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“This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” Well actually it is the day that the commissioner of the DOC is supposed to be at Maine Correctional Center (MCC) is shaking in their britches… Why all the fear and trembling amongst the staff you ask? Well it seems his holiness the “Commissioner of Ponte” has been wielding his ax at the State prison like he has been farming in South America; using the old Brazilian Jungle slash and burn technique. Yes, it is true, his holiness Ponte axed nine people according to news reports and that has people here at MCC feeling less than secure (to say the least…)

The funny thing is that here at MCC the inmate population has been saying the axe was going to fly for months and three MCC organizations conducted an unofficial poll and came up with their picks for the “Heads Will Roll” axing.

The three groups are the Windham National Association Against Cruelty to Prisoners (WNAACP,) the Club the Easter Seals Foundation (CESF) and Gay Maine (the MCC Chapter.) This is how the polling fell out. At the top of the list was that CO who likes to pass out all the extra food to inmates (as the inmates; CAW, CAW.) According to their press release the WNAACP said if that CO does not know how potential dangerous (Thru the spreading of disease) it is to have 20, 30, or 40 inmates with nasty filthy hands dipping in buckets of food and then passing it out, he does not deserve to be employed. Next on the list was quiet a surprise to many people. The second chosen to be canned was the “Red Headed Dorm Dad” because (and I quote :) “He has lied to the inmates so many times that any capital he had to spend on credibility was gone years ago…”

That’s it, the top two picked by the people who pick people here at MCC… There was one individual who just squeezed out of the “big two” and that was someone named Henry (Quoting once again :) “he’s useless…”

Well that it from ole’ Bob Wire for now… Stay tuned, because this story is not going away anytime soon….

Bob Wire

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Written by Matt “Irish” Moscillo, performed by P-6 & the Windham Philharmonic.  From the CD, “Three More Julys,” produced and recorded  by Guitardoors.org on location at the Maine Correctional Center / Windham Prison, back in 2010.

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Advise from Murderers and Lifers imprisoned in the State of Maine!

True Believers:

A while ago we sent all of the prisoners we communicate with three requests for advice gathered from various advice columns.  We received advice back from Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune (M.S.P./serving two life sentences for home invasion,)Michael ‘Dirty’ McQuade (M.S.P./ serving 12 years for murder,) and Arline Lawless (M.C.C./serving 35 years for murder.)

As a counterpoint, we also requested and received advice from two of our law-abiding citizens, Maine writer and educator Kate Miller, and her cohort Peaceful, Maine mystic and holistic life coach (Peaceful also comments on the responses from our inmates.)

Ready?  Here we go:

Problem 1:

I work part-time in a small sales office of about 10 people. About a month ago, one of my coworkers approached me about doing a project for his graduate program at a local university. It was for some sort of anatomy textbook or similar: it would be a photo of my breasts with my face not in the photo for the textbook. I would be compensated for the photos.

There were some red flags in his proposition — the photos would be taken by him, in my home, and he never presented me with official paperwork about it. I called the university and they assured me that whatever “project” he was working on was not through their university, as there would have been extensive paperwork, screening, photos professionally taken, etc., which was what I had figured in the first place, particularly for such a large university and for a master’s program.  My question is this: Is this a matter that I should bring up to my boss? Is this something that she needs to know about?

Sincerely, A.


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear A,

First of all my deepest apologies that you had to deal with an incident like this. Especially at work. Yes, I believe that this is a matter you should bring to your boss’s attention. I say this for several reasons. First, from what you said, he approached you at work so it is a workplace issue. Now, sexual assault, abuse and harassment – the workplace should be an area of your life where you do not have to worry about any kind of sexual misconduct. You should be able to have a conversation with your boss concerning this individual. As he said it was for a “public” textbook, he should have no problem with it being discussed in public.

I would also like to commend you for trusting your intuition and doing due diligence; because of his scheme – saying it was for school when the school had no idea – he crossed lines and the fact that he wanted to do it at your home moved him into predator status. His behavior is not okay. I understand that you might not want to make waves at work but what he did is beyond inappropriate; it is borderline if not outright criminal. While you might not have fallen for it who knows how many others have or will. Tell your boss.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That’s more or less what I said.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear A,

It’s too bad you can’t set up a photo shoot that he shows up at to find an overweight, middle-aged gay man setting up to photograph his genitals for a “textbook.” You could later explain there was a big misunderstanding. As for going to the boss, I guess it depends on the degree of creepiness he’s emitting. Definitely keep an eye on this guy at the least. Chances are he’ll try it again with another attractive co-corker (or something just as weird.) If the situation arises again then go to the boss with both stories. If he’s obviously a degenerate that no one likes, go to the boss. Present dates, times, places, witnesses. Document everything. Get him on video and post it. Creepy people suck.

[Comment:by Peaceful: “Umm.. I don’t know. I’ll have to ponder on that one for a while.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear A,

This could’ve been his way of telling you that he likes you but didn’t have the guts to come right out and say it. I know that this is a bit of an extreme way to say it but, you know how people can get sometimes. It also could’ve also been a tip that he is just a bit of an odd duck that might need to go to sex anonymous. If this is something that he kept on harping you about repeatedly then yes, you should definitely bring it up to your boss. But if he just lets it go after one time of asking, what is the sense of ruining someone’s career, just because he might no have known how to tell you that he liked you? But, if you hear from another co-worker that he did something similar to them then, yes, you should definitely inform your boss about this. You could be working with someone that is a sexual predator or who knows, maybe worse.

