The angels of May make the seven

gray steps down and enter the clean sunlight.

Along the sidewalk, they move in pairs or in clusters

In solidarity on their way away from the severe

dark building where they learn to be good citizens.


In the ripple of Spring, in their plaid wraparound

skirts, sharply pleated, worn (their choice) up enough

to reveal burgeoning limbs caught between hem and

long socks, there are glimpses of the quality of

destination explorers have gladly died for: These are

perfectly in bloom art flowers!


Now, at lunchtime, they wave and frolic, dash and

dive, giving up squeals of  glee and bursts of temper

in gamely fashion under the city branches, some on swings

kick at the sky with outstretched legs, as if they wanted to

leave the world;  some sit in groups on the grass in bonding

arrangements, making sisterly gestures, at ease in their abstractions,

and on this oasis,  what secrets shared,  what plans hatched,

what crushes formed in their eager young hearts!


And when a silent bell sounds it is time to put down the recreations and

return to the cold building where instruction is bought for future advantage

when they will  be harnessed to their adult woes, although for the time being,

 they float automatically in procession, resigned to the remainder of their day

 like angels in the afternoon.


Capture d’écran, le 2022-04-08 à 10.19.07

Skeletons don’t have problems. I always knew this, so I joined Weight Watchers in order to lose all the weight I needed to in order to become one. It took me 3 years, during which I refused to eat anything heavier than a cracker, and getting so thin my friends and family deserted me, claiming I was less than the person they used to know. But I persisted, and one day I was on my exercise regime jogging along the sidewalk when an enthusiastic gust of wind pushed me up onto a tree branch. Nobody could see me up there at all, and I had to shout at some people to get me down, which caused them to surmise there was a ghost in their midst. Finally I died a pathetic death from a disease I cannot pronounce. I am now a skeleton in the dark with no problems, but with no fun weekends either.



A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I notice that you have letters lately that have to do with humidity and I just wanted to add my own. It is something I could never tell anyone, but now I am going to tell it to you: I am a sweater. You read it correct. I sweat, Ron. I am a woman who oozes and I cannot help it. My problem is not only do I sweat – I sweat profusely., and when I do, I stick to things.

For example, I will be passing a table and by accident I touch it with my arm and my arm sticks to the table. It is not fun to have to pull yourself off furniture all the time while everyone around you is enjoying a good glass of lemonade and a couple of rice batons, and they have to put it down and help you to come unglued. It is not a way to keep friends.

And besides, I am a proud person. I don’t like to ask for help. I am made that way. I would like to be able to sweat less. Is there anything I can do about it?

Liquid Nightmare

Dear Liquid,

The first thing I would tell anyone in your position is: Don’t sweat it. The truth is we all sweat, it is a normal, natural, unattractive function of the human body when one is hot or under some kind of stress. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

The fact that you become attached to furniture is obviously a problem. On warm says, I would suggest that you wear lots of clothing to cover you up, say a housecoat or a djaalabba. This will prevent contact with your moist surfaces. Carry a hanky or a sock around with you in case your brow bubbles up. Don’t hold anything in your palm too long as this is a part of the anatomy that likes to get wet first, and stay away from toilet seats.

If you are ever in an emergency and have no one around to  help you sever yourself from an inanimate object, don’t panic.

Wait until nightfall when the heat is dispelled and then calmly back up. Don’t worry about burdening friends and neighbours if these are available. People are surprisingly forthcoming to aid their fellow man (or woman) and it might even prove a bit of a lark for them to dislodge you. Best of luck to you and have a nice, dry summer.

My Problem Is No Problems

RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column

Dear  Ron,

Do you think having no problems is a problem in itself?  I have no problems today and it bothers me.


Dear Dunno,

You are right on the money that having no problems is a problem in itself, and sometimes it can make you take your own life. Look at the Scandinavians. They have everything handed to them. They screw like sizzling rodents, they are all tall blonde and beautiful. They drink like fish. All they have to do in life is ponder the universe,  like that Ingemar Bergman guy, and make depressing movies.

