My writing is like my life— All over the place. I have poetry and prose, fiction and non. Although I might look like the quintessential suburban white dude, my life and experiences are more akin to the multiracial cacophony of the western hemisphere; only the trailer park, hood, barrio version. I write about what moves me: love, faith, and Kaizen (continuous improvement). I am passionate about justice reform and connections with people. I hope my writing makes you cry, smile, and think deeply. You will see unrealized love and political statements. There will be extraordinary life experiences mixed with nonfictional characters as well as poetic descriptions of divine works. Finally, a word of caution. Read slowly: too much of me too quickly could blow your mind.
How long is too long?
Standing in the window, I see him there.
Shoulders slumped from the weight of decades spent behind these panes.
Silent silhouette engulfed in semi-darkness.
Life must go on.
Laundry is an endless task and monotonous.
Lose hanging lanyard stretched out to dry shirts and towels, indoor clothes line.
Lost in the rhythm of living he continues the motions.
Death’s silent song.
At what point will he disappear from here?
Ancient castle, constructed to constrain the most dangerous, now condemned.
Alone but not alive, still doing time, he refuses to be released.
What is the number 1 thing that makes two people fall in love? Is it physical attraction? Emphatic NO. Is it because they have sooo much in common? Probably not. No, the number 1 thing that makes a man and a woman gravitate toward one another and become lifelong romantic partners is, you guessed it, TIME.
Spending time with a person brings familiarity. Not to get to scholastic here, but studies have shown that we actually begin to adopt the characteristics of people that we are around a lot. So did we always have so much in common, or did we grow into the things that we feel are common between us? Food for thought. Of course, there is a level of attraction, but with time even an unattractive man can be seen as handsoem by a woman who has grown to trust him, to rely on him.
You know where there is a ton of time? Prison. People often wonder why that woman who is now on the news fell for the inmate. I mean, she was a prison guard, her job was to keep prisoners in prison. She was not supposed to fall in love with a prisoner. How could that even happen? There must have been something wrong with her . . . This is all hypothetical of course. But, I beg to differ. All it takes is time. I don’t care who you are, there is someone who, if you spend the right amount of time with, under the right conditions, you would fall for. Even if it were against the “rules.” She was not crazy. He was not a manipulator. They just did what humans do who are around each other for long periods of time: they formed a connection.
Connection leads to comfort. Comfort leads to caring. Caring, when it is full grown, leads to passion. The thing that makes all of us just a little insane. I mean, who among us hasn’t done or said something extremely stupid because of that feeling in your stomach that made you jumpy, giddy even? When you felt those butterflies swirling around . . . you were willing to forget just about everything you had going on just to be with that person for a little bit longer . . .”no, you hang up first . . .”.
Been there, done that, got the jacket . . I’m cool on that now, though. I don’t even want a relationship anymore . . .
I just want to spend a little time . . .
Trouble, drama. cancel . . . Culture is a vulture that subtly moves the masses. Have you been perfect your whole life? Probably not, I mean not probably. There is no possibility that you have been. Perfect that is. We live lives by the moment, so all were troubled kids.
Confused and alone we tried to find ourselves. Figuring it out slowly, painfully, we muddled through until . . . well, it never really ended. Growth takes time and patients. Yeah, I said p-a-t-i-e-n-t-s because we are all in need of a doctor. Speak for yourself, you say, but late at night you know I’m right. When the lights are off and your mind is the only thing still streaming. When will the high-speed mentalnet crash? One can only hope.
So we judge. Behind our screens we dispense justice with our finger gavel. “Thumbs down!” pronounces the Supreme Court of You, sentence will be handed down by a Jury of your Fears. Tear down the monuments! Great men turned to Hate men because they were crooked, and 200 years later we just figured it out. Can you walk a straight line? Stand on one foot, left hand extended parallel to the ground, right index finger in your belly button? Now touch your nose . . . to the ground while I Captain Morgan your neck. Captain Morgan still cool or did we cancel him yet?
