A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

Editor’s Note:  You must realize that Poets are like the Biblical Prophets of Old who – after living for months in the desert on a ‘totally organic, free-range-grown’ diet of honey and grasshoppers – trundle into town to deliver God’s Word to the King and other inhabitants.   I tell them: “No Politics!”  But they must weigh on the one hand what their Editor says against what God says.  “Think of your EDITOR, as God,” I say.  But here you have it:

"I spent almost two hours yesterday at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma...!!"

“I spent almost two hours yesterday at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. This is a windowless barbed wire prison run by GEO, the same people who run Guantanamo. This is one of the biggest privately-held prison companies in the world, and they get $122 a day from the federal government (tax dollars) to house people who are picked up, as three weeks ago in Ellensburg, in the dead of night by men with guns drawn (heck, maybe some women, too)- and literally dragged from their homes and stuck in this prison with no rights. Families wait in the cold to be let in for visits in scenes reminscent of Stalinist Russia. Visitors are not allowed to take in pencils or paper because they might be able to write down information. Their families don’t know where they are- 15 of the 30 people captured in Ellensburg were sent to Spokane and 15 to Tacoma. A man died in this prison recently. He was from Cambodia and since there is no legal right to a translator, nobody understood anything other than he was complaining of a stomach ache. He died, perhaps from appendicitis. And if you’re thinking “wetbacks,” people coming in over the border from Mexico in the last few years, and hiding out in basements and so on, forget it. Most of the people I talked to came to the U.S. as small children. Their parents, because of the cost, because of the hassle, because in those days we weren’t a proto-fascist state (and for my money, you can drop the proto)- the kids never officially became citizens. So there’s this girl who came to the US when she was six (from Cambodia) and in high school she meets this great guy who came to this country when he was seven. And it’s a high school romance. And they grow up and have kids and jobs and social security and pay taxes and work and contribute and don’t do anything wrong and then one night– He’s picked up, and stuck in a nightmare, and it takes a long while before she even finds out, more or less by rumor, where he is. And so now she drives to see him from a town two and a half hours away, and he’s been in there five months, and it could be years, though recently she was told to bring a suitcase, which generally means deportation will come soon, and he’ll be “returned” to a country where he doesn’t speak the language, torn away from his wife and kids. But it’ll probably be better foe him than in the US where people’s human rights have been rolled over by the tank of corporate greed.
And that’s what this poet has to say.”  – Lyn

Photo taken – completely out of context (again!) – by Carl Nelson

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7 Responses to “A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin”

  1. dangblog Says:

    This is an edifying post to say the least. I didn’t even know this place existed. Sheesh. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    And Carl, I picked up a can of salted free-range grasshoppers. Pretty good, but I prefer corn chips.

  2. Lyn Coffin Says:

    Geez- I keep trying to make a comment, but you have to put your name where it says email, and your email where it says website. I guess. Anyway- This is not politics! Politics is where you say vote for Democrats or vote for Republicans or vote for Tea- Well, that’s fantasyland. But anyway- This is not politics! This is saying, wake up you RepliTeaCrat and smell your country burning! This is not politics- This is patriotism. (And these days, Patriotism is next to Paranoia. Has to be.)

  3. schn00dles Says:

    “Salted free-range grasshoppers”… that’s too good. I’ll have to try a couple… with honey!

  4. Lyn Coffin Says:

    To quote a friend- I see the USA materializing as a huge prison full of people who don’t realize they are prisoners. When I think about what they have done to the food, and the water table, and the air, and the mountaintop removal, and the clearcut forests, and the pollution, and the nuclear wastes, and the climate changes, and the invasions of other countries, and the tortures, and how they’ve taken away human rights, and how all the cattle sit passive in front of the TV or herd themselves through the shopping malls or movie theatres so as to not notice what has happened, well sometimes all that weighs me down.”

  5. Laura Says:

    Hi, Lyn! I saw your post about the Detention Center on Dianne Aid’s FB page. I have started a blog (www.immigration-reform.us) to offer a place to compile resources and opinions generated by activists in the Pacific Northwest. Would you have any interest in duplicating your entry there? I can either post an excerpt, and link back to your blog – or I can give you a username and password, and you can post to your heart’s content.

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