The Thoughts of a Hardened Criminal

It smells like urine and I’m sitting uncomfortably on a seat made of what seems like hell – hardened. Surrounding me are depressed souls staring down at their own individual void as they wait until they are released. I want to go back. I wish I had never gotten into this box-of-sadness. I want to scream out “All day! All week!” but I know nobody will respond because I’m on the subway.

Seven hours earlier I was sitting with the same physical uncomfort at the back of the jail cell – near the toilets. Jacob, a fellow Mainer who had been arrested with me strolled back and sat on the floor.

“I keep drifting off, but immediately wake up in order to cheer.”

This is the refrain of my time here. I’m exhausted from being arrested, from being tossed to the ground, from only eating stale bread with stale cheese and stale mustard. But the second a new prisoner/brother enters our room, I cheer. I clap. I’m excited. Because it means there’s another person who wants to talk – who is interested in changing the society that we live in.

I served time talking to a boy who had to blackmail his way into an honorable discharge from the Iraq War because he refused to fight.

I served time in a discussion of how currency as a concept could be changed.

I served time singing listening to a man sing made up love songs out the little holes in our cell to the female officer on the other side.

I served time talking about how art can grow in an activist movement.

I served time talking about what the spring held for the Occupy Movement.

I served time chanting and clapping and hugging and laughing and giving twinkle fingers and and wishing that dude would just stop rambling.

I served time.

The attitude was never despair. We felt only excited that we were in this moment in history and we were together – together with a common mission. A mission to listen and learn. Each of us has something to say and it’s important to listen to everything you can listen to before a decision is made. You cannot stop discussion by putting that discussion in a jail cell.

You stop discussion by putting people in a subway with Angry Birds and tell them to not talk to strangers.

I say “We are..” under my breath and no one responds.


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