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I'm no longer my mama's youngest child. You see, she 
doesn't want anything to do with me. All because of 
the community and who I chose to see. I grew up like 
the rest of them. Hustlin', robbin', smokin', just tryin' to 
represent me. But, it never got me too far; all it did was 
ruin my dreams and take away my freedom. 

read the rest of Amanda's POW on page 4 

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It S D3.C1 you know... Are we worried? Hell yes we 
are worried. We are worried about the economy, the state 
of the world. Given we see affecting us today, what will be 
the case in the weeks and months ahead? Sure, we remain 
optimistic, that we will weather this storm, and then well 
proceed with our mission, of touching lives. 

Welcome Beat editorial note readers, here's the latest 
from the home-front. We just cut 15% of our budget, and 
we are looking for further cuts to survive the future. As 
we do this, we are doing our part in seeking new grants, 
new donors and new friends to our Beat world, a world 
many people have no idea exists, unless you work in the 
criminal justice system, or know of someone incarcerated. 
It's wonderful to share the work with all, and that is part of 
the game plan to inform more of you about our work. The 
more communities we visit, the better. 

Well this latest issue - 14.09 - is exciting, given we have 
writings from not only our very consistent workshops, but 
we happily are including writers and friends in Maricopa 
County, Arizona Juvenile Hall, Central Juvenile Hall in Los 
Angeles, and from Free Minds in Washington DC. The 
issue speaks volumes, and we can only hope you enjoy it as 
much as we enjoyed putting it together for you to read, to 
inspire and learn from. 

Now let us tell you of some of our immediate changes 
that will be taking place, and it affects many of you. First 
off, we are suspending our weekly mailing list and are no 
longer sending out Beat publications with every note and 
letter that comes our way. Now, we will only mail Beats 
to those who contribute BWOs to our publication. This 
means, if you want a Beat, you need to write a poem or 
commentary. This is what we ask of our young writers in 
the hall, so why should it be any different for you writers 
who mail request to us? We hope if we do this, well be able 
to afford the printing and mailing. 

Our biggest cost is the printing and the mailing. The 
printing, because no one pays/ supports the printing cost. 
Nobody supports the paper cost. Nobody supports the 
mailing cost, let alone supports our BWO correspondence 
either. This project has cost us thousands and thousands 
of dollars every year over the many years we have been in 
existence. So BWO friends, write a piece and we will share 
our great publication with you. We hope by cutting this 
out of the daily/ weekly/ monthly budget we will be saving 
money on our end. 

As for cutting people, yeah, we can no longer pay for 
people to come into juvenile hall to do workshops. If you are 
facilitating now, you are safe, but newbies, are now looked 
upon if they want to touch lives as "volunteers". Amazingly, 
there are many people out there that want to volunteer 

We know that this recession is not only messing with 
us and that it is happening all over, but still that is no 
consolation. At this time we can only worry about what we 
have control over, and anything else is out of our hands. 
What we have control of is The Beat Within, and we need to 
find ways to cut corners, as bare bones as we are, to survive 
this period. 

Can't hurt to ask, but if any of you readers know 
of folks who need to be introduced to The Beat Within, 
given they can help financially or with resources, please let 
us know, we will be happy to follow up! 

In regards to cutting from our workshops, we are cutting 
pieces from you workshop writers as well. We will no longer 
print shout out pieces, update on your life pieces, when 
I get out pieces (unless they include a plan that we can 
understand), love/personal pieces that should go directly to 
the person you are writing, and no one/ two /three sentence 
pieces! If you want to get published writers, you need to 
take the hour seriously, simple! Step up and teach and you 
will be showcased! 

It is this editor's goal to be a 60 to 68 page weekly, no 
more! Sure, it may shrink further, but this is where we sit 
today, tomorrow never know. 

OK, the topics addressed in this issue are, "Abraham 
Lincoln and the power of prayer" - In 1865, near the end 
of the Civil War that killed 600,000 Americans, President 
Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is this week) spoke to 
the North and the South — enemies to the end. He said: 
"Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and 
each invokes His aid against the other. . . " Do you pray? Do 
you and your enemies pray to the same God? How do you 
believe God receives these prayers, and how does He answer 
them? Was Lincoln right when he said, "The prayers of both 
could not be answered"? 

The second topic, "Marijuana and cancer" -This week, 
a new study has found a possible link between marijuana 
and testicular cancer, one of the most common cancers in 
young men. The study found that males who "smoked it 
regularly" had twice the risk of those who never smoked, 
especially among boys who used marijuana prior to age 18. 
Is this enough to make you think twice about continuing 
that habit? Does knowing that seat belts prevent serious 
injury in car accidents lead you to wear seatbelts? Does the 
link between cigarettes and heart disease keep you from 
smoking cigarettes? Why do you think the young seem so 
willing to risk their health — even their lives — knowing the 
possible consequences? 

Third topic, "Nothing changes overnight" - As most 
of you have discovered (the hard way), the fast lane can 
lead to fast consequences that you would rather avoid. So 
what does it mean to you when you read, "Nothing changes 
overnight?" How would you apply this to your own life? 
Now that you have a little time, do you ever think about a 
plan for your future on the outs that follows a slower, more 
patient path, one that goes from one to two to three... until 
you reach your goal? Can you describe that plan? 

Lastly, "Valentine's Day" - What is the best Valentine's 
Day present you ever got? (Keep it PG, please...) What is the 
best Valentine's Day present you ever gave? Have you ever 
been in the situation where you knew someone wanted to 
be your Valentine, but you didn't feel the same way? What 

All right readers, well continue to keep you updated 
on our progress, and we appreciate your support to this 
important work. This issue goes out to all of you thinking 
good thoughts for The Beat Within. 

WJMM/M ' // ' //////// 

ThC BCHt Wlthllt, 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 sexual 
remarks, foul language, and gang references. There is enough tension in our com- 
muities already-we don't aim to bolster it. It is in The Beat's interest to promote 
peace and unity. Our goal is to educate one another. 

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

To our writers: What you write could be hazardous to you. Your words have con- 
sequences, and could be used to incriminate you. Try to illuminate your feelings and 
viewpoints without running the risk of providing ammunition for those who might 
use your words against you. 

Co-founders: Sandy Close and David Inocencio 

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, Ricky Rollins, Kendra 
Davis, Anastasia Freeman, Demarius Brown, Mon'Kesia Butler, Michaela, Ava, 
Danyal, Jeanette Beltran, Monica Carlos, Janet Lagto, Allan Tinker, Nic Reiner- 
Parra, Laura Goode, Molly Patterson, Peggy Simmons, Kirstin Dan, Angel Ryono, 
Siliva Mortenson, Kolby Hanson, Sam Peterson, Kim Nelson, Gwendolyn Hubner, 
Oscar Pena Jr., Julia Scheinbeim, and Neela Banerjee. 

The Maricopa County, Phoenix, Arizona, Juvenile Probation Department Beat 
Staff: Joe Szulecewski, M.A., Lisa Donsker, M.C, Hillary Shluker, M.C, Lisa 
Karczewski, MA. The detention staff are: Carissa Allen, 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 Serna 

Oak Hill - Washington, DC Staff: Alex Moe and Gabriel Prodder 

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

Monterey : Sam Peterson and Sarah Damico 

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

Spiritual Advisor: JackJacqua 

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 New 
Mexico, Santa Cruz and Marin County Juvenile Halls. If you have any questions or 
comments about The Beat Within, or if you would like to become a subscriber, con- 
tact us at: 275 Ninth St. SFCA. 94103 or call (415) 503-4170 or check us out at: 

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Memory Of My Father 

The fog of that day is just a whisper in my head, 

but I remember staring at my father through a prison 


I was just a little boy, in pajamas. 

There was some kind of an emergency around the 

It's as if I were asleep and all I saw was a shadow. 

-Nathan, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: Thanks for sharing what must be a painful memory, 
perhaps even more painful in the present than it was when you a very 
small child. Your recollection is beautifully written. 

What Lies Deep Within Me 

Looking in the mirror what do you see? 

Ugliness, disgrace, shame, pain, all the things you try to 

keep unseen. 

It's hard to express when you can no longer cry 

but really every second you're shedding tears inside. 

You feel all alone walking in the world thinking will 

there ever be better days 

or do I always have to fight my enemies? 

Your body is aching, your heart slowly breaking, 

but you laugh and put on a fake smile but you're really 

shivering cold 

talking to God saying, "Please Lord, don't ever let my 

true feelings show." 

You go on every day wishing you were free, 

but what would you have done different with your 


What good do you think? 

You are hurting so much from always trying to be tough. 

You ignore your dreams. 

Inside you just want to scream. 

You're asking for love, for someone to care, 

but how would you ask for that when to yourself you're unfair? 

You try to impress everyone. 

So, you do stupid things, acting like nothing matters, 

but that all changes when you no longer have your family. 

You know when you can't stop your mind from thinking. 

You need to talk to someone just to let some of it out, 

but when they ask, you say no knowing that you're only 

lying to yourself. 

You're beginning to change to hide everything from the 

eye to see, 

but there's more to you... I know that. 

So, would you please let someone in 'cause you're not 

on a good path. 

You're going in the wrong direction. 

Just know you'll always have my hand. 

You just want to say screw it. 

You think no one will notice whatever you do, 

but your bright and intelligent not just some fool. 

You know you can change, but you think it's too hard. 

Don't ever give up. 

Stop singing all those sad songs. 

You've got it in your head that the world has given up, 

but when are you gonna realize it's not up to the world 

what you are, 

what you've done wrong, or what you become... it's up to you. 

Reality is ...only you can chose. 

-Amanda, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: It can be exhausting to constantly be "on guard" or 
"putting on an act" to hide our true self. How do we get to this state? 
It is many times a matter of survival and then becomes a part of our 
nature. ..the pretending to be what we have convinced ourselves that 
others may want or need us to be. You are encouraging yourself in 
this piece to be who you are, bright, intelligent and not a fool. What 
is your next step? 

Communities And Casualties 

Communities and Casualties, I know this isn't what you 
want to hear but it's been bothering me, so just listen to 
me please... 

Man, you don't know what it's like growing up in my 
community. Everyday you hear gun shots, kids dying, 
parent's eyes filling with tears asking God, "Why?!" 
But, you see... this is nothing but "another" casualty. 
Something we call "normal". 

I can't say it doesn't bother me. I'm tired of seeing 
broken hearts, hungry stomachs, mom's working two 
jobs just trying to support their pee wee's. 

You don't know what it's like to have someone walking 
by you and you can feel the coldness in their heart. See, 
this is just "another" casualty. It happens all around me, 
but it's not who I want to be. 

I'm tired of the community but I can't seem to leave. 
You see it's affected me and shown me a lot of things 
I really didn't want to see. So, now my mentality has 

I'm no longer my mama's youngest child. You see, 
she doesn't want anything to do with me. All because of 
the community and who I chose to see. I grew up like 
the rest of them. Hustlin', robbin', smokin', just tryin' to 
represent me. But, it never got me too far; all it did was 
ruin my dreams and take away my freedom. 

You see, I don't want to be another casualty that you 
see sprung out on the street. I say screw my community 
but I'll always have love for my community OG's but 
I just don't want to be another casualty fallen for my 

-Amanda, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From the Beat: Amanda, your heart seems to be torn between the people 
you love and the life you no longer want to live. Others have managed 
to leave the communities they once loved and make something positive 
out of their life. You can too! Are you aware of what skills, heart and 
determination it will take to accomplish what you want? The energy 
you've thrown into being a part of your community and belonging will 
need to be directed into something new and unusual. What will that be 
for you? If you lived your life as you desired, what would it look like? 

Inmate, Ninety-Thirty-Eight-Four 

Habitual offender, not a pretender 

Just another poetic prisoner that receives no visitor 

Willing to love, boatful of hate 

So intelligent yet barely managed to graduate 

Emotionally weak, intellectually strong 

Where is it that I went wrong? 

Committing crimes, doing time 

Advancing in the system aware of all its contradictions 

90-38-4 I'm another number nothin' more 

Soul survivor of incarceration 

I've adapted to living in contemplation 

Growing up writing to The Beat Within 

Releasing my pain from this life of sin 

Now I'm all grown up, close to being released 

Learning to act right so I wont become prematurely 


I'm a product of the system 

I hate having to listen, supposed efforts to rehabilitate 

They only make sure our soul deteriorates 

All I know is incarceration 

And the fact that I'm just another statistic in our nation 

Inmate 90-38-4 and another number nothin' more 

-Niko, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This is a fantastic poem! The system is in need of change 
so badly. This poem is a great way to teach people about the demeaning 
conditions of lock up. What do you think are some other ways you can 
use to inform the public and readers of the need for a system reform? 


wifj£iffiEr//ifj- ft/ * #/// 

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The Outs 

Man I cant wait to go home for I can see my fam, I'm just 
tired of being locked up and being told what to do, when 
I get out I'm gone get off probation for the boys can stop 
pullen me over every time they see me, but when I do get 
out I'm gone do what I have to do right because I'm tired 
of this life, I'm tired of being told what to do by people I 
don't even know that good. 

I'm gone go to school and I know I could just be saying 
that but I know if I can go to school in here then I know 
for a fact I can go to school on the outs, I'm gone work 
with my pops to stay out of trouble and have money in 
my pocket because I know it's hard to get money on the 

I got to take care of my little sis too, she only a year 
going on two, I miss her so much, I call her Fatty. I miss 
my wifey too, she don't be writing me but I really don't 
care though because I be callin' her sometimes, but when 
I get out I have to take care of her too, because she is 
someone I care about too. 

But before I take care of anybody I gots to get my life 
together too for I can become somebody. My mom told me 
my brother gone start me off with enough money to get 
back to my feet so when I do get out I know I don't got to 
worry about getting a job as soon as possible but when I 
need to start working I know I could go to. 

While I'm here I'm thinking what I'm gone do on the 
outs that's important to me and my family. 

-Ray, Solano 

From The Beat: We are sure those you miss are anxiously waiting for 
you to come home. It's great, for all of you that you want to take care 
of yourself and get your life together. It sounds like you also have 

Life On The Block 

Life on the block don't change too much. Some shhh 
change, and some shhh gets added. Ninjas gon' always 
have females, weed, drugs, guns, an' whips on the block. 
E'ry block got a goofy ninja, athlete, stupid ninja an' a 
smart ninja. Every block's set up is different, from projects 
to streets. E'ry 'hood gotta store, CD man, people that 
sell clothes and the neighborhood dope fien' mechanic. 
E'ry 'hood got a ninja that's always on one. E'ry block got 
the ninja that don't eva get caught, but is always doin' 
some shhh. 

But only one block got me. I'm what they call 
"versatile." I can do a lot of shhh. But I'm out this thang. 

-Young Dunny, San Francisco 

From The Beat: This is one of the best 'hood descriptions we've ever 
read in The Beat. Every block may be "all the same," but without you, 
they're all different! We love it! Too bad you aren't that "ninja that don't 
eva get caught..." 

Positive Changes 

I take everyday moment for moment. That is one of my 
major changes since I've been locked up. If I can live in 
the present I can control my anger a lot more better. 

Another change is that I am learning how to keep 
myself away from drugs and my past friends who have 
brought me down and away from family, happiness, 
success, and overall the right path. I am trying to change 
all of my negative ways in life and stay true to myself. 

The wise are quick to listen and slow to speak. I must 
lock out the negative influences and soak up the positive 
ones. It's harder said then done. Wish me Luck. 

-John Wayne, Solano 

From The Beat: We think you can do it! Stay true to yourself is a good 
guide. Good luck. 

The Streets are A Definition of Death 

The streets are talkin 1 , they are a definition of death, 

why is it that we say fahgit the rest. 

Turn the other cheek is what we should do they say 

hell nah you don't know what I been through, 

so they use that index finger and do their thang, 

now everybody is preparing for such and such's funeral 

when they should have been preparing for his 


so before you say that these streets are all bark and no bite, 

you need to think twice, 

unless you've got a 'S' on yo chest, 

but we all know you gotta give that a rest. 

-Mezzy, Alameda 

From The Beat: So what you going to do? Because the best way to lead 
the way is through your actions, right? Are you following your own 

A Life Wirti Living 

A lot of people use drugs without knowing what that 
drug can do to them. Many drugs can ruin your life after 
just one use. Me. I have researched the drug that I mainly 
use, Ecstasy. 

Ecstasy is one of the most dangerous drugs on the 
street because of what it is cut with. It leaves holes the 
size of dimes in your brain. Drains your spinal fluid and 
eats at your bones. Although it is dangerous, I continued 
to use it. 

You only live once and like everyone always says, life 
is short. I believe that if I only have one, like I'm going to 
make it the most exciting life I can. When you use drugs 
they give you a feeling that you cannot find anywhere else 
on earth. Ecstasy in particular makes you feel ecstatic. 

It makes everything I love so much better. It makes 
music sound better because the beat vibrates your body 
and mind/ Sex also feels a hundred times better. You're 
more open to everyone and everything. It feels as if a warm 
blanket has been wrapped around your brain. Ecstasy is 
pretty much indescribable. 

That is also what makes it so dangerous; it's 

People will continue to do things they love even if it 
hurts them in the long run, even if it may cost them their 
lives. Like I said, I'm only going to live once so therefore 
why not live it like a party. 

I am going to die sooner or later so if I die doing the 
thing I love then I will be happy. That's what life is about, 
being happy. Living life and loving it. 

Many say drugs will lead you to the streets, or jail, 
or my grave and most of them are right. However, if you 
are smart about drug use. I believe that I can use drugs 
in moderation and live reasonably well life. If I am wrong 
then God change me to help. 

Drugs have been there for me when other people 

When I was depressed, sad, or angry to the point of 
feeling like life wasn't worth living. I used Ecstasy and 
marijuana to help me feel happy and excited to live life 
again. I used them to life me up and feel like life is worth 

-Thizz, Fresno 

From The Beat: Yes, we tried to be moderate in our drug use. But highly 
addictive drugs have a mind of their own. They can seem amazing 
but soon they become a crutch. That is when we must be honest with 
ourselves and understand that we have a serious problem. We also 
would like you to think more about the part of you that feels unhappy 
and down about life. You are turning to drugs to temporarily solve that 
problem. However if you can overcome your emotional needs without 
drugs, imagine how much stronger and wiser you'd be. Being truly free, 
truly independent, wouldn't that be the ultimate way to live? 


wifj£iffiEr//ifj- ft/ * #/// 

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Walking Away 

I remember the day I walked away. 

The love I had, it couldn't fade. 

Even through hard times. I shouldn't have stayed. 

But it was hard to break the pain. 

I sat there like a stupid fool 

while you were also rude. 

Didn't let me do the things I wanted to do. 

You played me cruel. 

I got beat down and also abused. 

But still stuck to you 

like a piece of tissue. 

It was so hard for me to leave or lose you. 

But you already knew, so continued to do things you do. 

Even though, I was the one who stuck by you no matter 

what we went through. 

I was always the faithful one 

but you continued to accuse me of always doing something 

I didn't do. 

I was the one who never took not one thing from you. 

I was always the one who was always by your side 

when you were down or even when you cried. 

I was the one who gave my whole life up for you. 

I was the one who catered everything to you. 

But I realize you were a good-for-nothing fool. 

You put me through so much and I still stayed with you. 

I don't know why but it was so hard to quit loving you. 

Now, I'm locked up for the 5th time. 

I had plenty of time to sit down and realize 

that you were a bad person and brain washed my mind. 

Now I'm thinking to myself, "What stupid foolish ways I 

continued to go through for you." 

But now I've made up my mind... I'm through! 

-Toi, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From the Beat: Wow Toi! This is a powerful, purposeful piece! What 
a journey you have traveled in this relationship. We are thinking it is 
not a journey you would want to go on with another partner like this 
one. What made you finally realize that you are so much more than a 
piece of tissue, that your life has value and worth, that you deserve to 
be respected? We are excited to think you will keep your worth in mind 
when choosing love in the future. 

Like A Shadow 

I creep like a shadow in every corner of your life, even 
in your sleep. 

I whisper in your ear and ask you a question. 
In this nightmare you are in a rage and I am guilty in the 

I continue strolling, keeping that fire lit. Is it a dream? 
The pain feels like a tattoo. I can't find the exit. 
My soul tries to run back to my body. 

But the devil is taking me, pulling me across the border 
into sorrow and pain. 

I keep seeing my body, and my family crying near it. It's 

I can see myself in a coffin as I stand next to it. 
For eternity I'll stand next to my grave, a ghost that no 
one can see. 
But I see you, haunt you. I look at my life. 

I don't see anything left. I take a deep breath, next to you 
in your sleep. 

I miss my family. I stand with love to offer. I'm no 
I'm a sad man who loves his daughter. 

-Andres, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: Powerful piece Andres. You seem to come into and fade 
out of a dream here, part nightmare, part longing, and, as you say, long 
on sadness. Our hearts are with you. 

Fast Money Or New Beginning? 

I had to stand on a two-way road and decide which 
street I would take. There were signs posted that 
said "Fast Money" and "New Beginning". I was 
a run away so I had no money, so I chose the "Fast 
Money" road thinking I was starting a new beginning. 
Little did I know that at the end of that road was hell 
awaiting. Not knowing that stilettos, miniskirts and 
coke would bring me to this cage that's not like home. 
Here for the tenth time and now I'm waiting to be picked 
up by ADJC for another month. Only if I would've taken 
the other road, my story to "The Beat" would have 
remained untold. 

-Mattique, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: We live and learn. Learn being the key word here. You'll 
face many forks in the road on your journey ahead and hopefully when 
it's time to make a choice you'll stop and think about this lesson learned. 
Instead of choosing based on the now, think about what's ahead and 
usually you'll make better decisions. One day you'll stop, smile and 
say, "And I... I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the 
difference." And, it will feel good! 



Damn how this word has scarred me. 

It means torture, horror, fear, and sleepless nights for me. 

I always live scenes over again 

whether it be a nightmare or gruesome visions in my 


I feel like someone's always watching me. 

I get defensive when men even try to come close to me. 


The words they've told me, 

the tactics they used on me, 

man. ..the scars on my body. 

And, I wasn't even a teen. 

I had my innocence ripped from me, 

which left animosity growing in me. 

What kind of people do this to a child? 

I'm all grown up now but still I hate being FEMALE. 


You don't understand what you've done. 

I've tried to smoke the pain away, 

but that only felt like I was letting you defeat me. 

You always called me your little princess. 

Well, now I know what that all really meant. 

You made me feel like such an out cast; 

like I wasn't worth anything. 

Isn't it sad that these are the memories I have of my 


You emotionally killed me, 

scarred me with your words, 

and made me feel disgusting. 


A sad but truthful subject. 

Something that will haunt you to death. 

It's always in the back of your mind 

and if you're lucky maybe you learn to heal throughout 


-Amanda, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: Amanda, you speak of deep pain. Our hearts break 
for the innocent little girl you once were and the woman you are 
now wearing the scars of which you speak. We think that it may be 
something more than just luck for one to pursue life after such betrayal. 
Do you see yourself as someone who can learn to heal over time? We 
know it will take an inner determination and great courage to seek out 
what you need to heal from the pain you have experienced. 


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Do What You Feel Good About 

Malcolm X once said, "A man who stands for nothing will 
fall for anything." I say that to say this: if you have no plan in 
life, you will keep falling victim to what society has against 
you. I say that to agree with the topic. "Nothing changes over 

I feel that once you start something that you feel good 
about, it'll be hard to stop. "Quitting while you're ahead, is 
not the same as quitting." That is a quote that I wish I would 
have listened to. It would have kept me out of here. I tried 
to stop, but peer pressure got the best of me, and it was not 
easy to get away from overnight. 

Change is internal, it's the process of change in which 

those look forward to. 

-Dow Jones, San Francisco 
From The Beat: You're right about how hard it is to resist peer pressure. 
It's so easy for boys to make other boys feel "less" or "weak" or whatever 
names they use to belittle you for standing up for what you know is 
right. But sometimes the hardest thing is also the best thing, and you 
will be called on many times to say "no" if you want your life to progress, 
as clearly you do. Keep reading; keep writing; keep teaching. 

Losing Respect For Someone 

Tonight, I want to write about losing respect for 

A person I lost respect for was my father. I lost respect 
for him as a man and a father figure but not as a person of 
authority in my life. 

My father, before he left my family for someone else, 
was a great man. He would take care of the house and 
he had structure in our home. My father worked really 
hard for his family. He would work from 4:00 am to 11:00 
pm from Monday-Saturday and took Sundays off just to 
spend the day with his kids and wife. 

After a while, my father started coming home late. 
Then he would come home late and drunk, and Sundays 
the days I always looked forward to started to change. 
Everything in my family was changing drastically and 

My father stopped coming home for days at a time. 
Days turned into weeks and when he did come home 
he would be mad and he would take out his anger and 
frustration on us his kids. Once, I seen my father assault 
my mother like if she was a man that was the day I lost all 
respect for that man as a father figure. 

From that moment in my life I started to see that 
man I once called dad as a stranger he wasn't my father 
anymore. After he assaulted my wonderful mother he 
started taking his rage out on me. 

That man started putting me down because I couldn't 
get a job, I was thirteen, how in hell was I suppose to 
get hired at that age? The days he came home my father 
would single me out take me into a little room in back of 
our old home and beat me because I started getting bad 
grades, he also talked smack all the time. 

Then one day everything stopped he just 

Later on after two and a half years of not seeing my 
dad I finally ran into him in a restaurant I found out what 
had happened to him. He left us his kids to take care of 
someone's else kids he didn't even have any ties too. 

Well that just a little experience of my childhood. 
That all for tonight. 

-Chuko, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Chuko, we 
appreciate this piece a lot. It is so hard to have to deal with the shhh 
that goes down with our family especially when we can remember our 
family as a functional good part of our life. Do you still see your father 
now? Does he know that you're locked up? Although your family may 
not be together anymore you can still be a family. Who says that you 
can't have your mother and your father? Great writing! 

The Tip To The Top 

Beat, Beat, Beat, still the same old thang. Thangs just 
a different script, but I could say I'm on a good foot. I'm 
getting my education now. Passed both of my English and 
Math tests on the CAHSEE in '08. 

I even got a lovely wife with my family to show me 
live. It's like a movie. You never open up your eyes until 
you are on the edge. So I guess I could say I'm the one 
to realize who was there for me, who loves me, and how 
to better myself to be a success in the future. I always 
wanted to see what the future life holds for me, but I got 
to be the one to create it. No one is going to stop me, even 
though I'm locked. 

I am always going to strive to the top any way possible, 
plus I have to be a leader for my family, show them I'm a 
changed man. Even be the husband to my wife is a start, 
and I'm going to finish and get through these rough times 
in my life. It's only a struggle that I will overcome. 

To all, love and respect yourself. Don't impress 
others. Choose your own life, but got to say, think twice. 
Life is better than what you see. Love you Precious and 
stay up. 

-Peanutt, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: It's obvious that you have already turned a corner in 
your life and you're walking forward. Congratulations on passing your 
English and Math tests. Keep traveling forward; keep learning as much 
as you can; keep teaching as much as you know., and keep knowing 

Thinking In My Room 

When I'm in my room where it's quiet, I start to think of 
my family. Thoughts run through my mind of if I will ever 
be able to be with them again or not. Or now, if they pass 
away while I'm locked up. I don't think I will ever forgive 
myself for that. 

When my dad comes to visit me, I can see the hurt and 
how he feels guilty for my behavior. He used to drink a lot 
and it had a big impact on me. It makes me sad. When 
I'm in my room thinking about that, my eyes swell up 
with water. Everybody cries, so don't act like you don't. 
No matter what, family will always be there for you. 

-White Ninja, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Of course, everybody does cry, and sometimes tears are 
the most appropriate response to what we're experiencing. Your father 
feels his own responsibility, and he should. You're feeling your own 
responsibility, and you should. We hope you finish with this sad episode 
in your life in time to get back with your family, where you belong, and 
turn those tears of sadness into tears of joy! 

The Future 

When I get out I want to go to a 4 year college and play 
football knocking helmets. I'd play wide receiver or I 
might play on line. 

First I need to get out of jail. Then I need to apply for 
a job. I got to walk across that stage in June and graduate 
(I'm going to put my mind to it. I don't know if I'll be able 
to do it). 

I could go to a community college for two years, I 
think I could play football there. I probably take a welding 
class to learn how to make good money. So I can supply 
my son with the stuff he needs. 

I want to be there with my son and raise him to be a 
man and to teach him responsibility of a man and so he 
can show his kids if he has some, but I want the best for 
him and his future. 

-Babino, Solano 

From The Beat: These are great plans. Can you start today? Get to work 
on your school now, do as much as you can — use your time well. You 
have a big life waiting for you — show up!! 


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Tainted Smile 

People only see the tainted smile from outside of you 
but don't see the depression, hatred and fear from inside 
of you 

then they smile back at you acting like they know you. 
Little did they know they don't even cure an inch of you 
because all they see is the tainted smile from outside of 

-Bing, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From the Beat: Well said. We've all probably experienced feeling like no 
one really knows what's going on inside of us. On the other hand, no one 
can really hope to understand you unless you give them an opportunity 
to know what's really going on inside of you. You may be surprised at 
how well they actually do understand! Until then keep writing! It's a 
great release for those hard-to-share feelings and experiences. 

You Could Come Back Again 

If you gotta pull a gun on a ninja you's a 

Scared to get yo butt whooped ain't that some shhh 

You ninjas is a soft man you ninjas is sour 

Rather shoot a ninja then fight 'em, you's a coward 

Think you gotta kill a ninja just to earn some stripes 

But if you think about it in yo mind that's 25 to life 

Don't make the wrong choice, just think another way 

Put the gun down, fight 'em and you'll live another day 

If you lose, you lose, if you win, you win 

But if you get yo butt beat you could come back again 

You could fight em and fight em till you finally beat em 

Ninjas getting whooped, that's when ninjas yellin we 


This a true story ninja, this some real shhh boy 

Ninjas scared to get they butt whooped so they play with 

them toys 

-Lil' Rolo, Alameda 

From The Beat: This makes so much sense, and is also written very 
well. Take what you yourself have to say to heart, let your strength 
and knowledge help you through your difficult time. You have a lot of 
wisdom and depth in your self to lean on. 

Curious To Know! 

Have you ever wondered 

That maybe one day every one could live in Peace! 

That maybe one day we don't have to live in fear! 

That maybe someday no one would have to go through 

the pain of losing a loved one from unnecessary 


That maybe one day adults would stop killing adults, 

kids would stop killing kids! 

That maybe someday we would unite as one! 

That maybe one day we could learn to communicate 

with one another! 

That maybe one day realize that you're no better 

than the person sitting next to you, and that that person 

is no better than you, that you are EQUAL! 

That maybe one day we'll be able to let go 

of our own greed! 

That maybe someday we will understand that there is 

more to life than what meets the eye! 

That maybe someday people will stop fighting for what 

they want or what they think are, and fight for what's 


That maybe one day we can put an end to this Insanity! 

That maybe one day we can change the way of society! 

That maybe one day we will be set free! 

Have you ever wondered....? 

-Lil 1 Skittles, Solano 

From The Beat: This is an awesome, positive, strong piece full of soaring 
vision. Thank you! 

Tricks of The Trade 

I can never forget the crazy stuff I've done, 

A youngster living life by the gun. 

Doing crazy things to make you learn quick. 

The type of shhh that makes people sick. 

Some might not agree but I had to survive. 

And by me doing wrong it's gonna keep me alive. 

So I try everyday to learn the tricks of the trade. 

Saving up my money 'cause I don't get paid 

'Cause life is rough and everything is hard. 

Got no money, don't own no car. 

With some raggedy ass clothes with no food to eat. 

And some burnt out tennis shoes covering up my feet. 

You get your first impression by the way that I look 

"He's a gangster, a killer a no good crook" 

I know I do bad but I do it real good, 

'Cause that's the way that I learned in my crazy ass hood 

Growing up in the streets, 

Where a kid couldn't grow up in the world without 


Drive-bys, dope deals, gangsters everywhere, 

Crack babies being born 

And their moms don't even care, 

So don't think for a minute 

That this shhh ain't real, 

'Cause life in the streets might 

Get you killed. 

-Chino, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: This is a raw piece, so emotionally stirring. Thank 
you for deciding to share this with us, giving us a glimpse your hard 
upbringing. There's a Tupac song with the line," just 'cause you're in the 
ghetto doesn't mean you can't grow..." We hope that you can find it in 
you to pull yourself out of the hustle. There's always hope even when 
you feel lost. 

My Dreams 

Well Beat, none of these topics are really interesting to 
me, so I decided to write about something else: Dreams. 
I once had a dream, and my dream was to be the biggest 
outlaw I could be. Someone to look up to. For the people 
that are coming up in the game, I wanted to be a cholo. 

But things have changed. I didn't know that a lot of 
stuff was going to have to come with being a cholo. When 
I was 11 or 10 years old, I thought it was just going to be 
fights and stuff like that. But I've seen people get shot 
and killed for stupid shhh. It makes me think, "Now, do I 
really want that dream still?" I mean all that dream so far 
has become true. 

I'm starting to realize that I'm just throwing my life 
away. The reason I say this is because all it's brought me 
was a rough life. I mean I'm looking at 35 to life. Now, a 
lot of things change when you start looking at that much 

I came to a stop sign. I no longer want this dream, 
but I feel like it's too late. It makes me sad for the people 
like me that were blind and can't see the reality and the 
outcome of bad situations that people put themself to. 

I wish I could have come to my stop sign in the 
outs, but I didn't. I just hope that I'll get out one day 
because I got a new dream, and it's to be a son to my 
mom and a brother to my brother and a grandson to my 
grandparents... Someone successful. 

-Cash, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: There's no such thing as "too late" to open your eyes 
and realize what's important. Yes, it's a tragedy that your eyes only 
opened after you got into this situation, but some people never grow 
past the stage where they think only of themselves. We can think of no 
greater dream than to be son to your mom, brother to your brother, and 
grandson to your grandparents. 


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I want to go home 

But I am stuck in a cell all alone. 

Nothing but just my thoughts 

And books to keep me company. 

As I sleep I am free 

But when I wake up 

I find out that it was just a dream. 

Will I get out to have a dream come true? 

Only I can dream to see me free 

-Cash, Alameda 

From The Beat: Thank you for sharing your great poem. Sometimes 
dreaming alone wont help us out of our situations but it can inspire 
us to reach for our dreams. Will you reach for your dreams of freedom. 
Cash, or will you let the dreams take over? 

Nothing Changes Overnight 

I really don't feel like nothing changes overnight. I really 
wish it did. I wish that my case will get better overnight 
so I can get out and do better with my life, so I can go to 
college for maybe four years or so. So that I can help kids 
and show them that I messed up as a youngster, and that 
they can do better with their life. 

They say things happen for a reason, so I feel that if 
you go to jail that it's for the better. God is showing you 
that the way that you are living isn't good for you, so he's 
going to make you sit down and think if you want to keep 
living wrong or if you want to do better with yourself. 

-Yb, San Francisco 

From The Beat: There are times when we all wish things could change 
overnight for us, but it never happens that way. Whatever is worth 
having is worth working for. If God is giving you the time to think about 
the kind of life you want and how to get it, what plans are you coming 
up with? We sure hope you pursue that college dream, because that' 
truly where you belong! 

My Dream 

What's up The Beat! Tonight I'm going to write about 
my dreams. My dream is to go to college and major in 
criminal justice. I want to major in criminal justice and 
be able to work with kids in my situation. I would like to 
work with kids in my situation because I been through a 
lot, and I can help them with their problems. 

I would be willing to give up my time and talk to kids 
because I would like to help them and try to help them fix 
their situations. I want this because I have been through 
a lot in my life, and I don't think it's the right thing to do, 
like gangbanging and all that stuff. It only led me to jail 
and being away from my family and loved ones. Because 
of that I lost a big chunk of my life when I could've been 
home with my family and loved ones. 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I am never going to lose 
hope because I'm not the type of person to just give up 
on things and throw them all away. All I have to do is put 
my mind to it, and I know I can do it. But it's going to take 

Well, I'ma see gettin' out on the 17th of this month, so 
I'ma take advantage of it and stay out. While I'm out, I'm 
going to work on pursuing my dream, and it is to major in 
criminal justice and work with kids when I get older. 

Well, this is all I got for you tonight, The Beat... Until 
next time. 

-Young Chop, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Using your experiences to help other kids avoid some of 
the consequences you've had to live with is a very fine goal. We would 
love to see you in college studying criminal justice. If you help even one 
child turn a corner before he or she gets ground up in the system, you 
can be very proud of your accomplishment. We hope when you get out 
very soon, and that you don't forget this worthy cause. 

To Dave a Dream 

As I was growing up, I've wanted to grow up and be 
many things. I've wanted to be a lifeguard because I like 
swimming; and then I wanted to be a veterinarian since I 
like animals... 

Dreams are powerful. You can imagine anything. If 
you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. See, 
while I was growing up, I never had the consistency to 

pursue my dreams. I've tried hard, but somewhere 
along the line, I went back to the streets. 

I haven't lost hope on pursuing my dreams. It is never 
too late to lose hope. In my eyes, once you lose hope you 
are setting yourself up for failure. If you are in that type 
of mentality, then you should choose another option. 

As for myself, I want to be a chef. I love to cook! And 
if you love to cook you love to eat. So that's what I want 
to be at the moment. 

Also, if you want to get into deep thinking, imagine 
dreams. You wake up and remind yourself of what you just 
dreamt. They could be happy, sad, or scary, but in reality 
they're not real. They can give you great and abstract 

ideas. So to all the homies locked up, pursue your 
dreams and one day you will fulfill them all! Stay up! 

