This past fall two of our Task Force Members were able to attend the writing workshop with Pongo. The Pongo Poetry Project helps people speak their truth creatively, especially about difficult experiences. We know that poetry of this type is healing for those who write it and for those who witness it. It’s human nature to be private about our pain, but sometimes we can suffer in this way and feel isolated. Pongo welcomes members of the Sickle Cell community to our trainings, to learn how to write and, especially, how to help others to write. FYI, about 40% of our writers have only written a little or not at all before Pongo. Shelton and Denise attended Pongo’s last training in October. We have another training coming up on May 18. Pongo is a 23-year-old nonprofit that has worked with 6,000 individuals and helped thousands more through our trainings nationally. Most of our work has been done with oppressed groups and those who have suffered from injustices, including incarcerated and homeless populations. You can learn more about Pongo at our website: www.pongoteenwriting.org . Please email us for information at pongo_publishing@hotmail.com



You see that I am funny

You that I talk and smile a lot

But you don’t why

You would know me if you knew how hard it was to hold in my anger

You knew that my sisters never comes to see me

You see that I swear

You see that I hurt inside

But you don’t know me

You would know me if

You knew how I expressed myself through dance

If you knew how I loved how I loved to dance

If you knew how I took care of my older sisters when I was young.


BY: Denise Bazemore


I may not be perfect, but i can exceed outside expectations

I always wish for the best outcome

I do my best to understand how I feel and why things happen the way they do

I can create distractions for myself and others

I want the people around me to feel happy, safe, important and fortunate

I hold onto the good things and the bad things even if it’s not healthy for me

I have unusual ideas, like being perfect and the one with all the answers

If I were an animal, I’d be an Eagle, because of the freedom and their specialty

I have some secret talents- I can write, create, listen and love

I am a soldier fighting many battles to protect myself and the ones I love


By: Shelton Smith



As cliché as it is, I’m gonna go with the weather

The constant shift between sunshine and cold windy nights

Sunshine brings out the fun and excitement, all while making me feel good and warm inside

Cold windy nights brings out fear and pain

Sometimes the pain makes me feel like a target, alone, scared and worried; for myself, friends

and family

Plenty of excitement when the sun is out and there is no pain

As exciting as a dog being taken to a new loving home from the shelter

In the end the two are a yin and yang in my life


By: Shelton Smith