Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Had a wonderful dinner with Kelly. Finished up with P.O. Usual frustration with the state. Over a month trying to get food stamps and nothing. Not that they owe me but it is something offered to citizens of the state. I can’t vote so who knows I am a citizen without a tongue. So I make every effort to be positive & without question I’m surrounded by love. It’s just this state. State of. I can’t imagine doing this alone. Any of it. So grateful to have the love I do. Just please process my food stamps and let’s get this behind me. Forward. Was going to see Noah but the rain was crazy. I just wanted bad tv. Something to distract. Falls asleep to. Nope. Got newest blog. It’s only been 2 to 2 ½ months but who’s counting? Great pics from Matt – thanks. Just to let you all know it’s almost all o.k. for the most part.
So got home - Addicted To Beauty, great trash tv. Milk & cookies, (way sick now from all the food). Now some super sad movie, Catch and Release. God, I hate dead people movies. Hate, though drawn to. What is that? Well, it’s self-pity & a perverse guilty pleasure. To know these people playing some part in some fiction & their hearts are breaking. Super. Break some hearts, just leave real ones alone. So this was to be about food stamps & general b.s. of the state, no, it’s good food with a good friend and reminders of love. So 2 weeks or so ago I’m going out for a walk, about to enter sidewalk territory & up ahead 2 women, 1, a strange shape – a kind of walking juice box – real, real square. Side look and OMG, it’s her! That woman who just couldn’t talk to me cause I’m such a monster. But then my other friend found me and all was good but now she is a juice box – yuck. Is this what they call instant karma or just too much grazing? Yikes. Either way I almost jumped in a bush. So Noah had errands to run and I had quiet to attend. Kelly a drive home. Ben beer in his car.What were you doing at almost 11 p.m. central time Tuesday? So let’s recap. A ramble to address the insanity of trying to get food stamps turns into an odd sadness of fictional blather that re-focuses the absurdity of real life and the sometimes juice box individuals that are better dealt with in a bush. I have no answers just frustration that turns into slap happy laughter as a car drives by and hits a huge puddle delivering so much funky, funky water into Kelly’s open car window as we are driving. Instant karma does exist & does remember to bless us in so many ways. I’ll get food stamps some day. Now I have tons of pancake mix & so many good, good friends & some more time left to this movie – a wonderful cast by the way.
Talked to Aaron upon his release. So happy he is out. Little food. Lots of books. Music. Josh is back in my life and gave me a ton of music. Pet Sounds, Townes VZ, Muddy Waters, Radiohead. Super. Making & working at a pizza place is work. Great crew. So tomorrow & today & yesterday, forward.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Tuesday, more than 2 months out. It’s harder writing this than before. The need to continue happens for a number of reasons. 1 – to let those close know I’m going forward; 2 – to document this journey; 3 – to resolve anger; at myself for being so selfish. For forgetting all the support, love, tenderness, at Evan for leaving, for the state for not listening, for the silence that allows so much wrong to continue. Anger does help heal, to allow it to speak, to protect, to give a certain closure (Evan). I never got real angry with Evan. Just feeble bouts of. He was and will always remain like his brother – overwhelming sensitive. They learned from me to clothe sensitivity with anger or bravado – to hide it in what is not. Looking back perhaps I should have seen Evan was not long for this world. I have a hard time justifying by saying he’s in a better place. I’m selfish & misery does love company. So many sinking ships. Anger at the state, guilty by association. Just because my behavior was so inappropriate does not mean I hurt children in that way. I know that. My friends do. My family. I got a job making pizzas so I guess even strangers see beyond this. b.s. So my anger at the state continues cause they continue.
I was with horrid men who committed such crimes it would be a crime to discuss with you. Not their identity. What they did. How they justify. How they will continue. Live like wolves & you observe scary behavior. Myself. My anger at myself does wane when I listen. When friends come up & talk about those last days, weeks, months. I was a car bomb waiting for someone to put the key in. Something was going to happen. It’s hard to hear. To know I was not John. I was madness in John’s skin. So my anger reminds me. Protects me. Allows me to be accountable. It’s not an active or violent anger, it’s a dammit! Anger. It’s an amazing self aware anger. I’m sure silence then forgiveness will follow. Now I listen. I listen to their pain, now their support & concern. I’ll be sad for a while, maybe forever. It’s not the end of the world. It’s an awareness & thru it we/I discover 2 larger purposes. Beyond poetry. Beyond art. It’s family. It’s love. It’s quiet & it’s sweet. I sit more than before. Things seem to work out. I just wait without sounding self-pity or dramatic. I grieve for Evan. For me. For all of us. & thru that I intend on doing all to make the day better, if it doesn’t work, I’ll still try.

There are still a number of chapbooks available. 5 total done. 2 more to finish & Flagrant. So for the 5, they are $5 each, postage included all 5 for $18. Either e-mail singlepresse@yahoo.com or write me at 1671 N. Prospect Avenue, #507, Milwaukee, WI, 53202.

Just got some great poetry & art from Stacy at Poetry Project, Joel of Fell Swoop fame & Mike Noland, an amazing artist from IL. All wonderful gifts. Plenty to read & dream. A thank you to all. My mother & Milton always reminded me “we are not alone & to reach out”. I could not have done this alone & to have thrived as I have – thank you & all my love.

