Poems and Stories


More Stories - in Spanish
Newest Stories - in English
More Stories - in English

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BECAUSE SOME OF US CARED

I am just a stranger
Unbeknown to you…
But I see you through each letter
Of your painful struggles.

I feel your innocence melting away
In that dark foggy path
Many have embraced.

Let me tell you
I am there -
Looking back
From the other side
Of this bridge of ambivalence
You now face.

- I was once you. -

Maybe it is not too late
To turn back,
To give yourself a second chance.

Take it from me,
A stranger,
Lost in the wilderness
Of that angry disillusion
That has become your own.

I too
Have felt the same burning pain
Of the insecurities and loneliness
Of a child in need.

I didn’t know either
How to communicate
My feelings
Or say “no”
When I needed to.

Now, in this vast landscape
Of adulthood
I still find myself wondering…

If only somebody
Had listened?

So -
Don’t let it be too late.
Shout as loud as possible.
Let your voice be heard.

Don’t let your dreams die
Before they have even started.
Welcome the light of love
And hope into your heart,
The wonderful feeling of being alive…

Feel within yourself
Your own worthiness
Imbuing your soul.

You are, after all,
A fresh beginning of life,
An ongoing mystery on this planet.

Dream as only you can
With that wild imagination
Only a child has.

Run! Run!
From those
Gloomy clouds.

And don’t be afraid.

- Because
Some of us
Truly cared…

G. Alvarado
CALIFORNIA

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WHAT A LIFE INSIDE A GLOOMY PLACE

What a life inside a gloomy place,
seeing so much anger on everyone’s face.

The air is so thick that it’s hard to breathe,
so many gave up on what they believe.

The hallways are full of darkness
even when the lights are on,
plenty walk through them knowing their lives are gone.

You’re surrounded by so much stress,
wondering if you’re going to pass or fail this test.

So many are going to be here for a while,
plenty had left with “DECEASED” on their file.

Having no privacy of what so kind,
you don’t know what to expect in here…
so it feels like you’re blind.

So many gave in and now they’re insane,
depending on medication to ease their pain.

Being in here will leave you with an awful taste,
but like I said, “What a life inside a gloomy place.”

Erwin Torres
New Jersey

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CHANGE

Life is my purpose
In this place of pain.
Am I the one that can see
That there is need for a change?
I want my block free of dope fiends.
I want me and my crew to live past eighteen.
I want to make money
Without having to rob.
I just want to feed my family
By working hard on a job.
I’m tired of accepting this pain.
Am I the only one that can see
That there is need for a change?

Marcos D.
Reprinted with permission from the magazine "Inside Out"
New Jersey State Prison

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A LOAD TO CARRY

"He's a straight up punk, we can take his shit;" these words have been echoing in my mind for the past ten years. They were the words that started the beginning of my end.

I never used drugs when I was on the streets. In fact, the first time I used drugs was in the County Jail. But that is not why I am writing my story. None of that is important; not my name, how much time I am doing, or the fact that I am here for murder. I will let you decide the importance of my story and what it could mean or not mean to you.

Like I said, on the streets I never used drugs, but I used to sell them. Me and my crew liked what selling drugs bought for us, we just never liked to pay for them. Whatever drugs we sold, we had stole from other dealers. We had been doing this for a few months. We would go outside our city, sometimes out of state, but we were running out of dealers to jack. One day my boy told me about some guy selling drugs near our neighborhood park. The problem was it was in our own neighborhood, and that would bring all kinds of problems.

We watched this joker make moves for two days. The kid didn't seem to be about nothing. He was skinny and didn't seem to be a threat. At first, because we were selling a few blocks away, we were really cautious before hitting the kid, but the only thing I could remember hearing is one of my boys saying, "He's a straight-up punk, we can take his shit"!

To make a long story short, we took the kid down - beat him and his boys up - and were outta there. Over a month later everything was cool; we knew we were straight. Then one day, somebody snatched up my eight year old brother after school. The kid we robbed said he wanted his shit back, or he was going to hurt my little brother. Three hours later my little brother was dead. They had thrown him off one of the roofs near the park.

