We've all grown up in towns, cities and only know how to live the gangster lifestyle. It's the life we all know when we were growing up, but to be truthful, once you start to hit the Big House (prison), you'll see that everything you put your life on the line for ain't really worth it. All that bloodshed for a lost cause.
For you youth that still have another chance to make it home, change for the better. Life out there is so beautiful. Build yourself a strong foundation, a beautiful family. Work a good job and leave that dope and gangster lifestyle to the past. The only people we hurt is our kids, mothers and fathers, and grandparents. Your so-called homies will eventually forget about you, but your family will always stay strong. I've read a lot of your pieces and through the lines I've read, I see a lot of you want to change for the better. Follow your heart, not your homies.
When you follow your so-called homies, you end up in this system. Stop while there's still a chance for your freedom. Most of the guys I talk to here in prison wish they would have never took that ride with their homies, or got loaded. Now they're living in hell (prison) for the rest of their life. Most of these men got busted at sixteen and seventeen years old. Now they're in their forties and fifties, and are never going home. These are the times we have to sit back and think of our life goals and the journey we want to take in life.
Most people have goals in life from the time they do a lot of wishful thinking.
If we ever intend to achieve our goals in life,
We must be willing to make those sacrifices
To overcome the obstacles that stand in our way of reaching those goals.
I know life in this world could be a never-ending struggle
And at times we all feel frustrated.
When circumstances seem to prevent us from doing or getting something
The trick is to not let it discourage you.
Stay positive by taking a different approach.
Sometimes situations have a way of working themselves out
When they seem impossible, we just need to stay focused and on track
With what you really want out of life and not settle for anything less
Than your dreams and goals in life.
If you set your mind to it, and have courage and inner strength
To believe in yourself, you could conquer just about anything.
I'm afraid to part and lament, having done so,
Afraid to surrender you my all to gain the loss of you.
I'm afraid of losing the fragrance of the rose you embody
Afraid that, like a bird from open palms, you'll fly away from my side
Afraid to hold you in my arms and not be able to retain you with all my might
Afraid to realize there isn't enough time
Afraid of losing control like a kid in a tantrum
Afraid to call and realize I'm yelling
Afraid to die and realize I'm living dead…
Dreams of Paradise
You wander through the corridor of my mind
Undaunted courage propelling me ever forward
Time has no meaning when we're together
Here in the depths of my mind, I go there quite often
Just to get away
But I find myself back here day after day
There's one thing that keeps me going forward
And this is knowing that you'll be there
When they let me go
For now, remember –
No matter the time or the distance, we're together or apart
Our hearts say “forever us” deep down inside.
This writing was originally published by The Beat Within, a juvenile justice system writing workshop, which has generously allowed The Crime Report to share. Since 1996, The Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth (between the ages of 11 -17) both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life. The following pieces come from our weekly workshops which were recently held in one the 18 juvenile detention facilities – from Hawaii to San Francisco to Washington DC – we venture into each week. From the writings we produce the national publication, The Beat Within. For more information please visit us at www.thebeatwithin.org.