I just got a heartbreaking letter from a friend in. Lost a dear, dear friend when he was mid 20’s. The circumstances, devastating. It’s so hard to write to him because I want to hold him. He held this in for 30 years. My heart is so sick. Sometimes you have to wonder why. Look around. This is so hard. To go forward. So much sadness. Sure, if you don’t care or you can separate or you get the bigger picture, but sometimes you don’t & you want your friend, brother, sister, father, mother, son back. The quiet in prison helped. I learned to let go. To relax. To breathe & to make things. Sometimes we don’t have time to stop and glaze a plate or sew a quilt. But make that pizza special or make your first cake. Do it for yourself. For those with you or for those who left. Do something. Just don’t go forward. Do something wonderful with those steps. I needed to go down this past path. I needed to remember to focus, to find birds again, to listen to music & yeah, make crazy pots & bead & leather. For all the bitching & moaning I will say I learned so much in hobby. So much. From the actual way of constructing from all the personalities, the good & the bad drama. It was an amazing journing. If prison is to be at all corrective, it needs to invest more in hobby, the library – rec. If you want to stop negative behavior you need to replace with something positive. Hobby did that for me & nearly everyone else of course with the exception of “woodchuck”, an insane inmate who hid from the cops in a woodpile, but that’s another story. It’s hard to believe I’m ½ century old & every day is still a blessing. Still a miracle. Still a challenge.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


John in his new apartment

all photos by Matt Wild

Monday, July 27, 2009


It would be a lie if I said prison was bad. It was release. No/little thought. Way way time to dream. To wonder & yes, wander. In the last few days I’ve received 4 letters from 4 I’ve left (physically) behind. They’re & others like them, are so firmly wedged in my heart. I can see them in my veins. I suppose this would be a time to define brother/sister hood. Fuck that is you haven’t figured out, whether actual or physicophical, forget it.I have 1 birth mother/father. 5 siblings from that tree. My brothers, sisters, mothers, father abound as fruit from dawn. Well anyway, my friends in there want to know how my trip home was. It was a car ride with Kelly. It was a cup of coffee. It was new green. It was traffic. It was who will I see. Who will greet me. Who will hate me. & whom I left. It was quick. It was & still remains sweet. Just like I can’t/won’t talk of that joy & secrecy of a lover’s arms. My trip home was/is something so profoundly private. It’s taken time even for me to come to terms with. I’m a coward & prison afforded me a certain dignity. I have a horrid time with life & prison is floating in a dirty bathtub. Pouring vodka on a water moccasin. My apartment is wonderful. My books, art work, chrome furniture & clothes, & everything is coming home. & yeah, those memories. That thick clot. Saw Alex, my therapist, ½ hour or so ago. Touched base. What I learned, my change. My pain. My joy. I haven’t let Evan go. I never got mad at him for leaving. I can’t. I just can’t. I’m holding on to this pain to hold on to Evan. This apartment is already Evan’s. Noah is here but somehow, a dead son overwhelms the living. I know Alex is right. I’m truly petrified. I actually thought prison would have helped/cured. Nope. Another stupid John trick. Dave wrote & said I cared more for the seagulls than most of the inmates. I miss Dave. I miss Rodriguez, Aaron. Chris. Jefe. Smurf. Hell I miss the food. Kelly made me a cake last week. It’s been many a meal. Sold some lamps for some cash. Broke again. Selling more lamps today. Erik is a miracle. This apartment. He’s also helping me move. He’s there. He’s here. “None the less I confess I yearn”.
W.J. music has been my food. Move love. My friend. Catching up. Finding all my cd’s & some others. It is a bittersweet reunion. I guess the most amazing thing is how easy this is. How open hearts are. Everyone is holding me. Welcoming me. My family. Our family. I was always home. When I clicked my heels I just came to another house. Home is family. It’s love. Our purpose. Our reality. “I still miss someone”. & How are you.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Today is the day before I go pick up John from Oshkosh. Lots to do. Clean the house. Go shopping. I’m house sitting for my nephew so I raided his movie collection and CD collection. So much to watch & listen to.

Pulled out some stuff I thought John would like right away. The leather jacket. May be too hot for it but I know he will want it. It still smells like patchouli. I have to laugh because our old boss did not know the difference between the scent of marijuana and patchouli. While looking for his wallet I realize just how much of his stuff is in my house. It is everywhere! All with a faint smell of patchouli. I found his overstuffed wallet and pulled out his I.D. That is one picture that will have to be retaken.

I have to get up early to leave the house by 6:30 am but am watching Lars & the Real Girl. What a beautiful movie. I am very surprised by it.

I have to remember to pick up a camera. He wanted me to bring one. I hope it is to take pictures of family & friends when we visit tomorrow. If he wants pictures taken of prison, well, I don’t need to see those. I don’t ever want to see that place again.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I was just taking a leak & thought I have 1 more Thursday then tomorrow 1 more Friday. Today the panic hit hard. Only a little more than a week & so many projects to finish. R & S’s vases. Noah’s belt. Stacy’s. 2 Guitar straps. Going to type up See You In the the Morn(ing), misc bracelets. The belt buckles. Finish Elliott Smith, amazing book. Order bio of Pasolini. Letters to write & I want to do a few paintings, poems & mugs. I want to do 4 more beer mugs. So the panic wavers. Oh to do prison with your loved ones. I imagine that may sound strange. I was just walking with Levi. We were talking of this brotherhood. When we get it & truly invest in it, it’s profound. Not the criminal, but some aspects apply. It’s that we’ve been physically, mentally, spiritually, intellectually, creatively stripped. Naked we stand & we slowly dress ourselves together. Today a close friend asked if he had a pimple on his head. “Yes”, I replied. “Can you squeeze it?”
“Sure”. And I did. It’s not something I do but here within the context of our/this relationship it was ok. We look out for each other. Feed each other. Talk to each other. We sing. We run together. We shovel snow when the track is covered. We share anger at our behavior at the C.O.’s at the system. At this/our life. So when I say 1 more Thursday it’s the definition of bittersweet. I will hold you & we will cry & we’ll be so happy. I’m leaving brothers forever. Some released a month after, Aaron, Levi 1 year. Conley 2 months. But some never. Some were cellys. Some ate with. Talked with.

