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Home > Practice Areas > Youth Services & Positive Youth Development > 2005 Poetry Slam


Submissions from the 2005 Youth Poetry Slam

Caught Up
by Dominique Howard
(grade 12, age 17)

It's a shame how it all went down

When I saw your face with that permanent frown.

Why did they kill you for that dirty low-down chick?

And she wasn't worth nothing but a quick hit.

You lost your life at fifteen,

And it's hard for me to comfort your mom, Marine.

They found you in a car with your face down

Just like a maturing little pup with a childish frown.

There's nothing I can do because you're gone, now.

All I can do is grieve.

R.I.P. to my best friend, Steve.

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Young Child
by Tieshia Saunders
(grade 12, age 18)

Teens in the world are hurting each other

Killing each other, not helping one another

Shooting down your next door neighbor becuase of the way he or she loooked at you

Keep your head up young child, don't let one person get you down.

Being a follower and making these ideas and conflicting decisions you think are right.


All I can say is keep your head up young child.

Believe in one another; stop hurting each other.

Trying to make it to the top without worrying about if you're going to see the next day or night.

Baby mama's crying and yet thay are still dying. Trying to make their life good, bust still doing bad.

Keep your head up young child, don't let that girl or guy get you donw.

Keep on believing that you can make someone see the great light in life.

Believe in yourself and then believe in someone else

Keep you head up young child.

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His Regret
by Crystal Nedd
(grade 12, age 16)

He was young, only seventeen at the time.

His dad was never home and his mom not alive.

One day he got mixed-up with a bunch of guys,

Who convinced him that shooting someone

Who had robbed him

Was not a crime.

So he shot the robber three times in the chest.

The next day the police came to make an arrest.

A couple months later, his court date arose,

And before he knew it, he was sentenced to life, no parole.

One year later and still in jail, he thought of his friends and ho they had bailed,

Realizing his mistake, he got so upset,

But all he could do now

Is sit and regret!

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The Good Die Young
By Dominique Howard
(grade 12, age 17)

They say that the good die young
That's why I think you should go out and have fun
Because time waits for no one
When God calls
Don't cry
Just go home with a poor sigh
She was in the living room watching T.V.
Next thing you know a bullet flies through
And takes her young life
When her mom looked, it was too late
This young girl died at the age of eight.
Next murder scene, Ballou Senior High
He was walking in the hall
Going to his next class
Someone crept from the cut and rang out shots
He didn't know what was going on
All of a sudden, he felt cold
He fell to the ground, realizing he was hit
So he thinks to himself, God is this it?
He took his last breath and closed his eyes
He was a dear son, brother, and best friend
R.I.P. James "J-Rock" Richardson
Your soul will never die.

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My Daddy
By Jeanae Ward
(grade 12, age 18)

My daddy -

I didn't know him very much

I could barely remember his face.

All I could remember is my daddy riding
      me on his back as we traveled from place to place.

You see, my daddy was into the streets,

But he made a living to support his family

Until one day, the streets took my daddy away from me

The street gunned down my daddy, and he never came back -

Only because they thought he was somebody else from the back.

But I was young, just at the age of two; didn't even think of my daddy dying,
      or even going to his funeral.

So now all I remember is -

What the tell me as they describe him as - light skin, hazel brown eyes, fresh
      hair cut, smooth goofy, and had a lot of friends.

Reds is what they called him, because he was so light -

And all the ladies wanted him, but that was my daddy and he belonged to my
      Mama, and he loved us all

My daddy, the violence in the streets took -

      My Daddy!

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A Thug's Prayer
By Jazmyne Dyer
(grade 12, age 18)