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was unique because she realizes that some men don’t know how to relate to women very well.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear A,

I am so glad you called the University and asked if this was legitimate. Smart move.

If you ever question that something seems off or you feel in your gut that something is wrong it is always a good policy to check it out with a reliable source. I am not sure of your relationship with this coworker.  I would first go to the coworker and confront him with the seriousness of what he has done. I would tell him that you checked with the University and found out that what he wanted you to do was not sanctioned by them. I would let him know that this is considered sexual harassment and if you hear of any more of this nonsense from him that you will immediately report him to his boss. I am not sure of your relationship with him. If you feel uncomfortable in any way with him I would tell your boss and not wait.

Trust your gut. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear A,

I would tell your boss because he is liable to do it to someone else in the future. – Peaceful


Problem 2. “Do I Have To Tell The Daughter I Abandoned At Birth That I Trash-Talked Her Late Mom For Years?

When I was about 20, I got my girlfriend pregnant. She was 23 and wanted the baby whereas I was not ready to be a father, so she broke up with me and had the baby pretty much on her own. Her family helped her and she didn’t ask me for child support until I graduated college and had a steady job. Still, it was a burden on my entry-level salary and I resented both her and my daughter, so I wasn’t an involved father. To explain myself to my family and others who knew I had a daughter I hardly saw, I made up stories about how horrible and crazy my ex was and how it was all her fault…

My ex contacted me last year to let me know she had a terminal illness. As a new father to a year-old son, I saw I couldn’t let my 18-year-old daughter, “Lynn,” go through that alone, so I reconnected with her, made peace with my ex and have been trying to make amends.  Lynn naturally resents and distrusts me, but she is slowly becoming a part of my life. The problem is that my wife, my parents and my friends think the worst of her late mother…

Must I confess, or can I just make it up to Lynn by being the best dad I can now? The truth could really ruin our fragile relationship.

Signed “Bad Dad.”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Bad Dad,

First off if you do not tell the truth there is no way you can be the best dad you can be. There is no way you can avoid telling your daughter. She is going to find out and you need it to be from you or your relationship will be over. You need to step up to the plate; you have run from responsibility for 18 years. Do not continue. Your actions have been completely about you and here is a chance to change that.

You ex has done nothing to you; she got you off the hook when you didn’t want the job of a father. Apparently you were grown enough to conceive a child, but not enough to raise one. She was kind enough to wait until you were done with college for child support. That says so much about her character. To which you showed your character by resenting that your child had to eat and wear clothes; you showed her how much she meant to you by being an absentee father and to top it off, instead of just staying out of her life, you lied to your family about her mother. There is no way that Lynn will not hear one or more of your “stories,” about how horrible and crazy your ex, her mother was. What do you think will happen when she hears how you lied to save face?

She doesn’t need a friend, she needs a father who shows her what it means to admit mistakes or bad choices, just like anybody. It is infinitely harder and thus infinitely more important to do so when your actions have caused pain. You have absolutely nothing to gain from not telling her the truth, and everything to lose. So Bad Dad, show her what it means to be human – to fail, make mistakes and bad choices, and to own them to become better than we were in the past, because those are the lessons she needs from her father.

[Comment by Peaceful: “I don’t see it that way. because some people they haven’t reached a play where they judge you where you are now.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Bad Dad,

From one bad dad to another I think it’s best to cover it up for now. Tell all your family to not mention all the trash talk out of respect for the deceased. And for the sake of your daughter. Do everything within your power to be the best dad that you can be to this kid. You owe her mother and her at least that. If at some point in the future your daughter approaches you and wants to know, tell her the truth. You were young and you were and asshole and you’ve spent every moment since trying to make amends for your mistakes. From there it’s up to her. Good luck!

[Comment by Peaceful: “That was interesting. That means you’ve got to be careful. You don’t wanna mess up the relationship before your daughter has a chance to realize where you are right now.”]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Bad Dad,

Yes, you should clear your conscience. You don’t want any of your family thinking ill of someone that has passed on, especially when they did nothing. That guilt will eat you up, knowing that you were the one making up everything about your innocent ex-girlfriend. Just because you weren’t ready to accept the responsibilities of being a father doesn’t mean that you need to sully someone else’s name along with it. You needed to learn how to accept that you helped make that child and you weren’t ready to be a father. Also, your ex-girlfriend raised your child on her own and didn’t ask you for a dime until you graduated college and had a steady job. You shouldn’t have had resented either one – your ex or your daughter. You helped create the child. She didn’t ask to be created. Children don’t ask to be born.

You should tell your family the truth about you not being ready to be a father and that you panicked and didn’t want your family to think any less of you. Which in any case, blood is thicker than water. they would’ve understood and if they didn’t then they have issues of their own. If they really cared about you then they would’ve tried to help you with this crisis that was detrimental to you to begin with.

