Stone Hotel Poetry Book
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In August of 2006, the last copies from the first limited and numbered printing of Stone Hotel were sold. While we might still do a reprinting in the future, we decided to make this PDF of the book freely available in the meantime to keep the text in circulation and help promote Raegan’s writing and new book, Rusty String Quartet. We’d like to remind everyone that we think a book of poetry like this one is the best example of why reading books on a computer screen is the worst format possible—it truly cannot be compared with the experience of reading such a finely tailored book in the real world. But alas, Stone Hotel is no longer in print, and this PDF will have to do; we can only hope that after enjoying these poems you will consider getting your hands on Raegan’s finely printed second book, filled with 264 poems in 340 pages, still in its first printing of 2,000 copies. More information can be found here: http://www.crimethinc.com/a/rusty Fighting to keep poetry alive in all our lives, The CWC PDF Haters and Creators Faction $10 postage-paid to your door from: CrimethInc. Workers’ Collective PO Box 13998 Salem OR 97309-1998 or available from our online store at www.crimethinc.com. Stone Hotel poems from prison by Raegan Butcher CRIMETHINC. LETTERS / OLYMPIA / 2003 table of contents published by the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers’ Collective Additional copies of this book ($10 postage-paid)—and a wide variety of other anarchist literature, propaganda, and popular explosives—can be obtained for a song, and sometimes with cold hard cash, at www.crimethinc.com, or by writing to: CrimethInc. Felonius Monks PO Box 1963 Olympia WA 98507 this book is a fund raiser . . . for the ongoing anarchist outreach publishing project Fighting For Our Lives (www.crimethinc.com/fighting). All revenue received, minus production and shipping costs, and payment to the author (see below) goes directly toward the printing and distribution of FFOL. this is the inaugural book in the CrimethInc. Letters series . . . These are our letters—to the universe. To each other. This is where we re-write our histories and create our own cultures without the mediation of corporations. When we are too far away from one another for campfire storytelling, we use our own voices here, and we use them to call out across the distance. Authors in the Letters series receive 10-20% (a sliding scale based on their financial situation) of the gross revenue for the book as payment: this is our effort to actually build sustainability into our pricing structure rather than nurture yet another generation of victimized, starving artists. © anti-copyright 2003 by raegan butcher This text may be reproduced freely only in a nonprofit manner, and should not be included in any form in a publication to be sold, without first contacting and receiving permission directly from the author. Cover and endsheets printed with our good friends at Pinball Publishing, www.pinballpublishing.com, text printed and bound in Canada by the workers at Hignell Book Printing. Printed on 35% post-consumer recycled paper. first printing of two-thousand copies 11 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 20 . 21 . 22 . 23 . 24 . 25 . 27 . 29 . 30 . 31 . 32 . 33 . 34 . 36 . 37 . 38 . 39 . 40 . 41 . 42 . 43 . 44 . 45 . 46 . 47 . wild-eyed pistol waver arrest suicide watch 5 north hell is a very small place 96 months prisonbound love is a clenched fist 8 feet of space yesterday was endless and it’s already over piss test chowhall fight predator prey snitch used to know you celibate by circumstance heart check scut smokey stretch the loser’s club short eyes eddie tough guys paranoia april 7th 1998 miracle conversation somebody’s husband, somebody’s son the devil’s dandruff 48 . 49 . 50 . 51 . 52 . 53 . 54 . 55 . 56 . 57 . 58 . 59 . 60 . 61 . 62 . 63 . 64 . 65 . 66 . 67 . 68 . 69 . 70 . 71 . 72 . 73 . 74 . 75 . 76 . 77 . 78 . 79 . 80 . january 15th 1969 ball & chain denise has got her shit together preacher i fought the law hey muchacha monday january 1st 2001 disowned an anniversary, of sorts the concrete blues swerve the bullet only the dead don’t grow old realm a kind of victory a good man feeling bad 1996 2nd hand smoke tuesday afternoon in a cage don’t say a word my pedigree the race card privacy an easygoing way big shirley derek hot rod sparky tran jeremiah brian dan ron nathan 81 . 82 . 83 . 84 . 85 . 86 . 88 . 89 . 90 . 91 . 92 . 93 . 94 . 95 . 96 . 98 . 99 . 100 . 101 . 102 . 103 . 104 . 105 . 106 . 107 . 109 . 110 . 111 . 112 . 113 . 114 . smitty todd chris buzz the keeper & the kept november 3rd 2001 forever war memories of you wrong number guilty a long line of dead men these ruined years, this wasted mind, and so much wasted time visiting room same old story snapshots praying for silence the hard dollar what is left 9 million rainy days asleep at the soul starting over at 35 strip search survivor worried call me butch words of wisdom a walk among the tombstones just the way it is nowhere is my home endless, senseless dimestore dillinger A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S The author would like to thank Hib Chickena and P. F. Maul for their work on this book, and Paul Wright, Greg Guedel and Jim Laukkonen for their friendship and support. “Prison’s just like the free world: Bullshit, violence, and death; only in prison it’s on a tighter schedule.” –Andrew Vachss “Great Art