story and for 
reminding us that guns are no joke. 

H) Silition 


I think we need the legalization of Mary Jane 'cause a lot 
of people are dying because of gang violence. So if people 
get high, they'll just be lazy and stay home or go to sleep 
and there will be less violence. 


From The Beat: We appreciate your creative approach to reducing 
violence, but here's something to think about, what are some negative 
impacts that could result from your solution? Do you have other ideas 
for how to reduce violence without breaking the law and putting 
everyone in a stupor? 

r Finding Gnd 

What's up! Man I'm in here just chillin'. I'm getting tired 
of being in here but I'm maintaining just trying to change 
my ways and find God. So to all you people, try to find 
God. It will help you but until then, later. 


From The Beat: We're glad to hear you're making good use of time your 
time in JJC. But think about this, did you really have to end up in JJC in 
order to find God? 

I A Poem Sister 

Pain is more than a word 

Pain more than a feeling 

Pain, when you are at a down high 

Up to the Pen 

I felt pain when they told me that my sister went to the 


Life will be different by the time I see her again 

I feel pain hugging my parents 

Knowing I can't leave with them 

Why do I feel this pain? 

Why can't pain feel them? 

As I walk through this hell 

Wondering about life 

Will it ever be the same? 

Life can be lame? 

Lord, free me from this pain. 


From The Beat: Continue to express yourself on paper about your pain 
it% a safe and a great outlet. 

I I I I I rn^ I I I I I TT 

lln The Rigiit Tiling 

i There are hard times when you get locked up. Sometimes 
you got something going for yourself and then you get 
locked up. 

For me, I found out I was having a baby and then I got 
locked up. It was hard knowing I wasn't going to find out 
what the sex of the baby was the next day. 

When I came in, it was hard and stressful for me, but 
I had to do what I could. But if you got something going 
for yourself, do the right thing. 

-Lil* Grin 

From The Beat: It sucks when you screw up something good. We all 
know what that feels like. What happened in your situation? You heard 
you were having a baby, and then you got locked up? There^ probably 
more to the story, but whatever the case, we hope you get out soon. 

(in Viileice 


Today's topic's are about gun violence, and I have a lot 
of experience with guns, that's why I am in here. Some 
people carry guns because they need protection but in 
today's society young kids carry gun's to show off or 
because they think it is cool. But it's not its cool. Some 
innocent people could get hurt and the teens of today do 
not care. 

Some people say they need guns for protection but 
they're just afraid to take an ass whooping. I do my thing 
the old school style, with my hands. But the only reason I 
ever had a gun is because my family was in danger. Guns 
are the last thing I prefer. But for all you ganger's and 
thugs, stop being weenie's and take a beating. 


From The Beat: We are quite saddened that all kids do not live a carefree 
life without guns and fighting. It would be best if we could all strive to 
live peaceful lives with acceptance of everyone's differences. 


Refuse to Lose 

\ No Joke 

First of all I've been locked up for a while and I'm getting 
tired of this life because there's a lot out there for me. 
Sometime's in my room I think about my kids and family 
and how fun it would be to spend time with them. Each 
time I get out, I end up getting in trouble and when I'm 
locked up I do good. 

I think the street's are just not for me. But that 
doesn't mean I'm going to keep on getting locked up, 
because I'm not. My kids and family need me. When I get 
out, I'm going to try to do good. 

But, I'm meant to be in the hood because that's how I 
was raised. Well I'm going to let you go now that's what I 
think and know about myself. 

-Lil' Kay 

From The Beat: No one is meant to be in the hood even if they were 
raised that way. Continue to "refuse to lose", because your children 
need a daily presence with you instead of a dad that will be in jail. 


Comfort Foods 


The weird foods that my family eats are chitlins, mustard 
greens, pig's feet and black eyed peas. I have grown up on 
this type of food and it is good. 

My grandma always makes jambalaya, it consist of 
rice, sausage, shrimp, and a whole bunch of different 
mixtures. It tastes like one of the best foods that I have 
ever eaten. My grandma even makes gumbo I really don't 
know how it is made. 


From the Beat: Many of us through our own cultures have grown up 
with foods that may seem weird to others but are delicious to u%. If 
possible, try to spend time in the kitchen with your relatives to learn 
how to cook these recipes to keep them in the family. 

Well I don't need a gun if someone wants some problems 
we can get them up. Yeah I remember when the homey 
had a gun and he let me hold it then he said what's up 
little homey you ready for that one eight seven I was like 
hell yah so we got in a car and went to the 'other' side and 
he gave it to me again and we seen some of them at a park 
and I let loose on them I seen them falling then I jumped 
back in the car and we took off that's the first time I hold 
a gun. No, we don't need a gun because they just hurt 
people and give my homey's prison time like one of my 
close homeys they gave him 47 years to life. 

- Lir Homey 

From The Beat: What a too-true story. We are glad that your experience 
with the gun showed you how pointless they are — rather than addicting 
you with their power. Congratulations on choosing life without guns! 

To Be Free 

There are always going to be good times and bad times. 
Being locked up really ain't cool though but then you ask 
yourself, why am I in here? There's a saying about that 
goes "you do the crime, you pay the time." . 

Nobody wants to be lonely. They'd rather be with their I 
family and friends. For me, I can't wait to get out so I can " 
be with my girl and do what I do again. You have the right 
to be who you want to be and I just want to be free. 


From The Beat: You bring up some good points about dealing with p 
consequences and being free. Those things are connected, for example, | 
you commit a crime, you lose your freedom — we all know that, but 
sometimes, it's easier said than done. Keep asking yourself those 
difficult questions and challenge yourself to think more deeply about 
the consequences of your actions. 

The Streets of Fresno are no joke, because people be 
pulling out guns. Some people pull a gun out to scare 
you, to punk you, or to kill you. 

I was born in Los Angeles but raised in Fresno and 
grew up with gangsters with a lot of guns. I was jumped 
in my vario when I was a young teen. 


From The Beat: You are right...guns are a big problem in our community. 
How do you feel like you could get involved in stopping the cycle of 

Gun Violence 


The First time I saw a gun was when I was three. 

When I was only five I knew what a gun was because 
my uncle's had a 357. When guns come to my mind I 
think I can do anything particularly in my community, 
yes we need a gun because there are kids getting killed 
and families getting shot at just for colors and money. 

The first time I carried a gun was when I was ten, it 
was a duce five which I got from my brother. Although 
when I think about it I wouldn't want my kids carrying 
guns because they might do something that they don't 
even know they are doing. I believe a way for stopping 
gun violence is to have kids stop going on the streets and 
stop gang bangin. I love guns and right now I have my 

-Knite Rider 

From The Beat: You're right; this type of violence needs to stop. There 
is a huge difference between owning guns and using them in a safe 
environment such sk% in a shooting range Sk% opposed to the stark reality 
that kids are killing each other and innocent lives. 


Independent is what I am! A job can = independence. 

If you have money that can = independence. 

If you're on your own that is independence. 

You should start to be independent because that one 

person is not going to help you through your whole life. 

So, yes independence is what I am because I don't depend 

Ion no one but my self. I have my own. 
From The Beat: We agree that it is important to be self reliant and 
independent but we realize it does not happen overnight. That is why 
we suggest getting your HS degree and taking some classes to gain more 
skills. It is also important not to emotionally rely on drugs, booze, sex, 
etc... If we do not gain independence we do not give in but continue to 
work towards attaining our freedom. 

Suave All Day 

I am a suave person I don't care about anybody but my 
family or nice people. If anyone tries to mess with me 
or the people I love I will beat them savagely. I am also 
a good person. If only you perceive me I will have you 
saying this guy is really suave. I used to make sure I was 
cool. But when I lose my cool the suave beast comes out 
of me. 

I want to let people know I am suave at school too! I 
even want to let the books know I am suave. I get good 
grades all the time. I want to graduate from high school 


From The Beat: For many people being suskMe does not come naturally 
they have to be very conscious of expressing themselves in a controlled 
way without getting angry and hurting people that they love. That is 
why anger management classes are available for people who want to 
seek help in learning how express their emotions in a healthy manner. 


Looking Back 

\ Can't Forgive 

What up Beat Within? It's ya boy, Frankie the Bandit. I 
don't really know much about the four topics so I'm going 
to write about something else. 

When I think back to then and now, I would have 
never thought I'd be the man I am. I've been to JJC seven 
times. I've been charged with assault, threatening to kill, 
DUI, robbery! 

If I were to go back in time, I'd tell myself how much 
trouble I'd get into in my future. I wouldn't believe myself 
and would probably laugh about it. When I was a young 
teen, that's when drama started in my life. I was locked 
up for three months and let out on probation. I had to 
go back to school. I remember saying, "I'm never coming 
back," but I ended up coming back six more times. The 
next six were from what doing what I mentioned earlier. 

I was ten when I started smoking cigarettes, and 
eleven when I smoked bud. Then I was thirteen when I 
started to drink, and fourteen when I started yayo, heroin, 
and pills. Now I'm sixteen, and I'm locked up for a 

violation of probation. I'm sober from all the drugs except 
for occasional bud, and I still love to drink. 

I'm getting out soon but they are moving me to Madera 
with my dad. It was that or a group home. 

I'm out of time so to all locked up, stay up, keep ya 
chin up, and always try to do good with your life. This is 
ya boy, signing off. 


From The Beat: It's funny when we look back on our life and wish we 
could have acted differently. If only we could have known that so much 
trouble was going to come our way, we might have thought twice about 
our actions. But we don't know what the future holds. All we can do 
is try our best each day and hope for positive things. Do you think all 
the drama and craziness you've been through so far will help you make 
better decisions in the future? 

Learning from the past is a good topic because a lot 
of people learn from the past but most people make the 
same mistakes. 

Being locked up I learned a lot about my past. It made 
me think about picking better friends, because when it 
all came down to it, they were not there for me in the end. 
I forgive my ex-homie for what he did, but I will not forget 
and I won't let it happen again because he is no longer a 
friend. He is just a person I know and forgave. 


From The Beat: It hurts when a friend lets you down. Forgiveness can 
be hard and will take time. When picking new friends, what qualities 
will you look for? 

Late in Tiie Nigiit 


As I was sitting in my room late last night, I was thinking 
about mi familia. I can't believe I let them down. 

Yesterday when my jefita came to visit me, she told 
me that my little brother is missing me. But pretty soon 
I'll be out there with them. 

I'm going to finish my education, set my goals and try 
to lay low from the streets. 

I miss my family, my homies, and the ladies. But I 
thank God for everyday that He gives me, also the Virgin 
Mary for blessing me. 

So to all you out there, keep your head up. Stay up! 
Until next time Beat... 

- Travieso 

From The Beat: Being away from your family or support network can be 
extremely painful and difficult to bear. But you bring a good point, that 
the pain of separation is mutual between yourself and your loved ones, 
so everyone suffers. We really hope you get out soon! 

Chance To Change 


I can't wait to get out because I'm tired of this life in 
here. I'd rather be with my family, that's what matters 
most to me. 

If I had the chance to change, I would take it for only 
two reasons, my family and I, for sure. When there comes 
a time to chose between life or death, it's simple, you're 
going to chose life anytime. But what if there was no time 
to think? 

That's why you should always think twice before 
doing what others want you to do. Only God will judge 
me for what I've done in my life! I'm going to do what I do 
best, don't trip though, I'll be out soon, gone! 


From The Beat: We want you to know you DO have the chance to change, 
and we hope you take it for the two reasons you point out, for your 
family and for yourself. So next time, think about the consequences of 
your actions, and choose the route that will help you change your life 
for the better. 



Sitting in my bedroom last night, I was thinking about 

what he did to me. He hurt me. He put me somewhere I 

didn't want to be. He put me in a dub house and left me in 

there for a long time and then went with a little girl who 

was 11 years old and he's 18. He didn't have to do me like 

that. Some things he did I will never forget what he did 

and what he put me through. 

-Shy Girl 
From The Beat: We are not sure what happened but this sounds very 
serious. We suggest that you should talk to someone you trust about 

On ifly iflind 

I'm busting this rhyme. 

I'm serving time, 

'cause I committed a crime. 

When I'm on the streets, I shine, 

and my money is on my mind, 

with my hand on my nine. 

Some females are fine, and some are kind, 

so that's all I gotta say, that's on my mind. 

- Muniz 

From The Beat: Sounds like you've got some good talent. Keep writing 
and expressing yourself. 

I Froi 
I and 

One Life To Live 

Life is not a game when you're on the streets. 

It's really competitive you can't be beat. 

Being in the gang ain't no joke. 

And I gots to get the money 

'Cause I can't stay broke. 

So beware 'cause you might be smoked. 

But life to me gots to be serious 

I ran into God and I got so curious. 

Life is a race, like in the Fast and the Furious. 

So now I'm gonna put this straight to an end, 

I hope this never creeps up again. 


