Wednesday, September 19, 2007


My Labor Day started Labor Day eve.

Couldn’t sleep. When I did it was horrible dreams. Had a bad feeling that going to Oshkosh was a bad thing to do. No particular reason why.

Once again I had made a “date” with John. Told him I would be there on Labor Day because after that my schedule – work & personal – explodes, and I will not be able to come to visit until late October.

Once again I wake to “Kryptonite” playing on the radio. That song haunts me like you would never believe.
- “as long as you’ll be my friend in the end”-

Yes, I’ll go. I don’t know why these planned visits always start out full of anxiety.

So I go. Beautiful weather and with all the rain we have had here lately everything was beautifully green.

It was pretty busy there. I didn’t know what to expect on a holiday. I sign in but then my locker doesn’t work. I had to ask for another token for a different locker. I actually made a guard smile with my self proclaimed idiocy. Oh the trouble I would be in if I actually said to the guards the things I am thinking. My thoughts aren’t mean or negative. They are fun, sarcastic & joking. From what I understand they would not like it and I’d become suspect.

John takes a long time to get to me so of course I start thinking something’s wrong - he is in trouble, he is refusing my visit etc, etc. etc. (Remember my paranoid mind). So I sit and I watch the room. I see the other visitors. You’d be surprised – yes, stereotypes but also every day people. It’s comfortable. I judge no one - I ‘m there. I’m normal. Right?
I see the guards are laughing & talking amongst themselves. I see John in the doorway waiting to be processed. (I always describe this door way as the old game – Mystery Date! The door opens and you hope you get what you are want – the skier, not the nerd). The guards are still laughing & talking. I can’t blame them. Who wants to work on a holiday? So after the door opens several times, I win. John – not the nerd.
The weather is so nice we go outside and sit in the beautiful garden.

We talk. We laugh. We each cry at different times for different reasons. I will say that this time some of the stories he told me shocked me. Being a student of sociology all’s I can say is WOW!!!
But even though he has his stories to tell about what he is going thru
he still listens to me complain about work, about my life (petty in comparison ) and gives me great insight, advice. I’ll say it again – that is what friends are for.

He asked me what I had going for the rest of the day. I told him I had to get home to watch the US Open.

Love these Grand Slam tournaments. I don’t play tennis at all but I am addicted to watching it. John said he was able to see some of it. I asked him if he saw Roger play. (Roger Federer of course)
John said no and he is still trying to figure out the scoring. That was me last year before my friend’s son explained the scoring to me. (we have plans to actually attend next year – NY – I am coming back).

Anyways, I am not an athlete at all but I love watching these tennis tournaments.
The US Open – Wimbledon etc. – any of the Grand Slams they show on regular TV. Why? Because it is a dignified sport. It is one vs. one. It is a physical and thinking game.

There is no “smack talk.” during play. No team rivalry that gets out of control. No drugs or alcohol, no slutty outfits. The fans may have a personal favorite but will applaud a great shot – a great play- no matter who makes it. They will applaud a great effort and from what I have seen from the past 4 years since I have been following, the winner of a particular match will (has) thanked their opponent for a great match and encourages them to keep up the good work and thank them for being their best. They encourage each other to do better. They thank each other for forcing them to be their best. They admit when an opponent does something better than them. When the loser of a game leaves the court they will often get as much applause as the winner in recognition of a great match. They are applauded for a job well done no matter what country they are representing.

It is fun to watch these players from year to year. To see how they improve each year. Perhaps it is do to a new coach, a new way of thinking or approaching the game, or lessons learned or maturity – experience.

So what does all this have to do with anything?

Well, life is all about dignity, respect and doing your personal best with what you are given and learning from your mistakes.

In this life we all have our personal battles – struggles- demons.
As long as we do our best with what we are given, learn from our mistakes, and are treated with dignity & respect, things will work out to how they are supposed to.

The “losers’ or “broken children” in this world, if given a chance & truly learn from their mistakes and personal battles, overcome their demons, just may come back bigger and stronger. They just may win their battle.
Will we applaud these new champions?

My Labor Day 2007 weekend ends up being great.

Lots of friends & family, great tennis (all my favorites won), good food, lots of laughs – I traded my sister organic tomatoes for organic corn – lots of great conversations that reminded me that my life is great.

I think about how the day started at 5:00 am – not wanting to get out of bed. Think about how happy I am that I was able to see my friend. Think about how now I am sad because I won’t be able to see my friend for about 6 weeks now.

