Pain – the feeling when 
you’re stuck up in the rain – the 
reason why my patna put a bullet in his brain 
Pain – it ain’t a new feeling 
it’s the same – it’s the reason why 
my patna sticking needles 
in his veins 
Pain – now I feel when I think 
sometimes – ingrained in my soul 
that’s a reason I drink sometimes-
hit the store 
but I’m still writing rhymes 
grab a 40 watchin’ white girls 
busting down lines – 
call my mama in the morning 
cause I’m too high – 
Pain – you could see it in my eyes 
you could hear it in my soul – this pain what keeping me alive – 
all I know is to survive – got me 
praying to allah 

Anthony Calderon (NXSEAXNS) is a participant of the writer’s workshop at Youth Spirit Artworks’ Tiny House Empowerment Village (THEV). The THEV writing group arose out of the belief that everyone has a story to tell, and that telling our stories together furthers a sense of community. Since June 2021, facilitated by Zoe Mosko, the group has been meeting at the Village twice a month. Participants sit around and talk, enjoy snacks, write on suggested writing prompts, or free write and share what they’ve written.