I'm so tired.
I went to San Quentin last night.
The drive there was gorgeous. Three girls daydreaming in a car to Kid Loco, along the Richmond Bridge, watching tiny boats bob past the shifting shadows of an uninhabited black-green island, just before the Bridge seems to split into two.
The wind tousled our hair and the sun kissed our shoulders as we waited for gate clearance.
Walking into the room, I felt curious eyes. Chairs squeaked. Voices dropped, before resuming conversations.
Then I began tutoring. The assignment? Make a self-portrait in the style of an artist featured in The Art Book.
I glimpsed intimations of stories, teeming, barely restrained, beneath questions and statements. Extracted details of their varied childhoods that had me reeling, inside, unable to put my hand on their shoulder because that sort of behavior was unallowed.
So much to think about, to reflect on. I thought, silently, on many things: alternative histories; the intersection of race and class in the judicial system; the American media's unrelenting need to dehumanize the incarcerated; adolescence; and freedom, finally.
Who is free? "Free people," preoccupied by their choice of opiates (be it t.v., drugs, the internet, fashion trends, fundamentalism etc), tweaking on their "free will," members of the peculiarly American cult of individualism, or the incarcerated men I met, whose minds are quite limber despite iron bars and watchtowers?
For once, I can't write everything, not right now. The wheels in my head turn, steady, but my hand shakes.
I am so tired, although excited.
There is so much to do, to learn, to communicate.