Watching The Inside World – ITFO Chapter

last-note-2-sm

 

WATCHING THE INSIDE WORLD

 

Jamie was laying naked on the cement floor. Summer hit in full force. Sweat was dripping down every crease in his skin. He didn’t know how he was going to make it through another summer, and there were many more to go.
     After midnight when heat trapped inside the walls began to cool, the cement floor seemed appealing. He stripped off his whites and stretched out hoping it would bring relief.
     He had already passed out twice so far this summer from the intense heat, and had one seizure. The only good thing that happened was being taken to the medical unit which had air conditioning. It was a small reprieve but it only made it worse when he was returned to his cell.
     He needed more water, good water. He was dehydrated and was afraid to drink too much of the water that came out of the faucet. There was an odor to it and sometimes it wasn’t exactly clear. There was a brown tint to it, some days were worse than others. Would it make him sick? He sweat so much he knew he needed to replace the minerals, like the ones in sports drinks, but he didn’t have any. They sell it at commissary but it was sometimes a month or more before he was taken there.
     There was no energy in him to move, and no reason to move. His body felt so heavy. His blood pressure was pounding in his head. How could the warden do this to everyone? He had to know how much they were suffering. Was this his way of rehabilitating them? Yeah, they were learning things; how to hate the prison and everyone in it.

How much anyone suffered depended on what level they were on. There were three levels in adseg. There was no power and no AC on level three. They even covered the vents to cut off any possibility of air circulation. That was a good punishment wasn’t it? If you owned one of the little fans they sell in the commissary you were out of luck because it didn’t work on level three.
     Jamie thought they were trying to teach them a lesson about how screwed they were. Whoever created these punishments had be masochistic.
     If he was level two he would have power and it would be cooler than level three, but not by much. That was the level he was on before the knife was planted. He had to do thirty days now to get back to level two and sixty days to get to level one. Three more months total. During summer that was a lifetime. He heard it took 90 days at level one to get moved to G4 where he could go to chow, but he wasn’t sure about that.
     He knew the guards didn’t like him. Not for any real reason. They hated most everyone in here. They didn’t take this job because they were interested in doing guard duty. There wasn’t much else in town for a steady job.
     They found a way to put him in adseg, but it wasn’t because of anything he did, he was set up. He did react back and that was his fault. If the guards didn’t like you they found a way to mess you up. It didn’t matter that he was trying to play by the rules, not if he didn’t get along with one of them. This one guard, Rodrigues* was an asshole, always making sarcastic remarks trying to piss him off, and sometimes succeeding. Then they’d write up a case on him. He needed to learn to keep his mouth shut.
     The unit went on lockdown. The guards were going from pod to pod ripping up everything. They tore apart the cells looking for weapons, drugs and cellphones.
     While the guards had fun destroying their property, the inmates were locked in cages barely bigger than a phone booth. There was a ledge they could sit on to wait until they were done. Then they had to go back and clean up the mess. Most of it was unnecessary. The guards destroyed things because they could.
     The guard who had consistently harassed Jamie “found” a homemade knife sitting on the edge of his sink. He tried to make it look like Jamie was stupid enough to leave a three inch piece of sharpened metal laying out in the open, even though he knew they were coming to toss the cells. If the sergeant believed that, then he must have been in on it. It was his word against theirs and there was no way he could win that argument.
     He had been fixing to get his level one. The weapons charge knocked him back down to level three. The main office for Texas prisons, TDCJ, in Huntsville, was contacted and the knife was sent to them. This was one way they added extra years to someone’s sentence. He only needed one more major offense for that to happen. At the least it would now take longer to get out of adseg.
     He didn’t even own a knife. It made sense now what the guard said when he was sitting in the cage. He walked by, then stopped and smiled at him.
     “What are you smiling at?” Jamie asked.
     “You’ll see,” he said, and laughed as he walked away.
     Jamie knew then he was the one who planted the knife. It wasn’t right. He didn’t do anything, but then he got angry defending himself. He played into their hands. He needed to stop reacting and think before he spoke.
     They sprayed him with chemicals. It was the first time. It felt like his skin was burning off. Three days he lived with it before it started wearing off. When he tried washing it off it made it worse. Being burned in a fire had to feel like this, only you couldn’t see anything on his skin except a little redness. Was it legal to use that kind of chemicals on people? Probably not, but who was going to stop them?
     No one would do that to an animal. The guards plotted a way to lower his level in adseg and then punished him with cruelty that was beyond inhumane. It was the guards who needed to be sprayed so they could feel what they we’re doing. There was nothing he could do about it now but someday they will get it back.

Today was July 12, 2011. Jamie’s son was five years old. He sat on his bunk and sang Happy Birthday to him with a heavy heart. He wished he could see him right now. He wanted to put his arms around him and hold him.
     “Morgan said he seems happier now,” Sonni said said as she sat down next to him. Little Jamie had been acting out with tantrums.
     “We all been mad at the world a few times,” he nodded in agreement as he glanced at her and smiled a sad smile.
     Jamie was still convinced he was losing his mind each time she came to talk. Sometimes it was days or weeks before he saw her again and thought maybe those were times when she, too, was feeling bad.
     Sonni was on the liver transplant list and had moved to Pa to be close to a good hospital and her family, but her family didn’t care about her. It was hard on a person when they realized they didn’t mean much to people who they thought loved them. This is why she understood how much it hurt when no one answered his letters or came to visit. It hits you from out of the blue. A lot of dudes in here had to go it alone for many reasons. It wasn’t easy and it made it hard to survive when they got out.
     She recently sent him some money for commissary and ordered a magazine subscription. He had nothing to read and was really bored. Time dragged. Every bit of kindness meant something to him. Nothing was taken for granted.
     “Once a week the guards are supposed to give us one hour of dayroom time,” he told her, “but they are too lazy.”
     “It’s easier to provoke someone and make him mad so they have a reason to not take them and call it a punishment,” Jamie added.
     “They do the same thing when it’s time to take us to shower. It’s crazy back here and that’s just half of it.”
     When he had passed out from the heat and had the seizure they took him to medical. Then they took money out of his commissary and paid themselves for the effort.
     “They cause the problem then take what little money I have because it made me sick.” He knows he doesn’t have to tell her everything. She seems to know what he’s thinking.
     “They probably look forward to the hot months,” she said back, “because of the extra money.”
     If he didn’t have any money in his account they would wait until she sent some, and then take it out.
     “To tell you the truth there is not a day goes by I’m not worried,” he continued.
     “I never know what’s going to happen or when it will happen,” he said starting to get an upset edge to his voice.
     “That is why I cry when I think about the visits.”
     “No one in my life knows what happens to me.” Jamie stood up and turned his back to her so she wouldn’t see his face.
     “And I don’t know what’s happening with them,” he sighed. “I worry about my mom and nobody tells me nothing.”
     “Do they think I don’t want to know?”
     “Since I’m big I’m supposed to be tough and take no shit from anyone,” he said, lowering his voice.
     “My family is not seeing this inside world the way I do,” he tried to explain. “They don’t have to watch it happening, so they don’t have to worry.”
     “Yeah, I know they are going through some stuff, too, but not like this.” Jamie paced back and forth.
     “They don’t understand how bad this is. They have never been through it and I wouldn’t want them to.”
     Jamie stopped talking to think for a minute. “I don’t think they care enough to even try to understand,” he frowned.
     “Not that I can tell.” He turned to face her again.
     “If I’m not sleeping, I’m day dreaming,” he said.
     “Playing old moments in my thoughts are like movies in my head, imagining where those movies would have taken my life if I wasn’t here.”
     “I know for a fact me and Morgan would live closer to you. I don’t know if she ever told you, but she tried to get me to fly down to visit you. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I’ve never been on a plane. Driving there was too far. I’ve never left Texas. I didn’t know the freeways. I wish now I would’ve come to see you.”
     Sonni stood there silently listening.
     “I’m sure you got upset with me when I told you I was fixing to get locked down again,” Jamie began again.
     “Stop right there,” she said, putting her hand up to quiet him.
     “I am not upset with you, about anything,” she said softly, putting her arm back down by her side.
     “You have not done anything,” she explained. “These people have been determined to punish you. Some people enjoy causing others to feel pain.”
     “You have not been trying to hurt people, and I know there are people here who do, who think this is their castle and they are going to rule it.” She moved closer and looked him in the eye.
     “That would be different,” she told him. “But that is not you. I wouldn’t be here if I thought it was.
     “And I’m not going anywhere,” she added sternly.
     “I’m not going away. I am not everybody else.” she wanted him to believe it.
     “Even when you don’t see me, I’m not far away.”
     Jamie could feel tears behind his eyes so he closed them. When he opened them she was gone.

*Rodrigues – not the real name of the guard

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Almost everything in this  chapter was taken word for word from letters Jamie wrote in 2011, broken down to create dialogue. Background Description is added to better understand his environment. Some incorrect English is kept in the dialogue because it gives a more accurate feel for his state of mind. As years go by and he reads more his use of words and phrases improves. None that has anything to do with intelligence, but rather the lack of basic education.

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Waiting Months To See a Dentist – Medical Care in Prisom

This is a repost from Nov 2012. It is still relevant today because medical care in prison hadn’t improved. Now that I have a medical POA ( power of attorney) on file in Huntsville, ( each state has their own Burough of Prisons where inmates complete files are kept.) In Texas it is the TDCJ – Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Allowing someone to lay in their bunk with extreme teeth pain for months is abusive to the extreme. In 2012 I had no idea what I could about. I was intimidated by the prison system.

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( Jamie’s letter)

I’m waiting to have surgery on my wisdom tooth. It’s infected and it’s hurting really bad. It gives me headaches and everything. I’ve been waiting two months now. They keep pushing my appointment back. They don’t care. They want me to go off. I tell them about the pain every day.

These people don’t know what the hell they are doing.  They are just here.  The first doctor I seen told me about my infection as I told her about my pain.  Then I seen another doctor and he told me I didn’t have an infection. and that nothing was wrong with me.  I asked him if he thought I was lying about my pain, and I told him that another doctor said it was an infection.  I asked him if that lady was lying and he said, ” I didn’t say that.”  I told him that somebody was lying and I know it wasn’t me.  I could tell by his face he was mad.  Who gives a shit?  He don’t care about me. He’s here to waste time and get paid.

It got worse because I had to have my wisdom tooth pulled.  I was told after about the nerve that goes around the ear.  Fun huh? Remember I told you about having to wait to have my wisdom tooth pulled?  Well, on the first week of this month I left on what they the call medical chain,  to a unit in Huntsville that has a hospital on it.  It took two days to get to the unit.  It takes so long because they pick up and drop off to other units at the same time.  Oh, we sometimes ride on a bus the call a Blue Bird or a van.  I rode on both.  That van is so uncomfortable.  They really make it hard on us.  They have us elbow to elbow in the van.  On the bus if you’re not from Ad Seg you are cuffed to someone else.  Yes, they pair everyone up.  I’m sure you might be wondering about having to relieve ourselves.  There’s a toilet  so that means if someone has to go the other has to go too.  Crazy huh?  Sorry, I wondered off.

When I got to the hospital I had to wait because there was others in front of me.  So I had to wait two more days.  When I went in for the surgery they did x-rays.  The photos showed up on the computer.  The one I was going to get pulled was growing sideways and was cutting my gums.  The dentist saw the top back left one and was like wow.  I asked what was wrong and he showed me the photo.  You could see all my teeth perfect and he showed me and it was flat!  The word he used was, deformed.  So he asked if I wanted it removed.  I was going to ask him if he would anyway.  They don’t allow them to pout us to sleep.  they just numb it.  Mom, he was on it for two hours!  When he finally got it out the tooth had four roots!  It came out in five different pieces,  All that pulling and pushing and drilling.  I held on but I almost passed out.  Then bottom one hurt as well.  He had to do a little more cutting. I felt it too.  We had to stop.  Mom, I’m in so much pain.  It took me four days to get back because of the weekend.  The first five days the hospital was giving me Tylenol with codeine for pain before and during the surgery.  Now I’m back in my own unit and their best meds are Ibuprophen.  They think that  and water helps everything.

So I’ve been sleeping a lot to try and get away from the pain. ( Not helping ) This is the bad part here, mom.  It hurts to chew and drink  because my tongue is swollen.  However they have me eating solid food when I’m supposed to be on a soft diet but the doctors here won’t give it to me.  I’ll eat sometimes and sometimes I won’t.  I try not to give these people what they want so I just deal with it the best I can.  Just know that if the pain becomes too much I’m gonna try the right way first to get help.  If I don’t get help there is only one other way.

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it. I do my best to take my days one at a time. They got me on anti depression medication because they say something is wrong with me. I don’t take it ’cause nothing is wrong with me. I go on hunger strikes off and on. The longest I’ve stayed on is a week and a half. I just have those kinds of days. I don’t want to do this or that. It causes trouble sometimes. Oh well, I I just have that ‘I don’t care feeling’ at times.

Me and everyone else have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month. We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again only peanut butter. I guess it’s part of the punishment that we, as humans, get treated in here.

Then, on top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot – on purpose. That’s the thing they open when they give us our food. He cut it open. A really deep cut. I made them take me to medial where they took a picture of it. I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. The officer told the sargent he did it but that it was an accident. He said he didn’t mean to do it and he didn’t see my fingers. He lied. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that. I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant. This guy is the kind of dude that doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. But the Lt. told me ask about moving me to another cell because also, the cell I’m in leaks water from the shower. One night I fell getting up to use the rest room. I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical. They’re trying to hurt me. I know they are. The cell I’m also leaks bad when it rains and they know it because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it.

They want me to fall their trap but I won’t. I’m writing up this officer who hurt me because I feel he is a threat to me. I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out I’m writing his a** up. To go through this whole process will take 60-120 days. They make it so long so you’ll give up. If you’ve tried to file a grievance before and couldn’t, you wouldn’t try again. The officer might try to get back at you to show They are in control. So They win either way

I’m gonna go for now. But not before I say Love You Always, Jamie

 

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Lockdown 24 Hours a Day

24 hour lockdown
source credit:
urbangifts.co.uk

This is a repost from my first year of blogging. Some things never change. This is one of them.

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Hello mom,                                                                                          April 20, 2015

I want to say I’m so sorry for the long wait. Things have been real crazy the last two and a half months.  I’m on a special cell punishment which was supposed to be a 30 day lockup.

(Sonni’s note:  Inmates aren’t allowed to argue with the guards.  They are always right and inmates are always wrong. A guard filed a false case on him, which they often do when they have a grudge.  When it came to court the guard could not be found for 3 days.  Instead of dropping the case they had someone else stand in for the guard who wasn’t there and Jamie was not allowed to attend.  So, of course they found him guilty and took away all of his very newly earned privileges, like being able to make a phone call.  He was able to get in one last call to tell me what happened.)

My date started on February 3rd.  I was supposed to get off on March 3rd.  However they have made me stay in lockup telling me they have no open bunks. No open bunks?  So I was told I might get shipped to another unit on the other side of Texas.  I’ve talked to everybody from the warden to the Major about getting moved to a G4 block.

( Sonni’s note: G5 is solitary confinement, G4 is one step ahead and at least you get to leave your cell for meals and very limited time in rec to watch TV.  No other privileges.  Last time they did this it took 2 more years to get to G2 where you can have a family visit that is not behind glass and you can make phone calls if someone registers their phone.  You can get put on a list to take your GED or other trades and they might find you an unpaid job in the laundry.)

As of right now I’m ending a second term of this punishment because I am trying to avoid being sent to another unit.  I have watched people come and go for three months.  What I need is someone to call the prison and get on these people about when I am supposed to get off this punishment on the 24th. Call the warden or call classification.  You’re going to have to pretend you’re my bio mom or they won’t talk to you.

I’m on lockdown 24 hours a day.  I only come out for showers 3 times a week.  No rec. I get jacked for it every week.  So I give them hell.  They are treating me wrong so I am treating them wrong. They hate to do paperwork so to hell with them.  I yelled all day, beat and kicked on shit and I’m still here.  I had a seizure.  A bad one and spent 9 hours in the hospital.  When the day comes and I’m not out of here I’m going to do this all over.  I will make them G5 me so at least I can go to rec and get some fresh air.  Back here we aren’t allowed to go outside.  They put us in a cage and we walk around in it.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want to let you down by going G5 again, but it’s really getting to me.  They put the same officer here had to deal with before  and he is (REALLY) working my nerves.  He’s doing crazy shit just to take away my rec because he can. They took away all of my things.  They let me have deodorant and my soap and paper, but they took away all my books.  Please help me get away from back here.  They will ship me to West Texas.  They been sending dudes there.  I don’t want to go back there.

I love you always

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(Sonni”s note: I wrote an immediate answer to try and help him get his head together.  He’s trying to fight a battle they will never let him win.  He’s playing into it. But after almost 3 months locked up again in solitary confinement –  only worse, because they have left him with nothing to do.  His magazines aren’t getting through and he can’t get to commissary.  He has tried so hard, but sometimes it seems hopeless and no matter how hard he tries there is some asshole guard who gets off on pushing the inmates until they lose it.  It is some sort of vile game with them.  People who have control over other people often abuse it, especially when their bosses give them the okay that it is okay.  I will call the prison on Monday.

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Jamie’s Letters on Prison medical Care

Below are Jamie’s letters over the years on bad prison medical care. I wrote this a couple years ago taking excerpts from letters over at least six years.  It is part of the first draft of the book I’m writing.  It has taken me longer than I anticipating because of having to take care of so many other things that need writing – including my music. But when it is done it will all be worth it. When I read this today it reminded me how long Jamie has been dealing with bad medical care at the prisons. I sent him forms to sign to give me POA  and I’m not surprised it didn’t reach him, although it is against the law to mess with mail – even in the prisons. So I resent the forms certified, return receipt. That way I can verify that the prison received it.  They can’t open it unless it is in front of him.  If they stop it from being mailed back then that is an issue I will take up with the warden. There are laws the prisons have to follow.  They can’t make up their own. the problem is – people don’t know how to make them bide by the law.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

JAMIE’S LETTERS

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it.  I do my best to take my days one at a time.  They put me on anti-depression meds because they say something is wrong with me.  I don’t take it because nothing is wrong with me.  I think they want to keep me doped up.   I’ve gone on a few hunger strikes, off and on.  The longest I’ve stayed on one is a week and a half.   I just have those kinds of days.  I don’t want to do this or that.  It causes trouble sometimes.  Oh well, I just have that ‘I don’t care’ feeling at times.

     All of us have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month.  We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again, the only thing they feed us is peanut butter.  I guess treating us like this is part of the punishment,  But I don’t remember being allowed to starve us was part of the sentence.  No one stops them.  There is no oversight.  The officers do what they want and get away with it.

     On top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot on the door – on purpose.  It was a really deep cut.  I made them take me to medical where they took a picture of it.  I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. He told the sargent he did it.  He said he didn’t mean to do it because he didn’t see my fingers.  That was a lie.  It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that.  I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant.  This guy is the kind of dude who doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. 