Picasso said, “Nothing can come about without loneliness. I have created a loneliness for myself which no one can imagine.” Some guys tell me how they will miss me & will I write. No, you’ll forget. Some know of my overwhelming need to make things. To never sit still. They don’t know & if they do they don’t understand this blog. Even falling away from I have continued. Even though you haven’t. If you don’t get in trouble here, if it seems questionable, “they” say, “you’re manipulating the system.” I reply “I’m taking advantage of the/this situation”. Each moment is simply that. Each moment. Whether I’m washing dishes or doing push-ups in prison. It’s it’s own moment. I experienced those moments & then I forgot. I began to re-act. Just doing it. Then Evan died & I slowly stopped caring. Stopped living & just went thru those motions & I forgot you. All of you. Most all Noah. Then here where every day is counted. Where 4 times a day every thing is stopped & everyone is counted. At first you brace yourself. Then it becomes second nature & am I institutionalized. Then fuck that & you act out. Then why? Then it becomes the sun rising. Setting. Rain. Snow. It becomes nature. It moves past distraction to this is how this goes. Pretty soon when count is late you get concerned that something is up. Then soon after that you go home. First 1 more Thursday, then that Thursday then I see Kelly, Noah & Evan Henry. & then you.


Monday, June 29, 2009


I grew up with my mother reminding me, “no man is an island”. Blah blah & I was like, “yeah, he’s a man. Not an island”. Such a smart ass & at 51 I’m still that child but now I accept the community of. This community. Our community. Now New Order on radio and Derek Jarman in my heart and mind. The indulgence of isolation. You take my loves. My world. & I will always seek & find that dry landscape. So much to feel so much to say. Prison is not as bad as you think but worse than you can imagine & I think some of you get it without having to get it. I test stoves. Actually that was my first job. God, I miss you. The fact that Kelly has made this, this possible. The litany of friends who do get this. This system is so so flawed as mankind. The left hand ignores the right & we all die alone. This heat is liberating. I welcome sweat as I do the mail. Bring it on!
I do get such touching, amazing letters & I really don’t go into but at the risk of…..I will.
When I read Dave Stacy’s statement that, “I’m guessing that the experience of time in there makes for a completely different reality”, it was so right on & that he didn’t think he’s ever referred to it quite like that. Stacy also expresses such intense love & understanding that frankly I don’t think I’m worthy, but I will make myself. Matt writes, “Everything forgiven ( no need in the first place), no one forgotten”. Kelly can’t wait to pick me up & spend the week with me. It has been like another country. Another reality. What point served? Was I, are we, that horrid? Is this where we must go? Do we as a society understand forgiveness- redemption – humanity?
My God, every morning Evan dies. Every time I open my eyes I remember. So this existence is so flat. I have to laugh; poor Kelly has lost her back bedroom to boxes & boxes of projects I’ve sent home. Whether poetry or leather or pottery or beaded belts – books. I took advantage of this, this displacement. Derek Jarman reminds me of the power of blue & to always go forward. To take Dec 22 as that reminder that every moment has power. Speaks volumes of who are we and what are we doing. Is there meaning & to redefine, to look into the past & weave a new future. A fantastic future that is here & to serve. Not giving up. So this is ending without ending. Just my location. I refuse to feel dirty. To feel as if I’ve done this huge wrong to society. This state attempted to take 2 ½ years of my life. I have used those 2 ½ years to open myself up. To constantly get up. To never give up. Whether rain, blizzard, this heat, I’ve walked averaging 100 miles a week. I’ve learned to shut my mouth. To speak loud. To find hours in a minute. To be home. To breathe. To pray. To survive. To flower & to not give a fuck. I have become jaded but dismissive. To listen. To anticipate violence & to accept love. I guess most important I’ve learned to ask for help. Learning patience. Welcome freedom. The liberty across my chest screams.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