From The Beat: Your rhymes are deep and your message comes across. 
The hustle of gang life can be intense, and finding that spiritual outlet 
can help you better understand what you want for yourself in life. Also, 
writing helps you express yourself and your creativity, so keep it up. 
In this fast and furious world, these are things that can help you stay 


//// // 

Bad Friends 

\ I'm Not Going To Forgive 

Giving up a way of life is probably one of the hardest 
things to do. I know this is true because I've been trying 
for the past two years. 

The hardest thing for me and probably many others 
is giving up negative friends. I think it's hardest because 
they're constantly hittin' you up about the things you're 
trying to stay away from. Now because I kept messing up, 
I'm in this crap again. And I'm gonna be here for crap. 

My girlfriend and I will be celebrating our one-year 
anniversary, which I'm going to miss. I'm also going to 
miss Christmas, her birthday, and New Years. I hate this 
crap, but when I get out I'm really going to try and stay 
out this time. I love my girl Erika forever. I'm sorry babe. 


From The Beat: We commend you for realizing what you need to do to 
make that change in your fife. It^ not an easy change to make because 
they're your friends, and they'll keep calling you. Our advice for when 
you get out is that you should keep yourself, maybe find a job or focus 
on your schoolwork — that way you won't have much time on your hands 
to just hang around. Obviously these things are easier said than done, 
but anything is possible if you really put your mind and heart into it 

Wtat Shiill I II? 

I'm I 

Sitting in my bedroom late last night, thinking how 
going to change my life out of this gang life. 

It's also hard to know that you got someone you love i 
but... baby knows that he's not there. Now how am I going 
to live up to this empty world without the one that could 
change my future? Now that he's not here to lead me to a 
better future, what should I do? 


From The Beat: It hurts to be lonely, or to make someone else feel lonely 
because of your actions. But don't give up — just know that you CAN 
make that change for yourself and the person you love. Stay strong, 
and we hope you get out soon. 

in ilAy ilood 

In my hood, everyday, we have to get down. 
No matter what you are or what you do, 
you'll end up six feet under the ground 
'cause the homies ain't scared to shoot a round. 
We walk around with ammunition everyday, 
just getting ready for a mission with the other side. 
With the homies rag on our face and no look of disgrace. 
That's just the life we live trying to make a living, trying 
to get dinero. 


From The Beat: It sounds like a crazy life, to always be living on the 
edge like that. Can you think of other ways to earn money in a safe and . 
legit manner? What can you do work toward that? I 

THis Giri 


I would never forgive or never forget the past. I could 
never regret. 

I used to love this girl. I even told her I was going to 
take her around the world. But one day she played me like 
a fool. While I was in the street with the homies posting 
up all cool, she came back to the pad when I was all mad. 
I saw the look on her face and she started to get sad. She 
asked me what was going on. I just told her to get away 
from me. 


From The Beat: Relationships can be frustrating! Forgiving and 
forgetting what someone has done to you can be painful and take time. 
Although, can you think about ways this experience has made you a 
stronger person? 

I had a homie that betrayed me. So let me tell you how. 
He knew that I was gang banging, smoking, drinking, and 
a whole lot of other shhh. We went to the same school. 
One day I was cruising it and saw that homie with the 
enemy. So the homies in the car told me to beat him up 
and so I did. Then after that he started banging the other 


From The Beat: What is it that gangs stand up for and against in the 
first place? It sounds to us like you yourself don't even know. Your 
homie didn't betray you by hanging out with people from the other 
side, you betrayed him by beating him up because someone else told 
you to. And if you keep banging, some day those people will do the 
same thing to you and then what? 

Sittiii With M) Mm 


Sitting with my Mom, I can't sleep. I just keep thinking 
about my screwed up life and how shhh never changes. 
Life is a blitz and then you die. I miss my little brother 
and feel hella bad. Showing him my negative behavior and 
not paying him any attention is not good, because he may 
be following me. 

-Lir H 

From The Beat: Your role as a big brother is important, but you are no 
good to him if you don't quit your negative attitude toward yourself. 
Things can change if you try to change them, so don't wait. 

Giving It Up 

II As days and nights pass, I think about how I want to 
' give it all up, such as gangs, getting caught with peoph 

give it all up, such as gangs, getting caught with people 
I shouldn't be around, or carrying a gun around town. I 
want to give it all up because what I do ain't the life for 

I don't want to get caught by the boys for selling weed 
or going crazy because I have been drinking. That's all I 
have to say, so kids, if you think gangs are cool, re-think 
it and go back to school. 


From The Beat: Great advice, Kevin. It sounds like you've been through 
it all, and you're luclcy enough to have survived everything so you can 
tell your story today. Keep sharing your message with others! 

I Wonder Wily? 

I often wonder why one of my family members died from 
a gun shot. I wonder why they took his life. But truly I 
know why, because of guns and gang violence. 

It is life, that's how it goes, people die everyday and it 
doesn't really matter until it's your family, or your gang. 
That's when you do something. 

Having a gun is really easy to get and easy to use, it's 
alright. I don't really care. To me when people die it's like 
trash getting thrown out. But when it is family or gang it 
matters because gang is also your family too. You may 
not agree but it is true. 

Gangs got your back; they protect you and get money 
just like your real family. People use weapons to take 
other people out or for protection. Another thought is to 
take that person out before he takes you out of the game. 
Life is hard even with a gun but you will do anything to 
keep you and your family alive. 


From The Beat: We are in disagreement with many of your thoughts 
concerning the value of human lives and families. Why can't we all get 
along and embrace our differences? Many innocent lives such as one 
of your family members have died because of rival gang violence. This 
cycle of violence is an unworthy cause in which no one wins. 


//// // 

On The Track 


Every time I am with a girl, I always have to put her on 
the track, it is a need-be situation. Especially when she 
comes back with money that makes her a team player and 
might even turn her into an all star. 


From The Beat: Convincing someone else to give away their dignity and 
self respect so that you can entn money without having to work for it is 
the most disrespectful and selfish act we have heard. Quit being weak 
and take responsibility for your own life! Stop using others Sk% tools to 
help get what you refuse to earn for yourself! 

Guns Are No Fun 


Many children under the age of 18 have been killed over 
guns. Many people think it's fun to play with a gun but all 
it will do is get you murder. Life with a gun is hard and 
cruel. You use a gun and you run until you're out of fuel. 
So kids, don't use guns. 


From The Beat: You're right Kevin, guns can bring a great deal of danger 
to everyone, kids and adults. Thanks for encouraging people to practice 
safety when it comes to guns. 


Living Life To The Fuiiest 

Let me tell you about living life as a gang banger. It is not 
worth it. But when you are still in it, you can not get out. 
So what the heck, live life to the fullest then. 

-Lil' Panic 

From The Beat: We don't think that the whole 'can't beat them, then 
join them' philosophy is good at all. That's like saying; if we can't stop 
people from killing each other then let's go kill ourselves. It takes strong 
people to stand up and say the gun fights aren't worth loosing lives. We 
hope you can be that strong. 

i Give Up 

I give up on my gang life because that's not the life I want 
to live. 

I want to get my life together and being in a gang can get 
you killed 

like that and I want to live my life. I want to graduate and 
go to college. 

The gang wasn't good for me because I was out there 
shooting at people and banging on folks. 
Now look where I'm at, 

locked up for something I didn't do and now they're trying 
to give me time. 

I give my love to all who are doing time. 
'Til pen meets paper again... 


From The Beat: It sounds like you've learned from your experience, and 
it sounds like you want to do better for yourself. We're proud of you 
for taking that first step, which is to acknowledge and accept that you 
need to get your life together, by getting skn education and not being 
in a gang. Good luck to you Maurice, and keep writing to let us know 
how it goes. 

Or Nothiog 

Sometimes I wish I could go back and change some 
mistakes I've made in the past. It sometimes angers me 
that I can't and I keep messing up because of that. I'm an 
all or nothing type of person. I wish I never would have 
chose the road I have, but I did, and there's no turning 
back. Like I said, "all or nothing." 

-Chucky G 

From The Beat: \%'% never too late to change. All it takes is that first 
step, and before you know it, you'll look back and see how much has 
changed. If you could take action to change your life, what would be 
your first step? 

T I I I r 

1 I I \ \ I r 

Life in JJG - The Good And The 

This time I'm in here it's kind of boring, not like the last 
time, it was fun. It's boring now but I got to get used to it 
'cause I'm going to be in here for a while. 

Last time, it wasn't boring 'cause the staff were cool, 
but the staff this time... well some of them act wrong. A 
good staff will hook it up with incentives, like soda and 
Pizza Pockets, but the jerky kind of staff take your points 
and demote you for no reason. 


From The Beat: Sorry to hear the staff this time around haven't been sk% 
cool. Sometimes they act that way cause they're probably having a bad 
day. Other times it might just be stress. But stay positive, don't let the 
staff get to you. 

Trying illiy Best 



You get real anxious when you're waiting to go to court. 
But when you find out what you got, it's either real bad 
or not that bad. 

Sometimes you wonder if you want to change your 
life. As for me, I would just try to do my best at learning 
the things I didn't. 

-Lil* Grin 

From The Beat: Keep challenging yourself to learn new things that will 
help you improve your life. Don't give up! 


I When I was sitting in my room late last night, I was 
anxious and depressed. When I heard about other 
peoples' cases, I would feel bad for myself and bad for 
what they are going through (especially when it's going 
to be Christmas/New Years). Right now, some people will 
have to go to court next year. I feel bad for what other 
people are going through. 


From The Beat: You've got a kind, generous, noble heart. It^ not often 
we find young people like you in JJC, or even on the outs. Thanks for 
being supportive of other people's situation— it inspires us\ 


//// // 

I Was Thinking To illiyseif 

\ illlake Your Way 

I thought to myself "I really messed up bad this time." 
Then I asked myself what I could do to stay out of the 
JJC. I really want to get out and spend my birthday with 
my parents. Do you ever wish that you could go back and 
do something different? 

Hopefully I can get out and get a fresh start. I messed 
up, but now I have a chance to change my life. But I don't 
know if I can stop what I have already started. Maybe I 
might just slow my shhh down, but hopefully I can get a 
fresh start. 


From The Beat: It sounds like you will need to find adults that you can 
trust to stop whatever it is that you are doing. If you really want to 
change you need to admit to others that there is a problem so they can 
help you. 

Trne Lnve 

My true love is easy to find. 

My true love is always mine. 

I get my true love from selling dubs and dimes. 

For getting my true love, now I have to do time. 

Now I know that my true love is some bad crime. 

I know my true love seems funny. 

But Yeah, my true love is always Money. 

-Mack Neezy 

From The Beat: In order for love to be true, it has to be reciprocal, 
meaning that you gain more from it then you loose. It doesn't sound like 
you have true love then. It sounds like the illegal stuff you have to do 
to get your money isn't worth the hassle. 

Tn Forgive 


They say that God will forgive you for anything you do. 
I think even if you kill someone He will forgive you. So 
I should learn to forgive, even if I don't want to forgive 
anyone, because I feel I should forgive so I won't forget 
about them. 


From The Beat: It sounds like you've been thinking about forgiving 
someone for what that person has done to you. Or perhaps the opposite, 
maybe you're hoping someone will forgive you for something you've 

Dunking Builets 


My thoughts on gun violence are that too any people 
have them in Fresno. In this town, it's all about having 
the best bullets, dunking, and surviving. So to all my 
haters, you better dunk! 


From The Beat: Too many guns can lead to deadly consequences for 
everyone, especially innocent bystanders who get stuck in the crossfire. 
We value your thoughts and opinions here at The Beat, but we don't 
appreciate when writers make threats to their enemies. That^ not what 
we're about. We hope you take time to think about how you can improve 
your life so it doesn't have to come down to dunking. 

Can't Wait 


Sitting in my bedroom last night... I was thinking of my 
family for a good minute. Then I thought about my girl, 
but I stopped because it all kills me, to be away from them. 
But I am chilling now because I'll be out on Christmas, so 
now I am just doing my program and then getting out! 


From The Beat: We hope you do better out there Rj. Remember how 
you felt in the Hall before you make those choices that will bring you 
back here. 

I r 

I try to find ways to make my own way. I pray to God that 
everything will be okay, but its life! So we are stuck with 
all the bull and hate and if you are feeling me lift your 
dang head up and put a smile on your face. 


From The Beat: God can only help u% out so much, a lot of change that 
needs to happen has to come from you, not the man above. Life is what 
you make of it, not just what you were given. Remember that Sk% you 
hold your head up and smile. 

Half Hour 

I am trying to go home on a furlough. They took it away 
because on my last furlough I came back late. Now I am 
mad as heck at the staff and my PO because he doesn't 
want to let me get an early release date. I will be out next 
month anyway so whatever. 


From The Beat: Life is full of disappointments. We wonder which ones 
you are causing for yourself, and which ones you can't control. The staff 
at the Hall just wants you to do your best so trust them more. 

This Piace 

This isn't the place to be during the holidays. I suggest 
don't get into any trouble and don't be stupid like me. 