I take comfort knowing that John is happy for me – for the events I have coming up - because these events are so overwhelmingly joyful for me and that I wouldn’t miss them for the world. Believe me – he is genuinely happy for me.

Sad, because as I experience these things that I am not able to call him at the end of the day to tell him all about it like I am used to doing.

We will write each other during this time but sometimes you just need to see the smile, the sadness, the joy, the sadness & joy in each other’s eyes – faces-body language - for yourself.

This entry of mine may have gone all over the place today. Kind of like a normal day.
You start out with one expectation and end up some where else.
Embrace that people.
That is life.
Life is short.

- kc

I ended yesterday with Creeley & trade for popcorn to get a stamp for a letter to my good friend name Zack. Zachary is a profound name. Reminds me of this country’s history. An elegance of democracy. Cradle of revolution. Though I never had it I still miss it. I know it came from family from my imagination. Kit Carson. Billy the Kid. Butch Cassidy. So even before I could hear Zack utter hello I was intrigued. A poet. A musician. A devil’s angel. He’s one of a kind. Brought me into his friendships with Matt Wild – a terrific filmmaker, dreamer, musician, maker of deep fried twinkies & more of a muse than a siren. & Mr. James Liddy. A poet extreme. A man so genius with his words & actions. A true legend of the Irish kind. Well Zack, Matt & James have written letters beyond support and frankly I’ve been a bit shy of their wonderful words. I thank them. Knowing they’re as well as the legions of supporters I’ve listed in the past & will continue in the future, I thank & love you all. & to share my joy & to irritate the bastards who try to keep me down-not only am I on a wonderful yard but I have a key to this cell. So far those who want dungeons & rats & big fat cops (ok we do have them), I’m confined. That’s it. & I will move unencumbered in my devotion to poetry – love – friendship & the water that defines us.

Another day comes to an end. Slim found a cop’s wallet on the track & returned it to him without a second thought. So in case you can’t believe we walk in the same direction, believe it. I could & will tell you who these men really are. Beyond being your fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, nephews, lovers, friends or that guy who pushed you down and then helped you up. Pointed the right direction. Remember in the moment of a sneeze a crime can be thought out or acted. & lives destroyed. Open our minds & free our hearts.

I end with a favorite poem of Zack’s by the wonderful Joseph Ceravolo – “A Song of Autumn”


A dog disappears
across a small lake.
It waits for me.
It goes where I want to go.
Begins to wake up the flowers.
So leave us alone.
Because no freedom can choose
between faces and
hours as destroyed as moving,
or cold water in the
sun. I can go out
now and measure
the flies that swing around trees
like doctors around a woman
full of bars and beauties
you could never make free;
Not even if the
flowers turn to moss and
lose sensation in their stems.

Beyond Joe Ceravolo Zack reminded me of Ernest Noyes Brookings & Alfred Starr Hamilton. True poets – gifted to the extreme.

Happy Labor Day

To all our union workers- supporters-brothers/sisters –

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Another month rears it’s sleepy bollocks. I guess the trip is continuing. Left the barracks yesterday morning. Now, I feel I can say I’m in prison. There are 3 yards in Oshkosh. This one is the furthermost away. The back yard. We see neighborhoods. (Story is some of these cops live there – a big Yuck! Can you imagine “that” life? Yuck). Hear traffic & sometimes the race track. It’s a good yard. Met some great guys yes, some real pieces of shit. Some amazing artists. So without question I wanted to stay here. As I found the news I told all my guys in the barracks – adding “This is such an odd feeling. I’m actually happy”. So goes it. Since arrest this cell is my 6th move. Some guys are definitely double digits. They like to place you to see how you’ll be. I, because of my heart problems, have a lower bunk – lower floor restriction. The sergeant warns me “because of your restrictions we had no choice”. I anticipate “bubba”. I get an alright guy with stinky feet. Very quiet. Right next door to Slim. Alright. We’ll look out for each other. Right now like two old men fighting over the last cigar. “Listen”. He’s teaching me to project. Strange at times his enunciation is identical to Ginsberg’s.

