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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Confinement

Its been awhile since I took a time-out.  Stepped away from regular every day prison-life and was placed in confinement.  Over my time in D.O.C., nearly 9 years now, I have visited confinement at every prison I have done time at.  Unless you walk a squeaky-clean line and have luck on your side, you will sooner or later visit prisons Bed N Breakfast.

Confinement can work at you different ways.  When you come to the box, you lose your previous life.  You won't get your same bunk back.  Chances are you won't even be in the same dorm.  Sometimes they steal your shit before the cops can pack it up to store.  You will be reassigned a new job once released, so if you really had it going on for yourself, the box can screw that up.  Not to mention your loved ones call up here to find out why you're not calling home anymore and are told what type of buffoonery your up to.  These things will gnaw at you when you come into confinement.  Not to mention they can take your gain time and cause you to do longer in prison.

I'm not a fool.  Well, not full-time.  I calculate the worst-case-scenario before I ever walk out on thin ice.  So, this trip to confinement was a perfect example of worst case scenario.  I have a year and a half to do here yet and need to carry my own weight, I picked up the tattoo machine once again.  It has been my hustle in the chain gang for nearly six years now.  I'm one of the best.

I should have hired the best look-out I could find.  Instead I relied on someone who decided to take a break at the same time the officer decided to do a security check.  I'm absorbed in my artwork when I hear someone saying, "O-shit, she's right there!!"  By the level of panic I heard in the voice, I knew she was like....Right There!  And she was.

Needless to say she wasn't feeling a wide open tattoo parlor in her dormitory that day.  And, sometimes blue eyes and dimples can't buy your freedom.  Trust me, I tried.  But when they tell you to "Turn around, cuff-up", you can save your breath.  You're taking a little vacation.

Tattooing, body piercing, branding and modifications constitutes 15 days confinement.  When I heard the panic  in the voice, I knew it was close so I slid the equipment as far away as possible and willed it to disappear.  When it didn't, it at least changed it to a "contraband" D.R. since I wasn't caught in the act.

I knew what I was up against.  This will not change the day I leave.  Nor am I upset that I misplaced my bunk and dorm.  I'm catching up on some sleep and some letter writing.  To appease the gods of fate, I needed to go on and get this over with.  Consider my dues paid.  No matter where the debt is paid, payment is still collected.

2018 Baby!!!




















Saturday, May 6, 2017

WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU ABOUT?

Life's a winding road and as I near 40 years old I'm asking myself that very thing (title of this piece).  Are you an employee, a single mom struggling to get by?  What's your "off-the-top" answer?  A name?  You have one.  But are you a part of something?  A team, a greater wheel?  And what are you about?  What would others say about you if asked that question?  Do you run and hide?  Bow down, give up and shrink away?  Or do you stand tall and give 'em hell? 

And what's your legacy?  What is the memory you will leave behind?  When you're young you don't stop to consider this.  But I'm getting older, it's how the cards fall.  When I slow down one day, when the edges begin to fade, the end draws near, will the light I leave behind be as bright as the one I walk into.....And that's what I'm asking myself.

My family has watched me get clean and free from drugs.  My mother has watched me grow into a man.  My daughter's mother has watched me become a dad who loves my child.  I get to watch my sister's son grow into a man.  I get to walk up on him and hear him tell his friends, "this is my Uncle Mike, I was named after him." And my other sister's daughter can introduce me to her friends and tell them she wrote me letters while I was in prison.  We were pen-pals.

I met my sister Grace's boys before they were born here in the visiting park of a prison.  And I put my hand on her belly and we took pictures to prove it.  When I get home I'm going to make grilled cheese sandwiches for them and then we're going to play catch in the backyard.  And my baby sister is going to look out her back window and smile.  She's going to see her big brother, who walked to the ends of hell and back, love on her boys.

I realize now this is what life is for.  Not a million bucks in the bank, but rather a million memories with the people we love.  I get to pile up my sister's daughters, my brother's little girl and me and my daughter get to take them out for ice-cream.  All them little faces smeared with ice-cream.  I want to smear some on my face and take a picture with them all.

It's crazy the stuff you begin to think about when you know your half-way to the end.  I may even be closer than that.  All the more reason to make every second count.

Here I am in the place where people fall between the cracks.  But I'm part of a bigger picture.  My family won't allow that to happen.  They reach right in here and grab me.  Their children reach out to me in here.  Everyone in my family plays a role.

A long time ago I wasn't ready to be a Dad.  Another man stepped up to the plate and he became Dad to my daughter.  He loved my daughter as his own.  Clayton was killed in a tragic car accident and left behind his wife and the little girl she was carrying, along with my daughter.  He had raised my little girl and was taken before he even met and held his own little girl.

