Monday, December 15, 2008

The latest chap books by John Tyson are now available:

Strike Hard Old Diamond

Killing Time

Barren poise swill

What I Love About Your Life Is What You Leave Out

Spit & Sugar Evolution of Smoke

Books are free! All you do is help pay shipping & handling.

$5.00 per book $3.00 if you want 2 or more $10 for the whole set

Please contact Kelly at

Friday, November 14, 2008


James Liddy was/is by all accounts, by all actions, by all thoughts – poetry. He redefined for me & so many, poetry & the true existence of a poet.
A brilliant man. A profound & hysterical observer of life – of heaven- of that space in between that so few of us find, let alone live in. He lived in it. He lived.

Today, this morning, reading of his passing “FUCK!” flew out of my mouth. Sadness dropped me to my knees. I’m honored to know James. To have shared, to have witnessed him wearing that God horrid canary yellow stretched out sweater, holding court. Never minding the coffee stains or God knows what, all over.

James wore his life like that sweater.

Jim & Zack – I am so sorry but I am so grateful to have shared the most wonderful, divine Mr. Liddy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Kelly just left (visit) loaded down with stuff I made.
She’s a saint.
I was lost.
Back in here. Still wrapped in her laughter – her difficult dad- wonderful nephews- new trip to Ireland.
We share insanity.
I’m telling Kelly a story – blah blah about how I really am not concerned , blah blah.
“ I know John, I’ve seen your tub”.
If that’s not love…
Fuck it.
She’s a saint.
I walked in the rain for 10 minutes after our visit.
I’m oh so cleansed.


I cut my finger the other day & nothing changed. No blood no pain. Just a fine delicate piece of. I pulled & out popped a petal. Thought quite strange so in silence of night I pry open my skin & decorate my cell with flowers constructed from those petals.
Something is changing.
Someone is changing.
Prison is a desert. Lack of love. Ability to eat an apple at will. Such is man’s law. Desire goes as seagulls devour landscape. My identity is more of my mind. My ability to survive.
I live for the sky. Apply to string beads a scattered poem. So now my legs grew/grow stronger & veins run where once death. Transcendent is a remarkable dance. Whether middle finger or my mouthing “I don’t care”.
I fear that to fear is to doubt. To forget. To back petal.
I’ve been ruined. Never one for whistling through grave yards. I do beg Mary Worth in “that” mirror. Strapped & good to go, I’ve said “some of us should never see what’s on the other side of that line”. Can you dig? Ability to split atoms & sell art @100 million ain’t goin’ to stop that river. Man is as superficial as an adolescent wet dream.
Walk away.
Walk away.
Weigh those options &
tell McCain’s token to fuck off. Any time it’s reduced to eyewear – smell the coffee and walk away.
Walk away.
Consider both sides of every line.
Take responsibility & unhook that collar.
Something/someone is changing. & I’ve seen too much waste. Too much death. Lies. Back petals & force fed media compliance. Who are we & what have we become?
Walk away.

Help me!
Get back from hobby making two mugs for Tim & Noah. Exhausted. A friend explained a ‘new push up”. Your arms straddle 2 trucks. So you go down. Way down. Tear. Amazing. Then “Superstar” by Sonic Youth.
You all know I’m in Mexico & I’m blessed. Fuckin’ Superstar & Mr. T. Moore. Blew me away. I’m so blown. Maybe truly amazed.
Reed, letter on the way. You too, Stacy. Miss the hell out of you all but I’m ok. You?
Drop a line. Soon this Spring sprung. & try out these push-ups.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Today’s Milwaukee paper:

Female teacher gets 25 days in jail and two years probation for kissing a 14 year old male student. A misdemeanor.

William Burroughs said it best & I paraphrase (age & all)

“An old black faggot once said to me - “honey, they’re all shits”.

America thy name is hypocrisy. I run to Emma Goldman & my mother. To those who know me understand the leap. To those who don’t, government is wrong & when you have too much mud - make mud pies.

I live in a cell filled with mud pies.
Kelly soon to visit & then Spring I will be sprung so I guess words are more harmful than physical touch – or just my words? I should have continued on my path of 1st criminal act.

My celly went to the hole after an inmate enraged him by suggesting they go to his cell where he would beat him & put his finger up his butt.
“You want to put your finger in my butt?” my celly asked coming up behind the guy, he pulled a chair – boom boom boom – punched his face, head & raised a chair over his head . Sgt. Yelled: Get on the ground!” Another moment of.

Dave told me he overheard the guy my celly knocked around,”If I would have gotten up”. I’m waiting to hear that conversation to which I will add….”William Burroughs once said…..”


P.S. Hurray for Ted & Hillary – Hurray!!

My celly went to the hole. Long story short his anger consumed. First directed at me. I responded no, I will not indulge. Probably the most threatening “move” but at this point in my life that “no” spoke volumes. No means a yes to you – by me saying no I was saying – screaming- Yes, I love you & yes I will survive & yes I can move forward & yes life can suck but right now I will pass this test. The last few days a single cell. Quiet and because of Dave I’m reading No Country For Old Men. Holy happiness. Just what I needed. When you’re up there reading Genet you do need help getting to the ground. This is it.

Stacy hang in there. I love & miss you. Julie a letter on the way & yes, I love & miss you.
Lopez thanks for the $ & great letters. One on the way to you.
Ben if you’re out there – best of luck with your birth.
Presents on the way.
& to all a good night.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Highly Personal Journey of Survival

the blood is bright red
another reminder of
victim of the collective pain

what does one do when the loneliness is accepted?

die. inside. everyday. a little.

The Pretending

sin & sinners

don’t you dare judge

(lest you be judged)

bleed bright red

blow minds
would you even care

productive only when under the influence
feel only
that addicted soul
not meant for this world

create & supersede

only true hearts understand redemption


when we meet on that Sunday afternoon how long will you stay?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


“Nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance.”

- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 4, 2008

Hello John boy,

Just had to tell you about the crazy dream I had last night.
My regular pattern – go to bed early but I can feel heart palpitations coming on. Why? Who the hell knows? So anyways I get to sleep. No panic attack.
I am on my side and feel someone in the bed. I move my arm to feel what (Max) or who it is & I feel an arm. I say – “is that you John?” and you say “yeah”. So I turn to look at you and you have longer hair and about 2 days worth of facial hair growth wearing a white “hanes-like” crew tshirt. I go – “what’s wrong? What do you want?” (See how crabby I am when I am sleeping! Ha!) and you tell me that there is a problem with Green Lake. “the book?” yeah. I said , no, you mean Spit & Sugar. You say no, Green Lake. Ok. What’s wrong? You haven’t worked on that one in a long time”. Well then we hear some music playing – electric guitars – and you say “oh, I gotta go” and you start to fade away. Then I say to the “music” who are you? I don’t have for you right now. Go away. And the music stops. I can see a white door that is half open with bright white light coming from it. But then you come back because the music went away and say oh, I can stay a little while longer now. And then you show me a paper with Singlepresse 2007 typed on it towards the bottom and the below that is the computer path – you know “C:Programs\dkjfldjflakfjdlajf\lkjdfsdlfj” and that is the problem with Green Lake. That the path is displayed. I look confused and ask you what do you want me to do ‘cause I don’t remember that ever being there and then you are gone.
Of course then I am awake. Can’t sleep. Can kind of feel heart palpitations but they are very light. That seems to be the pattern lately. Heart palpitations lead to a “psychic” dream. So weird. I wouldn’t mind the dreams so much if I knew or could figure out what they mean.
So today I checked the Green Lake of yours I have in the computer and there is no computer path on the bottom of the pages. So what’s your problem??? Hahahahahaha!!

So I am exhausted today. Work is pissing me off like you wouldn’t believe. Hot & humd. Disgustingly gross. Just want to be on vacation.

That’s my note for the day. I wonder what is going on in the universe that is giving me these dreams right now.



K –

I still have goosebumps – first of all without question the guitars is Evan. Don’t know why but as soon as I read; “Evan” popped up – my heart broke & I was there. Green Lake has been on my mind big time. I’m planning a sequel but comes & goes, plus I’ve been planning a cover (beaded). Just very amazing. As of Friday night/sat I did have a 2 day growth on my face (just got head shaved & face done Thursday night) How fuck’n amazing. Oh, the computer thing? Who knows. Perhaps it’s a song? But girlfriend somethings up!

Essentially our days are our own. To always certain extent movement – even you are limited by movement – hence logic. Some marvelous challenges of that half lead to this 21st century. So we walk. Alone or with other. & those of you who “know” me, know & understand my judgment or lack of, in determining a “friend”. Believe me that term is a loose definition, though occasionally 1 sneaks by. My friend Dave is. Met him when I got here. Very distant. Been down for a bit. Very independent. Smart. Quick tongue & very well read. A great pal. We share a lot & have quite a bit in common. So far he’s the only one with exception of Josh & Mark in the H.O.C. to reduce me to tears of laughter, begging for relief. Davis is a gas. Very very cautious though so social, to say the least, he exhibits skills that I lack & need to fine tune. He discerns. Needless to say, that’s #1 in here. Everyone lies. “I was this – I did that”. I roll my eyes. Dave finds the holes in the conversations. We can be a wicked team. So between Dave & Genet (again Elaine, thank you) I’m finding my way. Accepting chokes. The burdens. The life beyond the decisions. Prison. Here (&now) is not Genet’s. There is no honor amongst thieves with the exception of a few. At the same time a buddy will sell you out for a “thank you”. I used to be a dog. Still loyal but not quite as so happy. I’m learning the ways of the snake. Silent, steady & very aware.

