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.