That same night we got into a gun battle with the kid and his crew. It wasn't until the next day that we found out that two people got shot. One of them died. Five days later me and two others were arrested and charged with murder. Needless to say, I was convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 years to life, 15 years with a 7 1/2 year stipulation, and 5 years with a 3 year stipulation; all running consecutively. This means that I have to do each sentence, one at a time. In other words, I was sentenced to die of old age in prison, unless someone here decides to put me out of my misery between now and then. The sentence the judge gave me to serve is nothing compared with the one I have to exist with.

During the court proceedings, it came out in open court most of what had happened, including why my little brother was killed. My mother and sister were usually present in court. That is how my mother found our why her youngest son died. I could never forget the look on my older sister's face or the screams my mother let out that day in court.

Since that day, in November 1991, I have talked to my sister over the telephone only seven times, and I have not seen my mother since. I carry that with me every day. Before that, while I sat in the County Jail, all I could think about was my little brother and how I had indirectly killed him. I tried to kill myself twice; since that failed, I lost myself in drugs.

So many times, as I was growing up, I told my mother to leave me alone, that my life was my business. Now I could only wish to be able to have her in my life. My way of life cost my little brother his life and whatever future he had to live. It caused my mother to lose her only two sons, because to her I am just as dead as my little brother. It caused my sister to lose her two brothers and altered her life/future in ways that I could not even imagine.

Living with this is my true sentence. Whatever happens to me now is nothing compared to living with the fact that I am responsible for my little brother's death.

If you are where I was when I was on the streets, STOP! Just leave it right where it is, go home and be with your family or anyone that you love. Don't talk to your boy, or give yourself a deadline or time limit. Just stop, because it is a losing game

As far as my crew goes, I know at least one is dead from a drug overdose. I saw one of my closest boyz here in the mess hall (that's where prisoners eat). We didn't even speak and now they moved him to a different side of the prison. I don't even get to see him. But that is what usually happens when "once close friends" on the streets come to prison.

I miss my little brother.
I miss my mother.
I miss my sister.

Ashamed
Reprinted with permission from the magazine "Inside Out"
New Jersey State Prison

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A POEM OF HOPE

Although you may feel down
All is not lost.
You may feel abandoned
But you are not,
For the Lord is at your side
Through all your pain and sorrows.
He is there to comfort you
If only you would let Him.
So open your heart and let Him in.
The healing will begin
As soon as you put your faith in Him.
So don't be afraid to reach out your hand
For the Lord will be waiting for you
At the other end.

   A short poem for those
   in need of hope.
   My prayers go out to you!

Your brother in Christ, T.N.
Recently Released

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MY QUEEN, "MOTHER EARTH"

She was born into a life, no greater than hell.
There was a man in her mother’s life who would beat her all day and yell.
She was such a beautiful little girl,
But covered with bruises, no one could tell.
Instead of love, she was raised by neglect and abuse.
She was, by no means, a product of her environment.
This upbringing wouldn’t define her, so she put it to use.
She taught herself independence.
She ran away from misery, and hasn’t looked back since.
Anything related to hate or deception, she was totally against.
She was, and still is, on a mission to “save the world.”
She observed the world for what it is and concluded it was a mess.
By being able to identify children as the root for overall success,
She created youth groups to help kids deal with everyday stress.
She provides an outlet for youth,
With which she was never blessed.
She is the most giving and nurturing women you would ever encounter.
I like to call her “Mother Earth” in the flesh.

This is the woman who believed my life deserved to be lived.
At the age of 24 with 5 boys, who needs more kids?
Nevertheless, she gave me the type of love only a mother can give.
I had the childhood her and my father never did.
I can remember getting cleaned up and tucked into bed.
I may not have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth
But I was always fed.
What I am today is the result of what she worked so hard for.
Even when I was stupid and would turn against her,
She always told me I was worth more.
I’m ever grateful for all the lessons that made me wiser,
And all the downfalls that made me stronger…
Even the culture awareness I was taught that gave me more pride.
There is no one in the world that holds a bigger part of my heart.
She has given me the best of her,
And I will spend the rest of my life returning the favor and doing my part.