Friday, August 15, 2008


When I used to rage, a dog at my throat, chewing. I could feel that consumption. The cracking of muscle. Slopping of fat. Whether human, object or even air, I was launched. Friend or foe. Lover, family, best friend. My rage. How to explain?Regret sorrow, the endless sadness. This is not attempt of pity pot – this was the way of my life. My control. My anger. Now as that dog leaps, a simple no & the disgusting dance evaporates. A ton of thoughts shower of emotion. & the understanding of. To be believed or not, this was never about the assault of a child. It was just another of my steps over that line. To challenge. To upset. To lash out. Self destruct. & so prison.
The happy home of the most fucked up. Not necessarily the crimes. Oh sure, some real issues. It’s the dealing of. The admitting to. The “this is who/what I am”. Not a badge. An admittance. I am & have been a criminal. Not so much of committing crimes but attitude of. Behavior of. My middle finger proceeds me. Was it the way I was raised? That first beer. Death. The inconsistency of life. Why me & not you? Strange questions. I know there are those who know me & know I’m safe® here to a certain extent – yes. Am I some terrible terror? Of course not. I love the individuals & I hate the society. Those who “know” me know there are no limits (well, obviously some). Where is this coming from? Well it’s what I fight – I want to be part of and to a certain extent I am. But I have to be honest. With the exceptions of those in my heart (you know who you are), this life in here is nothing. The handcuffs. The cells. The showers, food, library. I know this is medium but even in max I relaxed. I am comfortable in my skin though it itches dog like, when I think of you. That’s the strange. The ironic part. Most guys hate it here & all they have is some family/friends, or, nothing. I don’t hate it. Here I am blessed with support – yes even as the letters drop off & the promises of $ or more letters fail as that finger rises to the horizon, I whisper to myself “another day closer to home”.

There is no denying I am a selfish man. I turned my back on true solid love & allowed my anger – sadness- my comfortable rebellion, to ride shotgun. I know you’re expecting a different John. No, just a better driver. Elaine E. reminded me of Genet, though never far from the brain or heart, - that reminder spanked. So I’m reading The Declared Enemy & wonder to myself – a society that seems to sleep with n o anxiety is truly dishonest and so wrong. When he writes of the rights of blacks, queers or Palestines in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I reply – My God! Are we ever going to grow up? We can’t handle the idea of a woman for president or a black man? The fact that that the vile term is used/allowed – “race card” – fuck it.
Accept the responsibility Amerika. We’re racist-sexist-homophobes – what is different angers us. We use God, facts & figures to promote and to justify. No. No more Stop right now. Listen to the politicians voices – what they say they believe in. Fuck the crotch & ignore the skin. Allow another Bush? Are you serious? Get some balls, some strength & fight. Fight for this country before it’s too late.

We have hated too long. I live in a house of hate. Of confusion. Of sadness. My God, think of your children. Their children. No more. Please no more.

Finally located The Diving Bell & The Butterfly. An inmate had donated it to the library. Amazing book. In here probably all the more so. Of course we are not limited to the extent of Jean-Dominique. But we all need heroes. & I will never deny this sky. Something that throttles you reading this. Perhaps it’s my interpretation – no matter. When all has or attempted to be taken away the/that sky has a way of smacking you silly – in a Zen Master kind of way. We move too fast. I moved too fast. Now that I’m regaining my turtle vision, perhaps I’ll light from the cocoon – flapping. Read this book. See the fuck’n movie. My God, perhaps it will stop, thoughts.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Routine became, becomes salvation. We eat, shit, sleep all within minutes of each. Of every day. Perhaps minutes stray into hours. Rare. Rare as pelicans. As the monarch. The moment of peace. Celebration. World of living breathe into world of dead seemly. I know I discovered this sky before this incarceration but moments have decided I was wrong. Was it Audrey Hepburn, Rene Ricard, who place blue as God? Or as a child upon this back crushed under drag to & fro. Head banging against. If love is discovered within every moment does the past exist? Has/could this sky any more than this. What deems perfection? What does it mean? I lie upon my back at 50 impossible to forget where I am or even want to. I sink. Upon my back thru the feet of every inmate pounded stroked & resented ear. I blame routine & I blame love. I blame the chaos that created the wheel & the first shot against the state. Alone I am never. Though I strip & shred every article of cloth, muscle, bone alone. I am never. In the death of sky’s blue I sink & then swim. For I fear as much as my day consists of walking in circles & talking to the deaf, the reality of prison can never be understood. The exquisite nature of depravation is more appealing than full lips to a perfect backside. A Guston – a Jasper Johns Elliot Smith viewed in a closet of windows. I tell my friends to understand me, we must become naked. I’ve never meant clothes. To understand prison you spread your ass cheeks with glee.

I revert back to survival as a penniless convict. My messages as such, Joel, thank you – great message. Stacy, rare such perfect combination of words, thought; “Discarded hope breeds violence”. Joseph Beuys, I dedicate my life of wool & lard. Stacy, you, a forest for me within this fence. Thank you. & Lopez, thanks for words & promise of help. Please send to Kelly a.s.a.p. Well all a good day. I shall “pop” up again. Gene, sorry for your bad news. Yet, you such a cat. Always land on your feet. Foots.


Thursday, August 7, 2008


“Prison isn’t prison. It’s escape. It’s freedom. There you can escape the trival & return to the essential.” Jean Genet

Kelly left about an hour ago. Great visit for me. Total ease. For her I am sure effort. Get up early (on a Sunday), drive 1 ½ hours here & sit in a retro – 70’s disco hall/prison room. I know her effort – she’s having a hard time waking in the morning for work – 8:20 a.m. – yet she needs to get up by 6:00 a.m. to get here by 8. At first her sacrifice was overwhelming then intimidating. To accept such friendship/love. Out there is hard. In here – just try to guess. I think you understand. 2 points compose a line. We move from 1 to other & back again or off on angles. Tangents. Our lives movement. To cross those line. Friendship-family-enemies. By returning to the essential, the glorious truth reveals itself. For me then the movement stops. I stop. I thank & accept that/this blessing. No longer a frog from 1 pad to the next.

Guys ask how my visit went. If they know me they ask of Kelly. Otherwise just a general question. If they don’t know me they ask if we ate in the training kitchen. (A way for inmates to learn food prep & all aspects of). I respond, “No. Until all inmates have the right to eat there - I refuse. My visitors refuse.” Kelly supports totally. That’s the kind of person she is. She also picked up a few of my hobby projects & will deliver to those intended. She also fills me in on her life. Her family. Her friends & the men in her life. The ease is divine. Silent & calm. Acceptance. I babble & she laughs. Life is composed of these moments when you sit with them and allow them to fill & to heal. Then I believe our purpose(s) revealed. She assures me my friends haven’t forgotten. “It’s summer”. That strangeness isn’t limited to here. She relates equal stories of discontent. What I’m saying is I’m learning to “shut up” & find/stumble upon that essential. Thank you Kelly. Thank you friends. Thank you for taking this rather odd, though real, trip. My first arrest at 18 was for D&D & assaulting a police officer.

I should have left well enough alone.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008


When I went to Ireland a few weeks back, John asked me to take some of Evan's ashes with me and spread them. I think I found the perfect place to leave them. Evan & I often talked about Irish writers - especially James Joyce. I will always remember that. Outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral there is a little park that has tribute areas to many Irish writers/poets. I thought it was a perfect place for Evan.


New Pics of John

Monday, June 23, 2008


I have not written for a while – why? Well, Kelly & I have been finishing up some chaps. 2 done, 2 on back burner, 2 out there. Been reading, working at hobby & just losing track of time. I know there are a few of you checking for updates & for that I apologize. But as you imagine a mound of sand is more interesting. & I can tell you living in here has & is changing me for the better & simply for what is. Some of us can see a fire & understand. Some of us walked singed- burnt. Any guess where I stand?

Just received a letter from Noah, from Kelly. Most would sit back & savor the moment. I want to go screaming thru the trees. Yes, even at 50 I am grateful, overwhelmed by the love & support of my family/friends.

Reading Tropic of Cancer, (Miller is my captain), Bio of Vivienne Eliot, Balzac’s short stories and a book of H.D.’s cultural poetics. Just finished Henry Louis Gates’ Book of Essays. Thank you Julie R.

Thank you Stacy for “Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane”. A stunning chap.
And thank you Richard Hell for “Psychopts” – his collab with Christopher Wool. Amazing images – a stripped yet vast concrete. The line between words/image so blurred it creates a new. Anew color. Contrast. Proof when 2 artists meet & truly work together Earth’s gravity has to stand up & take notice. What I mean is, it’s a kick ass book & you should/must check it out. Selections will be in Flagrant.

