Prison 101:16

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…

One time the four of us who worked in the carpentry shop were waiting for our C.O. To pick us up. It was after lunch, the mess hall workers were stripping floors so we had to sit on this bench on the other side of the steel gates that lead into the mess hall waiting for him.

So we’re sitting there talking with each other about dumb stuff, we’re in prison, there isn’t a lot to talk about. I don’t remember who stopped talking first, one of us did, so we all looked to see why, and of course that means looking down the long hall to see what there is to see because if there is anything to see, like a fight, or something, it will be coming from that way. I look up and I see this woman walking down the hallway: Built, and putting a lot into her walk. We all stopped talking and stared. One guy even said some dumb shit like, “Wow, she’s hot.” Then we all sort of remember at the same time that we’re in prison and she is wearing greens just like us, therefore she is really he. We all sort of choked at the same time. The guy just smiled and winked, he liked that he was noticed. It was fucked up for real.

Another time I went into the shower. The shower in prison is a no talking zone for men. Sex goes on there, alcohol, drugs get smoked, shot up or whatever. They like the constant steam and the vents that draw it outside. No alcohol fumes, pot smoke smell, etc.. We shower in our underwear, boxer shorts. You wear boxers, if you don’t it means you are putting your shit on display by wearing tighty whities, the name for briefs. Some men have special shower boxers they have made, one pair inside another pair so that even when they are wet they can’t be seen through. If a man is showering naked he is either new and doesn’t know the rules, or he is fishing. Either way he is going to get stepped to and told there is no nude showering. The only time there is a change in that is when you have a significant percentage of men who want to, for whatever reason, shower nude. Then they will set an hour aside for nude showering. They all have to shower in that hour. No one else goes in during that time.

You don’t stare at anything you might see and you don’t talk unless you are in there with someone you know really well, even then it might be misconstrued by someone else. So you go in, ignore everything as best you can, and leave. I was kind of new, I knew the rules, but I hadn’t had a lot happen yet so I was green. Anyway, this guy’s back is to me, that’s cool, but then he turns around and he is surgically altered, he has breasts. I got used to that after a while, but the first few times were hard to handle.

I used to workout with this really big dude who had a saying, ‘Defense Mode On’. The first time he said it we were walking back from the weight shack and he said it out loud. It made me look up, and when I did here come these two asshole gang-bangers that I had seen around the prison and knew were trouble. What it meant was he had beef with them, so it was his way of saying, I’m going to try to hold it together and it might work or it might not, but with him it almost always worked when he just said those words. I adopted it. I thought it had value. To me it means I can do this if I have to, but I don’t have to: Defense Mode On.

Now I see the value in fitting into society. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with a lot of what society is, but I value rules, organization. I spent over 10 years in prison, it was enough. I can and do play by the rules.

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Prison 101:15

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…


I was in the mess hall with a work crew one day. I had been working with this crew for a couple of years. The way the movement worked in this prison, the work crews were fed after population, or pop as we called it.

What it amounted to for us, was that we sat for quite a while, while the mess hall emptied out, so our C.O.’s could come and pick us up.  In a Max inmates don’t move unescorted. No officer, you sit and wait. In a medium you go everywhere on your own. Sitting and waiting on your officer in a max mess hall you ended up seeing a lot of the crazy stuff that goes on.  After all you’re stuck there, there isn’t much to do but watch.

While we’re sitting there, I watched this kid keep getting into a beef with an older guy. The older guy would nod his head patiently, and walk away from the kid, but the kid would chase him down, and start the shit all over again. The old guy put up with that for a good fifteen minutes, before he turned to the kid and warned him off.

The four of us on the work crew, sat and wondered what might happen next. But the kid walked away, and the old guy went back to working. I just made up my mind to watch something else to pass my time, when the kid came back from the kitchen and threw a punch at the old guy. The old guy backed up, pulled a pen from his pocket and stabbed the kid in the eye with it. The mess hall was locked down for the next four hours and we were stuck there sitting at a table by ourselves for most of that time.

Another time, a bad one, I was sitting in the mess hall with the Carpentry shop crew. And two men got into an argument. The argument went back and forth several times, the one guy would run his mouth to the other, and the other would say some slick shit back. Eventually the mess hall emptied out and it was just four of us waiting to get picked up.

At that point the mess hall workers come out and mop, pick things up, clean tables, so it isn’t unusual for them to be walking around.

So the one kid comes back carrying an aluminum tray in his hands. He says nothing as he walks up behind the guy. The guy senses him and begins to turn. The kid takes the tray and slams it into his eyes. Blood went everywhere. They had to call in a specially trained Bio Hazzard crew to clean up. The state police showed up. Markers were set by every blood drop and photographed. We sat there through the whole thing.

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Prison 101:12

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…

In prison there was this female C.O. who would not take no for an answer. She ran the block I locked in (Where you lock is where you live) so she would come get me to do all these things back in the storage room, move boxes, etc. I knew it was a matter of time before she pushed the issue harder, so I talked to my day boss, another C.O. And he pulled some strings and got me moved out of that block. Two months later she got caught back in that supply room with an inmate. Dumb.

In prison I did not watch TV. I went to late yard recreation with whatever workout partner I had, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, and did hardcore cardio sets.