Problems make people happy. You got a problem, you are focussed on it, and you try to solve it. It narrows you down so that you are not thinking, “Well, I’m gonna die and nobody will come to my funeral, and I won’t ever be back to shave my pet monkey again.”  Now that is a problem we can never resolve, so the more problems the better, and besides, where would I be if people didn’t have problems?  It would be a problem for me that I would not want to have.

I hope this helped.



Your 4 syllables thrill, they chill me.

You are a celebration,

 a marching band down my throat.

Your lips, satisfyingly salty,

Then comes the squash of lime

Joined by a sweet liqueur.

They dance deliciously

To the overall

Tune of the agave,

Oh, agave!

Blue agave

Desert notes that brace.

I can finally breathe.


You are always fidele,

I am never put off.

You settle me

I need more, more of your cold love,

My dear.

I must trick out fresh cubes.

Second rounds, please.


I eat on black plates

I eat black food on black plates

I drink black tea in black cups

The sun shines black on me, too.


Black sucks in light,

meaning it contains light.

I am the Real Light, it says,

the hard shapes you see in day

disappear at night,

I own them.


Black is the color of sleep.

We rest in black

if black so desires,


black wields a whip

to keep us out,

starve us from our dreams.


While other colors strike poses,

play party games,

black remains serene

like an unruffled butler.



A master of circumstance,

black rules quietly.


Black is jazz,

a burning saxophone on

the summer pavement,

slow drinks,

sex, easy and long.


Black is the dislocated,

sirens blaring to upset

delicate ears,

Police bullets spray,

the city is turned into

a trauma unit.



don’t mess with black,

because black has been here

even longer than truth.

She is the Great Mother,


the earth

that can swallow you.



rise now,

and raise your glass to black,

in Coca Cola or in Russians.

And, remember,

everything goes with black,

it’s a well known custom.



Meat is gravity

a dreamless state

pieces of death

there already in the beginning

and in all things

their essence.

Meat allows nothing to escape

and is empty of all but itself.

Meat consumes meat

becoming more meat

fleshier carcasses

duller slices of heads and legs

some younger

some more red.

The butcher is our friend.

And if we pretend

to aspire to other ends

with our many meat brains

meat guards meet us

at the door to the station

to disconnect the trains.

Fresh meat sizzles with notions,

take sides.

Lies slide from its bloodied hides.

Shapes abound.

Meat like meat likes to fry

in meat patties and on delegations

and in pairings that result in

baby meat who cry.

The meat parade began in time,

its womb the mirror, before

which we walked on air

part of the atmosphere

or flew

or were never there.


I’ve had enough

I’ve had enough of this road

And the stone in my shoe

I’ve had enough of me

And not enough of you


I’ve had enough

Of the air that I breathe

It’s painful to swallow

Painful to grieve


I’ve had enough

Don’t tell me no

I don’t know where to turn to

Don’t know where to go


I’ve had too little

Of glory and faith

Faith in something

I could never erase


I’ve had just enough

Time to prepare

Give me a signal

And I’ll try to get there


RON’S WISDOM SALONA fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I had a dream last night that I was floating around in a big air balloon. I woke up feeling elated and confused. What does it mean?


Dear Confused,

You’re confusing me. Do you mean what does the dream mean, or your confusion and elation? Let’s take it one at a time. You dreamed that you floated in an air balloon. By the way, why do they call it an air balloon? All balloons are air-bound or they wouldn’t be balloons, would they? It’s so redundant.

Okay, so you dreamed you floated in a balloon. Did you drink something before you went to sleep? Did you drink anything during the day? If yes, that probably did it. Floating in a balloon is also symbolic. It means you don’t like the ground and wish to be elsewhere. It could also mean you got a new pair of shoes, metaphorically speaking, which are killing you, and you don’t know whether to take them back or not.

My advice to you is to take them back and buy a more comfortable pair (soft leather, not too small, not too big) If the shoe fits, wear it. Many people insist on buying shoes that don’t fit them, which contributes to much misery.  There is also often a connection between floating in the air and marshmallows.

