Saturday, December 29, 2007


Yes, this depression is consumptive. It’s not surrender. It’s I really don’t care any more. Before I’m fired I quit. Tired of society. Tired of judgments. Tired of voices. Those who know better.
Of mistakes. Faulted.


My poetry becomes single words spread out like box cars. Early 20th century subdivisions. Reality here is such. If I didn’t appreciate Buster Keaton I fear I would have swung from sheet attached to some make-shift gallows a long time ago. In fear of redundancy & laughter there is truly nothing to write about. The comparisons, the explanations are pointless. There is & there will be no way for me to give you any perspective. Any reality. Any anything of what prison is but I’ll try to tell you what it isn’t/doesn’t.

It doesn’t taste like chicken. It isn’t a circus. It isn’t like sitting in a closet all day to get the “idea” of. It isn’t just flat. It doesn’t inspire. It isn’t insipid. Though it’s full of such Americans. It just isn’t. It doesn’t. It isn’t terror & it doesn’t move fast enough. If boredom was a basketball – the hoop exists between breath that you could only visualize when your mind was totally blank. Play one on one with yourself. Intrinsic self-flagellation. Well that’s my opinion. As Lewis & Clark tired & some what succeeded, I will attempt to document this wilderness. This urban jungle. This stepped on bag of chips. This shut the fuck up.

A dear co-worker from back in the 90’s at Citizen Action was gunned down & few weeks back. Chris Roberson, father of three. My time & experiences with him was really positive. A solid guy. My prayers & heart goes out to his friends & family, to his mother, Cassandra, a truly wonderful person.


There’s no question that prison is a “heavy” place. It’s rather ridiculous to even say it. It’s so obvious. But between the silence & the constant din of hostility you go blank. You allow yourself your death. Removal from this world for you have been removed. Isolated. Deemed criminal & shipped away. Not quite as scenic as Australia. We have a landfill in our back yard. The constant nothing. An empty nightmare. You only know it’s a nightmare because it ain’t a dream & it ain’t reality. It’s what’s been brushed off the table. Crumbs. Broken shattered dust bits of a once life. The remains of . Hibernation.

Just finished The Irreversible Declining of Eddie Socket. A solid book. Sometimes choppy but a great read. In here, salt in the wound. AIDs & the lives withing. It tells the story of one thru his & the lives of his lovers, friends & family. Heartbreaking. A must to read. This is how I spend my time. Digging a hole in society’s cancer & hunkering down. Society’s failure. i.e. that means us - all of us. America is dying slowly.

Near Wild Heaven – a tremendous subtle REM song. Mike Mills lead singer. Michael, Berry & Buck back up. A solid mansion Beach Boys happy American. Just a sweet song. Always had/have fond memories of. Some times you reach into snow & find a lost toy.

“Pee in the sink she said.
There dishes in the sink.
The have to be washed anyway.
But I found it difficult to pee in the sink because the idea excited me”

Kafka Was The Rage, Anatole Broyard.
“There was a sentence, for example, in a book or surrealism that stuck in my mind: “Beauty is the chance meeting, or an operating table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella.”

As Mallarme said, “if a person of average intelligence and insufficient literary preparation opens one my books and pretends to enjoy it, there has been a mistake. Things must be returned to their places.”

“The lonely poet, great wheel barrow of the swamps”. Tristan Tzara

It’s not that I have to. Rather want to. Believe piano as instrument of Sundays. Naughty. Angelic. Serious & quite light. The piano for me is mystery. An abandoned isle, hope. Something so large so profound. Confusing. Daunting & yes, overwhelming. I’ve always wanted a lover who could play the piano. Sit upon a stool & gaze. Befuddled. I guess that’s why they’re dreams. They exist in our quiet. Our true lonely. Our/that inward. A piano guts me as did my heart surgeon. After my surgery I couldn’t/wouldn’t come of my delirium. Everything was white light & so so slow moving. I couldn’t comprehend if I was dead or living. I truly didn’t care. So beautiful & their voices. The morphine drip straddling two worlds. Content with both. Either or.

A few tributes to John Lennon today & yesterday. How he came into how he left our/this world. A true artist. Magician. Strange how someone so far away, so distant, can & did take such a place with me. I know he struggled/worked/loved every day he was alive. Hero.

Reading a wonderful bio of Allen Ginsberg. Bill Morgan, author, begins chatting of Allen as a hero & yes, without question, he was a hero & like John, could transcend & change so much of this rather petty, corrupt world. Both not just strong believers of, but practitioners of love.

Thinking this weekend of what I truly miss. Of everything, what would or do I want. Frankly it’s so simple. Just those few – family, friends – without question. I wrestle every day what is prison. What is it to me? Truly digging down deep. Looking thru my eyes & attempting thru others. Prison is simply the attempt of removing love. Removing the individual practice. The belief of. Guys just babble here. Words are spewed worse than the exorcist. Words are rocks against windows. Against the walls. Society. Everything. Words are puke here. Wasted. Stupid & full of self-pity. Bitterness. It gets very frustrating. So in sorting out I have to dig thru all this bile. Stupidity. Bravado. Just to find or attempt to find some truth. A truth. & it comes down to love. Being forgotten. Forgetting. A surrender not to hatred but to hope. To love. Here, prison is a lie. Perpetuated by our & by our I mean the inmates, giving up. Rolling over. An un dignified surrender. This is not a judgment. It’s my observation. My judgment frankly, only matters to me of me. I will not give up on love or hope. On the light that exists. Has & will continue to exist. I know you are out there & to some extent that’s good. Alright. But frankly I’m talking to myself. Not to hear myself talk, never. But it’s out of responsibility. Out of my purpose. My beliefs. I grew up with some “odd” truisms. “Never say never” to this day, the word/thought never freaks me out. The other one was “never put it down on paper ‘cause people can hold it against you”. It is feelings, thoughts, observations. But I don’t want to know what it is, though I do. It is the “now we shall judge your stupid thoughts, your sad comments”. Your truth. This blog is not to educate. Entertain you. It’s my “fuck you”. My failures. My sadness. My humanity. My humility. My weakness. My joy. My love. When I emerge from this cell I don’t blink. Everything & I mean everything, has potential for disaster. For humiliation. For stupidity. All of life is such as this. It’s a trade off. I understand so much now it’s scary. I straddle that line between sanity & insanity every moment. I think I straddle it. Truly it doesn’t & it’s never existed. I talk to men who have raped their own children. & they talk of what the weather might be or of the fuckin Packers. They talk as if I care they are alive. That they matter. & I study how their eyes register & their mouths move & their fingers settle. & my wandering gets the best, the worse of me. I wonder & add my 2¢. Walk away & pray.

Prison is a remarkable experiment. One that will never work as such. Too many variables. Control subjects? Prison is stone soup. A shell game. A never saying never. A very fucked up situation. I watch myself change my face. My chest. My belly. My heart. My mind. What shall I give up. Give away. Hide away. I watched 2 friends talking today. The angle of their arms. The cloth that wrapped. The floor tile. The walls. The lights. A great photo. Reminded me of an asylum. Nursing home. A warehouse. Wander from one moment to next. Voices rumble as traffic. Shuffling of cards echo foot steps. Banter. Occasionally announcement. One might judge. Boredom. And at first, second glance, yes. But no. Within those mechanisms is a dance. A subtle ballet. Movement without question. Painfully reactive. Pure survival. No one looks like they know what’s going on. Everyone rigid. Ready to explode. To laugh. To cry. The convict’s drama. Concerted.


Friday, December 21, 2007


“Can music save your mortal soul?” Yeah, no question. Snow lingers in the wings. I wait for the fall as we all did as children. No school. No church. No stinky grandparent kisses. Big hunks of ham. Snow = silence. Helter skelter of the sweetest kind. An undressing of the universe dropping her sweet white bits of linen. Cotton. Butterfly flesh. Snow what a Godsend. What a tickle. “Cause fire is the devil’s only friend”. So we launch our love with snow cones & balls & forts. Ice skating. Prison is neither bleak or excited. Now it’s muffled. Sound travels a short distance. For that I thank the cold, snow, wind. Slip into the day. Co-conspirator & whistle “this will be the day that I die”. Ha! Yesterday the winds brought snow, snakes, as we were upon the desert. Perfect undulations. Hypnotic flat ground belly dancing. A magician. Fragrance. Nice remembrance. I was there. Totally. You know the scents. A slight closet off the side. Just big enough to slip in – out – before anyone notices. A perfect moist kiss & glimmer of eye, “hi”. I’m not an escapist. More explorer. Never a room I won’t enter. Exit stage left. Not much to read in Details.

Flat. Nice looking but at a distance. “That’s a nice animal” back to my world. DNA is a mixed bag. Tons of men in underwear. What’s with that fetish” My God. Either white briefs or nothing. Cotton. Remember to keep clean in case of an accident. Which is odd in this book Brutal. The author beats the hell out of a guy & interesting he totally evacuates. So much for mother’s advice. But in DNA they review a fantastic movie by a master, Querelle by Jean Genet. Rainer Fassbinder directed. Watched with Colette probably 20 yrs ago. She felt it “so depressing”. I was, “yeah”, kind of like when I was talking to my mother about True West by Sam Shepard. I thought that was a great play. My mother hated. Oh well. To each it’s own. Querelle is an adventure some consider it Fassbinder’s best. Either way see it. Brad Davis, casualty of AIDS is main character. Genet can do no wrong. Few more articles pretty good. But all this underwear. Like a Victoria Secret’s catalog with some great text. Kelly sent me a photo of Ezra Pound by Richard Avedon. Way cool. This weekend I’ll read. Catch up on letters. Wash clothes & yes, shower. I’m cutting back 2-3 a week now. Not that every day crap. Don’t really stink. More relaxed. Way relaxed.


Depression hits here like a retarded bat attempting to exist a closet. I’m stuck on a city bus from hell going backwards into time. Imagine if Jules Verne took that one toke too many. I’m that odd Frenchman in Hogan’s Heroes glued to radio. Though I can only accept messages on mine. No outgoing. Received an important message from Radiohead – “just like an angel, your skin makes me cry”. If I were you & you know me, perhaps you might not want to reveal yr present location. Just kidding. I’d be stuck on a street corner babbling, “they’re eating people, soylent green!” or perhaps I’ll tell all of thing 1 thing 2. Either way Dr. Doolittle my patron saint.