Wow! What a dream I had - a dream I was shot.
My eyes are cloudy; I can't focus; I feel weak.
Was my dream a reality or was it just the creeps?
I walk down an unfamiliar hall.
It seems like it never ends; all of a sudden, I start to remember that forsaken dream.
My crew and me chillin', puffin' on green; laughin' and jokin'.
All of a sudden my body burns like I just drank acid.
I try to turn, but there it is again - burning to no end in my head;
My body drops link, and my last breath has left. No, it has to be a dream;
My life so young, you see
So I drop to my knees beggin' the Lord, "Please, I know I never prayed before"
And when people spoke of you I said, "Please man, I don't believe in Him!"
Now, I'm asking forgiveness for my sins, for I have sinned.
Lord hear this list soul's prayer. I know Lord a life for a life,
So Lord, if you take me, bless my unborn baby and tell her that -
Daddy is sorry. The life I lived finally claimed me.
But baby, I will be here.
Every time your heart beats, I'll be there walkin' and standin' beside you.
Your birth I will witness; your graduation and your life, I will witness.
Lord, please hear my prayer and grant me peace.
To my baby, I'm sorry, forgive me for these streets have now claimed me!
Lord, hear this thug's prayer.


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Buried in Her Womb
By Indya Wright
(grade 11, age 16)

He killed something unborn

Did he think twice of the life, now dead

Caught in the fragments of her broken ribs

Precious fetus, never given a chance to develop features

Born without the choice to live or die

Who gave him the right to decide the fate of a mother's child

All that potential diminished by a baseball bat

Unborn, yet, alive inside her net

Now, it's soul is to rest in peace -

An eternal sleep to the melodic rustling of winged angels.

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Shaped by Fate
By Guy DeGreaffenreidte
(grade 12, age 18)

Teenage violence that form gray skies

Teenage lives lost, mother's cry because their sons die

Suicide an option; it washes over them.

Expectations are watching, tempting and hovering over them.

Materialistic crafts, which can be replaced

Another burden of life for it could go to waste

It hits our generation raw with no crumbs to take

There's nothing anyone can do -

We're shaped by FATE

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If I Could
by Guy DeGreaffenreidte
(grade 12, age 18)

If I were made of fire,
you'd never be cold.
If I were omnipotent,
not at all would you be on your own.

If I were your greatest achievement,
your name would be known.
If I could be your fetus,
You'd have divine chromosomes.

If I could be your eyes,
you'd see without vision.
If I could be your ears,
you'd hear without listening.

If I could be your arms,
you'd reach without grabbing.
If I could be your support,
you'd grip without gripping.

If I could be your sorrow,
you'd cry without tears.
If I could be your wings,
you'd fly without fear.

If I could be your music,
you'd be the sweetest tune.
If I could be your leisure,
you'd always be soothed.

If I could be God,
I wouldn't' know what to do.
If I could be his angel,
I'd always be there to protect you.

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by Guy DeGreaffenreidte
(grade 12, age 18)

I can shape you in anyway
Depending on the words that I say

I can turn your greatest joys
Into deepest sorrows of hate

I can manipulate,
Then again I can also enlighten

I come in all flavors and different style,
I'm Omni cited

I can be relaxing
And with me your mind will be soothed

I also five teens today the idea
That skipping school is cool

I promote violence,
And at the same time I give escape

I'm also played at parties,
The bet place I'm know to endorse rape

I can send mix messages
Through Heave metal I'm lit like a light

I'm even played for entertainment
The slow version to lighten the mood of what you do at night

I can be positive,
Through vocals, and release the grace in you

I can deceive people,
And make what's bad seem good to you

So you people are like minnows
And in this world, I am the sea

I'm not bad,
It just depends on the person whose expressing me.

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Let's Start Treatin' Each Other Right
A Rap

