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Ess Tee Oh Pee
Tee Heh Eee
Vee Eye Oh Ell Eee Enn Cee Eee


Remember the ways in the old days a child could sit on the stoop with a clear
sandwich bag filled with chips and a cold cut sandwich on the side, neatly placed on an off-store brand paper towel?

A sister or daughter of another mother drawing in chalk along the sidewalk bringing color to her dreams of being as the streets are happening while other children play
tag or hide-and-seek behind trees on their concrete playground with resounding
screams and shrills of laughter.

And now after…

Those better days when a mother was not to be afraid a stray bullet might fly through
the air to tear into the innocent flesh of her promise for a family’s tomorrow through
the pains of yesterday's we as a race have faced from the earliest of times.

Sadly we live in times defined by the killing of our own by our own kind.
Gathering only when the police strike in combat gear from fear of who they think we
are. Discarding decency or respect because of what we show them we are by not caring about who we are forgetting the strength of our ancestor’s that got us this far.

Our children are dying, communities dividing out of fear of not being safe in one’s
own home, let alone going out to shop or up the block. When will the violence stop?
Accepting this as normal behavior while the graver builds pint size coffins for our
children who have not had a chance to live, their new ideas to give, or believe in the
promise adults keep telling them they can live.


When will we get tired of the breaking news stories we watch while our communities crumble from corner drug-boy warfare? So many futures that are no longer there,
young men who just don’t care, where nobody is afraid to do time until time catches
up with you. Asking momma, “now what to do?” “Where is dad?” Who is left to care for
us, to protect the rest of us and not wonder why more prisons are being built but
schools are closing down around the poorest of neighborhoods?

Gunshots ring through, cop cars wailing blue, babies crying of young mothers who
think being grown ain’t what I’m used to, who still try to find some meaning behind it all but the cycle continues.


Does anyone miss the days when the neighbor’s would come together to raise each
other up beyond the hardships of life? When men would honor the wife and children
grew with respect for the elders and each other because life meant a hope for a

Now the elderly are disrespected, their pains ingrained by years of a struggle we
can only imagine by the images depicted on the television screen some writer wrote
but never truly lived which gives only his story through. What to do when our youth
are not taught true the reward of hard work and devotion to something other than
one’s self in this wealth of mystery called Black History?

I am doing life in prison for the murder committed and an innocent woman lost
her life. “I am sorry” will never repay the price so I live my life for her and the hurt I
have caused the world by my selfish foolish act.


Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Jeffery Shockley is a writer incarcerated in Pennsylvania.