Yours and Daddy’s Creation:
Selina R.
NEW JERSEY

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DADDY, WHY?

Daddy, why did you leave me and never say goodbye?
Daddy, why did you put that needle in your vein?
Daddy, why did you leave me here to go insane?

Daddy, I love you more than you know.
I just wish that I could have told you so.

But Daddy, the hard question I have inside is
Why?

Daddy, why did you do those bad things to me?
Daddy, I was only a little girl, can't ya see?
I used to think it was my fault too,
But I was young, I didn't know what to do.

Daddy, when I'm alone I look at your picture and cry,
From all the pain you put inside.

Daddy, you told me never to say a thing,
But, Daddy, now you're gone,
And I'm left with nothing.

C.

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MOMMY, WHY?

This poem is not quite the same.
You never molested me,
But you did leave me to go insane.
Mommy, why?

You beat me just like my dad,
And took away all the pride I had.
Mommy, why?

I don't know what I did so wrong,
But you left me.
Both my parents are now gone.
Mommy, why?

You won't talk to me or even sign a card.
Tell me, is it really that hard,
That you have to keep away, and stay so far?
Mommy, why?

I ask ya this 'cause I do not know,
Why do you kick me out of your home?
Do you still feel love for me, or even care
Or do you not even know that I'm there?
Mommy, why?

Mommy, "why" is the question in my life,
I do not know
But I love you.
It's just too hard to show.

C.

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Life Without Parole at 17

Four years have passed since my last breath of air as a free man. I was 17 at the time, confused at who I was and not knowing the consequences of what I wanted to be. I am 21 now, still young, but I have traveled a long heartbreaking road these past years. I am currently in a California State Prison, Level 4 - Maximum Security, the worst of the worst, serving a sentence of life without parole.

The road that got me here is my involvement with a gang. I thought I was bad and knew everything. But little did I know that I was digging my own grave deeper till one day I never made it home and found myself being booked for murder. Only 17 years old, barely beginning life and never again will I see a sun set or smell the fresh tortillas being made. All this for a gang, for the people that we call homeboys. I've heard from a few over the years but that's about it.

I went through the court process and got tried as an adult. A minor being thrown to the sharks is what it is. From there, I got transferred to a different housing facility until I turned of age and got moved to the county jail with the big boys. And what a welcoming I got from the guards as well as the inmates, a baby-faced plump kid walking amongst grown men. What an 18th birthday I had! I spent about two years there until I was found guilty and sentenced and shipped to prison.

During this whole time, from juvenile hall till now, there doesn't go a day that I don't regret not listening to my family - all the heartache and pain I've caused them. It hurts inside so much when I look my precious mother in the eyes at visiting. She's all I got and I care for as well as the rest of my family.

The things that go on in places like where I am at are not fun at all. This place will make you or break you. There's real gangsters walking the yard here and at a snap of a finger they will stab you if told to do so or disrespected in any way. There's stabbing, mini-riots and full-blown riots where people are dropping left and right as the gunner in the tower picks them off. This is the kind of place I live in, not against my own will but because I wanted to be someone out there and prove to everyone that "I am down; I am bad; I am a gangster." What was I thinking? This is no life and I don't wish it upon anybody.

I might not have gone into the details of my past experiences, but if you know of anyone going down that path, stop them! It's not worth the pain later in life. He/she will thank you instead of being like me regretting and stuck in a world of chaos with many more years of life in me to go.

Sincerely - M.O.C. (age 21 doing life without parole)

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INMATES DON'T CRY

The judge entered the courtroom, the bailiff yelled, “All rise.”
I poked out my chest and looked him dead in the eyes.
When he passed out his verdict, I thought I would die,
But I kept a straight face cause inmates don’t cry.

