Thursday, October 12, 2017

FLASHBACKS

My parents bought me a guitar for my 16th birthday.  It was really special.  And I sold it for $75.00 a year later.  And then about 5 years later I bought it back from the same guy.  And pawned it a few months later to buy drugs.

My Grandpa bought us all a gun when we reached hunting age.  A rite of passage.  I misplaced that gun somewhere in my travels.  Since Grandpa is dead now, I really wish I had that gun.

I teased a girl named Margarette when I was in elementary school.  Glue on her chair, tacks on her chair and of course about her name.  Margarette?  For real?

I found out in high-school that she took her own life.  Margarette was a foster child.  Passed from house to house and somewhere in the mix of all that I was teasing her.  I can't help but feel I contributed to her discomfort in life.  That weighs  heavily on my mind.

And then the way I did my daughter's mother.  We were kids.  Not quite 18 and about to have a baby.  To this day I don't know why, but I cheated on her while she was pregnant with our baby.  It makes me ashamed of myself on the highest level that I would do her like that.

And now I look at my daughter that is like some high bred version of the two of us and I see her mom at 18 again and it makes me see myself at 18 and sometimes I get lost.  There was so much good in me at 18, yet how could I do something so stupid?  And I pray no boy ever breaks my girl like I did so long ago.

As I lay in bed at night, as I have done for so many years, those are the things that reach me, those are the voices that speak to me.  Margarette.

We've all made mistakes.  Do we own them?  I believe I am.  And for this next year, (my last year) I will continue to soul-search.  Prison took me out of life at 28.  Everything hit pause.

But it didn't out there.  And the fact is, I'll be a 40 year old man.  That's going to be hard to pull  off.  You can ask my daughter, sometimes she's more mature than I am. 

I don't tease anyone anymore.  I won't cheat on a woman either.  I keep things that people give me.  I have all my letters and cards from over the years, and I keep my clothes on in public.

My epic fails have been my best lessons.  It just hurts, you know.....
                 
                                                                                            the falling down!

Monday, October 2, 2017

FALLING DOWN

Today is Tuesday, sheet day.  Everyone strips down their bunk and sends their bedding in to be washed.  As they return from laundry I hear the hustlers speech begin..."I make beds for a soup.  I'll fluff your mattress for a dollar!!"

I sit here and look around me, I feel myself disconnect from the world I have known for 9 years.  The dinner meal is called and we make the walk to the chow hall.  There is no chicken-on-the-bone anymore.  Now there's chicken nuggets that are 90% breading.

As I wait in line to eat I watch 50 people cut the line and pass by me.  It makes me angry.  I look at the back of the mans head who just cut me in line.  I think about whether a bat would connect better than a golf-club.  Perhaps a 9 iron would drive the point home.

I recognize the rage.  In my head I address it, then slowly walk it back from the edge.  Once under control I slowly let out the breath I realize I was holding.  I remind myself I'll go home soon.  It's time to let it go.  This life, it's rules, the anger, the disrespect.

I get inside and take my tray as it slid out the flap.  Then I look at the next table to see who is sitting there.  Is that the prick that just cut me off?  Yeah, it is, and another dude who grinds me.  So I walk by the water cooler to get my drink and fumble around just long enough for that 4-seated table to fill.  Then I hustle up to catch the next table.

I keep my head down and eat with a purpose.  The quicker I can exit the better.  I'm already hot, sweaty and short fused.  The air is thick and the officer is telling us to hurry, he needs spaces for more men to eat.  I don't taste the food as I rush to eat.  I don't need the officer coming over to yell at me, I'm already at the edge.

I finish my tray and enter another line to dump my tray and slide it into the dish window.  As I exit the chow hall, I am greeted by a wall of officers.  One points at me and tells me- "Against the wall!"  I walk to the wall and put my hands against it.  He kicks my legs apart and does a full body pat down-search.  He's looking to see if I tried to snuggle the chicken nuggets back to sell in my dorm.  As men do so they can get a dollar to buy them a cigarette to smoke.  Once he's satisfied I don't have the nuggets he tells me to kick rocks.