You also are making a good step towards making it up to your ex by trying to be there for “Lynn,” even though she is now 18. You should tell her the truth about the whole situation also. She is a part of you. The way I have always seen it is, “I would rather hurt your feelings with the truth, then lose you with a lie.” I am sure she will understand, and if she can’t forgive you than at least you will know that you have a clean conscience, and you will have repaired the damage that you had caused to your ex so she can rest easy now.

[Comment by Peaceful: “if you’re in too much of a hurry to clear your conscience, and your daughter can’t relate to you in the present, you’re screwed.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Bad Dad,

Sorry for your loss. It is never easy to go through situations like the one you are in.

Your daughter deserves to know you and it will be so helpful for her to reconnect with her father in a time like this. She needs you to be a real caring dad and to be involved in her life.  I would explain to your daughter why you could not stay in the relationship with her mother. I would only tell her positive things about her and if something comes up that gives reference to the negative…Be honest and explain it to her. She is 18 and is hopefully able to understand. She does not need to know about all your past trash talk of her mother. That would not help her or your relationship with her. You are now a more mature man.

No guilt, move on and just be honest and love your daughter in the present. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Bad Dad,

There are times in which we do not know what to do or say. Pray for guidance and follow it if we get an answer. It would help if you knew whether or not your daughter judged people as they are now or judged people from their past mistakes. – Peaceful

Problem 3. “Should I Tell My Friends I Think Their 5-Year-Old Son Is Going To Be A Rapist When He Grows Up?

My friends have a son, about 5 years old. They enforce little (if any) discipline on him, and he throws a hissy fit if they try to “make” him do anything. They tell him to pick up something he threw; he ignores them. Dad picks it up in a couple of minutes. They tell him to go to bed; he ignores them and keeps doing whatever he is into. My fear is that they are teaching him that he can get away with anything by ignoring the rules. Specifically, I am concerned that he will never learn that no means no, i.e., that they are raising a rapist. Should I say anything to them? If I do, it would only be once, and I wouldn’t harp on it. They are NOT people who would be okay with this outcome, and/but I don’t want to stomp on my relationship with them either.

Signed “Watching”


Killer Advice

Danny Fortune:

Dear Watching,

I believe that you are painting the boy in the worst way possible. I do not believe that there is a sure-fire way to tell what a five-year-old child will grow up to be. Yes, they are definitely spoiling their child and it will most likely be to his detriment; being spoiled is not a condition that is easy to carry through life. Life is a great equalizer as well, though, and it looks like this little boy will have some hard lessons about listening to others and especially with those in authority. At face it seems likely that he does not have much experience in having to obey anyone but his parents. His attitude will not be conducive to his success, but to be honest, I think that you are beyond your place in this situation. You are talking about a little boy and worrying that he will be a rapist.

Do you have children? Do they listen to everything you say, and do they obey at the same time and follow your all your rules and guidelines? Are you seeing the worst in them? No, you should not tell your friends that you are worried their son will grow up to be a rapist. A am fairly confidant that would be the end of your relationship; it would certainly “stomp” your relationship with them. However you should mention that you have noticed that their son seems to not listen. Ask them if you can help in anyway, i.e. books, therapists, a shoulder to lean on.

Parenting is beyond hard and and having someone criticize or offer advice on your parenting is a very touchy subject. I would advise you to say nothing because it is not your child or your house. But, if you feel the need to interject yourself into another’s familiar matter, avoid any and all mention of what you think their son will be. Ask about his willfulness and how it effects them, and if you can help. They need it.

[Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I agree with that.”]

Michael McQuade:

Dear Watching,

Stop watching! You’re reading way too far into this. The kid’s five for Christ’s sake. When I was eleven my mother had a friend and her daughter came to stay with us. I saw that child do shit that would make the Antichrist take notes. I thought for sure she would grow up to face charges of genocide or some other biblical atrocity. She’s married and she’s a doctor now. She’s doing great. Life is so unfair (Ha, Ha!) As for “Rapist?” that’s a stretch for a five year old. When’s the last time you say crying, screaming and tantrums used in rape? If he’s quiet, introverted, and torturing and killing small animals… then worry. I think that at worst they may be raising an asshole. But he’s their little asshole, not yours. It’s their prerogative. You probably have bigger things to worry about then your friends’ spoiled brat.

[Comment by Peaceful: I have experience with my grandson, who has a hard time dealing with adults, but I’m not concerned.]

Arline Lawless:

Dear Watching,

Your concerns are good ones. I can see why you might not want to stomp on your relationship with your friends. But, you also have to think about them and others first. Hard concept, isn’t it, putting others first? How would you feel if fifteen years down the road this exact fear you had about their five-year-old son becoming a rapist comes true? Would you want that guilt on your hands all because you didn’t want to stomp on your relationship with your friends? If they really are your friends and can see your point (that you are laying out to them in a logical and level headed way) then they shouldn’t have a reason to want to have to put a “stomp” in your friend-relationship. They should see that you are just a friend that is just concerned for their son’s future well-being.
[Comment by Peaceful: “That is really interesting.”]


