Photo courtesy of Alamy.com
Matt Farrell ’17
“I grew up on the Southside.”
We first meet a young baby boy, bright-eyed,
Beautiful black skin seeing the world for the first time.
His parents looked at each other and knew of the daunting climb
But didn’t expect to take upon the role of Atlas,
And as this boy begins to speak,
His daddy was gone, leaving the family up the creek.
See, his father got in a little trouble with Johnny Law,
Deported from the country leaving Baby Boy with his mom,
But Baby Boy barely knew him, so there was no time for sobs.
“You ever see your mom cry providing for you?”
Ten years later Baby Boy, a young man,
Sees Mama shedding tears so he grabs for her hand.
Later that day he walks up to D-Day,
Who reps the color red from around way,
Asking for any favors needed;
D-Day declined but Baby Boy heeded.
See money was tight but anguish is loose.
D-Day gave Baby Boy the option of a path to choose.
“There were some days I had to bring a gun to school.”
Baby Boy now a “man” at the tender age of fourteen,
Crime record follows him like a shadow he has never seen.
D-Day has died and he’s paying Mama’s bills.
In school Baby Boy has no desire to learn
Because an education never helped anyone.
Pens and pencils were replaced by pieces and pistols,
And those bright eyes glazed over with hatred of all folk.
“It’s hard to escape, you know?”
After school Baby Boy heads over to Southside,
And visits with some friends as they begin a wild ride,
When he returns home Mama sees no more love,
As being a man has made her Baby Boy numb.
Violence has taken over his bloodstream,
And that’s when I give him homework.
“It’s quite simple,” I begin,
“Go home, hug your mother, and tell her you love her.”
The next morning I walk in and Baby Boy has a grin,
“I did it,” the only homework he ever completed.
The story is all true of a “thug” or a “criminal,”
But to me Baby Boy is on his way to a true man.