I walk back toward my dorm.  On that walk I pass the Lake this institution is named after.  I see a ripple in the water and a turtle pokes his head up and looks at me.  I'm envious of his protective shell.  I watch him watching me for a minute.  It's a simple thing but it brings my focus back.  I'm full and the day is over.  My bed is made and it has clean sheets.  I have made my bed and I must lie in it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Well Rounded Man

Men's Health claims the well-rounded  man should own a nice watch, a good pair of dress shoes and at least one good suit.

I thought of this when they came in and told us to prepare to evacuate for the hurricane.  "Put personal hygiene items in your pillowcase and leave all the rest behind."  They gave us five minutes to pack.

This is my second hurricane evacuation since being in prison.  I've been involved in a statewide lock down.  I've been in an organized sit-down to protest our food portions and the menu.  I've seen stabbings, robberies, beat-downs and assaults.

I don't own a suit, watch or dress shoes.  But I have a belt full of notches.  A life full of  experiences that have created a well-rounded man.  I stand tall in my boots.

This entire adventure has been just that.  Every experience is another chapter.  I did call my mom and tell her my daughter gets my Harley if anything should happen to me.  Aside from my daughter, my Harley is the coolest thing that's mine.  I would want her to have it.

I'm at 14 months now.

I've had people I love pass on.  I've seen my little girl graduate high school and move out.  I've watched my family pull together under extreme circumstances and grow as people.  I came, I saw...some days I conquered while other days I was beat down.  I've loved.  I've lost.  I've let bad women hang around longer that I should and let good women go sooner than necessary.  My decisions have put me up against the wall and at times behind the wall.

You know what?  I'm still fucking standing.  My life has never been dull or boring. 

Well-rounded?  Probably.
Survivor?  Definitely!

I can buy a watch and nice shoes.  Money can't buy the things that make a man a man.

You read about my life behind bars.  Soon that will change and you will then follow me as I move through life once again....from out there.  I can't wait to live the next chapter of my life.

















Friday, August 11, 2017

Thanks.... May I have another?

Doing time feels like rolling around in the dryer on tumble-dry.  Just about the time you're in a groove, they change it up.

The Snickers Ice Cream Bar on canteen tastes so good it's only fitting they remove it from the menu.  Tuesday dinner of fried chicken was such a smash it's been replaced now with some square patty of unknown identity.  Their posted mission statement is, "Care, Custody & Control".  The underlying facts are try and fuck us on every corner.

So when they woke me and told me to transfer, I rolled my eyes and figures..."here we go again."

A few months later and here I sit at a psych-camp called Lake C.I.  Could be that I'm finally at the end of this, but I'm truly not giving a fuck.

As in, the guards can have this shit, just like the men who stay when I leave can have this shit.  It's not my cross to bear anymore.

Knowing how they work, I'm certain it wasn't to better-my-stay when they moved me.  I simply met their quota for a bunk change.  It's like living in the handicapped-parking-stall...

Everyone who pulls in is an idiot.  Luckily, I'm an idiot as well.  So I fit right in.

The camp I transferred from has had a large increase in violence.  In some cases resulting in deaths.  While I'm over here at the lake watching a 6 foot alligator swim the pond us guys named "Wally".  Wally spends his days chasing ducks and eating food dudes toss over the fence to him.  Wally doesn't give a fuck and neither do I.

For once D.O.C. finally slipped up and handed me a blessing.  If I could only get me a Snickers Ice Cream to go with my happy meal.

Because I'm so dang happy over here.

The countdown is at 15 months.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ain't Life Beautiful!

It should be.  If it's not, what are you doing about that?

This prison recently started a music program.  Battle of the Bands.  There is some serious talent in here.  Band's rehearse on the rec-field under the pavilion.
While walking to chow the other day a band kicked into "2 Tickets to Paradise"...Steely Dan.

The day was cloudy and overcast.  There was a cool breeze and this mellow aura. When the band hit the notes and began the chorus, nearly every man in the chow line began to sing.  For a moment I forgot where I was and I too began to sing.

