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Selections from a Prison Journal

8/15... yeah, Texas. Whata trip, awoke early last day-o July to be told to pack it up, so with a quickness 4 boxes off to Lynda and 2 packed with my papers/etc to be shipped later (which has still not arrived). Of course i'd been hopeful of the grayhound bus-trip but that wasn't to be, it was the long wait and chain, legs/belly/wrists... shuffling along in the gang, through the institution onto a barred bus hard-seat. A short-drive to Vandenburg airforce base and a long wait for the plane. At the moment it arrived t'was like some cheap TV police thriller, with lots of guys wearing bulletproof vests and slinging shotguns as if it were 1842, they fanned out around the plane and we were shuffled up the rear gangway, a gang of ruffled and surprised men, shocked actually at being outta prison and (for some the first time) up into a jet.

... damn wonderful, the above clouds view with snatches/batches of green, even as uncomfortable as it was it was a place where eyes could open to vistas, a place without chainlink, the blue and white... all the way to Oklahoma City--which is such a strange prison, it's at the airfield and our bureau jet pulled directly up to the swinging arm ramp and off we dismounted, right into the jail. Was there (no comments regarding that little bureau-clean piece of boredom) 5-nights, locked into a smallness, or at least it felt small. Then the 6th up again at 4:00am, more and same chains, searches and sack lunches (eaten in bellychained handcuffs, try that sometimes) and back-the jet... up and away. Directly South, into the deep and-green/lime-yellow, blue-purple winding waterways, it was unbelievablely delicious, we flew below most of the clouds, the plane would bank steeply and there was the earth spread, of roadways white-tan, of huge circle farms each a certain shade of green due to mono-culture crops, and then miles of almost perfect rectangular patches, abutting each other but lined with either a small green/brown stream or a row of trees... my eyes were wide at/with delight, forgotten all and every, the possible shades of green are endless.

... then New Orleans for a stop/go and off-up to Houston, more perfect waterways and the the coast... and all the multiplicity of off-shore oilwells and the way the sand looks as it's swept by the sea. And the winding river that did that classic snake, t'was the color of moss early spring, there were shifting patterns within it as some areas must have been colored by a runoff from another stream... and there was an aqueduct with spillway, the white of the foam blending with the cement, the whole a spade shape pushed into that greenness. And the miles/miles/miles of suburbia, each so similar it's impossible to tell one part of the country from another, same swimming pools, same roof lines, same street layout, same mall parking lot, same/same/same and so very strange to see as opposed to the vastness and changing earthness that surrounds; i suppose the uniformity is a cloak against exactly the wildness of life.

... and then we were here, Austin. Well it's not camp, it's yet another prison, more strict than the last ... 3-men in each tiny room made for one, locked up at 8:00 pm and opened again at 6:00 am ... with very little to do and a system of controlled movement (which means moving from one place to the next only at hour intervals). Since i was supposed to go to Camp my custody level was special... and so they placed me in isolation for a day-and-a-half until they somehow got permission to raise my level. No one's telling me much, only that within a month i'll be informed, i suppose they don't trust me, i do have this strange accent and coming from California... well... (one of the first questions is: War ya from boy?, then if i'm gay... and then i'm asked what sortta name's DoBoze... I ain't one o-them bomb tossers are ya? Finally it's am i a christian, and when it was the psy services, it's do i wanna kill myself? I'm serious. Yikes, Texas, t'aint changed in all the years i've been gone/left... and it's hot and sticky too.

... well herein am i .  t'is okay and i'm gonna be too, immediately got a desk job (inside) with access to this machine, clerk for vocy tech again... and the family's happy cause it's only 40-miles away, will be seeing Lynda/Phil/Pierre/Val and see what we can do about getting re-instated into the camp or even better, find a method for that extended halfway house. Whatever though, it's gonna take at least 3/4 months and i could be here until 04/15/04. My keepers are nervous and even as the record speaks, they're just good-o texas-boys and do not trust even their brethren out west. What the hell, at worst case it's only 19-months and i can smell the airs of freedom, after seeing the sights, i'm eager, this is a cakewalking end of the road.

7/30... on stories and the remembrance, deeplasting humiliation and degradation has scared guilt into my selfviewpoint complete. So much so that i cannot reflect on myself without feeling my crime-sins. This, in turn, (as i've just been able to mentally formulate) has twisted thoughts, it's caused me to recast my past into failures, if i'm guilty it's solely due to my own-self lackings, therefore any/all memories of past accomplishments must be faulty and/or incorrect ... leaving a blank timespace between wrongful deeds. This seems the only method to hold psychicontinuity (if there's such a creature), one must re-shuffle and color the past to jig-saw the presentness reality. No wonder no story feels true, only ostentatious and embarrassingly self-congratulatory, they feel a lie even when the recall's distinct. Being com-pounded has bent and threaded my self-perceptions through this razorwire of time, as if the restrictions, having been incorporated fully, have destroyed that part of me that connects, i have no stories, only a shady/shadowy past that i don't trust, i have become my keepers version; a document that begins with arrest and ends arresting the previous 44-yrs.

... and the interesting part is i hardly notice and when I do i'm only confused, not unhappy so much as unable to communicate. My associates being of two classes, those prior, who must see/remember a different human and therefore find it incomprehensible to live so divided, they see (i think) a wholeness with high & low point, much as they see themselves, so they don't/can't grasp or understand my division. Then the other set, those from herein can be subdivided into keepers and accompliconvicts; keeper/guards see only, and look only, for the worst, the subversive, the recalcitrant sinners. In their view my past is immaterial, i am a job-commodity, not a living memory. My fellowprisoners lives, having been chopped too, either brag-to-perserve image, or like myself a long term shut-in, have foregone our pasts and do not recall or speak of it. We are gray-men, living without shadows in the spotlight of documented guilt. No wonder our recall seems pale/false and besides the point, it is uncommunicatable.

... having such a non-past implies same/same for future, since there's no truthful beginning there can't be a successful ending, stuck in middle-ground, at mid-life, waiting/waiting while all the while the total's being reduced from/at both ends. One would think that incarcerations would be, like a terrible TV sit-comedy set in a rundown retirement/hospital, filled with memory, with no present at all. The reverse seems more the case; t'is far harder to exist in an endless Alzheimer's hospice condtion, only vaguely aware except for the pain (which in itself is unrememberable). Lest we forget, it is the human condition, we acclimate so completely that we forget ... and that's what and why memories vanish, replaced by the abyss timeless/mindless and pale...


Selections from a Prison Journal










Stephen Dubov  82661-011
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1010
Bastrop, Texas  78602