I end with this, I never want to forget. I don’t want to forget where I am. I don’t. I want my life to be John Muir strapped to a Redwood midst of tremendous storm- unblinking.
Yet you, you with words or images or books or thoughts allow me/make me forget I’m in prison. Image that. Image that.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


John is also doing some work with leather.
Here is Justin & Reed showing off some more of JT's work:


I recently ran into an old friend of John & mine. He commented to me that it is so nice how I keep JT up to date with everyone and with everything that is going on out here. I replied to him - He's my friend. How could I not?

I do get rewarded. The following are pics of some ceramic work JT did for me and another friend of ours. The 3 small ones are mine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



called home together
so they went

one charged – the other raced



Ghosts -Patrick -Temples



the girl now knew it was time for her & the father to part

no need to look back in anger

so hold your head up woman
because the sadness swims in the river Liffey
and was washed away
when you put your soul in that water and where baptized

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


From the introduction to a book of Irish short stories - intro written by Anthony Burgess

"One of [Freud's] followers split up human psychology into two categories - Irish and non-Irish. The Irish, like the Neopolitans, are not sure what truth is, and they have a system of logic which defies logic. They have something in common with Chekhov's Russians, and it is no accident that many of the stories here will seem Chekhovian. I was taking a bath in a Leningrad hotel when the floor concierge yelled that she had a cable for me. 'Put it under the door,' I cried. 'I can't,' she shouted. 'It's on a tray.' There is a deep logic, or epistemology, there which is far from absurd. The Irish and the Russians have one way of looking at entities (the entity in this instance was a cable-on-a-tray) and the rest of the world another."

There is a sense that Freud had, too, that the Irish, when in psychic trouble, go to poetry, go to storytelling, go to escapism - they have no interest in picking apart their own brains.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

april 24

my depression 2:00 am
the saturday night session


rootbeer & vodka’s
victim impact statements break

intended collateral

what had the rage to
my spirit to death?

then something a little odd happened –
karma report said I was alive during the ministry of JC

do I think I am who they say I am

do sins of the father have to impact the suns?

made it home every sunday morning to drag all to church
I went last night
how do I know?
I didn’t see you whoring around last night but I know you were

nails too long hair too short belly too big laugh too loud never satisfied
whore still living with that spick

I bought flowers for myself for the first time in months
campanula pink

any where I am not is best

being called home with the father by the Father is most interesting
who is forgiving who?
& for how long?

twelve years with no parents trying to be a parent = no children

50 years of marriage out dates grandsons

lessons of what not to do are learned so pay no attention to that
mick in the corner

you can always tell how drunk I am by my bangs

first there was a girl,
then there was no girl
and then she left

look at me all clean & boring

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


REM, Rolling Stones, Armory Show, all on This Morning on CBS. Wonderful. Great letters this past week from my younger brother, Richard H. Joel, Hauser. Earlier Lopez, Julie R. & yesterday a perfect visit from Kelly. Not perfect for her. She wasn’t feeling great – that I felt bad for but her courage, humor, loyalty & vision – that’s what’s gret. Kelly is a gift. I & those who know her are grateful!

Kelly & I are finishing up a few of my chap books. Barren is good to go. Contact her for 1.

My brothers & a few friends can’t always read my handwriting. They say slow down. I try but I can’t. I’m running out of this prison as fast as I can. Your letters, poems, books, thoughts, are the flames that inspire & propel.

Michael, Peter & Mike were/are amazing men, artists. What a great preview of what’s to come: A new REM album – hurray!

Rolling Stones looked great & I’ll see Martin’s movie when I get out. The Armory Show – what fun. Switched channels & the Round Table on ABC This Week called for an end to corporate welfare – Yes! Yes! Yes!


If you would like to recieve a copy of Barren please contact Kelly either by leaving a comment for the blog or email me at

Barren is free but I am asking for $5 for postage and handling.



Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Spring & a longer day. Not much compels me to write for this blog. I’ve tried to give you all a picture/vision of this here – some might register. Some not really important. I live with the same “kind” of people that you do – some down for a minute. Institutionalized. Some still same. It’s what it is. Lots of snitches. Guys who can’t be alone. That need to be a part of something. Well something of nothing is still nothing. So snitching to gain acceptance/some power is oh so fucked. Cowards. No way around it, cowards. Do your time, I’ll do mine. This is my conversation. These my friends. No need to be jealous just don’t be a freak. Be your own man/woman. Live your life. Don’t hide behind the cops. Another man’s name. Come out of the shadows. If it comes from your mouth. Actions. Be responsible. Be accountable. Stand for something. No need for another Benedict Arnold. Without question I broke the law. Without question I take responsibility. My questions, concerns, have always been about where are we going. As a country – a society- a people. There’s so little difference between what’s in here – out there. Look at the Democrats. What the fuck. No complaint. Just an observation. Move forward. Address the needs at hand. The more we tear our brothers/sisters down – the harder it is to stand. & keep in mind the ones with no knowledge, idea of vertical movements. Of any balls – guts. Dignity.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Sunday brings a quiet most humbled thru. I would compare prison to a desert but that would be fraud. The sun, the life, the movement of the desert is far from this truth. Prison is sucked out from. Vapid desolate beige flat white bread toast. Sure it’s what you make of it but that point of departure is so flat. So flat it’s beyond comparison. But you build from & it will collapse. Yes, it will collapse & it can crush. So you move as flame. You dig fro color, humor, humanity, humility & as your fingers get tired you use your feet, your mouth, your ears. This morning, on Sunday Morning Gustave Klimt. Way too short of visual but what there was I ate. I sucked. I licked the tv screen as one might love a beer. Such wonderful paintings. Such a fantastic inhale. Now as I write, 3 Tenors on PBS. I just survived “Nessun Dorma”. Anything I write will not do justice to. Not just Pavarotti, but Pavarotti in here. It was/is so delirious my back against the wall sound all the way up. I was launched into space. “Ground control to Major Tom” & like a naughty Dutch boy I pulled my finger from the dike. I refuse to die in here. Chop off my roots, deny sunlight, water. I will grow & thrive from that I may attach to. Not parasitical rather practical. Received a great letter from real friend. He’s doing a collab with one of my favorite artists. Sent me example of. I’ve read that letter 5-6 times? He felt bad hadn’t written for a while. Fuck that! God I needed that letter. Found my sea legs. Great packets from Kelly. Some money from my brother. I think these guys are singing Edith Piaf. It’s in Italian. She’s French & I’m mad. Delirious & so happy. Not only not losing oneself, it’s bringing something back.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

or minus you

you can’t see it but he really was a good man
first kind word heard all day
said he’d pray for us and that i loved him
punished us all so we’d feel his loss
had an audience
thought it was tv but this was a new twist
you, who always come back, be here for
a personal triumph

me birthday

drank with james’s son
& now cry
overwhelmed by

threw out all the old
never to be revisited
life times are piling up
trying to kill what is
trying to kill.

biggest mistake was making a friend
who writes law and order
now it is just contrived.

proven right but by letting
all come out
hurts more.

3-1-08 wave length

until today didn’t realize it spelled out


not embarrassed because
i was with you and
you said
me too

Monday, March 17, 2008


In less than ½ breath. Consider. Watch a feather drop.snow flake. A kiss to dry. Word to say. Hello. Goodbye. All fleeting. All so fast. Super fast. Perspective. Yesterday I did nothing but within that nothing was everything & then the next thing, today soon tomorrow. I wish those words never existed. Created. I’m sure main reason was man’s attempt at control of the universe. So if that big light goes up & then down & up again, what does that signify? Mean. Hmmm. Movement of light suddenly means time & time means money right? Hmmm. I got nothing but time & so little money it’s silly. I get paid but $.12 an hour. Obviously labor unions do not have a voice in prison. Any way, this was about fleeting nature of time. & oh boy am I lost. I still think like Jefferson. That we have to water the tree of liberty unlike the powers that be, who use it for a place to take a leak. It’s only when I think of the “Patriot Act” that I remember/realize that Tom is so dead. So very very dead & without that blood the old tree is next. It’s those milestones that prove that time does move forward. One day you give birth, next you two are walking down the street. Amazing. See. Because I got nothing but time & believe me that silence or attempt at, stirs up this dude’s noggin. Thoughts fly like bats – crows in cornfield.

A new day. A new month. Though still stuck within ice, snow and now rain, spring is on horizon. A few notes, check out Eugene Kane’s Milwaukee Journal column from today. He is so right, not only thru MSDF but quite a bit of this prison system. Start looking around count 100 people – 1 in. Though it doesn’t sound high, it is. Kane’s column goes into a part of what it’s all about.
I think it was Thursday on Ellen. She told of a heart breaking story of Larry, openly gay high school student who sent a valentine to Brandon, who later killed Larry. I don’t think I need to go on. A thank you to Ellen for letting us know. We need to realize & take control of our hatred. Of our judgements. Our actions. Please keep Larry in your hearts, prayers & please allow Brandon in. These are our children. Think.

