Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Rarely Comes Around" - Young Brother Novelists

When reacting to Brother Author Grigg's first chapter, John Galloway mentioned this type of writing "rarely comes around." What a compliment! Griggs took us on a neighborhood journey that began with a loud punch. Some mentioned the shock value and the surprise he invoked as he read from the Voice Chair.

We were also enthralled by the words of Brother Author Holmes. His writing continues to be powerful. Please post the first three chapters of your novels in this section.

My raw chapters are below:

Until next time,

Brother Author, Dr. T.

Khalil’s Letters

By

Alfred W. Tatum

I wanted to reach out and grab the bullet the moment I heard the bang. Too late. I am doomed, I thought. I heard the screams. I am now running scared. I tried to convince myself that a killer is not supposed to have feelings. We are supposed to hate, hate everything. Right now, I hate myself. Nobody wants to hear this. I am a killer. I killed someone else’s son, someone’s brother, and someone’s nephew. I killed somebody who looks like me. In a way, I killed myself twice.

I did not start off this way. I don’t know what happened to me. I am not writing this note for your sympathy. I think I deserve to die for what I did; I killed. I took a life. The only thing I can offer in return that is fair is my own life. The penalty for taking someone’s life is giving my own life. All of my fourteen years have come to this point - wasted. I am telling my story because I want you to understand me. I would rather be riding a bike or learning a new language, something foreign. I would like to see different parts of the world like Central America or China. I would like to have a Chinese friend. For some reason, I think Chinese kids are cool. They write with those funny symbols and eat with chopsticks. I wish I could hear music from a piano roll off my fingertips.

Please no pity.

Do not start feeling sorry for me.

Too late for that.

Just read the letters and try to understand me.


Chapter 1

Letter # 1 from Khalil Upchurch the 3rd

Science

April 13. 2007

Dear Reader,

i have two parents who love me. They always bought me new clothes and my favorite gym shoes, New Balance. Although everyone else loved Nikes, i loved New Balance. i had a pair on the day i pulled the trigger. Clean. i always keep them cleaned. i am afraid to think about the blood-soaked stain on the boy i shot. i always keep my stuff clean. I know you say that this is not the profile of a killer. And now someone became blood-soaked because of me. i saw the picture on the Internet the next day. He lay there slumped over in a pool of blood because of me. A lady was screaming in the background. The boy’s name is Justin, Justin Harris i found out he was younger than me, thirteen.

It is something about a young person being dead that is not right. A kid will be placed in a coffin because of me. As the car i was in drove away, i glanced back and saw his face slam into the concrete. He did not try to catch himself or turn away. His body simply titled forward and picked up speed as it dropped. My body jerked as if i felt the thump of the ground. Bam!

Just yesterday, i was in class looking at a periodic table of elements. i could tell you about all of the earth’s precious metals. AU is the symbol on the periodic table used for gold. It has an atomic number of 79. Most of my friends only know that water is called H2O, but they do not know that it is made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen giving it an atomic number of 3.

i started learning about the periodic table at a science camp held over the summer at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was only fifteen minutes away from the south side where i live – the same south side where i killed. i killed somebody over the atomic number 79, a funky gold chain. Gold and iron clashed. The symbol for iron is FE and it has a chemical property of 26. It is called a transition metal. Iron has a silver color, the color of the barrel of the gun.

My granddad, Khalil Upchurch, Sr., was born in 1953. He was a follower of the Black Panther Party that started in Oakland. He wanted to join the Chicago chapter of the Panthers when he was sixteen, but my great grandmother would not let him. She was afraid he would become angry like my great granddad who felt he was mistreated after returning from the army. My great granddad wanted to buy a house on the far south side of Chicago, but he was denied. He believed it was because he was Black. Chicago, under old man Richard Daley, who was the longstanding mayor at the time, was not quite ready for integrated neighborhoods. So, Daley allowed the Chicago Housing Projects with hi- rise buildings to be built. The housing projects were affordable housing with concrete walls that lifted people toward the heavens. The hi-rise buildings would become full of poverty and violence by the time I was born in 1993.

My daddy, Khalil Jr, who was born in 1973, became an activist in the neighborhood, teaching boys about baseball and history. He formed the Jackie Robinson youth league. Before every game, he told the boys, “We will win this game with our heart, but we will win in life with our heads.” Then he would say, “Let’s go get them, Malcolm or Let’s go get them Marcus, or Let’s go get them Huey, or Let’s go get them Jackie. He was referring to Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Huey Newton, and Jackie Robinson. He learned about these people by reading the books my granddad had around the house. Everybody would call my granddad if they needed an answer to a question. He was the Google man before Google came along.

My dad was an avid reader. He read all the time. He graduated from UCLA after earning a science scholarship. He always dreamed of going to California as a child and living off of California oranges. He met my mother there. She also earned a college degree in science. They loved science. They brought me a biography about Percy Julian for my tenth birthday. He was a well-renowned black chemist who won Chicagoan of the year in 1950. I could not believe when I read that Percy Julian received more than 2 million dollars for his work in the 1960s. I was convinced I wanted to become a scientist after reading that.

My dad put me in the science camp each summer. He always told me that the real revolution is in the test tube. He drilled in me that I needed to know about science because the world cannot get along without it. Dad told me that science is in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and in the medicine used to save lives. He told me that everything is made up of chemical properties, and that my future lies in one of those properties. The mural on my wall, my shower curtain, and the curtains in my room were all periodic tables. By ten, i knew all of the elements. I could spell them and pronounce them. Some of my favorite properties are:

Potassium (K) chemical property 19

Hydrogen (H) chemical property 1

Aluminum (AL) chemical property 13

Iodine (I) chemical property 53

Lovium (L)

If you noticed, the elements have symbols that spell my name. L is not a symbol found on the periodic table so I made one up – lovium. I think love should be on the periodic table so I called my new element lovium. i knew more about the periodic table than my seventh-grade science teacher. Now, i can only think about two elements, gold and silver. My parents were right. My future will be determined by elements from this table.

i know you may be wondering why i am writing with a small i. It is not a mistake. My dad always told me that i have to earn the right to write with a big I. He told me that there is power when a person earns the right to name himself. i am afraid that i will never be able to name myself. Others will name me. Murderer. Convict. Delinquent. Thug. Monster. None of these feel like they fit me. I am still my mother’s “baby boy.” That’s what she calls me.

i used to be called the science boy by the other students in my class because i won the school’s science fair every year since fourth grade. Last year, I won with a project on the human brain. My granddad started calling me brains after that. I could tell you about medulla oblongata. It’s located at the base of the brain and relays nerves signals from the brain to the spinal cord. My favorite part of the brain is the cerebrum. The right side of the cerebrum controls things such as imagination and 3-D forms. It is divide into two halves. The other side of the brain, the left side, controls numbering skills, posture, and reasoning. i am a left-side-of-the brain kid. i can not draw a picture if you paid me, but i can solve the most intricate puzzles.

My dad always talked about intricacies and labyrinths when he was in a tight fix. He would tell my mom that cooking was intricate because he did not want to do it. i like his chili though. He puts the largest tomatoes in what he calls his homemade-super-duper chili.

i wonder when i will be able to eat his chili again. i wonder if anyone will ever call me a teacher’s pet again. Murderer, convict, delinquent, thug, and monster do not seem to fit me. But, the law of physics tells us that for every action there is a reaction. That’s the left side of my brain working again. i am getting scared now.

I’ve heard stories about what happens to boys when they get locked up. The mistreatment. The light of youth is dimmed forever with no hope of being lit again. i know that sentence may sound too poetic to be written by a fifteen-year-old, but my dad always talked like that since i was young. He would often talk about the light of youth when we watched the news and a story about a young boy doing something he should not have been doing was talked about. He would tell me that it is not normal for young boys to be locked up.

i have an older cousin who is praised for doing time. He seems to have a special place reserved for him in the holiday conversations. Going to jail seems like being at the bottom of a slave ship again. Chained together. Angry. Unable to spread your wings. Having to wait for someone else to give you permission to look at the sunrise or breathe the outdoor air. Walking only seems like a privilege to those who have their footsteps controlled.

That bullet has choked my future and suffocated my dreams. How can i be so stupid to fall so low so fast? i know i am rambling, but i am scared. i can hear my uncle now, “Well you did the crime, do the time. Nothing you can do about it now.” He’s right, but I would like for him to show more concern than just saying, “Well you did the crime, do the time.”

i am worrying about what my uncle is saying when I should be worrying about the other boy’s uncle, his mother, and his father. i wonder what the funeral was like. i wonder what they dressed him in. His family probably did not dress him in a suit and a tie because he was too young. i wonder if he wore a gold chain. i wonder what other people said about him at the funeral. How did the pastor explain God taking a life so young? I’ve only been to one funeral in my life. I know the family rides in a limo and sits in the first row as people pass by to view the body. i wonder if his mother was crying or screaming? How can you describe the life of a thirteen-year-old in an obituary? I can only think of one way – Gone too soon. I can imagine a poem that someone may have written for Justin. I am using his name like I know him, but I do not.

Gone too Soon

Justin was a bright star that no longer shines

He made us laugh with his smile to be remembered for all times

He was our young prince with dreams to explore

We will miss you Justin forever more.