No mail for the last couple of days. That’s hard. But I checked out a few books on cowboys. Lining up artists to draw up flyers for Noah’s band Highlonesome. That’s where all my pain resides. Funky shack on the end of town. Refrigerator on the front porch & my dog in bed with me. I miss Noah. Poets & musicians & every day
Joes can talk & express the sadness of regret. All I can do is stuff rags in that hole in my chest. The state can’t do a goddamn thing to me but move me. Lecture me. Torment me with that fence. My prison is one & one only & the fuckin state can’t do a thing to my prison. My prison is love. Prison of hurting my son. Worse time of our lives & I took the wrong fork. Go figure. I’ll survive and Noah will survive. Time survives. Like the river approaching a rock, we bend. The flow will never cease. The flow our life forces. Just a warning. If the state is allowed to entrap & lie, imagine the lives that live ahead destined to be fucked.
I’ll get up from that swing. There are quite a few guys here that won’t & no question - they’ll be throwing boulders in your stream. Change the name from prison or correctional institution can fool the taxpayers but the sad truth is semantics. Go figure. Maybe Slim should move in your neighborhood – “Listen”.

Speaking of listening – you read- right? Few years back I read “What Did I Do” Autobiography of Larry Rivers. Coolness in print. His stories are magical. His life surreal. His honesty unquestionable & his lovers – well divine. Frank O’Hara – Yeah baby yeah. I’m reading it again right now. Just put it down. Well for those of you who have read it, you get what I’m talking about. You who haven’t – get it. This ain’t no People Magazine bullshit. An amazing artist. A true American. A free thinker. An extinct idea. People don’t live – they follow. The cover up with perfume. Wear another’s name because theirs doesn’t matter. This country home of John Brown, MLK, Malcolm X, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, WCW, Ezra Pound, Bobby Seale. Come on. I’m not just pointing at you. I’m pointing at me. The sleep I’ve slept. The revolution we’ve missed. Look around. Is this who we are? Yes this country reeks of hypocrisy - slavery – racism-sexism- homophobia. All the slime we scrape from our shoes & polish with tears & sweat from child labor & conditions that our own unions won’t tolerate. What to do. I can’t vote 2014. You can. One man’s prison is another’s welfare. Another pile for the dust pan. History lives before it’s recorded.

I got to work with Robert Creeley once for an Accurate Key at the suggestion & hitting over the head nudging by Stacy Szymaszek (one of the billions & billions of reasons I adore her). Got to hear him read. Like Jonathan Williams, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Rauschenburg & Jasper Johns – plus a ton more of painters, dancers & choreographers – a Black Mountain alumni. A supreme poet. I end with his “Again”.


One more day gone,
done, found in
the form of days.

It began, it
ended – was
forward, backward,

slow, fast a
sun shone, clouds
high in the air I was

for awhile with others,
then came down
on the ground again.

No moon. A room in
a hotel – to begin

Walked to the library. Almost a week without music. Smell of books. Too many men in a tiny, barely ventilated room. Signed up for Guns’n Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Right to “Sweet Child of Mine”. Always have good flashbacks. Try not to think of Axl in red shorts. Good to hear. Clear mind. Guilty pleasure. On way to library ran into Gary. You remember Gary from the first couple of blogs. He moved to the front yard. Tomorrow (8-31) he’s leaving. Good guy. Hope all goes well. I’m jealous (not really). He’s back in your world now. Treat him good. Such a good friend when I first came here. Can’t wait to see him on the outs. Friends.

Got a copy of The Best-American Poetry 1989. Reason being beyond Donald Hall as editor, Elaine Equi. David Shapiro. Robert Creeley. Tom Clark. Thom Gunn. Cool. & I got a book on western gunfighters. Looking for stories on Deadwood. Someone ripped them out. Damn. Look at a GQ magazine. Jeff Koons & flesh. Perfume & flesh. D&G. Flesh. Ah, America keep your queer shoulder to the road.

Tonight burritos. Walking. Clean clothes. Pleasant dreams. & tomorrow arrives in the homeless guy’s brown paper bag. Damp & used. & such a treasure.

Where do we go now? Where do we go?

the letter ends, remember me to Noah

cowboys did
the first
drive bys

according to Slim
ladybugs traveled
with the pirates

geese fly above
groups of 3 7 11
sometimes 1

a monarch butterfly
can carry the soul
of a loved one


Monday, September 17, 2007


Kentucky Rain runs thru my mind. Elvis alone in my ear. I remind myself, prison. Yeah.
Turn Elvis up. Met an amazing craftsman today. Native. Diablo. Showed me some bead work. Just knocked me down. Solid solid guy. Floors me seeing such great art. But it does make sense. Got time. Got talent. Got the finished product. My point & will always be one of the points that composes a line, never back down. Never let them take “the you” away. Prison like any other trip defines. How you dance depends on you. How you walk. Stand.