In my struggle – my investigation, my path, as all of ours, flips & curves & bounces with such an intense energy. That perhaps, I think, am I really needed here. Life moves forward with or without us. As I first stated, my struggle, so of course I need to be here. Just spent the past 2 ½ hours walking the yard. Inmates come & go. A conversation seemly without direction but moves sometimes. (most times for me). Smooth. A perfect line. From our crimes to drug of choice to mother, father, brother, sister to fucking death. Nothing, I repeat, is off limits. Sure some guys can’t talk openly about. Let’s say the details of that rape-molestation-battery. So they either move on or remain silent. I hope I will remember these treks. Today Kelly sent a package of info for me – from Hank III, my father’s obit, a website of paintings & an email from Kathleen. She edits the zine, The Worst, devoted to death. It’s impact on us, the survivors. I read about in MRR. Seems great. Very nice email. She’s got lots of poems. Wants prose. I think, yuck. So I put on the radio. Figured I’d write to you. Kelly didn’t know I was named after my father. Dave said that I “always spoke with pride about him”. In group you learn to listen to others tell you how you come across. Who you are or better yet, what you are saying. When I saw Evan in his bed I knew he was dead. Feet from his body, I knew. No comparisons. No it was like his body without him. Evan had left. I was alone with that fact. My first thought was join him & then I heard Noah. My battle began & I continued to neglect Noah. If I wasn’t a father then my son didn’t die & if I wallowed in self pity & destruction, who could tell me I was wrong? I knew I was John. Somewhere, somehow. So many many people broke apart with Evan’s passing. Some healed. Some didn’t. Now I can see what I did in an unhealthy way. & I hear “there is no wrong way to grieve”. I respond, “prison”. They reply “You’re still alive”. In my insanity some how I managed to remove myself without continuing to hurt others. This past 2 ½ years without Noah? I will do everything I can to repair. Without question. I am alive. 3 years without Evan kicks me every second of every moment. It is only in my last breath that that will be resolved. Again, what of Noah? Does Colette carry this? Do you carry this? For your brother, your father? Sister – mother- friend – lover? & how would I know. Obviously we can’t spend our waking hours grieving. We still have this life. We do get thru the day but how? And at what expense? Prison gives me the luxury of collapse. Somewhat limited support, but the support is amazing. With my father’s passing not only did my boss, the psychologist & social worker connect with me. By that I mean, real, deep fulfilling conversations where we related. Where were together. In that pain. Those lives. Our lives. None of us can escape that reality of death. To escape that pain associated with the loss of a loved one is simple – don’t love. I asked my nephew Andrew if it was a mistake to have raised Evan & Noah in such a way for them to have loved, adored each other to that extent that now is leaving Noah lost. Andrew thought I was insane to ever think of that. A few nights ago, in a dream, I was arguing with a fellow inmate about Einstein’s theory of relativity. That is based on the amount of pain one endures must be balanced with pleasure – love. That is the theory. Perhaps that was an odd dream but what I’ve learned & still am learning from the deaths of Evan , James, Reed & my father, or to be in that moment. Just be. No thought. Whatever moment. The mind/body seems to know what to do. I tried to stuff the pain of my father’s departure & I got anxiety attacks. I tried to self-destruct with Evan’s & all I got was more trouble. Reed’s, I was actually glad to be in prison. James, I wept. For me they are different though the same. Always degrees. Always exhaustion. Alice Notley is the most terrific poet. A supreme goddess. Her poems, her voice, her being as an artist for me, is the total summation of breath taking. & this woman has survived. Has taken that pain & transformed. When I think of Alice, my mother, my sisters, brothers, Noah. Colette, Jacob, Anna, Jimmy, Emily TimB, my nephews, Colette’s brothers & sisters, Kelly Richard Hell, Matt & Chrisanne, the lives they lead. The lives that have passed between, that’s the key for me. There will always be those moments. Those sad tributes. Those wonders. After Evan’s passing a lot of us either got his tattoos or variations of. My therapist at the time was concerned that I/we wouldn’t be moving on. I disagree & actually the psychologist here reminded me, “there is no wrong way to grieve”. “prison”. “You’re alive”. My regret thru all this is of course Noah. My walking away is so wrong. I knew then & I know now. I disconnected. I am reconnecting. The luxury of prison has given me that distance. That silence. Just now thru writing this I have sobbed & my eyes are swollen & stained. I just stood for count . Not one man will comment or harass. I can truly be alone here. To sort. To prepare for release. Another round. So I don’t know if I want or could write prose for Kathleen. I prefer poetry. All this. I feel I communicated better in this poem I wrote for Evan Henry:

on a Sunday

grief becomes

wild dog

you’ve just
handed me
a 2
x 4

Monday, May 18, 2009


heart broken
become unglue(d)
think Ted
Berrigan & the white
that dries

father buried
by now
Evan in various cans
shared by friends

2 new birds in this yard, distant relatives
of the seagull
there is no
in this
dread &
the wonder why
& could I
ever mount
that “horse”

Morrison sings
day passes whether
or not
I’m ready
someone mentions Basketball
Diaries my heart
I think,
“now we chat poetry perhaps Frank
O’Hara” no,
they just lust
that “male”

I’ve never been so alone
stumble in dark grope

my mother alone with
on this day

Joel’s right
we’re all in some
retarded syntax
& all

Monday, May 11, 2009


My father died this past week a few days after he had my mother call. We talked, laughed & generally ignored death. We knew each other well. Kind of like you see a friend walking by – you don’t go “What you doing, walking?” Fuck no. You walk. So we talked of my mother, how she adores him and of him falling. Strange how it all works out. So my sister called Monday. It hit me yesterday. Today it’s a heavy mist outside. No one on yard. Just me & some wet seagulls, sound of traffic & nearly 2 ½ years of this bullshit. Last night my chest tightened & I so wanted to smash something. Luckily I just listened to the radio. Real love & then went to walk. Somehow, amazingly, no idiots approached. I’ve been spending a lot of time beading & craft crap. I need to write so I’m wrestling with a moderate length poem. Kind of titled Phil Spector Can’t/Wear Wigs/In Prison. A summary of this. The restraint – the death – the love – the wander – on the outs Dave says/questions “Are you just going to walk around the block for hours ‘til someone calls you in?” Probably. If society considers prison such a horrid thing & you survived (seemly), a shattered heart the only casualty - You/I develop a real grasp on this reality called existence. Yes, this is a cake walk compared to CA or NY or other prisons. But if my father didn’t love me as much as he did to call me. Imagine.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Numb-denial, alone here. Though surrounded in distance by loved ones. Richard H. / Kelly just sent remarkable letters. As I tried to explain to sister, mother, father, prison is not the worst or even a bad thing. It’s an away thing. Frankly I’m an away person. I am trying to reconnect with my peeps. It just sucks that it has to be like this. Reading Outlaw Bible of American Literature. From Waylon Jennings to John Rechy. Annie Sprinkle to Emma Goldman. I read, bead, pottery, leather, eat, shit, sleep & pray for all in my heart & those I don’t know, yet.

