What it’s like

We read “What it’s Like to Be a Black Girl (for those of you who aren’t)” by Patricia Smith and talked about identity, both in the poem and in our own lives. Patricia Smith actually deals with a few different aspects of identity in her poem: race, gender and youth are right there in the title. Students wrote their own takes on “What it’s like.”


What it’s like to be a young black male in Chicago
Devon G.

In the city of Chicago young black males
are getting locked up almost every day. It’s
like some people don’t care about black
males in America. It’s like your mother worries
every night and day if you are coming home
or not. It’s like every night when a young man
leaves his house and goes to a friend’s house
and the mother doesn’t know if he got arrested,
locked up or if he is lying dead in an alley.
But one day in about ten years your mother will
find out that you became a famous business
owner and your mother is very proud of you.

What it’s like to be a young black woman (for those who aren’t)
Takya W.

It’s being called out of your name.
It’s pregnancy, periods, bundles of joy
and being a new life. It’s pride and dignity.
It’s not having good grades in school.

What it’s like to be a young black girl in Manley
Karmelle S.

It’s walking down the hallway with a group of
girls who won’t be your friends by senior
year. It’s getting noticed by older boys who
think you are something special until a new
girl come in with a bigger booty or have a
better figure. It’s teachers nagging and on
your case because you didn’t do one
homework assignment. It’s trying to find
yourself and find your inner you. It’s not
giving a f— about what people are thinking
about you. It’s having that one best friend
who makes you come out of your shell.
It’s finding that one person who is always
going to love you and be there for you
when you don’t even notice. It’s losing
friends over little things that won’t
matter when you get older. It’s seeing
fights that are escalated over stupid
stuff. It’s rumors that fly so fast,
everyone on the block knows about it
before you do. It’s experiencing feelings
that you never knew existed. It’s
broken hearts and shedded tears that
won’t mean anything because your
heart is already broken.

5th period

What its like to be a young man in a bad hood
Darrell D.

Me only being 15 in a bad
hood is gunshots going    you
be scared not knowing what to
do. Other people looking at you
crazy because they don’t know
what you been through    and
the people talking about
you then judging you. Really
the person they are talking
about is really caring and
has a soft spot for everybody
but the way he gets threatened
is unfair.

Inside the Mind of a 16-yr-old Girl
Diamond F.

It’s having to hide how you feel
behind the temporary smiles and
laughter. Where you dream of the
impossible and live the reality.
It’s loving someone, without regret.
Trying on clothes to outdo
others. Hanging with friends you’re
soon to lose. Believing life is not
fair when things don’t go your
way. It’s believing there is still
hope when all of it is lost. To
want to grow up, but afraid to
lose your parents. It’s holding
your deepest secrets, with all of
the doubt in the world. It’s to
finally be happy with yourself.
It’s wanting that special person to
realize you. Only wanting to feel loved
and wanted.

What it’s like to be a Black boy
Shaquon P.

It’s like every other boy is
against  you. They want to see
you struggle or dead. Hating on
you because how you live, want
you dead because of the people
you hang with or even what
side of town you live in.
You can’t go to the store
knowing you are safe, you can’t
trust no one because everybody

7th period

What it’s like to be looking from the outside
Devon M.

what it’s like is like looking from behind
a glass    what it’s like is like being the
main role in a bad TV show   it’s like being
picked up and dropped back down     What it’s
like is being a king with no one to lead    it’s
like being a bird who’s scared to fly
it’s like reaching for something that’s
not there    it’s like waiting and watching
but always like looking from the outside

Growing Up Black
Derreon C.

Growing up black
all I wanna do is survive in Chiraq
people getting shot people gettin stabbed with a knife
I swear I tell you this place ain’t right
every day I wake up I ask God for one more night
cause every time you step outside you fight for your life

Growing up black I became a young wild boy
making a lot of young wild noise
but growin up black sometimes you have to make an
old wise choice

Game Way Projects
Terrance S.

Have you ever lived in
the projects? Well, I guess
not. Imagine being in a building
where there is violence nonstop
Your mom telling you to hide
behind the couch because she
is afraid of somebody coming
shooting down the door. What a
scary site. Coming out the apartment
seeing nothing but spray
paint on your wall with gang
symbols or going on the
elevator where it smells like
nothing but pee. Seeing people
sell drugs out the building
when Mommy telling you
to stop looking, mind your
business. Or seeing somebody
get shot “mannn” I don’t want
to live in any more projects.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.