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Addict & Prisoner


A soft-spoken woman

and hard-working man

were rearing a wonderful kid.

A bright, happy

Little black boy.

He played ball in Carroll Park,

Read books at Enoch Pratt,

Danced in the New Albert Hall

And chased girls and knowledge

through the corridors of

segregated schools.

One day the boy was attacked.

First, there was a fist to the face,

racism armed with

a big white policeman on the end.

Declaring with whiskey on his breath,

"There will be none of that


singing on my corner! Shut up

and get your black a-- away

from here --

With that unAmerican s---!"

The second blow was

A kick to the stomach by

a scowling judge

Who sent the teen-aged boy to jail.

Had him, his blood-caked

' clothes and opened

swollen head

Carted off to the black flesh warehouse

Right away.

The boy met heroin in jail;

it warmed his soul like the

tender touch

of a loving woman,

Like soft words and fairness

in a caring world.

A world from which he had been


Never to return.

Now there is this cruel deformity

that robs banks,

shoots racists,

and looks just like me.

The writer, a prisoner at the state penitentiary in Baltimore, recently won first prize in WMAR-TV's drama competition. Johnson's play, "A Gift From the Hunters," will air on Channel 2 next month.

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