The following piece appeared in the print and online editions of Teen Ink Magazine and is being reprinted with permission. It was the a writing product from an Eagle Rock English class entitled “Boys in the Hood” where students explored their home communities through both creative and analytical writing. Students also studied what institutions, and environments help make up strong neighborhoods and strong communities.
I’m from short days & long nights
Just around the corner from love & one door over from the fights.
I’m from potholes & abandoned buildings, rats & roaches breaking through flooded ceilings
I’m from a place where faith is all you got ’cause in reality ain’t sh** worth living for but the unseen.
I’m from a school of kids who don’t know the Pledge of Allegiance ’cause they so focused on the CREAM raising a middle finger to the sky ’cause to them Cash Rules Everything
I’m from naptime every two hours just to get a taste of heaven.
In my dreams I stay head above the clouds afraid of heights so I never look down;
At the lost opportunities & all the perils against me
I’m from a place where all you got is family ’cause a friend is only kin to the enemy so we never bother to befriend too many.
I’m from a place where Sunday school is cool and people running ’round the church praising god; those who know nothing about say they fools but everybody know that between those blocks god is all you got to look up to.
So we pray for stronger faith speaking tongues and singing hymns in the kitchen during Sunday dinners
I’m from a place of pain though Love was always the intent
At times I can’t stand it
I’m from the crooks to cracks, from Fairfield Ave to Madison; Route 8 bus & Yellow cabs
Roach-infested schools and pissed-out elevators, blood pistols & tears; a place where being 18 and not pregnant is out of the ordinary
I’m from the city of lost dreams and tainted diplomas; Bridgeport Born and raised this is home it’s not the best but I’d never change.
It’ll always be where I’m from but never who I am!