03 Mar 07

Thoughts of Freedom

Time seems to be passing faster the longer I’ve been inside. There is less than a year to go until I’m released. And then I go back to England, the country I left sixteen years ago. How England must have changed. Although I want to get out of prison, the prospect of being in such a different environment worries me sometimes.

At least I’ll soon be spending time with my family and friends. How interesting it will be to see how the faces of the people from my hometown of Widnes have changed over the years. Will the girls I grew up with and had crushes on still seem so beautiful and intimidating? Will the school bullies still be acting tough? Will I run into any of my old girlfriends? And sex. Sex. It’s been so long. I must have masturbated thousands of times.

There’s so much to look forward to, so I'll try not to stress too much over my return to England.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
27 Feb 07

The Royo Romance (Part 6)

Click here for Part 5.

Some of what I wrote to Royo Girl after today’s visit:

Four Royo Girl visits in a row. How lucky am I? Your visit made me so happy. What more can I say about how beautiful you look without sounding trite? The different makeup you wear presents different images of you. Your eyeshadow emphasised your eyes, which had me mesmerized as usual.

Although we have sworn to be noncommittal, I still intend to make the most of your company while it lasts. After seeing you, I get to savour thoughts of you. Your eyes. Your face. Your intellect.

Thank you for making this weekend so special.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

24 Feb 07

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon answers readers questions
21 Feb 07

The Royo Romance (5)

Click here for Part 4.

Royo Girl visited today. I wrote:

I just awoke from a nap. After seeing you, I got back to my cell and tried to read but the words weren’t registering because my mind kept reverting to your visit. I was overwhelmed by a strange and happy urge to sleep. So I locked the door, buried myself under a blanket, hugged a pillow (the closest available substitute to you), and entered a relaxed kind of sleep - similar to how a Xanax pill makes you feel when it hits you just before it puts you to sleep. Thinking of you I was calm and shielded from the tension of prison. I slipped into the happiest of naps. The last thing on my mind was the visit.
I’m still half asleep writing this, but I wanted to get it down to accurately capture my emotions.
Thanks for another lovely visit. You looked as striking as ever.


Oddly enough, a few days later, I read about a similar sleep experience in Psychological Types by Carl Jung:

…Hermas, on his way to Cumae, was thinking of his mistress; while thus engaged, the repressed erotic fantasy gradually pulled his libido down into the unconscious. Sleep overcame him as a result of this lowering of the intensity of consciousness, and he fell into a somnambulant or ecstatic state, which itself was nothing but a particularly intense fantasy that completely captivated his conscious mind.

Jon answers readers’ questions

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

12 Feb 07

Little Chickadees

“One spring mornin’ in Tucson,” Two Tonys said, “me and Charlie Batts Battaglia have some business to take care of in the desert. After we do what we hafta do, take care of business, we set off back to Tucson at about 7:45am. I’m ridin’ shotgun in the Batts’ white Caddy Eldorado. The sunroof’s down. I’m enjoyin’ the smell of creosote in the air 'cause it had been rainin’. The sun’s comin’ up through the mesquite trees and the paloverdes. The paloverdes are turnin’ a little yellow. They’re in the bloomin’ stage. We’re cruisin’ along the roly-poly roads in the Catalina Foothills. The radio’s playin’: get up America…we love you…and all that shit. Earth Wind & Fire’s Fantasy comes on. All at once we rise up a steep hill and hit a dip, and we see a hen quail goin’ across the road with little chicklets behind her. All of 'em in a straight line.
The Batts has gotta big Anthony and Cleopatra cigar in his face. He sees the quail family, slams on the fuckin’ brakes, and my head almost goes through the windshield, 'cause I ain’t wearin’ no seat belt. I thought somebody had shot the Batts. I’m scared. I’m wonderin’ whatthafucks goin’ on here? The Caddy is spinnin’ on the gravel but somehow he regains control and we head for breakfast.
At Sambo’s on Miracle Mile, over bacon and eggs, I say to the Batts, ‘You know you almost killed us back there for a fuckin’ bird.’ I’m lookin’ in the eyes of a stone-cold killer, a guy who whacked guys left and right throughout his career but was never nailed for any of 'em. Guys like Lewis Sirotta and Joe Hootner. He was investigated for whackin’ motherfuckers from coast to coast. He knew how to kill and get away with it.
The Batts looks at me and says, ‘Hey. Lemme tellyasomethin’: it wouldna bin da right thing to do. Somewhere out in da desert tonight’ – a smile came across his face – ‘a mother quail and her little chickadees are gonna be altogether at suppertime and I’m not gonna be responsible for breakin’ up their little family an’ squashin’ 'em on the highway.’
I’m saltin’ my cantaloupe, and I get the impression that the Batts is puttin’ me on. But there’s somethin’ in his eyes that tells me he’s serious. This leads me to believe he justified doin’ things he had to do as just somethin’ he had to do. Although I hadn’t seen it too much of it, it was clear that the Batts had a heart.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
08 Feb 07

Psychotherapy With Dr O’Malley (9)

I presented Dr. O my homework: some of my favourite quotes and my interpretation of them in the context of my character development and aspirations.

