Sunday, October 08, 2006

Questions and Answers--15/4/2006

How can I write about beauty
when I'm surrounded by misery?

How can I write
about the morning rain
when my window lacks a view…

So why?
I keep drifting away, to wonder
when hopelessness is so thick in the air,
why do I keep searching,
when all the doors around me are closed.
Why do I look toward to a future,
when I lack a present?

How can I escape the grip of my demons
when they dwell within me?
How do I thrive to revive my inner child
when I am the cause of his death?

Why is my search so complicated
when I am living my destiny...
Why then,
If I have all the answers
do I keep searching for truths…

G. Alvarado 06’

dan's 2 cents: This site has one stunning poem after another, most relating to the experience of prison men's groups. The groups are called "INSIDE circles." Finding the site was one of those serendipitous things that now happens online, just like it used to "in the stacks."

Mr. Alvarado's words conveyed the truth of incarceration in sobering terms. A very clear question rung out in every stanza, reminding me of Paul Tillich's, The Courage to Be.

This quest is deeply personal, yet, in the larger sense, this shining wave of questions breaks across the entire range of minds locked up inside our jails. Why anticipate a future "when I lack a present?" "How can I escape the grip of my demons? How can I thrive to revive...?" "Why is my search so complicated?" This phrase, in particular, rattles every cage of every cell, demanding knowledge. Men trained to look tough and expected to have all the answers--men who've learned the penalties and rewards for every action the hard way--still search for truth.

Our humble book service brings just a portion of this knowledge, spurring inmates' to ask deeper questions. For this reason, our books must be relevant, sparking the pleasure centers of the brain so that feeling for life and the search for meaning can continue. We might keep Mr. Alvarado's quest in our heart as we face those whose mission is merely human warehousing. Every committee meeting, training session, budget initiative, book buying trip and quiet conversation advocating books is worth HIS while and ultimately worth OUR while.