From The Beat: Great advice. We know your message will reach others, 
and we hope you get out soon. 

Wiiat It IVIeans 

When people say "Those who cannot remember the past, 
are condemned to repeat it" it means that if you do not 
pay attention to what is happening, you may do it again. 
Like from school, in the back of your head you know 
something that Mr. so and so said, and remembering it 
will help you so that you will not repeat history. 

-Princess Mekal 

From The Beat: Thanks for giving us your thoughts on this quote. People 
in the Hall often choose to ignore their past and pretend it is not behind 
them, and si% you have explained, that could be pretty bad. 


Mind Games 

\ Grime Pays 

It's hard sitting in a cell when you're stressed out and 
thinking about possibilities. Most of the time it's your 
own mind making you think and stress. You assume too 
much. You're playing games with yourself, convincing 
your self of the good thoughts running through your 
mind. But the ones you don't want to think of always win 
the battle when it comes to convincing. 

All my thoughts of my stress go away when I convince 
myself that there's a plan for me and I will be guided along 
that road whether it means if I get what I want or not-- 
either way things are going to be ok. Maybe better I try to 
convince myself that if I thought things were good when 
there was problems that things would be great if things 
start all over or start a whole new chapter. 


From The Beat: This is a good description of how hard it can be to iceep 
our minds on a positive trade. It's true that if you can stay positive, you 
may be able to take your life from good to great, even start all over if 
you need to. 

iflURiflUR X 

Guess who? MURMUR! duh I can't wait to be free. I can't I 
wait to have every thing back. Every thing I had once upon 
a time before probation. 

No trouble for me naah I want my life back. I want 
to spend my free life with the girl I love and my physical 
loves too. I want to live by my beliefs and stay away from 
trouble with the law. 

I just have to stay on the dl that's kind of hard fro me 
because I'm a punk and I stick out a lot. But if I control 
myself I guess I can stay cool. It's always my actions that 
get me caught up with the law. 

I'm so stupid sometimes I don't think before I act. ,, 
That's what gets me caught. I guess I just have to practice I 
doing all these things so I can have what I want most. My 
life back and my loved ones and things. 


From The Beat: Now you are very clear about what you risk losing if 
you don't think about your actions. Practicing new ways of reacting is 
a good idea. Prepare yourself for the times that will challenge you. It^ 
your life, don't give it away by not thinking! 


ige I 

What would it take for me to change. To be honest why? 
love what I do. People talk about how they want to change 
when they get out. But for real how many people really 

Being lock up don't bother me. Would I want to be 
in prison? No but there is a 50-50 chance that I will get 
caught when I'm running in the streets. Why do I gang 
bang? I gang bang to show how much pride I got. I will die 
for my hood. 

Growing up didn't have no family but the boys. Why 
would I leave them like that? They wouldn't do that to me. 
The only way probably make me want to change is that 
all my rivals will be gone. Until then I'm just going to do 
what I have to. I do what I do for my future lil' boys or my 
sons- so there aint much would want me to change. 


From The Beat: If you have a little boy he'd need you to show him how 
to work hard, even when it seems impossible. He'd need you to play 
with him, keep him healthy, help him learn about the world and how to 
grow and become the best person he can be. If you didn't have a family 
growing up, can you understand how your own son would need you to 
be a father for him. 

I just wanna be rich if every body had some money I 
guarantee crime would be low. They say you can't get 
wealthy off of crime, you might not get rich but you will 
have some money in your pockets. 

Crime pays but if you get caught ya butt is grass if 
you follow the yellow brick road and go down the right 
road you might be come rich after 30 40 years. By the 
time you some way down the road somebody on the other 
side of the law is gonna rob you I rather be the robber 
than the one getting' robbed after all my hard work. 


From The Beat: You may or may not get rich from crime or legit work. 
Many people don't need to be rich, they'd like a good place to live, food, 
good things for their kids, and a job they feel good about devoting 
much of their lives to. Few ate rich, and many of the rest of u% still have 
full, rich, meaningful lives. 

Missing Out 

What's up Beat? Me just chilling in this day care. I aint 
really feeling today's topic so I'm going to write about the 

I hella miss the outs kicking it with the friends and 
the females-man I can't wait to get out with my brother 
and the friends at the pad cause if I drink it in the hood 
police gone get there and arrest us and I aint tryna come 
back for no drinking in public u feels? 

But yup Beat I hella miss the outs, it's all good do I'll 
be out sooner or later out there getting it myself another 
whip slap some 2's and some beat boy I cant wait to get 

-Hustla Claus 

From The Beat: We think it's wise to think about drinking carefully 
Sk% so many get caught up with charges somehow related to drugs and 
alcohol. If you value your freedom, and life so much, make good plans 
that will keep you free. 

Tlie Beat Family 

Two brothers growing up not prey to the streets but 
predators to enemies that don't belong in our streets. I grew 
up seeing and experiencing things that my mind at the time 
was clouded to. Not knowing that in a few years things are a 
way of life. 

Can't change to fit in to the streets you were born into 
a family that teaches you about the guide lines of it. Me 
born and raised by a solid family adding family to increase 
numbers will only become better. My brother he know what's 
up he was part of the family before his boots were laced up. 
He might of thought he knew but now he knows the things 
he thought he knew weren't shhh at all. Now after years of 
running around hogging it up with Vacaville fam we went 
through a lot always keeping our head up doing things 
without hesitation with no limits. 

Our whole family lives the same life we do. When I say the 
whole family I mean moms dads cousins friends the whole 
enchilada no joke. It's hard because everyone knows when 
family has children whether they're a boy or girl, its always 
said that the next generation to the streets. My tattoos in the 
family are known as birth marks because its said its true 
born into our family and more than likely you will get the 
birth mark your family said you would ever since you were 
born. Its crazy how things work but that's the way of life. 

Much love to all the family. I love her to death. Loyalty 
above all loss. 

From The Beat: From what we read from a lot of Beat contributors the 
"loss" you write of can become too much to bear. The destruction of 
a family that you love, through death, prison, alcohol and drugs, and 
sorrow is very hard to witness and be a part of. You can change your 
way of life any time, and if you do maybe some of your family will too... 
and maybe that will help all of you with your lives. 


P4i^f /ff 

Give It All Up 

\ Posted 

I won't, why give it all up when things get hard so what 
if you gotta do time. Time aint nothing to a beast we get 
through it ya feel me. My homie just got seven years CYA 
time but he still in here beastin though. He a straight 
beast on everything. 

I've been locked up for 2 months and I got six months 
to go. When I get out I'ma just get smarter about my stuff. 
But that's it for right now I'll holla at ya later. 


From The Beat: Sometimes we think that this street stuff and doing 
time is nn excuse for never seeing what you could maice of yourself and 
your life legitimately. You're right, if you don't value your freedom or 
have goals and motivation to live life what difference does it make to 
do time? Life is hard and unpredictable. Love is risky. When you get 
locked up you know when they're going to open, and close your door. I 

Getting Kick Out Of Scliool 

What's up with the Beat this is Baby Drifter from Fairfl 
I don't go to school because I got kick out from the school 
district that shhh was fun but at the same time I was mad 
because my mom would get mad at me when I get home. 
So I said dang dawg I'ma get in trouble but I said heck 
with it, I did it there is nothing I could do. Thanks to my 
mom I'ma go back to school and this time I'ma change 
I'ma listen to the teachers and my mom that's it I got to 
say. Thanks for paying attention to me I'm gone. 

-Baby Drifter 

From The Beat: You're luclcy your mom is in your corner fighting for you 
and your life. School is important and it will help you always if you 
finish. Don't give up! Work hard, you can do it. 

Sittini In This Cage last Nifkt 


Every night I go to sleep go to sleep. Keep waking up 
feeling weak my memory. It aint nothing won't last cause 
I gotta week. And I'm gone up out how I'm pose to be. 

And I aint rapping just writing see. Putting down on 
paper so you feel me. Or who care cause I'm leaving this 
facility. Staying out and do the same if you smartly. Now 
I'm gone lil' Nite see me in the streets. Stay up yo time 
coming... I 

-Lil Nite | 

From The Beat: We wish you well out there. Take your time! Make good 
choices, think about the long term^ your life! Good luck. 



A while back this dude called Tampon came and turned 
everyone out to that yada, one of my friends told "Muffin" 
girl that he was into it without knowing she knew what 
she was. 

So Tampon and Muffin started driving by calling my 
friend a snitch after a while they came up to his house 
starting problems-his parents came out and Tampon tried 
fighting his mom and "Muffin" was sitting there backing 
up Tampon after his friend and his parents done so much 
for him. 

Then a couple of months later "Muffin" hopped out 
of Tampon's car on me, pushed me and hopped back 
in that's betrayal. Whether he did something or not its 
betrayal to me. 


From The Beat: There^ much about this story that we don't really get, 
however we do understand you felt betrayed. Do you plan to forgive 
these characters? What good does it do you if you don't? How would it 
feel if you could forgive them, let it go, and just get on with your life? 

Me I always stay posted on my block everyday and night 
people come through with all type of drugs trying to sell 
stuff in my hood, but my monsters come and sweep the 
whole area. 

Up getting all the goodies from the enemies you dig. 
I love my hood that's why I post on it all day. These weak 
people always saying they getting active but they just 
talking out the side of the trap. They don't even know 
where the trap is. 


From The Beat: What do you love so much about your hood that you 
dedicate yourself to it this way? What if you couldn't go back there, 
what would you do then? What else could you do with your life? 



What's good Beat it's yo boy coming once again from 
Vacaville. Well I aint got much to say. But I got three 
months left, you feel me. 

I can't wait to touchdown, I've been locked down for a 
minute. But you know that life that I live I'm bound to do 
time. Well anyways Beat that's all I got to say get at me. 

-Young Goofy 

From The Beat: Your time is winding down and you're soon going to be 
faced with some decisions. Which way will you go when you consider 
those moments of choice that are coming? We don't think doing time is 
son acceptable expectation for smyone. Don't give up. 

Stop Trying 

What's up with it Beat it's ya boy J-Naz, but you know I 
just got kicked out of Fonts for doing what I do, but I was 
up there trying to change for the better but they wanna 
kick me out for some stupid shhh. 

Man so I'ma just say heck with it and give up trying 
to change for the better, I'ma just be me and do what I do 
(all my real ninjas know how I get down!) what's the point 
because when I get out I'ma forget everything I learned 
anyways and just go back to do what I'm good at, straight 
house licks and getting snowed in, cause right now I'm 
most likely going to get out with no probation the judge 
might terminate me unsuccessfully cause I'm 18. 

And to everyone that's trying to change stop trying 
cause when you get out you're just going to go back to 
your old ways like nothing ever happen so stop trying 
to fool yourself by thinking you're going to change and 
just face reality and say heck with it cause you only live 

And to all in New Foundations, Fonts, and county 
keep y'all heads up cause we gone all be out soon doing 
it big. 


From The Beat: Sorry about your trouble in Fouts, but you can't give up 
on yourself now! You've already put in a bunch of time, and learned 
things about yourself that you can't forget. Unless you love jail you 
can't "just go back to do what you're good at," and you know that. 
It's hard to change, especially when surrounded by folks that arent 
supporting you making that change. Don't give up. Work hard, you can 
do it, and it does matter. 

IVIy Gin 

My girl stay by my side we like the next Bonnie and Clyde 
she ain't never been shy and she more than a dime she 
stay on my mind I'm locked up she out make me wanna 
cry but I gotta stay strong and I gotta stay fiy. 

-Young Rell 

From The Beat: We hope your story has a better ending for your sakes. 


18 And Down/Back Again 

\ Wednesday Rotation 

What's up? So I'm back again I was in New Foundations 
just three months ago. I did six months and now I'm back 
well not really for a crime, just curfews but they had me 
in here for about three weeks. 

I missed Thanksgiving and my 18th birthday in here 
this time I missed a lot of holidays over ten and I've only 
been locked up twice man but I'm not gone mess up. 
Because the next time I get locked up I'm going to county. 
Well I can't wait to get my freedom. 

When I get out I'm going to adult school and getting 
a job. I'm going back to Rancho when I get out that's my 
hood in Vallejo I'm going there because that's where I feel 
safe. I just wanted to give a shout out to all my friend God 
bless you all my family too. 


From The Beat: Good luclc out there, like you say don't get caught up 
again. We thinic adult school and getting a job could be more fun than 
you thinic. Have faith in yourself and work hard. I 


Crazy Tiiooghts 

Vacaville is where it's at. What it do Beat, another day 
another day. They got me chilling in juvie with these 
youngsters like its nothing. But its whatever. I can't wait 
till I touchdown. I'm 18 years old fina be 19 and I'm tired 
of being tired. I need to dig into something asap. 

My money looking right but I can't touch it until my 
release date. Fresh cortezez, belt, Pete Rose throw back, 
some black dickies and a hair cut and I'll be back on the 
block blending in like a chameleon. Straight up in cognito 
just how I like it. 