Reading Brutal. Relating to gangsters. Oh the joy of cracking heads. Wiping the world of fuckwads. Why isn’t there a movement against square people. Where do they come from? Too dull for circumstances. Not everyone needs to be out there. Some contrast. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s here. If it’s not on tv it doesn’t exist. I’m back in high school. So I will tuck my bat under mother’s hats & wait ‘til dawn to howl. Or dinner. “Ding dong bell pussy’s in the well. Who put her there?” Your skin does make me cry & just knowing we’ve touched…I do actually enjoy smashing pallets. Yuk. Now bad music. Oh well. I’m off to la-la land.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Broke apart 4 pallets this morning. Took less than an hour. Ate 8 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. Toast, coffee, oatmeal. Finished The Member of the Wedding last night. Slim was sleeping. The last delicate pages wrapped a truly wonderful book. Of course without question tore what was left of my liver out. Why am I reading such melancholic books? So heartful & crafted. Yet I try to respond to all that is given. I guess my luxury is the indulgence. The unquestionable losing of one’s self. McCuller’s writing is quite unique. A southern Nietzsche. “The show is over & the monkey’s dead”. John Henry quoted as he settle himself in the next to the last bus seat beside her father. “Now we go home & go to bed.” Much earlier in a fragment of a thought Frankie asks, “Doesn’t it strike you as strange that I am I & you are you?” Amazing conversations thru out this book. A twelve yr old girl, her black housekeeper & her little cousin John Henry which in my world ironic cause John Henry means Evan Henry. Any more & perhaps I might spoil this book. Just finished The Old Man & the Sea. Hemingway. I got one word for/of Ernest – Dignity. A profound writer. Maybe in this day & age hokey. Fuck that. He’s brilliant. So is this book. Never saw the movie with Spencer Tracy. Don’t need to guess Ernest wasn’t too pleased. The dignity of Ernest.
New Graham Parson’s I believe re-released. Can’t wait to hear that. What a musician. Poet. Legend. American. Rebel with a clue.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


My good brother Reed asks me, is it better to love and lose or never love at all? Well I think you know my answer – yes. Eat at that table. Eat everything. Eat the fuckin table. Eat the chair. The chairs. Eat the air that surrounds & do not go gently. Love is the true – the only way/reason/decision. Fate. Destiny. It is THE. So yes, my friend. Where I separate is do we lose? How can you? It’s eating that fabulous table everything surrounding love. Sure you’ll shit it all out. Process. It’s the trip not the destination. Love ‘til you can’t then you better find a way to love again. Colette ate my heart, veins, Arteries dangled from her teeth. Her chin wet glistening with my blood. Our blood. I love her for that. That woman had balls. Stood up said “no more”. We move forward. Me slower. Retarded. Limping. Love & love again my dear brother. Hell, look what we’ve been thru. Would you want not have to have gone on this trip? Connected. 20+ years apart. 2 peas in a pod. Growing in that garden fueled/fed with beer. Rock & as much love as we can dig. A fuckin watermelon eating festival. Evan was correct when he backed up Mr. Thomas – Do not go gently. It’s ball to the floor.

Reed is a genius. He’s telling me about these stamps, of which are covering this letter & why is Barbara Streisand on them & her name. Well, I’m lost. Somehow he and his buddy mistakes a lion & the words “presorted standard” for “Barbara Streisand”. I lost it. Reed’s perfect. Had a great show @ Club Timbuk2. He & the son’s Highlonesome. Very nice. Reed carries an overabundance of pain. I feel bad at some point but I understand he’s a poet. A true bluesman. Carries the weight of the world in all her fucked broken horrid circumstances. Foot to teeth. Broken boned reality. My brother. More a son. Good man better than most. Hope you can hear his music. His vision. His beauty. You’ll be lucky. Luckier than most. This unsettled cruel existence. Sucked life from the roots. Roots trampled stomped nurtured loved in our-your truly distinctive way.

Got dizzy today. Way sick. Ready to pass out tearing apart pallets. Kept pushing forward ‘til that wall was like “settle down big guy”. I did. My boss called hsu. C.O. drove me there so fast. Was seen really quickly. Ran tests. Tons of questions. Not sure. Need more tests. I’m wiped out. Not my heart. Some sugar thing. Not diabetes. We’ll see. Point here is with so much going on with prisons/jails/hoc, here I got no complaints. They take this seriously. I’m grateful. Professionals. Over crowding is the problem but here there’s nothing that can be done. Again, look at the laws, solutions. You, the taxpayers, the true bosses. Don’t play the politicians game. Shell game. Get my drift?

Cool outside. Feels great. Got 2 more Hemingways from library. So much to do in 24 hours. You got same problem?
Guilty pleasure: that song, new song by Pink. Most of anything off new Wilco album. New Radiohead. What strange memories torment reality when I get out. Just don’t freak if when Radiohead plays and I ask in a polite “queer” tone: “mind if I sleep in your closet? Small empty room?”. Yes, my barrel is sailing over the falls. “Niagra”.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

For me the perfect story. The perfect writing.
It has it all – good vrs evil, a villain, a hero, religion, rich vrs poor, history, fiction, ghosts, horror, love, romance, humor, fantasy, memories, happiness, sadness, forgiveness, redemption, human nature. Hope & love. Makes quite the social statement.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

The warning of ignorance & want has always stuck with me. It just speaks volumes.

The first time I actually realized what Scrooge meant when he said –

“If they would rather die they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

I was floored. Decrease the surplus population. I still think that is such an evil statement and it makes me angry to hear it to this day.

This story- book – is a short, easy read. So if you have only seen the movie versions of it I encourage you to actually read it. Read it this holiday season and then read it again later on in the year.

Now for something unrelated -
I found this on the web and it made me laugh. It’s a quote from Bono – a small glimpse into the Irish attitude-

“Well in Ireland they have an interesting attitude to success. In America, you look up at the house on the hill, the mansion and say “One day that could be me”. In Ireland they look up at the mansion and go “One day I’m gonna get that bastard”.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving.
Didn’t steal any land or screw over my neighbors. Steal ideas that would end a certain starvation. But what the hell – my history is of an America quite unsettling quite vile. But it’s ours. It’s what we got, baby. No. John Brown leads that brigade. Emma Goldman master of arms & with isn’t that Gertrude Stein. Hurray America of her blessed past. John Reed pass me a cigarette cause Mark Rudd ain’t old enough back then. Future. America our crazy uncle emerges from the laundry closet. Beautiful as a spring chicken. “Oh” mother cries. “He is so odd”. Between Agnew and Cheney who truly insane? Whose fence shall you perch. Ah, I ramble. Home on the range. Shelter from this storm.

Kelly just visited. Just left. Time so quickly. So spastic. So funny. “Oh, Virginia, leave those monkeys alone”. “I have the worst feeling”. Kelly, I’m sorry I digressed of certain people. Those questions of why & why because. I forgot. I need to “be here” (meaning present. – not I’m a horrid fish & need prison) I filled too much with complaint confusion. Forget that bs. Wonderful to see you. To share alone. Isn’t it strange how much fun we have in the midst of all that. “that” I couldn’t breathe. It was terrific. Thanks. I scream uncle & Tracy, shall we follow in Hamilton’s & Burr’s insanity? I will concede to vp only if you give me my Haig moment. ‘I’m in charge”. I digress. Ate too much turkey. Beautiful snow & a tight breeze. These are kind of letters from camp. (now creepy music) camp from hell. Northern WI hell. Not really. But a friend told me yesterday that these birds aren’t finches but snow buntings. Isn’t that sweet. Big clouds of buntings.

Out walking after lunch a number of guys I know have the same idea. Thanksgiving as a child sucked. Best one ever – my little brother gets drunk. He’s about 10, stands on his chair, “a toast to ham Lincoln”. Doesn’t get any better. Fast forward to my/our family. Colette worked like a scullery maid always an amazing dinner. Stress, yes, but rather silly. The boys & I gave her a hard time. Something she needed to do. Pizza & a movie. Perfect. After separation I agreed to let her have the holidays. The boys & I would get pizza & that movie. Our last Thanksgiving we made amazing hamburgers. Drank some beer & jack. Found a leather jacket for Noah which he later traded to Evan for a hat. It’s now mine. For me the holidays a day off. More craziness. Here it’s alright. It’s what you call a prison day. You know you’re here. I only mind the time not the holiday. When you start to live as every day the first & last. Perspective reigns. I feel bad for these guys though. Some very lost.

Stacy again reminds. Super. Hart Crane was a convict. French prison. So terribly delicious. Popped a cop. Oh how I envy. Instead I get a lecture from my brother of decency. Of demons. I’ve strangled all my demons. & look who America chooses to govern. Wake up.

I say goodbye as Hemingway, “I think Big Harry figured oblivion was some sort of a suburb. Probably an Irish neighborhood.”


Friday, December 14, 2007


Well here we are again. Got some great letters yesterday. Lopez you’re a champ. Thanks. Will get back to you later. Kelly, thanks for the books. Mick is sold out. Typical luck of the Irish but just knowing you’re in my corner. Hell, I think you have your own corner. & letter from younger brother. Suffice to say thank you for the $$. Glad you got “whatever” off you chest.
Now let’s get crazy. “It started with a kiss how did it end up like this?” perfect summation of life. Of life’s rich pageant. Definitely mine, yours? They were stone steps. Placed mid-late 19th century. Later at night, perhaps 9? She was my “boss” instructing me in the fine art of printing. Offset. We had finished work. We lived in the same dorm. Bennett. Coed. We sat outside & leaned together. A kiss. Then the multitudes. Does love ever leave? Like a growth an extra limb. chop & move on. Ha! We talk of hate. We, meaning us: humans, citizens, society. Like if I hate you I purge you. Puke! Nope. No pukey for this mister. We don’t want hurt/pain. Oh the suffering. I disagree. We never to glance upon, speak to, of. What happened that evening? Was something planted. A collusion of comets. A rain to drought struck earth? It was joy. Bliss. & like Campbell suggests, we followed. Nearly 30 years. Not a yesterday. A yesterday left in a drawer- a pocket to be reached, held & examined. “oh, yes”. A warmth as full as harvest moon. As perfect as tomorrow promises. It started out as a kiss. Evan, Noah, Evan Henry. Results. Direct results of our limbs. How many as friends? Count sand baby. Our poetry. Collective success. So how & why does hate rear it’s horned head. I don’t know. She has fallen again & he seems to be a good guy. My happiness complete. I want my to dissolve. To resolve. To never turn back on & to pull those up from the ditch. Evan intimidated me. Even as a child he had no fear. None. Freaky. His love unconditional. Complete and refreshingly insane. I would not, nor never, be the man I am without him & his brother. Noah, the definition of solid. Firmly rooted & totally natural gifted musician. Poet. My lessons of love those 3. My masters. Sure I had wonderful ideas. Jacob another. My grandmother Vera. Books. Words strung as trains. Locomotives that brought word. Words of others. Love. The idea of the simplest things seem the most compacted. So complex. Here is my heart. My trust. My me. Total of what/who I am/can be. Please don’t leave in the rain or on that table at the post office. If you shall I will hurt. I will stand & I will walk backwards. How far depends on who/what we are to each other. It’s easy to write of love from prison. To pontificate. Fuck that. Remember not only am I a pirate but I know how to dig up treasures. For me to deny life’s bounty I would be a liar. A fraud. I am grateful for these vast & varied lessons. Humbled by the presence of.

