Sunday, August 10, 2014

‘A Few Quotes I Like and Why I Love Them’

Thursday, July 25, 2014

“The capacity to admire others is not my most fully developed trait.” – Henry Kissinger
I could easily have said this today and have not even begun to address it – that is, if it needed addressing at all. More often than not, I do not admire other people. People are flawed, lost, confused and convoluted…. What’s to admire? Time to time, I feel pangs of envy, even jealousy but admiration? Not so much. I really don’t even know if I should view it as a bad thing? I believe that, since we are all flawed in some way, what is the point in admiring others? I spend a perverse amount of time analyzing myself and other people. We all have problems, strengths and weaknesses. Our flaws, accomplishments, challenges etc., they give us unique identities and make us all different. I cannot admire another person just for being different than I am. All of that said, when I do admire someone, it is a very unusual feeling for me.

“I love argument. I love debate. I don’t expect someone to just sit there and agree with me. That’s not their job.” – Margaret Thatcher
I cannot discount the fact that I love a good argument or debate so long as it is with a reasonably intelligent person. Mutual respect is key here and it is something that I have grown to accept and learn as I have grown older and matured. I have realized that most arguments and debates are best left asleep. I may love them, but it is a rare occasion that I experience a positive or productive outcome.

“Birth counts for nothing where virtue is absent.” Moliere; “The Story of Don Juan’
To be truly virtuous is impossible in my current environment. Inside, I try to be morally good because I still maintain a strong moral compass. I know the difference between right and wrong consistently try to do the right thing. I want to be a good man, at least as much as I can.

“The average healthy, well adjusted adult gets up at 7:30 in the morning feeling just terrible.” – Jean Kerr; ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’
I am here to say that I wake up at 4:00 AM every morning and I feel great. It is around 7:30 AM, when everyone else gets up, that I feel terrible. Perhaps it’s all relative.

‘Image of Adonis’

Thursday, July 25, 2014
‘Image of Adonis’

Like the Turin Shroud with
Its image of the Adonis
His bench press holds
The tattoo of his body, each pose
Immortalized by a particular
Indentation, a stain of perspiration
I’ve slept without remorse or redemption
In beds that still hold the shapes of female lovers
The sky is gunmetal grey and getting darker
Today I want to bench press on that station
Just to inhale the scent of him, how I might howl
So much of the love is imagination: it’s over activity
It’s over ambitious, it’s over the top hopes
Is this what it means to be a person of faith?
He practices breath and poses, knows the variations
of each. Science tells us one version of the story,
Scripture another
When he is done, he sets the weight to rest and sits up,
His skin mottled, sweaty, his final meditation
A white fire on his tongue.

‘Spirituality: What the hell does that really mean??”

Monday, July 22, 2014

I have been clear in my affiliation with Judaism, but I also consider myself to be a spiritual person. For me, spirituality is what I call “container comprehension”. There are many things that I consider spiritual, but what does it really mean? I guess it’s all a personal interpretation. Personally, I think it means following my heart, listening to my feelings and not doing everything in life based on logical thinking. Those who know me well, already know that it is not necessarily easy for me to do.

I believe all living beings are connected through an energy which we are all part of, and made up of. This helps with our intuitions, gut feelings, etc.. It also means for me, that we can all create the life that we want, and that all things happen for a reason. What we consider to be ‘bad things’ are really just life’s lessons to help us grow unless it is something which we have created on our own.

I am sure that you know people who say: “Why does this stuff always happen to me?” I believe that their negative thinking generates a vibe which is carried out by the energy surrounding us all. It is often referred to as ‘the law of attraction’.
In Judaism, God is the creator of everything and the source of all goodness. It is much more than just that for me. That being said, I have united both religion and spirituality for my own benefit.

What does spirituality mean to you?

‘The Cuckoo’s Nest’

Monday, July 22, 2014

It may, or may not, be a surprise to learn that 90% of the prison population here is medicated in some way. Some inmates self-medicate with homemade alcohol: ‘hooch’ or ‘pruno’. Others smoke anything they can get their hands on: crack, meth, PCP, marijuana and spice are all quite popular. The “snorters” use various psychotropic medications: cocaine, bath salts, and if all else fails, I have seen some crush up simple Ibuprofen in hopes of generating a placebo. I have no idea if it really works, but they do it none the less. Whatever the case may be, it is odd, slightly comical and yes, frightening all at the same time.

The population that is medicated via the inmate pharmacy are obvious. Guys walk around doing the “Thorazin Shuffle” or the “Haldol Bend”. Unfortunately, a lot of these guys do not get the appropriate mental health care that they need. They are medicated as a way of keeping control and balance within the population. The psych. Medication pill line is forever growing longer here because very few inmates are authorized to keep their medication on their person. Because of that, the line outside medical resembles that of a Black Friday Sale.

I expect that some of you reading this are wondering if I am on any medication. Really it is something that I do not speak of often, but I figure I may as well come out with it. I am in fact, prescribed Zoloft and Abilify. I have had OCD character traits all of my life but combining those with the environmental depression associated with incarceration, was much too difficult to manage. I began a series of psychoanalytical session and conferred with my mom at length before deciding to go on any medication. The upside is that I am authorized to keep my medications with me so I do not have to brave the dreaded pill call lines. In addition to the psych medications, I am also prescribed Excedrin w/ caffeine (migraines) and Singulair and Flonase (allergies). 

There are not many people who are even aware that I take medication. You would never know by meeting me or having a conversation with me. At the same time, I have never believed that it was anyone’s business, but my own. A part of me wishes that I did not have to take these drugs, and in the future, perhaps I will not. That is a hill I will have to climb once this experience is in the rear view mirror. 

‘Adaptation within the Evaluation of Other Human Beings’

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
It occurred to me that I no longer evaluate people the way I used to. Like so many adults, I have realized that the innocence and naivete that I once had, is now lost. I expect that this happens at different times for everyone. In my own particular case, it has been an evolving adaptation. That evaluation was something I once had, but is now long gone, lost and forgotten. Now though, I am feeling as if I want some of it back.

In my previous life, the one prior to my incarceration, I was lighthearted. I never took too many things too seriously and considered most everyone I came in contact with, as a friend. Trust for me, came almost instantaneously. I truly felt that people, for the most part, were fundamentally ‘good’.

Looking back, I was indeed naive and implausibly green. It is very disturbing because, as a young adult, I lived in my own version of reality. I mean there is no doubt in my mind that my concept of reality then was so distorted, so convoluted. But that was the way I believed life to be at that time.


When I meet a new person now, I subconsciously size them up. I scan them head to toe to decide where I think their weakest points would be. I focus on their eye contact, the firmness and size of their hands, the air of confidence in the tone of their voice . It is as if I am continuously preparing for battle. In my mind, I ask myself: “what is the best way to win a physical fight with this person?” 

Instinctively, I know that the majority of the words coming out of other people’s mouths are gross fabrications. People have ‘angles’ and need to present themselves in whatever way they see fit to accomplish their goals. I trust absolutely no one and feel as though every person around me can, and will become my enemy at some point in this game. You may not understand my choice in the word game, but I assure you, in prison, it is very much just that.

In no way is this a “normal” way of thinking, but is my “normal” in here and it keeps me alive and unharmed…