Chapter 2


Letter # 2 from Khalil Upchurch the 3rd

Different

April 14. 2007

Dear Reader,

My mother and father always wanted me to be different from those other boys. Every time they told me that I needed to be different I felt liked I was being choked by my own skin color. I really did not pay too much attention to what they were saying when I was younger. But, their words started to bother me when I started middle school. It seemed like they were trying to sever me from myself. How was learning science being different from those other boys? For me, it was one of the same. How was reading about the brain or the periodic table different from those other boys? I started hating feeling that I was somehow different because I was extremely smart. It seemed like they wanted me to be ashamed on being who I am and what I look like. They would not even allow me to wear braids in my hair because they did not understand why I wanted to look like all the other boys in school. They wanted me to be my own man. Dad always said, “we don’t need more stereotypes, we need prototypes.”

My teacher even made a comment about my being different. He said, “Khalil, you are different from a lot of the other boys in here. What did she mean by different? Did she mean that I was better because I earned better grades? Does God judge us by grades? She told me that I should be very careful with the company I keep.” I felt a sense of pride when I first heard his comments. Then, I thought about how young people are trained early in life to create divisions between themselves because of superficial notions of achievement. Why can’t an A student hang out with a D student? Why can’t a student who lives with both parents with college degrees hang with a student who lives with his grandmother because his parents are not working? It seems like my parents and teachers were promoting these distinctions in my mind. Be different, Khalil. Be different. Be different from what?

I wrote about being different last semester when Mr. Carusso, the language arts teacher, gave us a writing assignment. He told us to write a two-page defining-moment essay. He told us that a defining moment is an event, experience, or occurrence that stays with a person for the rest of his or her life. He told us that his defining moment occurred the night his mother died from an incurable disease when he was in the seventh grade. He was forced to become independent at an early age. There was no one to pick him up from band practice after school and no one for him to rush home to talk about the good or bad things that happened. His dad worked all the time, eventually becoming an alcoholic. Mr. Carusso told us he started hating the world and hating God. He even started hating himself. Then, he met Dr. Barnett, a language arts teacher, who was also a real writer. She just didn’t talk about nouns and pronouns in school and gave kids assignments, she actually wrote. She had three novels and a book of poetry published. Mr. Carusso told us how she encouraged kids to use words to become the architects of their own existence. He began to write his way out of the feelings of hate he was having. He told us he did this all the way through college. He told us that it is because of Dr. B. that he became a language arts teacher.

I did not have a true defining moment at the time of the assignment, but I do now. I am now one of those other boys that my father was trying to keep me away from. I am now one of those other boys that my teacher was talking about when he told me to be careful about the company I keep. I am one of those other boys because I decided to become one of them because everyone told me to be different. I pulled the trigger, but society is the real murderer.

Here is your real defining-moment essay, Dr. B:

My defining moment was being born in a society that judges young people who are just trying to find out who they are. This society separates us by race - our black students, our white students, the Latinos and the Asians. This society separates us by gender - boys line, girls line. It places us in different classrooms. You go to honors so you can become great. You go to special ed. so that I can give you permission to fail without anyone bothering me about it. I was born in a society that tried to make me feel different because my parents are smart and I am smart when I just wanted to be. I stopped it all with one shot. I know this is not much of an essay, but the story is still being written and this time I am the architect. Damn you society. Damn you.



Chapter 3


Letter # 3 from Khalil Upchurch the 3rd

H20

March 10. 2008

I feel deeply depressed for the first time in my life. There are screams and noises in my head that I cannot shut off. Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20.

I grabbed the pillow and squeezed it against my head as tightly as possible. Yet, my mind ached and ached and ached with a thick darkness. I felt washed away with the waters of misguided fortune. I am becoming unglued, disconnected. My hands are shaking uncontrollably. My nerves are rushing and rushing and rushing. Man, what have I done to myself? Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20. I have become a predator. We talked about predators and prey in my fifth-grade science terms. The predator was strong and always on the hunt for a meal. The prey was the weak one. I feel like both the predator and the prey. I preyed upon an innocent boy, but I also preyed upon myself. The predator relished in his victory. There is no victory for me. Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20. Drink water when you are thirsty. Drink several cups a day. Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20. Two hydrogens and one oxygen make up water. One oxygen is not enough to breathe. I cannot breathe. Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20.

I read today that five American soldiers were killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber. What does the suicide bomber know that the rest of us do not know? Was he on some type of spiritual mission to end the war? Or, was he some time of lunatic full of hatred? I know that I was not on any spiritual mission when I pulled the trigger. I am now drowning in remorse.

Dear God, please find it in your heart to forgive me.

Am I a lunatic? Water. Water. The chemical symbol for water is H20.




Anonymous Jonathan Holmes said...

My rules accordingly
The start
Born, live, die, that’s the process or what they claim. The way I see it is born lots of fun in between and then you die, if you can help it. I was labeled the devil seed I just think I’m having fun. Most people go the life looking for love or salvation or thinking fate is the deciding factor I beg to differ. You don’t believe me I’ll show you that it’s not only true, but that your one of them.


Born
I was born under the rule of President Reagan, in the hood bumping 2pac and the Wutang Clan. I was dragged to church by my grandma and went to sleep most of the time. I never really learned anything other than every religion was against each other, and that the whole world was in war. Church opened my eyes to the arena known as fakers. The deacon outside smoking, the choir director was gay, and the pastor was cheating on his wife with Ms. Jenkins, an usher who always leaves her top button undone. People shouted all over the place but always ended up at the club that night. My grandma seemed to be the only real Christian in that church to me. I never found myself actually believing God I knew he existed but I didn’t think he would acknowledge me.
I saw many things as a youngin’ death was everywhere like ants a picnic, it stayed around. Most of my friends were drug dealers and though I was like five I did a lil running myself for a quick buck, smoked a joint like twice. I got caught once my grandma said, “D-rod you’ll never make it if you keep this up.” My real name was Darnell Roderick but everyone called me D-rod for short, that’s what my dad called me before he got stationed in South Korea. He was in the navy, he always believed in the American dreams. He was there for the first three years of my life then one night he tucked me in and was gone the next morning. He trusted in this country more than he did his own mother surprisingly I’m living with her.
I know my mom she lives several blocks down around the corner from the crack house. She’s very skinny; light skinned, and was always high. Usually, there was dried blood under her nose, most likely from the dealer smacking her. Truthfully I don’t believe my father is my father from what I heard my moms gave her self up for drugs many times before. I did kind of look like him though.
I hung out with one usual crew more than the others, my boys Roc and Mace. They were true ride or die guys. When I was real little around two, I remember my dad standing outside sharing a beer with Mace’s dad and Roc’s uncle talking bout the old days and real music. Al Green, The Isley Brothers, Lennie Williams, Lady T, James Brown, and George Clinton now known as the president of funk were their favorites. Roc, Mace, and I stayed in the house pretending to be the power rangers or the super friends. I was usually Aquaman because I wanted to be in the navy like my Dad. Happiness was supposedly there but I see things differently now.

********************
Six years old
The fun begins I just stole from the corner store about four blocks from my house, we were running down the alley down the block from Roc’s house. “Snatch n run,” Mace yelled as we quickly grabbed a few things. Roc had grabbed a few bags of “Flamings Hots” and some “Now Laters”, the blue ones. I stole some gum and two fifty cent juices. Mace racked up. He had a two liter Sprite, four ninety-nine cent bags of hot fries, and a honey bun all stuffed in his black book bag. Mace wasn’t fat, in fact he was real skinny and didn’t eat much. Don’t know why he took so much.
“Oh come on D-rod that’s all you could get?” said Mace.
“Everyone don’t got no book bag like you,” I replied.
“Yea whatever I got sticky fingers,” teased Mace. “What u get Roc?” Mace asked.
“I got some,” said Roc.
“Wow.”
Mace and I were surprised, Roc was the chubby type, but because he was always playing football he was able to keep up.
“Really thought you would get more,” Mace and I joked.
“Man forget ya’ll, got more than you Rod,” Roc fired back.
We all laughed. My mom staggered towards toward us about three garages away.
“Hay Smooch,” My mom said with her eyes blood shot and low.
“Hi mom,” I replied annoyingly. I hated that name Smooch not only was it embarrassing in front of the guys, but when she called me that she usually wanted something when she called me Smooch. Like usual she did.
“Got a few dollars baby?”
“Na ma spent it all at the store.”
“Don’t be lying to me to boy,” her voice got louder, and she grabbed my arm.
“I don’t ma,” I snatched my arm back.
“Ok,” she replied her voice lowered.
“How bout you two,” she looked at Roc and Mace. They were both snickering about my nickname, Smooch.
“No ma’am,” Roc answered nudging Mace to pull him together.
“Na,” Mace answered
“Ok,” she said squinting at them suspiciously. “Bye baby boy I’ll see you around, gimme a kiss.”
I didn’t want to kiss her, not in front of the guys, plus didn’t know where her lips had been, other than crack pipe who she probably shared with someone else. I couldn’t refuse my mom though. Muah, I gave her a kiss on the cheek and tried to make it quick so the guys wouldn’t notice. It was no secret everyone knew my mom was an addict. She lived in this neighborhood her life, like my father. My father was always the influential type and my mom was the head cheerleader prom queen type girl. She always wanted to dance on Soul train known as one of them seductive fast girls. All these things seem to substantial roads to where she is now. Can’t say I love her or appreciate her. She’s just a woman who gave birth never bought me anything not even a happy meal.
We were walking to the block now. Mace and I stayed two houses down from each other Roc stayed around the corner.
“Man, I ain’t trying to go to school tomorrow,” Mace cries.
“Yea man that’s real,” I reply. Roc shook his head in agreement. Truthfully I kind of like school. STOP. BRAKE, that’s example number one liking school but saying I don’t like it sounds like living by someone else rules. You ever done that before I’m sure you have?