-Chango, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: You always surprise us, Chango — not with the quality 
of your writing, which we've come to expect, but with the nuggets of 
personal history and insight that you punctuate your writing with. For 
example, we would never have imagined that you would like to be a 
chef. And now that we know, we're hungry for something you cook. We 
know how you fill us up with your writing; we can only try to imagine 
how a Chango-cooked meal would satisfy us. Something for us to look 
forward to... 


This month is the month when my son' s gonna be born. 
I'm all sorts of mixed emotions. I'm hella happy, excited, 
and nervous. This is one of the biggest experiences of my 
life and I'm hella juiced. 

The last few days though, I've been feeling nauseous. 
I don't' know why I've been feeling sick, but ever since 
my bay girl has been pregnant I've been eating like crazy, 
then feeling sick right after. I can only imagine what she's 
going through, because she is the one pregnant. I know 
she's growin' stronger though, mentally and physically, 
and I'm proud of her. Sometimes I sit in my cell, thinking, 
is my son gonna look like me or like his big headed moma. 
I just hope he don't have her head or teeth, or he gonna 
have all the females running! 

I hope he turns out healthy and beautiful, just like me 
and momma. There's not a day goes by where I'm not a 
proud parent. 

I won't ever regret having a son. I'm going to handle 
all of my responsibilities like work to put food on the 
table, clothes on his and my girl's back, and a roof over 
their head. 

I'm so happy and excited that the day is almost here, 
sometimes I get a little too anxious but it's OK. I just 
gotta control the anxiety. I know that my BM is proud of 
me for making a big change. I'm doing it for her, my son, 
and our future. 

If I don't then I'm gonna end up in jail again, away from 
my family. I'm not gon' abandon them again. I can't and 
I won't. I have faith that God will guide me right, protect 
my family and bring me home. Stay strong LiF Momma, I 
love you and my son. See you soon! 

-Elton, Alameda 

From The Beat: Feeling mixed emotions makes total sense: Love, 
excitement, fear, happiness, worry, all of it. The most important thing 
for you to do now though is think about that 180 you will have to 


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Devil's Playground 

Killing my dream before they start 

Taking my heart and ripping it apart 

My spirit is dead but I still walk around 

Not on the earth the devil's playground 

It's real, not fake I'm the real ghost writer 

Harming people all day pull an all nighter 

Scared for my life, but still live 

Am I God's child or the devil's kid 

Running around living life crazy 

I have already been named a demon baby 

One last time I received mail 

A letter that's saying I'm going to hell 

Laugh at it while I watch it burn 

I'm lost underground the point of no return 

I'm on fire with a hot head, too 

Here come the devil what should I do 

We all hear the saying what goes around comes around 

But I'll be back I'm playing on the devil's playground. 

-Bing, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From the Beat: You express a very intense struggle in this poem. What 
will you choose to pursue - good or evil? Don't let the negative things 
that people say about you bring you down. YOU are the one that will 
ultimately face the consequences of your choices. It's never too late to 
turn your life around and start making better choices for yourself. 

My Enemies Be Praying Too 

I think God listens to everybody no matter what gang or 
block or crew they roll wit. As long as you look for him in 
yo mind and heart he's gonna be there. 

God protects me just like he protects my enemies. I 
would rather have him neglect my enemies but I know the 
big man loves all. Therefore I think god listens and rides 
wit everyone regardless of what they live like as long as 
your're open to him. 

Alright then gangstas ya'll pray because you'll get an 
answer sooner or later. 

-Yung Luckie, Alameda 

From The Beat: We think what you say makes sense. It seems like it 
would be difficult to carry out some gangsta activities and be open to 
God at the same time. How can you be open to God in yourself and 
harm others simultaneously? 

What Money Can't Fix 

Well, let me tell you that money can buy a whole lot of 
things, and it can fix anything you want. You can buy 
anything you want with money. That's one thing you can 
be happy about. 

What money can't fix is the gang violence going 
through the whole country. Mainly, where I'm from - San 
Jose - there's a whole lot of gang violence. You can't just 
walk around San Jose, or any other city and give out 
money to all the gang bangers and tell them: "Here, stop 
gangbanging." All they will do is use that money against 
each other. They'll buy weapons to have a gang war, or 
buy drugs to hurt themselves. 

So - NO, money can't fix everything. You can't buy 
your dead homie's life back, homies who were killed with 
weapons that rivals bought with money. When money 
falls into the wrong hands, it can be used and abused, and 
take away a lot of lives. That's another way gang bangers 
enjoy what they do - because of the love of money. 

-Sammy, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: Sammy, we'd like to know what you think would stop 
gang violence. If you were in a position of authority and had lots of 
resources at your command, what policy would you pursue, if your 
mission was to stop gang violence. Is there a wise way to spend money 
that would help curb gang activity? 

//// // 

I Have A Dream, Too! 

I have a dream one day this justice system will not hold 
down to those of us who have potential and have promising 
futures (which is all of us). Even though there are some 
of us who will continue to come back, we deserve second 
chances, but don't get them based on stereotypes. 

I have a dream that more people will be willing to 
change and become a better person. And would also be 
willing to make sacrifices for the generation that follow 
us as the generation before did. 

I have a dream that one day everybody will have a chance 
to live out those things promised by the constitution: 
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." 

I have a dream that love and compassion will be the 
ways of the world instead of war and hate. People will put 
aside their racial issues to make a commitment to our 
nation becoming more of a brotherhood. Brotherhood 
in this sense means people all together, including god's 
greatest creation: women 

This is my hope and faith. With this faith we will be 
able to turn around the thought people have of us and 
plant a new seed in others' minds. The time for change is 
upon us. This is our opportunity to take advantage of it. 
The time is now. 

-Ballard, San Francisco 

From The Beat: What a rousing, wonderful speech! We don't know what 
your plans are for your own future (or what you did to put yourself here), 
but we hear the sound of a leader, someone with a vision of something 
better and an idea of how to make that vision a reality. We don't have to 
tell you how desperately the country and the world need such leaders, 
so don't make us beg. Get out of here and start teaching and reaching 
people! (By the way, it's the Declaration of Independence that promises 
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Constitution promises 
to "establish justice..." among other things.) 


You think you wit it because you talk a good game 

Who can you be if don't nobody know yo name 

Could you be what you want to be 

Or is yo life already planned out 

Yo blood thick but yo heart already dried out 

Thug'd out is what yo aim toward life is 

A man's body with the mind of a little kid 

Red tear drops stainin' yo face 

Blood spilled family killed because of paper you chase 

But is yo life worth paper 

The government notes 

When all yo life you been fightin' 

Because yo heart been broke 

What is it, do you think that money can fix it 

Quit virtual reality 

Begin to live realistic 

-Tae Dumpa, Alameda 

From The Beat: How would we ever attach a monetary value to our lives- 
especially since on bad days we might go cheap, and on good days we're 
infinite. Are you working on healing your heart? 


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Dear Beat 

This is Donald again. I'm not writing about the topic 
today because there is a lot on my mind. This it the 
longest I ever been here and it's annoying. I have been 
here for five weeks already for a violation. 

They trying to break my sprit by keeping me in here 
even though I should've been released three weeks ago. 
But they can't keep a playa down for long. 

I've been talking to people in my unit and I came to 
think that they let people go quickly that are most likely 
going to come back, and keep people like me in here 
longer because we plan on doing any and everything not 
to come back to this hellhole. The reason I say this is 
because the more young people that come back, the more 
money they get to accumulate. So they keep people like 
me as long as they can before my release. 

The only good thing that came out of me coming back 
to this place is that I now realize the importance of school. 
I'm getting back some of the credits that I missed out on 
when I was on the outs. In here I've come to appreciate 
school. Now I think that when I do get released I can go 
back to the great student I used to be when I was little. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking in here, and I've come 
to find out the most of the people that are in prisons are 
uneducated men of color. And like I always say, "I am not 
going to do anything else to jeopardize my future." 

You see, I've made a plan to stay out. As soon as I 
get out, I'm going to stop smoking 'dro, drinking, and 
poppin' them E-Pills, because if I do those things, not 
only am I going to come out dirty for my test ( if I don't 
use someone's clean pee) it takes me off track of school, 
and that's where I wanna be, not here. 

Since I been in here I've learned to make the best of a 
bad situation. I go to all the programs that are offered to 
me so lean learn all that I could and further my knowledge. 
I just earned my 10th grade credits in here even though 
I'm supposed to be in the 11th grade. Being in here made 
me realize that I was heading down the wrong path and I 
was accepting it. Now I'm accepting that I have the power 
not only to change myself, but the path I choose to head 

You see, I've been messing up for more than half of 
my life. I'm 16 years old, and I been smoking 'dro since I 
was eight. Now that I look back, I see that I'm not cool for 
smoking 'dro. If anything, I should not be cool because 
of my choice to smoke 'dro. I look at the last half of my 
life as a waste. I wasted it by being high. I think that if I 
wouldn't have started smoking, I never would have started 
drinking, popping E-Pills or sippin' on bow. 

I never used to believe that weed is a gateway drug, 
but now I do, and I plan to stop so it doesn't lead to other 
drugs. I want to be clean so I can make the right choices 
in life, and that is the one I'm going to start with. 

-Donald, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We never know what makes a boy turn into a man, but 
we always know when we find it. You are making a giant step in your 
maturity level, Donald, and it's inspiring to read of your self-analysis 
and insights, and your determination to change. There really is nothing 
more we can add to what you already know, except that it is easier 
to make those promises in here when there are not temptations than 
to keep those promises out there, where it really counts. So keep this 
wonderful piece of thinking and writing nearby so you can refer to it 
often, and not forget where you want to go and how you want to get 

Just Before 

Just before I went to sleep last night I entered a dark and 
cloudy dream. 

I was staring at my light as it started to dim. 
And as if I were in the flames of hell, smoke surrounded 

I tried to control it. 

I tried to focus on the light so as not to be consumed by 
the darkness surrounding me. 

In an instant, I became weightless and started to float. 
I thought it was a dream, but it hurt. 
The pain inside wanted to leak out. 

I stared at this foggy perception of discomfort 
before I was slammed to the floor with such force that I 
became unconscious. 

Suddenly I awoke, still in my cell, under blankets ... a sad 
thing to open my eyes to. 

-Nathan, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: That's a scary dream Nathan. But you're awake now. Face 
your problems and difficulties and you won't have to return to the hall, 
where dreams like yours are not uncommon. 


Scared. Hurt. Pain. 

Why they laughing? 

It's not a game. 

That unwanted touch... 

emotional, alone, depressed. 

Now, I don't care how I dress. 

Walking down the streets 

looking like a slut. 

It's all from that unwanted touch. 

Now, I thought I hated their abuse. 

You see me when I'm crying. 

You see me when I'm on my knees praying. 

The blood won't stop. 

Oh my God. 

I'm abusing my parents 'cause they think I'm dying. 

I thought I cared. 

-Tara, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: Just one unwanted touch and a young person's sense of 
trust and safety can be altered in an instance. The innocent child inside 
you becoming a woman will have a life worth living, as you seek healing 
and understand how to live a life of self-respect. What do you believe 
you need to begin to heal and to find the strength to live again? 

Suffering Is A Part of Life 

One of the most difficult things to accept about life is 

the fact that suffering is a part of it. 

People die, get sick, hurt each other and hurt 


One of the most important lessons I have learned is that 

it is very important to accept the bad with the good, the 

light with the dark, and the pain with the joy. 

I have learned that without pain, I wouldn't know joy. 

I have learned that because of things like illness and 


it is that much more important to love and live life to the 


Great lessons are learned from terrible tragedies, 

tremendous growth takes place when we are pushed 

to our very limits and although I don't necessarily like 
the tough stuff 

I am learning to live with it. 

-Bethany, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: Wow Bethany, your piece is heavy! What happened in 
your life to teach you these lessons? Is it possible for us to learn from 
the mistakes of others or do we all have to learn life the hard way? 


wifj£iffiEr//ifj- ft/ * #/// 

///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

//// // 

A Poem For My Son 

This piece is about my life. 

My son says he wants to be like me so I wrote this for him. 

Pain in my life dawg, this is real talk 

These hatin' dudes wanna steal my walk. 

They wanna sex my chick and ride my whips 

Wear my fits and lace my kicks 

Start them a clique get high wit' my patnas 

Sell my cream and play wit' my choppas 

I'm the Eloheim dawg you don't wanna feel my past 

You must don't know why they call yo' boy Mac Blast 

First off I want you to grow up wit' no pops 

In a messed up ol' hood where the violence don't stop 

Then I want you to go to jail for some stuff that you ain't do 

The crime gone be on TV and yo' grandma gon' turn blue 

Yo' auntie gonna be crying and yo' momma gon' be so sad 

But you only thirteen ninja you can't be mad 
Then you get out of jail get yo' license to sell 
Then yo' dope fiend uncle smoked up all yo' bread 
And you was drunk one night and you fell 
and bumped yo' head 

You go to sleep that night wake up wit' yo' whole bed red 
You go to John George then you go to Napa ninja 
And you go to Vacaville oops it's over for the rapper 
Yo' chick killed yo' baby and had sex with yo' best friend 
You was still in 10th grade it's lookin' ugly for you man 
Until one day yo' ninja told you to snot' on a sack 
Y'all took a one on one and got yo' game face back 
Most ninjas counted you out two years in the twilight zone 
Forget being insane lil' ninja get ya money on 
Man these ninjas callin' you crazy but these ninjas is lazy they 
Still buying half's you up to like four and a baby 
I want you to stack 100 racks but act broke 

I want you to look good and sober while you sniff coke 
They say it's impossible you can't do it like Khadafi 

I want you to prove' em wrong and stay saucy 

Ninja I want you to wife you auntie 

Don't die off AIDS go to the pen and spend like 60 G's 

that was a year later my other brother got shot in the 


We bounced back and homicide ran through our 


While I was in jail with a shhh bag an I find out Maliki 

gone at the age of none 

Man he was a infant baby oh they say he gravy 
Man this stuff is real crazy 

I want you to get shot up ninja in front of China and 
Maliki cousin 

JB got shot in the neck cousin Jay got shot in the cheek 
I want you to forget about that ninja get in a high speed 
And piss off yo parole officer all in the same week 
Ninja I want you to be 18 on 24's 

Drive through the hood and show em the bulletproof 

Ok I want you to go to the projects show em that drop 
stangs swing like drop vets I want you to push a hardline 
have three cars candywine all at the same time. 
I want you to get shot eleven times and lose 
I mean after Zoe ran off with nine zips of cream 
I want you to get shot two more times in yo' pelvis and yo' 

And then get shot seven more I want you to do a 

You don't even know the half ninja you cant do the math ninja 
It looked messed up to y'all but I look at it and laugh ninja 
'Cause I love my past ninja 
Purp you still wanna be like me? 
That ain't the life to live be smart wit yo' kids. 

-Lil' Purp, Alameda 

From The Beat: We know this poem is a blend of your skills and your 
fathers' life story - but what we really want to know is do you still look up 
to him? We admire your father for getting OUT of the game, for changing, 
but it's hard to admire what he did when he was still in it. So, do you still 
want to be like him? 

Marijuana And Cancer 

I never knew that smoking 'dro could give you testicular 
cancer. Lord knows that I love smoking 'dro. I was 
planning on stop smoking 'dro when I get out because I 
figured out that if I keep smoking 'dro, it going eventually 
to lead me back here. And this is the last place I wanna 

Even though I can get away with my pre-tests, I feel 
that smoking is going to make me mess up in school by 
not being there. And that's why I'm in here right now. If I 
knew that smoking weed would give me testicular cancer, 
I would have never picked up that first blunt. Even though 
I love smoking 'dro, I love my testicles even more. 

There will always be weed to smoke, but once my 
balls are gone, there is no bringing them back. Like my 
boy Scarface said, "All I got is my balls and my word, and 
I'm not breaking them for nothing." 

-Donald, San Francisco 

From The Beat: First, we want to say thank you for being one of the 
very few who took on this topic at all. Most people would rather live in 
denial, hold onto their habits and not think about it. But second, we 
admire you for being so rational, thinking about what you learned, and 
deciding for yourself what is important in your life. Most boys don't 
want to think of the choice you put so very graphically (and so very 
accurately), so you've not only shown yourself a thinker, but one who is 
able to adjust his behavior based on those thoughts. Give up the 'dro; 
save your balls; and show 'em what you can do in school! 

Todays The Day! 

Today I found out that my girlfriend is having the baby. 

I found out this morning at about 11:30 am when my 
PO walked in the unit. He told my staff that my girlfriend 
water broke last night. When he said that I got hella 
excited and happy. I'm thankful that God has blessed me 
with this opportunity because some people don't even get 
the chance to have kids. 

Right now I'm a little upset that I can't be there to 
support her and hold her hand. I know right now she 
needs me the most, but I also know that she is strong 
and can handle this situation the best she can because 
she knows my situation. 

I'm so proud of her... the words in my head wouldn't 
come out on this paper. Right now she's in the hospital 
having contraction. To my girl. ..I can't say I can feel your 
pain put I can imagine. Don't worry everything gone be 
alright gods on our side. I also can imagine that Jeremiah 
gonna look like the both of us. 

Except he ain't gonna have your head or teeth. 
Hopefully he gonna come out healthy strong and beautiful. 
Don't worry about nothing I'ma pray for us all. I love you 
my girl my son. My family and especially my God. Thank 
you again for this blessing. 

-Elton, Alameda 

From The Beat: Congratulations Elton, we know this has been a mixed 
joy - excitement about fatherhood and fear about not being able to 
be with your new family. But hopefully this new blessing and new 
responsibility will give you the strength you will need to fight for your 
positive side, positive hopes, positive dreams - all for you girl and for 
young Jeremiah. Peace. 



// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 

Was It Love? 

When I first saw you, I thought it was love at first sight 

The way you walked, talked, and the way it seemed you 

were a gentleman 

That's the day I questioned myself, was it love at first 


You told me you loved me and nothing or no one can 

come between us 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

You told me I was your heart and soul, and I replied 

"Remember, you reap what you sew" 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

You introduced me to your family 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

One June 15, 2008, I decided to let my guard down 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

The first couple of months was great, we even went out 

on a few dates 

We had our ups and downs, just like every other 


But through thick and thin, I stood by your side 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

You hurt me and I took you back 

That's the day I questioned, was it love at first sight 

You did it again and again, and over and over 

I took you back, 'cause, remember, I thought it was love 

at first sight 

Through the pain and laughter, I tried to move on 

That's the day I realized the day you give someone your 


Is the day you give them the power to hurt you 

-IVikki, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Yes, loving someone makes you vulnerable to being hurt, 
but it also makes you feel the euphoria you described at the beginning, 
that wonderful feeling that only love provides. Maybe his feelings were 
real in the beginning, but changed over time. We've heard for "love at 
first sight" and maybe even met a couple or two who seem to embody 
it, but our own experience tells us that the pain you describe as a part 
of the love you describe. The good thing is that time — and new love — 
does mend a broken heart. 

Nothini Bhanies Over Nijfel 


One day you can be a criminal and be a pothead and be 
addicted to harder drugs. You can be a bad father and 
hit your wife, be on the run, being chased by the police. 
You can have problems with other people, they might 
even want to kill someone. You might not be able to go to 
certain streets or walk in the streets, and always have to 
watch your back. 

All of that bad thing, all of that can be changed, but 
it's not going to happen over night. But you can change. 
To change you have to get help and look for people that 
are going to support you, and you have to put in your 
mind that you want to change and keep it on your mind. 
You're going to have to struggle to reach your goal, but 
if you try hard you can keep positive because all of your 
hard work is going to pay off, and your loved ones are 
going to be happy. 

-El Wronger Uno, San Francisco 

From The Beat: If you can follow your own good advice to make changes 
a little at a time, and to keep a positive image of what you want to 
achieve in your mind, you can make your loved ones happy, and yourself 
too. Wanting to change is the most important part of the process. 


Guilty IN Proven Innocent 

If you're black on the streets of Oakland, California, you 
guilty 'till proven innocent. 

The police always come up to you and the first thing 
they say is "are you in a gang?" They discriminate against 
blacks, they'll handcuff you and beat you 

'till something is broken or you dead. 

-Lil' Al-B. Alameda 

From The Beat: It's clear you're extremely frustrated with the system, 
and feel a lot of injustice going on. Do you think there is something 
that can be done to right the wrongs in the crooked police you see? 
What can you do to help reach a solution? 


This is for You 

This is for you... 
The heart that you broke 
The songs that you sang 
The letters you wrote 

This is for you... 

The pain that you caused 

The pain that I felt 

You putting our love on pause 

This is for you... 
The times that I cried 
For you hurting me 
And crushing my pride 

This is for you... 

The times that you lied 

For walking away 

Watching the love that had died 

I sit now and wonder 
What I can do 
So I wrote you this poem 
Here, this is for you 

-Key Man, Alameda 

From The Beat: This is a great piece of poetry - very passionate and 
thoughtful. Heartbreak can be such powerful material for poems 
because most of us get extremely emotional when love goes sour. The 
more we get those feelings out, the better we usually feel. 




// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 


Behind every successful person lies a pack of haters/ and 
you know who they are when they're instantly debaters/ 
and I know some people wish they would all just go away/ 
but I'm the type to love them and so I have to say/ hater go 
ahead and spread around my name/ talk all that shh say I 
have no game/ but the people who matter, the people who 
are true/ they already know me and already kicked it with 
my crew/they know I have hustle and have a daily salary/ 
they know my perception, interventions, and mentality/ 
you think you hurtin me when really you make me laugh/ 
and it's even more funny when you try and say you are a 
sav/ cause when you look back, what was you doin with 
your time/ cause you dang sure wasn't hustlen cause you 
had me on yo mind/ and what you got to show, a handful 
of people who hate on me/ while on the other hand I have 
a whole place for you to see/ a whole world for you to 
feel, and now you want to be my friend?/ Let me tell you 
that definition a family that's pretend/ I don't need a salty 
patna who say they ride or die for me/ when really they 
scary but my stuff they'll take easily/ I didn't need you 
then & I don't need you now to be brilliant/ I aint stupid 
you're probably an F.B.I informant/ so it's good, keep 
spreadin' round my name/ it's motivation every time you 
say I have no game. 

-Walnut, Solano 

From The Beat: It is definitely challenging to deal with people who talk 
about you behind your back. We think there is no choice but to hope 
that those that know you (and who count) will know the truth, and that 
it is really always actions that speak louder than words. We don't want 
to see you in prison however, and hope you get your hustle legit. 

Do We All Pray To You? 


Most of my enemies pray to the same God. A little more 
than half of them read the same bible. I do pray as much as 
I can and read the bible as much as I can. I don't have that 
many enemies. Nothing comes for free in this world. 

If you pray for something evil or bad to happen then you 
know that God ain't going to grant it. Lincoln was right, but 
not all the way. I believe God can do anything. 

-Benjamin, Fresno 
From The Beat: Thanks for sharing with us. You are right, nothing comes 
free and even more, the things that you have to work hard for in life, 
are what make life worth living. 


What's up Beat? First and foremost, I want to give my 
love and respect to the homeboys. This is the homeboy G 
coming at you from the Max Unit. 

Well, when I got arrested, I didn't really expect that 
many people to be there for me. But I was wrong. My 
family and homeboys are still around. They stuck by my 
side knowing I'll be gone for a while. They write me and 
show me much love. 

My mom offered to help me in many things. She 
is somebody I could depend on no matter what kind 
of situation I am in. A lot of times I refused her help, 
thinking that I could do something on my own. But once 
again I was wrong. Sometimes you need a little guidance 
to direct you in the right path. 

Hopefully, when I get out, that help will still be around. 
This time I would listen and take that help. All right then 

-Lil' G, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: For some reason, young people often think that asking 
for help is a weakness instead of a strength. We know that nobody gets 
to where they are without standing on the shoulders of others. You're 
so lucky to have people who are still giving you their shoulders to stand 
on, and they are so lucky to have you acknowledge the support that 
they give. 

Freedom Dimplor 


I'm going to let you know what's going on with me. 
Everything has gone good and still is going good. 

On the 23rd I am getting my diploma! I feel so proud 
of myself that I have succeeded in that task. No one in my 
family has graduated before. 

Then, on the 25th, I am getting released home. I 
have plans on signing up for Jr. College ASAP, so I can 
start this coming July. I'm so excited. I never knew it felt 
this good to accomplish something. I grew up into gang 
banging. I was always called a "lowlife". But here I am, a 
changed young woman who's proving everybody wrong. I 
am a whole new person. I have learned to love myself and 

I am no longer going to leave my head in the gutter. 
I know I can do it, and I will make it in life. I am not 
going to let anybody break me. I don't think I would have 
ever made it through this far if it weren't for everyone out 
there who loved me and had faith in me. I did this also 
for my man. I am glad to know I inspired him to graduate 
too. I want to be a positive influence to everybody, and let 
everyone know "you can do it." Alright Beat. 

-Corina, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: We are so glad to read your story, and so happy to be 
able to pass it along so that thousands of others can be inspired by it. 
Thank you, and the very best of fortune to you. We know you will work 

My Shoes 

Graduate from high school... 
ain't my shoes. 
Getting married later... 
ain't my shoes. 
Just one more time... 
ain't my shoes. 

Made an excuse for me... 

in my shoes. 

Turned 20 tricks a day... 

in my shoes. 

Gave up on my life... 

in my shoes. 

Excuses are old. 

Changing life is new. 

So, until you change from old to new 

you will never walk in my shoes. 

-Mattique, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: Change is difficult, so it's great to see that you're 
leaving what's old behind and moving on to new, better experiences. 
Stay on track and stay positive and you'll start filling your shoes 
with accomplishments and along with that will come more happiness. 
Continue writing along the way.. .that'll help, too. 

Valentine's Day 

What's up Beat. I'm gonna write about what I'm doing 
on Valentines Day. I'm in this program where we get 
furloughts on the weekends, so I'm probably just gon 
chill with my baby mama for most of the day. 

She said she wanna go shopping, take pictures, and go 
see a movie. We might go to a lil' restaurant or something 
too idk. It all depends on how much time I have cause 
lately I been losing points every week. 

Last weekend I bought her two dozen roses, a teddy 
bear, and some candy. I thought it was last weekend but I 
didn't tell her that. Well that's it for now. 

-Robb, Solano 

From The Beat: Well it sounds like you definitely had Valentines Day 
covered. If you take such good care of your own life, you'll do well! 



// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 

Changing Myself 

A lot of people are scared of everyone's judgment, but the 
only judgment I worry about is god's. But even if he sends 
me to the worst part of hell, I won't ever stop struggling 
and growing as a person. Against all odds, I will show the 
world that I will be someone. I'm not trying to change the 
world, I just want to change myself. 

-Nothing But Time, San Francisco 

From The Beat: By changing yourself, you will be changing the world. 
There's no reason that god would send you to hell if you keep struggling 
to be a good person. That's a prescription for finding heaven right here 

No Reck Mob 

Staff always takin my points so it's no reck mob/ losin 

points every day is my job. 

Never following directives ya boy goin stupid/ They takin 

my points for hittin da moon walk in line movement. 

I'm come out for school I got him and her/ if it aint staff 

then he tryna tax me. 

But I aint trippin I lose point wit a passion/ me and Samuel 

getting hit cause we cant stop laughin. 

They say it's my attitude but I don't think they like me/ 

they keep tryna put me in check like my air force Nikes. 

I lose points durin showers cause Samuel keep playin 

around/ then I come out for reck and get sent right back 


I wake up and guess how many points I'm gone lose/ had 

to do time out cause I couldn't follow the rules. 

They waiting to take my points I could see it in they face/ 

like a kit kat bar I tell em give me a break. 

Chorus: No reck mob (4 times) 

(his voice) (last name) That's your points. (2 times) 

■No Rec, Solano 

From The Beat: Well does this whole program you're running matter 
to you? What would happen if you took your life and your self really 
seriously, like you were a really important person who we couldn't stand 
to lose? Barack Obama said we need everyone, and that means you 



Damn my PO! I ain't gon stop grindin'. 

Violate me if ya want, gon have to come find me. 

Lookin' for me in the streets, I'm somewhere shinin'. 

Live every gotdamn day like it's Friday. 

Tell the feds if they comin' they better come now. 

They got my chips straight, now I'm ready to retire. 

I ball 'til I fall homie, thug 'til I die. 

And if I died today I know I'll probably fry. 

But if I hit the right lick I can live nice. 

Think I'm scared to go get it, you gotdamn lie. 

My money go to lookin' funny, I'm getting on seventy-five. 

Nonstop homie, straight to the Cuban's Island. 

Give a damn who don't like it, it's my life. 

That's why I drink e'ery day dog and stay high. 

Catch me in the strip club letting money fly. 

Goin' broke the only thing that can make me cry. 

I told my PO she can't change me, don't even try. 

The street life got me gone, I don't know why. 

Tryna at least see a couple mill' 'fore I die. 

-Lil 1 Man-Man, San Francisco 

From The Beat: You've got real skills with words. Now, we wish you'd 
start thinking in a way that was as advanced as your writing! You may 
see those mill' before you die, but is this the price you're willing to 
pay: loss of freedom, wearing other boys' drawers, taking orders from 
strangers who control when you sleep, eat, shower, etc? You say you 
like your life (and don't care what anybody thinks of itj, but that must 
mean you like being here, because this is definitely a part of your life, 
and other worse places are waiting to be part of your life, unless you 
make some changes. Or, so we believe. 

dull Have Been Better 

It was Valentine's Day, and I bought a dozen roses and 
some $70 14-carat gold heart shaped earrings. I bought 
them for my ex-girlfriend. Everyone told her that I got her 
those things. She was mad at me the day before, about me 
talking to this other Asian girl named Polly. 

So, she broke up with me for that. Anyway, I went to 
school and everyone told her I got her these things so I 
hid from her until lunch. So lunch came and I saw her 
and I walked up to her and said Happy Valentine's Day 
and gave her the roses. But as soon as I gave them to her, 
she threw them right back in my face and said "forget 

Everyone laughed at me. So I walked away hurt and 
then I saw Polly so I walked up to her and said Happy 
Valentine's Day, and gave her the earrings that I bought 
for my ex-girlfriend. 

Polly said thank you and gave me a kiss, and put them 
in her ears. After that she told everyone what I gave her 
and my ex heard about it and she started to cry. I felt kind 
of good and bad. I guess that answers the question about 
Valentine's Day. 

-James, Fresno 

From The Beat: Relationships can be stressful. Sorry to hear things 
didn't quite go your way. We hope the next Valentines Day works out 
better for you. 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

Change takes time. So sayin' that you'll change over night 
is a lie. While I've been doing time, I've noticed a change, 
in my walk, talk, and presentation to other people. 

My plan is to go back to school and finish what I 
started four years ago. When I get my second chance (and 
believe me, I will get that chance) I'll prove those who 
thought this would stop me wrong. 

If it's one thing I know, it's that adversity either makes 
you better or you crumple under the pressure. My back to 
the wall and I know I'm gonna react. Would you? 

-Ballard, San Francisco 

From The Beat: It appears that adversity has made you a deeper thinker 
and, therefore, a stronger person. Be careful about reacting too soon 
when you're back is against the wall. Sometimes, when we think we're 
trapped, all we have to do is walk away... 


J L 

My Pain 

My pain hurt like a child's birth 

Whom heel slow you just don't know 

At times I don't know what to say 

And all I do is pray day to day 

I feel my strength might die 

Like right now I'm trying hard not to cry 

Even though it's been two months 

But damn I still see it, I just don't believe it 

At times I bury like the cemetery 

Unworthy people paying beneficiaries 

A lot of people skeaking one girl's death 

Don't you worry, "Nish," I'm gonna ride 'til my last 


You killers cause a lot of devastation 

You have no idea what you did to this nation 

I really hate you, excuse my frustration 

But just when I'm 'bout to quit God tells me to 

Just hold on be strong . . . Things are gonna get better 

Rest in peace Cousin Nish 

-Bing, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: You use some great similes in this poem! Great piece of 
writing! We are sorry to hear that your cousin passed away. Writing is a 
great way of coping with painful events and emotions, so keep it up! 



// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 

The Job I Want 


A job I want is being in either the Air Force, or the Navy. 

Here is a list of my skills, a list of people who could help 

me, and a list of what could stop me: 

Skills I Have: 

good at multi-tasking; 

quick learner; 

good listener; 

hard worker; 

friendly (enough) 


People Who Can Help: 

my auntie's husband; 

my boyfriend; 

his grandpa; 

my grandpa; 

my parents; 


C.A.S.A worker; 

David (he was a marine); 

my friends in the army 

What Could Stop Me: 

my drug use; 

smoking cigs; 

getting arrested again; 

going to jail when I turn 18; 

more charges; and again - my drug use. 

-L, Santa Cruz 

From The Beat: L, we've never seen anything quite like your piece. 
Looks like the only thing that could hold you back shows up in column 
three. So, what are you going to do about the possibilities in that all- 
important Column 3? 

Thinking Outside These Walls 

What's good Beat this Young Nuttso again and most of 
the time when I think it's always about what's going on in 
the outside world. Even though you start to think about 
the old shhh you use to do and what you miss then you 
start to stress out. Most of the time I think bout my gurl 
ma family and getting money. 

When I used to come here when I was younger it was 
getting high, what my ninjas doing, is ma gurl cheating 
on me, But dat shhh don't even matter no more because 
now I'm focusing on trying to finish school and stay alive. 
Because tomorrow ain't promised to anybody so when 
I get out this time I'ma take it one step at a time and 
prepare myself for the outs because I'm bout to be 18, feel 

But that's what I think bout most of the time. I'm really 
scared to go out on my own because you are responsible 
for yourself and don't nobody has to be there for you. But 
I got people who care but I'm gone Beat-till next. 

-Young Nuttso, Alameda 

From The Beat: When you think about getting money, how do you see 
yourself getting it when you are released? If you don't want to go back 
to jail you need to explore what kind of job you're gonna go for. One 
step at a time is important, and a good idea. See yourself as a legit, 
free, responsible and well-loved man. 


ne Day 


Fo'eva A Real Ninja 

Even though I'm a real ninja, I feel as though I go 
through too much. I'm gettin' closer to goin' home, an' 
the problems is catchin' up to me. This shhh only gets 
worse. I'm confused, 'cause I can do the time, but I feel 
like runnin'. It feel like don't nobody got my back. 

I lost the female I loved the most December 16, so 
the numbers is 12/16. They say everything happens fo' 
a reason, and 12/16 is my grandma's address. No matter 
what, I pro'ly can't get her back, but I did the shhh to 
myself. If only money could buy happiness, then maybe 
I'll be ova her in about 600 years. Nah, but damn, that was 
a nine-year relationship gone jus' like that. It was both 
our faults, but I took it too far. 

Right about now a ninja need some straightgranddaddy 
to the face. Weed does a body good, like when you unda 
stress. I can go on and on 'bout my problems since I been 
down, 'cause I been going through it a while. Street punk 
woulda straight offed himself, but I can't do it. That ain't 
my style. 

It was a good thing 'till went down. An' now it's almost 
like it neva was. All I got is memories. I'm jus' hopin' in 
a couple mo' months, I can get her back, 'cause we both 
didn't deserve that. But on everything I was really mad 
and reacted off anger. I'll neva do that again, 'cause in 
the long run, even if I do get her back, it wasn't worth it, 
'cause it'll neva be the same. 

-Young Dunny, San Francisco 

From The Beat: To be honest, we really don't care if you are "real" or not 
because we don't think those words can accurately describe a human 

Wish I could bring my ninja back my ninja back for one day. 

Take him by the day-care to see his son play. 

And go show 'im how his baby momma went astray. And 

how the damn ninja's that claim they loved him then 

walk away. 

God, give me my ninja for 24 hours. 

So we can ride and laugh at these suck-ass cowards. Hit 

the liquor store, park, and just talk for hours. Show 'em 

how after a ninja die, how they lose power. 

Ninja forget about you dog, after they give you them flowers. 

Ol' triflin'-ass baby momma, then got wilder 

Now she with that ninja you robbed with the pink Impala. 

And like I told you before dog, that female sour. 

-Lil 1 Man-Man, San Francisco 

From The Beat: You should be thinking about finishing school and 
going to college. You have skills that should be developed in different 
circumstances. We are sorry that you are mourning the loss of this 
person who meant so much to you, but what you've written is very 
important for young people who think that death brings some kind of 
permanent fame or glory. It brings what it brings to all soldiers in war 
— they're soon forgotten, and another soldier steps in to take his place. 
Forget revenge! Make success your revenge! 

being. If you're alive, you're real! As for the love you lost, it 
like you've learned some valuable lessons because of it, and those 
lessons should make your future relationships — with or without her 
— that much better. You may never be the same, but you're stronger 
and wiser. 

J L 

Change Isn't Easy 

I expect no one to help me. I put myself in this situation, 
me, myself and I. It was my fault for getting arrested in the 
first place, not the people that were goin' to help me out to 
help me. I decided to make the wrong choices. 

A lot of people had offered me help, but I'm the dumb one 
to expect their help. I left a lot of people behind when 

I got arrested, but the only way that I could help myself 
when I get out is to change the way I am. It's a hard thing to 
do. Some people do make it through with the change. Some 
other people don't change and end up in the same place they 
started from. People just think of theirselves and care about 
them only. And those are the people that don't make it. You 
got to understand you got loved ones that care for 

you and want you to better yourself. 

