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Storied: San Francisco

Aug 20, 2020

In this episode, Tongo picks up where he left off in Part 1, describing the changes he saw in his hometown of San Francisco after spending a few years in New York. It was obvious that money had done its part to stifle, displace, and erase art and the working class.

He started teaching with SF YMCA's CARE program, which works with imprisoned youth in The City, but some shady goings on in the program spurred him to leave. He went to Jackson, Mississippi, to do some movement work for a couple years before returning once again to San Francisco in 2015. He began writing poetry while in Mississippi, and when he got back to the Bay Area, it took off after Chinaka Hodge asked him to read before her at City Lights.

To end the podcast, we asked Tongo to read one of his poems for us. He recited (not read) "The Course of Meal." For the words to the poem, please see our website.

​We recorded this podcast in San Francisco during quarantine on Zoom in July 2020.

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather