Child of the Ghetto


Young child of the ghetto,
Through your eyes I can see
the pain,
Memories of the past roaming
through your
Friends, family, and the people
we used to know blood’s been washed up
by the rain.
Your heart then grew colder,
and acts of violence have gotten
Feeling the whole world weighing
down on our shoulders,
And no longer caring whether we
live or die.
Young child of the ghetto
Young child of the ghetto,
I can feel your
Disloyalty, deceit, betrayal, and
Is mainly what we see
when you live in Southeast;
I know because that child
was me.

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  1. Derek H. on October 26, 2020 at 11:25 AM

    Great imagery created by the inclusion of blood being washed away by the rain. Thank you for using your voice to relate to others, keep writing!

  2. Chuck Jones on October 26, 2020 at 1:17 PM

    I really like the way you start by talking to “you” (and makes us wonder who that “you” is), and then at the end tell us that it is really “I.” I was really moved by these lines: “Friends, family, and the people
    we used to know blood’s been washed up by the rain.” I hope to read more of your poems soon. — Chuck

  3. Cameron on October 26, 2020 at 1:48 PM

    AF, this is such a great poem! There are so many powerful emotions. I really like how you framed the poem as though you were talking to someone, telling them how you understand because you were in their shoes. One line that I found very compelling: “friends, family, and the people/ we used to know blood’s been washed up/ by the rain.” It is heartbreaking to realize that they have not only passed on, but people are moving on from their death. Overall, this is such a strong piece of writing, and I can’t wait to read more from you!

  4. Reid Baron on October 26, 2020 at 8:25 PM

    Feel ya!

  5. kennedi on October 26, 2020 at 11:31 PM

    This poem is so powerful. It reflects your feelings perfectly. It is such a deep and personal poem and that is what makes it so powerful. Keep on writing and do not stop!!

  6. Cyrill D Maceda on October 27, 2020 at 2:28 PM

    Thank you for sharing us with your inner thoughts about the way you lived. I may not relate exactly to how you felt but I truly sympathize. I used to live in a community like this back in my home country and since I was young, I wasn’t able to fully understand what happens around me. This poem helped me realize that my thoughts were right.

  7. kassidilenae on October 27, 2020 at 2:40 PM


    Thank you for your vulnerability in this poem. Your words are genuine, and that is what makes this poem powerful. The rhyme and rhythm trickles down the lines, mimicking the rain that washes the blood away. Keep using your voice to inspire others that have faced similar struggles as you. We hear you!


  8. Kathleen Brown on October 27, 2020 at 3:11 PM

    Your pain as well as your hope is tangible in your words. I applaud you for turning your negative experiences into encouragement for others who may be going through the same.

  9. Logan on October 28, 2020 at 1:09 PM

    Hey, AF. Your poem is saddening to read, it saddens me because anyone who has to go through what caused you to feel the way you do and write this poem is nothing short of tragic. It’s saddening to read the lines about deceit and betrayal, and I could imagine anyone turning cold or harsh with a life filled with such occurrences. I’m sorry for what you’ve had to experience, but I encourage you to keep using poetry as an outlet, it seems you’re very good at putting your feelings and experiences to paper. I know it certainly came to help me understand what it was like. Keep it real, AF.

  10. Rachel on October 28, 2020 at 2:31 PM

    I really like this because it feel like something so many can relate to. This is a familiar poetry structure and it feels personal to you. I would love to see it expanded by maybe adding some specific personal details or situations. Great job!

  11. Milana on October 28, 2020 at 2:32 PM

    This is such a powerful poem. It is terrible that you had to experience such pain at a young age. It really makes me think that we must do better as a society to improve such situations.

  12. Nina on October 28, 2020 at 2:34 PM

    This poem really left an impression on me. Environment can shape a person, either in their favor or work against them. Growing up in a lower income area, I saw what you described countless times. Your pain in this poem is so real and I think its amazing how you channeled that in your words. While reading, I constantly thought of that young child with sad eyes. I see that child surrounded by factors that make success almost impossible. You have such a unique voice and I really enjoyed reading. –Nina

  13. Uva Dasari on October 28, 2020 at 2:35 PM

    Hi AF! Your poem was very interesting and eye-opening, especially as you share your experiences from your childhood background and the negative aspects you’ve overcome. Loved reading your poem!

  14. kiana on October 28, 2020 at 2:38 PM


    This poem is so powerful and incredibly well-crafted. The pain that this poem articulates is so strong, and the rhyming helps to emphasize it so well. It takes a lot of vulnerability to be able to express things the way you do. Please keep writing.

