by Richard Jackson
Lost in thought, in this solitary cell, contemplating existence. Lights perched outside of every cell buzz in a high pitched whine, like a choir of crickets in unison.
Listening in on a cheap pair of ear buds, attached to a contraband wire strung down the tier to the only radio in the pod. The volume isn’t up loud enough to drown out the droning stupid-ass lights, still broadcasting their incessantly false luminosity day and night.
A good song comes on, after too many commercials, and I drift off into its melody. Suddenly a toilet flushes and its loud mouth drowns out all other voices. I wait through its intrusion to conclude with its prioritized efficiency. I just catch the end of the song, when a PA speaker blares out ear-piercingly loud about standing count, or alarm testing in a kitchen I’ve never seen.
Then the section door crashes open, screeching with an obnoxious grinding moan. It reminds me of the garbage truck that used to swallow up the contents of all those garbage cans standing by the curb at attention on garbage day.
Standing count: The cop enters the section, cracks a metal wand on a metal “security” button outside each cell. This contact-cracker creates a loud beep. They crack that pipe on each damned button until it elicits a response. Then continue on to the next button. Crack-crack-beep, crack-beep, crack-crack-crack-beepity-freakin’ beep.
Try and sleep when all this happens every 30 minutes, 24 hours, seven days a week.
You and I are supposed to be the same. So, I’d like to ask you. Does this daily program not sound insane? Could you retain control of your brain, day after day, year after year on this solitary tier?
Send our brother some love and light: Richard Jackson, D-52210, CSP Calipatria, P.O. Box 5004, Calipatria CA 92233. Richard was in the Pelican Bay SHU when he wrote this back on Aug. 8, 2015. He adds in a note about what then was a new routine: “The new instrument being utilized for our supposed safety, the security count pipe, is a whip to our souls every half hour, except it does not leave visible scars. Yet it is a searing whiplash unto our souls daily with sleep deprivation.”