My celly told me I have balls. Walk with confidence. I thanked him. I thank the universe for this experience. Just Thursday when I broke down he was so cool & now today. A part of it he said was how I’m so up front with my crime. With my life. It’s a two way street. Rick’s a great guy.

Great seeing Wilco on SNL. Dylan on PBS. Kelly is finishing up Barren & I’ll be giving her something new in the next week. Don’t you love her poems? You know you don’t need to be so silent. Warm morning, soon freezing rain. Out walking with no socks. Felt so free.

No work out today – so sore, tired. Sunday’s are a day of just being. The week isn’t but just nothing. That something of nothing. Life on a raft floating. A long shower. Perfect cup of coffee watching the snow. Following the wind. We walk literally in circles here. Fascinating. No need to worry. This personal trip.


Folsom Prison covered by D.O.A. playing right now on radio. Earlier, Radiohead, Dick Dale & some amazing techno. Big time flashbacks. Evan, Noah, taking turns on the turntables. Avenging disco Godfather even further. Labor the Rave in Milwaukee. Tons & tons of late late night eves hauling out crates & crates of records. The smell, sweat. The beautiful mornings crawling home. All for sake of the music. Their drive. Their vision. We as family addicted. Between Reed’s letter today & the music I was/am geeked. My buddy at dinner called me speed freak. Great letter Reed. Solid, funny & oh, so sad. Not “Oh God life sucks” but so wild & full I got to bite a tree. Terrific letter. Kelly – thanks for the great news and then cool ass poem. Keep it up. Check out Avoided’s My Space page, Reed’s band & listen to W.R.S.T. Radio. It’s streaming on the web -
A terrific radio station. My life raft.

Now for some serious shit. Gary Gilmore. Almost finished with The Executioner’s Song. Heavy in more ways than one. A few more books this size in a pillow case is great for curls. Anyway, “You could easily do away with a lot of jails. They’re shit. They breed. They don’t deter crime. Right now I’m a prisoner of my body. I’m trapped in myself. Worse than jail!”

So many amazing moments – thoughts-statements in this book. Gilmore killed 2 men, after he robbed them, point blank in the head. In & out since a teenager. He was cold. So you think. A vastly intelligent man sentenced to death. He chose firing squad in Utah. Strange huh? Mormon Land. Bring your 10 wives & have a cook out. Which came first the Christian or the lion? Eye for Eye. Love this country. Anyway, a great point is that prison is a complete socialist way of life. Told when to go to bed. What to wear. Eat. When to get up. Total control. Right now Dick Dale (radio). Fuckin amazing. Sitting on my bunk cross legged, books open all over my, my radio blasting in my ear. Thinking of Gary & my/our/his brothers & the fuckin fuckin hard soulful guitar just banging, singing away reminding me that, yeah, yeah – everything is going to be alright. There’s nothing like a great song. Great kiss. Painting. Empty star filled night. Rebel Without A Cause on in a few minutes. Some Black Flag coming up. So prison is basically socialist. Everything in theory is equal. Sometimes you get shorted but the next day you get a huge piece of cake.
So that’s a huge crash when you get out. Sad but true. Who reminds us when to piss? amongst other things.

“Things that are harsh and unkind are here on Earth and they’re temporary. They don’t last. This all passes. That is my summation of my ideas and I might be all wet.”
-Gary Gilmore
Not wet, me thinks. Truer than rain.

“Let’s do it” besides some Latin, Gary’s last words.
“Don’t mourn, boys. Organize” Joe Hill’s last words.

Utah & her executions. This country & her lies.
Eye for an eye.
Why do we ever bring children into this world?
I’m sure we do because of our selfish nature. Our sand fly mentality. Our vision lost in the romanticism. Ruby glasses & the fight for our right to party!

Later. I’m off to see the lizard. The wonderful lizard of OZ.

Friday, March 7, 2008

This Sunday, March 9th at 3:00 pm on WRST Radio they will be playing one of the most amazing bands of all time - Velvet Underground! So keep in mind daylight savings time & listen.
Our/the circle is as large as we choose. Pull that string or release that tension. We are the circle and like the moon & sun that connects now, finally music! I will request a song for all you - you also if you choose, my friends!


Friday, February 29, 2008

about A
to: J

I hate the nights I drink myself sober
rather feel sting of hangover
than pain you cause
in the end I keep my deal with God

drunk or sober I feel the same
- is that the right line JT?
enter a new Muse

this story ends with a grand homecoming
I say forget book – think tragic comedy

the year I die
I win
Best Actress
for starring in
my life
you said

you said
tell me about yourself


i prefer

whiskey to wine
rain to sun
God to devil

favorite color green
magic number 3

heart palpitations
& panic attacks

during the awards i watched cartoons

abandoned cars on the hwy make me nervous

enjoy me
today because
tomorrow another

The first time I encountered a burning building was next door to my house. Opened their door & yelled upstairs to my friend. He already knew ‘cause he started the fire. The smell was delirious. So intoxicating. Second time – Ponderosa in Chicago. Near Colette’s grandmother’s house. Out walking with Melissa (her sister). Black smoke & silence. Ran right in. Wall. Knocked me on my ass. Heard yelling like “Get out of there. Everyone’s gone”. I crawled back out amazed at the force. How did smoke build a wall? & why did I run in? Well the thought of someone trapped & the idea of confronting that sight overwhelmed. The third time – I created by accident in basement of our house in Bayview. I refinished furniture & was doing a small cupboard. I had the top covered with stripper. Well it was taking forever. I had just borrowed a heating element from my painting boss. It’s like the coils from an electric stove – heats up paint/gunk & you scrape off. Well needless to say – Poof! Instant crazy fire that proceeded to jump across my work space covered with cans filled with denatured alcohol, steel wool & tons & tons of saw dust – cobwebs, junk. So within like 2 seconds I was deep within a fire. So I yelled up to Colette “Basement on fire. Give me a few minutes & call fire department”. At this point the fire created sound & rafters were starting to burn. So I grabbed this fantastic thick brand new cotton rug, got it soppy wet, unplugged all tools & slapped that baby on the cupboard then proceeded to swing that run & knock out the flames. Over in seconds. The basement was black. I was beat. Yelled upstairs, “it’s out”. Broke out a window & cleared the air. I realized I made the right decision. If we would have called the fire department we might have damaged our lives. If I had never confronted fire before I might have backed down. I looked at those flames the same as thugs in an alley. I’ll be damned if I was going to back down. The next morning when the boys woke up – 2 floors up – Colette noticed that they had black snot. Unsettling. What’s the point? Know your enemy? Know & confront your fear? Act first think second? Perhaps. For me it was the fight. Actually wrestling – feeling every inch of me struggle – fight – succeed. Today I am 50. In some other blog I’ll talk about electricity. The times I’ve been hit by cars – jumping thru a plate glass window. Count my 9 lives. But this is about prison. The newest chapter.

I was out walking with a buddy today. Great guy – not really talked about him before. Smart & honest. When he was 22-23 he had sex with a 14 year old a number of times. He had been in trouble before. Bottom line – he received 2 in & 6 out. I chat with a 14 year old & have no contact even though a meeting was arranged & I get 2 ½ in & 5 out & yes I broke my bail by being on internet. So no question I broke the law. So I ask him did we get the similar sentence because of my age. He replies “No. To them it’s all the same.” I reply “so talking & even arranging to meet is the same as sex”. “yes”. I was stunned not shocked. But I understand. Now if I contact you & offer you money to kill someone am I charged with killing that person? No. It’s conspiracy. If I plan out a bank robbery am I charged with bank robbery? Now if I ask these questions here in group they’ll jump all over me saying I’m a denier. I’m not a denier. I gave the cops the keys to my apartment. I signed a confession. I’m open & honest to this whole “thing”. He said he was gay & had no one to talk with. He said he was 14. He asked for me to talk about sex. I did. He said I did it well. I said I like to write. It’s not hard. It was a few days we chatted. I talked of losing Colette – death of Evan- hard to talk to friends. He said he didn’t know what he would do if he lost his mother or sister. I said you’re either a cop or an old man jerking off or you’re who you are & I’m fucked. Said he wasn’t a cop. Said that was fucked up. Wasn’t until he sent a picture that I freaked. Said you’re so young. This is wrong. He was hurt. Thought I was turning my back. Asked me to talk dirty again. Said we should meet. I was on the fence. Said he lived on the south side. Said I could send a cab. I did. Cops came & this began. I ask myself over & over again – What was I doing? I didn’t & still not sure. What I remember is vague. I want to be honest. I want to tear off scab & look at wound. I pick & pick. Sometimes I’m embarrassed. Then I ask myself “do I desire children?” & I ask myself how was a 14 year old so smart – so considerate- so together. I relax. I do not desire. I was & still kind of lost. Not just what I had been through. I was tired. I was giving up. A few days before my 2nd arrest I chased a guy out my apartment with a hammer. I was going to split open his head but I had no shoes on. I forget what he did. But there was a lot of things going on. First, I feel I need to be clear about my crime. I thought by now some one out there would have asked me. No one did. Perhaps it’s not important to you. But it is to me. Justice is not blind & it is not true that 10 guilty men go free rather than 1 innocent man is found guilty. It’s about plea bargains & getting elected & keeping this system working. Taxpayers are charged $40,000 - $75,000 a year for us. Do the math. Wisconsin has moved from dairy state to a prison state. When the cop told me there was an actual victim I freaked. I asked to write an apology to him. His mother. Everything collapsed. “What have I become?” How could I, after everything, turn around & create such devastation. I was broken. The cop was satisfied. He knew everything I had gone thru. & now this collapse. The devastation. The torture. Don’t ever wonder why men commit suicide in jail. I was too numb to think. The next week a blur. I was stuck in holding for nearly 2 days. My blood pressure was to high. Why I didn’t have a heart attack or stroke with arrest was/is beyond my comprehension. Some how people found me – my sister – Colette – my boss. They hired a lawyer. He appeared out of no where. All would be okay. He asked why the confession – the letters of apology? Because I couldn’t live with myself if I created any more hurt. I truly had/have no idea where I was. Who I was/am. Everything became a blur. “John, there was no kid. You were chatting with a cop”. At that moment everything froze. I was totally fucked up. First he was this, then this & back again. Everything was twisted. The agony. Why did he have to lie? I was so clear. So repetitive. It’s like it was never enough. We believe what we want. I was grateful my actions didn’t include a kid. Though I broke all the hearts who surround me.