Thoughts of this man have inspired me to never let down our daughter, his wife or his daughter.  It's a big story but its my story.  During the most impressionable years of my daughters life, he loved her and showed her what a great Dad should be like.  He left too soon, yet what he left behind lives on.

When my time comes I want to leave behind memories of myself that touch the people I loved forever.

And so I ask myself what I'm doing.  I want to dig up worms with these boys and then take them fishing.  One day I would like to take my daughter and her little sister out to dinner.  I would like to tell them both stories I remember of their Dad.  I was merely a biological Dad at the time...He was a father.  I will always see this man as Dad to my daughter.  I give him that respect and when I talk to my daughter I tell her about her other Dad also and I call him that to her.  I hope to pass that on to the daughter of his he never met.  He gave me a priceless gift, perhaps I can show back that kindness.

That's who I want to be.  These are the things I want to be about.  I may be covered in tattoos, but they don't define me.  On first impression you may jump to conclusions but you would do good to look more closely.  While you're looking closely, I challenge you to take a look at yourself and see what you're about.












































Sunday, April 30, 2017

THAT'S WHAT I'M ON NOW.

My family has been going through some things lately. We stick together but keep our worries under our own roof.

Behind these fences many turn to God.  A last resort.  All else has failed.  Often times you hear it said they hid behind the cross.  Ironically if you place trust in God, the Bible states you will be safe in the Shadow of the Almighty.  His hand of protection will cover you.  You can seek safety under his wing of protection. These are promises that someone who believes in God claims for themselves.

An unbelieving world, especially in here mocks that.  They say your weak and you hide behind Christianity.  Yet those same individuals will join a gang for protection.  Gang activity is at an all-time high.  Not just in the prison system.   These young men are coming to prison already affiliated.  They don't realize they do the same thing they accuse a Christian of.  You have picked an organization that fits you.    Offering protection and something you wish to gain.  You follow their rules all so you can be under that umbrella.

In an attempt to avoid the comments and distaste, I keep my personal beliefs for the most part to myself.  My family knows I go to church every week here.  They know I read my Bible every morning and begin my day with prayer.  I seek to be a better man, a better dad, and I ask God for his help.

What I don't do is talk about it all the time.  I'm certain I have mentioned it from time-to-time.

Those beliefs make people nervous.  Some are intimidated.  But if you break it down it's not crazy at all.  We want to excel in life.  We want to be blessed.

Some people meditate.  Others use a form of Buddhism .   Many speak of karma and doing to others as you want given to you.  I choose to believe in God.

I've broke the law my entire life.  I dealt drugs to parents who left their kids at home to buy them, then used them around their kids.  I knew this.  I sold drugs to wives that hid it from their husbands.  Or vice versa.  I used drugs sand became and addict myself.  I never cared.

In order for me to care, I needed a reason.  My reason to "care" came in the form of my daughter.  My accountability comes from my family, my God and my child.  I'm paying back a debt here so I don't need to feel guilty from my past.  I can love myself and be proud of the man I've become.

So I go to church every week.  I read my Bible and I pray.  It's for me.  It works for me.  I was a bad man who needed much help.  I'm getting it.  I've chose not to push my belief's because they are mine.  I don't wish to offend or push away people.  If you just read my thoughts but don't know me, then you have some opinion formed of me.

People ask what I did to come too prison.  I broke the law.  I broke laws my entire life and now I pay them all back.  Even the ones I didn't get caught for. Does it matter what I'm here now for?  I'm letting this pay back all the rules I broke!

I place God in my life because I'm now accountable to him.  I follow the laws set by him.  I don't like cops.  I don't like the laws of the land.  But my Bible states to follow the laws of the land.  Respect them in authority over me.  I have a hard time with that.  I'm a work in progress.  But for me I take it better from God than from a cop or county judge.

Because I put my faith in God, there are blessings in my life.  Lately my morning prayer time has been for my daughter and my sister.  My kid's fine.  She's just making that transition from kid to adult.  If you remember, that's some difficult shit.

My sister has been growing baby number two.  This little dude has had one problem after the next.  My sister already tends to have pregnancy difficulties. What can a big brother, while in prison, do for his little sister?  Not much.  And if it wasn't enough for prayer and bringing her troubles to God, I would feel completely worthless.

This little boy has beat the odds.  He has fought for life since conceived.  He has had a loving family pray him through life before he even entered the world.

Whatever it is you hold near your heart; your family, your children, sobriety, wear it with pride.  Let it make you better.  Allow it to cause you to stand tall. There are others who watch you.  You might be the light to their darkness.

Side note:  This letter was written 3 weeks ago, it is just now getting posted because of mail forwarding difficulties.  Little Thomas is growing and continues to have support from his loving family and God as answered many prayers for the family and little Thomas.