Saturday, October 30, 2010

“The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.”—Mark Twain


POLLYBOLLOCKS, guest blogger

This afternoon The American Friend watched live feed of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington D.C. It looked cold in that town, judging from the hats and scarves. I’m far too nice to say anything bad about a bunch of people who drove all the way to the Capitol for this event on a day they could have been kicking up autumn leaves or doing something, you know, meaningful. So, I will step outside normal for a change and allow my good friend and relentless ranter, Pollybollocks, to be guest blogger. She’s not a gal to be bridled and prefers always the un as in unbridled, undiminished, unconvinced and unimpressed, to name a few uns.

Welcome Pollybollocks:

Cheers! The American Friend and I have not known each other for very long, but have already formed a deep bond, almost like alter egos, you might say. I’m younger than she is and beautiful. My hair is thick and healthy and my teeth are strong and white. I have no need of a job, nor do I require health insurance like my poor friend. I do whatever I like, when I like. I am a Native New Yorker, just like my American Friend. But where we differ is I am one-quarter black, one-quarter white, one-quarter Native American and three-quarters Amazonian. My grandmother was Chinese. I am a transgendered Lesbian who loves men and is in a committed relationship with a few straights, many more gays and we have a rainbow family of above-average children who have never been to Lake Woebegone. I don’t care about syntax or grammar if it gets in the way, though I don’t think spell-check is invading my freedoms. Yet.

So, when she asked me to guest blog on that lame-o event in Washington D.C. I readily accepted. And it was lame. A few hundred million mostly white people drove many, many miles for long hours to basically see a kinda crap Daily Show. Outside. In the cold. I knew it was gonna be a washout when they started off with the feckin’ WAVE bullshit. Oh, yeah, my mama was a Brit so I slide into that every now and again. Cute, innit? Anyway, why didn’t they all just go to a football game? They had the weather for it. But I digress.

Now if some celebrity (and to be honest I hadn’t a feckin’ clue who those two guys were who were so obviously put onstage to wind up the audience) called me part of a meat orchestra I’d be pretty put out. It was a WHITE meat orchestra, if you please. Very nearly everyone in the crowd looked white. I didn’t see many, or even a few, black and brown faces in that cheerful crowd. Maybe they were in the back of the mall, wa-a-ay in the back. Elmo and Big Bird were easily spotted in their bright orange and yellow costumes and I thought fleetingly: “Maybe there are African American persons in those costumes.” There were a fair number of black performers onstage so how can I bitch? Watch me.

So the crowd was missing its color. Better yet, where were the Robocops, Star Wars assault weapons and mounted police on horses bred to be twenty-feet tall with nostrils flared at the scent of a protester? Where were the thunderous black helicopters drowning out the revolutionary message from the speakers below? Oh, right. The least they could have done was a flyover for that poem read by the always-avuncular Sam Waterston. That begged to be drowned out. Where were the goddamned FREE-SPEECH pens!

Father Guido Sarducci was dragged out of retirement to deliver the invocation. He is OLD! Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My American Friend is heading down that road. But what is unforgivable are old jokes. At least he wasn’t a raging homophobic Fundamentalist preacher, like the one who opened the Inaugural ceremony for, um, President Obama.

Cat Stevens, now known as Yusef, gave me a glimmer of hope, though I wondered how the hell he finally got his visa. Nice that Stewart coached the WHITE crowd on the pronunciation of the singer’s first name, conveniently ignoring his last name, which is Islam, just in case it sounded too, you know, Muslim-y. I am not a cringer by nature but I damned near cringed when reformed bat-eater Ozzy Osbourne took the stage with Yusef—pronounced Joseph. An epic battle of the Peace Trains ensued. Not. If that’s what Yusef had to promise to get stateside then I haz a sad, a big feckin’ sad. Whatever the hell Ozzy was promised I don’t wanna know.

The O Jays came on—three of them—and my American Friend’s husband, who she coyly (too coyly I think) calls “The Mister,” wondered aloud: “I thought there were four of them.” There’s a conspiracy behind that I’m sure. They cleverly amended their hit song to “…tell all the folks in Egypt and Israel too….” I guess Palestinians didn’t rhyme with anything. Nor would apartheid, poverty, fear, and blockade, it seems.

