English is not this writer’s first language. Yet the power behind her words hits the page, hard. As it hits the reader. Hard.
Her struggle to get the help she needs while incarcerated – help that was available while she was held at the state hospital which no longer exists – would be enough to enrage even a tough mind. The obstacles piled in front of her to just get through each day are staggering. Without significant mental health services, coherent legal path, or accommodation to communicate in her native tongue, she is stuck at every level imaginable.
Yet she comes to write with us – even when the writing is tough – because here, at least, she is heard. Her few words of power.
WHATEVER YOU NEED TO WRITE
stretch yourself, your mind, your memories
from horizon to horizon
stretch from everything
from north to south
or east to west,
Write left to right
Stretch the letters, the syllables,
the words of the world,
Near a fountain . . . . under a tree . . .
surrounded by music, flowers . . .
whatever you need
Difficult for me, you, nobody can imagine
how high, how thick the fence is in front
of my pen to reach what
with the light
in the dark
lying in my bed
my butterfly notebook open …
in the sun near the pounding of the water …
It seems impossible for me NOW