is horseshit, buy tacos.” – Charles Bukowski Stone Hotel wild-eyed pistol waver showing the gun to the korean man behind the counter my voice smooth as syrup saying the money his blank face screwed into puzzlement his voice a question the money? i got pissed yeah, the money, motherfucker or i’ll kill you but that was a lie there was only one person in that room i wanted to kill 11 and he is sitting right here telling you this 12 arrest puking up a belly full of beer a block from the crime the sound of sirens sobered me up FAST in blazing daylight with no getaway car reality crashed down like a rain of frogshit i sprinted into a park blundered thru some bushes tumbled into a ravine shit a dead end then dogs barking behind me K-9 units with their nostrils full of my fear i jacked a round into the chamber but i only had 7 bullets not enough for a shoot-out it was never like this in the movies they always had plenty of ammo and the proper soundtrack i clawed my way out of the weeds saw a black & white blocking the street whirled around no luck another cruiser and a blue wall of badges pointing guns and screaming i put my pistol to my head i didn’t want to go to prison then i thought of my 5 year old daughter and did what i swore i would never do i threw my piece down got on the ground and waited for whatever came next 13 suicide watch little pot-belled cop in booking looks like the pillsbury doughboy with a Hitler mustache asks me the standard questions and when i answer yes to Have You Ever Been or Are You Now Suicidal his little round gimlet eyes narrow in bored contempt and his dead voice commands me to follow him down a hallway a door opens to a room no bigger than a broom closet painted green with absolutely nothing in it except a square hole in the floor full of piss and shit and gobs of spit and hair he makes me strip lift my dick my balls run my hands thru my hair open my mouth stick out my tongue turn around and spread my ass cheeks so he can take a peek and then he grabs my pile of clothes and snarls Someone Will Be By To See You and slams the door i touch the walls and feel spongy padding and cold air blowing from somewhere so i walk in circles thinking of my much missed daughter 5 hours later the door cracks light a fat face appears and asks if i am still suicidal and i am so damn cold and bored i lie and say Not Anymore so they give me a blue jumpsuit and send me upstairs to the 5th floor of the snohomish county jail june 2nd 1996 14 5 north was where they kept the mental cases like every other cell-block it was way over capacity so i was given a mattress and assigned a spot on the floor it was freezing in there air conditioners cranked to full power i guess they thought it was good for the Loonies only 3 people in there were truly CRAZY as far as i could tell one was a frizzy-haired arab who looked like Salman Rushdie on crack slapped and argued with himself and flew into foaming-at-the-mouth rages another was a beady-eyed bearded religious maniac who had killed a bunch of people in a church fire deliberately set and screamed the same apocalyptic passage from the book of Revelations all night and the other was a gooned-out gold-toothed drooling simpleton who had fried his brain-egg on PCP and the rest were cranky malcontents faking symptoms to a dozen different maladies in order to stay there God knows why it was the coldest floor in the whole building and sleep was impossible due to the firebug’s nocturnal ravings but they did give us extra portions of food so maybe that was it 15 hell in a very small place 6 months in the snohomish county jail playing cards with killers thieves and wife-beaters day after day after day every night eyes open wide on my bunk staring at the ceiling disgusted with life i swallowed 2 months of anti-depressant medication on a cold night in november swam out of 3 days darkness and no one even noticed i was gone 96 months my lawyer bored and preoccupied not even working for his money the prosecutor thundering doom and calling for the max me thin and handcuffed needing a shave pants around my ankles waiting for it the judge pinch-eyed and displeased working on getting re-elected no vaseline he slid it in hard 16 17 prisonbound they stripped us and looked in all our holes then they gave us blue jumpsuits and marched us off to the R-Units to start doing our time i had 2, 555 days to go then dressed us in orange jumpsuits ran a chain around our bellies and cuffed our hands to it another set went around our ankles and we shuffled onto a bus it was december and we had no shoes or socks just plastic sandals we rode that bus 10 hours we reached our destination and went thru the whole process again strip, look up the ass, lift the balls, stick out the tongue all that plus we were weighed photographed and fingerprinted 18 19 love is a clenched fist 8 feet of space i am surrounded by men who live in cages days and days of instant coffee and blink in the sun like psychotic moles and a tv set connoisseurs of hatred the same chain-link and razor-wire disguised as racial pride outside my window the tattooed husbands of battered wives no comfort in routine who think love is a clenched fist 20 my life is defined by 8 feet of space 21 yesterday was endless and it’s already over i am being strangled by the hands of a clock choked by the curled fingers of a calendar endless passive waiting in a numbered box even fear has gone stale with time i struggle with the typewriter and bad memories and i only touch women