No clouds. Cutting the field. Fresh cut grass. Colette. Picnic. Evan. Noah. Our walks within my nose. Within scents. One way ticket. Heaven. Fresh cut grass. Colette’s laugh. Dragging bags of groceries home and the whines . The why do we walk every where. Why no car. Fresh cut grass. Lethargy of love. Tuck you in. Within. With. & the deep breath in & mind blowing exhale. My present packs her luggage & a special overnight bag for our past. Inhale. Exhale. & we’re walking. Mt. Carroll. Waukegan. Milwaukee. Atlanta. Milwaukee. Walking. Two points compose a line. Four points a symphony. Five a mystery. Each additional. A gifted life. Inhale. Exhale. Fresh cut grass. Every exhale clicks a trigger. Every inhale signals warning. The green that grows. Allows our poetry. Our love. Our lives. Our dreams. Today. Tomorrow. Exhale.

I end this transmission with the last section of Paloma, a poem of love – survival-tomorrow & soon to be mystery discovered in September.

with this
my love
i fall
from name.
crocodile dung
will never stop
babies from being born.
scream of shadows
mayhem of the multitudes
this birth
a blessed one.
of rain.

Where do we go now? Where do we go?
Where do we go?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

82907 ½

Lopez, I thank you for you friendship. Your support. What doesn’t kill us makes us stranger. It’s worth doing. Never let the ants destroy a picnic. Someone sober @ 999.

twilight’s purge

evening confronts daylight’s slight of hand
7 pm all manifests
guard tower razor fence uncut grass
wends way thru brain
dredge soul
all flee
I’m with Noah & Amanda’s heavy with child
lucid hush-hush
a craving so dear
alas, you may fly my kite, walk my dog
vent ramble sow this warden.
length never great
unless measured with blood
surrender difficult.
my courage
my teeth

oh the joy
for Kelly

I am that but which can never deceive
she rarely understood
alive almost 70 yrs
she should beg the pardon
& retreat from that glare.
skin tastes of salt pork
my butter bean.
insanity best served at room temperature.

God, how Evan resembles Steve Earle
on cover of
“Hardcore Troubadour”.
they say
say it
it will
come true
I scream, “what the fuck!”
Noah & Amanda just made my visitor list.

before 8am, he said
for Frank

you find.
found yr
self. in
a room
& too many corners
not enough

his first wife dead.
discovered in the bathroom.

tats reads
find peace
upon his belly.
every morning

at the end of every sentence

& july become the rocket’s red glare

it was an english
christmas & I
was the tree.
pants with pockets
& french toast with no syrup.
so far away am I. my boat floats to shore. hitching post of sorts.


The sky leant herself grey today. Steel blue copy. 18th century end of the world grey. Ominous Dickens. Gorgeous cashmere (sweater) Audrey Hepburn. I walk the aisles of Tiffany’s. Filled universal awe. Walked with Slim. “Holy fuck” “What’s going on?”
Look across back of yard between the units. The paramedics & tons of cops (guards, white shirts). “Wait here” he suggests. We wait & watch. Finally – “Yeah, see, he’s dead”. Sure enough, stretcher & body bag. My lungs fill. One another watches. Waiting. My heart goes south. My eyes wiped out. Sigh & Weep. It doesn’t matter if I knew him or not. For the past few months we’ve shared the same sky. Rain. Meals. Imprisonment. A brother. Dead.

Early I delivered to Slim a stack of animation copies. Outlines of Care Bears, The Peanuts Gang, Lion King. Watching him go thru them is like any other birthday. Celebration.
He traces them. Makes cards. I sent a Tweedy bird card to Noah. They’re kickass. Slim is ecstatic. Kelly is a saint.

We part. Go to lunch. Count. Back on the yard. Slim& I sitting. I’m helping with his shoe order. Luis sits down. “Hey”. Slim replies “I got a picture of Charlie Brown in that pumpkin patch with that bitch”. Luis starts laughing, “Never heard Peanuts characters described as such”. Slim – “There’s two bitches, right?”. Prison. Too many men. Lost. Lord of the Flies. On acid. Some crazy ass summer camp of loonies. The sky seems to disappear.