If we could look at life as a bit of fiction – a distance – I believe I, if not you, could relax. Maybe not totally but to see & breathe every moment. To see the lifetime in every second. I got called from hobby back to my unit. I knew it was either my father or canteen. It was my father. He is alive but his health is failing. I got to talk with him, my mother and my sister. We talked 15-20 minutes. My father is brilliant. Always was & looks like always will be. Funny, quick & so loving. My mother & I shared so many tears. This journey. & my sister – always so strong. Death is weird. So weird. Which direction. What direction. A shrink here told me “Be in the moment. Feel the moment” & yes, so right. So much is defined by how we live. What we did. What we didn’t do. So much pressure. So many directions & then we’re gone. In loved filled relationships there is peace. There is joy but for me there’s always selfishness. Questions & then the sadness. Life is our fiction. What we chose to write – to live. I spent time with my mother, father & sister explaining how prison is helping me. How I miss them. My Noah. My friends. My Kelly. But I don’t miss society. I just miss my loved ones which means I’m ready to go. I’ve never stopped loving & I’ll never stop fighting (for good, for art, for poetry) & I can tell you who is responsible. Who gave me that first taste of love. Of Man’s injustice. But I think you know. My sister wondered about this blog & so did Kelly. I get so distracted & I forget to write. I will get back on that horse.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Let’s confirm a few ideas/thoughts – concepts that exist in here. Never trust. Never let down your guard. Continue with criminal behavior. Do what you have to do to keep everyone at bay and on the defensive. Well that’s how most exist in here. It’s not like I’m some special person (I am! Ha!) It’s I try to get everything out of a situation. In here it’s solitude. It’s loneliness. It’s contemplation. Look at yourself 360°
degrees. If you need to step out – so be it. Well I deal with my rage (soon I won’t personify) my sadness. Despair. Just that immense hollow that attempts consumption. But I get tired. Wiped out. It’s the lot I’ve chosen but my actions are not always on target. My issues are with mankind & the mistakes we make – but the deeper I look & have. I keep coming back to God & the concept of our purpose. What is the purpose? To discover pain. To understand suffering. Explain that to all who have lost someone. That void. That great big horrid pain. So we march on .We drag with us those who can’t walk. We continue. We continue to fight. To hurt. To continue this cycle of despair. I’m done. My acts of inappropriateness & stupidity are waning – soon no exist. My issues are with the Maker & that is my plan of attack. There will always be suffering & misunderstandings & the chaos of nature. It’s when I indulge that chaos that I set my self on fire. I so regret the pain I’ve caused the ones I turned my back on. I am truly sorry & every day I strive to create less stress – chaos. I’m learning to walk away. Not to indulge my own stupidity or other’s. My celly sings at random. These slow deep warbling Gospel songs. I can’t always understand the lyrics but his voice is beautiful. Yesterday after group I walked I was so tweeked. So like I was covered in something - bugs? Wet liquid? Something. I came back to the cell. We talked & talked and I could feel my pain rising – silence. Then his voice & the river I become. Became. All the pain. All the pain.

If anything, please hug someone after you read this. Someone. & remember all we have is each other.
All we have.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I’m not the only one, nor should I be, to call Reed “my brother”. Our brother. We turn natural wonders of the world “waterfalls”. Crazy beautiful mountains – geysers, landmarks, huge national parks. Reed as a man was as big as any mountain. As deep as any river. With a soul as bright, if not brighter, than the northern star. It’s an understatement to say Reed will be missed. We will stumble & we will collapse. Reed was/is a profound friend. The true family of man. Any good that I contain within, I give freely to Tom & Candy, Reed’s parents. His brother Geoff. To Justin, Ben & Ben, Bryan, Noah, Sara, Michelle, Joe, Derek, Jack, Danimal, Johnny, Fish – my heart goes out to all of you. Miggs & so many otheres.

Reed, my brother, please provide some guidance. Some understanding. Your music like your laughter – oh so divine. My God man, I love you so much & my heart is so gone.
All my love.

For the past 2+ years I’ve shared a few moments of music. The masters of song lyrics – the vast universe of. & I have a check list & believe it or not, I’ve heard some beauties from E.Smith to P.Furs – Richard Hell, Voidoids, Heartbreakers, Misfits, Social D, Replacements, Husker Du – just amazing. Just now Gram Parsons live with Emmy Lou Harris (1973) – Love Hurts. My God – such purity of note. Clarity of soul. I get scared but that fire is so good. So blessed. I just held the radio. Hugged, rocked & sobbed. This place does clarify your priorities. Now to hear Townes Van Zandt. Wow.

No the banjo isn’t my favorite favorite. It’s just great. I dig but I get the perfection of the guitar. Dave’s just worried I don’t shower a lot, don’t wear socks & now the banjo. I’m not denying the simplicity but I’m not that country.

& when I mentioned Tim, James, Julie & Noah getting brutalized – they were robbed while fishing down by the reservoir.


Do you dream of what you know – understand? Or like the bottom of depth of ocean where impossible for man to breathe without assistance? Every time I pierce my skin I stop & gaze as red joins this world. Slipping down the whole concept/reality of just disorientates me. Mid-stride I glide thru the dam. But blood A letter A distinguished word & I’m back to who am I? Who are you? What are we? This wonderful chaos blankets all my thoughts.

