In our Odyssey Artists’ Workshop, artists from Antaeus work with students to teach them creative writing, using the plays of William Shakespeare to explain the structural elements of non-fiction writing and theatre performance. The students craft and perform an original theater piece of their personal stories interwoven with selected characters and themes from Shakespeare’s plays. Below are excerpts from the 2019 culmination performance by the students from the William Tell Aggeler Opportunity High School.
I am from a place that never stood still due to the constant looking to live efficiently.
I am from a place where walls could be bridges or bridges could be walls. I am from a time where laughing is my sword and my shield.
I am from a place where slowing down was not an option.
Where fear of the future was not valid.
I am from a place of constant change where I have to adapt.
I have walls around my bridges and bridges through my walls.
I adapt to people. I adapt to places. I adapt to dreams.
I am from where change is necessary and what keeps you alive.
I am from a dark place where people call it the ghetto
and kids make fun of each other because they supposedly dress like gueros.
I am from a place where shots are fired and mostly everybody is known to be a liar
I am from where abortions happen because they are not ready to be parents
I am from a place where people overdose because they are bullied
I am from a place where Christmas doesn’t even exist for some kids
I am from a place where fathers don’t exist, the only father you’ll ever have is your mother
I am from a place where childhoods are ruined because of violence
I am from a place where you get judged a lot,
where you get beat up in the parking lot and people like to bark a lot
I am from a place where people get mad because you speak your mind
I am from a place where kids ditch school to get drunk or high
I am from a place of riots and there is never peace
I am from a place where there will be peace and silence, and soon there will be no more violence
I’m from where you hear police sirens and gang members break the silence and people have to watch their back, so they won’t get packed.
I’m from where you have to hurry up for school
and be attended and hoping you won’t get suspended.
I’m from where people can’t really afford the price, So they take a chance and they roll dice,
but you gotta remember people aren’t nice.
I’m proud where I’m from, you don’t have to come, I ain’t from Oklahoma. Fool, I’m from Pomona.
I’m from where police brutality is at its best.
I’m from where kids get cuffed for standing on the wrong corner.
From where kids get shot for wearing the wrong color.
I’m from where kids walk around with straps, cuz they fear for their safety. I’m from where parents don’t let their kids out,
cuz they live in the wrong hood or they scared of them getting snatched. I’m from the 818. Come visit, but remember to bring your vest.
I am from the city, where the drug dealers is young as hell Guns clapping in the alley, and yo pops is drunk
Moms going to church, just to pray for luck
I keep the hammer on me, just to make my enemies run AKs and Dracos, let ’em spit like tongues
I’m from where people look at you and think you’re from a gang but you’re not. I’m from where people say something about you because you’re fat.
I’m from where people go for the same thing,
something like the Rams or the Cubs or even the Dodgers.
I’m from where people sleep on the floor because they can’t trust no one. That’s where I’m from.
I’m from the place where people sell drugs to buy stuff or support their family I’m from the place where guys hit women to their feelings out.
I’m from the place where as soon as the sun goes down the sirens start coming. I’m from where girls go to school to get drunk or high.
I’m from where gangs don’t care whether you live or die.
I am from LA where baby-mommas don’t get custody of their kids, so they make new ones. I grew up in a good home, with one mother and no father.
I choose to go on the wrong path,
I chose the streets, because I didn’t love the love I was getting in my home.
I had a dysfunctional family, it was good on the outs, but worse on the inside. A year later when I chose the street life, I was homeless every day.
I done experience a lot of trauma to myself,
and all the trauma I was experiencing was killing all my close friends
and even killed one of my best friends, which was my grandma.
I missed her funeral because I wanted to be something that didn’t fit me. Four years later I’m thanking God for the position he put me in now, because now I’m loving the life I could have before I chose the street. Thank God and be blessed.