Interviewer shows the pictures.
Oh wow, that’s crazy! (David laughs.)
That’s a big difference right there. Damn, that’s my rebirth right there, eh? That’s crazy!
If I didn’t have these tattoos, I would probably grow my hair out and stuff, you know, have spikey hair and stuff.
That’s the life I wanted; it just did not happen for me, didn’t happen. That’s crazy! That’s the guy I should have been, but shit happens, you know?
All my tattoos mean something, like my hood, you know? That’s my hood (points to a tattoo on his face).
I would die for my neighborhood. All my tattoos they mean something. Like these horns, these horns don’t mean I am a devil worshiper, because I am not. I have done a lot of bad shit in my life that I do regret. It just means that I have evil ways, you know? When I was younger, I really did not give a fuck about anything! I really didn’t. But now that I’m growing up, I’ve talked to a lot of people and I have dreams now. Before I did not have dreams. You know what, I did have a dream and that was to be a bad mother- fucker. The biggest gangsta out there, you know? But I don’t want that no more.
I grew up without my dad, but I’m just like him. My dad is a gang member. He was never around. He was always in prison and if he was on the streets he was always gangbanging or on drugs, just being active out there, hurting people. I’m used to seeing my dad with tattoos everywhere. I used to see him, big and bad with guns on him and stuff. I felt like I needed to be like him because that’s my dad; that’s my other half right there. I came out of him and I just had to follow him. Follow in his footsteps. When he was out, he was on drugs or gangbanging so I don’t think he cared. Like he would give money to my mom from time to time, but he would not get that the right way, he would not be working. I have a son now, a five-year-old boy. I don’t want the cycle to keep going like that. It needs to stop. It did not stop with me, but I want it to stop with my son.
Don’t get me wrong; I will still die for my hood. I still will cuz it is already on me, I’m too deep in this shit. (Gestures to his tattoos.) But I do want to change my life though, become a better man. It began when I was like 14 in the sixth grade. My hood is all like family like the kids are my nephews or cousins. They’re all from the hood and we all grew up together. We all had families from the same neighborhood. So we just start doing it.
My hood did not like black people; they were really racist against blacks. We would beat up every black person we saw and shit. We would try to beat them out the city.
I have been in prison, I have been to county and all. We don’t really associate with them and all that, but now that I am here I am just trying to get along with them and all that, especially now that I live on skid row. There are black people everywhere. I have nothing to do but try and get along with them. They look at me all stupid sometimes, but they don’t do nothing. If they do something then I will protect myself, but I don’t go out there and beat them up like I used to. It was just like, rush them on sight, attack them. I got to learn to love them because they are human beings just like me. So I have learned a lot.
I’m talking to a therapist now. I’m 25 years old. I’m just tripping on these pictures though. It’s crazy! First of all, I’m going to show these pictures to my mom. She is going to trip out! She is going to be like, “You should be like that!” Yeah, she is going to trip out. I’m going to give my pictures to my mom because she hates my tattoos. She hates them. She can hardly look at me.
I have her name on my face and she was like, “Why did you get it right there, why did you not get it on the back or something?” She just wants the best for me, you know?
She wants me to have a good job. She just wants me to do good. My mom was always there for me. She tried her best. It was hard for her to get me away from the gangs because I went to school with them.
I was always bringing homies around drinking at 15 years old, getting drunk around her. She wasn’t going to call the cops on me or send me away or something. She was not that kind of mom. She was always there for me.
She is proud of me now though, I tell you she is. I work at Homeboy Industries now. I work in the bakery. I’m doing pretty darn good. I have been there over a year already. I intend to make it longer and never go back there (jail),The rest of the interview to be found in the book.