I do have a good/odd habit of oversharing. I try to tolerate & mellow my opinion. Lopez writes these dense thinking letters of poetry & family. It’s a tight line to meander. He does it quite well. He makes me think. Of poetry. Of this. Life’s responsibility. Stacy also Joel. It’s a cozy room. I would like to throttle poetry. I resent the term. Some definitions. Some ideas of. But my mistake - I let Ginsberg & Berrigan have their say & fuck, before I knew it I was waging my ideas of. The beauty of self, self taught for me was that it came out of loss. Job wife husband limb mind. Not always. So to remain either in society as someone who produces either as selling or giving it away, people would visit/notice you. The intent at first was I need to produce something. I’m still here. I am. I am on the call. Well some amazing pieces were/are produced. It became very commercial. Very negative. But many did survive. Many did affect. It’s a long story and I’m not doing it justice. My point is, deep within, is our need not want to create. These people were forced(?) compelled. Poetry should - must – compel. Must not compromise. Must smash & must conjour. Must kiss & with fangs devour. I understand the perspective of the academy. But simply, for me, poetry is walking. Fucking. Spellmaking & human sacrifice. Splat we land from a fall. In our falls we strive to redeem. To sing. To love & do die, alone. Remembered. Honored.

I do struggle with definition of honor amongst thieves. Yes, I’ve encountered. Both here & there. Actually I could and probably am referring to you. But that’s okay cause it’s something good. Something very good. Not unlike wearing pajamas under suit pants or a very smart Chanel skirt. God I love a woman in a great tailored skirt. Women truly are the graceful beasts. Men angles. Sometimes a sharp sometimes not. We understand honor right? Think Michael Collins. Think Sam Adams. Just think tremendous scruples. An understanding beyond. A truly, truly profound “honesty”. A subjective. Now add thieves. For me Genet is that flower. That thief. I was disappointed cause so much behavior in here is rather ridiculous. The demands, expectations by cons – the inmates – Hello! We broke the law. This is the rug we weave. Keep your business to yourself & everyone else’s just doesn’t exist. These are the standards. The rules. The reality. You break and you deal with. This snitching is quite bizarre. Unbecoming. But in all honesty we all have our belief system. Some jive with current society. Some obviously not. Bear in mind. Choose your battles but stand complete in tracks you laid. Enough said. Do not go gently.

Stacy sent a new(ish) manuscript. God, it’s wonderful. Everyone seems to carry a bag of treasures. Hart Crane occupies big space in Stacy’s. She reminds of his genius total heart-break brilliant fuck the night. A wonderful little collection soon to be published. Everytime I read Stacy I get a nasty itch. I don’t want to sit still. I want to run or go for a walk. Write. Or steal a kiss. Rather difficult in here. My choice is rather evident, oui? I read Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane, a number of years ago. Perfect. The problem is hear in my brain “more more”. We need these gentle nudges. I will write of th
is later when published.

So, I’m working in leather in a petite way. My friends don’t worry. For those either new or interested I’m making a few little trinkets for gifts. Free. Kind of sweet. Little odd. Not tremendously gay. Not gay-homo, gay- happy. What you need to do is drop me a line and request one. I’ll get asap. No strings. No worry about some crazy letter writing maniac. Just thought this might be fun. Again, not a lot. Way under 10. Ok?

Tomorrow Thanksgiving. Wish family & friends the best. Holidays are nice. A time out. I always think of John Prine going up to some homeless. Lost. Broken citizen. A pat on the back. A meal. A hello there. a little more


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Week comes to a close. Figured I’m finished with Killing Time. Will type & get ready for finished product. Then wrap up the first part, Strike Hard Old Diamond. Then I’ll get going on the third and final part of this whole sleep walk. Been getting some fantastic letters. Julie R. brings is all home for me. We lost each other & now we’re found. She has a huge loving heart. Smart as all get out. Solid political mama. Her words tender my breast. Reflect again. Kelly found my older brother Mark. Again uncle Kelly solves the mystery. I’m so deep within this well. Should I be grateful for this imprisonment? If not could/would I ever understand blood of love, or would I forever wallow in self-pity. I do respond quickly to desperate situations. Not much of a toad.
Finished Mysterious Island by Verne. Perfect read for prison. Again, would I have had time to read outside. I’m a child again within that candy store. Now it’s O Pioneers by Willa Cather. I read My Antonia in Dodge. Fell in love with her there. Such a direct perfectly chosen document of America of true grandeur. Her people. Ours. Their courageous struggle. Subtle though oh so profound victories. I, like Capote, adore her. He though had the honor of meeting her, alas, I missed that boat with both. I have my own pocket of riches. Speaking of which, got a sweet delicious letter from Stacy. So I’m returning my thoughts. Mid-sentence announced Tom Waits on radio. Oh fuck. That monster in the closet. Sure enough, Time, by him. I’m trying to convey this/that pain that struggle wrestle with memories. Yikes. I turn off light & let that bitch out. I howl and tear my heart out. Everything falls out. I mean I’m sobbing. Sobbing like the bottom just fell out. It was great. Quite simply my river. Time begins ends with melody. With warble of chords. Stammer of aggression. At a very early, older brother & sister point me in that direction. Dance motherfucker dance. My release. I can’t sing so I spaz. Can’t quite spaz in prison so yes sometimes I howl. Caught last night by neighbor. “yeah, I have a horrible voice” “yep”. Life is a shoe make that little shit fit. It was/is great to have a dormant volcano within one’s chest. Except for a little steam, not a lot of warning before we blow. My addictions: chaos & emotion. That tight tight rope. Pull ‘til almost snap then just hold it. Thank you all for yr thoughts, words. Human contact.



I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving. Please scratch below that surface & surprise one with your thought, word or gentle nudge. For today all we have. Need. Always.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I even have to ask myself, “what’s the point”. Point being large nature of complaint. Bottom line – accountability. Look, if you got in the bathtub dude, you got a problem. Selling rock on the street corner without question laws broken. Yes society weighs in. Tolerate weed, yes it’s moving in that direction. Rock smack selling pics of yr kids… you know what I mean, never. Should drunks be in prison, I mean there are guys who were busted car off parked in some lot. Questionable. The bottom line it’s your texture. Your stink. We all got it. In here everyone seems to be searching for that stank. How bad are you or how stupid. I call it a remote part of Mexico but it’s also another man’s house. “the man” a lot of these guys have no clue. Tickets for missing count in here is like not hearing a fire truck. Fire alarm. I thought I could blank out things. Well that’s a huge frustration. & then it’s the guard out to get me. No good old paranoia. Dardar paranoia. Like dud you’re an idiot. The best way of thinking life is a path on a damp beach. Everyone can see yr tracks and you think just because you’re walking away & can’t see behind you we can’t. as much as you might fall in the back ground you truly can’t. My ramble is simply do what you do realizing we all got to pay the piper. A day can’t go by without kicking myself. It’s just not me missing you it’s you missing me. It’s fucked. What brought this to the surface is yesterday I was called to property. Kelly had ordered some books from Hamilton for me; I thought “that was quick”. No. Stacy had sent me Alice Notley’s new book, In The Pines. I was so happy. Context: graham crackers are a treat in here. I just got a huge steak & a big ole cake. Case of PBR. Got it.
Thank you Stacy. Alice is a champ. A true amazing poet. A poet. Just a mountain. Her dedication is: for my sons and their friends. Now you understand? Poetry is not words. Words are rugs. Walk all over them. Shake it out and start all over again. Alice is a frontier blues traveling medicine boogie lover. They’re words from the peak. From birth. Teeth of death. Laughter of an intimate. She is quite frankly it. She’s it. She’s the kind of poet when I was younger I’d stop writing when I read her. Thankfully in an odd way I already had the addiction. Alice, I get so scared when I read you. I forget. You remind me. You teach me. I’m so happy to have this in my life. I believe my cell is comforted. Protected.

Years ago when as a family we traveled to the South looking, collecting art (mainly self-taught African American art). We were in this gallery. Conversation gets around to David Butler. A genius. Wife dies and he decorates everything in sight – his yard, windows – everything. Whirligigs – bright solid colors. So intimate yet a vast happy playground. I mean he had to put his love some where. So this gallery guy says, “yeah, David is alive living in a nursing home.” We find it. Go to visit. He’s over 80 – maybe close to 90. No teeth. No hair. The sweetest face ever surrounded by stuffed animals. I mean surrounded. The boys are like “what are we doing?” David remembers nothing of his house –his yard masterpiece. I’ll be damned if we leave there without some recognition. Finally after ½ hour or so his eyes glaze with a subtle joy, an almost “wait, something clicking”. His eyes just light up & tear forms. He goes “I remember”. We were knocked out. Can you imagine Picasso forgetting his Blue Period? Or Ginsberg forgetting Howl? It was our duty.

Yesterday, the radio on, this song strikes a chord, “wait” I think. I know this. It’s Hole. Holy mother my heart breaks & I remember. God I love Courtney Love. Her beauty, talent, balls, pain. Walk in her shoes for 5 minutes. People have been such assholes to her. She doesn’t give up. She goes forward. It was a big YEAH. My soul hovers over the fence.

Today in the library I notice an old bunky. Going home. His smile was “this” big!
Mine, same size. “Never want to see you ever again, except way different circumstances.” Another survivor. Realized the bros I hang with all for the most part don’t have a ton of time – under 5 – 3 years. See I’m alright. Another beautiful day. Wrote to Evan Henry. Hope when he is older he treasures our early communication cause grandpa is in prison. What tales to weave.

I drive Kelly crazy – used to drive Stacy. I edit & re edit and re - edit big time. “you edited the joy out”. I’m a butcher woodcarver. Bring that baby down. Down to essence. Sometimes, “nah, that’s cool” so here’s one from 102007 entry.

free range convict
for Jacob

I recollect, even in our sleep we surrender.
Virginia Woolf found every pebble
on that beach to make stone soup
Alas, forgot to switch coat.

upon these 10 toes I stand
determined. question & never define.
a good man better than some/worse for wear.
hell, even remember purpose of confederacy.

between greed & one’s prison is 3 squares
never to stand upon yonder.
chair with rope necklace.
never sleep in anything

but good
ole thermal

What do you think? Yeah, free range is a reference to the yard & free range chickens.

Here’s a new poem –

(to continue the astronomic metaphor)

eloquence of silence
heady beer
distracted misconception
& we shall meet, again.

this prison rattles neither cage nor consequence
see before yr existence I staggered. roamed a
Spanish conquistador, of sorts
pirate? perhaps

point being everything was explained
complete & utter sense
it’s just taken nearly 50 yrs to regain.

now I do
& understand in a way to difficult to defend, so by way of
Jules Verne wasn’t just a tremendous author
& pigeons rarely have question of flight

a hand balled
becomes fist
open & extend(ed)

invitation. a greeting. perhaps, “there will never be a vast difference”
I leave with this thought, thought of space
coexists between here/there
negative space

we shall close
with silence
with love

Tootles – may all our joy be large. Large enough to share. Bring home to others.


