Fallen Heroes



It’s Friday the 13th. Time for some ironic reminiscing. It looks like it is going to be a subway series, the Yankees and the Mets. What does this have to do with anything you may think? It brings me back to my childhood when I was a Mets fan. And when I think of those times I think of two guys: Daryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. These were my two favorite players. Shea was the first stadium I ever saw a game at. And even though I was born and raised in LA until I was a teen, I was a Mets fan as long as I cared about baseball(also until I became a teen). It has always struck me that I became addicted to the very drug that also reeked havoc in the lives of these two idols of mine.

gooden and strawberry

I am suggesting no correlation here. Not trying to blame or suggest any culpability. That would be silly. Still, knowing these things about people you have looked up to does have to have some effect on your psyche does it not? I lived in New York for a couple of short stints in 97 and 98. Funny that both of these men ended up playing for the Yankees just before then.


Going to Yankee games got me interested in baseball games again. I became a Yankee fan. So now I wait for this series very pensive. Brings back a lot of memories and raises a lot of questions about life. Both of my old heroes ended their careers on pretty good notes considering their pasts. But drugs derailed what would have been hall of fame entries in both cases. Strawberry’s struggle has continued off of the field and has been very public. I wonder will drugs hold me back from what I could have done. But you have to have a goal and try to accomplish it before you can ever figure that out.


I still don’t even know what I want to do. Playing baseball brings back some of my fondest memories…and some of the worst. But now it makes me reflective of a time when I had a lot less cares, a lot less troubles. I miss those times, but it is time to move on. They say cowards live in the past, and I believe it to be true. But we all have a little bit of the lion in the Wizard of Oz inside of us don’t we?


Holding On


A friend came over to talk to me about something that plagues most people here-the past. Let me get more specific though…love. And let me call this guy “Stinger”. He’ll know who I’m talking about, and so will a few others. They will get a kick out of it. And for anyone reading, eventually you will understand too.




I tried to tell him that things were probably fine, but that he had to accept the fact she may break it off with him too. He, of course, will not listen and thinks something is wrong. Why is it one can never see clearly in the throes of feelings?

blinded love

The chances are against anything being wrong with her. This happens to guys in here all the time. The thought goes: “she wouldn’t do that to me.” But for some people this is the only way they can let go. It happens without a word. Without an explanation. Without a goodbye. While we as prisoners cling to these loves, they, the free try to figure out how to escape. Ironic. You do hear of some relationships that last, that somehow survive the storm. However, for the most part, these men are holding on to something that is long gone with the wind. And can you blame these women? The really crazy thing to me, women who start relationships with men while they are locked up. And almost as crazy are the dudes in here who have sentences like mine and swear their girls are out there waiting for them. Each situation is different, but the thoughts are delusional to a high degree. In the minority here are those of us who know their women aren’t waiting around for them even if they say they are. Reality rarely resides here.


Truth In Name Only

Truth In Name Only


There was an incident in another unit worth telling today. On a little tangent however, I want anyone who reads this in the future to know that these stories are far from credible. I’ll try to give the straight dope when I can, but to get that is rare in here. You have to read between the lines…or here, maybe it would be better to say read between the lies. I’ll also try to make it clear when I think something is true and when something is bullshit. So here we go, there’s this guy named “Stick Chicken”(there’s probably never been a better or truer name).

He’s one of these guys here who knows a lot about the law. Probably was handling the Wheel Chair Cyclist’s case. This Stick Chicken is always suing the state. Word is he’s got a real good one brewing against them now. From what I heard the S and E team (search and escort) came to confiscate all his legal documents. Now the people telling this story would have you believe that they came to find a way to stop his lawsuit anyway possible. I have my doubts about this. I don’t want to be misunderstood however. By no means am I suggesting the administration here is above pulling such shenanigans. I just believe it is much more likely it was over something much less important. People here try to place everything in the light as us vs. them. And they romanticize a lot of the things we do to try to show us in a better light. The truth tends to be much more boring and ugly.

truth is subjective

To do other people’s legal work is in itself enough of a violation for them to come and toss his cell. This is something everyone knows Stick Chicken does. So even if the CO’s were sent on such a nefarious mission, they have an excuse to be there. There are many advantages to being on the side of the law it appears. Apparently, Stick Chicken did not take the incursion upon his property lightly. He began yelling and throwing shit at them (this I have no trouble believing). He of course was carted off to the hole. But let’s play devil’s advocate (no pun intended) and assume Stick Chicken was only searched because he had a legitimate lawsuit against NDOP; it is a frustrating fact that even when you are in the right here you usually cannot win.

devils advocate

True, this can happen anywhere. But, it is much more likely to happen behind bars. Innocent until proven guilty? It doesn’t even happen for criminals when they’re free. Here, forget about it.

innocent until proven

Toe The Line

Toe The Line


My new celly is about as racist as they come. It’s “nigger this”, and “nigger that” all day. I refuse to join in on his little game though. He’s been harping on the racist tip really hard trying to get me to join in. I can tell he thinks I’m weird because I don’t think like him.

