Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Visit


My Dad came to see me today.  I knew he was coming because my little brother told me on Friday when I called home.  When I woke up I layed out my visitation set of blues.  Every inmate that gets visits has a special set of blues reserved as "viso-blues".  We wear the same outfit every day.  But when you come to see us we want to look our best.  We want to, for that one day, feel like a million bucks.  To remember what it felt like to dress nice for an occasion.  You may not know, but the blues we wear are clean pressed and set aside specifically for that visit.

I sat on my bed and waited until they called my name.  I then dressed and laced up my polished boots.  My boots are only for two things:  Visitation and Kickin ass.  The tips are polished to shine and look good poking out from under my pants.  They also look good arcing through the air in a roundhouse kick directed at someones teeth.

Laced up and feeling fresh I grab my pass from the officer and head to the f ront of the compound to the visiting park.  Once there, I stand in a line to enter.  They call us in 5 at a time.  "Strip down and place all your property on the table directly in front of you," the officer instructs.  You stand there in your bare feet on a cold floor shivering.  You are naked in a room of 5 inmates and 2 guards.  Seven men see you nude.  Well, six.  I see myself naked all the time.

You're directed to open your mouth and stick out your tongue.  Rub your finger along the inside of your gums.  Next you will brush your hair out and show them behind your ears.  The officer will then instruct you to lift your penis.  Then lift your testicles.  "OK, now I want you to turn around." "Bending at the waist reach behind you and spread open your butt cheeks."  While the officer looks into your anus he says, "please cough 3 times."  "I'm sorry, not hard enough."  "Please bend again and cough 3 more times."

If they are satisfied nothing is shoved inside your ass, you are then instructed to go ahead and dress. Once dressed, grab your pass and head into your visit.  I take a deep breath and walk out of my world and into some sort of fucked up pergatory.  The "in between".  I'm not quite in your world and you're not quite in mine.  Still, we will meet here, and for a few hours you will have your loved one back.  I will forget where I live and remember a life back home.

I scan the room to find you.  How much have you changed since I saw you last?  What did you put on to come and see me?  And I look to see if you are healthy.  A man like me wants to know in two years when I come home you'll be alive to see me free.  I need to see loved ones taking care of themselves so I have time with them once I'm home.  I want to see a lady that speeds up my heart and has it going on.  A woman who will compliment me and make me look good in these same old blues I wear every day of my life.  And if that's who came to see me, then I can give you a kiss.  I'll squeeze you tight like I may never see tomorrow.  I'll let my hand slide down and yes, I will feel your butt.  After all, I'm still a man.  About then a guard is approaching to tell me that's my first warning of the day. "Don't do that anymore".  That's fine, because I already did it, and it's worth a month in solitary to feel your butt.  Today it was my Dad.  No, I did not feel his butt.

I do squeeze him like it may be the last time.  One thing I know real well is loss.

We then walk to get into the line for canteen.  They sell food in the visitation canteen that we are unable to purchase at ours.  Besides, when you're here we could be at the food-court in some shopping mall.  It doesn't matter if its my Dad, Mom, brothers, sisters or a woman....you already removed me from my life here.  Standing in line forever like this doesn't matter.  We are talking, laughing and never even notice the line.  At the window finally, we pick some frozen entree and then head to the tower of microwaves.  I also purchased a photo ticket with the ham sandwich and Mellow Yellow.

We will warm the food and return to the table.  Where you will sit on one side and me on the other. I'll pop the top on your soda, then place it on a napkin to catch the condensation.  If you don't mind I'll unwrap your sandwich and put it on a paper plate.  Next to it I'll put the packets of mustard and mayonaisse.  Then pour some chips on the plate and ......lunch is served.  I also asked you what you wanted when we were in line so I could order for you.  This is all I have to show you how much I appreciate you taking to time to come and visit me.  While you're here I will serve you just to show you how special you are to me.

Then...its all over and it just barely began.  I know its coming.  I see the clock nearing the time you must go.  You see me.  You're smiling.  But on the inside I'm already crying.  Because I know soon you will go.  I will watch you finally realize its at the end. I'll make it quick for you.  I'm an escape artist.  "Don't cry, I'll see you again soon" I say.  If I seem cold at the end its because it's tearing me apart at the center.  One last wave as you disappear around the corner.  You're gone.  I won't even notice stripping nude and bending and coughing.  I'm still with you.  During the walk back to my life, this place will begin to tug me back.

