Thursday, December 26, 2013

Facebook Note Titled 2013

Although most of this year was spent behind the wall, I like to think it was a productive year. A mistake that many people in jail make is that they only really live two days of this sentence; the day the arrive and the day they leave. I did not make this mistake...I utilized my time, I bettered myself physically and mentally. I rehabilitated myself. With the help of my teacher and friend, Sivali, I learned more about the Buddha's Dhamma and as a result understand myself a great deal better than I did a year ago. 

I think most importantly I was able to reconnect with my family. It will take awhile with my daughters...I have been absent from their lives for too long, but we are starting to all know one another. There is work to be done ahead, but it has begun and we are moving forward.

Sometime in Dec 2012 or Jan 2013, when I was in jail I was called down to the guard's desk. The counselor, who had been accused of sexual misconduct(and who testified against one of his co-workers @ grand jury), told me that he had read by Dead End King blog...A blog that I had thrown out some opinions about the situation, and about guards behaviour in general. He told me that the administration had had a meeting about my blog. They were obviously uncomfortable with it. This made me determined to write more about my experience...and upon my release I published a great deal of my writings to a new blog- I have enjoyed a healthy number of followers, and will continue to write on the experience. 

On the 5th of November, I became Guy Fawkes. I met other people who are also Guy Fawkes. I am fortunate to have met these compatriots. They have helped me to see that I am not insane...that there are others who are tired of the facade of civilization at large. People who believe, as I do, that the wheel of fate should be in the hands of the people, not just a few tyrants. 

I got to see three of my close friends get clean. 

I also lost some people this year...First, Carl Opperman. His passing remains the hardest for me to accept. I still miss him everyday and can't bring myself to delete his number out of my phone. I will see him in the pit of every show I go to...I will hear him every time I listen to Bob Marley. I want to say now that I will never forget Carl's friendship. A truer and better friend would be hard to come by. Jimmy Sullivan was beaten to death by a gang of cowards outside of a shitty bar in a shitty town. He was also a good man, and deserved a better end than he received. In May, Miami-Dade police shot and killed my friend Frito Valcin. It had been many years since I had seen him...but his death was no easier for that. A young and very lost man, Zack Frobe, who I knew only from jail died not long before I was released. He was still finding his way in the so many others from this area he succumbed to drugs as a way to deal with his angst. He had a good heart and good humor. Brad of the craziest mofos to ever walk this planet passed just a month ago. He was my sponsor when I joined the Brotherhood of Irish Americans, he was my room mate for a time and a friend in my darkest hour. Finally, yesterday Sammy Shultz passed away...another person who couldn't let go of the poison. Sammy was one of those people you meet who is an instant friend...5 minutes or 5 years made no difference. I will remember all of these men fondly in the years to come and celebrate their lives rather than mourn their deaths.

In 1875 William Ernest Henely wrote a poem called Invictus. Invictus means "unbreakable", it has become my personal mantra. I wish to end this note with the poem in it's entirety. In memorial to those who have passed, and as tribute to those of us still in this world who refuse to be broken. 


Out of the night that covers me,Black as the pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstanceI have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Diabetic shock? Hit him with the Tazer.

I want to tell a story now. Time has made it blurry...and I do not propose that this is a verbatim account. No, this is simply the incident as I remember it. I am sure everyone involved would have their own version.

At some point last year, I will say after February I was on D-Pod in Butler County Prison. It was, maybe 3 or 4 in the morning when I heard a group of guards come onto the pod.

I heard an extremely odd exchange between one of the Captains and an inmate who I was later told was going through diabetic shock. Here I will paraphrase what I heard:

Capt XXXXX: Whats your problem?

Inmate 1: What? Who are you.

Capt XXXXX: Do you know where you are?

Inmate 1: Where?

Capt XXXXX: You are in Butler County Prison.

Inmate 1: Prison? Here? Can I leave?

Capt XXXXX: No. (calling Inmate 2 by his name) Inmate 2 you are going to need to cuff up.

Inmate 2: Why? I didn't do anything...

(inmate 2 eventually cuffs up and is removed from the cell)

Capt XXXXX: Inmate 2, I am going to need you to cuff up.

Inmate 2: What?

Capt XXXXX: I will not ask you again.

Capt XXXXX to a guard standing by: If he doesn't cuff up, I am going to need you to taze him.

Inmate 2: Razzers?

I will end my account here. Eventually the inmate did cuff up and was removed from the cell and taken to medical. Of course there is protocol to consider...but what would you do in that situation? Is it reasonable to consider Tazing a non violent inmate who is obviously going through some medical issues?

Funny thing...I had actually spoke to the guard that the captain was ordering to taze the inmate if he was not compliant about a month before all this happened. The guard was a nice enough guy, reasonable & professional. I asked him one day. "You seem like a fairly bright guy...what if you came into work one day and you were asked to do something that you considered immoral?" His reply was "Well...I am the sort of guy who follows commands from my superiors, so I would have to do what I was told."

Indeed, you would. This is not is banality.

think for yourself.

