10 Jan 06

Prison Boyfriend

For my heart’s sake, I haven’t called Claudia for almost a year. I call her dad weekly, and recently she answered his phone.

From observing prisoners in relationships, it seems that the lot of the prison boyfriend is often a miserable one. His happiness hinges on her fickleness. The level of attention he receives from her is inversely proportional to the level of attention she is receiving from other men. The prison boyfriend is a boyfriend by default. When she lacks alternatives he is sought out. Her attention raises his self-esteem until she finds someone who can give her the things he cannot – and then he is crushed. For lack of love the prison boyfriend is drawn into this cycle over and over again.

Claudia asked me to call her. I can tell myself to call her as a friend, but when I speak to her, all kinds of feelings arise. Her voice, her laughter, her softness act like hooks pulling at my heart. At times like this, I wish my heart were made of steel.

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Copyright © 2006 Shaun P. Attwood
09 Jan 06

Girls With Stiff Nipples Prefer Red Jell-O

Xena arrived in the chow hall wearing elastic bands around his nipples. Brandishing a pop bottle with a spiky ring around the cap, Xena approached Junior Bull.
“Whaddafucksdat on yer bottle?” Junior Bull asked.
“A cock ring,” Xena said.
“Xena, are you into S & M?” a youngster asked.
“Yeah,” Xena said. “I once hung work boots from my nutsack, and I couldn’t get my dick hard for two days 'cause it hurt so much.”
“Have you read any Marquis de Sade, Xena?” I asked.
“Who’s he?” Xena said.
“He’s the S in S & M," I said. "He wrote The 120 Days of Sodom when he was a prisoner at the Bastille. The book gets more and more demented - even detailing what foods to eat to make your turds taste better.”
“Definitely not prison spaghetti sauce,” Xena said. “I’d like to read his book.” Xena turned to Repo and said,“Hey, Repo, how do ya like my nipples today?”
“I noticed that they’re hard,” Repo said.
“I have rubber bands around 'em. I keep 'em like that for two hours, but I have to remember to squeeze 'em.”
“Squeeze 'em?” I said.
“To keep the blood flowin’,” Xena paused, “and for sensual purposes. It’s a complicated procedure known only to a chosen few. When the two hours are up, they’ll stay hard for a day. You wanna see 'em, Repo?”
“I don’t wanna see your nips,” Repo said.“But I will wrap those elastic bands around your neck till your face turns blue.”
“It’s time for me to take 'em off anyway. You want one, Repo? You could chew on it – it’ll be like Hubba Bubba gum.”
“I don’t pitch or catch at any levels. Women like me too much,” Repo said.
“Whoops. I just farted,” Xena said.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard you fart,” Repo said. “What did ya do, attach a rubber band to your ass?”
“I have a bad prostrate. Haven’t you felt your prostrate before? Its just half an inch inside your anus.”
“That’s an exit only,” Repo said.
“You’ve never keystered anything?” Xena said.
“No! Nothin’ goes up my ass.”
“But you’ve gotta check your prostrate from time to time. Just sit down on the toilet, stick your finger in your butt, and you’ll feel a little lump. Checkin’ your prostrate isn’t a homosexual act, Repo, and besides, the greatest homophobes are the ones frontin’ their homosexuality.”
“I’m not homophobic. I don’t care what you put in your orifices, Xena.”
“If you’re not homophobic, then how about lettin’ me put some makeup on you?” Xena said.
“No!” Repo said.
“Just eye shadow?” Xena said.
“No,” Repo said.
By some fluke – or perhaps a kitchen worker’s prank – everyone was served green Jell-O (jelly) except for Repo and Xena who received red Jell-O.
“What’s this shit? I hate red fuckin’ Jell-O!" Repo's face flushed. "How come everyone got green Jell-O and I got red?” Repo yelled at the kitchen workers.
The chow hall went quiet as we waited for a response from the kitchen workers. But no response came, so Xena held up his tray and said, “Hey look everybody, I got red Jell-O too. And guess what? I checked the menu, and it says red Jell-O’s what they’re givin’ all the girls tonight.”
Everyone laughed at Repo.