Listening to Waylon Jennings. His voice narcotic to me. I could just climb up his verse. So so perfect. The other night on Punk N Pie (WRST) heard Misfits, Replacements, Social D. In my mind you could hear a pin drop. That’s what my dreams are made of. Sometimes spiders. Sometimes your lips. I do get pissed. Yesterday - why do I write this blog? Never a comment or reference to. I feel as if you’re watching me in the shower. At least hand me the soap. But a new song comes on & I think “no bother”. This is my way of saying I’m still on the plain & here’s some ramble.

Thank you to Stacy for 2 great books & Kelly for updating and running errands. Just keep well. I miss you all so much. No this not a dream. Our dream begins face to face. Nose to nose. Shared breath. A sneeze.

It’s like 18 below out right now. No real movement. No walking. I have to remind my legs we’re lazy today. Still the itch to move. Nice letters from brother Paul & Reed. Actually great. Paul says Dad is hanging in there. Wants to see the Spring/Summer after this cold, cold winter. & Reed & Noah starting a band.

20 some years ago Colette, Evan (4 years old at the time) & I ran into Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes) @ Sweet Doomed Angel – an amazing shop on the Eastside of Milwaukee. Evan was Evan – very direct. Actually politically aware and very anti-establishment so Brian & the owners of the shop were like “Oh, he’ll become a banker some day”. Between getting pissed & laughter we were like “no way” Yeah, I hate that belief you fight everything your parents dig. Rebellion for the sake of. Evan & Noah whether born or raised are poets. Without question. What dictates – nature or nurture? Who cares? My sons, our sons, are fantastic & now a new little beast. I sit back here looking out on some highway. Watch cons come & go. “Society”. I can meander in my
thoughts justify. Sadness hovers cause I’m so far from my sons/loved ones. But we’re here. It’s what we do with it. That’s what matters. Even in here. We’re living, sure existence, but I’ve always pushed it. Suck the life right out of life. Delicious. Sit back & listen.

Got rid of my killer celly. Got an alright quiet guy a few years older then me. Just go with the flow. Water is breath & breath movement.

Reading a book on gay vampires & just got Thurston Moore & Bryan Coley’s book – No Wave. Very nice. If you don’t remind yourself so much becomes lost. I can’t always hear the music but with these pics I remember the dance & soon enough the smell sounds hot. Check it out.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009



lie this cross
yr chest


you, one
life’s mysteries

never solve




Kiki said

an edge”

now, how I see
yr shadow

robust thunder


prepare for

tongue beneath teeth

logic circumstantial

yr music
a miracle
across this/my

no need for magic
within this wind



care or
not to

not landscape
never sea



I wait


need to find
within this fence

answer these needs:

shoulder to bend
neck to soothe
fire to plan
love to instigate

too much cabbage
over abundance
of weeds

lie divine
my blood yrs

need to find
some bird

when black became grey
drug light
comrade moon
man shutters

purpose revolution
revolution born
of love
a better

when black greys
I stand upon the shoulders

I knew you back when


depend on to
that we can’t

yr voice, always

now memory must

we use grass to landscape
once, huts
if no leaves then to wipe

why does it be
goes to sleep

remain sleep remains
sleep remain sleep

good friend

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Reed Alan Chadbourne Thieme

Thieme, Reed Alan Chadbourne Age 28, died in his sleep on February 5, 2009. He had a big heart, a bellowing voice, a booming laugh, a bear-like hug, and a will to live the blues. Reed was born September 8, 1980, in East Troy, where he attended Good Shepherd Elementary and East Troy Middle and High Schools. He graduated from the Southern Lakes Alternative School on May 28, 1998. In East Troy, his performances evolved into the band Fulvous Low with Erin Malcolm and Ian Watson. When Reed moved to Milwaukee to major in film studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he founded the punk band Avoided with Justin Remhof and Ben Blask. He subsequently worked construction jobs and devoted his considerable energy to performing and touring with Avoided. Reed was indifferent to status and fashion, colorblind, intense, congenial, and a performer since childhood. He will be sorely missed by his parents, Tom and Candy Thieme of East Troy; his brother Geoff (Stacey) and niece Kailey of Milwaukee; maternal grandmother and paternal grandparents; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins who loved him dearly. A memorial service will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1936 Emery Street, East Troy, at 3:00 PM, Friday, February 13. Visitation with the family will begin at 2:00 PM. You were the best, Dude. Rest and be at peace. BRETT FUNERAL HOME (414) 342-0692

