Tuesday, March 31, 2015

‘My Current Play List’

Sunday, March 22, 2015

People are always interested in the type of music that I listen to. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have my headphones on 90% of the day and my CD player on my hip. (There are no MP3’s here…) Still, I realize that music is a way of telling a lot about a person. 

My current CD collection stretches pretty far in terms of decade and culture, so I have no idea what you might ascertain from it, but here it is nonetheless. 
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
*Alice Smith
Katy Perry
Robin Thicke
Myley Cyrus
*Calvin Harris
Jennifer Lopez
Claudia Lette (Brazilian Beyonce')
Nick Jonas
Sam Smith
Ariana Grande
Chris Brown
*Jessie J
Nicky Minaj
Tamar Braxton
*Toni Braxton
Kesha Cole
Selena Gomez
Donnel James
Mark Ronson
Izzy Azalea
Azealia Banks

*Clean Bandit
Ricky Martin
Trey Sangz
Deborah Cox
Nina Simone
Patti Smith
Janis Joplin
Etta James
Kelly Price
The Gap Band
The Commodores
Earth Wind & Fire
*Patti Labelle
Anita Baker
Luther Vandross
*Deneice Williams
*Mumford & Sons
Lilly Allen
Luke Bryan
Little Big Town
*Florida/Georgia State Line
Swing Out Sister
Romeo Santos
Jenni Rivera
Icona Pop
Scissor Sisters
Michael Buble
Lady Gaga
*Kings of Leon

There you have it: My incredibly diverse taste in music. I have placed an * by those artists that have become my favorites. I am always open to new recommendations though so feel free to let me know!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

‘Just another food visit’

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It is 4:00 AM here in Florence and I’m awake, coffee by my side. My goal was to slowly go through some questions that I have received by readers but instead, I have gotten distracted in thinking about the enormous amount of food mom will be bringing me today during our “food visit”. (For those unfamiliar, the prison facility designates certain days of the year where visitors are allowed to bring in more healthy, and tasty – food offerings.)

Since a lot of people are curious as to what she brings… The menu for today’s food visit is below:

Starbucks coffee
Whipped cream coffee topping with Grand Marnier flavoring
Homemade banana pancakes with Nutella
Homemade Pan Perdu (Stuffed French toast with marmalade and cream cheese)
Sausage Links & Bacon

Spinach salad with fried calamari, red onion and cherry tomatoes
Cheesy garlic bread
Homemade meat lasagna
Bacon wrapped scallops
Homemade lobster macaroni n’ cheese

Lemoncello cake stuffed with mascarpone and raspberries
Homemade cream cheese brownies


‘The reality of closing doors’

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I have only loved one man romantically in my life, Mark. I loved him then and I love him now – only in a different way. (At least I tell myself that) I mean, a man in my position cannot maintain a healthy relationship from here – even if I tried. Being with Mark – again – was a possibility a few years back, but I thought it best not to let history repeat itself. He may be the same Mark that I fell in love with all those years ago, but today, I am a very different David.

No matter how many times I have contemplated it, Mark + David simply don’t add up.

In acknowledging that, our friendship grew exponentially with me as an adult. What we have now, is healthy, rewarding and ‘safe’. When he visits, the energy is positive. Yes, I still find him attractive but that is not generated from my loins, but rather, an ephemeral place. When we speak on the phone, the conversation is interesting, educating and jovial. I look forward to the sound of his voice and the way he makes me focus on the bigger picture of life.

This past week, I learned that his boyfriend will be moving into his home. I was congratulatory, excited even, because Mark deserves to loved, and well, ‘happy’. It’s something that I want for him and yet later on that evening, I cried for over 30 minutes in the shower.

Reigning in my emotions was difficult because I couldn’t assess the situation clearly. Was I jealous? Angry? Sad? If I was… then why? It made me feel incredibly selfish and immature. Then I realized why I was having these emotions: a door was closing.

Life is continuing and people are growing and evolving. I am doing the same, but – in here. I’m in here, in this place and I subconsciously do not want any doors to close. My heart and soul are simply not ready for that. 

