January to April 1968
The cold chill shattered the nite. It was a chill that crept through the covers of my bed. It really wasn’t a bed and they weren’t really covers. This is solitary and this is Oakalla it is a bad as Maximum can get. Everywhere is cement and steel. Cold and always damp. There is no windows in the hole, and a forty watt naked light bulb that never goes off. I really do not know if it is a forty watt or not. It is to high to see any writing. It is too bright to sleep, but it so dim it only cast shadows of melted colors on the cement floor. Everything is green always green, a sick pea soup green or chartreuse maybe. The bed is a steel shelf on the side of one of the four walls. The bed is about five and half feet long and I am 6’ 4”. The scratchy wool blankets too small for the bed. Two of theses dull gray blankets one for on top and one for on the bottom of me when I sleep. They scratch they, they stink and I am always cold. No books, no music, but plenty of time to think. They took away my boots, clothes, and glasses in the hole. Because the prison officials say they do not want me to commit suicide. The toilet is in the middle of the room, it doesn’t have a toilet seat, guess I really don’t need one of those. The sink is on the opposite wall. Cold water only and no soap. But, I do have a tin cup, it seems if I wanted to kill myself I could do with my cup easier than my glass or boots or my clothes. They feed me three times a day, the food is suppose to be good. Even in the hole, in Canadian prisons they feed you better than in the US, or so they say. Lots of coffee, always with cream it comes no other way, five times a day. The food is more meat than I ever dreamed of and bread not much else. They say if I don’t suck lemons I’ll get scurvy, I think I already got it. My eyes are swollen and hurts when I open them, my nose is bleeding a little all the time and hurts so bad when I move my head I think I’m going to pee. My lips are so sore it is hard to eat this over cooked beef any more. I’ll be damned I’ll suck there lemons. In the cell blocks it is either sucking lemons or have time to read.
Last time I was in the whole it was for fifteen days, now it is for thirty. The good thing they let me out every Sunday to shower, but they don’t make me go to church any more. I won that one all right that is why I am here. Every Tuesday they let me out for a court remand, the crown likes checking up on me, it is nice there are people who care. The crown don’t even know, but that bitch still cares.
In the cell blocks in Oakalla, thing are much better. The cells face the windows across the inside yard and the railing separating the path in front of the cells and the inside yard. My hoe is cell 712. The 12th cell on the seventh tear. That means this three and half foot railing is all that keeps me from falling seven stories to the cement floor below. I miss my cell, it was mine. Though I don’t mind telling you this stupid game of theirs is getting unexciting to me. I came to Canada because I was sick of the good ol’ U S of a fucking A.
Oakalla is hard, hard as it gets, cement and steel; crazy cons, unmercifully mean guards who would as soon kill you on the spot as piss on your corpse. When I first arrived I was the guest of honor to a blanket party. The guards at nite came in pulled the blanket over me so I couldn’t escape and took turns drubbing me. Broke two ribs on the left side, never healed right. Who was I to complain to. That got me fifteen days in the hole for screaming after lights out. You got to see their point. The whole cell block was screaming “dummy up motherfucker”. I got “fuck all” for sympathy, so I didn’t tell them about the ribs. When I got out they tried to get me to bunk with Scotty. Life without parole, killed his wife and daughter, when his wife tried to run away. Scotty ran things in Oakalla, even the guards took their orders from Scotty. Everyone paid money in his account for canteen. Everyone was in debt to Scotty’s organization. All the drugs was controlled by Scotty, both the ones the docs gave out and the street drugs. If you didn’t contribute to Scotty’s account you got your methadone cut off.
The old lifers took young boys and made them their girls. Not that they were gay, they weren’t. A queer in prison is as good as dead. The wolves are the old men who took young boys, they were homophobic as hell. It was simply power and it was simply to show everyone who ran the yard, it had nothing to do with sex. I was lucky when Scotty made his move on me, I panic. Next thing I knew my cracker ass body was wrapped around the railing with both Scotty and me leaning over facing a seven story fall to the cement floor below. Everyone said that was the first and probably the last time they ever saw Scotty scared. He whispered to me “back off, I’ll get you your own cell”. That is how I got cell 712. In Scotty’s twisted ganglia he figured I was a man after all.
Things went well after that. I had a private cell. We started a reading library and the censors back off. Mario Martinelli won that one. He was here on procession, but his mom was a red. Her lawyer won the right to send him books to read. At first the prison bosses said no because she sent him Marx, Bakunin, and Voltaire, but she fought hard. Those books were like gold in here, they were read until they fell apart. Mario even got my letters out past the censors, when I would try to send them myself they give them back and say unacceptable.
