guarding sing sing
“he was attracted to exactly the same strong women that would not tolerate his bullshit”
i was on hold for a long time for this one-rodrigo told me about it way back when the magazine (existed and) still had an office in the last manifesTO space. whatever the reason it took so long to get to me, i’m glad that i finished it during this inaugural “weekend” that also corresponded with the polishing off of the last of my dvd selections from maryvale, notably grown up movie star (dir. adriana maggs). it is fitting that the theme of prisons (real or imagined) and cycles keeps coming up, the above (paraphrased) quote came from junot diaz’ philly free library talk that i of course heard via podcast because i missed seeing him here for the international festival of authors recently. a sunday night epiphany for this emotionally-unavailable person as she hopes to wrap up this affair the neatest way yet. (sigh) we’ll see. i am glad for and stunned by the bravery of humans:
“The single most interesting word, when it came to the bending and ignoring of rules, was contraband. To judge the long list of what constituted contraband, its meaning was clear. In practice, however, contraband was anything but.
The first strange thing about contraband was that its most obvious forms-weapons, drugs, and alcohol-could all be found fairly readily inside prison. Some of the drugs probably slipped in through the Visit Room, but most, it seemed, were helped into prison by officers who were paid off. The Department had a special unit, the Inspector General’s Office, which followed up on snitches’ tips and tried to catch officers in the act; the union rep had even warned us about the ‘IG’ at the Academy. A couple of times a year, I would come to find, a Sing Sing officer was hauled off in handcuffs by the state police.” (104)
“I was doing well at keeping work off my mind until I noticed his younger sister with her hands on the slats of her crib, looking out. Unnervingly, it reminded me of the same view I had all day long. Like an inmate, she was dependent upon me for everything. These two jobs were too much the same, I thought with disgust. My son, tired but rambunctious, didn’t want to brush his teeth and, struggling, mistakenly hit me in the eye. I grabbed him angrily and shouted, made him cry. Well, there was one difference between him and the inmates, I thought darkly as I tried to calm us both down. He was destroyed when I got mad; they, on the other hand, seemed energized.” (114)