Why did I start with fire? Those were not metaphors. They were/are my life. Even in chaos I was clear thinking. Even with limited knowledge I knew what to expect. What to accept. Fire is living breathing entity. It’s incapable of lying. It’s agenda is simple – to consume. That cop, this system is hypocrisy. Inconsistent. Consistent inconsistent.

My mother-in-law always said difference between cops & cons were they (cops) had the right to always carry a gun. They are basically the same. True but right now after all this, I’d rather be with the cons. Within all there is a level of loyality/brother/sisterhood that is quite amazing. I’m reading Executioner’s Song. A profound book – amazing author. Norman Mailer & Gary Gilmore, quite the men. I guess they right now are helping me thru. Though I’m not on death row soon to be executed & even though I’ve not taken a life, I’m a lot closer to seeing out of Gary Gilmore’s eyes.

Kelly seems concerned when I bring up my crime. Maybe it’s because it seems like I’m trying to explain too much. I need to experience. I need to be honest. I need to transcend. If I were the only one to be going thru this I would shut my mouth. But believe there are monsters in here & there are those with questionable behavior. There’s drugs & drink & in time they’ll arrest for your thoughts. How does that go “First they came for the gypsies & I did nothing ‘cause I am not a gypsy. Then they came for the fags & I did nothing ‘cause I’m not a fag, & on & on ‘til finally they came for me”. I think you got the idea. Before you can stand up & fight for your rights, you need to be standing.

Enough already. I now spell it Amerika!


I can’t tell, it’s not that I won’t, I will, what was/is about Ted Berrigan. Either I never met or when I did I had already read the poet. Ted was the first & as far as I recall the poet who I met first & as far as I recall, the poet who I met with no true “introduction”. No one I knew either knew nothing of his work or just never mentioned him to me. So when I first saw him, heard him, I was knocked on my ass. No question. Here was the large solid buck of a man commanding everyone’s eyes/ears. Rapture. I assume thoughts in the most comforting engaging way. As if we’re a vaudeville magician – comedian-m.c. It’s like when you go to a museum exhibit & they have this huge ancient sculpture or tomb in a room that’s all wrong but somehow after a second or so, it’s perfect. & it was perfect. I hitch-hiked to Naropa with a buddy, Kevin. We were such dorks. I had just fallen in love & my whole life was climbing out & I ran. Ran to see Ginsberg & to get to the bottom of this poetry thing. Well we had some time to spare & if I remember right, Berrigan was doing a class & Kevin & I split up. The class was basically Ted talking non-stop. A few questions. A word-statement-something, would set off this avalanche. I was so confused. So fucking amazing. I remember stealing Red Wagon & On the Range. Later getting them signed at which he told me that On the Range was a strange book. Yes it is. Needless to say between love & Ted & a tremendous amount of very cheap tequila, I ended up chasing Kevin down some main street in Boulder with my knife threatening to cut his head off. I woke at the door step of a Dr. No glasses. No shirt. As I stumbled my way back to our camp I found my glasses & Kevin asleep. I would compare all my energy & emotion to the sensation of being electrocuted. But it was better than that. Electricity mellows you out. I was dazzled. I remember that Ted died the same month/year that Noah was born & I clipped his obit from either Time or Newsweek. Either way he is to me probably the greatest. He took everything, whether working class intellect Asian poetry Trisian Tzara – Frank O’Hara to baseball-pills-love & slapstick. A true descendant of Whitman – Ginsberg’s cousin. Pound’s nephew. I can’t stop from being amazed. Here are a few of my faves:


She is always two blue eyes
She is never lost in sleep
All her dreams are light & air
They sometimes melt the sun
She makes me smile, or
She makes me cry, she
Makes me laugh, and I talk to her
With really nothing particularly to say

Something to Remember

Caesar’s ghost must be above suspicion.

Radio just played Misfits. Now the Ramones. Again I forgot where I lay my head. I would put Ted alongside Li Po without question.

I would be insane not to add 2 poems from Frank O’Hara:

Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.Why? I think I would rather be a painter, but I am not. Well, for instance, Mike Goldbergis starting a painting. I drop in."Sit down and have a drink" he says. I drink; we drink. I lookup. "You have SARDINES in it." "Yes, it needed something there.""Oh." I go and the days go byand I drop in again. The paintingis going on, and I go, and the daysgo by. I drop in. The painting is finished. "Where's SARDINES?"All that's left is just letters, "It was too much," Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of a color: orange. I write a line about orange. Pretty soon it is a whole page of words, not lines.Then another page. There should be so much more, not of orange, of words, of how terrible orange is and life. Days go by. It is even in prose, I am a real poet. My poem is finished and I haven't mentioned orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

The Day Lady Died
It is 12:20 in New York a Friday three days after Bastille Day, yes it is 1959, and I go get a shoeshine because I will get off the 4:19 in East Hampton at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner and I don't know the people who will feed me I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun and have a hamburger and a malted and buy an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets in Ghana are doing these days I go on to the bank and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard) doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or Brendan Behan's new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine after practically going to sleep with quandariness and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega, and then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatere and casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a cartonof Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT while she whispered a song along the keyboard to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing.

As much as this prison wears me down & separation breaks my heart, I feel as if this amazing, though sad, parade has just passed by & the streets are silent with no one but myself & some idea of others though so far away. I stand in the middle of the street staring into that space where only a short time before it was glorious. & now Social Distortion on radio. Lopez seconds the motion that Mike Ness is a God. So again I ask myself “what is prison & who defines?” Thanks, Joel.

So this morning it was 9 below & wind chill around -20. Work wasn’t called off so I go in & start breaking my pallets & this guy asks me “how cold is it?” I tell him & he goes “what does the weather have to be not to work?” Well I’m not sure, but I know where this is going so I go “Look, we’re in prison. It’s their rules now.” I mean how clear does it have to be? If you can’t vote you have no power. It’s 1+1. Basic political math. It wasn’t that cold. My boss told me I might get yelled at for not wearing my coat (wearing sweatshirts). I explained you can’t tear things apart wearing a jacket & it was for like 20 minutes. Reality check. Did Bright Eyes get a Grammy?

Monday, February 25, 2008

anything else

brutus & I watch lunar eclipse from window
think about tomorrow’s quiet 50

unexpected developments confuse

explain why one in OCI
and Papa goes to Ireland

The talk seems to be of weather and murder. 24 people shot lately through out the country - what’s with that? Is there any reality left? This will be my first election since ’76 that I can’t participate in. But it’s also one of the few that the choices aren’t all that bad. Frankly it’s the first time I’d even consider a Republican. I see McCain as definitely as a person of compromise. A politician in the true sense. Drawing opposites together. The 2 Democrats are alright. Either way we seem to be moving away from Bush. The ragged broken scrub Bush. The lying bastard of embarrassment. Now perhaps – get out of Iraq – health care reform & solid environmental reforms.

We’re still working on Barren. I threw in a wrench & gave Kelly a strange little broadside to enclose. She sent me a proof & except that it’s rather large it looks great. It’s slowly coming together. We’re still moving ahead on Flagrant (remember from a # of months ago). Well we need some poetry & sometimes getting poetry is like pulling teeth. Some are ready some you tear & tear ‘til you get what you need. Richard Lopez is helping edit along with Kelly & I . Cover done & got some poems in. Then I need to re-type Killing Time and get that to Kelly. I think my favorite part of this new broadside is this great pansy dried out on the page & the last line I stole from Faulkner – “You sweet son of a bitch”.

