Tempests, Cages, Prayers


Who are we and what have we become?

Rikers Island will not be evacuated. 12,000 people left locked inside their cells, on a landfill island, in the path of a hurricane.

We do not look upon our darkness. We do not gaze upon the parts we’ve locked away. We do not look at what is underneath our anger, our fear, and our despairing. We are submerging under water. We are sinking.

Despite this weighing heavy on my heart today, because of who I am, I still make prayers. I light candles and incense. I still myself inside and bring my body through the movements of awakening. Suffering and abandonment occur on this world in every moment, and every moment also calls upon our souls to rise.

I will hold prayer and sunshine along with rising waters and the wind. I will think of you. Of all of us. I will think of bodies, hearts, and minds, caged and free. I will lift you all up, as best I can. I will trust you too, to do the same.

Thank you. Bless you. Keep safe in these tempestuous times.

7 Responses to “Tempests, Cages, Prayers”

  1. Cathryn Meer Bauer

    Shameful beyond imagining. Mine, certainly. The SF Bay courthouses do have evacuation plans for in-custodies; saw this in action during a bomb scare. But I honestly don’t know for a fact what the disaster plan is, or if there is one, for detention facilities here, now that I think on it. If the in-custodies have been convicted of a crime, their punishment is incarceration, not abandonment or possible death. (Plenty of prisoners are awaiting disposition or trial and may yet be found to be innocent.). This is utterly unconscionable.

  2. Jocelyne Houghton

    I appreciate and cherish your unfailing compassion and fairness, Thorn.

    I also want to share the information that “no part of the jail complex falls into the high-risk “Zone A” category” per this item from the WSJ : http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/08/27/hurricane-irene-rikers-island-no-evacuation-at-citys-main-jail/

    It remains true that “suffering and abandonment occur on this world in every moment, and every moment also calls upon our souls to rise” and I remain, as always, inspired by your words and your spirit.

    Blessed be, and may all beings everywhere be happy and free. Shanti, shanti, shanti OM.

  3. Soli

    Well, I made it through the hurricane without even a loss of power, bless. And just finished watching the 2010 version of The Experiment. So now thinking again about how we treat wrongdoers in this society. At the least I need to recommend it to my brother-in-law who works as a prison guard. I somehow doubt he’d disagree with how the film was handled.

  4. Lori F - MN

    I always look forward to your insite and inspiration. But hearing this is shocking. I suppose since it is NY they thought it wouldn’t be necessary ever.
    Every sickness, injury and death of those in Riker will weigh heavily on those who made that decision.
    I will be lighting a candle for the inmates and any staff who remain there.

    • Thorn

      Thanks to everyone who wrote in, including people who pointed out that the prison, though on a landfill island, is actually at a higher level than I thought. Blessings to all who rode out the storm.

  5. Henry

    ah they didn’t evacuate roosevelt island or city island either.
    Rikers is probably by far the safest place to have been during a hurricane in NYC.


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