I actually wanted to sleep myself—but fate, perhaps, or some unseen god held my lids open and my mind clear. I began to think, clearly and rapidly. Comparison after comparison, revelation after revelation swept through my consciousness. The blackness crushing against the windows was death and infinite space The train was mankind, forever seeking, yet not his own master—doomed to travel the tracks of destiny till the earth should perish I was no longer a part of the world but a far-off, disinterested spectator—an analyst to whom no facts were hidden.
Suddenly the entire pattern of life and death and infinite time and space lay before me. All petty thoughts, all fears, and hopes, and anxieties were gone. I knew all in reality, in completeness. I knew all, yet I knew I must not remember. Sleep had obliterated it. Not a sleep of exhaustion, but a protective sleep—a hypnotic sleep imposed upon my body lest my mind destroy itself through thought.
Someone threw a blanket over me. Although I will never, can never, describe or communicate my sudden revelation of the plan and purpose of life, the warmth of that moment and of the benevolence of God that it revealed will last me all my life. Perfection Comes Not Often O rugged, aged mountains, to the east, Whose barren purple spines have caught on top The paling pink of absent afterglow Look down, deep down, into the time-worn gash Cut by the Rio through millenniums And watch the twinkling lights appear below In the homes of thinking, loving man.
Then stay aloof another billion years Till such a perfect day shall come again. The dryness of their eyes Is the dryness of death, And the silence of their souls Is the silence of shock.
They can not know. An Allegory The moon forgot to rise! No longer can the cottonwoods Cast inky spots of darkness Upon the roads and the dusty fields, For all is darkness, And for the first night since their birth The mountains are unseen. The Forgotten Valley For years and years the moist, white clouds Drifted high and aloof across The forgotten valley and the faithless people. The trees all died.
The ditches were dry. There was no food. Sometimes My Soul Is Gone Sometimes at night I dream That someone is calling From a far-off place, And though my body sleeps on in its bed, My soul is gone to answer that strange summons That cannot be heard, And cannot be explained.
The groping and the walking in the dark Will soon be far behind me, lost in time. The change will be complete in that new day. No longer dying faith, but blazing truth. A Hymn Church bells ringing on a windy night are the essence of my Lord— ageless hymns to the glory of God And wind blowing swift across the earth, the tool of His moving will.
Church bells ringing on a windy night. I want to be a thinking, working man. The Arroyo God made a mountain of sand and stones. He made it steep and tall. He made it smooth and perfect. But the mountain seemed cold and dead. It had no emotion—no experience. So God sent the rain. And the rain washed down the smooth new sides Cutting deep knowing slits through the sand and stone.
Where is your frightful breath that lashed the waiting, hopeful trees? Where is your fury, your malice, your fire? He opened the door of the [tenant? He roamed the streets of crumbling walls; he saw grapevines grow in ruined jacales; he talked of the past; and he hoped for the future. Refugio had been the center of a growing, powerful region.
Ten thousand people had crowded the streets. Now less than a tenth remain. The railroads passed her by. His poems were poignant, beautiful— poems of a forgotten time. In the plaza he talked to lingering ghosts of near-forgotten greats, echoing in his fading mind were their speeches and their songs.
The thoughts, the memories bubbled forth, he rushed to snare them all. With trembling hand and broken pen he wrote on squares of butcher paper. Awed brown hands clutched them tight and treasured the squares as gold. But sometimes he was bitter. He blamed the people; he blamed the river; he blamed the weather; he blamed himself for the natural action of progress. Yet time and reason always tamed the bitter core of memory. The poet is dead. The walls still crumble. The people still hope for a new Refugio.
Yes, the walls still crumble. And still the living die. But his tales of the past are eternal—almost. The sensation of the spine when we know what will happen, exactly who will say what and how and why.
Why do we welcome the orphans of war? Why are we the pattern for a new world, For a world of freedom and peace? America is free—the land of her people. America is free because of her people. People who came from all regions, all faiths. People who built cabins, villages, cities. People who lived on faith alone— Not on food, but on hopes and dreams. People who fought against tyranny and fear.
America had to be free. People who listened to tom-toms at midnight. People who rode through dark country nights To warn America—village and men— That freedom was endangered. People who cleared forests and planted corn, Who built churches and schools throughout our land.
Churches that live today on that same faith that built them Schools that teach peace, democracy, kindness. Churches and schools that keep us strong. People who worked under clouds of smoke To make for America a better life.
People who knew that peace required more Than lip-service and half-hearted toil. Soldiers who gave their lives and hopes To keep America free. Scholars who studied the mistakes of history To keep America free. Scientists who work, through day and night, To keep America free. And the cliff of love has strong winds, too, That smash those drawn within its power. Like the tiny rocks, lovers lose Their lives, so small and useless, For a life of love, and, shattered, Support the base of the cliff.
No longer can the cottonwoods Cast inky spots of darkness Upon the roads and the dusty fields, For all is darkness. And for the first night since their birth The mountains are unseen. Sleep is peace enough for anyone. Chaos is a clean shirt. II Ladies and gentlemen, no need for introduction, the learned Doctor, new to none of you. The lecture fund endowed in memory of our late Professor, author, donor of the Please tell me: why the tenderness? Why the placid sleep, the backward hands that will not touch, caresses lost to lust in magnitude of space?