-Alex, Santa Clara 
From The Beat: Change is never easy, Alex, because we are all 
comfortable with our habits. But after a while, we become more 
responsible in deciding which habits help and which hurt. You know 
which habits are hurting you and your loved ones, so you are able to 
deal with those habits, and put them behind you. Easy? Of course not. 
Worth it? Absolutely! 




// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

v/// // 

I Am The Ninja 

Lookin' back on what I accomplished 

It's only one way to describe me 

I was that ninja 

I was that ninja, ninja 

I was that lil' ninja, that big ninja, what-up ninja 

Or jus' plain ol' ninja 

I was a straight representation, duplication, manifestation 

Of a sleeping nation 

No forty acres and a mule 

No reparations 

But yet and still they allowed me to be 

That subconscious, unseen, drowning, deadly reality 

I was Native Son's Bigga 

"Yes, suh," "No, suh," too confused to figga 

Jus' one of millions of ninjas 

Guns to the dome 

Enslaved in Caesar's modern-day Rome 

Pullin' triggas on ninjas, what? 

My ninjas, the power exerted over me 

Was Bigga, bigga than a word 

But a social-conscious-predefined-redesigned-viral- 


Of the entity that Chris planned on the Mayflower 

Way back for me to be covering my third eye 

Losing sight of my story, making it a mystery 

Indoctrinating me in his-story 

Nothing about Isis, Set, Horus and Osiris 

The aftermath of Willie Lynch's what? 

Mentacidal ninja virus 

So much focus on the chains and bars 

That we can see 

But not nearly enough about the chains on our minds 

The reality of why we've never been free 

So caught up in these so-called traditions 

But have you ever asked yourself who authored the first 


Of your tradition? 

'Cause I was that ninja, that ninja-ninja 

That Bigga-ninja, my ninja, cool ninja 

That hard ass, real down and dirty ninja 

That ninja, given only one way to believe 

Only one book to read, when and while 

They raped, murdered, and stole my seed 

Taught me to have faith, pray and just hope 

While my brothas and sistahs were being hooked on 

government-experimental-laboratory shipped in what? Dope 

Ask yourself 

Would the deceiver give the deceived? 

Would the tricker give the tricked? 

Would the enslaver give the enslaved 

A key to freedom? 

An' end over 2,000 years of rule 

Over God's vast glorious kingdom? 

I think not, I'm just saying that book you read every 


Isn't valid or right 

But, to begin to understand, you first have to realize the 

how and why 

It is you, Black Man 

Who is the essence and filament of the light 

First we have to break the chains 

Be willing to unlearn everything we've been taught 

Treat everything as if a trap 

In which we've been ensnared or caught 

As your career is a reflection of what you do 

Your name should tell the story of you, you and all the 


How you live, your ancestry, your plight, casting the rays 

Shining from your individualistic, melanated light 

You see, I was that ninja, that ninja-ninja 

At times I even thought my name was Ninja 

But now I know who I am 

I am greatness, striving, struggling, revolution, war 

I am real 

Witness to the truth, seer of the light 

I am freedom, I am the sun 

I am the essence of life 

Where all men come from 

I am me, I am you 

I am the San Francisco savior 

I am the neighborhood phenom 

I am the next recording artist to go mainstream 

I am Fresh 

-Fresh, San Francisco 

From The Beat: It is inspiring to see how you weave a bitter history into a 
brilliant poem. You always challenge us to go deeper in our own thinking 
— and to research references we don't know. (By doing our research, for 
example, we learned "about Isis, Set, Horus and Osiris," for example. 
Thank you.) However, we found some lines not to be yours (like "Social- 
concious-pre-defined-redesigned-viral-mentacidal-recreation, of the entity 
that Chris planned on the Mayflower way back for me to be covering my 
third eye...") which causes us to question how much of this is yours and 
how much is borrowed, which prevents us from giving this a Piece Of the 
Week designation ... (When you quote others, you have to cite the source, 
give them credit for words they wrote, just as you would want others to 
credit you for the words you write.) We are very intrigued by the line, 
"I am me, I am you." We would love to read a long poem focusing just 
on that theme alone, because it challenges so much from our past (like 
slavery) and so much from our present (like gangs, racism, etc.) Write a 
poem about how this profound insight might change your relationship 
with your friends, your family, and with yourself. 


Damn Ri|kt! 

You damn right nothing changes overnight. Because if 
you want something to change that night, and think it's 
gonna be different in the morning, you got to be a damn 
fool or think you a genie or something. 

Nothing in this world would change overnight ==just 
like the situation I'm in I know that my charges are 
not going drop overnight. It's goin' to take time, like 
everything else in this life. But I know what can happen 
overnight your attitude and yo' behavior that you could 
try to change ...but it could be hard for everybody. 

-Pooda, Alameda 

From The Beat: We have to give you props for honesty here, because too 
many people think that they can just have what they want right away, 
and they suffer for it - and yes, even an attitude or behavioral change 
will take time. When you look at yourself, how do you feel like your own 
attitude or behavior has changed in the time you've been locked up? 

100 Years 

J L 

My dawg went to court today. They gave him 15. Crackers 
banned my lil ninja he was 17. 

Young ninja don't even know what all that time mean. 
Dumb-ass crackers done shattered my ninja dreams. They 
howlin' "Mandatory," they want him to do the whole thing. 
Crackers showed up in court on my dawg and did his thing. 
His lady callin' me cryin', and now I feel her pain. Tired of 
losin' all my ninjas to the chain gang. 

-Lil 1 Man-Man San Francisco 
From The Beat: Your anger is white hot, Man-Man, and you have a lot 
to be angry about. You're so right that by giving your boy an adult 
sentence, they've destroyed his boy's dreams, and that's a terrible thing. 
(We had to take out your threat as not appropriate and not something 
we hope you pursue, since all it can accomplish is to make some other 
innocents feel the pain of their loss.) We hate the system that treats 
children like adults {as if they can wave a magic wand and make it true). 
But along with your righteous anger, we wish you would also recognize 
that a share of the responsibility lies with your friend for giving the 
system the power it used to crush him. 



// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

A Fight For Love 

Let me c u 

Let me c who u r 

Let me c who u b 

Let me c what u c 

This is what I am 

I am who u made me 

To live without your love 

Is to live being crazy 

This is what I am 

Somewhat of what u made me 

So I'm not to be judged by u 

Cause u r the one who's crazy 

I am what I am 

I am what I c 

Sometimes what I c 

Is what I will always b 

Please give me some love 

And do not take it from me 

If I do get your love 

You're gonna have to shake it 

From me 

I will not stop 

I'm gonna put up a fight 

A fight for your love 

For your love is my life 

I can't c without your love 

Cause it is my life 

For your love is my sun 

It gives me a brighter day 

It gives me a warm, comfortable 

Feeling when I sleep at night 

For my family is my world 

And their love is my life. 

-Devonte, Fresno 
From The Beat: This is a well-written, crafty poem. Love is a powerful 
emotion, and it sounds like you've directed your love here toward your 
family. Keep the fight for love alive! 

A Dose of The Hood 

Watch out on them streets 'cause they grimy and cold 

Lil' ninjas bustin' guns at like eight years old 

Girls swearin' they love the Kid fo' he caught that case 

And after that she in yo' best friends face 

Don't really care about you or how you jailhouse livin' 

Got pain in they life and they don't know how I'm feelin' 

'Cause in my projects is all robbery, killin' and stealin' 

Mommas got babies up in pampers on tha' block drug dealin' 

Shhh crazy in tha' hood tha' government ain't knowin' 

Twelve years old on her knees all she knows is tha' hoin' 

Seen ninjas lose they life on some dice game shhh 

Done seen ninjas get robbed for too much ice on they wrist 

Seen ninjas sleep in cars 'cause they ain't got no house 

And it's hard tryna eat around these rats and mouse 

Seen 5.0. jack ninjas for tryin' to feed the' family 

Saw a lil' ninja like twelve sellin' crack to his granny 

At Mexicali Rose get his gold knocked out 

I mean Da'Von died even his soul rocked out 

Bank robberies is a must 'case in money we trust 

Just for lookin' the wrong way you can get yo' head bust 

I mean this block shhh shady this is a dose of tha' hood 

We back, baby so you know it's real good 

Rest in Peace, Weezy 

-Lil' Purp, Alameda 

From The Beat: You start out describing your hood like the nightmare 
it is - make us feel the the horrors and the pain of the children, and 
then at the end it's almost like you are proud of being a part of the 
criminality... But "If you're not part of the solution you are part of the 
problem." You have gifts - of intelligence, skill, observation - are you 
going to use those gifts to be a part of the solution? 

Longing For Love 

J L 

For so long I've been alone, 

Wanting freedom and a real woman's love. 

No more little kid games, 

One that will stay loyal and faithful when I fall. 

So tired of being lonely, 

And not having somebody by my side that really cares 

for me. 

I've been done wrong countless times, 

But too tough to be broken hearted. 

People think I have no heart, 

But don't even know who I really am. 

All they see is the emotionless outside of me, 

While my feelings are trapped behind a mask. 

I laugh rarely, 

Smile almost never. 

Want to change, 

But I can't seem to find a reason. 

I look at my reflection, 

And ask myself, silently, "Who am I?" 

I get closer to see 

What looks like my own eyes. 

But as I stare for a while, 

I see through my reflections. 

Flashbacks of all the pain, 

And losses are now in my vision. 

Tears come to the surface, 

And slowly roll down my cheeks. 

I shut my eyes then open them again, 

Everything disappeared I'm now seeing an emotionless 


So tell me, "Is this what life has to bring?" 

A mind clouded with memories and a heart filled with 


If it is then I would have rather not even been born, 

Because this suffering is something no one should 


I have lived the good life for a while, 

But every good thing always comes to an end. 

Every day I am looking for love, 

But all I have is my shadow by my side and it's sad to say 

it's my only friend. 

-Crazy L, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Your idea of love is someone "loyal and faithful when 
(you) fall," but does loyalty and faithfulness only go in one direction? 
If you "fall," isn't it because something was more important to you than 
holding on to her, since you knew the risk and took it. Maybe you have 
to define "the good life" in a new way. Maybe the good life is taking 
it one step at a time, and preparing now as a young man for a decent 
future as an adult, earning "the good life" in a new way. It seems to us 
you are far more likely to find love in that setting than in the setting 
you've now put yourself in. 




// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 

Can't Forget 

Warm welcomes to all my loved ones and fellow females 
and males locked down. Tonight, I am going to write about 
a life experience. 

In the fall of 2005 I was fourteen years old. I was 
attending Ocala Middle School when I met a lovely young 
lady named Ver at an Ocala vs. Pala wrestling match. When 
we were leaving back to our school I approached Veronica 
and to make a long story short I was scared shhh-less to 
ask her out but I was lusting so bad that I just went on 
and asked her. 

I was surprised when Ver gladly said yes. 

Ver and I went out several times before we became a 

After six months of being with her I found out that 
she was good friends with my best friend Jason. 

May I add that I don't call many people friends, but 
Jay was a friend to me. 

Anyways, I found out they were good friends when I 
went to Eastridge Mall and seen them both eating. 

I approached them and asked what's going on here, 
they said "Oh us? Nothing, we're friends we known each 
other since we were babies." My being naive I believed 

Later on my friend Jay invited me to a barbeque at his 

I denied his invitation but later on that day I decided 
to go see what's up at his barbeque. When I got there Jay's 
mom told me that Jay was in the room with some girl so 
I said forget it, I am going to let him know that I came by. 
When I walked into Jay's room I seen him and Ver having 
intercourse I was shocked. I felt like if my heart was torn 
out of my chest and ripped to pieces in front of me. 

Since that day I feared getting too close to any girl in 
my life. I felt like I was in love but I was mistaken. 

I feel like I can still fall in love but it will take a little 
more for me to fall in love with a girl. Hopefully I find that 
special someone. Well to all good night one love. 

-Chuko, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: It must have hurt so much for your friend and your girl 
to betray your trust the way they did. How do you think this experience 
has affected you in your relationships? Do you think you will enter your 
next relationship more cautiously? Sure you will. Damn. 


For Someone Special 


Was it a dream I dreamed 

Last night I saw a friend who understood 

The ups and downs, joy and pain 

The bad as well as good 

Did I fantasize or make this up 

This bond I swear we have 

So strong and real sometimes I feel 

You're so near I can hear you laugh 

There's no telling what lies at the end for us 

Trust me, though, I know you're scared 

But close your eyes and follow my voice 

And I swear I'll guide you there 

Damn, if I was your girlfriend or your man, you'd surely 

trust me 

In no rush to touch, but intent on making you love me 

If I don't do nothing I will succeed where others tried to 

Through my letters and poems 

You're no longer alone 

'Cause I'll forever be inside you 

-Lil 1 Junk, San Francisco 

From The Beat: Whoever you are writing to, it's obvious that you have 
a lot of passion for this person. We hope your fantasy about the two 
comes true. But, of course, first things first: get yourself free and stay 
that way! 

When the Time Comes ("not" Overnight) 

People want people to change but it's not that easy. It's 
always easy to say something but it's real hard to take 
actions. Where I'm trying to get at is if you got a history of 
doing bad or always getting in trouble it's not always easy 
to change. You would really got to work hard on it takes a 
lot of time, it can happen over night. 

I'm the type of person that's stuck on my bad habits 
and I've been trying to change little by little but in my 
situation that's not enough. There's a lot of things that 
I do that I might not ever stop doing just because I'm so 
used to doing it, but when the time comes I might end up 
changing my old ways. 

There's a lot of things that you could change over 
night but it might not be as serious as the future of your 

-Chow-Main, Solano 

From The Beat: We have a lot of respect for your thinking and writing, 
and wonder this time when the heck do you think the "time" will come 
if it is not NOW? What are you waiting for? 

J L 

Using Time To Educate Myself 


I've got nothing but time, nothing but time to think about 
my mistakes, to wish I could do it again a different way. 
Locked up in here I learned to enjoy every day no matter 
how terrible it is. But most of all to not take the days for 
granted. I'm educating myself. 

-Nothing But Time, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We always admire people who are trying to better 
themselves, educate their minds, grow in experience and understanding. 
And that admiration goes for people on the outs as well as those inside. 
We'd love to read about where your self-education is taking you. 

Nothing's Free 

Coke, weed, and ecstasy, 

Whiskey, sex and speed, 

The roller coaster we call life, 

Where nothing's ever free. 

Our past holding us back, 

Keeping us in place, 

Even when our man, 

Hits us in our face. 

Love is all but here, 

Hate all but gone, 

When we no longer want to say, 

That's me an my man's song. 

Crying, dying, trying, 

To be Daddy's Angel, 

And trying not to, 

Fire up Mommy's uncontrollable anger. 

Brother's run away again, 

Sister's always high, 

Help her hide her stash, 

As the 5-0 rolls by. 

Nothing in life is free, 

Even death has a price. 

The time's come for me to go, 

Grim reapers rolled his dice. 

-Isis, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: We all have one thing in life and that is the freedom 
to choose. We understand that it is difficult as a young child to assert 
this freedom. Sometimes young people do not understand how to make 
choices that will benefit them in the long run, as they are focused on 
the "here and now". Your piece hits so many tender places that we 
have found it difficult to know which one to respond to. Rollercoasters 
can be fun and exciting, but living life on a constant "adrenaline rush" 
takes a toll on body and mind-this is evidenced in what you mention as 
"ways to cope" the rollercoaster life. Is it possible to enjoy a life that 
is not so "wild"? What choices can you make that will not be as costly 
in the long run? 





// ' ////// ' // ' /// ' #, 

///// // 

AT flWtt 

f 170JW ' Ma00 \ 

RIP Anthony James Custard III 

If I could bring back somebody that person would be my 
cousin Anthony Jones Custard III. He was set up by this 
girl that he used to talk to, but this is how everything went 
down from him slapping her. ..he went outside to calm 
down and then she said she was goin' to have somebody 
wack him. 

Then I told him that, and then later on that day, she 
asked him did he want something to eat, then I guess 
he said yeah, then like and then like five or ten minutes 
later, you heard nine gunshots. I ran outside and then I 
seen him layin' right on the sidewalk with his eyes open. 

Still, then it shocked me 'cause I was just talking to 
him at his mama's house, and then he was dead. Just 
before that we was smokin' some grapes, then we was 
chopping it up, then he was dead. That same day. 

Then after that some months later I got shot at when 
I was 12, and then I got grazed by a bullet on the side of 
my head, and that's why I have a big scar. 

-Casey, Alameda 

From The Beat: What a tragedy, a life cut down for no good reason, 
an argument that could have been settled peacefully. How did you 

Is It A Dream 

Wait something has to be wrong 

I've been in this dream way too long 

But I always wake up so it must be for real 

About to do some time, you would hate how I feel 

Sending me to a place with nothing but hate 

Must be trippin' expecting me to rehabilitate 

Mind set to ten as a two-striker 

Praying to the lord not to mistake me as a lifer 

Imagine a fish caught in a net 

Wishing he didn't go for the bait 

Now he dies of regret 

I'm that fish caught by the DA 

Wishing for a chance to swim away 

But I took that trigger bait 

Putting it down for that upper part of the state 

California our land of fast murder rate 

Got fools out here thinking they got bullet-proof bodies 

But get proved wrong with multiple shotties 

Like they say, roses are red and violets are blue 

So what is there to do when there ain't shhh to do 

That's why I stay true to my race 

Some are confused, what a disgrace 

Like punks claiming they're down to ride 

But banging on the wrong side 

Like Obama I have a long range 

Trying to hit the target of change 

But he has that faithful heart 

As for me, I don't even know where to start 

But I can't complain, I chose this highway 

Like a drunk driver who has been drinking all day 

I'ma drive it to the very last day 

If this hasn't been a dream all along 

Then where did my innocent childhood go wrong 

-Cisco, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We admire your poetic skills more than the message 
you are delivering with those skills. We had to take some gun/killing 
references out, but beyond that, we wish you'd look deeper than the 
surface. You talk about "banging the wrong side," without giving any 
serious thought that your side is the wrong side if you were born 
somewhere else (which you had nothing to do with). Even "putting it 
down for California" is purely an accident of geography. If you lived in 
some other state, you'd be boasting about it. But killing for it? Dying 
for it? Is there any thought, any ideas, that accompany this devotion to 
place? Where do those ideas come from? Why have you adopted them 
instead of rejecting them? These are all questions that an analysis that 
gets under the surface might answer. We'd love to read it... 

Waiting For The Consequences To Show 

The young seem to not care about their life or health 
even though they know the consequences because the 
consequences don't show right away. So they don't care 
until it starts showing. Then they start getting scared. 
But some just keep goin' with whatever they're doin', 
even when it does show. And then next thing they know, 
it's too late. They wishing that they never started. 

-Kringle, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We think you're right about why so many young people 
don't seem to care about long-term consequences. What about you? 
Have you stopped doing anything because you started to think about 
where it was leading? 

If I Put My Mind To It 


I believe I can fly if Jordan can do it 

I could be a President if Obama can do it 

I could be a judge if Lam could do it 

I could be a millionaire if Wayne can be it 

Anything I want, I can do, if I put my mind to it 

Respect ya'self before you dis anybody else 

Respect ya'self before you neglect yourself 

Respect ya'self before you lose ya'self 

You disrespect ya loved one, you dis ya house 

You ain't clean, you disrespectin' ya'self 

I gone with that 

Respect is the key to succeed 

Love is a word an' if you readin' this 
That word of yours is gone 
You can't love nobody if you locked up 
Unless you in here for love 

Money is task, it ain't never been an option 
If you a G, then you know what I mean 
Wake up, eat, get money on that don't end 
Live life to the richest—illegal or legal 

-Free Ya'Self, San Francisco 

From The Beat: We just don't get why you would look at Obama and 
realize that you could be anything you choose, but then end by telling 
your readers to get rich any way they can, including the ways that lead 
back here! You're only using a part of your brain! 


J L 

Starting Over Again 

I have been my worst enemy. The story all begins when I 
moved in to my dad's house. When I moved in everything 
was a disaster. I wasn't getting along with Laura, my dad's 
wife and everything was just a mess. 

Then I got introduced to the ERC program (Evening 
Reporting Center). Guy, the ERC director, got me, my 
dad and Laura together at the ERC program one night, 
sat us down and helped everything get better. I restarted 
by meeting Laura and my dad again, but this time with 
manners. That same night after we left the ERC program 
we went home and from there everything was going 

Two weeks later I blew everything by running away for 
no reason. I messed everything up by doing that. Really 
stupid on my part. And that is the time where I was my 
own worst enemy. 

-Kylie, Maricopa County, Arizona 

From The Beat: Kylie, we like your honesty and willingness to take 
responsibility for your own action and attitude. What was your breaking 
point? You've shown the ability to turn yourself around-to take on a 
more positive way of relating to those around you. What did it feel like 
to be able to communicate with your parents respectfully? You have 
shown you are open to positive intervention and direction. We believe 
you will find the inner strength to pull yourself up out of this negativity 
once again. 




// ' ////// ' // ' /// 

'//// // 

If I Could Bring My Grandma Back... 

If I could bring my grandma back I think my whole 
house would be happy but also we would be all down and 
sad about my grandpa and my grandma would have to go 
on living without him, but it would also be more harder 
on my grandma to not have her husband here with her. I 
think my life would be different. I would be happy and I 
also wouldn't be here right now, and would be better at 
school and not having all different females at the house. 
My grandma would not allow it, and also she would be 
able to see how good I am at karate. 

Yes, I would still be here on this earth, but I would not 
be here in the Hall. And I would also not e here because 
I wouldn't have done what I did to be here in this place. 
I would tell them that I love them and that I would be 
the best I could. Also that I want to be a singer, and my 
grandma probably could help me be a singer and help me 
do some things and better my life. 

I would want to tell them everything and everything 
that was going to happen in the future - the good things 
and the bad things that was going to happen, and ask 
them to help me prevent them things that were going to 
happen and help me better myself. 

Before I went to sleep last night I thought about my 
future, what I'm going to do and I also thought about my 
girlfriend and my baby. When I get out of here I'm gonna 
get a job and make my money and support my baby and 
my baby momma and make sure my baby is having the 
best life that I can give him. I am takin' cae of my baby 
very well, as best as I can, and my mom told me she would 
help me and I love that she is helping me, and also my 
Aunt Judy is helping me, and man, while I'm at school 
and my girl is at school, my mom and ma aunt, got our 
baby at that job, switching off who watches him, and 
damn, I love that kid. 

I would do and give anything to my baby and my girl, 
also I love both of them very much, and they cannot wait 
for me to get out. I can't wait to see my baby, my girl, and 
my family. 

-Leon, Alameda 

From The Beat: The determination and love here is so strong it just 
leaps out the page, and we're s happy that you have love and support 
from your family to help you raise your little boy. 

Good Times Bad Times 

Let's take it back to my first fist fight 

Or how I used ta go skatin' every Saturday night 

Grown up without a father in my life 

Mom's took 'em to court didn't even wanna pay child 


My heart ain't skippin' no beat I ain't losin' no sleep 

For all I care he can be dead in the streets 

I got a whole lot to say 

And this goes to my brother Tray locked down in Y.A. 

Keep yo head up brode' only the strong survive 

Don't even trip Derrick holdin' it down on the outside 

Bra just do yo' time and be patient 

Yo' lil' bras eatin' no financial situation 

Oscar Grant was my cousin 

Got knock down by some police ain't that some'? 

Now, I just smoke weed, sip bo' to get by 

Watch my lil' sisters, big brothers, and mama cry. 

RIP Oscar Grant 

-Lil 1 Ant, Alameda 

From The Beat: Don't waste your talent, your heart, and all these 
painful experiences teaching you life lessons on giving up. That's what 
the sippin' bo, the smolcin', the street drama are all about: Giving up. 
And your future is too valuable for that! 



J L 

When the sun dances in the sky 

When the moon illuminates my eye 

When I pace with hesitation. 

Or wander in life without a destination 

When I daydream of the way things should be 

And realize they might never be. 

When I face what life has to offer to me 

When all I've ever been dealt is grief and poverty 

When I find myself in this circumstance 

When I ponder at how I could put my life at chance 

When I truly understand how much you care 

When I lead my life on the fact you weren't there 

And fuel my hate with your negligence 

When I make myself invisible so I wont be such a 


When I wake another day to live 

And pray you'll take the heart I give 

When you care so much it makes me wonder 

You stand by my side I gaze in a blunder 

When you refuse to lose hope 

Your strong courageous presence helps me cope 

When I think of you I stand on a mountain 

When your wisdom flows like a fountain 

When you wake with every tomorrow 

And for my sake deny your burdens and sorrow 

Just know and never doubt how easy you made it for me 

To love you back 

And I'll never turn my back 

When he sun dances in the sky 

When the moon illuminates the sky. 

-Cisco, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Was this inspired by your own personal experiences or 
by a friend? You know, we can go through these difficult experiences 
but once you find your way to heal then you learn to deal with these 
things. Maybe writing could be it for you? Even if it isn't we hope to 
hear more from you. 



// - ////// - // - /// ' #. 

f//f/ // 

ff wimix 

f 170JW ' fffla00 \ 

Why Do People Die? 


Please tell me why people die. 

Why do I sit up all night and cry? 

After the night my cousin took his own life 

I wanted to know why. 

What made my little cousin cry? 

Was it because his mama died? 

Losing him was the hardest 

Thing I ever had to go through. 

I try to hide my pain 

And hope it's not discovered, 

But after a while the pain is uncovered. 

Please tell me why people die? 

They say "you're in a better place" 

But why make it a race? 

Why race to get to the gate? 

"Your time will come" 

"You don't have to use that gun" 

Now he is gone somewhere in the skies 

And all I wonder is why. 

Why do people die? 

-Samantha, Fresno 

From The Beat: You don't have to hide your grief, wanting answers and 
feeling sad when there are none is part of the grieving process. Share 
how you feel with someone you trust, and learn to turn your sadness 
into help for others. 

Dead Pain 

Sometimes when I lay in my bed, 

I say that I wish that I were dead. 

All the pain that I cause, 

It still will not pause, 

Too many times, 

Crying' at night, 

Man I just wish I were dead. 

That would probably be best, 

I don't know how to live life, 

I don't know how to be kind, 

I hide how I really feel inside 

And try to be lookin' like I am glad 

When I am really mad. 

Everybody thinks that I'm a happy person 

But how can they be so blind. 

I wish I were dead, 

And take no last breath. 

Well, don't let the way I look fool you. 

-Crazy Gurl, Fresno 

From The Beat: We think that it is possible for you to learn to love 
your life, and to appreciate the humor and happiness that you bring to 
others around you. Just reach out to someone who you can trust and 
they will help you through it. 



Witch Me Bleed 

Watch me bleed, listen to 

My son cry, watch me 

Sweat, listen to my heart beat, 

Find me on the corner, or find 

Me in the streets, you could 

Hate me 'cause you ain't me, or you could 

Love me because you know me, but do 

You know my past, or do you know 

My future, do you know the 

Grudge that I hold against these 

Streets or are you so blind that 

You can't see, do you see a 

Future or do you see a casket, 

Life before death is what we are here for not 

Death before life, thank you. 

-Meezy, Alameda 

From The Beat: Amazing poem Meezy - we don't know your future, but 
we know what it could be - it could be a future where you take yourself 
out of the negativity and then come back to fix it? Like you said, life 
before death. 


My Little Sister 

The topic of nothing changing overnight is hella real. If 
you think about it, nothing changes overnight. Leaving 
home and running the streets isn't the biz, especially 
when you have a family. 

Having both parents who love you to death and two 
younger sisters who love to see their brothers' smiling 
face when they wake up just is remarkable. But when that 
brother starts to mess up hella bad to the point where the 
mom feels like he's endangering the family, she does the 
unthinkable. The mom felt she had no other choice but 
to file a restraining order on him at the age of 15. 

Two years have come and gone since the day I was 
kicked out. Street life is a rush, a high if you will, but 
when you're not able to see your favorite little sister, 
that's tough. 

Seeing her play sports, excel in school, and grow in 
general is tough. Especially when she feels the same way 
about me. I've been trying but not hard enough. Staying 
clean only for a moment then going back to my old 

I won't wake up tomorrow, or the next day, or even 
next year and see her in the room down the hall. I won't 
see her until 2011 when I am 19. I gotta change not only 
for her but for me so I can still become a Marine. 

I got it all figured out but the hard part is putting my 
plan into action and that takes time. Believe me, even 
though I am here, my plan has already been put in motion, 
and this time, I am staying on the right path. 

Katrina, this is my promise to you, your older brother 
loves you to death and will do ANYTHING for you. You're 
my motivation when there is none. I love you. 

-Circling, Fresno 

From The Beat: As her brother, it's your responsibility to be a good role 
model, and you can be that as long as you always keep her in mind. 
Good things can come if you keep moving in a positive direction. 

/ got it all figured out hut the 
hard part is putting tmfplau into 
action and that takes time, 


&Mnnnn*EE jw— 


Valentine's Day With My Girl 


The best Valentine's present I ever got was to go out with 

my girl, take her on a walk in the park, and be with her all 

day. That's the best Valentine's Present I ever gave. 

Oh yea I also took her to the theater up in Bayfair. 

-Lil' G 
From The Beat: Are you still with this girl? And if so, what steps are you 
talcing to make sure that you can be with her on Valentines Day '1 01? 

Marijuana and Cancer 


Well, I got hella patna's who smoke. They like doing 
it 'cause it makes them feel good and some say there 

See, I smoke weed myself and I might smoke only for 
when I go to a function or parties. I got a cousin who's 
been smoking since he was a young teen and he plays 
sports. I also have a patna who told me that his doctor told 
him if he keeps smoking then he might die in a week. 

The first time I ever smoked a cigarette I didn't get 
addicted and that day on I never got addicted on it. It also 
was making me more stressed, I mean were gonna die 
anyways. I love weed so I'm gonna keep getting on! 

-Monie Bo 

From The Beat: Do you think there's any truth to that study that links 
bud to testicular cancer? Maybe you can do your own research to prove 
it wrong? Otherwise, we hope you slow your roll down, and can get 
your life back on track! 

Marijuana And Cancer 



I smoke, I'll stop sooner or later but not now. They 
get a cure for it sooner. Point me in the direction of a 
swisher~I can't get enough of it. Cancer ain't gone stop 
me from smoking sorry, I smoke to the neck most of the 
time I be on it ain't no secret. 

-Lil' Marv 

From The Beat: How does smoking weed all the time affect your 
motivation and ability to put together the life to keep you a free man? 
Being free seems more important than being high. We're not even 
talking about the possibility of cancer later, we mean your life now. 

Livin' Life 

Livin yo' life it could be good or bad 

You could be happy or sad 

Mad or glad 

But I chose the wrong way 

'Cause I was tryna get paid 

Mayn dog something gotta change 

I choose da dope game now I'm in a cell mane. 


From The Beat: Now that you know where those choices led you, you 
also have a chance to make different ones, right? So what kinds of 
different choices will you make? 

What Can Money Fix? 

rhflt I 

Money can't fix a broken heart. 

In many ways money can fix a problem 'cause of what 
most people stress upon is the fact that they don't have 
any money or at least not enough. 

But when people get it they might still have the same 
problems. I know if I had more money than I had some 
not all of my problems would still be there. 


From The Beat: That's true, money can't change all problems. Just like 
they say money can definitely NOT buy happiness. But legit money is 
still something you need to get by, so how are you going to earn your 
legit money? 

Shoulda Coulda Woulda... 

People say plan for your future but tomorrow is not 
even promised so why plan when we ain't sure if we gone 
be around? Me? I love day by day and pray every night 
and when I open my eyes I thank God for waking me up. 
But sometimes I think I should of maybe planned 'cause 
things could of come out just a tad bit different if I would 
of just planned. But I ain't the one fo' that should of 
could of would of mess so I'll just be livin' day by day the 
easy way, feel me? 

Even though we definitely know nothing ever 
happened over night 'cause if it did the 'hood would of 
been goin' down hill for a very long time now. We don't 
know how to act, I say we because it's my generation and 
the generation before us that made the 'hood how it is. It's 
like ninjas gettin' killed every week and it's ridiculous. 
And all the girls flghtin' and the dudes is condoning it 
like it's cute. Then it's them same girls who they laugh 
and smoke and drank wit' that will set dude up feel me? 
We used to be family in the 'hood now we ain't even got 
trust. I'm from the City and it been bananas in my 'hood 
for a while now so I know things don't happen over night 
'cause I been waitin' on the 'hood to go back to the "Good 
OF Days" when nobody gotta worry 'bout slippin 'cause 
everybody got each other's back and we all gettin' money 

I'm probably soundin' like Dr. MLK Jr. but I love my 
'hood and my ninjas but they is snakes I wouldn't defend 
'em if my life depended on it dawg 'cause like I said, 
people don't know how to act! But I'm gone Beat! 

-Lady Squeeze 

From The Beat: You write a lot about how things in the hood used to 
be good, but have gone bad in what sounds like the past few years. 
What do you think changed, and what could change it back? As for 
planning, as easy as it might be to just live day to day, has that worked 
well for you? Do you think you could've avoided troubles you've had 
by planning things? 


Nowadays marijuana destroys 85% percent of teenagers' 
minds and they lose control of themselves and start to 
mess up. Marijuana makes such an impact to the teenage 
society, and that's why a lot of them don't be anything, 
it takes control of it seem like. Because once you get 
hooked on to it you constantly smoke, then you start to 
spend lots of money on it and that's not a good thing. 

I wonder what would happen if marijuana never was 
established and how many people would have a better 
life than what they is now. But I know lots of people that 
smoke marijuana and they even come to school. Most of 
them are in group homes and really don't care about life. 


From The Beat: Sounds like you have a lot of stories to share about 
people you know who have been negatively affected by marijuana. 
How does marijuana affect people differently than other drugs? Do 
you see a difference - do you think some drugs are more damaging to 
peoples' lives than others? 


Stay Solid 

J L 

Stay solid don't give up. Do what you got to do to stay 
alive. Don't listen to no one who don't respect you. Just 
live your life and praise the Lord. I love the Lord and he 
created me so I'm going to sacrifice my life to him. 


From The Beat: You've got a lot of different things to say here. You put 
out a lot of big ideas which is great that you're thinking about them, 
but next time can you explain to readers what you mean? Can you give 
us more detail? 


aMnnnmEB jw— 


Time For A Change 


Well this is the demon coming at you one time from the 
streets of Hayward, well this my first time writing to The 
Beat within but my eighth time coming to the hall. 

It's time for me to change some of my ways because 
I'm about to turn eighteen pretty soon and this female is 
pregnant with my kid. I know it's going to take a lot but I 
need to start now. 

I'm Anna go to camp within a few months I'm going 
to pimp that quickly. But that's all for now. For all doing 
time keep your heads up and strive "pray for the best but 
prepare yourself for the worst." Gone for now. 

-Young Demon 

From The Beat: It is critical you become a consistently free man, for 
yourself and your child. You wouldn't like the adult system. You need to 
stop the in and out cycle now. We're glad you're stepping up! 

The Pride Deep Within 


Well, I've been labeled many things in my life, 

But that's because my attitude change from day to night 

I wasn't born with options, I was born with obligations 

To ride for the city and the hood that I was raised in. 

Creeping through the streets, lacing up my boots and 

riding with my troops. 

They always held it down 

When trouble came around 

And if trouble is what you were looking for than trouble 

is what you found 

'Cause the brown of my skin holds the pride deep within 

I am from the heart of the ghetto where the true gangsters 


So I could give a F if what I am doing is right or wrong, 

'Cause even if it is, I'm gonna still tag along. 

As a young teen I had already potted a scheme 

To say fahget a dream and follow the code, 

You only got one life so I'm gonna live it to the death, 

I always believed the word I had tatted on my chest 

'Cause I am quick to break the neck of a hater, Lonely's 

always been a true player, a life taker, and as an enemy 

dies his family's terrorized tears in their eyes, I did it for 

my side. 


From The Beat: The line that really sticks out for us in this well-written 
and tragic poem is that yes, you weren't born with options. Children 
don't choose the world they are born into. So how about you write a 
poem that tells us some more about how you first got introduced to the 
life, how you got caught up... . 

Now That I Think About It 

Last week at court the judge said to me I was going to 
camp for 6 to 9 months. At first I was upset and angry 
about going and then I had talked to a staff and they told 
me that I will be able to get my GED and learn a trade. 

Now that I think about it, camp will be a good program 
for me because when I was on the outs I wasn't going to 
school and I was just messing up my life. Now I will be 
away from all the negativity and all the distractions at 
home and in my hood. I will be able to focus on school 
and get my GED and learn a trade and get in Jr. College 
and be able to do something with my life when I get out of 
camp and stop having my mama and grandma stressing 
and worrying about me getting into trouble all the time. 
I just wanna make them proud of me, and stop all the 


From The Beat: It's great that you were able to convert your initial anger 
into determination. We wish you luck. 

The School Dance 

The best valentine's present I ever got was when the girl 
that I liked said she liked me and asked me to the school 

The best present I ever gave was I took my girlfriend 
to the beach and spent all day with her and wrote her a 
poem. I've never been in a situation where someone liked 
me and I didn't like her not that I know of though. 


From The Beat: Did you write anyone letters from juvenile this past 
Valentine's Day? Do you ever write poems anymore? 

Gurls Se Play in 

Man what's good Beat all I gotta say is females be playin. 
My female just wrote me and said she want me to get her 
pregnant and she gone leave me. Bra please I'm not even 
going there. Naw I'm lyin but that's just one way gurls be 

Another thing is just they be lyin' bout lil shhh that 
can be avoided and then when we do something they be 
ready to talk all the shhh in the world but I don't got time 
for the playin because playin is for kids feel me and I'm 
tryin to get ma mind right so I can stay out feel me. 