July 23, 2008 1:12 PM
Delete
Anonymous SLAYTON G. said...

NON TITLED


















By Slayton Goodman
July 22, 2008






CHAPTER ONE : INTRODUCING DRUGS
“Come on, do it. Everyone else is.”
“I don’t want to.”
“ Man I thought you was cool.”
“I am cool.”
“Then come blow with us.”

This is the conversation I had with my friend Charles, 22years ago. Sadly Charles dropped out of school at the age of 17. I haven’t seen Charles in twenty two years when I was 16 years old. He was 1 ½ years older than me but he failed both third and sixth grade; not because he was dumb but because he got suspended from school to many times.
I still blame myself. That day was pretty ironic usually the older one is the bad or good influence; in that case it was bad.
I remember when I was introduced to marijuana or weed as it is usually called in the streets. It was about 23 years ago in my freshman year. A group of boys I used to hang out with were in the bathroom, when I walked in they immediately asked me to take a puff. As much bad things as I was told about drugs my reply was “No. I don’t do drugs.” But then they said “Weed is not a drug, drugs have to be cooked so if weed is a drug so is cigarettes; weed is only illegal because the government has not found a way to make money of it; if they could tax you for it then weed wouldn’t be illegal.” - I am not a hundred percent sure about that but I still believe that to this very day.- I said “You make a very good point”
And that’s when I grabbed it and tried it for the first time.
That’s when my life went all down hill. I admit I was addicted to marijuana. I was hungry all the time, I got lazier and lazier, I forgot a lot of things, and worst off my grades went from b’s and c’s to d’s and f’s and sometimes I would get lucky with a c or two. I didn’t know at the time but my life was about to change and it gets worse before it get better.


CHAPTER TWO:TROUBLE A BREWING
“Why aren’t you doing homework?”
“I finished all my work mom.”
“Well that was pretty fast. Did you double check your work?”
“I triple checked.”

Other than lying to my mom, my life started slipping. I was told that I could make big money selling “weed”; and I took the offer because I started running out of weed money.
The biggest drug dealer on my block was a man named Jamal Douglas, but every body on the block called him J.D. After finding out about how I can make money, I had to learn from J.D.
“First rule is to bring me the money and that’s when I give you your cut.” That’s what he told me then he handed me a gun to fend my self from robbers. He gave me a bag and said “Welcome to the family, if you snitch you die, if cops ask you know nothing.” The bag contained a bunch of “dimes and nick’s”. dimes is slang for a 10$ bag and nick is slang for 5$ bags. Since it was my first time he assigned one of his “vets” to look after me make sure I did it right. Unlike some drug lords, J.D. found that working in groups made it more safe than leaving a teen alone on the corner with over 100$ worth of drugs. But the police are more likely to suspect a group of thug looking African American males in a rough area standing on the corner than one thug looking kid in a rough area.
It was a cold winter day, about 6:00 p.m. A couple of cars pulled up and two or three boys would walk up to the car, then return within the next minute with a little more money in their pockets and less drugs to sell.
Then it was my turn to go up to the car and make a sell. The boy that J.D. told to look after me said “Come on lets take this one.” I slowly walked towards the dark green 1964 Cadillac with tented windows. The other two boys ran up there to the window and said “What you lookin’ fo’.” The man in the car replied “I’m looken fo’ some blow.” One of the two boys said “ Awwh this my uncle, what up man a I can get you 4 fa’ da’ 5.” His uncle said I’ll take that, and watch out seen some “dics” (detectives) around here.”
I was already paranoid tell me there was dics around made it that much worse. But after a couple more repeats of that, I started to get more comfortable with the process. I run up to a dark blue Ford this time they said “A man you do the talken’ so that you can get mo’ used to it.”
I ran up to the car and said “W-w-what you looken’ fo.’”
He said “You sellin?” “Yeah.” He grabbed me and said “Get’em”
Two more guys hopped out and chassed the other six people that were on the corner.

July 23, 2008 1:15 PM
Delete
Anonymous Kendrick M. Washington said...

Ask the Lonely Bird...

Present Day:
November 22nd, 2005
8:14:23 a.m.

It’s funny how good people always turn bad the moment that things fall apart. I wonder how it feels to have no friends. I wonder how it feels to be left out.
Keith.
Keith Urban.
That was his name.
Though that name should sound frightening, it’s not. It’s just some name, of some guy we thought that was weak. Turns out, Keith has a way with his hands, in a bad way.
While we all were laughing and joking at him, we were too busy not noticing all the tricks he had up his sleeve. No one was nice to him. It was only certain occasions that I was nice, but around the Seniors, I was cruel as they were.
We laughed at his ridiculously hideous glasses. We laughed at his 1960’s wardrobe, clothes old, pants not touching the ground. That was a big deal to the Seniors. They hated people looking ugly. So many times they tried to boost up his wardrobe, but all he did was say, “No thank you. I like the way that I am.”
That really made the Seniors mad. Once they got the urgency that Keith rejected them, they started this really big rumor about Keith, one that wouldn’t erase the history of all students memory. The rumor was that Keith was on welfare.
This really pissed Keith off. The Seniors were playing a game only they were playing. And when Keith asked them to tell everyone that the rumor was false, they simply laughed in his face.
And that was how the rivalry between the Seniors and Keith started.
Keith was a Junior, just like I was.
Juniors weren’t allowed to interact with Seniors, unless given permission. They claim that we are not up to their “standards”.
But somehow, I ended up being friends with most of the Seniors.
Anyways, Keith and the Seniors wouldn’t cross paths.
Keith ignored them.
The Seniors tried their best to ignore him.
But somehow on Homecoming Day, Keith and the Seniors crossed paths. And, to make this story short, it wasn’t nice.
Usually, Juniors wasn’t allowed to go to Homecoming without an invitation. I somehow got an invitation, and when Keith asked for one, they laughed at him. Yet again.
I kind of felt sorry for Keith. But I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. I had already earned my rep; I didn’t want to risk it over defending some kid that I usually taunted.
I quickly snuck a guilty look at Keith.
Looking at Keith is like looking at the ocean. So bland, so distorted. So, unwelcoming. You look at Keith, and you see a face full of angry pink zits, and you just want to escape. I wonder, is that what we all will look like in a couple of years?
Will we be overrun by a new generation that will be laughing at us?
Anyways, Keith didn’t like that everyone was getting invited (including new Freshmen, and Sophomores).
Keith was going to plan something against Brad, something that I knew of but wasn’t really going attention.
I knew that it would happen someday….
Just know that they happy Homecoming Dance ended up in mystery and thick red stuff that isn’t punch. And I didn’t stop it.
I’m not a good friend.


Homecoming Morning
January 21st, 2005
9:43:23 a.m.

Let’s go back. Let’s erase all the words, all the details, and the word Keith. Let’s go back to homecoming day.
Balloons surround Heavenly Meadows College Preparatory High School. Our school colors are red and gold, like Harry Potter’s, but his house colors are more maroon and gold.
As soon as you walk up the old, dusty stairs, you are being greeted by some overzealous Seniors. As they chant, “Happy homecoming to you”, or, “Today is one of the big days of our year”, I nod tremendously, knowing that the words I dare want to say is, “I hate you for being older than me.”
I can kind of understand why the Seniors are overwhelmed about Homecoming. I mean, after all, this is their last year at Heavenly Meadows.
I notice two of my friends. They are Seniors.
Malorie MithChell, and Brad Dunthorne walk up to me, and we usually do this long handshake. Something only Seniors, and certain Juniors know of.
That’s the thing about Heavenly Meadows. Our school is broken up of social groups. So if you don’t get in where you fit in, there’s no need in showing your face:
1. Cool Seniors
2. Seniors
3. Cool Juniors
4. Juniors
5. Jocks
6. Average Juniors
7. Cool Sophomores
8. Sophomores
9. Cool Freshmen
10. Teeny-Bopper Freshmen
11. Nerds
12. Losers
13. Anti-Social Crowd
14. Nobody’s

I’m visioning that I fit in the Cool Juniors/Juniors group.
I’m cool with most of the Seniors, and friends with most of the Juniors.
Everyone in the school is cool with someone….
Everyone except Keith….

July 23, 2008 1:15 PM
Delete
Anonymous john f. said...

Chapter 1

Stolen life


Bang! Bang! Bang! , We started running faster towards my cousin Kel’s house, they chased after
us, He fell when we were running, and the guys who were chasing us were running fast as they could towards kel, I went back to get him but it was to late they caught him, the started punching, kicking, and spitting on him, I started running so fast that it felt like the breath from my body was being snatched away, Bang! It was too late I couldn’t get there in time
They ran before I got there I went chasing after them furious but they hit the corner, and they were gone. I went back try to see if he was ok, but he didn’t answer when I called his name, I felt his chest to see if his heart was beating, but it made not one thump.
Scared I didn’t no what to do, I knew Kel had a cell phone in his pocket, I went to get it, it was covered with blood, I wiped it off with my shirt, in called uncle June, he answered I told him what happen… no….! And I heard the phone drop to the floor.