I never say anything on that subject here. Most people wouldn’t like to hear what I have to say. But I get the feeling many people here act racist because they feel they have to. Maybe in the future I’ll find some people I can trust we can talk about things more candidly. I’m not there yet though. One of the worst things about this place is you cannot be yourself easily. It takes a lot of balls. And not only that, I’m forced to associate with people I normally never would. I’ve haven’t found too many people I like in here so far. Reading is what has been getting me through, especially history. I’ve always wanted to get into it more-and here’s my chance. It’s helped me to think on a bigger scale and see through a lot of the bullshit taken as gospel here.


There are so many areas I want to study. So much to learn. Right now it is about all I have to look forward to on a daily basis. Although I imagine it everyday, release seems so far and out of reach. So coming here I lost more than my freedom, I lost the ability to safely be myself-to practice individuality. Like I said, I could be myself if I had the balls, but it seems a lot easier to tow the line.

towing the line

Someday maybe I’ll feel different, because as it is I feel like I’m losing a little of myself everyday. And if that’s the case, how much is safety really worth?  losing yourself

My Neck And My Back!…and My Cardio

My Neck And My Back!…and My Cardio


Starting to realize that suing the state is an old pastime of many here. It’s the way many choose to fight their circumstances (probably because they already lost their appeal). People sue for a multitude of issues. There is a guy in a wheel chair in my unit. He is suing the state claiming they are responsible for his condition. Until today had no idea if he had a legitimate gripe, and to be honest I did not care. It was none of my business. So I’m in the gym earlier when I see the “disabled” man wheel in. He promptly rolls up to the exercise bike, hops out of his wheel chair onto the bike and begins furiously pedaling. Mind you, there is a cop up in the gun tower watching us, along with the other couple of hundred inmates, not to mention 2 or 3 gym coaches. I was so entertained I sat and watched him pedal for several minutes. So long in fact, I left. I had no idea when he would stop. I saw several others watching him too.

A Zoo Within A Zoo

A Zoo Within A Zoo


I was out walking laps on the yard today and saw this guy holding a snake. I asked him about it and he has been catching all kind of critters. He has a couple of lizards, a pair of mice, a rabbit, and the snake. A lot of guys I talk to in here are animal lovers.


It is strange though that the freedom that attracts us to these creatures is taken away when we capture them as the man and the snake. But, if the snake really wanted to leave, he could, couldn’t he? As for myself, I’ve become very fond of birds. I imagine they are the ultimate symbol of freedom, and thus a favorite to prisoners everywhere.



I was out walking laps on the yard today and saw this guy holding a snake. I asked him about it and he has been catching all kind of critters. He has a couple of lizards, a pair of mice, a rabbit, and the snake. A lot of guys I talk to in here are animal lovers.

desert animals

It’s kind of interesting to me because I never really had the time to take care of an animal. Well, I take that back. I did, but I wanted to do other things. And being an animal lover comes with some stereotypes, like-gentleness, something most people wouldn’t associate with convicts. If you really think about it though it’s not too hard to understand why many prisoners are animal lovers, even if they were not before they came in. I’m sure many of the guys and gals who make it out of prisons every day go out and get themselves cats and dogs. It’s probably the easiest friend one will ever make. The greatest thing about animals, especially domesticated ones: they don’t judge. That’s valuable to people like us. As far as the more wild ones go, they’re usually gone before they would even get a chance to peg you. But somehow many of these guys who catch them earn their trust. I’m sure in part it’s their freedom that attracts us. Also, to a certain extent, I think every person has the need to take care of some type of living thing floating inside of them. Obviously this need is much stronger in some.


It is strange though that the freedom that attracts us to these creatures is taken away when we capture them as the man and the snake. But, if the snake really wanted to leave, he could, couldn’t he? As for myself, I’ve become very fond of birds. I imagine they are the ultimate symbol of freedom, and thus a favorite to prisoners everywhere.


In This Present…It’s The Past That Gets Me Through

In This Present…It’s The Past That Gets Me Through

October 6, 2000

I got a new celly today. He’s kinda strange, I don’t know how well we are going to get along. He’s from upstate New York, which explains some of it to me. I’ve been up there, and the people I met make me want to start mimicking the banjo in that song on “Deliverance”.