Our perspectives change as fast as the wind. My grandchild will be hopping forth ending September. It’s hard even in here not to feel blessed. Purposeful. Noah is a terrific man. Can’t say the last time I met someone with such depth. Character. Humor. Perspective. He’s a good guy. I send him odd things from prison. Tourist objects. Souvenirs from the trip of madness. So it goes. So it lies. So it sings. So we dance. So we weep. So we jump. So we joy. So we love. So we sleep. Wake up & do it again. So it’s…


Rain has returned with a vengeance. The old man went to the deli for a sandwich and no mustard. He gets home, a few blocks walk, unwraps & settles down with his pbr. Mustard. & yes he returns.

I attended a deeply moving religious service this past weekend. A number of the guys in my unit have stressed the fact “John, you’d love it”. So I promised I would attend & sure enough, a few hours before I started getting sick. So by ½ hour before we were to leave I had a fever. Sick to my stomach dread. It’s not that I don’t love to attend services. It’s that emotion that ran bloody feeling. Everyone, I mean everyone, is draped in the power of love of brother/sisterhood. Of the Holy Spirit. Of Christ. & I collapse. Too much I plead. Too much my heart breaks . Pleads for all this pain to go away. I go there with an older brother. A nice cool walk. Time to think. Time to compose. To relax. He’s a comfort. He seems to understand & sure enough, the moment we walk in we hear the singing of joy. The crushing of sadness. Redemption. Demanding destiny. The choir. Barely making it to our seats. All I can think “Oh my God, Please get me thru this”. The singing. Packed service. I’ve never seen so many men singing joyful. I start to relax. Everyone filled. Then my eyes find him right ahead. Sitting. Head in his hands. The telltale swipe of hand across the eyes. Fuck! Ambushed. My heart bolts. My eyes deceive me. The heaviness sets in The closest I got to this before my incarceration was watching Johnny Cash. Hearing Johnny Cash. Folsum Prison. There is no possible way to describe the feelings. The emotions. The core heart broken sadness. Without a doubt this a room filled. Packed. Stuffed. Every possible crime. Every possible heinous crime. Every thing wrong with mankind except there are no politicians. No representatives of the Bush administration. & as far as I know, no serial killers though plenty of killers. Anyway, a room of evil & all I feel is love. Forgiveness Redemption. & singing. The service is wonderful. Rejuvenating. Blessing. We end with Amazing Grace. Yep. Bring it all home mama! Bring it all home!

We leave, air crystal clear. A mellow thinking walk in the yard. But we’re definitely feeling loose silly. Alright. Needless to say, home fry – resident knucklehead – says & does something stupid & we all laugh. Luis kicks him in the butt & figure what the hell. Yeah, this is prison, not the end of the road. Circles are a terrific symbol. If you’re not looking you have no idea of the beginning of the end.
“No the circle, won’t be broken by & by, Lord, by & by”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I am still suffering the sadness so I am going to see my friend John who understands it.
I remember when I first told him how I suffer sometimes and how I wanted to go home. He didn’t get what I meant at first. He thought I was suicidal. Not at all. Not ever. He eventually told me I freaked him out. Sorry!!!

I should explain -

I do believe in reincarnation. I believe we are all here because we chose to come back. I believe we agree to come back to finish something we started. Have you ever met someone that you get along with perfectly and may have said - We must have known each other in a previous life. – I think that goes the other way too. Have you ever met someone who you just don’t like for reasons you can’t explain or they just don’t like you for unexplained reasons? Perhaps that was someone you hurt or hurt you in a previous life. So me wanting to go ‘home’ is saying I want to get out of here because I want to get back to where I belong. That I think I made a mistake returning here. Spoiled, whining brat that I am - God practices tough love when you need it. Anyways, that is just one thing I believe even though I have no idea what any of my past lives where like. I don’t have enough time or money to explore that. Maybe some day.

I am going to see John because I am sad. I know he will listen to me. I am going to see John because I just want to. Is it wrong of me to go to him with my current sadness and just want to talk about myself with him in his current circumstance? Oh hell no. That is what friends are for.

To be honest, when my alarm went off, I really didn’t want to go. I was sad and just felt like staying in bed all day. But the radio alarm was playing Wish You Were Here and then after that Kryptonite (3rd Eye Blind). 2 songs that make me think of John. So I know I am being told to get your sorry arse out of bed and go. So I do.