But to all gurls when you got a good ninja keep him 
because you don't know what you got till it's gone-real 
talk-but I'm gone Beat. 

-Young Nuttso 

From The Beat: Well we think everyone is capable of playing games 
(men and women), and we agree that it's frustrating when you want to 
keep things clear. Some say that the way you get things, is the way 
they continue to be. So if you manipulate to get love, that love will be 
manipulative. ..It's good practice to be what you want in return. 



Who I Would Bring Back: I would bring back my patna 
Burger because he was mobbin' 'in the hood and he used 
t make it fun. 

I would bring back my brother because I would start 
off good for him. My brother died when he was eight 
months old. He used to always sleep with me. It was like 
he was my son. I took care of him. If I could bring him 
back he would be mobbin' together, walking to school 
together, and going to the mall to get girls, and go get ice 
ream. We'd go to the movies, and anything we could do 

What can't money fix? Money can't fix all the people 
that died and money can't bring them back either. Money 
can't fix us by paying our way out Juvenile Hall. 

-Lil' P 

From The Beat: How did your little brother die? We are so sorry for your 
loss ... but we are sure that in this time on this planet he appreciated 
having a brother who loved him so much. 


Never Dntouchable 


People who think they're untouchable or can't get got is 
stupid to me. Anybody can get touched including me. 

Most of the people who think they can't get touched 
be off some type of drug most of the time that drug be 
powder, and the people who think they're untouchable 
end up being the first person getting touched. 

Some people say Barack Obama is untouchable just 
because he got secret service and other people somebody 
close to him one of the secret service can get him so in 
this world nobody is untouchable. 

-Young Boobie 

From The Beat: We agree. Take care of yourself. 


&Mnnnn*EE jw— 


Valentine's Day 


I'm kind of mad because I'm gonna be locked down, and 
I want to be home with my female. But I don't only think 
about myself, I think of the females locked up in here 
too because they shouldn't be here. They should be with 
their boyfriends on a romantic date watching the sunset 
on a beach or at home with their family, but the dudes in 
these females don't be treating them right . 

If I was rich and I was and it was Valentine's day, I 
would get a yacht and take them out to eat on the ocean 
while we watch the sun go down. 


From The Beat: Why do you think the females in juvie shouldn't be 
locked up? If a young man and young woman commit the same crime, 
do you think they should be treated differently? This is an interesting 
comment, we'd love for you to explain! 

The Things I Miss 

Last night before I went to sleep I thought about the days 
I could be spending with my family. I thought about the 
days I was getting together with my loved ones. I really 
miss them. I miss hugging and kissing my little nephews, 
my little sisters. 

I miss stealing my mom's car to cruise with my 
homies. I miss cutting school and smoking in the school 
paring lot. I swear I think I miss getting caught! I miss 
getting high before class started. 

Damn if I could only go back in time and be at my 
hose, using the computer, listening to music on on the 

Also, I miss fighting with my mom and sister about 
stupid shhh. I remember when I used to be on the phone 
almost all the time after school so that the school wouldn't 
be able to call my house and say that I was absent that 

-Sad Boy 

From The Boy: All these details you set up here give us a really good 
idea of the love in your family, and also the ways, big and small, that 
you used to get in trouble. We hope that your trouble days are over, 
because there's too much love waiting for you! 

— — «— ^— ^^^— 

There to Kiss Her 

On Valentines day I'm going to write my girl and tell her 
I love her and that I'm mad because I'm not there to kiss 

I'm going to let her know that when I get out I'm going 
to make up the time I been away from her and then I will 
have a baby by her so we can start a family. 

Lately a ninja been thinking where he want to be in 
life. Last week my ninja named Red died. It just that if 
you really love yourself you would want to know where 
you're going to be 20 years from now. 

So to all the real ninjas, find out what you want in life 
and go after it. 


From The Beat: We are sorry for the loss of your friend. Sometimes 
when we experience huge loss like that what we need to do with our 
lives looks very clear. It's great you have love and someone to build a 
future with. How are you doing with school, and what do you think 
of work? 

With God While In A Gang 

In the gang life when it come to God and if we're in 
church and our enemies are in there we leave the gang 
stuff at the door. 


From The Beat: Does God separate life in church from outside church? 

J L 

Talk To Me Real 

What's really good lil' cousin? You just tryin to turn a 
lil' bit into something. But do you ever think of a day that 
you can find a better way? I try, but it gets harder every 

I try to pray, but God never comes. So should I go 
help myself or should I wait for him to come? Go help 
yourself you should wait for no one. Just know the sun 
is gonna shine if you have patience youngin'. 

I talked to this old lady and she said she blacked out, 
bro, and then she saw a light with a hand, when God woke 
her up. She was on her way to heaven but she prayed to 
stay with us, 'cause everybody in this life got somebody 
that they love. 

Mama told me the other day it's okay to be in love. But 
keep your head up and remember who to trust and you 
gonna always be my son. Ain't nothing coming between 
us, she is the main one I love and this the only one I 
trust. And they say hate is love, I shall hate on nobody 
and remain a thug. The block I love, the reason 'cause 
this is where the young homie died and this where I shed 

-Dirt Laden 

From The Beat: Tell us more about our lil' cousin — you write to him a lot 
it seems — what is your relationship like? Where is he now? Tell us more 
about your reasoning behind giving your soul to the block. 


I Don't Stop 

Me, I do a lot of things that are bad for me and are a risk 

to my health. Sometimes I think about what I do but I don't 

care and do it anyways all the time. I put myself in danger 

and take lots of risks but I don't take anything seriously. 

I smoke hella blunts and I don't stop for probation or 

nobody else, only when I want to stop. 

-Lil' D 
From The Beat: Why do you think you have a "I don't care" mentality? 
You might not care what happens to you but there are a lot of people 
out there who do care. We hope that this stint in the hall gives you time 
to think of how you really feel about your life, otherwise... 

The Dest Valentine's 


The best Valentine's I had was when I was fresh with 
new Jordans and Valentine's cards for my people. I got 
some girls who I want to be my Valentine and they want 
to be mine but I don't know what to do 'cause I went with 
them or broke up with them and they are acting funny 
and stuff. 

I want a serious relationship like some that I had 
before I came to jail and still got but I don't have a 
Valentine. I'm going to be in jail this Valentine's but when 
I get out I'll probably have too many Valentine's that I'm 
going to spend time with. 

Sometimes I don't be feeling girls to be my valentine 
because some of them have boyfriends and try to play 
with your head. So, I have girls but that's private I only 
talk to one girl at a time 'cause they cheating stuff get 
you caught up. When I get out I'm going to not cheat on 

I wanted to see my family for Valentine's but you do 
the crime, you do the time. When I get out I'm going to be 
a good kid and stay home and next time I'm not going to 
be in jail on Valentine's Day. 


From The Beat: It's great that Valentine's Day has inspired you to do well 
when you get out! It might be hard at first to stay home instead of kick 
it, but there are so many other places that you can invest your time in! 
Look up some internship programs in your area, you might even land 
the career you want! 


&Mnnnn*EE jw— 

Other Angels 

My Future 

I am a thug 

Though I love God 

I have nice prayers 

I remember the Lord's prayer 

And I wish to be able to fly 

In heaven with other angels 

-Here on Earth 

From The Beat: How is it to be a God loving thug? You 

don't want to wait to get to heaven to hang out with 


Nothing Changes Ova Night 

Nuttin changes ova night 

But one day if you try it might 

Change seems outta sight 

but you have to have enough light 


From The Beat: We agree change can come anytime you're ready. How 
do you have enough light? 

Just before I went to sleep last night, I thought about 
smokin' hella weed, and getting hella drunk, and bein' off 
hella bo, and partying all night. 

I also thought about my future. I think about what I'm 
going to do when I get out of the hall. I was thinking about 
getting my group home program finished when I get out 
of here, and a whole lot of other plans I can't really talk 

-LiT G 

From The Beat: Just remember, the more positive you manage to think 
while you're in the hall, the easier it will be to LIVE positive once you 
get out. We hope you stay positive - because you deserve a brighter 

The People I Would Bring Back 

If I could I would bring back my homie JR. Someone 
shot him on his twenty-first birthday. My life would 
be different. I wouldn't say, so let's go smoke by his 
memorial - I would say let's go smoke with him. Also, I 
would want to bring back my grandpa. He died of heart 
and lung failure. My life would be really different. 

He died when I was seven. I would tell him I love 
him and I am grateful for all the things he did for me. I 
remember the night he died, my grandma asked me if I 
wanted to go to the hospital with her to visit him, but I 
said no. I picked out his coffin, it was dark green. I wanna 
bring my mom back too. Her birthday was Valentine's 
Day. I would also bring my friend Biniam back too. If he 
was still alive, my cousin wouldn't be locked up. 


From The Beat: These are so many tragedies to have weighting on you: 
Friends, mother, grandfather... but you must keep your head held high, 
and live your life in honor of your love for them. 

Only If You Want it To 

I don't think there is a such thing as "nothing changes 
overnight," Because maybe it could change, like people 
on the grind-shhh can change. Because you could get 
stacks of money! That will change a lot of things, maybe 
it could, maybe it can't. Only if you want it to. 


From The Beat: We agree with you, it wouldn't really be the stacks of 
money that would change things, (even though it seems like that) it 
would only REALLY change if you want it to. 


I'm Stuck On First Sase 


But it's good, they 
Decreased the case 
Yea I kept faith, so they 
Pronounced me safe 
But that don't erase 
The pain of heartbreak 
Should I be ashamed of the 
Risks that I take? 
To glide on big ice- skates 
I am sorry I can't wait 
I tried to punt - fake, but 
They succeeded with the blitz 
Next thing I know I am 
Runnin' and sweatin' bricks 


From The Beat: Sometimes the risks are worth it, but most of the time it 
is like you said, all they do is cause heartbreak and pain. So next time 
that risk-taking chance comes around, what are you going to do? 


Nothing Changes Overnight 

When I read the statement nothing changes overnight it 
means something to me. And what it means is that you 
have to take time to do things. 

For example I was doing bad things and thinking bad. 
But when I got slapped with some time I began to have 
a different mind set. And how I have a plan for when I 
get out of jail. And the first step is to start taking my 
education more serious, and to graduate high school. 

Next I will attempt to get my license and permit. While 
I'm doing all that I will be stacking money for a car and a 
moving out plan. 


From The Beat: How do you plan to stack money while you are studying 
in school, without ending up back in jail? Is there a job you are thinking 
of? Tell us more. 

It's Bard 

Skarface BIP 

What's up Beat! It's yo' boy Victor. I'm from Oakland, and 
where I'm from it's hard growing up and having to watch 
your back. Can't walk through certain parts of the town 
without having funk or getting shot at. I had a patna that 
got ran over on purpose but lived. But then they had to 
pull his plug because he went brain dead. RIP Raul. 

And my cousin got shot because he was wearing a 
certain color in the town. RIP Marco 


From The Beat: It's too much death on these streets - all for a color, or 
being from the wrong hood. We know that there is some violence you 
can't avoid, but after seeing so much tragedy, do you feel as if you could 
improve your odds by changing your lifestyle? 

J L 

What's Up Beat? This is Juan. If I cold bring back one of 
my homies it would have to be Skarface from my hood. 
Not only just me, but my homies from other hoods who 
knew Skarface. He was always ready for whatever, not 
caring what happens. 

For those who lost somebody, try to keep your head 
up. I'm hella mad and sad that I didn't even make it to 
his funeral because I as locked up. Alright Beat. RIP 


From The Beat: You've already suffered a lot of loss in your life, and too 
much of it was because of hood violence. Do you ever see this violence 
ending? How do we break the cycle? 


&Mnnnn*EE jw— 

w»»u»}»»)>w77mwnm „„ 

Two Sons 


When my time is up and I get out back to the streets my 
fast lane is gone be slowed down. My goals are to get a 
job in the slow lane, and my fast lane might close when I 
get my job. My fast lane has to close because I have two 
sons that I have to attend to and help take care of them. 


From The Beat: We hope the love and dedication you feel for those 
two boys will stay in the front of your mind and help you make good 
decisions. You're right, you need to help take care of them. They need 
you to be working, free, and there with them. 

The Best Valentine's Present 

The best valentine's present I ever had was that last 
year, a girl have me a box of chocolate and wrote me a 
love letter and she said that she really loves me. When I 
saw that, that really lightened my day up! And we actually 
went out for a couple months. 

-C + A 

From The Beat: What happened after a few months? Did you ever give 
a girl a Valentines gift? 

-«-— ^ — ^ — — ^-^— — ^^— «»V 

Locked up 

Man, I shouldn't be here right now. This is bullshh, I 
should be home with my girl and family. But I did some 
stupid shhh and got caught up again. If I could go back I 
wouldn't of had the weed. 

I got court on Friday and I hope to get out so I can go 
chill and be free. If I get out I'm not messin' up no more. 
But I'm hella mad 'bout the person who snitched, that 
fool a mark. He lucky I can't do anything to him or he be 
in the hospital. When I get off home sup or EMP I'm a roll 
a fatty. 


From The Beat: Was it a friend that "snitched"? If it was, maybe that 
friend was worried about you and thought that telling someone was the 
right thing to do? Although it might not seem honorable to "snitch" on 

someone, sometimes it could save a life, 
what you have! 

Move on, and be thankful for 

What It Takes For A Change 

What's up Beat readers? This is Lil' Shadow. I'm about 
to write about the topic "Nothing Changes Overnight." 

Well, nothing changes overnight. To me it means that 
you can't just change something right away. It takes effort 
and practice to change something. 

Like me, I tried to change after being in Juvenile Hall. 
It takes patience and not getting in trouble while you are 
in here to get out unless you got life in jail. 

Well, I've been good in here until I got into a fight in 
here. They told my judge that so I probably will have to 
stay longer. 

Well, if you want something to change you have to put 
effort and a lot of practice into it, you also have to be good 
and not get in trouble, you have to try hard for what you 
want to change. 

Like me, I have to be good and not get into trouble or 
get into fights. I just have to do my time without messing 

Well, saying it takes effort and practice to make a 
change. Peace. 

-Lil' Shadow 

From The Beat: You're absolutely right. Shadow, changing doesn't just 
take place overnight you have to put in the effort! Sometimes you just 
can't worry about anyone else and focus on yourself. We hope that you 
don't fall into the same mess again. Shadow, you have better things to 
do than fight like work on yourself! 


To Each His Own 

Nine times out of ten 

I am hopin' the villain win 

So I pray that I am forgiven 

For my further sins 

We wasn't born with ends 

That when the evils begins 

When the heat is on 

I try to pound the tans 

But to each his own 

'Cause your own man 

Now sins weigh us down 

We walkin' on quick sand 

So its best to be light on ya toes, an' 

I ain't speakin' in codes man 

I speakin' what I know man 

I done posted until it's gon' 

They ask me in the street. 

"Yo young'n where you goin'" 

"Wherever the wind blow me 

'Cause I ain't tryin' be toast 

And feel he end's coming" 

You know the feelin' that 

You get deep down in yo stomach 

Well it's telling ya something 

So don't fall for nothin' 

An' when you up to bat 

Never bunt it 

And I am back again' 

'Cause ain't nobody toppin' man 

So I remain at top 

Like I am the top on it 


From The Beat: You are up at bat right now.. .making the split-second 
AND long-term decisions that will decide whether or not you win at this 
life game or lose. So yeah - bunting is when you make that easy call, 
when you don't try to give it your all. What will it look like when you 
are on top? 


My Best Valentine's Day 

Hey! My name is Daniel butyou can call me "Danny!" Well, 
my best Valentine's present was last year at school. 

In the morning, my girlfriend gave me a hug and a 
little dog bear that said "I Wuff You" and I gave her a bear 
too and then I went home and stayed with my grandma 
and ate some food and I stayed home all day and played 
some video games on my Xbox 360 and watched TV and 
went to sleep and that was it. 

It was the best Valentine's Day and on this other 
Valentine's Day I'm going to do the same. 


From The Beat: It sounds like you had a great Valentine's that day! 
Are you still with that special girl? How does she feel about you being 
locked up? 

Dear Mama 


J L 

Dear mama you know I love you to death. 
Parents suppose to die first but for you I lose my breath. 
Mama I want to tell you I love you. 

Try to stay strong only because I love to see you smile 
I just love it you my love forget my girl. 
You my favorite lady in the whole world. 


From The Beat: This poem is full of love, and we bet it will make your 
mom happy to see it - but of course what will REALLY make her happy 
is to see you get out of the dangerous life you are living, so that she 
doesn't have to worry about you losing that breath! 


aMnnnmEB jw— 


Valentine Day and Getting Forgiven 


Well the best valentine day present that I ever got was, 
probably being able to be with my girl for a whole day and 
night. That was the best day and night I ever had. 

The best valentine's present I ever gave was a teddy 
bear that said "I love you forever," roses, and also some 
chocolate hearts. 

And also my girl said "thank you for all that stuff but 
the best thing that you gave me was to see you," and I 
really like to hear that. 

Yes I was in a situation where I knew homegirl wanted 
to be my valentine but I already had a girl and I couldn't 
do my girl like that 'cause I ain't like that and I love my 
girl ....but she was sexy don't get me wrong. And what 
happened was, she was like "why?" and I told her, but 
still actually got her something and also she got me 

We ended up kissin' but the whole time we was kissin' 
I was thinking 'bout my girl, and then after that I told my 
girl I needed to see her and she tried to kiss me ...but I 
told her "hold on babe I gotta tell you something." 

She said "please don't break up with me". ...and I said 
babe naw never... and I told her what happened and she 
said "damn." and I made it up to her when I spent the 
night at her house and the next day I told her let's go 
out and we drove to the mall and she said "let's go inside 
Victoria's Secrets and get some stuff." 

We went and then got some stuff and I drove her back 
home and then I went home and everything between us is 
cool now ...we finnta have a baby boy, and I can't wait. 


From The Beat: What's good about this story is that you stood up and 
told her the truth about the mistake you'd made... and she forgave you. 
That's behaving like a real man - and now you are going to have to man 
up even more to step into a father's role. What kinds of changes are you 
going to have to make in your life to be the father and boyfriend your 
new family deserves? 

Nothing Changes Overnight 

It applies to my life in many ways like first off like 
football and basketball. As a kid that was kind of good in 
basketball growing up, I played with the older kids and I 
was only in second grade. 

As I was growing up I practiced and got help from my 
Aunt and Uncle's on how to play the games and the rules 
of it. Then my step-dad was the one to teach more of the 
game and things. 

4th grade, I got my first 1st trophy. I liked the feeling 
of being a winner and good. 

6th grade, I lead my team to the playoffs and got 3rd 
and that felt good too. I constantly practiced. No one 
made me, I just seen the results of getting better. 

Then I played football. My uncles were big football 
stars in high school and going to college, and I wanted to 
be just like them. 

5th grade I got 4th place in football for the FFL 
Steelers. In 2008 I played for the Broncos and helped my 
team to the championship and won it, my 1st football 

I'm so happy that I accomplished that and through a 
lot of hard work I did it and succeeded and that's how it 
applies to me, the "nothing changes over night" subject. 

From The Beat: Wow, you've accomplished a lot in sports, Khalil! 
Congratulations on your wins! How did you get caught up in the hall? 
Have you thought about pursuing sports? You could easily get a sport 
scholarship for college if you train and work hard and stay out of 
trouble, Khalil. We wish you luck and hope that you think this option 


Young Thuggin' 

See me, I be thuggin' from the projects 

See me, I'm always mobbin' all night 

See me, I'm Alley Bo in the projects 

And my folks they let me know how to rock the tec 

See me, I bleed this shhh 'cause I was born in it 

So you know I have to shout that I'm pimpin' 

I wasn't one of them kids who was raised with silver 


I was the one who stayed in a house with coke in 


Guns under the bed, drugs in the refrigerator 

Weed, pills, and dope 

Whatever playa, I'm young thuggin' with my ninjas 

'Cause we move so mean and I done lost a lot of ninjas 

Like Weez, Greedy, and J.J., Davon and Scrilla 

Man, I swear to God 

I miss my ninjas 

So I mob like that 

I'm fifteen young thug'n 

So my life like that 

I'm just young thuggin' 

-Lieutenant Al 

From the Beat: Trust us, you can thug without contributing to the drug 
problem in our cities, you can thug without having to pack heat every 
minute of your life, you can thug without busting your peers. Look past 
all that you think you have because there's much more out there, take a 
chance, and really use your skills to be something other than a prison 


Hard to make a chance when my head stay confused, 

Adjusted to the streets and the dope game rules, 

Try to go right but my mind to the left, 

Wanna pack guns so I take the wrong steps, 

Ain't trippin' off reality stuck in the hood mind, 

Attracted to the diamonds and the fast life shine, 

Wanna get rich so I rob to get dough, 

Or sellin' drugs on the streets instead of workin' at a 


Confused 'bout the world 'cause everybody dying ... 

It's a struggle on them streets single mothers out crying, 

Been in here too many times and it's hard to make a 


Mind so confused I never feel the same. 

Rest in peace Scrilla, Weezy, Da'von and the rest... 

-Lil' Purp 

From The Beat: When you first started doing your crime, you still came 
at it with a juvenile mind/heart broken mind bruised/didn't even know 
you were confused/but now you know more about how you got stuck/ 
and maybe lockdown is really good luck/if it gives you time to rethink 
your plan/that juvenile will grow to be a wiser man. 


J L 

What's good Beat this young Toro from Hayward, just 
here to tell people to stay out of jail 'cause this shhh not 
cool. It's a big waste of time but yet I keep coming back 

They gave me a chance to go to camp but I only lasted 
about two weeks and got a new case up their for having 
a knife... and now I am back in here for the tenth time 
and don't know what they going to do with me, but it's 
whatever what ever come around goes around. That's what 
I think is happening to come. 'Cause Karma's a bummer. 

-Lil' Toro 

From The Beat: Sorry you felt like you needed that protection... if you 
could do it again, would you do different? Another thing they say is 
that "Karma is instant." The minute you do something negative, your 
life fills with negativity. Do you think that is true too? 


aMnnnmEB jw— 


Man I'm Tongan 


Man I'm Tongan. Tongan is an islander from the South Pacific. I 
would define my race as strong, muscular, and fast. 

Well I'm a football player and I like to play linebacker inside 
and outside. I liked playing football since I was young. One day, 
I want to play in the NFL so I can become rich or something. 

The Beat asked what I do to keep in shape is what they call 
in here LME —Large, Muscle Exercise." It is where you do push- 
ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and up-down, so I do this so I can 
stay strong, keep my body in shape, and stay cut. 

So this is what we juveniles do to stay fit. 

What I do to keep my mind straight is do push-ups or just 
run in place. Also I would just go to sleep, and sleep for a long 

From The Beat: We can understand how you'd want to go to sleep, to 
take your mind off of the boredom and stress of being in here. But just 
like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your mind and your 
will, too, right? How do you do that? 

Overnight Alcoholic 

I understand the meaning of nothing changes overnight. Just 
like alcoholics with Alcoholics Anonymous, they have their 12 
steps and they can't just put down the bottle overnight. They 
need to go to meetings, get a sponsor and all that. 

Maybe I should handle my situation like the 12 steps. Maybe 
it will help me get back on the right track, and it might help fight 

-Lady A 
From The Beat: Actually, joining a 12 step program usually means 
stopping overnight, and then going to support groups to help you get 
through the tough times of withdrawal. The really helpful part of a 
program like AA is getting to talk with other people who are going 
through similar tough times. Support from other people is often the 
most effective way to heal. 

Valentine's Day 

I hate that this is my second time being in jail and I have 
missed out a lot, plus I was pregnant last and this Valentine's, 
and I am going to be pregnant again for this Valentine's Day. 
So I am going to stay out next year for Valentine's Day, and I 
hate the fact that I am away from my daughter, but that is the 
only reason why I need to stay out because I need to be there 
for my daughter who is my Valentine. 

Well I am going to miss Valentine's Day with my family 
and daughter so I looked at what my next Valentine's day is 
going to look like next year. To spend my Valentine's Day 
with my family, friends, and my child and take my family out 
on a vacation and show them the time of their life. I would 
show my boo how to have a good Valentine's Day and have 
the best time to have with my boo. 

- Bates' Wifey 
From The Beat: Spending time with loved ones sounds like a perfect 
way to celebrate Valentines Day. We hope that you are able to be with 
them next year come February, and that the day ends up being one to 

The Heart Necklace 

I've had a lot of great Valentine's Day gifts, but today I'm 
going to write about the gift my father gave me. It was a heart 
necklace; I was about seven years old. 

I'm not sure what became of the necklace. My mom took 
it when I was ten to get the clasp fixed because it was broken. 
She never gave it back. But I will always remember the gift. It 
was the thought that counts. (Right?) 

From The Beat: What a sad Valentines story! At least you have a great 
memory of getting the gift, and the thought sure does count for a lot. 

UrJ./ tM'/' MJ MSJMi 


Time To Think 

What's up with The Beat, man? It's ya boy, Phil, writin' 
from this Ranch thang. I decided to write this week to let 
all the thugs know everything gravy. Doin' this time ain't 
what I'm tryna do, but sometimes you gotta roll with it. It 
might not be what a ninja willin' to do, but it give a ninja 
that time he need to think, for real, kid. I'm over and up 
outta this thing. 


From The Beat: We think you've written something important here, Phil. 
Yes, we all need a time to step back and think about our lives — what 
we want, whether what we're doing is making it happen, and what we 
need to change to get it. What has this time meant for you? What are 
you thinking about that you weren't thinking about when you were on 

She Start Talk in 'Bout She Pregnant 

Nothin' Changes Overnight 

I'll take the fast lane 'cause that's all I know. I gotta eat, 
that's off top. I sit in the box and think... gotta eat phat, 
need lucrative ideas. When I touchdown Fma get mines, 
play my moves smoother. Fma get mines regardless. To 
survive I gotta. You can't go to war without money. I'ma 
think straight with my mind on money and gettin' it 
without gettin' wrapped. I'm out this thang. 


From The Beat: To us, this reads like a declaration of future incarceration. 
You're young enough to believe that you can do what got you here, but 
be slicker about it and avoid the consequences. There are more than two 
million people in prison who believed the same thing. You're at war with 
yourself, and therefore, you can only lose! 

Ey, look it, man, these girls be tryin' to play a ninja. 
Ninjas need to keep condoms on you, 'cause nowadays 
you mess around, sleep wit' a girl, then she start talkin' 
'bout she pregnant out of nowhere. But the coldest shhh 
is if you get a gutta girl, but then she tryin' to play you. 
You know they can't keep a real ninja, ya know? But this 
Young Quan. I'm out. 


From The Beat: Excellent advice, Ja'Quan. It's time that all boys were 
responsible enough to wear condoms when they have sex to prevent 
both unwanted pregnancies and unwanted STDs. It's time that the girls 
y'all sleep with demand that you take precautions, or just say no! 


Wfeat Vou See In Tke Movies 

Wha's good wit' my ninjas in YGC, mayne? You know 
who you is. I be getting mad at some ninjas sometimes 
'cause they be fake as hell. Talking 'bout how they be 
shootin 1 shhh, kno win' damn well they wouldn't even bust 
a grape. Ninjas can ask 'bout me and my ninjas, mayne. 
We do shhh ninjas see in movies. But yeah, stay up. 

-Jerry Geez 

From The Beat: Maybe you haven't figured it out yet, but this isn't the 
movies. You're really locked up in a jail; you really have to wear some 
other boy's drawe's; you really are under someone else's control; and 
yes, you really did give those people all the power they need to tell you 
what to do. Frankly, if you and your ninjas shoot like they do in the 
movies, in our minds that makes you more like children (even cowardly 
children) than like adults. Any child can pick up a gun. Only a grown 
man can use his head. 

- t+j:M*M**dJ mmwrn ///////// ////// 

Don't Do Wifeys... Not My Style 


Ha ha, lot of brothas think they can trust a female and 
give 'em the title of "wifey." Not me!. They might cash you 
out and shhh like that, the full nine. But they all stunnin' 
with whoever. I just play field, do me, and pull the most 
females I could, man. Too young to settle down. Not time 
for love 'cause I already fell in love with money. 

-P Jeez Da Hot Boi 

From The Beat: We agree that it's way too early for you to be in love. 
That will come. On the same hand, we hope you examine your love for 
money because it's no accident that the Bible says "The love of money is 
the root of all evil." What do you think that means? 

III! Ill ' 

Coming Dere For So Long 


Man, I been coming to this juv for so long. But the main 
thing I want to talk about is jail. Why everybody keep 
coming to jail, shhh? Every time I come, somebody I 
know here, and it's always some window warriors here. 

But all the real ninjas listen to me talk. You know 
I'm a real ninja, and a real ninja know a real ninja when 
he reads one. You know, stay shakin' shhh. It's you boy 


From The Beat: So far, everyone who writes in these pages thinks he's 
the "rear' deal and the others are fake. Seems like everybody thinks he's 
real, but who really cares? The most important thing you wrote (in fact, 
the only important thing you wrote) is that you've been coming here for 
so long. Real or fake, when are you going to get tired of it? 

My Family 

What's good with The Beat? It's ya boy, Tizzle, at the 
Ranch, holdin' it down to the fullest. But, chea, I just want 
to talk about my family. I really miss my sister the most. 
Every time I'm around her, she make me feel important. 
Me and her is cool. We really tight. She the other half of 
me (my twin). 

Me and my other brothers and sisters don't get along, 
'cause they feel like I'm not around all the time, and I 
miss the big part of they lives. I can't blame them for that. 
I just got to be out with them and be there for them at 
times. But that's something on my mind for this week. 


From The Beat: It's when you get locked up, away from your family, 
that you realize just what you had on the outs, and what you let slip 
through your fingers. Then, when you're out, it's so easy to forget what 
you missed and to start taking it for granted again. We hope that you 
and your twin sister are able to be together again, soon, and that you 
will take your own words seriously and be with your other siblings 
so that they will learn who you are and you will once again be a real 

Can't Wait 


Can't wait to get out of here 

Can't wait to see my girl that carrying my son 

Can't wait to March 17, the day she due 

I'm not even spending Valentine with her 

I promised her we going to grow our kid 

With me and her in his life 

I don't know if that is possible 

I want my son to grow up with everything he needs 

Including a love from a father: ME 

Till then I'm still waiting 

Pray everyday and hoping to get out 

-Free Me 

From The Beat: What is your plan for being able to take care of your son? 
It's never easy to be a father, even when you're fully grown and have a 
job. Who do you have to help you? You have only good intentions, but 
good intentions are not enough. We hope you have (or seek) help. 

'///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

Twenty-Five Changing Deasons Why De Loves Me 

He and I define the word "love" 

No one and nothing can get him off my mind 

It hurts because Valentine's Day is close 

I wonder... is he being faithful? 

I know he loves me, because he shows me, he tells me 

I feel it. I feel us 

He meets me half way 

We connect and he completes me 

Not sexually! 

My feelings are real, his are fa'sho 

He's real, I've been nothing but real 

"I will cross the ocean for you 

I will go and bring you the moon 

I will be your hero, your strength, anything you need" 

He tells me constantly 

"I can give you twenty-five reasons 

Why I'm in love with you" 

He loves when those twenty-five reasons change 


I love him! Boom! He loves me! 

Me and him/hopefully/forever 

-Lady Coonu 

From The Beat: It's hard to maintain a relationship when you're 
separated. (It causes negative thoughts like, "I wonder... is he being 
faithful.") So when you touch down, we hope you don't throw this gift 
of love away by coming back. (When you quote somebody else's words, 
you have to give them credit. In this case, you should have said that 
Monica wrote the quote about crossing the ocean, etc.) 

J L 


You can't run away from death when god want you to die 

When you die, you die, I ain't gotta tell you any lies 

These young ninjas is brave, but do they have heart? 

Once that bullet hit your dome, you and yo' momma will 

be apart 

You'll be on a paper that say "Rest In Peace" 

Ninja Fma star, I'm still gonna be shining 

Freedom ain't getting no closer, but Fma keep my head up 

I'll be the happiest when I have a phone call and letter 

-Baby Hunter 

From The Beat: We had to take out that last rhyme. Are you saying in 
this poem that you are immune from the consequences of gunplay, that 
you can't die, or that you'll still be shining even after you die? Either 
way, it's time to start thinking about living and not dying! 

My Dappy Valentine's Day 


My happy Valentine's Day is in jail 

Being in jail on Valentine's Day hurt me 

Because my man is on the outside of jail 

Damn, I miss my Valentine 

When I get home, I'm going to give him 

All of my love and affection 

I miss his smile and his eyes 

The way he smells 

I miss his lips 

I love my baby so much 

I miss his touch 

Being in jail on Valentine's Day 

I love my man 

I can't wait to see my sexy ass man 

My first love 


From The Beat: Well, when you get out Lissa, you're going to have to 
make some difficult choices. Do you love him more than the thing that 
got you here, or do you love the lifestyle more than him? You can't 
choose both because one keeps you together and the other leads to 
what you're experiencing right now... 


- t+j:M*M**dJ mmwrn ///////// ////// 

RIP, Tone 

Wha's up with The Beat? Man, I'm at the Ranch for eleven 
months, I been here for three weeks and I'm already 
messing up. But my subject is gong to be about my big 
homie, Ufa Tone. RIP, man. He was out there doing his 
thang. I miss you, Ufa Tone. Rest In Peace. But you know 
me, I'm do my thang for the homie, holding it down for 
the block. 

Man, I need some 'dro right now... pills, anything that 
can get me on, you feel me? I'm enjoying my life. Beat. 
That all I have to say. All my ninjas, stay up! 


From The Beat: We're sorry about the death of your homie, another 
useless tragedy! You say he was out there doing his thing, but if doing 
your thing means paying with your life, maybe you should be doing a 
different thing. As long as you're "holding it down for the block," you 
come in second. Do you believe in God? If so, then remember this: He 
made YOU, not the block. The block was made by people. If you keep 
serving those people, instead of God's creation, which is you, then you 
will keep "enjoying" this life that has left you a prisoner! 

Valentine's Day 

The best Valentine present I ever got was from my ex. 
That person took me to the Valentine's dance, and on top 
of that, that person bought me a rose, some chocolates in 
a box shaped as a heart, and a big red teddy bear. I think 
this was the only V-Day that went good for me. To be 
honest, I don't think I ever gave somebody a Valentine's 
present besides a card that came from my heart. I never 
had somebody ask me to be their Valentine that I didn't 


From The Beat: That card that came from your heart, did you write 
what was in your heart on the inside? That can be the best Valentine's 

Taking Over The World 


'What's up, Brain?" 

'What's up, Pinky?" 

''Nothing. So what are we going to do today?" 

''Same thing we do every day... try to take over the 

Soft-ass ninjas acting hard. That's the topic. Ninjas 
walking around talking shhh, actin' gansta. Ninjas ain't 
did shhh gansta they whole life, but when they get to the 
halls, they damn Rambo! What's up with that shhh, dawg? 
I don't even wanna know the mind of a soft-ass ninja, but 
for you ninjas, I hope y'all die old. 

-Pinky and The Brain 

From The Beat: To be honest, we'd rather hear a boy bragging about bad 
shhh he didn't really do than be silent about bad shhhh he really did 
do. Ya dig? We're not sure what you mean when you wish these people 
a long life. You say it like it's a curse, but what's the matter with dying 
old? Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? 

'///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

My Valentine's Day 

The way I feel about Valentine's Day is about when we 
went to the movies and went to see "Mall Cop". It was 
so funny. He was trying to save this girl he liked and his 
daughter. Then we went shopping for some shoes and 
clothes, I went with my mom and sisters, and after that, I 
went to go meet my boyfriend. We went to his house, and 
his mom cooked dinner. After that we went to a party. 


From The Beat: So, you were able to enjoy a nice Valentine's Day, and 
then you gave all that up to come here! What were you thinking? 


My life in The 'Haoi 

Gangsta biddin', everybody coppin' 

Ninjas walkin' out wit' bags, like they goin' shoppin' 

I'm on the Playstation, playin' Grand Theft 

I had 100 bricks, I got three left 

Shootin' C lows middle of the day 
I bet 100 grand the ninja iced away 
5:45 in the afternoon 
98 degrees and it's the first of June 
Ninjas goin' in, ninjas gettin' out 
Everybody strapped and they gripped out 
12:00 on the dot, midnight 
Bet 50 grand on a pit fight 

6:45 and I'm wakin' up 

Cookin' cocaine, and it's cakin' up 

9:00 on the dot, rush hour 

First you get the money, then you get the power 

Money real dirty 9:30 

Got a trap fo' a quarter birdie 

10:45 quarter to 11 

If you from the 'hood, then you sellin' somethin' 

2:22 time to cook a deuce 

To my lil' patna, I call his ass the truth 


From The Beat: We took out some of your lines referring to guns, and 
we're not very comfortable printing much of the rest of this poem. It 
reads like a commercial for the life that has led you here, and many 
others to an early grave. We can't be sure if you're just describing what 
you see, or boasting about it. Is there more to life than PlayStations, pit 
fights, shooting drugs or shooting people? 

Nothin' Changes Ova Nigit! 


What's up, man? This the grown man, Yung Von, up in 
this G thang, Anna get at you youngstas about changin' 
life. These youngstas be changin' e'ry day, hollerin' 'bout 
they gettin' off. But on the reals, these little kids be softa 
than cotton, straight up poo butts on thangs. Straight up 
lil' dudes just need to be theyselves an' stop frontin'. The 
kid right here was born in this shhh, an' gone die in this 
shhh, straight up. 