     The lieutenant told me to tell the officers to call him about moving me to another cell. lt  leaks water from the shower.  One night I fell getting up to use the rest room.  I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical about that, too.  They are trying to hurt me.  I know they are.  This cell also leaks bad when it rains, and they know it, because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it. I’m writing up a grievance on this officer because I feel he is a threat to me.  I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out what I’m doing.  To go through this process will take 60-120 days. They make it long to discourage anyone from filing a complaint.  It goes into the guard’s file and keeps them from getting promoted.  Then the guard retaliates and makes life miserable.  Even if the inmates feel threatened it keeps a lot of them from trying to do anything about it.

     I’ve also been getting into it again with these people about my medications. They are trying to give me something and I don’t know what it is. Hell, they don’t even know what it is.  Two different nurses are telling me it is two different medications.  I’ve asked to speak to the doctor, but they won’t let me.  The pills are the same dosage, but they are two different colors.  Not only that, one has powder in the capsule and the other one is a hard pill.  Something is not right about this.  One of the nurses told me Huntsville uses us as lab rats to test medications from pharmaceutical companies.  Since this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that, I stopped taking the ones that I’m not sure what they are.  I’m not going to be a guinea pig.

     Then they put me on a different anti-depressant.  A lot of people in here are taking them. They’ve had me on so many different meds it’s crazy.  I’ve been on about four or five different ones.  Now they have me on Thorazine.  I had to stop taking it.  It makes me dizzy, lightheaded.  I asked once if we could have a book on medications. The doctors are quick to put us on something and not tell us anything about it, except to say, “See if this helps.  If not, put in a sick call.” They are in such a rush to get us out of their office. These meds they put me on?  if it isn’t upsetting my stomach, it gives me terrible headaches.  One had me where I couldn’t use the bathroom.  I’m feeling bad all the time.  I recently had a bad ear infection and all they would give me was a Tylenol.  I laid on my bunk with my head and my ear hurting so bad, but they wouldn’t give me anything to help with the infection. 

     Sonni looked up one of the medications they gave me.  I asked the nurse how to spell it.   It’s a little brown pill.  I had already stopped taking it.  Some medications make you worse. The side effects make you sicker than you already are. That’s why I don’t take something they give me anymore if I don’t know what it is.  If I feel they are giving me too much of my seizure meds I won’t take them.  Too much will hurt me.  I don’t trust them to know what they are doing.  I go by how it makes me feel.

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     The people who work in the medical unit don’t know what the hell they are doing.  I have such a bad pain in my tooth I can’t think straight.  The first doctor I saw told me I had an infection when I told her about my pain.  Then I saw another doctor, and he told me I not only didn’t have an infection, he told me there was nothing was wrong with me!  I asked him if he thought I was lying about my pain because the pain had to be coming from somewhere.  I also told him the other doctor told me I had an infection.  I asked him if that lady was lying, and he said, ” I didn’t say that.”  So I told him that somebody was lying, and I knew it wasn’t me.  I could tell by his face he was mad.  Who gives a shit?  I’m in pain.  He didn’t care about that.  He just wanted to send me back to my cell. He’s here to waste time and get paid.

     The pain kept getting worse.  I had to wait two months before they decided it was okay to take me to a dentist to maybe have my wisdom tooth pulled.   Since they knew it had to be done, making me wait for two months was their way of torturing me.  They wanted me to be in pain.  No matter how many times I told them they ignored me. Later I was told there is a nerve that goes around the ear.  I wasn’t kidding about being in pain.  The dentist who tried to tell me there was nothing wrong with me had to know that or he wasn’t a real dentist.  That wouldn’t surprise me.  I think they only hire medical people who agree to not help people.  I wonder if they even have a license to practice. Maybe this dentist couldn’t get hired anywhere else because he was so bad. 

     The first week of this month I left on something called a medical chain.  I needed  to go to a unit in Huntsville that has a hospital.  It took two days to get there, even though it is only a couple hours away.  It takes that long because they pick up and drop off other inmates to different units along the way.  Texas has over a hundred and ten prisons. Sometimes we ride on a bus they call a Blue Bird, and sometimes we ride in a van.  I’ve ridden on both.  This time the trip was in the van.  It is so damned uncomfortable.  They make the trip as hard on us as possible.  We sit elbow to elbow in the van.  On the bus we are cuffed to someone else.  They pair everyone up.  If we have to relieve ourselves there is a toilet, but if someone has to go, the other one has to go.  So much for privacy if you have to do something other than pee.

     When I finally got to the hospital, I had to wait.  There was others in front of me.   It took two more days of waiting until it was my turn.  Now it’s been four days since we left and the pain was bad.  The gave me Tylenol with codeine and it helped some, but not enough. I’ve had about all I can take.  I wanted to lay down and cry. 

     Before I went in for the surgery they did x-rays.  The photos showed up on the computer so I could see it.  The one I was getting pulled was growing sideways and it was cutting my gums.  It was the top left tooth in the back.  When the dentist saw it he said, “Wow.” I asked what was wrong and he showed me the photo.  You could see all my teeth perfectly. He showed me the bad one, and it was flat!  The word he used was deformed.  He asked if I wanted it removed.  Of course I wanted it removed.  It was killing me.  I couldn’t keep it the way it was.  They don’t allow dentists to put us to sleep, even though this was a lot more than just pulling a tooth.  He was going to have to cut it out.  He was only allowed to numb it.  He was digging at it for two hours.  When he finally got it out, the tooth had four roots!  It came out in five different sized pieces.  All that pulling, pushing and drilling was bad.  I held on, but I almost passed out.  One of the bottom teeth needed work, too.  He had to do a little more cutting. I felt every minute of it.  He had to stop.  I was in so much pain and still am.  It took four days to get back to the unit I’m in.  The hospital gave me Tylenol with codeine during the surgery.  Now that I’m back in my own unit, their best med is Tylenol which isn’t doing much for the pain. 

     I’ve been sleeping a lot to get away from the pain. It hurts like hell to chew or drink because my tongue is swollen. I’m supposed to be on a soft diet, but the doctors here won’t give it to me.  The guards only bring me solid food, which sometimes I can eat and sometimes I can’t.   I try not to give these fools what they want so I just deal with it the best I can.  If the pain becomes too much I’m gonna try the right way first, to get help.  If I don’t get help, there is only one other way.

     On a brighter note, I think of the beautiful the days outside.  I imagine the sun, and taking a walk, and that really sounds good.  In my mind I can meet mom on the hill.  We both will walk until we ache too much.  Its cold down this way, as well.  A jacket would be nice.

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Sept  2012

     The unit is on the second week of lockdown. This is the hardest one I’ve gone through.  I’m hungry.  They are supposed to feed us a hot meal every three days but they do what they want to anyone wearing prison whites.  They feed us  a peanut butter sandwich with only a half spoon of peanut butter.  We are supposed to get a full spoon but on lockdown they only give us a half spoon.  It saves them money. 

     The food they serve is nasty.  They stretch it more by  also adding some really horrible soup or applesauce that makes me gag. I have to eat it or I get nothing.  I’ve heard  it costs $40,000 a year to keep each inmate in prison. Where does the money go?  It sure isn’t spent on food.  Once in a while we get a meat sandwich or cornbread, and sometimes prunes or raisins.  In the morning we get two biscuits with a half spoon of peanut butter or maybe two pancakes.  That’s why I have lost so much weight.  The food is worse when we are on lockdown.

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     It’s hard dealing with this.  It’s 2013 but it could be any year.  Nothing changes. Stress builds up inside me and it hurts. My head wants to explode into a million pieces. I had two more seizures, back to back, because of all the worrying.  I have had so many seizures in here.  Sometimes I feel like I’m being backed into a corner. Stress brings them on.  The people who work in the medical unit don’t know what they are doing. Why are they working here, instead of a real doctor’s office? Maybe it’s the only job they could get.  Everyone is always in a bad mood.  There is never a comforting touch or even a smile.

     I don’t think anyone in here would give a damn if the seizures killed me. If it happened to someone in their own family, they would be rushed to a hospital.  But I don’t matter.  I’m only a convict.

     The scary thing is, I don’t usually have seizures close together. I saw the doctor and she took some blood and said my level of seizure medication was in the toxic range. Did the last doctor give me too much? She took my meds down to a lower dose. It didn’t help, so she put me on a different one. I’m on two different meds. I’m not having the seizures as often but it’s not unusual to still have one or two a week.

     I had another seizure today. When I went to the medical unit I was told my sugar was low, 66. It’s supposed to be between 70-100.  I know I need to see the doctor a lot.  There is nothing I can do about that.  It’s not my fault.  It is the way it is.  Some inmates rarely have to go to medical.  It used to cost $3 to see the doctor or a nurse, but they changed all that. Now it costs $100 a year, whether you see a doctor one time or fifty times.  When I get money they take half until it’s paid.  Next year it starts all over.  Someone who doesn’t have a chronic illness, if he need to see the doctor he probably won’t go.  Sometimes they get sicker and it spreads to other inmates. 

     Some people think we get medical care for free, but that’s not true.  This small amount of money might not seem like much to some people but to me its a lot.  I also wouldn’t call this medical care.  They won’t help so they don’t have to pay for anything.  Even things they can treat they won’t, and it gets worse until people die.  Diabetes, heart disease, cancer.  People die because they are left untreated.  They don’t care. The public doesn’t care.  They think we deserve it.  No one cares if we’re in pain.  They just ignore us.

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Can I  Finally Get Out of Ad Seg? Maybe?

Before I share part of Jamie’s last letter . . .

(note from Sonni: I’ve been running myself crazy taking care of details for the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” When I began writing, I didn’t know putting out a book involved more than writing it and finding someone to edit it. I knew there were self publishing businesses that helped, but I didn’t know most of them preyed on people who didn’t know they were being scammed into paying for services they didn’t need. That subject should be another post.

After writing this blog for a year or so, I knew Jamie’s story needed to be told. I began the first draft. To understand who Jamie is you should go to archive below the post where you can pull up the posts by the month. Also, some of earliest one are found at the top of the page in the white area.

