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- Two Cats, Three Tales
Lawrence like rivers with fish. Their children will grow and marry and have their own dozen children. Even when payments of silver stop, the sound of babies and building and baptisms will fill the air. But first, it is high summer and a pack of girls stands shivering on a dock.
the scruffy little crumb grabbers the kitty tales trilogy book 2 Manual
Girls named Noelle and Marguerite and Esperance, surrounded by the screech of gulls. Girls who must push their gazes forward and suffer three long months of blue. Some will not survive. A few turn back at the dock, preferring the misery of the familiar to the throbbing emptiness of the open sea. But most step onto ships and bear the crossing. Most marry and give birth to a new child every year until they no longer can. Most help to till and plant and pick alongside their husbands, while learning to nurse and cook and clean. Most fall headlong into the needle of New France and make themselves into spools of thread—stitching together new worlds with the fabric of their bodies.
He is complimenting me on my shoes. I could imagine not knowing, and the embarrassment of misunderstanding and calling the teacher, or the guard, and having to explain, word by aching word while he looks on, what I thought he meant.
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I could cause a real mess. I have that power.
He is a prisoner, and this is a prison. It is clear that I am a volunteer. I am the only one walking the halls at a brisk clip, eyes cast down, lips pressed into an inoffensive smile. Guards stand watch at intervals, but sometimes I am alone in long corridors with twenty inmates, all of them taking note of me, all of them silent. These men give me a wide berth, however. The man who likes my shoes is the leader of the Bloods in the prison.
I learn this the week after a facility lockdown is lifted, and we are allowed to resume tutoring at Garden State. Thomas, the teacher I work with, explains what happened. A bunch of guys are in solitary right now. These are the quiet minutes between my arrival and Movement, the time of transition when the hallways are clogged with prisoners on their way to report to their next task. Soon, twenty-five men will begin to squeeze into this classroom.
More will pass by the door on their way to their own classrooms. Some will whistle at me as they pass. All of them, even the ones who have seen me a dozen times, will stare. Just sits back in his cell and gives orders. When he enters the classroom, one of a dramatically depleted number of students, I can detect no difference in him. I start volunteering as an academic tutor in prison because I read an article on a college-based tutoring program.
Two Cats, Three Tales
The New York Times has excerpted inmate essays, and I click through the sidebar in tears. Inspiration drives my quickest shifts, my quiet moments. I have stopped going to church, but I ride to Garden State in a van driven by Frenel, a Haitian who listens to Christian radio and keeps a much-dog-eared and annotated Bible balanced beside the gearshift.
When I start volunteering in prison, I am midway through an acclaimed 90s television series, the Tom Fontana-helmed Homicide: Life on the Street, based on the David Simon book that would later spawn The Wire. Oz was critically acclaimed in its day and maintains its groundbreaking reputation. I ultimately decide to put off watching it.
My parents ask, and I describe the experience of volunteering in prison as addictive. This, I think, is living on the edge.
I am borrowing danger. It is more or less immediately clear that I made the right decision to put off this viewing. So ask me. Come over here and ask me if you can fuck your wife. A friend of mine who also volunteers at Garden State has been assigned to the art classroom, where conversation is free and personal information—a currency unrecognized in my classroom—is legal tender. I know practically everything they did to get in there. The rest she looks up. New Jersey, like most states, keeps a searchable inmate database online.
All you need is a name—first or last—and A Journal of Creative Nonfiction. My friend is fascinated. She sighs. He was nice. Instead I say nothing. She glances at me. A known rapist. A rapist known to me.
gaugradgega.cf The violent Vern Schillinger is a heavyweight among the wasp prisoners of Oz, and Tobias Beecher is particularly vulnerable to him in a prison sharply divided along racial, national, sexual, and religious lines. I am writing about one white woman and twenty non-white men.
I am writing about one woman who can leave and twenty men who have to stay. I am writing about one woman who knows nothing and twenty men who know the score. Power and powerlessness intersect in my walk through the halls, and in my seat in the classroom. I thought volunteering sounded fun.
I thought it sounded inspirational. Watching Oz, if I recognize anything about my time volunteering in prison, it is the way the male inmates treat the female prison guard, the female doctor, the female shrink. These women are novelties, so they are accorded respect and attention. They are also potential sexual conquests, and in one way or another, they are all actively pursued and their difference used against them.
They, like me, can walk away. They, like me, hold some of the power. They, like me, are outnumbered. This disparity is reflected in reality. Over the calendar year, the U. Department of Justice recorded a rate of 1. In the first few episodes of Oz, there is a smothering, a shooting, a shanking, and a man burned alive.
Despite this homicidal catalogue, easily the most shocking is the easy, casual way in which Schillinger makes Beecher his sexual plaything, with Beecher powerless to resist or even report. Witnessing these scenes, I am moved for the first time since leaving Garden State to look up the statistics on sexual assault within the facility, which houses minimum, medium, and maximum security prisoners alike.
I am not sure what I expected, but these numbers seem low, and I wonder whether this is a case of media coloring my biases—prison rape on film, let alone on Oz, is rampant and largely unchecked—or simply a case of underreporting. Overall, the rate of sexual victimization reported by the njdoc inmate population is well below the national average. The point of racial comparison may initially read as misleading, since a disproportionate number of non-white men and women are incarcerated in the United States.
Without question, more people of color are assaulted behind bars than white people. However, it is significant, above all significant for Tobias Beecher, that those most at risk of sexual assault are those outside the prison norm. My friend who works in the art class is Chinese-American. She is constantly having to field questions about Chinese language and China and what her family eats.
The teachers in the education wing are all women, and they are all either black or white. My friend sticks out even more than I do. She is small and slight and has luminous skin and waist-length hair. She may be the only Asian person in the building. She is beautiful and she is never afraid. What I am afraid of are the looks themselves, and what they mean.
I am afraid of the knowledge that these looks correspond to looks and thoughts on the outside, among the law-abiding, among men I know. Thomas makes copies two doors down. The men start coming in and each one shoots me a sidelong glance.
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Our ta comes in. He says good morning like a normal person. I wonder whether he is a rapist.