I have a great visit. I always sit in the same chair because it has a perfect view of the door where I know he will come from. It is kind of like Mystery Date each time the door opens. You hope for the prize but you have to go thru a lot of others before he comes out.
Of course there is a ton to talk about. More than once he has me in tears, laughing with stories. I just can’t imagine being in there - and his telling of the stories and my internalizing them into “my” perspective – sometimes you just have to laugh. Of course you are always being watched so I, having a huge laugh, must contain myself. He asks me how I am and I tell him my current state. He asks a few questions and then kind of points out to me why I just may be feeling this way right now. I hate it when he is right. Don’t you just hate it when people know more than you – about yourself? Ok you are probably right but I don’t know what the solution is. When I get up to leave he gives me a big ginormous hug and says to me “I hope you get over your sadness soon”.

This day I am also going to my Z-boy’s 4th birthday party. Z is Tom’s son. He is my “great” nephew. Family joke – after Z was born all my ‘regular” nephews have been demoted to “mediocre” nephews. (All my boys know I am joking. They love Z as much as I do).

I grab my requested taco dip and a big bag of gifts. I get to Tom’s house and Z is taking a nap. I hang out in the kitchen and Tom & I talk about whatever. I hear Z upstairs and his dad goes to get him. Z hears me in the kitchen and I hear him from upstairs – he says – in his beautiful loving voice – “Daddy, my Kelly is here!” He comes down the stairs and peeks over the door and has his biggest smile.

“Happy Birthday Z!”
He comes running to me and says “Happy Birthday!”
“No babes - It’s your birthday!”
Big hug & kiss.

A very nice party. Lots of family and friends.

John may have helped me thru my sadness but Z brought the joy back.
Z is pure joy.

The sadness is gone.

Happy Birthday Z – You mean everything to me. I love you.

Your Kelly

Thoughts and Reflections

I am still feeling the sadness. It is a little better.

Sometimes it’s really nice to know I am not the only one who does a lot of self analysis.

The following was written by some one I truly love & adore – my oldest nephew – Thomas. This was written before my current bout with the sadness, but, as I told the boy, I could have easily written this any time in my late 20’s to early 30’s. I have felt this way so many times.

John thought it was a great piece of writing. Such great thoughts and insights from a young man who (as I told John) has everything going for him. John said to me that perhaps I come from a family of thinkers. That maybe we think too much which is great but can be painful. Maybe that is true. Perhaps we think too much because we have that luxury of trying to figure these lives of ours out because we do, for the most part, after our individual crap is over with, live semi-charmed lives.

August 9, 2007 - Thursday

when the day is gone.... Current mood: contemplative
all that's left is a memory. and those fade. last night i was watching a show about the blueman group. while watching it the memory just popped into my head that i was a part of a blueman show. i was brought up on stage, backstage, got to participate. it was so amazing- yet it was something that i had completely forgotten about until i saw that show and the memory popped back from deep inside my brain.
it just reminded me of how much we need to cherish each day that we have. time goes by so quickly, we need to appreciate the experiences we have every day. because those experiences don't last long- the memories will be all that we have, and those often can disappear so easily. just made me think- how much of my life was wasted because i didn't appreciate it enough when i was going through it. how many other good things have i gone through, and they're now lost somewhere inside my head? so many things in life are so amazing, yet we don't appreciate them enough until we look back on the memories. by then it's too late.
i know i have done this far too much in my life- i would focus on the negatives, or focus on the future- and not completely appreciate every day, every experience that i go through. every thing in life can be seen as positive- even hard times, because we learn something from them, we usually become stronger from them. our time here is limited, we need to appreciate all of it. appreciate the people around us. i know this is something i also have not done enough of in the past. i am just so thankful- thankful for the experiences i have had, thankful for the people in my life, thankful for my life. i'm sorry to all the people in my life who i didn't appreciate enough, or at least show my appreciation to. i am sorry to all those who i still may not show how much i appreciate, but i am working on it.
i went through so much of my life so negative, feeling sorry for myself at times. feeling like i was owed things for the crappy life i had to go through. i have realized that crappy life has made me who i am, it has made me stronger, it made me grow up quicker than many people, it taught me so much. i failed to look at the lessons, i failed to see the positives that came from it. no more- life is a gift, and it's as good or bad as you choose to make it. i'm not gonna allow myself to make my life bad anymore- i'm not gonna look at all the negatives, i'm not gonna worry so much about the future instead of focusing on today. everything will be ok, it will work out the way it is meant to. constantly worrying about things will not change them. we are all in control of our own happiness- time to take charge and make the best out of every day and every experience.

Thomas Conway

I came down with the sadness today at about 3:00pm.