5 days before…

Today was Friday and on Fridays me in my boys go to a pizza place after school called Nino’s , we go there because … well… cause’… we just like pizza, I always order a large cause I like to take some home wit me. We all go home but not me, today was the day I go to my uncle and them house, when I got there me in my cousin went straight outside side my cousin was 15 and I was 13, but he acted like I was his age, and he always hated on me because I was light skinned and he was dark, I didn’t know why cause’ all the girls in the neighborhood loved him. We to the corner store on 87 St. to get some chips with cheese and some pop, when we got it we saw these dudes my cousin made fun of at school walk in, they didn’t like my cousin and they all were in a gang called Geedee’s, I thought my cousin was stupid messing with them anyway, but he went on talking bout them “boy u look like a fat nigga name Bob”, I laughed then he kept going he didn’t care cause he was taller than all of them, he was 6’2 and they were all 5’3, 5’6. when we left I heard one dude say “ I got his ass”. When we was down the street this girl walk up to me in was like “u fine” my cousin push me towards her and told me to Mack her down so I started walking with her and she asked me my name and I said “martell”, with a deep voice I knew I didn’t have, so she laughed and asked me do u really talk like that and I said “naw” and then I asked her her name she said “truth” I said that’s a nice name, hours went by and we were still talking, and then she asked me the question I hate the most “did u ever have I girlfriend” I stood there in silence waiting for another question, then she asked me “can I be your girlfriend” and I was about to say yes but it came out as “I don’t know” and then her mom called her in the house, I said same time to tomorrow and said “sure”. I felt so stupid walking towards my cousin kel who had been playing basketball at the play ground when I was talking to truth, but then it was 9:40 “so how did it go lil man” he said, I told him “it went alright” I didn’t want to tell him that I made I complete fool of myself, but we kept walking and when we was walking des dudes started talking bout, “a lil dude come back here I got something for you” and they all started laughing. Me I didn’t pay no mine but here goes my big mouth cousin kel’s house “shut up” then I said stopping him from walking “is you trying you get us killed” he was like “they ain’t gone do nuttin.” And then all a sudden they started chasing us, we started running to the house as fast as we could jumping over garbage cans flipping them over so they could trip over them, but they kept on charging towards us then all we heard was….
Bang! Bang! Bang! , we started running faster towards my cousin kel’s house, they chased after
Us, He fell when we were running, and the guys who were chasing us were running fast as the could towards kel, i went back to get him but it was to late they caught him, the started punching, kicking, and spitting on him, I started running so fast that it felt like the breath from my body was snatch away, bang!!! It was too late I couldn’t get there in time
They ran before I got there I went chasing after them furious but they hit the corner, and they were gone. I went back try to see if he was ok, but he didn’t answer when I called his name, I felt his chest to see if his heart was beating, but it made not one thump.
Scared I didn’t no what to do, I knew kel had a cell phone in his pocket, I went to get it, it was covered with blood, I wiped it off with my shirt, in called uncle June, he answered I told him what happen… no! And I heard the phone drop to the floor.

July 23, 2008 1:19 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anthony G. said...

In The Middle
Written by Anthony Griggs



AHEAD, behind, Or In the Middle?
In front of the loser and behind the winner, what position are you in?
Its called in the middle. Doing well but not well enough, you have a feeling that there is more and you want it and there is less and you don’t want to get close. Once in a whole, this Pangaea like neighborhood was once a leveled plain field. Separating into two then three parts there was much loss but even more to gain. Most dwell on the clam before the storm we enjoy the clam after…




Narrator-










CHAPTER ONE





NOISE…. BUMP, BUMP, BUMP!
They were at the block party. Foot working, jukin and everything else .Every one was just having a good time. Nobody fighting, cursing, acting a fool. It was quite amazing how every one gathered in the middle of the complex, turned on the radio started up the grills and got busy. The smell of burnt hamburger patties blew through out the small set of buildings. Lawn chairs and tents stood empty as everyone was up dancing, or trying to tell Mr. Wilkins how to cook hamburger patties.
As night approached some people from the village came over with some firecrackers. We thought it was cool. They came and ate and every body was just chilling. All of a sudden police sirens start coming from down the street. People broke out running grabbing their lawn chairs, tents, basketballs, footballs and Mr. Wilkins trying to wheel a 3-foot 50 pound barbecue up three flights of stairs. Every body had a crime under their belt. Mrs. Dean from 411 stole some earrings from K-mart, Tate from 315 was in to dog fighting and Little James from 510 beat up a boy and took his tricycle and Mr. Wilkins had over $300 in unpaid parking tickets on his 1998 ford Taurus. Everyone had secrets so when the police or five-O came people were out.
Julian and his friends Lester and Caleb ran from the police like it was a game. They had a plan. They would split up run through the park, on to the basket ball court with no nets and all meet up on the second floor of 410 the building where no one lived yet. When they met up they decided to hang out in the park till curfew as the were walking two large men suited in blue stepped up to them.
“Where you to headed? It’s getting kind of late for some boys like you to be roaming around here causing trouble”
“Man we anit doing nothing” Julian replied
Lester jumped in, “Yeah why you cops always assume black kids out after 8:30 at night is causing trouble. You know when you assume you make an as….”
“Wait; wait before you get us arrested”, Caleb shouted “Officer we weren’t causing any trouble we were just going to the park to meet a couple of friends”
“Yeah, Yeah whatever” the second officer offensively stated “I want you guys in the house in less than an hour if you know what’s good for you, We’ve been getting some complaints down at the station that some kids been around here making a bunch of noise an lets just say you fit the description so in an hour want you guys in the house”
The guys didn’t even bother to stay out any longer they shook up the New Brook Way then they went home.
Walking in the house Julian took off his shoes said hi to his mother and brothers and went off to his room. Opening his window to feel the late summer breeze he knew it was someone from the right and to, to white side that got mad about the block party. The Village was bad but not… ok the village was bad every thing about it was bad. The look the smell it was just a bad place to live. Killings, drugs and violence it was just horrible .Despite the reputation that the village or “The Ville” had any problems they had they stuck it out together. Like when Tank jr. got shot. You might not believe me but every thug and gangster from The Ville got strapped and went out
Looking for Tank jr.’s murderer .Tank jr. was the son of Tank one of the biggest drug dealers in the city. Before the “Ville” was known as the “James Wheeler Apartment Homes” that ran along East Jackson St. It got the name “Village” Because in the 1990s people began to murder like animals; hunter and it’s prey .As time got on things never got much better so the name kind of stuck. On the right side of the New Brook homes it was The Morgan Blvd. Condos. They were newly built and were the talk of the town. Who decided to take on this reconstruction process? People saw how their neighborhood was changing before their eyes. The Leasing office had promo signs all over the city and they read ….

Morgan Blvd. Condos


CONDOS STARTING FROM THE MID – 300s
TOWNHOMES STARTING FROM THE LOW- 400s





………….............YOUR NEW LIFE WAITS……………………




On the sign it was two white couples walking a white dog in a remodeled black neighborhood. . On one side thousand-dollar condos and town homes and on another side the worst place to possibly to live in Chicago, Julian finally realizes, of all his time living in Chicago he is in the middle.

CHAPTER TWO


The New Brook way was a common hand shake used by younger male tenants of the New Brook Ave. Apartment homes. This hand shake was used to identify people who lived in the complex and people who didn’t. If you were an outsider and you tried to act down, you would be busted. The complex consisted of 30 three-story buildings. 300-312, 400-412 and 500-506. Julian grew up here just as well as many others. Julian was 14 going on 15 with a bad attitude. He was smart but in school he never really applied himself. That’s always how the story goes but with Julian it was different for some reason.

July 23, 2008 1:27 PM
Delete
Anonymous Jonathan Holmes said...

My rules accordingly
The start
Born, live, die, that’s the process or what they claim. The way I see it is born, lots of fun in between, and then you die, if you can help it. I was labeled the devil seed I just think I’m having fun. Most people go through life looking for love, or salvation, maybe thinking fate is the deciding factor, and I beg to differ. You don’t believe me I’ll show you that it’s not only true, but that your one of them.


Born
I was born under the rule of President Reagan, in the hood bumping 2pac and the Wutang Clan. I was dragged to church by my grandma and went to sleep most of the time. I never really learned anything other than every religion was against each other, and that the whole world was in war. Church opened my eyes to the arena known as fakers. The deacon outside smoking, the choir director was gay, and the pastor was cheating on his wife with Ms. Jenkins, an usher who always leaves her top button undone. People shouted all over the place but always ended up at the club that night. My grandma seemed to be the only real Christian in that church to me. I never found myself actually believing God I knew he existed but I didn’t think he would acknowledge me.
I saw many things as a youngin’ death was everywhere like ants a picnic, it stayed around. Most of my friends were drug dealers and though I was like five I did a lil running myself for a quick buck, smoked a joint like twice. I got caught once my grandma said, “D-rod you’ll never make it if you keep this up.” My real name was Darnell Roderick but everyone called me D-rod for short, that’s what my dad called me before he got stationed in South Korea. He was in the navy, he always believed in the American dreams. He was there for the first three years of my life then one night he tucked me in and was gone the next morning. He trusted in this country more than he did his own mother surprisingly I’m living with her.
I know my mom she lives several blocks down around the corner from the crack house. She’s very skinny; light skinned, and was always high. Usually, there was dried blood under her nose, most likely from the dealer smacking her. Truthfully I don’t believe my father is my father from what I heard my moms gave her self up for drugs many times before. I did kind of look like him though.
I hung out with one usual crew more than the others, my boys Roc and Mace. They were true ride or die guys. When I was real little around two, I remember my dad standing outside sharing a beer with Mace’s dad and Roc’s uncle talking bout the old days and real music. Al Green, The Isley Brothers, Lennie Williams, Lady T, James Brown, and George Clinton now known as the president of funk were their favorites. Roc, Mace, and I stayed in the house pretending to be the power rangers or the super friends. I was usually Aquaman because I wanted to be in the navy like my Dad. Happiness was supposedly there but I see things differently now.



