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Red Hook Young Writers' Series

To Smile Or Not to Smile

By Nynita Johnson

To smile or not to smile that is the question.

Either I stay mad and frown at the fact that no one likes me or I keep a smile on my face for everyone to see.

To laugh, to giggle, to bring emotions upon thee

How can anyone laugh with me.

Is it because I am stressed and depressed and hide my feelings behind a smile.

I guess I will smile for you now. And keep my head up high for everyone to see.

To smile or not to smile that is still the question to me.

To Get Up Out Dis Hood

By Emmanuella Murat

Lookin out da window, watchin drive-bys taking place.

Hearin people screamin, not learnin from their mistakes.

Chillin on da corner, sellin drugs to get on by.

Watchin my back and enemies just to stay alive.

Doin drugs and joinin gangs was what I was all about.

As a kid, I grew up. This is a new day now.

Havin dreams and watchin them fade made me give up hope.

Smokin weed and purple haze got me into dope.

Givin up or givin in meant it was the end.

The unknown force that kept me here was hard to understand.

To give up on these drugs and gangs, depended on a sign.

Losin faith to give this up, knowin my life was on da line.

Sittin on dis stoop with friends, talkin of what to be.

Dyin out in laughter while sippin hennesy.

Just stopping by to say what's up, to see some friends, to give heads up,

To see them now, to see the change, cause I see the hood, it's still the same.

Thinkin of those times we talked of what to be.

Looking back on memories of sippin hennesy.

Looking at this picture not proud of what I see.

To get up out dis hood was like a fantasy.