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 In Review

2013 was a busy year for me. Although the majority was spent in jail, I was able to use that time to expand my knowledge & write. Jail has been an unfortunate part of my reality, and I became determined to not let it be time wasted. It was inspirational to me to find that the prison administrators read my old blog and were unsettled by it. Suddenly it was clear that I need to use my voice, lay out my experience to the public. As mentioned several times, this blog is simply a rough data dump for me...I am working on refining this material for publication.

I was able to further my relationship with my daughters this year. That in itself has been a great experience...I am very proud of them, and who they are becoming. I am truly blessed to have two smart, beautiful, vicious daughters. They are both developing into free thinkers, and I look forward to seeing them rule the world!!

I have been poison free for 20 months. The chemical tether is cut...I have simply lost interest.

Buddhism has been good to me. Through many hours of study and real life application I feel that there has been a breakthrough in understanding. I have always known that we create our own reality, but Buddhism and meditation has given me a structure to do that in. My teacher, Sivali has been a patient and kind teacher and I owe him a deep and sincere gratitude.

New Castle Change has been a great experience for me...I have met a group of people who share the urgency for change that I have known through out life. It is inspirational to be a part of such a good group of people.

I have met some great people this year, too many to name personally, reconnected with some real and true friends and family. For all of you I am eternally grateful.

There has been loss as well and I want to take this opportunity to say that Carl Opperman, Jimmy Sullivan, Big Buddha(Butler, Pa.), Frito Valcin, Zack Frobe and Brad Wroblewski will all be missed. I will remember your lives fondly. Lou Reed & Nelson Mandela...obviously not people I know, will also be remembered for the way that they touched my life through music and political action respectively. Sleep well.

Going into 2014, I hope that everyone is peaceful, happy and well.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Madison Avenue(1988)

She remembers the days before

Before the jealousy, before the pride
Before the stitches, Before tears cried

She remembers the years of life 

years of love, years of pain
years of children gone insane

She sees beyond the cells and scars, 
beyond the fights in midnight bars
beyond the knives, hungry for more
beyond facades and cold steel doors

And through the broken fists and hard times 
When all is said and done...
When the rain washes my tears from her 
cement bosom one more time:
Those street signs will STILL say Madison Ave
And she will remember us, her delinquent children
who came to her for family, love and salvation...

She will remember 1988

Friday, November 1, 2013

17 Deplorable Examples Of White Privilege?

Before reading further please refer to the following "article"

Read it? Very good...let's proceed.

Right off the bat let me say that I will not argue that racism, and further systemic racism do not exist. Of course they do. Racism is bad in any incarnation, it's negative and it is a self perpetuating beast.

I want to address each point of this article, if only to express my personal experience and opinions.

1. Because of white privilege, you’ll never have to worry about becoming the victim of law enforcement officers. 

This first point is well taken, but completely untrue. Please do your own research in the matter, but anyone with unchecked power will abuse it against anyone...I have recently seen video footage of police beating and harassing white men and women, and children...their own children for that matter. Maintaining the idea that whites are somehow immune to police misconduct is counterproductive as it only throw up barriers where there should be bridges.

2. Thankfully, you’ll never have to know what it feels like to see your teenage son’s death being mocked.

This is in reference to some idiot dressing up as Trayvon Martin w/ a bullet wound for Halloween. Of course that entire case is a a prime example of how venal our "legal system" is...and no, I do not know what it is like to have the death of my son mocked; in all fairness neither does the person who wrote the 17 Deplorable Examples of White Privilege article. 

3. Because of white privilege, you’ll never have to inform your children of the harsh realities of systemic racism.

Correct. But no one HAS to do anything. Many families of all cultural backgrounds make their children aware of racism and systemic racism. 

4. White privilege means you can be articulate and well spoken without people being “surprised.”

This is simply untrue. I am told this all the time. I have a record, I am heavily tattoo'd...I gave up my membership card to "the white people club" many years ago...This is one that I take personally, because everything I do is a surprise to people..."Oh, well you are so well spoken/read. I would have never thought that with all those tattoos" This is my day to day life, generally anytime I meet someone new. 

5. Because of white privilege, you’ll never know what it’s like to have the following statistic looming over your head.

I wonder what experience the author has with the correctional industry. I have been on the other side of the wall...I know all too well what it is like to have a statistic looming over my head, as do a lot of working class people.

6. You can wear and act however you’d like without being labeled a thug, low life, gangster, etc.

This point is driven home inthe original article with several pictures of Justin Bieber looking alternately thuggish(Beverly Hills thuggish) and Backstreet Boyish...Ok, I am not going to act like I dont have a sense of humor. I think that the author Michael Blackmon was inserting a little bit of humor here, so yeah...hahaha, it IS funny how celebs can dress however they want. Michael ends the segment by saying "Everyone wants to act black, but no one actually wants to be black" Is there a universal way that all black people act now?

7. White privilege allows you to speak on any particular subject without being the sole representative for your entire race.

Unless the roles are reversed and a white person becomes the minority...which does happen.

8. White privilege means no one questions why you got that really great job; it’s assumed you were just highly qualified.

This sounds good online, but in the real world it isn't that clear cut. What about white women? What about people with disabilities? I am a very "myob" sort of guy...anytime I see ANYONE of any color with a great job I assume they worked hard to get it if it crosses my mind at all; which generally it wouldn't.