Who IS this audience? In the spirit of sanity they went all that way to watch a giant monitor. Why is former flight attendant Steve Slater—a drunk who, okay, got fed up with asshole passengers on his flight—why is he still in the bloody news? Oh and another class act, Teresa Giudice, whose New Jersey housewife voice I never, ever hope to hear ever again in my entire life. Ever. Is this what these people are watching? God help America.

In front of a backdrop—a small forest really—of American flags and the Capitol building Stewart asked the question we had all been waiting for. “Was this rally a tremendous success—or—a horrendous failure?” Let me think. Yeah, I’ll side step that, for now.

Medals were given out, sanity awards. To. A. Baseball. Player. Who couldn’t accept it because he was a trillion miles from Washington. Was there no one worthy who might have been closer, who could have appeared in person to accept the award? Thankfully yeah, that cute dude, Jacob Isom, who bravely stole a Koran from a right-wing nut job that was going to burn it. And then Jacob—Jake to me, now—said simply, “Thank You” and tossed his medal into the audience. Why isn’t he running for President?

The program actually grew some teeth—okay baby teeth—when it took NPR to task, among other news outlets, for not allowing their employees to attend the rally. So, the medal of a naked man running with scissors was presented to a seven-year-old girl who has more courage than an NPR employee. At least she was there to accept the award in person.

Some of the signs were…cute. My favorite: GOD HATES SNUGGIES.

Sad Jeff Tweedy, who my American Friend loves, teamed up with Mavis Staples and they sang a sad, sad song. Velma Hart accepted the award for reasonableness. They showed a clip of President Obama. Three days before Election Day. Smooth move, Dems. Nobody said a word about exploding printer cartridges. It wasn’t that kind of crowd. Anderson Cooper’s tight black t-shirt won an award. Kid Rock was resurrected to, in his words, perform the only serious song of the day. He even used the word ironic, because Tweedy and Mavis weren’t serious enough, or ironic. Kid meant to say the only bad song of the day but whatever. He had Sheryl Crow getting the crowd to clap along to profound lyrics like: “I can’t stop the war, shelter the homeless, feed the poor. The least that I can do is care.” Yeah, well that is the feckin’ least you can do. But you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, tutor an inner city kid, work to abolish the death penalty, protest the war and man the lines at a soup kitchen, you feckin eejit. Yay passive America! Home of the Free, Land of the Let Somebody Else Do It. Sheryl, undeterred from sunshiney lyrics, implored her audience to “…dance ‘till our troubles fade away.” The yellow bouncing ball? Shoot me before I follow along with one of those. Sing what, exactly? Ba bup ba ba ba…”

O-o-oh, but they took a swipe at Mark Zuckerberg. Then they posted the whole thing on facebook. He’s shaking in his Birkenstocks.

At around half-time the cameras panned over an audience checking their cell phones, texting embellished accounts of their lame day and thinking: “OMG, the gridlock will be hellish getting out of this place.” And I was beginning to wax nostalgic for the kids in black hoodies and face scarves that can be counted on at every antiwar protest to burn the flag. (Full disclosure: I always chastise those little brats.) I certainly did miss the real protest songs of Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, noticeable by their absence. I could tell my American Friend wondered where all the free and reduced rate bus rides were that had got hundreds of thousands of unemployed and financially strapped citizens across the country to rallies in the past. There were those HuffPo busses but they got there kinda late. Dawn departure? From SOHO? I think not. Many in the crowd attending the rally were probably employed, students, or young people who had parents who were employed. Jon Stewart asked: “You guys having a nice time so far?”

The low points of the event, if that’s even possible, was some Daily Show huckster—on the monitor— selling the “I Was There” certificate (oh, the irony) and an exchange between Stewart and Colbert in matching American Flag-patterned fleece that was less ingenious than any 4th grader in a schoolyard skirmish: “Everyone has a right to be patriotic!” “Why don’t you marry it then?”

I’m a cynic. So shoot me.