Slowly, surely, I'm brought back....because the house always wins.




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Monkey See? Monkey Do!

Keeping up with the Jones'.  That's how you say it out there.

Way back when my sister helped me create the blog we discussed the day it might turn into a non-profit.  Years back we did inmate shout-outs.  Ways to open it to inmates other than myself.  Keeping families connected to their inmate.  It became a pain in the ass.  I was chasing down dudes to get them to write a shout-out because the larger portion of these men don't give a fuck about their family out there.

Prison got me clean and free from drugs.  I thought perhaps I would give back to others like myself. Maybe one day open a clinic or a rehab center.  And then life has come along and I think I'll keep it to me and my family.

In prison I'm know as the Hooligan.  Years back I tattooed it across my chest.  A week later some dude put it across his knuckles.  Then I put my date of birth on my knuckles and a month later a dude 3 bunks down does the same thing.

Lately it seems younger and younger kids are coming to prison.  They even have a mentor program. Like a big brother deal.  These kids find someone they think is cool and they latch onto you.  Most of them are from broken homes and never had a Dad.  So they seek to fill a void.

So they follow me around.  Tattoo my same tattoos on themselves.  Tell people they know me and we're friends.

The rapper T.I. sings a song-You Don't Know Me.  These dudes don't know me.  Is God playing some trick on me?  When they come around and bug me, put my ink on their body and say we're friends it pisses me off.

Now I have dudes who want to work out with me.  I'm a lone wolf.  If you come around  me, I've been jaded to wonder what you want from  me.  Its innocent enough and all they want is to be around a cool dude.   I suppose it's a compliment.

I made one kid.  She doesn't answer my calls half the time and she breaks my heart.  I don't need any more kids.  I really wasn't cut out for that shit.

If the neighbor comes home driving the same family sedan you just bought, you would probably be pissed.  What if their kids keep coming over because you cook better and you're cooler.  I would go over and tell their folks to get cooler because I don't need their kids at my house.

Am I just a dick?  Is God seriously trying to shape me different?  Because right now I don't want to be followed around.  I don't want you all standing around my bunk.  I don't want you stealing my tattoo ideas either.  Go get your own.  A rehab center?  I'm going to worry about staying clean myself.

I'm sorry that so many men make babies with women and then leave them.  The woman raises the kid the best she can but there's no Dad to play that role.  When you catch your first fish you want to brag to your Dad.  You don't want your Mom baiting your hook either.  A Dad should do that.  A Dad should drive you to ball practice and play catch with you.  On that note....

God bless the women who play both roles.  The problem is that some women can't and so there's a void.  Those are the kids coming to prison.

I'm an artist so I have some dude come stop me in the middle of some important shit I'm doing to show me a stick-figure he drew.  I'm thinking it sucks and he should find a different hobby.  Then that other person on the other shoulder speaks and I have to stop and give them some pointers.  Tell them they're off to a nice start and pat them on the back.

Lately that's been a battle.  I endure every day.  I didn't ask God for patience.   I know he would pull some crap like this.  Is it because I'm ready to go home?  I don't know.  I'm not sure what the lesson is here.

Prison has attempted to harden my heart.  I recognize it has, but I can quickly see it and fix it.  Some days I push away people who really love me because I have other ideas.  I don't mean to hurt anyone. Perhaps that's why I'm bombarded by people trying to soften the hard edges prison has painted on my life.

I challenge you to compliment someone today.  If you see someone working really hard at something, even if it looks like shit, tell them they're doing a nice job.  Even adults still need that pat on the back.

Much love to you, seriously...I mean that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Be Real

Have you ever drug your tired butt to work on a Monday and watched your boss come strolling by whistling a tune?  As you watch him walk by in his exceptional mood you think to yourself...."somebody got laid..."  Unfortunately we have all sat there and listened to a boss pop off about some shit that has you thinking..."must be that time of the month!"

It's the same way here.

One day the guard will allow you to eat a second tray of food and overlook you walking outside the yellow-line.  The next day the same guard is all over your ass because you're two minutes late to call-out.  They get so mad at us that we get a fire-drill at 4 AM on a Saturday morning when its 28 degrees.  Then they make you stand outside in your gym shorts for 20 minutes while they stand around and smoke cigarettes.

