Photos

A grab bag of photos, most of which didn’t make the final editions of the book.

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This town in West Virginia spoke to me. I am, however, willing to be “incorporated” if you know what I mean.

Juggling served as my primary exercise in the slammer, and homemade balls proved to be the best option for doing so. The final design, shown here, consisted of a core of bar soap to add weight, surrounded by layers of soggy newsprint added in stages. The string came from drawstrings in plastic bags issued to inmates to carry belongings during transfer travel. The packing tape came only later, thanks to connections made in the clothes house.

 

 

 

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The smaller item here is the only writing utensil permitted to inmates sent to a certain part of the prison system. Re-purposed medical provided much-needed grip, because I used several of these “pens” until they ran out of ink.

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This document is a favorite from the odyssey: A tax bill from North Carolina for the drugs they confiscated. To summarize, they kept the product and tried to tax me for illegal substances, as they took three years of my freedom to boot. No wonder they never pursued their uphill legal battle when I refused to pay.  Side note: They didn’t even list the roughly nine grams (a lot) of DMT they seized. I assume they didn’t know what it was.

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Here is a low-quality pic of me at Southern, taken by my Aunt Sally from inside a car. Over my right shoulder is a barracks wall. The heads of bunk beds press up to the windows, which would probably be wide open from April through October. One of two sports TV day rooms is to my left.  I logged a ton of time just inside of that window, next to my buddy Chubb. The freestyle rap battles in the yard took place here, where the Charlotte hip-hop radio came in the clearest, the drum and guitar circles to my right.

(Page 168) Stealth pic of me outside the warehouse jungle at Southern, talen by my Aunt from inside a car.

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The flat building in the center houses Southern’s clothes operations and canteen, where a line of three men has formed. Past them is the large “shotgun shack” chow hall that also served as the chapel and general assembly space. To the left is the administration building, worthy of Mayberry RFD.

(Page 61) Southern street view. Warden's office, clothes house & canteen, chow hall, original building. (Imagery c) 2019 Google, Maxar Technologies)

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Here is a much clearer pic of the Mod barracks, a relative paradise on the edge of Southern’s perimeter. I once saw a full mini-rainbow with a backdrop of towering pines over that pond. Deer and fox swung through regularly, and a sweeping expanse to the left of the pond resembled a nice golf course.

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Another clearer version of a pic published in the book. A rec room at Buncombe County Jail. Visible to the right is a payphone that charges like $12 for a ten-minute long-distance call. Bernie the Breathing Coach held sessions in a room just like this one.

Actual pic of the jail, but obviously from a different cellblock. (Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Detention Center)

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A big version of a pic from this website’s banner. This was taken during my seventeen-month writing retreat in rural coastal Virginia. I loved how the military-style locker/safe looks like a tower desktop computer. I also enjoyed dressing up, since I never did so during this period because I was broke and never went anywhere notable besides a $10 golf course and a Wal-Mart.

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Holy Dork-alicious.

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This isn’t even the complete stack of journal page envelopes I sent back to my relatives for safekeeping. Each one usually held six pages written on both sides. Finally having that mess forged into a book is the greatest feat of my life.

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I was remiss in not choosing an envelope adorned with a stamp completely worn-out from changing hands fifty times as part of the prison yard economy. Those were hilarious.

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I took this pic at an L.A. laundry joint. I chuckled at the sign because it reminded me of prison. I’m guessing several former inmates cleaned items sloppily in this sink, keeping with habits formed in lockup.

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This is me under arrest for my disorderly conduct charge, in Atlanta, roughly twenty years before the biggie in 2011. My buddy’s car was not yet on a tow truck for being “illegally” parked, but the cop on the scene refused to let us pay the tow fee on the spot and save the hassle of retrieval. “Man, you’re a dick!” was all it took for the handcuffs to come out. That’s when I realized white lives don’t matter.

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