21st Century


Letter from T. Don Hutto Detention Center. Taylor, TX: June, 19, 2018.

"I was separated from my children, it was so painful...it was so painful for me, when they took them away from me and took me to the ice box or kennel (border prison). From then on, I didn't know any more about my children, I asked them and they told me they didn't know anything. I asked for a minute to speak with my husband and they didn't let me, all the mothers were crying in anguish, distraught from not knowing anything about our children, this is the harshest thing they could do, to take our children from us. The told us they were going to adopt our children out to other people." [translated from Spanish]

– June 19, 2018

Maria Alyokhina

Pussy Riot (Musical group). Pussy Riot!: A Punk Prayer for Freedom: Letters from Prison, Songs, Poems, and Courtroom Statements, plus Tributes to the Punk Band That Shook the World. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2012.

"My only cellmate, Nina, and I sleep on metal beds in outdoor clothes. She sleeps in a fur coat; I sleep in a coat.

It’s so cold in the cell that our noses turn red and our feet are ice cold, but we are not allowed to get into bed and under the covers before the bedtime bell. The holes in the window frames are stuffed with hygiene pads and bread crumbs. The sky is all orange from the street lamps at night.

I’ve officially stopped my hunger strike so I now drink warm colored water (tea) and eat dry bread three times a day. The flat metal beds are terrifying, it seems easy to smash your head against the edges.

Nina keeps saying it won’t get any worse. She’s fifty-five. She got detained for burglary. A drunken policeman took all her stuff and forced her to sign the report incriminating her; she never got to read what she signed. Now she’s a thief in a mask. She’s one of Pussy Riot too."

– March 5, 2012

Bright yellow book cover with black pillow-like shapes collecting at the bottom of the page.
Mercedes Eng

Prison Industrial Complex Explodes: A Poem. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: Talonbooks, 2017.

"Did your institution undertake initiatives to foster a corporate culture that embraces diversity?

beautiful Carole

cocoa skin a black waterfall of Pocahontas hair

coffee skin black waterfall of Pocahontas hair

mahogany skin black waterfall of Pocahontas hair

cinnamon/nutmeg/clove skin black waterfall of Pocahontas hair

brown sugar skin

copper skin

gold skin"

– 2017