-Yung Von 

From The Beat: When are you going to stop telling others how to live 
their lives and start looking at yourself! Whether they're fronting or not, 
you're both locked up like slaves. That's your own reality. You should be 
focused on changing that, and let the others take care of themselves. 

Happy Valentine's Day 

J L 

Wha's up with The Beat? This your girl, Shay, aka Angel, 
writing from the girls' unit. I'm getting out tomorrow, so 
I won't get to see this in The Beat. But, anyway, the staff 
in here is phony and messy. They talk about you behind 
your back and give you room time for anything. But, chea, 
I'm getting out tomorrow and I can't wait to see my boo. 
Valentine's Day is Saturday, and I'm going to go get tatted 
up-me and my dude. I'm going to go get "Most Hated" on 
my lower back, right above my ass. 

Happy Valentine's Day to all y'all locked up. I know 
y'all are missing y'all boos while y'all are down. I know 
I am. Keep your heads up and when you get out... Don't 
come back. 


From The Beat: Don't come back is the best advice. We hope you can 
follow it yourself so you can stay with your boo, and so you won't have 
to put up with the staff you find so phony. (If you do come back, we'll 
conclude that you liked the staff more than you thought.) 


- t+j:M*M**dJ mmwrn ///////// ////// 

///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

It Takes Time 


Nothing changes over night is the truth, but you also 
gotta put some work in so shhh change. This is kinda off 
topic, but patience ain't sittin' on yo' ass and waitin' on 
something good. It do take time to be great, but make time 
useful and don't waste it. Make sure change you pursuing 
is what you really want and what comes with pursuit. 

-Rambo Rob 

From The Beat: We appreciate what you've said, but we wish you had 
applied it to your own life. What kind of changes are you pursuing in 
your own life. What do you want, and what is your plan to get it? 

What About Daylight 

Who said that nothing changes overnight? 

How do they know? 

If there is no light, 

and most are dead in their mind 

when they sleep at night, 

aren't they right? 

Now you tell me why 

nothing change at night. 

What about those who die, 

to never again see the light, 

or the mother who cry 

at night waiting for you, hoping you don't die 

or in jail doing 25 to life...? 

Life is always a fight. 

Things often change for the right 

or maybe to make us cry. 

But never lose your pride 

when you ride. 

Do you mind 

as time goes by? 

But what about the day light 


From The Beat: What about things that don't change over night, but 
still change over time? Is that happening to you? Are you changing in 
ways you would not have predicted when you first came in here? What 
changes do you see in yourself? 

'Til I Get Rich 


To hell with the snitch 

I'm gonna hustle 'til I get rich 

This Ranch shhh is phony 

It's freezing my life 

I hate this 

When I get out 

I'm out this thang 

Get out in the street 

Go mess with females 

My life 

-Young Money 

From The Beat: The "plan" you've sketched here — go back to the street 
as before — is a prescription to buy the same consequences as before. 
That hustle will bring riches, but not to you, only to the system that 
has you as its prisoner. 

'Bout To Get Out 

Wha's up? This Lil' Jimmy, chillin' in the Ranch. I'm 
'bout to get out in ten months. I'm lookin' forward to it. 
My boy just got out, I know he's havin' a lot of fun right 
now. I'm out. 

-Lil' Jimmy 

From The Beat: There isn't very much to this piece. Don't be lazy. Write 
us a full page about what you plan to do when you get out. What's going 
to be different about being out this time? How will you keep yourself 

J L 

It Hurts To Be In Jail 

Weed is not good for you. It kills your health. It may hurt 
you in the long run. It might be good for you to be OK, but 
it is not good being in the JJS. It hurt to be in jail, but I'm 
trying to keep my head up, you know. 

Being in here is hard. I'm trying to not get down, but 
all of these people are getting on my nerves. 

-J Spiff 

From The Beat: We want you to take some time and think about what you 
plan to do when you walk out of here. That's where it's really important 
that you have a plan so that you don't end up back here again! 

Stop The Snitches 

What's up, Beat? This you boy, JO, from the Ranch, doin' 
time at Log Cabin Ranch School. Just chillin' for the most 
part, but it been can up here, because they makin' ninjas 
go to bed at ten o'clock on weekends. That ain't cool, you 

You boy be back in a minute, but everybody, keep 
your head up and free the homies. You know people at 
Log Cabin running their mouth and don't know shhh. My 
New Year's resolution is to stop letting snitches get away 
with shhh and just let them burn in hell. 


From The Beat: Your New Year's resolution is kind of meaningless. If 
there were no snitches, there would be no criminal justice system at all. 
People are always willing to get ahead by putting somebody else down 
(even in the workplace!. We nad *° take out your straight threat, but if 
you think snitches will burn in hell, who will go the other way? 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

But yeah, maine, nothing can change overnight. Damn 
sho not me because thata be one long-ass night. But 
man, back to this real shhh, man, you ask me. I'ma real- 
ass ninja, an' can care less what another ninja thank. But 
ma, this thuggin' shhh got me torn. I ain't even gone lie. 
I'm confused. 

The road I'm on, it's hard to live and thug at the same 
time. So me, I'ma thug and gone live my life. But for you 
young ninjas thinking y'all sick, remember sick ninjas 
die. The lucky ones might make it to live in the hospital, 
but won't none if you young dumb punks get the best 

-Shawni B 

From The Beat: So, you're giving advice that you aren't willing to take 
yourself? You're telling others that the lifestyle you've chosen is a dead 
end, and to step off, but at the same time you're saying that you're going 
to continue just as before. What kind of advice is that? We think you 
should read your own words again so you can understand that doing 
the same as before will only lead to more of the same consequences... 

I Ain't Takin' The Deal 


Man, wha's up with the thugs, mayne. I'm still in this 
hellhole holdin' it down for my 'je'ts, ya'msayin. I'm 
getting mad as hell in this thang 'cause every time I go 
to court, they waive the time to anotha month. The punk- 
ass DA keep trying to give me a strike deal, and I ain't 
takin' it. 

But chea mayne, I can't wait till I get out 'cause I 
missed out on hella shhh already. 

-Jerry Geez 

From The Beat: We don't Icnow if the DA's offer is a good one or not, and 
that decision is yours to make, but we hope you are listening to your 
attorney's advice because he (or she) has more experience in front of a 
judge than you do. We're still waiting for some plan of action for when 
you get out that gives us a hint that you won't be coming back. Up to 
now, what you've written about getting back to the block and back into 
the things that got you here to begin with tell us that you haven't yet 
learned what you need to learn to keep that precious gift — freedom! 


't+j:M*M**dj mmwrn ///////// ////// 

///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

Same Shtiti, Different Day 


Chea man, this that Hot Boi Jeezy. Same shhh, different 
day. It's like a cycle in this thang. Same people window 
warriors, an' I just sit back and laugh at suckas. 

Man, I don't trip off this shhh, though. No stress come 
my way. I be out when it's time. Back to this money how I 
see it. 

To all, keep ya head up. 

-P Jeezy 

From The Beat: You made your own point very well — say shhh, different 
day. And you're already planning to go back to the same shhh when 
you step out of here. So, plan on more of the same response from the 

Stopped, But Unstoppable 

Man what it do with The Beat? Yeah mayne, this ya 
young life thug Young Vern. I'm out here grindin'. Ninjas 
try to stop me, but I'm not wastin' no time. Ninjas is soft. 
They tried to catch me slippin'... I'm a big young ninja, 
only fifteen and I'm wildlin'. 

But yeah, mayne, they got yo' boy with the big dawgs. 
Ninjas ain't in this g-thang talking 'bout shhh, ya'msayin. 
Man, they 'bout to send ya boy away for six months. I'm 
'bout to knock this lil' time. It's nothing to a boss. I get 
money, girls and I'm unstoppable 'til my casket drop, 
mayne, ya'msayin. I'm out this thang 'til next time. 

-Young Vernon 

From The Beat: We're getting kind of tired seeing you in this place. 
Unstoppable? They've stopped you so many times, we'd think you'd 
figure it out by now. Unless you stop yourself, you won't be getting any 
money, except what goes into the system's pockets, and the only girls 
you'll get will be in your dreams! Wake up! 

Straight 'mod 


What's 'hood with The Beat? Y'all sayin' yeah, this Low, 
mobbin' this lil' time out at the Ranch. But, wassup with 
my goon that's keepin' it 100%, standing tall, watching 
the towers fall, ya dig? What I'm sayin', y'amsayin'? 

But other than that, yeah, I seen a few bodies drop. 
From my experience with that, ya heard? It's real ugly, Lil' 
Dawgie, y'amsayin'? But through it all me and my goons 
didn't. We just seen bodies on the ground. Yeah, I'm gone. 
The gang movement gettin' shut down. 

-Young Low 

From The Beat: We wish you would write a long piece just on the topic 
of your last sentence: "The gang movement gettin' shut down." What 
makes you believe that? Do you have examples you could write about? 
How are things different now than when you were first active on the 
streets? How do you think things will be different in a year or five 
years? That would make a great piece for The Beat. 

One-Day Break Frin The Streets 


Wha's up with The Beat? This ya boy Twaney Mac. The 
best Valentine's present I ever got was the love from my 
Ms. Twaney Mac, hugs and kisses and spending quality 
time with her letting me take a break from the streets for 
one day. 

I have been in a Valentine situation in which I had 
a crush on a girl and she didn't like me. I handled it by 
telling her how I feel about her, and in the result was 
that I ended up going with her for a sec. But yeah, see ya 


From The Beat: Sounds like you need to treat yourself to more of those 
breaks from the street, whether it's with your girlfriend, your homie, or 
just hanging with yourself for a day off. We all need time to think and 
to process what's going on in our lives so that we can think about the 
choices that will help us and the ones that will hurt us... 


What's poppin' with The Beat? It's ya boy young Panch 
stuck in this g-thang going crazy. I just got off BMP, and 
the staff still holdin' grudges and shhh. And them soft 
ninjas who I'm beefin' wit' actin' hard... if ya want me get 
at me. 

-Yung Panch 

From The Beat: You're not just stuck in this "g-thang," you're also stuck 
in your thinking. We took out your threats to others here, and want to 
remind you that unless you focus on your own situation and how to 
avoid it in the future, you'll be spending more time under the control 
of others. 

I Don't Want Chanye 

Wha's up with The Beat? You know who this be. This 
the one and only Twaney Mac Bishop's Prince. "Nothing 
changes overnight" means to me you just can't hope 
for something to change over night, especially if it's 
something serious. Me though, I don't want nothing to 
change. I'm in it until I get took out. But you know how 
that be though. I'ma hit ya lata though. 


From The Beat: Whether you want it or not, change is a certainty in all 
our lives. When we're young, we often believe we will never change; 
we will always have the same values and lifestyle. But experience 
bends those beliefs, and age adds abilities to reason and analyze that 
undermine your prediction that you won't change. The only question 
we have is whether you will lead the change or allow others to lead it 
for you. 

Deal Ninja Doin 365 

What's poppin' with The Beat? This ya boy, Mam-Man, 
comin' at all you lames, so put ya 3D glasses on. Psych! 
You know I'm lyin'. But you know they got me up here at 
the Ranch, bullshhhin'. For all the real ninjas in the halls, 
hold that street shhh down. I'm gone, too, man. And I 
stand alone in this thang. Can't trust nobody. Nobody. 


From The Beat: Can't even trust yourself! You keep putting yourself in 
the system's cold hands and then boasting that you're "real." Does real 
mean the same as living without freedom? 

I Gotta Eat 


Ey, look, have you eva seen a chain brighter then mine? 
Come on man, I didn't buy it. Watch free... earring lil' 
nothin'... teeth straight diamond ring. 

Couldn't tell you if I knew my shhh look like the out 
lining or the moon. Guess what, whoever want it come an' 
get it. In it fa the dip. 


From The Beat: If you want to waste your time by writing nonsense 
when you could be writing something that could help you and maybe 
help others, well, it's your time to waste. Only, it never comes back! 

Valentine's Day 

J L 

I really haven't celebrated Valentine's Day ever since I 
was barely a teen. The reason being is because my cousin 
got murdered in Nicaragua. Not only that, but he was cut 
into pieces and sent to my auntie's house, who died a 
week later of high blood pressure and depression, I don't 
mess with Valentine's Day! 


From The Beat: We don't blame you! Did your cousin get murdered on 
Valentine's Day? Was that just a coincidence, or did it have something 
to do with the day? Was your auntie depressed because of her son's 
terrible death, or were there other reasons that she was depressed? 
What holidays do you celebrate? 



r//// ////// 

About Gangs 

I feel like talking about gangs today. It's been in my life 
almost all my life. I get stuck in between my mom's family, 
southerners and my dad's, northerners. 

I don't gangbang! I have something to live for! My 
family! My mom, my dad, they would do anything for me! 
When I was sick she nursed me to health. When I need 
help. ..she's there! 

I kick it with some gang members. They put me thru 
the worst! The way I see it, that's how they were raised. 
But many youngsters now-a-days have their families 
suffering! They keep more respect for the homies than for 
their mothers. Yeah, they say they love them, but I have 
seen many mothers suffer for the loss of their sons or 
daughters, or their kids' drug abuse. It seems to me that 
ain't nothing to live for! They go out there risking their 
lives, doing some crazy things! Their new family is their 
hood. They are willing to die for it! That's sad to think. 

I got love for the homies! I know they could do better. 
They won't always, though. All I can tell them is: keep 
your heads up! I can't change your ways, but family love 
is the best thing to be living for! That's all I got for now! 
See you next week. 

-Anonymous Female 

From The Beat: How have you managed to stay out? You're surrounded 
by gangs. How is it that you've been able to resist the pressure to 
join, when so many other kids haven't been able to resist? What's the 


My Long Night 

My night is long 

A strenuous struggle 

My days are repetitive 

And are filled with trouble 

My thoughts are stubborn 

Incomplete but never carry a concern 

My mind is furious 

A constant battle 

My appearance is serious 

Just know this poem is unfinished 


From The Beat: Your life will tell us how you plan to finish this poem. 
If you keep doing what has led you here, then expect your long night 
to continue. If you are able to make some changes (and you know what 
you need to change), then the rest of this poem is going to be much 

Leaving My Sisters Behind 


When I got locked up I thought my parents were gonna 
help me. Really my older sis usually offers to help me 
with anything. She's my best sis. 

I have a dream about becoming a WWE professional 
wrestler. I thought it was over because I'm locked up but, 
wait! I now changed my life around. So now I'm having 
faith instead of doubt. I could exercise and practice while 
I'm here. 

Everyone has doubts, but I'll prove 'em wrong. They'll 
see me on TV soon. Ain't no gangbanger, but I did leave 
someone behind... my sisters! I really miss them all, 

but I know I'll be home soon. Just wait and have 

■Moe Joe 

From The Beat: We think there are two different stories here, and you 
could write a lot more about both of them. The first is the story of your 
sisters. Tell us about them. What do you like the most (and the least) 
about them. What would they say about you if we asked them? The 
second story is about your wrestling career and your dream of being in 
the WWE. How will you achieve that dream? Is being on television the 
object, or is it something else? 

'///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

J L 

What I've Been Boing 

Well, I was up there in Wyoming. I got failed for running, 
and fighting kids, and stuff. I had a good time up there, 
talking to girls and other good stuff. Me and my homeboy 
came back for rushing a guy. Other homies went back to 
their county for the same thing. 

The ride back here was fun. It involved three airports. 
Well, really, I was depressed on the way back. I've been 
here for a few weeks and I have court soon. I'm going to 
the ranch, I think. Hopefully I'll finish my program so I 
can go back home to my family. I've been gone for 2 years. 
So I hope every thing goes good. Late. 


From The Beat: We hope so too, but hope isn't enough. You have to 
decide that you want a better life. That means thinking everything 
through before you act. That means doing only what will get you closer 
to what you really want. 


Do I have a dream? Mmm, that's a good question. I never 
thought much about what I would do when I get out. But 
I think that one of my dreams is to get out of this place 
and raise my lil' son. He's about to turn one on March 17. 
Same month as me, but I'm four days before. It's funny 
how we are from the same month. Never thought he would 
be from March. 

Anyways, I just wanna be there for him and see him 
grow up 'cause all his first year I haven't been there for 
him. Seen him a couple of times, but that ain't enough. 
I need to be there for him, but as the judge looks at it, I 
won't be there for him for a couple of years. Well, that's it 


From The Beat: If you get to be there for your son, would you want 
him to follow in your footsteps? If the answer is no, doesn't that make 
you question your own commitment to that life? If your son wanted 
to bang when he turned 1 1, for example, how would you handle that 


Bang 'Til Yau Die 


First, I would like to say to say what's up to The Beat 
readers and Beat staff. Well, I'm going to write about the 
first topic, about who you thought was going to save you 
when you got arrested. To tell you the truth, I knew what I 
had gotten myself into, so I wasn't looking for anybody to 
help me in this situation, besides to have hope and that 
everything will go all right for me in court. 

I know a lot of people get scared and ask themselves 
how they going to do it up in this four-wall cells. But that 
wasn't' how I saw it. I knew I was in it for good or for life. 
But lucky me, I'm only here for a couple of years and not 

I just wanna say something to the homies up in the 
halls: if you vatos did the crime, do the time, 'cause we 
chose this vida. Nobody put a gun to your head and told 
you to get jumped into the streets. So go with the flow 
and keep banging 'til you're either dead or doing life in 

Well, that's how I see it. I don't know what you people 
think about it, but that's just the life of a gangster. 


From The Beat: What we think about it is that so much gets lost, wasted, 
if you do only what you've done, if you don't explore beyond your own 
experience. You made choices based on very limited alternatives. You 
can't choose what you don't know exists. Rather than commit yourself 
to a path you already know so well, including where it leads, why not 
let your natural curiosity take you through other doors that can only 
widen you as a person. You should be in a gang of college students 
exploring the great minds of others, and exposing yourself to ideas you 
never thought about before. 



///// ////// 

W»»»»MMI>W77FT7Wnm „„ 

Valentines Day 


I am going to write about the best gift I gave to someone for 
Valentines Day. But first I'll mention the best Valentines 
Day gift I ever received. It was from my step dad and my 
lady. Well, they both got me a dozen roses and a box of 
chocolate. The gift I gave my lady for Valentines Day is 
a bunch of roses, and all my love, with a big teddy bear 
holding a heart that says "I love you" on it. I also gave her 
all kinds of different things from the mall. This year I am 
going to take her out to dinner when I get out of here. 


From The Beat: Teddy bears, dinner, what's next - a trip to the Riviera? 
Take care of yourself C. The rest will fall into place. 

A Song Of Memory 


I used to hang out with my sis, 

I used to bang it with my sis, 

Man, I miss my sis. 

I used to steal for my sis. 

I used to lie for my sis. 

Damn, I miss my sis. 


Reminiscing all them good ol' days 

Going to the mall, watching movies 

Seeing my sisters shed a tear 

So why do you keep playing mind games 

The crows keep watching me 

But I was raised by the dead 

Now it's even harder trying to be an uncle 

My enemies wanna put me in the pit of death 

But I know I'll be home soon. Amen 

Chorus X2 

■Moe Joe 

From The Beat: Keep that last thought in your head and never lose 
sight of it. Yes, you will be home, and that's where your focus should be. 
Getting out of here is a given; staying out of here is in your hands. 

Valentine's Day Gifts 

What's up, Beat? The best Valentine's present I got 
was when my man came through with a lot of roses, a 
teddy bear, and chocolate. After he gave me my present 
we went to the drive in and watched a lot of movies. We 
didn't go home till like three in the morning. It was the 
best Valentine's Day ever. 

I was hoping this year would be better because I was 
going to get my man a ring with some chocolate and roses 
and we were supposed to get married when I hit 18 but 
sadly enough I'm going to be in here . Hopefully things 
will be the same way when I get out. 


From The Beat: We hope that everything is the same for you when 
you're on the outs again too. Even though you and your man couldn't 
be together for Valentine's Day you can still show the love by writing 
or calling each other. Remember, your love doesn't have to be confined 
for Valentines Day! 

Sad 'Cause I'm here 

For Valentine's I don't even ask for much. All I want is 
some time with my hubby. I guess this would be the most 
depressing Valentine. I miss my man so much, he misses 
me too. I need to get out and make it up to him. He's sad 
'cause I'm in here, but hopefully not for long. 


From The Beat: Well, the easiest way to make sure that you don't miss 
the next Valentine's Day is to make sure you stay out of the hall. 

J L 

Find My Way 

Intro: This is Saetern comin' at you as Young Toony with 

Peanutt on the mic... 

(Verse 1) 

Access accepted, changed denied 

So many years of hurt, pain and cries 

Never got the truth, addicted to lies 

Mother drugged up, daddy never in my life 

Raised on my own, got the street addiction 

Bottle after bottle got me feelin' acceptance 

Looked at life for what it is, never the consequences 

In and out of jail, thought this how life is 

Getting' older, no more mind of a 111' kid 

Realizing I wanted a better life than moms and pops did 

Contemplating in my cell on the things I should've did 

Hopin' for the best to see days I never did 

Takin' it day by day, holdin' it together 

Tryin' to be patient thinkin' that day would soon come 

My change will be accepted 

The opposite of access accepted and changed denied 

Cursed from the hurt, pain and cries 

On them better days livin' that right life 

Don't judge me for what you see, look at the inside 


Reminisce, take a shot of this Hennessey 

Drop love when all you got is enemies 

I'm down on my knees lookin' for a brighter day 

Prayin' to the lord, tryna find a way 

(Verse 2) 

I'm stuck in this place with nothin' but a paper and pen 

I was hustlin' on the streets but it's headin' to an end 

I get no answers but questions so I'm seekin' to hear 

How long will I be doin' a couple of months or many 


So many tears have fallin' just for a lonely soldier 

The war is getting' hotter but the world is getting' colder 

I'm pursuin' a better life so I'm tryin' and tryin' 

I'm losin' my mind from all this cryin' and cryin' 

So many times I get neglected feelin' down and out 

The sunshine is gone, I'm getting' rain and clouds 

There ain't no opportunities for these phonies and 


They all wanna be my friend, but these homies are fake 

I can't see what's happenin' ahead so I'm watchin' my 


Puttin' my heart into music when I spit on a track 

If I'm dead and gone, I just want my family to know 

Through the hardest times in life I'm never gonna let go 


Reminisce, take a shot of this Hennessey 

Drop love when all you got is enemies 

I'm down on my knees lookin' for a brighter day 

Prayin' to the lord tryna find my way 


I'm tryna maintain 

These walls and these streets got me goin' insane 

The lord is tellin' me I need change 

So I'm searchin' for the strength so I pray every day 


-Young Toony Feat, Peanutt, Santa Clara 

From The Beat: Did you write this only during the workshop, or did you 
work this out during the week? It's another amazing accomplishment 
of language and heart. That strength you're praying for is embedded in 
these lines, and therefore embedded in you. 



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Chanyiny My Dream 


I had a dream that I wanted to be the biggest gangster in 
the world, an OG gang member. But I lost hope because I 
started to get beat up 'cause I had a bald head and I would 
gang bang a certain color. Now, I just want to drop out 
and join some kind of program like CYO or MASA, 'cause 
I think it will help me out and my people. 

When I got locked up, I thought my homey was going 
to help me out, but when I finally saw him, I saw that he 
was getting beat up, raped like a rag doll, and just making 
him look like a sick-minded joke. 


From The Beat: Where was your friend who was beaten up and raped? If 
that was happening in a county facility, people in authority should be 
told about it. He has a right to be protected, no matter what they say he 
did! As for you, we hope your new dream of helping yourself and your 
people through a program completely replaces your old dream of being 
a gang member. There's no future in that dream... 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

I understand nothing changes overnight, and in many 
cases it's a negative thing. Like no drug addict can change 
and go sober and clean overnight, and no one changes 
fast. If it was possible, you know how much easier stuff 
would be for hella heads. 

Things are never really this easy, and most people 
learn the hard way. But hey, every mistake you make is 
a lesson learned, feel me? You can only look back and 
think of ways to better yourself, and it will take time, but 
in the long run it's all worth it. That's what I think at least. 
Some people might say you'll never change or learn, but 
that's why time exists - to change the things for better (or 
maybe worse). But the decision is up to you, with all the 
choices you make. In some cases though, not changing 
over night is a good thing. Like if you're happy with the 
man you're with and he is too. At least you know it won't 
change overnight (in most cases), if what you share is 

That's just an example. Well Beat, that's all. To 
everyone locked up, stay up! 


From The Beat: Hey Christina, we agree with you. Good observations. 

"Cause I'm The Duke Of Earl' 


If I would bring back somebody from the dead it would 
be my Uncle Dan. I really didn't even know him but my 
mom always would talk about him. She would always say 
Uncle Dan's favorite song was Duke of Earl and he would 
go cruising in his "bomb" and play that song. He always 
used to take my mom cruising in the bomb and get loaded 
off a lenyo. 

It would be cool to bring him back 'cause I know we 
would get along real well. Oldies and old school cars are 
one thing I can't live without and my uncle was straight 
old school. 

"My uncle is the Duke Of Earl" 

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl 

Duke, duke, duke of earl 

Duke, duke, duke of earl" 

As I walk through this world nothing can stop me, the 

Duke of Earl, and you are my girl nothing can hurt you I 

wont let 'em. 


From The Beat: Wow, what a story your mom passed on to you, Galvan. 
Though you've never met your uncle you have the great memories that 
he's given your mother. 

J L 


Damn, we were talking about getting STD's. Most people 
that got them are hoes, but not all. If your man cheats 
then he can pass it to you. If someone were to pass me 
something I would mess them up! Because that's hella 
nasty. Shhh!! 


From The Beat: Why do you think a person is a hoe if they have an 
STD, Foolish? What do you think we can do to lower our risk of getting 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

To me, the quote "Nothing changes over night" is that all 
of your habits you can't wake up one day and say," Okay, 
I've changed," especially if you have habits that you have 
been doing for a couple years. 

I apply this to my life because I tell myself I'm going 
to change but I can't just change in one day or over night, 
but I know when I get out I'm going to be a changed 

My plan for the future is to be a nurse or mentor to 
talk to teenage kids. I know I'm going to go on the right 
path when I get out and as for the patience, I have a lot of 
patience so I don't need to worry about that. 


From The Beat: Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement. 
Changing is tough and it definitely can't be done overnight, just like 
you can't quit smoking overnight. What are some things you can do to 
make sure you stay on the right path, Miranda? Just know we have 
faith in you and we know you can do it! 

Valentines Baby! 

The best valentine's day gift I have ever gotten is my 
birthday. V-day is my birthday and unfortunately I have 
to spend it in here. It's going to suck big time but I'm 
going to make the best out of it. I have realized that I 
have messed up in life and this is a very great lesson to 
learn. In a way I am kind of happy that I am in here for my 
birthday. I've had to realize what can be taken away from 
me as a result of my bad behavior. 

I think the best v-day present I have ever been given 
was my birth. My mother says that I am the best thing 
that ever happened to her. Even though I have put her 
through a lot of hell, she still loves me no matter what! 
I'm happy with my life, even through hard times. Thanks 
to you for all the love and support that you have given us. 
Happy Valentines Day! Much love on this v-day. 


From The Beat: As they say - "the proof is in the pudding". That's always 
sounded pretty messy, to us, but we know what it means. We hope you 
do, too. 

Worried 'Bout My Man 

Damn, marijuana and testicular cancer? That's a trip. I 
thought marijuana was a good herb. I'm gonna get high 
24/7 but that's what brought me here. 

I was planning to stop smoking for a bit but now I 
don't even plan to smoke, not 'cause of me. I'm really 
worried about my man, he's been smoking since he was a 
very young teen. I should tell him the risks. I don't want 
nothing to happen to him. I want us to get old together. 
I'm going to tell him to stop. 


From The Beat: That's really good of you to do, but do you think your 
man will step up and quit? Sometimes people can be stubborn, for his 
sake, we hope that he's not. 



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I had a dream. It was to go home with my mom. Then 
my dream went bad. It all went downhill. My mom went to 
jail. Then I went to a group home for six years. The group 
homes were OK. Now I am locked up. I have been here for 
ten weeks. All I got to say, don't get locked up... 


From The Beat: It's good advice, but it won't help people like you who 
are already locked up. Our advice for you is that you focus on the day 
you get to walk out, because that's when you'll need a plan so you won't 
have to repeat the mistakes of the past. 

Nothing Changes Overnight 

We all know nothing changes overnight. If you want 
something to change for the better, you have to work hard 
at it. This applies to my life because obviously, I'm still 
not doing any better. 

I've had so many plans I wanted to make, but they 
never work out. But I just can't give up. I gotta keep 
working at them, and put my mind to it. The one things I 
wanted to do was just graduate from school. But for me, 
it's gonna be kinda hard because I get distracted easily 
and tend to not finish what I start. 

After graduating school I want to go to de Anza. I 
wanna be a pediatrician. I've always wanted to work with 


From The Beat: If you really want to be a pediatrician, you'll have to 
learn how to finish what you start. You have at least eight years of 
schooling to complete, after high school. Maybe more. So, you need to 
be really dedicated. Get busy on your great idea. 

That Lovey Day 



This is Christina. Valentines Day is supposed to be a 
good day where you hang out with the people you love. 
But that's kinda hard when you're locked up. 

I think everyone incarcerated feels me on that one. 
In here that day just makes people reminisce about their 
loved ones. But then again, what day don't we - huh? 

If I was on the outs and things were going how I 
wanted, I would kick it with my family, and, of course, my 
man. I hella miss my fam and my man. 

Then the next day would be the 15th, and that would be 
our 8 month anniversary. It just sucks that being locked 
up had to get in between us. But hey, this situation won't 
last forever, right? Just gotta do what I gotta do to get the 
hell out of here. And then stay out of trouble. 


From The Beat: Sounds to us like you have plenty of reasons to shape 
up. Not everyone is that lucky. You take care of business and do not 
come back here again. 

Dealing With Life 

When I got arrested, I knew nobody was going to help 
me. My parents can't do anything. My homies can't do 
anything. I knew I was on my own. I was my own man. 
Now I had to deal with my consequences. I was pissed 
but there was nothing I could do about it. I had to deal 
with life. 

I always depended on my parents to get me out of 
shhh, but I can't do that no more. I have to deal with life 
and what it has to offer. 


From the Beat: When you write about dealing "with life and what it has 
to offer," are you thinking of changes you need to make in your life? 
Like what? 

Thoughts On Valentines Day 

Well, I'm going to talk about Valentines Day. To me it's 
hella dumb. People want to get all romantic and stuff, just 
for one day. I mean... you should be romantic everyday. I 
think on that day people be actin' hella fake. They hella 
skim. Girls be really thinking their guys want them. Think 
again. They just trying to get some "good good", feel me. 
That's about it for this boosie. Bye Beat. 


From The Beat: You might be on to something Fame. But don't tell the 
folks who run candy stores or flower shops. They'd run us out of town. 

X r 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

No, I don't think nothing changes over night. Take me 
for instance, I was in love with fast money and running 
the streets. I would never be at home and always had my 
money on my mind. 

It was hard for me to change that lifestyle. I still 
haven't changed my life so I know it's not going to happen 
over night. Me loving fast money so much and being out 
in the street now has led me to be in here. 

Yeah, I do want to change and being in here has made 
me think on my future and I don't want this life forever. 
I want to be somebody. I want to be a nurse. I want to 
be proud and happy to be myself and say I made it, I am 


From The Beat: If you're dedicated and you really work hard for 
this then we know you can do it, Germella. Just remember, you are 
somebody important but it's whether or not you want to do something 
with yourself that makes the difference. 

Valentines Day Poem 

I'm not supposed to love you 

I'm not supposed to care 

I'm not supposed to live my life 

Wishing you were there 

I'm not supposed to wonder 

Where you are or what you do 

I'm sorry 

I can't help myself 

Cause I'm in love with you! 


From The Beat: Hey, is this your own piece. Pretty darn good. If it is 
yours, you should consider writing lyrics and poems. If it's not yours, 
you need to give credit to the real author. (Would you want someone to 
cop your lyrics?) 


Nothing Changes Over Night 

If something bad happened during day and it's something 
you regret, or didn't want to happen, or something like 
that, it just means that you can't change what happened. 
You have to live with it and keep going, without looking 
back. It just means to look at the better side of any 
situation you are in and make the better of it. I can't 
change what happened for me to get here, but my plan is 
to keep going to school, and graduate, and get myself a 
job and finish all my programs - because I'll be 18 when 
I leave. 

My advice to anyone who reads this is that you keep 
your head up and stay strong. And remember that what 
happened can't be changed. But you can make a brighter 
future, and keep living. 


From The Beat: Darn good advice. 


' k+*M*w**d?t 

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I feel like talking about gangs because I was in gangs. It 
isn't good because you always get in fights, and in trouble. 
Why? Because you kick it with the wrong people. 

I used to when I was young, and now that I'm a little 
bit older I feel sad because they are putting little kids into 
gangs, and that ain't right. 

One of my homies got shot and I was there that day. 
I don't want that stuff to happen to those little kids. And 
now I'm locked up for gang stuff and for fighting. That 
ain't cool because I'm going to be here for a while. I want 
to be with my family. 

My brothers and sisters are locked up for gang stuff, 
and mostly, all my people are locked up for gang stuff. 


From The Beat: Appreciate the straight forward piece. We'd like to hear 
your ideas about what to do about this problem. 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

By now everybody should know that nothing changes 
over night. But I know that if you keep making the same 
mistake over and over, you will finally do something 
different. If you don't then you have a lack of common 

There will be a time when you're fed up and you're 
just gonna wanna make a change. But even then it won't 
work as well as you planned, because nothing happens 
cold turkey. 


From The Beat: We each have our own turning points. In the meantime, 
best to keep those turkeys warm. 

I Don't Deserve Hands 

I don't think women should ever get hit unless she really 
deserves it. I was in a relationship where I used to get hit. 
Every time my ex got mad it could be the littlest thing and 
he would hit me. 

When I tried to run he would either talk me out of it 
or let me go for a few days. He would always find me and 
make sure I came back. I did because at times he would 
make me feel loved. 

I never use to do anything to get hit so I think it was 
messed up. I finally decided that I wasn't going to take it 
anymore so I left. 

Now, what happened with Chris Brown was different, 
I think she deserved it. 


From The Beat: What would cause someone, woman or man, to deserve 
getting hit? There are other ways to solve our problems and we shouldn't 
resort to violence, even when our spouse has done something wrong. 
Why do you think society condones abuse in relationships nowadays? 

Valentines Day Presents 


I never got a present, or gave a present, for Valentines 
Day. But I have been in a situation where I knew this guy 
wanted to be my Valentine, but I didn't want to be his. I 
was just going to spend a day with him so he could be 

It turned that he made me feel different, and we 
started going out, and he made me happy. And to think 
that I wasn't going to give him a chance.... 


From The Beat: Good story. If you hadn't done what you thought was 
simply a kind thing, you'd never have discovered your friend's qualities. 
Kindness is always a good thing. 

J L 

Gonna Change For My Drother 

If I can bring back the dead I would first start with my 
homeboy. Anyways, I'll bring back my homeboy because 
he was like my brother. It sucks that my homeboy ain't 
around anymore because he was hella close to me and 
my family. 

I hate that my homeboy got killed because the way 
they got him was dirty. He was my crime partner and we 
would always be doin' dirt no matter what because he 
was a down ass homeboy. We would always be posted up 
in the block getting down with fools that would try to 
disrespect us. Now that he ain't around I can't be doin' 
that anymore so I am going to try and change for him. 

I will never forget about him and will always have the 
homeboy in my heart alratos! 

- Remembering 

From The Beat: It's never an easy thing to deal with when a loved one 
dies and it's hard to find someone to help us deal with out emotions 
because we're all impacted in different ways. Others deal with the pain 
by hiding their emotions, others will try to mask it with alcohol and 
drugs, and there are some people who change their whole life to deal 
with their loss. What do you think you will change about yourself? 

My 18th Birthday 

Just before I went to sleep last night, I thought about 
how I will change from this experience. How my attitude 
and perception has changed. How I will act towards my 
friends, enemies, family, and respected elders. I have not 
been in juvie long, but I have no intention on ever coming 

Today was my 18th birthday. The only birthday I will 
spend locked up. I'm legally an adult now, it's time I start 
acting like one. Get my mind straight and my ass in gear. 
I have basically taken my negative problem and turned it 
into a positive result. I have learned from my mistake. I 
will take what I have learned and use it in life. 

In a way, juvie has been the best experience in my 


From The Beat: We hope that you can follow through with what you 
say, Brian. It's so hard to change (even when we really want to) because 
of all the distractions from the outs but if you have the determination 
and you have the desire to change then you can do it. We wish you the 



What's cracking, Beat? This is Lina. 

Today I'm feeling kind of irritated for different reasons. 
Well, the reason why I came back for the fifteenth time 
is 'cause my PO sent me away then I bounced back in 
October now we're in February. 

I been coming here since I was 12 and I just turned 
18. I turned myself in on a Wednesday night. I been 
wanting to do good but my brothers baby mama just had 
a baby and her name is Caliray. I wanted to see her as 
soon as she popped out so I ran to run back to San Jose. 
I was hella happy when I first seen my niece. She's the 
best that ever had appeared in our lives. 

