by Izzy Traiger
I wake up in the morning to begin my morning routine, but the door never opens. I wonder why. For what reason do these CO’s keep us confined in a 13 and a half by 7 foot bathroom with two other inmates? I’m very stressed.
The water is off so I can’t wash my face, brush my teeth, or even make the morning shot of coffee. I really have to take a piss, but the toilet won’t flush. I go anyways and so does my cellie. Now the cell smells like piss and we can’t get out.
An hour or so goes by and the light comes on. We’re anxious because all of these thoughts and hopes run through our heads of being free from this bathroom. The CO is passing out juice door to door, and from every cell people ask him the same questions – “Are we coming out?”, “Why are we on lock-down?”, “Can I warm up my coffee?”, “Can I get some water out of the sink?” And continuously we hear the same answer. The power’s off, “No!” he says, “facility lockdown.” Stop bugging.
We’re pretty angry and don’t have shit to do. We lay on our beds and think, getting more stressed with every second that passes. I woke up at 9am and now it’s already 11am – what do I do? I pick up this lame ass book that I got from this program I participate in called Comienzos. I start to read; I’m not that interested but I know it will take my mind away from jail and this horrible smell of piss.
I read for about an hour and my stomach starts to rumble. Fuck, I think I’ve gotta take a shit. Now I’m really frustrated because all I want is the water to come back on. I lay back down to try to ease my stomach. It helps, but not for long. It’s noon now, I get up and push the flush button, and it finally works. A sense of relief. I pull of the drawers and let go.
I wash up, make my coffee, and begin to read my book again. Boring! I put it away and look at the desk and see a cheeseburger that I got last night. “Ooh it looks good,” I think, and take a bite. It’s cold so I put it away for later when I can use the microwave.
The sergeant walks in the pod and you can hear the same questions again – “Are we coming out?”, “Why are we locked down?”, “Will we come out for swing shift?” She says that for all she knows, yes. Once again a sense of relief.
I don’t know what to do anymore. This book sucks, I’m pretty full, and I don’t have anything else to do. Fuck it, I go in my commissary box and pull out my journal, that I also received from Comienzos, and start with the word “lock-down” and explain my shitty morning in our bathroom.
Well hell, here I am on another fuckin’ lock down. Why? I know but don’t care, can’t do a damn thing about it anyway. Probably be on tier rotation in the morning too. My biggest complaint is that I missed out on Jiva and Wendy’s classes today, and that really sucks.
Got another new cellmate, his name is F__, he’s about 58 years old, cool and a little scared. Couldn’t remember anyone’s phone number except his bosses. Well here I go doing what I can to get this old man out, his bond was only $250. So to make a long story short he got out this morning. He reminds me of a modern day Kris Kringle – white beard, a twinkle in his eyes and full of little stories. It’s funny, I always seem to end up with the old ones or the ones nobody wants in his cell. I don’t mind, I figured it out – I was put in here not only to get myself straightened out but to help those who maybe don’t know where else to turn cuz’ they don’t know anyone or are afraid to ask or offend.
I don’t know, but I do sleep better at night knowing I was able to help even if it is or was just to lend a helping hand. I thank God he gave me the ability to help others even if it never comes back to me from those I help. I just hope I can do the same for my family and be the best husband and father I can be. Let’s see who God puts in my path. I’m sure it won’t be long.
Well it’s another day and we are on tier rotation like I figured. Oh well, I guess it gives me time to reflect and write in my journal.
Here I sit watching the many faces of my peers,
trying not to shed any tears.
Seeing some of their fears,
seeing how father time has gotten us all our of line.
Wondering why I keep coming back –
Man, this is wack.
What’s happening to all our dreams and hopes?
Can we change our path in life?
Something without all this strife?
Looking at the clock on the wall,
seeing homies playing hand ball.
Catching a glimpse of that bird soaring up high.
Why can’t I?