Friday, December 7, 2007


I only have a few words about M.R.S.A. A number of news reports have discussed this. From my limited exposure I believe the state is on the right track. Like you all imagine there are some real pieces of work here. Some real pigs. Yes, there have been some instances of but keep clean, don’t share the body and it’s functions and you’ll be cool. Again, easier said than done.

Been reading some fantastic work. In Our Strange Gardens – Michael Quint. Simply breath taking. I loved the cover and the fact it’s bilingual. Beautiful production. That’s nothing compared to what’s inside. A tribute love story funny as fuck, sad as hell. Rip your guts and give you toast & honey. One sentence that stops your heart. A risk to read in prison. A must to be any kind of human.

Hunger by Knut Hamson. “Truth telling does not involve seeing both sides or objectivity; truth telling is unselfish inwardness”, Antonio Machado says, the writer should listen to himself and “ought to overtake by surprising some of the phrases of his inward conversations with himself, distinguishing the living voice from the dead echoes.” Tight, huh? Hamsun was diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis, 3 months to live. Friends raised money to ship him home to Norway to die. This guy takes a train to New York on top of the fuck’in locomotive the whole trip. His mouth open gulping air. HELLO! Dude, how big are your balls? So all this fresh fast speeding air on top of a locomotive – it’s not like his doctor goes “Knut, you’re a dead man. Go gulp some air on top of a speeding locomotive”. Who is this guy? Superman? The patient declares himself cured. Didn’t go back to Norway. Never a trouble with tuberculosis. So where did I discover him? Who else? – Henry Miller. Kate Millet’s boyfriend. Actually she dug him. Why go to college to write? Get a fatal disease come up with your own cure & write an amazing minute by second account of madness & starvation. Truly something not for the Paris Hilton crowd. Even in the weak library there are some sleepers. Also been catching up on Jules Verne Journey to the Center of…Around the World…. Fun. Solid storytelling. Got some Twain waiting in the wings. This Huck book was published in 1884. Cool.

So Kelly forwarded info about you guys. Not who you are but where. I’m impressed. We have some solid repeats. 75%. For me what’s so cool is the 2 from India. 3 from the Phillipines. Sweden. Turkey. Portugal. That’s so amazing. Small world. 6 from Germany & Italy. 11 from UK. I wish we’d get some from Ireland. Then a ton from here and Canada. Might I ask how you found this? As much as I live in a totally unsexy place I find this immensely sexy. Not sex sexy but kind of cool sexy. Like Rolling Stone sexy. Patti Smith sexy. Who are you from India? I have a dear friend from the North, Sandeep. A few dudes I knew from the Philippines. Oh, well. I’m sounding insane. Nah – just thank you. I’m really happy. Hope it’s working for you. Nice to know we’re not alone. That is the hard part of life. The silence. The “there’s no one here”, am I even alive?” “can any one hear me?” You get a lot of that here.
And here comes the big circle. Remember the first couple of entries? Write. Write a friend. A parent. A child. A prisoner. We’re losing contact. I know I just said we’re together & now I’m saying we’re losing contact. I mean personal contact. Letters. Phone calls. Knock at your door. I love human contact but hate stupidity. So I write. & you too. I get great letters. I give great letters. Now let’s be happy. To wrap it up – congrats Chris Martin on your book. (American Music rght? )
Thank you all for reading. If you’re in the Milwaukee area check out Highlonesome & Reed Avoided. 357 String Band, Holy Mary Motor Cycle Club & the Trusty Knives. Great music from a town that was made famous by a beer. A delicious beer. PBR. Even if you’re in Chicago come on over. & thanks again Kelly.


Thursday, December 6, 2007


I started this yesterday in my heart after hearing Social D’s Story of My Life. I write first in my head then if/when I remember, paper. Evan & Noah with some friends took me to their show a number of years ago. Fantastic. While sharing a beer Mike Ness walks by. Evan pointed him out. I was impressed. True artist.
Yesterday drug ugly. I was tired, beat, depressed. A buddy told me of his brother’s arrest. Same as mine but in Florida & she approached him in an instant message. His celly was like “you come from a family of pervs”. I was more like, “my God the pain your parents are going thru. Your brother, his wife, you. I’m so sorry”. Why this response? Why not same as celly? First, I believe my friend. Am I gullible? – yes. Stupid? No. Second, his brother has never been in trouble. Third, who has been alone – lonely, displaced seeking a friend? Sometimes the grey area is larger than black or white, and yes, I know it’s hard to believe some truly innocent people are in prison. Yes, you never have to remind me to hurt a child is far from reason, but entrapment? I will be done with this shortly. My true concern was for my friend & his family. I’m not attaching self pity to this but I would be expressing a whole lot more anger if I wasn’t here. Perhaps this is the direction I need to go in when I’m thru here. Not just prison reform but the big picture. How crime is tied so closely to politics. The numbers aren’t getting any better because civil liberties are being swallowed whole. Believe me if I had some issue with children I’d be the first in line to correct. I hate going off in this direction because of the whole Shakespeare bit “"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Any way, our talk beat me. It took a while to figure out. Did like this inventory & I realized his pain became mine. I will be a friend he may lean on. I will not make it mine. Make sense?

I adore Kelly’s 2 entries. She is so terrific. It’s beyond everything she does with/for me. Her heart is so pure from my perspective. Everyone here who knows me asks about her because of the stories I relate about her. Like in this last letter – she knows my celly, Slim, draws/makes cards and she sent a bunch of printout illustrations of Christmas stuff. Ok now some perspective here – these are basic pieces of paper with goofy cartoon stuff on them. My celly is over 50, ok? I would have to buy you a bag of groceries, booze or music to illicit the same response. This guy becomes a child at his first Christmas. I kind of get embarrassed. – “Dude, it’s paper”. Wrong response. This is not an unusual response. Frankly & sad in the Kerouac universal way, everyone freaks. It breaks my heart. It’s not just the paper or what’s on it. It’s the fact that someone cares to take the time/energy/expense to do it & it’s not even their friend. It’s John’s Kelly. The untouchable Kelly. No one ever fucks with my friends in here. No one would ever think of referring to Kelly in some piggish way. Not just me but the minions of adorers would come with the wrath of Zeus. & no one is jealous (& everyone is jealous in here) because Kelly is someone who knows. Someone who doesn’t have to, but does care. “John, could I write Kelly?” “Are you insane?” Enough to say no doubt about it, I’m more than lucky. I’m loved. I’m loved without money. Without anything but my loyality. My love. Devotion. Kelly asks me about one I loved truly – Will I ever get over her? You don’t get over love. You surrender for it is the true conqueror. We surrender because it’s right. It frees and delivers. You don’t go backwards. Believe me I’ve taken extensive lessons on love. Evan, like his mother, was a master. & Noah, well, I can’t think of a greater way of spending one’s life. To be honest I was blessed at a very early age. My parents really wanted me, though it became too much & when that happened I had a grandmother who took over. She died suddenly when I was 6 & through a rather strange twist of fate I was introduced to John Lennon (not literally). I don’t want to go there now but perhaps some day. Some how thru all the pain I witnessed , experienced and delivered, the redeemer has always been love. That’s it. All you need is. Easier said than done. Kelly is an example of. Stacy another love & Lopez a man I’ve never met physically though communicates as a true brother, and dear James - Poet extraordinaire from Milwaukee. Dear dear Matt. & Julie from Baltimore & Julie, my surrogate daughter. Kim. Reed, a truly profound brother. Conroy. Jesse. It’s what we’re here for. My dear Amanda. A woman whose strength, beauty, courage & brilliance allows tears of joy to cascade when I think perhaps we are witnessing the same sun, sons, grandson.

So prison is a fence. Bars. A locked exit. There are rules. Serious rules. Real fuck’in serious rules. They’re not always the state’s rules. There is a code. And there is honor. And there are brothers. The guards are not always wrong. Frankly, respect is the word. Word to live by. Survive by.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Sorry “prison poet” people…

It’s not a secret any more. I am addicted to court tv shows. Judge Judy, People’s Court, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Gregg Mathis, Law & Order, COPS, The Shield. Could there have been a better show than Homicide: Life on the Streets? Now I am hooked on this new show called Jail (by the guys who do COPS).

I like rules. I think there is chaos without them. I believe that at the core our justice system does work. For every action there is a reaction. You break the law and you go to jail and get sentenced according to the law. How the laws & sentencing are interpreted is another story… I am fascinated by this show Jail. It works for me on so many levels. It shows society at its worse and in some ways at its best at the same time. It shows how people react to each other under stressful and unpredictable situations. It shows respect, restraint, great psychology at work. It teaches the viewer about how this part of the justice system works. It shows how people can hit rock bottom & what desperation is. You see every type of person on this show. It shows the training & the professionalism of the prison staff.

Some of the drunks, prostitutes etc are very amusing. Some defy, some accept, some are terrified, some cry and some take it all in stride or as “a matter of fact-ly”. I love hearing the comments of the guards about the prison population. What they have seen. The conversations and interactions between staff & inmates are always very interesting. Everything in jail is so unpredictable. Everything can be running smoothly and then the next second the whole place is under lockdown. Everyone in that place has to be able to react in a second’s notice. Stress, stress, stress. A lot happens in this half hour show.

A story that sticks in my head is about this kid – probably 20-21. He was in the holding cell just waiting for his release paperwork. He was there for just a few hours. Something happened. Some one provoked him Next minute blood everywhere. He went off and attacked someone – or he was defending himself – who knows? Now he is being sentenced for a felony and may get 10-15 years. The guard said the kid was probably about 20 minutes from walking out the door and going home. WOW!!

So much of what John describes in his entries and letters is played out right before my eyes. It is amazing. Not that I need a show to remind me where John is. Believe me I know. I know he doesn’t tell us everything that happens and I am sure we don’t really want to know. I used to joke to him about how he is on vacation in there. Living an easy life. I don’t anymore. I call it our social experiment. He is doing the undercover work.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I did get to visit John on November 3. It was my first visit since Labor Day. It was great.
I was an hour late but no matter. He looks good. Has a beard now. New glasses. A job.
Was in great spirits. Lots of smiles and laughter as usual.
Very nice. As always the time goes by too fast. When it was time to leave he said come back when you can. I said I will come on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. (I know being Catholic that Easter should be my top holiday but honestly Easter is way too emotional for me – it challenges my faith, beliefs, brings back beautiful memories). Thanksgiving. The forgotten holiday or rather, the most over looked holiday. I love Thanksgiving because it is a day of just being together and being thankful that we know & love each other. There is no 2 month build up. No pressure of buying gifts. No big cartoon turkey popping out of the oven to bring gifts to children. No mythical creatures. No religious affiliation. It’s not a candy day. It’s good food, good company.