In the maxes, where I spent 7 years, you have cells and you have your own TV in your cell. Watch what you want when you want, but when I went to the mediums it is usually open sixty man dorms. Think of pole barn for cattle or livestock, only setup with rows of cots and lockers. And an area closed off with a TV. The gangs lock that area down. They have their shit they want to control in prison and TV is one of them. More men get stabbed over TV in the mediums than anything else. I came close a few times and finally decided it was not worth the drama.

There are many ways that drama comes to you. I remember once meeting a guy who had just come from a max to the medium I was in. He gravitated to me. He told me a story about how he had done his time in the maxes. Hard core, he had several bodies, letters on the end of his bid (Letters = life). A young guy I looked out for saw him and came to me and said, … “Hey, that dude is one of the guys that sets up young guys… Turns them.”  I thought, no way, but the kid gave me times, dates and details and then even bought more young guys into it that had dealt with him.

There is a gang of guys in every max that does that. They pray on the young guys that have just come in from the streets. Steal them blind, take all of their stuff and put them to work. It goes further, they also threaten them like this… “The next time that girl comes to see you she has to bring an ounce of coke, or weed, or whatever.” They tell him what day the visit takes place too, because they know the C.O. that will be on and they know they can get the contraband in. If the kid says no, they send a gang member by his house on the street just to let them know what the deal is. That is extreme, but it happens. So this guy was one of the ones in the max this kid had been in that had done this for years, and this kid remembered him. He and some others wanted to kill him for the things he had, had a hand in doing to them.

So I went to the guy and I said, “Look someone said this.” He said it wasn’t true. I said, “Well, they say it is and they want you to know that you would probably be better off in another prison or in P.C. because they’re gonna touch you.” (Fuck him up at least, kill him most likely) He went into PC and then transferred out a week or so later. They were going to do some really bad shit to him, rape him, probably kill him, or at least try to kill him. I understand that. If the man forced them into selling themselves, or threatened their families, I completely understand it. It isn’t a place I would ever allow myself to be in, but I understand their anger over it.

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Prison 101:8

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…


In 2005 I had a massive heart attack and stroke. I had been in the system a few years by then. And I was paying for all the drugs and alcohol I had done. I Would have died except an officer I worked for was there and got me, carried by six big guys, right to the clinic, where it just so happened that the lady on duty was a Cardiac ER nurse during the day. Shot me full of blood thinners and got me to a hospital where the surgery was done. She saved my life.

I spent two weeks in a cardiac unit chained to the bed. The nurses used to piss off the C. O’s and hang out and talk to me. The C. O’s were like ‘Hey! Don’t talk to the prisoner!’ The day I left they bought me the biggest hamburger I ever saw. I said, I can eat that? They laughed and said, ‘Yes, not all the time, but on occasion you can.’

I transferred back to the prison, spent some time in the hospital there, an overheated, dirty hospital with a doctor that did not care what your problems were. You stayed locked down. No recreation of any kind. Sealed, overheated rooms, no fresh air. No walking. No exercise as I was told I should try to get daily. No bandage changes as there should have been. You learn fast that the quality of care you sometimes get in a prison hospital is going to be pretty poor. At other times though you get top rate care. It was a contrast to me how quickly I was moved out when I had the heart attack, how well I was treated, and how poorly treated afterwards.

In prison we used to laugh at the doctors they had. What kind of doctor are you going to get for 35k a year? Well usually ones that were forced out of their regular practice by lawsuits or ones that were just fuck ups. We had one doctor, his line was, “I doctor, you okay. Now get fuck out for I tell cop lock you up!” Nice guy, that doctor. I have fond memories, warm and fuzzy even. I remember I saw him one day because I needed my pills re-filled. He does the pills, and then he says, “You need something else?” I said, “Well now that you mention it I need my other prescription soon. You could do it now.” He looked at me, I am not making this up, and says “Good…Good… Then you drop fuckin’ swip (He meant slip, we had to send a slip or request to see him) see me.” What a dick. In other words he asked me only so he could tell me to go fuck myself. I had to laugh, that’s the kind of guy he was. A few weeks of that sort of care and I was glad to get back to Pop., and reality.

When I got all the way back on my feet I realized that prison is not the place you want to be if you’re not taking care of your health. I started workouts with a few of the guys I had begun hanging out with. It took about six months, after heart surgery no less, to get myself back in fair shape. Another six months and I was strong. Going to yard rec every morning at sunup, including the middle of winter. I stayed away from weights and went for pushups, cardio. Not a few hundred a day but well over a thousand in an hour, at least five times a week. I went through a lot of work out partners over the years, but I always found guys willing to jump into workouts with me. It was something that stayed with me for the rest of my bid too.

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Prison 101:6

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…

Me and this kid Robert in the cell next to me are listening, smoking, we both have a lot of time, I don’t know about him, but I know I was wondering about making it out in one piece. And the homosexuals are talking nearby, somewhere, you really don’t know where anyone is, you just hear voices, but they are talking about how they keep the backs of their pants slit open for their husbands so they can easily get to their pussy. Their words not ours.

