This week, the Beat will be posting work from writers in the Writers in Baltimore Schools (WBS) program. This work was created at WBS’ Young Writers’ Summer Studio, a six-day writing camp held each year in August. This year, the Beat’s Lisa Snowden-McCray and Brandon Soderberg worked with the students for two of those six days. Some of the work here and much more will be published in WBS’ Writers’ Studio anthology out soon. We began with a piece from WBS founder Patrice Hutton and today, we bring you a poem by WBS writer Abigail Mokuba…

Baltimore is where I’m from. To be specific, East Baltimore.

East Baltimore. A.K.A ova east, A.K.A 

my parts.

My neighborhood is peaceful if it wants to be, I grew up with BMX bikes, mopeds, dirtbikes, and we all know the 12 O’Clock boys.

Around my way you hear the motors of dirt bikes and speeding cars in the morning and at night. 

The problem is the fact that all our brothers and sisters are dying, I can’t even imagine what their parents are going through right now. 

Rest in peace brothers and sisters.

I come from Paso da Mafia, Lor Scoota, and Young Moose, I can name more.

I live in a neighborhood where girls wear booty shorts and call theirselves grown.

I come from girls showing too much skin, and walking outside. They are so-called “hoochie mommas’”

And older men holla at these little girls saying ‘’shorde,’’ ‘’babygirl,’’ ‘’lil mama,’’ knowing damn well those girls are still children in their momma’s eyes.

I’m from Baltimore where Murder Ink. is the news to the young mind, and the Baltimore finsta is where all the drama starts.

My parts, my people, my family, my city.