Kate and Peaceful

Kate Miller:

Dear Watching,

It is frustrating to observe people we love doing things we do not understand or agree with. You have observed your friend’s son being disrespectful and non-compliant and you have seen your friends not responding to what you think to be a right response. Have you expressed to your friends how  the situation makes you feel ? I do not think that you should tell them that you worry about him being a rapist. Tell them that it makes you uncomfortable, worried or sad etc to see the disrespect. Parents ultimately have the responsibility for their child and unless they are abusive to the child, you really have no say.  If they ask for advise please give them suggestions that would be helpful.  Pray for them.  You could recommend books or articles on child rearing. Please do not tell them you worry the child will become a rapist. I have seen many a spoiled child in my life and they have turned out ok.

Abuse is more likely a cause of criminal behavior. – Kate

Peaceful:

Dear Watching,

There are many books on appropriate child raising. Many are available at the library. You could check one out and let your friends borrow it for a few days.That might help. – Peaceful


We’re really interested in what everyone thinks – about the variety of solutions, disparity of the sentences, or anything else.  This is just our first installment of what we hope to be many, and we’re always looking for problems to pose to the convicts (as well as Kate and Peaceful.)  Send any questions you’d like to be considered to otis.porkmeyer@gmail.com.  Irregardless, we’ll get back to you.

Be well!

Otis

[Killer Advice logos by Alyssa Joy Bartlett, 2019]

As an amateur writer and storyteller I often start my writings with a cute, humorous or even dramatic beginning in the hopes it might catch the readers attention. This is commonly referred to as a “hook”. As an inmate at the Maine Correctional Center (MCC) in Windham, I will skip the fucking hook and get right to the point. The point is: that, in this day and age, inmates at MCC are regularly and openly abused! That’s right, I said abused.

On any given day in which the waters pour down from the heavens in buckets, inmates often have to choose between meals, medication, recreation and a host of other things and a “good-old fashion” soaking.

You see, inmates at MCC are not allowed any protective rain gear (not even an altered trash bag). This fact is not likely known by the general public (who wouldn’t give a shit anyway), but it is certainly known by the State of Maine Department of Corrections (DOC). Also not well known is this: the vast majority of inmates (700 or so) have to move from building to building for chow, meds, dental, rec, visits and more. In the case of meds inmates often have to stand in line outside in the driving rain. To make matters worse, inmates are not allowed to run, but must walk. HELLO! IT’S 2010 FOLKS!

It is simply not acceptable that in this day and age that even “low-life” criminals can be abused this way; and though most inmates have less than 600-800 feet between buildings, they can be outside a dozen or more times a day.

All across our nation people are in places like this (prison) for abuse of others, children, adults and the elderly.

Here at MCC, abuse is State Sanctioned and has been for years. No one should have to choose between a meal or getting drenched with no way to dry one’s clothes. No one should have to choose between getting their meds and standing in a  god-damned line in the driving rain or fucking snow storm.

Let me end with this: if this fucking place were a nursing home and the patients were treated like the inmates here are, the place would be shut down by the State in a heart-beat and the operators would be sitting in prison for abuse! It is a good thing for the State that this place is just filled with “low-life” criminals.

– Bob-Wire

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“When people make the choice to attend an Inipi Ceremony, they must be willing to suffer and be prepared to give all of their strength, prayers, and songs to the Creator. It is the only way they can expect to receive a blessing and benefit from the experience. It is said by the Old Ones that the purer a man becomes, the closer to the Creator he is. This is one of the first rules taught to those who choose to walk the Red Road, and it is also the first basic tenet of the Inipi Ceremony. It is the starting point on the spiritual trail, a way of life for those who choose it… or if the spirit chooses you.”

– Erwin Bartlett, “Sweating in Perspective”

~

We’ve printed articles before on the sweat lodge ceremony, as practiced once a year by the Four Winds Native-American Spirituality Circle. I haven’t read any of them, myself. Of course, I’ve seen the picture taken by Sergeant Farin of the red-tail hawk which perched on the sweat lodge last year, and I’ve talked to practitioners who’ve participated in previous sweats; this years Inipi (the Lakota word for the ritual) was my first. As my release date is set to spring time next year, unless fortune dictates otherwise, this was also my last sweat here at M.C.C. Windham.

I know that many misconceptions surround the practice of the Inipi, or sweat lodge, as practiced here an elsewhere, some of which I, admittedly, carried with me previous to the October sweat. Hopefully, in this brief article, I can share some of my own education – a mental, physical and spiritual education – with you.

Traditionally, four members of Four Winds are chosen to assist in preparing the lodge structure, in the yard adjoining A-Pod’s rec. yard for the sweat ceremony. For this years sweat, the four were chosen on the basis of time remaining. Others would have the opportunity at future sweats, or had already had the honor in previous years. Falling into the former category, I had the honor of participating in this year’s preparation. We gathered together on the day prior to the sweat, passing through M.P.U to access the yard where the lodge skeleton rests.

