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   A Rose That Grew
  From The Concrete
by Robert Ulises Gracia

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Verse 1:

Roses, dropping the fastest, over closed caskets
Of my people adapted to moving backwards
It's like the marriage of light before death advances
The chances are given in this life that we're living
Growing up poverty stricken
Now I'm seeing visions
Of my mother dying right before my eyes
Got me firing at the sky asking the lord why
My father gotta keep busting his ass
Just to get that quick cash
Knowing it won't last long enough to relax his hands
But still he stays no matter how the days change
Brought me to a man, know I understand my ma's pain
I'll never turn away hold her in my arms and take her hurt away
From her heart and her vertebrae
Give my mother another chance to dance with her father
While my pops stands with his brother for hours
Seeing flowers growing out the cracks in the pavement
Placed in a world not its own struggling to make it
The blood in the roots produce such a strange fragrance.

Verse 2

Facing a felony one to three
Brought me back to the streets
The first time I saw a man die
Shot dead in front of me
Think back when I was young
And I shot my first gun
The first time dad put hands on mom
I wanted to kill'em
Memories of Petey
And how his life was taken
And left my sister on the sofa
For days shaken
Chasing after visions
Had my mind conflicted
Almost ended in prison
Cause of a racist
Trying to trap me in the system
But still I survive
Almost died when I heard my brother tried
To lose his life to suicide
So I ride for my little man
Cuz we the same inside fam is fam
And if beef comes understand
Let the Lord know
They forced my hand.

Verse 3

Staring at the footprints in the sand
Felt abandoned not carried
Holding this cannon
Living by any means necessary
God and I used to be close
But now it's like we don't speak
So I hold my heat at night
Just in case we ever meet
And I'm a ask him
Straight up why the fuck
Did he take away
So many people we loved
At an early age
Why I can't see my niece or nephew play
Why can't my parent's pain be erased
For this day and age
I feel like I'm trapped in a cage
So I race in my car drunk
Trying to maintain
Gambling with my life
It's such a deadly game
Bring a change that is needed
I'm tired of seeing my women
Beaten and mistreated
We family I got your back
If you ever need me believe it
Alone with my dogs
At the crack of dawn
Is when I feel most calm
Or holding my Godson in my arms
I can't wait till the twins are born.

The Art of Horticulture
Marcia Eames-Sheavly
Horticulture Section
15B Plant Science Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853