Six years old
The fun begins I just stole from the corner store about four blocks from my house, we were running down the alley down the block from Roc’s house. “Snatch n run,” Mace yelled as we quickly grabbed a few things. Roc had grabbed a few bags of “Flamings Hots” and some “Now Laters”, the blue ones. I stole some gum and two fifty cent juices. Mace racked up. He had a two liter Sprite, four ninety-nine cent bags of hot fries, and a honey bun all stuffed in his black book bag. Mace wasn’t fat, in fact he was real skinny and didn’t eat much. Don’t know why he took so much.
“Oh come on D-rod that’s all you could get?” said Mace.
“Everyone don’t got no book bag like you,” I replied.
“Yea whatever I got sticky fingers,” teased Mace. “What u get Roc?” Mace asked.
“I got some,” said Roc.
“Wow.”
Mace and I were surprised, Roc was the chubby type, but because he was always playing football he was able to keep up.
“Really thought you would get more,” Mace and I joked.
“Man forget ya’ll, got more than you Rod,” Roc fired back.
We all laughed. My mom staggered towards toward us about three garages away.
“Hay Smooch,” My mom said with her eyes blood shot and low.
“Hi mom,” I replied annoyingly. I hated that name Smooch not only was it embarrassing in front of the guys, but when she called me that she usually wanted something when she called me Smooch. Like usual she did.
“Got a few dollars baby?”
“Na ma spent it all at the store.”
“Don’t be lying to me to boy,” her voice got louder, and she grabbed my arm.
“I don’t ma,” I snatched my arm back.
“Ok,” she replied her voice lowered.
“How bout you two,” she looked at Roc and Mace. They were both snickering about my nickname, Smooch.
“No ma’am,” Roc answered nudging Mace to pull him together.
“Na,” Mace answered
“Ok,” she said squinting at them suspiciously. “Bye baby boy I’ll see you around, gimme a kiss.”
I didn’t want to kiss her, not in front of the guys, plus didn’t know where her lips had been, other than crack pipe who she probably shared with someone else. I couldn’t refuse my mom though. Muah, I gave her a kiss on the cheek and tried to make it quick so the guys wouldn’t notice. It was no secret everyone knew my mom was an addict. She lived in this neighborhood her life, like my father. My father was always the influential type and my mom was the head cheerleader prom queen type girl. She always wanted to dance on Soul train known as one of them seductive fast girls. All these things seem to substantial roads to where she is now. Can’t say I love her or appreciate her. She’s just a woman who gave birth never bought me anything not even a happy meal.
We were walking to the block now. Mace and I stayed two houses down from each other Roc stayed around the corner.
“Man, I ain’t trying to go to school tomorrow,” Mace cries.
“Yea man that’s real,” I reply. Roc shook his head in agreement. Truthfully I kind of like school. (STOP, BRAKE, that’s example number one liking school but saying I don’t like it sounds like living by someone else rules. You ever done that before I’m sure you have? It’s cool you’ll see the changes later, PLAY.)
Mace continues, “School be so boring but you know what tomorrow I’m gone fight Tony. He think I’m scared of him when we get to recess I’m gone square em’ off.”
“Yea I got yo back,” Roc jumped in cutting Mace off. I shook my head. I knew how to fight cause my dad taught me but I hated getting whoopings from my grandma. She had a huge leather belt she called “Mr. Ice-cream” I hated that belt if I wasn’t so scared I would take and hide it or set it on fire, but I did have Mace’s back though.
We made it to Mace’s house and Roc said he was gone go on home so we shook and broke. I continued on home, just thinking about how to go about helping Mace tomorrow another day of first grade at Richard Wright Elementary.

Chapter Three
Richard Wright Elementary

The next morning I walked out the door to Mace house the regular fashion; I get Mace and then we get Roc. After picking up Roc who like usual wasn’t ready running outside with a sausage and cheese sandwich, Mace began planning out recess.

July 24, 2008 12:32 PM
Delete
Anonymous John Galloway said...

THE JOURNEY OF A SUCCESSFUL BLACK MAN
BY JOHN GALLOWAY




JAMAL JACKSON
LIFE STORY
MAY 19TH 1990
I always find myself drifting off into space thinking of my mom and dad they never got along much they he used to always beat her and she would always cry and hug me for a long time, I never knew why until now I guess I didn’t understand because I was to young. She must have gotten tired because soon me and my mom ran away we never saw him again and she liked it that way we always talked about stuff and we have very fond memories she always talked about a perfect life we were going to have. The place we moved wasn’t even close to the good life it was much, much worse.

It was 1990.Me and my friends where all outside haggin out and talking when this kid walked up he said his name was ant he asked us about what crew were we in gangster disciple or vice lord we didn’t know what he ment because I just moved there but I knew that their were gangs but I didn’t know what kind we said no the little boy said you gotta chose a side or you get scraped we don’t take neutrons round here. He walked of and kept looking at us. Man! Dat punk nigga aint gon do nothing said Darrell he was a tuff kid wanna be because he had lots of cousins to fight his battles for him all the time .we hung with another kid named man main he was always joking about stuff. we all went to the store and got candy that night when came out a car pulled up and to boys got out and grabbed Darrel and started to punch him we tried to help him but one of the boys pulled a gun on us and shot at us we ran we felt bad for leaving him but we had no choice. Latter that night we got a call from a police officer to come to the station. What’s going on Jamal my mom said she took the phone.(hello?yes.yes ok.ok.bie bye)


Ronnie cater was his name the boy who shot Darrel he was a raggedy old dirty kid from the bad side of the chi. Darrel was in critical condition from a bullet wound to the chest he lost a lot of blood .they kept talking to us and asking questions and kept flashing lights in my and trying to intimidate me face. My mom told me to never tell them anything because they always lie about what really happened they got mad at me because I just sat there and sweated so they just sent me out of the room and slammed the door when I sat outside all I hear is yelling .BLA! BLA! BLA! BLA! I couldn’t tell what they were saying and I didn’t really care I was just scared not just of the cops but of everything
That day and what could happen tomorrow.
Ronnie didn’t stop looking at me with such aggression for the whole time we were there
You could tell he wanted to do something. The cop let us all go home that night. When we got home my mom asked me about what really happened I told her she lectured me on doing the right thing she told me that Darrell was o.k. and that he may never walk again. She said that it was no reason to want revenge .when I fell asleep i didn’t stop thinking about what to do to get payback and somehow

July 24, 2008 12:46 PM
Delete


7 comments:

Jonathan Holmes said...

My rules accordingly
The start
Born, live, die, that’s the process or what they claim. The way I see it is born lots of fun in between and then you die, if you can help it. I was labeled the devil seed I just think I’m having fun. Most people go the life looking for love or salvation or thinking fate is the deciding factor I beg to differ. You don’t believe me I’ll show you that it’s not only true, but that your one of them.


Born
I was born under the rule of President Reagan, in the hood bumping 2pac and the Wutang Clan. I was dragged to church by my grandma and went to sleep most of the time. I never really learned anything other than every religion was against each other, and that the whole world was in war. Church opened my eyes to the arena known as fakers. The deacon outside smoking, the choir director was gay, and the pastor was cheating on his wife with Ms. Jenkins, an usher who always leaves her top button undone. People shouted all over the place but always ended up at the club that night. My grandma seemed to be the only real Christian in that church to me. I never found myself actually believing God I knew he existed but I didn’t think he would acknowledge me.
I saw many things as a youngin’ death was everywhere like ants a picnic, it stayed around. Most of my friends were drug dealers and though I was like five I did a lil running myself for a quick buck, smoked a joint like twice. I got caught once my grandma said, “D-rod you’ll never make it if you keep this up.” My real name was Darnell Roderick but everyone called me D-rod for short, that’s what my dad called me before he got stationed in South Korea. He was in the navy, he always believed in the American dreams. He was there for the first three years of my life then one night he tucked me in and was gone the next morning. He trusted in this country more than he did his own mother surprisingly I’m living with her.
I know my mom she lives several blocks down around the corner from the crack house. She’s very skinny; light skinned, and was always high. Usually, there was dried blood under her nose, most likely from the dealer smacking her. Truthfully I don’t believe my father is my father from what I heard my moms gave her self up for drugs many times before. I did kind of look like him though.
I hung out with one usual crew more than the others, my boys Roc and Mace. They were true ride or die guys. When I was real little around two, I remember my dad standing outside sharing a beer with Mace’s dad and Roc’s uncle talking bout the old days and real music. Al Green, The Isley Brothers, Lennie Williams, Lady T, James Brown, and George Clinton now known as the president of funk were their favorites. Roc, Mace, and I stayed in the house pretending to be the power rangers or the super friends. I was usually Aquaman because I wanted to be in the navy like my Dad. Happiness was supposedly there but I see things differently now.