It was important to find the right artist to create the book cover art, which will also be the digital album cover. Learning how to mark a product has been a challenge. Sometimes, at the spur of the moment I’ll feel a need to play my piano.  It is a release for me when I am on emotional overload.  It is why so many of my recording have an air of melancholy. There is sadness when I feel there is nothing I can do. The music is like a diary of these years. Certain music reminds me of a particular letter of something important that happened. Recording music for the book as the soundtrack is best played while reading. I’m also being promoted on several websites that carry the music. Before the book is published I am releasing another album of improv music titled, “Stories Without Words”

piano-guitar
1976 Early (young) Sonni. The gold bangle on wrist is still there today

I’m having new promo pictures taken with my white piano, outside in summer greenery, by a photographer who specializes in photographing musicians. My promo pictures during my earlier years of playing would only work if I was never seen in public! ( I think I’ve aged just a touch! ) I knew if I was going to resurrect my music career, I couldn’t do it halfway. The difference today is I would not want to travel and tour again.  I want a more intimate setting in a nice restaurant (where I can sell books, too!)

I am also planning to go to Texas for a few weeks during October to visit Jamie at the prison. We need to talk about any changes and additions. Asking him to dig into a painful part of his past and ask him to relive it and write about it has been hard for him. I’m trying to keep him as involved as I can. No one is meant to live through being locked up by themselves for this long.  It’s been almost three years – this time. He has 4 1/2 years left on a 17 year sentence.

Part of the reason it has taken this long to finish the book is having to communicate through  letters, and then waiting for the answer. If the prison puts the inmates on an unexpected lockdown – more than the standard 30 days out of every 90 days then he might not be able to go to commissary and run out of stamps. That happened last time and he couldn’t write for weeks. The prison also screwed up the food box I sent. They marked it ordered, but didn’t deliver it. The online site showed it was ordered. It wouldn’t let me order again until after they were put on lockdown. No food boxes are delivered during that month. Add over 100 degree temperature to the mix doesn’t help anyone’s temperament.

A fight broke out in another building. It was used as an excuse to toss the cells and lock everyone down. He was out of stamps and had nothing to trade with. The guards love candy sticks and will sometimes trade a stamp for one. The cost for one is fifteen cents so it’s a good trade. I try to order 30 and add a variety of gas station quality, convenience store delicacies. Raman noodles, chips, cookies, mackerel, tuna and more – all processed crap, but often better than what they serve for meals. I can purchase $20 a month or $60 for three months. Not much, but it helps – in more ways than one. I can tell by his handwriting when he is depressed. Contact from the outside is like gold.  So many have no one. So . . . on to his letter)

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Good morning to you,                                                                                                        8/18/17

It’s early 5:47 but I could not sleep. I’ve been up since about 9:00 last night. I have not been feeling well. Anyway, I’m writing to tell you something. I really don’t like speaking about it because, to me it seems like when I do something bad always happens. Before I tell you I want you to know I was pulled out of my cell to make a phone call. I give up. I’m not putting in for no more phone calls. Nobody answers the phone at my mom or for my son. I have been doing good and staying away from trouble to make these phone calls only to not reach no one. “F**k that.” I have not had no write ups in over a year. This means I get a line class which goes toward my parole and getting out of ad seg (administrative segregation – a fancy word for being locked up by yourself for 23-24 hours a I don’t know when I’ll get out of seg. It might be Sept or January or March. Hopefully Sept so we can have our first visit that won’t be behind glass. That would be nice being able to hold your hand. I’m a line two right now. I need to be a line one in order to see parole. So in another 6 months, as long as I don’t get any write ups. I’m trying hard. I really am. It will be twelve years by then. I’m trying to make it home. I’m trying hard to get out of this place. I wasn’t to be there for my son. I want to hear you play the piano. 

I want to be there for Jamie while he’s still young. He and I have so much to talk about. Him reading my letter is not the same as him looking me in my eyes and talking to me face to face. That is what I want. So I’m focused on staying out of trouble.

There’s lots of days I don’t go to the shower. I stay in my cell and use the sink and do a bird bath. There’s also days I do go to rec or eat because I try so hard to avoid B/S with the officers. Please know that I’m trying. Sorry I have gotten tired. I will pick this back up later today.

Sorry for the long wait. Things are getting real testy around me. I have been getting into it with the inmates. I feel I’m being tested and this is some kind of karma. It’s stressing me out because I see SCC next month (state classification). I don’t know what they are going to do.

I got everything you sent me. Thank you so much. When you come to visit in October be sure to put in for a special visit ( 2 days, 4 hrs each day. A regular visit is one day, 2 hrs). Being in a place like this really will let you know how much you miss being around regular people. You want to know what I have to listen to? I’m tired of hearing these dudes talking about other dudes. Nasty.

You liked your birthday card? I had it made. I’m learning to make them. I’m working on my coloring and everything. I think it’s wonderful you are doing what you love. There’s a station on the radio that plays instrumental only. I haven’t listened to it in awhile. I have to get me another radio. Mine got broke. Move your fingers over the ivory keys of your piano and enjoy the sound.

We’re going on lockdown again the last week of this month or the first week of next month. If I get out of ad seg it won’t be so much. Gotta go. They’re picking up mail on the other side and I want to send this off.

Till next time, love Jamie

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Next issue coming soon. The topic this month – Incarcerating The Innocent  . . . AND . . . beginning today, until ten days after the next issue is published, anyone not currently receiving the issue in their email can tap the above button and enter a sweepstakes to win a signed copy of Sharron Grodzinsky’s “Waiting on the Outside.” Ten copies will be given away.  No shipping fee. Absolutely free.

I have read the book.  It is a gripping and heartbreaking true story of a mother who did everything she could to understand and save her adopted son from destructive behavior, choosing to become a skin head, joining the the local white nationalist movement at a very young age. He ended up in prison, where trying to leave the gang could have deadly consequences. Nothing she tried to do to help him had any positive effect.  He seemed determined to make every bad choice that came his way.

Will he be able to survive prison?  Will he survive when he gets out? There is no answer to that question because he is still locked up. This is every mother’s nightmare who watches her child grow up and become someone who is feared by the public.

you can email me at: infonews@gmail.com if you have any questions

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Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world.  All blog posts on this blog post at this site.

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick. at Facebook. My music info with links to new music as well as digging into the past.  I came across a poster of a major music event for me when one of my songs was performed with an orchestra and I flew out to San Francisco to hear it.  My life has been crazy and full of risks and challenges, but I’m still here. I will continue living until the last minute!

ReverbNation . . . Lots of great indie music at this site.  I was impressed. I’ve become a “Fan” of ones I like to help support them and I can share their music if I like. The have many neat services that help musicians put a good package together to promote their music. Tapping on the link will take you to my “work in progress” profile page.  check it out. Tell me what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback of what you really think.

SkunkRadioLive . . . Thank you to those who tweeted my name at the SKL twitter page. Until i get back out and playing the only people who find me is online.  Many of you I’ve known quite a while and some are knew. But anyone who has a business or does anything online, even Facebook, knows how important to to have your page liked and shared. Right now I have to depend on the people I reach through my computer.  it is hard with new pages.  Some people might think what you do isn’t good if your numbers are low.  They can’t get higher until you start with the first one.  Booking agents and club owners might only have my profile page to go by so I am in constant building mode. On the right side of this page  you will see another twitter symbol asking you to tweet your favorite song.  When you click on it you go to a half filled tweet where you only need to add the name of a song and the artist name

My Son Has Only One Father – Me. Boyfriends Don’t Count

Jamie Cummings
Jamie and his son July 7, 2013

I wish I had a newer picture to use to show you of Jamie and his son, but when we visited they weren’t taking pictures that day.  They only do it the first weekend of each month. The trade-off is that we were there for father’s day and that meant a lot to Jamie. He told me, “You live so far away yet you are the only one who cared enough to bring see my son to see me.  I’ll never forget that.”

***************

Dear mom,                                                                                                                               July 25, 2016    

       Here it is yet another day, after another day. Will they bring me pancakes again today?  We’ve already had pancakes four times this week. Sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes with applesauce and sometimes with shaved pineapple along with oatmeal.

       Well, just so you know, I did write to my uncle, the parole officer in Dallas that I stayed with a long time ago when I was teenager, the year I was in 9th grade. My mom thought I would do better out there. I started the letter off doing something I never did before. I thanked him and his wife for wanting to give me a chance at a new start in life, even though I turned down his offer to stay and went home after I did the year. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I had stayed there and not gone back to Nacogdoches. I should have stayed. But as you have said, karma is karma.  There are causes we have made in the past that have to have their effects.  I understand that more. I asked him for addresses of family and asked how everyone was doing. I gave him the info about where I was and told him to give it to my mother. Maybe she doesn’t know where I am and that is why I haven’t heard from her. I always want to give excuses because I don’t want to believe reality.

      I told him about our visit and you bringing my son to see me. I told him how much I enjoyed it. I also sent him an up to date picture of Jamie. It angers me that Jamie don’t get to see more of my family. Anyway, I almost got mad just thinking about it. Come to think about it, that’s what happens most of the time when I write Megan. I  get mad and  just go off. I would ask her why the hell I couldn’t see my son? I would just start speaking my mind to her about her not bringing him. It hasn’t been fair. He’s my son, too. She didn’t make him by herself.

       She promised me a long time ago she’d be there and bring him and she broke her promise. She wrote back and said to stop talking shit. Yes, I would talk shit. He is my son! He is not her boyfriend’s son. He is not my son’s father and never will be. I know she’s telling him to call her boyfriend dad but Jamie knows who is father is. My son loves me and he has a father who loves him but has to go through hell and back because his mother is selfish and doesn’t think of that. I have tried in the past to be positive but it just gets to me. I think I have a right to let it get to me. All I ever got were excuses why she couldn’t come.