I would speak to any who have questions later on these subjects Depart and peace go with thee III slowly, slowly shed the drowsiness— we wander on through yearning lustless rains, the normal detriments, the usual obligations of this the morning mood, the toothbrush cold, the shower warm, and down the stairs, the breakfast fruit, the acid fresh appointment with the day IV This systematic study of the systematic philosophers, the speaking in abstractions of the realities of fear, does not intoxicate the mind, but only drugs.
By God, you must have! In this half-light, see neurotic Boswell, and Hume too much the cynic to be English. Irony the chapel bell ends the lecture— so much for today. Jim seems to have removed it and made a few revisions. The law cares nothing about motives. Then it must be very foolish law.
But what can I do with the sun hurtling past? The breath of tonight is chilling my back, and the left cheek watching the sea But what can I do with the sun hurtling past?
Surely the poet-myth has heavier tools and secret pens we daylight men shall never find. He used depth to create depth, where is the art there, where is the art in mechanics? Is art still art if never seen and never understood?
There is no more to say and here the museum publications—in cases to the left and right. Francis with his times. As if a godless subtle student could unwittingly break through the barriers of biographers, canonization, melting institutions, relic bones hear the whirr of time passing with two or three well-chosen observations define eleven of the twelve.
Yes, I listen to that whirr of time passing through a thousand watches carefully watched, and count the thousand nervous pencils in a thousand hands carefully tensed Relisez votre copie. Tell me what you read. Where is the blue-eyed boy, the cracking voice. The will to discovery was stunted.
While I dawdled in toddle-carts and practiced the finest careful arts the careless buck has traced the snow-eyed deer—he has hunted down the ghost of sex and found a mate, while you and I have blundered through our youth without the slowest taste of animal truth. He lies, he lies. And when I sleep, dreams assault me, pompous, parading. I cannot sleep I cannot wake I cannot live I cannot die yet.
The fall of all this bloom was prophesied at birthhe lived, he thrived, and yet he died Two: The Swimming Pool Diving through congealed defeats we rise in aspirin spray; spindle women smoke the day in sunburn lotions.
Yellowly at play the child repeats our wading pond emotions. This morning I was eighteen. The winter-air was colder than the air without. The house wrapped its windows about the cold, Embraced the puritan centuries, then loosened its hold. The fire was dying. We no longer moved about, But sat in blankets. Lustily as doom we sleep with open eyes and count the spring in cracking logs. The clock enslaves the room with silence: silently fear the moonlight!
Sliding about my brain these phantoms bring the sound of sea-shockthe wave returning dashes the moon-night. Slime and surf rethread the loom of dawn. The dying log blackens and crashes. The phantom gulls from ashes spring The reading is free with cake and tea. You do want to see the future? Here only the proletariat, faded Irish twice-huge women the casualty of careless drinks, see that man? You can try, though, with stubby pencils preparing bets.
He decided to save to buy binoculars for the back-stretch, but silver-dollar turnstiles, summer beer, and cold spring days a slave of coffee, hot-dogs, mustard—What? The crowd, hear? II First Affirmative Why must you flaunt your body before me? In dreams you haunt me with my desire; the spasms that tore me, the scars of the fire, all this is more the sterile death, the blighting breath, the funeral pyre, than any love fulfilled could be.
A body thrilled deserves another body. Love shook me suddenly. Your fingertips, your lips replied to my confused cry, drowned in ice and sleet. Tangled breathlessly in bed twenty painful years met twenty more, unfathomable, and absorbed them. The whispered warning of the moonlit bed: a venetian portent on the rippled flesh of what chaos ago the dog said. The release --as a river, eternal—that I night-through prolonged with you, I now make easy, mechanically stirring new delights with hands no longer free.
Love is dead. Loose sheets of poetry that may have been written at various times; some draft variants of lines appearing in Fragments for Fentonesque. For Judy I speak laughingly of a latter-day Hester who named her silent dry-eyed Pearl Rose describing the bolshevik hair and the eyes inert under muscular lids, the long nights alone, the self-imposed penance, a part of my tale.
The poems you write and resolve finally in fire parody me and subtly. I admit you made a fitting dinner partner, self-conscious beside my own fear, and compelled me too to admit some birth of puritan strength and winter blitheness. Today be content with vices: inordinate lust for, inordinate trust in a man neither better nor worse than other men.
In autumn leaves and the ghost of that wind body of my body we lay down together. The mythology of ignorance Insensibly dangling the bait in voluptuous pools of honey and lust, of langour and hate the penetrable inept crust of water creating the string, bending the string must vagrancy wait, blending expectation and blackness, silence and fate, confident of ending.
Nights after Jericho With satin and cashmere glibness in velvet rooms, the strength of night rewoven on phantom looms, emerges the swaddling child from tombs of sunlight. With you as those others I speak best in darkness. Here, here the edge of love, The last dry kiss, Here the manumitted slave, Free, base.
I ran from the sun, chasing the rain Across many states, expectant, hopeless In time but trusting in space, the best Sinner and the godless saint still worthy of grace. In the inner darkness in rotted leaves the earth- Worms slide through tunnels chocolate with wet. Once more The force that splits the atom bathes the lambs. The first drops melting the seeds of grain Send the blood swelling to brain and groin. Red caps, black faces— furtive smiles and hurried kisses, handshakes awaited and forgotten.
