Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Moving Cells AT LAST

Friday Sept. 23rd 2005
8.00 pm
I’m not having a good day. I want to scream or break something. It’s just one of those days. One inmate is laughing his insane head off, just like he does anytime he’s awake… another is playing a harmonica, just like he’s done everyday for a year, and he hasn’t learned one frigging song… he’s just making noise… and my TV. has no sound, and my batteries will soon die in my radio (c.d. player). But I have it cranked up, and the fan on high… and I wish to God I could drown out the insanity!!! I wish the nurse would come around and give them their medication! Feels like an asylum in this pod! Five of the seven inmates on my range (the "upstairs" of this pod) are on psych-meds! I’m going to have to go to the hole for a vacation/holiday!
As a matter of fact, I’m going to put a kite in and move to the other side with Kenny! I can’t TAKE this shit! There isn’t one person in this pod that I can have an intelligent conversation with! I spent my whole rec. period (1 ½ hours) on the phone with "Ohio" and Karen.
10.10 pm
I went and layed down, and listened to the Celtic program, and then to the Kent State folk program… which is still playing. I feel a lot better than I did earlier.
I didn’t do ANY painting today… just to aggravated. I’ll go to bed soon, and hope for a better day tomorrow. I’m going to rec. in the morning and hangout on the phone again. I need to "get away from prison", even if it’s just in conversation.
Who knows, maybe I’ll paint a door on my outside wall, and just leave through it! Couldn’t you just see the look on the guard’s face when he looks in and sees a door on my back wall? HA!
One day, Kenny took a string and pretended t have hung himself when it was time for the nurse to make her rounds. He held his breath and turned his face beet-red, and let his tongue fall out. The nurse about shit herself! They put Kenny in a strip-cell, four-pointed him to a bed with nothing but a paper gown to wear… no mattress, no sheets… and left him like that for 2 days. To this day, he swears it was worth the look on the nurse’s face! And, I have to admit, it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my 16 years on the row.
One day, while in the cell next to Kenny’ (the one I sketched), I was at the door, sitting on a stack of transcripts (I used as weights to lift) and this plastic soda bottle landed on my foodslot. It had a tube made of empty toilet paper rolls stuck in the side of the bottle, with the bottom of the bottle cut off! Next thing I know I hear Kenny’s voice singing a song from the movie "Bridge of Brigadoon". The nut had made a phone so only we could hear what was being said.
Well, one day, a relief guard seen it in the door and asked what the hell it was… and I said "What? You act as if you’ve never seen a cell phone before!" (smile)
When we used to be allowed to roam the pod, and go where we wanted, when we wanted (during rec.), all of the guys (Kenny, Tony, "HIM" and me) would hang out in my cell and play cards. I had a table (footlocker up on cans) and seats for all of us. Sometimes we would cook and eat, like a backyard barbeque, and just sit and talk. They liked hanging out in my cell because it felt like a room, instead of a cell. I had a stereo with 4 speakers, a blanket on the floor for a carpet, etc… and it just felt comfortable, I even had a big Chanel #5 poster of Marilyn Monroe on my wall… until the movie "Shawshank Redemption" came out, and they TOOK my poster! (smile) They took a lot of things from me, including the carpet/blanket and the stereo.
Now, we can’t have radios with speakers, adaptive for A/C power (instead of batteries), nothing on the walls, no blankets or towels on the floor, etc etc. We’re cuffed before we leave our cells, and they lock us in a cage before the cuffs come off. We can’t wear our own shirts to visit anymore… we have to wear these ugly, uncomfortable white pullover smocks!
It just keeps getting worse.
Speaking of worse (*sigh*) there goes the batteries! Silence for one week. Think I’ll make it? Man, this is going to SUCK!
Well, I did get my coffee and smokes for another week. I’ll just have to get this painting done before next week. I should have it done by Monday. I’ll ask if he wants me to start the next one, and I’ll try to finish it before Friday, too, and see if he wants to pay me for that one, also! The spending limit is $ 75 per week, but some items are exempt from that limit; batteries, vitamins, medicines, t-shirts, scented oils, appliances (electronics; clocks, watches, beard trimmers, cordless shavers etc) and a few other things. But, I need a lot of those things, too… so, maybe he’ll pay me $ 30 in that stuff, plus $ 29 in regular stuff, which will leave him $ 46 within the limit. (I’m taking $ 9 off for the paints, which was $ 8.36)
I don’t know… we’ll see.
