Before I die… New Orleans (5623)
For two months
I have not written
My voice, a low
like the rumble
of the millstone
which having nothing to grind
Hope For The Best… Prepare For The Worst
The food you eat or brush you’re using may have been made by a worker earning less than a dollar an hour — not in the developing world, but in the invisible workforce inside America’s prisons. Share this if you oppose prison labor for profit.
When I was in prison I worked 3 shifts a day, 5 days a week, starting at 5 AM and ending at 8 PM. I was paid $5.25 a month. Pay for the inmates who facilitate UNICOR workers (by making their food, washing their laundry, etc,) is even lower than the wages cited in the above graphics. The prison industry is also a slave industry, and it isn’t just corporations who benefit. All the furniture you see in federal buildings, post offices, DMVs, etc, where do you think it comes from? Prison labor. I think a lot of people know about states that use prison labor for license plates, but fewer people know that the plaques on doors at city halls, and sometimes the doors themselves, come from prison labor. The incarcerated are a hyper-exploited class unto themselves, and almost no one seems to be helping them to organize.
93 cents is a little on the high side. In NYC’s Rikers Island, the largest prison in the world with 11,000 prisoners, raised their prisoners wage to 39 cents per hour during the Sandy recover.
By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it’s like to be young and … different. “To This Day,” his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.
Please watch…it’s 12 minutes of your life,
There isn’t a word for walking out of the grocery store
with a gallon jug of milk in a plastic sack
that should have been bagged in double layers
—so that before you are even out the door
you feel the weight of the jug dragging
the bag down, stretching the thin
plastic handles longer and longer
and you know it’s only a matter of time until
bottom suddenly splits.
There is no single, unimpeachable word
for that vague sensation of something
moving away from you
as it exceeds its elastic capacity
—which is too bad, because that is the word
I would like to use to describe standing on the street
chatting with an old friend
as the awareness grows in me that he is
no longer a friend, but only an acquaintance,
a person with whom I never made the effort—
until this moment, when as we say goodbye
I think we share a feeling of relief,
a recognition that we have reached
the end of a pretense,
though to tell the truth
what I already am thinking about
is my gratitude for language—
how it will stretch just so much and no farther;
how there are some holes it will not cover up;
how it will move, if not inside, then
around the circumference of almost anything—
how, over the years, it has given me
back all the hours and days, all the
plodding love and faith, all the
misunderstandings and secrets
I have willingly poured into it.
15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, who was shot and killed by police in Haiti after stealing two two plastic chairs and three framed pictures.
The second photo is by Nathan Weber.
— The Lives They Lived by Cheryl Strand, writing of Adrienne Rich, The New York Times (30/02/13)
The one that got away
— Rob Brezsny, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.