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?


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