“First, you identify the principle, and then you practice it. Gradually, you understand the principle, that is, you become one with it. When you become one with it, it responds to your will. If anything matters, everything matters.” – Rolling Thunder

Sweats are not unique to Native-American Spirituality. Sauna and sweat lodges are, and historically have been, practiced all over the world – Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, the Middle East, Africa, Ireland, as well as in the Americas. On a physical, more obvious level, sweating rids the body of wastes, but at a more powerful, rapid pace. In a culture of pollution and toxic consumption with not much exercise and far too much time indoors, a sweat bath unplugs deeply clogged pours and re-establishes the natural detoxifying flow of perspiration. The kidneys benefit enormously, with heavy metal excretion (removing from the body such toxic metals as copper, lead, zinc and mercury) happening in fifteen minutes as opposed to what would take a full twenty-four hours under normal conditions. Saunas are actually recommended now as a supplement to kidney dialysis. Also removed are excessive salts (a cause of mild hypotension) and urea (a metabolic bi-product which can cause a hung-over feeling) and lactic acid (causes stiff muscles and general fatigue). The sweat increases blood flow to the skin, opens clogged respiratory passages and promotes a general detox of our cells and vital organs; we are 75% water, right?

“Stone is to earth, as flesh is to bone.”

– Cree Adage

In previous sweats at M.C.C. Windham, the primary Lodge-Keeper has been “Buck”, a friend of Four Winds for many years. However, due to a recent death in his family, tradition dictated the Buck (also a pipe-carrier) put away his pipe for a year and remove himself from officiating at sweats for that period. In his place, acting as the primary Lodge-Keeper he brought a volunteer from the Maliseet Nation of New Brunswick, “Diamond” Nichols. Buck, a Passamaquoddy was still there to assist with the preparation of the lodge and with him came his apprentice, Newell, also Passamaquoddy. In addition we had the assistance of a fourth Native-American Spirituality volunteer, Michael Fralich, who practices in the Lakota tradition and runs his own lodge in New Glouster; Michael volunteers as a teacher at Four Winds once a month.

The naked lodge structure itself (built originally under Buck’s direction) is constructed of 16 wooden branches.

“What sort of branches are these,” I asked Buck. “Or, does it matter?”

“Everything matters.” Buck countered. “There are 16 poles. That’s eight species of wood, joined in pairs of eight, and joined at the peak as one.”

“In the sacred hoop we will multiply. You will notice that everything the Indian does is in a circle. Everything that they do is the power from the sacred hoop, but you see today that this house is not in a circle. It is a square. It is not the way we should live. The Great Spirit assigned us a certain religion and the power won’t work in anything but circles. Everything now is too square.”

– Black Elk

We covered the structure with blankets, then blue tarps. We left an opening in the tarp, facing to the east. Six or seven feet from the door way, at Diamond’s direction, we began building the fire pit, which he referred to as “the alter”. He explained that he’d brought the rocks we would use from a gravel pit – lava rock, as he preferred. (An untested rock, a river rock for example, could actually crack or explode in the intense heat). He called the stones “Grandfathers” and “Grandmothers”

“They have been in the Earth for so long.” He explained.

Diamond laid down the foundation for the alter with four stones, one for each direction but also for each of Maine’s four tribal nations: the Passamaquoddy, the Maliseet, the Penobscot, and the Micmac. Before laying the stones in place, he held each one up to the sky and prayed with each while facing a different direction, beginning in the East. After laying down the stones, we placed two logs of firewood, end to end, on the south and north side of the alter. In the space between we placed a generous amount of birch bark. Atop this we placed the rest of the lava stones, surrounding and covering those with, surrounding and covering these with more wood and kindling. A final prayer was said and preparation was complete.

Diamond described the lodge as a womb, the path between the alter and the lodge as the umbilical cord. Of course, the lodge is circular and its low door, while preventing heat from escaping, also necessitates crawling to get inside, a position of supplicant humility.

“Much like a fetus in the womb, participants can be equally vulnerable to negative influences during sweat.”

– Grizzly Bear Lake

Like the womb, the lodge is dark, warm, wet, secure and nurturing. Much like maintaining a healthy womb is necessary for a healthy fetus, such consideration is similar regarding what enters the lodge. Participants are encouraged to fast before participating, a pre-cleansing or detoxification if you will. Participants are likewise instructed to refrain from intoxicants, any form of sexual activity, to practice positive mindfulness, and to set aside negativity as a whole. Good intent is of extreme importance. Participants are encouraged to practice an honest self-examination and to voluntarily refrain from entering the lodge if they don’t feel ready – emotionally, spiritually, or physically. If all were 100% pure, we wouldn’t need purification, but an attempt is made to keep out the major, more obvious negativities, which can and will infect the very mood of the ritual. The lodge keeper has the traditional right to deny anyone entrance to the sweat, without explanation.

“The place where crying begins…”

– From an Arapaho Ghost-Dance song about the Inipi

On the morning of the sweat, we all passed through M.P.U. and back into the yard where the lodge stood. Quite a crowd had already assembled there on this overcast, cool morning, and it took me a moment to recognize Diamond as he spoke with petitioners, one at a time. Many of the participants had brought medicine tools with them (prayer feathers, medicine bags, blankets) for Diamond to bless. Extra wood had been brought earlier by Michael Fralich; a fire was blazing.

