A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Down the street, sneakers hang from cable lines.
Along cement walls are graffiti gang signs.
One never walks alone here;
One is never without fear.
Brooklyn: where felons advance their career;
Brooklyn: where the innocent disappear,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In the media,
He is painted the shade of sin with the tone of threat,
The source of shame in a dark silhouette.
As if he is invisible yet ominously there,
Sprouting sin and fostering fear.
Roaming the mean streets of Brooklyn,
Grounds nourished in hate and bred for sin,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In this hood,
The crime-ridden projects of urban cityscape,
Day shines light on the sight of caution tape,
As the dreadful night before had taken shape
In the ugly forms of homicide and rape,
Of violent theft and victims’ futile escape,
In this vicinity of vice lived in constant fear,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

In his family,
One might even say that the rumors hold truth,
As blood-kin behave in ways deemed uncouth:
An uncle on the run, and another behind bars,
His father charged for hijacking cars.
His older sister smokes pot outside the corner store,
As his little sister walks from behind to explore.
Yet he holds them dear and dreams to be the pioneer.

He is trampled by hollow assumptions,
Labeled with loathe and stamped with shame.
Using food stamps for daily consumptions,
He etches a living in his own name:
A student with perfect attendance,
And a fine scholar with straight A’s.
He is living with independence,
Fear overcome and peace embraced.

This child dreams to become a pioneer:
A brother who takes care of his sisters at will,
A son who makes his parents proud of him too.
A boy who, towards his ambitions, pursue,
Will one day find all his wishes fulfilled,
To become the man with his dreams come true.

The media can lie.
And people will die,
In this place where calm drowns into a cry,
And yet a tree grows high into the sky.
Living a life of fear with no despair,
A child dreams to become a pioneer.

3 Responses to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

  1. jjander says:

    this was very touching. 🙂

  2. lisa.b says:

    you are amazing, girl!

  3. liz says:


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