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Copyright © 2006 Shaun P. Attwood
05 Jan 06

Long Island the Conqueror

On the eve of Long Island’s release, 11th Dec 05, we had the following chat:

“How long have you been in prison?” I asked.
“Fifty-six months,” Long Island said.
“How does it feel to be getting out?”
“I’m extremely scared…anxious…nervous…more than I ever thought I’d be."
“But aren’t you happy?”
“Yeah, of course I am, but other emotions are overshadowing my happiness right now. I’m not getting out expecting to fail like other guys who are happy to get out and rob, and get high and come back to prison. I’m happy to get out to build a life, and that’s gonna take everything I have, everything. Becoming a stockbroker is gonna take a lot of hard work. There are prejudices out there that I’m gonna have to face or manipulate my way around. I’ll need to keep my wits about me. I owe my family and others who’ve supported me financially and emotionally – not to let them down for instilling trust in me. I’m wondering whether to contact the girl I was with – but I’m scared that might set off a chain reaction of things I don’t want to deal with right now.”
“Had you and her been together long before your arrest?”
“Seven years.”
“What’s the first thing you want to do?”
“Have dinner with my family.” His face lit up at the thought. “And I’d like to sit at a bar and have a drink alone – hopefully a nice little barmaid will bring me a Stoli tonic.”
“How soon do you think you’ll achieve success?”
“I want a stockbroker’s license within six months. I’d like to be pulling six figures within three years.”
“Any marriage plans?”
“I wannabe married and starting a family by thirty-five." (Long Island is twenty-eight.)
“How many kids?”
“At least two.”
“Are you gonna stay in Phoenix?”
“Are you gonna further your education?”
“I’ve got sixty-five college credits which is an associates degree. I’d like another sixty to get a B.A.”
“You will keep me updated on your progress, won't you?”
“I sure will. You created me, now I just have to go.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I’ve tried to glean as much knowledge of the financial markets as I could from you. Now I just have to apply it. You’ve transferred to me a wealth of knowledge. It’s like you said, ‘Here, read these books, and go and be rich’.”
“But remember, materialism isn’t everything. Look what happened to me.”
“I have a lot of catching up to do before I have to think about that.”
“Do you think success might go to your head?”
“I think it will go to my head. I welcome it!”
“You sound like Gordon Gecko – greed is good.”
“Gordon Gecko is antiquated.”
“To succeed in business you have to be cut-throat, but unscrupulous trading practices may land you back behind bars.”
“That won’t happen. I’m looking forward to bringing my love for the financial markets and integrity to whatever brokerage position I’m fortunate to land.”
“It’s been a pleasure being your celly. I’ll miss you loads.”
“Same here.”
“And I’ll be disappointed if you get in any future bother.”
“I have positive goals.”
“And good luck with them, my friend.”
“Thank you.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

03 Jan 06

Runny Nose

After lunch, Two Tonys and I noticed Ogre had a runny nose. Every so often, Ogre would wipe his nose with his sweater sleeves.
On the yard, laundry porters were distibuting our bags of clothes. Ogre started helping them.
"Look at that motherfucker spreadin' his germs around on our clothes," Two Tonys said to me, then yelled, “Hey Ogre, that ain’t your job. Why don’t you let the laundry porters do that?”
“Don’t worry about what I’m doin’. You ain’t no fuckin’ cop!” Ogre said.
“My fuckin’ laundry is in there, and I don’t want you touchin’ it,” Two Tonys said.
Ogre swaggered towards Two Tonys.
An F-16 swooshed overhead.
“Back off, motherfucker! Don’t get up on me,” Two Tonys said.
“I’ll snap your neck,” Ogre said, “and put you in hospital, motherfucker.”
“Do it then, motherfucker!” Two Tonys said.
They were about to collide when some Chicanos led by Frankie split them up.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon’s book wishlist– he is allowed used or new books as long as they are sent direct from publishers such as Amazon.
31 Dec 05

The Final Visit: Parents and Mothers Against Arpaio

“What’s the strip-search like here?” Mum asked.
“Same as usual, but they search the foreskin,” I said.
“Bloody hell! That’s a bit rum isn’t it? What are they looking for in there?” Dad said.
“Does it hurt?” Mum asked.
“No,” I laughed. “I just pull it back. It’s sensitive down there, but I have to agree with those who claim that the sensitivity causes you to enjoy sex more.”
“Perhaps we should get you circumcised then, to calm you down,” Mum said.
“Mum!” I said.
“Perhaps I should get a false one then,” Dad said with a hint of resentment towards Nan who’d had him snipped in infancy.
“You were almost circumcised once,” Mum said.
“But Dr. O’Hara – an Irish doctor from the old school - saved you,” Dad said.
“You had an infection, and your nan, an ex-nurse, was pushing to get you circumcised, but we took you to Dr. O’ Hara who turned your penis inside out, while you screamed blue murder,” Mum said matter-of–factly, whilst demonstrating with her hands what Dr. O’Hara had done.
“Ouch!” I said, “How old was I?”
“Ten months. The doctor said that what he did was better than circumcision.”
“We don’t know how it worked, but it did the trick.” Dad said.