Back at the jail, locked in a cell,
I thought of the prison, the torment, the hell.
CO’s walked by me and said something sly,
But I acted real tough cause inmates don’t cry.
The day of the trip seemed long and compact.
Women swore to themselves they would never come back.
As we approached the great dungeon the walls seemed to rise,
But I said something slick cause inmates don’t cry.

Now time goes by, some good, some bad.
Moments are shared, some happy, some sad.
I no longer feel bold or tough or wise,
And I’ll tell you a secret . . . last night, I cried.

shhhhhhhhhh!

Cynthia Bowen
New Jersey

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THE RIGHT ROAD IS THE HARD ROAD

I sat in my back yard surrounded by the chill and darkness of the night. I felt so empty and alone. I began to cry. Even though I had a hundred friends, I felt I had none. What had I been doing with my life, and what were my reasons for doing it? What had I lost and what had I gained?

I was so far in a rut, I felt helpless - no way out. I spent most of my life fighting for things with no real cause. I felt that I was standing at the gates of hell, and I knew I had to fight the helpless feeling.

I needed a plan, a starting point. All reasoning led to the truth. My whole life had been a lie. My only way out was living for what is true and real. But where could I find the truth? I began going back to church and listening to all the words of God read from the gospel. I began praying and spending time alone to get in touch with myself and my feelings. The changes that began to take place in me came slow and hard. Many of the people I thought were my friends rejected me. The harder I worked on myself, the more alive I began to feel, and the more life I felt, the more life I had to give others.

Some of my homeboys are married now and have families; some are in prison; some others are dead; and some others are hanging out in the street. I was dead once, but now I am more alive than ever before. I could still be there living that life. It's not even a life, it's death. Thanks to God, I continue to choose life and giving life. I learned what a precious gift the life is that God has given us, and what we do with it is our gift to Him. I learned that some friends will only be friends when we're doing what they want us to do. I read in the Bible where all Jesus' friends rejected and abandoned Him when He was doing what God wanted Him to do. God is the key to change. Without God in our life, we will always be locked up in some way or another.

My brothers and sisters, the things I've done in my life have led me to the gates of hell. When you find yourself at the gates of hell, turn around and see, not your homeboys, but Jesus standing there waiting to give you strength and courage to make it - to give you the life you never thought you could have. Remember that the first person we know of that Jesus took to heaven was the criminal on the cross next to Him. It's not what we've done that matters so much. It's what we can do.

...Freddy

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REMEMBERING OUR FATHERS

My friend -
Here we stand
Trying to piece together
This puzzle we live in

Us, the sons of fathers
Who didn’t care to stay
To shape and nurture us
Into strong, confident men.

No my friend,
They didn’t bother to stay,
They left - like cowards and ran away . . .
Releasing themselves
Of all responsibility
As if the very nature
Of having being born
Was our own fault.

They left us to seek other glories
That didn’t include us,
The seeds of their soul.

My friend - how are we to understand
The nature of our masculinity,
If our fathers are mere disappearing ghosts . . .

How are we to battle these demons
Haunting our life?
When they are the inherited shadows
Of our fathers
And the root
Of all their, and our mistakes.

G. Alvarado
California

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THIS COLD LONELY PLACE

How did I ever let myself end up in this cold lonely place? How could I ever let myself think my homeboys mattered more than my family? Why is it that after all these years in prison the only ones I can depend on are my mom and dad? What happened to my ace duce that I took the bullet for? Oh yeah, he grew up and moved away and no one ever heard from him again.

What gets me more than anything is that they still fly the same old rag out there, and they are still telling kids the same old lie, “You are one of us. It’s us against them forever.” If everyone just knew how short forever was…

Then sooner or later you find yourself sitting in one of these cold cement boxes just like I did, and you get to watch men die up close. In here we don’t have drive-bys. Try to remember that this is for no better reason than the dude ain’t from the same set, or that someone wants to make a name so someone else don’t stick a scrap of steel in him.

