And the Sun Sets Again

Light In the Distance…

OUT DATE- 216 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Despite what you might see on TV, prison isn’t all mayhem and ugliness. In large part, a wonderful normal average day in the life of Walks consists of lots of nothingness. Need I remind you it  has been 2 years of all but locked down in the cell, except for UNICOR of course. The work must go on no matter what!

Other than that we’ve had sporadic bouts of 1 hour recreation periods, and them in a cage, secluded from the rest of the population, so for the most part, no religious activities, no hobbycraft, no meaningful recreation – only false promises. Having nothing to do is monotonous as all get out – it’s watch tv, read, use the phone and the computer – that’s the extent of free-time activity, so you figure it out, we have been on red for 2 years, with only 2 weeks of yellow, where we could mix with the rest of the population. No wonder I’m so ready to get out. Smile.

See sometimes it’s just plain boring and common place, but not always. Something always seems to go haywire in here. Like for instance, the heating system here has been broken for the better part of the winter so far, leaving the building and my cell like a meat locker, freezing. Then the temps really fell one night. I was awake at 2:19am, shivering under three blankets, with thermal bottoms on as well as a long sleeve t-shirt, but lay there I did cuz I didn’t want to get out from under the blankets long enough to attempt to do anything about it, even though all that could be done is yet more layers of clothes.  

As I was saying, I laid there till 5am, miserable, as I am sure 98.6 % of the prison was, but get up at 5 I did, handled my hygiene issues, left the hot water on to make a coffee, got dressed for work, sipped the coffee in dark silence, trying my best not to wake my cell mate. After all one miserable man in a cell per morning is enough, but forsooth, I digress, I sipped the coffee in perfect frozen silence, then laid back down with my coat over me and actually was on the verge of comfort when 5:48 am rolled around, that magical time when I get my cellie up so he can get it together before they call breakfast and work call.

So once the door was opened at 6 am, I came out and got on here to see if anyone actually wanted to talk to me at that ridiculous time of day, and just as I thought, nope, not a single conversation was had. so it’s to the table and watch a few minutes news, Fox and Friends for a bit of unbiased Democrat bashing, and it’s off to insulin line and breakfast, then to the bad place (work). Now that’s how it started, spectacular right?

Well it gets better, I got my meds and dropped into the chow hall to eat a bite. This morning’s entre, cold oatmeal and pancakes, factory generated sometime during the reign of Cleopatra, and just about as bad as the “diet” syrup that tastes remarkably like kerosene, but we won’t go there.  I eat, push my empty tray thru the dish room window and move my butt to the factory, a short walk of about 200 yards, thru a gate and some hurricane fences, on thru the door with the metal detector. Wouldn’t ya know it, my coat hit the sides of the detector, setting it off, so back thru I gotta go; can’t enter unless ya clear the metal detector, and I’m in.

The Clock Keeps Ticking

I’m wonderin’ why the hands on the clock
don’t go as fast as the ones in my mind, 
and how and why and when and where,
what the hell has been left behind...

I’m doing all that I know I can,
with who and what and where I am,
and countin’ down from 243,
I gotta remember I am still me...

so tick-tick-tock,
all eyes are on the clock,
tick-tick-tock,
all eyes are now on Walks.

Well its rainin’ outside now,
and gettin' colder and colder still,
I’m wishing for a seasons change, 
from there it’s all downhill...

I’m doing all I know I can,
with who and what and where I am,
but counting down from 243,
I’ve got to remember to just stay me...
tick tick tick tick tick tick tick..........

Jan 2022 Steven "Walks On The Grass" Maisenbacher

I go over to my work station, a huge gray table with all sorts of small parts for battle fatigue army pants, camo and in bundles of 60 pocket flaps for the back hip pockets, lower leg pockets, and flaps for them, big ole cargo pockets and flaps for them too, bundle after bundle. There are 30 pairs of pants per bundle, so let’s see, cargo pockets, lower leg pockets, and back pockets, that’s 180 pocket flaps per bundle. I do anywhere from 10-30 bundles worth of parts a day so if 10 bundles is 1800, 20 is 3600, and 30 is, well, 30 is a whole @&%# load of parts that I have to examine per day. I check the seams and stitching, ensuring the dimensions are accurate and uniform.  

I’m a quality assurance inspector and it’s my job to make sure nothing is wrong.  It’s a thankless job at best. See, if a part is wrong then it has to go back to the operator that built it to be repaired, and that’s never a good time. The operators get paid by the bundles they build, and any time spent repairing is time they are not getting paid, and in their minds, that’s work they gotta do twice. So each mistake is met with the usual amount of fussing and arguing, but the bottom line…it ain’t right till inspector 24 (that’s me) says it’s right. Eventually I will, but not till it meets the exacting specs that are laid out for each and every part and stitch line on the dang things.

Now all I really do all day is work non-stop listening to my radio. I listen to the Rick and Bubba morning show till 10 am, as I work, occasionally making a gotta go stop. Another hour, it won’t be long now, till they are hitting the buzzer and having tool call in preparation for lunch. After going out thru the same problematic metal detector it’s to the chow hall and thru the line for whatever the garbage of the day is. A lot of times I don’t even go to lunch. I’ll go back to my cell and make a soup with some instant refried beans and a little chicken Vienna sausages. Sounds crazy but for a buck 50 it’s far better than anything they would serve, at least taste wise. Add a package of crackers and it’s a major munch…smile.

Ok, so it’s eat, maybe walk over to the hospital and pick up any prescriptions I may have being refilled, then it’s back to the factory, thru the metal detector, back to the table for work, but this time I’m listening to my MP3 player, and its usually only for a couple hours, then we are off. Out thru the metal detector once again, and walk it off to the unit, where I usually get right to the shower and get that out of the way, maybe call “Sings Many Songs” for our daily chit-chat. After that, maybe just go to the cell, make a cup of coffee, wait for count, where usually at least one overzealous cop will come thru screaming, “STAND UP FOR COUNT!”

After this rigmarole we are let out of our cells for the evening med line, dinner and time out of the cells when we are allowed to watch TV, use the phones or computers till 9pm. Then we are locked in for the night, yelled at again to stand up at 9:30 pm, then that’s it, bundle-up-beddy-bye time for little Walks just to get up to do it all over again tomorrow.

This could be any day, it is every day, except for weekends and holidays, but that’s a different story…


Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

2 thoughts on “And the Sun Sets Again

  1. I like your song. (For one thing, I need to learn to be more patient.) If your song were a poem, you could use iambic tetrameter, that is, eight syllables and four beats per line. In iambic meter, every other syllable is stressed, starting with the second syllable. I have split one of your stanzas into syllables to illustrate. I also rewrote the last line to make it fit iambic tetrameter. Each line usually ends on a stressed syllable. Of course, songs are sung according to what you hear in your head, but if you were writing a poem, you could use iambic meter to give the poem some rhythm.

    I’m do-ing all I know I can,
    with who and what and where I am,
    and count-in’ down from 2-4-3,
    un-til the time that I’ll be free

    Liked by 1 person

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