Last year I had two Thanksgiving dinners. One with John & his coworkers and the other I cooked for John & me the next day at my house. I invited him but then his boss invited both us over so on the day we spent it with new friends. It was fun. A mixed crowd.
All new people to me. There was a great family there with 2 high school aged boys who seemed so bored. I have nieces & nephews ranging in age from 29 to 2. I know how to talk to teenagers. I still know what’s cool with the kids these days (don’t I?) I engaged them in conversation. We were all laughing. Then add John and his special brand of humor – well it was hilarious. I think those kids thought I was on drugs because I was crying I was laughing so hard and at things they would never understand. (never told you this JT )On the way home it was so foggy I took the long, cautious way home. Once again John had me laughing so hard - while I was driving- totally sober mind you- I don’t know what he said or did but I couldn’t stop laughing that I actually peed my pants.
(JT -That’s the real reason I didn’t go into the house where Noah was and just waited in the car!) Day after I cooked. John mashed the potatoes with a fork. I was amazed at his culinary skills. I think we ate, drank and watched Mind of Mencia.

Every year I get several dinner invitations. I tend to stay home and do whatever I feel like that day. A couple of times it was just pizza & wine writing out Christmas cards while watching Holiday Inn. This year I am making a pumpkin tiramisu to take to my sister’s when I get home from Oshkosh. I will skip the big dinner. I think I will make myself a most delicious meatloaf and big bowl of mashed potatoes and green beans.
It will be a perfect day.
I wish a perfect holiday to all of you.


My celly is pissed I’ve flushed orange peel down toilet. He freaks out at any disorder. He talks to walls but in truth he’s talking to me. Really odd. I told him he’s crazy. Ah Sunday. Laying here waiting for count. Listening to the classical station. Decide to change. Hear some older Dylan. Turns out to be a tribute. Shelter from the Storm narrated by Patti Smith. Holy fuck can it get any better? Patti Smith the rock goddess. My fuckin idol. God I love here. When “Horses” came out I was working/living at the Desoto Hotel in Galena. Great historic town/hotel. Well listening to “Horses” on my close and play in this tiny room in a very small town. I realized what could be on that horizon. Then she introduced me to Arthur Rimbaud. I was already writing to & reading Ginsberg so I knew of the beats. This album. This Patti Smith knocked my on my ass. She played in Chicago in the late 70’s at the Aragon Ballroom. I went with some friends. Tripping & way drunk decided wander back stage. I was thrown out. Called home. We lived in Waukegan. Called Colette & our friend Cathy was over. “I got thrown out” “Where are you?” “At a Jewel.” “O.K. Stay there, we’ll be there Asap.” So I asked Cathy to call information & get the Aragon’s #. I say I need to talk to Patti Smith.
“Who are you?”
“I’m William Burroughs”
“okay, wait”
“Patti Smith?”
“no you’re not”
“yes I am”
Somehow I hang up the phone. Remember I am drunk/tripping. Call Cathy back. “What’s that #?”
I call back.
“This is Hunter Thompson. I want to talk wish Patti good luck. Hello Patti, yes, well it’s me again. I’m neither Burroughs nor Thompson”
“I know”
“Well I just got thrown out and was beat up by the bouncers.” (which was true. They knocked me around and literally threw me in the street. My hat was run over. A perfect tread mark across it. I’m an idiot). So she’s very concerned. Believe it or not I hang up again. Call Cathy again. Call box office. I’m Burroughs again. Patti gets on again. I explain as if she didn’t know I’m messed up. She tells me about her performing at the Rock Against Racism show. She tells me to meet her there. Colette & friend pick me up. Not too pissed. Tell about calls. Now she’s irritated The truth is between hang ups I explained to Cathy the jist of the calls so the next day we went back but no Patti. Lenny Kaye announced an apology to the person who was to meet Patti. God’s truth. Fuck up thing they got their sound equipment ripped off that night. Only Cathy confirmed that night & that little thing from Lenny Kaye. So if you know Patti see if she remembers or am I truly insane? Anyway I didn’t bring up Bob Dylan to tell that story. But Patti Smith is so totally without question the quintessential poet musician god I spaz at mention of her name. Ask Stacy about her reaction to her presence. Anyhow, the show was great. Got to hear One More Cup of Coffee from the album Desire. Fantastic song & Dylan is truly the master. Now I switched over to the college radio station. Punk & surf rock. Dick Dale, Link Wray. Great station. Always something fantastic. Playing music from Twin Peaks right now. I truly realize take my freedom away – not my music.
Thanks for reading. Go outside and kiss someone on the way out. Snow is coming. & there’s no one here I can kiss & life is too grand & short. P.S. – thanks for the hugs & kisses Kelly. They keep me alive. You all be good. Love.


The weekend. No work. Hurray! (just kidding)
Quiet 2 days & Kelly is coming for a visit. Anticipation.
Yep, she arrived & tremendous visit. She’s got her stories I got mine. So cool. So sweet. Mellow & sincere. She should give workshops on positive prison visits. Some make it way too heavy. Got back lunch of polish sausage & oatmeal cookies. Buddies asked, “How’s visit?” “Great.” Smiles color. It’s all good. If only every moment so perfect. But then no contrast. No battle. No glory. Then mail. Hip hip hooray! Jonathan, Julie R. Chrisanne & Matt (fantastic artists, dear, dear friends). God, so blissful. Great letters. Long soak in the bath. I don’t want to forget I’m in h ere but when you can write a letter that lessens this blow, you’re all right. You’re amazing. Thanks all. & no, Chrisanne, no swimming, some yoga my own. & pilates. But good old cell workout. & Kelly, I adore you. I look like hell. Lost so much weight in my face. So gaunt. Kind of like I got the hiv. Scary. After visit I had to take a piss. Saw myself in a mirror. We don’t have mirrors. We have polished steel. I freaked myself out. I lost a lot of weight but I feel great. So that’s the payoff. But I do love these letters my loves. Thanks. Running out of ribbon but after all today’s joy I can handle that.

Tomorrow EH is 1 month old. & how shall yr/mine/our November be. 1 of concern for sure. Forget global warming already? or the Bush that the Bush created? or the wonderful mis-use of yr tax dollars? Well we got each other a holiday of excess Paris Hilton & some more American Idiots. Ah, joy. Seriously it’s beautiful outside. I pick up litter, my post the parcel of land that contains the American flag. Ah, revolution. America. Remember (not literally) when our example led to change? Those were the days. My buddy overheard a guard “why does a white guy have a black panther on his hand?” referring to my right hand. Well 2 days ago he’s asking me who did my work and of course I say the genius called Heather Shin. Of course he has no clue. But never does he ask why I have “that” cat. First of all it’s the Black Cat from fireworks, (Evan & I were pyrotechnicians with Bartolotta’s years ago) plus I love the image and with Ed Hardy’s black panther soon to be tearing up the arm, it’s a nice homage, well in my mind. The Black Panthers are/were incredible. They without question stood their ground in a time that that ground was truly vanishing, i.e. MLK, Malcolm X, Bobby Kennedy, Medgar Evers. I was living in a tiny hamlet outside Chicago then, about 10, seeing Maywood burning & the footage on the news was galvanizing. Sure the Panthers were off on some issues but feeding, educating children, the sheer idea of arming black men then was to me, at 10, so profound. Thank God someone acting. Not to say that others weren’t but in addition to, hence the Chicago 8 then 7. Bobby Seale was kicked out. Check out that history of Chicago’s gross past & the stank of Dailey. My grandfather was at the Democratic Convention & my mother said hi to King. As tiny as that was, it was my 1 degree of separation. Much more positive than huddling around a transistor radio listening to the eventual death of Bobby Kennedy on our grade school playground. I digress. & I will probably get a black panther some day.

Richard Hell can really shake my world. Kelly sent a short interview from May 2006. In it Hell claims, “When I say poetry, I mean the values of poetry –wanting every moment of life to somehow be extreme and extremely…felt.” That and a black panther should be tattooed on everyone’s breath.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Merle Haggard wrote that 2% of 2% of convicts don’t go back to prison & that you don’t need to experience something to write about it. I agree with both. Obviously the first causes me some concern. I don’t ever want to come back here but to be honest it’s easier than you think. & I believe I truly need to experience much to write about it. I would never imagine prison to be like this or divorce or the death of a child. The birth of a grandson. There are some writers who can write about things that they haven’t experienced. Richard Hell & homosexuality in Godlike or Stacy Szymaszek with Emptied of all Ships. Stacy ain’t no sailor. Both tremendous writers. I think you get my drift. There are tons of examples. Prison is very odd. You’d think there would be the idea, concept, action, “this is prison, this is how one should be/act”. Nope. I’m shocked. The behavior. Last night some guy comes up behind me with a guard right there. He throws his arm around my neck as if to choke me. I twist around and say “no”. Just now I had to explain, you don’t touch people in here. Touching is either sex or violence. Friends bump fists, shake hands, you know there is no room for horseplay. I’m shocked. It gives you an idea of who’s in here. Begs the question What is going on? Wisconsin is the leader in penal institutions. Lose the dairy status move into prisons. Are citizens worse than other states, better cops? I think not. Lock them up and forget. Then let them out. On you. I blame Elvis. He & Dick & irony. Law & Order. Leave my house unlocked, leave my children unattended. Sure there is crime but when the whole system becomes an instrument of politics. Elvis. A good guy surely fun as hell. But are we moving in the right direction. I don’t know but if I didn’t see it I wouldn’t believe it. You read/heard the budget issues. How many times was DOC threatened to lose $$? What have you heard since? Prison is a warehouse. A very busy warehouse. A lot of $$ comes in. A lot of people benefit from it. A lot. You, the taxpayer?

A buddy was walking with me last night, talking of his family, support, visits, etc. He’s a typical child that grew up comfortable. In a loving family. Something went wrong. He was telling me how his dad ran errands for his mother to him in the county jail. The awkward conversations. That distance. A father with his son on the other side of that fence. It was like 2 tons of bricks landed on me. I freaked. It’s not I couldn’t but my God, your child in prison. I know it’s fucked that your dad is in here. Or mom. Well he was like, “I was thinking my dad must be so disappointed in me”. I was like, “I’m sure your dad is thinking the same thing “where did I go wrong” “Really” “Without a doubt”. I say this because he’s honest. He backs up his stories He’s consistent. He’s smart. I see the pics, the letters. My eyes were welling up. His pain. His family’s. My Noah. God, this world. Our mistakes, our misgivings. The complete fuckin mess. The pain. After a while I just retreat. You know the other problem is I know his crime & I truly wouldn’t label as such. It could never stop me or cause any reservations. Confusion. Why so severe. Then I remember the big picture.