We were laughing and in that moment I took a mental-picture.  A memory I will carry with me forever.  One day soon I'll find myself in paradise.  A cold beer in my hand and that song will begin to play and I will ask a pretty lady to dance.
Or, perhaps I'll just sit there and smile.

Paradise isn't  a destination, but a state of mind.  Something you can achieve anywhere.  Paradise isn't a person.  Paradise and that perfect feeling come from inside you.  When you leave behind the restraints, daily life and responsibilities create, you, my friend have found your paradise.  That could be your tub full of bubbles.

On my walk to chow, nine years into a ten-year sentence, I was in paradise.

One day soon I'll be sitting under a tiki hut looking across the ocean.  I'll grab my beer and walk to the juke-box.  Slide some quarters in and select the song.  Truth is, I find priceless moments in here.  I'm bringing that home with me so every day can be special.

My Cosmopolitan Magazine had dating tips.  I read them  because how better to understand women than  from women.  It stated women want a confident man who takes control and listens.  A man who is comfortable with himself and loves to laugh.  How do they feel about tattoos?

Friday, July 21, 2017

(KING OF THE TRAILER PARK)

I sit here and consider the future.  Growing up in a large family was a struggle. We had plenty of love but fell short on the extras.  Since  prison broke me down, I had to rebuild this thing.  I've taken the time while here to really think out my future plans.

There were kids I grew up with that were born into money.  They had all the cool-shit.  I went to their house to ride on their 4-wheelers, drive their snowmobiles and ski behind their boat at the lake.  I've seen these people never appreciate what they had.  It might have been the same for me, who knows. What I do know is I'm coming home at 40 to get mine.

I will continue to write for this blog once I'm home.  Even when I'm the owner of a multi million dollar business.  I'll do it to prove a point.  The same point I'm coming home to prove to my daughter.

I'll show you along with my family what I can do.  I'm  going to own the boat my daughter takes her friends on to ski.  I'm going to own the cabin up north we vacation to in the summer.  Every member of my family has children and struggle to get by. They sacrifice and go without.

I used to sled down the hill during winters.  Mom made us cocoa when we got in. Mom drove us to the park on the lake and we swam together.  We pulled each other in the red wagon.  We caught lightening bugs in jars and we played in the sandbox.

And here we are now.

Big brother has been in prison for the last 10 years and everyone else made babies and struggles.  We are stretched all across the states.  It's hard to get everyone together because there's so many different schedules.  Not to mention it's difficult to take a week off from work when you know the bills will be there waiting when you get home.  And when you all do get together nobody pulls in with a trailer full of fun toys to ride on.  When you head to the lake everyone is still swimming to the buoys because nobody has an extra 20 grand to buy a boat.

Your back aches after camping because you have a tent.  Nobody can budget in a 30 thousand dollar motor home so the adults can use a real bathroom and sleep on a real bed.  What if Grandma and Grandpa want to come?

Every family should have a rich uncle who pulls in with all the cool-shit nobody else has.  And you should drive it like you stole it.  It's no fun when you're told to be extra careful, we don't want to break anything.  Don't tell me that.

I've sat behind these walls and considered the quality of life I seek.  It will bring me joy to tow my boat to the lake so all these sad all little nieces and nephews of mine can get a bit further than the buoys.  I want all these little boys to ride a dirt bike.  My daughter hasn't rode a dirt bike.  How will she ever ride a Harley next to me unless she learns on a small bike first?

If you're blessed and can play hard, hell-yeah!!  Maybe you struggle to save for that special yearly trip.  That's special.  But if you can't find the up from the down check me out.  That's exactly why I'm coming home to do what I'm going to do.  To show that anyone can change their future.

My daughter told me her Aunt was telling her how many prisoners reoffend. They get home and forget the loved ones who stuck beside them while they were in.  They go back to the old life of crime.  I have a few things to show that Aunt. Especially since my daughter told her--"not my Dad, he has a plan- he'll do fine".

I really can't wait to show you.  And I will.  Right here on Jail Bird.  Except I won't be the jail bird anymore.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

"ESTABLISHED 2010"

Some dudes learn to tattoo so they can support their habit.  They make you pay ahead of time.  By the time they get around to your art, they have already used your money on smoking, drugs or gambling.  When they finally begin your art their heart isn't in it.  They just slap some shit on you to cover the money you paid.  An artist who takes pride in their work and attempts a masterpiece every time is rare in prison.  I am that dude.