There is no wealth but life John Ruskin

Previously I believed there is no wealth but wealth, and greed is good. Ruskin’s quote demonstrates how shallow my materialism was.

A man can surely do what he wills to do Arthur Schopenhauer

To succeed, I need the willpower. To think, to will, to implement my plans are the necessary steps.

Make haste slowly Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

I need to take breaks, restore energy, and relax so I don't get mentally unbalanced.

Miss-spending a man’s time is a kind of self-homicide George Saville

Realizing how little I know and how much there is to learn, I must continue to spend time learning.

He who hates vice hates mankind Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus

I am learning to live with my vices, and I am determined not to become their slave.

We cannot learn without pain Aristotle

There are no shortcuts in life without consequences that are often painful. I try to learn from painful situations. The discomfort of exertion now is the price of happiness later.

We will either find a way or make one Hannibal

My goals will remain unrealised without action.

Knowledge alone effects emancipation Shankara

Learning deconditions - it liberates.

Rule your desires lest your desires rule you Publilus Syrus

If I had heeded Publilius Syrus, I wouldn’t be in prison. This quote is important for my future health and happiness.

“An excellent array of quotes,” Dr. O said.
“I had fun doing it,” I said.
“Ruskin is talking about being dedicated to having a healthy life. Last time we met we discussed how being dedicated to help others is a good way to channel energy versus channelling energy into destructive egocentric goals. The third quote implies making rapid movement slowly. Take breaks. When driving down the road take time to avoid wrong turns. You’ve done a good interpretation of Saville’s quote. You show a dedication to effort. The quest for knowledge is good, but don’t forget experience and work have roles to play as well. Again, with Hannibal you show dedication to a way. It’s for you to decide whether it’s a way to Beverley Hills glitz or a way to understanding yourself and your life. Some say ascetics acquire wealth of character. Others, such as the Kashmiri yoga traditions around 700 AD say you do not have to become ascetic to achieve enlightenment. You can be a householder with a job, family, responsibilities, and still be dedicated and achieve enlightenment. Folks do it in different ways. There is no one spiritual path.
Now I’ve got something to tell you: I’m being moved to Rincon Unit, so this will be our last session.”
“Oh no! I thought this was too good to be true. We’re making great progress and now I'll have to start all over again with someone else.”
“Yes. Dr. T will be taking over. She’s a little older than I am, and she’s had plenty of experience.”
“This is the third time this has happened. I feel like I’m building a house and it keeps getting knocked down.”
“But you’re learning to build a stronger house. You’re becoming more skilled with plaster, nails, and floorboards.”
“That’s not the point. Now I’ve got to build rapport all over again. You’ve influenced my life more than any other staff.”
“How so?”
“You’ve enabled me to build a cognitive structure to deal with my anxieties. I laugh things off because of what you’ve taught me. You’ve enabled me to bundle my studies, my yoga, and your wisdom into a solid foundation that will help me deal with whatever life throws my way. You’ve increased my understanding of myself immensely. It seems everything I’ve been working at has come together under your tutelage. I was afraid this would happen - that you would eventually leave.”
“Is there anything you’d like to ask me before we part?”
“What’s the single most important piece of advice you can give me?”
“You need to be willing to accept who you are. Don’t always want to be better, or new and improved. Accept who you are. You contain a lot of good inside you. You’re doing a good job of sorting yourself out. You’re putting tremendous effort into it. Make haste slowly. Don’t let your abundant energy distract you. Don’t destroy yourself. Don’t rush down the path. You’ll do exceptionally well if you don’t get confused, and if you realise what’s going on around you and how it could affect you. Be cognizant of the pluses and minuses – the consequences of your actions. Learn about yourself from your yoga. Over the next year focus on several poses, the alignment, the breathing, the micro adjustments, the fluency of the poses themselves. A foundation will develop, not just muscle on bone, but a strong foundation from which you’ll know yourself better and be able to expand in all directions. From your physical practice you’ll develop a mental foundation. Developing into quite a nice person is the goal.”
“I’ll do my best to put that into practice.”
“Good luck.”
“Good luck to you too.”

To Dr. O, if by chance you read this, and you could spare the time, I would be pleased to receive an email from you at writeinside@hotmail.com with a view to keeping open a line of communication.

Should I continue on with Dr T?