What the fuck is this, I thought. I really went suicidal for a few of those first hours. I considered it too hard. I thought, fuck it, there is no way I will make it out without killing someone or someone killing me. Robert says to me. “No way. If anyone tries to turn me I’ll kill them first.” And I was like, “Fuckin’ A!”

That same first night I went into the shower and some guy flashed his stuff and then winked at me and I knocked him out. I don’t mean I simply popped him, I knocked him out. So panicked, scared, I hit him way too hard, very lucky I didn’t kill him.

So a year goes by and I’m working one day in a hallway for the prison wood shop, putting up some brackets, and here comes this guy walking down the hall, escorted by two CO’s, and he has more wiggle in his walk than a bowl of gelatin, and as he gets close to me, I had turned back to my work, and he calls my name. I turn around and it’s Robert, only now he’s called Swish. Weird. That is a kid that had no values. He spoke about drawing a line, but he didn’t. I don’t know how he was turned (that’s what it’s called), but he went with it. Fear will do things to you. Even if it’s fear about something that hasn’t even happened yet, or might not happen at all.

For me I just said there are things I will not do and things I will not set back and watch done, or know about, or anything. I lived by that in prison and it makes a difference in my life. It makes me more honest, and it makes me more open, less likely to get used again, because it also means that when someone tries to use me I will do something. Either walk away from the situation or say something.

What I am saying, is that I believe much of the bad shit that came my way was my own fault, because even when I knew I was being used I allowed it because I truly didn’t care. Now I do. It doesn’t mean someone can’t use me, of course they can, it only means I’m paying attention. It’s walking a line, a thin line, because I won’t spend the rest of my life alone, but I won’t just take on any relationship because I’m tired of being alone either. Guard the door, but don’t shut the door.

Six months after that first night in a Max all of that panic, suicidal impulse, was gone. I was getting up every day, dealing with the gangs, the rapists, the crooked cops, all of it, every day. And somewhere along in there I had a real conversation with myself. I realized that all of my problems came from me. I allowed people to shit on me, use me, and I got up every day out in the free world expecting nothing else. I may as well have been locked up for my whole life. I had never considered myself free at all.

I can remember hearing a kind of spitting noise my first full day in the Max yard. No matter who you are, once you are sentenced to state time in this state you are heading to a Max to begin classification. It is the shock value I think, because you are only there a few days and then you are packed up and sent to a real classification facility to get your shots, a little cell time to see if you are going to be a problem, and to acclimate you to your circumstances. You have days, weeks, and maybe months in those classification cells. You sit, you think, wonder why you did what you did. You cry, you pray, and then you get your shit together and start to do your time. They know that, that is why they keep you there so long.

But that first stop is always the Max. A Max (Maximum Security) has a wall. Usually 20 or more feet tall, concrete or stone or both. It surrounds the entire prison, and there is a set of fences inside that topped with razor wire. Believe me, when that bus you are on rolls up to that wall your heart sinks to your feet. I don’t care who you are, you’re scared.

So my first full day in the Super Max. I went to yard recreation even though the C.O. said not to. I went because I had many years to do and you can’t do many years, what we in prison called football numbers, hiding or staying in your cell or you’ll go crazy. So I went. That is how I met Robert, put a face to the voice.

It was like a different world out there. I mean it really was, these guys didn’t even know that wall was there anymore, it was like that, and everyone I passed looked me over, I guess deciding if I was a fucking idiot or wanted trouble, or I was being straight up and dealing with it, but nobody messed with me.

So I am walking around and I hear this spitting sound and a guy close to me says ‘Disappear’, and he steps way away from me. Instinct, I followed him just that fast and stepped away. As I did I heard the spitting sound again and turned around to see what it was. Just instinct again, I think, you hear it and your head turns to the sound. Curiosity maybe? I watched this kid spit a razor out of his mouth and into his hand. This is a bare razor taken out of a disposable razor, but he caught it without cutting himself, and he went after this guy and cut his face.

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Prison 101:3

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…


(This is from my journals and from conversations with friends. It is also prompted by questionnaires given to me by counselors of various groups I was in.

You can do your time in prison without attending these groups, they are voluntary, and with tax cuts they are becoming very hard to get. I had to fight for a few of the ones I did get.

In any case, once you are accepted into a program you have agreed to many things that you must stick to. You have to agree to be completely honest. You have to agree that everything you hear in group stays in group. You have to agree to discuss things, not refuse, lose your temper, get in arguments or fights with other group members. And believe me there are times you would like to just explode. And there are times when you are tempted to lie, just because you can’t face the truth. But your councilor has everything about you in a folder they bring with them, and they have no problem pulling it out to set the record straight.

I have seen men restrained by C.O.’s and taken to the box because they didn’t realize that telling the truth meant telling the truth, not sticking to the lie you told in court. And calling the counselor a cunt, or a bitch, or any other number of names is definitely going to get you a one way ticket to the box and at least thirty days there to think about your stupidity; and you won’t be coming back to group. No second chances.

It’s all worth it, because you are learning that you do have control over yourself. You are learning that the things in your life that are true are part of you. They are not going to change, and it’s better to talk them out, deal with them, and move past them to a different you.)