After stripping down to our shorts we spoke with someone on-site from medical upon our arrival and signed consent forms. Some of us were dissuaded from actually entering the lodge itself due to medical conditions, usually involving the heart. However, as it was explained to us, entering the actual lodge was not necessary to consider oneself a participant; the ritual was the event itself. Long before entering the lodge, I could feel it – the good energy abounding. Standing near the fire were close friends who I hadn’t even known a year ago. Now they were brothers, and you could feel the brotherhood.

It’s little wonder that many arms of the men’s movement have turned to Native-American practices as an example. As men, there comes a point in our lives where we are expected to become emotionally isolated. We become wage-earners and soldiers and leaders or followers and our isolation on any other than a cursory level deepens and deepens. Men don’t share. Men are drones, worker bees, and if we fail at this culturally ingrained mission we drink or drug or self-annihilate. There’s a healing energy in the spiritual practices here at M.C.C. where men come together in fellowship. What a shame that when we leave here, so many of us have to leave the fellowship behind as well. Perhaps it’s sadder that we had to come here to find it in the first place. So many of us leave here and return to manly isolation, and it’s no wonder that so many of us return. When you aren’t a part of a fellowship, I suppose it’s safer to laugh at it.

“The internalization of a different cognitive system always began by drawing the initiate’s total attention to the realization that we are all beings on our way to dying.”

– Carlos Casteneda

Diamond explained what would happen in the actual sweat. He told us that there would be four rounds, each lasting fifteen minutes and each with a separate purpose. He urged us to listen to our bodies and to leave if we needed to. For each round five rocks would be used: one for each direction and a fifth for ourselves. The rocks and the steam, he said, would carry our prayers. Turning, pausing to face each direction, he entered the lodge. We all followed, until the lodge was packed to capacity. Behind us came the first five rocks, carried through the entrance from the outside via pitchfork.

During the first round, we were told to offer prayers for anyone, anything. We went around the circle, as Diamond splashed water on the sweat-hot rocks, each splash eliciting another wild hiss, and increasing the cloud of steam in the lodge. One after another, from left to right (east to west) we voiced our prayers. We prayed for each other, for families, for guards and for the dead. It was beautiful and powerful and book-ended by Diamond chanting in the native tongue, to connect, he explained, with his ancestors.

The lodge was uncomfortably cramped, but after the first round, no one left for a break. More rocks came in and deer antlers were used to arrange them. During this round, we prayed for womankind. Women gave birth to us, were our nurturers, our daughters, our sister, our girlfriends or wives, often times our victims. Unlike the first round, we prayed silently this time. Like the first round it was powerful, but hotter and deeper. I heard more than one man weeping softly, missing someone, mourning something. This round was personally touching to me because of the powerful women in my own life: my oldest daughter who has always guarded my coffin, my adopted mother who always loved me as her own, my biological mother, who died before I could reach her.

Following that round, a few of the participants exited, some returned, some decided to practice outside. During this round, we were told to pray for victims of abuse and for victims; we’ve all played both roles at times in our lives, haven’t we? At this point Newell produced a drum and a flute was brought in for one of us. This round, with five new stones, with more hissing, splashing steam was the hottest yet. At times I wondered how I could breathe such a thick, wet air, but I stayed and prayed. Again, I could hear tears and pain leaving bodies as easily as the perspiration. It was a purge, cleansing and purifying.

The final round left us with fewer participants within, some choosing to finish the ritual outside. This time we prayed for our own forgiveness, for self-forgiveness, and celebrated ourselves with chanting and song. We sang through the intense heat and the darkness, enveloped by a hot cloud we were unable to see.

It was beautiful. Cherry plush.

“An unborn baby doesn’t leave the womb when it gets too hot. Neither do I.”

– Diamond Nichols

When Diamond ended the sweat, he remained inside to pray, to finish the ritual. A handful of us remained with him. “When you leave here,” he said, “Hug your brothers.” Having remained in the lodge for the duration of the sweat, final exiting did indeed feel like rebirth. We’d sweated or cried or sang or prayed out of ourselves what felt like a heavy amount of excess baggage. The cool of the outdoors no longer felt biting, but refreshing. I was greeted with hugs around the fire and circulated to shake hands, trade words or blessings with everyone there, for this truly had been an experience on two levels – individual and group. Not only did I feel cleansed as an individual, but I sensed that the group itself, which (like all groups) had had some recent internal problems, had likewise been cleansed.

“We either enter heaven arm in arm, or not at all.”

– Mother Theresa

Some of us dressed immediately, others waited, enjoying the air, the natural euphoria, while food was served. We each received pieces of cedar from the floor of the lodge, to add to medicine bags or to press between pages of a book.

When I asked one of my fellow participants what he thought, he aptly replied, “Now isn’t the time for thinking.” Similarly, it’s difficult to find words to adequately describe the beauty of this experience. A prison experience, no less. Who’d a thunk it? Quite a few interesting moments happened for individuals during the sweat. Even if I chose to relate them (which I wouldn’t) the words would doubtlessly fail there, as well.

In closing, I would encourage you, dear reader, to find a spiritual path of your own, if not the one I’ve tried to describe, one of your own choosing. Mother Theresa once said that the greatest plague facing the world today was loneliness. Spiritual fellowship, especially in a ritual as intense as the sweat, is most definitely a cure.

