Friday, December 8, 2017

REBORN

When everything is gone, stripped away-the lowest form of man is revealed.  I came to prison to die, then be reborn.

Christians baptize by water to receive the same effect.  Something is lost, laid to rest, so that a new man can emerge.  Prison made this real for me.

Being baptized as a boy was nice.  Then I grew into a man.  A man who lost his way.  I needed a baptism by fire---- WELL, I GOT IT!!

I came to prison with nothing.  And then was broken. Taken to my basic form.  I then received a second chance.  I took that second chance and never looked back.

When a person looks back, hopefully it's to see how far they've come.  Being so close to freedom, I'm allowing myself to do just that.  If you have ever been at a church and taken communion, they make a statement from the Bible...

"Do this in remembrance of me"...

I'm about to come home and show you all the stuff I've been talking about for all these years.  Right now I am looking back!  In remembrance of me.  Except that's not who I am anymore.  It's a beautiful thing that people can change.  But you'll see, because you'll be  watching me.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I Am So Thankful

I just turned 39 years old.  I have become a man who understands himself.  When pushed, I know I will bend without breaking.  Should life try to break me, I know I have family who will stand beside me.

For nearly a decade I have been an empty chair at my mother's table.  A picture on my sister's refrigerator.  I have been a letter in my daughter's mailbox.  A memory my family holds dear.

I am thankful to have a second chance at life.  A second chance to be a father to my daughter.

I am thankful for second chances.  Without them I would have no future.

I'm also thankful for word searches and crossword puzzles that friends and family have sent.  I'm thankful for meals-on-wheels.  The food cart that rolls our trays to our door each day.  Thankful for courtesy flushes so you don't smell your cellie's dookie.

I'm thankful for friends and family who take time out of their schedule to let me know they care.

Wishing you all the very best Holidays, spent with those you love.

And to my family.....next year baby!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

- Mr. Jangles -

Mr. Jangles was a  pet mouse from the movie, "The Green Mile".  Mice, as well as spiders are common pets for men doing time.  Here in Florida there are small lizards and geckos men catch and keep as pets.  Anything to distract you from the present and occupy your time.

The confinement I'm currently living in is infested with mice and rats.  As soon as the main lights are shut off at 10 pm, the floors become alive with furry rodents.

During the days, I set aside something small from my trays.  A little lettuce here, a piece of cookie there.  At the end of the day I have a small mouse buffet assembled.  I find it entertaining to watch these little guys hop around and scurry back to their homes, carrying their treasures.  They cause me to laugh out loud at the comical way they chew an item in half to make it easier to carry.    Then dart off to stash it away somewhere safe.  While right behind them another mouse carries away the other half of their prize.  Shortly after the mouse returns and realizes someone raided his stash.  So he runs in circles looking and searching before he finally realizes he's been had.

And so, a few days into my stay I was given a room mate.  A young Haitian kid, age 24.  He was amazed by the mice and decided he wanted to catch one for a pet.  The plan was, lure the mouse into the room with food.  Then block his escape route.  The small slit directly under the door.  Meanwhile the name of Mickey Mouse has been given to any mouse he sees.

The lights shut off for the night.  Almost immediately Mickey Mouse shows up.  As soon as he's eating, the bunkie jumps down and sits on the floor in front of the door.  Pressing his leg longways against the crack.  Mickey Mouse is now trapped in the room.

In order to take the mouse, you must first catch him, then toss him into the stainless steel toilet basin.  The basin becomes a water-tread-mill as Mickey mouse tries to breast stroke, then doggie paddle his way to freedom.

Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, well---you get the picture.

Before long, he begins to tire and his head slowly drops below the surface.  At this time you extend your hand down to his level and allow him to climb into your palm.  You have become his savior.  He recognizes your scent as the hand that saved him.

And should he decide to run once he gets his bearings, repeat the process as needed.

Mickey Mouse had a hard time getting with the program.

After the third attempt to tire him out in the toilet bowl, he still had enough spunk to launch himself out of bunkies hand and race for the door.

In a last minute effort to stop his escape, bunkie throws himself in front of the door.  Mickey Mouse runs up the leg of his shorts and just shy of the mother-land, bunkie manages to grab him and hold him through the fabric.  As he reaches another hand up his short leg to retrieve Mickey, he lets out a squeal and screams--"Mickey Mouse bit me!!"

At this time I'm nearly falling out of the bed laughing.  There goes Mickey mouse back into the toilet.  Except this time bunkie is reaching for the flush button.

Now I'm the one jumping out of the bed to save the mouse.   I reach in and pull the mouse out, gently setting him on the floor by the door.

He looks at me and I swear his eyes don't say thank you.  I think they said screw you- as he drags his wet ass down the hall.

Needless to say, bunkie doesn't want a pet anymore, and the mouse hasn't been back since.  He's probably holding a little sign outside our door.

"Don't go into room 2102"
They'll drown you in their toilet!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hang My Head and Cry

Sitting in a small room on a cold steel bunk.  I'm once again left to my thoughts.  For every move we make in life there is some reaction.  Everyone has those days where your going a little too fast and before long the blue lights are chasing you.  As you pull over you sit there smacking your steering wheel and come up with a dozen things you could have done differently.  Once again I find myself in confinement.