        I’m sorry about that. I got carried away. It hurts. And it hurts because he never gets to see any of my family. But they haven’t tried to see him, either. I wish Megan and my family talked. I know she talked to my brother but I know my brother doesn’t care about me.  He made that clear.

       I only have 4 stamps. I’ve been selling my lunch trays. I’m going to write my grandmother and my cousin. Hopefully, I can go to commissary at the end of August. We’re still on lockdown, but they let some other dudes go, so maybe I can go.

       Right now I’m a level three.  I am only allowed to by hygiene and stamps, paper and pen at the commissary.  No food. If you could send me an ecomm box with bags of coffee; they are $2.15 and fruit and mint sticks that are .10 each, I can trade them for stamps.  The dudes in here sure do like their sweets.  I can get a stamp for just 2 sticks. Less than the price of a stamp in the commissary. Also soap if you can.  I can trade for things with soap.  I also need deodorant and toothpaste and some chips and soup if you can. I have to pay the inmate worker in stamps for him to get it for me.  Stamps are currency.  But it is how we get the things we need if we can’t go to commissary or if they won’t let us buy it.

      (Sonni’s note: Jamie is allowed again to get what is called an ecomm box.  Four times a year he can get a box worth $60.  It can be spread over several months if he wants. I can send food he can keep in his cell for times the unit is put on lockdown or he is unable to go to the commissary.)

       I must say you are the busiest person I know with all the things you do.  I don’t know how you do it.  Your birthday is coming up.  I hope you and Mike go out and do something nice for yourselves.  Take a walk. Enjoy the air.  Do the things I can’t do.  Say hello to your mom and tell her I am chanting for her, too. You are good to your mom, especially after her stroke.  I know it is going to add more work to your day when she comes home and you are willing to be there. That is the way kids should treat their mom, but no everyone does.  I know your told me about how your one sister treats her and she should be ashamed. You should never disrespect your mom. How you treat people comes back at you.  I knew that even before Buddhism but I didn’t know how to understand it. It is the way I would like to treat my mom, but I never see her and she doesn’t care how I’m doing.  That is really messed up. But for Jamie, when I get out I will be the best dad I can be and no one can stop me.

        I was a boy when I came in here, but I’m not a boy anymore.  I will be there for him.

       Lots of love to you, too, for being there for me when I needed you.  Anyone would be lucky to have you for a mom – Jamie

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Inside The Forbidden Outside – Sometimes They’ll Give You Candy

I feel empty. My head has nothing new in it. Every day, same old thing.

I used to think the hardest part of being here was having to do the time. Don’t get me wrong, that is hard. But the hardest part is filling my head with something to think about that doesn’t end up making me crazy. Everything about my life makes me depressed – or angry. None of it has a good ending. I still have a long way to go. I better find a way to keep a grip on things.

It’s hard not to think about Morgan. It makes me feel so sad and alone. I see her life moving on without me. She has the kids. She has our son. She’s the one who gets to watch him grow and learn. She takes him to school, does his homework with him and watches him learn how to ride a bike. She’s the one who has to discipline the boys when they fight and gets to cook dinner and wash his clothes. She gets to do all the family things. She bakes birthday cakes and takes him trick-or-treating. She sees his happiness at Christmas when he opens his presents. I want to be able to do those things, but he’ll be all grown up before I get home. I’d like him to fall asleep next to me as he watches TV so I can carry him to his bed and tuck him in. I want to help him with his homework. I want that so bad. Now there’s some other dude who is raising my son and I don’t like that. He can’t love him like I do.

I know I must sound petty and jealous but I can’t help it. As more time goes by and I get done grieving about everything I’ll be better. Right now it is like a death, but worse, because I know she is out there. I know sooner or later I’m going to see her and all of this will come flooding back. Will I want reasons and explanations or will I just let it go, give her a hug and say it’s good to see her. I hope I can a bigger person than I feel I am right now. I wish I could be a bigger person but sometimes I can’t.

I make up things in my head and pretend I’m there on an ordinary day, but the way Jamie sees it, I’m not there. He doesn’t know me. I’m just this person he hears about, if his mom talks about me at all. What does she tell him? Does she tell him good things about me or does she put me down when she’s tired and angry at me? Does she tell him I’m a loser? Does she make me an example of someone he doesn’t want to grow up and be like? I don’t know. She doesn’t talk to me much so I don’t know what she says. Does she tell him that no matter what, I love him? Does she tell him I’m sorry? Because sorry is the biggest thing I feel. I let him down. He deserves a father he can count on.

Morgan used to always sign her letters with, “I love you every day and twice on Sundays.” I don’t think she thought how many Sundays it was going to be. Still, I hope when I get out we will still be able to get together as a family. I think it’s important for kids to see their mom and dad together. She rarely had that herself and I know how hard it must have been. We should try to do better for our son. I go back and forth being angry at her and angry at me. If we had a chance to talk about it maybe we could understand things better. But since she never comes that will never happen.

By the time I get out here, if I have to serve my whole sentence, Jamie will almost be an adult. He might say, “I don’t have to listen to you. You don’t have the right to tell me what to do. Look what you did to your own life.” He’d be right. Look what I have done to my own life. I wrecked it. I can’t blame anybody else for anything I go through in here. I don’t want him to end up like me. That would kill me.

The only good thing I did in my life was help make this boy, but really, all I am is a sperm donor. What kills me, there are so many men who leave their families voluntarily. They don’t want them. They don’t want the responsibility of taking care of them. They don’t care. They don’t want to give their hard earned money to their x-wife or girlfriend to help them. Their anger, when their relationship breaks up, makes it okay to punish the kids, too, while they try to get back at the woman. Some of them just don’t give a rat’s ass because they’re selfish. I would give my left nut to be able to help my son and be there for him. I love all Morgan’s kids. I loves them like they were my own. I’d gladly be their dad. When they were little I loved playing with them. They were my family. It was the happiest I ever was. I feel like I hurt their lives, too.

So yeah, when I have to think about something, what else do I have to think about that makes me feel good? I’ve done nothing but cause misery to people my whole life. I was a burden to my mom with my medical problems. This is what happens when I have too much time and nothing to do with it. My mind goes on and on and I can’t make it stop.This is why men go nuts. They have nothing else to think about.

No wonder nobody writes to me. They’re probably glad I’m out of the picture. OK, it sounds like I’m only feeling sorry for myself, and maybe I am, but what else could be the reason why I never hear from anyone? Really? What possible reason could they have? Maybe, they were too busy with there own life to include me in it. As more years go by i wonder if it will change. I’m not even close to the halfway mark. Maybe when I get over the hump it will be different. I wonder, though, do they think when I get out, we’ll just pick up where we let off like I was only away on a trip and now home and pretend everything is okay? Or are they just used to to me not being there and never give it much of any thought. We lose so many of our race to prison. We grow up expecting it. It’s no shock when people go to prison. The police in this town go after every black person they see, man or woman. It doesn’t take much to get locked up. We didn’t live in the rich side of town so no one has any money to get an attorney. If you got arrested, You were screwed.

The town I lived in, Nacogdoches, between Houston and Shreveport, La, was a university town. Steven F Austin University, added a lot of students during the school year. But I didn’t know of any black kids who went to school there. It wasn’t that long ago when the streets in the black part of town weren’t even paved. There isn’t much to offer high school kids when they got out of school. There isn’t anything there for me now. to want to goback there to live.

*******************************

I began to hear the opening and closing of food slots down the hall so it must be time for breakfast. They wake us at 3:30 and feed us at 4.:30, which is another way to mess with us. There is no reason to look forward to breakfast. There are only two different breakfasts. The bring you three tiny pancakes and a tablespoon of peanut butter or two biscuits with peanut butter. The only time it changes is when they put us all on lockdown. Then they cut the peanut butter in half as a way to punish us, but to also save money. Anything to cut costs. Who cares if we are always hungry. What could we do about it, complain? Who would listen? We get just enough food so they don’t kill us from starvation. I’ve heard about major hunger strikes that some of the prisons have had, to try to get better treatment. There aren’t many ways to get people’s attention. A hunger strike is one way to do that.

When the guards want to punish inmates they serve food loaf. I think it’s leftover slop that is on the verge of going bad. They mash it into a loaf, cook it again with something that makes it stick together, and slice it. It is some of the grossest food I have ever tried to swallow and most of the time I don’t even try. It isn’t edible. They shouldn’t be allowed to give it to us, but who is going to stop them? The longest they are supposed to be able to feed it to us is six days. You get it for all three meals a day. But the last time they did it to me they served it to me for for sixteen days. They broke their own written rule – because what they did was starve me. I would have gotten sick if I actually ate it. They do what they want to us. The inmates who go to chow have it better. They get hot meals. Most of it is still slop, but it is better slop. You also get bigger portions. Even when they bring food to the cell I’m supposed to get a hot meal every three days but that’s a joke. It doesn’t happen. Who’s going to stand by and make it does?

A bad thing about going to chow are the fights. The guards start some of them, or they get one of the inmates who owes them a favor to start it. Someone will push someone or say something to start a fight. If that happens to me I can’t just stand there. If I do, everyone will think I’m a punk. There will always be someone trying to get someone else to fight. Even if a guard sees it and know the truth you can’t expect him to stand up for you, or even tell the truth. I tried to get a guard to tell the truth one time because he knew I didn’t start the fight, but guards always back each other up. I pushed it because I knew I was right, and the guard retaliated and wrote up a case on me. I got me into trouble and was put in lock up. Sometimes it’s better not to go to chow and get my meals in the cell instead, no matter how much I want to get out of this tiny space. The guards don’t like me because I speak my mind when they do something wrong. That gets me into trouble a lot. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. It’s a no-win situation.