Reading an amazing must have book in order to have any true decent understanding of this/our world – our America. Everything from tales of Mose Tolliver to d.a. levy. The name is The Outlaw Bible of American Essays. Fantastic. When I received 3 books in property this book was glanced at. Put aside. I received the other 2. She walks over to the “Forbidden” list. Like a dog waiting for a bone all you could hear was my tail banging on the ground. The anticipate was exquisite. It passed. I believe the word “outlaw” set off an alarm. I wonder if Thomas Paine’s tracts would have gotten same response or Sam Adams. Carrie Nation. Emma Goldman. Bobby Seale. I’m addicted to chaos but I think my real trip is tension. It’s not totally a getting away with. It’s that silence. That land of distinction. Like a fraction before a fight. A kiss. A birth. The rain. Where you can taste. Hear. That dizzy tension. Watching another’s pupils dilate. The lip curl. Eyebrows steady. Well this book is a must. I read their Outlaw Bible of American Poetry on the outs & I guess there’s one of American Literature. So I wrote the publisher – Thunder’s Mouth Press. State my joy & of course asked for the other 2 parts of this amazing trilogy. I’m waiting. So go out now & buy these books. Tell me or a friend, enemy of what you think. It only takes a spark to ignite a prairie fire. Yeah the 60’s are dead & the 80’s fade into dust. Every day should be our revolt. Our joy. Our statements. Our reality checks. Our respect. Of each other of the Earth we tred. Of the universe we sleep. Of the time & culture. Of our/each other’s words. Paint cement stone. Rocks that become this America.

My celly, Rick, lost his sister this past Friday. Please send out your thoughts and prayers. Good love & blessings for a truly wonderful woman, her son, husband, mother & father. Rick & brother. For all the joy she brought. All the hearts she touched. I believe the main reason I’m close to Rick is his honesty. His devotion to family, friends. His sister had a fear of being forgotten & this morning at breakfast I told Rick he brought her into all our lives & for all that I will never forget. And please send all that good to that wonderful woman who Rick placed his heart, his girl, S.

Remember we’re in prison not hell. We made mistakes & for the most part alright guys. So we feel good & oh so bad. We help each other when we can & remind the idiots that this is oh not so cool. I take this experience as another turn on the road. A place to lay my head & get back to that city where my heart deserves to reside. Until then I remain a slightly broken thought still an alright solid kind of man. & thank you Julie-Wild-Lopez-Reed-Stacy for all your fantastic words. Julie for music, we wait. Crazed. & Kelly, Kelly for all this, this!



melt you in extraneous fashion. candle. chaos forsaken.
compose, stand upon avenue. pilgrim disguised. ignorant.
of failure. stiffen subtle. branch reason. delightful couches.
forget that yes

I am

so like, good-bye, Johnny
all hair, silver.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Happy Birthday John!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

on the eve 2-5-8

another winter storm warning
20 inches this time
stocked up on Mexican food, pizza
water, bread, vodka, juice
read letter from you

it’s a night of election results, purring Max
Jail, The Last King of Scotland

this storm better produce ‘cuz I just got really really drunk

snow-you-me falling


Another month. Winter as strong as ever. Walking today I followed sound of crunch. Echoed with voices. Distant traffic. For moments my eyes glared at the dull calligraphy. Everything reinforced panic. The prison moment. So glad no one spoke to me. I sailed that yard for an hour then back to cell. Nothing to look forward to and only memories behind. Indulgence just doesn’t jive. Turning 50 in a few weeks. 49, 50, 51. My years in prison. I think this will be one of my last rambles. Masturbation. Anger is teaching me Zen lately. Taste is of Tao. Fucked existence. Oh yes it can get worse & yes is not bad. But what’s the point. My tiptoes thru fences barb wire redundant babble of fucking hos & getting over again & again & again. No I choose solitude without tongue. Pen.

You know that joy when you do your taxes and find an additional $200 - $300. Then the blow to the gut when it’s you owe. Friday I realized after a year that my additional subtraction was off. Way off in terms of my release. I need to serve 85% of my sentence not the 75% I thought. So when I thought I could apply in November it’s really not until March. So that was a relief knowing I get to hang out here for another 3 months or so. & I know it could be worse. That record is on auto-pilot.

Seriously I want & need to thank those of you who have not only stood by but have done so much to make this better. I never forget that. Frankly I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I received a wonderful letter & a Columbia Law Review from Martha Grace Duncan. The review published a work of hers & I’d like to hit on a part of it & give my slight perspective. Part of it deals with teenagers convicted of crimes & how their lack – seemingly lack of remorse is held against them in a huge way. Now I’m just skating over the depth of this article because I want only to address my perspective. In it these “kids” are judged hard because for one they can sleep after their arrest. They make odd jokes & the aren’t running around crying & begging for mercy. Strange. When I get stressed – heavy stressed – I fall asleep. I pass out. The few days in booking I was driving everyone crazy cause I could not stay awake. With my bologna sandwich pillow or sitting backwards I slept probably 18 out of 24 hours if not 20. & emotion. I gather you figured out that I allow my emotions full reign. But as Kelly as my witness another John took over at sentencing & that John seems to be driving this truck. True for a few rare moments. First seeing Stacy or Kelly or relating stories of Evan’s death or how I miss Noah – I’m straight & yes there are a few decades between me & these teenage killers. But call it what you want – something takes over. You don’t yell fire in a crowded theater. Perhaps it’s a survival instinct. Perhaps it’s understanding the bad ass. Perhaps it’s shock. The beginning of the sleep walk. Perhaps it’s because they themselves are dead. You have to be dead in here. No matter how soft the prison I suggest if you ever venture in this area – kill your heart. Do not allow anything to reveal that you feel. Kill it. Stomp out that fire. I walk that tightrope & I’m exhausted. Tired of dreaming of remembering. & this is only 1 year for me. So I’ve elected anger as my governor. Let’s see some new laws. & speaking of such, this past summer 1 & 2 other poet buds were approached by a poet/publisher to do a book of ours. When he found out my crime he dropped it. No nothing. Over. Not only does he know nothing of me or what got me here but to me he represents that new American. Actually I call them pussies. Judgment holier than thou & think with facial hair & new beer or adopted child, that they’re cutting edge – hip- outlaw. No discussion. Believe the government is never wrong & put all bad things in a box under their bed.
My point is not to bitch but to thank those of you – my friends-family-strangers that even I with the new title of convicted sex offender isn’t the new disease – pariah. & I thank you for your words, support, thoughts. I deal with it myself in here men who have raped their children, neighbors. Men who have slaughtered their families. Ate next to them. Slept in the same cell. It confuses me. But right now I have to shut off the switch & listen & understand there has to be a reason. Right? Doesn’t there? & thank you Martha Duncan for all your work, kind words & opening my mind.

Saw Julian Schnabel on tv Sunday. What an amazing artist – director. Can’t wait to read The Diving Bell & Butterfly. You all should go see it. I’d love to get your opinions on.

I wrote the above earlier today. Stuck in the muck that makes me me. Even I need to get away from self. Walk & sleep. Try to forget. To remember Spring. Pizza. What a kiss sounds like. A magician I do best to conjure realize muck too thick & time stops. As evening moved to 9:00 pm turned off distractions. Supped on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”. Said fuck you to the universe & stop dumping tons of bad karma at my feet. As I turned on radio prone for attack Johnny River’s Secret Agent Man. Who needs pizza.


Friday morning it’s been nearly 2 weeks since move to front yard. Rick, friend from back yard new celly. I sit at a desk window to left Aerosmith on radio way too much coffee within. If I had my glasses on I could see those on way to work, but I don’t. Hammett might have said it best, in The Dain Curse, “Put enough people in jail, and cities wouldn’t have traffic problems”. Could it be better said? In college and slightly before discovered Cain, Hammett, felt better than Columbus. Some knob in gay ass column dropped statement that this weekend he’ll be reading H Miller in some bookstore. Dude, that’s like letting your loved ones know how many times you shake it, off. This world kind of sucks. Never use H Miller as some prop as some jack off in mirror. Why, first you sound major dar-dar, then as if dignity remains by some one else’s accomplishments. Never use Henry’s name in vain. So anyway finished Capote. Found out dear James never met, but got as close to Edmund White, which is double-barreled. Letter from my mother brings everything home, drifting towards death our words the blanket we grasp. Father still hanging in there though. Sounds he’s truly a trooper. I wish we could eliminate the capacity to think. Just imitation. No question heavy deliberations. I see my name on envelope, her handwriting brings me right into the room sitting next to or across from & we talk & all “this” evaporates. Mom writes nice letters, a Polaroid. Instant, though she wrote over 2 days. She works so hard. My mother & I have a strange but I think great relationship. In one moment I can hate her with all my blood & then next seeing the world thru her eyes or an attempt to. Without question I got my hang up about honesty from her. Well, both my parents. Dad worked a lot anyways. They grew up rough & we grew up less rough therefore our children less er. Eventually our family genes will create bliss. Until now, just honesty. You could and can ask my mother anything, anything and expect not just that she’d answer but answer completely. We grew up Catholic. Upper middle & lots & lots of booze. Anxiety. We were cats in brown paper bags. Frankly Dylan Thomas could have sat at our table. When I first saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? I was so happy. I guess we weren’t so strange. The best and fairest assessment is we embraced, ate and wrestled passion & we were taught how to pin & possess that hot little demon. So my point I guess is nothing doesn’t or can’t make sense to me with the exception of mowing the grass. I was, to I’m sure your surprise, a rowdy child. Rowdy is an understatement. So I would escort my parents at a very early age to antique stores auction houses. Dust dirt grime are major turn-ons I love ancient wood, brass and crystal
chandeliers. Love funky barns & basements. So either I’d deal with antiques or become a serial killer. The verdict is still out. Ha! Anyway this is a long way of saying fuck is it cold outside. Like grab that frigid monster and put all bad memories on hold. Wander eyes out the window & relish your skin. Lap your coffee kitten & remember your existence matters. Seal all you love as envelopes mail carbon copy to self and spend morning sockless. I dreamt last night of Colette. Woke up 10yrs younger. Remember the first time she laughed & drank state coffee, alone. I’m blessed. Terrific friends, the most perfect family & memories that make me laugh at birds as peers. I don’t like it that my father is dying. I don’t like it that I’m here & can’t hold him. I don’t like it that I’m weak. That I give into stupidity. That with all “this” knowledge & experience I still fall down the stairs. Like a bug on my back. Squirm in the darkness & Kafka says, “Stop your belly aching” ha!

