Volume 1: Spring 2016
Writing by Joseph B., Julio, Roosevelt J., Darryl B., Sean F., Zavery G., Donte G.,
and classmates in the Delgado Work Release Program
All photos by Ariana A.
The work present in this Zine is a collection of pieces written by students who are incarcerated in the Warren McDaniels Transitional Workforce Center who participate in a class offered through Delgado Community College. The writing was developed through a series of creative writing workshops lead by graduate students in the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Program. A special thanks to all of the teachers and Rob M., Elizabeth S., and Randy B. for organizing the workshops and Annie F. and Rhiannon D. for assisting in the class.
The pieces were arranged by Tulane University students taking part in the class Identity, Inequality, and Difference in Gender and Sexualities Studies taught by Jennie L.G.
Each piece fell into at least one of five categories, though these can be expanded in many possible directions. These categories included the discussions of Identity, Family, Time, Pain, and Hope.
That is not to say that some pieces contained elements from each of these sections or more, but each piece had a natural place in this Zine.
There are many stories still to be told.
“What is it, I see” by Joseph B.
Trouble whenever you Don’t wish it to be.
The evening that comes, that I Don’t wish to
See. Today’s A Day that I must go through.
Whether I Like it or Not. It’s Now A part
Of me too, in what, I’ve seen. And what I’ve
Done. The thing About it’s, Now a part of me.
By Roosevelt J.
“Fifty five” by Darryl B.
Thought I would be rich,
successful, sitting on an island
not the same lad that started
on the path of success..
A little older, very much tired
but still ambitious as the youth
Left a lot of unfinished business
on the table of life, not fulfilling
the appetite that yearns for
the fruit of contentment…
Fell short of the goal, only to see the finish line
still in my reach.
Found the peace of success not found in the riches
of material wealth. But
something deeper more rewarding.
The future of me in the precious hearts & eyes
of my little ones
a new outlook, or maybe a brain storm
I’m alive, if I was ever dead
Just stagnated by the expectations not yet
achieved, but very much still in reach!
Blessed to have the moment…
“Why do they Lie” by Joseph B.
They tell me they want to see me
They miss me so much
There on that Sunday
Not even a simple touch
No word, do I hear
My name is never called
So now I’m here
Not feeling as tall
A tear may drop
A hurt or pain
Because I don’t hear your voice again.
Do you know what pain is?
The fear of loneliness
The hurt of rejection
But stop and think
Where were you all these years
What dried away all my tears
It was me and God
The only one I’ve ever feared
He never left me alone
And he’s always been there
So I have no more tears
Cuz he’s always there.
Why do they lie
“In time.” by Joseph B.
We Look toward the hill
Wanting to Reach the top.
Yet there’s Always someone,
Who yells out stop!
Yet we must go on.
And Never Stop.
“Holding on” by Joseph B.
Bad As I want to cry out!
Yet I stop and think.
Would it help my situation
Or would it make it worse?
I Feel Boxed in
I’m wanting to be Free
Yet Because of my situation
I Am here and I’m me.
“A Lesson Learned” By Roosevelt J.
Once when my auntie from Cali came to visit my Mother, I was asked to clean the kitchen. I must say that during this escapade the kitchen was a mess, and I mean a mess. I mean from dirty pots and pans to a messy stove. My only request to my mom was if I could turn the radio on, and she said yes. I guess my aunt figured that I, being a teenage male, couldn’t possibly handle the task at hand especially since my mom didn’t ask my sister to do it. Upon completion of the kitchen my aunt was awestruck. To witness a teenage male tackle a chore with finesse had to set an impression upon her, because of the dumbfounded look upon her face, and the compliments that I received from her. I know it left a mark on her that she respected.
“A Father’s Cry” by Joseph B.
As I look everyday, sitting waiting, doing things I do not wish to do. Hoping dreaming for that day to come to see the smile upon your face. No longer a child but a young man. A Father misses his child and wishes he could be there.