By Rochelle DeLaine
(grade 12, age 17)
We need to make a change in this world today
Violence and bad attitudes are not the way
We livin' in a world full of tragedy
This ain't the it's suppose to be
Teens and violence don't make a good combination
We need to watch out for our younger generation
In this world there's way too much trouble
We need to make a change on the double.
All this violence among teens is a problem we need to have a way to solve 'em
Tell me why can't a young girl go to the school without being teased or ridiculed
And because of the mean things they do and say, she's afraid to come to scholl every day
Violence causes pain not just physically, but it causes hurt emotionally
A young man sits up every night and cries - Let me tell you why.
He was surrounded by drugs, violence and prostitution.
Through all this he tried to find a solution.
And through this, his parents didn't care. He was lost within a world of despair.
His teachers treated him like he was just another hood - just another kid who's "misunderstood".
He grew up without a positive role model; his whole life was throttled
Every day his peers made fun of the clothes he wore
Just because his clothes had a lot of tears
He got tired of their insults; he was filled with strife
His emotions are worked up and he pulled out his knife.
Chorus (2xs)
What's the deal with teens killing each other?
What's the deal with a sister wantin' to kill her brother?
Teens start violence for stupid things you know
Hold up let me give you a scenario...
Two young teens try to walk through a door and some how the two bump heads;
They get angry and start to argue, and so one says -
"A yo, you stepped on my Nikes."
The other says, "you ain't nothin'," and they get in a fight.
Then one got his gun and other got his knife.
If they had only tried to talk it out -
If they only could express what the real issue was about
Without using their hands and without using violent words -
A yo, man, the whole issue was absurd.
So as a result of their whole situation, they both got expelled and they missed their
They both got expelled and missed their graduation -
If we learned to control our emotions, there wouldn't have to be such a big commotion
You wouldn't have to get all upset; then, think and regret.
The, one day you decide to look back, and say to yourself,
"My whole decision as whacked."
"My whole decision as whacked."
"My whole decision as whacked."
Chorus (2xs)
How can we stop all this violence
One way is to not keep our silence, make a stand and do what's right.
Talk out your problems, don't start a fight
When faced with issues, try to keep your cool,
Don't get locked up and feel like a fool.
Try not to have violent words to say.
Think of things in a positive way.
What's the deal with teens hurting one another?
We need to learn to care and love each other
If we lessen the hate, we'll produce the love;
It's the best way to get rid of all this violent stuff.
Lack of concern produceth hate; care produceth love.
We need to look for wisdom from the man above.
Whatever the problem that maybe -
There's no reason to use violence, you see.
Let's show concern and start treatin' each other right
Cause that's the only way we can win this fight.
We can win this fight.
We can win this fight.
We can win this fight.
Chorus (2xs)
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Teen Violence
By Shamia Irving
(grade 12, age 17)

Teen violence is a never-ending situation.
Little problems escalade because of misinformation.
This vicious cycle kills sisters, nieces, nephews, and brothers
      with the heartache and pain left to bare by the mothers.
Our precious young are being neglected and are becoming extinct.
We have to help those who are affected now
There's no time to sit and think
      about who will be the first to put this cycle to an end,
      because while we're waiting it could be me, or it could be you, my friend.

Teens are fighting and killing one another when they should be loving and helping each other
So now this issue is right in front of our face, we can't sit back and forget the race.
Instead of sitting still in one place, let's stand up and put teen violence in it's place.
Death, yes death to teen violence!

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Unfortunate Revenge
By Nicole Williams
(grade 12, age 18)

Let me tell you a story about a boy who lost all his glory.
It all started one night at the park.
He saw his mother kissing a guy in the dark.
He thought, "how could she do this to us?
If dad found out, it would be too much."
Angry thoughts flew through his head.
He said to himself, "I want this guy dead.
Maybe if I killed him; it'll erase it all.
I'll get him in the park when he's playing ball."
So he talked to one of his friends
And he got a gun to put this situation to an end.
He stole his dad's car and set out on his mission.
Killing this guy was his only intention.
He stopped his car next to the court and said,
"All right, I'm going to do it. I've got to make this short."
So he took out the gun and started shooting.
For a moment the sound was almost soothing.
Then, he heard an all too familiar voice.
Her screams created such a disturbing noise
It was his mother standing over a lifeless body.
Crying, "Oh my God! Someone shot my baby!"
All the boy wanted was that guy dead,
But a bullet had gone a stray and he shot his sister in the head.

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By Tiffany Tomlinson
(grade 12, age 18)

I am in love with a man that most just don't understand.

They say he's too violent.

He's a disgrace.

They ask why do I keep letting him mess up my beautiful face.

They can't understand that he's the only love I know.

I've been with him since I was thirteen.

He was sixteen.

He always keeps clothes on me and food in my mouth.

I'm eighteen now and even though I've been to the ER endless time for broken bones

And cracked ribs, I still can't leave him even though I know I should

My heart just can't comprehend.

This man I love is just no good.

One day I'll get the power to leave him,

I hope I will.