Last night I was a fly on the shoulder of my American Friend who attended a fundraiser with The Mister and a couple of their dear friends at The Brecht Forum, which is an independent educational and cultural center downtown. It was billed as “A Halloween Party to Stop the FBI Witch Hunt.” The FBI had recently raided the homes & offices of anti-war and international solidarity activists in several cities, issuing subpoenas to appear before a grand jury. It was a fun night and my American Friend and The Mister met lovely people dedicated to important causes. I had been warned by my American Friend to stay out of sight and not to breathe one cynical word. I watched helplessly as she engaged a perfectly lovely woman who planned on going to the Stewart rally the next day. I could see how perplexed my American Friend was. She mentioned that if only there was so much attention to the loss of civil liberties, the need to show a powerful force that could have thwarted the heinous Patriot Act in early days after 9/11. The nice woman responded by urging her to “Stay in the moment dear.” “Say something,” I prodded in an urgent whisper. “Please, please, just tell her you are in the feckin’ moment and wouldn’t be in this particularly disastrous feckin’ moment in our country’s time if people had taken to the streets like she did and a handful of others a month after 9/11. None of us would be facing this shit—what civil liberties we have lost, the rise of a corporate-designed and funded Tea Party, and allowing baggage inspectors to cop a free feel, if it had not taken so long for people to see what our government had in store for us.” But she’s too nice.

My American Friend was forced to miss the last half hour of the televised rally this afternoon. Because she is unemployed and seemingly unemployable, she walks dogs for grocery money. Partly by choice, as she can follow that dream every creative person has—to paint, to make music, and in her case, to write. Luxuries like clothes and restaurants be damned. In the spirit of solidarity still clinging to me from the benefit last night, I accompanied her on her rounds with her two favorite canines. The fall weather was beautiful—crisp and just beginning to blush with color—and she confessed some disappointment in bothering to watch the telecast in Washington D.C., invariably wasting three hours of time that could have been better spent.

We returned to find we had missed Tony Bennett’s performance. Now that was a disappointment.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

“There is a time to stop reading, there is a time to STOP trying to WRITE, there is a time to kick the whole bloated sensation of ART out on its whore-ass.” Charles Bukowski



I think i’m coming back again. have felt so awfully close to losing myself these past months. even now i hope i’m not lying to myself about straightening out. This afternoon i ran suddenly, after the usual late, depressive Tues. night sleep, the hour of indecision, the hungry cats & the pathetic shopping—cat food, beer & sardines (added herring to this trip. also dreamed last night i couldn’t give someone a damn 7-Up, & he died, so I bought some of that)—was about to take a shower & decided fuck it, i would run the track. the pain in my legs these past three days had been almost unbearable. Even frightened me a little. And last night, after the bourbon & the usual deadened sleep on the sofa, i thought there’s no chance. i still can’t see any light, but at least i ran, at least i’m at the studio and starting on “bleed-proof.” And tonight C. takes me to dinner & treats me well. Woke up with that dreadful stomach pain, but the running scared it away for awhile—Wrote a crazed letter to Buk the other night:

Hank, is it? Okay—it sounds okay. Only closer—i can hardly write. All of the absurdities, as well as the incidentals have been closing in & fuck Brahms, Chopin all that. Down means bourbon & Sinatra. i’m so sick of it all—sick of even trying to explain to the one person who would probably not understand, least understand? I am 28. i look 16 sometimes. i feel a hundred often. i was once in love because he liked Sinatra. i was once in love because he didn’t love me. i need a hole or a cave or arms to crawl away into but can’t because of precedent.

i love your voice. i am not of the character of Cupcakes. I am not any of those gory romantic things and even tonight destroyed the last living fingernail with bourbon gusto. I’m afraid of you and absolutely sure I’ll be my normal cynical self. i need you for a friend & i’m scared to death to ask again. i love your poetry. factotum bored me. tomorrow i’ll most likely be fired from job. tonight i thought of a title for a new canvas—“Bleed-Proof”—orig? eh? there’s this poet here.—young—full of Yeats—and our paths cross constantly & he can’t relate to a yellow legal pad so what the hell kind of poet can he be?

But i did come up with a title tonight! something! tomorrow i’ll write you a sober & full of youthful convictions letter. tonight I’m a hundred years old—drunk, aching—a little hungry. do you mind awfully if i don’t measure up to this C.Cakes O’Brien person?

(written the night of the G. horror & seeing S. again)

Lent Jack London $78ºº tues jan 27—(paid for his back rent—evicted the night before)

now, even now the confusion works so hard at taking over.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Government…can’t be trusted to control its own bureaucrats or collect taxes equitably or fill a pothole, much less decide which of its citizens to kill.”—Helen Prejean


“Curiouser and curiouser.”

A pretty young thing who happened also to be a very smart, though fictional, character once uttered these words. Dazzled by the inconsistencies surrounding her, Alice held forth in her search through madness, mayhem, and danger until she found bravery and truth. At least she did in Tim Burton’s wonderful retelling of the beloved Lewis Carroll story. Would that there be such a happy ending in our own lives, filled with wacky and wonderful and resourceful characters that can identify and take down the bad guys. Or, in Alice’s case, a very bad queen and her loathsome Jabberwocky.