Over my time in D.O.C. I have learned to appreciate a convict guard.  That's a guard that come in with the same attitude every day.  And "if" they ever change their ways they will stop and listen to you if you approach them in a respectful manner and point it out to them.

There are other officers that are over the top on every call.  And for that reason there is a chain-of-command.  An officer puts you in cuffs and you know you weren't wrong, you have the right to ask "to see the Captain."  A good Captain will hear your side and then make the ruling.  Either you're headed to confinement or the cuffs are removed.

Personally I like the man who's the same day in and day out.  I try to live the same way.  If it's been working this far, why change it and possibly mess up something.  Just move on.

Even if the officer is a straight dick, just be a dick every day.  Then I can move around you.  Simple as that.  When you learn to do your time in this manner you are a "convict" as opposed to an inmate.  An officer will respect you for that was well.

I have learned to do my time this way.  Now with all the new changes it's turning things around a bit. Still, you make like a chameleon and adapt to the change.  I figure it's a good thing in preparation for life out there.

Weed was an illegal drug when I was growing up.  We were taught it was a drug and not to be used.  Now it's becoming legal and parents are having to teach differently.  Much like alcohol, it shouldn't be abused.  And if you're leaving the house every day and turning around to pick up something you forgot...Yeah, you may need to cut back some.

Our lives are ever changing.  Change is good.  I'm writing once again for Jailbird.  It's keeping me occupied and allowing me to vent.  On top of that I'm making new friends.

Thanks for stopping by.  Tell someone about this.  I get all the comments read to me and reply when someone wants to write.

I'm out in 22 months and I will continue to update the site so everyone can see what I've done with myself.  Before prison I was an addict.  This will become a way to stay accountable for my actions.  I ask you to stick around.  Contact me if you like.

Hopefully your boss got laid over the weekend and your day is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SHAWSHANK: The Final Redemption

There's a scene where an inmate manages to lock himself inside an office where he is able to use the security P.A. to broadcast music.  All across the prison men are pausing to stop and listen.  Perhaps one of the "realist" scenes in the movie.

Music knows no boundaries.  There's no fences, no concrete walls...only music that carries throughout.  The universal language that, whether in your native tongue or not, can cause you to stop, drop anything, and move to the music.

When I heard Rihanna sing, Love on the Brain, I stopped and was moved.

So much that I downloaded it onto my MP3.  It's not even that "love is on my brain".  Rather it's the passion and soul she puts into that song.  Perhaps it's the artist in me, but I find it amazing.

When you live in prison you latch onto things that free your mind from the confines of this place. Sleep certainly takes the first prize.  That's the easiest way to do time.

The next in line would be relationships.  I have been blessed with solid people in my corner both in here and out there.  Throughout our lives they come and go.  Some people grace us with their presence for a short time.  Perhaps they are angels God places in our paths to help us through extraordinary circumstances.  Others will walk the entire journey of our lives beside us.  My Mom has done that.

Some days you can argue that's just family and that's what they're supposed to do.  However, plenty of families don't show love and support for their members.  One little thing and the house is divided and nobody talks to old Uncle Tom because he pissed somebody off.

I'm not on that and I'm blessed non of my family is either.

I called home the other day to speak to my Mom and a little voice answers and says, "Hello Uncle Mike"...

It's my sister's daughter.  She doesn't know me other than the pictures of me on the fridge.  Well, and to know that my sisters all tell their children about their Uncle Mike.  So I'm alive and well back home.

I'll get home and the pieces will all fit once again.

I think there's love, loyalty and respect in a great family.

I've been gone and forgotten to some.  And they now take the bottom of my list of acquaintances.  It blesses me to see how my family has stood tall and kept me alive there with them.  And that's what's on my mind today.

I want to tell my family...you are the best team this man could ever have.  My hat's off to each of you.

Some people will never come to this place...and thankfully.  I'm not angry I came here.  Nor am I angry about the time I gave here.  Had I stayed free these past 10 years, life out there wouldn't have taught me the lessons I learned in here.  Joke about the school-of-hard-knocks...but I've been a pupil there all these years.

Touch the stove and you get burned, you'll really think hard and long before you do that again.  The person who is just "told" not to touch is much weaker than the one who was burned.

I am that dude now.  Took the lesson the hard way,  but I fully understand.  If you thought you knew me before prison,  you probably won't now.

I'm blessed my family has taken the journey in stride beside me.  This way we have all grown together.  And you reading this crap?  Well---we're growing together too.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Really!?!