Well, my PO gave me 60 days then I get out with no 
probation. I get out March 30th and once I'm out I'm gonna 
go visit my girl once she gets transferred. Late Beat. One 


From The Beat: Do you think that this time will be different when you 
get out? We know that you have it in you, you just have to believe that 
you can do it and work hard! It wont be easy, but it's possible and that's 
what matters. We wish you the best, Lina, and we hope that you can 
visit us when you're on the outs! 




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If I Was My Mom 

Well, if I was my mom I would do a lot of things 

First, I would beat the hell out my kids if they talked 
back to me. I don't know why she let us talk to her like 
that but she does. I mean, don't get me wrong, she hit me 
sometimes but that's like every once in a blue moon. 

Maybe I shouldn't take her kindness for weakness 
'cause one day she might just snap and go bad on me. 
But yeah, I love my mommy though. Anyways, that's it for 
this topic, peace. 


From The Beat: Do you think your mother should've taken a stricter role 
with you? Maybe your mother trusted you to follow the rules while also 
having the freedom to live your life? 

Pray For Peace Not For Vengeance 

Beat, what's up, it's Shoka. I'm going to talk about 
the past with Abe Lincoln and the 1865 Civil War: Abe 
Lincoln asked both the North and South do they pray to 
the same God, and they did, they both prayed to God that 
one another would win the war. 

If I was God I would let none of them win because 
they're praying for destruction and god wants to bring 
peace. I wouldn't answer to their prayer — what I mean by 
that is I will not show them the way as God does, I would 
make both perish in the name of the Lord for asking a 
ridiculous question. 


From The Beat: Hey Shoka, you make a really interesting point here — it 
seems like you're arguing that God, whoever He or She is, won't wreak 
destruction no matter how hard anyone prays for it, and we're inclined 
to agree with you. It's interesting, also, that even though you don't 
say it outright, you're making this argument based on the idea that the 
North and South were actually praying to the same god — so instead of 
speaking as God, speak as you: do you and your enemies pray to the 
same god? 

Nothing Changes Quickly 


To me nothing changes over night. People always expect 
to set a certain prayer and get out on your next court date 
or something. People always want to live in the fast lane 
but can't deal with getting stopped. ...I know we all wish 
that we can get out of a bad situation fast.. .but it just 
doesn't work like that way. I wish it could though, but all 
things happen for a reason. ..I mean I hate that it does but 
that's just the way of life. ..I ain't even going to lie I wish 
things can happen fast and I can get out but I can't. 

Sitting in here I do think about what my future can 
be like. ..I mean I do have dumb time to think to. ...but 
I got two plans actually.... If I do get out I'm gonna go 
to college and be a lawyer that helps juveniles getting 
tried as adults and that's for real. I want to bank and 
just stack up.... I ain't got no time to so all little kid shhh 
no more... I'm gonna always keep faith no matter what.... 
but if I don't get out I'm gonna try to make the best of 
my situation even though it won't seem good. I'll try to 
keep my self-educated as much as I can so I won't die no 
dummy, man. 

But shhh, all I can hope for is the best, right? But 
damn, nothing changes over night! 


From The Beat: Although right now everything is unsure it's always 
good to have your plans revved up and ready to go. It's irritating but 
all you can do is pray and hope that everything turns out all right. We 
wish there was something we could do to help you, but reality hits hard 
and your future is in someone else's hands. We know who you are. Faith, 
and we know that no matter how terrible the crime we all deserve our 
chance. We hope that you can get yours. 

J L 

Money Is Everything 


I'm sorry I'm gonna have to flip the topic to "there isn't 
anything money can't fix" but I'm not gonna speak for 
everyone. But for me, money can fix everything. 

It can fix my girl situation, it can change people's 
hearts, it could keep you out of jail, and can get you good 
grades. It can make you pretty, it can get your mind off of 
death, it can keep a smile on your face. 

For a broke ninja like me, that would be a blessing 
like no other, to have so much money. I bet all ya'll in 
juvie or at least 90% of the people in here would take an 
unlimited credit card and it would make them happy, 
that's what I strongly believe. That's all I think about, 
money and women. 


From The Beat: Money can do a lot of things to make us happy, but for 
how long? After most people get what they want then they want more 
and more, when will we stop wanting? What do you think the world 
would be like if money was never invented? 

Mary Jane 

Marijuana is such a wonderful plant, I don't really think 
it's a drug because it grows from the earth. 

I love marijuana and I don't think I will ever stop 
doing the so-called drug. I do it because it relaxes me 
and I think I do better decisions when I'm high. I think I 
still do it because it feels so good. It helps me a lot too. 
Marijuana is actually everything for me, I love mary jane 

for you baby 


From The Beat: There's a lot of evidence to show that weed isn't as 
medically risky as harder drugs, and that it can even be used for 
medicinal purposes. But do you really think you make better decisions 
when you're high, and that a plant should be "everything" for you? It's 
possible to abuse anything — alcohol, food, your relationships, or weed. 
So check it: try a little moderation in all you do! 

Before I Went li Sleep 


Just before I went to sleep last night, I thought how to 
be successful in life. Do I want to be a HSG (High School 
Graduate) or have a GED or go to the pen and put it down 
for the hood? 

What I really want to be is successful in life and 
cherish it. Even though there's no chance for me to be 
successful I would want to learn how to kick box so if I go 
to the pen I'll be ready or I could just stop what I do and 
do whatever I need to do to be successful in life. 


From The Beat: You can be successful in life! Why don't you believe that 
you can be successful. Sneaks? If you put your mind to it and work hard 
then you can do anything. Do you think you'd ever be willing to work 

hard for a better life? 

If You Were Yiur Parent 


9~vole Beat, this Sneaks talking about being my own 
parent. I wont be my own parent, I will be my own man. 
My parents are my mom, no dad so it's been hard but 
forget it, that's life when you are working hard for your 

I do think that my mom is doing a great job parenting 
especially by herself that's why I admire her so much. 
But if I was my own man I would have a job to take care of 
myself and responsibilities. 


From The Beat: We know that you can make it as long as you work hard 
and really go for it then you can do anything you want! Do you think 
you're dad's absence affected the way you think or do things. Sneaks? 
Do you think it will affect you and your desire to change? 



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Holding My Breath 


Just before I went to sleep last night, I thought about my 
lady and what she's doing 'cause I miss her. 

Also, I thought about all my carnales that are from my 
varrio and are on the run. Stay trucha and this vago who's 
ready for death, smoking the crystal meth. 

I take a hit but not hold my breath but I realize that's 
what got me to go on the run, smoking crystal meth, 
but my body calls for it and there's nothing I could do 
because that be my choice to smoke crystal meth and 
bring endless lokera. 

Pues, that's all I thought before I went to sleep last 

-Lil' Spooky 

From The Beat: Why do you think you're so drawn to crystal meth? Why 
jeopardize your sentence to run and smoke? Meth will just give you 
more dead time and even if you think it's fun in the long run, you'll be 
the one who loses. We hope that you keep your head on right and stay 
straight, because meth isn't worth your time or your life. 

If You Were Your Parent 


My parents have been doing it right since the start! My 
mom did everything she could to get to the United States 
so I could be born here, she was 6 months pregnant but 
she made it. They had me and my sister then sent us to 
live with our grandma for two years so they can work. 

When we came back, we had it good then we had 
another member of our family all of a sudden. I did love 
the idea my sister hated that little boy though they did 
many things for us but me and my sister took care of 
losing a lot of what we had. We practically put them in 
debt. They still bust their asses. If I were them I would 
have gave up, but they don't. They do everything to keep 
us safe. 

-Proud Daughter 

From The Beat: What did you do to put your parents into debt? We 
hope that this time around you can realize how good you've got it to 
have such great parents. Not everyone has the luxury of having such 
dedicated parents and it's unfair to them and yourself to repay them by 
ending up in the hall. Your parent's work hard to give you everything 
you could want and need, why mess that up? 

Running Through My Mind 

Every time I close my eyes 

Your steady running through my mind 

Trying to think of all the good leaving the bad behind 

Laying on my bed at night 

Just simply trying to unwind 

Holding back the pain and tears 

That you caused deep down inside 

Never thought I'd see the day 

That you make me cry 

Yet you did and till this day 

Those tears still running down my eyes 

I always thought you be the one to stick right by my side 

Especially when you told me that you was gone ride or 


I fell for a man and now I want to die 

They told me don't trust his lies 

But you stuck. Right there by your side 

But an the end you made your choice 

And then you told me goodbye 

Now every time I close my eyes 

You steady running through my mind. 


From The Beat: Was this poem inspired by your personal love life? We 
hope that the next time you don't fall prey to the "game". 


Crazy Things 

I hate when I drink 'cause I 
Do crazy things 

And when I do crazy things 
I'm not myself like I'll beat up 
My friends for getting loud wit' me 
And they're a lot older then me. 

And when I drink and do other 

Drugs I feel like calling one of 

My homies to go smoke 

but the older homies 

Just tell me to chill my time will 



From The Beat: "I'm not myself," you say about yourself when you've 
been drinking. From your own retelling, you get angry and challenge 
your friends to fights you know you can't win. Maybe it's time to 
examine what's coming out of you sideways — how can you release your 
anger without alcohol? Why don't you like yourself when you're drunk, 
and how can you make it easier for yourself not to drink? Remember, 
always, that you are in charge of your own choices and actions, and 
that you can always choose to act differently. 

Taken To Paradise 


What's cracking Beat, it's Lil' Man from San Jose, well 
I'm gonna write about my first and only love, my main girl 
Mary Jane.... Just like Rick James said she takes me to 

Well, I think that I'll stop someday but not very soon. 
I can't wait until I get out and we reunite. 


From The Beat: Recognizing that you have a problem with drugs, can 
you tell us more about your relationship with Mary Jane? How does she 
make you feel, and why do you keep coming back to her? Does she get 
in the way of anything else you want to do? We think it's important 
to examine your relationships — with people, with substances, and with 
yourself. You are too smart to allow yourself to remain stuck. 

Best Present 

One day when I was a young teen my dad bought me a 
bear that was hella cute. My dad was incarcerated at the 
time, so my mother gave it to me and told me it was from 
him. I got teary because I had not seen my dad for 7 years. 
So that was the best present I ever got on Valentines 


From The Beat: Wonderful story. 

Just Bella Trippin' 


J L 

Hey Beat, I was supposed to go to the Ranch but now I'm 
not. I got new charges. It's about my baby's mom. 

They're asking about us having sex under age and 
shhh 'cause the Planned Parenthood reported about 
her getting pregnant and now they were trying to charge 
me with unlawful sex. I'm hella mad. Who the hell gets 
charged with that? 

I might not even go to the Ranch anymore. My PO is 
going to talk to me tomorrow and find out what's going on 
'cause all this happened today. 

Well, hopefully it just gets dropped and I go to the 


From The Beat: Wow. Have you spoken to your PO to ask what was 
going on? All you can do is stay strong. Make sure you ask your PO to 
explain everything to you, you'll want to know everything that happens 
with this. We wish you the best of luck and hope that everything turns 
out for the best. 



r//// ////// 

///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // 

Who Was Going To Help Me? 

What's up Beat? This is the homie Ceaser coming out of 
the max! But anyways, really when I got caught, I knew 
nobody was going to help me. It's messed up but true. 
That's what happens when you wanna run the streets! 

But hey, I'ma be back out and the system is going to 
shoot me one more chance. But just remember there's 
no love on the streets. So until pencil meet's paper, your 


From The Beat: We hope you take this "other chance" very seriously, 
Ceasar. It's your chance to retake control of your life and to guide 
yourself away from places like this. Just think how many people you 
know are dying to get that second chance you've been given. Don't 

I live Vm! 


I don't have everything as a matter of fact 

I don't have anything except of a dream of a better day. 

And you to help me find my way 

Being a man I'm sure to make mistakes, 

But to keep you I would do all it takes, 

And if it meant my love was really true. 

I'd gladly die and watch over you, 

I wish you knew how much I cared, 

You'd see my love is by the life we'd shared, 

Even it you changed your mind and said our love was thru 

I'd want to continuously cry and still I'd love you. 


From The Beat: Nice poem! Being in love can be so confusing especially 
with the swirling dysfunction of our emotions getting in the way. You 
can be head over heels in love, ready to die for that person but wouldn't 
it be even better to be with someone who also wanted you in that 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

Hey what up homies, this is Lil' Huero. Nothing changes 
overnight: for example, me. I don't think I will ever change 
because I like doing what I do — going out late at night, 
smoking bud, and getting drunk, so I'm gonna keep doin' 
what I do and I will never change over night. 

- Lil' Huero 

From The Beat: We completely agree with your first point, which is 
that nothing, and especially no person, can change overnight. But 
we wonder a little about your second statement that you will never 
change — how old are you, boy? Because we know from experience that 
some of the things you think will never get old when you're 15 or 16 
don't look so golden by 20 or 25. Staying out late and chilling can be 
great, but what are your dreams? What do you hope to achieve in your 
life? What changes will you have to make to turn those questions into 
realities? Step up before you remain stomped on by the system 



If I could go back in time I probably would have gone 
to Mexico before my grandma died. If I went over there 
before, I could have probably taken care of her and she 
might have lived at least four more years not saying that 
I could have stopped her from dying but she wouldn't die 
as fast. If I would have gone over there I could stay over 
there while and probably not be here. 

I would want to have a chance to say hi to her and her 
to say hi to me because I never met her so all I can say 
now is R.I. P. grandma. 


From The Beat: We're sorry to hear of your loss. A.. .to have lost a 
woman who was a significant part of your life, even if you never met 
her, her blood runs deep inside you. Did your grandmothers death give 
you a newfound appreciation for your life? What do you think your 
grandmother would say about your life now? 


What's up Beat? This is Baby J again. Today I'ma talk 
about people, well its mostly going be about our 3rd topic 
about violence. 

Now, when I said I was going to talk about people I 
didn't have any specific kind of person in mind. I'm not 
too familiar on why people act the way they act, but I can 
understand some reasons why. I mean, I take a look at the 
people around me and I don't understand why they are so 
easily angered. Then I reflect upon myself and wonder if 
those same people are wondering the same thing about 
me. But then I come to a conclusion that they can't be 
because of the fact that I am much quieter, which gives 
me more time to think. Well that's it for now the hours 
up. Till next time. 

-Baby Jesus 

From The Beat: Curious minds wonder. People act in different ways, 
so different that no one could really understand besides that person. 
Sometimes the people that aren't so quiet usually got a lot going on in 
there heads to the point where they just loose it because its just too 
much for them to handle at once. 


My Son Albert 



I'm gonna talk about my son. Well, my son is four years 
old he gonna turn five on August 29th. 

It's really hard to be locked up and away from him I 
feel really guilty and bad because I disappointed and let 
down so many people especially my son. 

Last time I was out I promised him and my family 
that I wouldn't get locked up again. I was only out for two 
months, and I thought I would be out longer after doing a 
year and two-months last time I was here. When I was out 
for those two months I spent almost every minute with 
him, it was so fun! 

One time I gave him a plate of spaghetti and my mom 
didn't tell me that I had to give him a bowl when I feed 
him so I told him to eat what he can and give me the rest. 
Well I turned my back on him and went to the kitchen and 
all of a sudden I heard giggling in the kitchen and I went 
to check and I saw the cats fool of noodles and spaghetti 
sauce, and I couldn't help but laugh. 

Well that's about it I hope you could give me some 
advice to help me out when they release me. 


From The Beat: Nice story. It's also great you have a mom to help you 
parent and be the best dad possible. Now our advice to you is to realize 
you have a choice to either be present in your son's life or to skip out 
and carry guilt around forever. It's on you Niko so do what is best for 
you and your family. You're smart! 


Wlen I gi To Bel At Night 

The other night before I went to bed I was thinking about 
being with my family and friends. I was just laying on my 
bed thinking about all the good times I had with my family. 
It's crazy that I've been away from them so damn long it's 
crazy. I miss them so much it hurts. Especially my sisters 
and brother. I'm used to being with them everyday. And 
my best friend is missing me too like crazy. 

I just wish this situation never happened. I also miss 
my boo too but it ain't that important. 

Well, I wish I can go back in time and change everything 
I did but I can't. Well, that's it for tonight, Beat, bye. 


From The Beat: It always hurts to be away from family. Fame, but 
you have to kick through the tough times. Utilize this time to your 
advantage. Fame. Think about your life and what you really want out 
of it, after all, is this all that life has to offer? 



///// ////// 

Dear Save Me 

Verse 1: 

God "save me" for I am one of your child's 

Follow in your footsteps I'm one of your disciples 

I believe in you that's why I read the bible 

If I sin then you can hold me liable 

For the crime's I commit I'm the only one responsible 

And remember you will be shunned 

If you're one of His rival's 

Descending from the sky 

Like the arch angel named Mitchell 

Didn't kill for joy He did it for survival 

The law took me away in exile 

So you no longer see a smile 

For God I would walk a 1000 miles 

Chico blessed with so much style 

But God, I need more then luck, I need help through my 

trial Case after case it all seems to pile 

Now look at me I got two files 

But God, I have faith in you, you're my idol 

People talk and say the way I was livin' was wild 

But only God can judge me so Lord please "save me" 

'Cause I'm tired of the vicious cycle 


Lord, I get down on my knees and pray everyday.. .day 

And sometimes I don't even know what to say 

But I sill have faith, God, wash my sins away 

"Save me" so I can live another day. 

Verse 2: 

God "save me" when I die I want to go up but my soul is 

bound Seems like gravity always pulls me down 

And for right now my feet are above ground 

But for how long, Lord, I wish I could ask around 

But you're the one with the answers, 

So I don't ask these clowns 

I lost my own soul but you're my witness now it's found 

Lord, I admit my life's full of pain and mistakes 

But when I die I want to make it to heavens gate 

I'm tired of this world I need to escape 

I want to live in peace but hell ain't the place 

Lord, the truth is I don't want to die 

Lord, separate the real from the fake 

'Cause the earth's got way to many snakes 

I'm in need of your grace 

Waitin' for the day we meet face to face 

God, there's no more time to waste 

So Lord, please "save me" from all this hate 

Take me away and my guilt will be erased 

Chorus x2 

Lord I get down on my knees and pray every day... day 

And sometimes I don't even know what to say 

But I still have faith. 

God wash my sins away 

"Save me" so I can live another day. 

Verse 3: 

God "save me" the Devil's in my ear 

Tryin' to persuade me telling me things I don't want to 


But the Devil can cry a river 

'Cause I don't care 'bout them tears 

Heard his speech a million times, if not damn near 

But you wont get through to me let's get that clear 

As much as He tries, Satan, I will not fear 

Scared of no man but God Himself and that's sincere 

The Devil thought He had me but He wasn't even close 

'Cause the man above is the one I chose 

God protects me from all my enemy's and foe's 

But Chico still gotta stay on his toes 

'Cause if I reap then I must sow 

Promise to worship God and Him alone 

Glorify the Lord with all my soul 

Swear to follow your word, as my days get old 

Can't hide nothing from God 'Cause everything He knows 

Give me a halo and let my wings grow 

You can ask god wisdom worth more gold 

Lord, please "save me" I was walkin' down a cold road 

When I realized Gods the one to behold. 

Chorus x2 

Lord, I get down on my knees and pray everyday.. .day 

And sometimes I don't even know what to say 

But I still have faith. ..god wash my sins away 

"Save me" so I can live another day.. .day 


From The Beat: What inspired you to write it? In verse 3 you wrote," God 
protects me from all my enemy's and foe's..." But what if your enemies pray 
to the same God as you? What would happen then? Do you think God 
would choose a side? Get smart and start taking responsibility! 

My Real Dad 

Hey Beat Within, it's me Christine and I am going to 
write about one of the topics and the one is very first one 
and it is also sad. 

Well, the reason why I am going to write about it is 
because it reminds me of my dad. The only reason why 
is because my dad was not really in my life when he was 
alive and me and my brothers couldn't even see him that 

Well, he died because of drugs and the drugs just got 
him. Well, when he died I was about 12 or 14 years old. 
The last time I seen him was the day of his burial. 

Well, the good thing is that I got to know who my real 
dad was and the kind of father he was to all his kids. 


From The Beat: It must've been tough to finally find your dad and then 
to lose him again. Although you only had him in your life for a short 
moment he'll always live on in your heart. Maybe you can learn more of 
who your father was if you ask around. Do some research in your family, 
you never know what you'll find! 

Thinking Bout My 1 Love! 


Well, last night before I went to sleep I was hella thinking 
about my lady. Yesterday was mine and my lady's 2nd year 
anniversary so that's what was on my mente last night. I 
was thinking about how we grew so much and matured in 
so many ways. I love that girl a lot. 

I can't wait to touchdown in June or July. I ain't even 
gonna mess this up. Trust and believe, Beat, I've done too 
much thinking in here. So I'm gonna do my thing. 

Well to my baby, I love you sweetheart, daddy will be 
home soon. As for me I'm just gonna be here anticipating 
my release. Well to all stay up keep that head up because 
pain is only temporary and remember you can't keep a 
good man down. One love, to my baby! 

-Johnny Blaze 

From The Beat: We're glad to see that you're determined to do better 
once you're out, Johnny. You're right, the halls do give you one thing 
and that's time. Time to think about what you want in life and what 
you're going to do with your life. Do you have any pointers for those 
locked up who think that all time is dead time? 



Drunk Off Love 


I had a girl I met a few years back and she was almost 
the best thing in my life. I loved her. I wanted to be with 
her forever. 

Valentine's Day was coming around, I didn't know 
what to get her. I had about four hundred in my pocket 
and really wanted to spoil her. So I bought her some 
expensive rose chocolates that cost about $200 and then 
some ballons and a big ass teddy bear. 

The day Valentine's came I was thinking and realized 
I was too sprung off this girl. I was putting her before 
my family. I spent a lot of money and didn't even get my 
grandma something. I was putting her before my family! 
I spent all my money and didn't even get my mom or 
grandma something. 

I felt I was letting this girl take control of me. So I go 
up to her, and she starts screaming in a joyful way when 
she saw all her gifts, then she started wrapping her legs 
around me and kissin' me and shhh. She tasted good. But 
I had to stay focused and said, "babe, I don't want to be 
with you anymore." I said, "I feel I'm too drunk off your 
love and now I got to get sober or it's going to kill me." 

I left her there crying and helpless with her friends. 
I was a little frustrated with myself that I did this to her. 
I knew she didn't deserve it, but I felt this was best for 
me. I realize now that I was just being selfish and was not 
showing remorse for her or her feelings. I wish I could 
see her again and let her know how much I was sorry for 
what I did and if I had the chance. I would take it back. 

Shally if your reading this then I am truly sorry for 
what I did and for what I put you through. 

-Lil' Culli 

From The Beat: Yeah, good writing, as for your story and your action, 
it does sound like you went from one extreme to the next, and there 
was room for some small changes, but you did the whole nine, and you 
realize it now. What you now know will only make you a better person, 
with Shally or the next love in your life. Good luck with your life! 


What's crackin Beat, this is Richy from Gilroy. Well, I got 
sentenced on the 6th. I got six months hall time. I can't 
wait till I get out so I can play football and smoke some 
mota. Well, I can't wait, well latez. 


From The Beat: We get that you can't wait to get out, but what are you 
going to do to make the most of your time right now? Don't challenge 
us with anymore of this type of quick writing. This is our warning. You 
need to step up, or risk not getting published. 



God Bless The Beat 

What's crackin' Beat, this the homeboy Elmo writing 
with my utmost respect from the max unit. I am writing 
you guys to let you guys know I should be out of here 
like in 2-3 weeks I'll be leaving to Rites Of Passage (ROP) 
in Nevada and I would like to keep writing and to keep 
getting The Beat Within there. 

By the way I gave my social worker like three or four 
issues of The Beat and she like it, she says she has never 
seen it before but I'm kind of going off topic I would like 
to know how to write to The Beat and how to get some 
issues there. 

thank you Beat Within I think you people are awesome. 
God bless The Beat Within and those doing tiempo. Much 
love and respect. God bless my social worker as well. 


From The Beat: We wish you the beat at ROP. As for writing The Beat, 
please do! Get our 411 from any Beat issue and write!! Simple. You write 
us and we'll send you a Beat with your work in it! 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

The homie died. 

To get over him it didn't take over night. 
It caused a big fight. 

And to get over that it didn't take over night. 
Families cried to get over that, it didn't take over night. 
People did drugs to try to get over the homie 
to get over that it didn't take over night 
that proves it doesn't take over night. 


From The Beat: We get your point regarding your piece, death and 
violence leaves scars. 

Bring Back My Cousin! 


If I could go back in time, knowing what I know today 
my life would be so different! This person I would bring 
back is my own cousin Andy. He passed about 8 years ago 
when I was 7 years old. 

I remember him always taking me out. He was like a 
brother to me. But then he started using all these drugs 
and that's when our relationship started to drift apart. He 
wouldn't come and spend time with me like he used to. 
Then I remember one morning my mom woke me up. She 
didn't seem herself. She sat me down and told me that my 
own cousin Andy had gone crazy and went into a police 
station and shot up the place. The police shot him all in 
the face. 

If I would've known this was going to happen, I 
would've tried to stop him doing all those drugs. At times, 
when I think back I blame myself for this happening. I 
love you Andy! See you soon. 


From The Beat: Being only seven when your cousin passed do you think 
his death affected you as you were growing up? Though the details of 
his death are terrible and painful you will always have the good times 
to look back on. A person doesn't have to die because their physical 
being has passed, keeping them alive by remembering them will keep 
the memories of who they were. 


My Daughter, My Baby 



J L 

What's cracking Beat? This that homeboy Shorty from 
San Jose and I just want to talk about my daughter. I 
don't remember if I wrote about her last week but I'm 
gonna write about her today, well her name is Reyna. But 
she isn't born yet. 

I just found out that it's a girl a few weeks back and 
I wanted a boy. But now that I think about it I think I 
kinda wanted a girl in a way 'cause girls are usually more 
attached to their dad's. So I think I might actually like 
having a girl better than a boy. I'm gonna be real strict 
though 'cause I know how some, well most of these hynas 
are these days and I know what us vatos do to them and 
what they freaky hynas do to us. Anyway I'm not 

only going to be strict I'm gonna be a real loving father 
to my lil' girl and do a lot to make her happy I'm going to 
try not to be too strict just strict about boys. I'm gonna 
tell her if she never has boyfriends I will get her whatever 
she wants and if she has sex she will get real sick and die 
unless she's married so she will be scared and won't do 


From The Beat: Becoming a father is a big step in a person's life. You'll 
make a good father just don't give up on yourself or her. Let the love 
you have for your unborn child, drive you to do better in life for the 
both of you. Congratulations on the baby girl! Now get busy handling 
your responsibilities. 


EmnnnmE mm // / // 


Stay Where You're At 


San Francisco is way different than Marin. In San 
Francisco you can get away with so many things, like if 
you do something, there's so many places I know where 
to hide in San Fran. But out here in Marin, it's hot, and 
what I mean by that in Nova to, the police station is right 
by yo' house. So a word of advice: never come to Marin 
to do something hot. You will be better off staying where 
you at. 

-Lil' Hus 

From The Beat: Actually, far better advice than to stay where you are 
is not to do something hot to begin with. That way, you won't need to 
find hiding places in San Francisco or worry about that police station 
in Novato. 

Never Ending 

Never ending story 

Never ending time 

What do you see coming out? 

You think without a doubt 

Trust your instincts, "Do or Die" 

That's what's on mine 

I understood it 


From The Beat: Whatever it is that you understand hasn't kept you from 
having to take orders from a bunch of strangers behind thick walls. 
Your story has just begun, so we hope you don't focus so much attention 
on its end... 


Some Cats 

It's that holiday where our Valentine shine 
Askin' a real girl girl if she would be mine 
My girl real fine, believe that, I tell you no lie 
Most cats say they don't love 'em, but that is a lie 

Most cats holla out at a girl wit' no fuss 

But as they yell, they still ridin' on the bus 

If my tongue is a poison you must have been cursed 

'Cause I'm spittin' real game out like fireworks 


From The Beat: So, have you ever been in the position the topic asks 
about, where you wanted to be someone's Valentine but she didn't want 
you to, or where some girl wanted you to be her Valentine but you 
didn't want to? 

On Mv Way !■ Utah 

J 1 

Wha's up with it, Beat? It's homie, Baby Pitt from this 
bunk-ass county. I hate when I have to be in here. It's 
a waste of my time. I always say I won't be back, but I 
do anyways. But, yeah, I'm about a to bounce a boarding 
school in Utah, to a group home. Wish me luck. And to 
the home girl, Maria, in Fresno, I miss you. 

-Baby Pitt 

From The Beat: We hope you keep an open mind about that boarding 
school in Utah. We bet you will find things (and people) you like there, 
so get as much as you can out of the experience, and come back better 
prepared to stay out of trouble. 

&innnnnE msjmmm 


The reality we live in 

is as questionable as a murder case. 

The future we look forward to 

is like our first tattoo. 

When the pain comes, 

we wish we could just change the channel. 


From The Beat: Thanks for the poem Dennis. It's strange and powerful. 
Sometimes we are just not in control of "the remote". We can't change 
the channel. We have sit through the whole painful show. 

Plans And Goals 

Well, I've had lots of plans and goals, and I find if I keep 
on being consistent and persistent at whatever I put my 
mind to, I can achieve those goals. But it takes a long 
time when you're locked up. 

I've been in programs and locked up for awhile, and 
it's been kind of hard to do what I want, and get started. I 
feel like they're playing games with me. I haven't messed 
up for a long time, but they're keeping me on probation. 
I've been handling my business and being responsible. I 
don't know what to do anymore. I'm starting to get fed up 
with everything. 

-Need To Remain Calm 

From The Beat: We hear you, but we also remember that you used the 
word "persistent". Now, more than ever, in the face of your impatience 
and frustration, persistence is needed. You have to prove that you can 
take it all in and maintain your cool. It will pay off, even if it takes a lot 
longer than you'd hoped. Don't give up. 


Best Valentines Day Gift 

The best Valentines Day gift I got, I got last year. It was 
a figure made out of thick metal wire. It was a person 
holding a bar of Hershey's dark chocolate. My boyfriend 
put a "post it" on the other hand of the figure. It said: 
Babe, I love you like a fat kid loves cake. It was adorable. 
He told me he fell asleep on his kitchen floor making it 
for me. I made him a card. I felt bad. We've been together 
two years. 


From The Beat: Very cool present. Best present you could get for him is 
your own freedom. We trust you're working on that one. 

J L 

Waiting On Valentines Day Letter 

There is only one time my boyfriend and I have been 
out to celebrate Valentines Day. That was last year, in 
'08. It was cool because he took me out to eat, and took 
me shopping, and we spent the whole day together. I was 
feeling kind of bad that I didn't get him anything, but it 
was cool because he wasn't trippin'. 

This Valentine's Day is not going to be cool because 
he's locked up and I don't know for how long. And I 
haven't talked to him. I have only had one letter from him 
in two months, so this Valentines Day is nothing to me. 


From The Beat: We hope your friend is OK, and that he's learned, or 
is learning, something from his unpleasant experience. Your job is to 
concentrate on your own needs. We hope you have learned important 
things, too. 

EmnnnnE miwj/iMMi 

Anyer Redirected 

My day was going good 'til I found out that I lost a point. 
It made me mad. 

First shift piss me off. They're always taking points 
away for stupid stuff, but now I'm not mad. The other day 
J pissed me off, but it was nothing for me to get mad at. 
It was my fault that I lost a point because I had too much 
toilet paper, but it was my fault. I can't do nothing about 
it in here, so when I get out of here I'm going to go back 
to school and play football and just think about staff and 
how they pissed me off and just tackle the other player 
and think that it's staff. 

So the staff is helping me in here because when I get 
out I will be a better player. I respect staff. I don't talk 
back to them because I don't want to get in trouble. I 
do what I got to do so I can get out. I'm not use to being 
a quiet person but I know if I say or do anything I won't 
be able to get out of here and play football and take my 
anger out on the field and then I can say that staff helped 
me become a better football player and how to control my 
anger and manners and respect, be the best of all. When 
I become a pro football player than I can say that staff 
helped me become that football player. 


From The Beat: Playing football alone will help keep you out of trouble, 
so if you can focus on that you'll be on the right track. Coining to 
detention is a bonus for you, because now you have this experience that 
may also keep you on the right track. Losing points is also beneficial 
for you because you learn how to have self-control and how to take 
responsibility for your actions. Keep up this positive mentality you 
have, because it's helping you look at the big picture and learn, instead 
of letting anger take over your life. 



Punishment is a good thing. 

Punishment can open your eyes to realize it's time to 

straighten up and do right. 

Punishment is a good way for you to just sit down and 


about a lot of things you should of thought about. 

Punishment is a good way to get to know God and also to 

get close to God. 

Punishment is good way to even get to know yourself. 

Punishment keeps you from getting tempted and from 

going in the wrong direction. 

Punishment helps you make the right choices. 

Punishment is a good way of saving your life. 

Punishment is a good way to prove to you that there won't 

be a next time. 

Punishment is a good way to keep you from heading to 

harm and danger. 

Punishment is just a part of life. 


From The Beat: Toi, you speak of discipline and correction using the 
word punishment. Punishment usually leaves us thinking of negativity. 
It is interesting how you put a more positive spin on this word. What do 
you believe the difference is between punishment and discipline? 

/ do what I got to do so I can get 
out. I'm not use to being a quiet 
person but I know if I saif or do 
an if thing I won't be able to get 
out of here... 1 

i 1 1 1 i 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

FmlshMMt helps if on 
make the right choices. 

Firgive Yourself 

I did some hurtful things in my life. 

I used to always love to fuss and fight. 

Now, I'm in juvenile hall and I realize what's right. 

Friends aren't always the one you think is so tight. 

So, I'm gonna use what I got to get all my might. 

I don't wanna be at Black Canyon with white and black 


So, I'm gonna learn how to deal with peers 

even if I have to shed one or two tears. 

I learned that life is not all about smokin' and drinkin' 


So, I forgive myself even though it was a pain I felt. 

I'd rather be punished with a belt. 

Now, I see why my mother was concerned about my 


Now, I'm in Durango with nobody but myself. 


From The Beat: Facing the truth of your life is sobering. The sooner 
we are able to be real with ourselves about the consequences of our 
actions, the sooner we can decide whether we are getting what we want 
with our actions. Often when "the good life" or "riches" are offered to 
us at no personal cost, it is a lie. What do you want in life? Is it more 
of the same or would you choose a different path than the one you are 
on? Are you willing to surround yourself with people who will help you 
achieve want you want in life? 

My Guardian Angel 


I once thought I could be anything with no punishment 

or no cost, 

Who are you to tell me you're the boss? 

I do what if feel is right and I never go down with out a 


I'm my own believer and my own achiever, 

you say I lost my guardian angel and I catch a fever. 

I can feel my character and it's not who I want to be. 

Why can't my guardian angel just set me free? 

What's the price on my life? 

No one answers cause only Christ can be nice 

if I show him my dignity and pray at night, 

do my judge suspect me to be just right? 

It's hard to argue without a fight, 

but God gives me might not to fall astray but to be set on 

my way, 

and I take the stand 

watch and learn what I say, 

because when it's time for me to open my eyes, 

my guardian angel puts me in first place. 


From The Beat: You might not always like the things you have to do, 
but the important people usually ask you to do things when it's for your 
own good. You'll always have a boss to answer to, so adjust to that and 
learn from them whether it's a parent, teacher, or detention staff. When 
you realize this and fix your problems, you'll have a much easier time 
taking a stand and achieving what you want in life. 


aMnnnmEB mmmmm/ 

Tail fs getting old and all It 
ever leads up to is prison if 
tfOM don 't learn your lesson 


There are many times I smiled at you, but I smiled so 

deep inside 

afraid to show you too much that I had to hide. 

A past that had been stripped away by a tide that washed 

me dry. 

And a past so dark and hesitant never knowing when to 


There were nights when I would cradle truth for getting 

all the lies. 

And under all the make-believe smiles, I hide 

All the truth I keep from you is bottled up inside. 

I'm sorry that I've lied to you. 

I'm sorry that I'm weak. 

I'm sorry that I cry for you, 

but with words I cannot speak. 

I'm ready to start over and have you as my friend. 

And start out fresh and new to open up to you again. 

Just give me time to trust you and try to comprehend. 

I'm tired of hiding from you but a heart takes time to 



From the Beat: Bethany, are you attempting to make amends in this 
piece? We wonder who this person is with whom you feel estranged. 
You mention that you have difficulty being real with this person and 
you want to change how you interact with one another. Renewing a 
relationship often starts with taking responsibility for one's actions and 
listening more than making promises to change. 

The Same Old Steps 

I stop and think about my life while I'm sitting in a lonely 
white room when I could be out there living my life with 
my son and family. 

I've made choices that are just putting me in this 
place where I'm not making anything of my life and family. 
I stop and think about why I'm doing this if I already know 
what steps I'm heading towards. 

This is the longest I've ever stared up at the ceiling 
trying to see the day, the green trees, the beautiful sky 
and the wind whispering in my ears. I stop and think to 
myself.. .I'm changing my life. 

I need to get my life together and start looking towards 
the road I'm heading towards for my son and for my family 
instead of staying in the same old spot. The whole time 
somebody's calling me in the water. Somebody's calling 
me towards them saying, "No, you can do this. Don't look 
that way. Look at me, swim this way!" I figured out what 
that meant. Instead of swimming towards them, I swam 
in the other direction. The same place I was already in 
the whole time. So, I stop and I ask myself, "Am I going 
to swim towards that person or am I going to stay in that 
same old spot I've already been in?" 