One of the many real life bad guys is Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. And like all bad guys he has no style, he has no class. On a recent, riveting episode of Frontline, proof was clearly in evidence before execution that a man, Todd Willingham, did not murder his children by arson. But it took a despicable “Good Ole Boy” governor and it took a village of Todd Willingham’s spiteful neighbors to put this innocent man to death for an accident. I’m not a fan of Iron Maiden, or of any Heavy Metal, but I have friends and relatives who are and I wouldn’t let them hang for it.

Much has been written lately about the death penalty and the information—the correct information—is out there. Troy Davis’s case has been at the forefront of the battle, with thousands of supporters led by his devoted and tireless sister, Martina Davis-Correia. Ralph Nadar said in an interview on Meet the Press: “Since I was a law student, I have been against the death penalty. It does not deter. It is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they’re given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It’s a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person. No system is perfect. And to top it off, for those of you who are interested in the economics it, it costs more to pursue a capital case toward execution than it does to have full life imprisonment without parole.”

It’s difficult for me to spew statistics, repeat what I already know to be true and wax eloquently on this subject. “Once you know, you can’t unknow,” serves me well and keeps me ‘curiouser and curiouser’ about the facts of any situation. I can’t be part of a system that solves one murder by creating another. I cannot understand people who will wail and shed tears over the abuse of animals, particularly pets, champion rescue and then stare dumbly as I speak of capital punishment on the same level. “Animals have no one to fight for them.” “They are the powerless victims.” Yes, that’s awful. No getting around it. But to refuse to accept that there are fellow Americans, who because of their race, their mental instability, their poverty, will also go unsupported, unprotected and who will die by the hand of the state and a complicit citizenry is inconsistent and, well, wrong. Once they fall down the rabbit hole of our judicial system, without the magical white rabbit aid of pro bono attorneys and judges who will actually listen to appeals then the clock ticks faster for those on death row and they spiral downward toward the darkness at the bottom of that hole.

We as humans are equally responsible for our fellow human creatures. Ignoring that is just a head too far down in the sand for me.

People have told me, especially new parents, that they might once have been profoundly anti-death penalty until they have children. God forbid their child was murdered. Their argument is that I couldn’t understand that. If that were so then I, and many, many other people would never understand the horrendous ramifications of racism, military torture, poverty, rape, social injustices, the aftermath of natural disasters, and the list goes on and on. I leave them to it because I am comforted by the fact that the movement in this country to end capital punishment and the broader efforts to abolish LWOP (Life in Prison Without Parole—a living death sentence) and the prison system as we know it include all kinds of people. People who have lost children to murder included; and those families of the executed and their victims who know revenge to be a senseless resolution. People, like me, who are saddened that the joyous occasion of a child’s birth should be now counteracted with an unwholesome belief in state sanctioned murder.

My unshakeable belief that this system, which is outlawed by most of the civilized world, sullies us as Americans, makes us less than and serves up hateful revenge on a platter that so many lap up with relish, is never questioned when it comes down to the dangers inherent to the health of their souls. Friends were stunned that I could not vote for Obama. Apart from gross inconsistencies on his part, our own president champions the death penalty. Al Gore, the Great Environmentalist, is right behind it. Bill Clinton left the campaign trail while he was running for president to run back home and see to the execution of a man with severe mental disabilities. I once went to a meet and greet of Hilary Clinton’s acolytes and asked the question. Not only was she a woman of faith, I was told, she was very much in favor of the death penalty. So, it doesn’t take much to connect the dots to torture, which is often blamed on “the other side.”

Faith and torture. Faith and racism. Faith and misogyny. Faith and homophobia. Faith and child abuse. Faith and state-sanctioned revenge killing. Legal murder is no less heinous than what people are being put to death for; in many cases innocent people. To allow this system of capital punishment to exist makes us all complicit and destroys the soul of Americans.

For some time now I have been writing to a young man on death row in Livingston, Texas. His name is Robert Will. His friends call him Rob. He is innocent and his story can be found on a website his supporters have created for him. I volunteer to type the handwritten updates—his prison diaries—that he sends me. We write letters of a more personal nature as well, music that we listen to, books that we read, artists that we admire. He is an astute critic of my own fiction writing. I send him books to aid in his artistic endeavors. He sends me an inspiration that is priceless. The quality of a man or woman behind bars and facing execution who strives still to better themselves, educate themselves, strengthen their spirit with a complete open-mindedness in such dire conditions is astounding and impossible to ignore. With his permission I am posting the most recent update below.