On top of the three meals a day D.O.C. feeds, we have a canteen to purchase personal items to keep in our locker and eat from.  If  your fortunate enough to have loved ones who can donate to your cause.

The canteen sold top rolling tobacco for inmates to smoke until about four years ago.  The cost of treatment for inmates who developed lung cancer was killing "them" along with the inmates.  So tobacco products are no longer offered in the canteen.  This has caused them to become a highly smuggled product.

A pack of cheap cigarettes is purchased and after opened all the filters are torn off.  This down-sizes the product being smuggled.  It's packaged in what is called a bomb..  Tightly compacted and wrapped in cellophane.  Those cigarettes are called Cadillacs.

A pack of 305 Cigarillos cost $2.00 on the street.  Once inside these walls that mark-up is $50.00 per pack.

You don't smoke an entire Cadillac.  Instead it is quartered.  Each piece is sold for $2.00 in what they call a plug.  That plug is broken up and then rolled into a small joint looking smoke.  Since there are no rolling papers sold anymore, the closest alternative is pages from the Bible.

So your cigarette is smuggled as a Cadillac.  Broken into quarter plugs, then rolled up in torn up Bible pages for you to smoke.  You smoke unfiltered tobacco and then inhale all the ink printed on the pages.  Talk about getting your "daily bread".  A friend said they should call them HOLY SMOKES!

And I wonder how that's working to cut back on lung cancer for the Department.

Because a plug is $2.00 it causes most cigarettes to be smoked by two men.  They each donate a dollar.  Once they burn it down to a roach sized piece another man comes along and asks for the short.  That man keeps all the "shorts" until he can roll up his own roach-joint.  By the time he has enough he has small pieces that half a dozen men hove smoked from.  And they wonder why the cold and flu passes around so quickly.

I personally hate to see the Bible torn up and smoked from.  But, I live with a bunch of idiots.  Nasty people who do nasty shit.  Like the guy who, as he takes a piss, plucks out a few pubic hairs and sets them on top of the urinal.  Is that really necessary?  Or the man who picks his nose while he talks on the phone.  Wiping it on the wall next to it.  You have to wear rubber shower shoes while in the shower.  I won't even get into what's on the walls and floors in there.  You have to live in here, but touch as little as possible.

Maybe you've seen those rap videos where everyone has their hand in their pants or is grabbing their crotch.  I live that every day.  I make my phone calls on the phone that the man before me has his hand in his pants, then back on the phone.  Needless to say, I don't shake hands.  Prison makes you a fan of the fist-bump.  I don't know where your hands been so it won't be on  my hand.  What makes a man feel he has to readjust his pecker and spit during the entire conversation?  As if these men have went back to their animal instincts.  Why not just hike your leg on that post over yonder and pee on it?  Why must you have your hand in your pants?

And the officers know all about it as well.  they are constantly telling full-grown men to "Pull up your pants..." And..."get your hands out of your pants."

It's crazy.   I have grown so used to these things I barely even notice them.  Now I'm looking to come home and the transition process has already begun.  I see these things and shake my head, thankful I'll be leaving here.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

CRAZY QUIRKS VS INSTITUTIONALIZED

Sometimes I sit and watch the guys around me.  Prison does crazy things to dudes.  More severe cases are called institutionalized.  Those are men that once released don't stand a chance.  Freedom literally scares them and they will re-offend, just to come back to the life they know here.  A bed every night and three meals a day.

There are others that just develop crazy quirks.  Misfires if you will.  Don't laugh at an institutionalized man because if you do you should be ashamed.  Like poking fun at a mentally challenged person--you're just being an asshole yourself.

Men with weird unexplainable actions are interesting to observe.  Almost as good as a paid safari to watch a lion take down a wildebeest.

I would be a liar if I said this place hasn't affected me too.  My shoes are military precision paired and placed under my bed.  As soon as I wake up, before I even leave, my bed is made military style. Hospital corners and 6-inch cuff.  I slide it over to one side of the bunk so I don't sit on it and mess it up.  I'm not crazy.  That's so I'm inspection ready at any time.  If an officer has to stop and tell me to make my bunk, I'm dead wrong.  This means that instead of walking past, he's now lingering at my pad.  This means next I'm subject to a shake down, which I don't ever need.