Now I know that it’s dumb to say everyone up there is like that. I know. But at the same time, there is a little truth to all stereotypes as well. He doesn’t look like the type. He doesn’t even sound like the type. But his thoughts, his thoughts are…backwoods. I have a bad feeling about the whole situation. My reading has paid dividends already. With Serbia in the news so much lately, I understand a bit of the back history there after reading about the first World War. A Serb named Gavrilo Princip (also currently my alter ego in Clash of the Clans) started that war by killing the Archduke of Austria/Hungary.

black hand

My hope when I began reading history was to understand the world a little better and I feel like it’s working very well. I talked to a few of my friends on the phone last night. They are going to the birthday party of an ex-girlfriend of mine at the Rum Jungle. I have to say I am very jealous.


Just about all my close friends are going to be there. And thinking of Liz brought back some memories! Like the time she caught her older sister at my house. That was a good one. She slapped me then told her sister, “you better get out here now bitch!” The mother and two daughters all commenced to fighting on my front lawn.


Who needs Jerry Springer? My mom certainly didn’t that day. She watched the whole thing from the window.


window 2

(couldn’t resist that last one)

Ah…the good ole days.

A Drop In The Bucket

A Drop In The Bucket

October 5, 2000

Everyone is pissed off because we got our buckets taken away today. Every room was allowed to have one bucket to do laundry in. In here it was a serious luxury.

Funny the things you find as necessities here.You let your clothes soak in a bucket then hang them up to dry on a piece of string or plastic. When you send your clothes into the laundry they come back really nasty. So everyone just did their own. They even sell Tide on the canteen for that very purpose.

laundry line

We also used them as seats for when others came over.Funny side note: I  heard a story that Charles Manson had so many TV’s in his cell he used to use them as seats. But that’s probably bullshit.


Apparently some guy went into the caseworker’s office smelling like wine. The caseworker had some officers go in his room and bingo, they found a half gallon of pruno in his bucket. Yes, there is that use too. There has been a steady supply of wine being made in our unit for a couple of months now. They call the process “batchin”. I imagine the lack of this amenity will make some even more pissed than others are about the buckets.

no pruno

Everyone is hoping they will give the buckets back. We’ll see. I saw some money in here for the first time. A guy pulled out a big ole wad of cash. Makes you wonder how they get it. It’s kinda weird when you see something that used to be so common place but now is almost completely absent.


It’s a strange feeling. I got a motion back that I filed in court. They set a hearing to determine whether they will send me my discovery packet. This is a copy of all the evidence the police had against you. There are some things I would like to know even though it really won’t change a damn thing.


Better Get Used To Them Bars Kid

Better Get Used To Them Bars Kid

October 4, 2000

I talked to Mrs. Marrazzo today, the teacher whose class had some questions about prison for me. She said her criminal justice students enjoyed hearing my answers. I guess it was a good move to not bullshit them.

Some of these kids are very savvy, and know when someone is trying to pull their leg. Although I’m not someone who knows a whole lot about prison, I tried to explain to them how things work in here to the best of my ability. Of course I know more than most just due to the fact of being here, but in other prisoners’ eyes, I’m still considered a fish (i.e., a beginner, a greenhorn, freshman).


outta water

(I added this picture as well in memory of my fish, Joe who committed suicide in this manner when I was 8.)

I still have a lot to learn about my new habitat. And since I  am going to be here for an extended amount of time, I’m trying to do it as careful as possible. So far the best strategy has been to talk little and learn from others’ mistakes. mistakes

I’ve been taking some computer classes in school. I’m not very confident about working with these machines. However, they can’t even be considered the future anymore, the future is already here. Whoever doesn’t learn is going to get left behind in a lot of ways.


I tried to call one of my old girlfriends tonight and someone hung up on me. This is one of the hardest things about prison for me so far, letling go of streets ,so to say.

let go

It could have been her mother that hung up on me. In the end does it really matter? The result is the same. I couldn’t talk to her. It also brings me face to face with another cold truth: to many, my name is tarnished forever. No matter what I do I will not be able to redeem myself in some folks’ eyes.


I try to look at the bright side; someone is always willing to give people another chance. You just have to find them. I talked to the father of a good friend of mine today. It worried me because he told me his son is doing some things that could end him up in here with me. I would hate to see that. I hope that my friends learn something from my mistakes as I’m trying to learn from others’ missteps in here.worst enemy

Campaign 2000

Campaign 2000

October 3, 2000

The first Presidential Debate of the 2000 campaign was tonight.

I was probably one of the few people that watched it in this institution. A lot of guys here figure it doesn’t matter to them because they cannot vote. Even those who are interested have never paid enough attention to politics to understand what is being debated for the most part. I’ve always been taught to keep up with current events. I still believe it’s it’s a good idea. But I see why many feel it is a waste of time as well.

beyond control


Bush made a good point that Gore is a part of an administration that has promised again and again to fix the very same issues that are still at issue today.

nothing gets done

In all however, I think Gore made a much better presentation of his ideas.


(Except that one). I hope Gore wins, but according to the polls it is going to be very close.