Yet and still, in his heart we could never be separated or in despair. So i keep and hold on to what we shared in the past and hope that seed is planted and will never disappear. A father’s cry.
“Untitled” by Sean F.
I would say about 12 years ago, my brother was in a boat accident.
When he got out of a coma he wasn’t the same person. He could hardly walk or talk. I remember helping him to learn How to walk again, just working with him everyday. He started off with little baby steps and with a walker and I guided him so he wouldn’t fall. But the work paid off. Because eventually he could walk on his own. Then we started on his speech, he could speak but he would stutter and get stuck on words. So I got a bible and got him to say and sound out the words and say them slowly. We did this for awhile. He does so much better today, but I feel if I wouldn’t have tried to re-teach him how to walk and talk again no one would have.
“Who am I?” by Joseph B.
The question is asked by Many.
I am a man only saved By God’s Grace.
Who’s Been through a look of Good times.
And a whole lot of Bad Times.
Remembering the past is Not Always EASY.
Because of things, that I Put behind me,
I started trying to please others. To prove, And to show
That I was the best, At anything I put my mind to.
You Always hear me speak of God’s Promises. Because
of the Battles “God” has brought me through.
Music and sports have Always been A gift of God to me.
I had Family and Friends, who were proud of me.
And of course those who hated me. I learned about violence
At a young Age. Because of who I was and what Family I was
A part of. We Always had controversy, Because pride was
A big issue in my family. You would think it was my Father,
Uncles, or Cousins, the males. No - it was my Mother,
My Aunts or my Grandmothers.
I Remember watching “Tyler Perry Movies.” And started
Remember how my mother used to keep her gun in her
purse. And would pull it quickly. She raised me until I
Was 13 years old. My Mother taught us about defending ourselves.
But wouldn’t Defend herself Against An Abusive relationship.
Which was her second marriage. At
13, I decided to take care of that. My Mother still wouldn’t
Leave her husband. They even tried to bribe me to
come back. I stayed with my Great Grandmother.
Me and my friends started Looking out for the neighbor-
Hood. So we started getting in a lot of fights
A Lot of wars. I remember one day my Grandma came
out and saw me fighting And said “I don’t see No Blood.
That’s Not Fighting.” She said when people pick with me
Make sure they would Never try, or want to try it
Again. I learned A Lot From my Great Grandmother.
I Miss Both of My Grandmas. I have Never Felt more
Love and caring like their love. I Remember they
Used to say if you gonna cry what the Baby gonna Do.
Meaning, Men need to take control And stop making
Excuses. I have Not said much About my Father.
He Always made it when I did something wrong
The two times to go on an outing. He pulled A Shot Gun
From Behind A seat of A truck. the First time he was
with one of my sister’s or Brother’s mothers. The third
or fourth time I visited him in O.P.P. The Fifth time
He came to my Job to get some money. I Never knew
Why my Father was Not in my life. But I do know
It might not have been his Fault. I have A son
And Daughter. Circumstances can separate you
And your Love ones. We have hurt and we have pain.
But we have to Learn to get past the hurt.
To be what I did not want to be in Jail.
After what God has done For me.
I was Ashamed, But Now I Am Blessed.
I get to see where I made mistakes. I get to
See that I can’t Always get what I want.
I get to see that God is in control.
My Past is not my Future.
Who Am I.
“Let’s Take a Trip” by Joseph B.
As I close my eyes, the vision I see
There we are just you and me
Driving along thru the the FL coast
(watching the waves) you and I that’s the way we go
As we’re speeding the breeze blowing thru our hair
I open my eyes and you’re not there
Then again I shut my eyes
You’re there once again
So now it’s just you and me
Straight up friends.
When I see the smile on your face,
Now we’re there at a better place.
Can you see this dream?
Can you share this time?
Just a simple ride
Two friends inclined
Are you enjoying the ride?
Drawing by Pedro
“I Believe” by Zavery G.