Monday, February 2, 2009

to live outside the law you must be honest *

dust buddy
with teeth
& me
without broom

“the state uses any hammer
to pound one’s peg
into their hole”
strums Kafka

sit in dark
snow isolates
must claim fear
I have forgotten yr voice

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I’m a dog. Literally. Learnt to accept my bird & here, snake. To be more specific I’m a cross between coyote & domestic. Either a canary or a parakeet & for now, without question, bull snake. A bull snake perfectly imitates rattlesnake without rattle & poison. As a child God knows how many I chopped up & delivered to my dad. “John, there’s no rattle”. It wasn’t until baling hay that I encountered a true rattler, “Oh”. Dead I reached down into its slimy form (way dead & starting to leave) I grabbed its rattler – my hand stunk! The story of my life. I can envision anything but I need to experience it to get it. Who knows over active imagination, dark, or just don’t get it. I realized I was a dog a while ago. Cranky, Loyal. Simple but can dance on hind legs. Love to roll in stinky stinky substances & love to throw paws over backs, but kick me too many times & you’ll get more than teeth. Well, if you me, bird is obvious. My grace incredible warble & dainty dainty ways. Ha! No, I’m more like a cowbird. I guess bird is my vision. My escape hatch. My survival. & snake, well, that’s simple. I can squeeze into any situation & it takes some time to realize I’m not fatal & I do shed my skin. This all leads to coddle. Coddle is a strange concept in here. You all (perhaps not) vision prison as this rather stayed serious scary place. Frankly, we all have that basement of youth that is more prison than here. Call it the times, call it lazy. Call it what it is – mental hospital. Call it what the hell do we (the state) have to do to get you (inmate) to take responsibility accountable anything? Sure there are convicts here. Usually they don’t refer to selves as such. Sure there are monsters here – big time freaks, but mostly drunks, mama boys, lost causes & homeless. If I attempted to assemble a crew to rob a bank, kidnap the head of some corporation, I’d be better off getting the Apple Dumpling Gang – Don Knotts and all. So coddle.It’s been cold here just like you all just got. The yards were closed down. So let’s do the math. These are the guys who raped, killed, robbed, maimed – who victimize society & it’s too cold for them. I got frost bite as a teenager. Lost in the woods with friends and hid in a cave until we realized no one was looking for us. My hands & feet got messed up. Not horribly but with my heart issues & circulation my right foot goes dead. No feeling & I can’t even grip a pen with my hands after time outside but I survive & I continue to go outside. Is that the issue, us freezing, or is the issue much bigger? I think it’s bigger. Look at the budget for D.O.C. Look at the direction prisons are going. Believe me you (the taxpayers, the victims, society) do not want to coddle inmates nor do we need to be in “that” hole. There is a middle ground. This is not a very smart population (inmates). You do not want to coddle these/this men/man. We get popcorn once a month. Work is not mandatory or the programs (the road to accountability/responsibility) It’s a play prison. Sure we’re locked up. Sure we’re monitored. I’m looking at the big picture. Our shared picture. Our children’s picture. This is why I’m now called “Non-Union”. I see both sides. I always have. There are always 2 sides. This is why I’m a dog. Independent – loyal, yet will attack at odd provocateur. Think about it – coddle in here just sounds gross.

Next word – empower. Great concept. Great practice. You’ll hear & will continue to hear & to learn to be empowered. For me right now my act of empowering is dancing in my cell. It’s my gauge that lets me know I’m back on track. Dancing is so core to me. I was introduced as a young child by older sister. Was reinforced thru Nut Cracker. I’m a horrible dancer. A hyperactive crazed man on an invisible pogo stick but it’s my language. I don’t really dance with any one. I dance with myself but I am surrounded & I adore dance. Just saw Kelly Anderson from Dance Works in the Milwaukee Journal. Jacob danced with her in college & worked with her in numerous works – Bad Meat. Amazing. Always loved Merce Cunningham. Ms. Duncan. For me it just washes. Imagine an empowered baptism.

So where to go? I’ll be out this spring. Kiki (Anderson), super poet & contributor to Flagrant supports the idea of me doing a reading right out of prison. It’s on my top 10 list. Noah, Amanda, Evan Henry are top 7 things. Friends are 8. Sweet potatoes & couch are 9. Poetry & PBR is 10. Any suggestions? My last reading, days before prison, was at my loft downtown so I like the idea of someone’s basement or attic. Maybe a band or 2. Just something to cleanse me.

The other thing I want to organize is a t-shirt drive. I think I still have some pants & Richard H. & Kelly just bought me a pair of Wranglers but I will need t-shirts so I am going to nag a few friends for t-shirts –yep. Joel-Richard-Richard-Stacy-Julie-Matt-Zack – all of you, I need t-shirts, medium to large – I weigh 158. Bands, crazy images, words, all I want. I’d love words written directly on. Gene, I’d love one of your amazing silkscreens – spray paint, etc. I want to put on all, one over the other. Feel, smell, be with all of you. Ok? If any interest email singlepresse@yahoo.com.