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by Bethany Weister
(grade 12, age 17)

The world we live in is a foreign place
Filled with lost souls and cold hearts
With no sense of purpose or direction
Or maybe they're just lacking motivation
To do big things and achieve every dream
We're not all the same
There are those who I like to call the "exceptions"
And these few who shine bright
With warmth and ambition
Are the victims of some selfish and jealous action
It's ridiculous how much we try to bring
      others down to put ourselves on tip
Violent acts and negative mindsets
Are breaking us down
What could be the cause of this extent
      of evil one can posses?

I wish I could have been there
To bring comfort that day
To the fourteen year old daughter
Whose mother's lover raped her
Again for the fourth time
With a broken soul
She left her home in search of a sanctuary
That fell short of her grasp
She could never escape this fear towards man
So she closed her eyes and took
      her life instead

Or how about that young heart
Who was searching for affection
'Cuz when he was a kid
He never got hugs or any type of attention
He yearned for acceptance from his peers
And he thought the basketball team
Would be the perfect answer
So he went to try outs
Thinking the friends were sure to come
If he made the starting line-up
Well he didn't make the team
But he sure made the cut
'Cuz when he came home
He put a razor to his wrist
To ease his pain
Drop, by drop, by drop

What about the gentleman
Who mat an attractive lady
That caught his eye
As someone he could potentially grow to like
So he approached the girl
And she said they could get together
Sometime for dinner and a movie
No where did she mention she had another
So for all he know, sweetheart was a free agent
He smiled as he bought her a slurpee
Little did he know
A bullet would end his story

We need to come together
And find the cure for all humanity
It may take time
But we gotta start somewhere
'Cuz I don't know about you,
But I want more for my kids
They say each generation
Is supposed to improve from the last one
But this bud of a nation can't bloom
If there is none
The only solution to hate
Is love
And you can't love somebody else
Until you take a look in the mirror
And find a way to love yourself

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Teen Violence
by Diana McVay
(grade 11, age 16)

Teen violence is an issue

That cannot be solved with only a look

Filed with crying, suffering, and despair.

Why won't those who care actually say what they fear?

Do they think that their words may not stop every outburst?

Because you never know if their advice will help,

And even if your best side doesn't come out

There will be a hidden satisfaction

That you tried to do something

To help that one person

Who needed the reassuring

To just walk away

So they could experience a day

Without any fighting or hating.

We were not meant to live in a place

Filled with so much pressure

And in some places hate.

When we should be able

To live in a world without violence.

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No Turning Back
by Devin Richardson
(grade 11, age 17)

Man, I can't believe this fool
Humiliating me on the train today.
That's all right, he's gonna have to see me on the train tomorrow.
Matter of fact, let me grab my strap; I'm not playin.
He's going to get what's coming to him.
Oh, hold up, it doesn't even have to wait til tomorrow.
There he is across the street.
I'm ready now, ain't turning back.
I'm about to smoke this cant.
Let me throw 10 in his back.
Yeah, chump, that's what you get, slumped in the gutter.
Then I heard shots ringing out, but my clip is empty.
Ah no, I think somebody hit me.
Come to find out, the cops did me like I did that boy.
Shoot first, ask later.
Now, it's too late to turn the clock back.
I should've just spoke to him man to man.
Now, my mother has to make funeral arrangements
      To put me under the dark sand.

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Breaking the Rules
by Indya Wright
(grade 11, age 16)

With him now taking the position as coach
He treated murder as if it were a sport
Granted with the right to decide the fate of a mother's child
Without thinking twice he killed something unborn

Strike one

Precious fetus never given a chance to develop features
No lips to testify its desire to live or die
No voice to reclaim his position
Coach swung without thinking
Leaving him without a team

Strike two

All that potential diminished by the swing of his baseball bat
Caught in the fragments of the future mother's broken ribs
She was suppose to be on the same team
But birthing a child would add one too many names to his roster
Too many for him to handle
She was suppose to be cheering him on
Coach expected her to resume her place, silent on the side lines
He never knew that getting rid of the child
Would cost him his number one fan

Strike three

Now the baby flies straight to home
In an eternal sleep to melodic rustling of angels in flight
Coach won by himself with no remorse
Basking in his solitary victory
But he failed to acknowledge
God is the referee and justice will have the final outcome

Game Over

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by Michael Moore
(grade 11, age 17)