Welcome to my world. A bangin’ a blast? I haven’t even told you about getting sent to the other end of the state, so that if you do get visits you won’t get many of them. And don’t forget how often your visitor will drive across state only to get here and be told “everyone is locked down.” They won’t tell them why you’re locked down so they get to worry if you’re dead or alive the whole drive home.

The hardest part for me to get used to was that I had no control of my life in here. It seemed unreal that I couldn’t even open a door any more. I couldn’t get something to eat when I wanted to. I couldn’t do anything when I wanted to. I had to depend on someone else. I spent my whole life fighting this, and now I will spend the rest of my living like this.

It is this way from no other reason than that I didn’t live my life like “I” wanted to; I lived it like others wanted me to. I did the stupid crap so I would fit in, so I would belong, so I would not feel alone.

Rick M.
CALIFORNIA

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TRUE FAITH

Dear Friends,
Have true faith in God
For there's no greater love than His.
He's brought me back to life,
A life I didn't want to live,
Till I found the light that's free to those
Who believe in the Son of God
........Jesus Christ.

Peace and Love,
Jesse

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The Metaphor

It’s me, Greg, and I’m right back at you with another one. If you enjoyed “The So-called Game” and “Actions Speak Louder than Words,” I know you’re going to dig this.

Have you ever been swimming at the beach, and while you’re swimming back toward the shore, you’re hit with one of the waves; then all of a sudden, it seems like the more you swim towards the shore, the farther you’re pulled out to sea? When this happens, it means you have been caught in a current. The water is moving in one direction, and no matter how hard you swim, the flow of the water is going to pull you backwards. If you are able to recognize you’re caught in a current, this means your mind has recognized you’re in danger. You react by swimming in another direction out of the current, and than back to shore. If you’re unable to recognize you’re caught in a current, you will continue to swim against the current until your body becomes exhausted and you’ll panic, then eventually drown.

There is one other way to make it back to shore, and I’ll explain it later. First, let me say this: the same is true of life. The current is the gangs, the drugs and the crime, and these things will pull you in farther and farther. If you are able to recognize you are being pulled down a path headed to prison or death, you will change directions and head for school, college, and eventually a career. Otherwise you’ll be pulled in so deep that you’ll panic and drown - like me and the rest of the people who weren’t able to recognize we were caught up in that negative current!

The only other way to make it to shore if you’re in the middle of the ocean is for someone to throw us a lifejacket to save our life (from prison, gangs and drugs, etc.) before we have the chance to really live… Catch! This is Greg and I just threw you a lifejacket, and this is me pulling you in. Take care young people, and always remember - think positive. Positive thoughts attract positive people. Positive people attract positive events and outcomes.

Greg Wright
California

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I AM SORRY MOM

She had lain in bed for days, in denial, not eating, rarely talking, and depressed. I am describing my mother’s condition after two detectives knocked on the door and entered the apartment looking for her son, who was accused of murder. I wonder what thoughts and images ran through her mind. Her son, who she always believed would make something of his life, was wanted for a serious crime.

I was always in school and during the summer breaks I made sure to get a job. After graduating high school, I wasted no time in finding job that permitted me to move out of my mother’s house and have a place of my own. To my mother, I was a responsible young adult, with no bad habits: a son that would never find himself inside the criminal system or so she thought.

It took my mom a number of weeks before she was able to accept that I was incarcerated. She did not come visit me right away. I imagine that had to do with the struggle within herself, dealing with denial and the truth. I still remember her first visit when I was held in the county jail. Her face and her eyes defined the suffering she had endured during the first weeks of my imprisonment I can also remember her words: “William it wasn’t you that committed this crime they are convicting you of. It must be someone else.” At the time, I couldn’t fine the nerve to admit that she was wrong.

