PRISON JOURNAL


...Prison, a strange way of life, with so much curtailment, so much inner time, reflective
time, one can either melt into a plodding existence or, as i've tried to do, push the
mental...but the confinement doesn't allow one to know if it means anything. Living in a
vacuum, distended voices and letters, my only contact, that and books, a world so blank
and mundane that it's hard to realize that outside there's a whole world of color,
differences, of energy that is directed towards something besides a politically correct
statement. It's made me stranger than i was, strange to say, but i know i'll never be the
same, the modification has become second nature, and i think i'll always retain a hermit-like
mental frame...

...Everyday ...Klunk ...wwURRRrrrr/Thnk-Thnk-Thnk/rrrurrurrr. "Last Call for The Chow
Hall, The Chow Hall WILL CLOSE IN 5 MINUTES, Last Call," gggrrrrrrrrarara,
BONK....shuuuuuu, shuuuuu....wwUKKrrrrrrrrr. "... me da MOPbucket moFO".

...Eyes open. Rough sawn bed-slats, a dark-brown-bottom-bed-board-overhead, the last
and first sight daily. Sounds of a buffer, Bonking-brooms, off-tune spanish-songs and the
day begins. Hop up, well more realistically it's roll over, out of the wooden-framed bunk-
bed, feet on cold-old linoleum, pull on the boxer-shorts that've been wrapped around my
right foot... (to sleep nude is considered aberrant, prisoners are wildly homophobic AND
there' s always the chance that one will be awakened by some officer calling for a piss test,
so keep those boxers close). Standing up t'wixt the bedframe and wall, there's about 3
feet, pulling on the shirt/pants of tan, make up bed, "ALL INMATES MUST LEAVE THEIR CELL
IN PROPER ORDER", i toss off the army/green jacket and ratty sweatshirt, serving as extra
blankets, "EACH INMATE WILL HAVE 2 BLANKETS, 1 WOOLEN, GREEN, 1 COTTON, WHITE".
Three scoops of cheap freeze-dried coffee, three cubes of sugar with an equal portion of
instant-non-dairy creamer... all sloshed together in my plastic mug with tap-hot-water,
stirred with plastic spoon and gulped down... another day falls open.

"WORK CALL, WORK CALL, ALL INMATES REPORT TO THEIR WORK ASSIGNMENTS,
THIS IS WORK CALL!"

...7:30, off/off to work, past whirling buffers, down hallways gleaming-polished, past the
officer's station, out the door. Walk over to yet another building, down hallway-polished to
this post and turn on my small god, my typewriter, this savior... The transition short,
generally no more than 15 minutes t'wixt awake time and job-sitting... the first cigarette
and necessary distance from reality...

7/2/03
...here sitting listening to the drips splashing into buckets, buckets arranged
under the A/C return duct, it sweats, it drips, the humidity's so high a constant
condensation... drip... drip... drip. Yet all else quiet, another day in 'the-box' room, no class,
no teacher, me and this fine machine, a mild hum radiates outta some back-corner and the
sounds of the keys hitting the paper, rather nice it is... solitude. About the only time an
inmate has solitude is when/if --like today-- the staff are off doing... whatever they do
when they're doing... and of course they must trust me just enough. Not to mean someone
doesn't, periodically, stick-head through open door and check, but that for the most part i'm
alone... at least as i write this... Rather nice Totally and damn rare. So much so i hardly
know how to act, should i write purple-prose, wild rants or intense aesthetics... t'would
seem i'm more able under duress and high-noise, and that without the air escapes my
balloon fast-hurry. I'd have to suss it's just the state of affairs, for so long i've had direct
purpose, a daily goal, some self created anxiety, something to focus about... and now it's
over, now is only the rush of days... and i just don't care, i'm phaselessly blank... barely
able to hear the drip/drip/drips. Nice that.

... oh if i were really ambitious --i tell self -- i'd utilize this time to make a list, read a
book, create a file, write a better letter, something deep and touching, something
insightfully/meaningful...Ohwell, drip/drip. Spent an hour slow-drenching a couple of trees,
some time peering at the tiny-pines, who daily thicken new top growth, whose hormones
are into branching, who's bottom needles, those first seed-sprouted, are now dry/brown
and hanging to drop. The hose flipped and soaked my feet, rather nice that too, i and the
floor match, wet-drip-splash. In the background's a thump/thump of some large and ugly
machine... but filtered through the cinderblock walls it's muted/dull... like the awareness of
it. I've reached the chill mode --thank goodness-- and can only hope i can hold it till... well
forever actually. I'm just as sure something --be it boss or life-- will interject/intervene, if
not soon then sooner; and yet/yet it does not seem rushed, a slowness without the sense
that it's pointless. Even the dripping's slowed.

... the book, The Blank Slate's a polemic and as such has lost its taste, i read for the
data, skipping whole passages... and have no idea now why i bother, i'd have to guess i
think there's something therein... something that can fill me up... but i'm at my brim
thirstless, more interested in observation than knowledge. 16-yrs and it's down to this...
not exactly holding breath but the slow in/out of moving through-time, sitting in an empty
room, me and the drips. In my most extreme mental fantasies i'd have never imagined,
alone in quiet and without thoughts, without even the drips. In an hour, in a day, the
agitations will resume... yet at this exact i'm thankful even peaceful, suspended animation;
not even words for this page. How peculiar, how wonderful... and how easy too.









2003 Underground Voices