The tattoo man makes money in prison.  It's one of the best hustles going in the chain-gang.  If you sell dope the cops run down on you all the time.  Not to mention the inmates who try to rob you.  But they usually let the tattoo guy slide. At least they aren't out to get you.  If they walk up on you, it could go either way. The inmates want your services and most guards see it as an honest hustle.
When you're good, you're haters will be the other artists.  They don't want to be in the same dorm as you because you get all the business.  I've been the best on every pound I've been on since shortly after I began to tattoo over 7 years ago.

The name Hooligan is known throughout the prison system.  I don't attempt to compete with other artists.  I really don't see them like that.  I compete with the last piece I did.  How far have I come since my art a year ago.  The haters fuel me.  If you don't have opposition your clearly not doing anything.

I don't tattoo because I have to.  I do it because I love it.  It's the only time I feel 100% removed from my life here.  I'm an able bodied man with a gift.  Why take advantage of my loved ones?  This also ensures I'll come home a seasoned veteran of body art.  Once free, my customers will reap the benefits of all the years I spent tattooing in here.

I've paid my dues.  Every time I sit down to work I know it could land me in solitary confinement.  It's a risk I take to be able to come home with a talent that will make me a small fortune.

I have a look out man I pay to watch for me.  He yells something like: HOT WATER or MAIL CALL , when the police come to do security checks. Hopefully I have time to stash things away before they're up on me.  We sit on the floor between bunks.  Sometimes dudes sit nearby playing cards to block for us.  It's a team effort.  Being a tattoo man in prison is dangerous. The police don't come for the man getting the ink, they want the artist.  I'm the one going to jail.
I've tattooed men's thighs, crotches, butt-cheeks, groins, faces, ears and heads.  In seven years I've been to confinement 3 times for my art.

I can't wait to come home and not stress about the police.  The shout that signals the cops are coming.  Your heart beats faster, your stress-level spikes and your concentration is lost.  It's a real pain in the ass.  I still love what I do.  I know all about my clients.  How long before they go home, why they're in prison, how old their kids are.  It's a personal experience.  I will enjoy putting my art on women one day.  So far it's been a one-sided-affair.  Most of all I'm blessed to know I can be happy to head to work.  Long hours won't be a problem.  It will never compare to sitting in a square box watching rats run across the floor........

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

REPLACEABLE

A man I know recently sold enough of his shit to travel to France and meet a woman he met online.  Straight Jerry Springer action.

Leaving behind a wife and kids.

                        * TO TAKE THE PLACE OF SOMETHING*

That's the definition of replaceable.

When  I came to prison people in my life were replaced.  Bad apples replaced for good ones.  I'm certain people have done that with me as well.  But what about true love?

I believe lust and infatuation are often times confused with love.  Love lasts for the long haul.  Standing the test of time.  When you love someone and they pass away, in time one heals.  Given the proper time one could learn to love again. However, you will always love that other person and their memory.  When you simple replace someone, that certainly wasn't love.  Perhaps infatuation but not love.

What's it matter anyway?

If your able to move on with your life and find happiness, that's priceless.  Just be careful not to confuse that with love.  If you think of it as true love, then perhaps you should go back and thank the end of your last relationship.  Since had it not ended, surely you wouldn't have found your true love.

People live their entire lives seeking true love.  If you've found some way to find it in every relationship then by all means share your secret.

I consider these things while I sit here.  Perhaps  you've done the same.  After a few relationships, ones idea of love will change.  At some point you really do just wish to be happy.  Some are simple afraid to be alone.  Their life isn't complete without someone else to track mud on their floor.

I'm looking for happiness within myself, and look for someone else who does the same.  Since it's only then that you can truly learn to love.  When you look for your happiness in another, you will always feel let down.  Then again, perhaps true happiness can be found in France!

Friday, June 9, 2017

LOOSE SCREWS...

"What level of crazy are you?"