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

31 Jan 07

Two Tonys Responds to the President’s State of the Union Address

“Didya watch Bush’s speech?” Two Tonys asked.
“I caught some of it at Weird Al’s,” I said. “What did you think of it?”
“What a buncha fuckin’ bullshit. Are the people of the world this fuckin’ gullible? How many times can a guy lie to you? Every fuckin’ year the State of the Union Address is basically, ‘Come on motherfuckers, get down in the front row and listen to my lies.’”
“You’ve read The Great Thoughts. What do you think Schopenhauer would have made of it?”
“The Schop says, ‘Life is fuckin’ short. The truth is fuckin’ long. So for fuck’s sake tell the fuckin’ truth.’ The Schop would have hated the sonovabitch. He wouldn’t have voted for this motherfucker. Would Nietzsche?”
“Nietzsche probably would have called the speech something like, ‘Food for the cabbage brained.’ But aren’t the people who voted for Bush getting what they deserve?”
“Of course they are for allowin’ the motherfucker to do what he does. There’s been times when stompin’ on people like this lead to insurrections. But no one picks up their pitchforks and goes after schleps like Bush anymore. And the replacements are no better. Hillary Clinton – let’s get serious now. John McCain – whatthafuck did he ever do? He was shot down over Nam napalming little Asian kids to death. Whattayou think of Dubya’s speech?”
“It was written for him, spoon-fed to him, and all he had to do was parrot it out. Looking at Bush’s face made me think that his lies are wearing him down.”
“His face is incestuous!” Two Tonys said. “And that doesn’t come from his father’s side. It’s his mother’s side. Look at Barbara - the big old thickheaded squareheaded broad. And that motherfucker Jeb down there in Florida.”
“He lied about the WMD, about Rumsfeld, about Ahmad Chalabi, and now he’s trying to sell the troop surge.”
“Other than for Halliburton and the oil companies and the arms and bomb makers, Iraq is a lost fuckin’ cause. This General Petraeus he’s sendin’ in has a track record for calmin’ things down in Mosul, Kurd country. Just wait till he gets down there with the Shiites. Blood and guts will be flyin’ everywhere. Put some stars and stripes on me, and send me to Mosul, and even I can calm down the motherfucker. Here’s a prediction from an old beat-up lifer in the state pen: the troop surge is gonna fail.”
“It’s twenty to thirty thousand more troops for Halliburton to service though.”
“It don’t take no rocket scientist to figure out that Dick Cheney is influencin’ Bush for the benefit of the Halliburtons of the world. Bush is Cheney’s bitch. Machiavelli and Cheney would have been the all-time best cell partners. There’s reasons for Bush’s lies: they’re benefiting certain people. I’ve lied for my own benefit, like when I was on the witness stand tryin’ to beat a murder beef. Bush’s lies boil down to profits for the contractors who put him in power with their political contributions. That’s payola - it's the American way. To the contractors there’s no difference between Bush and a used-car salesman. Both are tryin’ to sell a product, whether a fucked-up car, or a fucked-up war in Iraq. Both are fuckin’ whores. Now the motherfucker is gettin’ ready to sell a war in Iran. He’s gonna go after those fuckin’ mullahs with Patriot missiles, and farm boys outta Iowa who don’t know any better, slayin’ Iranian kids – collateral damage – with depleted-uranium rounds fired from Black Hawk helicopters. It’s gonna be somethin’, man, I’m tellin’ ya. He’s gonna rock those mullah’s world.”

But life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.
Arthur Schopenhaur – The World as Will and Idea (1819)