It took me going through waking up in county jail and realizing how badly things had gone, not because I knew it, but because a cop that I had been in grade school with told me what happened. I don’t know why, but every drunk or addict I have ever met or done time in AA with, or prison, has had to learn the hard way. That is how I knew that there had been women in my life that I actually had loved and who had tried really hard to work things out with me and I had just fucked it up, because it was my nature to fuck things up, to be irresponsible, to drop the ball. So I knew I had screwed things up. I knew I did not want to be that way any longer, and that was my wall I hit. Others hit a wall like that and get up and keep on fucking up. Fucking up their lives, their relationships, lovers, friends, children, everything until nothing is left. And that is why it matters who you are with, because it may be one of those people who will use you up. If you stop and tell yourself you are worthwhile, you don’t need this fucker and the bullshit they have bought into your life, you can be okay. Be able to walk away.

A friend I grew up with ended up in county jail while I was there. He had been arrested for selling methamphetamine, but the cops didn’t have enough to get him really good. They charged him, but his lawyer said they would probably drop the charges eventually. Just stay cool, don’t talk to anyone, and he would work on bail.

So they held him for a few months trying to gather more evidence. County jail is a perfect place for that. Guys will start talking about almost anything. Sometimes because they are bored, others because they are convinced they got away with whatever they did so they just have to brag about it.

So in county this kid gets friendly with my friend. I mean everything he does, the kid is right there. The kid is also in a shit load of trouble for heroin sales. Caught red handed with the product, witnesses, all of it.. He is looking at years in prison and he doesn’t want to do that kind of time. I know that because he tries to get next to me while I’m working out. He tells me that, and he asks questions about the other guys on our block, like he’s shopping for an out.

Next thing I knew he was hanging out with my friend all the time. We have recreation time, an hour a day in the gym. We have night rec., which consists of two hours out to watch TV in the common area outside of the cells. We had yard rec., which was a joke, there was no yard, so we were really in a common outside area shared by all the blocks. Asphalt, the size of a basketball court, goals on each end. An hour twice a week. Day room rec, three hours from breakfast to lunch, most days, and another three hours from after the lunch count to shift change around 4:00 pm. Where ever we were the kid was there, sliding right up next to my friend, asking questions like, “So, how do you make methamphetamine? How much does it cost to make? What do you need to make it?”

I said to my friend, I think that kid is a plant. He’s trying to get information from you that can be used against you in court. He told me I was paranoid. That couldn’t be the case. The kid just wanted to know how to make methamphetamine. He could teach him and he would make some money from the deal too. I doubted it. My argument was, how will he ever be out to do that? He’s looking at a sentence with life on the end of it, three to life, maybe five to life, or something like that. My friend says, no, he told me that his lawyer is working out bail. The case might fall apart. It’s not as solid as they said, so he needs to know how to make methamphetamine to pay the lawyer to get him off at a trial. It sounded like bullshit to me.

Sure enough, a few days later they released the kid on bail. A few days after that my friend suddenly got bail, and he went right back to manufacturing methamphetamine, the kid with him. The kid was a plant. They arrested my friend a short time later, and charged him with King Pin status so the Feds would take the case.

My friend came back a few days after the arrest, I think they had him in solitary for those first few days, and he told me the whole story. He spent the next several months trying to fight the federal charges. The Feds don’t bargain, they just tell you how much time you are going to do. He is still in Federal prison. Almost all the men I met back then are in prison. The Feds moved in on every case and took them over.

In county jail I turned to Bible Studies and God. I don’t know many men that don’t. In fact I don’t believe there were any atheists or non-believers of any kind there. Everyone believed in God, everyone, because they still believed that God would get them out of the situation they were in. I held bible studies. I got the job because both of my brother in laws and my brother were ministers. So it appeared that I must have an in with God. I got the job.

Twice a week we held studies in the small day room mess area that the cells opened onto. Steel tables, open shower stalls. Two hours a night out of the cells and that was considered recreation, whether you were watching TV or having a group bible study. The C.O.’s would watch us hard. It isn’t often when the whole block area becomes quiet, but they let us be. We were out of their hair and we were quiet.

I was in jail waiting to go to prison. There was not going to be any last minute reprieve, or some surprise witness, because I was one of the few guilty guys in the jail. I had spoken to my lawyer, spoken to my family. There was a court date several months off, but it was set. Waiting for me to do the right thing and I intended to do it. Being sober and in my right mind, I was a lifetime alcoholic, helped immensely.

Being sober was new for me. It’s not like you can’t get booze in jail, or prison, or even in a psychiatric center. You can, I know, I have been to all three places and had it offered or handed to me. I remember an AA meeting, years ago, before trouble had come around and I had chased it down. The speaker said, “Your addiction will lead you to Jails, Prisons, and even mental institutions.” I thought, bullshit. He was right though, it had simply taken a few years for me to get to all of those places.

I had been running the bible study for a few months at that point. Just a few of the guys on the block. Yes, men who have sold drugs, flesh, murdered, all take a very keen interest in religion once they’re inside. Some of it is fake, some of it isn’t. I’m no mind reader. I could never tell the fakes from the real ones. I knew that for me it was real, on my terms though. Not beating someone over the head with the bible or telling others they’ll go to Hell if they don’t get Jesus. Just a simple belief in God. There is a God. I am in trouble. I need help. So I started the Bible study and a half dozen guys came by every day while we were unlocked.

