LWOP No alternative to death penalty

Some of you people against the death penalty offer life without possibility of parole as the alternative. An activist friend of mine told me, "I am sick about the death penalty people offering LWOP as the alternative." Yes, that is sick, sad, hateful and absurd.
Don‘t get me wrong. I am for abolishing the death penalty. Both death penalties, because LWOP is perhaps worse than a death sentence and both are obsolete.
I am not knocking my brothers and sisters on death row. I am with you and know your pain. But the folks pushing for universal LWOP sentences are crazy and that concept is beyond the absurd. If you only knew. You don‘t comprehend the sorrow and absurdity of your statements about giving LWOP. You offer one poison for another and think you have done a good deed. It is like instead of being bitten by a western diamondback rattlesnake, we let you be bitten by an eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
I am tired of death penalty opposed folks who aren‘t themselves serving a death sentence or a life without possibility of parole sentence spouting off on offering one as an alternative to the other. Personally, I wish I had gotten a death sentence. It is a known fact that then I would have gotten top-notch lawyers and most likely would have been out of prison by now. 35 years later, sitting here with life without parole is not living. It‘s death, as surely as the sea is full of life.
Reprinted with permission of Barbara Brooks, SJRA Advocate monthly prison newsletter.

There is also an article by Judith Tannenbaum in the same issue of SJRA Advocate on the same subject: "The death penalty and the other death penalty, An open letter to supporters of SAFE California Act"

Lockdown, no winter

Now this lockdown on black prisoners has taken the entire winter. They say things will loosen up this month. I haven't noticed the change. They say it isn't a lockdown just a modified program. Which in reality is a fancy way of saying lockdown. Because all blacks are locked down and not allowed to program like the other non black prisoners. It is amazing how California is probably the only state in the union that still base their lockdowns on color of skin instead of the behaviour of the prisoners. Some prisoners have not been in trouble in years and decades, and yet they are on lockdown.


Bird Stuff

I had a blessing today, I was able to see a pair of geese just outside through the tiny unpainted space in the window. Out of the hundreds of cells, they stopped across from this one. Our souls said hello. A few weeks ago they started to capture the geese and took them out of the prison. Some must know their way back.


Now you fly, Eulogy for Barney Rosset

Yes, Barney Rosset you were definitely the crusader of realness and the first amendment. A publisher and an embracer of sharing what is real and needs to be said in a society that often spins the truth away to nothing. It was and is an honour that you have always supported and believe in me and my work and stayed in contact with me since “Waiting for Godot” in 1988. You never let hating or hypocrisy to get in your way of sharing realness from Samuel Beckett, Che Guevara, Jean-Paul Sartre, Allen Ginsberg to Malcolm X. You even fit me into your Evergreen Review. Now you fly and have moved on, but you are not gone. Thanks for your realness it keeps me inspired. At night we fly!

Spoon has dedicated his poem At Night I Fly to Barney Rosset


Still foreigner in USA, Lockdown continues

My black beautiful skin is getting lighter, because for over three months I've been in this cell on lockdown. No yard, no visits, no bird songs, no fresh air, no telephone and no store. Today is visiting day, I hear names; Williams, Ortiz, Yang and others going out to visit family and friends.
I see others not of my hue coming back from the yard, getting showers and phone calls. I have not heard a loved one's voice in months.
My skin has missed the sweet beams of the moon, grandfather moon. Now it misses grandfather sun. Skin needs the sun as surely as plants do to glow and grow. I heard weeks ago, that “At Night I Fly” won the Guldbagge Award, the Swedish Oscar, and they even mentioned my name in the presentation. I am sure others involved in Arts in Corrections celebrated the award. But, I will not celebrate until can feel the sun rays, play my flute and sit and toast with my Swedish family and friends in real time.

Stay real Realness people, continue the struggle.
Occupy hate with love,
Struggle and truth anywhere you can


Lockdown continues

No change in sight for black prisoners on C-yard while all the other colors of prisoners are allowed to program. I have not been outside in three months now, so I have not played my native flute, because it's not natural to play them inside concrete and steel, although, my heart and spirit longs to send a flow up into the four winds. I miss taking a deep breath of fresh air. Air pumped into the cell is recycled and cannot be clean or good for the heart and spirit. I can see nasty particles in the air.