I don’t think there’s any thing wrong with confusion. It’s what you do with it. Reaction. I spend a lot of time confused. Sometimes just wondering. Now wonder, that’s great. One of the main building blocks of the Godhead & of course joy. Joy is right there with bliss, but I digress. Confusion – I’m confused here a lot but that’s to be expected. My celly wants to move. Now my current celly is classic pervert. I can actually watch my skin crawl when he speaks. He has 2, count them 2, natural life sentences plus random additional time of 20 – 30 years so what does that add up to? He claims it’s from having sex with an under aged child. I’m assuming he ate her/him. Killed a few more on the way. So right there he won’t admit to extent of his crime. In the yard David goes “you know who Tyson’s celly is”. Yuck. So if a man can’t be honest about his crime. Now Bob Dylan says “to live outside the law you must be honest”. Following? So everything, everything, my celly says or does I weigh. He hates everyone (very common here), from Martha Stewart ( I love) to President Elect. Judge Judy (she can be a crank). He hates strong women. He hates all races. He seems to hate everyone & everything. He can’t victimize. So those who know John know why he celled up with him. For those who don’t, you will. So my celly want so move. I go up to Sgt. “ Do I need to find a new celly?” “What do you think of_____________?” “Works in the main kitchen” . “That big dumb goof ball?” “Yeah”. “Oh God” “It’s that who I’ll get?” “Well you know Charley is trying to help someone out”. “ Yeah.” “That’s why I let Charley move in with me & because I wanted to understand the depths of his depravity. “ Dave once said “If Dahmer was here…” “Of course I’d cell up with Jeff.” I’m curious & I’m confused. But one thing I’m certain, words have never lied to me. Yes, they have been used to lie to me but if I listened clearly the tone/diction allowed me to see the flaw. Words don’t want to lie. Manipulation does enter the equation. I don’t know why I love poetry. So many things to say why but just not sure. So many transistions. My poetry wants to be honest. Sure, it’s my honesty but me thinks it wants universal honesty. When Evan was born my poem waned & your assumption is right. He is our poem. Colette’s & my collaboration. Then Noah & I became one very far from the written work. They are my everything. Poems became chocolate on everything. Way too much but there were poems on occasion. Rough, raw screams in the dark. I wanted Colette’s breath & limbs. I wanted their eyes. Then I started to die & the words were back at the door willing to deal with my rejection. Then the break-ups. & the words whispered “we never left and never will”. Now they answer my door. They are the whole home. I looked in the mirror today & I look aged & happy. My hair greyed. Was name “happy grey” by another inmate & I wondered. Two years ago I couldn’t die fast enough and now I’m thinking about aging. Confusion wanted to enter the picture & I said no. I want to live for John & for Noah & for Evan Henry & I want to live for today & tomorrow. I need to finish what I’ve started. I need to tell strangers of Evan & I need to walk that line between life & death. Between prison & freedom. I need to hold my friends. My family. I need to piss against a tree. I need to look at a stop light with the confusion of a child. I need to sit in a tub alone or with friends. I need to live confused in a positive way. I turned my back on so much. Way too much & as I continue to turn, soon I’ll be facing you.

Poetry is ease & talking. Talking is breathing with words. They are not without effort – they are my comfort. In here most of my talking is internal & those who know me know whom I’m addressing & of course context of the conversation. This blog is unnatural – putting a sweater on a horse. Sure it’s cool & all a way to get one’s point, perception, vision across. It’s not unnatural. It’s difficult for me. I already talk to mirrors , puddles reflections – lately birds. So I pretend you are all birds-ok? Then I’ll babble. I have the luxury of knowing what I really want. If I can/ could actually tell you of everything what do I want & of course those that know me know who he is. Well there's 3 hes. 1 is impossible well shackled to this plain/universe. Other doesn’t know me & the last well, that’s his father, Noah. I intend on failing as a poet because not only do I refuse, I can’t, explain/express that pain. Not only do I have no apology I’m proud to know there are emotions, words impossible for me to express. Understand. I had a stroke 3 hours after being released from the County Jail. Do the math over 2 years in prison & to hear Noah’s voice. To see his beautiful face. To let him crush me in his arms. My heart will crash. Then to hold his son. & I don’t embarrass, but a man can only be so strong. I had lost my way. First my health. Then Jacob. Then Colette. Then our jobs. Then James shot. Tim thrown in the river & Julie beat up & then Noah almost shot. Then Evan. Then prison (frankly a relief). I had so lost my way. Then Evan Henry was born. A cycle began. We lost wonderful dear friends & family. I’ve always resented the word/definition comfort. If we accept, yes. We are not here for comfort. We are here to keep getting back on that horse that has thrown us & I’m standing again & I’m ready to raise some hell. To crush Noah with my hugs. Take. E.H. to the lake or down the street for ice cream or whatever. Let him know without letting him know that grandpa is not going to let him go.

Been listening to blue grass/country on the radio today. The banjo may be my favorite instrument. I have wonderful & amazing friends. I can’t talk about them in here. First, no one would believe me. I do talk to Dave about them but Dave is different. Like Aaron. They are the 1% out of a million. Guys who lost their way, took responsibility, accountable. They are the exceptions in here. Sure some guys are alright – Dave & Aaron are friends. Real friends. Not John’s crazy friends. Anyway I am lucky. Good does beget good. Well Kelly is beyond comprehension at every level. When I saw the images of the chap books on the blog I wept because they are alive. We did it. We took so much time & energy to write, publish & circulate 5 chap books plus 2more on the way and a zine we are finishing. Sure anything is possible but when was the last time this was accomplished? I meant the poems aren’t all that amazing but they are righteous & our intentions are/were pure & redemptive. Right now they are in my friends & family’s hands. Kelly pulled it all together. So suffice to say she is one of my untouchables. Of course the list gets major here from friends who sent money for backing the chaps & zine, books & beads, to a typewriter from Richard H. so Stacy, Erica, Julie, Richard H, Richard L. Jonathan, Joel, Reed, Chuck, Matt, Chrisanne, KiKi, Ben, Mom, Dad, Pat, Paul, Mark, Zack Matt, Mike, Jesse, Conroy, Elaine, Gene, Rob, Conrad, Thurston, Noah, Amanda & of course James Liddy, who reminded me of Oscar Wilde (De Profundis is his amazing journey of prison). I’m sure I forgot some and for that I’ll make amends but as you can see I got lots of amending to do. (this is where I am speechless & so loved) & it goes without saying I wouldn’t have made this without Evan.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


new poems by John Tyson


no longer lying

is it because I forgive myself
or could you no longer remain

when you're non-union in here
you can identify
every bird
species of grass
condensate blue
another killdeer scolds me

blood takes stand
where once thought


Spicer sung,
"the Poet is a radio"
Pound threw first ball @ Yeats,
"the Irish like contradiction"

Corso rolls out of bed aplop,
"let the sea be merciful"

killdeer possess magnificent melody
on occasion a falcon breaks in
sky caress sun as mother to child

"does blood wish to be in a seaport town?"
Notley quiets