I’ve suffered from this off & on for so many years. It’s not depression. Not a chemical imbalance. I am not bipolar. It’s not hormonal. And no – alcohol is not involved. I’ve been to the doctor about it. It’s just that everyone once in a while I feel the sorrow of the universe. Sometimes it leaves in a day or two. Sometimes longer. I still function as I do but there is no happiness in anything.
Nothing I know of seems to trigger it. It just comes to me.

My friends & family who understand this about me will, after their first reaction of “is it something I did?” will either talk me thru things or just leave me alone because they know I have to deal with it on my own.

What do I feel during this time? Just a deep sadness. Emptiness. Like something, someone, everyone - is hurting at the same time and have placed all those feelings unto me to take care of for them. Think of the saddest time of your life and magnify it. Then magnify it again.

I will sob, wail, lament. Real tears will stream down my face. There is no particular thought going thru my mind except - why? Why “what?” I am not sure. Why is there so much sadness in the world and why do I have to feel it? I will say this out loud. I will start talking to God and ask why there is so much pain in this world. I will ask God to let me go home because things are too hard in this life. Things aren’t working out here. I will ask Jesus why He did what He did for a bunch of ungrateful people who never learned a thing from it. Did it really matter? People are so horrible to each other. I can’t stand it. I will cry for those I know and those I do not. I will cry for you.

I will write pages and pages of my thoughts. I will listen to my Ipod and have Michael Stipe tell me over and over again –“Not every one can carry the weight of the world”.
I will reply with “true, not every one can. But why do I have to? I will listen to The Hurting and I will listen to David Bowie’s “Heroes”. I will go to bed crying and go to work the next day and smile at every one with nothing is wrong but throughout the day I will get teary eyed. Need to focus at work but night time will come again and I will have to deal with it.

When does the sadness leave? It is different every time. Usually it is sparked by a phone conversation. Something I saw on tv. It could even be that I saw someone hold a door open for someone. It could be that I took one of the kids to lunch or a movie or baby sat for one of them. I never know. When it comes I am my happy self again. Maybe even happier than ever before. I see beauty again. And when I am alone with my thoughts I sob & wail - Thank you God. Thank you for everything. Thank you Jesus for what You did. Lord knows I could never do it. I understand why I can’t go home yet. I tell God, You know I am going to come to You like this again, right? And God let’s me know - Come as much as you want – that’s what I’m here for.

I believe you have to figure yourself out by yourself. That includes everything in your life. I know I am a sensitive person. I do feel the universe at times. (Actually a psychic told me that I am in tune with the universe once but I didn’t believe it at the time.) Do I like it? No. It sucks. This is what this life has given me so I will take it.
I just hope this bout with the sadness goes a way quickly. – kc

My parents were/are some of the most honest people I know. As a child I could ask my mother anything & she’d answer. Sure it would have to be the right time and place but she’s always be direct. My siblings for the most part sure, well actually my sisters. My older sister always direct and honest, definitely “filled” in for my mother when times were rough or as I refer “odd”. & my younger sister, well she rarely could do wrong. She had/has that grace. Very plop in your face but sweet as fuckin pie. As a child it was found out she was allergic to dog dander. I had a dog, “Lady”. Got her from Bob Dylan ( just kidding). Well, my sister got sick & Lady hit the road & yeah, times were odd. Never had a problem with my sister though I was confused when another dog showed up later. Just a scene from “The Days of Wine & Roses”.

Last night Frankenstein & I wanted to make a stew for Rudy - a 70+ German who grew up in South America. Rudy never ate one & it turned out his bunkee Frank was turning 44. So a feast made by Frankenstein (even included chicken from lunch) was devoured by the 4 of us. Little Debbie Swiss Rolls stood in for birthday cake. It was a wonderful end to another wonder in prison.

To be direct I’ve always fallen for the eyes, shoulders, mind, wit the back & the capacity for brilliance. Never the timid, egotistical, self involved (though can be cute) or just plain flat tire. Lovers. Friends. Those I’ve stumbled upon. Seeked. Journied to find. Were always treasures. Treasured. And yes I’ve been on the found side & we’ve run to that love together. To put it bluntly, I’ve never judged a tree by it’s fruit. What is brought to what is taken from is more profound than the physical/hormonal make up.