Think about it. Have you ever had thoughts about marshmallows?  Do you ever fantasize about doing things to marshmallows? Roasting them, biting them, gumming them? Do you buy the white ones or do you sometimes buy the coloured ones? If you always buy the white ones, do you sometimes wish they were coloured, or vice-versa?

Be honest with yourself. Be alert to possible color biases. Make sure there is not too much white in your life. You might think you are brightening up the atmosphere, but you’re not, you’re just leaving yourself open to stains. You are inviting problems.

There is a possibility also you may even have a perverted need to be stained in some way because you don’t feel you are worthy. You subconsciously wish to be besmirched. I don’t know if you are worthy or not, so I won’t go there. I assume you are a worthy person because you read my column, but even I can’t tell  for sure, so  wisdom dictates that I go no further with speculation.

As for your elation, I would suggest that you  rub the smirk off your face pronto and face reality. Did you really think you could just float away and bump around in the sky for the rest of your life? You are not a bird, after all. Don’t be so darn happy!

I could call you a coward for being elated, but I won’t. The confusion part I understand. Here you were, fading off into sleepland, never expecting to be abducted in some airborne device, and you wake up thinking how do I get home from the airport. Well, it was an imaginary voyage! You did not really go sky riding,  you are on terra firma now. I might suggest that if you want to avoid confusing dreams, you try keeping your eyes slightly open when you sleep. Clothespins often do the trick.

I hope this helped.


I hope Alain is happy with his cat

And didn’t go out and buy a rat

I hope he’s happier still

That he’s not buried on a hill


I hope Eddie is okay

Not in some disastrous play

With his wife and his son

Held down under somebody’s gun


I hope my folks are doing good

Wherever they may be I’ve understood

Whatever transpired I can’t deny

Made me I and I will not lie


I hope Barbara is on her way

To becoming every day

The artist she is supposed to be

And creates herself and remembers me


I hope everyone in this world

Who suffers with what has unfurled

Gains relief and conquers pain

And comes back to live again


I am in a house. Not clear if it is my house or that I am taking care of it for someone else. But it has a long hallway and off it an alcove, which is at first unseen by me, as I am at one end. At the far end of the hallway a man stands almost out of sight. He is telling me adamantly that a portrait hung in the alcove should be taken down, because something disastrous will happen as a result of it. I know the portrait and find nothing wrong with it. I remember It is a picture of a middle-aged man who has a round face and a high forehead. He has thin blondish hair. In fact, I am thinking as we speak that there may  be two of the same person hanging there, one of these taken when the man had been under the influence of opium. There is a lot of talk back and forth, but I refuse to remove them. Then I enter the alcove and am surrounded by many portraits in old-fashioned frames. Near the floor I see rows of children’s books together with decorations and drawings. When I lean down to inspect them the books begin to sing to me in beautiful young voices. I am entranced and the dream ends.


People should be screaming out of windows
people should be kicking down doors,
jumping on flags,
shaking like epileptics!

How is this possible?
We have
nearly a million years of human evolution
and the standard line can still prevail:

“It’s mine!”

It’s not.

You have no right to it.

A spell is on

which continues
generation after generation,
an afternoon darkness,
your robotic mind
clinging to a cliff of lies.

And your mouth that spits on
anything better
and shoulders that
shrug ugly
and bellies that stick out
like eggs

And you want security?

This will not stand!
There is a Law that says:
This. Will. Not. Stand.
We will make sure
you understand this.
By train and by plane and by ship,
your skin will dissolve in fear.
You will breathe in the stinking corpses
of your children.
Your houses will crumble over you.
You will be availed of no
no future.
You will cry to the end
of your days
when you may finally
realize the Justice in this
for your atrocious

ENIGMA (for J-M)

If it’s too good to be true

is it true,

a young man, nearly

a boy, really,

who astounds in

twenty-first century space

with jewels as words that are

louder than blame

and as magnificent

as First Love?