I mean, geez. We were so proud of our Founding Documents. They were the secret to our success, the only true meaning of freedom. They represented the struggle to fight off the yoke of oppression. Then we found out that the men that wrote them were human beings. Let’s take a moment of silence to memorialize our expectations. Dashed on the rocks of reality, like Africans on Plymouth, because the voyage they took got ’em hooked and still ain’t finished. But there’s no need in us pretending that any of us are different. I wouldn’t say have . . . done anything at all. Know how I know? Look ho you’re living now! Oh say can you . . . keep up with the Kardashians?
We might not all have the same vices, quirks, or skeleton closets, but we all got ways. At least we can be response able. I mean, at least we are able to respond. You don’t like the song? Cook, please feel free to take a knee. ‘Ima go ahead and stand but it ain’t for Francis, Scott, or Key . . . I just feel like I can get more accomplished while I’m on my feet.
And while I’m standing . . . I’m waiting my turn to be canceled. So please . . . don’t quote me!
Rep the Clan
Grandpa Dean was a Real Grand Father. Quiet and pensive, he always sat and watched. He was from the era of Men. And, in that era, he was the Chieftain. Wounded World War II Battle Veteran born to farm the land as if he was the Master of Corn surveying the millions of his subjects from the porch of his Minnesota house.
Grandpa Dean was a legend to me. Intimidatingly tough, roughhewn rock exterior, but shockingly soft and patient, especially with the animals. Well, that is except for the Cats. He told us in the calm voice of a man that had weathered many storms that the cats all “got lead poisoning.” As a young boy full of fire and spit, I thought that was the funniest thing. My brother and I went visit him one summer, just the two of us. It was awesome! We rode horses and 4-wheelers; we played cowboys and soldiers. We worked hard. I don’t thin kI ever saw Grandpa Dean smile once, but I knew he was happy. He was proud.
Ten years later, I came to prison. It was obviously a huge disappointment to all of my family. I was the one bad apple from a giant tree of award winners. Prior to prison, I was a soldier. Like my dad and mom. Like some uncles and like my Grandpa. They were proud of me, but that was short lived.
Several years into this Life Sentence, my Grandpa came down to visit me. He came with my Grandma and some other family members. At one point during the visit, Grandpa Dean and I were mostly alone, the rest had gone to the vending machines or were engaged in other things. He leaned in my direction to break the silence with a single question. “You been in any fights?” he asked dryly. He seemed to be surveying my face for scars. So, with a small smirk, I replied, “A couple.”
Grandpa Dean cracked the smallest of smiles then. The conversation was over. Everybody came back. I’m not for sure, but I think he was thinking, “My grandson may be in prison, but he is not a coward.” I could be wrong, but it looked like he was proud of me again. That was the last time I saw him. But, he is always with me.
Stoic Sinclair Chieftain, your blood courses through my veins. Your eyes sit behind my face. Your heart, the Lion that rules the plains, the Thunder that rocks the sky, the Silence of Perfect Passion beats in my chest. And, no matter where I am, I will faithfully present our Clan.
Christ and Family 4 Ever
You know how you can still feel the flow of the ocean when you lie down after a day at the beach? The rhythm slow rocking you back and forth? Your mind tell you that you are on the water, caught in the waves, all while you’re on your back, staring at the ceiling?
You move like that. Slow and constant. Smooth fluid movement, so gentle. The way you sway with the music. Arms in the air, eyes closed, hair the perfect frame for your perfect face. Your lips arched with joy, the regal way your nose supports your eyes. So fine! You can tell me anything . . . I’ll do it. Just don’t stop moving.
I see you like that. Silhouetted in the blackness of my mind. I find myself staring. The shape of you forever stamped on the inside of my eyelids. Perfect in your proportions, each curve leads to the next curve my words fall short in their description. You sway when you walk, do you know that? There is no mistake; you are ALL woman. From the top down, or maybe the bottom up. I can’t look away. I am hypnotized by your hips and thighs, mesmerized by every step you take.
They say that best way to engage sensory perception, sensual recollection, is the sense of smell. It’s funny to me the things that come up when certain scents wisp across my nostrils.
