From a letter

"...Yes, still on lockdown and no end in sight so far.  We don't get anything other than the garbage food they serve. So glad I had some package and store food. Eventually they will give packages and food back, probably after three months. No phonecalls or visits until lockdown is lifted. 
Sometimes I don't say anything in my letters about negative things going on that direectly affects me because I don't want to give it energy or more energy with my friends and family knowing about it. It was time to speak about the cell situation because I was getting out of it. I often need the public and people to know what's going on so that the administration cannot set me up with lies. People can call in and check on me and make sure I'm okay. 
I'm going to write something soon about the cell situation in general, how they force people into cells together that don't get along and if you don't go inside the cell the administration officials and wardens make your life miserable and sometimes they try to set you up in a bad cellie situation on purpose. One prisoner got killed in the cell recently on this yard. Don't know any details but they were black and on lockdown. More people should have cells to themselves, but the state and the courts don't care even when people in cells kill eachother. 
I'm doing fine and enjoy creating those little essays. It seems like more folks are becoming aware of my writing..."


Eternal Spring

He doesn't smile anymore
because when he does
not long before sadness
comes like a flash flood
in the desert
and takes it away

Every time, everything he is,
every time he is happy
some one's head gets chopped
off or a goose or pigeon
gets kicked around

He doesn't smile anymore
until he gets a kiss
that awakens eternal spring
and summer

© Copywright 2012 Spoon Jackson
Peace G


At Night I Fly

AT NIGHT I FLY won the prestigeous Swedish Guldbagge film festival award for Best documentary of the year!!
Winners in English at The Yellow Affair
and the thank you speech in Swedish.


The last letter writer

Can you imagine a world without artists? No composers, no painters, no actors, no writers, no sculptors, no singers, no musicians, no film-makers, no dancers, and no poets. What is a world without hand-held, heart-written, letters? An unnatural, barren landscape, a touch of lips instead of a kiss.

People in prisons might be the last letter writers in the world, like the Dead Poets Society or a lost ancient language. Some folks in the free world have never received a letter, not a sad or happy letter, not a real love letter that touches hearts and souls. Some people have grown up without ever having written a letter or even knowing how to address an envelope because the art and the soul of letter creating has become truncated, abbreviated, and high-tech. But you cannot replace the stars the sun or moon with a pen-light, flash-light, or spot-light.
Emails and tech-mails and whatever mails in space will vanish over the years, but the written word stands strong like a mountain. Letter writers create words in their own unique, beautiful and ugly way — the hand, heart, and body language on paper. The connection that each letter writer creates will be lost like Atlantis or the Fountain of Youth. Letter writing, like a delicious dance gifted from the goddesses, may then be considered only a dark art, practiced by just a few people.

The magic of a pen or pencil melting into paper, embraced in your hands, shows the  tension and the depths of your spirit, shows how excited or relaxed you are. Letters are the footprints of your soul, like no other‘s. They are the body, heart, and spirit language, showing the truth of a happy or wounded soul. Words huddled together on paper, molding letters in one‘s own way, in any language, is an art form that has been passed on from cavedwelling days. An art form as old as poetry and story-telling.

Letter writing is vanishing like the polar bears and their melting homes. Prisoners may be the last letter writing communities in the world. I‘ll start The Last Letter Writers Club. The last letter writers united in the struggle to keep letters alive. So, write someone and be part of the last letter writers! We are running out of people to write.

There is something freeing about creating letters, something that nourishes and replenishes even the most stubborn, hardened, and often the most unworthy hearts and spirits. Letter writing offers unity of the mind, body, and soul, and sometimes gives the shadow side of ourselves a way out of the darkness, a way to share that dark energy in a harmless and creative way. So, write a letter and be part of the community in the struggle of the Letter Writers United.

First published at The Advocate, www.sjra1.com
Reprinted with permission of Barbara Brooks, SJRA Advocate monthly prison newsletter 


Lockdown, still

About the lockdown that followed after the riot at New Folsom prison in the beginning of December 2011.

The riot happened on C-yard over a month ago, and still no word on when any Black prisoners will be out of lockdown. The blacks, the few blacks that were out on the yard, were the victims of a hate crime. Most of the blacks that day were confined to cells or at work. Still blacks are the only race on total lockdown. The officials said it was a race riot. So why are blacks the only ones on lockdown? Why, since the few blacks on the yard were victims, why are they on lockdown, while no other race is? This is a racist Jim Crow lockdown, since the blacks have attacked no one.

Moving past hostile classes

In 1988, after I performed Pozzo in Waiting for Godot before international audiences at San Quentin State Prison, my confidence and belief in myself as a poet, artist and human being rose and flowed with inspiration like a thawing creek in spring.  I wanted to share openly and freely whatever gifts I have as an artist and, hopefully, inspire others to share their gifts. 
I became a teacher’s aide.  I ran small writing, reading and acting groups in the 1990’s at Donovan State Prison and at California Men’s Colony Prison.  I remember going into hostile classrooms to recite poetry and Shakespeare and to read my published work.  A lot of the cats in the classrooms did not know what to make of me.  I could see who in the hell do he think he is in some faces.  When I introduced myself and told the class how long I had been in prison, some of their masks fell down. Some students.....read the full essay at tajaltspace.com


Art Room: Guest Poet

A poet came inside from Sacramento Poetry Center to do a reading and run a workshop. Whenever I have a guest artist, I step back and assist them, and listen to his or her presentation. I give them the floor to impart whatever realness and insights they can conjure up and share.
This guest poet usually speaks to children in elementary school so his way of relating to children carried over some into his presentation to my class. Some cats thought he was being condescending my co-workers, a teaching artist also thought the guest artist was talking down to the group. I freferred not to jugde for that moment. But when the the guest read a nursery rhyme type poem and recited it in a goofy unhip way, I asked him to recite some of his own work.
He had assumed we had no knowledge of any classical poets. He brought up Robert Frost in a way as he was introducing us to him. When in fact I use Robert Frost's work in my class as a lesson.
This guest kept reading other poets work and I kept prodding him to read his own text, so that he could connect to the group and break away from his regular elementary school presentation. A presentation that was blinding him from seeing how deep our group was. It was his first time inside prison. Towards the end of his class he finally got it, after I had a student or two read some of their work. He read one of his poems and connected a little.