A person cannot remain unmoved when he or she makes an effort to step outside the safety of thinking like the masses and begins to think as an individual. There are organizations like The Campaign To End the Death Penalty and New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty. Contact them, meet incredible people from all walks of life who will welcome you and change your mind. Become a friend of Rob’s on his facebook page, read his story. Meet the most amazing people around the world who work tirelessly to free Rob from a horrible injustice. Or write to any one of the hundreds and hundreds of men and women on death row in our country—our ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’.

Be brave enough to challenge the system. Come and step outside with me.

Rise Above the Wretchedness

By Robert G.Will


Polunsky Unit

3872 F.M. 350 South

Livingston, Texas 77351

Written Friday October 15, 2010 *

Quite a number of extremely intelligent individuals have said that this environment, Texas Death Row, is the absolute most oppressive environment in the entire United States and even in the entire modern Western World. There is no doubt that by far Texas D.R. has the worst conditions out of all prisons that house D.R. inmates in the U.S. The general conditions and the fact that everyone here is under the threat of death makes for a toxic combination that wages a ceaseless, unrelenting war of aggression upon one’s psyche.

Rarely have I written about this from a general and personal perspective, for several reasons. For one, it seems the vast majority of people simply do not want to hear about sad things, oppressive things. This is something I’ve never understood—oppression inspires me. When I hear about injustice something deep within me stirs. I feel motivated to act, to move, to fight to correct the injustice.

Anyway, I think it is important that people on the outside understand all aspects of the nature of this environment. Sometimes, I’ll think that J. Edgar Hoover and Augusto Pinochet were sitting around reading Orwell, Kafka and torture manuals years back and came up with a devious little plan to create a twisted, psychologically torturous environment just for fun.


My dear Augusto, this racist, murderous thing I’ve been on is really quite boring and tedious. I feel I might not have much longer to live. I know you have plans to do the South American dictator thing a few years from now, but come on mi amigo, let’s come up with something a bit more fun! With more pizzazz!


Are you suggesting something of a legacy? I must tell you John Edgar, I plan on being a brutal dictator for a few decades at least.


Very well, and I wish you well and I’m certain you’ll enjoy the backing of our government. However, let’s spend a few weeks delving into these torture manuals and reading some Orwell and Kafka and how about we create a blueprint for a really, really oppressive environment!


Ay dios mio, Johnny Edgar, I get all warm when you talk to me like that! Where shall this scrumptious place be and when shall it come into existence?


We’ll shoot for sometime after the year 2000 and oh, let’s say we’ll have this lovely place come to be in Texas!


Yes, yes! How grand!


Indeed!—Let’s get to work!

A bit ridiculous, I know, but I think of such things often. Especially with all that has been going on around here lately. Yesterday, I found out that a guy who was “disappeared” a few weeks ago is alive and back on D.R. No one knew if he was alive or dead or what. The medical staff here is truly Josef Mengele-esque vile sadists. The guy had to raise hell to get a blood sample taken. When they finally did blood work on him he was told he was rapidly dying and he was rushed off to the hospital to receive an emergency blood transfusion.

My neighbor just caught scabies. I mean Je-sus, scabies? Parasitical mites? No one knows where the guy who tried to hang himself some weeks ago is. Is he dead? On the psych unit? I wrote and update about him but it was “disappeared.” The guy was housed three cells over from me. Here’s here under the Law of Parties, he’s never killed anyone, and the state fully acknowledges this. Plus, he’s mentally challenged and psychologically unstable. A C.O. was doing count, found him hanging and gassed him. Then he left to the psych unit I assume and hasn’t been seen since.

Right now, as I’m writing this my downstairs neighbor who is extremely schizophrenic is yelling and screaming half-incoherently, ranting and ranting and ranting mind-numbingly loudly. Last Thursday we were hit with an outrageously oppressive shakedown. The most wretched Ms. Smith—who I’ve written about quite a number of times—went on an absolute maniacal rampage. A newer Sergeant and Lieutenant were on the pod so she obviously felt that she could get away with stealing and pillaging about with unmitigated glee.