I wish the press & public would let people grieve & I wish that they’d realize that perhaps it’s better to leave some things alone & sometimes not. I’m saddened by such another young death. I’m saddened by the paper time newscasts to broadcast & knit-pick every detail. As an artist you are given a certain fame in life & this country seems to drag endlessly way beyond. At the end of the day we need to honor we need to allow a certain process to exist. Are we?

I started this ramble petty. Let the guy with strange glasses proclaim his plan to read Tropic of Cancer at local bookstore. Not only who am I, but anyway to get Henry’s work into another’s hand is cool. Sorry.

If any of you are near Oshkosh hit up the college radio station with some requests. Nice station. Not enough true punk though they are doing some sweet new wave. No Belle & Sebastian. I know that’s a strange stretch. But.

So my celly is great & it’s cold as hell.


Monday, February 4, 2008


conversation with Evan Henry

they complain
when it’s freezing
& again as it snows
when they come
to prison &
when they’re released

i’m bugged

now i get
Tom Petty
Pink Floyd
ramen noodles

the old minister
got a point
why MLK day on his birth?
why not murder. assassination?
we sweep too much
we owe that man

After count, prison is like dumping a lb of sugar on an ant hill, pure chaos. Imagine alphabetizing yr mother’s underwear. Pure strange. It’s freezing here and I’m reading Capote by Gerald Clarke. What a brilliant writer/life. Capote that is. Clarke writes a solid book but Truman is a gas. Can you imagine he & Tennessee Williams sitting around and drinking or just traveling the high seas with “that” crowd. Anyway, that life read in here is so dreamy such a marvelous escape. When I was reading the Ginsberg bio I was dragging my feet. It’s as if I didn’t come to the end he wouldn’t be dead but not it’s alright. Just another fact of.

I got moved Monday. Why don’t know about 20 +. I was as you might remember across from program 3 which are the guys straight from seg. But Slim didn’t want to move and I didn’t care so we stayed & got moved anyway. I’m in the front yard. Major adjustment. No toilet in my cell. I kept getting up and peeing in the corner. ( just kidding). This more of ½ house/crazy bin. Very low-key. Quiet as hell. Guys are cool. Remember Rick from way back? He’s here so we asked to cell up, perhaps Tuesday. Rick is the reason, like Aaron, why I get pissed in here. They both are aware of their actions, both considerate, looking out while so many of these inmates can’t see the forest thru the trees. So I’m here with Rick, Mike & ole Frankenstein. Cool, cool. I get to see Aaron at leather and when we bead. Bittersweet. The great thing is that we actually get along. Don’t look that gift horse in the mouth. Got a desk in here & window that opens. When I saw Kelly last Saturday I mentioned a guy cutting himself with a soda can & she was like, “you can have soda?”. Yeah, this ain’t medieval England. It’s prison not the dark ages. In here they want you to be accountable. Work on identifying & hopefully “changing” your “bad/anti-social” behavior. First day here Rick introduces me to a bud. We talk and I blahh my crime. We talk, laugh at my stupidness. Today Rick tells me another bud asked about my crime. He knew. Word gets around. It’s what I want. Use the system that’s in place. Less introductions. Be blunt. Lay it out. Lay it down. Brother. So it goes. So we go.

Got my first issue of Vogue. Yep, here I am reading Vogue. Is that queer or what? Smells great & reminds what it was what it can be…the torture. Got some letters. Need to catch up. Don’t panic. We’re getting out some poetry, BARREN, poise swill. A SERIES OF # LITTLE POEMS. Kelly will get them all run. You can get a copy for postage $$, ok? Probably $3. I’ll leave it all up to K, ok.

Turning 50 next month. My brother Mark wants to visit with his sons. I think it’s great but I don’t want them to feel bad. Mark suggests bringing Noah. I’m not so sure. It would be amazing but only if…I learned a while back with all my hospital bs that it’s harder for the visitor than the patient. Only once was I truly dying but I had no clue, so in here I’m kind of broken in. Used to it. But if something good can come out of it, sure. A song , a story, a reunion. But no heartbreak. At least not for me. Relatively speaking I have no time. There’s guys in here that watch their children become adults and bring their kids. That sucks. I’m not in that boat.

Getting some books shipped in. Very excited. Want to read The Diving Bell & Butterfly. Julian Schnabel is a God. Love Love his work. His mind. Now there’s someone to piss in your fireplace! & I ant to get, Other Voices, Other Rooms. Capote’s first. I adore his words. My mother always said “Only a fag could write a book like In Cold Blood. Such pain such beauty”. Is true.

Well we lost a few great ones, Mike Goldberg, painter friend of the poets. Sweet guy & Ettore Sottsass. Amazing designer. You might remember my orange typewriter earlier. He designed that. A true sword.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008



6:00 and still working
12 hour days are really getting old
Is my job my life?
It seems to be the majority of it
I need to get ahead, bills need to get paid
What else would I be doing anyways?
I have no one to go home to
Not much of a life to live
I could be feeding the poor
I could be helping the elderly shovel their walks
I could be helping little kids find their missing pets
I could be spending time with those that need a positive role model
I could be saving the world
But would that really happen?
Not likely
I’d probably just be sitting at home, thinking about how bored and lonely I am

6:00 and still working
What have I become?
There’s so much more to life than this
Do I really need the money that bad?
There’s places to go, people to see, lessons to learn
Yet here I sit
The good employee, the one who stays to make sure all gets done
The one who fixes other’s problems
The one who is always here
Staring at numbers all day
I thought I would do so much more
Thought I would help others, would make a difference in the world
What difference am I making staring at numbers all day
Spending my life behind a desk?
It’s time to wake up
And take my life back


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Elvis’s birthday. Whether the word is sung, mumbled or sprayed, it’s what we got. Separate from silence. The monkey’s fish, elegance. If I could I’d spend my life distilled. Reduced. Common denominator . Truth. If I wanted I could describe prison. Invite you in. Participate. But I’d rather make into wine. Soup. A stew. Fry your tears. Simmer your joy & shake & stir your anger overwhelmed desperation. Sometimes I need same from friends, no gory details. Then I need a 4 page description of rain and the puddles outside their yard. How does this relate to Elvis? Let me attempt explanation. Mother. Southern birth. A hip melody. A military haircut. A lack of regard for electronics. A love of peanut butter sandwiches & wrestled strange girls in undies. Priscilla. Lisa Marie. Drugs to wake you up. Drugs to put you to sleep. The Judy Garland regiment. American. & the breath of the Atlantic. Died quietly on a toilet. A boy’s life.

Prison isn’t so different. Sometimes I crave the cuffs. The quiet. The get away with. The brotherhood. The everything you want/need reduced. Count on a finger while your ship vast & glorious. This an iron-clad row boat. Sure it keeps afloat. Struggle to remain. On-center. Either you become Zen Buddhist or anarchist. River or basement. Window or door. Breath or gasp. Spit or shiver.
The college rock station in Oshkosh seems to be back from Christmas break. I heard Bright Eyes last night. Like my first shower in weeks.
Think of your Elvis.

In continuing with Romantic Outlaws, “we too use criminals and prisons to exalt our lives, to comfort ourselves in the face of our finitude, to defend against despair.”
“Criminals readily lend themselves to the category of greatness because they are, by definition, people who refuse to be limited by the rules and scruples that circumscribe normal lives.”
She, Martha Grace Duncan, then goes on to “other” kind of criminals, “who attracts us by his exotic qualities also embodies an intriguing mix of difference and similarity.”
I really enjoyed this book. She’s rather poetic though not so lofty to be lost but enough to engage & provoke. She got me to read Great Expectations. My relationship to Dickens was, how you say, “stay the fuck away”. Paid by page or paragraph the dude’s language is thick. Not glorious as the pain of Kerouac or Farrell or the French. But now after wrestling with this rather solid tome. I can say I danced with Dickens and though I’m not the first for next dance I will not shy. The story is wonderful. A child comes upon a criminal. The criminals of then as some now, were/are of the boogey-man kind. He actually delivers the next morn, mincemeat, pork pie & brandy. That vision itself compelled me to finish I guess for me Dickens is a packed closet. Look & linger for treasures reside. Thank you Duncan. Wow – just thought of Robert Duncan. Now there’s some sideburns. Poetry. Jess & Wallace Berman. I digress.