There are victories like my own cell, and radical books. That’s why I do hard time, you can win. Everyone tried to tell me it ain’t who you know, but who you blow that get you across. They say Magic Mike, in the pen they call me Magic Mike, not Sconi I hate Magic Mike. “Magic Mike why do you make everything a fight”. I say “I don’t wear a hole in my ass for the man”, and I mean it.
I did come to Canada because I got tired of fighting in the US. After I dropped out of school I got drafted. The draft board in Pocatello is mostly Italian. In Pocatello most of the white people are either Mormon, Greek, or Italian. My mom was Mormon, my dad Italian. The draft board wouldn’t let Al’s boy go to prison, but I wasn’t going to take my physical and that’s that. The board said we can get you a 1-Y, a medical deferment. I knew they could I was forty pounds under weight, I didn’t want a1-Y. I wanted a goddamn 4-F, morally unfit, and their was no compromise The board said that would kill Al. I would get a proclamation to show up for my physical, I wouldn’t go the cops would put me in jail. They hold me for a week or two let me go and give me another notice to take my physical, I would say “fuck you” and go back to jail. They kept playing this game with me. I would say give me a 4-F and we will forget the whole thing, they would say the best we can do is a 1-Y, so I say “fuck you”. Frank Church finally told them to leave me alone or draft me, but I got another notice for a physical. I met with the college and high school papers burnt my 1-A draft card passionately said “This government shall not ask me to kill another man I am not mad at for a cause I don’t believe in”. Told them I was off to Canada, I was sick of this shit country.
I cross the boarder in less than an hour the monties arrested me charged me with possession, cohabitation, and conspiracy to commit a crime or something like that. They took me directly to Oakalla, and because I was a coward who would not fight for his country the guards threw a blanket party for me. I won the right to have my own cell, and Mario and me could read that was a hell of a victory. The last fight was this church sit. Everyone is required to attend services every week, there was no choice. You could be Protestant or Catholic, that was the only two choices. Two congregation and two choices that it. Well I took Catholic because I am Italian. I could never figure out all the motions those guys do in church. I would kneel at the wrong time or stand at the wrong time. Forget which hand to cross myself with. It wasn’t that I was stupid, it just hard to pay attention in something as boring as church is. At first the priest was amused, then he was tolerant, then he was pissed kept trying to teach me how and I kept ignoring him. Finally he said I couldn’t come back to church. I thought I won that one, I thought I was pretty cool. But, no now I got to be a Protestant, ah piss.
I was a worse Protestant than I was a Catholic. The minister called me into his office the first week. He and the probation officer had some questions for and they said they got my number and they weren’t going to be as tolerant as the Father. The pastor asked me why as a Catholic I never went to confession? I told them simply because “I never done anything wrong”. He said with attitude like that you are going to do hard time. Then I was asked do I believe in God? I told them only if it makes you feel better.
“Don’t get smart or you will go back into the hole”.
OK I believe in God
Is Jesus Christ your personal savior and your God.
Hell no Mary Magdeline is God the closest Jesus ever got to God is when he fucked Mary Magdeline.
I thought the place would explode both men started spitting, turn bright pink and screeching in a high pitch moan. I got thirty days in the hole. But, I don’t have to go to church, I won again. That makes it all worth while I hate church, any church always have and always will. The church, the government, and capitalism are three ugly whores who keep fucking each other for a profit.
Today they came for me for another remand. They have already dropped the procession charge. As I leave Oakalla for the court, they strip me naked check every orifice for contraband. They do the same thing when you return, and because even if you go to the toilet a guard goes with you and there is no way to sneak anything in that way and drugs are so easy to get in the inside I figure the guard get a sexual thrill off of it. I know it is a hell of a lot better for the guards than it is for me. This remand is the best, only twenty days in the hole this time they drop the last two charge against me, they will deport me as an undesirable, can’t come back to Canada for seven years. The last three-day in prison I will spent in cell 712, and when I return to the States I will get my 4-F and no one can stop me. I am morally unfit because I was in a foreign prison.
It doesn’t get any better than this. My nose, mouth and eyes hurt like hell with the survey, but it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ll spend the last couple of nites in prison in my own cell, I don’t have to go to church, I am getting out to go back to my own country to fight for its soul, and I get a 4-F. There is no way to lose as long as you fight back. Kick, scratch, thrash at the walls of oppression, if you do it long enough tiny cracks began to form. They patch them up again, kick at the patches until new cracks are formed. With each patch it is never as solid as before. They can never put it back together as it was before, if they kill you already weakened the fortress of exploitation, even if only microscopically. The next rebel can even do more damage. They can never win if you fight back. They can kill you, mangle you, guillotine you to shreds, they can never win because you were a rebel if even for a instant a insurgent in love with the sweet soul of insurrection and because of that you weaken the foundation of totalitarianism. With thought like this I giggle my self to sleep.