This crazy woman literally defied her ranking officers orders and engaged in a little devious and sneaky maneuver in order to shake me down. That horrible, pitiful, sad, and hateful woman stole all of my books, all of my art supplies, and all of my envelopes. In all of the years I’ve been here NOTHING like this has happened to me. I’m really rather shocked. It was a big ordeal and I’m having to go through all sorts of stuff to get my property back.

Ms. Smith also stole property from another guy and engaged in her customary lying filth. The dude ended up being hit with the gas repeatedly and run in one by the Riot Team. This vile woman even went so far as to steal all of the stamps possessed by the guy whose execution date was set for this week.

On Saturday, a guy was stabbed in the head by another inmate, and the shank went four inches into his head. He was Life-flighted off the unit and no one knows if he is alive or dead. Just last week we came off a really bad lockdown and everyone is still feeling the effects of three weeks of wretched Johnny Sacks. Yesterday there was an emergency situation on another pod—the sergeant ran off this pod to go down there because “someone was cutting on themselves!”

I just found out that a guy I know received an execution date; even though his co-defendant has said repeatedly that he himself committed the murder they’re still set to execute the other guy. Another person, someone I’ve been real cool with for like 8 years just had his last appeal denied so he should be getting an execution date soon. Next week, a guy who is very obviously mentally retarded is scheduled to be executed. And yet, another very twisted thing: Another guy is scheduled to be executed in about a month and a half yet he’s not on Death Watch or even on this unit. He’s extremely schizophrenic and he’s housed on the Jester 4 psychiatric unit.

Non-stop screaming mania. People being hit with riot gas while hanging. Other gassings. Riot Teams running in the cells. Weird parasitical diseases. Emergency blood transfusions for unknown and untold reasons. Executions, maniacally sadistic officers stealing the things that are closest to a person’s Heart. People slicing on themselves with razors. Utter insanity—and these things go on day in and day out. Without delving into a bunch of neuro-psychological babble, let me just say that the things that go on here severely disturb a person’s normal cognitive functioning, even pushing some people into a permanent state of schizophrenia.

Sleep deprivation itself causes a decline in logical reasoning capabilities and disturbances in normal biological processes. The short term and long term memory is affected. Paranoid thinking is rampant. One of the reasons I felt the need to write about this is because I understand the psychodynamics of the situation and can expand upon it. Also because I know others won’t write about these things.

It’s as loud as a rock concert right now, perhaps louder due to the fact that we’re packed into this small space like sardines. I’m literally having to fight to concentrate enough to write coherently. It’s somewhat hard to describe this process, the process of mentally battling to focus enough to write words on paper. Sometimes, I absolutely cannot do it at all, no matter how hard I try. Right now, I especially feel the affects of this environment because of all that has been going on.

There’s a heaviness around my eyes. Even though I work out and experience Yoga daily and I’m in extremely good physical shape I feel very lethargic right now. Periodically, I’ll notice my shoulders slouching and I’ll catch myself and straighten my posture. My eyesight will become blurry off and on and I’ll notice tension in my jaw and do a bit of pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) to dissipate the tension.

Right before I started writing this I thought I noticed an itch on my arm, which I scratched. This was an unconscious process and I sort of “caught” myself scratching my arm and then I rushed to my sink and started frantically washing my arm. I thought, “Whoa, am I going crazy?” But worrying about weird diseases isn’t irrational when people around here are actually contracting weird diseases.

It truly is hard, very hard, to engage in positive and productive activity in this terribly oppressive environment. Well, my court-appointed attorney is essentially doing nothing more than attempting to have me executed so I have a lot of work to do. We desperately need to raise funds like right now for legal and organizing expenses. I need to work on my next Sociology lesson and my very small number of dedicated supporters need to find a way to get others involved with our organizing. When. And when.

But one who possesses the Spirit and Soul of a warrior must constantly renew his or her battle fervor and rise above the wretchedness with the wings of an Eagle.

I’m thriving in this Hell—What are you doing out in the “free-world” where the possibilities of living a fulfilling life are endless?


By William Ernest Henley

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.



PICTURED ABOVE: Cyclical Mindrip by Robert G. Will. Watercolor on cardboard

*NOTE: These are Robert’s words and I do not editorialize.

“A humane and generous concern for every individual, his health and his fulfillment, will do more to soothe the savage heart than the fear of state-inflicted death, which chiefly serves to remind us how close we remain to the jungle.”
— RAMSEY CLARK, New York Times, Jul. 3, 1968