I was young once

Now I am 44.

At a young age I walked through

The system’s revolving door…

I started out in a juvenile hall

Thought I was a cool cat

Trying to live a tough life style

Thinking I was all that…

I didn’t think about the future

Or about my father

Or the grief and pain

I caused my mother… 

I didn’t think about my family

Thought I was bad and cold

At the time I didn’t realize

I was playing a role…

By the time I woke up

It was too late

I ended up in a prison

A penalty from fate…

Now four decades later

My advice to you

Is there are severe consequences

For the wrong that you do…

You can play bad boy

And she can play bad girl

But think about all the freedom

And adventure in the world…

Think about the park

The animals in the zoo

How life in society

Is so much apart of you!

Everything you do

There’s a price to pay

Don’t let crime

Stand in your way…

I know you say, “yeah!

Who is this fool?

He’s trying to tell us

About being cool…”

I didn’t learn my lesson

I even ditched school

I was a 14/k

Hope to die fool!

No I didn’t want to hear it

I never shut my mouth

Nobody could tell me nothing

Or what life was all about…

Oh! I was ready to chunk’em

And didn’t know how to fight

I got beat down plenty of times

Before I saw the light…

When I did learn to fight

I got really good

Thought I could whip everybody

In the neighborhood…

Yes, I been there done that

In and out of juvenille hall

Things got to bad

I kept my back against the wall…

To make a long poem short

I made very bad decisions

Didn’t think about my freedom

I started doing time in prison…

Now I don’t have a family

They have all since died

But I could have been there for them

If I had opened my eyes…

So please young people

Don’t travel this path

It’s a life of misery

And constant wrath!

Artwork by a student at Pine Hills Correctional Center.

Artwork by a student at Pine Hills Correctional Center.