I Believe what goes up must come down.
No matter how high it goes,
One day it will touch the ground.
Bugg got killed October 28, 2015,
Young boy, he was only 18,
Everybody heard about the news,
But not one person seen,
This was an outcome of the street life &
Chasing his dream,
But he’s in a better place now (eternal life),
Spread your wings,
One day i’ll be with you,
Me an the whole team
Your name will live on as long as I
I love you to death, this is the sober me,
I’m not speaking through codeine,
The day you died I couldn’t cry,
I was ready to ride,
I even popped a couple pills,
Brudd i was too high, tripping
Remember us dipping through the east,
Your destination was Judith St. by “G”,
That was most recent,
But me an you go way back before the 3,
Good times or bad, happy or sad,
You one of the closest friends I ever had,
So I got your lil one,
I promise he won’t fall victim to the gun,
Don’t trip on leaving us behind,
Just make sure to shield us while we shine
It’s a dirty game, but i’m in it to win,
So hold your head while I chase after Ben,
Because I Believe one day we will meet again,
It’s only a matter of time before I leave this life of sin.
“My Great Grandmother.” By Joseph B.
From the time I could Remember.
She was Always there.
I would look towards the corner.
Knowing what time it was.
I could Not go to sleep unless she was there.
She would Always have a treat.
Then she would sing me to sleep.
She was the one who was Always there
For me. When my Mother Got her own
Home. I still went to my Grandma’s.
Instead of being at home.
She was Always there, she taught me a lot.
When she would Talk to me I would
Listen A Lot. With Age there’s wisdom.
You Don’t Find it Much.
Martha Austin’s her Name.
And Now she with the Lord.
“A special Day.” By Joseph B.
When I Am Able to see my son!
To hold him in my Arms.
And see the smile on his face.
The Joy that I will feel
By his warm embrace.
This will be my special Day.
It will Be the only Time, My special Day.
“Untitled” by Sean F.
I am a 32 year old man
A large man
everyone else in my family is small
i would say I am normal
for the most part
I thought I would be somewhere in life
a high school diploma
a degree in engineering
i would have a good Job
things went different in my life
unlike my sister
She graduated from LSU
i look up to her
in many ways
I am positive i can do anything
i just have it in my mind
I’m going to do it
i will get it done
Whatever it may be
Since things went South in my life
i never thought in a million years
i would be incarcerated
or have anything positive in my life
at this age
im making the best out of it
i am confident im coming out a
wiser and greater man
I’m going to soak up any knowledge i can
do something great with my life
to provide for my family
the legal way
that way no one can doubt
the new and improved Sean
“My 20th year” by Zavery G.
Well I’m on this treadmill 24/7,
With the big dreams going to heaven,
I’m in tip top shape,
But my pockets losing weight,
Could it be what’s under my feet?
I don’t know!!!
Well, turn it off,
It’s time to eat,
4 252’s for a pair of shoes,
2014 I hit the news,
Look I’m about to take a cruise
I’m going to trial,
I can’t lose,
Grab my bible…pray…
Make a way
“hurt” by Joseph B.
hurt Can Be A word that’s spoken
An Action put into effect.
Pain that comes
Something that’s Not Direct.
Not intentional, may even be a mistake
Yet said the wrong way
Can cause you to hurt.
It can be A wife
A child or even a friend
hurt is pain, And pain is life.
We must learn to be strong
And endure such things
go on hurt goes away
“Untitled” by Donte G.
I’m 21 5’6’’ Dark skin with a Low Fade
I expect to be Long Gone
My Big brother was About 5’8’’ Dark skin with a
Fade as well. The Reason i say i expect to be
Long Gone because he got killed at
20 and i was 17 when that happen so
I did not expect to see 21.
I’ve done Good and bad
I don’t know what i wanna do at this Point
I’m Just happy i turn from my old
Ways because i might not have made
It to 21.
Written collectively by the class