Friday, October 5, 2012


I keep writing about this meeting that I’m going to have on Sunday because I feel numb every time I think about it and in my mind, feeling numb means covering something up.  I think, or I hope, that in these writings I am getting closer to the core of what’s eating at me.

Last night I was sitting on a friend’s couch trying to find the words to describe my apprehension.  Whenever I express concern about going, people usually remind me that there will be guards, etc.  But I’m not afraid that Cork will harm me.  Deep, deep down I feel a certainty that when I sit across from him I will be assaulted, not by him, but by a suffocating sadness. 

Cork started getting arrested when he was 14.  The first time was because he’d stolen pots from a department store and was caught trying to sell them.  He was extremely poor.  I often wonder what he was going to buy with that money.  Drugs weren’t prevalent in Greenwood back then.  I keep thinking that maybe he was just hungry.  Maybe he needed money for food.  Maybe he needed help instead of punishment.

By the time he was 22 he’d been arrested 18 times, and then he killed Booker Wright.  He went to jail, then prison, and has been incarcerated for the last 39 years.  What kind of a life is that?  What bothers me about our visit is that I don’t really care about him, and I don’t think that anyone else does either.  I'm meeting with because I want to take something from him, his memories. 

I will walk in there with my Nordstrom jeans on, and sit across for him for as long as it pleases me to do so, then I will leave and never look back.  I will step into this life of loss and tragedy for my own gain.  What will it be like to sit across from someone who hasn’t been able to spend their time how they want to, or hop in a car and go for a drive on a whim?  It’s like realizing all of a sudden that I am coated with a putrid, nose-burning, un-concealable stench of privilege.  I wonder if this is what white guilt feels like. 


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