Haste and lethargy breed unseen and multiply the salesmen and children that coltishly deflower the gate in tangled lines. Walt Whitman Walt Whitman is dead, very conveniently dead. We can shuffle his ribs, measure his skull, for playing with his poems and life, we finger the bones. What more than bones? Thought the comfortable hull requires a passive plastic mass for tones of judgment, damnation or sainthood; critics await death to praise are they deaf?
I hear the moans of a thousand infernal poets, When of late I lived and wrote, who heard? What college of critics can sate both the partisans of change and who hold their breath till lusts undone are secret, not out-spread?
But there was no carnage, only the ghost and the prediction Of ceremonial deaths. I have no use for masks. A tragedy is action— If only the movement of an eye, or the unnoticed passage Of a vagrant memory. There have been love And sacrifice and death since the seas fell back And the reptiles surrendered, leaving man as I Am left neither whole—nor new—nor safe. There have been heroes and martyrs, sailors, saints, Willful love, willing sacrifice—we find Them still and wonder. They are tragedy, They alone are tragedy.
But the story—two men, two women Who deliberately tangle their allotted strands of life And the third sister, unseeing, snips the thread As kittens play with yarn. I myself Pulled at the skein. To be brief, three are dead: Two drowned, one shot herself.
And one lives and dies symbolically by the rites of tragedy. But none of the deaths were easy. The odor of lilacs will leave me insane. False aspiration cut the heart from the brain Each twitches, reaches, parts of a severed beast. Nightlight The Widow Lastly lay in bed And heard the sirens fire the night, Feeling her pillow hold it glued, That halo of the light they sought.
She knew her next breath would explode Her head of white hot ashes, Scatter the once red hair so frayed, Leaden with forgotten wishes. The Widow Lastly pursed her lips To steal the air in little sups. Unquestioning for eighty years She had obeyed the haemal ice.
She knew a full breath would explode Her head of white hot ashes, Would scatter the once red hair, so frayed And leaden with forgotten wishes. It was typed out as prose but has slashes in pen indicating line breaks. I havent yet been able to discover the author of this piece.
Listen, Lucy said, do you hear? He disappeared up an alley, the dogs at his heels, but not before they saw her too, naked and lathered, her shower cap askew and panting what have I done what have I done as the alley swallowed her.
Begin Your mad eternal cloak! I, forever lost, Shed many hues. Returning to Cambridge in Mid-winter To sun on some beach with love in my arms, To shade that love when the moon comes hot And the wind dry from inland, that love firm Not the usual spectreliving Thus I sat Dreaming, I know, not really desiring, lost In these many worlds, lost where the heart Is, of course, but the heart recoils in such haste From here and there at some home again, unhurt By the change from one old home to another, but so Tired and a step behind the heart.
To sleep In her arms and the sound, the sound of the sea, To sleep and wake to the evening dream, and hope February [Handwritten at the bottom of this otherwise typed page. Webbs Route 1, Box 58 Anthony, New Mexico [postmarked APR 13, ] Thursday night Received your letter today—glad to hear that you have plenty of water again, not having enough pressure has always been a nuisance. Who did the work? The last two days, despite predictions of snow, have been very nice.
I went down to New Bedford with my roommate for two nights during the recess—relaxing to get a little change of scene. He drove me out to see Cora and family one afternoon. They were very anxious to know if you were planning to come up in June. That was about the only real rest I got. My tutor wanted me to turn in 40 pages of my thesis to a prize competition. Typing it up, etc.
Work on the novel is going much slower than I would like, but at least several people are interested in it. By the way, there is one of Prof. Sorry to hear that Pool is taking such a heavy load, but of course he can bring them all up if he takes a little time. That is very nice of Mr. Kilgore to save his books until I have a chance to look through them. I wish you would call him and tell him I look forward to poring over them all.
I think that would really make eating out pleasant—no mosquitoes. Also fix the little sink and the old icebox out there—and perhaps the roll-away bed and glider. I should think the whole thing could be done for less than a hundred dollars. James E. But fortunately I easily enough got a seat in Venice, where part of the train originated, since it was off the main route. The boat left Brindisi at 11 p. Saturday, so I saw what there was to see during the afternoon—principally the terminal Columns at the southern end of the Appian Way.
Parts of the trip were rather rough, but I never mind sea travel. Called at Corfu Sunday noon, and had time to walk through the town and see the Cathedral. And arrived in Piraeus just before noon Monday morning in a real downpour. Got the bus into the centre of Athens, found a room, and then walked around in the rain—feeling a bit discouraged. But it stopped during the afternoon, and today has been bright sunshine. Had dinner last night with the family of a student I met on the train—reading economics at Newcastle, but came home to Athens for Xmas.
Very good food, and some hints about getting around Athens and Greece. The weather was much improved today—sunny and very warm out of the wind. Took several photos, which I hope turn out well. The landscape and climate are a lot like home, as evidence, I noticed many of the same plants growing. Want to see as much as possible before returning to England—so will check the dates of sailings to Crete, Rhodes, etc.
The fruit is a real treat, after England. Our hotel room is opposite what I suppose is about the biggest city market, and can see the stalls of fruit, meat, etc. The city is very Americanized—even the traffic jams are on the U. Shall not get to Turkey or Israel—both too expensive in time and money. But I may scrape everything together and get a tourist flight to Egypt, which I would love to see. Teaching is certainly not well payed in England—but then one can live more cheaply than in America.