The thing about jail is there are so many kinds of people. Thieves. Killers. Rapists. Drunk drivers, parole violators, guys behind on child support. You name it. They like the public to believe that the harder types are kept away from the drunks and shoplifters. Not so. There is isolation. There is P.C. (Protective Custody). But those units are small and expensive to run. They can’t put everyone there, so they save it for the ones who are absolutely not equipped to make it. The ones that will get eaten alive in pop (General Population).

I tended to take the guys in my study under my wing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a tough guy. I don’t look for trouble, but I grew up on the streets. I lived, slept, did drugs, drank, took rides, on the streets. It was home. There was nothing else.

I had gone from the projects after my drug overdose that was nothing more than a failed suicide attempt, to live with relatives in the mountains. I loved it. I went from the mountains to the city and right to the streets, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and all the other stuff that goes with living on the streets at a young age. So jail, or even prison, tough guys, killers, it’s not something that can scare me. The place. The men. I have seen men murdered right in front of me. How can a guy in jail scare me?

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War. Verse by Geo Dell. Book Links…

War. Verse by Geo Dell. Book Links…

WAR Copyright 2017 Geo Dell…

What if you were standing in your own yard and the world was the same. Great. Safe. Comfortable. And you were standing there in your yard. Just a kid, a man, a woman, the day right there before you. Feeling like the world would always be the same.
And this safety was all that you had known, ever. And the sun was shining in the sky. And then the tanks rolled in. And the soldiers with their guns. The noise incredible. The soldiers glancing at you as they walk past you. Like they know your name.
And everything changed. Your yard was not your yard anymore. Just a piece of dirt and grass with tank tracks running across it. But the sun is still shining… How can that be? And the soldiers are soldiering, they don’t speak. It’s like they don’t even care.
And you turn away but it is the same all around you. Your friends in their yards. Looking at the same blue sky, the same bright sun. The same tanks. The same soldiers with the same guns. They don’t speak either, but the same questions are on the air.
And you feel like the black clouds should move in and blot out the sun. The bright day should not exist in this world that your eyes see. You blink but it doesn’t go away, refuses to change. Your whole world has changed and a minute has not expired.
The tanks, clank, clank, clank, on their way to where, you wonder. And the soldiers step, step, step, one foot follows the other never questioning where. The children begin to cry. You think to wipe your own tears from your eyes, but find you are too tired.
The tanks, the soldiers, the sun in the blue sky. The day that started as your own…
The noise, the fear. Time is moving, but you don’t know where it’s going…

Addiction Conversations with my fathers 

The mental health unit: Age thirteen, suicide attempt three. I can’t remember when it all changed between my father and me. There was a time in childhood where I was still willing to forgive the fact that his sister molested me for a very long time, he knew about it and did nothing, as a kid it’s easy to overlook those things. Those are things you think about later in life. Things that will destroy you or cause you to try to destroy people around you if you don’t get them fixed. I know we were okay. We owned a house. My mother and father were together. They were successful I thought, but then my Dad used to take me for rides with him. He’d pick up friends, then girlfriends then they would do sh*t in the back of the car. Right in front of me. We had one of our few conversations and it ended with him telling me, “Don’t tell your mother.” I didn’t, ever. Not even now. I think in my kid brain everything worked: Was working. Why mess it up? But then he left; leaving us with no money, car, nothing. Just left. I tried suicide for the first time the year before at about twelve, or just turned twelve. The time before that had been accidental. Sniffing glue and I passed out and stopped breathing for a few minutes. It was funny because my friend did nothing. Didn’t call for help, nothing. Squeezed some more glue into the bag and went at it. I have his word that I stopped breathing, but he was high and I have always wondered if that part was true. I tend to be a show me and I’ll believe it type of guy. If I don’t see it I don’t believe it. Maybe I’m not so much like that anymore, but I absolutely was for many years. The thing is I started breathing again on my own and when I came out of that I had this fascination with death. It just called to me. I can’t explain it any better. Maybe the release of all responsibility, pain, hatred. Maybe. So not long after that I tried suicide again. I took every pill I could find and swallowed them. Prescription pain pills, aspirins. A few hundred pills or so. And I washed it all down with alcohol. I nearly died, but while I was in that place of waiting where my body was away from me, I had no pain. There was no one that was hurting me, using me, trying to rape me. Nothing. I wanted to stay there so bad, but they got enough stuff in me to make me puke most of the pills back up and I lived. Sick for a while, stomach permanently messed up, but alive. They sent me to the Mental Health Unit after the second attempt that year, my third try at suicide. I was there for thirty days; an automatic hold, but they were constantly telling me that if they didn’t want to let me go they could keep me. My parents had signed the paperwork they needed. I can remember one or two groups. It was my first experience with group and I hated it. I was disruptive, refused to talk; told people to go f*ck themselves and generally didn’t make any friends on the staff or any of the people there who were actually trying to get better. I had two sessions of one on one counseling. I remember the counselor’s name, although I won’t include it here. A nice guy: Honest, straight forward. The second session is when things went bad. We were talking along and I felt comfortable with him so I told him I had been sexually abused. Everything stopped. He went and got his supervisor, the supervisor and he got into an argument outside the door, the up thrust of which I heard through the door: There is no money in this, no way to pay the bill, we’re letting him go, so don’t explore that. To be honest I wasn’t that surprised. I spent my last few nights on the Mental Health Unit getting to know a girl a few years older than me. I was surprised at how alone they left us when they went off to do whatever they did. We sat in the cafeteria while she slipped her panties off and let me peek under the table. No one came in at all. Just a few short months later I was living on the streets. Addicted to speed and alcohol…