Who is he,

who writes in a third language

he met on a beach as a child?


He is doubtless connected

to those who spoke

before him

in the flowers of language,

messages of possibility,

all the while surrounded

in a world

swallowed by toxins.


If Art is a lie that tells the truth,

then he is a great liar,

a magician who spins wheels

before fortunate spectators.



Beauty is proffered by the arthritic



There is a hole in me that can’t be filled

I try to stay alert to everything in there

I stuff myself with pleasure

I disengage from pain

I stand in the rain 


The hole I realize is an illusion

I realize this with a deep breath

That a fine hand is guiding me


I don’t care where

Only that it is away from

A hole that can’t be filled


You’re unbreakable, little girl.

I see it in your eyes

as you tell your story

of the ordeal endured

of a hell almost


Satanic ritual abuse.

Blood, murder, humiliation

foisted on you by your grandmother

no less, Nana and her ilk

for their god, Lucifer.

We call a lot of things suffering,

but this is beyond the pale

even in this day of the extraordinary.

The human will cannot be broken.

You’re unbreakable, little girl.

I’m glad to see this in your eyes.


C’mon baby
Take me where I need to go
C’mon baby
Take me down real slow
Had so much trouble in this town
It never leave me alone
Had so much of nothing
Nothing never lets me go
It’s getting cold out there
Need to find a place to land
I’m broken and used up
Gotta find a silky hand
I got no future
Got no past to tell
Get close to me baby
Let me drink from your well
We could make it together
Live in the same old tree
Could be birds of a feather
Sure wish you’d agree


I’m stuck
I’m stuck I can’t get up
I’m stuck I’m in between
I can’t formulate a theory
I won’t take a stand
I’m stuck like a balloon in a tree
And no one is coming to get me
Motion escapes me
My angels forsake me
I am just about ready
And I don’t know what for
It has come to this and this takes
The cake
I’ve been educated I once held a job
They told me I was alive
I really believed it
I had a past
I wanted things
I could tell the difference between things
I could see colors
I had plans
I believed I could perfect myself
I was curious about everything
God the nature of the universe
My place in the picture
Now I’m stuck
In rage in savagery
In ignorance and solitude
The world is so solid
Freedom is so far away


I wake up in the morning
To nothing much at all
I let it all go thru me
I don’t have much recall
The never changing noises
The total disrespect
For any real advancement
And all the same neglect
Like black men sitting in prison
Many innocent of crime
The others that did it
Obliged to make a dime
I wish I could make things happen
I wish I had the balls
To overthrow the status quo
Escape privilege once and for all
I want off this merry-go-round
With all the drugs and lies
From the evening pundits
In their shirts and their ties
But I’m just a good Jewish boy
Did everything I was told
By books and parents
Who really were quite old
I’ll deal with defeat in heaven
If everything goes well
I’ll be right up in front
Sounding a big brass bell
I’ll kiss all the angels
Give them each a rose
Convince them to relocate
Buy them some street clothes
If there is a God sitting there
I won’t say a word
I won’t betray my bitterness
About which I am not cured
I imagine He’ll just nod and wink
And drink up His usual praise
Coming thru the Intercom
From churches in a haze
What do they expect from me He”ll ask
What do they think I can do
About all their pain and unhappiness
Their problems not a few
I’m just a dude with a good job
I got it long ago
I was elected President
In a world I do not know
I’ve been to hell and back
I’ll tell Him steady and straight
It was quite a ride for sure
It makes me want to hate
And now you’re in heaven you think
With the man Himself
I guess you want an autograph
To place on your shelf
No I don’t think so I’ll retort
I never thought You great
For being so full of yourself
In everything You state
You made humans the way we are
That really wasn’t smart
We’re just a bunch of insane beasts
From the end and from the start
I think you made a mistake He’ll say
You came to the wrong place
You need to go next door I think
The Devil’s in that space
Blame blame is all You know
I’ll tell Him with a sneer
It’s always the other guy
It’s always the one You fear
Fear in what You bank on
Fear is what You need
To keep Your fans writing cheques
While they continue to bleed
Your fans don’t even know who they are
They only know their names
You need to make them need You
To referee their games
Why don’t You tell them the truth of it
Tell them they can be strong
That they don’t have to get on their knees
To live well and get along
Then what would I do up here He’d say
I would be all alone
No more droning prayers to hear
No more messages on my phone
The fact of the matter is
I’m not getting any younger
Don’t have the energy anymore
To satisfy anyone’s hunger
Still people want to dream I guess
Of an afterlife one day
They cannot handle the alternative
That they must just decay
Should I destroy the illusions
That keep some men afloat
In a world they cannot tolerate
In a world without hope
To these very words
I wouldn’t know what to say
Illusions may be all we have
To keep the world at bay