I leave things matched and paired and slide to the edge of my bed.  This alerts me to anyone messing with my shit.  You have to do that here.  Maybe someone wants me gone and out their way, so they slide a shank or a cell phone under my mat or bunk.  They tip the cops off and I go in for something that wasn't ever mine.  I shake myself down every day just to make sure no one sets me up for the fall.

I lock my cup and bowl in my locker.  Never leave it out.  Someone could come put some bleach or Ajax in something to make you sick.  A few drops of simple Visine will give you the explosive diarrhea for two days.  These guys play dirty.  This is my life.

The cops play a hard game as well as the inmates.  Cops will lie on you to get you in trouble.  Maybe they know you're up to no good but can't ever catch you.  They put phones, dope and knives on dudes as well.  Then come shake you down.  You really have to stay in your own lane here.

So the silly shit I do and have become anal about is stuff to save my ass, if not my life.  Someone else probably watches me though...shaking down my shit...laid under my bunk like a mechanic doing an oil change and thinks..."what the hell is he on?".  One day I will no doubt drive a woman nuts if I can't shake this place.  I can.  I will.

Back here we just mess with each other.  I'm reading a book right  now.  I wondered why I kept reading this same page every time I opened the freaking thing.  Then realized my Bunkie keeps sticking my bookmark at page 85.  Thanks asshole.  But--these are the things you need to keep you sane.

My Bunkie has been doing time with me for five years.  He was at my last prison too.  He ran over someone with his car while on spring break in Panama City.  He was a college student at Florida State.  He killed the person.  He's doing twenty years.  That's my best friend.

The man who gets all the good books sent in that I read sleeps next to us in another bunkbed.  He likes motorcycles and we're going to ride to Sturgis for a bike week once I'm out.  He leaves six months before me.  He's been in for 18 1/2 years.  He did home invasions and assaulted a policeman. They gave him 25 years.

I've met some good people here.  They were not when they came in, neither was I.  Some just made a bad mistake.  One man comes here and changes to become a good person.  Another comes here and will leave a greater menace than he came.  A friend of mine states to always move forward....I like that.  Never forget where you've been and the journey you took to become who you are.

Before long this will become a fading memory.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GET EVALUATED

Prisoners begin their journey at a reception center.  Upon arriving you begin a  number of evaluations.  Where you are regarding your level of education.  Do you have any previous medical history?  Are you sane?  Do you have prior gang history?  A file is created for you.  This becomes your jacket and will follow you your entire stay in the Department of Corrections.  Every time you get into trouble, go to confinement or fail a G.E.D test, it's logged in your file.  When you transfer from prison to prison your file moves with you.

You have probably seen someone charged, on the stand, who is found mentally unable to stand trial. Others are tried and convicted but as soon as they're evaluated here, they are declared psychiatric patients and begin medication.  There are special prisons for those special folks where they can receive the "care" they need.

D.O.C. is similar to the army.  They have officers, Sergeants, Colonels and Majors.  As you climb the ladder, so does  your pay.  Some hire on and don't want the headache created with higher status. Others strive to climb that ladder.  We call them "G.I. Joes".

Another way for an officer to up their pay is when they are in high-security situations.  There are certain pay increases when you place yourself in high-risk situations with high-rick inmates.

I'm not certain what the D.O.C. is attempting but they are closing down some of the psychiatric facilities and placing those inmates into general population at lower security prisons.  One logical explanation is the pay rate would then be adjusted for officers in those situations.  The downfall is that now you have very unpredictable inmates living among everyone.

I have done my time by staying in my own lane.  Staying out of others way.  Finding the path of least resistance.  We are creatures of habit, so once you see the general movement...just carve out your little nest and go with the flow.  You can't do that when the playing field is unstable.

Unstable brains make unstable scenarios.  So now there's a new thing to be aware of.  These guys don't need a reason to stab you.  They wake up and the voices tell them what to do.  Stare in their direction too long and their mind sees you as a threat.  They sit at a table and stick their leg into the aisle.  The first dude who comes along and accidentally brushes them gets assaulted.  And you're supposed to look ahead and see all this shit.  It's a lot to have on your plate.  Especially for these young men who just came in.  They don't see all I've explained to you.  The view I have has come from years of dealing with this place.  You don't learn this stuff overnight.