This conversation came to a halt with the arrival of Pearl Wilson, one of the founders of Mothers Against Arpaio, and Linda Bentley, a reporter for the Sonoran News. It was an honour to meet these two humanitarians.

Pearl mentioned how she and fellow MAA founder, Linda Saville, had attended an Arpaio speaking function. Arpaio was boasting about his abilty to solve murders when Linda Saville asked him about his inability to solve murders at his jails. Arpaio responded that there were no murders at his jails, so Pearl stood up and pointed out that her son had been murdered in Arpaio’s Tent City. Unable to dispute this, Arpaio slandered Pearl, and continued his spiel. Pearl Wilson is one of the strongest women I have ever met, and it is truly hard to imagine the burden of pain she has bravely shouldered since losing her son Philip.

The pleasant company prevented Mum from getting too upset when the visit ended. Tears welled but didn’t stream down her face. What, I thought, have my mistakes put my parents through? Long hugs and short kisses filled the final moments with those whom I love the most.

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood

Jon’s book wishlist he is allowed used or new books as long as they are sent direct from publishers such as Amazon.
25 Dec 05

Christmas Thanks

Many thanks for the Christmas cards I’ve received from readers, family, and friends.

Merry Christmas

19 Dec 05

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Copyright © 2004-2005 Shaun P. Attwood

18 Dec 05

Christmas Visits With My Parents

8.00 a.m. I’m sat at my desk waiting to be called to the first visit with my parents. I’m dressed in top-drawer orangewear including Two Tonys’ sweatshirt, pants hemmed by Long Island, sneakers shined by George, and socks with no holes in them. I’m nervous but happy.

8.05 a.m. Half a dozen inmates called for visits. Why wasn’t I in the first batch? Waves of excitement are splashing around my stomach. Burping is not providing relief.

8.10 a.m. More visits called – each one adding to my tension. Perhaps my parents have been turned away by a guard? Maybe they're having problems like last year when Mum violated the dress code by wearing an open-neck shirt that revealed her collarbone, and the visitation gatekeeper was unfamiliar with UK IDs? Perhaps jet lag caused them to over-sleep, or they couldn’t find the prison?

8.20 a.m. The longer I remain uncalled, the faster my worries go round and round, round and round, round and round…

8.25 a.m. The announcement will put me out of my misery – when it comes!

8.29 a.m. They should be here by now! Perhaps something bad has happened. I need to pee.

8.30 a.m. My bladder was mostly empty.

8.31 a.m. “Attention Dog 11, you’ve got a visit.” What joy!

I tap-danced to the visitation room – a school-hall-type area with desks, chairs, vending machines, and watchful guards. Before checking in at the visitation desk, I hugged Mum, hugged Dad, and hugged Mum again.

Whilst eating chips and nuts we chatted feverishly. We discussed how each of us had been faring emotionally and physically, the kindness of blog readers, family and friends, and the recent Cosmo article. We then moved onto current events, philosophy, psychology, and literature. I had so much fun that the six-hour visit seemed to last only an hour or two.

Sitting in an outdoor cage with two dozen prisoners awaiting strip-searches, I thought about how precious the visit had been. Returning to prison reality was a downer. When you are deprived of so much, little things such as being able to give your mum a hug mean a lot.
“I really gotta take a shit!” an inmate said.
“My sister-in-law wants me to hook up with one of her girlfriends. I told her ‘Hell no! Are you crazy?’ Why would I wanna have some chick doin’ time with me?”
“I’ve got three chicks visiting me – on rotation.”
“If I need a girlfriend, I grab a Playboy.”
“My stomache’s killin’. I gotta shit.”
“Why would I wanna put a chick through the misery of fallin’ in love with me, when my sorry ass is in here?”
“I’ve gotta get back to my house to take a shit. Would you fellas mind if I get stripped out first, before I have a fuckin’ accident?”
“Fuck that! I’m sick. You ain’t jumpin’ in front o’ me.”
“Yeah. What makes you think you’re so fuckin’ special?”
“Take a shit in the visitation room, homey.”
“I can’t shit in there. I’ve got standards.”
“You don’t have to sit on the seat. Just kinda squat a bit.”
“I’ve really fuckin’ gotzta go. I’ll wait till all the visitors have gone. I don’t wannem smellin’ my shit when I open the door.”