Came out this morning to first frost. Blue moon. Brilliant sun. Hot coffee. Sunday. I perfect morning walk. Sure that Noah was asleep. Possibly Amanda. Not Evan Henry. All I have to give are good thoughts, prayers. Figuring Kelly might be asleep if Max wasn’t acting crazy (cat) & most friends in same world. It felt good. You learn how to love with your hands tied. Learn to let go. Learn “to have faith”. To love horizon. Relate to dogs in pens & horses surrounded by barb-wire. Learn & understand limitations. Insanity. Need for great music & smell of fresh paint on canvas. Heard an interview with Chuck Close. Brilliant artist. A man of incomprehensible strength. Courage.

& I think of my father. His voice. Laughter. Courage. His teaching by example it’s okay to cry & live with dignity. & the notion it’s better to let 9 guilty men to be free than 1 innocent man to be imprisoned. I got my rose colored glasses from him. & from both mom & dad the ability to laugh through all this nonsense. & never wait for that fat woman to sing.

Heard Wilco last night. What a fantastic band. It’s off their new album, something “about” Germany. A great song. Perfect way of ending a Saturday.

Richard & Kelly again, thank you for this radio & headphones. I will attempt to describe the pleasure. It’s more than letting me know how much you care. It’s not quite the key to the prison’s front door. It’s knowing the key exists. Knowing your arms are wide open. & like that idiot in the Verizon commercial - you are not alone.

All my love.


Friday, November 9, 2007


When asked what it’s like playing bad guys, De Niro replies, “I don’t play bad guys. I play people who make choices that are different from other’s.” Rebels. Slim broke the/our doorknob off in his hand. Actually it seemed to give up. We have 2 grown men “fighting” over someone who seems/is said to be a hermaphrodite. I think I’ll spend the rest of my “time” in this cell. Knob or not. Children of Bodom and True Grit. Some more Shirley Jackson. Perfect weather. Got a nice comment to which I respond…

Thanks C. I’m doing alright. I send you & S my love & 1,000 hugs. Drama? Only if you mean Ed Albee or E. Taylor. Hot tacky sticky drama not for sake of. Otherwise strictly chaos, baby. Create a new world. No more baking for this guy. Sounds like all is good. Still in same place? If you see P say hey and share some of those hugs & thanks G for being messenger. My friend.


Lil Wilson Pickett & land of a thousand dances thinking of Patti Smith

Here’s a rough draft, not sure how rough, yet

free range convict
for Jacob

I recollect, even
in our sleep we
surrender. Virginia
Woolf found every
pebble on that beach
to make stone soup.
alas, forgot to change coat.
upon these 10 toes I stand
determined. question &
never to define. I’m a good
man better than some
worse for the wear. hell
I even remember purpose of
blood. see between greed.
one’s prison is 3 squares.
never to stand upon yonder.
chair with rope necklace. never
sleep in anything but good
ole thermal

Thursday, November 8, 2007


My celly is raving about is new mattress. I go “it’s a fuckin mattress not a lifestyle.” Sometimes I wonder. Like really wonder Just got some terrific mail and I hope my dear friend you’re ok with my quoting you. “CONGRATULATIONS!" (Elliot Smith just came on the radio so I take it as a yes.) "Named for his beloved uncle. Evan Henry. And Evan is a form of John. Fantastic! He is going to love his magic pony. Why do children love ponies so much? And why do we love giving them? Maybe because they deserve to be blissfully happy, cherished and celebrated. Congratulations!” How could I raise a complaint ever. Such a wonderful dear friend. Thank you. & Elliott on top of it. Earlier I was hit sideways & here is what I was writing…. Rick Springfield on the radio & the most blissful letter. One I will use (above) so perfect. Strange. Take my freedom. Place me in a cement shrouded cell & my friends knock on my head, “John can we come in and play” & we do. We come into this world naked & leave clothed-realistically & metaphorically. When Rick Springfield sings there is only one woman for me. & when I read magic pony I only think Evan Henry. Point being we are vaults. Treasures of our own divine. Magnificence. The architects of our own internal destinies. & friends? Friends are the ones we invite in. Serve tea & cucumber sandwiches. Glass of whiskey. You get the picture. Let’s redecorate. I got me some fine-ass friends. Funnier than fuck & wiser than the mountains. & mountains can’t speak. They just hover. So wise. Zen wise. Tao wise. Slap yr thighs wise. So let’s play some spades. Talk some shit & help that one out of the dark. Elliot Smith case in point.

So my other letter is from a terrific musician friend. He tells me his uncle comes over, his birthday and they go for a walk. See his X (hard) then runs into my family – Noah, Amanda, C & husband and Evan Henry & I quote “the baby is beautiful and new borns are normally disgusting”. So my friend & uncle keep walking. He says “ I was just writing a letter to that woman’s x-husband”. What a riot. Small world and a good one at that he then goes on to say “maybe we’re all in a wet cell” implying we’re all guilty of something. He also mentions he’s listening to Siouxsie & the Banshees. Was just describing to a friend yesterday, Evan’s nickname as a youth was Siouxsie Sue. He also adored them.

He goes on to say perhaps he should do a “prison retreat like me”. It does wonders. But there is a lot of take. But plenty of gain. This radio is so great. Hearing songs I thought I forgot. Been writing & reading. Got To Kill a Mockingbird & Sita by Kate Millett. Love her work. Rain fills the rest of my moments. Getting a master ready for Kill(ing) time. Hopefully will be done within next 2 weeks. It’s something I’m writing. Here’s 2:

On a Sunday
for Evan Henry

grief became

wild dog

you’ve just
given me
a 2
x 4


to walk
one’s path

bramble clover asphalt
all gather

mine carry melody
sound of


Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Noah’s show is tonight. Highlonesome @ the Social. When I was out & working we painted the Social. Nice place. Fantastic mac-n-cheese. Not quite the few lbs of cheese butter & whipped cream in mine. But it’s solid. I was thinking about James earlier. I wrote to him about falling in love in here. Well, I know how that sounds but no, & yes I have been falling. Does one have to have an object? Or like a cliff, can one just fall? Well I’m still thinking that out. Few minutes ago my chest was burning. Ears electric & every molecule in my body was barking. Radiohead on Fresh Air. Yeah, I know I’m in prison. Frankly it can be forgotten Any way. Thom Yorke & 10 minutes. You already know of the new album, In Rainbows (right?). Well they chatted and then played “No Surprises”. Well how perfect their smile. You forgot their eye neck & suddenly dizzy. Well that kind of happened but worse. I gasp. Almost screamed & yes….water works. What brilliance & yes, James, it was/is love. Slim had left our cell. I’m stretched out on my bunk. Light off. Just gasping & then more chatter. Interesting. & The “Idotec”. Well, I’m gone. Fuck that whole desert isle thing. 10 albums. That’s stupid. For me spontaneous brilliance. Last night Nick Cave, Waits, REM, The Ramones. Christmas Easter Thanksfuckingiving. So my buddy Richard, this radio is truly a fantastic gift. Yeah Baby! Evan Henry beats you out, but, my God, this is so great & believe me, loved. It’s said what goes around comes around. I believe keep your heart clean. Try pure. & your brain as positive as possible & it can work out. Love is by action the most needed surprise I had spent a few hours today writing & editing. Sent some work out to Joel. & I’ll end with some but first I want to describe this/my/our cell. Big ole door. Steel. Few locks & vertical window. Sink/toilet combination. Polished stainless steel mirror. A corkboard. On my ½ - actually our things run all over – photo (8x10) (sent by Kelly) of Evan & Noah & myself in our stairwell. Photo of Stacy looking coy with great glasses holding copy of the Recluse (nice publication), a card from Luckystarstudio - their show Storybook – great artists & sweet painting of little dudes in a swan boat. Think cooler statement then Bjork’s dress. A photo of T.Moore & A.Berrigan taken by Stacy. Photo of staff of Woodland Pattern – the best bookstore. Not just my opinion. It’s nickname, Woodland Patterson. Photo of gummy watermelons taken by Elaine E. A memo from myspace of tonight’s Highlonesome show & last but not least 8X10 Patti Smith on Horses cover. I tell them she’s my girl “Really?” “Don’t be an idiot” then Slim’s trunk where he creates magic. Really cool constructions. Then large metal shelves. Slim’s chaos. Mine books. Berrigan. Camus. some Zen. Thesaurus. Pasolini. Clock. Some large folders. My shirts & coats. Then my trunk. Window. Frosted over. Don’t open & our bunk. Me on the lower. Slim floats in space. 2 cool shelves at the end. I sit on my bed typewriter on my shelf. So I sit on my bed and type. Listen to radio. Got it. You don’t want to break too many laws. & yeah don’t get caught. For if I ever make this sound cool REALITY CHECK. I’m locked in okay? Alright. Now some poetry.


ecstasy travels
on the breath.
isolation tastes
greed. anger. of

learn how to read impending weather.
uninvited by another’s eyes.
marked. breeze of passing gull.


geese overhead
killdeers every
I don’t talk in circles
I walk ecliptically

late August past noon

not unlike
teaching a dog
to smoke crack
he said, “cremate the body
soul becomes dysfunctional”
I can feel you
in my bones.

with yr. horizon

sleep become only child.
bourgeois delight. frost
penetrate. jellied bread
eggs fresh toast despair.
pristine breath poisons.
day. became. allusion.
insomnic. hitch cart
insinuate constellation.
bestow word. stuff under bed.
cotton. ration. weave. generous prayer.
soon secure. limb surround limb. tongue to ear.


fog mount.
forward claim day.
mystic frost surround single gull sliver.
few cons walk I count
such as

self portrait

shred flesh to bone. maneuver.

embroider on. teeth consume bone.

blood paint. coil hair. salamander dew.

fingers rigid. sag belly shrug. & from thighs. midnight.

beckon begin. harken lost quiver.

to flank. of (a) distance.

whatever makes you happy

warm maple
syrup. Blue
by Joni
Mitchell. I
crawl back into bed
you follow in the sad
he named his cats
after moments of

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


The cold has set within. Whether interior or ex. it clarifies & confuses. We tend to fall either apart or collapse internally. Summer is over. Freedom restricted. & now death. Fall, Winter. In here the collapse is obvious & silent. Read across the faces. Resignation. Soon cabin fever. Some fight. Some, not all. Today I made my mind to. Though I want to give in and collapse. Indulge the obvious. Disappear as the moon dusts. FUCK THAT! Evan & Noah were disciplined with time-out chairs. Evan would beg, “please beat me”. Always the dramatic one. Today battling impending doom, I saw Evan in that chair & smiled. Isolation sucks. So easy to freak & go to the hole. & I thought of my responsibilities to myself, my friends, family. My society. Community. & the great letter I received from James. Stuck my nose in Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus. Truly a man that will guide me thru all of this. A gentle gifted giant. I’m still sick & dizzy. Very weak. I believe either low blood sugar or my heart again. Tomorrow night Noah & the Social. Oh, to run wildly into black. Before I run out on you, Howlin Wolf & Bo Diddley & the radio saves the day.