The officer who walked me to confinement had a heart-to-heart with me.  He told me I only have one year left, its time I quit thinking like an inmate.  He's right.  I'm a calculated risk taker.  That's been my life for 9 years now.  Know the rules in and out, then decide if the punishment is worth the risk.

I'm sitting here now with my fate in someone else's hands and I don't like that.  It is indeed time to quit being an inmate and change back to a civilian.  This problem I'm faced with now, has the potential to change my release date.

I just told my mom the other day how much I will need to pay attention once I'm home.  If I jump into someone else's car and head to the store---get pulled over and there's a gun or dope, I'm headed back to prison.  If I'm in a car that's pulled over and records are checked, I'm the one they draw their guns on because I have a record with law enforcement.  I've stopped to consider all those things about out there....and just placed myself in a similar predicament in here.

Now I'm waiting for the officer to come and tell me the damage.  Please hold while I bang on the steering-wheel.

Be Somebody

When I first fell, or was booked to do time, I had just snorted two oxys prior to court.  Then, when I felt the courtroom about to unravel I reached into my pocket and ate the other two that were waiting for me.  That's 4 eighty milligram tabs and its only 10 AM.

That's how my days began.  Needless to say those first days in prison were detoxing.  The cold sweats, diarrhea, vomiting.  The mood swings, depressed, alone, sobbing.  Like uncontrollable sobs that shake you to the core and finally have you in dry heaves.

And I did it on my own.  In a prison cell.  Looking at walls that could tell a thousand stories like mine.

That was a long time ago.  Yet I find I reflect on that.  Just so I don't forget.  I can't forget the beast that lives in addiction.  And as I've said before....drugs are readily available here so staying clean is a choice.  It is MY choice.

Finally I'm here at the end.  My one year countdown.  The journey is over; just the final few steps to take.

Like a soldier training for duty I have worked myself with training this entire time.  Now, at the last year I have went full throttle.  I have worked out my entire stint.  When I began to notice a talent to draw I began to put a lot of time into it.  I saw how much the tattoo man makes here in prison and I thought...I can do that.  And I decided where better to learn than where you have endless clients non-stop?!

So my art career began.  Art became how I did my time.

Go to the rec in the morning and in the afternoon put on some music and jam while doing art.  I have put myself through art school while here.  Some men come here and lay back and allow their people to take care of them.  For me, I changed trades.

That was a major step for me in another direction.  I've done construction work my entire adult life.  And I don't like it but it paid the bills.  That has changed.

I'm eager to devour any insight or knowledge I can find about this trade.  Through books, magazines and word of mouth---I have so much to learn.

Anyways...I got this man.

Work and how to make money isn't something I worry about now.  I think about the things that have pulled me down in the past.  My very first use of drugs was to numb the pain of giving my daughter away.

After years of abuse I had taught my body the release of self-medicating.  Whatever the problem, I could adjust it with drugs.

Prison enabled me to step far enough outside that hold, (that addiction) to actually see my life.  I was then able to go back and find the root.

Rehab needs you to do that to be successful at recovery.  Fix the root problem.  Counseling, whatever, and work past that.

I found the root.  I went back to a fine white line scraped on the top of a CD case.  And I see now that I made a wrong turn.

That thing that nearly broke me made me who I am today.  That little girl calls me Dad.  I don't need to self medicate.  While I was here I handled my business.  Not only did I pay back this time, but I worked on myself as well.  And I sit here a changed man.  Still with lessons to learn....but nonetheless changed.

Plenty of times I lay back and think about a ride on my Harley.  The freedom.  But I also let myself go back to the places I used to live.  And I see how far I've come.

I know my grandpa would be proud of the changes.  If I died tomorrow I would go in peace. But that's not my story.  I get to come home.  I accept my second chance at life.  My life becomes something.































Monday, October 23, 2017

GIVEN TO FLY


"I got two turn tables and a microphone"..a line made famous by music group Beck.

I have a bike in Mom's shed, one cool daughter who loves me and freedom just around the bend.  Forget the partridge in a pear tree...I don't need one.  I'm putting a tattoo machine in the saddle bags on my bike and beginning the "endless-summer-tour" once I'm free.  Coming to a location near you.  And yes, as much footage of all this as possible will be posted to Jailbird for everyone to see.

For many years the blog has been about my incarcerated life in print form.  I'm excited to, after release, change that factor and bring more photos and video.  Starting the day I'm released.  I intend  to bring as much of my story to you from out there as I have from in here.

A family member told my daughter to be careful.   I may get back out there and forget about being her dad.  She knew better and let them know her Dad has a plan.  After it pissed me off for a second, it motivated me.  Thank you.  All the haters in the crowd.  I get far more energy to perform from the haters than from the fans.  A standing ovation makes you smile and reassures you that you just owned that.  But it's the people who talk shit and voice their disapproval that cause you to put in late hours at the workshop.  Even if what you're building is a bomb for the.  HA!  I kid...

The ride is nearly over for me.  I did the time the judge gave me.  I fixed as much as I could from here.  I took advantage of the time.  I'll come home and tattoo.  Don't need to sell drugs anymore.  I'm still batshit crazy but I'm sober. And I like it this way.  It's a shoe that fits nicely.

Speaking of, I just bought my daughter her first pair of Harley boots.  She told me she loves them.  She hasn't been on the Harley yet, but that comes soon.  That should give the family something to whine about.

Keep watching me though!  The fun truly begins once I'm home.  10 years in a cage--this dude is ready to fly!

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.