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

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