I can still smell you after all these years. Your hair as you bounce and spin. I remember your skin. Soft and elegant, wet from sweat, the perfume you dabbed at the base of your neck. I draw you close, we dance slow, alone . . . in my consciousness.
Caught in rhythm like the ocean. Frozen in the eyes of my mind for all time. Reminded of your scent by random life moments. They draw me back against my will. I have just been kidnapped.
In the darkness I still see you.
The way you move.
Schizophrenic Ramblings of a Stone Cold Madman Turned Sane
Delirium can you hear it?
The sounds of trash can lids behind your eyelid makes you wanna try different kinds of pie tins. Like I always wanted to fly with . . . Popsicle lips and fried sticks. Or, is it Popsicle sticks and fired lips? A bad dad, I tried kids, but now I cry chips. They crunch down my face like violent singing constantly ringing wild pigs. All the while the insufferable smile attracts the wild life found downtown in the white district.
Or is it the light district. Cuz lights turn yellow when a mid-town fellow turns the green light red. Yield! Make the way for the Heyday where gunplay is the fun way to settle debts on the Southwest runway. Cuz I’m too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts, so what day is it today? Smiles, cries. Guns, butter. I saw it in a movie and it always made me wonder . . . when President Trump was a hesitant chump, panhandling for love handles in New York’s Broadway. Say Hell, Dolly!
Cuz folly is a ridiculous fall partner. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, sweet bread buttered buns of steel keep it all the way real cuz the deal is like a five finger steal . . . punch in the face. Replace the tape, and put some Ds on it. Cadillac pimp stack made a flap jack fall flat on his . . . knees please Swiss cheese goes good on buttered buns that run the gambit in 10 seconds fat back . . . like Baby, cuz nobody puts here in a corner. So gimme my baby back baby back baby back track the rap from A-Dats what’s up! I just lost my train of thought, help me chugga chugga it back up.
Just kidding! No medication required.
This is what happens when a heat-fueled fantasy finally falls fathoms from finely finished funk-filled ferociously feral felines to trap the terrible tiger together trying to tame the tumultuous two-timing tambourine tablets that total tenuous temperaments. #totallytubular
Hold up . . . What?! My thoughts exactly . . .
Mr. Thomas was in his 60s, but he looked much older. Standing over 6 feet tall, he had probably been an athlete when he was younger. Tall and slim, he had the build of a runner. He spent most of his time in the church. He was sharp-minded, if a little quiet. Now he didn’t make a sound other than the occasional moan, the only indication of his constant pain. The tumor in his brain had grown so large it was just a matter of time before its pressure was too much for his life to sustain.
He had been in the infirmary for months, deteriorating. Lucid moments had ceased weeks past, so Mr. Thomas spent his days, and nights, in oblivion. “How am I supposed to care for a man who pulls feces from his shorts and drops it on the floor?” The orderly would think to himself. The obvious answer was: humbly. So he spent time with him, washing him, and feeding him. There were other men to care for as well–prison infirmaries are always full–but Mr. Thomas was the one nearest the end.
His shift ended, but the orderly stayed with Mr. Thomas. He could tell it was imminent. His face was drained of any color, but full of pain. The orderly began to pray. Worship songs were next. The melodic resonance of his voice seemed to relax Mr. Thomas a bit. As if the reverberation of the deep tenor voice off the concrete corners of the ell brought a tiny bit of respite from the constantly incessant pressure. Peace was entering the space as the warm sooting comfort of hot-scented water fills a bathtub. The oppression of imprisonment was slowly disappearing. The overwhelming screams of pain slowly faded into the background. Nothing existed but the inviting darkness of death. There was no fear. No chaos. No more humiliation. Mr. Thomas’s eyes shown as they stared off into the abyss, not blankly, but with full understanding that this was his journey and discomfort was ending.
“INMATE!” The yell ripped through the reverie with shocking sharpness. The officer called from his station, “The Lieutenant wants you to go to the chow hall and clean up some puke!: Back to reality, the orderly, also an inmate, had to comply with the commands of security. “Yes sir,” was the only available response. He made his way down the hall with the appropriate chemicals for dispatching vomit.