From the Beat: Your analogy about your life referring it to "swimming 
the opposite direction from someone who cares about your safety and 
your life" is interesting. We ask you, "Will you continue to risk your life 
by swimming out further and further?" How long will you be able to 
tread water once you are too tired to swim? It is ok to desire freedom 
and independence from your caretakers, but we encourage you to take 
on life's swimming lessons, one at a time. 

The Value if Hani Work 

As a matter of fact, I think the value of hard work is 
important. No matter what race you are. 

Me personally, I'm considered a half breed. You know, 
Black and Mexican? And both sides of my family have a 
strong back bone. It doesn't even seem to me that they 
had to teach me the value of hard work. I feel it came 
naturally to me. 

Although, I fell I've lost some of those morals. I feel 
as if I haven't been trying hard enough to keep myself 
out of trouble, lately. I also feel that I haven't had my 
priorities set straight like I know I'm supposed to do in 
order to make the best out of my life. 

Jail is getting old and all it ever leads up to is prison 
if you don't learn your lesson. I have dreams and goals, 
just as many other youth do, even adults. 

One day, I will grasp the dreams I have and prove to all 
the associates I had and have and even to my family that 
thought I couldn't make it out the 'hood unless it was a 
locked down facility that I made it. 


From The Beat: Understanding and accepting the value and importance 
of hard work puts you one step ahead of competition for jobs and 
opportunities that you may seek. How will you take this value out into 
the "real world" and allow it to impact your actions? How will you keep 
your priorities lined up to your favor? What will you use to face the 
temptations for "quick cash" and win? 

'kM=M*MikdJ mmm/MMM 


Goodbye For Now 


Day after day, I sit here and ask myself why did we have to 

say goodbye for now? 

They took the one and only person I loved, anymore. 

I'll never forget how bad and how much it hurt me that day 

when they walked away with him. There was nothing I could 

do about it but just let him know how much I loved him and 

will never stop loving him and that this is just goodbye for 


On the real, as the days went on and grew longer and slower 

the memories faded away. 

I thought I would never have to learn how to let go and walk 


Now, I'm in this place just reminiscing about my Mickey 

Mouse, my one and only love, and telling myself that it's no 

longer goodbye for now, it's just goodbye. 

I hope that he knows that my love for him will never die. 

It's just that now it's time to say goodbye. 


From The Beat: When we open our hearts to love we take risks. You 
took the risk to love and now know the pain of loss, too. What was 
it about your relationship with this person that has changed you? ... 
helped you grow? What else have you learned about love from this 


We're sitting on the couch; 

glued together by the mouth. 

The phone rings; 

he gets irritated. 

He answers, "Hello!?" 

Then goes completely still. 

"When did it happen?" He says. 

My heart starts to pound. 

"Ok, thanks." And he puts the phone down. 

The last thing I expect is for him to start to cry, 

but he does. I don't yet know why. 

After a moment, he looks at me and says, 

"Baby, I'm sorry but Whiskey's dead..." 

I wait for the punch line to this terrible joke. 

But, all I get is more of my baby's tears. 

Finally, I hold him as I finally begin to cry. 

My angel, my light, my brother... 

Why did you have to die? 

I never really told you, 

what you mean to me. 

Know I'll always love you. 

Yet, I'm mad that you left me! 

But, I feel you watching over. 

Though I'll always be sad, 

knowing you'll never be my baby's uncle 

or get to be a dad. 

Know we all miss you 

in every single way. 

So, I can't wait 'till I see you 

standing by those golden gates. 

Never leave my side in spirit 

for I probably wouldn't live. 

Can't wait till the day you rough up my 

hair and say, "Wow, I've missed you kid." 

To my angel, my brother and my best friend. 
RIP Whiskey! I love you! 

-Isis Rae 

From The Beat: Your brother is not physically present, but we can tell 
he still lives on in your heart. What can you tell us about him to help us 
get to know who he is? What did you like most about being his sister? 
Do you remember any funny or interesting stories that you might want 
to share with us to give us a sense of what happened in your everyday 
life together? 


I have so much depression 

that I can't say my confession. 

I have sorrow 

and it feels like there'll be no tomorrow. 

I just wish I finished high school, 

instead I dropped out like a stupid fool. 

Try'na think everything all cool 

by thinking I'm grown and not following the rules. 

Now look where I ended up... 

depressed by myself in ma' little room 

for not following the law n' rules. 


From The Beat: Being cool, acting a fool, no rules, wish it were true... 
but that's not real life. Really what you want is freedom and that comes 
with showing responsibility and demonstrating that you can make the 
type of decisions with your freedom that won't end your life prematurely. 
What decisions will you make that will show you are responsible? How 
long are you willing to work for the freedom you desire? 

Tick Took 


Grim reapers at my door, 

Knock, Knock, Knock, 

My time is up, 

Tick Tock- Tick Tock, 

Memories fade slowly, 

As death draws near, 

There's nothing left 

For me to fear. 

No more happy endings, 

No more tears of pain, 

That one last hit, 

Brought me down again. 

Daddy's Fallen Angel, 

In a world full of hate, 

Afraid I'll never see 

Those shiny golden gates. 

They'll never understand 

The hold drugs had on me, 

But it doesn't matter anymore, 

I'm done so let me be. 


From The Beat: Getting over addiction is probably one of the hardest 
things you'll ever do. As you know, drugs take over everything in your 
life.. .we're glad you've decided to move past living in that world full 
of hate.. .it's tremendous when one decides to overcome living a life 
controlled by drugs. Remember that "the people who matter don't mind 
(your struggles to overcome drug addiction) and the people who mind 
land tell you to just give in to the urge to use drugs) don't matter". 
Apply this when you face that someone tempting you or holding you 
back from a life of sobriety. 

Love Jesus 


J L 

I love Jesus 

I love Jesus 

Even though I gangbang. 

But the Lord run through my veins. 

I love Jesus 

I love Jesus 

Even though I'm locked up always 

Lord, but I still get on my knees every night 

I pray that I'll be saved by the Lord 

Each and every day I look to the sky 

Wondering if the Lord hears my voice up high 

Lord please hear me. 


From the Beat: Sometimes it's hard to keep our actions in line with our 
inner values and beliefs. Don't give up, though, because as you pick 
yourself up and continue trying you will find that slowly it gets easier 
to turn those values and beliefs into actions. Thanks for sharing with 


' &Mnnnns& mmmm 


Tricking the Devil 


I wanna change but everything around me seems 

to always stay the same and every time I try 

it's like I'm chained up to the game. I stood 

face to face with the Lord as I bled. 

I started passing out. My white tee turning red. 

I started having dreams and realized I was dead 

And right before I died this is what the Lord said 

He asked me if I'm sorry for the way I lived 

He asked me if I'm sorry for the way I lived 

He asked me if I'm ready to be forgiven 

I told him I was ready and when things were going well 

I opened up my eyes and I was burning up in hell 

So I was tricked by the devil and God turned his back 

But I'm way smarter and I got the devil back 

He jumped up laughing. Thought he got me good. 

He didn't even know that hell was better then the hood 

So I walked up to devil and spit right in his face 

and said I liked it in this place 

-Lil Whodini 

From The Beat: that's a very entertaining. From what we have said, the 
devil is a strong spirit and the only way to defeat the devil is through 
God. By turning our life over to the lord we can only defect the devil. 
That's the devil who has given you the idea you can beat the devil. 

Thinking Things 


I'm writing to the Beat again, about how nothing changes 
overnight. I'm in my room at night, always thinking the 
same thing, about my family and my daughter. Sometimes 
I'm always thinking about my homeboy, trying to figure 
out why he killed himself. Just hoping he was here today 
to see all the things that have happened. I'm kind of 
excited that I'm getting out of this place. When I get out, 
I think I'm probably going to be thinking about the same 
thing I think about or probably worse, like what if I come 
back in this place again. I really ain't got nothing else to 
say, just stay up and thanks for coming Beat. 


From The Beat: It sounds like you're making a serious effort to think 
about your life and your family. Only good things can come when you 
think things through, and hopefully that will keep you out of JJC for 

My Valentine's Day 


The best present I ever got for Valentine's Day would 
have to be a golden necklace my girl gave me. I wasn't 
happy just because it was pure gold and thick, but that 
she gave it to me because days before that special day, we 
got into a very bad argument that was close to destroying 
our relationship, so we weren't talking for a while. 

I still bought her a present but was certain I wasn't 
receiving one in return so I was going to wait a day in 
advance and then give her what she always wanted and 
try to make up. 

In the morning when I awoke on Valentine's Day, I 
smelled food cooking and thought it was my mom, but 
to my surprise it was her! And I just stood there smiling 
until she saw me, she walked to where I was, and placed 
the box on the table and smiled. We kissed and made up 
of course. 

When she saw the presents I had for her, she got all 
emotional and nearly squeezed and hugged me to death 
and we really made up. To be honest, the best present was 
her cooking for me. 


From The Beat: What a great story! Sounds like you both were meant for 
each other. We wish you the best in your relationship. 


J L 

Don't Care 

I know marijuana is bad for your health but honestly I 
don't care. I'm already addicted to it, so I could care less 
about what it does to you. I have stopped since I have 
been in JJC but I'll probably start back up when I get out. 
I hope I don't get cancer, if I don't already have it. 


From The Beat: What would it take to change your mind? We hope you 
don't have it too, but maybe you should get yourself checked to make 

Raised in The Gutters 

I was raised in the gutters and grew up stubborn 

ducking twice daily especially undercover 

Now they got locked down looking at hella time. 

Hugging my moma from a jail cell wondering why? 

When will I die? Matter a fact, I'm already dead. 

Just hungry for the Lord now. 

Give me my daily bread so I may sow 

My way is yours my lord. 

I don't care to maintain and stay on my own 

I will not fear and fall for the game 

Keep my enemies keep behind me 


From The Beat: We are glad you have turned away from the fear- 
based actions and have chosen to live a righteous life of spiritual 

Will I Stop? 

Will I ever stop? I really don't know, as I'm sitting in my 
house, about to get blown. My lungs start to swell up and 
it really starts to hurt and I think to myself that it will 
only get worse but I really don't care because it takes 
my hurt away. I'm chilling and I look at the smoke before 
my eyes and than I see the devil and he tells me to close 
my eyes, so I smoke my life away and wake up the next 
day and all I gotta say is damn, damn I need to get high 


From The Beat: It's a vicious cycle of addiction, and it makes you want 
more everyday. We hope you think twice next time. 


Stopping The Death Of A Loved One 

What I mean by the title is that my grandmother is in the 
hospital right now dying. Last week I wrote about what 
happened to my mom and how she died of cancer. Now 
my grandma is dying the same way but a little worse. 

My grandma is a heavyset woman and what I mean 
by that is that she weighs a lot, like over 400 pounds. 
It's hard for her to move around; it's also hard for her to 
breathe because of all the weight. 

Right now, she's in the hospital with a tube inserted 
into her neck going down her throat. Last week I found 
out that they cut her stomach open to see why she was so 
fat and why she couldn't lose weight. 

They found a grip of cancer inside of her stomach 
and she has too much to cut and they wanted to give her 
chemotherapy, but she is too weak to handle it. There's 
pretty much nothing they can do for her. If I was able to 
do something to stop her death, I would slow it down but 
I can't. 


From The Beat: This is sad news, Michael. We give you our sincerest 
sympathies. If only we could have that power, we'd probably use r or 
maybe even abuse it, but we have to let life take its course. We wish 
your grandma the best. 


tmntt-HIE W1MJSM/7A 



Young willing to risk their lives because some of them 
don't have nothing to lose. So we just do the thing we do. 
But some people do it because their childhood growing up 
was only around drugs. So, marijuana was the best option 
instead of using drugs like crystal meth. Marijuana is a 
plant and they think it don't give no harm but it does have 
some side effects. Not like other drugs that are usually 
mixed with all kind of chemicals and baking soda. Once 
they start smoking it, they get immune to it and can't 
stop using it. It's like a cure after you start using it. 


From The Beat: We agree with you. Some of us used to smoke out daily 
and it dimmed us. There's a reason they call weed "dope." It was hard to 
stop but we can testify that it feels much better without weed. 

Marijuana & Cocaine 

I used to do marijuana and cocaine when I was out, and 
that stuff gets you lifted especially when you do them both 
at the same time. But in reality, that stuff really ain't with 
the business because that stuff will affect your health, 
like you can die faster and it can make you stupid. 

I know because I had an uncle that used to sniff and 
smoke all the time and then one day, he overdosed and 
died. From there, I had to cut down on it, but now I am 
thinking I should shut it down and leave it in the past. 

I know it's kind of hard to quit but you have to, and you 
have to snap back to reality. I bet when you get older you'd 
wish you stopped earlier. If you don't then just remember 
I told you so, and if you're wondering why you're on that 
hospital bed, just remember I told you so. You make the 
choices. All I can do is make recommendations. 


From The Beat: It takes courage to make such big changes. We're proud 
of you and we hope other young people take your advice. It sounds like 
you are over it, done with the irresponsible habits.. .cheers! 

A Thrill 

"Nothing changes overnight" is a quote that runs wild 
through my brain. I've told myself hundreds of times that 
I am going to stop doing bad and start doing positive. I 
got hooked on the thrill of running the streets day and 
night, weighing out dope when we re-up, and doing dirt 
just to earn another tattoo, or wiping down the heat after I 
touched it to make sure I don't get caught up. Hooked on 
a thrill as if it were another drug except with this you can't 
overdose. It's a feeling and a habit that you really can't 
change overnight. The feeling we get when we get back to 
the house from a trip across town with a thousand dollars 
worth of dope tapped under the car. But I guess it won't 
be stopping soon because nothing changes overnight. 


From The Beat: It could change, but only if you really want it to change. 
Ask yourself if you really want to continue this chaotic street life, or 
move on to more positive things. 


I hate my emotions. I hate having feelings. Could 
someone steal my heart? Or just tear it apart? All the 
pain comes now that I am behind bars. It's really making 
me change, and realize I'm like an animal inside a cage. 
In every way possible, I won't take this path again. It's a 
reminder of what I have learned. 


From The Beat: Having emotions is what makes you human. The hard 
task is to control your emotions. We hope you feel better soon. 

Nothing changes overnight 

Means to me that it's hard to change and that I can't 
just decide to do it. I'm trying to plan for the 
future, but I love the life I live so it's hard 
for me to see anything else out there. But time 
can change a lot. So we'll have to wait and see 
what happens. Cause I ain't no fortune teller 


From The Beat: We can't control what will happen but we can control 
the actions we take and the thoughts we think and the decisions we 


I know someone from my head 

On the outs, people say he's a hood-hopper 

I don't know what to believe 

If these snitches tell a lie 

When I got locked up 

I found out the truth 

The boy couldn't choose 

He came in and he snitched 

I found that he ditched 

Just imagine what he would do 

To get rich 

This is bad 

I'm feeling so much sympathy 

It's a cold feeling 

To feel that someone snitched 

On me. 


From The Beat: It hurts when someone snitches on you. We commend 
your ability to feel sympathy, your heart and mind can think beyond 
the snitching and see this other person as a human being. Does this 
information affect your ability to trust anymore? How do you get over 
it? Or do you ever? 

Gang Girl 



I started gang banging when I was thirteen. I wasn't 
scared. I was proud to stand up for my hood. Now I realize 
that in the Hall I am thinking about my familia, knowing 
that they miss me too. Now, it is hard to get out of a gang 
knowing that they might do something bad. 


From The Beat: Staying in a situation that is dangerous because you are 
too scared to get out is WHY you need to get out. There are people out 
there who will help you, but you need to take the first step and ask an 
adult for advice. 

J L 

Peace be with you 

Anger. Madness, Confusion. Don't feed into it. 
It's an illusion. Satan's playing a mind controlling game. 
Turn to Jesus. 

He heals he weak and lame with healing powers beyond 
your belief. 

Listen for a second. This will only be brief. 
His knowledge. His mind set. His goals. 
He tells me he wants to save our souls. 
I believe him. I turned and repented. 
Through my poems, his words are represented. 
A Christian Warrior. I fight the real war. 
At the end I enter heaven's door. Peace be with you. 
Let God be on your side. Follow his law. 
His words you must abide. 
God bless you. 

-Mr. Bear 

From The Beat: We hear you and we respect your decision and the mission 
you are on. We encourage you to keep on your path. God bless. 


tmntt-HIE W1MJSM/7A 

Locked Down 


Waitin' for the time to come 
'cause once they let me out 
I'm going on the run 
Don' care about my P.O. 
Let alone the law 
The hood is going crazy 
'cause we all know if all 
can't tell us nothing 
how to live our life 
we stay hard headed 
ain't scared to die. 

-Chuck G 

From The Beat: You're next line should be "and going back to JJC." It's 
easy to run. It's harder to deal with our problems and put them behind 

wiii An I? 


Usually, I write a poem to you guys, but I think that 
I will finally tell you who Jaymee is. I am fifteen and I 
have simply messed up, really bad. For weeks I have been 
reading the Beat Within's stories, poems, and songs. So, 
I finally feel comfortable to talk. 

Actually, I am a girl who has learned the hard way. I 
think that I have lost my family's trust. Worse then that, 
I think that I have lost my mom's. My mom has always 
been there for me, so when she told me that she had lost 
hope, I realized that I needed to change and I did. Once I 
am out of here, I am going to fix what I have broken in my 
family, I am going to stop smoking, and quit claiming. I 
just want my mom to be proud of me again. 


From The Beat: Thanks for opening up to us. Sometimes it takes others 
giving up on us, to find strength in ourselves not to give up. Motivate 
yourself to prove your family wrong; that hope is not lost, and then you 
won't just be someone who learned the hard way anymore... you will be 
someone who learned that it is the strong who learn to survive. 

My Son 


The day I saw my son's face was the happiest day of my 
life, knowing I had made something that came from my 
heart. Seeing his cute dimples, those shiny eyes and his 
mother's cute nose. He's only two months old. When I got 
locked up, I wasn't even there to see his first shots. That 
hurts because I told him I would never leave him. I guess 
I was wrong but the day I reunite with my son is the day I 
will never let him go. To my baby boy, David Jr. 


From The Beat: Your son is very lucky to having a caring father. We hope 
you never lose sight of the important role you play in his life. 

The Best Gift I Have Given 

I think that the best Valentine's Day gift I ever gave 
someone was to my mom. I bought her a twenty-eight 
karat gold necklace with a nest made of gold strings and 
a bird with a pearl as her baby's egg. I had a dozen roses 
delivered to her house with a teddy bear and the necklace 
around the teddy bear. She called me crying and said that 
she was happy. She may spend all of her money and time 
on drugs and alcohol, but I know that she would never 
pawn that gift to get money. 


From The Beat: It feels good to buy others things, and we hope that 
you get the freedom to do it more often. Think about the next time 
you have choices to make about your life, what else does your freedom 
cost you? 

Nothing Changes Over Night 

Right now at this moment, 

I am in juvenile Hall. 

I need to start changing so 

I need to start small. 

In my opinion, nothing changes over night. 

I am ready to face the world and to tell my parents my 


Being in this place is no fun, whatsoever. 

I can't wait to get out so that I can start so much better. 

I know that it is hard to change, 

But if you put your mind to it and have faith, 

And don't give up then anything can happen. 

The more you go toward bad, the more bad things will be 

with you. 

Change, I can, you can. 


From The Beat: We think that having faith in yourself is really important 
to making things change in your life. What steps will you take to get 
where you want to with your life? 

Change My Life 

Teenagers, don't make the same mistakes that I have 
made. When I go home, I would like to make a big 
change. First I will begin by calling a family meeting, and 
apologizing to my family. Then, I will go to school like 
I need to be doing, and coming home on time from it. 
Third, I will go to church and get back right with the Lord. 
Because believe it or not, the Lord will forgive you for any 
mistakes that you will make. 


From The Beat: We are glad that you have steps in mind and wish you 
luck. But remember that within each step are smaller steps that make 
your goals even easier to get to. So what small steps can you take with 

Have Faith 

I've been in here about a month already. I got some 
dangerous charges that could give me CYA time. Since 
I've been here, I thought about changing. I need about 
twenty credits and I'll graduate high school. After high 
school, my cousin and I are planning to go to college. 
We're planning to get our own apartment. To do that, we 
need to get jobs. I know we can do it because we are both 
going to graduate. I think we can both get jobs. We got 
plans and goals to make it and accomplish. I know we can 
do it. We just need to have faith and succeed. 

-Lil Lophy 

From The Beat: It sounds like you've got plans to succeed, and at least 
you have someone to muddle through with you. Good luck in your 

J L 

People Say 

People say as long as I hang with the people I hang with, 
and slang the stuff I slang, I won't amount to anything. 
But I don't care cause I'm going to put it down for the 
hood team. In my eyes they've always been there for me, 
and I'm going to do what I feel is necessary. I know five 
people from the hood that took bullets for me and God 
knows I would do the same cause that's how it is in the 
game. They feed, protect and clothe me when I'm need 
and I would do the same for them and we do dirt, but not 
for the reason they think. 


From The Beat: It's a crazy world out there, and as many say, only the 
strong survive. What is it that you want to amount to in the future? 
How do you think you can get there? 



Two Of My Bad Habits 


I remember the times when I used to drink Vodka and 
smoke cigarettes. I used to think that it was so cool 
until the night when I got drunk and light headed. I was 
walking around one night and some dude drove up beside 
me and asked if I wanted a ride. Being that I was under 
the influence, I said yes. Then pretty soon he told me 
that I wasn't going home, to stop asking to go home. 
Some more stuff happened that night, but I don't want to 
talk about it. After that I didn't want to smoke and drink 


From The Beat: No one deserves to be held against their will, regardless 
of what they were doing. We would like to encourage you to talk to an 
adult that you trust about what happened, but we agree that drinking 
and smoking aren't good things for you. 

I Got A Valentine 

The best present I got on Valentine's Day has to be I 
guess a card. The best Valentine present I ever gave has 
to be like a five-foot teddy bear to my girl. And yes, I have 
been in a situation where someone wanted to be my 
Valentine but I didn't so what I did was just ask someone 
before she asked me so I wouldn't have to put her down. 
I could have just said sorry, but I got a Valentine already 
so maybe next time. 


From The Beat: It's hard when you have to let someone down, but it 
sounds like you tried to be polite at least. 



I will never forget Valentine's of last year because my 
mom didn't ask for nothing but I felt in my heart that I 
should get her something. So, I went to the jewelry shop 
and bought her a gold necklace with a heart. On the back 
it said happy Valentine's Day mom. When I gave it to her 
she was so happy. She gave me a hug and told me that she 
loved me. Then she went to the mall and bought me shoes 
and clothes. I will never forget that day because it was the 
best day of my life. 


From The Beat: Giving things to others can make us feel really good 
about ourselves, even things that money can't buy. If you can show your 
mom you respect her when he is least expecting it, you can have many 
more days like that. 

A Mistake 


A mistake can change a person's life. I have seen it all: 
killings, people getting their head blown off. One day I 
became pretty close to getting my head blown off too. I 
am glad that I went to the bathroom and didn't get shot. 
But now, I am doing time, but I bet I will learn my lesson. I 
will learn not to drink anymore, to go to school, to barely 
attend any parties, and to listen to my parents about not 
staying out all night. I promise that I will accomplish 
these goals. 

I pray for everyone, even for you. My mom was 
disappointed when I came in here. All I could do was to 
cry. I felt so guilty. I used to argue with my mom and 
make her cry. All she was trying to do was to help me, 
and I want her to know that I am sorry and that I love her. 
I hope that I learn my lesson. 


From The Beat: Learning is not something that just happens to you. You 
have to make learning happen. You have to be willing to except change 
and need change more than anything else. You have to stand up to 
yourself and say NO MORE. Because nobody else will do it for you. 

Take Me Away From The Hood 

Some people say that they wanna change, 
To get out of the hood and to go do good. 
But when it comes down to it, 
It is very hard to do so. 
People on the outside of the hood 
Looking in, think that it is easy. 
Which of course it ain't. 
I am not saying that I want to leave, 
But I am saying that I would like to change. 
However, I know many people who have left 
The hood in many different ways: funerals, 
Penitentiary and you know what else. 

They say that there 

"Ain't nothing good in the hood." 

But everyone has their own experience. 

I love my hood, that's my love. 

But at times I hate being locked up 

Because of being part of the hood. 

I would like to change some day. 

But I can't just leave the life alone. 

But to those who are ready for that change, 

Go for it and let nothing stop you. 

It ain't just about being in the Hood, 

There is more to life than just the streets. 


From The Beat: If the streets are what you love, there are legal and safe 
ways to support your community. Those out there who say otherwise, 
aren't really reppin' the streets, they are trying to tear down the 
community and take its power away, not give it. Bringing power back 
into the hood requires education of and respect for others, two things 
that the street life does not provide. 

When I Go 

When I get out of here I am going to change a lot of 
things in my life. My plan is that I am going to be a better 
daughter and sister. I am not going to let people get to me. 
I am definitely not going to take things that don't belong 
to me ever again. I would just rather pay for everything 
that I own. I can't wait to go home. Until that day comes I 
won't stop missing my family. 


From The Beat: These goals you have are good for you, but even small 
goals take even smaller steps to get them done. So what will you do 
first, to be a better part of your family? 


This year I would consider to be my best valentine's day 
I ever had. I kicked it with my wifey and her valentine rich 
and we chilled with each other at motel six. And I got a 
necklace from my step dad. 


From The Beat: Sounds like a good day. It's hard to have days like that 
in the Hall huh? Think about that the next time you have to make a 
decision that may get you here again. 

Giving My Love 

The best thing I ever gave on Valentine's Day is my love 
to my family. It didn't come from Wal-Mart, it was straight 
from my heart. You're probably wandering how I gave my 
love, by just being who I am and loving my family. 


From The Beat: Love, that is the best gift to receive! It's a great gift 
to give too. We also think it's kind of cool that you are giving a gift 
that is sustainable for the environment, it will last and won't go in the 


' &Mnnnns& mmmm 


Haters Stay Back 

All of these fake girls in here talk shhh. They go back 
and forth saying stuff that ain't true. In here, that is all 
they can do is to run their mouth, I hate that shhh. They 
need to step they game up and get into the real world. I've 
been in the game for two years. I've done it all. So play the 
game right, cuz it's playing you right now. 

-Crazy Ace 

From The Beat: Life is not a game. On the outs, when you step up, it 
could be game over and then they are burying you. We think you should 
worry more about your life then other's, before it's too late. 

Drugs And Health 

I don't think that learning this new connection about 
pot and cancer will change how I feel about it. I agree 
that nothing changes overnight. If you want something 
you have to work for it and make sacrifices. Patience is 
something that most of this world does not have. Knowing 
that seat belts might save lives don't make me wear them. 
Knowing that whoever is driving might get a ticket does 
though. I don't give a fudge what cigarettes might do to 
me either. We are influenced by the people around us, so 
if they don't care then why should we? 

When I get out I do have much better plans for the 
future. Nothing but smokes and grass for me! I'm going 
get back into school so that I can get my diploma. I am 
a sophomore and I only have twenty five more credits to 



From The Beat: Thanks for being honest with us. It seems like you know 
what it means to respect others but as you get older you will find that 
you cannot truly respect others until you have respect for yourself. So if 
you don't care about what goes into your body, or stand up for what you 
believe in, then no one else will either. It has to start with you. 

Being Here 

This is how I feel about being here. I feel like girls talk 
shhh but they don't do anything about it. It makes me 
mad, but I know that they are scared. But I don't trip 
either because I know that they still have to go to court 
and might have to do time. I have a life to live myself and 
little sisters to go see, and a wonderful grandmother at 
home. So I just listen to these girls talk their stuff and let 
it come in one ear and go out the other. So why don't you 
girls go and get a life too? 


From The Beat: We think you are right, a lot of people in the Hall are 
scared, so they hide their fear by scaring others. A brave person on the 
other hand, does what you are choosing to do, to turn the other cheek 
and say it's not worth it. 

Dn Valentine's Day 

The fact that I wasn't out for Valentine's Day hurts 
me. The thought that I could have been out there doing 
something romantic with my life hurts me. The fact that I 
could have prevented what I did from happening, and that 
if I would have then I would not be spending valentines in 
here, hurts me. To think about me being in here and my 
boyfriend being out there on Valentine's Day upsets me. 
I wish that I could receive a letter from him saying that 
he loves me and that I am his one and only valentine and 
that he can't wait for me to get out. 


From The Beat: Are there others on the outs that you have hurt? Do 
they hurt the same way that you do? What can you do to help make all 
of this hurting stop already? What do you want to change about your 

On A cloud 


Maybe young people smoke marijuana and cigarettes 
because they are young. Maybe they do it because they 
want to do it now, but when they are older they will have 
a wife and kids and won't want to anymore. Adults might 
think that we don't think about our futures at all, but we 
are all not dumb. In a way it feels good and I am young 
too. Everybody criticizes pot even though they have 
prescribed it as a medicine. That's what I think. 

-The Stapler Man 

From The Beat: We think that most of the reasons you have listed are 
excuses that you have probably heard front others. Being young is more 
of a reason to find out what good and healthy things are out there in 

the world to be discovered. 

Changing Overnight 

Today I'm writing about how nothing changes overnight 
because one minute your whole life can change overnight 
and the reason I say that is because someone's life can 
change or can't change overnight. I saw someone get 
killed and my life changed overnight. But I'm a still a 
rider for life. To everyone out there, stay positive because 
you don't want to be locked up for life. Jail is open 24 
hours a day. 


From The Beat: Death is real and can force you to re-evaluate your life. 
What would have to happen in order for you to want to change your 
life for the better? 

J L 


Valentine's Day 

The best Valentine's Day I ever had was with my baby's 
mama. I got her a gift and showed her all of my compassion 
and love. So did she for me. This last one I was locked up 
though. It was still all good. 


From The Beat: Showing a person that you care is about more than 
buying stuff for them, it is showing them that you care about yourself 
as well. That's what people want to see. 


' &Mnnnns& mmmm 


Just A Dream 

Today is the day when all of my fears go away. 

I became angry, but not weak. 

My eyes started to open wider, 

Then they were already there. 

I became aware of all of my enemies. 

It's like a fantasy that I once pictured, 

But except this fantasy is really a nightmare. 

I became angrier at the fact that reality has hit. 

My nerves start to ache, 

My fist starts to clench, 

And I begin to sweat. 

It's like a horror movie gone bad, 

Except soon I am going to be the hunter and they will be 

the hunted. 

As I glare, I can feel my body starting to get antsy, 

Ready to start to jump up and get to the hunt. 

But something stops me, 

It is an angel; 

No, it can't be an angel. 

Wait, I know who it is! 

It is my sister; 

She says that it is not worth the guilt on your back. 

So, I look into her eyes, 

And something wet is falling from my face. 

So, I wipe them with my sweater, 

And forget about it all, 

Like it was all just a dream. 

Because soon, it will all be a dream. 


From The Beat: This is a moving piece, thanks for sharing. Controlling 
our tempers is not easy to do, but you are doing the right thing by 
listening to your angel. Be that voice for others around you, and 
everyone will benefit. 

w^-wm^— ^^hi^wwww^— ^«i 

Unwanted Affection 


Last Valentine's Day this girl wanted to be my valentine. 
She had been asking me out all year, but I just didn't feel 
the same way about her. She claimed to love me but I 
didn't feel the same way. She bought me a lot of gifts on 
Valentine's Day and I am not a cruel person so I had a lot 
of trouble telling her that I was taken and she started to 
cry. It made me feel terrible, but what else could I have 


From The Beat: There is nothing wrong with people caring for us r and 
they can't make you feel the same. It sounds like you handled the 
situation well, and with respect for someone else's feelings. We hope 
that you remember this lesson when the tables are turned. 

Nothing Had Changed 

Nothing had changed in court... 

Nothing had changed in the JJC... 

Nothing had changed for my tears going away... 

Nothing had changed me missing my family... 

Nothing had changed for me going home... 

But I wish and I pray that the next court date 

Will get me out of the JJC, 

Or maybe it will change my mind in thinking about 


-Shameful Child 

From The Beat: Maybe you are right. Maybe the change you need has to 
start from within yourself. Because what if you did get out, then what? 
Are you going to make better choices after that, if you yourself have 
not changed? 

J L 

My Mom 

I love my mom. 

Why don't she love me? 

I know I might not say it a lot, 

But I do love her. 

I feel like she don't care. 

But whatever, 

I will just let it go. 

I will take this feeling to my grave, 

She will never have to know. 


From The Beat: There is nothing wrong with caring for someone. But we 
can't make them care the same way for us. Don't let that change who 
you are though. We need more love in the world. 

My Plan 

My plan to not come back to Juve is to make money by 
selling things at a yard sale. When I go to the mall and my 
friends start stealing, I will just walk away and pretend 
that I don't know them. First, I won't be so stupid, I will 
think before talking to the cops. That's what got me 
caught. Last thing I will do when I get out is to make my 
mom proud because this isn't the way that she raised me. 
She raised me to be better than this. 


From The Beat: As you have learned, stealing is easier then making 
money, but that doesn't mean it is better. We hope that your friends 
learn from you on the outs and we wish you luck. 

Being Here 

I don't like being in jail, it is so boring in here. I hope 
that they let me out soon. I miss my family and they miss 
me too. So when I get out I want to make changes in my 
life and do better in my life. 


From The Beat: Why do you want to do better? Is it because you don't 
want to come back here? What exactly will you have to do so that you 
stay out of the hall? 


Today is when my mom finds out if I got accepted into 
my program and she will come and see me tomorrow and 
tell me if I got accepted. If I don't get accepted, I will have 
to spend one more year in a group home. I've been in 
group homes for the last two years and have been getting 
locked up for the last three. If I go home I'm going to 
do good and help my family and friends get through the 
troubles of the system and life itself. 


From The Beat: We hope you got in!!! We know you really want that 
second chance to do better. Keep your promise to do well and inspire 
others to stay out of the system. 


The Best V Day Gift 

The best gift I ever received was a bouquet of two dozen 
roses, with a red teddy bear. Around the teddy bear's neck 
was a gold ring with the word love on it and on the word 
love there was a diamond in the letter O. It was delivered to 
me at work. All of the girls at work were jealous because 
they didn't get anything until they went home. They came 
back the next day and were bragging to each other. 


From The Beat: It's nice to get gifts from others. But what feels just as 
good as that is being able to buy gifts for others as well, with your own 
hard earned money. 


' agnannsH mamam 

7 More Weeks 


What's goin down beat? Man I got 7 more weeks. I can't 
wait to touch down. This shh is hella wack. I aint got too 
long. I pray to god to help me make it successfully, and I'll 
be back. I'ma try to stay in the right path and stay away 
from this wack place, but I can't let everything go. We'll 
see what goes down. 

I'm Anna celebrate and have fun and be thankful to 
be alive and live life to the fullest cause you only get to 
live once so I'ma take full advantage of this opportunity. 
Celebrate everyday and touch alotta dough, but at the 
same time I'ma be in school getting credits so I'm able to 
graduate, get my diploma and go to college. 

But yup I gotta lot of stuff planned when I get out. But 
alright then I'm gon. T's up! 


From the Beat: Of the things you say you can't let go, which is worth 
more to you than your freedom — unless you like having people tell you 
what to do all day? You are so right you only live once! Don't live it 
in jail. 

While I'm Here 


What's up Beat: I just wanna go home right now every 
time I try to do good I lose points for something dumb or 
something I didn't even do. 

I don't even think I'm supposed to be here now. I gotta 
stay here for three more months at this program that 
don't help me-but I guess there's nothing I can do about 
it jus try to stay out of trouble why I'm here. 

-Lil' Jesse 

From The Beat: Try to figure out what you need to learn there. People 
say everything has a reason, and if that's true — there must be a reason, 
something for you, in this program. Maybe you need time to think? 
We don't know people with legit jobs who call themselves "Money 

The Best for Them 

I pray for my family and that's it, nothing else, because 
my family is the only thing I care about and I don't want 
anything bad to happen to them. 

I only wish the best for them and that's it—also I try to 
do my best so I don't get in trouble too because I need to 
get my stuff straight goodbye. 


From The Beat: Good luck getting your life together. We think your 
family needs you too, free and happy and working on your life and 

Vato's Day 


Difficult to find the right one... 

one of a kind... 

Cant get this mentality out my mind.... 

That's only faith... 


From The Beat: We had to edit. If you start with you, one of a kind — 
with faith in you, in your life and your ability to love — it will probably 
work out. 

You Look Real Nice 

You type that make me go go crazy, that type I will like in 
my two seater Mercedes you the type that might make my 
night and if got money might change my life and just try 
to make my wife-no lie girl you look real nice. 


From The Beat: We edited a little to keep it clean. Good luck with 

J L 


Everyone prays to the same God, god does not condone 
violence—so if you pray to god when you in a war odds are 
that your enemy's praying the same thing and god's not 
gonna answer either of you because that's not the thing 
you pray to god for. 


From The Beat: How do people who believe in god condone violence 
themselves? It seems like the two don't go together. Does it make sense 
that people pray for their families' safety, and hurt someone else — who 
also has a family? 

My Hood Go Crazy 

What's up with The Beat Within. I'm chillin right now 
tryna get up out of here, tryna do this time. I cant wait to 
get out and get to Vallejo and get this paper. 

You feel me I'm tryna get back to where its crackin, 
hecka females livin that real life, my young ninja sittin on 
26's... you feel me but I'm out of here, get up out of here 
in June. 


From The Beat: We edited a bit, however we still get your point. We 
wonder whether you like being locked up, or if you plan to make some 
changes in your life, and if so — what kind of legit job you'll be looking 
for. Don't give up on yourself now! You've already done a lot of time. 