When we first experience…

When do we first experience prison? It must be when as babies we realize that we are limited by our environment. The lines are formed early. Cribs are little cages, and the prisoner is always rattling at his. He wants out. The prisoner must realize there is a world beyond the bars, where he cannot go. His life is curtailed. He is in prison. 

A prisoner of needs

Maybe it goes back even further. Out of the undifferentiated universe of the uterus, the new person meets the cold air of our world.  From its predicament of near helplessness it realizes it is a prisoner of its needs and must depend on an agent from outside, who may or may not be there to accommodate them. It is the first experience of the pain of dependency. It also shows the person that there are various kinds, some more demoralising than others.

Caregivers as wardens, and schools…

As children we are under the rule of our caregivers, who decide our limitations. We may rail against these in shows of rebellion, but they usually hold the upper hand, indulging or punishing us for our behaviour. We will adapt to what they decide is acceptable, this forming our bars, and which provides a template for our encounter with the social contract.

School comprises a larger prison in which we learn to read and write and sit and stand and repeat in unison. We are told what is important in life. We contend with others who are in the same situation. Many thrill to the sound of the bell announcing the school day is over, or there is a recess, and we may escape for a while. Watch children in schoolyards celebrate their freedom with extreme loud defiance.

And, so, the socialization process continues, with limitation at every turn, compromise in every encounter, and as long as limits exist we are not free.

But when we sleep…

the most free we ever feel is when we sleep.

After enquiry, it is possible that freedom can be reduced to a feeling: space and non-attachment. The sky is a picture of freedom.

The body is the most constant prison of all. It is what encases us. It is us in relationship to everything else. We cannot escape our body unless we turn into a ghost.

If we suggest that we are something beyond our bodies, that something is dependent on our having a body in the first place.  It requires a body to house it.

Ideology confines thought, limiting it to its boundaries. Any thought which does not conform to the system is disallowed. Any ideology requires guards to protect it. To keep out the contradictions.

A prisoner to a system of ideas is often a willing prisoner. The world of ideas is a dangerous place, resulting in confusion. So, it is safer to buy into a system and keep it.

An actual prison can have its charms: your needs are cared for. You are not burdened with making choices. You have company. In general, however, how many people have tried to break into a prison?

Freedom, even partial freedom, seems to be a powerful need. It is a rebellious force, determined to overcome restrictions, as if restrictions were inherently the enemy of our nature. Regard your feelings while watching wild horses bolt; identify with the young child bent on overthrowing authority.

Thought is free. Anyone can at any time entertain whatever thought happens to be there. Why one thought generates itself and not another at any given moment is a great mystery. Yet, to function successfully requires organizational thought. We may organize thought any way we please, but then that pattern becomes a form of prison if we cannot at the same time not get stuck in it.  If you say you like peaches and at the same time cannot say that you do not like peaches, then you are in the prison of liking peaches.

In other words, logic is a prison as well.

Why is habit so commonplace among people in certain societies?  It must satisfy something in the mind that is pleased by repetition.  Habits are often difficult to break. If a habit cannot be broken, regardless of how beneficial it may be, it is a form of prison.  It is probable that habit is satisfying because it provides a degree of security; uncertainty often causes fear. If we could accept insecurity we would be freer for it.