That's what I ask myself as my bunkie explains his plan to me.  He's telling me how he got the cuts on his arm.  I was never a cutter but I've seen plenty.  All those little marks carefully sliced into the skin.  Evenly spaced, side by side.  The work of concentration.  He's exploring why he made these cuts.

Once they begin to bleed, he puts water on them so the blood thins out.  He can then wipe the blood over his body.  The face, the shoulders, the arms.  So this isn't just a cutter, this is a real live whack-job.  Two fries short a happy-meal doesn't even begin to touch this.

A cutter generally seeks control.  Sometimes needing attention.  A cry for help, to be noticed.  Then it turns into an addiction, the same as with drugs or alcohol. But a typical cutter isn't wiping their blood and painting themselves red.

I should mention this is my cell-mate in confinement.  I don't have the luxury of walking away when he begins to explain this to me.  We are stuck.  Our cell is 8' by 6'.  And he's now sleeping below me on the bottom bunk.

I can't help but sit there and as I listen, I'm mentally hanging my head.  All the pure shit-piles I have managed to step in over my lifetime.  Talk about some tight squeezes.  This is where I live.

A real-live "psych-camp" with psychological madness everywhere.  Right now it's sleeping on the bunk below me.

I think prison is a test.  A time-out for you to consider the choices that brought you here.  Right now it's my life.  Out there life consistently bombs you with one experience after the next.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  There's a large level of distraction involved.  Prison causes focus.  You better focus when the dude in your cell likes to wipe blood on his body.  I'm not real worried about the cookies in the oven or switching the laundry or picking Timmy up from school. I'm focusing on keeping one eye open tonight while I sleep.

My daughter will turn 20 in August.  She knows I'm free soon.  Our relationships developed with me in here.  Soon that will change.  I've never thrown my hands in the air while riding a roller-coaster next to my kid.  I've never looked over and seen her smiling from the passenger seat.  I've never seen her upset and throwing things around her room while telling me she hates me.  She wants to know if I've changed.  There's a tattoo down my side that states..."There once was a boy, Before you stands a warrior".   The things that didn't break the boy, they made the man.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

HOPE

Everybody flick, flicking a cigarette...

Hold that thought...I'm on some new shit.  I got one hand in my pocket and the others waving good bye.  Once I hit your side of the fence that finger will be flipping a bird.

When I was a little boy they had this coin-donation-contraption at the front of Wal-Mart.  You dropped your coin in a slot and the coin dropped into this funnel tube.  It rolled a big wide circle at the top and as it fell lower, the narrow cone made it spin faster.  It went faster and faster until it dropped into the small hole at the bottom.

I'm that fucking penny right now.  The slow-role of this thing is over and it's at the trail's end.  I just pictured a kid drinking his milk-shake.  It's all gone, but he's steady sucking the straw in that one corner to get the last tiny bit.  All you hear is that annoying sucking sound.  That gurgling sound that signals the shits empty little homie.

Unlike that milk-shake, prison isn't good till-the-last drop.  I am certainly not around here trying to suck up the last drop.  And that just came off really gay.

I want a filet-mignon, cooked medium with a side salad.  I'll be drinking a Michelob light and shooting tequila.  Take the shot, nurse the beer.  Slow ride it till the piano break.  I won't be drinking socially.  I'll be drinking to fine-tune a monumental buzz that will walk me to the edge.

I'm having one for all the cool ass men that had to stay behind.  The brothers I leave behind this fence.  I've been watching them leave around me...One by one...  And I knew that one day, that would be me taking this walk for the last time.  I'll have made it.  I did my bid.  Manned up,  screwed down and took a direct hit.  10 years lived inside a fence.

Nope, I'm gonna dance with the devil.  Get his shit off my chest.  If I bring elements of this life back to society, I will fail.  I can't afford to do that, failure is not an option..

In order for me to be the man I want to be I have to walk from this just like I quit smoking 5 years ago.  Not one puff, not one drag-never hit one again.  If I allow this place to come home with me than I let them  win.

Clean break.  Walk away.  It's over.  Now I'm the dude who gives the next guy hope.  Man UP. Handle your business and get your ass home to  your family.