Milwaukee is sick right now, illwaukee. 10 year olds and 1 year olds and 5 year olds fighting for their lives, they done got Killedwaukee. We need a healing right now, HEALwaukee. It’s hard to deal in the mil. Its already destroyed so I’m trying to rebuild and buildwaukee. The streets be talkin and now we have become Milwaukee-talkie. It’s a lot of live bodies but dead spirits walkin, we in zombiewaukee. I’m from the city where I’d rather live on my feet than to die on my knees-waukee. I’m from “fool, please?!”-waukee, where we do what we pleasewaukee. I’m from where you gotta keep yo pistol like Pete because We are always in some beefwaukee, we need peacewaukee. We are in policewaukee. They shoot us down in these streets but we will never suffer defeatwaukee. We rise. See we, can change Milwaukee. We can rise in these streets from dope fiends to dependable kings. We give back to the babies in the hood and do good, just check out the heal the Hood mke campaign and youll see. See, what you see right now is sickening, sickwaukee, but if we stop talkin and start workin, workwaukee, we could fixwaukee. NewWaukee. No more domestic abusewaukee, peace in the streets now that the gangs done called a trucewaukee. My city comes from ugliness you can’t imagine. Some days it’s like all hope has truly been abandoned. Bullets spray like front lawn water hoses and hit kids at random, you just couldn’t fathom. God if you’re there somewhere, my prayers need an answer. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray you give us victory in Milwaukee. God when my city is down, pick us up. Allow us to get our minds right so we don’t get left out. We need additional resources, substraction of ego, and that’ll sure multiply our successwaukee. Yes, yeswaukee. We are in blessedwakuee, even through all the misuse and messwaukee. We don’t just go through it, but we grow through the trauma and drama. sometimes it just be too much Stresswaukee. We just want to escape poverty and count checkswaukee. My hood always taught me to stay true to myself. Only way to survive here is to make sure you deal with yo mental healthwaukee and seek to get some wealthwaukee. It be hard, but this is also home. Amongst the concrete jungle is where I roam. Felt something on my chest so I had to write a poem. My city don’t quit, my city won’t stop. My city is headed to the topwaukee. We are truth tellers, fire spitters, healers, conquerors, not savages. We are educated, dedicated and fed up from all that we have tolerated, we ain’t criminals. We are crying out. Milwaukee’s best has yet to come. We are not done. We are not dumb, we are numb. There is a Marathon in this city that each and every one of us needs to run. Blessings to the doubters and the dreamers. Blessings to the soldiers and the scheemers.

Ajamou Butler is a Milwaukee writer and community organizer. Find more about his writing at ajamoubutler.com and about the organization HEAL the Hood at healthehoodmke.org.