conversation as a test

you talk about something that interests you
but what you are actually saying is,
“this is a part of me,
do you love this part of me?”
and the response is a blank stare
or a quiet correction
and you know
somewhere there was a failure,
somewhere you found a fault line,
and it is time to end the conversation
or present another test.

how many failures before the structure collapses?
or are the fissures beautiful,
an invitation to explore,
an opportunity for adventure?
“this is a part of me,
do you love this part of me?”
why do I care if you love me?
the constant need to connect and reconnect,
I could have been someone
if you had been here,
but let’s talk about something else.


Justice is, most often, a synonym for revenge. When people cry for justice, what they really want is for the perpetrator to suffer, at a minimum, to the degree the victims of that person’s crimes have suffered. This is, of course, hugely problematic. What is being demanded is that the government that represents the victims become the chief torturer and executioner.

People with strongly held religious beliefs are often those that cry the loudest for this kind of justice. It would appear that they do not believe that the God, or gods, that they worship can be trusted. Perhaps a merciful deity will forgive the criminal and allow them access to eternal bliss, what then?

The idea that convicted criminals should expect to endure all kinds of assault, including sexual assault, while incarcerated, is a common subtext for all kinds of comedy and drama on the subject of justice. So if the government is not willing to engage in the practice of torture, they are expected to place their convicted criminals in a context where the torture will be by proxy.

One of the most serious, and obvious problems with this idea of justice is what happens when an individual is wrongfully convicted. Wrongful convictions are, unfortunately, inevitable. Humanity has yet to devise a justice system that ensures that no one is wrongfully convicted.

Another serious problem with this approach to justice is how it applies to criminal acts which are not deemed serious enough to warrant permanent incarceration. The science is pretty clear, “hurt people, hurt people”. If you create a system of incarceration that traumatizes inmates, there is a very good chance that at least some of those inmates are going to be far more damaged, and as a result far more dangerous, when they leave, than when they entered the system.