Children of the Night

“Children of the Night” is the term they used,
But the phrase alone is what left me confused.
To say the least, we all have a sad story,
But the look in our eyes makes it pretty self-explanatory,
The beatings and rapes were a part of the job,
But the “glitter and gold” is what kept us involved.
The passion and drama make it hard as well.
Our eyes are too clouded to realize
We are walking the streets of hell,

The Pimps and the Tricks all wear a clever disguise,
But under those costumes hold many lost young lives.
Our education and morals stop growing completely,
But our breasts and our bodies seem to grow older weekly.
The tears and bruises we “charge to the game”
But the hollow hole we tried filling before, remains the same.
—Leisa, California

Long Way to Go

Saturday night down on the strip,
I’m dodging the two P’s: Police and Pimps.
Street lamps and headlights shine like spotlights aglow
The night is still young and I got a long way to go.
Out of the corner of my eye I see,
Lots of other young girls trying to catch a date just like me.
Young and restless we are;
Anxious to see another van, truck or car.

Competition is strolling down every block,
Tricks have the pick of the litter these girls are coming in flocks.
Police drive by and they don’t really care,
They say stupid things like,
“I’ll give you 5 bucks to see your underwear”.
Often we have nowhere to go, no kind person
To see that we are caught in the system,
We are struggling victims, without options or much choice
We are silenced, and our strife has no voice.
—Jennifer, age 21


When I first saw you,
I was afraid to touch you,
When I first touched you,
I was afraid to kiss you,
When I first kissed you,
I was afraid to love you,
Now that I love you,
I’m afraid to lose you.
—Shaquana, age 17


Flashback of me being raped,
Nightmares I never seem to escape.
Long nights on the streets, crying, No place to go nothing to eat.
My only hope is prostitution,
My mind still stuck on the institution.
Locked up for years, can’t cry,
My eyes are all out of tears.
If life is this hard, death got to be easy
So why haven’t I died, swift and breezy?
This is all yesterday, so why is it still with me?
Today I try and live, when hope is gone
God is always there to give you the special bond,
But I can’t because my hero is done, fell
And my heart turned cold, and I’m living in hell
How can I let yesterday be, when it is still me?
—Tiffany, age 15


Why am I here, why?
Why did he do it, why?
Why must they judge me, why?
Why do they talk about me, why?
Why don’t they like me, why?
Why did I do it, why?
And why must people put a barrier up
Against me because of what I did?
Why? Why? Why?
—Lakeisha, age 15

My Life

My life is hard, my life is not easy
My life is not like the wind,
My life is not breezy.
My life is hell to me,
My sadness, my depression, my love-life, is hell
Don’t you see.
My life has haters who hate boys,
Who think they ball.
Sometimes I think I’m short,
Sometimes I think I’m tall.
I don’t know what to do with my life,
Oh my God
I need to give my best friend a call.
—Alicia, age 11

I Remember

I remember who I really am
The gentle and caring person that lives deep within
The one afraid to come out, for fear of being used again
I wonder when the day will come when I can let the “image” go
The day when I will no longer care if someone called me ‘hoe’
The day I can truly be me, and let my spirit free
So the world can see me for who I really am
The side of me that shines
The friendly and compassionate person I used to be
The choices I have made have shaped who I have become
Never will I regret anything I have ever done.
-Jennifer, Oakland


Feeling here
That I am all alone.
Waiting softly,
Waiting for
Someone to call.
Knowing that
No one will speak.
Everyone is so weak,
They fall.
And no one comes,
Inside my feelings,
I hear shadows
On the ceiling.
They protect me
From the meaning
And the sounds of
No one screaming.
For the reason
I am waiting,
For the pone
To start ringing.
—Octavia, age 16

I Am So Lost

I’ve been lost for a while
Hiding behind jokes and smiles.
I know that’s what everyone sees when they look at me.
If they only knew the thoughts in my head,
How lonely I feel inside like I’m almost dead.
Time passes and I suppress the depression inside,
That’s all I can do because I won’t let myself Cry
—Jennifer, age 21

Lost in Dark Depression

Lost in dark depression,
Not knowing where to run.
I opened the windows to my soul
To see what I could learn.

I swept up depression,
Scrubbed the sadness and the hurt,
I put it all in trash bags
And set them by the curb

I found, stashed in a corner
Tucked high upon a shelf,
A treasure chest of knowledge
That I could love myself.

And wherever my future takes me
I know that I will win,
Because I opened the
Windows to my should,
And let the light shine in.
—Calesha, age 19

I Was There…

I was there when you ran away
I was there when your home was falling apart
I was there when dad left mom
I was there when mom lost her mind and tried drugs for the first time

I was walking with you when he came
I was there when you were talking to him, telling him everything
And then it hit you, that you found someone who would listen
I was there when you felt good being with him, we all did

I was there when you went in the care,
Trying to get you out, I wasn’t making it very far
I was there when you went in the house to meet the other girls
Not knowing that soon, you would be in another world.

I was there your first night out
I was there when you couldn’t make enough money
I was there in the car when you had a bad date
I was there when he messed up your face
Thinking in your mind that tonight you might not stay alive
I was there when you gave him the money

I was crying when he hit you anyway, making you feel like nothing
I was there when you got locked up
I was there when you were crying
I was there when you felt like you were dying

I am here now, that you’re out
I am her again now that your skin is clear from the black and blue bruises
I am here again as you go to school
I am here again as you smile and walk with your head up high
I am here again now that you dream
I am here now that you’re telling your story

I am sitting here next to you at GEMS
Looking at the tears running down your face
Telling you it’s ok to cry
I hug you to show you hands are not made to hit
They’re made for me to hold you and say this:
I was there

From Lady, to all the young girls out there
—Lady, age 16

I am inside the room

Looking outside the tiny window of my room,
I see the world as a light of bliss and think …
Is there any scene which is more beautiful than this? Anywhere in this world?
There are meadows all around bedecked with the golden paddy grains
…looking ravishing.
There are the trees inundated by the lovely tunes of the birds.
There are beautiful lovely friends around.
The birds are all flying high in the sky spreading their wigs…
And I?
I am sitting inside the room.
—Sandhya Parbat, 11

Your Rights are not Alms

Woman, your rights are not alms that you have begged for,
The suppressions of your dreams are not goals you aspire for
Free the wishes imprisoned within you
Let your talent soar in the world
Facing your problems is not difficult
Woman, your rights are not alms that you have begged for
You have yet to see how you will influence the world
You have yet to break your four walls to free the world
Your rights are not sins or crimes
Woman, your rights are not alms that you have begged for
Who turned your identity into being dependent?
You can change the story
And make yourself independent
Woman, your rights are not alms that you have begged for.
—Seema Kumari, 11