in my dreams piss test keys rattle the door clicks the lock pops it’s the cops shining lights in your eyes at 4 in the morning without warning they drag you downstairs to a room no bigger than a broom closet you leave your clothes in a pile lift your balls your cock stick out your tongue run fingers thru your hair privacy is a thing of the past like ice cream and automobiles dollar bills and the smiles of females one cop at each elbow eyes riveted on your shriveled up dick shy like a baby turtle’s head you strain and puff to squeeze out enough to fill up the plastic cup so you can get back to bed with the unspoken message loud and clear in your head we OWN your ASS and everything else in here convict 22 23 chowhall stand in line wait for your tray all those eyes upon you connected to warped and suspicious minds searching for the least sign of weakness wondering if you are a punk or a rapist and therefore deserving of a beating or a knife between the ribs grab your tray search for a table containing a friendly face (or at least a neutral one) sit down consume the food as fast as possible (might as well, it has no taste) then up and dump the scraps in the trash slide your tray thru the slot and walk out you’ve done it another meal successfully ingested 24 fight the little vietnamese walked up to the big black guy sitting at the chowhall table and tossed a cup of boiling water in his face. the black guy bellowed like a wounded moose and jumped to his feet. the vietnamese threw several punches at the black guy’s head. the black guy grabbed the vietnamese guy by the front of his shirt and slammed a huge meaty fist into his face. i saw the vietnamese guy’s teeth crunch in a wash of blood, and then the cops intervened. they separated the combatants and hauled them away. 25 then told the rest of us to clear out and go back to our cells. it looked like lunch was over. predator watching a b-ball game in the gym when a short muscular black man sat down next to me and said i ain’t gonna lie; i think you fine. he had been down a long time and had developed a taste for pretty white boys even tho i don’t like to fight i like getting fucked in the ass even less and i told him this he went into his velvet pimp routine offered me drugs money love emotional commitment all of it it was an impressive performance i must admit but the answer was the same 26 27 he finally got the message and moved off prey to my intense relief like i said i don’t like to fight on the phone a young kid sitting next to me sobbing to his family but will if i have to i heard him say “they’re turning me into a prostitute!” the cops came and took him away to protective custody the next day 28 29 snitch the cops found him hanging from the light fixture a bedsheet around his neck face purple eyes filled with blood like bright red eggs piss & shit dripping down his legs and no one could figure out how he managed to tie used to know you on a sidewalk in Seattle i listened to the sound of your heart turning to stone and became just a friend now i sit in a prison cell and wait for my life to begin again both of his hands together behind his back 30 31 celibate by circumstance masturbate 3 times in 20 minutes the last orgasm just a dry spasm in a cramped hand painful squeeze of a prostate gland light a candle for me i’m dead heart check the new guy was like me average height but skinny as hell so when the representative from the tough guy crew walked up to him in the dayroom and caught him on the jaw with a solid right cross the new guy went down and stayed there the puncher told his crew “the guy has no heart.” two weeks later someone (guess who) stabbed the tough guy in the neck and he bled to death in a matter of minutes so i guess the new guy had heart after all and patience too which as we all know is quite a virtue 32 33 scut i don’t know how many hours of my life i’ve spent cleaning up after other people. when you don’t have any skills and you need $$$ you either work in fast food or become a janitor. i’ve cleaned office buildings, restaurants, hardware stores, horse stables, grocery stores, prison work camps and visiting rooms. my friends always seemed to have jobs that were somehow more bearable; they worked in record shops or vintage clothing stores or their parents had their own businesses and they worked for them. i always ended up as a janitor. in prison that term is never used; instead you are a porter. i am not sure why; 34 i thought a porter was a guy who helped people get on trains or something. all thru my teens and twenties, right up until i got arrested i worked crappy little jobs with low pay and zero prestige; let’s face it, scrubbing toilets isn’t a sexy occupation. it seemed that whenever i found a job that paid well i was laid off within a few months. i’ve never been laid off from a job that only paid minimum wage. i had to quit those jobs, only to be forced to find other, similar jobs after a few months of starving and sleeping on people’s couches. it wasn’t much of a life but it was what i did. 35 smokey real name Robert Bebb the prison barber he’d give you a decent cut free of charge but a pack of menthols showed your appreciation he was interested in writing and writers knew all the touchstones: Bukowski, Bunker, Celine cancer killed him quick a month after diagnosis this one is for you, man you shouldn’t have died behind those walls stretch is what everyone called him on account of he is about 7 feet tall but slim he was in for killing someone over a drug