And I might be able to get the thesis in shape too—though I do feel discouraged with research study at the moment. Will write whatever new thoughts I have about it. I imagine Pool and Jill will be there by the time this reaches you—give them my love. Will send the pictures home—as many as turn out well—after showing them to my friends in Cambridge. But I intend to be certain what I want before I buy.
Lots of love to all, and have good holidays and a good rest too. Jim had a list of about half a dozen such projects that he made notes and did research on and some of which he drafted chapters and scenes for. There are indications in the letters that he actually finished more than one novel, but none of them seem to have Cold Stars 04:52 - My Home the house fire when the big house in Anthony went up in flames in or thereabouts. United States stationery.
Where will it end—a great river down the Edgware Road. And up from Brixton. The trains waiting Before dawn in either case, the sky still deepest blue to the west. No one else wants the trash she collects, and even the garbage trucks with their DEPT. But she likes that last hour or two before dawn, she expects it in all her untroubled sleep.
The alarm clock never rings. She stands there on the cold floor of her basement room, barefoot, in a tight nightgown with fragments of lace at the top and bottom, all of it, once-white lace and rayon and even the open mouths of split seams a kind of dingy yellow, like the bottoms of her feet.
No one would dare to, surrounded by those precarious piles of junk, those pagodas, card-castles and memorials of hers. But she scratches. And she is always vaguely excited, the tip of her tongue moving and visible between her lips.
She dresses. Since this is still her winter, she puts on her warmer workclothes. A black and fuchsia two-piece knit dress that has, with all that time, accommodated itself perfectly to the ample, the monumental parts of her, the somehow perhistoric mounds of her breasts and buttocks and stomach. She rolls and twists her stockings round her thighs, expertly and unevenly, and somehow fits her feet into rubber boots lined with what was fur and is now felt.
Then over all the raccoon coat. With both hands she tries to stretch the hair back from her forehead, pulling it into two snarled clouds darkened for a storm. Without a mirror.
She takes up several twine-handled paper bags that hang on the foot of the bed, Woolworths probably, then up the noisy stairs and out the noisy door, into the empty exciting streets.
To see what she can find. Cambridge, dark Boston are about her in their vacant hours. No cars at the curbs or steering down the streets, only lines of parking meters in the cribbage board sidewalks, all swollen and red violation tipped like matches.
She passes the domestic trash cans near the corner with the knowing and unseeing disdain of years, and turns down Brattle Street to the Square. She has the long flashlight out of her pocket now. Down narrow alleys of grayed brick, by the basement doors of clothiers and the barred windows of drug stores, to the regiments of galvanized barrels. Lengths of string and twine, her tongue vibrating in the cold air. Tissue paper and cellophane. The muscles in her thighs twitch.
A tired policeman nods and passes. Her breathing now irregular. In another barrel ribbons, lovely bows, discarded lengths still corkscrewed from the spools. Now in a cul-de-sac behind the cleaners what she saves for last: clothes hangers, black and silver wire, twisted and snapped, dozens of them. Her hands close convulsively and her eyes roll to show the huge whites, the craze of red and blue veins.
The shopping bags are full. The sky has bleached around her, the street lights glitter in the dawn, a few people in the streets. Awkward grey mountain ranges of mail sacks, lumpy piles of quarry waste. A Christmas tree. The strings of baggage cars weave through the crowds like giant caterpillars, hooting for the right-of-way, shouting, twisting. Women at tea carts, in tobacco kiosks, in the newsstands wear headkerchiefs and knitted gloves with holes at the fingertips—he wondering whether the holes are cut or whether the abrasion of money, some corrosive quality, the root of, no, the love of is the root.
Half an illuminated sign brightly reminding top people that they read. The boat train crowds: Americans in the standard light macs, carrying the inevitable suburban Samsonite luggage or folding Val-a-pak, the Australians strapped into their Aden cameras, all with the weathered skin of the new worlds. And look at him: gaunt and gawking, all bundled up and weighed down, in that fuzzy blanket of a coat, by those bits and pieces of strapped-up luggage.
Somewhere among those building blocks, that nursery floor of trunks with the bright initial letters on the sides, somewhere his will be hiding—footlockers 2 —one black, one brown.
Thinking: Desolate, Displaced, Drab. No, not Diplomatic, not in this crowd. Damned cold, at least. There: D on brown. Now somewhere a D on black. I wake to the morning sounds, summer sounds. Birds chattering, the first bus straining up the hill. My eyes are closed. I could see it now. There would be the long poplar bars of shade on the lawn like the pattern the venetian blinds cast on the wall opposite me, and the chairs scattered about under the trees for those awkward family visits to convalescent husbands and fathers and children, white and green and orange chairs, glistening with dew and turned bottom side up to keep the metal seats dry.
Beds of cherry geraniums growing from hidden pots sunk in the soil. It will be quiet outside for a while. Then the push Cold Stars 04:52 - My Home pause of a lawnmower, perhaps, or the snicker of shears at the hedges, and certainly the deliveries of milk and vegetables and meat to sustain us.
Medicine, ink, soap and bleach for our swaddling cloths, crossword puzzle books and shaving cream to be wheeled around on the trolley to those who use them, bowls of flowers with thoughtful cards tied by little ribbons—all drawn like filings to our magnet, day after day. People come and stay and go, on way or another, but I suspect the hospital goes on forever, rehearsing the routine devotions. Like the routine thermometer. And something of the routine seems to have entered into me after all these years.
