JAHID WILSON JR., 17
Jahid Wilson Jr. is a spoken word poet and novelist hailing from Fremont, California, currently living in Irmo, South Carolina. He believes that the largest issues affecting present-day youth are closed-mindedness and an apathy towards change. Humans fear what they fail to comprehend which is why we alienate individuals from other cultures; they are different from what we know and understand, thus we keep them at a distance. Fear of the unknown is poison, says Wilson Jr., and fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to destruction. In order for this world to truly move forward we as a people must abandon whatever ill-conceived notions we have about that which is foreign to us and learn to embrace people from all backgrounds.
In 2015 Wilson Jr. began writing on his first novel which is now in the editing process. He is actively working on founding a Creative Writing/Poetry Initiative Program dedicated to empowering youth to express themselves and find their voices through compelling stories. In 2017 Wilson Jr. was published with the DEEP Block by Block Program, a Savannah nonprofit aimed at nurturing young people to thrive as learners, community leaders, and agents of change, and was promoted to join their student council. In 2018, pieces in which he critiqued contemporary America were again published with DEEP.
After graduation Wilson Jr. plans on completing his novel and pursuing writing.
by Jahid Wilson
I think you see me as nothing but a loud,
hootin and hollerin, gang banging, weed smoking rapist who
can’t keep a job because I spent all my money on rolling papers
and cheap ass liquor from the one of three corner stores in my den of debauchery
poverty stricken slum I call a hood.
Even the phrase “hood” has negative connotations,
because associated with such a moniker is
the assumption that gang violence runs rampant.
I don’t know much,
but I think this next revelation is amusing to say the least.
So, riddle me this.
What do you call a nation that quarantines throngs of its citizens
by the droves to the filthiest, grimiest, most unbearable, unsuitable
living conditions then punishes those citizens for the cunningness
utilized to scrounge up and incorporate the tools necessary for survival?
What do you call a media enterprise that
harps on and on about the poor quality of the fruit,
but neglects mentioning how the seeds were sown in the roughest patches,
subjected to specially crafted pesticides made to deteriorate the nutrients,
were planted in a setting devoid of sunlight and liquid to quench the thirst,
and thrived despite the odds?
What do you call a law enforcement squad
with the Paradoxical Cat Schrodinger as their mascot
who enjoyed terrorizing, brutalizing, and ripping apart these so called “hoods,”
but then acted surprised when the denizens of those communities banded together
in acts of camaraderie to defend their territory by forming factions,
or gangs as they’re now called?
What do you call a neighborhood where violence and turf wars have
CRIPpled and BLOODied
the community because a certain red-caped superhero
and his posse of “peace promoters”
introduced narcotics and weapons?
I think I have the answer to that one.
You call it an assisted suicide.
Because when you can’t beat them,
when you can’t break their spirits,
when the marionettes begin strangling the puppeteers with their strings,
there’s only one viable solution.
Move pieces on the chessboard from the shadows,
instill enmity where it can fester,
turn neighbor against neighbor
and make it a hood.
When you have a young man
who resorts to gang-banging and letting the streets raise him
so his family doesn’t starve,
who must do what he has to
because he’s the eldest of his siblings, and if the youngins ain’t got food to eat,
then he’s got blocks to hit, he’s got people to rob.
When you have a young man who tries to ascend
in the environment you thrust his ancestors in
that he was born into,
what do you call him,
Don’t answer yet.