“The day will come when the children of the white man will begin to dress like Indians, when they will begin to wear long hair, beads and headbands. That will be the generation from which would come the first true non-Indian friends.”

– Hopi prophecy

Aho.

I think it was Chesterton who said he “never met a comma he could trust.” I say: “If you can’t write a comprehensive tome, peace-meal the shit out of it.” I have decided that because I can’t come up with a one-theme bitch. I would just write random thoughts about life here at MCC in general and things that irk, annoy and piss me off in particular. Like life itself, there is no particular Rhyme or Reason to the ordering or level of annoyance here in express; just random pissing & moaning.

1) The old bastard who lives in my room and feels the need to chew fucking hard candy at six in the morning! Really? He has to chew hard candy at six? Personally I would like to strangle him to death, but that could be perceived as a threat from me should it be found out that my name is not really Bob Wire! So, the best I can hope for is that he dies, yes dies! Preferably by choking to death! Which brings me to my next Bitch.

2) This is a bigger bitch than my first bitch and the bitch is this: that this facility has classes to help inmates relearn how to live outside the prison in the real world. Help inmates to live in the real world? Is anyone seeing what I see? The system would not have to teach inmates how to live on the outside, if they did not (by cruel intention) strip inmates of any sense of normalcy of outside life. Ok?! People have to be locked up (really?)! Why the fuck can’t the prison system work as society works but just separate from the outside? The fact is MCC uses Techniques & Designs that intentionally strip inmates of every sense of normal life, only to train them over so they won’t fail when they are released. They will fail or have often failed because the system really, really, really trains them to Fail.

3) The last bitch is really a philosophical query. The query is what is the goal or mission statement of a correction center? What does corrections mean? What is to be corrected? Behavior? Help inmates learn to do things different? Teach them not to get caught again? The reader of this last bitch may be thinking Bob Wire ( me) has lost his nut, it is simple really. Help people change!!! On the surface, the helping inmates change makes sense, but not at MCC… see, at MCC there are plenty of programs IOP, CRA, AA/NA, thinking for a change. The problem is that only 20% of the inmates or so are chosen for programs, and by inference chosen to succeed. Stay with me here… there are mass numbers of people who come & go without ever touching a program.

Does that mean that the DOC & MCC don’t want to “correct” some inmates? Why do some persons here on sex offences get the “nationally renowned treatment program,” but not others? Does MCC want to correct some & not others? Why doesn’t every inmate here on drug charges get drug correction? Why doesn’t the arsonist get a fire correction program? Let me tell you why!! The reason is this:

The DOC & MCC do not give a shit about correcting inmates, for to do so would help reduce the population, it would further reduce Federal Funding on & on and on. The only reason MCC has programs is to give someone a job, get state & federal funding, & provide the public with the “illusion” that they give two shits about the inmates.

Bob Wire
MDOC# not provided

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Being that I seem always to be on the market for a future ex-Mrs. Wire, I thought I would share with the world hte contents of a letter. This letter would be the letter I would love to send to the Mrs., show she could fuckin’ understand that I have nothing to worry about because “I have a place to live and three meals a day”! Hello!

Dear Barb –

I must admit I was a bit taken back by that six-page scream fest you called a letter.  I am so fucking sorry that I did not understand the extent of the misery that is your life in the free world.

Upon considerable reflection I was out-of-fucking place to suggest that you have a lot of positive things happening in your life!  I should have known that your high-paying job could not be close to as rewarding as a job here, for sixty cents an hour.  What was I ever thinking when I suggested you had a pretty good car?  You are right; walking in the driving rain or snow without weather gear has to be better than driving.  Stupid me!  Again, I had no fucking clue our nice little apartment is so bad now. Dorm living with smelly old men has to be so much better.

You know, it must be awful to have all that money to blow on drugs, booze & smokes, whenever you want.  I never should have complained about the meds I get even though they don’t come close to touching my pain. It has to be a struggle for you to be able to order out food night after night.  You are right; I should be happy to pay up to 16hrs of my pay to get a decent meal from Commissary.

Well, Babe, I should end it here so I can lock my self down so some ass can count me.  It must be difficult for you to self-impose when you come & go!

– Love, Bob (the Husband you no longer want anything to do with)

– Bob Wire

Maine Correctional Center for men in Windham

Dear viewers,

None of the contributors to this blog write us for the purpose of ending up on the blog.  Although in the beginning (and next year the Political Prisoners Blog will be ten years old) we solicited and posted, anonymously, things written specifically for the blog, that isn’t necessarily so for all of our current inmate contributors.

Having had relationships with the current roster for over at least three years minimum, most of the entries that you’ll view these days are excerpts taken from personal correspondence between the inmates and the members of the project.  We let everyone know, early on, that excerpts of their letters to us may be used in the blog; far more remains un-posted.  Convicts in Maine, of course, have no way of viewing the blog, or of seeing responses posted to their entries, unless we forward them on.

Recently, Arline Lawless whose content has been featured in blog since January of 2016 was written up for posting to “social media,” referring to a Maine Department of Corrections ban on the same.  She was initially looking at a loss of earned good time, although presently she faces eight days of room restriction.

