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.

Friday, January 11, 2008


False Starts, Malcolm Braly. Memoir of San Quentin.

“The trouble with these jails”, Mick was saying, “is I can never figure whether I’m sleeping in the can, or shitting in the bedroom.”

“We walk and talk and the months pass. I seem neither to change nor to suffer very much. I am only waiting for my life to begin. But I am one of those who keep a tight lid, and underneath a lot is going on. I’m learning I’m mortal.”

“Anything could happen at any moment. The logical prediction was bullshit. The true nature of reality was madness.”

“If we depend on God for justice and mercy it’s only because we know He has all of eternity to straighten out His files.”

“The hardest part of serving time is the unpredictability. Each day moves like every other. You know nothing different can happen…..a month from now, six months, a year, you will be just where you are, doing just what you’re doing, except you’ll be older.” (kind of like living in suburbia)

About a certain though general C.O…“Our humor was made from our suffering and he wanted to share the joke without sharing the pain”…later he writes, “the only quality we admired in any bull was consistency.”

Great book. Check it out. I’m ½ thru.


Christmas and my gift. Silence & I refuse to talk with anyone annoying. (Eliminated my celly amongst a few others). And magically cold November rain appeared on the radio. Nothing lasts forever…hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain…sometimes I need some time alone. Amazing song. Prison has truly turned me on to Guns & Roses. Metallica. Heavy metal. I guess. And cake. I adore prison cake. Stale, thick and reminds me of a wedding. Sweet. Way too sweet frosting. I have no idea why. You? It’s quiet today. The snow. Hush of crunch. The ice & sadness lingers. I meander on this gravel road. Realize in more ways than not, I’m blessed. When the boys were little Christmas was huge. After Colette left I agreed she could have the boys on the actual holiday. For me it’s never the day/date. It’s the practice/sentiment of. I love giving gifts early. Hated to wait. Colette would do the tree/the food so it’s natural what’s left for me. So being in prison on Christmas means nothing. It’s the distance all the other days. Well you know what they say – no pain no gain. ZZ Top on radio now. Stretching me a tad. We visited Muddy Water’s birth/home place years ago. Just a square of 4 walls. Log. No roof. Someone was going to restore (guy @ Stackhouse records in Clarksdale told us). He also told us one of those bearded guys – Billy? got himself a part log and had a guitar fashioned. I prefer happy Christmas to merry. That & a few random gifts I’ve been mailing out is all I have to add.

I’ve lead a good life. Crazy marriage. More insane childhood. 2 fantastic sons. Traveled the south parts unknown with them. Shared their dreams/nightmares. Loved with all my soul. Then turned a corner & another chapter. Met most of my heroes. Saw Johnny & June at Grand Ole Opry. Smoked dope with Ginsberg & Burroughs. Won a sex-discrimination suit (it was settled). Published some if not my favorite American poets. Make breath with beauty. Fell in/and in love more times than can count. Shook Jessie Jackson’s hand. Got shot at. Some amazing concerts. Bowled wit Bob Mould. & opened my heart & home to so many. Fell off the horse way too many times. Saw the exact moment when both my sons became men Saw them love. Saw them hurt. Saw them perform. & had my ass kicked so many times. My regrets are only 2. Leaving Noah in this time & Evan leaving instead of me.
Sometimes I need some time alone.

