DIARY FROM DEATH ROW By Robert Will
February 1, 2011, Tuesday
How Do I Describe It?
“When there is disharmony in affairs,
that means that there is something unknown.
When there is collusion but not solidarity, there is
overt alliance but covert alienation. When there
is disharmony in affairs sages do not make
plans for them. Thus, when there is intimacy in
spite of distance, that means there is hidden virtue.”
The Master of Demon Valley,
Classic text of the
Zongheng Xue school of
Chinese philosophy, circa 500BCE
Earlier I went to rec and, as always, I carry some type of supremely powerful anti-indoctrination weapon. Today I went to the rec cage with a collection of Eastern classics on strategy, council and the acquisition and exercise of power. I’ve found that in this environment people are much more likely to listen to you if you talk about such things as The Art of War, The Way Of the Zen Warrior, Ways Of Warriors, Codes of Kings, Bushido Warrior Codes and such things as opposed to say Ghandi, M.L.K., Yoga or perhaps strictly sociopolitics.
I had a bunch of passages marked and a list of topics of discussion. I held council with a few dudes while working out. I don’t care how disturbed my mindset is I never have and never will let it affect what I do around here on a daily basis, what people would call “activism.” I don’t give a damn, it’s just not going to happen. I wonder how many people out there in the activist community, in the social justice struggle, live this way? I don’t write about or mention 80% of the things I do around here. I would feel a bit silly doing so and plus I have no desire for accolades or praise. A few of my friends always tell me I need to write about such things but the prospect of doing so seems rather embarrassing and ridiculous to me. Perhaps I’ll try, however.
A thought just occurred to me: When I talk about something like discussing a book while working out as I described above, I think this may sound quite strange to people in the Freeworld. For one, I always feel very mechanical when I write something that isn’t going to someone I know; I feel as if I write in a very bland, machine-like manner that severely lacks the personal expressive quality that is conveyed in letters I write to actual people I know. Also, this place is so very insane, just absolutely, fundamentally twistedly Orwellian that I’ve found it impossible to properly describe how things are around here. Plus, the way I interact with people is…How do I describe it? I’ve never been one to have mundane, trite, banal conversations. All human interaction should have purpose. Life is to be Lived. The future is to be grasped. I generally speak in a dialectical manner and naturally use the language of metaphor and symbolism. I’ve been told I’m a very eccentric individual and hell, I don’t know and whatever-the-hell, let me try to describe what I mentioned above.
So, I was out in the dayroom rec cage, which is just a larger cage than our cells, which directly face the dayrooms. I holler at a few dudes I’m cool with while stretching:
Me: What’s going on?
Person I: Just listening to the radio.
Me: Yeah, I thought I heard some wretched corporate propaganda that is viciously assaulting and corrupting the youth of America coming out of your cell.
Person I: Hell’nah! I had KPFT on and they were talking about what’s going on in the middle east.
[This person is pretty politically conscious so we had a short discussion on current middle east sociopolitics.]
Me: (To Person II) What’s up? You ready to catch this workout and chop it up on this hard-ass book I have out here? It’s on a warrior vibe (I flip open the book to a marked passage and read) “The way of the warrior means familiarity with both the cultural and martial arts. In ancient China the single word ‘Shi’ or ‘Knight’ mean both scholar and warrior. The training of this class of men was considered to be one of the most important tasks of the culture.” This is some real serious stuff right here.
Person II: Sounds interesting but, man I can’t work out at all. That hernia I told you about awhile back has gotten much, much worse.
Then, I talked with the guy for a while about how to strategically resolve the extreme medical neglect that the medical staff around here is quite fond of. I talked about various policies, forms, paperwork, grievance procedures and legal procedure around lawsuits; who to talk to, how to talk to them, who to have his supporters talk to and how to have his supporters talk to them. After this, I started working out and discussing the passages marked in the book. Probably sounds strange…Picture this: I hit a set of push-ups, an intense set, leap up and reply to what the guy I’m talking to has just said concerning the topic of our discussion. And, as always, I relate everything to our current situation and its relation to our larger collective Existence.
February 1, 2011, Late night/early a.m.
Earlier at mail-call I got some discouraging news. I desperately need a legal team, more funds, to do productive organizing, more solid proactive solidarity on the outside…whew…thinking of all this was a bit overwhelming and I suddenly had the urge to pick up my pen and some colored pencils to do a bit of sketching. It’s the middle of the morning and I’m about to crash out but I figured I’d write this short note and with it send out the quick sketch I did. The basic center outline of the woman is something by Mike Hoffman and the words in he background are a hymn from The Gospel Of Sri Rama Krishna:
In dense darkness, O Mother,
Thy formless beauty sparkles;
Therefore the yogis meditate in a dark mountain cave.
In the lap of boundless dark,
on Mahanirvana's waves unborn,
Peace flows serene and inexhaustible.
Taking the form of the Void,
in the robe of darkness wrapped,
Who art Thou, Mother,
seated alone in the shrine of samadhi?
From the Lotus of Thy fear-scattering Feet
flash Thy love's lightnings;
Thy Spirit-Face shines forth
with laughter terrible and loud!
Vivekananda (1863 - 1902)
On the back of this little quick sketch I wrote, “Kali, Kali, Kali…” I need to get some rest. I’m sentenced to die for a crime I didn’t commit and things are just not going good right now…Yes, I need to try to get some rest…