People often prefer to be in prison than to be free as long as they are getting compensated in some way. The case made about one’s needs in prison being accomodated suggests that a trade-off is taking place wherein freedom is swapped for security.

It is reasonable to assert that people require freedom, and at the same time are afraid of it.

It is only when security becomes oppressive that people wish to replace it with freedom.

People who break certain laws may find themselves in a physical prison. But laws are also prisons, because we are required to act within its confines. If we break out of one type of prison, we way be put into another. 

Absolute freedom is what is required by the individual, although this is not usually a conscious need.

How is absolute freedom attainable? It probably isn’t, which is why an afterlife has been imagined. It is assumed that only there the individual may be perfectly free.

Attachment to the past is a common prison. The past has determined the present to a degree, but are these really linked? It is possible that connecting dots has no basis in reality. Perhaps all of the dots are, in fact, pristine and isolate.

Cause and effect would work as a principle if it were repeated infinitely, which hasn’t happened yet.

Accidents tell us that freedom exists. It wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. This tells you that anything is possible.

Of all the emotions, fear and love are the strongest; yet they are often in conflict.

*Putting a person in prison is telling the person that from this point on they will have no power.

A promise is a prison we make for ourselves.

In actual prisons…

*In an actual prison human beings degenerate, as if they were being deprived of oxygen. They revert to a more primitive life form.

Violence strikes at unknown moments. Prisoners feel that they are already dead, so that they might as well kill or wound others. It is a profound reaction to their condition. A person dies every morning in their own mind in prison.

A prisoner will need to adapt to his environment.  Eventually he may come to believe he belongs where he is, which means he has abdicated his freedom. This most unnatural state is something he must live with.

Perhaps the most unfortunate cases are ones who can only deal with confinement. These will return automatically to this environment. But if freedom is at the basis of human nature, they have become something other than human.

Imprisonment is meant as a form of punishment, which it is. But a crime and this form of punishment have no meaningful relationship to each other. The only possible positive outcome for the individual is that he determines not to go back. But will he?  If he has learned nothing about his behaviour, he will. It is often the case that you come out of the experience a worse person than when you went in.

Society must learn that treating people as less than human is not in its best interests. If a punishment is not understood as just, the prisoner will feel only resentment, which runs counter-intuitive toward that person not re-offending in the future.

Being in prison is referred to as “doing time.” If the prisoner is to benefit from this time, he should learn something about himself. Thus prisons should be educational establishments rather than pain factories.

Choices. What happens when choices are taken away? We do always have the choice of how to deal with not having choices. If done correctly, it can induce a sense of inner freedom.

Being thrust into a solitary state, the prisoner has the choice either of losing himself, or forging a new deeper self; the former leads to insanity, the latter to transcendence.

Emotions are usually our downfall. Most crimes are committed due to the control of certain emotions over the individual. Prisoners have the luxury of time to be able to understand this and to come to terms with their emotions.

Who needs more patience than a person doing time?

It is interesting how many people see offenders as different from themselves.  We perceive them as alien, degenerate, possessed. But we are just the same as them in our dreams and reveries.

*We are all prisoners of who we think we are. We are probably far from who (or what!) we think we are. But whose point of view should we see ourselves from? That is unknown and unknowable.

I think we all have a vague sense that we are living in prison most of the time, just under the veneer that we ride autonomous and in command.

I think we all know at this point that prison is a mistake.

One of the worst tortures in prison has to be the infliction of boredom, monotony to the point of causing no thought that anything will ever change. It is obviously meant to weaken the spirit of the individual.  In order for the inmate to remain sharp he must stimulate himself, which often means he turns to violence.

Boredom can be the springboard for creative activity as well. Many schemes are birthed as a result of the prisoner having little else to do.


