Imagine not seeing your mother in the flesh since you were seven yrs. old
I was lost being the oldest, a young Mexican in a world that seemed so cold

I found my manhood while running the streets with real thugs
I thought I knew loyalty, the only love were Abuela Maria’s hugs

Even those hugs weren’t enough to help me understand
How destructive I had become, fifteen acting like a man

I thought I’d die a cancer patient at twelve, maybe thirteen
So I lived life to die, who said in me a miracle would be seen

Abuela Maria’s prayers and her faith in God really saved my life
I still struggled in my ignorance, against God’s grace I’d fight

God cured me of cancer, and then I ended up getting shot
Lord you wrote this tragedy of my life, yet I don’t know the plot

At fifteen I was incarcerated, I’ve done eight years for my crimes
Now as a young man, I know God’s mercy has saved my life

Even in South Texas, in this ghetto we are used as their toys
Our culture is too similar, don’t believe Enoch, well ask Boy

Nothing in this poem is fake; it is as real as the wounds that Boy still carries. It is crazy that in the slums, all the pain is the same regardless of the race. Let it be the Mexican from the barrio, the broke white, or the poor black. Poverty has a way of robbing us of our youth, of our innocence, and of our means to be productive. Boy’s story isn’t just his story, look at Florida, California, New York, and Seattle.  You’ll find a boy that this poem describes. The poor suffer and in our suffering we become vulnerable to being exploited, while developing negative means to survive. We become victims victimizing others, justifying our actions with distorted reasoning, yet it seems sound at the time. Can you say what you’d do in Boy’s position in his circumstances? Sometimes prison allows the prisoner to worsen his/her beliefs, and sometimes it allows the prisoner the chance to be free of old ideals, birthing Men not Boys. Don’t listen to me, go out find Boy in your city and ask him.

Dedicated to my young friend,

A. “Boy” Medina