Every permitted visit in the county jail, she made the effort to be there with me. Every day of my court trial, she sat right behind me with a forced smile to hide from her pain. On sentencing day, no longer able to hide her pain, she burst into tears. That was just the beginning of a long twelve years she endured of not having the freedom to see her son whenever she wanted. She still battles the demons of denial and the fact that her son could have committed such an act.

The aggravation of traveling two hours from Hoboken to Trenton, the chaos of entering the prison to sit with me for an hour and a half, and her age have understandably lessened visits over the years. Her fifteen to twenty visits a year have diminished to three or four. After years and years of burdens that I placed on her back. I can see that I’ve scarred her spirit and soul.

Twelve years later, my mother is fifty-seven years old. I wonder if she and I will ever experience those special moments of mother and son again: talks at the kitchen table over dinner with the rest of the family, or laughs of joyful holidays together, with nieces and nephews happily running around the house.

I can go on writing about the other family members that have struggled with my life behind bars for the last twelve years. But there is nothing like when a son is taken away from a mother because of his ignorant and immature decisions. Do not allow your mother to suffer as I have allowed mine to. Cherish the moments together.

William Garcia, Jr.
New Jersey

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NO PEACE

Hey You wake up.
I know I haven’t been letting you sleep,
But why should I?
I can’t rest.
Don’t make that face.
This ain’t the place.
You, nor I can erase the pain.
We go back,
A long way back,
To long gerri curls,
And big butt girls.
The ice cream man was our best friend.

We had the same classes,
You laughed at my glasses,
And I, at the naps in your hair.
We both loved sports.
I was king of the courts,
And you were prince of the pigskin.

The years seemed to glide.
I moved to the south side,
While you made a home in the north.
My business was crack,
My customers Latino and black,
While you sold smack
To the same clientele.

My color was blue,
Red for you,
Our sons will follow
In our footsteps.
Now you’re in prison,
And life is your sentence.
Even though you suffer,
I can’t seem to rest.
See I was wearing my blue,
And not my vest,
You shot me and said red is best.

Eugene Thomas
New Jersey

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CHOICES

I used to think that the day when I was to die was already written somewhere so whatever I did didn't matter because I was going to die on that certain day. But I was wrong. I now believe that there is no death date. The coming of death is a mystery. The grim reaper is cruising around town and he spots an individual with a gun so he decides that this is a good opportunity to take someone out. He waits for the right prey and makes his move. Before I gained this knowledge, my excuse was that I had a death date so it didn't matter how I lived or what I did.

Now if you are a teenager or just an individual who is always making excuses for the way he or she acts and for some odd reason you end up reading this, don't waste time. Change your crazy destructive ways because you might not get another chance. You probably already heard advice like that from your parents or other people that care for your well being. But what do they know, right? They are from a different time than ours. They don't know what's up. They don't know how much you enjoy partying, beating up people, having sex, getting chased by the cops, and being part of a rumble where you got your butt kicked but enjoyed it because the rush is like no other. Oh! Let me not forget about the drugs. What can a person that advises you against all this know?!

I know about all this and many other "good stuff" and I choose not to advise people against this life style because that will only make me look like a hypocrite. I say, "Rock on with your bad self"! You already know the consequences anyway. You've been told so many times what the consequences are that you can't help but know them. I knew them and I chose to live the way I was living because I figured that if I died, I died and there was nothing more to it, or like a Spanish saying goes, "La vida no vale nada"! What if I got locked up? I figured that I'd just go to prison and put in work. Sometimes I wonder why I was so naive as a teenager. I'm not much older now but life is so graphic that it got through to me when my family couldn't. And they never gave up on me but I was stubborn and now the everyday happenings of life slap me on the face and tell me, "What made you think that a thing like this couldn't happen to you?!"

Let me tell you more about my life and actions as a teenager. As everybody can see, everyday life is full of tragic deaths, deadly diseases and many other similar realities, but somehow death and diseases were not part of my reality. In my world, I was untouchable, even though I got beat up more than a couple of times. That was part of the world I lived in as was death, but for some reason beyond my understanding. I believed that I was not going to die so easily. I have to admit that I thought about my death. I thought about it and it didn't scare me. Maybe because on the back of my mind I was thinking that it was not going to happen to me. I thought that I didn't fear it.