From The Beat: If you couldn't return to that what would you do? do you 
ever wonder what you maybe could make with your life, your talents, 
abilities and energy? 


Posted on the bunk late last night. Can't wait to get out. 
Be back with the home boys like the good all days. My 
enemies want me dead. Want to see me in my early grave. 
Ain't show'n no remorse. Aint like no one would show me 
none they will take my life like that. 

Protecting my mom with all will. Cross my line got 
show you the bizz. Keep on trying. Preparing for the days 
when I get got be on my tees cant let 5.0 catch me slipping. 
Got one chance before I get wash. You know what I do. If 
I could start over I wouldn't change nothing my life is 
going good to all the home boys lock up from juvenile to 
the pin keep it solid. 


From The Beat: How can you siiy you are protecting your mom with all 
will when you are determined to live this life? That hurts her, and it 
sounds like she needs you alive, free, and making good decisions. I 

i'm Patientiy Waiting 


I've been patiently waiting to go to this group home, 
didn't know what I had till it was all gone, 
I had friends on my side, but I had it all wrong, 
now I'm sitting alone singing this damn song. 
I've been patiently walking the talk for so long, 
the talk for so long, I'm getting tired of this shhh, 
I've been doing it all wrong. 

-Lil J 

From The Beat: Good luck in the group home! Day by day, little by little 
practice a new way of living that feels right. 

What's up Beat. Let's see I turned eighteen last Sunday 

and I'm still in here I got 2 months left of doing the 

same thing. I wonder what's for dinner today hopefully 

something good. The place is all Christmasy and I'm still 

kinda gloomy, but as long as I get out on my weekends 

it's all good. And hopefully stay away from trouble. 

From The Beat: How do you deal with things when you're gloomy? Do 
you read or write, or daydream? What makes you feel energized and 
fully of life? 

So Confnsed Bnt Yet Not 

Take a wild guess! Look around who are you? Plain 
and simple right? So you think! So you know who really 
knows? I don't do you? Gangster? Prep? Rocker? What's 
the difference? Is there a difference? Cant tell! Can you? 
Clothing? Music? Style? What is that? Can you tell me? 
Blue? Green? Red? What am I asking for? Do you know? 
Not simple! Isn't so plan to understand? Who are you 
really? Don't categorize, realize! Win! Don't lose! Blame! 
Don't be ashamed! Stand for some thing-be you! 

-Lil Skitties 

From The Beat: We like your questions. What do you find worth 
standing for in your life? What defines who someone is? 

iVIy Life 

What's up with it Beat, me I'm chilling right now I'm just 
tryna get up out of here, I been holding it down I'm from 
that city of Vallejo where it all get down, me and my boy 
D. Anna get out of this joint, and we back to the hood. 

It's a struggle out there, one of my real ninja just got 
shot, it's ugly right now, but it aint shhh I'ma keep it lit 
for all my ninjas out there, I'ma be home soon. 


From The Beat: We're sorry about your friend. We've heard about a lot 
of people getting shot lately and we hope you stay safe and %skne. It's 
time to do something different! 

\ II 

i i n \ i I 

I r 

I Aint Clianging 

I aint trying change. I like the life I live but if I could 
change some thing I would make my family rich. I gone 
get out and do what I do. I'm not going to change for 
nobody. I'm a mobster. 

I have to do what ever to get mine even if I gotta take 
it. If I go to the pen then oh well. I rather be judge by 
twelve than carried by six. I keep it real. I like hanging out 
with my cuddies I like getting money I live a thug life. 

-Young Cutt 

From The Beat: If you go to the pen, oh well? Come on, expect more 
for your life than that! You're worth more than a life in prison. You're 
family probably needs you alive and free more than money. You have to 
believe in yourself, you can figure out your life! 

Reaiize wiiat Tiiey're Doing is a iflistaiio 

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned 
to repeat it. I think that means people who make the 
same mistakes are bound to continue making the same 
mistakes over if they don't realize or think what they're 
doing is a mistake. 

-Nso Rob 

From The Beat: We agree. And what about you in your life? Is there 
anything you've realized about your past that you now think was a 

Mi Promeza 


Yo nunca voy a volver a venir a la juvenile porque hice 
una promeza de no volver a esta clase de situacion. 

Pierdes tu libertad por algo que no vale la pena. 
Preflero quedarme con las ganas y no volver a hacer 
estupideces que me van a hacer daiio en mi futuro. 
Preflero estar afuera y estar libre como un pajaro sin que 
nadie me tenga que decir nada. 

Si ya cometi un gran error, nunca jamas volvere a 
hacer ninguna estupidez que se me venga a la cabeza. 

Primero voy a pensar dos veces antes de hacer algo. 
Es todo lo que tengo que decir. 

From The Beat: Nos parece muy bien que pienses asi. Vas por el buen 
camino. Esperantos que cumplas con tu promeza y que esta sea la unica 
vez en este lugar. 

My Promise 

I've never going to come back to juvenile hall because I 
made the promise of never getting into a situation like 
this one. 

Here, you lose your freedom over something that 
isn't worth it. I prefer to stay with the desires of doing 
something and never commit the same stupid things I 
did that will hurt my future. I prefer to stay out and be 
free like a bird without having someone who can tell me 

If I already made a big mistake, I'll never commit 
another stupid thing that gets in my head. I'm going to 
think twice before doing something. That's all I have to 

-Enivan, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: It sounds good to us to think like this. You're on the 
right path. We hope you keep your promise and make this the last time 
in this place. 

las Irnas lo Soi liens 


Las armas de juego no son buenas, no cargues un arma 
para sentirte mas hombre que otro, y no las uses para 
hacer daiio a otras personas. No te das cuenta que cuando 
haces daiio a una persona haces sufrir a sus familiares. 
Por ejemplo—como tu madre y a tus padres. 

Tocate la consiencia antes de hacer actos de esos. 
Yo escribo esto para pedirte que porfavor que pienses 
antes de hacer un acto malo. Puedes perder tu libertad y 
hasta tu vida. Si tienes un arma, tocate el corazon y no le 
causes dolor a otras personas. 

From The Beat: Estamos seguro que si todos pensaramos de la forma 
como tu piensas, evitarfamos tantas perdidas, sangre derramada y 
mucho sufrimientos de gente inocentes. Esperamos que aprendan de 
este consejo. Tu mantente lejos de ellos y se otro fuera de la lista. 

Weapons Aren't Good 

Fire weapons aren't good. Don't carry one to feel manly 
than others, and don't use it to harm other people. 
Don't you know that when you hurt someone, you are 
also hurting his/her family — your mother and father for 

Touch your heart before committing some of those 
actions. I write this to ask you to think before doing 
something bad. You can lose your freedom and even your 
life. If you have a weapon, touch your heart and don't hurt 
other people. 

-Gunfree, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: We're sure that if we all thought the way you do, we 
would avoid so many losses, blood spill, and suffering from innocent 
people. We hope someone learn from this advice. You keep yourself 
away from those and become another one off the list. 

Los Pensamientns De Dns 

Sentado en mi cuarto ayer 

Estaba pensando de antier 

Cuando se me vino el pensamiento de amor 

Pensaba de todos los sentimientos y de todo el dolor 

Todas las veces que me hicistes sufrir 

Y me hicistes reir 

Cuando caminabamos te agarraba las manos 

Pasando por las calles 

No nomas contigo pero tambien 

Con otras viejas 

Una por una para que no se dieran cuenta 

Siempre las Uebaba para tomar unas cervezas 

Despues de eso, ya saben lo que pasa 

Si te queria pero no te distes cuenta 

Te estoy diciendo que te estoy mandando al Diablo. 

From The Beat: cHuy, que fue lo que realmente estas muchacha les han 
para portarse bien rudas con ellas? Parece que el quien se porto mal 
andando con una y otra fueron ustedes. "Lo que sube, tiene que bajar." 

Thnugiits Of Two 

Sitting in my room yesterday 

I was thinking about a day before yesterday 

When the thought of love came to my head 

I was thinking of all the feelings and all the pain 

And all the times you made me suffer 

And when you made me smile 

When we would hold our hands and take walks 

Walking through the streets 

But not just you, but with other girls 

One by one, so they won't flnd out 

I would always take them to drink some beer 

After that you know what would happen 

I did love you, but you didn't know it 

Now I am saying that I'm sending you to hell. 

-Pacho, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: What have girls done to you to be so rude to them? It 
seems like you were the ones who didn't behaved well by being with 
one and the other one. "What goes around, comes around." 

Dies Me Dijo 

Venia entre la oscuridad, entre las villas del tren, miro 
una sombra que se me acercaba y me doy cuenta que 
son pajaros queriendome atacar. Yo me espanto y me 
pregunto, ^que hago?" Me dice que es el demonio y me da 
risa porque no sabia ni quien era. Me doy la vuelta. Dios 
me habla y me dice, "no te preocupes mi hijo. Soy Dios y 
yo te estoy cuidando. Gracias a mi Dios. 

From The Beat: jQue momento tan temoros! Esperamos que tambien la 
voz de Dios te guie hacia un mejor camino. Gracias por contarnos. ^Fue 
esto un sueno? 

God Toid Me 

I was coming through darkness, between the train's 
rails, and I saw a shadow that was approaching me and I 
realized there were birds that wanted to attack me. I get 
scared and I ask my self, "what do I do?" It tells me they 
are the demon and I laugh because it didn't even know 
who it was. I turn around. God talks to me and tells me, 
"Don't worry my son. I am God and I am watching over 
you." Thank God. 

-None, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: What a scary moment! We hope the voice of your God 
guide you to a better road. Thanks for sharing. Was this a dream? 

Esta Navidad Sin Mi Hermano 

Que odnas Beat? Es este Pelon, ya se la saben. Aqui en 
la torcida. Pues hoy voy a hablar sobre mi vida. He pasado 
por un chingo de cosas. 

Aqui me ven hoy vivo y feliz de tener una hermosa 
familia que siempre esta conmigo para lo que sea 
especialmente mi jefita. La quiero un chingo y es la linica 
persona que me conoce como nadie en esta vida loca que 

Mi jefita se aguita que yo este aqui en la torcida y 
mas porque sus dos hijos estan aqui. 

Pues mi carnalito esta en el Rancho y es el mas 
morrito de los dos, pero el torcio mas pronto que yo. Eso I 
me aguita porque pensaba que iba a torcer primero, pero ' 
la cosas pasan. Ya mero salgo de aqui. Espero estar en 
la cantona para el la Navidad y estar con mi familia. Esta 
va a ser la primera Navidad sin mi carnalito y vamos a 
extrafiarlo un chingo. Lo bueno es que esta bien y para la 
siguiente. Es todo por hoy. 

From The Beat: Esperamos que esta vez hayas aprendido tu leccion y 
cambies por ti. Tienes un hermanito que esta muy malguido, y la razon 
pueda que sea tu mal ejempio que le has dado. Tu puedes ayudarlos si 
realmente quisieras. Pero para poder ayudarlo, primero tienes que dar el 
buen ejempio y enseharle el camino hacia un Nuevo camino. Si quieres 
la proxima Navidad pasaria con la familia junta, tienes que ayudarlo. 
£Crees que puedas? 

Para las Gamaradas 

mother gets sad to have me in jail — especially now that 
has both of her sons in here. 
My lil' brother is in the Ranch and he is the youngest 

i i i i i 


ril Never Come Back 

I'll never come back to juvenile hall. I prefer to stay with 
my son who I love so much. I never had my father and 
that's why I'm going to behave well. I want to be with him 
now. I appreciate him so much. 

-Anonimo, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: That sounds better. Your son will need a father like you 
needed one or need one. We wish you good luck, daddy. 

Tills Christmas WItiiout My Brotiier 

What's up Beat? This is Pelon, and you know it. Here I am 
in jail. Well, today I am going to write about my life. I've 
been through so many things. 

Here I am alive and happy to have a nice family who is 
always there for me for everything, especially my mother. 
I love her so much and she is the only person who knows 
me more than anyone else in this crazy life I'm living. My j 

she has both of her sons in here. 


of both of us. He got locked up before I did, but thing just I 
happen. I'm almost out from here. I hope to be at home 
for Christmas and be with my family. This will be my first 
Christmas without my little brother and we are going to 
miss him a lot. The good thing is that he is fine and so 
later. This is all I got for today. 

-Pelon, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: We hope you learn from your lesson this time and start 
changing for your own good. You have a little brother who is misguided, 
and the reason might be due to your bad example. You can help him if 
you really want to, but in order to help him, you have to set a good 
example, and show him the way to a better road. If you want next 
Christmas to spend it together help him. Can you? I 


Yo nunca voy a venir a la juvenile. Prefiero quedarme 
con mi hijo a quien quiero mucho. Nunca lo tuve a mi 
papa. Por eso me voy a portar bien. Yo quiero estar con el 
ahorita. Lo aprecio mucho. i 

From The Beat: Eso nos parece major. T^ hijo va a necesitar a un padre 
como tu lo necesitabas o lo necesitas. Te deseamos suerte, padre. 