********************
Six years old
The fun begins I just stole from the corner store about four blocks from my house, we were running down the alley down the block from Roc’s house. “Snatch n run,” Mace yelled as we quickly grabbed a few things. Roc had grabbed a few bags of “Flamings Hots” and some “Now Laters”, the blue ones. I stole some gum and two fifty cent juices. Mace racked up. He had a two liter Sprite, four ninety-nine cent bags of hot fries, and a honey bun all stuffed in his black book bag. Mace wasn’t fat, in fact he was real skinny and didn’t eat much. Don’t know why he took so much.
“Oh come on D-rod that’s all you could get?” said Mace.
“Everyone don’t got no book bag like you,” I replied.
“Yea whatever I got sticky fingers,” teased Mace. “What u get Roc?” Mace asked.
“I got some,” said Roc.
“Wow.”
Mace and I were surprised, Roc was the chubby type, but because he was always playing football he was able to keep up.
“Really thought you would get more,” Mace and I joked.
“Man forget ya’ll, got more than you Rod,” Roc fired back.
We all laughed. My mom staggered towards toward us about three garages away.
“Hay Smooch,” My mom said with her eyes blood shot and low.
“Hi mom,” I replied annoyingly. I hated that name Smooch not only was it embarrassing in front of the guys, but when she called me that she usually wanted something when she called me Smooch. Like usual she did.
“Got a few dollars baby?”
“Na ma spent it all at the store.”
“Don’t be lying to me to boy,” her voice got louder, and she grabbed my arm.
“I don’t ma,” I snatched my arm back.
“Ok,” she replied her voice lowered.
“How bout you two,” she looked at Roc and Mace. They were both snickering about my nickname, Smooch.
“No ma’am,” Roc answered nudging Mace to pull him together.
“Na,” Mace answered
“Ok,” she said squinting at them suspiciously. “Bye baby boy I’ll see you around, gimme a kiss.”
I didn’t want to kiss her, not in front of the guys, plus didn’t know where her lips had been, other than crack pipe who she probably shared with someone else. I couldn’t refuse my mom though. Muah, I gave her a kiss on the cheek and tried to make it quick so the guys wouldn’t notice. It was no secret everyone knew my mom was an addict. She lived in this neighborhood her life, like my father. My father was always the influential type and my mom was the head cheerleader prom queen type girl. She always wanted to dance on Soul train known as one of them seductive fast girls. All these things seem to substantial roads to where she is now. Can’t say I love her or appreciate her. She’s just a woman who gave birth never bought me anything not even a happy meal.
We were walking to the block now. Mace and I stayed two houses down from each other Roc stayed around the corner.
“Man, I ain’t trying to go to school tomorrow,” Mace cries.
“Yea man that’s real,” I reply. Roc shook his head in agreement. Truthfully I kind of like school. STOP. BRAKE, that’s example number one liking school but saying I don’t like it sounds like living by someone else rules. You ever done that before I’m sure you have?

SLAYTON G. said...

NON TITLED


















By Slayton Goodman
July 22, 2008






CHAPTER ONE : INTRODUCING DRUGS
“Come on, do it. Everyone else is.”
“I don’t want to.”
“ Man I thought you was cool.”
“I am cool.”
“Then come blow with us.”

This is the conversation I had with my friend Charles, 22years ago. Sadly Charles dropped out of school at the age of 17. I haven’t seen Charles in twenty two years when I was 16 years old. He was 1 ½ years older than me but he failed both third and sixth grade; not because he was dumb but because he got suspended from school to many times.
I still blame myself. That day was pretty ironic usually the older one is the bad or good influence; in that case it was bad.
I remember when I was introduced to marijuana or weed as it is usually called in the streets. It was about 23 years ago in my freshman year. A group of boys I used to hang out with were in the bathroom, when I walked in they immediately asked me to take a puff. As much bad things as I was told about drugs my reply was “No. I don’t do drugs.” But then they said “Weed is not a drug, drugs have to be cooked so if weed is a drug so is cigarettes; weed is only illegal because the government has not found a way to make money of it; if they could tax you for it then weed wouldn’t be illegal.” - I am not a hundred percent sure about that but I still believe that to this very day.- I said “You make a very good point”
And that’s when I grabbed it and tried it for the first time.
That’s when my life went all down hill. I admit I was addicted to marijuana. I was hungry all the time, I got lazier and lazier, I forgot a lot of things, and worst off my grades went from b’s and c’s to d’s and f’s and sometimes I would get lucky with a c or two. I didn’t know at the time but my life was about to change and it gets worse before it get better.


CHAPTER TWO:TROUBLE A BREWING
“Why aren’t you doing homework?”
“I finished all my work mom.”
“Well that was pretty fast. Did you double check your work?”
“I triple checked.”

Other than lying to my mom, my life started slipping. I was told that I could make big money selling “weed”; and I took the offer because I started running out of weed money.
The biggest drug dealer on my block was a man named Jamal Douglas, but every body on the block called him J.D. After finding out about how I can make money, I had to learn from J.D.
“First rule is to bring me the money and that’s when I give you your cut.” That’s what he told me then he handed me a gun to fend my self from robbers. He gave me a bag and said “Welcome to the family, if you snitch you die, if cops ask you know nothing.” The bag contained a bunch of “dimes and nick’s”. dimes is slang for a 10$ bag and nick is slang for 5$ bags. Since it was my first time he assigned one of his “vets” to look after me make sure I did it right. Unlike some drug lords, J.D. found that working in groups made it more safe than leaving a teen alone on the corner with over 100$ worth of drugs. But the police are more likely to suspect a group of thug looking African American males in a rough area standing on the corner than one thug looking kid in a rough area.
It was a cold winter day, about 6:00 p.m. A couple of cars pulled up and two or three boys would walk up to the car, then return within the next minute with a little more money in their pockets and less drugs to sell.
Then it was my turn to go up to the car and make a sell. The boy that J.D. told to look after me said “Come on lets take this one.” I slowly walked towards the dark green 1964 Cadillac with tented windows. The other two boys ran up there to the window and said “What you lookin’ fo’.” The man in the car replied “I’m looken fo’ some blow.” One of the two boys said “ Awwh this my uncle, what up man a I can get you 4 fa’ da’ 5.” His uncle said I’ll take that, and watch out seen some “dics” (detectives) around here.”
I was already paranoid tell me there was dics around made it that much worse. But after a couple more repeats of that, I started to get more comfortable with the process. I run up to a dark blue Ford this time they said “A man you do the talken’ so that you can get mo’ used to it.”
I ran up to the car and said “W-w-what you looken’ fo.’”
He said “You sellin?” “Yeah.” He grabbed me and said “Get’em”
Two more guys hopped out and chassed the other six people that were on the corner.

Kendrick M. Washington said...

Ask the Lonely Bird...

Present Day:
November 22nd, 2005
8:14:23 a.m.

It’s funny how good people always turn bad the moment that things fall apart. I wonder how it feels to have no friends. I wonder how it feels to be left out.
Keith.
Keith Urban.
That was his name.
Though that name should sound frightening, it’s not. It’s just some name, of some guy we thought that was weak. Turns out, Keith has a way with his hands, in a bad way.
While we all were laughing and joking at him, we were too busy not noticing all the tricks he had up his sleeve. No one was nice to him. It was only certain occasions that I was nice, but around the Seniors, I was cruel as they were.
We laughed at his ridiculously hideous glasses. We laughed at his 1960’s wardrobe, clothes old, pants not touching the ground. That was a big deal to the Seniors. They hated people looking ugly. So many times they tried to boost up his wardrobe, but all he did was say, “No thank you. I like the way that I am.”
That really made the Seniors mad. Once they got the urgency that Keith rejected them, they started this really big rumor about Keith, one that wouldn’t erase the history of all students memory. The rumor was that Keith was on welfare.
This really pissed Keith off. The Seniors were playing a game only they were playing. And when Keith asked them to tell everyone that the rumor was false, they simply laughed in his face.
And that was how the rivalry between the Seniors and Keith started.
Keith was a Junior, just like I was.
Juniors weren’t allowed to interact with Seniors, unless given permission. They claim that we are not up to their “standards”.
But somehow, I ended up being friends with most of the Seniors.
Anyways, Keith and the Seniors wouldn’t cross paths.
Keith ignored them.
The Seniors tried their best to ignore him.
But somehow on Homecoming Day, Keith and the Seniors crossed paths. And, to make this story short, it wasn’t nice.
Usually, Juniors wasn’t allowed to go to Homecoming without an invitation. I somehow got an invitation, and when Keith asked for one, they laughed at him. Yet again.
I kind of felt sorry for Keith. But I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. I had already earned my rep; I didn’t want to risk it over defending some kid that I usually taunted.
I quickly snuck a guilty look at Keith.
Looking at Keith is like looking at the ocean. So bland, so distorted. So, unwelcoming. You look at Keith, and you see a face full of angry pink zits, and you just want to escape. I wonder, is that what we all will look like in a couple of years?
Will we be overrun by a new generation that will be laughing at us?
Anyways, Keith didn’t like that everyone was getting invited (including new Freshmen, and Sophomores).
Keith was going to plan something against Brad, something that I knew of but wasn’t really going attention.
I knew that it would happen someday….
Just know that they happy Homecoming Dance ended up in mystery and thick red stuff that isn’t punch. And I didn’t stop it.
I’m not a good friend.