Prison 101:2

STOP! This material is NOT edited for content. It is not fiction. It contains explicit language and descriptions of real situations. It is not suitable for minors, and may not be suitable for people who easily disturbed…

Twelve years ago, after years of drug and Alcohol abuse I fell down completely. Destroyed the life I had and went to prison. I am not the sort of person who believes people should get a pat on the wrist and then move on. I didn’t always believe that. I went and I did my time because I was guilty. I worked at understanding myself and my addictions. With help and insight I got those addictions under control, and eventually I came home.

I want to say a few things before we begin. I believe men and women that commit crimes should go to prison and do their time. Whether they are lawyers’ sons, Judges’ sons, or some dirt poor kid like me. I don’t hate cops. I don’t hate C.O.’s. I don’t hate the judge or the prosecutor who put me inside. I don’t hate authority, society and rules. I was just never sober or straight enough to see that clearly. Going to prison for ten years changed me. Saved me.

There are depictions, explicit depictions of drug use, street life, sexual situations, alcoholism, prison life and more. I want you to understand that I wrote these situations as they were then. I do not believe now that drugs, prostitution, alcohol, promiscuity or anything else actually does anything for the pain that is buried inside many of us. It certainly doesn’t solve it. This was a different time too. This was a time, some of it early on, when a man could beat his wife and children and it was considered his business. If the cops were called in situations like that it was because of too much noise, not because they intended to do anything to the man. So when I write it, I am writing it from that perspective alone. I am not in any way endorsing or romanticizing it.

Lastly, this is not written to please anyone. I expect it would embarrass a few people in my family, maybe a few people who once knew me and think they probably still do know me. It was not written for people that committed crimes against myself and another family member that scarred us for life, although I want them to know, although we couldn’t speak then we have now. It was written for men and women who have become trapped in addictions, street life, crime, and are looking for a way out of that existence.

I have talked to many therapists, counselors, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Correction Counselors, convicted men, Correctional officers, Police officers, Doctors, Nurses, Civilian DOC employees both in and out of prison, Judges, and I listened to the things they said to me. I took the advice and help they offered to me. I didn’t do any of this on my own, and you don’t have to either.

Most of this is written in first person, but some is written in story form. Story form writing was a technique I learned that allows you to place some distance between yourself and painful events so you can gain clarity, and be able to discuss or write them out.

In AA, they say that addictions will take you to hospitals, Mental Institutions and Prisons. It’s true. They will. I have been in all of those places because of my addictions. But addictions are not responsible for the life I lead entirely, and certainly not responsible for the things I did. I may have used because I believe it solved problems, or to cover pain, but the decisions I made, I made because I wanted to make them, because I chose to make them.

I know those are hard words for some of you to hear. I have sat in groups when those words were given to me and I did not want to hear them, but the biggest part of healing, getting the poison out of you, is admitting the hard truths so you can move past them. So they do not own you any longer. So I want you to understand clearly how I feel, and what I learned about those actions.

Everything that follows actually happened. This is about my life…

Wendell (Dell) G Sweet January 28th 2014

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Conversations with my fathers

Original Material Copyright © 2015 by Dell Sweet

All rights reserved, domestic and foreign

If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and, or distributed without the author’s permission, except those permissions that have been stated in this text. Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.

Special permission is granted to copy and use this text in any word amount, or in its entirety, for study, or a study aid in any state, county or privately run facility: Including state prisons, county jails, mental institutions, drug programs, sex offender programs, AA, NA, or any program where the aim is to share experience to promote healthy change and progress in men and women.


This is not a work of fiction. Names have been withheld and changed to keep the focus on the Addiction and the Addict, not the person or persons. The story is true.

Accidentally Meeting God

It was June, maybe it was even July. I truthfully couldn’t tell you, any more than I could tell you what happened the rest of that year. It’s a blank in my mind. June or July is only a point of light in my mind because I heard about it, not because I lived it, but because I was told about it. That is, all but the one part of it. The absolute memory that I’m sure of from that day. But the details… The rest of the year… I have no clue.

It was June or July. My brother was supposed to go to the fair with his friend Star, but he had instead taken off with my sister. I never knew why, and I’ve never been curious enough to find out either.

It was June or July. I was in the front yard lining up some Matchbox cars, running them around the base of one of the huge Elm trees that grew in our front yard. The sidewalk ran right between them to the front steps. The trees took up what yard there was. I have been back to that house later in life. The trees are gone. Cut down because of Dutch Elm disease. And the yard seems to be huge. It seems to go on forever, but back then the Elms owned that yard on either side of the sidewalk and my brother and I had a perfect place to make roads and run our matchbox cars around.