We are gathered here today to mourn the death of a child lost in the prime of life and
      no one can figure out why.
Why the son that when born weighed only a few pounds, condemned to death by doctor's
      words but kept alive by a blessing and prayer heard by angels on high.
Why a mother is crying, still denying the fact that she will no longer see the only son she
The only son that by doctors' words was a miracle, because she wasn't suppose to be able
      to conceive.
Why the words, "How was your day?" are no longer in her vocabulary and the laughter
      of her son no longer fills the house, yard, or the empty room two doors down
      from hers, past, the bathroom and right next to the towel closet. No more, "Honey, you forgot to turn off the faucet, or I need you to reach something on
      the top closet shelf."
Now, wishing she had spent more time with her son, she sits and thinks back on times
      that she wanted to help him out, but then she realized he had to learn for self the
      rights and wrongs of this cruel, cruel world and what life was all about.
Now, to get to the nitty gritty of this mess and how it can be that a child only 17 years old
      is six feet under ground, a mother wanting to turn the whole world around, upside
      down, inside out, and any which way possible to find the person responsible for
      her pain.
Would you believe me if I told you the pain of this mother for her child was caused by a
      child 15 years of age, all 15 years full of nothing but rage, rage for a mother who
      gave him up at birth, rage for a father who didn't learn soon enough his own
      sons worth.
A brother, who showed him nothing but sorrow and pain, first in his side, then, blood on
      his face.
Ending this nightmare took nothing less then God's grace.
Standing here now with no compassion for a young man days away from graduating,
      because all his life good wasn't good enough so he strove for the best,
      creme da la creme, the cream of the crop, never settling for the bottom of the barrel. Now, today he is staring into the barrel of a small handgun, just enough to do the type of
      damage that would cost him his future and it did. Click, click, BOOM was all
      you heard and all you saw was a body hit the concrete sidewalk.
His body shook and dropped - that was all there was to it. Yeah, he jerked around for
      a few minutes while this 15 year old stood there stuck on stupid, because he
      wasn't sure what reality was anymore.
Downtown in a space surrounded by four metal walls at a prison, this 15 year old stood
      waiting. Then, enters a mother, pale and wet with teats with one question spoken in a tone that
      could wake up only the dead. Why?

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I Fear You
by Michael Moore
(grade 11, age 17)