Bless & keep you.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Shaved to Sweet Child of Mine. Kelly got her unc k fob. Soon Stacy with “hold fast” bracelet. My broken radio. Noah. Amanda. Evan Henry & my box of prison leather. A will a way. I prefer black. Leather. Morning. Coffee. Elaine sent journals (refused by institution. You can’t have things from home. I have no home. Besides it’s from NYC). I do get her letter. Both in my hands and in my heart. She’s great. A call for Genet. REM on radio. I prefer to sit & wait. Freedom? Define and make strong argument and perhaps I could love you. See you. Rain & snow. We’re stranded. I need a fire. Smell of smoke. Chard memory. I keep them here (point to pocket). Nothing is necessary. Needed. Pancakes. Just like my mouth in Key West. Pancakes & red wine. Caught a crab. Thought Tennessee Williams tried to pick me up. More than likely. Regret not sleeping with Ginsberg. But had just fallen for Colette. No mixed metaphors. He taught me to meditate. Fell asleep while he read Blake. Corso shared his brandy. Burroughs called my friend by the wrong name. Many years later Ginsberg in Milwaukee. Me, Evan, Colette, Noah & Bill D. went to pick him up at Mitchell. “Hi” I said. “We’ve met in Naropa”. “Yeah”, I remember”. “No you don’t”. “Yeah, you were skinnier”. Sadness. I guess we did love each other. See each other. Recognize. He had that talent. Remember, Evan was into his movie camera. Filmed Ginsberg coming down escalator. Zoom in. Out. Dizzy. Gently. Ginsberg reaches to Evan “Let me show you what Robert Frank taught me”. “Steady”. When poet becomes father. Gentle God. Beyond tongue. He knew. Me. My sons. My/this/our life. Share(d). Alice Notely told me years later, later. That summer of Naropa, her sons Anselm & Eddie tormented Corso. She had such warmth in her breath. I can still feel it. Mother. Poet. Example. Goddess. I adore women. The capacity of. The miracle. With/without birth they remain. Perfect. Perfection. I an ant at their picnic. I seek that flame. Gentle. Silent. Music. Sleep. Never silence here. Unless a storm. Yes. A storm. From that I’ll wander. Later in the white.Rain. Thickness.

I had fallen asleep after we ate. In my dream Evan came to me. Reminded me that he’s still dead. It’s good I’m in this cell. It’s like I’m within my within. Otherwise? Alex my therapist said you’re insane for 6 months after a death. I think Noah, Amanda, Anna, Emily, Tim, Jason, Miggs, Reed, Jackie, Danimal, Jimmy all wandering mad following Colette. Our confusion – anger – bitterness – sadness, parasites chewing breath. Never answer. Never. Never answered. After count I screamed in my celly’s face. I realize I need to go outside. Ice & snow dictate my wander. Snow blows as smoke rises. Smoke steam all illusions. All illusions concede to madness. I look over the yard and there were winter has conquered I recognize the sea of Japan. Grey and ignored she rests miniature. Japanese ghosts float from her water. Sound of dripping. Dripping. Plucking. There are no birds out. Where have they disappeared. To. From. Another why. Because I slip slide along. My face burns. Beard frozen I’ve become first & last in yard. I name this feeling after you. Youwhom. I’ll never know. Meet. Question. Feel heat. Give the tears I’ve saved in my pocket. You the only who knows the truth of this day. Yesterday. My tomorrow. You care? Or am I another accident. You slow take notice of. God I love Guns & Roses. Queer? Or am I just tired? Alone. Within. Without. Remain.

Asked librarian the other day , “queer books?” “What?” “Queer?” “Yes. You want homo-erotic?” “No, queer”. Anyway, it seems here they separate “certain” books. No Stein, Genet. Rimbaud. They do have Mann. Woolf. Anyway, I found some nice books – Winter Birds, Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley. Great reads. Very well written. Both heart breaking. Winter Birds sweet in it’s torture. Reminders. Just finished Edinburgh by Alexander Chee. One of my favorites. Hope I can find more by him. A must for anyone who digs a solid book. Great movements. Again, heart breaking. From here got a book on Deadwood and life in prison. Kind of like reading a book about drowning in the middle of the Pacific. These books were donated by an inmate. I’ll read them all (may 20) books like pancakes. Great against the palate. So sweet going down. Had no idea I adore both. Perhaps my love on the outs I’ll name pancake!

Well as Liddy says about the Irish say about this time, “the season is upon us”. Yes, we love each other. Homeless are grateful for a new used jacket and turkey. At least the day accomplishes something. Too bad America is more concerned with lawns not humans. Not all of course. But I see more kept lawns than needed.

Woodland Pattern is having their poetry marathon end of Jan, 2008. Check it out. Some amazing. Some sweet. Some whatever. But it’s ours. Community. Breath. Text. Use it. & It takes care of a large part of their budget. Do it & throw in an extra buck or 2 for me.

Hope all is well. Sweet. Desired. & warm. Love like there is no tomorrow.

Later & some love. Maple syrup
& Joni Mitchell.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Pearls Before Swine