deal the pigs found him stabbed to death under the bleachers in the gym apparently over a gambling debt some called it justice i called it just another day 36 37 the loser’s club i see these young kids scared acting tough they are usually in for drugs or car theft they don’t have much time to do one or two years they do nothing they learn nothing they spend all their time in the dayroom playing cards trying to fit in be one of the fellas stupid macho shitheads they think they’re cool but they’re just scared kids acting tough short eyes the hypocrisy is stunning the biggest jesus freaks are the rapists and the child molesters diseased sinners scurrying to church clutching vinyl covered bibles and the preachers sanctimonious con-men are like benevolent sponges wiping away guilt like spilled milk it’s bullshit some things are beyond absolution these bible-backed pieces of shit make me sick their lips tremble with prayer but their eyes dream future crimes God may forgive them but i sure as hell don’t 38 39 eddie the never-do-well son of my next door neighbors he was somewhere past 40 with busted teeth twinkly blue eyes and a head full of curly brown hair he lived off and on in a tarpaper shack in their backyard i used to sit in there with him and drink whiskey out of coffee cups i don’t remember a single conversation but i do recall feeling very heavy and important drunk at 10 in the morning i was 15 years old and already knew that there wasn’t much to life but if i had had any idea what an avalanche of horrifying shit was coming my way i would have never left that run-down shack and probably be better off for it today 40 tough guys on the mainline on the yard everyone trying so hard to be a tough guy it gets boring and ridiculous as if denying their fear will make them immortal the graveyards are full of tough guys who didn’t realize they stayed alive only as long as the cowards let them 41 paranoia paranoia is rampant in prison april 7th 1998 walked the yard alone no one is immune it rained for a minute or two imaginary insults breed festering resentments the smell of the rain on the pavement there’s no such thing as an accident brought memories every slight is an attack upon one’s manhood it’s tiring and stupid yet i suffer from it like everyone else enemies appear where there are only thoughtless acts: of the summer of ’93 when i lived with my girlfriend and child on Casino road until things went bad regret and lost love and missed opportunities crunching under my shoes the black guy who bumped me when i was on the phone (he did it on purpose!) the redneck who ignored me while he talked to my friend (that was deliberate!) a million signals, gestures, postures and comments this place is oppressive and filled with threats 42 43 miracle i seem to be tempting fate quite a bit of late but usually i do it on purpose. consider this: when i left for work this morning i unwittingly left my locker open. not just unlocked but wide open, both doors swinging wide and inviting major theft of just about everything i own. and yet in spite of the fact that i live in a dormitory with 50 killers, thieves, rapists and drug dealers not a single item was taken. it’s almost enough to reignite my belief in the essential decency of the human race. almost, but not quite. conversation you’re in for murder? yeah. who did you kill? some bitch. how? beat her head in with a pipe. why? she owed me money. how much? 50 bucks. you beat a woman’s head in with a pipe because she owed you 50 bucks? it was the principle, man. yeah? ok, see ya later. 44 45 somebody’s husband, somebody’s son his wife wanted a divorce he did not take rejection well so he responded by beating her head with a baseball bat then strangling her to death the devil’s dandruff i’ve tried just about every drug there is and i must confess that when it comes to cocaine i don’t see the allure. i’ve snorted it, smoked it, and shot it directly into my main-line and everytime it feels the same: mild euphoria followed by an intense craving for MORE. it’s like that old joke: how does cocaine make you feel? it makes you feel like having some MORE cocaine. when i shot coke my heart started slamming around in my chest, my body shook, i began sweating. it was like a very expensive anxiety attack. i can get that feeling any number of ways: armed robbery, car crash at 80 mph, watching the birth of my daughter. i don’t need cocaine. might as well just drink 17 pots of coffee and flush my wallet down the toilet. and fucking her corpse said it was the best piece of ass he’d ever had 46 47 january 15th 1969 is when all this trouble started for me (and a few others too) as i ripped my way out of my mother’s vagina with no anesthesia for the unfortunate woman i’m afraid i’ve been nothing but a pain in the ass (and other delicate places) to that poor woman 48 ball & chain a few old girlfriends write to me in prison it’s nice they all have boyfriends, husbands, children and good jobs i have concrete and razor-wire, steel doors and psychopathic neighbors but i don’t think i’d trade places with them because in a few more years i will be free and it seems that they never will be 49 denise has got her shit together she’s got a good job, new office, 401K. she rents a house in a nice neighborhood. she has a 6 year old son but she doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend and she tells me that sometimes she gets lonely. i write to her from prison (i get lonely sometimes too) and i tell her that she’s lucky