The more we lock away, the greater the cost our humanity pays.

Per height of pompadour, the relatively epic proportions are wholly achievable without any product whatsoever. Just twist it and pin it and own it. Built-in tie at the side of the dress anchors the asymmetry of the four buttons on one of the shoulders. Flutter sleeves. It’s just a stinking cute dress.
Earrings recently bought at a powwow, expertly beaded on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I recall something about red and pink not being a proper mix, but clearly heard wrong and am glad to be among those ignoring such color commentary.
Another day of red, 80s daydress style. The tiny graphic print suggests polka dots, but more 80s..  


New music can satisfy even those among us who harbor suspicions about the power of consumerism to sully mass-market artistic creations.  I’m specifically thinking of “This is America” by Childish Gambino/Donald Glover, the video for which exemplifies the intensity of living with eyes so open to self and world that those observing cannot resist being affected.  Among the myriad soul-wrending images, the very end particularly resonates, as he runs away from a mob, through the warren of a prison complex in an inherently hopeless flight for life.

Upon initial viewing, I reacted audibly, yet without words, as I was struck by the horror and deep tragedy of the MILLIONS who reside in places so starkly removed from the potentially healing balms of our natural world.  All metal and concrete, almost all the time, with no opportunity to  listen to the sounds or view the contours of the earth’s forms as they have created and influenced the human psyche over the millennia of our existence.  Those who dismiss the cruelty and scourge and unfathomable human costs of this country’s epidemic of mass incarceration by blithely saying “what about the victims of those crimes” quite honestly could use a lot of education about the actual numbers of those incarcerated for non-violent crimes, as well as the amount of dollars gained by those happily profiting from a system that shamelessly trades healthy, functioning communities for personal enrichment through prison contracts explicitly designed to benefit through more lives locked away.  Locked away from life in all forms.

There is a community blog, Inmate Blogger, that is a trove of realness.  I’d like to share here a comment I left for a contributor who’d written about the concept of “recycling” those imprisoned, rather than “throwing us away.”  The ideas have long my been on my mind, and I am glad to have written them out for someone who I hope can appreciate the faith I put in the humanity of the many who go largely ignored and forgotten. Here’s my comment:

I like to picture prisons becoming the epicenters of a mass revitalization. Where the lifeless concrete expanses are rehabilitated into growing spaces that enable those on the ground to sustain themselves through food grown and energy produced on site. Then equipped to return home to communities dessimated by their absence and become point-people and knowledgeable leaders for our much-needed return to a viable relationship with our earth and natural resources.
Wildly positive, I admit, but also in the realm of current possibility, needing as ever and only the will of the people to overrule and work past the status quo purveyors of prison and pollution profits.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. thealvarezchronicles says:

    There is no easy answer to your point about incarceration. I followed the Inmate Blogger site for awhile also but eventually stopped. I was a police detective for nearly 2 decades and did what I could to put as many of those prisoners in the prisons you speak of. There was not a single one that I don’t still believe needed to be locked up. The problem with the system is that it does not account for two things. Any time you incarcerate someone in the system today you invariably cause an “injury”. They are damaged by our actions. That is not really the intent, but that is what happens. The second thing is we don’t think about the fact that most of those we put into that system will eventually come out to join us again. Now they are out and injured. What can we expect of them then? One of my favorite quotes that somewhat speaks to this is from the movie Ever After-A Cinderella Story (don’t judge me I had teenage daughters) ” If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them? “. I do believe we bear more responsibility than we take in the making of the people we will eventually lock up. Still, the answer to this is not an easy one. Not even close. – Robert

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so very much appreciate your foregrounding of “the injury” as seminal to the problem.


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