Unfortunately, life doesn’t much care about any of that.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

‘Alternative Lifestyles and Correctional Officers’

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The politically correct term for the LGBT community within a prison facility is ‘Alternative Lifestyle’. I have to tell you that I HATE that title. I always have and always will. To say that I am classified as an ‘Alternative Lifestyle; makes me feel as if I have somehow chosen this way of life rather than simply being the gay man that I am. It’s an unfortunate truth that I alone will never be able to change that and so, I have learned to swallow a certain amount of pride and simply accept it.

One would think, as a gay man, that all gay men would be a united front within the correctional system. I have touched on this topic previously (see related blog entries below) and explained that we are not in fact united. In fact, we go so far as to divide, segregate and ‘click up’ into our own distinct sub categories. As a reminder to those of you who have not been following this blog since the inception, these are the categories of the ‘Alternative Lifestyles’ in prison:

Gay Men  Guys who work out, excel at sports. Have masculine/heterosexual mannerisms and are generally accepted by the ‘straight’ male inmates without issue. They tend to not associate with anyone in the LGBT community in prison.

Gay Boys  Guys who are effeminate and go out of their way to present themselves as ‘pretty’. They tend to wear form fitting clothing and like to have trysts whenever possible. They are struggling to find their niche of acceptance.

Queens  Guys who present themselves as female and take on pseudo female nicknames such as “cocoa”, “Asia”, “Hollywood”, “Candy”, etc. They are a force to be reckoned with and aggressive when travelling in packs. They are comical and entertaining to watch amd I mean that in a very heartfelt way.

Chicks  Guys who are physically transitioning into females. They have  had hormone therapy, implants, injections of Botox and fillers. Since they are not complete in their gender reassignment and still have male genitalia, they are housed with men in general population. In my 13 years, I have only met one Chik and she was only on the yard for a few weeks before being moved. She received multiple disciplinary infractions and was reassigned elsewhere. Beyond that, she was treated well by both inmates and staff.

So, now that you have a baseline, I can address the question of what the dynamic is between correctional officers and the ‘Alternative Lifestyle’ population.

I am not certain what is assumed, but I am here to say that I have never had any issue with staff because of my sexuality. I think, and I can only say this because of the type of questions I receive on this topic, that the public speculation is that gay men are treated terribly by the officers. I have never personally witnessed that behavior. I have seem both officers and the administration personnel go out of their way to ensure safety and comfort for the gay community in prison.

I think that somehow there is a cloud of misrepresentation regarding LGBT inmates and officers. The general, free population hears horror stories of what it is like to be gay in prison. While many of those stories may be true, it is typically not because of the officers, but rather, the fellow inmates. The officers, (at least the ones I have known) treat gay inmates like everyone else – which is a good thing. If nothing else, perhaps I can in this blog post, clear up that misconception for you.

The inmate on inmate issues will forever be present and it really is about the “leader” vs. the “follower” in here. The majority of inmates are followers and they are this way in hopes of being accepted and for their own survival. The leaders are typically narrow minded, and like true politicians, tend to forget the bigger picture. Unfortunately, they do not forgo their own personal beliefs in order to create peace and order among the greater population. If you are curious as to where I stand in this whole mess, well bear this in mind; I have previously been a ‘leader’ (or as they call them in prison: a “Head”). The only reason I was successful in it was because I knew the right people and that I am considerably more intelligent than many of the other inmates. That said, I was able to lead a lot of “thirsty people to water”, in a manner of speaking. What I failed to realize was he huge amount of energy it took from me.

Today, I am an independent. I’m just DAVID . My reputation is pretty solid and because of my prison history, nobody can really tell me what to do. For clarification, I categorize myself into the ‘Gay Men; group. I am guilty in that I do not really associate with anyone else in the GLBT community we are all very different in how we live day to day. Sadly it is also about survival and reputation. It doesn’t make me feel good, but it is what it is.  Consequently, the LGBT community does not care for me or for that matter, any of the other Gay men. I gather that they feel since we do not socialize with them, that we somehow think we are better than them. Perhaps they presume we do not care about them. Simply put, the fact is that we have chosen different paths in how we serve our prison time.

Truthfully, after further analysis, the larger LGBT community may well be stronger than the Gay Men simply because they stand tall exactly as they are. Gay Men, are more accepted by everyone, but perhaps on different terms.
There will never be any way to fix this. It will go on forever – just as it does outside these walls. It is our own fault and we have no one to blame but ourselves. The only thing we have in common is the fact that we continue to be misunderstood. 

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