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It’s Friday & hot with plenty of humidity to go around too. I’ve got some mental issues going on at the moment, that idiot Dr. Shubert called me down yesterday to tell me that he was shutting off my meds. My six – tramadol a day pain – pills I’d been on for awhile. He suggested that I under go a series of three – shots, 1 a week for 3 – weeks, as a nerve – blocker for knee – pain in my right knee. He’ll probably do something to seriously fuck me up. Paralyzed for life or something else… Anyway it’s supposed to kill my pain, and those synthetic tramadols – crushed are ruining my esophagus, so I told him I’d do it. I’ll let you know how it turns out. If I’m able to still write…

Sitting here I have to towel off my forearms every 3 or 4 – minutes to keep this page from really getting soaked. I can’t believe how nasty it is in here today. 103 degrees out on the fire – escape & humid as hell.

Yesterday the fat bitch in charge made me a level – 3. Instantly I was forced to do another job, just for that one day though. I’m in charge of folding all of the laundry, about 12 – loads a days, supposedly ironing all of the striped shirts & blue pants, I’m now the C.L.  Journalism assistant, & then I have a bunch of little things to do every morning too. It’s annoying as hell, and everything keeps changing, so as soon as it starts to make sense, it doesn’t anymore. It’s very hard for me to get anything of my own done, unless I do them at night, when I really need to be sleeping.

They’ve moved me into a room with a real piece of shit crackhead. A bag of java used to last me a week, now I open a bag + 2 – days later it’s empty. He never ask for, buys, or borrows any, but always has some in his locker. While I went downstairs to the commissary today about a third of a bag disappeared. If he’d have asked I would have let him have some. So being in this unit I had to tell the guard that he needs to move to another hole. He’s in serious danger in this one, they’ll move him. These cells are the same as the security building, but 2 – inmates to a cell. We’re locked in from 10:00 pm. To 5:30 am. 5 – days a week, weekends are 11:30, holidays 1:30, too tired to ever even care though.

I guess they’ve been working on the security building longer than I’d thought. Today I mentioned it & was told it’s all done already. We saw a huge air conditioning unit go in on a tractor trailer this am. 2 – days ago the temp on the floor in a – pod was 105 degrees + the hobo’s were screaming bloody murder. So they got a new unit. I guess last month the women center got one, expensive, they’re really huge.

I keep seeing my friend Vinny, Fred Huntley, Matt Moscillo, and they holler to me across the courtyard or whatever, but all I can do is wave. Can’t say a word to them. These ass holes are really getting testy about that too. Shit – bags. Maybe if I get motivated enough I’ll write Fred and let you relay it if you’re willing to. The one letter I sent him said a lot but there are some other things I really wanted to mention. Like his health, which he’d told me was getting worse. He’d said that he didn’t think he would make it back to the streets alive. Says he has no will power. I know he does.

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A gentle plop as a fish surfaces to take a mosquito from the air nearby, tells me I have reached my destination, I have been coming to this place, this bridge, over a small river almost forgotten by people, since I was a child, some friends and I learned to swim here. Mastering our diving as we grew older, and all of us had a lot of fun doing it. Here later on we learned about fishing, by trial and error on our own part, also by picking the brains of any locals that occasions by. We learned all of the required fisherman’s knots, the different hooks for certain fish, and the never – do’s of fishing. It seemed each older fellow that came along had one to add to our arsenal of secrets.

At some point in our early teens the topics changed from fish, bikes, and skateboards, to girls, cars, and beer. The bridge became our meeting place. A place to talk out our problems, learn from each other, get over whatever stumbling block one of us was impaled upon. Important decisions were made there. Grievances were voiced and settled there, and alone, sitting on the guardrail, staring out at the powerful river, with a beer in one hand and a fishing pole in the other, I single- handedly thought out and solved every problem that has ever plagued man-kind. Well, I may have missed a few. But I was always proud of my decisions made on that cold and lonely concrete seat.

Once my friends and I were setting comfortable in our lives, with our wives and then children coming into the picture, we returned to the bridge. We hung out together and kept up on our families, events at work, and fish always seemed to wiggle it’s way into our conversations. We taught the boys all how to fish, and only one of the girls were interested. She did well. A real quick learner. The kids all learned to swim there as well. Having fun diving from the rocks along the shore.

Later on they practiced from the bridge itself, and swam back and forth across the lazy river. They learned all that we could teach them at the bridge. Always with eagerness.

When our children reached their teens,  my friends and I allowed them their childhood. The adults willingly being banished from the bridge except on Sundays. Those were family days. That was good enough for us. Each having careers and our adult lives to tend to, and so cheerfully gave up the bridge to the next generation. We had started something.

We continued the Sunday tradition in warm and decent weather for a number of years. Our children continuing on with their children. The knowledge gained, the inner peace and clarity of mind. Has been useful beyond imagination for our many families. The power one feels while sitting there, several feet above the enormous black snake that is wreathing past. It may well be that it’s vast wisdom rubs off on a person…

Since passing the bridge on to the kids nearly thirty years ago, I have come here quite a few times on my own, sans fishing pole, usually with beer, to think, my best friends son was killed by a drunk driver. Then I came here to think. It was then that I sobered to the reality, that no matter how hard one tries to protect their children, their families, shit happens. Bad things sometimes, happen to good people, and there’s just not a damn thing anyone can do about it. A harsh fact to come to terms with. It’s just another piece of our all encompassing reality.