for there is much pleasure in being alone. but i understand how she feels. it is also good to share your victories with someone. the trick is finding the right someone. i hope that someday Denise finds that someone. and for that matter i hope i do too. preacher black and balding always jolly and quick with a kind word they say he killed his wife cut her throat with a butcher knife and stabbed her 47 times he’s doing life plus 200 years whichever comes first 50 51 i fought the law being moved from one prison to another in the van the guard had the radio tuned to the oldies station hey muchacha driving thru town on the prison bus summertime windows down a teenage girl on the sidewalk Bobby Fuller sang a Mexican in front of me leaned out and leered “i fought the law and the law won!” “Hey Muchacha! Te quiero mucho!” and it was one of the few moments since my arrest that felt right her arm shot up quick defiant without even looking she flipped him off truly beautiful we roared with laughter all the way to prison 52 53 monday january 1st 2001 brand new day brand new week brand new month brand new year brand new century brand new millennium same old me disowned 21 and drunk i smashed up my father’s car and ducked a DWI by fleeing the scene in a panic but still had to face the old man he told me over the phone “all that matters is that you’re ok; i can always get another car but i can’t get another son.” but we both knew he meant just the opposite he already had another son 54 55 an anniversary, of sorts i haven’t spoken to my father in 10 years and that suits me just fine. it isn’t tragic. there is no sense of loss. i don’t miss his company. he never approved of me and i’m grateful to him for precipitating the break because now i don’t have to listen to his lectures or endure his pompous scorn for my every action, thought, or dream. the man simply didn’t like the person i turned out to be. that’s fine with me. 56 the concrete blues they are selling my city to dot.com millionaires too young to shave. i should’ve listened to my parents. stayed in college. gotten better grades. i’m no longer young. time speeds up, slips away. my hair is almost completely grey. i haven’t done any of the things i wanted to do. i feel 60 but i’m only 32. 57 swerve the bullet there are certain ages which can snare a man and take him down 27 is a particularly dangerous year it got jimi hendrix janis joplin kurt cobain jim morrison and my friend blair scott i’m 32 so i managed to sneak past that gravestone but next year i’ll be 33 same age as jesus when he died john belushi too i’ll have to be careful only the dead don’t grow old by the time i was 32 i had a head full of grey hair that was also noticeably thinning. my back ached all the time as did my neck and hips, which gave off loud firecracker pops whenever i moved. 15 years of drinking and taking pills had given me the liver “of a 70 year old” according to the prison doctor. but at least i didn’t have AIDS or hepatitis from my days of shooting drugs. everyone shows some wear and tear eventually. the only people who are past feeling any pain are pushing up the daisies. i’m not ready to join the ranks of the illustrious dead 58 59 realm i’ve always admired the last words of condemned men the epitome of false bravado and i’ve often thought that that would not be a bad way to end to go down snarling screaming for revenge if not in this life then in the next swearing vengeance in another time place dimension great 60 a kind of victory i knew what i wanted to be when i was 5 yrs old but that didn’t fit with what other people wanted so i took a lot of shit i wish i could say that i was strong and overcame all that shit but the truth is i got distracted for a number of years by a lot of other shit and so here i am almost 35 years old and i’m still not doing what i want to be doing but i haven’t given up i haven’t quit i have the same desires and the same goals i had when i was a child and i’m still trying to reach them slowly but surely and i guess that’s a kind of victory in and of itself 61 a good man feeling bad i wrote more when i was on amphetamines i wrote more when i was drinking i wrote more when i was in love with you i wrote more when you were mistreating me i wrote more when i was broke and homeless i wrote more when my life seemed hopeless i wrote more when i first came to prison i wrote more before my hair turned grey and started thinning i wrote more when i was sleeping with the wives of other men i wish i could write now like i used to write then 62 1996 i used to sit and cry and hold a loaded gun up to my head but i chose a slower way of being dead 63 2nd hand smoke tuesday afternoon in a cage my celly sits on the bunk below me and smokes a cigarette my celly lifts weights is a Reverend of the Universal Life Church and has a pierced nipple i sit above him breathing in his 2nd hand smoke for the 100th time today he walks in calls me a freak laughs turns the boom box up louder says CRANK THIS! but it isn’t so terrible at least he isn’t punching me in the face and butt-fucking me he could if he tried he is much bigger and stronger than i am i tell him it’s loud enough in here he laughs this is how time passes i would resist, of course i would fight with the energy of panic and fear born of desperation but he would win eventually that’s the way it is in here the law of the jungle that’s the way it is everywhere 64 65 don’t say a word i’m locked in an 8 x 10 cell with a pig of a man my pedigree German