Outlaw, notorious or habitual criminal, weakness of the state. An outlaw was one because of “acts” was placed outside protection of the law. Now you sell dope & write poetry. For me it’s Merle Haggard. Neal Cassidy. Genet. Brendan Behan. Not some college punks who smoke dope stolen from mother’s underwear drawer. “Beauty” I suggested, is a positive aspect of life that is unaffected by penal confinement.” I think some of my favorite comparisons are that of criminal to child, “Criminals are, of course, free in their refusal to abide by the laws that other people obey, whereas children symbolize freedom in their incarnation of limitless potential.” I’m bouncing around a bit. So much of what I read applies to myself, to others within here. The strange & sad part I need to admit so so often, prison is not a deterrent to crime. It is truly a lifestyle. A belief system. A reality. Whether it be the flaws of man’s laws or the temper(ment) of the criminal. Whether social, political or individual. Outlaws. Criminals. Inmates & convicts dictate more of life then some want/can admit. Sad truth though, is some could be avoided/prevented. For now we remain. Off to the library.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I can’t help myself. I think constantly. Words bombard as bats in a barn. Most of the time a distraction appears & I’m off in la-la. Now it’s different. Reading a brilliant book. Romantic Outlaws, Beloved Prisons by Martha Grace Duncan. I mark & remember words, sentences, thoughts, paragraphs for later recall. I can’t now. She just quoted John Brewster’s the use of solitude in prisons. “It has been recommended, both by the practice and precept of holy men, in all ages, sometimes to retire from scenes of public concourse, for the purpose of communing with our own hearts, and meditating on heaven.” Wow! Then Solzhenitsyn –“Rejoice that you are in prison. Here you can think of your soul.” Mind-fucking blown. Early after work I went out in the yard. It’s below zero & I and an older guy who’s jogging are the only ones out. It’s beautiful. Cold enough to breathe deep. Warm enough to feel as if your blood has been replaced by love. The horizon white silent. Awe. ½ hour I wander. When was the last time I ever went walking in freezing weather to enjoy/worship her beauty. Never. I’ve never. Well sober. Sure I’d be in my Li Po mode and wander thru blizzards with a bottle of wine but today I was/am totally naked. I’m sure me exclaiming about the beauty/positive of prison is odd. Sorry but that’s the truth. Strange thing, as a younger man I turned my back on poetry & monastic life. Now look at me. Can we truly run from ourselves. Don’t get me wrong – I adored & adore my life. Raising a family with a wonderful woman. Having the 2 glorious sons never would I change that. Yes, I’m greedy. I will serve on my terms. I dedicate my life to love and poetry. But for awhile it was without written document. Love of a man & woman. My path perhaps a bit winding. This is not a monastery by name but in function, truly. This is not the kind of information for the authorities but even Thomas More claims in A Man for All Seasons “Except it’s keeping me from you, my dears, it’s not so bad.” So then lets ask ourselves what is prison & who is in it? The guards or the cons? You or me? Reality obviously me but here I am – fed, clothed, watched. I have a library, crafts, a computer, typewriter, human contact, a cell. I can stay “here” or I can “leave”. More is so correct. Not all inmates have this kind of “view”. Many burn with anger, injustice, denial. Others, this is better than the outs. It’s an amazingly complex situation. Perhaps romanticize it. Not my intention. I question it. I question everything. But now I have to accept the fact that this is a part of my destiny. Whether to have kept me alive or to “live” thru. To force a separation to prove to myself that “that” only exists on a physical plane. I hear your voices. I feel your lips. I can hear you chew. I like you, are a part of each other’s dream. Dreams. Words as electricity carry impulses. Delivers information. Yes I crave your arms, Your stupid talk. Your complaints. Someone who I was reading (can’t remember) made a comment that when Thomas Merton “left” and lived his monastic life that was harder because he made a choice. As the true “man”, Jean Genet proclaims “ my good, my gentle friend, my cell! My sweet retreat, mine alone. I love you so! If I had to live in all freedom in another city, I would first go to prison to acknowledge my own, those of my race.” Now you getting my drift?

Got some wonderful cards, letters, gifts. Thank you Joel. Such a perfect! Elaine, forever in awe. Julie & Jonathan, you read my thoughts. And Julie, I post my “downs” because I want you all with me. I’d be a liar to say this is a carnival. It’s a circus and sometimes clowns are depressed. With all your love I feel quite selfish. & Kelly without you this “this” would not exist. I think how important words & their meanings mean to me so with total consciousness, I thank you.

This thing I’m writing is in 3 parts. 1st is Strike Hard Old Diamond. 2nd is Killing Time. 3rd not sure of title, perhaps Only Sky? What do you think? The whole pie is called Circumambulate. What a fantastic term, means to circle on foot. A part of a ritual. Something Ginsberg was known to do. Something we prisoners do. Something existence calls for.

I know this is all heavy so I will end with stupidity. At breakfast an inmate said I suffer from gluttony. I think my weight is around 150 now. My body fat ratio is amazingly low. I can count my ribs. I’m happy to tell you the truth. He was pissed because some buddies offered me their food. Yes. I said I’d end with stupid. Since there are no fat singers here’s something I wrote a while back. Later & love.

morning prayer
for the faggots the cons

Genet, our holy patron saint
pluck those brinks & cinders
from our blood-soaked vision
mend broken fingertips
& we shall scatter blossoms.

pithy memories.

impossible multitudes.

First year of incarceration almost over. The yard is frozen as was my face. Tomorrow things back to normal. I don’t really get into things here, a # of reasons, why bore you & why let you into the secret, criminals are stupid. Well, the ones who get caught. I’m amazed at the ones who narc on each other. Unsolicited. Just wander up to the desk, blah blah. Or the guy a few cells over asks a CO, “do I seem gay?” How stupid can one be? But a # of days ago a few of us sitting around the table drinking coffee. One is reading a book on the “Enforcer”. I ask if he read “Brutal”. He did. Matter of fact he’s from the area & was in one of those gangs from there. We talk a while. He’s got like 15 years. Mentioned he dealt coke. Was the reason for all this time. No robbed a bank vault. He got $7,500. Did he get away with it? He did it because his kid was losing his home. There are a lot of justifications for crime. Both good & bad. I have to admit here’s someone I respect fully. The kind of guy you want living in your unit. Like my buddy Aaron. Smart. Great talent in leather, beading. All around solid guy who lost way too much of his life here. I told him today he’s truly someone who got fucked. He’s remaining positive. Turning 30 doesn’t look or seem a day over 23. A rarity to remain so clear headed. You have to pick or choose in here or you learn how to make silk purses out of sow’s ears.

Enjoy the eve?
I was in bed by 11. Listened to Emmy Lou Harris.
This book ( I Celebrate Myself ) & the life of Ginsberg is amazing. When you think about all the social, political, poetic changes because of him. From his relationship to WC Williams, Ezra Pound, Neal Cassidy, Kerouac, Robert Frank, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, on & on. His travels. His openness. Support of young poets. His lust. How he would exist in these times. This is one of those rare books that you welcome distractions. Slow down take your time reading. An inspiration. By Bill Morgan. I think he wrote one about Gregory Corso. Reading in here is strange. I really focus on my failure then I get to his travels to Cuba where he has an affair (one-night) with a 17yr old. Castro’s Cuba. Not only is he with some one under age in a communist country but it’s 1965. Now, he’d be in prison for life.

Just finished a little thing with 3 poems. BARREN-poise-swill. I have no idea what to think of it. It was nice to write. Layout. I’m in a vacuum here. No one to discuss much. Definitely not poetry. Everyday I think I’ll never write again then something kicks my foot & another poem. It’s rather consistent. I just don’t know what to think. Get it? There are some nice lines I have to admit & I’ll end with a section from BARREN

why I could

named his mouse, soup
kept a yr
every shakedown
knew where to hide

how many yrs later
we sit, imagine
our hero
smaller than glove
more important than cap

we sit serene
surmise he’s

The “why I could” is a series of poems that play with the notion & early poem in series, “why I don’t fuck in prison”
As strange as one might think, sex is an odd character within. And my boss told me the story of soup.

Just got Ron Padgett’s New & Selected poems. Super. If you haven’t gotten it get it. & thank you.

I’ve never liked January. I can’t imagine it being much better in here. Then again I have experienced some amazing things I wish you could touch my temples and all this could/would be revealed.

Oh & this is not a blog. It’s a blot. From a distance. Up close it’s scribble. A night time drool. Never certain & rarely smooth. Though I remain. Here. & you, there. How far? You to decide.

To a good year. Later.