As I was fourth in line, I didn’t have to wait long to enter a chilly room with a stocky Chicano guard, who, although pleasant and polite, had refined his strip-search techniques to levels I’d never experienced: “Pull your foreskin back.”
16 Dec 05

Farewell, Dr. Allen

Unexpectedly, I was called to see Dr. Allen, who wished to say goodbye.
“It’s final, I won’t be treating you again,” Dr. A. said.
“I wrote you off after you hinted about your departure last time, but I still did my homework.” “Let me see it then.”

I had been asked to write down conflicting thoughts I experienced in relation to my goals, from the perspective of the adult and parent in transactional analysis. Dr. A. laughed when he read:
Adult: rest, listen to some music, dare to do nothing, relax.
Parent: relaxation is for wimps and mediocre performers.
Adult: listen to me or you’ll lose your mind.

“It’s good to see that you’re bringing the adult forward,” Dr. A. said.
“Transactional analysis has enabled me to categorise my thoughts in terms of adult, parent, and child, whereas before, it was all a mishmash. Something clicked, something more than when I considered the id, ego, and superego after reading Freud. But aren’t the categories the same?”
“Not really, id is not something you’re going to see in TA.”
“But isn’t id the child?”
“It is and it isn’t. Id has a dark side, whereas the child is impulsive.”

I had also been asked to write any thoughts I had about reconciling achieving my goals with spending time with my family. Dr. A. read my answer:
The goals/family dichotomy came to mind whilst reading Epictetus (On Becoming a Philosopher). According to Epictetus, “You have to stay up at night, work hard, overcome certain desires, leave your family… be jeered at by everyone.”
Adult: what Epictetus indicates is too extreme.
Parent: do you want to settle for mediocre performance or to soar to great heights?
Adult: Epictetus is discouraging the faint-hearted, surely a balance can be achieved.

“It seems like you’re benefiting from TA. Do you feel that is the case?”
“I do, but I’m disappointed because I feel that we were about to get deep, and now you’re leaving.”
“But there’s a new guy, Dr.O. He might not do the TA stuff though, he’s more of a CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] type of guy. I believe you can change the way you think, and that’s what our sessions have been about.”
“What about Ed Wilson, the guy who studied ants for decades and won the Pulitzer Prize? I read about him recently, and how he thinks we are hard-wired to be who we are. In light of that, can I change?”
“I believe so. A lot of stuff is hard-wired, but you can change the way you think. That’s what learning is about too.”
“I also read that we can change our brains by exercising them, like athletes change their muscles.”
“That’s correct. New convolutions are formed in the brain.”
“Well, hopefully, these sessions have formed new convolutions in my brain.”
“I’m going to refer you to Dr.O. He should begin here next week.”
“I appreciate the help you’ve given me. It’s meant a lot to me, to get a professional opinion, and to have you to speak to in the midst of this insane place.”
“I wish you well.”
“You too.”

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.
On our return to the UK, we received this seasonal poem from The Prophet, who has contributed his work to the blog once before. Although Christmas has come and gone, we feel that his powerful message is still relevant today.
Also, we would like to wish all the blog readers a Happy New Year, and a big thank you from Jon for your consistent support. He remains cheerful and optimistic and looks well in spite of his situation. As we are now in 2006, we can now look forward to our son’s release in late 2007.

Correctional Christmas

No lights in the windows,
not a gift to be found,
My bare swollen feet
wish to kiss the cold ground.
The trees are all missing,
no pine in the air,
As I run these cramped fingers
through the gray of my hair.
I’m trapped in this box,
not a bow or a string.
The screams for some sanity
the only carol they sing.
Guess the jingle of chains,
is the closest I’ll be,
To the sounds of old Christmas
I now think of with glee.
For it’s correctional Christmas,
and all through these cells,
are the wonders and worries
of this temporary hell.
So locked in our cages,
Doomed to our fate
I wonder, can there be Christmas?
Or is it too late?
Then just as this Christmas,
Seems to tick on its way,
I lean toward my celly
And here’s what I say.
Not a bar or a lock or a prison on earth,
Can steal from my soul the joy from Jesus’s birth.
My cellmate then adds
In what seemed like mid-toss,
Let’s not forget Jesus died on the cross.
Then as we settled
in our cots stocked like crates
For a moment of clarity,
was our Christmas fate.
Nor the jailors or wire,
or the walls that surround.
Could stop these two prisoners
from the Christmas they found.
So blessed be the convicts,
That find themselves here,
And I pray that your Christmas
is a free one next year.

*dedicated to my friends imprisoned over the holidays

©Copyright2005 prophet