“Cummings. Food!” The guard yells in. I hear the bolt slide and the narrow door open. He slides the food tray in and I take it. Yum, I think to myself sarcastically, we get pancakes today. If I’m lucky, tonight I might get Chicken Delight or Porcupine Balls as the main meal. The guys in the kitchen steal food from the guys who get their food taken to the cell, so I don’t get the portions I’m supposed to. Often it is only half portions. Since I’ve eaten in the chow hall I know what the portions are supposed to look like. But if i say anything they will end up spitting in my food or worse. If I lose anymore weight all of my bones are going to stick out. So I take the tray and sit down on my bunk and pick up a book to read. I have a few and I’ve read them more than once. I read and eat. Maybe later I’ll write some letters. Even though I don’t get answers to them, I still write. It gives me something to do. Most of the time I throw them away. I write because it gives me a chance to vent. But what is the point of telling them the same things I’ve already told them? If they didn’t answer the last letters, why would they answer these?

Later, after the guard comes back for the food tray, there’s a bang on my cell door and a guard yelled in, “Shower!” Finally, I’m going to be taken to the showers. They’re supposed to take me every other day, but that never happens, either. The guards are so lazy. All they are, really, are babysitters – and people to beat you up if they want. Being taken to the showers is one of the few times I get to leave my cell. In the summer it is the only way to get some relief from the ungodly heat. In Texas, these prisons are over 100 degrees for weeks on end. Washing off the sweat and grime is the only pleasure we get. We only get five minutes so we have to wash fast. Sometimes the showers are really dirty and moldy, but at least it’s water.

I’m also supposed to get an hour of rec every day, too, but it isn’t what most people would think of as rec. That’s why they say we are on 23 hour lockdown, but that doesn’t mean they take me every day. They take me when they want to. They take me to another cell that is a little bit bigger than the one I’m in now, except it doesn’t have a bunk or a toilet. It’s an empty cell we can exercise in if we want, but it’s not big enough to run in. A few steps and we’re at the other side. But you can jump up and down and do push ups. There’s no equipment or anything to work out with. It’s a joke really. It’s not even outside so I don’t get to see the sky. It’s different at each prisons. If I had in a high security level I could go out into the yard with other people. You have to be in gen pop – general population – to go out in the yard. That can be hard dangerous with all the different gangs. And each gang will command a different part of the yard like their own kingdom. Each gang has a shotcaller; the main man who runs the crew. Being in a gang meant you had to do what you were told. If you were told to hurt someone, you did it, or the same thing will be done to you. You can get really hurt with the different weapons people make and then bury in the dirt. Enough about that, right now I want to go get my shower.

“Turn around Cummings and put your arms back out through the slot. You know the drill.” Then they cuff me, a little tighter than they need to. Two guards come into my cell, strip search me, and tell me to squat and cough in case I’m hiding something up my butt. It’s humiliating. They chain my wrists to my waist and my ankles are cuffed with a chain between them so I have to shuffle to walk. There is only about a foot of chain between my feet so I’m not walking anywhere very fast. The showers are quite a walk. They are under the prison so we have to walk down several flights of stairs to get there. It’s no fun in chains. There are six of us going and when we’re done they will take more down. They take us to this big room that has a line of showerheads along the wall. Other guards brought down other men. There is no privacy. They uncuff us so we can wash. You know some of the guys are sizing you up for possible of sex. The joke about not dropping the soap in the shower and bending over to pick it up, is very real.

I know a lot of things can happen in the shower so I’m always aware of what is going on around me. Someone could get gang raped and the guards would let it happen. It could even be consensual sex, too. A dude might not be gay but when he isn’t getting out for a long time – or maybe not at all, there are some that will have sex any way they can get it. They better not come near me. I won’t go for that – no way. That is why I was born with a hand. Some of the newer prisons have showers in the cell. That might be good for obvious reasons, but it is one less time of being able to get out of the cell. You also can’t take a shower anytime you want, or in the summer the inmates would be standing under a steady stream of cold water. The water gets turned on for five minutes and then turned off. Just like the toilets. You can’t flush them when you want. They automatically flush a few times a day, so you better be careful when you crap or you’re going to be smelling it all day. They feed us a lot of beans, so with no ventilation in a tiny cell that is over 100 degrees, it can get pretty smelly.

Prison guards push men on men. They probably do it in women’s prisons, too. The strong always go after the weak. Inmates don’t have any control over anything in their lives so they try to control each other. Weaker and smaller people often give in, for their own safety, because they think they will have someone to protect them from other predators. Guards are sexually abusive to women, too, and they don’t have anyone to go to for protection. A lot of it starting to come out in the news more and more. It’s ironic that the people put in charge of guarding the criminals are often worse than the people they are guarding. Some the guards should be locked up for the things they do. It’s not all guards.But these guards who see what is wrong can’t report it because they will get demoted or transferred or have some of the guards after them. If they want to keep their jobs they are likely told they need to shut up about it and mind their own business. Bad guards give all guards a bad name, just like cops. The only ones you hear about are the bad ones.

In the men’s prison we are made to believe man on man sex is the “norm.” It’s okay to have a “punk.” They don’t think they are gay if they just let someone give them head, or they don’t think they are punks if they are the ones who do the stickin’ and not the one getting stuck. The guards promote this to tear us down and to separate us. It causes problems and fights and sometimes people get killed because of it. A lot of men who have big time end up laying with men because to go without sex your whole life will make you nuts. They think, “You do what you gotta do.” But not me. Ain’t gonna to happen.
There are many women who work here that are willing to sell themselves or just give it away. There is no excuse for men to lay with men unless that is what they want to do. I’ve seen men who only have a two year sentence get swallowed up in that game. There are a lot of predators here who have the “gift of gab” and have finessed a great game. They can talk a dude into giving up his virginity. I’ve seen it happen and it’s been tried on me, but I’m perceptive enough that I picked up on it after their first few sentences, even if they didn’t actually say anything provocative. The only thing they got from me was a dismissal. Some will get the hint, and then there are some you have to repeatedly drill it into their head vocally or physically. I can take care of myself. You have to do something about it because word will get around that they conned you into doing something you didn’t want to do, and you will never be able to live it down.

Sometimes they’ll give you candy, which is the oldest trick in the book. If someone ever puts a candy bar on your bunk and says you can have it, “It’s free,” it’s not. After a few more times of them giving candy to you, and you taking it . . . one day he’s going to want something in return. He’ll say, “I want that same candy bar back.” And you’ll say, “How am I going to give you back that same candy bar?” That is when you find out what you are about to lose. Back around thirty years ago it often cost lots of money to keep men away from their unwanted advances. Pay or play, and not just once. You paid, over and over to keep the last of your virginity. As inmates were fighting to keep themselves intact, the guards would just stand there and watch, or turn their heads away, but they didn’t stop what was happening. They fought them off until they couldn’t fight anymore. Laws were passed so they can’t extort money from you anymore, but they have finessed it into a game that still sucks in the inexperienced. “Let’s have a smoke together,” or they’ll bring food from the commissary to share. But nothing in prison is free. These men hit on men the same way they hit on women. Buy them a meal and they expect sex at the end. That hasn’t changed. They will try to convince the guy it won’t make him gay. He’ll tell you he won’t tell anybody. Within days, though, everyone knows and thinks you’re his punk and nothing you say will change that.

Like I said before, it’s safer to stay by yourself and do your time.  Trouble always has a way of finding me, so I try to keep out of its way.

I want to thank everyone who has been following this blog and those who have been reading the chapters of the book as I write and rewrite, finding my way.  I’m very determined to do this, and do it right.  Between writing the book and writing for my two blogs, and writing long letters to three inmates, and writing music, I write from late morning until wee hours of the next morning.  Any hours I haven’t filled I am studying the art of writing.  Where do you put those damned semi-colons? Every time you share something, you help me tremendously.  Every new address on the mailing list gives me more credibility for publishing.  I hope you continue to give me pushes in the right direction.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Chapter List:
A Message From Someone Who Cares
Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story
The Nightmare
A Roof Over My Head, Three Squares a Day and Free Medical

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Inside The Forbidden Outside “Everyday Dreams”

EVERYDAY DREAMS

My life is pure agony.

     I really screwed things up for myself. I was sent to prison in 2006. This is not where I want to be, although I didn’t have any concrete plans for my life. I was happy that I wasn’t in juvenile detention anymore but I didn’t have a chance to make any plans and was living day to day. I didn’t know how to make plans. I was just a kid when they locked me up. In a way I was still a kid when they let me out when I was twenty one. When I met Morgan my only thought was to spend my life with her. For the first time I could remember, I was happy.

     The day I was in was as far ahead as I thought. Nobody ever taught me anything about planning for a future. Black kids in my neighborhood didn’t think about things like going to college or learning to be somebody. We thought about surviving. It takes money and encouragement to have a future, and i didn’t have either. Besides, how was I supposed to think about my future? Being locked up in a box keeps you from doing that. It is easy to lose touch with reality when you don’t know how many days have passed because there is no calendar

     I was taken from my family for good when I was fifteen, almost sixteen, and except for the one year I spent with Morgan, I didn’t have a life, let alone a future. Now I’m thirty-three and I still don’t have a future.

     I never thought about anything until it was too late to do anything about it. I can’t go back and do it over again. This stress is squeezing my brain. I don’t know how long I can take this, as if I have the choice to do anything about it. I live one day at a time. One day after endless day and do my best to get through it.

     Life has always had a way of kicking me in the ass, and then turning around and punching me in the face. There was nothing I could do but deal with it, although sometimes, I admit I didn’t deal with it very well.

     I don’t think there is a better way to describe prison except as a pit of hell, although it’s one I have to live in while I’m awake, not dead. Sometimes I wish I were dead.

