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The Daily Poetry Movement

Taken from the book Incarceration Nation: Investigative Prison Poems of Hope and Terror by Stephen John Hartnett. It is so sad the condition with which the poor are imprisoned within this country. Prison's are for the poor. We must end jails! We must rise up! Freedom now!
Excerpted from Perhaps Some Grace

II. Gene Deb's Hometown

The Super max lies half-buried
An impregnable bunker of misery
Embitterment humiliation

27 sorry miles south
Of Gene Deb's hometown
Once-thriving Terre haute

One of ten children
Gene worked the rail yards
Attacking corporation lawyers

Cowardly politicians
The tyranny of phony patriotism
Money's lure to war

Preaching I would rather be
A thousand times a free soul in jail
Than a sycophant and coward on the street

Landed Gene in the slammer
For thumbing his nose
At Mr. Espionage Acts

The Feds sent Gene to Atlanta
Where he was serenaded to sleep
By supporters outside the prison

So Gene ran for president from his cell
Asking the workers of the world to vote
For President, convict No. 9653

The Lincoln of the Wabash was lucky
Today he'd be sent
To a supermax

Of perpetual solitary confinement
24-hour lights on never night
No windows now watches allowed

A timeless pit of torture
Physical psychological spiritual
Officially cloaked violence

A Hell Factory decorated
By doubled rows of razor wire
A phalanx of motion sensors

Search-light sharp-shooter towers
Ringing a compound plantation
Housing Slaves of the State

No longer forced producers
Now forced consumers
The nation's fastest growing
Food market devouring goods
Over $1 billion per year
A Campbell's Soup official

Chuckling anonymously
The more crooks you have
The better business is for us

Guards watch from air-conditioned booths
Videotaping our chants and testimonies
For their drunken entertainment

At the year-end awards ceremony
Where best marksman angler
And the most "cell extraction" takedowns

Like the guards in Westville's MCC
Maximum Control Complex
Indiana's supermax prison

For the "worst of the worst"
Where guards beat senseless
Aaron Isby while shackled

By hands feet waist genitals
Immobilized in iron chains
Then stripped him naked

Tied face-down spread-eagle
To a metal bed frame
Left for day in feces

Forced to wear a hockey mask
The prison superintendent
Claiming Isby's allegations

Are totally without truth
The DOC took appropriate steps
To handle the situation

All win NRA jackets high fives
A month of free shots
At Todd's raceway lounge

And though our tax dollars
Have paid for every square
Inch of the concrete $351 billion

Over the next ten years
We are denied access
To the prison parking lot

Troopers lead us instead
To the soupy shoulder
Where nuns mothers children
Disembark into muddy puddles
As banners posters pickets
Leap into angry hands

Education not torture!
Que salgan ya! Que salgan ya!
No peace with justice!

The Maoists from St Louis
Four hours southwest
Pass out fliers against gentrification

The Anarchists from Ft. Wayne
Four hours northeast
Lecture the police on strip searches

Our signs are ripped to shreds
In the stinging horizontal rain
Leaving us tattered drenched

Ankle deep in cold mud
Knee deep in wispy prairie grass
Pathetic comic enraged

The local TV station has sent
A twenty-three year old intern
Bleached-blond reporter

She arrives in heels makeup streaking
Disbelieving happily unaware
The Amnesty International

And human Rights Watch
Decry supermaxes
As human rights violations

As systematic torture so cruel
Jerome Miller suggests
Their wardens have become

Worthy of shameful comparison
To Nuremberg's celebrated
War criminals

She asks smart questions
And receive pages of statistics
Horror stories from ex-prisoners

Coffee stained photographs
From mothers begging for mercy
From wives hoping justice

From children crying for love
Anger from revolutionaries
Shouting dogmas from Freddy
And crazy Ramona Afrika
To a white country girl
Who has never ventured

Across state lines
Or felt the sadness
Of a world swirling beyond

The fraternal Autumnal cheer
Of the annual I.U./Purdue
Old Oaken Bucket Game

The highway slowly clogs
With afternoon shoppers
Entranced by Walmart's wonders

Slowing for a quick peek
At the splattered fanatics
Marching in circles

Though the swamp-land
Repeating stupid chants
Into the slicing winds

Dwarfed by thunder
State Trooper sirens
And impromptu gifts

Of southern kindness
Offered from pick-ups
And duct-taped fords

Get a job asshole!
They wouldn't be here
If they hadn't asked for it!
Niggers go home!

And I imagine old Gene
Gliding ghostly overhead
Wagging his insistent finger

You need to know
That you are fit for something better
Than slavery and cannon fodder
A few links and research sites out of many 03.Sep.2004 20:23

Migratory Bird

"Who Do You Call When the Police Are the Problem" with Ramona Afrika of the M.O.V.E. Ramona Africa is the only adult survivor of the May 13th, 1985 bombing of the MOVE family by Philadelphia police and city officials. Ramona was immediately taken into custody and eventually convicted on trumped-up charges of riot and conspiracy. She spent the next seven years in prison. Immediately upon her release in 1992, she rejoined her family's struggle to free all remaining MOVE political prisoners, including the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and to continue exposing and confronting this enslaving system.

Interview with Ramona Africa

About the Move Tragedy in Philadelpia

About Supermax Prisons

Human Rights Watch on Supermax Prisons

Iraq 'Supermax' Prison Won't Wipe Away Abu Ghraib Stain

From the ACLU website:
Federal Judge Says Ohio "Supermax" Prison Violates Constitutional Rights

Eugene Debs

wrote the mayor of Terre Haute, Debs' hometown, in 1907, "... there is not perhaps a single man in this city who enjoys to a greater degree than Mr. Debs the affection, love, and profound respect of the entire community."


Eugene Debs by Howard Zinn

The Anti-war Speech That Earned
Eugene Debs 10 Years in Prison

A few great quotes



This poem was dedicated to the courageous 2000 activists arrested in NY protesting the 2004 RNC who were treated to brutal inhumane conditions causing sickness,rashes and burns. This poem is dedicated to all those who made a vow to end the inhumane global prison conditions we have built. End all jails! End the inhumane class system!