Racist Lockdown, update

Still all blacks on lockdown only and it seems that it was the plan from the start, because the prison knew when they brought that particular gang on the C-yard, overloading one side of the yard with a Mexican gang from another locked down prison that they would attack the blacks when they had an advantage. That day came last December when most of the black prisoners were confined to cells and the others were at work. So they let out that Mexican gang to attack the few blacks on the yard. The majority of blacks were not on the yard and the ones that were only defended themselves. So why is the entire black prison population on lockdown going on three months now and not allowed the same programs, visits, yard, work as white, brown and Asian prisoners. Is that not Jim Crow or punishing the victims?
This is definitely a sad sign of society. No lawyers or groups stepping up to stop the racism inside prisons or out in America. I'll keep up the struggle and hope realness will prevail! One love, one planet!


Sunset, First Love

It was autumn, but still warm and musty with a hint of cotton candy and oranges coming from the orange show. From the cell in the main county jail, I can see outside of a barred magazine sized window, at the end of the hall and see the city streets.
I have just started this life sentence, and it's Saturday, and we are allowed an hour non-contact visits, on the phone, behind the glass, with our loved ones. Dorothy is my girl and I read in a book of names that “Dorothy” means a gift from God. We met many, many summers ago, which seems like many lifetimes ago. 

I was playing basketball in the projects, across from our housing track. I saw Dorothy, out of the corner of my eye, towards dusk. She strolled up the pavement out of a desert sunset. She had on a white flowered top, cut off jeans, and pearl sandals, and she walked up with her cousin Dottie. Dorothy was a city girl, who had come to visit in the heart of the high desert.
I do not know, if she saw me looking her way, but she and Dottie came and sat on the little brick wall beside the basketball court. I don't know how it happened and it was not a conscious plan. I shot the basketball and I missed. I jumped for the rebound and saved the ball from going out of bounds, tapping it back to a teammate. The momentum carried me to the brick wall, where I ended up sitting next to Dorothy. We both smiled and looked long into eachother's eyes as if we had found a new constellation of stars.

Dorothy was a city girl with oval face and long dark slightly curly hair that touched her shoulders. She had smooth light caramel skin, full lips like daffodils, and black bumble bee eyes. She had a very thin waist which highlighted her robust athletic body, even her toes and feet fit the shape of her temple. I don't know who spoke first, but I think I said hi, as I ended up beside her looking into a smile and eyes that made me think of desert sunsets in summer and orange sherbet icecream.
Dorothy's cousin Dottie introduced us. We hit it off like long lost lovers, where every move, every word, every gesture and every breath were like they meant to be there like the seasons, like the sun and moon, like wild flowers in spring.
We left the basketball game and her cousin and walked into the sunset. I heard distant voices say, aren't you going to finish the game. 

We strolled to my house where I introduced Dorothy to my family and asked her did she want to go for a ride. I drove her back to her cousin’s house where we sat in the car and talked the rest of the day. She told me all about the city she was from and how to get there from the desert. We kissed and hugged. We were already in love.

When Dorothy went back to the city, she left me directions and that weekend I drove my brother's car one hundred and forty miles to see her, and each weekend after that I made the same trip. Dorothy's family, her mom and two brothers instantly accepted me too, like my family did her. Her little brother Kirk caught us making out one day on the couch in the living room and asked when are you two getting married. Everyone thought we would spend our lives together. Dorothy had planned to attend college and I the Marines. But, life plotted different paths for us both.

Dorothy has come to visit me each Saturday since I've been in jail, and have written me letters every day. I call her when I can. Sometimes her mom, or a brother jumps on the phone and says hello and reminds me how much they love and believe in me. Dorothy is smart and can be whatever she wants.

Still looking out of the barred window and it's raining and so is my heart. I miss the rain how it trickles down the face into the lips. The way it feels like little fingers on my forehead.
I can see Dorothy coming around the corner, umbrella above her head. She is coming to visit. She said she would wait forever for me to come home from this life sentence.
The visit is over and tomorrow early morning I'll be bused away from here to the other side of the state, it might as well be the other side of the moon.
I can see Dorothy walking back up the street past the palm trees, to the next city bus stop. She turned the corner. Good bye Dorothy!