So our lives have become a high-risk situation.  You already live in an unpredictable world where the staff make all the rules.  You are guilty until proven innocent.  I'm sure you have woke up and the kids are throwing a fit.  You can't find an outfit to wear.  You and your partner have words that leave your spirit troubled.  Finally, you're out the door with a hundred problems on your mind.  Unable to properly focus you don't see the traffic light is red.  You drive into the intersection, a horn honks, and suddenly a car screeches to a halt only inches from your door.  It's OK... your safe.

Now picture a 200 pound naked man chasing you with an ice poker because the demons told him to kill you.  This life is full of land mines...waiting for you to activate the trigger.

And some days I feel I navigate the mines in here as well as the ones out there.

Thankfully it's not much longer now.

Monday, January 9, 2017

REALITY THAT IS FAR FROM NORMAL

Prison is one crazy wild ride.  There was a time when stuff made me do a double take.  I find lately my feelings have dulled to a reality that's far from normal.

While working out the other day I looked around me and for some reason noticed the events occurring around me.  I was doing push-ups by the softball team dugout.  I looked at the bleacher area and two men sat facing each other giving hand-jobs.  I looked the other way...only to find those bleachers had the spectator section for this pocket pool tournament.

Not wanting to be distracted I cut across the yard to the soccer field.  Not that I find penis distracting, just the entire scenario was straight out of an adult film and I wasn't interested.

I continued with my work out and before long saw the yard officer approach 3 inmates sitting on the edge of the goal line.  The officer began to shake them down and took 2 water bottles full of home brewed wine.  The brewery consists of the ingredients being placed in gallon jugs and buried under the ground.  Wine burps while fermenting and if made indoors the officers will smell it and confiscate it.    When buried outdoors the risk is less, plus its then in a "common area" and nobody can be charged.

Well, except for these geniuses.

They were drinking on top of the mother lode.  After the officer saw the wine in the bottles he then began to search the surrounding area.  Soon after he dug up the entire 5 gallons, thus closing down A.B.C. liquor.  Never to worry, they'll plant more tomorrow.  Still, there's something going on everywhere you turn.

A few months back they quit running canteen from the rec field.  Men would go to canteen, buy groceries, and have to return to the rec field with their purchases.  A crew of dudes would jump them. One puts you in a choke hold until you black out, then they steal your stuff.  They break it up between 5 or 6 dudes so even if buddy goes to the cops, they'll never recover his shit.

Now you go to rec, or you stay in the dorm and go to canteen.  Many dudes won't even step onto the rec field because they are already being hunted.  There may be cameras in the dorm but they don't have them on the rec field.  Thus the yard is where dudes go to handle their business.  You know...drink, get a hand-job and do some pull-ups.

I work out.  Five days a week.  When I leave prison my health is all I'll walk away with.  It matters to me that I have a body than can last and carry me where I need to go.  And...I'm not going to let some little group of punks take my shit.  I carry a saying..."you may beat me.  But I'll teach you not to do it again."

Ha!  My mom makes wine.  Yeah, she bought a home brewery kit.  Except she doesn't have to bury it. On top of making wine she also types this stuff.  Then my Aunt posts it.  It's a family affair.  If I take all of you through a day in my life, my Mom and Aunt come with us as well.  Sorry guys for bringing you along today.  Still...I think you need to understand all this.

Friday, December 30, 2016

THE DEMONS THAT LURK IN THE NIGHT

Perhaps you've seen the TV  drama Orange is the New Black?  Some of my family watch it to get a better idea of what my world is like on this side of the fence.  In your world you punch a guy over an argument and chances are it was captured on someone's cell phone camera.  The police are called and you likely catch an assault charge.

Where I live, someone turns a straightened piece of fence into an ice-poker.   They sharpen the end on a piece of concrete until it's a fine point.  Then they wait until you're asleep, sit on you chest and drive that metal over and over into your gut until they are pulled off you by either the police or another inmate.  They are then cuffed and taken to confinement.  Chances are they will get 30 days in the box. Usually they transfer one of the dudes out.  Other times they don't care and release both back to the compound.

My first prison was called Gulf CI.  It has a reputation just as bad as Florida State Penitentiary.  The day my bus arrived at the Gulf the guard informed us that when we stepped off there would be two lines.  One line would take you back to the compound.  The other would be for check-ins.  "Check-ins" are inmates who are in fear for their life and are scared to be in general population.  Both lines began to fill.  I chose the compound.

Prison is full of these choices every day.  You may be headed to chow and see three dudes creeping along the side of the line.  Each one has a hand inside his pant leg.  That concealed hand holds a lock in a sock, a razor melted into a toothbrush handle, or an icepick.  You learn to watch the road in here.