Esto va para los camaradas del barrio. Si piensas que 
por tener una pistola en tus manos eres chingon, pues no 
es asi. Tii cargas pistola por que tienes miedo o por que 
tienes algo en tu conciencia. Quizas es que la cargas por 
proteccion pero no seas pendejo, no mas dispares por que 
quieres. Demuestrales que tienes huevos. Solo porque te 
crees chignon no sabes si vas a lastimar a una persona 
inocente que este alrededor. Por eso les recomiendo que 
si disparen a lo pendejo, les deseo suerte. 

From The Beat: Nos gusta como piensas. Es verdad que han matado a 
muchos inocentes cuando tartan de matar a otros . Ojala que tu no te 
encuentras en esa situacion. Ese tipo de vida es peligrosa y no paga 
nada bueno. Realmente, ese modo de vivir, con orgullo y violencia, es 
basura. Esperamos que hagas decisiones correctas y con inteligencia. 

To My Friends 

If you think that by having a gun in your hands you are 
tight, you're wrong. You carry a gun because you are scared 
of because you got something heavy in your conscience. 
Maybe you carry it for protection, but don't be stupid, and 
don't just shoot because you want to. Show them that you 
got guts. Just because you think you're sick, you'll never 
know if you're going to hit an innocent person around 
you. That's why I recommend you that if you are going to 
shoot like a stupid, you should have a good luck. 

-Conejo, Land Of Enchantment New Mexico 

From The Beat: We like the way you think. It's true. Many innocent 
people have died over people who try to shot others. We hope you 
to never be in that situation. That type of life is very dangerous and 
doesn't award anything good. This type of life, and that type of pride is 
just garbage. We hope you make the right and smart decisions. 

Ml Verano Se Termind 

Se me acabo el fin del verano. Que hermoso fue este 
verano. Me la pase super bien. Me la pase de parranda 
con mi familia, a tirar party, pero regrese a la desperdiciar 
mi tiempo. Llegue y me meti en problemas. Me pelie con 
unos vatos que no respetaban a mis primas. Los puese en 
su lugar y pense salirme con la mia y no me salio como 
quise porque Uego la policia y me arrestaron. 

Ahora estoy pagando caro pero ya que. Asi se fueron 
mis vacasiones de verano. Ahora estoy en Felton Juvenile 
hall. Al rato Beat. 

From The Beat: Debistes haber cuidado tu verano. Ahora tienes que 
pagar por tus actos you. Esperamos que aprendas que la violencia nunca 
va a solucionar ningun tipo de problemas. 

My Summer Ended 

My summer ended. This was a wonderful summer. It was 
very fun. I spent it partying with my family, throwing 
parties, but I came back to wasting my time. I came and got 
into trouble. I fought some guys who were disrespecting 
my female cousins. I put them back to where they belong, 
and I thought I was going to end up doing it my way, but 
didn't turn out as I wanted because the police came and 
arrested me. 

Now I am paying a costly price and that's the way my 
summer vacation ended. Now I am in Felton Juvenile 

-Ivan, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: You should have taken good care of your summer. Now 
you have to pay for your actions like you said. What^ the lesson of this 
experience? We hope you learn that violence doesn't bring solutions to 
any type of problems. 

Perddname Mama 

No te quise lastimar 

No sabia la realidad de toda la humanidad 
Encerrado entendi 
Todo lo que te hice sufrir 
A su lado quiero estar 
Con mi jefita querida 

Para demostrarte que soy el hijo que usted queria. 
Cuando me dieron un aiio de estar encerrado 
Yo me puse a pensar porque usted no va a estar a mi lado 
Ya viene Navidad 
Y yo no voy a estar 
Todo por andar 
De busca pleito en la ciudad 
Me reprocho todo el daiio que le he hecho 
Pero la verdad es que yo si me arrepiento 
Dias tras dias 
Noches tras noches 
Siempre me pongo a pensar 
Que son puros reproches 
Dedicado a Angelica. A. 

From The Beat: Esperamos que ella reciba este mensaje, porque por lo 
menos ella se merece estas palabras. Creemos que ya te has dado cuenta 
el daho que le has hecho y creemos que ya es tiempo que ya pares de 
haceria sufrir. Ella se merece mas que eso. iNo lo crees? 

Forgive Me Mother 

I didn't want to hurt you 

I didn't know the reality if humanity 

Locked up I understood 

All you suffered over me 

By your side I want to be 

With my dear mother 

To show you that I am the son you wanted 

When they gave me a year in jail 

I started to think-why you're not going to be by my side 

Christmas is coming 

And I'm not going to be there 

And all for 

Looking for fights in the city 

I reproach myself for all the pain I caused you 

But the truth is that I regret it 

Day by day 

Night by night 

I always think 

That there are so many grudges 

Dedicated to Angelica 


From The Beat: We hope she gets this message because at least she 
deserves these words. We believe that you have realized all the pain 
you've caused her and we think it^ time for you to stop making her 
suffer. She deserves better. Don't you think so? 

I I I I I I 

I I I 

£vertfthlHg happe^ied 
over damff alcohoL Saif ho 
to heers and I saif this 
through experiences, 

Esa Voz Que Me Hablo 

El sueiio mas grande de mi vida era alcanzar el cielo. 
Pensaba en matarme. A lo lejos, alguien me hablaba en 
voz baja y me dijo, "Mira hijo, tii no mereces estar en el 
cielo." En eso yo senti muchas cosas hermosas. Me dije, 
"fue Dios quien me hablo. Yo no me merezco eso." 

Necesito cambiar de vida y salir adelante, ser alguien 
en la vida, tener futuro, tener una casa a mi gusto. Gracias 
a Dios se me cumplio ese deseo. 

From The Beat: Esa voz que te salvo la vida, te quiso dar a entender que 
tienes una vida por delante por la cual vivir, que tienes un proposito 
en la vida y que tu hora no es ahorita. Ojala y llegues a cumplir lo 
que quieres y que e%a% voces siempre te ayuden en tu camino y en las 
decisions que vayas a hacer. 

That Voice That Spoke To Me 

The biggest dream of my life was to reach the heaven. I 
thought about killing myself. From a far away, someone 
talked to me in a low tone, and said, "Look son, you 
don't deserve to be in heaven." After that, I felt so many 
beautiful things. I said to myself, "it was God who spoke 
to me. I don't deserve that" 

I need to change my life and move on in life, be 
someone in life, have a future, and have a house. Thank 
God that wish came true. 

-Crelone, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: That voice that saved your life wants you to realize that 
you have a life ahead of you to live, that there is a purpose for you in 
this life, and that your time is not now. We hope you get to gain what 
you want that those voices help you along the way and the decisions 
you will make. 

Fue Arrestado 

Hace una semana me arrestaron. Fui arrestado por robar 
una casa y todo fue por no haber estado en mis cinco 

No me puedo arrepentir porque lo hecho. Algo si les 
puedo decir es que me siento mal por las personas que 
trabajan y les quitamos sus cosas. No nos quitamos el 
corazon para decir, "que pobrecitos todo lo que trabajan." 
Eso es lo que se me ha quedado en la cabeza. Todo esto 
fue por el mendigo alcohol. Digan no a la cervezas y se los 
digo por experiencias. 

From The Beat: Nos gusta la forma como has reflecciondo con tus errores. 
Ya estas aprendiendo muchas cosas importantes de la vida— cosas que se 
les toma mucho tiempo a muchos por aprender. No te detengas. Ahora 
enfocate con tu problema del acohol y busca una salida. 

I Was Arrested 

I was arrested a week ago. It was over robbing a house 
and I did it when I wasn't with my five senses. 

I can't regret for what I've done. Something I can tell 
you is that I eel bad for the people who work really hard 
to get their things and we take them away from them. We 
don't touch our hearts to say, "poor people, they work 
really hard." That's what has been stuck in my head. 
Everything happened over damn alcohol. Say no to beers 
and I say this through experiences. 

-Erik, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: We like the way you are reflecting on your mistakes. You 
are learning very important things in life— things that take a very long 
time to others to learn. Don't stop. Now you need to focus more on your 
alcohol problem and look for a way out. 

////#/ //, // //// // 

'MXCHffBL J^nHXnnB¥' 


To all the young brothers and sisters, also to the elders 
who are incarcerated in prison, and in the juvenile homes 
and youth halls who write for The Beat Within workshop, 
I want to send some words of encouragement. 

To my brother Shawn Montgomery aka Cat Eyes, Chris 
from Tampa, Florida. Chris, you are such a great writer. 
And what ever you do, don't ever stop writing because 
you have a gift of writing. And I liked that piece of writing 
above my own writing. And I liked that piece of writing 
you dropped in The Beat called "How To Love A Black 
Man" and "Gossip". Keep up the good work. 

And I want to send some encouragement to a brother 
called Mikhail Markhasev. Keep writing on because I 
don't know how to stop thanking you for all the wisdom, 
knowledge, understanding, and insight I have gained 
from your writing. Thanks again. 

If I Had Two Wings 

And they say the only bird that cant fly, is a jailbird 

And I have been a jailbird for too many years 

The last 20 years, I have been a jailbird 

And if I had wings I could do so many things 

I could fly away out of this cage 

I could fly away from all this prison rage 

Then for my life I could set a new stage 

And leave this prison life behind me in so many ways 

If I had wings I could not be held in this tiny cage that fills 

me with rage 

That's holding me unto I see old age 

If I had wings, I would spread them as wide as I can 

I would flap them as fast as I can like a fan 

And I would fly away from this prison place like 


And I would deal myself a brand new hand 

So I would give myself a chance 

To get myself out of the sand 

And if I had wings to fly through day 

I would never stop thinking the lord for blessing me in a 

special way. 

Our next writer has been consistent writer for our publication week 
in and week out. Even if he doesn't see his pieces published right 
away he refuses to stop writing. Sending us his writing from Union 
Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida, Michael writes everyone a 
few words of encouragement. Doesn't matter what facility you're in, 
whether it be juvenile hall, or group home, or whatever penitentiary 
you find yourself in, ^ 
help us get through the day. 

A Time To iove, Not To Hate 

It's a time to love not to hate 

A time to love and a time to appreciate 

Life was giving to us out the love of God's heart 

And that was true love from the start 

And the world I live in is full of hate 

Pushing the ones who love into losing the faith 

Love is what needed in every direction 

Love that god gave us is for human protection 

In prison inmates who have hate in they heart think the 

word love is a game 

They think love is no such thing 

Love is real 

Love is what we need to feel 

Love is our true nature, not hate. 

Being Aione 

For a great number of years I thought I was alone, a 
stranger to the world because I was feeling alone. But 
as I grew older and wiser I have come to learn that I am 
not alone. That was just my thoughts and feelings had 
me thinking that way. And just understanding the bible 
helped me know I am not alone. Isaiah 58:8 say then 
Shalt, thou call, and the lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, 
and he shall say, here I am. 

But even when I don't call him, I know God is on my 
side. And little did I know there were many people in 
the free world who always kept me in their thoughts and 
concerns. And when I did have the chance to hear from 
them through letters they would let me know I will never 
be forgotten, and that I will never be alone. 

And Michael Jackson made a song that I took a liking 
to. "You are not alone." So in this world I have come to 
learn that no one is alone. God is on all of our side. And 
everybody has somebody in their life. It may not always 
seem like that when we are feeling alone. 



Gangbanging is self-explanatory 

Trying to re-animate actors 

You can't return your receipt 

After you've become a real estate number 

Be reasonable with this aspect 

And recognize my name 


Yep, I've been lost before 

Ganging banging was my excuse 

To, run, hide, and be frivolous 

Humbled by grace 

It's here for all, not just me 

That's realistically 

We love welcoming back our next writer. It^ not that he has 
stopped writing, but that we have failed to publish anything from 
him for a while, r _ - 

writes to us from a Correctional Facility in Sskn Bernardino, Ca. Contrite 
brings some appetizing poems for everyone to devour! 

You Got Frost Bite 

Trying to thaw out 

From those frosty frowning dudes 

But sometimes, you still feel frozen 

Tempted to disown that coldness 

A cold shoulder 

But, too conceited to see the vanity 

Frost Bite Hurts. 

Ifff Iff Jiff /4. // //// // 



Cold as the concrete that hold me inside these walls 

I slipped and fell while banging on ice, now heaven calls 

Halls and jails, prisons and such 

Right in range but just out of touch 

Cool me down 

I miss you so much that I just can't take 

Another day without your ice 

I might just break 

I might just break. 

Guns Bust 

To all reppin' The Beat 

Seek freedom and you will find freedom 

Become elite 

Your soul can eat this food for thought 

Think-think-remember what the streets taught 

When you run hard, them streets get hot 

They burning jails institutions - death - you learning? 