  15. Phuong Nguyen on October 30, 2020 at 2:49 PM

    Such powerful poem, with raw and powerful words!

  16. Avantika Bhaduri on October 30, 2020 at 2:55 PM

    Hi AF,

    Thank you so much for sharing this powerful reflective poem with the world. The lines, “Feeling the whole world weighing down on our shoulders,/And no longer caring whether we live or die” really got to me. There was a time in high school those words embodied the status of my mind. While I made no attempts, I was not opposed to dying. It did not scare me and there were many times where I thought it would be better if I just died. The truth is it took me a long time to get out of the place where those thoughts stopped constantly circling in my mind. Of course, those vicious thoughts still linger when life is less than ideal. Our childhood is always a part of us and we should embrace that child because we should all embrace who we are now.

    I hope you continue writing and sharing more of your poetry on here!

    I’ll look forward to it 🙂

  17. Riti on October 30, 2020 at 3:00 PM

    Your literary description is really telling of your own experience and you do a great job of setting the scene for the reader while also writing truthfully and from your heart. Keep up the good work!!

  18. Martina Merrill on October 30, 2020 at 3:16 PM

    Dear AF,
    This poem is spectacular! You have a natural gift at writing and I hope you continue to write. The pacing and tone really draws a reader in and makes them feel and empathize with the young child. This poem truly can change a life, as it has not only with mine but I believe with those who read it after me. Not only those lives who are affected in the same way but those who may forget that everyone struggles and casting judgement on different struggles is not okay. It reminds me of the pain I felt in losing my own grandmother, how at times the world felt unfair as a child dealing with the lost of someone I loved so dearly. You are a light in this world and are making such a positive impact through these words.

  19. Brittani Forman on November 2, 2020 at 10:45 AM

    Nice poem. Nice to hear about you how you grew up. I love that you are expressing it in a positive way

  20. Brittani Forman on November 2, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    Love the poem. Nice to hear how you grew up in such a creative way.

  21. VB on November 2, 2020 at 12:49 PM

    Thank you for this beautiful poem. I can feel the hurt and pain suffered through your words. Explaining the circumstances through the eyes of a child creates empathy. However, the pain does not disappear for adults. Thank you for sharing these words.

  22. Samantha Pundt on November 3, 2020 at 4:39 PM

    I admire how you used such heartfelt and descriptive words to enable yourself to be vulnerable and true to your writing. I can’t say I can relate to your childhood, however I respect and appreciate this poem. I learned a new word the other day: esoteric, which I think resonates within your poem

  23. Curtestine M. Boardley on November 6, 2020 at 3:50 PM

    Very moving and enlightening! All of this poetry is! May all the poest be encouraged and continue striving to achieve their goals. God Bless all!

  24. Allison Bai on November 8, 2020 at 9:50 PM

    Hello AF,

    You managed to compress a whole life story into a few dozen lines. You have a real talent at writing with rhythm. There’s music in this poem. You’ve clearly dealt with far too much pain for just one lifetime. The line about your loved ones’ blood being washed by the rain specifically moved me. I sincerely hope that you are doing well. I hope you care about living these days because you have such an important story to share with the world. I know this poem alone has helped me regain perspective on my own life.

    Thank you for sharing,,

  25. JM on November 11, 2020 at 12:43 PM

    Dear AF,

    Thank you for sharing this poem. I really liked the format of it as a letter to a younger self and the rhyme you used throughout– this poem read like song lyrics to me. I also liked that you repeated “Young child of the ghetto,” because it emphasizes the urgency of the message and how much you care for the person you are speaking to. This poem is inspiring to me because, while there are experiences of adversity, the speaker of the poem has learned to look at the past and empathize with the younger self in the poem. The ending was so impactful and the whole thing was full of feeling and empathy for this person. Thanks again for sharing and I hope you continue to write.


  26. Rachel on November 11, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    I can feel the challenges you must have faced growing up. That must have been incredibly difficult. You express that pain so beautifully in your writing.

  27. Phuong Nguyen on November 11, 2020 at 3:09 PM

    Thank you for the vivid imagery of what pain people have to suffer when injustices happen. I hope you have acquired the strength and spirit to move forward now!

  28. Natalie D. on November 11, 2020 at 4:40 PM

    Hey AF. Your poem is the reality for so many youth who struggle growing up/living in D.C. I love the rhyming flow and your emphasized use of the title it in the poem. Thank you for sharing your piece.

