I: Visiting Spoon, POPS the Club

​Spoon Jackson

Welcome to the Die Jim Crow blog. This will be a new feature of diejimcrow.com, so stay tuned for a lot of interesting posts coming up! This post is written by Fury, the producer of Die Jim Crow, but expect a variety of writers going forward — the DJC blog will be a conduit for our collaborators in prison especially, and also those now home.

To kick it off, I’d like to shout out two very special people I had the pleasure of working with this past weekend in Venice, California: Paradyse Oakley and John Bembry. Paradyse and John are members of the POPS The Club (POPS = Pain Of The Prison System), a collective of students who have loved ones in prison, or who have served time themselves. I met Paradyse and John through Amy Friedman and Dennis Danziger, who started the POPS group at Venice High School in 2013. It has since expanded to five other high schools, and continues to grow. MORE: popstheclub.com

John and Paradyse blessed the Die Jim Crow project with two respective pieces which deal with their experiences of the prison system. The super talented Nova came through as well, a friend of John’s, and spat some bars — thanks Nova!

I look forward to seeing what comes of this material. It was powerful stuff. Unfortunately it was such an intense experience we forgot to take pictures!! Sorry instagram.

While in California, I also went up to CSP-LAC (California State Prison, Los Angeles County), where I met the legendary Spoon Jackson. Spoon has spent the past 39 years in prison for a murder he committed at age 19. His all-white jury gave him life without parole, for a crime which was not pre-meditated, and during which Spoon was shot in the arm. Over the past several decades, Spoon has flourished as a poet, writer, teacher, and actor.

Spoon’s website: realnessnetwork.blogspot.com
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_Jackson

Didn’t forget a picture this time….

Fury Young and Spoon Jackson

Spoon is contributing several lyrics to the Die Jim Crow LP. It was a pleasure and an honor to hang with him for several hours in the visiting room, where we wrote a joint poem, I got completely schooled in chess, came back with a Scrabble vengeance, and we spoke of animals, music, and our dreams. Spoon is a beautiful soul who MUST. BE. FREE. He is in his heart. Here’s a favorite poem of mine, written by the man himself:

Backstop
by Spoon Jackson

A crow is barking
like a dog
outside the window
on the backstop
of life.

My mom who brought
me into this world
passed on years ago.
But on quiet nights
and deep dreams

we meet.
She cooks my favorite
foods.
Sometimes a deer
comes for dinner.