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Week of 4.2.10

Prison Poetry: Works by Shrong Clemons

In this NOW web-exclusive video, former prison inmate Shrong Clemons reads some of the poetry he wrote while serving 20 months in the Sheridan Correctional Center of Illinois. Clemons, who served three prison terms, is part of a new program that combines therapy, education, and follow-up aftercare to keep released convicts from returning to jail. A former heroin addict, drug dealer, and Chicago gang member, Clemons became a model prisoner while at Sheridan.

He recites from three of his poems -- "Kings," "Mother Salvation" and "Lost Soul" -- and talks briefly about his work. A sampling from "Kings":

Socrates tried to steal my isosceles
Calling my prophesies catastrophes
Causing discrepancies as we are committed to being human trophies
Committing blasphemies as my brother and sister become enemies
Trying to keep me off track by lack of education and selling black sex
Making me forget about the actual facts
We've been concealed from our family tree
Trying to make us forget we are finally free
This is bigger than me ...

 
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Prison Poetry: Works by Shrong Clemons


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