Thursday, October 14, 2004

"She Said No" - What a "Shock and Awe"

Some time in March of this year, a friend sent me a zine of poetry by Pablo Dosh and Shailja Patel through a vendor. I've been waiting to read those collection of poems for a long time.

What I received from the prison mailroom was a "Notification of Disapproval Mail/Package/Publications" form. It informed me that on page 7 of Shailja Patel's Shilling Love zine it "portrays conduct which appears to be nonconsensual behavior" and on page 29 of Pablo Dosh's Shock and Awe zine, it "portrays conduct which is forceful, threatening, or violent." I have the options of returning the zines to the sender or destroy them.

The two pages in the question contain the poems "She Said No" by Shailja and "Shock and Awe" by Pablo. Shailja's poem depicts the fact: "On March 9, 2001, Christopher K. McCarthy, of Concord, New Hampshire, a US soldier stationed in South Korea, was sentenced to 6 years in jail for beating to death a Korean bar waitress who refused to have sex with him." Pablo's poem depicts the US Desert Storm War in February of 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. Those were facts expressed through poetry.

The lady who worked in the mailroom decided that the two pages out of the two zines are disallowed due to their content. She didn't give an explanation why or what specific words were a violation of the prison rules and regulations. What's amazing about this is that the lady actually read every page of the two zines and decided those two pages were disallowed. It's unheard of. Where did she find the time? Does it mean that she reads through every newspaper, magazine, and book that comes through her hands? I'm sure she would open any newspaper on any day and it will have articles that state the facts of nonconsensual behavior and violence. Yet, how come she allows those coming in? Or is it just because I am Eddy Zheng? Huh...

I wonder how much of their decision to disallow the zine has to do with personal feeling and political views. If any, wouldn't that be a violation of my rights? Hmmm....

Naturally, I appealed their decision through the prison inmate appeal process. After going through three different levels of appeals, the Director's Level Appeal from Sacramento denied it. The entire appeal process took six months. I received the decision this evening.

My next step is filing a writ of habeas corpus in the court to seek relief. I have to fight for every little thing in prison so prison guards or officials can't keep trampling on my rights.

5 Comments:

Blogger Shailja Patel said...

Dear Eddy,

Here's the poem they wouldn't let you read!

Stay strong, and inspiring - and inspired.

In community,
Shailja

She Said No

On March 9, 2001, Christopher K. McCarthy, 22, of Concord, New Hampshire, US soldier stationed in South Korea, was sentenced to 6 years in jail for beating to death a Korean bar waitress who refused to have sex with him.
(From an article in Asian Week)

I want to know how that feels
rampant power, blind entitlement,
all wrapped up in six
starred and striped
inches of bludgeoning penis.

Korean waitress equals
receptacle for GI sperm,
sewer for American relief,
what made her think
she could choose?

"She said no
so I hit her
I hit her again
and she fell so I kicked her
I kicked her again"
and I want to know how that feels:
rage rises
fist in groin,
torpedoes belly,
pythons intestines,
sprouts two wings
like god’s own angels,
thunders bullets
through hands and feet.

I want to know what it takes
to beat a woman to death.

Did she count her savings that day?
Promise her son: "tomorrow
if I catch enough tips, tomorrow
we’ll buy your schoolclothes,
and yes, maybe this summer
we’ll go see your grandparents
in the village……"
Duh. I forgot
she’s nameless,
faceless, voiceless.
Breasts, hips, vagina.
Slick black hair and
slick red mouth
and open legs and – hang on:
she refused
to have sex with him?
She
refused?

Did the earth stop turning?
Did the sun go out?
Did the stars and stripes
freeze on the flagpole,
shatter in the darkness?
She was a gook!
You know the plot - why
do I have to repeat it?

He has a name.
She has none.
He has a rank, a gun,
family, church, hometown,
high-school girlfriend,
He’s the hero!
She’s a walk-on.
So he had to kill her.
What else could he do?
She was changing the story.

I want to know how it feels,
when the story is you: roots
in your groin, flowers
up your belly, tendrils
your intestines, blossoms
two wings like
god’s holy angels,
testifies righteous bullets
through hands and feet.

Bring in the scales:
Six years for McCarthy,
Thirty one years of her life.
Wait! I’ll put more on her scale:
the dream she had last night,
the ache in her feet from high heels,
strip of blue silk at her window,
history books by her bed,
incense she burns daily
for her grandmother, stitches
her mother had
after her birth -

the scale says: Sorry.
She was only a bar girl
who didn’t know her lines.

I want to know how it feels, McCarthy,
when the story falls apart,
the slick red mouth
says no,
the faceless
grow eyes
that stare into yours.

Does it explode your groin,
slice a bayonet
up your belly,
strangle your intestines,
spawn two monstrous wings
like god’s avenging angels,
shrapnel KILL
through hands and feet?

Because the story
must be restored, the story
cannot be changed, the story
is about
you.
And how did she imagine,
Asian bar girl, yellow void,
where did she get the idea
she could say no?

2:34 PM  
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