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Solidarity with California hunger strikers: When darkness sets in

August 16, 2013

by Coyote Sheff

Coyote Sheff logoWritten July 28, 2013 – Sitting here in the dark, reflecting on the situation I find myself in, trying to figure out how things got so messed up here in this graveyard, trying to think of ways to uplift my fellow prisoners, bringing all the solid ones together so that we can try to make things better. But I’m just one man in this fight; I’ve only been able to do so much on my own.

Reflecting on a time when prisoners actually understood why it was absolutely necessary to separate the real from the fake. Damn, that seems so long ago …

If only I could bring solid prisoners together around real causes. If only I could build a level of trust and solidarity amongst those who live by a code of honor and respect.

It’s just sad to me, the way all of these snitches and foul infiltrations keep getting embraced by prisoners who are opportunists or by those who don’t have the heart to tell a rat or a rapist to kick rocks. With all of these foul pieces of crap being embraced, it ruins trust and destroys solidarity – and more importantly it aids our true enemy in keeping us down, divided and defeated.

So here I am in this lonely cell, sitting in the dark with all my appliances turned off, just contemplating my situation. I’m thinking about the courageous prisoners in California who are now weeks into their hunger strike, probably starving in pain, ready to put their lives on the line to end the ongoing isolation that they’ve suffered and endured for far too long.

'High Risk Potential' by Coyote Sheff zine cover 2010They’re stuck in SHU, stuck in solitary. While here at Nevada’s max security gulag, Ely State Prison, we’ve got all of these cats on self-requested ad-seg, voluntarily putting themselves in isolation, just staying back there for months and months, and years and years.

I can’t help but reflect on the paradox of how in one state you’ve got people dying to get out of isolation, while in another state, we’ve got all these cats hiding out in isolation, acting like that’s the place to be.

While I sit here in the dark, I can feel the coldness and the loneliness slowly but adamantly start to seep into my cell. I can feel it with my whole being, as the darkness starts to set in. So I’ve got to get up and fight it, ‘cause I can’t allow this situation to defeat me. I can’t let myself become conquered by this weak ass bullshit.

When darkness sets in, it’s time to turn on the light. It’s time to get up and be productive. My heart so truly goes out to the California hunger strikers, and to all those who struggle and fight for significant changes in their lives. Keep pushing forward.

Still standing strong

In this deplorable world of confusion
And of endless confinement
Where we are faced with constant degradation and intrusion
And battered down for trying to seek personal refinement
In a world so dark, so ugly, so cold
Feeling so isolated, alienated and all alone
A world where I no longer belong
All I can do is keep standing strong

This is a world where weakness gets no slack
Where my mind has been enraged, my heart has gone black
Psychological warfare; they’re on the attack
Consciousness has died in this graveyard
But I’ve been fighting so damn hard
To try to bring it back!
So many things have gone terribly wrong
Yet through it all, I still stand strong

Standing strong on my feet
While surrounded by broken prisoners
Who have become so accepting of defeat
The strong, the resilient, the wise and the brave
Have been pitted against the deranged and the depraved
By us, the oppressor’s path has been so easily paved
While they lead us straight to our graves
For some, it won’t be long
But for me, I’m still standing strong

Solidarity and respect,

Coyote Sheff

Coyote is a nationally acclaimed prison writer and artist. Visit his blog, Coyote Calling, and his Facebook page, Facebook.com/coy.sheff. Send our brother some love and light: Coyote Sheff, 55671, Ely State Prison, P.O. Box 1989, Ely, NV 89301.

 

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