Monday, November 5, 2007


A new dawn another moment within. Thankful to the degree of ecstasy. Dear friend from NYC made possible. Typewriter, radio, headphones & yes, longjohns. When asked what needed I had not to think. Friend inside inquired why not tv. “well I don’t watch, too much to do”. Yeah, I do wander. Stumble over fresh laid questions. Did my workout this a.m. Always hate. Always happy when done. Feel as if some cancer has been lifted. Cancer of comfort. Locked into some big ass syndrome. I need not just my changes but the world at large. I will do what I can to make this better. I need same in return. If you see me acknowledge. Consider, then we may proceed. The road here is paved and well lit. Plenty of signs. To detour is understandable to a certain extent. Just don’t be stupid. A tree branch breaks, here, believe you me, it affects everyone.

Out walking thoughts remain in the sky. Will I get over this beauty. Perhaps. But I truly doubt it. Gives a great ability to clear. To scrub. To disinfect one’s soul. My thoughts go to friends, family. Evan. Noah. Amanda. Evan Henry. The cold air dusts my boiled blood. I enter that room of remorse. Then a hand upon my shoulder & words whisper forgiveness. That battle. Again. Like clockwork a distraction. Fellow inmate complains everyone here is a baby. Well that turns my head. “How so?” "Always whine about the cold”. “Yeah. Some have a hard time.” It’s not the end of the world”. We talk about his life , his celly, his problems. I ask him without getting personal “Were your indiscretions worth it?” “No” “Then why?” “Don’t know”. That seems to be the common answer here. That is where it ends. A lot of reaction in here. I call you an idiot and we look at each other. Say it to a guy who just got a “Dear John” letter & you’re both going to the hole. Everyone is a potential terrorist. I prefer life in Mexico. Not to say I haven’t thought about crossing that border. I just pave my road a little differently. I hope I pave it alright. & I pray that my compass never fails me.

So I come in from my trek. Dizzy as a mf. I mean I’m going down. “No you’re not” commands my navigator. Make it to a chair. Wait and it gets worse. Medication? Heart? Stress? Cold? What? My head swims. I hate to complain I got up to the front desk and explain the situation. Sgt. calls hsu. I’m on a sick call list. I’m grateful. Still don’t know what it is. The good part is it mellows me out big time. This has been happening for a while. Last night it hit me & I’m listening to some kiss-ass music. “Black snake moan”. Like the dork I am, I pass a joint to my shadow. In “our” little world it was blissful. Never thought at my age – Circumstance – I could conjure a make believer world. It was alright. And yes, no one was watching. Too “Risky Business”.

Holy fuck! “To Sir with Love”. Ever since I can remember I’ve been in love with LuLu. My god she is everything. Her delivery is perfection. She has that magic that transcends. I hear her voice & I’m a kid falling in love for the first time. When she gets up & starts to sing in the movie my heart stopped. I realized at that moment the world was good and something terrific,. My heart still jumps. Is that art or what? Right after LuLu I met Tina Jordan & my first kiss. How could I ever complain? Now they are playing the great Alex Chilton. When I walking early I was “composing a letter to Noah”. Explaining. Apologizing. Just letting him know what he already does. Try as I might I truly believe that there is something beyond all this. Not just the fact that I would be dead now. My path was F’ed up. But I believe the most basic tenet, ‘God is in the details” Usually is referred to in regards to design but I believe in it on the grand scale. The true scale. And yes, if I hadn’t died or gone to prison my life would be different. And yes it would be with my son. Grandson. And yes my heart is broken. My sight clear(er).


Dice Riders

Nothing stands between us
except Flying Tigers
Future Funk
The Avenue B Break Boys
The Voidoids-
Time gets in the way, &
sometimes, lots of sometimes,
We get in its way, so,
Love, love me, do.

-Ted Berrigan

God that man is a f’en genius! Just my way of saying, yeah bud, I’m thinking of you & you & you and now to the man who remains another string attached to Stacy’s & my heart:

The Song of the Bells

When evening loses itself in the fountains
my village is a confused color.
I’m far away, I remember its frogs,
the moon, the sad tremolo of the crickets.
Vespers sound and fade into the fields.
I’m dead to the song of the bells.
Stranger, fear not,
in my sweet flight over the plain,
I am a spirit of love
who to his land returns from afar.

- Pier Paolo Pasolini

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Yes, Virginia, there is magic, a wonderful glow that wraps, encompasses all. Perhaps Santa Claus. Perhaps Easter Bunny. Always, always miracles. On October 2 Evan Henry joined this world weighing in at 7lbs 15oz & red, yes, red hair. My dear friend Julie just sent me that terrific news. I couldn’t get on my knees fast enough. To feel that blood, that joy, that togetherness. I’m so thankful. So overwhelmed again! Noah. Amanda. Thank you – thank you so very much! Julie wasn’t able to see Evan Henry yet but both Eric & Noah said he’s perfect. No surprises here.

Reading of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike – pain of those families knowing your son is starving self to death for a cause that may have escaped their logic. (Actually the families were profoundly supportive – pained, but behind them). Such a profound sacrifice. So beautiful you can almost reach in & touch that love. That suffering. That where man became so much more. Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee, Michael Devine.

The radio is playing “Imagine”. John’s birthday the 9th. 7 days from Evan Henry’s. “The dream we dream together; reality.” Right now my heart is bursting. I feel I could cure. My tears elixir. I’m not moving from this position. To live within rapture.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yesterday a friend reminded me of a few forgotten exercises. I did last night. Felt amazing. I’m at the point where fat is almost nonexistent. Bone, muscle. Flesh. A tent. Canopy of. I want to strip away not only physical waste, fat, but spiritual – creative-intellectual. None of this surprising. Life is in a constant state of flux. Constant movement. Americans crave comfort. Comfort foods. Think of the foods that comfort you. Feel good. Odd. Whatever. I’m in the midst of three tremendous books, well two. One is about a huge hero of mine – Thomas Merton. Decent bio but not much about Merton here. Enough to hear his voice. Tap. Focus. Move into that light. He had a humongous house. The treasures. Delight. Reading Women In Love. That’s taking back seat. But taking the whole back seat. Main focus Ten Men Dead. I strongly recommend. Starts with history of hunger strikes. Act of dying at “enemy’s” door. Quite profound. Chilling. Bravery. Loyalty. Brother/sisterhood beyond words. So thankful I found it. The fact that it’s here – good sign. Too much finger pointing. Too much we’re repressed. How can you hold down the truly free? Ten men stopped eating to their deaths for a handful of issues. Twenty some years ago. Imagine. I would love to ask Einstein what percent do we use of our brain. What percent of soul? Red-winged blackbirds jabbered on & on this morning. I have not forgotten how it feels to hug. I will never forget how to love. I like this path. Love these shoes & this coffee? Actually does a good job. This morning inside writing first: “Friday I’m in Love” then Nazareth’s “Love Hurts”. Frankly a mind blowing perfect version is done by Townes Van Zandt. If you haven’t heard it – do without pause. & his songs are so profound. So perfect. Right now Velvet Underground. Need to take a shower but I just can’t move Just can’t. Won’t.

“I was wondering (here it comes says you), that out of the goodness of all yer hearts you couldn’t get me one miserly book & try to leave it in: The poems of Ethna Carberry – Cissy. That’s really all I want. Last request at they say. Some ask for cigarettes. Others for blindfolds. Yer man asks for poetry”. Bobby Sands.

so alone still Alive

distance traffic
grass crickets

Noah prepares
son to rise
my father’s


Monday, October 29, 2007


Monday another month. Fog settles dawn. Dampness rests about the collar. Breath. Went to library to write, return books. As I sign in, “Go to security suite”. Long story short my mail has been monitored. Asked what was I doing. I reply: “I write. I read. I exist.” “Yeah, not too good with writing poetry” – “Yeah,” I sigh. Everyone’s a critic – but that’s cool. Bottom line. “Don’t talk smack”. “I don’t” He knew. He’s read everything. I have no secrets. No “real” problems. I admit to every possible questionable action. To tell you the truth – we were both confused. All my letters were there from the past week. My only concern was I hope no one was worried. Concerned I hadn’t written. Earlier asked if I had any tickets. “No”. I think we understood each other. Stood, shook hands. Dropped of my letters at mail box. Went back to library. “Can I get on the computer?” “Sure”
Re-wrote some poems. Amused I write poetry. Strange. I guess I take my words for granted. So much a part of me. My walk. My eyes. Fingertips. After writing I got into the stacks. Found Ten Men Dead: The story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike. How cool is that? Emily Dickinson. Grabbed current “GQ”. Read a few bits & pieces. Jack White. Being in the wrong time. I don’t get that. Then everything fell together. The reality. Prison. Joel said everyone’s in one. Yeah. Bobby Sands. Huge difference. I’m in their world. A huge difference from where I came from. A different time. Place. I explain a bit of the blog to the officer. I don’t write of the day to day because so much is dumb. Gossip. Madness & fits. I prefer the silence of this morning of yesterday. I can’t write of the terrors. The horrible certainties. The reality is simple. We/I broke the law. We are here. Locked up. No shock. There are rules. Yes, some seem gray. Some are pure common sense or? I want this behind me. To get it behind me I need to go thru it. I’ve explained my pain - Noah, Amanda. Their family. My family. My friends – dear, dear, fuckin amazing friends. My father. I don’t care what we eat – sure I love peanut butter. I don’t care if they read my mail. Check my body. Clothes. I don’t care about tv or what’s new in the yard. I walk. Talk. Live honestly. Respect my diction. Love my cadence. I’m an outsider. Not better than others. One of the inmates. I do get bothered by inmate fits & guard’s bad days. But again I’m a 50 year old man. Lived a tremendous life. This my pond. My monastery. Joe warned of hard time coming. I pray this was it & frankly this wasn’t hard. Finished lunch. Talked to a buddy about his life. Explained this blog & what happened earlier. “Basically your blog is an outlet for rage.”
“No, I have no rage. No real rage. Sadness maybe.” I want to take advantage of this time. Whether to understand or just be. One thing - I’m so conscious of my actions. What I project. What I accept. Reject. Knowing any rage that may exist is directed at myself. I digress. This is a different time. A different place.

