Once I was out in the general population, my laughing strategy turned to silence. I was given a job assignment in the laundry room and spent most of my non-working hours in the library reading or in the dorm writing letters. When I wrote to family and friends I tried to maintain the fiction that everything was copacetic. But my handwriting told a different story as the words shivered uncontrollably across the page like the last dash of a chicken whose neck has been wrung.
In 1972, when I was in prison, there were about 250,000 people incarcerated nationally. And in the nearly fifty years since then, there are now some two and a half million people incarcerated.
In editing this special issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review, an issue on persecution, I didn’t figure I’d find the intimacy of these poems, stories, and essays.
MONCHO ALVARADO is a Latinx-queer-poet, translator, visual artist, and educator. They’ve been published in Tahoma Literary Review, Merdian, Foglifter, Poets.org, and other publications. They are a recipient of fellowships and residencies from The Helen Wurlitzer Foundation, Lambda Literary, Poets House, Troika House, the Summer Seminar
Foreword Reginald Dwayne Betts: A Requiem for Suffering Fiction Wesley Brown: Tragic Magic Gloria L. Huang: Another Escape Alberto Reyes Morgan: Salt Matthew Pitt: A Shambles Nonfiction Esmat Elhalaby: Los Angeles Intifada Randall Horton: And so, It’s Complicated Ahmed Marzouki, Translated by Nadia Benabid: Hygiene,