     I don’t want to be awake, but the banging yanked me out of a dream. Dreams are the only way I can be someplace else. That pissed me off, and when reality set in and I realized I was awake and still here, it made me sad at the same time.

     “Shut the hell up!” I heard someone yell from down the hall.

     “Quit banging on your goddamn door!” I guess I wasn’t the only one who got woken up. The banging continued anyway.

     Damn. I yank my pillow out from under my head and try to muffle the sound by putting it over my head. It’s quiet for a moment and then the pounding starts again. A long sigh escaped my throat. This is not a good way to start the day. It isn’t even light yet. I turn my face to look toward the window. I never have a clue what time it is, and the window is so filthy it’s hard to tell if it’s getting light. What did it matter? Time means nothing in here. I punch my pillow and let out my frustration. Even though it’s still night they will probably serve breakfast soon. They sometimes start as early as 3:30 AM.

     Lights are left on 24/7 as a way to make us. There is no point to it except to prove who is boss. On top of everything, it is cold as hell. I laughed. Hot as hell – cold as hell. Like hell, the heat in prisons during the summer is as hot as hell, and the cold in the winter seeps into your bones and there is no way to get warm, so it’s cold as hell, too. I already know today is not going to be a good day.

     I roll over and pull my blanket over my head. I start breathing under the blanket to create a little heat. The blanket stinks because it is never washed. I want to go back to sleep. It is the only way I can escape the walls of this cell.

     The banging continues. He seems determined he isn’t going to be the only one who goes nuts. He doesn’t care if the rest of us are sleeping because he can no longer think clearly. There is nothing I can do about it. Men go crazy in here when they can’t take it anymore. They scream and yell and kick they door. Sometimes someone will save up their piss and throw it on the guards when they walk by. That might earn him a beating or maybe he’ll get sprayed down with chemicals. Sometimes they cut themselves. They are just looking for a way to get out. If they are bleeding they will get out, and then the nurse sews them up and puts them back in their cell and their time in lock up is increased. It doesn’t make sense. Treat insanity by making an inmate more insane.

     Some dudes are crazy before they get here. They put them in solitary because they don’t know where else to put them. They say it’s for their own protection, as well as others safety. Sometimes they die because they don’t get the help they need when they need it the most. suicides are common. It’s higher here in adseg than any other classification in the prison The people who run this place just watch them until they die and then carry them out. Death by natural causes they say, and nobody says otherwise.

     I often wish I could shut the crazies up. I know It really isn’t their fault. This place will make you crazy if you aren’t already. It makes you paranoid and disoriented when you don’t know if it’s night or day. If your marbles are a little loose, the guards rattle them until they completely fall apart.

     Prison is not the best place to go crazy because then you become the butt of the guard’s jokes as if that’s what they wanted in the the first place. Inmates don’t get the help they need. There is nothing I can do if they are having a hard time. We’re all having a hard time. Every single one of us. There isn’t one person who lives in this unit that wouldn’t rather be somewhere else. All of us are trying to find a way to make it through this. It is the ultimate nightmare you where you never get to wake up.

     I used to not mind it so much. Being alone is better than having run-ins with the guards at chow or in the halls. I’ve had enough of those. It’s a game I’ve tried to win, but learned I can’t. Right and wrong doesn’t mean shit in here. The guards have the power and they use it against you any time they want. It’s best to avoid them – if they let you.

     I desperately want to go back to sleep. I was having such a good dream. It’s the same one I always have, dreaming about Morgan and our son, Jamie Jr., who I usually call Junior. I try to hold on to that dream as long as I can before reality sets in. If I’m lucky, I can pretend the noise I hear is the kids playing and making racket in their room while they get ready for school. Although it’s impossible, I pretend Morgan is making breakfast, and this morning I can smell bacon cooking. Fat chance of that happening, but i have a good imagination. In my dream, when she’s done, she’ll come back to bed. I can feel her lying next me, so warm and soft.

     I love Morgan more than I have ever loved any woman. Not that I’ve had a chance to have many women in my life. From the moment I saw her, I knew I loved her. She is so beautiful to me, and her smile! She has a wonderful smile. I can’t imagine my life without her, even though I know I’m probably going to lose her. I try not to think about it because it’s unbearable, but it always sneaks into my mind before I can shut it off. In her letters when I first got arrested she would always tell me, ” I love you every day and twice on Sunday.” I hear her say that over and over in my head.

     Life stopped for me. I can only look back. I want to think of the future but it scares me. Life went on for her and I’m sure she has left me behind.

     “She cares, I know she does, but how can I ask her to wait for seventeen years?” I say out loud to myself.

      “It’s too much time to ask anyone to wait.”

     “Am I’m fooling myself thinking she will?” Her life will pull her in a direction – away from me.

     I know another man will want to be with her. How long will she say no before the need to fill the void in her life overtakes her? Will she lie to me to make me happy? I hope she does. Will she lie to her next boyfriend about me? Will she be ashamed of me or talk bad about me?

     I get off my bed and start pacing the floor. If anyone looks in my cell they’ll think I’m the crazy one talking to myself, waving my arms in the air.

     “What will she tell Junior about me when he gets older?” I say to myself.

     “Will he hate me for leaving him and his mother?” I couldn’t bear that.

     “Will he think I’m a loser?”

     Being alone with all these questions going around in my brain every day is hard. Am I strong enough to live through this? Sometimes I doubt it. I don’t have any experience dealing with these things. How can I figure it out on my own? Morgan says she means it.

     She says she will wait for me, but how does she know how she’ll feel later? She doesn’t realize how long seventeen years is. I pretend to believe her or I’ll lose my mind, because no matter what, I will always love her – always.

     The banging continues relentlessly. I’m offended. It’s cruel to have someone wake me this early. Will no one shut this dude up?

     The only thing I have no one can take away is my memories, and over these years I’ve perfected the illusion, or delusion. Whatever. These dreams have to last me for a very long time, so I don’t appreciate this dude waking me up. I’ve only been in here a couple years so far, so I have a long way to go before I get out of this prison cell.

     Some days I feel I’m losing the battle. These four walls of cold, gray stone and steel – a room with no color – is depressing. There are times I think I won’t live to get out of here. Something will happen. People die in here. Will I be one of them? In the beginning I thought I could do it. I convinced myself that somehow, if I was good enough, they’d let me out on parole. I would convince them at my parole hearing. They’d see I don’t belong in here. That won’t happen, I soon learned. They don’t parole anyone at their first parole hearing anyway. Not even whites. I had a lot to learn. But in the beginning I thought it would be over sooner than having to do the whole seventeen years. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t want to give up hope, but Texas doesn’t like to parole black men.

     My problem is my temper. I have a short hot button and I lose control. I tell myself over and over not to lose control. “Don’t listen to them.” I tell myself, “They’re trying to piss you off.” They do. So they win and I lose.

     When I get angry I lose control. It gives the guards the excuse to punish me more and put me in lockup. You’d think I would learn, but I don’t. I can’t do anything but attack them verbally, but they still write up a case on me. They can’t keep poking at me, calling me names, insulting me and attacking me with racial slurs and expect me to just stand there and do nothing. I have to defend myself somehow. My anger is my worst enemy. I need to learn to shut up and so far I haven’t done a good job.

     Over and over I write to Morgan and say, ” I love you, babe. I’ll get out of here. I’ll be good. They’ll let me out,” begging her her over and over, like a broken record, to please not leave me. . . . Sometimes I fill a whole page just telling her how much I love her. I am so lost without her.

March 12, 2007

Hey baby,

I haven’t been doing too good these past few weeks. I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble because I’ve had problems with the guards up here. Baby, I know I’m going to be here awhile and I try to not get myself down, you know, but it’s hard when the guards are out to get you because they know you aren’t going to take shit from them. That’s why I’m ready to get the hell away from this unit because they are all full of shit here. Anyway baby, I got the letter you sent me about you and Jr and I am so glad you two are doing good. I want you to know I love you baby and miss you all so much. I want you to be happy. I get to thinking about losing you and my family and it scares me. I don’t want that because without my family I’m nobody, baby.

Mamma wrote to me and told me she was going to send me some money when she got her income tax money, but I’m still waiting to see if she’s going to send it so I can get some food because I’m tired of eating this shit they give us here. I’ve already lost weight because I only eat every other day. The nurses have been talking about locking me up in lockdown because I don’t eat anuff shit. I told them I won’t eat anything at all if they do that, then they’ll have to send me to the hospital. Then they left me alone because they don’t want to have to pay for the hospital. My brother came to see me but they wouldn’t let me see him cause we were on lockdown. That’s really why I’ve been in a lot of trouble, because they punish everybody for some bullshit that one person does. I love you.

Every day I tell myself, I got too damn much time and she’s not going to be there and it hurts so bad because I really love you and it runs in and out of my head how bad it’s going to hurt if you really do leave me.

I’m not rushing you to write because I know you have lots to do. But going two-three weeks without a letter telling me how you and the family are doing is making me crazy.Tell me the truth. What’s going on? I would love to know, okay? I love you and miss you dearly.

I love you no matter what. Love you. W/B/S XOXO Love, hubby

**************************

     When this letter was sent, I had already been locked up for fifteen months, starting out in Bartlett County Jail, in East Texas. After this, I was moved to West Texas, a boring twelve hour drive across the state, to the Smith Unit in La Mesa. Driving across the state of Texas is like driving across hell. Passing an occasional billboard was a relief because it reminded you there was civilization . . . somewhere.