The only fear that I knew at that time was the wrath of a mother. With time I lost that fear and knew worry. I was worried about breaking my mom's heart. That is why I stayed away from my house a couple of days a week because it was too painful to see the worried and hurt look on her face when I would eventually return home stoned. One day, I decided to stay away from home and live in an apartment where drugs were sold. But this is not a story about my life.

Fortunately the life I was living didn't kill me but two months after my sixteenth birthday I got busted. I chose this life and I knew that there were only three ways out of it: death, prison, or to live the crazy life and grow old and to be a revered veterano! But now I see four ways out of it: death, prison, become a veterano, or change your lifestyle and better yourself. I chose to live the crazy life and I'm now doing 26 to life.

The world I live in is way different than what I thought it was going to be. But I won't go into detail about prison life. If you choose, you can experience it for yourself. I might even get to meet you. As they say, "It's a small world"! And you can't begin to imagine how small it is.

So it's up to you. You know your choices. Let me point out that most veteranos only made it because they were locked up for years and a few other ones decided that the life they were living was not going to profit them anything so they changed. But are they considered veteranos? I ask you, "Who cares"?! That person is enjoying life and has a family. That individual person enjoys spending time with his kids and tries to bring them up the right way. All in all that person is enjoying life and I'm not! But I chose this route. What do you choose?!?!

Alex (Doing 26 to Life)

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PAINFUL THOUGHTS

I long to remember the mother I left behind.
It has been over 7 years since I broke her heart.
She has changed so much since the last time I saw her.
Her hair has turned gray and getting thinner on top.
There are worrisome wrinkles around her once beautiful eyes.
It seems like she has been crying for eternity.
Her smile only covers for the pain that I have cost.
She found no faults in me but faulted herself for my failures.
She carried my burdens with such grace and love.
Mama, please don’t go until I am there.

Mike D.
California

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vine

THE SUBTLETIES OF OUR LIVES

A man surrenders his freedom, willingly or by mistake.
He becomes a ward of the state.
His identity is taken.
His individuality destroyed.

He is given a number.
His whole life now depends on…
A brand to be remembered.
His beliefs, if any
Are shattered
Like cheap glass
Not withstanding the impact
Of a fist.

Now he must survive
In any way he can
Cliqued up with others like him
Or be devoured by the likes of him.

But what he doesn’t know
Is that he’s just a pawn
An insignificant fragment
Of a bigger act.

He never dares to question
Who he really is
Or what he really wants
Out of life…

He’s too busy living out
The patterned existence
Set up by those, who proclaim
To be his friends,
To have his back,
To the bitter end.

After all -
All he is now, is a faceless inmate
Full of hatred,
Full of blame
And contempt…
Contempt for those weaklings
Brave enough to show an emotion.

His days are filled
With high talk
And matters of sort…

This is what gives him meaning
A sense of belonging…
His wounds are still open sores
Reeking with desires
Of better tomorrows.

Late at night
When the noise has finally subsided
And his cellie is fast asleep,
He weeps oh so quietly,
Mourning the loss of his soul,
Unfulfilled dreams, and the loss of hope.

His tears are a silent acknowledgement
That another day has died
And the life he once dreamed as a boy
Is nowhere in sight.

He pictures the woman
Who could have been his wife.
The children he could have fathered, the jobs and things
He could be doing right now.

Instead, here he is, surrounded
By thousands like him
Thousands who die a little each day
When they choose to ignore
The reality and pain
Chewing at their heart…

Morning arrives
And everything is back to normal.
Last night was just a nightmare,
Nothing more, nothing less…

He walks to chow
To curse yet another tray.
This is expected of him
These are the subtleties
Of our lives -
No one is expected
To talk about.

G. Alvarado
California

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