Homecoming Morning
January 21st, 2005
9:43:23 a.m.

Let’s go back. Let’s erase all the words, all the details, and the word Keith. Let’s go back to homecoming day.
Balloons surround Heavenly Meadows College Preparatory High School. Our school colors are red and gold, like Harry Potter’s, but his house colors are more maroon and gold.
As soon as you walk up the old, dusty stairs, you are being greeted by some overzealous Seniors. As they chant, “Happy homecoming to you”, or, “Today is one of the big days of our year”, I nod tremendously, knowing that the words I dare want to say is, “I hate you for being older than me.”
I can kind of understand why the Seniors are overwhelmed about Homecoming. I mean, after all, this is their last year at Heavenly Meadows.
I notice two of my friends. They are Seniors.
Malorie MithChell, and Brad Dunthorne walk up to me, and we usually do this long handshake. Something only Seniors, and certain Juniors know of.
That’s the thing about Heavenly Meadows. Our school is broken up of social groups. So if you don’t get in where you fit in, there’s no need in showing your face:
1. Cool Seniors
2. Seniors
3. Cool Juniors
4. Juniors
5. Jocks
6. Average Juniors
7. Cool Sophomores
8. Sophomores
9. Cool Freshmen
10. Teeny-Bopper Freshmen
11. Nerds
12. Losers
13. Anti-Social Crowd
14. Nobody’s

I’m visioning that I fit in the Cool Juniors/Juniors group.
I’m cool with most of the Seniors, and friends with most of the Juniors.
Everyone in the school is cool with someone….
Everyone except Keith….

john f. said...

Chapter 1

Stolen life


Bang! Bang! Bang! , We started running faster towards my cousin Kel’s house, they chased after
us, He fell when we were running, and the guys who were chasing us were running fast as they could towards kel, I went back to get him but it was to late they caught him, the started punching, kicking, and spitting on him, I started running so fast that it felt like the breath from my body was being snatched away, Bang! It was too late I couldn’t get there in time
They ran before I got there I went chasing after them furious but they hit the corner, and they were gone. I went back try to see if he was ok, but he didn’t answer when I called his name, I felt his chest to see if his heart was beating, but it made not one thump.
Scared I didn’t no what to do, I knew Kel had a cell phone in his pocket, I went to get it, it was covered with blood, I wiped it off with my shirt, in called uncle June, he answered I told him what happen… no….! And I heard the phone drop to the floor.





5 days before…

Today was Friday and on Fridays me in my boys go to a pizza place after school called Nino’s , we go there because … well… cause’… we just like pizza, I always order a large cause I like to take some home wit me. We all go home but not me, today was the day I go to my uncle and them house, when I got there me in my cousin went straight outside side my cousin was 15 and I was 13, but he acted like I was his age, and he always hated on me because I was light skinned and he was dark, I didn’t know why cause’ all the girls in the neighborhood loved him. We to the corner store on 87 St. to get some chips with cheese and some pop, when we got it we saw these dudes my cousin made fun of at school walk in, they didn’t like my cousin and they all were in a gang called Geedee’s, I thought my cousin was stupid messing with them anyway, but he went on talking bout them “boy u look like a fat nigga name Bob”, I laughed then he kept going he didn’t care cause he was taller than all of them, he was 6’2 and they were all 5’3, 5’6. when we left I heard one dude say “ I got his ass”. When we was down the street this girl walk up to me in was like “u fine” my cousin push me towards her and told me to Mack her down so I started walking with her and she asked me my name and I said “martell”, with a deep voice I knew I didn’t have, so she laughed and asked me do u really talk like that and I said “naw” and then I asked her her name she said “truth” I said that’s a nice name, hours went by and we were still talking, and then she asked me the question I hate the most “did u ever have I girlfriend” I stood there in silence waiting for another question, then she asked me “can I be your girlfriend” and I was about to say yes but it came out as “I don’t know” and then her mom called her in the house, I said same time to tomorrow and said “sure”. I felt so stupid walking towards my cousin kel who had been playing basketball at the play ground when I was talking to truth, but then it was 9:40 “so how did it go lil man” he said, I told him “it went alright” I didn’t want to tell him that I made I complete fool of myself, but we kept walking and when we was walking des dudes started talking bout, “a lil dude come back here I got something for you” and they all started laughing. Me I didn’t pay no mine but here goes my big mouth cousin kel’s house “shut up” then I said stopping him from walking “is you trying you get us killed” he was like “they ain’t gone do nuttin.” And then all a sudden they started chasing us, we started running to the house as fast as we could jumping over garbage cans flipping them over so they could trip over them, but they kept on charging towards us then all we heard was….
Bang! Bang! Bang! , we started running faster towards my cousin kel’s house, they chased after
Us, He fell when we were running, and the guys who were chasing us were running fast as the could towards kel, i went back to get him but it was to late they caught him, the started punching, kicking, and spitting on him, I started running so fast that it felt like the breath from my body was snatch away, bang!!! It was too late I couldn’t get there in time
They ran before I got there I went chasing after them furious but they hit the corner, and they were gone. I went back try to see if he was ok, but he didn’t answer when I called his name, I felt his chest to see if his heart was beating, but it made not one thump.
Scared I didn’t no what to do, I knew kel had a cell phone in his pocket, I went to get it, it was covered with blood, I wiped it off with my shirt, in called uncle June, he answered I told him what happen… no! And I heard the phone drop to the floor.

Anthony G. said...

In The Middle
Written by Anthony Griggs



AHEAD, behind, Or In the Middle?
In front of the loser and behind the winner, what position are you in?
Its called in the middle. Doing well but not well enough, you have a feeling that there is more and you want it and there is less and you don’t want to get close. Once in a whole, this Pangaea like neighborhood was once a leveled plain field. Separating into two then three parts there was much loss but even more to gain. Most dwell on the clam before the storm we enjoy the clam after…




Narrator-










CHAPTER ONE





NOISE…. BUMP, BUMP, BUMP!
They were at the block party. Foot working, jukin and everything else .Every one was just having a good time. Nobody fighting, cursing, acting a fool. It was quite amazing how every one gathered in the middle of the complex, turned on the radio started up the grills and got busy. The smell of burnt hamburger patties blew through out the small set of buildings. Lawn chairs and tents stood empty as everyone was up dancing, or trying to tell Mr. Wilkins how to cook hamburger patties.
As night approached some people from the village came over with some firecrackers. We thought it was cool. They came and ate and every body was just chilling. All of a sudden police sirens start coming from down the street. People broke out running grabbing their lawn chairs, tents, basketballs, footballs and Mr. Wilkins trying to wheel a 3-foot 50 pound barbecue up three flights of stairs. Every body had a crime under their belt. Mrs. Dean from 411 stole some earrings from K-mart, Tate from 315 was in to dog fighting and Little James from 510 beat up a boy and took his tricycle and Mr. Wilkins had over $300 in unpaid parking tickets on his 1998 ford Taurus. Everyone had secrets so when the police or five-O came people were out.
Julian and his friends Lester and Caleb ran from the police like it was a game. They had a plan. They would split up run through the park, on to the basket ball court with no nets and all meet up on the second floor of 410 the building where no one lived yet. When they met up they decided to hang out in the park till curfew as the were walking two large men suited in blue stepped up to them.
“Where you to headed? It’s getting kind of late for some boys like you to be roaming around here causing trouble”
“Man we anit doing nothing” Julian replied
Lester jumped in, “Yeah why you cops always assume black kids out after 8:30 at night is causing trouble. You know when you assume you make an as….”
“Wait; wait before you get us arrested”, Caleb shouted “Officer we weren’t causing any trouble we were just going to the park to meet a couple of friends”
“Yeah, Yeah whatever” the second officer offensively stated “I want you guys in the house in less than an hour if you know what’s good for you, We’ve been getting some complaints down at the station that some kids been around here making a bunch of noise an lets just say you fit the description so in an hour want you guys in the house”
The guys didn’t even bother to stay out any longer they shook up the New Brook Way then they went home.
Walking in the house Julian took off his shoes said hi to his mother and brothers and went off to his room. Opening his window to feel the late summer breeze he knew it was someone from the right and to, to white side that got mad about the block party. The Village was bad but not… ok the village was bad every thing about it was bad. The look the smell it was just a bad place to live. Killings, drugs and violence it was just horrible .Despite the reputation that the village or “The Ville” had any problems they had they stuck it out together. Like when Tank jr. got shot. You might not believe me but every thug and gangster from The Ville got strapped and went out
Looking for Tank jr.’s murderer .Tank jr. was the son of Tank one of the biggest drug dealers in the city. Before the “Ville” was known as the “James Wheeler Apartment Homes” that ran along East Jackson St. It got the name “Village” Because in the 1990s people began to murder like animals; hunter and it’s prey .As time got on things never got much better so the name kind of stuck. On the right side of the New Brook homes it was The Morgan Blvd. Condos. They were newly built and were the talk of the town. Who decided to take on this reconstruction process? People saw how their neighborhood was changing before their eyes. The Leasing office had promo signs all over the city and they read ….

Morgan Blvd. Condos


CONDOS STARTING FROM THE MID – 300s
TOWNHOMES STARTING FROM THE LOW- 400s





………….............YOUR NEW LIFE WAITS……………………




On the sign it was two white couples walking a white dog in a remodeled black neighborhood. . On one side thousand-dollar condos and town homes and on another side the worst place to possibly to live in Chicago, Julian finally realizes, of all his time living in Chicago he is in the middle.