Well, I’m off to bed. I want to get up at 6.30 am and watch Bob Ross (artist) paint a landscape in 30 mins., maybe find a shortcut to the one I’m doing, or the next one.
It’ been quiet since the radio shut off. Hop they STAY asleep until I am. Kinda hate to give up the peace and quiet for sleep… I actually feel relaxed for the first time in days.
Well, anyways…
…’nite!
Duke
Saturday Sept. 24th 2005
11.59 am
I just finished painting for the night. I’m about 2/3’s done, and all I have to do is the details in the foreground.
I borrowed 2 batteries, and I’ve been listening to folk music all night while painting. No harmonica or laughing tonight.
I got up and watched Bob Ross this morning, and I found a shortcut for the next painting I’ll do for the inmate I mentioned. I realized that I paint in much more detail than Bob Ross did… yet, his paintings are just as good. Of course, he used oil paints, which are more workable than the acrylic paints I use, because oil paints stay wet longer.
After rec, I came back and slept off and on all day. I got up and cleaned my cell at 2.30 pm, ate at 5.20 pm, and went back to sleep until 8 am. Sleeping off my depression, I guess.
Today is one of those days I don’t feel ANYTHING. I’m just numb; neither hot or cold… I just AM. But, compared to yesterday, I’ll take THIS!
Well, according to the Dept. of Corrections, we’ll be getting no less than 35 hours of rec. a week, everyone will have a job, and they won’t start taking away our privilege (like they did when we came here from Lucasville). Those without TV’s will be given one. That’s what they told the court at the hearings that were held on Aug 31st, Sept 1st + 2nd, 2005. So, if the court accept those conditions, we’ll be moved to OSP in Youngstown, Ohio.
Looks like I’ll never be getting another visit in THIS lifetime. I’ll be moving hours further away from my family and "Ohio". Oh, well… that’s just the way my life goes.
Five hours of rec each day sounds really good! Too bad they don’t have a REAL rec. yard for us! But, I’m looking forward to working out every morning for 2 ½ hours, then coming out for 2 ½ hours in the afternoon/evening. That’s the problem with THIS place… there’s no time to workout AND make phone calls! We used to get 2 ½ hours in the am and again in the pm for rec. We could go outside and come in whenever we pleased, during our rec period. We could walk in and out of our cells, and use the toilet if we needed to.
I’ll miss having my own shower, but I heard the cells are bigger at OSP.
I don’t know… if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Dept. of Correction, it’s that they ALWAYS paint a rosy picture, then hand us shit! Sixteen years of it! Why SHOULD I believe them NOW?
Oh, well! We’ll see what happens soon enough!
I’m off to bed! Want to get up for the Country Classics in the am, and finish this painting, so I can answer some mail.
‘nite, ya’ll!
Duke
Sunday Sept. 25th, 2005
8.08 am
Good morning! Well, it is for ME! They’ve been playing a lot of good songs… Hank Williams, Sr. I on right now.
Patsy Cline just came on, and even the black guys in the rec. cage got quiet and listened. Like I said, she’s got one of those voices that speak straight to your heart.
I’m going to finish this painting this morning and get another canvas board so I can start the second one tomorrow. 1 ½ feet by 2 feet… it’s a lot of painting. But, since he wants another one like this one, it should be a little easier after having done this one.
Tonight, I’ll write to "Southend" and to my daughter.
Well, I’ll turn off the radio at 9 am, and wait until 9 pm to turn it on again. Want to make the best out of these last 2 batteries.
Okay, time to go paint. I’ll be back later.
11.15 pm
Well, I finished the painting, and on good faith, I sent it to the inmate. When I went to rec., he asked me what I wanted from the commissary, so I start reading off a list. He starts an argument, and says I told him I’d do it for $ 25… so, I told him to stick it up hi ass, and I didn’t want anything from his bitch-ass! I’ll keep the paint… so, basically, I did a hundred dollar painting for $ 8.36 and never having to hear his bitch-ass call my name ever again. It was worth EVERY F-ING PENNY!
The 2nd shift guards never give u a break on our rec. period! Got us out at 4.48 pm and locked u up at 6.12 pm… and that included eating supper at 5.30 pm. Just for one week, I’d like to lock the guards up in a cell for 22 ½ hours a day… and take away more + more minutes each day.
I fell asleep at 8 pm, and woke up at 10 pm. I watched "Grey’s Anatomy" while listening to "Classic Country". The main character finds out that her boyfriend is married in last season’s finale, and tonight she finds out his wife cheated on him with his best friend, and that’s why he left. He describes coming home, and stepping on a man’ jacket, and knowing who’s it was. He tells her how cruel it was, and I just couldn’t believe how ironic it all was.
Well, I’m going to end here, and send this out. I need to write to my kids before I go to bed.
‘nite, ya’ll!
Duke
Wednesday Sept. 28th 2005
5.11 pm
What do you mean "where have YOU been"? I don’t know where I’ve been. Just doing stuff I’ve needed to do; fixed my TV, made my daughter a birthday card, did fantasy football paperwork, cleaned my cell yesterday, and worked on my son’s hexagonal box. I’ve written letters I NEED to mail out, but I’m out of embosses envelopes and I have no money left in my account. I used my last envelope to send out my daughter’s birthday card. I can’t mail out these blogs (Sept 23rd, 24th, 25th… and today’s… or the rest that I write) until the 9th of Oct. That’s when my $ 18 prison pay will be put on my books (the 10th).
I was hoping to sell some artwork by now. And I was counting on that ASSHOLE to hold up his end of the deal we made. Now, I’m just screwed. And I’m not asking anyone for help. I’ll just have to wait until February to order art supplies. I already owe out $ 10 of the $ 18, so I’m just DONE! No smoking, no coffee, no embossed envelopes, no pens, no writing tablets, and no postage money after the $ 8 is gone. Guess I’ll be doing a lot of sleeping, and I’ll sell my food trays for envelopes.
Oh, well.
Anyway, I woke up at 6.30 am and took a shower, and went on a visit with "Ohio" from 8 am until 11.30 am. We had fun, and spent the morning laughing. I laid down after lunch, and slept until 4.45 pm. I guess I find all of the stimulation exhausting, since I’m not used to it. Drains me emotionally/mentally.
I didn’t get any mail today, or Monday… but I DID hear from Sweden Med Stu on Tuesday (BOY! DID I EVER!) and she said I need my ass kicked, and if I ever left her wondering whether I was dead or alive again, she’d kick my ass herself. But, most of all, she just misses me… 14 pages worth! (smile) And she had a few choice words for "HER", but they’re all written in Swedish, so I have no idea what they say. I know only one thing, I LOVE being defended by this beautiful, blue-eyed, blond-maned, Swedish goddess! (smile) In fact, even the butt-whooping she threatened offered tantalizing prospects! (HA!) "Yes, Mistress! I’ve been NAUGHTY!"
Ha! You want a good laugh? Could you actually see a 6’1", 220 lb, death row inmate bent over the knee of this little girl? THERE’S a disturbing visual!
The more I think about it, the more I want to lose this weight! And, since I didn’t eat supper, I guess that’s a good start! Nothing but smokes and coffee tonight… and, NO, I don’t use sugar or cream in my coffee. I use artificial sweetener; "Sugar Twin"… and no milk.
I asked to move over to Kenny’s side of the cellblock, and I just heard that an inmate on his range is moving to this side… so, perhaps I’ll be moving over there in the morning. That would be such a relief! I’d get to spend these final days with Kenny before he goes back for a new trial. Boy! No more insane laughter… no more harmonica… no more of that ASSHOLE! I REALLY hope I’m on that "move slip" for tomorrow! I spoke to Greg Morrow, and sent a kite to Ms. Bethea… and Mr Morrow said he’d speak to Ms. Bethea about it. I spoke to him today, on my way back from my visit with "Ohio". If there is ANY justice in this life, I’ll be on that list! I really need this to happen! And, half of my footlocker is already packed, from the 2.4 inspection. Besides, I can get Kenny to mail this stuff out to Karen for me.
Well, I’m going to go draw something. Maybe another pic of Kim Smith. Nah! I’m going to draw something more provocative.
Later!
Duke
Friday Sept. 30th 2005
12.32 pm
No! I DIDN’T write yesterday! I was TOO BUSY moving into the cell (2061) that’s depicted on this website… the one I sketched. Soon as they told me I was moving (at 2.30 pm) I packed my stuff and was in my new cell by 3 pm!!! But, I went to rec at 6 pm till 7.30 pm… So I spent all night setting up my new cell.
Soon as I came up the steps, Kenny said " ‘Bout time, Cumdrop!" I said "I missed you too, Asswipe!". I didn’t even finish getting my stuff in the cell, and he was showing me photos of his son and his granddaughter. I think we’ve already spent 3-4 hours at our doors talking to one another.
I walked into this cell and opened the drawers, so I could clean them before putting my clothes in them, and found a button and a piece of wire I had left in there when I was here 2 years ago. Almost everything was just the way I left it! Even my old prison shoes were still under the bed! It was very strange… like walking into the past. This is the cell I was in 2 years ago when I got the news of my mother’s death, and in Oct. 2003 I went to the hole.
I’ve kinda come full circle, and I think of all that’s happened in these past 2 years. It was in this cell that I got my first letter from "HER". It was this cell where Kenny and I used to talk about exploring the ruins of castles and abbeys, and trekking through the Highlands in kilts… and, now, he’s just steps away from that possibility. (I’ll be happy for him. And sad that he’s not here to keep me company) This is the cell I came to after getting stabbed in a fight with another inmate, and where I took the stitches out… once I got out of the hole in March 2003. This is the cell where I first picked up a paintbrush, and got my first art supply order in August 2003.
I can’t think of a better place to start over. It is in this cell that I’ll change my life once again, and find the hope of happiness, regardless of what the future holds. Being around Kenny is like coming home… and there’s the realization that it’ll never feel like that with "HIM" when we’re around one another. That’s going to be strange, and uncomfortable. To be honest, I hope I never have to BE around him again. But, I DO wonder what it’ll be like once Kenny leaves. I already know I’ll become a loner… but that’s not a bad thing either! For every Kenny, there are 40 guys like "HIM"… so, I think I’ll keep my personal relationships "personal", and my friendships in prison "on the surface".
6.55 pm
Well, I got 3 letters today; "Texas S.P.", "Baston", and my cousin (on my father’s side of my family). My real (biological) father died of cancer on Sept. 22nd, and his sister’s daughter (the only cousin on that side of the family I’m close to) was the only one to think of me. He died 2 years and 2 days after my mother. I never got the chance to ever speak to him. Growing up, I told people he died in Vietnam… it was easier than the truth, back then. (that’s all I’ll say about that)
Yesterday, when I was told that I was moving, I got a letter from "Warrington"; a new penpal in the UK. O, I’m finding my days filled with new people to write to, and I’m in a place to feel like I’m beginning anew. More + more time between THEN and NOW, new people to think about, in a place where I’m comfortably tucked away from the insanity of prison (as in "THE IDIOTS"), and I where I can pick up the contemporary jazz station and be in a calm + peaceful atmosphere during the day. I feel relaxed.
Well, I intend to spend this weekend writing 6 letters, and painting some Christmas and Winter scenes for Karen to make Christmas cards from… and, hopefully finish this box for my son. (I’ve been working on it for a year!)
I have my metal cabinet so that the back of it I pushed up against the table, with the open end and drawers facing the sink + toilet. My footlocker is against the wall between the bed and the bench. This has created a little cubby-hole for my table + bench, and the cabinet shields the table from anyone looking looking through the window on the cell door… so, I have a little sanctuary in which to write and paint. My TV, radio with speaker (smile), and my lamp are all within reach. I’m thinking of putting a collapsible letter/paper holder on the back of the cabinet (hanging over the table) to keep things sorted. That’s what I’ll do when I need "something to do".
But, right now, it’s time for celtic music while I start on these six letters.
Later!
Duke

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