Unfortunately, until this issue is resolved you’ll be seeing no more contributions from Arline Lawless.

Sincerely,

The Holistic Recovery Project.

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Write to Arline via:

M.C.C. – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

As spring rapidly approaches, I once again find myself in the mood for a good spring-cleaning.  However, inasmuch as I am a guest a the “Little Hilton on the Hill” (M.C.C.) and have little to clean of my own, I have decided to do spring cleaning for others.  Yep, ol’ Bob Wire has decided to clean the skeletons out of the closet of M.C.C.  Further, in the tradition of the great gossip columnists I will clean out the closet in the form of “Ask Bob Wire” (I am, after all, a man-in-the-know, here at the Hilton.)

Disclaimer:  I cannot say with 1000% certainty that what follows is actually true, but this I can say:  a rumor is not a rumor that will not die!

Dear Bob Wire:  Is it true that a female C.O. here at M.C.C. made a sex video for the Internet off her getting the shit fucked out of her by a dog? Sincerely, Inmate X

Dear Inmate X:  That rumor is patently FALSE… it was vaginal sex.

Dear Bob W:  I was told that there was an inmate in here who actually once saw a female C.O. do a strip act at Pure Platinum in Portland.  Is there any truth to that rumor?  Thanks, Inmate Y.

Dear Y: That rumor is false!  All one has to do is look at the C.O. in question to know that can’t be true, for the C.O. is less than 300lbs and has her teeth.  What kind of strip act would that be?  Duh!

Dear Bob Wire:  Is there any truth to the rumor that in 2007 a staff member here was caught with child porn on their computer?  Thanks, Inmate Geek.

Dear Geek:  It is true!  But, in the defense of the individual involved the pictures were rumored not to be for him, but for a calendar in a couple of dorms here at M.C.C.  Good question.  Keep sending them.

Dear BW:  Is it true that from time to time that C.O.’s   h  ave been inclined to bang female inmates at M.C.C.?  Thanks again, Bob Enzyte.

Dear Chubby:  That is a very good question indeed.  Yes!  In 2007, a couple of C.O.s were fired for having sex with female inmates.  It is a fetish sweeping the nation.  It’s called captive sex!

Dear Bob:  Is it true that one time a member of the medical staff was fired for possession of cocaine and other narcotics while on duty?  Thank you, Ted Blow

Dear TB: Yes!  2007 was a very good year for C.O.’s thinking they are “all that” and above everybody else.  Ooooops!!

Dear BW:  Who is watching the watchers here at M.C.C.?  John

Dear John:  Beats the shit out of me!  I guess there are things that even the gods cannot understand!

Well, that is it for this months “Ask Bob Wire.”  Keep the questions coming, because if ol’ Bob here can’t find out (or make up) the good answers, nobody can!

Readers of my blogging often write me and say (actually, they write these things, not say them, just for the record) things like: “Bob Wire you’re a pretty negative dude.”  Yet others write “Who stuck a stick up your ass to get you so pissed off at M.C.C.?”  Still others write:  “Bob, I could so do you in the ass right now!”  Okay, okay, the last one I made up, but it is lonely here!  However the point is this: people think I am a negative kind of guy!!

HELLO!!!  ME??? NEGATIVE???

Okay, I can be a bit negative, but I also have a positive side.  To show the world the wonderfully positive Bob Wire, I will expose Super Positive Bob to the blogging world.  I am going to make Norman Vincent Peale look like a prophet of doom.  To expose my positive outlook in the blogging world I thought I might offer MCC suggestions for the better operation of the facility.  Pissing and moaning aside, Here I Go!

To the medical department:  read the labels on the inmate’s prescription cards.  I think you will find that they do not prescribe taking the medication at 7:30 am, 10:30 am and 10 pm.  see the problem here?  Three fucking hours between the first and second taking and 12 HOURS TIL THE THIRD… Hello!  Is it that hard to give the inmates their meds on a schedule that has the semblance of sanity attached to it?

To the administration:  in an attempt to save money, I suggest the following:  get rid of the C.O.(s) at Sally Port; leave the gates wide open.  What are you afraid of anyway?  That an inmate might escape from one fenced-in area with razor wire to another fenced-in area with razor wire?  The money saved on not having one C.O. could provide bologna sandwiches one day a week at chow…

To the Chow Hall:  Keep you know who (J.R. – dorm 5) last in line at chow.  No one likes his nose dripping all over everything including the food in the salad bar, the tables, the food line… nasty… you guys know his nose drips everywhere; do something about it… fucking nasty.

To the guys that plow snow:  try to put the fucking snow plow down on the ground when plowing.  It is fucking bad enough that we have to walk everywhere improperly dressed for the weather; we should not have to use our sneakers to pack the fucking snow down…

To those in charge of the living quarters:  Stand up to the punks, for God’s sake.  Who is running this shit hole anyway?

Well, that was fun.  I got to be Mr. Positive and if the powers to be are like me (and I would like to think they are), they will take these suggestions to heart and we can all live happier, healthier lives together.

Bob Wire

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

Only your vigilance on the outside can guarrentee that justice goes on on the inside.

If you'd like to contact one of our inmate bloggers, send us an email.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support.

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