I have no idea why I was there that day. Where my friend Dick was, why I wasn’t high, drinking or both. There isn’t enough of the memory to tell me, but there I was running my little cars around when I spotted Star from far off. I thought maybe he would pass by. After all he was my brother’s friend more than mine, but he stopped.

“Hey,” Star said.

“Hey,” I allowed. I’m pretty sure I didn’t look up from the cars, at least not at first.

“Where’s Dave,” he asked?

“Fair,” I answered.

“He told me he’d go with me,” Star said.

“Huh,” I answered. “Maybe he forgot because he left with my sister… A while ago… Like” I tried to think of how long ago it had been, but I was unable to come up with it. “Like… I don’t know. A while I guess.”

I hadn’t gone because I didn’t like the Fair. The year before I had gone, ridden the roundup, and puked as soon as I got off it. I had been sick all night too. I hated being sick, specifically being sick enough to puke, more than anything in the world. No way did I want to go through that again.

“You gonna go,” Star asked?

“Uh,uh,” I answered. I pushed the Bat mobile back in line next to a green metallic tow truck.

“I got two bucks,” Star said.

I looked up, “Well, I got only fifty cents,” I answered. That was the other reason I hadn’t gone. The Bat mobile had called to me from the toy car rack at Woolworth’s… Bat mobile?   Fair? Bat mobile? Fair…

“That will get you a couple of rides,” Star broke in. “I’ll buy you a Coke.”

I looked at him. “Okay,” I agreed instantly. My rock solid reasons I had against going had flown out the window at the promise of a Coke. “But first I gotta take care of my cars.”

I have no idea what happened to that shiny black Bat mobile with the amazing bubbled windshield. I never saw it again.


The County Fair grounds were on the other side off the city. A long walk.

The tracks, our name for any of the many sets of railroad tracks that bisected the city of Watertown, would take us most of the way there. We walked them balancing on the rails as we went. When we came to the Coffeen Street crossing we left the tracks and walked the side of the street to the outskirts of the city and the Fair grounds. I was thinking Double Ferris Wheel. No puking, just sightseeing. You could see almost all of Watertown from the top. And if you were actually lucky enough to get stopped at the top for a few moments, and I had been, you could actually pick out landmarks. I recalled that from the year before. Before the Roundup and the puking. And after that I would get the Coke Star had promised. Then I could stop at Majors Market on the way back and buy a second Coke with my other quarter. I had the whole afternoon mapped out and it seemed like a good plan to me.

The fair grounds were crowded. I saw my sister once, but she seemed to be avoiding me so I didn’t press it. We were less than a year apart and it was never really clear to me whether we hated each other or liked each other on any particular day. I saw a girl from school, Debbie something. One of my friends had referred to her as a Carpenters delight… A flat Board that had never been nailed. I didn’t really get the joke, I was always a little slow back then, but I did think she was cute. She smiled at me and I smiled back thinking I had no chance at all, wondered briefly about the board and nail remark, and then turned my attention back to the Fair Grounds.

I went with Star to the ticket booth, paid my quarter, and we headed to the midway.

“I gotta try the Double Ferris Wheel,” I said.

“I was thinking about The Roundup,” Star said.

“No way,” I disagreed. “Puked last year.” I was only too glad to tell him the story. He ended up agreeing with me on the Double Ferris Wheel ride.

I guess I do remember some of that day. Sitting here writing it all out brings a lot of it back. Maybe it was after that day that I have trouble with, even as I write this my next clear memory is about a year later. I know I do remember all the next immediate events, but I mean, the feel of that day. I remember the feel of that day too. The smells of Cotton Candy… Buttered Popcorn… Cooking Sausage and Hot dogs… The crowds and the noise… Not long ago I smelled Popcorn and it took me right back to that day. All the way back. For a split second I was standing on that Midway once again… The crowd was moving around me. I was Happy… It was high summer. Watertown was a beautiful place to live.

That is why I think my memories are real, not just things suggested by people who were there. And, of course, afterwards, I remember all of that clearly. There was no one else there but me to see it, feel it, and hear it. And all these years later it is just as real as it was then…

The Double Ferris Wheel was really the coolest ride I had ever seen. I was in front of Star as we wound our way through the line. I could see the guy running the ride. One of those typical Carney guys. I had cousins who were Carney’s. I knew the look. And this guy was old school Carney. Dark, greasy hair. Cigarette plastered in one side of his mouth. Arms bulging. Crude tattoos covered his exposed chest and arms. Dark, almost inky, Gypsy eyes. He held the long steel handle that controlled the ride in one hand. The cigarette was unfiltered; Camel or Pall Mall, pumping up and down as his lips moved. His smile was cocky. His eyes bloodshot. He was none too steady on his feet. Bumping the handle occasionally. Rocking the steel cages that held the seat buckets as he bought them around for loading and unloading. Letting kids on and off.

The long line wound it’s way down. I gave up my ticket and stepped forward and that was the end of my summer. It ended up being the last carefree childhood thing I ever did. It’s more than forty five years later now and I can say that as a fact. The rest of the real world part of that day came from Star’s testimony at the trial years later when the ride operator was sued.