CHAPTER TWO


The New Brook way was a common hand shake used by younger male tenants of the New Brook Ave. Apartment homes. This hand shake was used to identify people who lived in the complex and people who didn’t. If you were an outsider and you tried to act down, you would be busted. The complex consisted of 30 three-story buildings. 300-312, 400-412 and 500-506. Julian grew up here just as well as many others. Julian was 14 going on 15 with a bad attitude. He was smart but in school he never really applied himself. That’s always how the story goes but with Julian it was different for some reason.

Jonathan Holmes said...

My rules accordingly
The start
Born, live, die, that’s the process or what they claim. The way I see it is born, lots of fun in between, and then you die, if you can help it. I was labeled the devil seed I just think I’m having fun. Most people go through life looking for love, or salvation, maybe thinking fate is the deciding factor, and I beg to differ. You don’t believe me I’ll show you that it’s not only true, but that your one of them.


Born
I was born under the rule of President Reagan, in the hood bumping 2pac and the Wutang Clan. I was dragged to church by my grandma and went to sleep most of the time. I never really learned anything other than every religion was against each other, and that the whole world was in war. Church opened my eyes to the arena known as fakers. The deacon outside smoking, the choir director was gay, and the pastor was cheating on his wife with Ms. Jenkins, an usher who always leaves her top button undone. People shouted all over the place but always ended up at the club that night. My grandma seemed to be the only real Christian in that church to me. I never found myself actually believing God I knew he existed but I didn’t think he would acknowledge me.
I saw many things as a youngin’ death was everywhere like ants a picnic, it stayed around. Most of my friends were drug dealers and though I was like five I did a lil running myself for a quick buck, smoked a joint like twice. I got caught once my grandma said, “D-rod you’ll never make it if you keep this up.” My real name was Darnell Roderick but everyone called me D-rod for short, that’s what my dad called me before he got stationed in South Korea. He was in the navy, he always believed in the American dreams. He was there for the first three years of my life then one night he tucked me in and was gone the next morning. He trusted in this country more than he did his own mother surprisingly I’m living with her.
I know my mom she lives several blocks down around the corner from the crack house. She’s very skinny; light skinned, and was always high. Usually, there was dried blood under her nose, most likely from the dealer smacking her. Truthfully I don’t believe my father is my father from what I heard my moms gave her self up for drugs many times before. I did kind of look like him though.
I hung out with one usual crew more than the others, my boys Roc and Mace. They were true ride or die guys. When I was real little around two, I remember my dad standing outside sharing a beer with Mace’s dad and Roc’s uncle talking bout the old days and real music. Al Green, The Isley Brothers, Lennie Williams, Lady T, James Brown, and George Clinton now known as the president of funk were their favorites. Roc, Mace, and I stayed in the house pretending to be the power rangers or the super friends. I was usually Aquaman because I wanted to be in the navy like my Dad. Happiness was supposedly there but I see things differently now.



Six years old
The fun begins I just stole from the corner store about four blocks from my house, we were running down the alley down the block from Roc’s house. “Snatch n run,” Mace yelled as we quickly grabbed a few things. Roc had grabbed a few bags of “Flamings Hots” and some “Now Laters”, the blue ones. I stole some gum and two fifty cent juices. Mace racked up. He had a two liter Sprite, four ninety-nine cent bags of hot fries, and a honey bun all stuffed in his black book bag. Mace wasn’t fat, in fact he was real skinny and didn’t eat much. Don’t know why he took so much.
“Oh come on D-rod that’s all you could get?” said Mace.
“Everyone don’t got no book bag like you,” I replied.
“Yea whatever I got sticky fingers,” teased Mace. “What u get Roc?” Mace asked.
“I got some,” said Roc.
“Wow.”
Mace and I were surprised, Roc was the chubby type, but because he was always playing football he was able to keep up.
“Really thought you would get more,” Mace and I joked.
“Man forget ya’ll, got more than you Rod,” Roc fired back.
We all laughed. My mom staggered towards toward us about three garages away.
“Hay Smooch,” My mom said with her eyes blood shot and low.
“Hi mom,” I replied annoyingly. I hated that name Smooch not only was it embarrassing in front of the guys, but when she called me that she usually wanted something when she called me Smooch. Like usual she did.
“Got a few dollars baby?”
“Na ma spent it all at the store.”
“Don’t be lying to me to boy,” her voice got louder, and she grabbed my arm.
“I don’t ma,” I snatched my arm back.
“Ok,” she replied her voice lowered.
“How bout you two,” she looked at Roc and Mace. They were both snickering about my nickname, Smooch.
“No ma’am,” Roc answered nudging Mace to pull him together.
“Na,” Mace answered
“Ok,” she said squinting at them suspiciously. “Bye baby boy I’ll see you around, gimme a kiss.”
I didn’t want to kiss her, not in front of the guys, plus didn’t know where her lips had been, other than crack pipe who she probably shared with someone else. I couldn’t refuse my mom though. Muah, I gave her a kiss on the cheek and tried to make it quick so the guys wouldn’t notice. It was no secret everyone knew my mom was an addict. She lived in this neighborhood her life, like my father. My father was always the influential type and my mom was the head cheerleader prom queen type girl. She always wanted to dance on Soul train known as one of them seductive fast girls. All these things seem to substantial roads to where she is now. Can’t say I love her or appreciate her. She’s just a woman who gave birth never bought me anything not even a happy meal.
We were walking to the block now. Mace and I stayed two houses down from each other Roc stayed around the corner.
“Man, I ain’t trying to go to school tomorrow,” Mace cries.
“Yea man that’s real,” I reply. Roc shook his head in agreement. Truthfully I kind of like school. (STOP, BRAKE, that’s example number one liking school but saying I don’t like it sounds like living by someone else rules. You ever done that before I’m sure you have? It’s cool you’ll see the changes later, PLAY.)
Mace continues, “School be so boring but you know what tomorrow I’m gone fight Tony. He think I’m scared of him when we get to recess I’m gone square em’ off.”
“Yea I got yo back,” Roc jumped in cutting Mace off. I shook my head. I knew how to fight cause my dad taught me but I hated getting whoopings from my grandma. She had a huge leather belt she called “Mr. Ice-cream” I hated that belt if I wasn’t so scared I would take and hide it or set it on fire, but I did have Mace’s back though.
We made it to Mace’s house and Roc said he was gone go on home so we shook and broke. I continued on home, just thinking about how to go about helping Mace tomorrow another day of first grade at Richard Wright Elementary.

Chapter Three
Richard Wright Elementary

The next morning I walked out the door to Mace house the regular fashion; I get Mace and then we get Roc. After picking up Roc who like usual wasn’t ready running outside with a sausage and cheese sandwich, Mace began planning out recess.

John Galloway said...

THE JOURNEY OF A SUCCESSFUL BLACK MAN
BY JOHN GALLOWAY




JAMAL JACKSON
LIFE STORY
MAY 19TH 1990
I always find myself drifting off into space thinking of my mom and dad they never got along much they he used to always beat her and she would always cry and hug me for a long time, I never knew why until now I guess I didn’t understand because I was to young. She must have gotten tired because soon me and my mom ran away we never saw him again and she liked it that way we always talked about stuff and we have very fond memories she always talked about a perfect life we were going to have. The place we moved wasn’t even close to the good life it was much, much worse.

It was 1990.Me and my friends where all outside haggin out and talking when this kid walked up he said his name was ant he asked us about what crew were we in gangster disciple or vice lord we didn’t know what he ment because I just moved there but I knew that their were gangs but I didn’t know what kind we said no the little boy said you gotta chose a side or you get scraped we don’t take neutrons round here. He walked of and kept looking at us. Man! Dat punk nigga aint gon do nothing said Darrell he was a tuff kid wanna be because he had lots of cousins to fight his battles for him all the time .we hung with another kid named man main he was always joking about stuff. we all went to the store and got candy that night when came out a car pulled up and to boys got out and grabbed Darrel and started to punch him we tried to help him but one of the boys pulled a gun on us and shot at us we ran we felt bad for leaving him but we had no choice. Latter that night we got a call from a police officer to come to the station. What’s going on Jamal my mom said she took the phone.(hello?yes.yes ok.ok.bie bye)


Ronnie cater was his name the boy who shot Darrel he was a raggedy old dirty kid from the bad side of the chi. Darrel was in critical condition from a bullet wound to the chest he lost a lot of blood .they kept talking to us and asking questions and kept flashing lights in my and trying to intimidate me face. My mom told me to never tell them anything because they always lie about what really happened they got mad at me because I just sat there and sweated so they just sent me out of the room and slammed the door when I sat outside all I hear is yelling .BLA! BLA! BLA! BLA! I couldn’t tell what they were saying and I didn’t really care I was just scared not just of the cops but of everything
That day and what could happen tomorrow.
Ronnie didn’t stop looking at me with such aggression for the whole time we were there
You could tell he wanted to do something. The cop let us all go home that night. When we got home my mom asked me about what really happened I told her she lectured me on doing the right thing she told me that Darrell was o.k. and that he may never walk again. She said that it was no reason to want revenge .when I fell asleep i didn’t stop thinking about what to do to get payback and somehow