I seldom have new thoughts, but play again the old ones, as I will now. I prefer to know. Three years is long enough, or too long. I remember feeling so comfortable the first few months here: And why not? I was a child of four or five again, back in the America I first knew. Dark shops with real people behind real counters. Restaurants upstairs with waitresses in white aprons. Most of the cars old and dark and small.
Smiling policemen to tell me the way home. But memory is strange, the accidents stay with the essential, and throughout I hear, still, the debating self that accompanied me—I no longer have any doubt about my conclusions, but the doubt of the time is a part of the orchestration still, a counterpoint or decoration, nothing more.
So drop the needle. So I had to be very critical, check everything as carefully as a scientific hypothesis. The unmarried ladies smile at occasional children in the parks, and feed pigeons.
There must be so much searching and straining and sweating and pain in love. Wives grow fat and husbands drink.
Governments fight wars, and leave undone those things that they should have done. Science, art, philosophy: all toys. Cancer, starvation, insanity, revolution and counter revolution, suicide, religion, hurricanes, earthquakes. It hurts me to think about it. Cold clear nights for stars and sleeping, a crystal show for the day— blue sky fading very little at the horizon, glowing yellow leaves on the cottonwood trees, pale dry crumbling earth.
What autumn is like here in the long valley: calm, unending, day after day. The homeless paying for tea but buying warmth and a chair, and a little time, their elbows on the table supporting sagging heads, Irregular nocturnal students, The oblivious young man by the windows, writing something copperplate morning after morning, in half-leather notebooks.
If there were, I would be one. But I chose the wrong one, he was afraid. So afraid that I knew life was too hard for him, and if I could, I would have done it for him: to him, I mean.
Judging ourselves by that minor world of the frantic limbed and accepting its standard. What are they doing now, what do they think? But the answer is very simple—they must be a lot like me. Sometimes for months at a time, waking and dreaming, it was that same cold sweat and teeth on edge at the thought that in a year or twenty or forty I would simply cease But life is too short to worry about how short Lucid and ironic.
Say to pages. Collaborations with a range of prestigious national and international clinical and academic centers. She holds an appointment as adjunct professor at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and as a visiting professor at the Baker Institute in Melbourne, Australia. The Brain and Behaviour Initiative BBI enables cross-faculty, multidisciplinary, collaborative research in the cognitive and affective neurosciences and brings together expertise on phenotyping, genotyping, cognotyping, brain imaging and molecular signatures to address brain-behaviour issues.
New experimental techniques including brain imaging, genetic testing and neuropsychological assessment combined with new theoretical insights have opened up significant potential for the advancement of novel diagnostic tools and treatments for people with mental disorders.
The initial focus on trauma and resilience has now extended to work in substance use and NeuroHIV. Her research focuses on child lung health including HIV-associated lung disease, childhood pneumonia and childhood TB. In she received the World Lung Health Award, awarded by the American Thoracic Society at a ceremony in San Diego, in recognition of work that has "the potential to eliminate gender, racial, ethnic, or economic health disparities worldwide".
Currently regarded as a thought leader in Rheumatic Heart Disease, both on the continent and internationally. Has significant international research collaborations within the Rheumatic Heart Disease Community and within the Cardiovascular Community. Her social responsibility is reflected in, amongst others, numerous board positions; and she continues to be involved in teaching, training and mentorship encompassing courses directed at nurse practitioners, clinical officers and echocardiography masterclasses in South Africa, Ethiopia, Zambia and Uganda.
I had taken this to mean I need not exchange Sinking - Sleet (Cassette) few words I spoke to him daily. However, when he returned from a visit apparently he changed his mind and was his usual self. After I washed up in the sink, I scrubbed it out as well as the toilet.
I mentioned to him if he wants I will wipe out the sink with toilet paper, but not with the rag. He told me that was not necessary and I was right about the germs.
Unfortunately, I see my cellmate still does not see a problem keeping a bottle of drink mix in the toilet to keep it cool, even after he just defecated in it. When I was at chow and the gym, I missed the media following Blagojevich onto the airplane, driving around LittletonColoradoand his final steps into Englewood just before noon. However, it did not matter because all this news coverage was repeated by the local networks at 4,5 and 6 p. I suspect there will be even more coverage after I finish writing at 9 and 10 p.
It reminded me of watching OJ Simpson travel along California highways before finally surrendering. Apparently the former governor wanted to do some site seeing or was just not ready to turn himself in yet. He stopped at a local restaurant called Freddies Burgers and the owner seemed quite pleased to have the media attention, even if it was for a corrupt politician on his way to prison. The patrons also seemed to enjoy the media publicity and Blagojevich himself who was still campaigning and went from table to table shaking hands and talking.
While watching the media spectacle I could not notice how the former governor had a personality almost my polar opposite.
Blagojevich is a very extroverted, social person who loves the crowds and limelight. He cared very much what others thought of him and he at least pretended to care about everyone he met. He was also a very shallow, superficial, manipulative person who was an opportunist with little honesty, integrity, virtue, or work ethic. Such people make friends easily, but after those learn who he really is, I tend to think he is less likeable.