Keep making the same mistakes: rock, crystal, blow 

The pen's calling you home -Yo 

So what - your young world on fire, sporting red, blue 

There's only one person that needs to care - you 

Put it all together two and two - do the math 

Strive for success - don't stray from the path 

Wrath will come and go - push, pull - strive 

You're old enough to hold the keys - then drive 

Stayin' alive's a struggle - they took pop's breath 

I know you can relate to drugs - death 

Listen when I say this crank star's life is criminal 

My aka Jumpy - I'm sending you messages - subliminal 

I'm hoping to get through - hoping you have an ear to hear 

my rhyme 

Days, months, years - the clock tics - but all you gots - 

one time 

One shot at life - do with it what you must 

Eye for an eye, black-black trade back, when them guns 


Dear Beat, Lil' Bros And Sistas 

I'm coming at you again to feed the soul with food for 
thought. Hope you like my little rhymes. Hope you can 
relate and hope that they will hit home on some of your 
struggling topics. I was once you, a troubled youth, 
smacked back - in the scene -sex and slugs, I mean drugs 
- my rocks they roll. Ha-ha. 

Anyway just wanted to say high and let you know that 
Jump's cares enough to write. There is only one person in 
this world that cares about you. That's you. So do what's 
right for you. Love your life. Tomorrow's not a given. Be 
strong and I'll do the same! 

Your big brother. 

Play Boy 

I use to play in the streets, criminals and thugs 

Play on playboy, watch out for hot slugs 

My enemy's crawl on me like bugs, I can't shake'em off 

Filthy from doing dirt I don't sneeze, don't cough 

Break mines off girl, first and foremost 

Where I come from? Nor Cal, West Coast 

Lil' homies wait to set trip look past the hate 

Get in where you fit in, or get out the Golden State. 

Our next writer who also goes by the name Jumps, is writing to 
us from Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, CA. Our friend Charlie 
has been around the pages of our publication for a while now, and is 
highly motivated on trying to reach out to the readership. You can say 
Charlie Schwarm has been there and done it. He has been sitting in the 
same seat many of you are sitting except, in Charlie's times, there was 
no Beat or voices telling him to steer away from the path that he was 
leading. Instead, he learned it the hard way. And now he has made it 
a personal mission to reach out to those that are in the same situation 
that he was once in. 

Free Me 

Open up and spit me out 

This isn't what life's all about 

Captive in the belly of the beast 

Shackled and chained, spirit free at least 

Though the devil's feast on my soul 

Thrown into a deep dark hole 

The hole to crossover is much too high 

If I don't continue this fight for freedom my seed will die 

The hurt doesn't show, but why? 

Why does it feel like the truth is one big lie? 

Dear mama may I cleanse away your pain? 

A storm of emotions that washes away insane 

My misery is being in your company, surrounded 

Tear drops from laying 'em down in their death bed 

Eye for an eye looking deep into the blind 

But I cannot see from all the smoke from the kind 

Brainwashed mind the world spins around me 


What do I see 




Your young world on fire, days and more days 

Locked up missing the moonbeams and sun rays 

Purple haze clogs your mind, lust, desire 

Voices invades your thoughts, fire 

Before you expire, what do you want to do? 

Make someone proud, how about you? 

Play with fire you're going to get burned 

This goes out to whom may be concerned 

I learned my lesson a little too late 

Now there's nothing more to debate 

So participate don't let life pass you bye 

Because when life becomes dull; you'll ask why 

Why me? Never free, caught up in the fire, I'm burned 

29 to life, still I'm concerned 

I see me in each one of your eyes 

And when you fail part of me dies! 

///////#/////,/// ////#///,//////// 

^^^MBraBDKK? / ' #A^/// 

'IjXL,' nffxijL,' 

Pain Hurts 

Could you see it? 

I guess not, but we do know 

It hurts a lot 

Could you feel it? 

I guess so 

The pain I feel only god knows 

Like a cut to the heart, bleeding inside 

Could you see it now? 

It's in my eyes, please tell me why! 

It's not my way 

So you say, the games I play 

For only love, no more pain hurts inside, who I blame 

Please tell me why that's all I ask, could this be another 


Maybe a dream, for what it seems I've washed my hands 

Now there clean! 

I'll fade away to another place 

I'll see you again another day 

Pain hurts. 

Another Night 

The sun has just set, my eye's won't close 

Darkness in this cell, for only God knows 

Body steady pasting, my mind still at froze 

Disrupted heartbeat, as the wind blows 

Silence in the night, my body begs for sleep 

Against the odds of death, I pray the lord to keep 

Changed, but not broken, for my feet fail for weep 

My soul is still deleted, my spirits moan and weep 

Another day has passed, the night has just begun 

The night rushes too soon, shortly comes the sun 

I'm less without a dream 

A wish I pray to see a harmless human of fear 

The gates are almost free 

Just another night, my pain reveals so true 

The clouds is moving over, and the sky is surely blue 

"Another Night." 


Through all situations, 

we call on God 

No matter what were facing, 

we call on God 

Even when it's easy, 

we call on God 

Mostly when it's hard, 

we call on God 

Through sickness of health, 

we call on God 

When it's our last breath, 

we call on God 

When there is nothing left 

we call on God 

When "we" deal with a death, 

we call on God 

When we're playing, on our knees, 

just me and God 

The first thing I say 

is I thank 


Forever shall we call on God! 

Our next writer is writing to us from Charlotte Correctional 
Institution in Punta Gorda, Florida. Lil' Grill lost touch with us for a 
minute but now is back and ready to consistently drop some poetry for 
our publication. Full of knowledge and feelings to get off his chest, Lil' 
Grill doesn't hold anything back for you readers Sk% he openly expresses 
all the emotions and thoughts that are running within him. Read on! 

IVIy Life 

My life was written, or was it forbidden? 

The path I've taken, still lost and hidden 

I've tried to learn, but taught to earn 

Once was told, we'll all get a turn 

Return to the streets, this is all I know 

All my life, the struggle before 

Tested and tried, through the gates of hell 

Fast life living, my whole plan fell 

Trapped in chains, 'till death I lay 

I'm on my knees, for my precious prey 

Could it be heard? 

The whisper of sounds 

my life is written 

I can't give up now 

My life. 


I once was gone, but now I'm back 
My minds was off, now I'm back on track 
These poems I write, please take heed 
All I ask, is to publish and read 
Please forgive me, for being so lost 
If it's a price, tell me what's the cost 
I promise to never, cut no slack 
Guess what The beat? 
I'm baaaack! 

y^/ffJIff //, // //// // 

Invictus - William Ernest Henry 

Out of the night that covers me 
Black as the pit from pole to pole 
I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced, nor cried aloud 
Under the bludgeoning of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
Looms but the Horror of the shade 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find, me, unafraid 

It matters not how strait the gate 

How charged with punishments the scroll 

I am the master of my fate 

I am the captain of my soul. 

In the many years of The Beat's existence, there has never been 
a time when we were not blessed with truly extraordinary writers. 
Israel Perez — Easy — is such a writer. But, Sk% anyone who reads 
this well-crafted piece will see, he is gifted in other ways sk% well, 
particularly with his fists. He wonders if (in the words of Marlon Brando 
in "On The Waterfront") "I might have been a contender" in professional 
boxing, if only he had been given some basic guidance. That leads u% 
to wonder what else he might have accomplished for himself and for 
the world if that guidance, that so many of us take for granted, had 
been there for him. He knows his skills Sk% a fighter (and a writer), 
but what of his intellectual potential? He might have been a great 
musician, mathematician, physician, politician or 
contributing citizens, had wm^one cared to provi 
guidance he needed when young. The tragedy is not just his, alone, 

~ ! — a reservoir of potential, 

of what might have been. Israel, who writes us from Pleasant Valley 
State Prison, follows his own piece with a very famous poem by William 
Ernest Henry, called "Invictus" which he urges every young Beat writer 
to read and to take to heart. 

hetfOMd this place of wrath 

ana tears 

Looms hi4t the Horror of the shade 

Of Something Else 

There are some men and women who move upon the face of 
the earth, yet they are unlike their fellow man. For these men 
and women are made from a substance of something else. They 
are cut from a cloth most special, separating them from the 
average. And though they derive from parts both far and wide, 
nevertheless, they are kindred spirits joined together by an 
unconquerable soul. 

With many of these gifted individuals, they, and those 
around them, know from the onset there's something special 
about them. For they- to everyone's amazement- get up and 
take that first step, long before they were even expected to 
crawl. They point and utter words, during a time they should 
only babble out a slobbery gurgle. They add and subtract, 
multiply and divide from their high chairs, while soggy Cocoa 
Puffs precariously cling to the top of their heads. By age five, 
they are fiuttering their tiny fingers over the ivory keys of a 
Steinway, having mastered Beethoven. And at age twelve, they 
are making their way across the prestigious campuses of 
Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge or Yale. 

However, with most of these special men and women, they 
don't stumble into their gifts until later in life. But when they 
do, they are like a slow grumbling churning that builds into 
an avalanche until they spill onto the world stage where then 
they point to the moon, then propel man up into the Heavens 
of outer space. They build great walls and save their citizens 
from pillaging barbaric armies. Or they hammer them down 
and release a fiood of freedom. These charismatic alpha-type 
human beings have the ability to take everyday words- no 
matter the language- and arrange and link them, so they are 
able to deliver powerful speeches... speeches which raise the 
fine hair at the back on one's neck, and send chills rippling 
over the skins of their audience. These words have the power 
to free men of their shackles, a people of their yokes, and 
unbind a gender from its suffocation. Delivered properly, these 
speeches can rile up an entire nation to a point of fervor. They 
are willing to gloriously charge rows of fiesh-mangling machine 
gun fire. Or, they can simply bring silence to a continent that 
has been roaring with artillery blasts for year upon year. But 
even more remarkable about these great beings is when they 
come upon their own destruction, their own deaths. They do 
not crumble to the fioor begging for continued life. No, these 
men and women hold their heads high as they are swept off 
to the dark oblivion of the assassin's bullet, the gallows, the 

burning stake, the sword, and whatever other ways the 
average man can think up death. 

Now, of course not all of these gifted people are allowed 
to reach their full potential. After all, when seeds are spread 
on lands far and wide, some seeds fall to rest on the unfertile 
ground. And even worse are the ones who take root among 
life-choking weeds. For these gifted children, life is a confused 
dream, often drifting into nightmare where they go stumbling 
through their bleak worlds, occasionally catching fieeting 
glimpses of their true potential. And rarely is there anyone 
who recognizes the signs, nor guides them toward their 
destiny. Thus, there are no piano lessons for these young. 
No science fair projects, debate teams. Ivy League colleges, 
political successes, or Nobel prizes. Instead these special 
young discover their frustrated potential delivering them into 
places of incarceration. 

They find their natural charisma attracting the attention 
of their neighborhood gangs. And once in the gangs, they 
experience an unknown drive to climb upwards toward 
control. And for the ones who don't meet an anti-climatic 
violent death, they graduate to the world of adult prison. And 
in that violence-rich environment, there are countless up-side- 
down goals for them to master. In prison, these gifted men and 
women inevitably become small-time legends in a small-time 
world. They are the ones who the average prisoner follows, 
hero worships. They are the ones whose feats and actions are 
told over loud chow hall tables, or in quiet two-men cells. And 
while their counterparts are busy becoming pillars of man's 
universe, these imprisoned giants are but small flashes of light 
in a very dim prison world. 

Part Two 

It's been about twenty-six-years since I suffered my one and 
only defeat in hand-to-hand combat. But I can still recall the 
cold wet weed my opponent shoved my face into. I was all of 
eight years old at the time, and at that moment I had been more 
afraid of a spider bite- or any creepy crawly insects sting- than 
I was of any pain my adversary could deal me. And although I 
walked away defeated on that eventful day, it wasn't because I 
couldn't fight. As a matter of fact, I was a vicious little brawler 
while growing up, and was known for going straight for my 
opponent's nose. After all, for kids, whoever are bleeding more 
profusely at the end of the fight, is hands down the loser. 

While walking home from the creek where the fight took 
place, my buddies surrounded me attempting to soothe my 
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ c o n 1 1 n u e d« o n« n ex t«p ap e« 



Ifff Iff Jiff /4. // //// // 

BraraDKB^ /Li#// / / / / 


wounded pride. They continuously pointed out how Joey- the 
boy I fought- was not only three years older than me, but he also 
outweighed me by thirty pounds and towered over me by nearly 
a foot. Yet none of these facts mattered to me because I'd still 
have to see Joey every day since we were nextdoor neighbors. 
And furthermore, the dispute, which led to the fight, was still 
an open wound. Only now salt had been rubbed into it. 

The dispute was over dogs. Like any other family in that 
East Side San Jose neighborhood, my family had a dog. His 
name was Boozer and he was a big dog with a heavy white 
shaggy coat. But Boozer was not only our dog. He was the 
neighborhood's dog. And I can't recall him ever being chained 
up or having a leash for that matter. Boozer was the sort who 
couldn't resist joining (disrupting) the play of the neighborhood 
kids. If it was football or baseball in the street, then we could 
count on Boozer to run off with the ball between plays. If it 
was basketball in the driveway, then we spent a good amount 
of time wiping off the dog's slobber in the grass. In the end, we 
probably got more exercise chasing down Boozer than from the 
games themselves. 