Out there you wait for the light to turn green, check the intersection, then proceed.  In here, we look for the dudes going against the main flow.  It may be the man bent over tying his shoe.  He stopped so he can fall back  and let the man he's supposed to attack begin to pass him.  Then  he quickly stands up and jumps behind the man while slicing his throat.  You learn to watch for the thing that doesn't make sense.

We have a saying here..."like a cat".  Meaning to stay on point with cat like senses at all times.  When you see your buddy with his head down you reach out and smack him in the nuts.  The idea is to keep your friends on point so they don't get slit.

When your buddy runs to chow and leaves his radio on his bunk or his locker unlocked, you go take his radio and clean out his locker.  When he comes back you let him think all his shit was stolen. After he trips for a minute you give him his shit back.  Again...the idea is to condition him for the real thing.

You leave your car unlocked out there, or your home, chances are they'll be ok when you get back.  In here?  That's not the case.  Everyone in here is criminal minded.  They look for the angle.  Like a con-man.  They see targets.

You go to canteen and come back with a full bag.  Everyone sees that.  They now know your house is full of goodies.  So then they watch you.  It may take a couple days, but they wait for you to slip.

You grab your toilet paper and head to take a shit.  When you get back to your locker, it's been cleaned out.

You go take a shower.  Leave your radio on the bunk and in that 10 minutes you were gone, so is your radio.

Blessings don't wait around the corner for you in here.  An evil man does.  Waiting to harm you.

Welcome to my life!!!

I may have thought I was tough before prison...that notion makes me laugh now.

After 8 years in here these walls have changed me.  I see every angle.  Anything out of place could be a trap.  It fucks with my head.  This place has tried to take everything good away from me.

I get on the phone and put on another face for my family.  You don't want them to see this.

But, in the end, the house sometimes wins.  It causes me to be too hard to the people who love me.  I have to back pedal almost daily.

Sometimes my life here carries out to my people.  It's hard to live this life when you get your head out there on the free side of the fence.

Prison gets worse and worse.  Watch the news.  Where do you think all those bad people go?  They come here...to be my Bunkie.  They stand in the line beside me at chow.  They work out by me on the rec field.

Please stop to consider this if you have a loved one incarcerated.  This isn't a TV show.  Nobody walks off the set here at 5 PM.

We get to stay right here with all the demons that lurk in the night.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Hollidays

 "I've fallen and I can't get up" is something I hope to never say.  I have established myself as a solid, upright business man even among a world of greedy bastards.  My entire time in prison I have made my way.  I learned how to tread lightly around both guards and inmates.  I have been solid in every arrangement and people understand they can rely on me.  I went from an all-out crack head to being that dude.  My word is golden...you can put it in the bank.  I can give you my word, dap your fist and you can walk away knowing it's as good as done.

Your word and what you do are all you have in prison.  Doing someone wrong in here could lead to you trying to digest two feet of iron through your stomach.

I find myself begging my daughter to please answer me when I call.  Please take and hang with me for 15 minutes.  Seriously, I literally beg her to chill with me.  So, I think somewhere along the line she thinks her daddy is some soft push-over.  My motto here is..."If I know you I fuck with you.  If I don't know you, then fuck you."  But my daughter doesn't see that.  She sees her dad bugging her for her time.  I probably annoy her more than anything.  This is funny.

I watch these gangsters in here.  I watch them beat people up.  Fight and all that other stuff.  But you better never talk about their Momma or their kids.  Even the nastiest dude still has a Mom and his little girl will bring out his soft side.

I'm getting ready to call it quits and go home.  This is nearly over for me.  And...I'm blessed my daughter sees none of this and I'm still a dork that bugs her.

My mom and sisters talk to me about their jobs, their men, and their a-hole boss.  I hear about their children, their bills and I'm just a big brother.  My mom simply sees her oldest son.  I call my daughter's mother and we laugh about the kids.  I hear about what's for dinner and sometimes, just sometimes, I forget that I am a convicted felon serving 12 years in prison.

Sometimes it slips my mind that I broke all the rules and at one time actually wanted to be the baddest kid on the block.  Today I probably am one of the biggest dogs on the street but that doesn't matter no more.  I'm just a dorky Dad and somebody's big brother.

Happy Holidays.  Don't give up on the people you love.   Time changes things.