I could see how the public c ould be duped by such a man and why there was a lot of sympathy for him. Despite how I think poorly of Blagojevich's character or job as governor, I agree with popular opinion that his year sentence was excessive, although he will only serve 12 and be in a nice minimum-security prison.
Other politicians convicted of corruption like George Ryan were given less time. Also, the prosecutor failed to prove Blagojevich actually received benefits from his attempts to shake down people and businesses or use his power for illegal quid pro quos.
Although the law does not require this, I would hav e liked to have seen more than talk, even if the governor used such blatant and colorful language such as "I have this thing senate office and it is fucking golden. The man with the big ego could be on a work crew to clean up trash at city parks or along the highways that once had his name on them. He wants to help senior citizens? He could work at geriatric wards cleaning adult diapers. Even having President Elvis in a stockade outside the state capital building where people could spit on him or peg him with tomatoes is a good idea, although people may rather get their picture taken with the man.
I watch Americans eaten up by the costly prison industrial complex every day and it needs to be scaled back for more alternative or productive purposes. The media seemed to infer the former governor was going to do some hard time. Much video of the outside of the stone penitentiary and its surrounding double fencing with razor was shown on TV. On PBS, Chicago Tonight, Scott Fawellanother person convicted and sent to the penitentiary for corruption, was interviewed and he spoke ominously about the conditions inside.
This type of reporting was ridiculous, in my opinion. There are no murders, rapes, hostage taking, stabbings, or brutal assaults occurring at these minimum federal prisons. I doubt there is much violence at all except for a rare fist fight. The rooms at Englewood are freshly painted, clean, without infestation, and in good working order. Blagojevich will even have air conditioning and be given new bedding and clothing upon arrival. As for austerity and oppressive living conditions, this is absurd as well.
Englewood will have plenty of unregulated movement, programs, recreation, pleasant visitation conditions, and overall privileges. Through, or over that purported "suffocating double fence," Blagojevich will be able to view the majestic Rocky Mountains from his cell window or while wandering prison grounds.
The former governor remarked he will " persevere and suffer for his children," however, he will never know what real suffering is. While writing this post, I received a letter from a man I knew in prison over a decade ago. He thanked me for helping him make it through the tough times. I guarantee Blagojevich would not have made it back in those days, especially at Stateville. Even today, I imagine the ex-governor would request protective custody. Interestinglythe governor could have shut this miserable, debilitatedviolent prison down during his term in office.
However, because he was facing the prospect of the legislature signing a bill to remove him, he made deals with certain congressmen and the prison's union to keep it open. There are consequences to political corruption and lack of integrity, even when the public does not readily see it.
Maybe it would be just deserts if Blagojevich spent a few years at Stateville along with some community service rather than 12 years in Englewood. Posted by Paul Modrowski at PM 6 comments:. Saturday, March 10, Leap Day -- February 29, The earth's orbit around the sun does not take a perfect days. Therefore, every four years an extra day is added to the shortest month of the year. February 29th is considered "Leap Day" and to some people it may have special significance.
However, for a prisoner with natural life it is just yet another day I could have gone without. Every Wednesday morning in C House, two lines of prisoners are permitted to go to the barbershop. Each line consists of between 10 and 15 inmates and the first line leaves the cell house soon after count clears. This morning a guard walked by the cell with a clipboard asking if my cellmate and I wanted to go. We both said yes, and he wrote down our names.
About a month ago, I trimmed my own hair in the cell using beard trimmers, a comb, and a couple of small plastic mirrors. I did the best job I could, however, I wanted someone to go over it. Not long after the guard wrote our names down, the names of prisoners on the law library list were announced on the cell house loudspeakers.
After my cellmate heard his name called out, he began to search through his boxes for legal papers. Although I am highly skeptical, Bobby claims to still be on his first post-conviction appeal. Most prisoners have exhausted all regular state and federal appeals within 10 years, let alone the 23 years my cellmate has been in the IDOC.
I speculate because he was formerly on death row, a legal organization or lawyer who represented him earlier has continued to help him but on an irregular appeal. My cellmate and I were let out of our cell to join the crowd on the lower floor. The holding cage was packed with prisoners going to the Health Care Unit and the visitation room. Inmates attending pre-GED classes or going to job assignments, and the law library waited outside.
They were mainly cluttered around my former cell and I was glad to have finally gotten away from it. It is much better living on 4 gallery despite having to readjust myself to a new cell and cellmate. On the fringe of the crowd I saw Albert. Albert is a clean cut Polish immigrant who is a striking contrast to most of the prisoners at Stateville. He lives on the gallery above mine and I do not have much opportunity to speak with him. The lower two galleries are intermingled for yard and chow lines, but all other galleries are segregated.
After talking to him about his appeal to assure myself the U. Albert has been enrolled at the barbershop school for almost a year and is the only person who has some proficiency at cutting Caucasian hair. I assumed he would say yes, but was surprised when he told me he could not.
A Mexican had asked him a week ago if he would be his barber today. I said to him, "But we are Polish and must look out for each other in the concrete jungle. Whatever happened to Solidarity? Albert told me if he had not given his promise he would. I cared less about his promise and told him he was a traitor. The barbershop line was brought into the chow hall to eat first. It was not even 9 a. Fortunately, I brought a Ziploc bag I usually use for bringing bread back to the cell house. The meal was shredded chicken and noodles, and because it was not soy I did not want to pass it by.