Received a wonderful letter from Stacy. Always an inspiration. Always a wonder. She was wearing a thin white sweater she found in a box on the sidewalk. I felt a moment of jealousy. To be in NYC & to find something wonderful on the street. In my visits I’ve found a hat, scarf, brown leather briefcase in which Gene silkscreened a target & a great chrome chain that Jacob took home. My jealousy moves into pleasant. My Stacy. Said she read the blog before she wrote. That is the intention of the blog. To let you all know all is good & some poetry here & there. Nothing more & hopefully good. Stacy informs of terrific work schedule & mapping out poets. I’m so proud of her. Always good news. I’m grateful all is well out there. Perhaps a grandson. I’m grateful for all your support.
Good words.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


“If one can endure pain, one can live without suffering”

“If you’re gonna cry, cry because of all the good times we had, And all the laughs, and all the fun shit we did, and cry because those memories make you happy”

“It takes a brave man to walk away, to care so much that he doesn’t care about anything else, to be willing to obey what he feels inside, to be willing to suffer the consequences of living for himself." The conversation is about Paul Gauguin. He goes on…

“Every time I stand before his work it makes me cry, and I cry because I’m proud of him and happy for him and because I admire him.”

I’m proud to say I’ve encountered a few him & hers in that regard. No question about that. My Friend Leonard is a wonderful, amazing, gut wrenching, good luck if you get thru it without biting a hole in your mouth book by James Frey.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Sobbing in prison. Not just bizarre but quite ridiculous. I don’t mean crying. I mean the storm. The whole fuckin storm. Starts with a gentle tug & then the gates are thrown open & then the fall. Never a jump. Just a major dissent. Some painters do it for me - some poetry – a kiss – with out a doubt, death.

Evan’s been following me all day. Seems like he needs to talk. I’m scared. So very scared. It’s not fear of pain, frankly it’s the opposite. I walked outside late (for us) last night around 7:30. The moon was out full. Could not be missed. Could not be forgotten. Will be remembered and I thought where’s Noah, Colette, Jacob, Amanda, Kelly, Stacy, wonderful legions of friends, family, lovers. & I stopped & stared as if I were a glass unattended under a faucet on full blast. I couldn’t breathe. Evan. This life. This amazing fuckin life. I bow I fall I surrender. My father, John, who struggles so bravely without failure. I’m sure the word struggle neither defines or is a word he would accept. A brilliant soldier. No fear on the front lines & my mother, unfailing partner. Scared & probably angry though resolved. & my sister Pat, who along with her husband, is taking up the slack. I’m packed fill with emotion, concern & love for those I can’t touch, & those dried up bastards who judge & see punishment as some redemptive device. I’m tired of that bullshit. Playing some game. This world treds a razor fine line of joy & devastation of love & hate of black white of true universal truths. & America wants a perfect lawn care system. Build a better garage door & lock up those who spit into the wind. The wind ceaseless. The wind blind in direction. As I write justice. In my cell writing just reading My Friend Leonard (brilliant). Needed to catch a breath. Babbling to you of man’s insanity & Slim comes rushing in. The clouds have opened & nature has taken upper hand.

I don’t cry for myself. I sob for release. For those without. Those within. Those gone. Those soon to join. Those left behind. Those in between. For justice. For humanity. For the light to be left on. For prairie grass to take over mid-America. For Henry Ford to have never become or moronic George Bush. For silent. For hope. For Prayers. For rain. For another second to begin again. My tears are of life to tell me to go on. To retreat. My tears never of defeat. Of strength. My father taught me - to cry is to live – and Alex reminded tears allow your poisons to leave. Your sobs remind you that we are human & sad but true, when it’s over it’s over. There are no dress rehearsals so fuck your weeds & hug your child. Whisper in lover’s ear & have no fear. There is more, much more, than meets the eye, The heart. The soul.


Thursday, October 18, 2007


“Man struggles with his unborn needs & fulfillment. New unfoldings struggles up in torment in him, as buds struggle forth from the midst of a plant. Any man of real individuality tries to know & to understand what is happening, even in himself, as he goes along. This struggle for verbal consciousness should not be left out in art. It is a very great part of life. It is not superimposition of a theory. It is the passionate struggle into conscious being.”

“We are now in a period of crisis. Every man how is acutely active is acutely wrestling with his own soul. The people that can bring forth the new passion, the new idea, this people will endure. Those others, that fix themselves in the old idea, will perish with the new life strangled unborn within them. Men must speak out to one another.”

- Forward of Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence. 1920.

Though I do understand his use of man, I feel the need to underline – man & woman. A wonderful writer.

Went out to the yard after lunch. Workers were chipping up pallets in a maintenance garage. The whole yard smelled of pine. So delicious. Went right back to being a kid & helping my dad & his crew clear up work sites. Always smell of fresh cut 2 x 4’s, coffee & dark sweat. So much of us are determined by the power/memory of scent. I was right there 14-15 years old struggling being a part of that house. Those houses. Cut pine – scent of wood-my father. Always so big. Now today. I realized once again how huge he figured in my life. Didn’t always see eye to eye – but I’m his son. No question. His challenge to me – “G.M. will never hire a poet” & my reply “I’ll never drive”. Still without a license & poetry my constant. Perhaps I needed that challenge. Though for years & years I resented poetry – the responsibility. The vision. Fuck – the vision quest. Blessed.

A huge thank you to Richard Hell – I owe you big time.

Well it looks certain our mail is being monitored. We’ll keep you up to date.

Keep the faith. Share the faith.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


My friend died over the weekend. It was totally unexpected. They think it was a heart attack while she slept. Not sure how I feel.

We worked together. She was my only confidant.

We were all summoned to the conference room and then we were told. A few shrieks. All faces of disbelief & then silence. What to say? Who to say it to? What do we do now?
Go home – no. Go back to work? That seems cold. Sit here in silence? Don’t want to. So some start in with the cliché sayings about dying peacefully. etc etc etc. I hate that stuff. To me it sounds phony and insincere. If you don’t know what to say just don’t say anything at all. So I go back into my office. I call my sister to tell her.

I feel bad because last week I jokingly said to a manager that she was making my friend sick and working her to death. I hope no one remembers me saying that. It isn’t the first time I have made a reference to some one dying and then they did.

The work day continued. People pretty much kept to themselves. When there was interaction everyone was extremely nice to teach other. No one was talking about it.

There will not be a funeral. Family choice. I don’t mind funerals. Been going to them since the day I was born. Big Irish funerals where it ends up being a big happy party.
A great get-together to celebrate a life. Funerals are for the living. I am a little disappointed that we can’t say a formal good bye but everyone grieves in their own way.

I know my last words to her were “Go home. You don’t need all this stress today. Go get some rest.”

She did go home and is getting rest.

Bye Marilyn. It was great spending time with you here. I’ll talk to you later when I get home.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Someone made comment regarding “Frustrated poet” then stared at me. “Not I! I’m frustrated as an American, as a prisoner, but poet, NEVER”. Poetry is here, there & everything in between. Yeah when a line or fragment arrives unannounced I need to chastise & beg to keep quiet & remind when I have paper. Rarely prepared. I was an outsider out “there”. In here same identification more. Aloof – very distant. Never confused. Just “is that how you want to be perceived?”
Like the guards here, most I understand. Just walking talking – blah blah. These are the “snore” rules. Then there’s someone & you go like –something is different – you’re actually responding to my words. Wait, Oh God! You’re listening & now you’re responding? Holy Mary why in Zeus’s name do you work here? You want your child, grandchildren, neighbors knowing you monitor men’s showers, strip down their rooms looking for cookies? How many ass cracks have you checked out? That’s my extent of confusion. Otherwise I’m in a mixmaster of boredom. At least paint, when it dries, changes. Want to thank Stacy S. for wonderful care package! Thanks. & Richard Hell for a surprise book.. Thanks! Can’t wait. Thanks for all the wonderful letters – Mom & Dad, Noah, Jonathan, Richard, Julie, Zack, Matt, James & Kelly.

Letters are great. A number of reasons, 1) you took out a part of your day to think of me of us. 2) you’re practicing a lost art – so Victorian – so this my quiet time. 3) it’s also a vitamin. Here’s a multiple – of thought, love, humor, news. Never worry about what to say. A postcard is perfect. See, I got nothing but time & frankly if I’m behind it’s because I’m out of stamps. No other reason. Letters become sacred. I used to run up first – tear it open like chocolate. Now I savor. Never first one up. Sometimes it’s a yes, sometimes nothing. Then I got out to walk. Think. Wonder what you have to say. Then come back in, tidy a small area, pop the tape , stick my nose within (for the longest time I was convinced everyone used perfume. Frank told me “No John. That’s how the outside smells”.) Pull paper out. Fondle the pages. Watch your words. Remember last time we spoke. Conjure your voice so you can read to me. & I sit back & sigh. It’s very private. When I want to show off (which is mean spirited) I read them in the yard. I read them, no you. You can only read when we’re alone & then I unknot the rope to my boat, jump in and float the rest of the night.

Couple of guys went to the hole for fighting in their cell. 5 minutes ago 2 guys were at it because they wanted the dryer. It’s better being an outsider. I do extend for some. Wrote a letter for a buddy to his mother. Talk a few down for impending depression. There is no punishment. You have isolation. Some education. Some guys love the hole cause they have their own cell – so it looks like tax payers are being taken for a ride. I think I might work on prison reform issues when I get out. There needs to be clarity – streamlining- not just from prisoner’s perspective but I’m sure from the prisons. I should have warned you I have a huge capacity for chaos – for aggression – for insanity. I should have pointed that out a while back. The reason I do now is because of my current celly. Most guys never, never quiet. So I guess he is wound tight. So logically if I’m so mellow with him & the various experiences on the outs. Yes I’m guilty. Rarely am I shocked. Disillusioned - yes. Sad – certainly. Do I spend at least 1-2 hrs a day total laughing? Without a doubt.

I miss music. Slim insists on playing the oldies. So now I live in bathroom decorated by John Wayne Gacy with nonstop James Taylor, Abba & America. In small doses ok – Large – remember Clockwork Orange. I found blue grass once. He freaked & classical reminds him of the ends of tv shows. Great – now B.T.O. Thank God I have solid memories of George’s father “Serenity Now!”

What do you know! Went to get my B.P. meds & Slim left & I have the radio for ten minutes. Yep. I’m 49. Remember the glass is never ½ full or empty – it’s cracked.

Thru all “this” this prison stuff, I have to admit this country has huge problems within prison & horrid conditions still exist. But I truly believe like every issue that affects our life, both good & bad, we really need to discuss & come to an understanding. What can we – we the voters- we the family – the families of victims – of criminals. Out of sight out of mind solves nothing. I see bitterness every day & I find it sickening. Yes, some have & take account for nothing & that’s a huge problem. This system creates a bitterness, a confusion & I think you like. I know where that leads -2nd 3rd 4th offense. First of all, explain why teenagers are in here – 16-17-18. Come on! We need to think. Stop reacting. Pro-active. Maybe now affordable healthcare, movement away from Iraq police action, prison reform, education. I’m in no ivory tower. I’m ground level in one of Wisconsin’s prisons.

Vote & thanks again for all your support/letters/gifts.

Now playing –Elliott Smith. See the difference?