    • Allison on January 21, 2021 at 11:27 AM

      You use great visuals in your poetry and it is awesome! This poem has some pretty powerful emotions that you do a very well job at expressing. I’m very sorry for the pain you feel and have felt. One can see that an environment can shape a person. You have been through many challenges in life and I hope that although they were tough times that they have made you stronger. I hope you use the emotions you have from these experiences and turn it into a positive way of helping others in the community. Please keep doing poetry, you are very good at it!

  29. McKayla Hagan on November 12, 2020 at 1:40 PM

    Wowww such a short, but powerful poem. Even though I have not personal gone through this experience I know a lot of people could relate with the struggling of growing up not having much and try to survive through difficult times

  30. Isabella Solomon on November 13, 2020 at 2:03 PM

    I really enjoyed reading your poem. I have never related to something more than this and I can feel the pain you have went through in your words. I as well grew up in the same type of situation. Both of my parents were addicts and sadly it took my dad away from me. However, we are still here alive today. We have a reason to be on this planet. Hopefully we can take the pain we went through and show others around us the love that we were never given.

  31. kassidilenae on November 15, 2020 at 10:05 PM


    Thank you for your vulnerability. Your appeal to people struggling in the same ways that you struggle is wonderful to see. I believe we face trials so that we can be there for others that experience similar trials. Keep inspiring others through your writing!


  32. Joseph W. on November 18, 2020 at 8:19 PM

    This poem is a powerful statement on the state of many neighborhoods in the United States. Through both the prose and the rhythmic styling you make clear the forgotten suffering and tragedy which is so common to many. A very touching and moving piece of work, and one that I wish more people would be able to see and understand.

  33. Jace Chen on November 18, 2020 at 8:23 PM

    I think was poem was very well done. The structure was clear and effective and also like the thread that was being made with the rhymed words at the end of the triplets that puts into perspective impact of growing up in the ghetto. I think this also plays really well with the multiple viewpoints you see childhood through were you are a bystander witnessing it now as some one older or the child that is living through it. Really great work!

  34. Justin Lambert on November 19, 2020 at 3:32 AM

    I can’t even begin to imagine how painful it must have been to share these experiences, but I am glad that you managed to articulate it so beautifully

  35. beth on November 21, 2020 at 1:07 PM

    I really liked your poem, I think it flowed very well. I liked how you start the poem from the perspective of a mentor, talking to the child and understanding and relating to their struggles, but then at the end you reveal that you were in the same position, empathizing because you had to deal with the same pain that many kids are suffering through now.

  36. Grishma on November 21, 2020 at 4:40 PM

    Your rhythm and use of rhyme is amazing. Your lines are fairly simple yet carry a very strong and powerful message, and you are able to convey your emotions in a way that shares your perspective with the world in a way that is easily understood. Thank you for sharing this.

  37. Lyndsay on December 3, 2020 at 5:21 PM

    I love that this poem is heartfelt and raw. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. This is a beautiful way of showing that.

  38. Alasha on December 4, 2020 at 12:34 PM

    I love the fact that this poem is so raw. Being from philly I can relate a lot to the feelings of the writer. Love the fact that the writer is so open with how these environments affect a person. Not many people speak on these feelings.

  39. Shitfar icuntbelieveit on December 5, 2020 at 6:11 AM


  40. Keyana on December 7, 2020 at 12:05 PM

    I enjoyed and appreciate reading about life through another persons perspective. Continue to write poetry. Thank you!

  41. Katherine on December 8, 2020 at 2:40 PM

    Very powerful and melodic! I love how you relate to your past through this scope.

  42. Maggie on December 11, 2020 at 12:26 PM

    This poem is very deep, and shows the struggle people face. I thought it was very well written and I thought it was good for people to connect to.

  43. Olivia on December 12, 2020 at 11:54 PM

    The best way to release your emotions and describe the past is through writing. You have created a poem that allows you to put your past behind you and to move forward. This poem shows such strength, bravery, and resilience through expressing raw feelings and situations. You have the ability to inspire others and spread light on difficult times!

  44. Callie Cloran on December 13, 2020 at 9:53 AM

    AF, this is a heartfelt poem that displays strong emotions and can reach all those who read it. It is beautiful and pure. God bless!!

  45. Samantha on December 18, 2020 at 4:36 PM


    This piece was so powerful. I could feel the pain you were expressing in your poem. What really touched me was how you ended your poem: “I know because that child was me”. That really hit me hard, and I felt your pain and sorrow that came across in that line. Thank you so much for sharing about your life experience, through the lens of writing to a child/children who also grew up in similar situations as you did. I really appreciated you being so open and vulnerable.


