D.C. Youth Show Off Poetic Prowess

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Young D.C. poets from The Beat Within provided the entertainment at the fourth annual "Models for Change" conference in Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by The Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday, December 8 at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel. The Beat Within hosts workshops twice a week at New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, Maryland. The young men were followed by Tyrone Jones, a current intern at New America Media/The Beat Within, who helped publish a book of poetry "Concrete Dreams" with six other youth over the summer. The audience gave the poets a standing ovation and requested signed copies of the book after the performance. Roughly 150 people attended the event.


Beat Within intern Tyrone Jones reads from "Concrete Dreams."

Too Far

I can’t go too far
My mother wants me home
Very early.
I can’t go too far
It’s too late.
Too far I can’t go
Why not?
‘Cause my mother wants me home
Too far, way too far I can’t go
I want to fly
My mother said, no
That’s way too far.

Two Steps Back and One Step Forward

I take two steps back and one step forward
I play life like a game but the game
Ain’t enjoyable
The step that you take might make your life horrible
So be careful of your steps and hold yourself
Accountable for them.
I take a step forward, without looking back
Because that’s the old me, I’m now the
undercontrolled me.
No one has to hold me, I take care of myself
The old steps that I took wasn’t good for my health.
I take another step forward – but can see the past
In my peripheral, I’m try an’ get away as fast but I guess
it has to live with you.
If I take another step forward there’s
No looking back
So now it’s three steps forward
And no steps back.

Lost Figures

To be a man is something that’s lost its touch.
They die or lose time they can’t make up.
If only I had that figure that everyone needs,
I can be a man added to the ones that succeed.
Should I wander off and stay on a right path,
Or should I go behind the father I never had.

New America Media granted permission to reprint “D.C. Youth Show Off Poetic Prowess.”

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