But sadly, not everyone loved Boozer- or was at least 
willing to accept his playful nature- For Boozer had an enemy 
who loathed him with a passion. And that enemy was Joey's 
vicious black and white pit bull. And boy, would he go berserk 
at the sound of Boozer's happy yelps and barks. Then, when 
the pit bull had snarled and barked himself hoarse, he would 
seethingly watch Boozer play through the thin slivers of his 
abused wooden fence. 

Boozer himself never seemed to pay him any mind. But 
us kids on the other hand, we always subconsciously listened 
for the tell-tale sound of the heavy reddish-brown chain which 
metallically scraped along the ground as it staked the dog to 
his territory. And it was this heavy chain that the pit bull was 
mysteriously loose from one warm afternoon day. It allowed 
the vicious dog to wiggle his way beneath the fence to freedom, 
to Boozer. Nobody saw the initial attack, it happened so fast, 
but the sound of it was more than enough to cause all of the 
neighborhood kids to turn around. What we saw when we did 
was the pit bull's jaws locked firmly onto Boozer's throat. Of 
course we all yelled and screamed at the pit bull to let go, but 
we knew the dog was too mean for that. So all we could do was 
cry as a crimson bloody stain began to soak Boozer's white 

Never did I quite get over the loss of that happy dog Boozer. 
Just as I never forgot the defeat to Joey. Both defeats were 
meals I didn't like the taste of one single bit. So I made sure 
that as the years began to come and go, so did my victories. 
That is, until my childhood fighting came to a climatic end in 
the eighth grade. 

It was in the eighth grade when I discovered myself 
attending Sylvandale Jr. High, a school that was ripe with 
racial turbulence. Prior to my enrollment, I had already heard 
rumors about the school's notorious reputation for fights. It 
was the only middle school in San Jose that was surrounded 
by a high prison-type barbed wire fence along with two plain 
clothes providing security. 

My first day of school was stressful and confusing as any 
new student I imagine, with cliques, groups, and "in crowds" 
already well established. But for me there was an added stress. 
Being a half-breed Asian, I was quickly made aware that I was 
at the bottom of the pecking order. Even worse, I soon learned 
that Asian students had suffered humiliating losses to Mexican 
students. Black students and some White jock types. So by the 
time I arrived, all the Asians had been pushed off to the least 
desired hangout spots. 

Well, it wasn't long before I popped upon on everyone's 
radar. I was sitting in hobby class talking to two beautiful 
Vietnamese girls. And judging by their laughter, giggles, and 

blushing, I knew my charm and natural charisma was in 
fine working order. Yet our fun soon came to an abrupt end 
when a pretty chunky Mexican guy sought to take the joy out 
of our flirting play. He began loudly making jokes about Asian 
people. Being one who never backed down from bully-types, I 
delivered some of my own verbal daggers on his pride. 

With a tinge of regret, I made my way toward the restrooms 
where we had agreed to fight. I was being escorted by about 
four or five Vietnamese and Filipino students and they couldn't 
stop educating me on how the boy I agreed to fight was the 
toughest Mexican in the school. And by the way, twenty-five 
or so of his friends surrounded the Oakland Raider clad boy 
ahead of me. I guessed they were right. 

Entering the now crowded restroom, my big opponent 
stood in the middle of the semi-circle his friends had created. 
His Raider cap and jacket were already off, but I had no problem 
picking him out. He was looking at me with a half-smile, half- 
sneer on his face, as if he had already chalked me up as his 
latest victim. And at that moment I knew I had him beat. I 
knew his over-confidence had allowed him to underestimate 
me, while the warning I received told me that I needed to be 
extra vicious. So, not wishing to give my adversary time to 
reassess the situation, I took three quick fluid strides toward 
him and delivered a four-punch combination. My no-nonsense 
assault caught him completely off guard. The solid hits sent 
him stumbling into the crowd behind him, spewing blood from 
his nose and mouth. The fight was over. 

Stunned, everyone looked repeatedly at me, then to my 
former opponent, who blindly searched for a sink. I could tell 
they had been expecting us to play out a ritual most fights 
begin with where the two combatants stand in front of each 
other, their faces only inches apart as they begin to breathe 
hard, then slowly circle one another pumping themselves up 
for violence. But I never felt a need to pump myself up. For me, 
I always did much better in any form of confrontation with a 
cool head. 

The news of our fight spread through the school like wildfire. 
To my delight, I learned by the lunch period I was immediately 
one of the "in crowd" with my social clique. However, the fight, 
also had a negative effect. It resulted in numerous boys seeking 
me out to fight. So much so that by the end of the month I had 
bested all the "fighters" of my school. Until the day came when 
there wasn't a fight hungry crowd gathered at the back of the 
school. I didn't realize how much stress I had been under. 

Becoming the hero of my social crowd was a wonderful 
feeling. It got so that everywhere I went, my peers followed. 
I became like a sun in our school universe with smaller 
planets orbiting. If I thought a new style of clothes was cool, 
then all the guys began to wear it. If I declared it lame, then 
everyone discarded it and hounded those who didn't until 
they did likewise. The music I listened to, all the guys went 
and bought. The way I cut my hair had them all rushing to the 
barber. And with the females, my new status had its benefits 
as well. Because the ones I couldn't charm with my looks and 
charisma, now seemed to be drawn to my leader of the pack 

It seemed life couldn't get any better for the young teenager 
that I was. So when a couple boys from other schools began 
showing up just to fight me, I welcomed it. After all, it was 
fighting that won my much enjoyed status. Then I noticed a 
couple older brothers showing up outside my school. And 
when I sent them home as hurt and humiliated as their younger 
brothers. I wasn't so surprised when students from Andrew Hill 
High School began showing up. Then Y.B. High, Silver Creek 
High and Oak Grove High School. Now there weren't groups 
of middle schools students waiting for a fight, but carloads of 
high school kids. 

But when the first twenty year old showed up and had to be 


///////#/////, /// 


talked out of wearing brass knuckles, I knew things were going 
too far. In the end, I found myself bringing a .22 Cal pistol to 
school because I soon learned that nineteen and twenty- year 
olds don't like getting bloodied by freshly turned fifteen year 
olds. And it was the gun that gave me my first case and started 
me on my journey through "the system". 

Entering California's empire of "correctional" facilities was 
quite the same as entering my old Jr. High School. There are 
already the well-established groups and in-crowds- gangs- and 
there's always racial tension just beneath the surface. Only in 
CYA and adult prison, the violence is taken to another level 
and there are no girls, real ones anyway, to try to impress. 

Of course, my fighting abilities served me very well in all 
the institutions I was eventually to journey through. So much 
so that to this day my record's only loss was to an eleven- year 
old Joey. However, things have changed for the prison system I 
once knew. It seems CDC (California Department of Corrections) 
has been forced to place an R (Rehabilitation) at the end of 
its title. Thus, the violent behavior it once encouraged is now 
frowned upon. 

I learned that most recently after a young cocky prisoner 
refused to heed my warnings to leave me in peace. And with a 
simple three-punch combination he found himself on his back. 
Then, to my utter surprise, the CO's didn't give me the usual 
smiling nod of understanding or jokingly rehash the fight. 
Instead, they began conducting themselves very officially, 
searching for any key evidence, looking for any statement 
which could be used in a trial. The message was clear. They 

sought to reign in the system's violent nature. The very 
one it helped create. 

But the worst of this unfortunate incident is I've been 
given notice that if I ever wish to see society again, I will refrain 
from using my hands in a conflict. Because of my history, 
I'm expected to ball up into a fetal position during a physical 
altercation - unless my adversary has a weapon. But maybe 
this is what I needed to get me back to the world I love. Maybe 
this threat of a life sentence is the "U-turn" sign I've needed all 
these years. 

Staring down at my hands now, I wonder at what might 
have been. I wonder what life I would have had if someone 
had directed me to a legitimate ring. I ball up my fists now 
and imagine raising them as a gold belt is fastened around 
my waist. I am left pondering to myself as I'm surrounded by 
gray concrete walls, stainless steel and rusting iron, if I could 
have been someone. If I could have been one of the greats. 
And a fleeting glimpse from the corner of my eye tells me that 
I could have. That I should have. But I, Israel Perez, was just 
unfortunate enough to have taken root amongst life choking 

This piece is dedicated to all the youngsters in Juvenile 
Hall and CYA. Don't allow yourselves to get trapped in prison's 
very dim world, only to realize that your truly gifted. 

And to God above, though I failed to realize my full potential, 
nevertheless, I thank you for creating me with material of 
something else. 

Conditions In Texas 

I'm excited that I could share with you some on how the 
down economy is affecting those of us in prison. I think 
from inside these walls, there are a ton of things we can 
share with the outside world that they would rarely gather 
without our input. 

It's true; things are very bad here because of the 
economy. The parole decline is due to the strict requirements 
demanded by the Texas Parole Board. If you have no solid 
address to parole to, your chances of being granted parole 
in Texas is slim to none. A solid address (residence) to 
parole to is more important than having a good disciplinary 
record. The parole board has field officers who visit these 
addresses in person to ensure they meet a certain standard. 
They conduct an extensive background check on all the 
occupants of a residence and ensure that this is a suitable 
environment for a parolee. 

No Texas prisoners are allowed to parole to homeless 
shelters. There are 10 to 15 state-run halfway houses for 
people who lack a residence to parole to, but the waiting list 
is 3 to 5 years to be approved. The recent housing crisis, 
where many people are being foreclosed on, is causing 
many potential parolees to be denied for lack of an approved 
residence. Most people (inmates) make arrangements with 
family members, friends, etc. to use their address to be 
paroled to. 

In regard to your question about being paid a small rate 
in Texas prison for work, Texas prisoners are not paid one 
cent for their labor. One would think this would violate the 
14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, but 
Texas gets around this by awarding good time credits for 
work. Years and years ago these good time credits would 
award a prisoner early release, but that's not the case 
today; the legislators enacted a law about 15 years ago that 

'XSMf^'XL, fff^HMf^H' 

Our next writer is sending us this valuable piece of information from 
Michael^ Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas. The economy downturn is 

' r imagine how harder 
it gets for the people in prison. Isma'il states that Texas prisoners don't 
even get a penny iot hour for working in Texas. Hygiene is hard to come 
by so you can only imagine how the food situation looks. Writing us a 
real article on a very important issue Isma'il educates us on some facts 
that you might not have ever known about! 

excluded people convicted of certain crimes from early 
release. The list of crimes is extensive. So while Texas 
still awards everyone time credits for work, these credits 
are meaningless. So the inmates who have no one on the 
outside who can assist them in obtaining their necessities 
have to do odd jobs so that they can obtain it from another 

So inmates wash clothes, some draw, others do some 
less than honorable acts. You would be shocked to hear 
what some men would do to get toothpaste and =deodorant. 
At Christmas every year, some churches come in and give 
everyone one toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. That 
lasts perhaps one month; the rest of the year you are left to 
fend for yourself. 

Texas prisons are at least 20 years behind every other 
prison in the nation. No matter how clean your disciplinary 
record is, you are not permitted contact visitation with 
anyone but your immediate family members. If a person 
has no immediate family, you never receive any contact 

That's one of the main reasons I decided to form F.I.R.S.T. 
Most people in free society don't know what transpires in 
these prisons on a daily basis and most prisoners don't 
know that they deserve better, that if they work, they 
should be paid something other than time credits that are 
worthless. If we can educate people on both sides of the 
fence, I really think we can do some good. 

///////#/////,/// ////#///,//////// 

^T^^wiummm ^im r ' # / / / /// 

'SHffMH ManTnaMBff¥' 

Wasted Time 

The time that I've wasted is my biggest regret 

Spent in these places I will never forget 

Just sitting and thinking about the things that I've done 

The crying, the laughing, the hurt and the fun 

Now it's just me and my hard-driven guilt 

Behind a wall of emptiness I allowed to be built 

I'm trapped in my body, just wanting to run 

Back to my youth, its laughter and fun 

But the chase is over and there's no place to hide 

Everything is gone, including my pride 

With reality suddenly right in my face 

I'm alone and stuck in this place 

Now memories of the past flash through my head 

And the pain is obvious by the tears that I shed 

I've asked myself why and where I went wrong 

I guess I was weak when I should have been strong 

Living for the money and the wing I had grown 

My feelings were lost, afraid to be shown 

As I look at my past it's so easy to see 

The fear that I had, afraid to be me 

I'd pretend to be rugged, so fast and so cool 

When actually lost like a blinded old fool 

I'm getting too old for the tiresome game 

Of acting real hard, with no sense of shame 

It's time that I change and get on with my life 

Fulfilling my dreams for a family and wife 

What my future will hold I really don't know 

But the years that I've wasted are starting to show 

I just live for the day when I'll get a new start 

And the dreams I still hold deep in my heart 

I hope I can make it, I at least have to try 

Because I'm heading toward death and I don't want to DIE! 

