BEFORE NINE

Written by: Arcene Janvier

I've lived for eight years, before I turn nine,
Is there a chance that I'll ever get mine?
Will I see another crony of mine getting smoked?
Will I be told parables from all the grown folks?
Should I be countin' on life's major letdowns
Will I still be seeing another street shakedown?
Before I'm a decade, I've got one more year
Will I still be held under a monotonous glare?
Can they still incite me as a stereotype
Talk about notoriety, am I living the hype?
Should I best be robbin', stealing, or kill?
After all, life done given its share of ill will
Will my studies give way to criminal activity
Am I destined to repetition in my city of nativity?
Before nine, should I fall to childish delinquency
If crime I'm born in, is this my consistency?
Am I judged by this system as a youth of risk
Should I plead my case now, should I stand tall and brisk?
Can I place hope on athletics, music or learning
Or is the door shut, and locked up, and burning?
Can I test out the paths, can I open up the lids
Or is it already decided that I'm just a kid?
Before I turn nine, has adulthood been set
Is my fortune as dim, will misfortune be met?

---This is a piece I wrote when I was eight years old--living in the slums of Florida.