Friends, I need your attention. I am a man, alone with his thoughts.
You can’t imagine the depths of your own mind, the force, the darkness. Interminable sobbing behind hands that smell like bread, always bread, it is all I ate. Smash/roll it into a dense ball. Bite it. Roll it again. Bite it. Roll it. Bite it. Roll it. Pop it in your mouth. And so it goes: day after day. Heavy, blue suicide smocks and camera rooms. Just in case. Solitary. I smell my hands, just now. Just to make sure.
Friends, for a while there, I was probably crazy. Who knows, maybe I still am?
Friends, I once had a shit cracker slid under my door by a deranged 13 year old called “Tiny”. He would smear shit on his window so staff couldn’t see him and he would rush them when they eventually had to open his door. He shit on a cracker and slid it under the crack at the bottom of his door across the hallway and under my door into my dark room. I only noticed when I woke up to piss and stepped on one, peeled it off my foot, not knowing what it was, and smelled the truth on my fingers.
Friends, he was only a child. He was only a child, flooding his toilet with his bed sheets and getting the whole unit’s water turned off so we could only flush our toilets twice a day and had to brush our teeth during our rec/shower hour. He was only a child, screaming and lying on his back on the floor, kicking his metal door all through the night. He was only a child when he rushed out of his room naked at shower time with a stolen light bulb in a sock and smashed it over the head of the staff on duty.
Friends, we weren’t allowed books or pencils in our rooms, just a bible, so I broke the led from my pencil at rec and put it in my sock. I tied it round with string and ripped pages from my bible to write crude and simple poetry. I didn’t know then what I know now. I thought I wrote love poems.
Friends, I’ve never wanted to commit suicide. When Milton hung himself from the air vent with two shoe strings braided together for the strength to hold his fat, dead ass, his body blocked the window on his door. Staff warned him and warned him, but he didn’t unblock his window, so they sprayed a cloud of pepper spray under the crack of the door and let it marinate for a minute before they opened up. I wonder how often they wonder if they could have saved him.
Friends, I have had my life saved by a child abuser. I created a Zine with a Piru, rolled bones with Crips. I have held a man who killed his own mother with a baseball bat and consoled him as he cried. Nobody is irredeemable.
Friends, how did we let it get this far?