I fear you.
I fear the mere sight of you; the mere utterance of your name takes my breath away.
When you look at me the darkness in your eyes pierces to my soul straight through my
      flesh and my bones.
When you speak, thunder and lightening listen. When you stare, the very blood in my
      body stands still as if it ran as cold as the ice in your eyes. When you're listening the
      very beating of my heart and breathing of my lungs are silenced.
I fear you.
When you're angry, my life is at stake, and when you yell, my whole world quivers and quakes.
      I fear you.
Though what I may fear most of all is when you raise your hand to me because every
      single time my whole life flashes before me and when it comes down, well, all I can
      do is curl up in a ball and wish there was some sold object between us like a wall.
I pray for the moment when I black out because at least then there's no more pain.
I awake in a hospital bed not sure how God had placed me there or if it were the devil
      who had placed me there to get better just to make way for new markings. Look at
      me. Can't you see? I don't think there's any more room for scaring whether it be
      physically or mentally; this body has been pushed to its limits and beyond.
I fear you.
I fear the way you look at me, the way you speak to me, I even fear when you turn your
      back to me because there's no way of knowing when the next blow may come or
      where it's coming from.
In a crowded room I feel most alone. Afraid to reach out even though I want to scream
      out for help; I'm afraid.
I'm afraid to let one of my scars be seen so that someone may ask how or why and then I
      can pour from my mind the stories of abuse and tear from my flesh the clothing to
      reveal the scars of truth behind the face that seems so angelic and sweet.
I fear that no one would believe, let alone help me.
I stand here in fear of you and I write in fear of you and still have no clue how to escape
I have thought so many times of killing you; you sleep so hard that an earthquake
      wouldn't wake you so how easy it would be to get rid of you.
But would I, would I really be getting rid of you or would I just be replacing you and
      everything I hate. That was my plan all along wasn't it? You hurt me to the point
      that I give up my soul and my humanity to be rid of you when all it does is make
      another you to pick up where you left off on me, only it would be starting a new on
      someone else. Well, I refuse to become you so do as you will.
I will never hate the way you do no matter what you put me through. I fear you.
I'd sooner take me life that that of another, but what good does that do? I still loose
      to you, because the mere thought of you was enough to destroy me. Oh, I don't think
There's no way you're getting off that easy. I'm here in this world to stay for as long as
      I'm needed.
Tormented and tortured, I fear you. Hated and abused, I fear you. Ready to give but still
      hanging on by some strand of faith, I fear you. An answer to my problems has finally
      taken this fear of you and has thrown it out the window never to return. I have
      succeeded. I walk through that door and I never have to look back for you see my
      knowledge has given me the power to leave you after all I've been through. I'm free
      of you. I no longer fear you.
You no longer have power over me. Yes, you could still take my life, but then, you'd
      have no one. And all this time I thought I needed you, family. Boy, was I wrong. It
      was you all this time that needed me. Who would have thought that without me you'd
      self destruct?
All this time I was in fear of you. It was you who didn't understand me and in not
      understanding me, you feared me and because of your fear of me, hate became your
      fuel and as it, so has it. We try everyday to destroy what we hate whether it be with
      our words or our fist, or some other form of hatred. Well, I was told that everything
      would work out for me some day. As for you, I feel sorry for you - sorry that you
      never tried to understand me, but now it's too late and all I have to say is so long to
      the pain and goodnight to my heartache. No longer will I cry for you, sit up late at
      night and wonder why I thought I should die for you. Finally, I'm free of you.
No longer will I hurt for you. No longer will you have the pleasure of seeing tears
      streaming from my face for unlike you I have been saved by grace. I pray that one
      day you find peace because unlike you, I'm not bitter about what you put me through.
You just showed me how much I really mean to you - so to be honest, I stand here and I
      thank you for showing me the truth. I leave you with these last words - "Yes, there
      are more of you in this world. I just pray that those like me find out soon what I
      found out and leave."
I fear you no more.

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Wondering Why
by Austin Gerald
(grade 12, age 17)

Why are the youth dying all around
It seems like the peace cannot be found
Are you wondering why
It's not even safe going to school
Fighting because someone took your seat
Or if they even looked at you wrong
Watch your back on your way home, 'cause
They might try to get you for your coat and take your money
Beat you down and leaving you all bloody
Are you wondering why

You see a girl and think she's nice
You look at her and try to approach her right
Sitting in the 'cut', her boyfriend comes out and says
What you looking at 'dog'

You apologize and say you didn't know
She was with you, but he ain't trying to hear all that
So he pulls out his 'gat' and ring out shots
Left you shaking, slumped in the grass
Hits you twice, your chest splits from the blast
This is your child

Are you wondering why
The parents
Don't let you children do what they wish
Teach them right if you don't it could be
Your child's life tonight
It's nothing good coming out no matter
How it ends up
Our teens, your teens' minds are just so corrupt
So teach your kids morals, values and manners, too
And stop wondering why, because the peaces
Starts with why you.

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A Thin Line Between Love and Hate
by Natascha Gerald
(grade 11, age 16)

There's a thin line between love and hate
A young woman crying and scared for her fate
She's loved him ever since they met, but after a while there are many secrets she has kept
Every night she writes:
"Dear Diary,
I love him but I don't. There are many things I want to tell but I won't.
He hurts me but I'll be okay, I can't go back home anyway. Why does he treat me this way?
I talk to God and pray everyday. I asked him would he make us work, but all I feel is pain and hurt.
She goes to school and come home, that's all she does.
He's at the door and slaps her down just because
Her friends tell her to leave, and that it's her mind that he's deceived
"I'll love you", he says and she says the same thing not considering her fate
She must not understand that there's a fine line between love and hate
One cold night she came in late
She was out with her new friend on a date
He was loving and sweet and treated her nice
She talked to him about everything and how she would fight
She walked in with a smile on her face
For now she knew she would win this race
Then he walked in with this devilish look
And just like that without a word her life he took
Without exchanging a word or saying goodbye
She fell to the ground
And then she died
She wanted to leave, but she waited too late
To find out that there was a thin line between love and hate.

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