My son called me one night about four years ago. He said he had to talk to me at the bridge. Immediately. So we met. He told me his wife been to the dr’s a week ago for a physical and some tests. The Dr. called her to the office today for the results. It was Cancer, we sat, and talked, and cried, and talked some more. The Dr. gave her a year to live. Pancreatic Cancer. She had lasted just ten months. After the funeral I went to the bridge. It was a warm and breezy afternoon, I thought of her, and then I thought of how so many of my close friends and family had passed on over the last few years. After funerals I like to go to the bridge. Say my good-byes, as if those who have just passed are taking their last ride on river that was ingrained within them. It is how I say good-bye. It adds a sense of closure, finality to it.

Nine months ago my own wife passes on. Again I went to the bridge. More questions to ask the mighty river. And the more answers I left with in my head. The bridge has become a symbol in my life. Of people coming, and going, and so many  changes in life, and when all hope seems lost, it is the place to find the answers. There is always some kind of answer…

Today I’ve come here on foot. It is a beautiful spring day. I’ve brought a small cooler of beer, my rod and tackle, and a notebook with a pen. I have many questions. A whole page of them. I ask the river my questions one at a time. I sip beer and wait for the answers to come. As they do, I put them in my book after the appropriate question. These are all things that I have wondered for quite some time. Only one question left. A theoretical one. Maybe, if all those I loved, and died have become part of the river, will I ever see them again? Because their being gone has left such an aching void in me, that I’d do anything to end that pain. Time passes as I drift in a daze. The suns warmth engulfs me. The answer comes as if a calling from beyond. Yes, I too then, must become part of the river. The sun eases my aches. I slip into the water.

I am the storm that angered the calm ocean,
tossed your feelings overboard with negative emotion.
I am the dark cloud that blotted out the skies,
and caused those salty tears to fall from your eyes.
I held your too close, so you couldn’t see for yourself.
Your needs were put aside and hidden on a shelf.
The games and manipulation – I must let go,
to give us all the sunlight of freedom in which to grow.
Far beyond the shadow of my past deeds,
to give ourselves some distance and the room to breath.
My love for all of you is deep enough to let it be,
to allow the dust to settle, so that we can see.
Although the pain is like razor wire around my heart,
I must break those ties to make a new start.
And if you ever want our paths to cross again,
it will finally be only your decision,
my friend…

I love you all.
Joe-Jo

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 as 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
MDOC# not provided

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
MDOC# 04666

This is Nick McGrane again. Remember – I’m the guy with Pericarditis. Well, I had a big problem – heart trouble, pain, because of my pericardium being inflamed? They were supposed to do a follow up – an echo MRI & a consult with a cardivascular doctor (a heart specialist?). Well, I’m going on 6 weeks now – nothing.

– Nick McGrane
MDOC# 67033

When I was in Apod back in June, my cell mate was this old man named Tardiff. He had just had back surgery & was all messed up. He was with me in the cell & after a day he just stopped talking. He was in so much pain he couldn’t move. I called the COs in & they called a code blue & dragged him out of there like a dead deer on a sheet! He was back a day later! He was all gnarled up & wasn’t making no noise! When he fell off his bed, they just put his mattress on the floor, said he’d be more comfortable there! He wouldn’t talk & I was bringing food to him. Finally they took him away again. He just showed up again in the dorms so you can interview him. He says he don’t remember nothing, though…

– Archie Maloon
MDOC# 50919

My tagname is H. Life used to be kind. Never had any trouble with the law, never really had trouble with anyone. Then, six years ago, I fell through a plate glass window & my left arm was near to being completely severed. Luckily, it was able to be repaired, but the nerve damage left me in constant pain. To cope with this (at age 16) I was put on oxycottin and morphine.

I first realized that I was addicted when my physician, afraid that I could become addicted took me off of everything. By three days time the pain & the withdrawal symptoms were so overwhelming that he was forced to put me back on the medications. Of course, over time, with opiates, you need more & more & more & when they won’t prescribe you enough, you cross that line between “use” & “abuse.” (Although if they prescribe it, I guess it’s still “use”.) The next thing you know, you’re a criminal.

I’m in a prison doing 4 years for a burglary (to support my habit) followed by subsequent probation violations. Despite my condition (in addition to addiction & chronic pain, I also suffer from mental illness) I was not offered any alternative to sentencing, no rehab, no hospitalization. Am I done using/abusing substances? Not unless “they” come up with a cure for cravings, and an alternate to pain management. I wish that I could be a surgeon, and heal others. But that’s not happening now.

– Nicholas “H” Hamilton
MDOC# 66835

My name is Nikolas Mcgrane, MDOC# 67033

I suffer from pericarditis. Everyone has a pericardium, the tissue surrounding the heart. Mine, for unknown reason, gets inflamed, squeezing my heart. On 7/5 I started experiencing chest pains, but I decided to wait & see if they’d pass. By 7/8 it was so bad, I did ask for help. I was given prednisone, to bring down the swelling & something for pain. That night the pain was back & I was afraid I was gonna die. (My Fiance Courtney is pregnant with our 2nd child due to be born in October). A bunch of C/Os came to my room, but they refused to bring me to the hospital. Instead, I was up all night waiting for my heart to stop until 830 the next day when medical finally came.

If I die, now you know why.

Thank.

Nick McGrane, MDOC# 67033
MCC, Windham

Sitting, transforming
I need soft-touch poetry
gold, hot-coal, pure soul
– Kristophe Van Goth

I need to get laid
I dream of the pink taco
Damn these prison gates!
– Alex Gerald

Horrid, evil bitch!
Purposeful pain, pain, pain, pain
Praise the J, I’m free
– Robin Santos

I sit in this cell
thinking about the Taco
I need to get out
– Alex Gerald

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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.

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