The guy took my ticket. I stepped forward to get in. The cigarette jumped as he took a deep pull, jiggled the handle, lined up the wheel, and my leg swung into the open seat bucket. That was when it all went wrong. He did one of those unsteady joggles on his feet, bumped into the lever with one thigh, and kicked the ride into full operation.

For some reason, I couldn’t tell you why, I hung on instead of letting go when the bucket lurched forward and rapidly climbed up into the sky. Maybe it was simple instinct, fear. Whatever it was it probably seemed to me to be the smart thing to do until I hit one of the struts about thirty feet up and got knocked off the bucket and down to the ground. I ended up under the buckets which kept coming around and hitting me because the ride operator was too drunk to turn the ride off. Too drunk. Forgot, Froze. Whatever it was I was stuck until another Carney ran over and shut down the ride.

Nobody knows what was up with him. At the trial he claimed that I had run through the line and jumped at the ride like some crazy kid. It wasn’t a good story. The jury didn’t buy it. And it didn’t explain why he was drunk or why he didn’t shut the ride down. The jury came back with a ten thousand dollar judgment. A great deal of money for back then, but that is secondary to this story and didn’t happen for a few years. What this story is about is what the next few weeks were like for me.

I put my feet into the seat bucket and the whole wheel seemed to lurch. The next clear memory was absolute darkness and God speaking to me. Comforting me. Not hurried. Not sounding Godlike, just sounding like an ordinary, reasonable man who for some reason had nothing better to do than talk to me. A little kid.

God was behind me. I never saw him, yet I still knew it was him.

When my sight came back to me I was far above the Fair Grounds watching the ambulance weave its way through the crowds as it made its way to me. The next thing I knew I was inside… The siren warbling, and I was on my way to the hospital. God continued to talk to me and comfort me as I looked down at my broken body

I don’t know what they knew then, but I had a laundry list of injuries. Broken neck, broken vertebrae in my thoracic spine. Broken vertebrae in my lumbar spine. Broken left scapula and joint damage to the shoulder. My upper back had been hit so hard that the muscles that attached from my shoulder blades to my spine had been torn free. I don’t know if I was still breathing or not. I stopped at some point in there, but it really didn’t concern me.

I watched as I was unloaded and rolled down the hallway of the emergency room. My mother ran beside the gurney, crying. The nurses cut the clothes from my body as they ran. I was filthy. Either the filth or the nudity embarrassed my mother, but the nurses did their work as they rushed my body along that hallway. And although I could feel their thoughts, hear their words, it did not affect me.

The next few weeks went by fast. God never once left me. Talking to me. Answering my endless questions. And I did have endless questions, but he had endless answers. Everything… All the knowledge of the entire world… Universe… Universes, was mine.

She tricked me this way: The nurse was young. Pretty. Even to me, a kid. She took my hand and began to talk to me. She had no idea I was busy talking to God, so I forgave her, at first anyhow.

But then she began to call my name. Call me Honey. Tell me to wake up, and it began to bother me. I couldn’t concentrate on God if she didn’t leave me alone. I wanted to tell her to shut up! Stop! And so I imagined my mouth opening to say the words and that was it. I was back in my body. Stuck in my body. God was gone. The pain was everywhere. Huge. Unyielding. I was stuck. And worse, everything God had told me was gone. It was like it was some sort of top secret knowledge. Top secret God knowledge that could not exist outside of death. You could know all of it if you intended to be dead, but none of it if you intended to live.

I hadn’t intended to live, I remember thinking that. Who in their right mind would leave the company of God to come back to this world? Not me, but she had tricked me. Tricked me, and I had fallen for it.

The story of my addiction is here: 

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About war

What if you were standing in your own yard and the world was the same. Great. Safe. Comfortable. And you were standing there in your yard. Just a kid, a man, a woman, the day right there before you. Feeling like the world would always be the same.

And this safety was all that you had known, ever. And the sun was shining in the sky. And then the tanks rolled in. And the soldiers with their guns. The noise incredible. The soldiers glancing at you as they walk past you. Like they know your name.

And everything changed. Your yard was not your yard anymore. Just a piece of dirt and grass with tank tracks running across it. But the sun is still shining… How can that be? And the soldiers are soldiering, they don’t speak. It’s like they don’t even care.

And you turn away but it is the same all around you. Your friends in their yards. Looking at the same blue sky, the same bright sun. The same tanks. The same soldiers with the same guns. They don’t speak either, but the same questions are on the air.

And you feel like the black clouds should move in and blot out the sun. The bright day should not exist in this world that your eyes see. You blink but it doesn’t go away, refuses to change. Your whole world has changed and a minute has not expired.

The tanks, clank, clank, clank, on their way to where, you wonder. And the soldiers step, step, step, one foot follows the other never questioning where. The children begin to cry. You think to wipe your own tears from your eyes, but find you are too tired.

The tanks, the soldiers, the sun in the blue sky. The day that started as your own…

The noise, the fear. Time is moving, but you don’t know where it’s going…

I wrote a song about war that I recorded on an EP five or so years back. It used to be available independently, but I think it’s out of print now…

Here is the video from YouTube: