Sunday, April 28, 2019

Battle Buddies... by Rory Andes

In the military, a battle buddy is the person who looks out for you. He or she helps by assisting you in more complex tasks, holding you accountable to a moral framework, or they simply identify the things you can't. It all works because in the course of service, the battle buddy has a sense of responsibility to your well being and this contribution to another is in direct relation to the contribution to the team. Its intended to be a positive, caring and very human relationship to another person and its bigger than the singular. One that takes the loss of another as if losing family...

I was talking to another inmate, Joe, the other night as we waited to exit the visiting room. Joe's time is short in here and he started to talk about how he plans to help his cellmate after he leaves prison. His cellmate has been in prison 43 years and while parole is an option for him, it simply hasn't materialized yet. Its unique to watch how this impacts Joe. He knows his cellmate has lost people long ago and Joe sees him everyday in a way the system never could. Joe just seemed at a loss at how to take care of his cellmate except to provide a pro social network for him after his departure. He spoke about how this cellmate will be a topic of conversation for his family and how they plan on visiting him after Joe leaves. The family wants to be a holiday component and a phone call away. They look to add him to their social capital and increase his human capital. This family, after supporting Joe, plan to be his cellmate's family, even if that means he dies in prison unparoled.

The experiences men and women experience together when all they have, on any given day, is each other is the foundation of the battle buddy. Prison is a place of hardships, but need not be a place of hardened hearts, at least if you look for the humanity in it like the truly reformed do. I have been blessed to add a few new names to my heart's family roster and some amazing people as battle buddies. Here's to covering their asses when the days get tough and the shit gets thick...

by Rory Andes

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

Grateful! by James Goodwin

Another day in this life, I woke up telling the universe thank you as each foot hit the floor. I sit for a time trying to feel the thank yous, attempting to summon gratitude and send it out into the day ahead of me, my herald.

My celly is still asleep so I whisper the Lakota prayer song that the pipe carrier thought me. my friend. fourteen years ago him and I were in another prison fighting in the gym bathroom. each of us trying to beat the other unconscious with everything we had. both slaves to prison politics. now we share ceremony together and help each other heal. we sweat in the womb of our sacred mother together and pray, brothers in a cosmic sense. for this I am grateful.

I finish this prayer song as old as human memory and reach for my jpay tablet to check my messages. nothing. I smile thinking of the mother I "adopted" and how I just received a surprise Easter card from her. I can't remember the last time I received a birthday card or a card of any kind from the people whose blood runs through my veins. her card may have choked me up a bit. allegedly. she is my mom because I love her and she calls me son and returns that love. what else matters more? For this I am grateful.

I get ready for my day, a day of working out drawing and reading. many others prepare for visits. I have had two visits in twenty two years. once I was in McNeil island and my birth mother lived fifteen minutes away. she never visited me. I go to unity group and there is a surprise visitor from Black And Pink taking time out of their life to hang with us. I thank of all the awesome volunteers that come in to see us. for them I am grateful.

I draw pictures for my friends, explosions of color contrasting with greys and blacks. I have a gift that takes my mind on adventures of creation and exploration. Bringing life into a mausoleum of potentially wasted lives and potential. its a gift for which I am grateful.

I see my friends and we greet each other smiling and joking. I talk to my little sister, Ruth, briefly as she passes on her way to some program. Another step on her road to changing the world. These people are the family I never had and desperately wanted all my life. for them all I am grateful.

I sit down on my bunk and switch off my lamp in preparation for sleep. I think over the day. a day without violence or fear. a day spent around people I love and cherish. I look out my window as the sun slides below the horizon and beyond the razor wire and gun tower there is the most magnificent view of mountains swimming in a majestic sky. Its a view for which I am grateful.

Lakota creator prayer song

wakan tanka toka heya cewakiyelo
great spirit I pray to him first
wakan tanka toka heya cewakiyelo he....
great spirit to him first I pray
mitakye ob wani
with my relatives I shall live
kta ca toka heya cewakiyelo he....
this is why I pray to him first

tunkasila toka heya cewakiyelo
grandfather I pray to him first
tunkasila toka heya cewakiyelo he....
grandfather to him first I pray
mitakye ob wani
with my relatives I shall live
kta ca toka heya cewakiyelo he....
this is why I pray to him first

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In solidarity
James Cody Goodwin

Write/contact me at

James Cody Goodwin 764730 D-A-201-1
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

or thru Jpay using James Goodwin # 764730

Life Inside Prison by Marshall Byers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- THIS BATHROOM WILL BE CHECKED AT RANDOM TIMES. ANYBODY CAUGHT WRITING OR DRAWING ON THE WALLS WILL BE INFRACTED.


This is posted on the bathroom wall inside our education building. It's very bazaar reading this notice for the pure fact that it even has to be implemented in the first place. I can't help but imagine some point in history a prisoner was caught red handed scribbling some wild picture or phrase on the wall out of defiance.

Then from the sheer embarrassment of getting caught and having to scrub his scribble off the wall blame shifting, taking no accountability for his actions, only to come back full of resentment and write: F*** You with an arrow pointing up at the notice.

I did chuckle seeing this the first time, only because it reminded me of the past when I was a young rapscallion scrubbing my own scribbles off the wall.

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Endure With Passion,
Marshall Byers

or mail me at:

Marshall Byers # 769274
PO Box 888
Monroe WA  98272

or thru using Marshall Byers # 769274

Because I'm Not Yours To Have A Poem By Ruth Utnage

Just because you bought me something
Or gave me a compliment
Because I politely smiled at you...
You think I'm yours
Or interested at all
Silly man child
Why, I'm no more ever going to be yours then the air you breath
The carbon monoxide you exhale
Water you drink
As if this land is yours
Bought a deed, now you are a god
I think not
I am not the cure for your depression
Nor am I the reason for your rejection
I am but a woman who has gone about her life
A life in which you entangled yourself in
An entanglement I have no part in
Like bramble bush sticker stuck in my hair
As if I asked for it
You try to say it works, fashion forward!
No, no my dear
Sweetie, you're being cut out
Because I am not yours to have
To possess
To manage
To depend on
To force
To beg
To be angry at
To abhor
To obsess over
To touch
I belong to me

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With Love
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

Mail To:
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage 823469 D-610-2
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

or email through
DOC: 823469
Name: Utnage, Jeff (though I am legally Ruth)