Breaking a law is transgressive. It is crossing boundaries that have been set up. As children we always look for a line that is there to be crossed. The child looks at it with excitement, as if on the other side there is the land of enchantment. Of course, there is also fear involved. What monsters lurk? What will happen to me? The child soon finds out the price that has to be paid, and if it was worth it. This is something the criminal continues to ask himself.

Being a habitual criminal means that transgression is more satisfying than conformity. The square sides with conformity, obedience, docility. The criminal always has his eye on the next crime, the golden prize, after which he may want to retire.

Of course, he won’t; the life is just too exciting. Transgression continues to hold out its appeal.

What would it take to rehabilitate the seasoned criminal? Obviously, it would have to align with the criminal’s needs. Does he need to get beaten down in order to understand the error of his ways? No, because prison has taught him only to be more creative at doing what he does. It provides a more beguiling challenge to overcome his confinement. Just as the child seeks to triumph over his imposed conditions the criminal needs to think he can win against a world he believes is not in his best interests.

The criminal is never at peace if he continues to think he can win. Gradually, this ceases to be an illusion and depression sets in. Old cons in a prison environment is a sad picture. Age plus defeat equals devastation.

So, if the criminal is the unrepentant child who continues to transgress, perhaps it would be instructive to point out what maturity has to offer.

Maturity, it seems, is a tradeoff – the impulsiveness of the child for the solidity of the adult when reason can prevail over emotion. Can the criminal be shown the value of becoming an adult? What are these if truth be told?

Perhaps one of these is the satisfaction of self-determination. The convict lacks totally a sense of determining his life, which is at the discretion of the authorities who oversee him. Easing him into the role of adult by allocating responsibility is a good beginning. This goes beyond keeping him busy with mundane tasks; rather it is requiring him to offer his own ideas in his quest. The more we treat convicts as adults the more adult they will become if not at once, hopefully, over time.

The prevalence of violence in prison is related to a sense of helplessness on the part of the convicts. Violence creates consequences, which means that something has been attained. It matters little who the victim is or what happens to him, as long as some damage has been seen to be done. It is a game of thwarted ambition.

The type of violence practised in prison is hands-on with makeshift knives. This makes it intimate, requiring an elevated degree of emotion. It is as if a bonding ritual has been substituted by a stabbing.

To pierce a person’s flesh with a sharp object takes an intensification of hostility. Making hate the desired emotion to carry around by the convict. As long as the convict can still hate he is not yet emotionally dead.

Sex in prison must entail the element of violence. Bodies re-arranged as weapons. And sadomasochistic rituals. A fierce hierarchy presides. In this environment convicts need to know where they belong.

If the convict cannot trust anyone (at least at the beginning) he is all alone in a sea of potential sharks, and must guard against an attack. He must go into himself in order to summon the strength to survive.

Convicts in a crowded facility revert to a primitive form of bonding based on race, because it is the most obvious way to distinguish like and unlike. A shared race suggests a shared past, which is hoped may be a reason to trust. Whom to trust in a place where people are because they are not trustworthy to begin with is a hard call. The rule in prison is to trust nobody who appears different from them.

Prisons confine people who are anti-social in one place where they may be anti-social toward each other, thinking that when they are released they will no longer be anti-social toward society in general.

It is expected that most cons will return to prison. The justice system depends on it. If rehabilitation worked the system would suffer.

*Only the human animal keeps people in cages.

All organisms obey laws that make sense to them spontaneously. Nobody would think about disobeying the law to breathe, for example.

A society where everyone obeyed laws would require a lot fewer employees, so that the justice system is more of an industry than a judicial body.

It is important that bad people do not break good laws; it is also important that good people do break bad laws. (or at least change them.)

There must be a myriad of reasons people commit crimes, all of these worth investigating.

If we were to say that any crime at all is punishable by execution, would crime be eradicated?

Execution is preferable to a life sentence. There is nothing less humane than keeping someone in a cage to the day he dies.