Irish Scottish and Cherokee what does that make me? who farts chainsmokes and wipes his boogers on the walls he outweighs me by at least 150 lbs so i don’t complain 66 67 the race card the blacks the asians the mexicans and the indians all hang together when there is trouble they back each other up and find safety in numbers very few whites do this and it makes me wonder privacy doesn’t exist in prison you shit shower shave eat read fart smoke piss work watch tv and sleep in the company of other convicts and under the watchful eyes of bored and stupid guards 68 69 an easygoing guy highly religious ovewhelmingly friendly neat in appearance meticulous in his habits worked the same job for 30 years paid his bills on time loved his wife kept his garbage can lids on tight and murdered over 49 women 70 big shirley black homosexual tipped the scales at 300 lbs was always in the dayroom braiding someone’s hair. and then a slim young blond kid moved into big Shirley’s cell. God only knows what he was thinking; he must’ve wanted what happened to happen. at least that is the story i heard. it went like this: 2nd night together big Shirley whipped out his huge member and started to put it to the kid. the kid told him to go slow but big Shirley broke wild and just rammed it home. the kid didn’t like that so the next morning he went and told and they both went to the hole. i don’t know how much if any of that story was true. but i never saw either one of them again. 71 derek was a crazy white guy who thought he was an indian when i say crazy i mean a schizophrenic rage-a-holic with extreme religious mania he would spout off for hours about his own personal brand of half-understood indian mysticism and quasi-christianity and tell me i was “evil” when my attention wandered hot rod a 50 year old speed-freak meth cook dope dealer had SS lightning bolts on his neck told me he’d “stabbed a nigger” at san quentin and i believed him he was really hard to get along with 72 73 sparky was short bald and hyperactive said he was in for 1st degree arson but was probably a rapist 74 tran spoke no english and beat me at chess on a regular basis they deported him back to vietnam when his sentence was over he cried 75 jeremiah walked into the cell put down his bed-roll and said, “i worship satan.” 76 brian also worshipped satan and talked endlessly about nothing at all 77 dan was known as the gentleman bank robber he seemed too intelligent to be in prison but bad luck doesn’t discriminate 78 ron looked like nick nolte and told outrageous stories packed with more bullshit than a politician’s promise 79 nathan was a homosexual body-builder with a pierced nipple who made me very nervous 80 smitty had acne scars and a crabby attitude he went to the hole on a regular basis for fighting and failing piss tests 81 todd molested his niece and whined about his 4 year sentence 82 chris accidentally killed his infant daughter and stoically accepted 26 years 83 buzz was a short-tempered indian kid with 2 felony strikes already on his sheet he got out and was back in the can within 5 hours some kind of record the keeper & the kept what you see is what you get power dynamics are rarely so naked the pot-bellied bullies who lock us in cages are a bigger bunch of lawless thugs than we criminals could ever hope to be we are locked up because we got caught and the law applies to us but who watches the cops? given the power of Life and Death they puff up like poison toads and punish us with impunity 84 85 november 3rd 2001 i’m sitting at this metal desk in front of the window looking out at the coils of razor-wire sitting here sick with the flu while they clear away rubble in New York City and fret about anthrax in the mail so i’m sitting here with my fever and phlegm and cholesterol-choked heart while bombs rain down on Afghanistan and the world spins wildly thru space i don’t believe i will die today or even go insane i think i’ll take a shower and masturbate instead i’ve got my own problems: a daughter who now resides in another state a mother married to a religious maniac a neurotic sister plagued by anxiety attacks and high cholesterol (mine is pretty high, too, for a guy of only 32) 86 87 forever war my country it seems is always at war. whether it’s stomping the shit out of helpless 3rd world nations or brutalizing its own citizens here at home it’s clear this country is out of control. a vicious gang of rich thugs have constructed a mechanized military monster, killed off the buffalo, paved the continent from end to end and declared war. the war on terror the war on drugs the war on crime the war of the rich against the poor war war war the human beast is loose in the streets screaming for more. i am afraid it will go on and on war without end until unfortunately everyone is dead. 88 memories of you i’m tired of hating myself on your behalf i used to be so hungry for your mouth, your breasts, your ass you claimed i made you feel stupid you resented my tongue and my mind so you took up with mute knuckle-draggers who posed no threat to your simple world-view you complained that i never worked and i guess that much is true and although i swore i would never again seek the company of your smile i’m sure it would make you happy if you knew i still masturbate to memories of you 89 wrong number i have no family waiting for me the mother of my child is married to another man and my daughter calls him “dad” somewhere a telephone is ringing guilty last night i found a dead man in my cell dust on his eyeballs like fuzzy marbles he died in his sleep he looks just like me if you’re not guilty how come you’re bleeding? 