Suddenly, Nurse Tonya spoke up from the office in which she and two other medical staff were talking. “Do not go down there,” the nurse directed the orderly, “he can get his own people to clean that up. You are assigned and needed here.” To the officer, she said, “He is not going to the chow hall.”
Th orderly was relieved. He just wanted to sit with Mr. Thomas in his final hours. The officer didn’t know how to respond to the nurse, so he just related the message over his radio. In the back of the orderly’s mind he knew that this was not the end of the discussion.
It wasn’t long before Lt. Waters came barreling into the medical department. “INMATE! Come here!” he shouted. “And bring your cleaning supplies.” This encounter was inevitable as Mr. Thomas’s soon coming freedom. Making his way down the hallway, the orderly was stopped again by Nurse Tonya.
“He is not going,” she told Lt. Waters briskly. He did not acknowledge her at first. “Get your stuff, inmate. Let’s go.” He directed his conversation and attention away from the nurse and directly at the offender.
“No, you are NOT going! The kitchen staff can clean up their own messes!” Nurse Tonya was becoming more forceful, and secretly the inmate liked having someone stick up for him. These moments are so rare inside. It was this comment that made the lieutenant finally engage with Nurse Tonya.
Then commenced a screaming match that lasted at least 15 minutes. There were threats and epithets directed at the inmate by the lieutenant. Both the nurse and the lieutenant gave him “direct orders” to go or stay, and he felt like a child caught in a custody battle. “Of course, I’m with mom,” he thought to himself.
Finally, Lt. Waters stormed out of medical, but he did not leave without a final word. “Inmate, this is not going over! Get your shit together and be gone before I come back. You are fired!” Ultimately, security wins.
Well, there goes any thought of staying with Mr. Thomas in his last moments. In prison, helplessness is a constant companion. Tonight was no exception. All three fo the nurses told the orderly to stay, saying that nothing would happen, but he knew better. “I’m gone,” he told them, “I gotta get outa here. He can make my life a living hell.”
After he gathered the few items that he had brought for the shift, the orderly stopped back in to check on Mr. Thomas. He said a quick, silent prayer. His eyes were shut, but he was still breathing.
That night was rough. Lt. Waters came back to medical with a slew of other officers to find that the inmate had gone. His anger was abated for a time, but even after he got off shift for the night, the incident continued to play out in his mind. He went home and “tied one on.” He spent the next few hours steaming about the fact that the inmate had defied him, all the while taking shot after shot of cheap whiskey. The drunker he became, the angrier he got. “Who does this inmate think he is?” He swam in liquor and stewed in anger.
Mr. Thomas’s life drifted away at some point in the night. Alone and unattended, he had stopped breathing.
Meanwhile, the orderly spent the night worried what was going to happen next. When your life is in someone else’s hands, these moments are full of anxiety and dread. He had seen men beaten to death because an officer had felt offended. Torture was not uncommon. The best and brightest do not generally work in prison; sometimes the difference between officer and inmate is negligible. The Napoleon complex in the flesh. So, the orderly passed the night trying to prepare for the inevitable explosion.
The next morning was cold and cloudy, though the mood in medical was on a fire’s edge as the orderly was buzzed through the gate. The officer looked at him sternly and directed him to go stand at the end of the hallway and wait for the Chief of Security to finish talking to the Head of Medical. It was a proverbial clash of the titans! The orderly could hear the screams of both staff members through the heavy door. He couldn’t make out the words that were hurled back and forth like short range artillery rounds. All he could here were the explosions and the aftermath.
Suddenly, the door burst open, and in a rush of rage and defeat, the Chief fo Security plowed through it. If a person could physically look fire red, he did. Such floods of rage are only contained by the microscopic film that covers the retina. The Chief blew past the orderly, noticing him only at the last possible instant. He stopped, glared, and gritted. His face taut with murderous anger, he seethed at the orderly, “don’t forget where you at.” It was almost inaudible but the message was clear. It was a thinly veiled threat, but the orderly knew he had won that round. The Chief disappeared.
Several moments passed before the orderly realized he was holding his breath. GASP! He was still breathing.