Keva Carr, a member of a Students at the Center class at Frederick Douglass Senior High School in New Orleans, shared the following poem in a workshop presented with her teachers and classmates at the Critical Resistance South conference on Saturday, April 5.  In the session, she explained to the group that she had sent this and other writings to her cousin, who is incarcerated in one of Louisiana's youth prisons.  Most of the writings she has sent, including this one, have been returned to her, never having been read by her cousin.

Her experiences with her cousin and her study of the Casey Foundation report to the state legislature made her interested in attending the hearing on the youth prison at Tallulah in Judge Doherty's juvenile court, section F, during the week of April 14.


To Kelvin,

            There were no limits at all to the things you did.

            You were my cousin, when I was a confused little kid.

            I could picture you in the jail cell holding on to the bars.

            Picturing the grass, hearing the cars.

            I remember you, braids to the back, head with the hood, caramel skin.

            Girls would say "Is that your cousin?", I would say "Who him".

            I only visited you twice, and them two times I went I can not even remember


            I remember your mama taking off her jewelry.

            I remember walking through beepers, seeing all the security.

            I want you to know that I'm doing okay.

            I think about you often, but Iım going to be straight.

            I know you yearning for the family, cause you have none in there.

            I know you yearning for our laughs as we sometimes cry tears for you.

            Thinking about your laugh with the crazy things you use to do.

            Some people say that you are safe.

            That this world is getting worse with violence and hate.

            Was that what got you in, jealously within.

            Violent temper or hate in the heart, dam you away is getting me pissed off.

            I don't even have at least one picture of you in my photo book, "You hear me?"

            I know you can't, but in reality I'm screaming at you.

            Christmas, Thanksgiving, grandma's birthday just keep passing around.

            Dam Kelvin I wish you were around.

            Come rap with me, joke with me, laugh with me, what?

            Yeah I see you the type of boy that had to be different, yep that was you.

            The type that had to be jolly, on his toes, a busy body.

            Now I close my letter, but not my heart.

            You will always be my dawg, my boy my cousin Kelvin, holla?

--Keva Carr
Follow your own star