No Seat Belt 

That right little friend cause tonight we ride and if you 
aint really with it then stay there inside we go blow no 
seat belt we open doors I accelerate and dip cause the 
green is on the go I can't slow down cause to stop I don't 
know. Come through to the block and alleys but don't 
get confused this aint no rally. So if you can't grasp this 
session sit back and take a lesson. 

-Crazy Driver 

From The Beat: When you are the passenger in some other friend's car 
do you trust their driving? We know people who got time just for being 
in the wrong car. 

I Live By The Struggle 

I stay in Richmond where it's cold but sunny, people on 
the block but aint got no money. Everyday is a struggle, 
every body in the ghetto trinna bubble. Everyday you walk 
out the door young man strugglen try'n get more. My 
mom's gone and my dad's on the move-better be careful 
or you might lose. Every minute in the day I'm trinna get 
cheese livin in Richmond. 


From The Beat: This situation sounds difficult — and we appreciate the 
way you write about it, cold but sunny — full of contradiction and pain. 
Would it (or you) be different if you moved? 


Hatin Dn Mota 


What it do this yo boy Krazy. Now the system did this 
vato wrong and locked me down. But o well it's a cold 
game what can I say shh happens. 

But yea now they telling me that weed can give me 
testicular cancer. Chale me personally I don't believe that 
cause even when you already have cancer they give you 
weed to smoke. Pero simon with that said I'm out. Shout 
out to all locked down keep your heads up. 


From The Beat: People do sometimes smoke when they havechemotherapy 
so they don't feel so sick to their stomach. We've known folks that 
smoke all day every day, who don't feel sick to their stomach — and who 
don't ever have a chance to see their lives clearly. 


///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // //// // 

i l^^ mlml ^ Km 4rrh^fmmJ^JLm 


No Good Lady 

Sometimes its hard being a thug, gangsta', or drug dealer lady, 

But why is it those type of females (must) be so shady? 

They love the money, gifts, lifestyle they live 

Some even trap the dudes purposely by having their kid 

Or putting a kid on them, but when they get busted, 

The female leave him broke, busted and disgusted, 

While they're doing time in the county, state or Feds 

She's rippin' around even wit his friends? 

Wow it's crazy I mean ninjas should be careful when 

choosing their lady 

Every man needs a real women/lady 

What good is a street chick? 

She may go down with you then who gone look after you 

and ya'll babies 

Think about it this world isn't crazy 

It's the people in it 

So make better choices and decisions within your life 

And be careful whom you try to wife 

God Bless You. 

Just To Hear His Name 

I love my man oh so much 

Just to hear his name or feel his simple touch 

We've been through rain and storms but on the other side 

the sun will shine 

I'm his Bonnie and he's my Clyde 

I feel his hurt even when I'm far away 

His joy is my joy! How else can I explain? 

Well just to her his name takes away my pain 

I have so much to gain 

As we share a love so real so tough so strong 

I know our love will forever carry on beyond eternity 

I love my baby and I know he loves me. 

Our next writer is truly one of a kind as she sends her work to us 
from Solano County Jail in Fairfield, CA. We don't get too many BWO 
women writing to our publication, these days, so when we do, we 
make sure to take heed what the women have to say. We are grateful to 
have a friend in Ranika, sending us all advice! 

We We been through rain and 
storms but on the other side 

the sun will shine 

To The Ladies Out There 

Ladies why stay with a man who cheats and beats on 


Is that what you're feeling you should be going through? 

Being told what to wear, where to go? What to do? 

That's not love, so don't believe him 

when he say he love you 

I know I've been beat on in the past 

I tried to hold on to a relationship 

that wasn't never meant to last 

Being cheated on and disrespected 

as well as mistreated is not the business 

Like Keisha Cole say "let it go" 

I know when you think you love someone it's hard to do 

But just know you can't depend on no one to love you 

You have to love yourself and when you love someone 

you don't treat them bad 

Bad love isn't suppose to make you feel sad 

Love is sometimes blind and it can take over your mind 

I know it once took over mine 

Let go and let God bless you. 


Our next writer delivered this short poem from the Deuel Vocational 
Institution in Tracy, CA. Although he is no longer incarcerated, 
Shawn's release date was last month and we wish him the best, as he 
embraces freedom with open arms. So please take heart to the poem 
that he's sharing with us folks! Welcome home Shawn, who now resides 
in Lodi, CA. Let us know how you're doing! 

We have NO KKjfiTS in prison, 

"The Beat Within, The Rose." 

Secure within, so beautiful inside 

Figuring the paths; that no emotions can hide 

Locked inside; a petal breaks free... 

So glorious and bright, for all the world to see 

As each day shall pass the memories subside 

Of each waking moment, and the fears we must hide 

Locked up again, as the rose falls apart 

Searching and digging for a brand new start 

So I'll walk and talk, strike a pose 

As beautiful and mysterious... 

They'll call it,"The Beat Within;" 

"The Rose!" 

'STEVE/7 £7. f7VBL,n¥' 

Our next writer is sending us a very powerful piece from a 
Correctional Facility in Soledad, CA. His poem entitled "We Are 
Stripped Of All Rights," is basically saying what it means. But what 
we hope that a lot of you don't miss is the fact that when you do get 
to prison, everything is a privilege. It's not a place that you'll want to 
go. These very same rights That our friend Steven is talking about in 
his poem can get stripped from you at anytime whenever the people in 
power decide to do it. So please take heed to what our friend Steven is 
saying if you really think that prison is to a place to be - it's not! 

We Are Stripped of All Rights 

It's a privilege to go outside 

It's a privilege to use the phone for fifteen minutes 

It's a privilege to have our loved ones to visit weekends 

It's a privilege to go worship our Heavenly Father, God 

It's a privilege to go to the store or get a care package 

It's a privilege to go to school and learn 


The only right we have is to spend 24/7 in our cells 

They say we have a right to two hours of sunshine a 


But those are not rights 

It's a lie! 

The only RIGHT we truly have is to acknowledge that 

We have NO RIGHTS in prison. 

///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // //// // 

f/rTWJfJMMMaMfi 4 / • *{/*./'? 



I was trippin' out the other night, Beat, and kept remembering 
a lot f things in my past — good things, bad things, funny, 
etc. it makes me feel better after I spend some time thinking. 
After all, memories are the only thing I got left. At times, 
they make me shed a tear or two, and it's crazy 'cause they 
come on their own. When I wanna cry, tears don't come. 

Anyhow, even though I shed my tears, I keep pushing 
through every day and try to keep my head in the right 
place, feel me? Well, the other night I thought I was gonna 
fall asleep early, so I had the deputy turn off my light. But 
instead, I was up most of the night thinking about my 

I don't really keep track of days, but I realized it'll be 
my son's birthday in about two weeks. I won't be there. I 
won't be able to call, hug or kiss him either. I'm stuck in 
the SHU. This is the first birthday I miss, and what's bad is 
that next year will be the same, and only God knows how 
many more. 

So yeah, I was also tryin' to pinpoint the age I started 
getting' involved with the 'hood. I know it was early in my 
elementary years. I can see myself before and after I started 
bangin', but I can't see myself in between for some reason. 
Anyhow, I do remember the day I got jumped in clearly. 
That's an ass whippin' I'll never forget... 

I remember the way I used to see life — my goals back 
then — and now I look back and wonder what the hell was 
I thinking. Back then, when I first started, my goal was to 
be the baddest gangster outta San Francisco. I used to feel 
good wearing the baggiest clothes I could get. And when my 
mom used to tell me I looked like a gangsta, I'd feel even 

Now, I just want to be a normal guy with a normal life. I 
trip out on my mother who's been there when no one else 
has. And it makes me feel so stupid because I am her only 
son and I've broken her heart. She once stood quiet for a bit 
too long during a visit, and I asked her what was wrong. She 
said, "I remember I used to take care of you, and now you 
gotta take care of yourself." She started telling me of when 

Because of the serious nature of the next writer's ongoing criminal 
case, we are publishing it without identifying the writer. He has 
written a beautiful but painful piece about how young he was when he 
got jumped into the gang, and how easy it was to love the excitement 
that banging brought him as a child — and how, as an adult, he hates 
the consequences of a mothers broken heart and his own inability to 
be a father to his son. We hope that one or more young gangsters who 
read this will start to think with new maturity, and will make different 
choices now, when it can count for something, and not wait until they're 
facing long years in prison. 

I was a baby, and next thing I know, she started cryin'. That 
moment will always be in my heart because I've never really 
seen my mom cry, feel me? I wish I could hug her and tell 
her everything will be OK, but there I was on the other side 
of the window with the phone in my hand asking her not to 
cry, tryin' to make her feel better when the only way I could 
do that is by being a better man and changing my life. 

If only I could turn back the hands of time... Damn, 
Beat, the things I'd change! I don't know how long I'll be out 
of my son's life, but I'd do anything as long as he doesn't 
have to go through what I've been through. Hopefully, his 
mom can do the best for him and knows how to go about 
raising a seed of the opposite sex. Eventually, I'll hopefully 
be with him again some day. I keep my hopes up no matter 

Anyhow, Beat, you know, I was thinking about my girl, 
right? Well, my ex, 'cause like most females, she kicked 
rocks. I mean she's there as a friend, and I appreciate 
that from her. We still talk like if we're together, but hey, I 
understand that a female is gonna do what she pleases, and 
I respect that. But yeah, I was remembering the memories 
we got together, and what I once had. I was with her the day 
I got wrapped up, Beat! 

Man, I got so many memories, Beat. I remember the 
first time my son sang the ABCs for me, and when he told 
me "I love you" for the first time. Those times make me so 

Now, I can just put myself in God's hands and hope he 
helps me pull through this. Well, Beat, I'm gonna go ahead 
and send this piece out now. 'Til next time, take care. With 

Wasted Time 

The time 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 with 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 scared, 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 ask myself why and where I went wrong 

I guess I was weak when I should have been strong 

Living for the drugs and the wings 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! 

GOD BLESS YOU your friend in peace John Anthony 


'*jnHn n/?TXZ' 

Our next writer is sending us a couple poems all the way from 
C hue ka walla Valley State Prison in Blythe, CA. John is a unique 
writer as he finds different ways to express his emotions and still 
give readers a clear message on what he 's trying to say. Locked up 
for a while, John focuses on writing to The Beat and sharing with you 
readers everything he has learned throughout his lifetime! 

Mail Call 

Darkness and loneliness nil my cell 

With pain and fear to great to yell 

I wait for the mailman to deliver to me 

To I wipe away tears: that no one will see 

I pray so sincere with head raised above, 

"Please, God, soon send a letter of love" 

I long to gaze upon pages so dear 

With riches to bring my loved ones near 

Words of diamond on pages of gold 

A message from heaven as their story is told 

"We love you, miss you, pray you'll be free" 

A treasure-filled envelope just for me 

Please bring memories of joy I once knew 
Family, friends and things I would do. 
The darkness and pain of my cell will prevail 
As my name, again, was not called for mail. 


///////#/////. /// Ft/ MM/ //. // //// // 

vgmmffM/' it/ nf0 a r 

'SEB/7 MUn/7E¥' 

The Show 

Welcome! Welcome! 


Step inside and have some fun 

It's the only place around 
Where the actors make no sound 
Not because they cannot talk 
Or because they cannot walk 
It's simply that they have no will 
And so they're always very still 

First I shall explain the rules 

And how we made them with our tools 

Listen close and listen well 

For only one time shall I tell 

Under pressure and great stress 

We molded them within our press 

It took a very long-long time 
So do not cross the boundary line 
Feel free to stop and point and starch 
It's not like they will care your there 
The glass that offers its protection 
Shows how rare is this collection 

Now lets start our inside tour 
You've waited long enough for sure 
Not that they are leaving soon 
For them, existence is their room 

First in line is Mr. Wax 
See the books heaped up in stacks 
People send him those who care 
But do not grasp their hurtful err 

Every book he does acquire 

Shows a friend turned now a liar 

The books are there because they aren't, 

To make them feel they've done their part 

Days he's had when no one came 
And truly that's an awful shame 
When so many claim to know him 
Why can't they come and show him 

Ah, but do not worry so 
It's not like he will leave the show 
He'll be here till he serves his time 
To pay our loss which was his crime 

Alright, now let's move ahead 
To view in turn these living dead 
Just keep in line and follow me 
There's many-many more to see 

And always-always keep in mind 
No matter how it spends its time 
A thing confined needs constant care 
If when it's out you want it there. 

We welcome our next writer, Sean Munney to the BWO. As we read 
a little bit about Sean, with the short bio that he contributes with 
his pieces, we learn a little bit about him and his trials and tribulations 
that he's facing. And as you read, you see that he is facing some serious 
time, though Sean keeps his composure and remains positive. Writing to 
us, with hope and optimism from The Main Adult Facility in Santa Rosa, 
CA, our man Sean enlightens us with some deep writings! 


I am charged with murder one and currently facing, if 
convicted, fifty-five years to life. I am not guilty. Here is 
my life before imprisonment. 

I was born on August 17th, 1987 in Sonoma, California. 
I lived there until I finished first grade, at which time I 
moved to Chico, CA; about three hours north. I attended 
a private catholic grade school and then Chico High for 
my first two years of High School. I then became so busy 
volunteering at various local organizations that I made 
the move to home school to free up my time. 

I graduated with an excellent GPA in 2005. 1 have never 
been fired from a job and have worked as an electrician 
and a computer admin. I do not drink or smoke or use 
any drugs. I have never been in a gang and have never 
been arrested until now. I was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout 
reaching the rank of "Life;" one rank below Eagle. 

One month before I was arrested I proposed to my 
girlfriend I've known since I was fifteen. We found out the 
day before I was arrested she is pregnant with my second 
son. Now, as per my promise to have the ceremony, we 
will marry while I am in jail. 

I came to Sonoma with the plan of staying two days 
with my relatives. I have been held for 106 days. I miss my 
fiance profoundly and try as best I can to stay positive. 
For me there is no giving in. My family needs me and I will 
fight the charges levied against me until my last breath. 
Now, only time can tell. 

I was told about The Beat Within by another inmate 
and am interested in offering some of my thoughts and 
writings, if they seem interesting. I have never written 
to a publication before so here are a few samples of my 

/ have never written to 
a publication before so 
here are a few samples 
ofmtf work* 5 


Does glory trickle from a sword? 
A bow, a shield, an act of faith 
Indelibly to stain the hands 
No matter who the hero? 

Or is it those who stand for good? 
And find within what all men should 
The truth in what is right and just 
To act with heart because they must! 


///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // //// // 

vgmmffM/' #/ /// / / 

Why do you hate me? 

Do you hate me because I'm transcending into a better 


With flavor knowledge and a hand full of fans 

While staying GO,, full of laughter and belief 

I only ask what through yo' eyes do you see 

So that I may change what you hate within me 

I hate no one but dislike people's ways 

And only ask what I ask because some one taught you to 


So why do you hate me 

Because my heart is attractive as I am 

Approachable, sociable, or the color of my skin 

It's probably because I don't consider everyone a friend 

But I keep the respect, by honking the horn and keep 


I say "Bomp-bomp", throw up two fingers and keep rolling 

Do you hate me 'cause I put God 1st and smile daily 

Or is it 'cause I'm changing to the opposite 

of what the hood made me 

Saying "excuse me, can I talk to you?" 

instead of, "what's up baby!" 

I don't use too much cursing, could that be yo' reason 

I pulled my pants up 

>/K BB/lKSTn/l' 

Our next writer, raised in the streets of East Oakland, CA, wants 
to share an outstanding poem that a lot of you readers can probably 
relate with. Everybody has had experiences of people hating, whether 
it be your peers, so-called friends, family - whomever. We all go through 
that. People hate in all forms and ways and it's up to us to just ignore it 
and go about our business. And that's what our man is trying to tell us 
in this beyond real and encouraging poem. Don't let anybody bring you 
down. Only you can bring yourself down. We have to learn to ignore all 
those negative sources and transform that negative energy and use it 
as motivation to strive to do better. 

Facility in Vacaville, CA, R. Bankston let's us know why people might 

and disperse from those with no meaning 
So let me ask- 
why you feeding something that's killing you off 
It ain't me the one you blame, it's the cut of the cloth 
Look further than my gear and into my eyes when we 

I'm all here, not perfect, but again I'm complete 
If I'm missing for a second it may feel like a week 
I'm not rich, far from broke, and I govern my ways 
So let me tell you hateful... 
There's one hundred and one ways to hate 
You can have my charisma and all of my traits 
I don't mind starting over on a brand new slate 
If it helps cure this disease called hate. 


Our next writer is t 

Correctional Facility in Delano, CA. We all go through our own fair 
share of trials and tribulations as Michael reminds us how life can take 
our breath away. 

Trials and Tribulations 

We all have had many different trials and tribulations 

Many different styles and many different stipulations 

Many miles that had and have been driven 

Many lives that had and have been forsaken 

So much that had been given so much that had been 


But no matter what trails and tribulation you go through 

Remember life's breath taking so take it 

And feel the beat within your heart. 


Our next writer has come through with a very creative poem. 'The 
Concrete Slave Ship" is a creative piece of writing as he personifies 
a slave boat, and compares it to what now some of us may call prisons 
a concrete plantation. Slavery does exist still, as we are well aware 
of, just like racism, prejudice. But his poem doesn't focus on any of 
those aspects as he just metaphorically describes his boat that he refers 
to as 'The Concrete Slave Ship." Sending us this creative piece from a 
Correctional Facility in lone, California our boy Whispers, enlightens the 
page with some brilliant work! 

The Concrete Slave Ship 

Onward it flows; 

it flows with the souls of lost forgotten men in tow 

Lives spent with nothing much to show 

Through the clouds of despair you can just see the prow's tip 

The rancid beginnings of this concrete slave ship 

This ship of lost hope never moves an inch 

Though many lives have felt its pinch 

The heart of those who feel its wrench 

Around our minds its strap is cinched 

Riding the wave of mental agony on the concrete slave ship 

Up and down our spirits fluctuate 

Hope to sadness, anger to hate 

Coursing in maddening circle 

Sick, enjoying the ride 

Sane, simply abide, while wishing for an ebb tide 

A tide of change, something to re-arrange 

Peel off some of the strange 

Which causes us to change 

On the concrete slave ship 

These words mean more than they say, for they can't say all 

that they mean 

The weight here is heavy, it can be felt but not always seen 

Those of you up under it, you know what I mean 

Because I'm shooting from the hip 

When I speak of the concrete slave ship 

Ever mindful that it takes its toll 

Sucking the humanity from your very soul 

Turning vibrant young men into your heart for warmth- finding only cold 

From us all it exacts a cost 

We shudder and whimper when estimating out loss 

Only a few ever return whole 

For most it's a one-way trip 

Or the concrete slave ship. 

rififj/w/ri/t, ff/ff ////#/ //. // //// // 

£ 2l£2E^ mmmam4 r 'JUMUULL 

'J. MirHffELiS' 

Have You Ever? 

Have you ever shared your soul with a stranger? 

Only to realize he was a long lost friend 

Have you ever talk to a man, like you talk with 


And share what you can't with other men 

Can you see your love being given? 
To a criminal who stuck in this hell 
Can you hold off from judging him? 
Till the day you get to know him well 

Can you close your eyes and imagine 
If everything went right 
The power of passion is finally possessed 
After all those sleepless nights 

I bet you think I'm gaming you 

Just like the men in your past 

Cause they too promised you heaven on earth 

But none seem to last 

After all, what can I offer you? 
Besides lonely night and sweet words 
Promises of pleasures to come 

I pray with time, you'll come to see 

That the true definition of friendship and love 

Can de discovered in me. 

Our next writer is sending us some deep writing from Corcoran 
State Prison in Corcoran, CA. J. Michaels doesn't write to us often, 
but when he does we are guaranteed some deep writings full of 
emotions. His poems hit deep and get us to think about our own life 
situations and how we can compare what we're going through to what 
he's going through. Sometimes the hard thing about doing time is the 
pain that we are stuck with inside. There are ways to get them off your 
chest, and J. Michaels gives a perfect example of how you can get things 
off your chest with a pencil and a paper. 


Today we exchange promise's 
At night we pray they're kept 
Only to wake tomorrow 
With anticipation on our breath 

For the moment I accept my situation 
With hopes it changes in time 
Yet hell is loneliness, heaven is love 
Yet they both exist in my life 

Some say family and friends are over rated 
Hard to find and quick to change 
Even I once believe this to be true 
Until the moment you came 

Over the years I welcomed death 

Because my future is plagued by pain 

But now I found a friend in you 

Thank you for giving me a reason to live again. 


Whose Hands They're In... 

A basketball in my hands 

is worth about $19.00 

A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands 

is worth about $33 million 

It depends on whose hands it's in 

A baseball in my hands 

is worth about $6.00 

A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands 

is worth about $19 million 

It depends on whose hands it's in 

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal 

A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea 

It depends on whose hands it's in 

A sling shot in my hands is a toy 

A sling shot in the hands of David is a mighty weapon 

It depends on whose hands it's in 

Two fish and five loafs in my hands 

is a couple of fish sandwiches 

Two fish and five loafs in Jesus hangs will feed 


It depends on whose hands it's in 

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse 

Nails in Christ Jesus hands will produce salvation for 

the entire world 

It depends whose hands they're in 

As you see now it depends on whose hands it's in... 

So put your concerns your worries, your fears, your hopes, 

your dreams, your families, and your relationship, 

in God's hands 

Because, it depend on whose hands they're in. 

Our next writer is sending us his blessings all the way from Kern 
Valley State Prison in Delano, CA. Angel is not a frequent writer but 
sends us pieces every once in a while that keeps us hungry for more of 
his knowledge. He comes through this week with thoughtful writings, 
with a powerful message. Read on! 

"There is noplace like home " 

To The Beat And Family 

Hello once again... Well I sent you guys a piece a few 
weeks ago and I know it's hard to fit everything in. If you 
guys need a copy please let me know. I know since you 
all are starting from scratch you might need another one 
either way. I'm sending you this one, hope you like it and 
I got a lot more for 2009. 

I just want to say to all my family that is locked up 
all over keep your head up and do the time, don't let the 
time do you. And for all my brothers and sisters that are 
getting out soon, put all that bad stuff that got you put 
in there the first time away and never go back to it. Don't 
forget how it feels to be away from your family or the good 
things you learned on the inside cause the County, State, 
Feds, will always have a bed for you. 

And believe me the walls, beds, and bunks have no 
names. One size fits all. So before you go do that same 
stuff that you did before, remember this: "There is no 
place like home". That's all for now. 

rififj/w/ri/t, ff/ff ////#/ //. // //// // 

^T^^mmmmmmjr ' f/fffff 

'CEnTfffJL, *JUVE/7TL,E HF7LL, LHS ff/inELES^ 

Never Again 

I loved you once 

You broke my heart 

Even gave you another chance 

And you did it again 

I gave you everything 

All my love and respect 

Now you're not in my life 
Only when you wanna be 
You rather do drugs 
Than come visit me 
You rather take a guy 
Over me 

Even after he rapes me 
Several times 

But it's all good 

'Cause I'll never forgive you 

For what you did 

'Cause you were never there 

Even when I was 

In the hospital 

Close to death 

The only people there 

Were my homies 

They even write me 

More than you do 

I despise you 

Can't stand your presence 

You were there when 

My carnals (my brothers) died, palabra (my word) 

It must have brought you such delight 

'Cause serio(serious) you were nowhere in sight 

But now that I think of it 

You're supposed to 

Be my mother 

But tambien(also) 

I'll never trust you again 

I mean never again 

Will I fall for your lies. 


Our next group of writers are sending us their work from Central 
Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, Ca. There is a solids staff member 
there doing the workshops so these young people can get their voice 
heard through our publication. We're proud to have L.A. on the map and 
without anymore stalling from us hear out what these young people 
have to say! Thanks Mike! 

I Am From 


I am from two drug-addicted parents 

I am from the sympathy my grandparents had 

I am from a small town Pedro 

I am from my grandparent's warm house 

That sheltered me as a hero 

I am from a life being raised by grandparents 

I am from the heartbreak of wondering 

When I would see my mom 

I am from wondering if she even cared 

I am from my dad 

My only blood I ever knew 

I am from wanting him to get a clue 

I am from wishing he wasn't addicted 

I am from hoping he would never die of drugs 

I am from always hating hearing him tell me goodbye 

I am from my own confused world 

I am from my emotions that sent me into a whirl 

I am from the never ending love my grandparents gave 


I am from my rebellious self 

That re-winded a lot of things for me 

I am from meeting my mom at age 16 
I am from becoming a drug addict 
The route no one wanted to see 

I am from all the pain and suffering 
There has always been and will always be 
I am from all the love that surrounds me 
I am from all my experiences 
That will always make me, me! 



Love your enemies, forgive and forget 

This was carved in the cross for a great reason 

Jesus bled so we all learn this 

I am sorry Father but it is hard for me 

To love one another and walk away 

And let them say what they say 

But at the same time 

Our enemies think of us more than our friends 

When they see us their legs begin to shake with excitement 

So I'm confused- you're my enemy? 

Love our enemies, forgive and forget? 

This was carved in the cross for a great reason 

Jesus bled so we all learn this 

Everyone has problems, even JayZ has ninety-nine problems 
But a woman ain't one... Beyonce left to his right 
And he still hasn't shown up 

We could all join the Kingdom of Heaven, I can too 
Even though we are grown into environments 

Where there is gangs 

There is nothing to do but to join and earn your coin 

That's when the finger points so now start learning my words 

Love your enemies, forgive and forget 

This was carved in the cross for a great reason 

Jesus bled so we all learn this 

Sometimes it gets tough, I can say 

Memories of pain I can't forget 

I am still working on it 

I hope I can one day forgive everyone that hurt me 

Meanwhile, ponder trying to become mature 

In this big world of wonder 

I hope my brothers and sisters could understand that 

Our Father already forgave our sins 

All we have to do is practice this 

Love our enemies, forgive and forget? 

This was carved in the cross for a great reason 

Jesus bled so we all learn this. 


///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // //// // 

^T^^mmmmmmjr ' f/fffff 


I Am From 

I am from a smile 

I am from the sadness that comes from behind it 

I am from the smile that brings fakeness and shows weakness 

I am from the person who tries to be somebody I'm not 

I am from the weakness that doesn't know any better 

Than not to show it 

I am from a place called home 

I am from the planet called earth 

That doesn't know how to act because of the heat 

That comes from the blazing sun 

I am from the lady who once called me a tramp 

I am one who doesn't count on the person 

That once called me a tramp 

I am from an imaginary place I call home 

I am from the person who put me in this situation 

I am from somewhere I will always consider the hood life 

The hood life of Amanda 

I am from somewhere I think I belong 

I am from somewhere I call the danger zone 

Someplace that I call the street 

I am from a smile that traps all of those tears and fears 

I am from behind of what you see is a smile 
I am from a girl who I am and was born to be 
I am from a place I call home 

A life called the living life of Amanda 
And my life they call 
I am from the kind of girl who tries 
To pretend to be somebody she's not 
I am from the place I call home 

I am from the wind of nature 

I am from the life I call tramp 

I am from the person who never believed I could 

I am from the person who always believed I couldn't 

I am from what's behind these brick halls 

I am from what's behind these brick walls 

I am from the place that I call home 

I am from somewhere where I feel I belong 
I am from somewhere I once called the ghetto 
I am from somewhere I once called 
Wherever I can lay my head 
I am from the place I call home 
I am from... 


In '97 

My life started changing in '97 

I was just a baby growing up in the streets 

I didn't know what I was doing 

I went to foster homes that really killed my soul 

Now it hurts 

I feel remorse 

Life didn't get any better 

I started banging as a young teen 

I would always be fighting with my enemies 

Slowly I was changing 

Not caring about my family 

I found my happiness in the streets 

I miss all the homies 

I would kick it with the ones that took care of me 

Gave me money for me to eat 

One of my enemies is doing life at age sixteen 

No more future 

It's sad because it's his first time 

First strike 

Doing life 

No longer will I become his wife 

I didn't have no sheets to sleep at night with 

It killed me inside but I said nothing 

Just waited for the morning 

Waiting for the sun to come up 

But it didn't show up 

This is how it was growing up day by day in '97 

Taking risks that someone would 

Come shoot me in the head 

Crying inside but I had too much pride 

Waiting for the night to be over 

Because I knew it was safe at day 

I would be calling everyone a lame when in reality 

I should have been the one hiding my face in shame 

But I acted like I didn't care 

This went on day by day in '97 

I wish life would of got better it didn't 

I starting shooting when I was seven 

Praying to God to let me join him in heaven 

Why did I go through all this? 

Is this a challenge? 

Was I meant to suffer? 

Why did I not have bed covers? 

Questions I would ask myself day by day in '97 

I would always be crying when I was younger 

I would hide in my bathroom asking God to take my life 

I'm tired of this life I would say 

Everyday I would pray 

I started going to school but it wasn't fun 

I got punked 

Do you know how it feels to get thrown in the mud? 

Then going back home and get screamed at by your mom 

Nothing felt right I even lost my sight 

This went on day by day in '97 

No one was by my side to protect me 

I had no one to talk to about my problems so I shoved them 

I didn't understand what was going on 

So much pressure for just one 

That's why I would go to the hood 

That's the only place I felt good 

Where I was cool 

Where no one would judge me 

This was my real family 

I was known as a straight up gangsta' 

One of the best boxers 

That's how I got my name 

I used to be shy to talk to boys 

I felt like I would annoy 

I felt ugly because I didn't like myself 

So I started to scratch my face so I would not feel the pain 

This went on day by day in '97 

Would you have been strong as I was 
Or would you have broke down and cry? 
This is what I had to do to survive 
Day by day in '97 


rififj/w/ri/t, ff/ff ////#/ //. // //// // 


for Tie Boak Club 

Well, I'm cruising "down these mean streets" 

With "the first part last" 

I don't know the "color of water", so don't you ask 

I've done read 'bout babies, clubs, guns and drugs 

Finished in 'bout 14 days to review in the Book Club 

Kelli and Tara questioning what we read 

I didn't finish two chapters so I wasn't prepared 

Look forward to these weekly sessions 

Starting off eyes closed with sever meditations 

Which produces patience 

Free your mind with your thoughts clear and naked 

Open my eyes, let out a deep breath 

OK! I'm ready for today and anything I'm faced with. 



It's nice and hot 

Got to have fun and chill with your friends 

See some girls at the pool 

I see everybody enjoying themselves 

There's no such thing as a bad summer 

My mom is standing at the barbecue 

Fixin' ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs 

She's happy because everyone in her family is here 

I smell barbecue and sweaty people 

I hear the ice cream truck 

Got their different little sirens 

I hear kids on the playground from early morning 

Til' late when the streetlights come on 

The corner store's open late 

Because it's summertime 

I go in and get some juice and a snickers bar 

My favorite candy 

Now the night is getting cool 

But in the summertime 

You feel that light breeze 

That means rain is coming 

That's when everything chills 

A week of 80 plus degrees 

Now crack the windows and let that breeze come in 

After the rain, we go outside and do it all over again. 


Is it worth it? 

Is it worth the fire that burns? 

Is it worth the cycle that churns? 

Is it worth the growth of life? 

Is it worth the pain and strife? 

Is it worth the warmth of her insides? 

Is it worth the stroke of a dangerous ride? 

Is it worth the life of an unborn? 

Is the life you created worth having torn? 

Is it worth seeing the reaper you despise? 

Is it worth staring down? 

The absent pits of his cold eyes? 

What am I saying? 

Am I making sense? 

Ponder for a second and ask yourself 

Is it worth my demise? 


Take it from me 

Better safe than sorry. 


We're really proud to present our next group of writers, our friends 
and neighbors'. Free Minds. The following writers are young adults 
facing time in Washington DCs Adult Facility. These writings originated 
from a Book titled, "Dc Jail's Young Poets, Hear Us Out!" And with their 
permission we are honored to republish them in our very own Beat. 

My Life 

Is my life a story from a movie? 

That's been played over and over and over? 

Is my life a short act from a play? 

Where the actors and actresses wear funny screen 


Is my life a message from God to say? 

I need to change my ways 

Is my life a way for me to become a man? 

So I can provide for family? 

Is my life a joke? 

That makes people look at me in a funny way 

Is my life made this way? 

For me to understand how life is supposed to be 

Is my life a way to tell me that time is short? 

And there's no time to play 

So live it up the best way you can 

Is my life a poem? 

That cannot be understood to a certain extent 

Is my life a way for me 

To explain the way I feel? 

Is my life made for me to cut up? 

To set my soul free 

Or is my life made for me to make things right as they 

can be? 

I guess it's just me... 

Or is that the way my life is made to be? 


Feliz Havidad 

La Navidad es un dia muy alegre. Es un dia que uno visita 
la familia y es cuando uno se siente muy alegre cuando 
se siente con sus seres queridos y anda en fiestas solo 
el 24 de Diciembre. Que uno lo disfruta es como el mejor 
dia en mis favoritos de todo del ano. Y me gusta comer 
tamales y pan que mi familia hace. Es muy delicioso. Es 
lo favorito en Centro America y que viva Honduras. 

Christmas is a very happy day. It is a day in which 
one visits one's family and it is when one feels very 
happy to be with the people they love, and party, only on 
December 24. It is so enjoyable that it is like the best day, 
my favorite day of all. I like to eat the tamales and bread 
that my family makes. It is very delicious and the favorite 
of Central America-Viva Honduras. 



My Redskins \ 

Redskins they are tight 

Make my heart bright like a light 

I'm trying to watch them tonight 

And if I don't, there's nothing going to be a fight 

My favorite game 

The 06' match up with the Cowboys 

35 to 7 

You always have fame 

No matter how many times 

You might mess up the game. 


///////#/////. /// ////#/ //. // //// // 

^^^ !liPP£^^ 

My trials and tribulations 
appear to have ended 

Stand Strong 

Remembering back to yesterday 

When I would be playing with wrestling toys 

Back in the days of karate and game boys 

You would take us out to eat and me and Barbara would 

act like fools 

Thinking back to when I was taught to use all the tools 

And every summer it never failed, I'd be in summer 


Not because I wasn't smart, I just thought it was cool 

But you know what I best recall the most of all 

Is the voice that taught me right from wrong 

Saying stand strong, stand tall, be strong 

So when things get rough and times seems extra long 

I think back to those words 

Stand strong, stand tall, be strong. 


Storm of Life 

It seems to be clearing up 

The storm is starting to pass over 

The turning point of life is shining out of the clouds 

I no longer feel the heaviness on my shoulders 

The once wet and muddy circumstances of life seem to 

be drying up 

Getting better for the best 

Unless the worst is yet to come 

Disguised as someone or something else 

My trials and tribulations appear to have ended 

But the biggest storm is myself 

Fooling no one but me 

My own disguise 

Left raindrops falling from eyes of loved ones 

With deaf ears to their cries 

I made a mask around my silence 

That was the cause of a mudslide 

The most important thing in my life was being wiped 


Wake up on a bus on 195 

I know the destination of this ride 


It's Time 

Here I sit in a prison cell 

To tell of a vision, it was a glimpse of hell 

It was on a cold and lonely night 

And all of us prisoners were locked up tight 

As I fell into a deep sleep 

I caught a demon running by my cell so evil and sleek 

He was being chased by an angel with an armor of gold 

A shinning light fearless as a lion so rights and bold 

This angel returned to my surprise 

And now its time to reveal the lies 

The enemy Lucifer has only one goal 

And it's to destroy everyone's soul 

As I looked up into the angel's eyes 

The cell door flew open and I was at his side 

He took a firm hold of my hand 

And said let's take a look at hell you son of man 

All of a sudden I heard screams of agony everywhere 

They were caught up in a pit and this I honestly share 

There were groups of five demons holding each person down 

While the other evil foes laughed and played around 

I seen agony and despair every witch way 

It was always dark never the light of day 

There was a stink of death beyond despair 

They even had their own electric chair 

I saw the pain in all the victim's eyes 

They were over whelmed by the sprit of suicide 

I trembled and tried to flee 

But the angel held a firm grip on me 

He said, you need to see one other thing 

His name is Lucifer and this is the enemy 

As we were about to leave the last door 

That's when I saw that liar lying on the floor 

He was ugly and wicked with no strength to talk 

Bony and weak and couldn't even walk 

As I awoke back in my cell five by nine 

I had tears in my eyes because I knew it was time. 

'nnBBiEL, L,nrn¥n' 

Our next writer is a fairly new contributor to our publication, and 
this week has come through with an outstanding piece of work! 
He's sending us his poem from California Correctional Institution 
in Tehachapi, CA. We welcome Gabriel who would like to share a life 
changing experience that came through his dream! We look forward to 
reading more from you! 

To The Beat Within 

First and foremost, I would like to say your magazine 
is the shiznit! And it was cool to read what others are 
feeling and doing. Well I would like to submit these words 
I put together, and if they pass your inspection I would 
hope to see them in your magazine. 

It's something I've put together from doing a little time 
here and there. Also is possible could I submit future 
things? If so what are your guidelines, on what can we 
and can't write about. Thank you for letting us express 
ourselves through our writing. 


f only I could turn back the hands 
of time... Damn, Beat, the things I'd 
change! I don't know how long 1 11 be out 
of my son's life, but I'd do anything as 
long as he doesn't have to go through 
what I've been through. Hopefully, 
his mom can do the best for him and 
knows how to go about raising a seed 
of the opposite sex. Eventually, I'll 
hopefully be with him again some day. 
I keep my hopes up no matter what. 

read the rest of Anonymous' BWO piece on page 56