    Samantha Smart

  46. Joyce on January 19, 2021 at 1:56 PM

    Dear AF,

    Thank you for this beautiful, emotional poem. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I really like how you wrote this poem, it is lyrical and has strong imagery. I like your use of rhyme and repetition, for example, colder and bolder, and the repetition of “young child of the ghetto.” It is so powerful that you are speaking to your younger self. You explain the pressure you were under very clearly, and how it made you feel. It seems like you’re able to self-reflect and process your past, I hope this process is healing for you. Amazing work.


  47. Sarah Gingras on January 20, 2021 at 10:58 AM

    Hi AF!

    All I can say is WOW. You honestly made me tear up reading your poem, because I could feel your pain through your sense of imagery and vocabulary choice. I know I could never feel exactly how you did growing up, but now after reading this poem I have a piece to the puzzle thats been missing. Please continue on creating such powerful work because you could have a future in creative writing!


  48. Allison on January 21, 2021 at 11:40 AM

    You use great visuals in your poetry and it is awesome! This poem has some pretty powerful emotions that you do a very well job at expressing. I’m very sorry for the pain you feel and have felt. One can see that an environment can shape a person. You have been through many challenges in life and I hope that although they were tough times that they have made you stronger. I hope you use the emotions you have from these experiences and turn it into a positive way of helping others in the community. Please keep doing poetry, you are very good at it!

  49. Amanda on March 26, 2021 at 4:03 PM

    Hi AF,
    I really enjoyed reading your poem, it brought so many emotions onto the surface for me and I really felt the pain while reading through your experiences. You did such an amazing job at expressing the emotions you were feeling and I’m sure this piece has been affecting everyone who had read it. I hope you keep writing as time goes on because I feel you have a a very special gift!

  50. Ayzhiana Basallo on March 28, 2021 at 8:53 PM

    I thought your poem was very powerful. I could relate to it so. much. I like how you really wrote with your heart and the way you put the words on the paper. It is truly inspiring to read and I hope you write more!

  51. Anna on April 16, 2021 at 4:32 PM

    Your poem is so powerful! I can see your struggle through your words. I truly hope you continue to write and bring awareness to your situation and to those living a similar life.

  52. Gillian on April 19, 2021 at 9:57 PM

    Each line holds a great deal of power. You as a narrator are able to give a sense of comfort to the audience you speak to because they know they are not alone in this childhood struggle. I could never understand your upbringing and how it has affected you to this day, but your words help me understand to the best of my ability.

  53. Reilly on May 5, 2021 at 11:02 AM

    What a deep and powerful poem. I cannot imagine the pain you have faced to write so deeply like that. I really enjoyed your imagery and descriptive language throughout this poem. I also really was moved by this line “Feeling the whole world weighing down on our shoulders”. You did a wonderful job, keep writing and sharing your experiences!

  54. Billie Marcheva on May 5, 2021 at 8:34 PM

    Hi AF,

    Thank you so much for sharing this work. It’s genuine and vulnerable in an unapologetic way.

    You touch on so many meaningful concepts in this poem. The way people are socialized and the environment they grow up in determines so much about the opportunities, resources, and paths they have in life. I appreciate you sharing the harsh realities of your childhood and how quickly the “child” parts of it were lost to you. I wish you so much happiness and good luck in your growth.

  55. Shawn rigsby on May 12, 2021 at 1:22 AM

    Hi AF,
    I really like this poem that you have created. This poem really brings out emotions and thoughts for us readers. Not everyone grows up in the same environments so it is interesting to view other areas through other peoples thoughts and “eyes”. Growing up in an environment like this can cause much trauma, dark pasts/memories, and fear for the future. This can lead to built up frustration and anger. This can lead to being violent because you do not know how else to deal with the built up emotions from the past. You can grow up feeling like no one is there for you but yourself because thats the loyalty you’ve ever known. I really like that you are speaking up and putting your feelings and thoughts into poems. I think you’re great at doing this and you really know how to express yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Chynel on November 8, 2021 at 12:29 PM

    I really like how you make the shift from 2nd person to first person. It really helps emphasize the personal aspect of your poem. Great writing!

  57. Nina Austria on November 9, 2021 at 9:21 PM

    AF, thank you for sharing this. I definitely see writing as a lens into my past, and as one of the best tools for self-reflection. It’s so clear that you have thought a lot about the events in your life and that through so much, you have remained resilient. I found your words super inspiring!

  58. Andrew F on April 7, 2022 at 8:31 PM


    I appreciate how you framed your experience through addressing a young child. By doing so, it forces the reader to ask themselves “how can one as innocent as a young child deserve this?” It’s a reminder that while some things are within our control, other struggles are ones we are born into. Thank you

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