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
Flashback to Yard 4

T-Bone V Monkey

“You’ve been in so many fights,” I said to T-Bone, “you must have had your arse kicked some time. Can we talk about that?”
“Alright. In ’98 at Rynning Unit, I was workin’ as a field marshal for the Mau Maus, given responsibility to handle certain things among the blacks: Crips, Bloods, AAC, Muslims, Christians. And I was supposed to keep an even keel among 'em all.”
“Who’s above field marshal in the Mau Maus?”
“A general. A guy who has rank of status, who’s done a lotta kills. I made a mistake: I let a black guy get away without payin’ a $500 heroin debt. I shoulda whipped his tail but like a dummy I felt sorry for him. I thought I was home free, but word went around all the yards.
You know, it takes ten men to control an eighty-pound chimpanzee. Next thing is I’m getting visited by Monkey. He’s five-six. About 150 pounds. He’s an expert in a West African style of fightin’ where they study animals such as the monkey. He says, ‘Hey wassup, bro!’ And shook my hand. I thought we were cool. He says, ‘I heard you had a rough time with the white boys and the po-lice at the other yard. Everybody sends you their L 'n' Rs. But check this out: when we get to the pod, I need to talk to you. I’ve got somethin’ for you.’ I asked him, ‘Are you livin’ in my pod?’ and he says, ‘No. But I’ll get over there though.’ I had an uneasy feelin’, but I didn’t listen to my instincts. I was a massive and lean 295 pounds. I was grabbin’ humongous water bags and drivin’ ‘em. I thought I was invincible to a certain degree. Monkey comes over with two bags of store when we’re all – 100 of us – comin’ back from rec. The cops let him in my pod – even they wouldn’t mess with him 'cause of his reputation. We’re walkin’ together and all of a sudden he drops his store goods, and goes for my throat, but hits me in the sternum – bop! The pain’s instantaneous. Lastin’. It stayed there, draggin’ naggin’ – argghh.” T-Bone's face contorted. "Somethin’ like that.” He punched me.
Ow! Thanks for the dead leg,” I said.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just wanted you to know how it felt.”
“It’s alright. Your stories wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t get socked every now and then.”
“Everything happened so fast. While I recoiled, Monkey dropped down like an ape. He karate punched me right into the femur. Right here. It numbed my whole leg. It took every bit of mind control from trainin’ in football, the Marine Corps, street and prison life to get my mind back – grhhhh -"
Oh no, I thought. Here we go again. I’m in trouble.
“ – to control the pain. Monkey rolled on the ground like an ape, and kicked me straight in the face. My mouth an’ nose were bleedin’. I fell down. Everythin’s cloudy and blurry. I’m dazed. He kicked me in the right shoulder, which woke me up. I did a forward roll, came up, grabbed him, and was gonna rip him apart. But he was just like a chimp – strong and wiry – and I couldn’t hold him. He tried to bite my arm. I bolo punched him in the back of his head but his cornrows cushioned my good six-inch punch – bam!” T-Bone punched my left arm.
"Ow,"I said. "Now my whole left side is injured. Whatever you do, don't punch my right arm or else I won't be able to write."
“I’d focussed all my energy into that one punch. It had took so many people down before. He elbowed me and did a back spin with his left hand across the bridge of my nose. I remember my eyes waterin’, and the next thing I woke up in the infirmary. People said he was bangin’ my head on the ce-ment floor. The brothers held him down until the cops pepper-sprayed the place down. Then Monkey took me outside, outta harms way. I was shamed for a long time. It took me two years to recover mentally from the ass-whippin’. I had to whup a lotta tail to get my prestige back of bein’ number-one hog. He whupped me in 25, 30 seconds. It was a terrifyin’ experience, and I learned how others felt when I terrified them. Monkey was one of the baddest dudes I ever met in my life. Size doesn’t matter. It’s combat readiness, skill and ability to damage a person. He had it deep in his heart. I still have nightmares about Monkey."

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon answers readers questions
18 Jan 07

Midnight Resigns to Die

“So how did you end up in hospital?” I asked
“I just finished takin’ a piss,” Midnight said, “and my left leg went completely dead. I fell against the counter and cut my eye. They did an MRI and said my sciatic nerve is bein’ pinched. Then they sent me to House 9 for two days, and I demanded to leave there. They brought me back to here, but a captain and a sergeant got me and said, ‘We were told your life is in danger on Yard 1. How much money do you owe for drugs?’ I told 'em, 'I don’t owe nothin’ for drugs. I just owe two Honey Buns.’ They wanted to send me to lockdown, but I told 'em I wasn’t in any danger, so they had me sign a waiver sayin’ DOC isn’t responsible if I get hurt.”
“So have you been checking your stool for blood?”
“Yeah. It’s full of blood every day. I’m seein’ clots on the toilet paper now.”
“Did you tell Medical?”
“Yeah. They told me to put in a HNR. I ain’t doin’ that so they can charge me three dollars. Fuck 'em.”
“But it’s your life on the line.”
“I don’t care. I’m forty-two-years old. I’ve lived a good life. I’ll be outta here if I die, and I’ll never have to worry about comin’ back. I believe there’s another life out there as well as this one. As long as I don’t wake up in hell, I’ll be OK.”
“If you keep passing blood, you need to see someone.”
“I thought the blood was a one-time thing, but it’s been every day. The guy who told me to put a HNR in told me to get some gloves, put it in a plastic bag, be discreet, and bring it to Medical to be analysed. But I’m not doin’ that - it’s undignified carryin’ your fuckin’ crap across the yard. It goes in the toilet, and gets flushed. Who the hell wants to dig out their shit? I don't. Drop one, flush one. They’re crazy.”
“I understand your reluctance, but the longer you ride out the big C, the less chance of staying alive you have.”
“I don’t care enough to even talk to them about the cancer no more. They gimme stomach pills, I take 'em. They just want to charge, charge, charge me to go up there, and I work hard for my twenty cents an hour, so fuck 'em.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon answers readers questions