Another week another Beat, another week in spreading the love, especially when it comes to writing this week’s editor’s note. We won’t say anymore on this, we’ll let our guest writer tell it as he sees it, and we’ll wrap the note up once he’s done…
“Mervyn, give me 800 hundred words by tomorrow” those were the words that came out of David Inocencio’s mouth right before I headed out the door of the office to my other job. “800 words, why you have to tell me right before I leave, Dave” that was my reply. “That’s better than me, he gave me an hour before hand” stated my colleague Mr. Michael Kroll. So here I am the next morning, the day the publication comes out, sitting on my desk and getting those 800 plus words for David so he can put it in the Editors Note. I was planning to write on that topic “Life…” when it was presented in The Beat writing workshops about a month ago, but never got the chance to, so this is my chance...
What is life? How do most of us live out our lives? Someone once told me life is like a game of Chess, where every little move will determine your next move and every move have a consequences attached to it. And I agree. I don’t see life as a game, but I do believe every little move or things we do in life will affect us in the future.
Throughout the times I have been working with The Beat and typing up writings that comes back from juvenile hall and beyond, I have read a lot of pieces where mostly youngsters will say, “Live life to the fullest,” and most of the time when they say that, they are living their life to the fullest by gang banging, hustling, fighting, etc…Y’all get the idea right?
Me, I live my life to the fullest in a different way. You see, I have been through what most youngsters that are sitting in a cell have gone through, and I have taste the bitterness of losing my freedom to the criminal justice system and seen how much it hurts my loves ones and the things I missed while being separated from the “outside world”.
I also used to live my life to the fullest by placing my life in danger, by hurting others and not even knowing it, and hustling. I admit, it was good while it lasted, but that lifestyle can’t stay “good” forever. So now, I live life to the fullest by working (hustling the legit way) and absorbing any kind of knowledge that is thrown my way and also spending time with those I love.
To some of y’all living life on the edge might be easier than living life the legit way, and in truth I sometimes agree. Because sometimes when you are even trying to do the right things in life, it is not that easy. For example, my momma got into a car accident about a month ago which resulted in a broken ankle. I took about two weeks off to take care of her, from being her driver, and also to get her food. It was cool in the beginning but as time went by, when I had to go back to work, trying to do the right thing for my mom was not that easy. It can be very frustrating. My momma started depending on me to drive her to the doctors, to her lawyer, or even to go out with her friend. She didn’t understand that I had to work and I can’t always take time off to drive her around town when I have to make a living for myself. It was frustrating and because I couldn’t help her as much as I could. When I took time off, in a way, I felt bad because as a son, I am supposed to be there for her. Then on the other hand, it was frustrating and annoying because she depended on me too much and expect me to take time off of work. So you see sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but we have to do it.
I read constantly from you young writers about how much you miss your mom or dad, how they cry even during a visit, but then many of you when you return home turn around and end up right back in the hall, facing time. Why? I’ve also seen people ending back up in the halls because they were trying to do good but then made a little mistake that got them caught up again.
Life is hard, no one every told me it would be easy. Like I said, sometimes I think life was easier when I was living it on the edge, not having to worry about working, bills, or any type of responsibility. Just spend the money and hustle again when it runs out. Chill with the homies, go get at some females, and wake up whenever I want to, because I didn’t go to school. It was all about me. But now as I been through hard times and learned from my experience, juvenile hall and CYA, my definition to “living life to the fullest” has a totally different meaning.
Just remember, life is not easy, however it is not hard either, it is what you make it. You determine how you want to live it. Do, I live it like a game of chess, and watch every step I take to make sure the results of my every moves are positive and will help me in the future? Or… ‘Till next time.
Merv, right on, you step up on topic and get us all scratching our heads while feeling every word you spit in this note. Keep on keeping on friend, you are living a beautiful life and we are so honored to be apart of it.
Knowing this, lets praise this week’s POW (Pieces Of the Week) recipients! Congratulations goes out to Big Vic, Sharky, Buddamilk, Makayla, Lyshawn, Samantha, and two from Ally Bo all from the 150 Crew. From SF/YGC, Muck, David, and Omari. Also, Lil' Payasa from Walden House PSK, Ben from Marin, Latesse from Maricopa, Arizona.
All right, this week’s publication goes out to Will Roy, aka the Poetic Prisoner. Happy Birthday Will! It’s not only his birthday, today is also the day Will is totally free of the system. He’s off parole! What a great 25th birthday gift! As long as Will has been apart of the juvenile justice system, almost ten years now, The Beat Within has been apart of his life in someway shape or form. When Will first came into the juvenile justice system, many years ago, as a fifteen year old, The Beat was conducting workshops in his old haunt aka B5 max unit in SF/YGC. Right off the bat Will touched us with his thoughtful poems and rhyme schemes, earning him praise within our tiny pages before there was even a POW, a CoPOW, standout, BWOs etc. Well, Will marches off to CYA and does his best to remain in contact with us as he does the CYA tour. As he nears parole with the assistance of his aunt we reconnect. And upon being placed on parole we give Will a part time job at The Beat Within, which over time has grown and grown with more and more responsibility. Today Will Roy the Poetic Prisoner is not only a colleague, he’s a great, great friend and a prime time Beat player that truly gets “it” (The Beat Within). Period. Yes indeed Will gets it! And absolutely, Will is free of the criminal justice system today! Congrats to you old friend, see you tomorrow at The Beat and we’ll see you readers next week with yet another fabulous edition of the mighty Beat. We’ll leave you with one of Will’s earliest Beat contributions…
Home Is Freedom
Between you and me
My opinion is home is a place to be free
Home is going to the kitchen for a snack
Without having someone constantly on your back
A place to kick off your shoes and pick at your feet
And if you are cold you can get up and turn on the heat
Home is a place where it is fun to be alone
Because at any given time you can hop on the phone
Nothing is better than your own bed
With the softest pillow in the house under your head
Or waking up to mom’s home cooking
You go into the kitchen and gets to lookin’
Pancakes, biscuits, eggs and bacon
Your little brother yells, “that’s what mom’s is making.”
You sit down, eat and start the conversation up
While pouring Kool-Aid into a Mickie D’s cup
Bumping 2Pac non-stop
Playing Super Nintendo
Mastering all the games ‘cause you’re a pro
Dodging your mom’s assumption
Of you doing wrong
While reciting the words to 2Pac’s song
Writing your own rhymes to his beat
when you get it down
it is certainly a treat
now tell me home isn’t the place to be
because when you are home
that ‘s when you’re free.
And yes Will, you are so free, congrats and happy birthday