EXCERPTS FROM THE PRISON DIARY OF JOHN SINCLAIR
After 9 months I can write these poems.
It rained all day today,
which speaks for the rest of the year
pretty much. No flowers,
or red flags on the yard
just the wet grey day, and a dude in my block
going crazy in his cell right now,
screaming and cursing in the dark -
Writing by candlelight again,
listening for the guard to climb the steps
to the first gallery which holds my cell --
then I blow out the light until he's past,
safe for another hour.
Each day I get farther behind in my work.
So many possibilities, so little time
to work them out. Even my weekends now
shrink smaller & smaller --
and the weekdays, just enough time
to answer letter, read the papers --
My books scream at me from their shelf,
my typewriter begs me to work it,
my mind is bursting with energy --
9 1/2 to 10 years will never be enough time !
a new notebook.
The shakedown squad came by tonight. Everyone else is out in the yard,
I'm sitting at my desk typing
earphones or, music blasting through my head and look up surrounded by screws!
Flashes of paranoia and real fear,
but it's just a plain oíd C block shakedown --
they look through my house --
a new guard getting broke in --
and left without taking a thing.
The unconscious or not
consciously feit emotional void
after your visit up here -- the way it's
straight back into penitentiary life
or non-life when you leave,
almost like I never saw you out there
in the visiting room -- the minute you' re gone
the whole world you bring with you
disappears too, and I'm back in prison
simply and wholly
until the next time you come
Long live the People's Republic of China
on this its 21st anniversary!
Long live the brilliant genius Chairman Mao Tse-tung!
Long live the 800,000,000 brothers and sisters of China!
21 years ago this day marked a turning point
in the history of the West so vast and deep
that still hardly anyone understands it --
No more Amerikan West!
No more Asian ripoffs for the capitalist dogs!
No Coca-colas and Chryslers and electric toothbrushes
for the toiling masses of the East!
No Bank Amerikards in Peking!
The dream of the Rockefellers and Fords
blown to smithereens by the victory of peoples' war!
Right on, people, right on!
Dare to struggle, dare to Win!
The goon squad on the rock today
just as I was leaving for my visit --
6 pigs kicked the shit out of a Muslim brother,
gassed him, and filled all of 5 block
with their nasty fumes --
5 brothers taken to the hospital for treatment,
10 or 15 dudes moved from their cells because the gas was so thick --
Andrews 114997-the Muslim brother;
Weed 102343, Davis 125528,
Williams 120911, Page 94943, Gillette
125055, Cross 83042, 124727 Blanding
(whose 4-year-old sister was shot and killed
by National Guard troops in the 1967 uprising),
Taylor 120687, Williams 94669,
Westbrook 91842, Bell 119243, Freemen
125188, 117218 Weatherby, 115893 Bush,
115114 Kelly, 88064 Cumingham,
and the whole motherfucking block!
Freezing cold in here all day,
& a brother just hung himself in his cell
in the gallery above mine -
quiet is on this gallery like a pall
or a sheet they rapped around the dead prisoner
as they carried him past my cell on a stretcher just 15 minutes ago -
weirdness & terror in the air,
even the guards are affected.
Some days it's hard to understand
how any of us in here manage to keep ourselves
from hanging it up like that -
this is no place for men to be caged
this is no place for men at all.
PHOTO - CRAIG CARRELL