     Prison was going to be a lot worse than jail, but at the time I had no idea how much worse. I had a difficult time adjusting to losing my freedom. Initially, I think it is the hardest thing for every new inmate. You can’t eat when you want, or shower when you want. You have no choice about anything, and you have to learn to obey people who haven’t earned the respect of being obeyed, except for the uniform he/she was given to wear for his minimum wage babysitting job

     Depression is high among all the inmates. Even if you don’t normally suffer from depression, it happens when you realize you’re stuck in here and there is nothing you can do about it. Then when the people guarding you are allowed to mistreat you and get away with it, that’s enough to make you want to explode. My time inside at the jail, before I was sent to the prison, had only been a taste of what was coming next.

      When I was a teenager, my time in juvy was hard, and I got very depressed by the time they sent me home. I shouldn’t have even been sent to juvy. I didn’t do anything to deserve it. White cop, black teenager, everyone has heard the stories. I spent time in solitary confinement there, too, and that is is devastating, especially to a kid. It’s pretty much the same as solitary in an adult prison, but when you are a kid you have little defense against those who want to take advantage of you sexually. Fortunately I was a pretty big kid and could take care of myself; not all kids can. Most of the trouble I got in was because of defending myself from the staff. In juvy, I also knew I was going to get out. They would have to let me out when I turned twenty-one. My sentence was only nine months but that didn’t mean anything to them. As long as they could make money off me they kept me. They ruin the lives of most of these kids. I remember that most of them were foster kids. Who was going to protect them?

     Prison is different. Seventeen years was hard for me to wrap my head around. It’s too long to imagine. It was almost as long as my entire life so far. How could I not get depressed about that? Some people get a lot more years than I did. How did they do it? One day at a time, I suppose. If it gets bad enough there is always suicide as an out. Me, I’m trying to hold on to my family. It’s hard and I’m feeling completely out of control.

*******************************************

     The hardest thing about writing letters is counting the days and waiting to see if it’s going to be answered, even though you know it probably won’t be. The only good thing that happens is every time I wake up, one more boring, lonely,worthless day has passed.

     I keep imagining the worst. It just won’t sink in. There is no getting out of here. If I don’t get a letter back from Morgan really soon I’ll be sure I’ve lost her. When I’m about to give up I’ll hear from her and feel better for awhile. Then weeks will go by and I’ll start to panic again. It made me panic every time it took too long. Our letter writing was pretty strong the first couple years. Now the letters have longer and longer spaces of time in between. What would I have to live for if I lost her? Nothing. not if I knew for sure she was gone. I won’t make it if she isn’t there waiting for me. Am I being fair if I try to hold her to her promise? Am I making her feel guilty? Am I pushing her away by declaring my love so often? How many times can you tell someone you love them on one piece of paper? A lot, I found out. There isn’t much else to say. I’m drowning.

     I wouldn’t have made it as far as this if I didn’t think I had a wife waiting for me. We aren’t really married; not legally. I called her my wife, and she told the prison she was my wife, so they would talk to her if she called asking about me. We filled out the paperwork to be married by common law, but never mailed it in.

     I lay in my bed and let my mind wander trying again to make sense of things. It gets confusing, so why do I keep trying? Some men have someone to live for and some don’t. If I didn’t have anyone, what is the point of holding myself together? I have already missed half my teens in juvy and now I’m working on my twenties, and I’ll probably lose all but one year of my thirties. I’ll be middle aged by the time I get out and I don’t have enough education to get a job at a fast food joint – not that anyone would hire me with prison convict written all over me. I could be here until 2023. Seventeen years is a long time.

     This whole thing in here is a scam. All anyone had to do was look at the numbers since almost all of us is black. The media did a good job making people believe blacks commit more crimes and do more drugs. That’s a laugh. It must be in our genes they say. You’d have to be stupid to believe that. But people believe what they want to believe.

     I know about the corporations that run this place. It’s all about the money. They make a ton by keeping us here. This whole war on drugs was an excuse for these corporations to take over. It was political. They convinced the government they could save the state money and they could use that for other things like schools.

     Since the War on Drugs had already made people scared of black people it was easy to fill the prisons. Wear a hoodie and poof! Instant fear. Hear that enough times and it becomes truth. It gives cops permission to shoot and kill us. They still won’t prosecute the cops, so I must be right. Anyone with half a brain knows what’s going on. It’s scares me to think Junior could get caught up in this. It doesn’t matter that he’s half white. That makes it worse. The only skin color the cops sees is black. If the cop is racist they will find a way to hurt him if they can. It’s getting worse and it makes me worry for my son. Little Jamie has a brother who is also mixed race. I worry about both of them. I love all Morgan’s children as if they were my own.

     Just like the cops, it also doesn’t matter what the guards do. There is no punishment for them, even if someone dies. They find a way to write up the paperwork so they don’t look guilty. There is no one in here to stick up for the inmates. A lot of the guards are worse than the inmates. It isn’t fair and I can’t do jack about it. Shut up or they’re likely to spit in my food or find worse ways to retaliate. I’ve already found out the ways they get back at people who try to cause them trouble.

     After a day of treating inmates like dogs, do they go home and be good husbands and fathers? Can they turn it off like a light switch and become decent people at the end of the day, after some of the shit that goes on around here? I don’t see how that is possible.

*****************************************

     I pull myself back together. My mind runs crazy over the same things every day. It don’t help me and it only makes me feel bad. My feet are freezing walking on the cement floor. I’m glad I remembered to put my socks on. I went back to my bed and crawled under my blanket, ragged as it is. The banging seemed stop for now.

     I keep a picture of Morgan under my mattress, which is a three inch piece of foam, covered in plastic. I lay here and stare at her face, missing her, and what we could have had. I run my fingers over her face. Maybe it wasn’t in the cards for us but I’m not ready to give up. For me she hasn’t changed. She will always stay just like this. Maybe she has moved on but no one can take the past away from me. My life has only ever been full of maybes.

     I can’t stop myself from thinking about my son. I close my eyes and picture him standing here beside me. I feel like I can reach out and give him a hug. God, I miss him so much. I’ll never be able to teach him things, like throw a ball, or ride a bike. Someone else will have to teach him that. It isn’t fair. I will never be able to get this time back. It’s gone forever.

     A deep wrenching pain starts in my gut and wants to rip me apart. I wrap my arms around myself and hide my face. I don’t want anyone to hear me crying. I hear men lose control often enough and I don’t want them to know. Tears start to run down my face onto my neck. I wipe it away with the back of my hand. It’s easier to stay angry and keep that tough front going. If the guards hear me they’ll know they won and go back and tell everyone and they’ll laugh at me. I’m not really a tough guy. I only act that way when I have to defend myself. But that’s not how I want to be. If anyone sees you cry around here they’ll think you’re a pussy and it’ll be harder on you. So I suck it up and get myself under control.

Chapter List:

I Love You Always, Daddy


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I think I am 2/3 finished with the first draft and am talking to an editor who is reviewing my outline.  This is becoming a reality.  I had no idea what I was doing when I started.  I can tell you now I have loved every minute of the 15 months I’ve put into it – so far!  I thought I could write it in 8 months. I must have re-written this particular chapter about 8 times, changing tenses and adding to it. This particular re-write today is going to an editor to analyze the content.

 

Lockdown. Voice From Inside

lockdown,voice from inside

July 23, 2013 – nearly two years ago

I try my best to stay away from trouble. But I guess it’s my karma. I’m here in lockdown again and I don’t know why. All I know is my celly threatened me in front of an officer. They locked him up and came and got me the next day. My celly was trying to get away from another dude. He sold the dude his fan for 6 pictures of women and toothpaste!! However, he later tried to back out of the deal and the dude told him he was going to beat him up. So my celly did what we call ‘catch out’ cause he didn’t want to fight. But these people are now saying that I’m under investigation. I think my celly done lied on me about something. I don’t know what’s going on. The Security Threat Group Officer come and ask me if I was ok. However he said I have to be placed in tranzed (?) til I see UCC. ( Sonni’s note:UCC is the inprison court which is usually run by the warden. He hears so many claims about the same thing that not much attention is paid to what the inmate is saying most of the time.)

I seen my celly. He said the officer wrote him a case for a shank. He got G5 today. Could you call and see what’s going on please? I haven’t been given a case yet. There’s no telling what my celly done lied about. I tried to help him by talking to the dude but the dude didn’t want to hear it. So I left it alone and told my celly the dude didn’t want to hear it. So I left it alone and told my celly the dude said to sit the fan out. Like I said, it’s my karma for trouble. If you call just ask them, why am I being locked up? They won’t tell me nothing. Don’t say nothing bout my celly. Well, you know what? Just don’t say anything bout him getting G5. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen. I don’t think I’m in any trouble. Then again I’m looking at where I’m at. In lockdown. I think this time they’re trying to make sure I’m safe. I hope that’s what it is. Cause I ain’t did nothing. But if they try anything I’ll be going back to ad seg. I’d rather be by myself. Then I don’t have to worry about no inmates. Who am I kidding? Trouble is everywhere.

I don’t know why I’m worried. I’m fixing to get up and dance and sing! For awhile, and then chant. That’s what’s wrong with me. I worry too much. But you know what? I don’t forget anything! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Cause I would like to see just how good at dancing you are! ( drew a smiley face) I don’t know you just might win. Naw, I’m just playing. We’ll see one day.

Love Always, Son

(Sonni’s note: For those of you who are tuning in for the first time, I’m not his real mom, but I guess you could tell that by the pictures. If you’d like to continue reading and find out who Jamie is, which I hope you do, go to; My Name is Jamie, and then to Jamie’s Prison, and The Meaning of It All. This are pages at the top. It will give you his story. Then start at the beginning of the posts, the oldest ones, as there is a story that unfolds through the years. Follow me as I continue to write and reshare on your social media. I am sorting through older letters until I reach all the way back to 2006. I have a lot of letters to go through! They are sometimes funny, but mostly sad because he missed the birth of his only child, now 8 1/2. He’s never touched him or talked to him on the phone, but hopefully he will be able to do that real soon!