Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:05 AM
by Wanda Coleman
there is no one here but me. from behind this glass
i see the guard's station. prisoners are watched
on TV monitors, a camera in each cell. if i move,
i see the wisp of my movement on the monitor.
i am here through no fault of my own as a result
of doing more for others than for myself. all the guards
are men. they can watch me undress and make my toilet.
they can watch me caress myself in my nightmares.
there is a pay phone in the prisoners' rec room
that does not take coins. communication is futile at worst,
faulty as best. i have learned that i am friendless.
no one has sympathy for me. i have learned
that misplaced trust can dismantle a life
as a result of this punishment, i have learned
it pays to be more selfish with desire.
memory divides me against the light
i was browsing some of the books i own when i stumbled across this poem. it speaks to my life, beloved's life. i haven't heard from beloved in nearly a week. the last time we spoke was Saturday morning. he's been having some trouble. he's been depressed. he's being sort of harassed by the COs.
last we spoke, he told me they cut off his electricity and water. i suppose this is "normal" when they are trying to "make a point." you see, even in prison, beloved refuses to be treated as less than a man. i can understand. his situation is precarious. he doesn't want to jeopardize coming home, but he doesn't like being talked to any which way. he will speak up. he's filed complaints about his treatment, and that's just not something that's looked upon favorably.
the power dynamics within a prison are astonishing. it's amazing how people feel superior to you, simply because they have some authority. you can feel it in the visitor's room. you can feel it in the way they speak to us (visitors), the way they look at us suspiciously, as if we are guilty by association.
i hate visiting. i hate prison. i hate that this is our life. i want beloved home, like yesterday. i want our son to have his father. i want to cook dinner and go to movies and walk in the park like everyone else. i want so many things and it seems as if everything is put on pause...indefinitely.