Letters to Ms. Em...

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"Letters to Ms. Em" are the reflections of Rainn - a young man who is presently doing life in prison.  In 2006, he wrote a letter to Ms. Em which created a family-ship and changed both of their lives. In Rainn’s letters and poems he shares his desire to be a part of a loving family; his attempts, beginning at ten-years-old to fight-off an abusive step-father in order to protect his mother; the calling of “the streets” and the anger and pain that followed him into adulthood resulting in a conviction of life without parole.


In “Letters to Ms. Em” you will experience Rainn’s personal struggles to become the man he always knew he was destined to be. You will feel the compassion, the wisdom he earned from personal tragedies in his home and in “the streets,” which he is now using to mentor America’s youth heading down the wrong street.


While “Letters to Ms. Em” is heart-wrenching, Rainn’s writings demonstrate his commitment to redemption, rehabilitation, responsibility and reconciliation; they are filled with the message of hope and rich with his voice of change. In the words of Rainn, “It feels good to be a part of something that’s living instead of something that lived just to die.”

Poems from Letters to Ms. Em...

HOOD LIFE by Rainn

Let’s get straight to the point -- no lyin, no fakin

The subject: hoodLIFE and all the lives she’s takin

Rememberance of a time when we all wanted more

It’s different now; check that attitude at the door

We need to talk about the way you’ve been actin

Disrespectin yourself, not to mention your grades are slackin

You carryin weapons wandering around outside

Then getting in trouble and we’re wonderin, WHY?

An innocent lil baby could be gone because of your ways

We should be punishin you, but let’s stick to the phrase

hoodLIFE: she should always be on her guard

Because when I catch her, she’s got a spot in the yard

No one’s standin up, we need a strong voice for the youth

Let us know of something better, for once tell us the truth

Your protector, hoodLIFE, understands you -- she knows your heart

She raised you, and has been there from the very start

It’s time to let go, it’s time to fix all the destruction

It’s time to save the block from hoodLIFE’s abduction



How evil are you that my pain can’t be felt?

Your indifference brings confusion about the cards I was dealt

One time I thought that I had at least one friend in you

But the fog has cleared, and I see now that I had no clue

The lies, the trickery have brought me nothing but shame

Causin me to fall to my knees with no one to blame

There are no tears, just absolute heartache, and pain

Which is why I’m left here soaked from standing in the rain

You brought me here to this place that I am in

Because of your unwillingness to let my life begin

The evil in you keeps me from being who I am

And once again, I’m fightin because you don’t give a damn

This time, I’ll win since I have become stronger

You will not have control over me any longer

I know that your wish is for me to breathe my last breath

So, believe that I’ll fight you until I have nothing left

Gone are the days where I was blinded by your banter

My eyes are open now, and I’m glad to be filled with laughter

Never in my life did I ever think that I would see

That the person in the mirror was the one hurtin me.



I shed tears

For a world so cold

Sayin good bye to youth

Because they won’t grow old

Remembrance of the past

Since the future is bleak

Can’t understand logic

And the riches men seek

Tryin to comprehend life

While pushin away pain

Go to sleep content but when

Day breaks the pain is back again

Don’t dismiss change

It’ll come with a little more time

Give it a chance, our people will

Rise up from the grime

I lose a little bit of me

When a young child dies

Because of the gangs and police

I hear all mothers’ cries

A strong young man weighed down

By the world on his back

Pickin the streets over school

Now it’s education we lack

Another sleepless night

With twistin and turnin

Dry throat, bloodshot eyes

I’m hopin it’ll be over in the mornin

Day breaks

And everythin new comes to light

There’ll be another hard fight

I’m always asked

“Why not celebrate the sunny days?”

When the days become brighter

I’ll give them mad love and praise

Until then I’ll be bitter

Concentrated on the darker side

Tryin to make change

While holding on to my pride


Take away the hate and build more schools

Show us a little change then we’ll use those tools

Take away the drugs and we’ll build self-confidence

Instead of payin someone to collect crime evidence

Take away poverty so that everyone can eat

Now that I’m full I won’t be stealin any meat

Take away the projects and build homes that are new

So the streets can be a little safer for me and you

Take away the concrete and create a place to play

Then the children can be happy every single day

Take away the disease so that we can become strong

The secrets out, everyone knows that things are going wrong

Take away the death that has engulfed the hood

You can do this by doing something good

Take away the evil that lurks in your heart

Nonviolence is the word, but it’s just the start



 My intentions were never to let anyone read what I had written.  People reading about my feelings still doesn’t sound any better, but a friend of mine encouraged me from day one to allow others to experience my experiences.  His point was that somewhere, someone would benefit from me putting my feelings down on paper.  I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one battling with the past, and even though I’m nowhere near 100% healed, my heart goes out to anyone and everyone who is stuck back there.  My advice is to come up with your own way of channeling the anger, fear, and sadness.  It can be done, and some sort of happiness can be achieved.