Memories Remain

Police patrol.
Ambulance's sirens scream.
Gunshots fire.
People run,
In attempt to save their own lives.

Fear overcomes me.
I stand frozen.
I wait for the silence,
But I know,
The noise will never end.

Around here,
Territory is treasured,
People, priceless.
Dirty looks, life-threatening.
Invading territory, fatal.

The violence.
The lives not spared,
Just because,
They were on the wrong street,
Or looked the wrong way.

I am ashamed to say,
That once was me,
Shooting people,
Just because they spoke my name,
Without my permission.

I have a tattoo,
That symbolizes
My devastating past.
Removing it is hard to do,
But it would be worth it.

I can never forget
What I've done.
I regret it all.
The lives I've taken,
Because of an issue I initially had nothing to do with.

My self respect,
Too high for anyone to handle.
Anyone who looked me up and down,
Got the shotgun aimed at them,
And a bullet in their body.

Like an angel,
Sent to me from heaven,
One day,
I got caught by the police.
I was arrested for drug dealing.

At eighteen years old,
I was just beginning my life,
That could have been simply amazing,
But, an alternative of that,
I was being sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

For fourteen, dreadful years,
I had nothing but time on my hands,
That I used to reminisce
On all of the things I had done.
Instead of a moment of silence,
I gave a day of silence to honor each and every one of the lives I had taken.

It took almost a year,
Of silence,
To honor those precious lives
I had not spared,
Because of the connections and the gang I was in.

Those people,
I remembered every one of their faces,
Every reaction,
To my gun pointed towards them.
I couldn't bare to see another.

What else can I do with fourteen years,
Sequestered,
In a prison cell,
With nothing to do?
Think.....

I thought a lot.
Although,
Most of my thinking
Was actually planning,
My plan to get out of the gang.

My gang was the smallest of the city.
It was also the most powerful and hardest to get into.
It had the most territory,
And the biggest reputation.
By reputation, I mean shootings and drug-selling locations.

It would be very hard to get out of,
Since drug deals and shootings were daily.
Unfortunately,
I was a greatly valued gang member,
Because of my unlucky, natural perfection of aiming and gun handling.

I took part in every drug deal,
And every shooting.
At first,
Not by choice,
But, eventually, I got used to it.

I hated seeing the person's body,
Collapse onto the ground,
After I had shot them,
But weakness couldn't be shown.
That is the unstated, natural rule of every gang.

In prison,
It was the same.
Weakness wasn't allowed
Nor tolerated.
I learned that very quickly.

My plan,
I wasn't exactly sure of,
When I was released.
After fourteen years,
I discovered I had been replaced.

My gang abandoned me,
Found someone better than me.
So, I kind of had the easy way out,
But the memories remained.
They haunt me, to this day.

Poetry Slam: 

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