We Reap What We Must Sow 

I turn from where I started to see to where I must go 

"What goes around comes around" they say 

We reap what we must sow, it's what we come to know 

I'd like my path to be paved with joy, so now I've learned 

to smile 

And I'm not the best at showing love, but I hug every once 

in awhile. 

Yet there's always that ever, doubtful dread 

Where failure peeks its head 

Letting me know 

"I come and I go, you reap what you sow." 

I'm not sure when I can repay my past, it's a long and 

broken road 

Or just what price of fear and vice for the truth I now 


To succumb becomes my constant choice 

I adopt to extend my hope a hoist 

And whether the crowd objects with its adverse jeers and 


I'll await the rejoice of that still, small voice 

My conscious guide and inner sun 

To whisper to me, "Job well done, old friend, job well 


Moments within moments, hurts trapped in hurts 

Sometimes tears on bended knees are all I've found that 


In this destination where desire dreams 

My midnight madness of "what if means 

In all I see I seek to find 

Some sense of peace to be called mine. 

Our next writer should be a very familiar name if you've been 
reading the latest issues of The Beat Within the last couple of years. 
Shawn has been a consistent writer, writing all sorts of pieces, from 
articles, to advice, and some real brilliant poems. In his upcoming pieces 
"We Reap What We Must Sow, " Shawn brings up a couple valid points 
9k% he speaks about his past failures and hopes for a better future filled 
with peace. That's just the beginning of it, his next piece talks about 
some grown man game iks he spits some real knowledge. Just 'cause 
you're 21, that doesn't mean that you're a man. And he^ right! Writing 
to us from Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida, you won't 
be disappointed by Shawns latest effort! 

% ^ 

What Does It Mean to Say You're Grown? 

The mistake today's young people make is they think 
once they've turned 18 or 21 it means they're grown. 
What's missing is what being grown means. That's the 
part they have no interest in. Being grown means you're 
mature, understand what responsibility means, and are 
capable of making rational decisions without the use of 
violence. It also means you have a level of self-esteem 
that can never be challenged. Being grown means you 
put your children before yourself and are willing to make 
sacrifices for them. 

So, what does being grown mean? Does it mean you 
can legally buy cigarettes and alcohol? Does it mean you 
can talk to older adults with no respect or regard for their 
wisdom? Does it mean you can now go to the club? Or 
have you been going already? 

To all young people walking around saying they are 
grown, I'm telling you, you're wrong. If you have to walk 
around telling people you're grown, that means you're 
not acting the part. 

Take care when you walk around with your chest 
stuck out trying to make people respect you because you 
are 21 or older. Being grown comes with quite a package, 
and that package includes knowing when to shut up and 
when to speak. It comes with the knowledge of respecting 
those who came before you and seeking them out for 

///////#/////,/// ////#///,//////// 

^j/^^wj ummm^KTJi r * # ////// 


The Game of Politics 

Everywhere you go, everywhere you look it's a game of 
politics, everyone trying to get over top. When you really 
look at it it's a cutting committee, sort of like crabs in a 
bucket, I gain if you drop. It's no such thing as friends in 
this game. I scratch your back you scratch mine and if you 
were to make it don't forget the chain in which you came. 
To have power is to have fame. They don't tax the rich the 
poor is always the ones to blame. People will smile and 
laugh in your face as if they were your friends but its really 
just tactic to secure their status. Hoping you don't smell 
the b.s. in their breaths that they had for breakfast. When it 
really comes down to it 95% of this game is fake. It's all an 
illusion and all one really cares about is a healthy dinner 
plate. Look at what you earn and look at what they make. 
Now how the hell is we're going to live in harmony when 
they were collecting crumbs from their cake. That's why in 
the streets it's either give or take. Some will consider me an 
outlaw but it's not my fault I was raised that way. 

No matter how hard you try to succeed in the world 
there would be those who notice it and they will try to 
stunt your growth. For they are like snakes in the water 
plotting on you and your family, looking to kill you both. 
It is much safer to float in a boat, but if you're floating too 
high, you better hope the sign don't say "U.S. coke." I don't 
understand how. I'm being blamed for some material I had 
but it wasn't mine. I guess it's all a game of politics and 
the judge and D.A will discuss my fate over a glass of red 

I have come to understand that in this world I'm really 
on my own. And no this isn't another sad song. This is 
something I will know even after my blood exit my bones. 
For each his own, no ones ever wrong until they're caught. 
And that's when you'll see the hypocrites start to chop 
(backstab) with the birds in which they flock. Most of them 
is working with the cops. And the rest has been elected 
as star witnesses sitting in the county jail across America 
known as the "busta blocks." You show me one person who 
goes straight by the book. And I'll prove to you even he/ 
she's a crook. And if you think I'm lying you've been blind 
too long. You forgot to look. In the heart of debates the 
law was told. But when all tempers cease to flair what they 

Our next writer, E-Money, we wouldn't like to welcome back to 
the pages of our publication because he was out here enjoying his 
freedom with us not too long ago. E-Money use to work here at The 
Beat-part time, writing pieces, and trying to get his book together. 
However for reasons he only truly knows, E-Money got caught up in 
a struggle out here in the free world, and now is writing from Ssm 
Quentin State Prison, although the following piece was written from 
Zwrx Francisco^ county jail in Zsa\ Bruno, CA. Rich with knowledge, he 
is motivated to improve his situation. E-Money shares us his thoughts 
and advice. 

came to realize is the world is actually cold. 

Everyone breaks the law whether it's a minor or serious. 
All you have to do is ask George and he'll tell you he's been 
curious. "Wrong is what a collective says it is. Until it's 
proven" right by a collective of the kids. Is it that I'm really 
a criminal? I sometimes wonder.... Or is it that I'm a victim 
of a collective evil mind frame looking to take me under? 

We have entered into a new era ladies and gentlemen, 
hoping that with a new face and a different race- love will 
start to replace all this hate. Hoping that those who didn't 
deserve life in prison will now receive a date. Vote yes on 
'08. It is there that lies Americas fate. The choice is yours. 
America don't wait until it's too late. And for those who 
didn't think so- the youth does matter all you have to do is 
look at the polls. 

You can stop the corruption all you have to do is say 
"no!" I said "no" that's why I'm currently in the hole. They 
tried to rob you tax payers by forcing me to go to school, 
when in college I'm already enrolled. Naw, this is not 850, 
this is San Bruno, they had me going to court shackled 
head to toe. I was the most dangerous criminal. I guess 
you can say where shhh already stinks, bull shhh goes. 
Together we stand divided we will always fall. To vote is to 
be a super star. It's not all about basketball. 

If you tired of getting denied at job interviews and if 
your tired of going to sleep on beef stew, you no longer have 
to rob, all you have to do is vote and you'll receive your 
butter on your corn on the cob. You no longer have to play a 
fool or some manipulating scum tool. All you have to do is 
read behind the lines in school. And you'll see the way the 
youth has been being treated in America ain't even cool. 

Knowledge is power. It is vital to know this game I'm 
spitting. But it's really not a game. And Adam understood 
that once that apple was bitten! 

No More 

I'm so used to failing 
So why I'm I scared now? 
Anticipating my release date 
As I stress in my cell 
I can't see the light 
I just hope it is there 
Because just a little light in the dark 
Can lead you to hope's stairs 
I grew up a lost boy 
Hate and confusion made up my life 
And the violence and abuse 
Made it a struggle to survive 
So now I choose to fight 
Because they label me a number 
I'm at the bottom of the barrel 



County Juvenile Hall in Fairfield, CA. Matt is a very talented writer, 
and his writings reflect the pain and burdens that he has endured 
in life. But Sks we all endure through our own fair share of trials and 
tribulations full of pain, we can only get stronger. It's up to us to keep 
that hope alive and better ourselves. As our friend Matt states that 
he isn't afraid to fail because he wants to take the risk to live. The 
following piece was written while he was housed in the hall this past 

But I refuse to do under 

So for the my future 

I cease the fire that burned only myself 

Stop living this life of lies 

And make it with what I'm dealt 

It is what it is, you get what you do and did 

I ain't scared to fail no more 

I'll take the risk to live. 

///////#/////,/// ////#///,//////// 


'MXCHREL, nffUffffL' 

This Mountain 

As my mountain should 

And every mountain does 

This one stood tall, strong, beautiful 

The awe-inspiring perfect accent 

To the wonderment 

That was the rest of the world 

Screaming wind, violently striking lightning 

Black, silently threatening storm clouds 

And carelessly apologetic rainfall 

Have each and all fought 

To break this mountain into the flat 

Overlooked valley landscape 

But this mountain never learned to be 

Anything other than a mountain 

And so never even knew how to give in 

Though the weathers had sometimes managed 

To chip away at this mountain's surface 

Forcing an occasional rock to fall 

Or tree to burn 

All they ever accomplished 

Was the shaping of a new mountain 

Even more beautiful now 

Against the horizon 

For all of its flawless scars 

Still tall, still strong, more beautiful 

Even the greatest storm could not 
Convince this mountain to disappear 
Even as the cloud 

Inspired by a Beat topic ("Put yourself in someone else^ shoes"), 
the young poet/writer, Michael Cabral, (who puts us older poet/ 

in words), wrote this 
remarkable allegory — stn extended metaphor in which he puts himself 
in his own mother's shoes, and transforms her into a towering mountain, 
suffused with the strength it takes to be a good mother. This tribute to 
his mother is Skn inspiring piece of writing, but the true tribute to her 
is the incredible young man she created, delivered and nurtured, and 
who continues to grace our pages from his "house" at SMXnsks Valley 
State Prison. 

Dared this mountain into the darkness 
And electric bolts charged into its body 
Even as the shrieking wind 
Accused this mountain 
And the curiously soft rain 
Begged to cleanse its surface 
This mountain only confusedly 
Obliviously, then bravely stood 
An unyielding gift to the world 

And after the passing of each storm 

(And in spite of the happenings 

of the greatest storms) 

This ever-prevailing, magnificent gift 

Determinately allowed the hopeful rays 

Of our taken-for granted sun 

To shine over and onto its highest peaks 




For this mountain never learned to be 

Anything other than a mountain 

And so never even knew 

How to be broken. 

To Ail Tlie Beat Reaiiers 

I would like to take this time out to send my love and 
respect to the whole staff and Beat writers. It's never easy 
doing time, and with this being my first time getting locked 
up I want to thank The Beat for being there for me. I see 
there's a lot of ya'U out there young and old doing super 
hard time and I've kicked back and read about some of you 
leaving and then coming right back. So that lets me know 
how easy it is to come in and out a place like this. They say, 
never say never, but I'm really trying to make this my last 
time coming here. God willing, when I leave here it'll be for 
the last time. 

I'm far from a preacher, but I have a little public service 
announcement to make to all Beat readers. I just want ya'U 
to know that the time is coming when you have to become 
your own guru. You don't need others to tell you what the 
will of God is. You're alive because of the power of God, 
which is the power of life. So be aware; make a choice. Have 
the courage to work through your fears and change them so 
you're no longer afraid to love and live the way you want to 

Remember, to live a good life takes hard work. The only 
thing fast money is going to get you is an early grave or 
years of hard time. We're all human, so it's only natural that 
we limit our possibilities by our own fears. You are what 

'i^ffnn'SHx ^f^c^sHH' 

Our next writer is sending all the readers and writers out there a 
message from the heart. It's not a poem, or wi\ article, but just some 
straight words of advice and encouragement. Sending us his thoughts 
and prayers from Folsom State Prison in Represa, CA, we would like to 
thank Bron'Shi for his thoughtful comments and positive advice. He is 
definitely worth the read folks! 

you believe you are. You have the power to make yourself 
what you are right now! You have the power to change it all 
around starting today, no matter where you are. Now it's just 
you and the truth face-to-face without any intermediary. 

If you're searching for the truth, look at yourself and 
you'll find truth within you. And to all the lifers, the only 
thing left for you is to enjoy your life, to be alive, to heal 
your emotional body so you can create your life in such a 
way that you openly share all the love inside you. 

And to all my young HOT HEADS and go-getters livin' 
the fast life, remember this: the whole world can love you, 
but that love won't make you happy. Only thing going to 
make you happy is the love and respect you have for yourself 
because friends leave, letters stop comin', and canteen gets 
short. Think about it. Thanks and God bless. 

Please add this shout out to my little sister Amber 
doing time at Chowchilla. My aunty. Baby Sister (that's her 
nickname) also in Chowchilla, and my Baby Girl Rosie in 
Mader County looking at all day. I love you all. 


.emember, to live a good life 
takes hard work. The only thing 
fast money is going to get you is 
an early grave or years of hard 
time. We're all human, so it's 
only natural that we limit our 
possibilities by our own fears. 
You are what you believe you 
are. You have the power to make 
yourself what you are right now! 
You have the power to change 
it all around starting today, no 
matter where you are. 

read the rest of Michael Cabral's BWO piece on page 83