Being an outlaw means being outside law, outside established order, be that an order laid down by men or the natural order. It is saying, “I will create my own laws and attempt to live them.” It is by experimenting that the outlaw determines what works for him. This then becomes a personal system he lives by, any part of which may be modified or changed or abandoned at will. If an outlaw joins a gang or organization he is no longer an outlaw because he must now submit to the rules of the club, rules he did not make. Being a true outlaw is a solitary experience.

Our attitude toward the outlaw is to denigrate him for not living according to a system we have been forced to adopt, and to punish him for this. On the other hand, we admire him for living by his own code, that is putting himself at risk for us so that we can still manage to imagine owning our own freedom.

Certain crimes are worth more than others, murder being at the top of the list. Killing somebody is an existential act that criminals understand makes the murderer worthy of respect in that it changes the person, making him aware of the karma he carries. Psychically he has a weight strapped to his back.

The murderer needs to pay for his crime with his own death. It is the only way he may gain relief. Unfortunately this is not often the case today in judicial rulings, in which the offender need only spend a certain number of years incarcerated. Years for murder do not equate.

In a crime of passion the killer is at the mercy of his emotions. It is worth enquiring how rage came to be part of our psychic makeup in the course of evolution. Has it served us? Has it kept our enemies at bay? Perhaps it has, but probably not. A cooler head is surely better for that. Rage appears as useless to humans as nipples on a man, and is moreover the cause of much barbaric criminal destruction in the bargain.

Because emotions play a part in human behaviour we understand a crime of passion and evaluate it as not as offensive as a crime that has been planned. It is as if you have abdicated responsibility to a part of yourself that you temporarily do not own. If someone has thought about the act beforehand he has understood its implications and has decided to proceed despite any inhibiting factors. That is the more serious crime.

Is it possible to gain freedom from our emotions? Emotions play at least as much of a role in human affairs as thought. They may cling, or pass, or recur. Nobody is ever without an emotion even if the emotion is unconscious. If we were free from emotion we would be closer to a machine. This is not to say that one mood cannot be swapped for another. This can and does happen all the time. It is possible to cause one emotion to change into another. Physical exertion often causes that. Which shows that emotion is physiological as much as psychological. As humans, we relate in emotional terms more often than any other, as in “How are you?” rather than “What are you thinking?”

Freedom is a daunting prospect. I have complete freedom to say what I wish in my next sentence. It is my choice. Let us say it makes a difference. Let us say it makes a great difference. The difficulty comes in the possibility of making the wrong choice. It could set off a chain of events that might take innumerable incarnations to overcome. The human race would be plunged into darkness. It would be my fault. Solidly on my shoulders. Obviously with freedom comes great responsibility. It is almost better to be a slave.

It is a sad fact that a high number of convicts who have been released from prison return to it. There are several factors that may contribute to this, but probably the most important reason is that the person cannot handle freedom. It is too heavy to bear after a long period of not having to think for themselves. Inside they are not burdened with freedom.

It is also a sad fact that people in general can not live with the burden of freedom, and are dependent on external forms of authority dictating their lives. Civilization has had its way. Humans can no longer even conceive of leading free lives. Leading a free life means living in isolation. It means living completely one’s personal experience. Perhaps only the insane can live entirely free lives.

The comfort of the slave comes in the form of freedom from the need to forge a destiny. His destiny at the mercy of an authority close to him, his god is physical.

Our boss is our god and that is why people work for other people.

People have a natural aversion to fat because it is flesh which keeps us confined to the prison of this world. A thinner person can more easily escape between its bars.

Skeletons don’t have problems.

Buddha says that desire is the great prison. Lack of desire can be just as limiting.

A problem is a prison. We are stuck within its confines and can see no way out. Once we see it from outside the box the problem is solved.

Freedom to curtailed by ethical standard, the standard itself a form of bondage.

The newly born first feel the prison of hunger and wonder what they are doing in there. They don’t realize yet that it is a life sentence.

Any need creates its prison. It is not just the need itself but the awareness of the need that makes one a prisoner. Even when a need has been met there is an underlying anxiety that it may not be the next time. Does the hungry baby know he will be fed every time he cries?