9. White privilege means not having to worry about your hair, skin color, or cultural accessories as the reason you didn't get a job.

Because jobs are simply handed out to whites, right? How many unemployed people do you know? I know a lot, of ALL colors. 

10. White privilege means you don’t have to worry about being monitored in a store just because the hue of your skin is a bit darker than most.

In general, I agree with this statement. Again, racism is bad...I think that this type of behavior is small minded and ugly.

11. Having white privilege means people will never label you a terrorist.

I grew up with a couple families of Palestinians. They consider themselves to be Caucasian. There are further points but they would be over kill. 

12. White privilege means not being affected by negative stereotypes that have been perpetuated and ingrained so much into American society that people believe them to be fact.

Sarcasm reads something like this: "No, I have never been personally affected by negative stereotypes."
In case you can't hear it online I am shaking my head and chuckling right now. Silly. Naive. Innocent opinion. Talk to me once you have a couple more years under your belt.

13. White privilege means you never have to explain why cultural appropriation is a bad thing.

Not that I am the spokesperson for any Mom is white, Dad was Spanish. But here is my humble opinion-Who cares? Focus more on yourself. Morons exist...nothing we can do about that. If white people want to wear giant gaudy sombreros on May 5th, go for it. 

 14. White privilege means not having to worry about being stopped and frisked.

I can personally debunk this one...and I have a crew of friends in NYC that can attest that this is simply untrue.

15. If you benefit from white privilege, you’ll never be told to “get over slavery.”

True. Slavery was a wretched act. What more can be said about that?

16. White privilege means that you’re never just your own person.

Here the author points to Nicki Minaj being called the "black Lady Gaga"...I have never heard this comparison, then again I know next to nothing about pop music and mainstream MTV stars. I think our author was running out of steam at this point.

17. Benefiting from white privilege means you can walk the Earth unaware of your color.

This one is a giant stretch. True assumption...being mixed I was constantly aware that I didn't fully fit in anywhere. A couple of Irish guys I grew up with in Cleveland were well aware that they were the only truly white faces for blocks...My mother was very aware that she was the only white person at her job for some years. Sit down with me and exchange stories, ask Ian MacKaye what it was like to be the only white kid at his high school in D.C., ask my friend Scott what it was like to have the only white family in Collinwood, Ohio.

The point of this retort was not to dispute that racism exists, it does; it is an ugly. I think that Michael Blackmon meant well but failed to see that the majority of people in this country are on the receiving end of discrimination...and no one can do anything about it while we remain divided along color lines. There is a powerful excerpt in Howard Zinn's People'S History of the U.S. that I want to cite now. I have to paraphrase here...A slave owner's wife wrote something to this affect in her journal: "More than having to separate the Africans and Irish to avoid violence, we should do well to separate them lest they come together and realize strength in numbers."  Very powerful stuff indeed. Don't do what the system wants you to do...break the color barrier in your own life. 

I want to end this with a quote from Siddhartha Gotama: "Not through hating hatred ceases, in this world of tooth and claw. Love alone from hate releases, this is the eternal law."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lou Reed March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013

The first time I remember hearing Lou Reed, I was a resident at the Chestnut Lodge School for Bad Little Bastards and Bastardettes. This would have been 1989/90. At this point I barely listened to anything that was outside of the hardcore/thrash zone...I was a snarky, know it all little shit and I had no tolerance for anything outside of my very small, insulated & isolated world.

I was taking a ride with a staff member, Dale, when he put in a Velvet Underground mixtape. Here I am, listening to this man spew forth poetry set to music...spilling pathos through the speakers. I was an outspoken youth...I remember Dale looking over at me and smiling. He said something to the effect of "This is real rebel music...for when you grow out of your punk faze." I am hearing heroin addiction, guns, transvestites. I am hearing the most beautiful telling of the most horrid tales. Sometime in the next week Dale brought me a copy of the Lou Reed/VU mixtape...and a lifelong appreciation and kinship for and with his music.

I never outgrew my "punk faze"...but I did make room for Lou Reed and his cracked sidewalk anthems in my repertoire. Lou Reed opened my world to Jim Carroll, Patti Smith and Tom Waits. He became my soundtrack...when my first daughter was conceived, it was The Beginning of a Great Adventure, when I was consuming ungodly amounts of coffee on the ghetto streets of Cleveland and writing my ass off I was taking a Walk on the Wild Side, when my youngest daughter was born Sweet Jane was on heavy rotation...and of course when I was shooting poison into my veins, Heroin played on as a testament to those who had built the junkie fraternity and survived.

Lou Reed's music will always be dear to me because Lou Reed was a real person. Lou Reed wrote with such naked honesty that sometimes I felt as if I was listening to someone's diary set to music...something that was not meant to be heard. Lou Reed bared his soul to the world. He was one of the last great outlaw american poets of his generation.

I am not saddened by his death. The man truly lived for his short 71 years...if anything I am glad for him. He deserves to rest well. Thank you for the music, Lou. Your rhythm will be missed. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"How you doing with this, dude?"

I don't even know what to say right now, I just know that I need to write or I will lose this moment. I am not in the best place ever, not processing these recent deaths with any ease. Brad passing is the 4th death of a close friend in one year. Beginning with Carl, Jimmy being beaten to death, Frito being shot by Miami PD, and now Brad. Death is mundane; as common as being born or breathing. This fact does not make death any easier. 