90 91 a long line of dead men it’s foggy outside my window and once again i have drank too much coffee all jittery i can’t seem to find my limit until i’ve crossed it the man in the bunk across from me grinds his teeth and moans in his sleep sometimes it feels as if i’m not in prison at all but some kind of demented monastery with crazed and ignorant monks farting and snoring in the morning 92 these ruined years, this wasted mind, and so much wasted time hours days weeks months years of my life stolen from me by bosses supervisors foremen cops judges and all the everyday simple boring idiots of this most unappealing world 93 visiting room an air of sadness permeates the room. kids without fathers. wives without husbands. everyone wishing they were someplace else. same old story my parents divorced when i was 4 i saw my dad on weekends court-ordered i wanted him to like me but he was better at lecturing i tried in vain, thru soccer games and school plays to gain his approval but it never came same old story everyone has a name no one has a father 94 95 snapshots finding out my friend had been murdered having my abscessed ear-drum lanced when i was 5 finding a woman’s wallet and using the money in it to buy heroin being punched in the mouth in the 4th grade being arrested for armed robbery drinking vodka and orange juice and skipping school using money stolen from a church to buy tickets to see The Clash being sentenced to 8 years in prison looking out the bus window at Walla Walla and seeing a guard holding an automatic rifle rolling a pick-up truck when i was a sophomore quitting all those minimum wage jobs without collecting my last paycheck wandering the streets of Seattle in a 2nd hand suit and sleeping in the park being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct watching my girlfriend give birth to my daughter and cutting the umbilical cord seeing myself on a movie screen for the first time being put in a mental hospital on my 27th birthday 96 97 praying for silence trying to read a poem at 6:25 in the morning after a bad night of sweat-soaked nightmares trying to gain a measure of calm from the words of another man who calls himself a poet i can’t do it because of the constant interruptions the stamping of feet the slamming of doors the flushing of toilets there is never a moment of silence the hard dollar prison is hardly the free ride it’s perceived to be from out on the streets. they make us pay for everything including room and board. i thought i had escaped the tyranny of the timeclock but prison is just like the free world: everyone is hustling for the hard dollar. i have never felt more isolated among the multitudes in this human zoo as i do right now trying to read a poem at 6:25 in the morning 98 99 what is left i had a life but you could hardly call it blessed i started out with nothing and i still have most of it left 9 million rainy days sometimes there’s just nothing rain outside the window too much coffee in your gut time ticking away but somehow too slow you have thoughts but they’re not profound you have worries and they’re average worries but terrifying too —how are you going to make it? you need a car a place to sleep food to eat and none of these is cheap you need all the things that everyone else needs but you don’t know how to do anything and you feel ashamed to be selling your books as if you’ve joined the ranks of all the other merchants the greedy hustlers just another salesman 100 101 asleep at the soul if i had grown up in a stable household with two well-adjusted and loving parents studied hard in school graduated with honors gone to college gotten a degree found a decent job met a wonderful girl fallen in love gotten married and lived happily ever after what in the hell would i have to write about? 102 starting over at 35 there’s nothing to it, you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get busy kicking the world in the ass. so your hair is thinning and it has turned almost completely grey and ok, you don’t have any practical job skills; you’re not good with your hands, you’re no mechanic, no carpenter, you don’t know shit about computers, but that doesn’t matter because, damnit man, you’re finally free again! you’ve gotten back the most important thing in the world: your freedom! sure, you lost much more than just 7 years and no one who wasn’t there will ever be able to understand but you survived! you’re alive! you’ve got a 2nd chance. not everyone gets a 2nd chance. sure, ok, it isn’t going to be easy; it’s going to be a fiendishly difficult uphill battle fraught with peril every step of the way. but i think you’re going to make it, man. i’ve got a good feeling about you. 103 strip search designed to humiliate dehumanize demoralize and intimidate stand naked lift your balls bend and spread your ass cheeks every time you get piss tested go to the infirmary see your visitors or move from one work area to another survivor all the way from the Pacific Northwest thru the jobs the women suicidal depression alcohol drugs 7 years in prison to emerge into the 21st century squinting into an uncertain future over the years i’ve gone thru it probably hundreds of times it’s depressing what a man can get used to 104 105 worried i haven’t been behind the wheel of an automobile in 7 years. i wonder if i will remember how to operate a motor vehicle when i get