It is rare that prisoners are fed real meat. A prisoner at my table seeing me scoop the food into my bag asked if I wanted his, and I took him up on his offer, although in retrospect, possibly I should not have. I filled my bag up so full that later the seal broke and chicken broth leaked into my coat pocket. Fortunately, tomorrow, blue clothing is being washed and I can put my jacket in a laundry bag to be cleaned. While at the chow table, I listened to an inmate give advice to another about his case.
The prisoner he was speaking to is a very stupid and disheveled white man prisoners have begun to call "Hillbilly," although calling him a hillbilly is an insult to hillbillies. The man has little education and an IQ certainly under He is also rumored to be a snitch who was recently sent to C House after X House was cleared of protective custody inmates.
The former P. At the table, he admitted his guilt although I do not think it was ever in dispute. Prosecutors had overwhelming evidence against him including a confession and his DNA from under the fingernails of the victim. Even if the man was to win a new trial based on error, he will be re-convicted. Thus, the convict talking to him told him to play crazy. In Illinois, there is no "guilty but insane" verdict but if a person was incompetent to stand trial, he is remanded to a mental ward until he meets certain criteria to be prosecuted.
The retarded man was being advised how to fake insanity, although I do not think he needed much help. I was quick to ascertain he was a "bug". The prisoner giving him advice I do not especially like either, despite how he tries to impress me with his background in the Armed Forces and a few words he can say in German from being stationed there. His name is Brown, and he is particularly obnoxious and hyper. He also tells me how he killed a drug dealer and his co-defendant was convicted of the murder with him.
He laughs and brags how his co-defendant became ensnarled in the case through his own stupidity. Mertz and I have condemned Brown for not telling prosecutors the truth and helping his co-defendant but from what Brown tells us, it would not matter because of his involvement in an underlying felony.
Under the felony-murder law, anyone guilty of a felony is automatically guilty of any murder which happens in the course of it. This is true, but because I am doing time for another person's crime, I did not like his attitude. Brown, by the way, is attempting to also get himself sent to a mental hospital and sometimes acts psychotic or schizophrenic.
The bullet which went through his brain during an attempt by him to rob another drug dealer, may substantiate his claims on appeal someday if a court hears his case. At the barbershop, I sat in the waiting area while other prisoners had their hair cut.
All of the inmates who had graduated or who helped teach the class have been removed. This left few who knew how to cut hair, especially straight hair. The students could shape Afros, line hair, and beards. They also could do one length hair or bald heads with great efficiency. However, no one was able to layer, feather, taper, or style any type of straight hair with the exception of Albert, and even he was not very good.
I wasted my entire morning at the chow hall and then at the barbershop. I saw the man being called "Hillbilly" sporting a bald head afterwards. He still looked unkempt and possibly crazier which may have been a tip of advice I missed.
Upon returning to the cell, I poured out my chicken noodles into a bowl and only took a few bites before I heard my name called for a visit on the loudspeaker. A guard was quick to unlock my door and I also did not have to wait long for an escort to the visiting room. The strip search room, however, was a different matter.
There was a former Internal Affairs guard in the room and he was meticulously thorough in the search. He went through every article of clothing and even pulled out some insoles of a pair of shoes thinking he found a hidden stash. The "robocop" then wanted to look under our tongues and upper and lower lips. Our ears, fingernails, toes, genitals, and even ass cracks were checked by the weird guard before we were allowed to go on our visits.
NRC has its own visiting room, but it is left empty and these men are bused over to Stateville. Because of this foolish policy, families of prisoners are made to wait an extraordinary amount of time.
Visits for men at Stateville are also greatly delayed. The visiting room is continually jammed full and the noise level so high that people are nearly shouting to be heard. Oftentimes, I will lean in as far as possible to hear my visitor speak. My mother had come to see me alone. She looks frail but good for her age. Unfortunately, she is becoming senile and I often repeat conversations I already had with her time and again.
It is sad to see my mother losing her mental faculties. The week prior, I saw my father and while his memory is fine, he is deteriorating physically. Before they are 70, I expect them both to be dead, and if they are still alive they will be too feeble to be without a full time caretaker. With my life without parole sentence, I doubt I will ever be of assistance. One of the major subjects I talked about with my mother was her finances. President Obama and the Federal Reserve are doing everything in their power to artificially stimulate the market until the election.
However, by propping up the economy, they are only doing more harm. I am steadfast in my position: Europe and the U. The recession will not be as sharp as before but will linger like the stagflation of the s. Often I wish I could take over my parents' finances despite my mother being an accountant. This will be her last year working and Cold Stars 04:52 - My Home is probably best.
My mother will read my blog posts and she regularly wants to give her opinion. This week, I was once again told my writing was too candid and mean spirited. She believes one of the purposes of my blog is to inform people about prison ongoings, and another is to get people to like me. I do not write, however, to gain readers' approval or sympathy. The blog is my personal journal, although at times I will discuss broader ranging subjects. A subject my mother thought would be newsworthy is the charity donated to Stateville prisoners that they regularly never see.
Many charities and businesses will donate food to the prison. For example, Stateville has received truckloads of Gatorade, potato chips, yogurt, soda pop, and various other goods over the past couple years. Many times this food will be left in storage for only the guards or other staff's consumption. When the food is spoiled or past its expiration dates, it is then given to prisoners. For example, two years ago the warden discovered hundreds of boxes of corn and potato chips and demanded the kitchen supervisor to begin passing them out.