Mourning death is a selfish thing. I know this. Those departed are free from this world, from it's inherent unsatisfactory nature. Free from the state of affairs which the Vaisnavas so aptly call The Iron Age of Quarrel and Hypocrisy. The departed are gone one way or another from this world; whether you are an atheist or a devout believer-the pain of life is ended. So we mourn because we selfishly want our friend back, we mourn because we didn't get to say something to our departed that we feel we should have said. There was still some adventure to be had with our passed friend or loved one. 

I mentioned a few days ago that I am glad to go through this poison free...I want to feel this pain, every second of it. I am willing to embrace this loss without the luxury of numbness. I think that this is part of life. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I call myself unbreakable and I think I deserve in Psalms 69, my enemies number like the hairs on my head. I have survived everything that the world can throw and I am still walking around with my head up. My own personal mantra is the poem Invictus...and it's very meaning can be summed by just one of it's lines: My head is bloody, but unbowed"

I want to use this opportunity to say that surviving, being unbreakable isn't simply a matter of being hard. There is a point, yes, that you must be strong through life...but that's like saying that you must breathe oxygen in life, of course you do. Being unbroken by circumstance means retaining who you are at your core through out it all. At my core being, though I am aloof by nature, I am kind. I am optimistic. I am generous.

To me, if I would allow the events of my life to harden me unreasonably I wouldn't consider myself unbreakable. I am able to have survived what I did without being much different in demeanor than I was before these events. I don't know how...if I did I would freely give away the answer. Like some people like to say..."someone always said what you are trying to say, and they said it better" So here is a quote from Mother Theresa :

Do It Anyway - popularized by Mother Teresa
"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway."

Do you regardless of what life throws at you . Be truly unbreakable.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Light & Water

Strange Grey. Retreat. Biscuit. These are the colors that Butler County Prison used to paint and detail it's insides with. Imagine bright florescent lights bouncing off of off white walls all day, 24 hours a day. This is part of the physicality of jail life in Butler County.

I want to talk today about just that, the physical side of jail...I have spent time already covering the very personal side of my own struggles at the jail, my biased opinions and my side of the experience. There is another side to incarceration that cannot be biased, it simply is.

Before going further, I am not someone who is under the illusion that jails should be exactly comfortable...there is discomfort in the so-called free world, and of course the comfort level in jail would be less than that. Naturally, jail will be bare bones necessity.

There are two points that I really want to cover now; the first being light, the second being water.

Light. In Butler County Prison, you are subject to florescent lights 24/7. I am not an optometrist, but I have to think that this is not good for one's eyes. There is a little respite at night when the staff generously turns one of the two lights in your cell off...but after a few minutes, you don't notice. You could comfortable read a book all night in the lighting. The jail actually sites the reasoning behind this is that it makes it easier for guards to count captives at opposed to using their flashlights to look in. one is going anywhere after lock in, counting is arbitrary. Second, if an individual considers using a flash light as hard work, maybe that individual shouldn't work in the corrections industry. Just opinion here...what do I know? In contrast, captives are provided little or no real opportunity to see real sunlight...the rec yard gets a thin ray of light for a short time during the day, and the windows in the cells are frosted to "prevent inmates from signalling free persons". Again, excuse me if my opinion is showing but what kinda chittlins is that? Signalling them for what exactly? An armed escape? A revolt? Laughable.

Water. The keystone of our life. Water in jail is not what most people would consider "drinkin' water". This over chlorinated, recycled water literally tastes like pool water.

Sometimes less is more. I am going to omit needless words and leave it at that. Chlorinated/recycled. Very little sunlight, if any.

Dream Oct 15th 2013

I am in jail, in some kind of holding area. Ronnie Hicks is there and he has been's not serious, light laceration. He is on a gurney and we are joking about how arbitrary jail rules are. At this point, on cue, a guard comes over and tells me that I have to leave because me talking to Ronnie when the ambulance comes is a security risk. We argue the point for a minute before I realize that the guard is just a little ant mindlessly going about this ant business. You cannot argue with these people in or out of's futile. Followers will do anything to avoid thinking.

So I leave. Art Marx is there, standing by a door that leads to the enclosed walkway. I tell him that I can't stay any longer; if I do I'll completely lose my mind. He says he understands and will file the necessary papers when I leave...

I go through the walkway and end up in Kittanning. It looks like the 1940's I think, though I have no way of knowing what the 40's looked like. At any rate I am walking down by the river, there are a couple of old guys singing Vera by Pink Floyd. I sit there thinking about how depressing Pennsylvania is.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

dream Oct 14 2013

I had a dream I was rock climbing in the Grand Canyon with John Joseph and Charles Bukowski. Civilization was crumbled, but that wasn't a part of the dream...just implied. Of course Bukowski was complaining the whole time. We camped in these cocoon-like single person tents that hung from our repelling gear.

We watched fire works and people far below canoeing  as we went to sleep.

When I woke up I had a cup of coffee and listened to Malfunction. 

haiku 10

ghost symphonies play
while trees in the forest fall
the forest remains

Life Oct 14 2013

I have been out one month. Things are going slow and I really can't complain about anything...I would have liked to have located employment by now, other than that things are good. I am doing my thing; writing, reading, listening to old blues and drinking strong coffee.

I don't know how all this is going to turn out...who does? There are good things happening slowly, repairing old friendships, forging new ones.

I have no desire to fight this world anymore. No, there's been no change of heart, it's simply futile...the world is as it is and I cannot allow myself to be joyous or pained about it. It's in flux, ever changing as it always has been and always will be. All I can do is go on about my business, do what I feel is right and live.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

The prison articles that started all this...

Since I mentioned previously that the entries on my old had spurred some dialogue between myself and the prison staff, I thought I should throw some links up here and share the original posts:

American Hardcore, banned in BCP

Prison Rant

Scandal @ BCP

Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely

some vintage shit...enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Serenity and Forgiveness

It has been 18 months since my last drug/drink/high. Things are not perfect by any stretch, but I feel good. I have had temptation but am still able to say that poison is not a part of my life today.

Last night the topics at the meeting included Serenity, Forgiveness and Patience.

Patience is something I know well...we have a solid relationship. You cannot do time in jail without learning to respect time, respecting time is the foundation of my patience. Living in a building controlled by people as lost and clueless as the people they hold captive teaches patience by mountains.

For me forgiveness and serenity go hand in hand. How can I know serenity without forgiveness? I cannot afford to hold resentment, I have no choice but to forgive. I held resentments against the legal system at large, police, corrections, district attorneys, parole & probation, etc, ad nauseam for too many years. Now, to say that I have respect for an inherently corrupt system would be a stretch...however; the people upholding that system are simply people after all. They go about their ant business in the ant-hill; unquestioning...and probably truly believing that they are doing the right thing. I cannot fault them for that. The fact of the matter is this, we are all connected. I cannot wish harm on people without also harming myself. I forgive these people for my own interest primarily...and for theirs secondarily. And not just them. I forgive everyone who I ever perceived to have done me wrong. I truly wish wellness, happiness and peace to everyone.

This is the only path to serenity that I know.

Serenity is not blind and sublime bliss. Serenity is peace of mind. Serenity can be known in chaos. Serenity is subjective, it is your own and only you can define it for yourself. My own serenity is manifest in how I interact with and view my world. I am now intimate with serenity in a way I have never before been. I have spent a great deal of my life focused on hate...I know both ends of this. And I have to say that serenity is a better companion by far. I have my coffee & tobacco, I meditate, I go to meetings, I am a member of my family; a friend to my friends, I listen to the blues and I write. My existence is peaceful. I know serenity. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


People who have been to jail have a tendency to let the experience either harden their hearts or beat them into submission. I have never allowed it to do either. Some days I would be jaded, of course. Some days I'd wonder what the point was in making an effort to change...But these extremes would pass, as all extremes do. 

I am endeared to the poem Invictus (Latin for unconquered) but William Ernest Henley. It is four short and powerful stanzas about remaining undefeated by circumstance. 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Mr. Henley captures that rare and indestructible quality of the individual at odds with the world. The opportunity to "give up" is ever present...and it would probably make one's life easier. To borrow from a much bigger picture: Is safety worth freedom? That is to say, is it worth it for one to give up one's struggle for acceptance into the herd? Not this guy. 

I said all that to say this: I have not allowed myself to become either beaten or embittered by the system. I have not forsaken my humanity. I am not without feeling or depth or hope. 

Here I stand, on my patch of Route 422. Many years and memories leading up to this. I stand firm, I am still I. I feel love and I feel motivation. I feel righteous contempt and I feel a desire to question everything. I am what I always have always had the potential to be. 

I am unconquered.  

Some Guys Have All The Luck

In the fall of 2011 I was doing a short sentence for not reporting to probation. 

My homie Nick was my cellmate. 

One day after lock down Nick looked down from his top bunk and said to me "Hey man, you know what song is going through my head?"

I replied in the negative. 

He then said "Rod Stewart's Some Guys Have All the Luck."

I don't expect anyone to understand, but it was the funniest thing I had heard that year. 

Re-Entry Part II

I feel the need to say, again, that the Re-Entry Program is a work in progress. It is not the same now as when I was in it and I hope that it continues to grow. I hope that it actually benefits the people in jail and people in the community, as it has potential to do. There are benefits to being in the program. Applying for and receiving a copy of your Social Security card, birth certificate and state i.d. are requirements. There is an emphasis on adult education and living a drug free life. Some semblance of spiritual life is covered...though it is spiritual life as approved of by the administration.

Here are a few observations, none of this should be read as endorsement or critique. It is simple what I saw and my thoughts on that.

I think that spirituality is necessary to growth. It is a good thing to be in touch with something bigger than yourself. Spirituality can shrink the world...make you see that we are all connected. If people see themselves as connected to the world at large it is unlikely that they will participate in activity that hurts the community around them. In my life I draw little distinction between can find wisdom and truth wherever you look.

Here's where I had a problem with the Re-Entry Program's treatment of spirituality:

It was compulsory and it was exclusively Christian.

Along spiritual lines Re-Entry had 3 groups when I was a participant; Internal Mentoring(a group done in the jail), External Mentoring(a group done at a local church annex), and God's Country(again at the church annex). The people who hosted these groups are not employed by the jail, they are volunteers. Our hosts we're extremely gracious...As an example for the outside groups, there was food. Upon finding out that I am a vegetarian, our hosts provided me with vegetarian dishes, which was always very tasty fare by the way. It is my humble opinion that the people from the church who host these programs are very nice people who are genuinely concerned about their community, and the people in it...including those with legal issues. These people were not judgmental, and even upon learning that I am Buddhist did not in any way try to Bible thump me. They were all lovely people, and I mean that.

I do have to say that, as someone who believes that one's spirituality is one's own business, I have a problem with the jail enforcing activity in any single religion exclusively. Can you, my dear and loyal readers, imagine if prisoners were forced to participate in Islamic services? What  if learning Buddha's Dhamma or chanting Hare Krishna were compulsory activities in a jail? It is my belief that people benefit from any spiritual study but that is beside the point...A jail should not, I doubt that it legally can, force participation the way it does.

I want to re-state that my issue is not with the volunteers. They were great people and refreshingly Christlike, they were compassionate and strong in their faith. It was truly an honor to have met and exchanged ideas with them.

My issue is with forced religious activity. I am not sitting here with my hand in an apple pie, waving a flag but it doesn't seem "American" to me...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Maddog, meet Butler County Prison. Butler County Prison, meet Maddog.

I was first booked into Butler County Prison in 2001, a little over a year after I moved there from Cleveland. I was arrested for a minor assault beef that was dropped and not worth talking about. 

I don't remember the booking process other than I had a lot of facial piercings and the guards were amused by this. 

Once I was checked in, complete with a set of "blues"-the blue uniforms we had before the stripes, I was sent to D Range. To get to D Range which was top tier, you had to walk passed B Range. These were old style how you see in old prison films. You know the kind, a line of cells, a lot of bars and a common area stretching along the cells. 

Well as I was passing B-Range, I saw a midget that looked like Bushwick Bill playing cards with an Elvis impersonator. 

From the ghettos of Cleveland to this. I thought it was some sort of set up...I wasn't in jail, this was Candid Camera. 

It got better. I over heard a guard later in the day say "I don't care if she has a dick or not...if she spits on me, I'm beating her like she was still a man" That's a paraphrase...I don't know what he said exactly. He was of course referring to a (now) woman who had given herself a sex change operation to become a woman. Yes. Someone gave himself a home sex change operation. I couldn't make this up. 

This was my first day in Butler County Prison. This was my introduction to an institution that would loom over my relationship with Butler County for the next 12 years. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Re-Entry Part I

Like many county jails, Butler County Prison has recently instituted a "Re-Entry Program" supposedly to curb recidivism. It is called a voluntary program...maybe my definition of voluntary is off, but it is a program that inmates are forced into and kept in by threat of administrative discipline(the hole) if one does not participate after being selected to partake. 

To be fair, the program was in it's infant stage when I was a "participant". Things have changed and I do think that it is a good idea, on paper at least. Anything that can stop the revolving door is something that I can get behind. I do have to question the fact that prison admins actually want to stop recidivism. That's like corporate McDonalds starting a campaign to eliminate french fries, soda and Big Macs. 

Of course I do not agree that a guard/counselor runs the program. To digress for a second: Guards have their own culture, they see a very real line between "them" and "us". If a guard is too compassionate or understanding toward prisoners, they are perceived as weak by their peers. Point being that any guard in the position of Re-Entry Coordinator is a guard first and foremost. This is not an indictment on the person of the current Coordinator, it would be the same no matter who was in that position. My opinion is that if any progress is to be made, the prisoner must be able to trust the the present this is next to impossible.

Moving on. 

The Re-Entry Program in BCP is a 4 stage program, participating in various classes and  meeting certain criteria before moving up in levels. The following was the weekly itinerary when I was in the program:

Sun:      10:00 am to 11:00 am external AA meeting (levels 3 & 4, optional)  

Mon:     8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise 
              12:00 pm-1:00 pm Criminal Thinking(1st Group) 
              3:00 pm-4:00 pm SOAR(staring over after a record)
              6:00 pm-8:00 pm Drug & Alcohol(work release/comm. service guys) 

Tues:      9:00 am -11:00 am Drug & Alcohol(re-entry)
              12:30 pm-1:30 pm Physical Exercise
              2:00 pm Sex, Drugs and Risky Behavior(monthly)
              3:00 pm-4:00 pm Financial Literacy(levels 1-4)
              6:30 pm-7:30 pm AA 

Wed:     8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise
             12:00 pm-1:00 pm Thinking for a Change(levels  1-4)
             1:00 pm-2:00 pm Nutrition(levels 1-4)
             2:00 pm-3:00 pm VOICE(levels 1-4)
             3:00 pm-4:00 pm Life Skills(levels 1-4)
             6:00 pm-8:00 pm External Mentoring(levels 3 & 4)

Thurs:    9:00 am-10:00 am Drug & Alcohol(re-entry)
             12:30 pm-1:30 pm Physical Exercise 
             2:00 pm-3:00 pm Criminal Thinking(2nd Group)
             5:30 pm-6:30 pm Internal Mentoring(levels 1-4)
             6:30 pm-7:30 pm AA(levels 1-4)

Fri:        8:30 am-9:30 am Physical Exercise 
             12:00 pm-1:00 pm Thinking for a Change(level 1-4)

Sat:       7:00 pm-8:00 pm God's Country @ 1st United Methodist Church

**Friday, Saturday and Sunday were also dedicated to kitchen work for those on level 2. These days would begin by waking up at 5:30 am and working in the kitchen for 12 hours averagely. Kitchen work in Re-Entry is not compensated, and you log in almost an entire work week in 3 days.  

Next up, program Overview. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4th 2013

Just a few thoughts:

I have been out of jail for about 3 weeks now and I am still adjusting. Not to mention the fact that I haven't spent any significant time here in New Castle since the late 90's. Everything is as different as can be. This is a good thing. New Castle itself is in some sort of rebirth. This little Rustbelt city that I have equally sought for comfort from and been at war with all my life seems to be making a turn for the good. Since I have decided to dig in here, I am glad that things have changed...of course the Lower East is a war zone, there is still an air of corruption but tell me where these things do not exist.

I am embarking on a new project today. Self-publishing. A few friends of mine have published on Lulu and it sounds like an option. The first project there is to pour back over my journals from jail, sift my memories, and interview a few people that I did time with...putting together a more cohesive account of the Butler County experience. 

There has been a story sauntering through my mind...about a magician in modern times. I am headed to the library shortly to do some research, and try to see the direction of the tale. 

The universe conspires with me, as it does with all creative people who realize their calling. 

I wish wellness, happiness, and peace to everyone who reads this.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Back in the World

It's been about two weeks since my release from jail. This blog has helped to keep me is a work in progress; I will continue to keep regular entries. 

This is not a full documentary of my jail experience. I omitted some entries because jail life is repetitive. Guys often make "Groundhog Day" references, it sometimes does seem like the same day played over and over again. 

I had my struggles. I am not racist or sexist, I am a free thinker...this made it hard to have conversations. I am also of the mind and the opinion that questioning arbitrary authority is the duty of any freethinker. 

I did meet a few people of note, ran into some old friends. I learned about myself, and hopefully how to alter some of my faulty mental patterns. I had correspondence with Sivali, who taught me about the Buddha's teachings. 

As mentioned waaaaay back, I was confronted by a jail employee about some things I said on my last blog I welcome and invite any and all correctional staff in general and specifically those employed in Butler County to read and comment any of these submissions. I do not object to people speaking their mind...I don't believe in censorship, and I will not delete comments. 

In the Nahuatl language(the indigenous language of Mexica)the word Tiahui means "always moving forward". That is what it is time for me to do. I have exorcised demons here and I will leave them here. I don't want my work to be focused on anger or resentment. I do not want my writing to be defined by angst. There is enough suffering in the world...I am not trying to create more.

End Transmission

Release Date (a nod to Xzibit)

Its been 17 months, 1 week and 6 hot  ones
One more wake up & I'm a free man walking
Leaving behind these walls that bind
Thank God on High I didn't lose my mind
I got pain & meditation, prayer and medication
Feeling like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation
Cuz I've gone months without a mind on my level
In a room full of sheep & I'm the only rebel
So when I hit the street, all this is behind me
Another jail cell is the last place you'll find me
No more card games, bad trays-that bullshit can miss me
Every crack smoking hater on block, they can all miss me
I been through too much to fall down again
My life means too much, it's too strong for them to bend
Tomorrow after breakfast-I got a full plate
Friday the 13th, that's my release date.

End Transmission

Judith 16:12

The sons of slave girls pierced them through;
the supposed sons of rebel mothers cut them down;
they perished before the ranks of the Lord.


Johnny Cash died 10 years ago today. He is the Patron Saint of Outlaws, Outcasts and Outsiders. I cannot put into words what his music means to me. I will just say this: Thank you John, sleep well.

Remember II

I need to remember not only how wretched incarceration is, but how good it feels to be clean. It has been years since I was dope sick...remember how crushing that is.


Ajax came with my probation card, said I'll be out by Friday. Goodbye BCP.

9-11-01 to 9-11-13

I remember not being confused. I wasn't exactly surprised...I'd seen too much to be surprised, but I remember wondering what people hoped to accomplish by attacking the most dominant military country in the world. I remember thinking that it would have made more sense to attack a less civilian target(I wasn't aware of the Pentagon being hit yet).

I watched the news with unattached interest. Muslim Jihadists? Ok, sure I'll play along.

9-10-01 No one gave a shit about their country and Dubya was an unremarkable new president.

9-11-01 Everyone was plastering US flags on everything and Geo. W Bush was THE best thing since The Gipper.

Here's to instant Patriotism, loss of freedom in the name of "safety", and fanaticism. 

Loves Gonna Getcha

Do you equate sex with love? Of course you do. I don't. Sex can arise from love but it more often arises from a chemical reaction and pure animal instinct. Love never arises from sex, and vice versa. 

I have intimacy with people that sex with isn't anywhere near viable. 

Conversely I've had sex with people who I wouldn't want to know intimately. 

Flingin' Coleslaw

At dinner Matt S. flung coleslaw and hit a dude in the face. I rewarded him with yogurt. Damn it feels good to be a gangsta. 


In jail 17 months exactly. Paroled a week ago. Still waiting on Ajax and my parole plan.


haiku 9

rust will eat regimes
armies cannot defeat time
the sun will shine on

haiku 8

in time chains will rot
weapons become obsolete
a song will live on

JAIL 8-31-13

17 months. There are things I need to remember. 

My bed is a slab of metal that is attached to the wall. 

My food is mostly over processed garbage. If I wasn't a vegetarian it would be way worse. I need to remember that their meat comes frozen in unlined cardboard boxes. No plastic, no wrap...frozen meat in a box.

I need to remember sitting on my insoles when I shit so that I don't freeze my ass off on the steel toilet.

Remember my outgoing mail NOT being sealed in front of me, my incoming and outgoing mail read and censored.

My meager possessions are subject to the scrutiny of guards. 

Remember mechanical masturbation. Little or no pleasure, outlet for tension and a brief biochemical reaction.

I need to remember the clicking of magnetic locks, the din of constant idiot noise.

I have worn elastic waist canvas pajamas fro the past 17 months.

Book cases full of mindless waste of paper, bullshit novels and lame Triple Crown hood books.

Remember idiocy being the norm, remember having to dumb down my speech. 

Remember how most people can't stand a second of introspection, hence the constant jabber.

This is not my life. This is not my home. This is not for me anymore.

Paroled 8-30-13

Friday. Day began like any other, after breakfast I made a strong cup of coffee and settled in to watch the news. I was probably spacing out when C/O M-----X said "Mattocks, be ready for court at 9" 

I was completely unaware that I had court. I knew that Joe had filed my motion, but didn't know that a date had been set for a hearing. I didn't expect a hearing until mid September. 

The Universe conspired with me today. It was unreal. I saw H--X and Mc-------X from the sheriff's dept on my way out of the jail. B-X S----X was my DA, G--X E----X was there representing probation...these are all people I have a good rapport with. Like in The War of Art or The Alchemist...St Jude heard my prayer and worked his mojo.

So now I wait for Ajax to come do a parole plan and I'm out the gate. Still kind of in shock.  


What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will, 
And study of revenge, immortal hate, 
A courage never to submit or yield...
-Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost


Mail from Taylor. Surprised to get this...I am stoked to actually be in her life even if it is 1/2 way at this point. We have much catching up to do. Nothing I can do about the past but I can be here for her now. 

Her letter is dated 8/21 and includes a happy birthday, my first birthday wish. Thanx chica!

8-25-13 Dream

I am a member of some tactical assassination squad. We infiltrate a warehouse that is divided into living areas...we're there to eliminate wack emcees. For real. This is what I dream of. All the Cristal poppin, blood diamond wearing suck ass commercial frauds in a pool of blood. Amen.

Tattoos & Scars

He looks into a mirror for the millionth time in his life. It is a mirror in a jail cell, these mirrors are made of polished stainless steel. They warp when people punch them. His mirror is warped. He contributed to this.

Looking at his reflection he sees tattoos and scars. 

A thin scar on the bridge on his nose, left by a fist when he was in his early 20's. There are other scars; from when he was stabbed, some from unremembered events. Scars from putting injecting heroin into the same vein too many times. 

Tattoos reflect his life. Loves, pains, birth and death. 

There are scars and tattoos that he sees that no one else can decipher. His father's Aztec eyes, his mother's expressions. His own observant flat affect. 

Three decades stare back at him. He feels hope despite his current surroundings. There is work to be done and little time to rest.


Dream 8-16-13

I am in Washington Park with Adam Yauch. We're just sitting back watching everything and talking about how much NYC has changed. He says "Well, you know everything is temporary" It felt like we had this conversation before. 

We notice a group of young punk rock kids and we start laughing, knowing that we were once them, and that someday they will be us. 

I feel calm and content.


Dirtbike asked me today why he hasn't seen anything that I've drawn. Good question. Between him asking me and me reading The War of Art, I was inspired to sit down and draw today. It felt good to work. 

Elvis Aaron Presley died today 36 years ago in 1977. Heres to eternal youth, hawaiian shirts and Jailhouse Rock!!

Self Immolation

You know the famous image of the Buddhist monk who set himself on fire to protest the war in Vietnam?

His name was Thich Quang Duc and he was 73 years old. 

I think it is important to remember his name. 

That will be all.

Hell's Cascade

Come along to Hell's Cascade, 
where all the dead dreams lay, 
side side with with old fears and hate.
Have a laugh with your nightmares, 
and forgotten loves there, 
old destinies murdered by fate.

All the reasons you lived for, 
sunshiny days and gore, 
pocket watches frozen in time.
Bounds of inspiration, 
and clouds of stagnation, 
cheap bottles of orange flavored wine.

You'll find your ground zero, 
and all your dead heros, 
exorcised demons and saints.
Your bald eagle screamings, 
and political leanings, 
and prophecies written in paint.

You've stretched out your tether, 
with the seasons you've weathered, 
at peace with the rhythms you made.
You can enjoy your casket, 
you hard headed bastard, 
I'll see you in Hell's Cascade.