out? it’s a silly question. they say driving is like fucking: once you’ve done it you never forget how. well, i’m worried about the fucking part too. 106 call me butch for some reason convicts like to call each other by nicknames. some are fairly self-explanatory: “Fat Pat the Rapo Rat” pretty much says it all. others are more involved: “Oral-B” earned that name by unwittingly brushing his teeth with a toothbrush his celly had stuck up his ass when Oral-B was out of the cell. as for me, i’ve been called many names over the years. i’ve had Mexicans call me “Flaco” (skinny) and “Carnicero” (butcher) and for some reason the Cubans at Walla Walla called me “Clint Eastwood”. i’ve been called “Slick”, “Sport”, “Professor”, “Bookworm” and “International Playboy and Super-stud”. now most people just call me “Butch”. i’ve grown so accustomed to it that on the rare occasions when someone uses my first name it sounds odd and jarring. 107 that nickname is one of the few things i would like to take with me when i leave prison. so if we should happen to meet on the street dear reader, call me Butch. 108 words of wisdom i’ve had my romance with guns and breaking the law i’ve had my fun with drugs and climbing the walls and i’m here to tell you all to forget it it’s a waste of time 109 a walk among the tombstones smuggling poems out of prison in the soles of my shoes i’m way past finding salvation in the arms of a woman i look out my window and see burning flowers and starving armies but when i look up into the night sky i see the souls of dead heroes 110 just the way it is i was homeless and unemployed for long periods. i lived on the streets, slept in cars and on couches. i injected heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines into my veins, smoked pot almost every day for 15 years, drank oceans of wine, whiskey, and beer. i held people up at gunpoint, was chased and beaten by the police, sat and played chess with men who were destined for Death Row. i am not proud nor am i ashamed of the things i’ve done. i do not write about them in order to glorify them. i write about them because these experiences make up a large portion of my life. that’s just the way it is. 111 nowhere is my home all of my childhood homes have been sold to strangers i’m rootless cut off from my past my baby pictures lost and moldering in a distant garage left behind by an absent-minded mother when people ask me where i am from i don’t know how to answer born in Seattle raised in Everett and Snohomish bounced between all three my whole life nowhere is my home endless, senseless late at night is the worst with a human being snoring on the bunk below i see my future spread out before me like a dead-end road map and i want to scream at the uselessness i am so afraid i’ll have to go back to the same shitty jobs the same failed relationships endless nights filled with loneliness and frustration 112 113 dimestore dillinger hard time for armed crime isn’t just a politician’s sound bite i did 7 years in prison i don’t need to be forgiven with eyes like traffic lights and a spine like a cork-screw i’ve walked thru hell wearing gasoline shoes 114 Raegan Butcher was born in Seattle in 1969 but moved to rural Snohomish when he was very young. In 1996 he was convicted of First Degree Armed Robbery and sentenced to eight years in prison. He is currently incarcerated and is scheduled to be released in 2003. He is looking forward to getting letters from kooks and malcontents from all over the world. You can send mail to him in care of CrimethInc. / PO Box 1963 / Olympia WA 98507. T his book was set in the typeface Oolakat, designed by Günner Grubumpkin in 1884 in the small village of Duren, located near the Hürtgen Forest in western Germany. It was based on the typeface Caslon and created as a protest against the practices of capitalist typeface foundries. Grubumpkin changed several subtle nuances of the typeface and released it as Oolakat, naming it after his first daughter, who is rumored to have been the result of an unusual relationship he maintained for the duration of his life with a wild wolf—whose influence extended far beyond the mere name of the typeface. Along with Günner, five residents of Duren formed an anarchist union to produce the lead type in their spare time so as to make it available for free to anyone who desired it. At night the wolf would watch over its daughter while she slept, and its strong and coarse scent would enter the type-makers’ sleeping bodies and cause them to have the most vivid of dreams. On rare day-time visits, the wolf descended into the village and bit off large chunks of flesh, and sometimes the limbs, of the lead-shapers, but in response they calmly bandaged their wounds and continued their work. No one killed or hid from the wolf as they were all—like Günner—deeply smitten with it. Up until the day the wolf attacked, ravaged them in their sleep, and carried Oolakat off to the dark woods—never to be seen again—they produced hundreds of sets of the typeface that in their lifetimes reached all over the earth; from the rocky coast of Oregon to the opium dens of Hong Kong, from the torch-lit taverns of Finland to a sunken pirate ship at the Cape of No Hope. Or so the legend goes, and this typeface lives on today, proudly used in anarchist publications, such as this one, throughout the world. Günner’s grave is marked by a giant chestnut tree in the foothills around Hürtgen Forest, and is still visited today, by wolves and humans alike.