For months, prisoners ate the Sinking - Sleet (Cassette) vending machine sized bags of chips. More recently, truckloads of yogurt were donated and only the guards had access to it until it began to spoil.
Then they were served to prisoners. I had a bad case of food poisoning from eating one, and later I looked at the date and found it had expired over a month ago. To make sure my information was accurate, I stopped by a kitchen worker's cell to discuss the matter today.
He told me it was true that sometimes donated food will never be served to inmates. However, he said there were usually reasons. For example, if there is not enough of the product to go to the entire prison population, it will simply only be offered to staff so there are no complaints of disparity.
The kitchen worker also added that once a donation is made to Stateville it is theirs and they sometimes barter the goods with other penitentiaries. As for guards getting first dibs on the best and freshest donated food, this was indisputable and staff is always fed better than the inmates. I asked him if he knew who the charities were because I think they should be informed, but he did not know. After visiting hours were over, the 30 or more inmates left the visiting room and were sent across the hallway to another visiting room to be strip searched enmasse.
This room is not used and remains vacant despite how crowded visitation may get at Stateville. Once again, the "robocop" thoroughly searched the group of inmates who stood naked and lined against a wall.
Searching convicts on the way out of visitation makes more sense than when they are going in. However, the guard had a zeal for strip searching inmates which was not only absurdly excessive but abnormal or weird. Prisoners called him a homo and a control freak. He responded, "Yes, I am, and now let me do what I do.
Despite the guard's extensive search, I thought of numerous ways contraband could have still been brought into the prison. When I got back to my cell, I knew showers were going to be run for 4 gallery soon. Thus, I thought it would be a good time to trim my hair. Using beard trimmers, a comb and a couple of small plastic mirrors, I went to work. However, it is exceedingly difficult tapering hair where one cannot see. Despite my best attempts, my hair was irregularly cut when the doors were unlocked for us to take showers.
In the shower waiting area, I had another man go over what I did. When he was about finished, Albert was let into the gated area to take his detail shower.
In his Polish accented English he said he did not know I wanted a "fade," and he may have been able to give me this hair cut after cutting the other man's hair. I told Albert I did not want it this short, but it was the only haircut Chase was proficient at.
He said he thought I actually looked better with high cropped shorter hair. While waiting to take a shower, I noticed Hillbilly and another prisoner having a heated exchange of words. There was a tenseness in the holding area I thought was going to lead to violence. A few people were eager to pounce on the retarded snitch until he backed down. Incredibly, he apologized to several men for accusing him of talking to the police.
He did not gain any respect for this and someone spit in his face. Even in C House, a snitch is likely to have trouble. After returning to my cell, I heard someone announce we were on lockdown. This would have been disappointing to many prisoners in C House.
The building had not been allowed to receive commissary in over a month, but was scheduled to go tomorrow. Eventually, I was to learn cellmates were fighting in E House and a rifle blast was reported.
The isolated incident only delayed feed lines temporarily. Prisoners were excited to hear they were going to be served a special meal for dinner. Kitchen workers were calling it "Shepherd's Pie. Some people speculated it was a pot pie of some sort. Brown told me it was a poor Irishman's pie of leftovers. He was close to the truth, although while in line I thought it looked like a delicious pie pizza.
I asked the prison worker serving the food if this was Stateville's version of a deep dish Chicago pizza. He told me it was not as good as it looked. Very cheesy scalloped potatoes were piled on green beans and ground turkey-soy kibble and then put on a pizza crust. As I ate it, I thought it would have been better just to have a cheese pizza.
I could have then brought it back to the cell and added some ketchup and real meat to eat while I was watching the movie "Seven". At the end of this Leap Day, I wished it was another I could have leaped over. In fact, the last 19 years I could have done without. There is news on television currently predicting strong storms to pass through southern Illinois and Indiana.
Although it is not yet spring, there are tornado warnings. It would be nice if a category 5 tornado would directly hit Stateville in the night and reduce to rubble this entire miserable penitentiary. Although I will most certainly die crushed by concrete and steel, I dream of the minute chance I will survive unscathed and tossed miles away. In fact, I daydream of being swept up in the tornado like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but unlike her, I will never seek to return.
If I ask anything from the Wizard, it will be to leap back into the past two decades. Posted by Paul Modrowski at PM 9 comments:. Labels: donated foodrobocopShepherd's Piestrip searches. Thursday, March 8, 4 Gallery -- February 25, Two days ago, I was moved to a cell on 4 gallery.
Four gallery is not on the 4 th floor as many may assume, but on the 2 nd. Many years ago, the entire block-long building holding most of General Population was one huge unit.
However, over the years the building was divided in half, and those two were later divided to make four separate cell houses. General Population is often referred to as the "quarter units" because of this and it is also the reason for the strange gallery numbers. C and B cell houses only have even numbered galleries while on the other side of the building there are only odd numbers.
There are 5 floors numbered 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 in my cell house. The enormous building which cages about 1, prisoners was not called "The Big House" for no reason, and it was split into quarters to increase control over what was an extremely violent and unruly prison.
I was given no advance warning or notice that I was being moved to 4 gallery, although I have repeatedly requested to be moved since I was sent to C House in July. For 7 months I have lived in cell which was directly across from the holding cage and not far from the front door and guards desk.
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