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Been There, Done That, But I Made It

Leola Claiborne Carhee
[email unavailable]

I lived on the edge too. I fought the same fight, but I made it.
I shot up junk because my dad was always sloppy drunk and my mama
Was a prostitute. She had a different man in her bed every other night.

Sure I wanted knowledge so badly that I listened to my counselor
And found scholarships that I could benefit from. I didn't stay drugged
Up for long because girl friend I had dreams. So how can you look at me?
With such disbelieve and settle for nothing, when you can say I got the power
And I am going to use it. Yes I lived on your street, but look at me
And what you can do for yourself.

My mama lived on welfare as long as I can remember. She did not have guts enough
To find a job, don't know whether she was trifling or thought that was the
fact of life and that she couldn't do any better.

Did you think I was married when little Billy was born? No and that's a
fact. I had a mentor who found me resources to help me keep my baby and
still go to school. Learning was hard, but I made it.

Yes I lived every day with everybody trying to put me down, but I was strong
and worked much harder to empower myself and any other like me who wanted to make it.
Yes, I wanna know why you dropped out of school regardless of what you were called.
Stand tall and say I am somebody and I will make it.

Yes I wanna know why you take abuse from any man for a fact. I moved out of
a rat hole and so can you. You can make it. Yes I wanna know why you don't
improvise and wrap your shoes in corker sacks; I did, and I made it.

Oh I know all about you, I came from the same street that you did. I walked
the same walk, I talked the same talk you did until I made up in my own mind,
I am getting myself together and move out of there. I saw myself as well as
you through my own eyes, I've worn your dress size,
I've seen life through your eyes, I've smell
life through your nose and I've cried tears like yours.
I read what's on your mind, I've lain down in your bed and I've stood in
your welfare line.

I've been called out of my name and I have felt all of your shame, I've stood
under your rain and ate what you had to eat. And listen to this. I've lived
on your street. In fact in the same apartment. I did not want that to be
forever. Someone had to break loose. I did and you can too. Youth empower
you and get out of the rain.




About the Author (click here) Poem © 2003 Leola Claiborne Carhee, all rights reserved
 appears here by permission



Author Notes

           This poem was written to encourage teen empowerment and does not reflect the author's life. I was raised in a sheltered home environment.

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