In America’s towns and villages,
And at grounds like Arlington,
There are soldiers carved of marble
To mark the wars thev’ve won.
You’ll see Lees’ and Grants’ upon a horse,
Some brandishing a sword
Cannon, rifle, bayonet,
In bronze and concrete poured.
There are Eisenhowers’ and Lekeys’,
And tanks, and guns, and ships,
You find Pattons’, Clarks’, and Halseys’
Famous words from famous lips
There are walls, museums, towers,
That Toward the sky all soar
They have all been dedicated
As their monuments to war.
How strange, in this fair nation,
Where they fight to make war cease,
That it is so difficult to find,
More monuments to….. peace!
Call us “Indian” if you will-
Or “Native” if you must.
To many sorts of names
“The People” can adjust.
But one name never call us
That of “American”-
We never have been-- never will
Be members of your clan.
Don’t “honor” us with “citizen”
It’s never been our claim.
“The People” of this land are we,
We’ve always had that name.
We’ve never asked your presence here.
We’ve never sought your god
Never signed a “ legal” treaty
That gave up one inch of sod.
Never kidnapped your children,
Nor forced them to our schools,
Nor desired to learn your language,
Or dig up your graves like ghouls.
We didn’t ask for your diseases,
Nor did we crave your lust for gold,
All we truly ever wanted,
Was to live the ways of old.
We didn’t ask that you should come here
To build fences on our land.
To take the things that were not yours
Is all you ever planned!
So..do one kind and real thing
If you never do another
Call our name as just “The people”
For we’ll never be your “Brother.”
A Voice From Within
"And so beneath the weight lay I and suffered to death, but could not die."
Society reflects itself in the microcosm of prison. From a class based,
racially motivated construct devolves life as a series of Chinese boxes; a
set of boxes decreasing in size so
that each box fits inside the next larger one. I am in the smallest box.
The purpose of this box is to gouge my senses by suppressing human sound,
put blinders about my
eyes by restricting my view of the outside world and forbid touch by a lack
of human contact. Essential
human needs are viewed with suspicion. Within the larger context of the big
box, the smallest box is
designed to inflict physical and emotional isolation that wears down a
prisoner's will to resist When this
regimen undermines a prisoner's health or distorts his personality, it's
considered (he cost of doing business
I'm deeply cornered in its prison. My sight is diminished, but I maintain my
vision. I see a hand
in the use of restraint to spread-eagled prisoners - - something inherently
abusive regardless of the excuse.
I see forced feedings, cell extractions, mind altering medications and
chemical weapons used to
incapacitate. I see a petty stream of petty hassles, harassments, verbal
barrages, mind-fuck games, false
disciplinary reports, medical neglect and the omnipresent threat of
violence. Airborne shit and gobs of spit
become the response of the caged. The government says we don't have much
common cause with
humanity because we are "the worst of the worst," an incessant and factually
Department of Corrections incantation which has become an effective sound
The government successfully monopolizes and manipulates information
pertaining to crime and
punishment. Excuse me, but was the government to be believed about Vietnam
or the savings and loan rip-
off? Was Nixon to be believed about Watergate? Was Reagan to be believed
about the mass murder in
Central America? Was Clinton to be believed concerning the human ashes in
Waco? If they were, then
maybe you'll buy into the absurd need for a Brooklyn Bridge named the
Supermax Correctional Institution
(SMCI) in Boscobel, Wisconsin.
The government has a major credibility problem, yet tax dollars continue to
bleed away into the
sordid business of the world's largest prison system. Who are we, who
inhabit the smallest boxes in this
system? We are men of no property, predominately black and brown and
increasingly younger, who enter
one of the few doors open to us - - the penitentiary. We are too uppity, too
rebellious, too subversive and
too quick to piss on prison policies. At times, we are so outrageous that we
destroy government property
and challenge the state's authority to treat us like dogs. Some of us are
quick to defend ourselves: our legal
rights, our religions and our principles. We fight for our dignity then,
when we have nothing left to lose.
Who am I? I am one subjected to the collective punishment within the common
ground of SMCI.
"Worst of the worst" is where the illusion clashes with the reality. The
illusion: that the criminalization of
poverty and the isolation and degradation of prisoners provides an
effective, humane response to social ills.
The reality: that crimes begin at the top, with predatory capitalists
profiting grotesquely while the results of
their activities mire the rest of us in economic and social rot. It's a
shame that I had to be sent to one of
these boxes-within-a-box before I realized I was destined for success.
former Wisconsin Prisoner, now released
“The Old Ones” By Dennis Gonzalez
The old ones always understood
The meaning of the land,
They knew that I everything,
The Great Spirit had a hand.
They honored all life and people,
Believed in their great worth,
Celebrated with great joy,
Every child’s birth.
They lived in harmony,
With all of nature’s gifts,
They understood minerals, plants,
Animals and chants,
That causes the heart to lift.
They taught their children,
songs and stories of long past.
“Follow the ways of the people”
was all they ever asked.
As time passed, they have seen
Some walk a different road..
A road that leads away from them
And the stories that they’ve told.
They yearn to see young ones follow,
The straight red road in their life,
Not a strange, black, and crooked one,
That will only bring them strife.
With time, I pray we may all understand,
That old ways are the best
Living the songs and stories,
Will help us pass life’s tests.
So listen to the stories,
of the moon, stars and the sun,
And always thank the creator,
For leaving us with the old ones.