I’ve always straddled fences. Try to find that in-between. Objective. Sure I’m knee jerk & very subjective about certain topics, situations, circumstances. Here I’m torn. Believe it or not there are a few alright cops (sure there’s more – I mean from my experiences) & a few alright inmates (sure there’s more). But there is not a damn thing I can do but be who I am & consider everything possible. As a teenager I was introduced to a Trappast Monastery in Dubuque Iowa. At first I’d spend a few hours then a weekend or two. Then for a moment or two, consider signing on. But I didn’t believe it was in the stars. Well I met an incredible monk – Father Mathias. Probably late – mid 40s, very laid back & was quite hip. Loved Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), photography and Thomas Merton. I believe we talked about Ralph Eugene Meatyard who I think is one of America’s treasures:

Amazing total southern gothic. Think I tripped out. Sally Mann – Emmit Gowin. Anywho, Father Mathias & I would wander fields, roads, the monastery. He taught me one – Aware – How to see & be in “that – this moment”. He believed we should see 180˚ & possibly 360˚.
We’d walk – he’d click camera, say “John, close your eyes. What color is my shirt?” Totally unexpected. Totally unreal for me. he adored Merton – Thoreau – the true monks. We’d eat huge cookies.Talked of Christ – the song Father & Son. Needless to say, my mind was blown. I was reading Kerouac, Bukowski, Miller – listening to the Plastic Ono Band, Janis Joplin, Lou Reed. Growing up in the middle of America, Farmtown USA. Drugs and alcohol fueled these desires. But like all young men of the early 70’s I was a wanderlust. Couldn’t/didn’t want to be tied down. You know there is barely a day that goes by that I don’t think of Father Mathias. Our walk, talks, sermon of the country. Right out of the W.C.W. New Mellery. Means honey. In the land of milk & honey.

I digress. They say don’t judge a man ‘til you walk in his boots. Makes sense. Very concrete. A beautiful image. Well, I have a great buddy, Jacob. We could write a book. Well things turned a horrible corner & he stepped away – almost out of my life. Well he left behind these great brown work boots – solid lumberjack, hitch hike across the country THUD! Boots. I wear 10 ½. These were smaller 9 ½? Well I was very angry, hurt, confused. Spinning. And I’d pass those damn boots for weeks. (He left them behind and I am not too organized). I’d think those are some nice ass boots – but too small. Well don’t judge a man…passed thru my head - ticker tape like. Yeah, so true. Well I sat down and popped those fuckers on. No too bad. Kind of tight. No room to breathe. I wonder what Jacob’s doing? So I wore them that day. Celebrated. When I took them off people offered “get them wet”, “stretch them out”. Nope. That’s cheating. Needless to say, I wore those boots. I wore the hell out of those boots. When the pain of smashing those blistered toes against that almost unyielding leather I’d actually think of Jacob. His life, his dreams, realizing he’s probably just as angry, hurt, confused & spinning. Some of my friends understood. Some gave no opinion. But those months of wearing those boots taught me as much about myself as it did Jacob. And this is the truth – When I re-broke those boots in, I was done with them.

My point is this new life for me poses problems, mysteries, joy, sadness. I have to drag this huge trunk of John in here. I need to understand/comprehend as much as this mind/body/soul will allow. By my nature I dislike & hate cops. I also mistrust cons. But one by one in each & every relationship I come to new, fresh conclusions. Yes, some of the behavior in here shocks me. Dismays me. Truly bothers me. So I stop. Find my ground and my mind- kaleidoscope like – spins & reminds – “John, what color is my shirt?” “What kind of flower is that?” “John, how could you hurt me? Abandon me?”

What truly is our/the/a purpose for this existence & I remain silent. Either accept or deny. My palms open. My patience restored. My world alive. Prison truly another state of mind. My mantras. My prayers. My hope & love.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


From a near lost friend on 81407 – “I wrote after your friend asked you to stop writing and after you quoted stone throwing”.

Ecstatic & silent the night glows. Sun sets upon a soft whimper & today a dear, dear friend proclaims “and I still love you!”

My heart demands Frank O’Hara’s “To The Harbor Master” –

To The Harbormaster

I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught in some moorings.
I am always tying up and then deciding to depart.
In storms and at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide around my fathomless arms, I am unable to understand the forms of my vanity or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder in my hand and the sun sinking.
To you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage of my will.
The terrible channels where the wind drives me against the brown lips of the reeds are not all behind me.
Yet I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks it may well be in answer to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

“If you lose your defiant walk in there that means they have won. Don’t let them win."
- Last line from a letter written by a truly loving and profound friend.