He Said, She Said, They All Say

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 33 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

I can’t get over it, I’m actually at a loss of words over this, I watch the news and within 5 minutes I’ve seen Fox trash everyone that’s not a conservative Republican. Then I walk across the day room and watch CNN trash everyone that’s not a 100% dyed in the wool liberal Democrat. And between the 2 sides they manage to pass the blame for the state of the nation back and forth, but neither offers any cure or a solution to all the issues from the price of gas to everything else.

One thing that particularly galls me is the fact that they keep letting these criminals out of jail without them paying for their crimes. It may surprise you to learn that I believe in the penalization of law breakers and especially violent criminals. I believe that if you do the crime you should do the time.

The nation is in crisis and the bickering isn’t getting anything accomplished. I didn’t care for Trump’s antics, but I’m not convinced he didn’t leave this country in a better place than where he came in. Then within a year or so Biden has managed to destroy the economy, make us the laughing-stock nation of the world and run us into a crisis state.

It appears to me no one wants to work, no one can afford gas, no one is doing anything but scraping the bottom of the barrel to get by. People are killing each other like never before in history, the major cities are war zones where the innocent are the victims and every time I turn around we have more controversy about the border. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong but I do know that in just a month I’m being released to a world that’s in way worse shape than when I left it.

I remember that when I left making ends meet was already hard for families, but nothing like this. Now I’m not ranting, I’m just expressing my concern over a government that has all the power, but not the will to govern and work to solve problems. We have an economy that’s a mess, a job market that’s a catastrophe and civil discord that’s one step from anarchy. Then you have to factor in all the crazy “woke” stuff.

News flash, I am not ashamed of who or what I am. I am certainly not the oppressor of anyone and I don’t feel guilty about my race, color, or beliefs. I do feel contempt for the people behind all the hate, fear and propaganda that is thrown around and dished out on a daily basis all for political gain.

See, I refuse to let all this shake my faith in humanity and the fact that people with different ideas are not all bad. The world is full of kind and compassionate people and it is a dang shame that some people refuse to nurture and cultivate this fact and just want to sling venom and hate. Man, ain’t it bad enough we’ve gotta try to navigate a world where everyone is so busy blaming those “others” that they can’t take time to examine the various points of view and consider real solutions?

Isn’t it beyond belief that when all the misdeeds in every quarter finally start coming to light, no one wants to talk or question them? There is this grand scheme to punish Trump but what about Hunter’s laptop? What about Pelosi and her playboy husband? What about Hillary’s complicity in lying about Trump and the Russians? And what in the name of all that’s powerful is up with Pelosi elbowing  a little girl out of a picture? Are you kidding me? I’m supposed to respect that behavior? No!

Now this show mess they cooked up over the trump people has cost the Nation millions to investigate, when the truth is one side is as corrupt as the other. It doesn’t matter what color you paint a politician, red, blue, or purple, still gonna wind up the same way, corrupt. The soul of our nation is in need of pity and prayer. OK, I said it. I told Sings I was gonna, and we all know I don’t bite my tongue for anyone. “Mr. No Filter,” that’s me, so let me close that topic with this: Am I a Republican? Am I a Democrat? I don’t check either of these boxes. What I am is just a man who wants to see what’s best for the nation I love, and make no mistake, this is the greatest country in the world.

I’m just a tad bit frightened to get out into it with all the nonsense going on. Maybe I’d better do what Sings suggested, just don’t watch the news; just try to navigate thru the rest of my life and the day to day things I’ve gotta do, and I believe I’ll be ok. All I’ve gotta do is get up before the sun, pray to the Creator for the blessings and beauty and peace on the promise of a new day, pray for all of you and keep the simple truth in the forefront.

As long as we make a big deal out of the bad deeds of others, we empower them and give them credence. If I ignore the hate and the greed and the lies and the posturing I will surely be confronted with in 33 days, then I’ll have time to do all the things that I have plans and dreams for. I have so many thoughts about these things and what order I think I ought to attack them; there is a whole long list. Please for the love of all that’s good, tell someone how special they are to you today. I’m sure that we all get enough bad news, something nice is sure to matter. And please pray for me also. No question about the need on that front…

Native Understanding

A Teaching by Ghost Dancer

Many people believe that Native ways are simple and can be learned quickly. This is not only absurd but so far from real understanding. Just as in gaining insights on any subject, the more you seek the more you will find. And when you find the answers you seek, you realize there are so many more questions. 

Most Natives just accept what is, while others, like myself, want to know more, connect more, understand more, and develop more in order to become one with everything. The concept of being one with everything is complex and has deep meaning when you go deep inside yourself to meet and find the real, true you. Then you come to understand that you are like a grain of sand on a beach, or a speck of star dust in the universe and yet, just as important in every aspect as anything else.

When you can feel the pain of those from the past, and the present at the same time, then you are beginning to make a small gain in your wave of light. Any truly spiritual person will tell you this quest is never ending; it is the beginning and there is no end. We as individuals chose what we seek. What we chose in this life, we will see reflected in our next life. Every aspect of life must come into balance. When we do wrong, at some point in time we will have to do right to correct this. And yes, we all know when we do something that is wrong. Our inner spirit tells us this from the get go.

Consider the Rose

Men: Have you ever truly looked at a rose and noticed the many different layers of petals?  Did you know each layer of petals has a unique experience, emotional feeling, a different knowledge, a different concept?  Have you considered why it is a custom to give a woman a rose? What are you actually saying when you do this? Truly stop and think. Did you think maybe she is very complex and her emotions know no bounds? Or is it that you just love her or think she is pretty?  Is this a way of showing respect? Come on guys, tell me what you are thinking here!  

When a woman receives a gift of roses, why does it make her happy? What connection does she feel to this rose? Does she understand the rose is part of her; that she too is as blessed as the rose? It is part of her body! It is a gift from Creator. She guards it with her heart, wits, goals and desires. Yes, it is her womb. You will notice that the woman and the rose are much alike.

Each has a bud where nectar is sprung. Each has layers of petals that must be guarding the real center of her universe. Her womb is the only place a new life can be created. And to get there you must understand every single emotion she has, every experience she has, every desire she has. This makes the rose blossom and bloom so beautifully and radiate that love outward. 

And just as roses come in many colors, so is it with women. Each color represents different gifts and directions, yet they all are connected as a rose, all are the same when it comes to passion, desires, dreams, goals, securities, strength and weaknesses. All want love, respect, balance, life, and beauty in every way. Yes, they all have thorns too. For when you do one wrong, look out it comes with a price.

Consider the Butterfly

Now ladies, have you ever thought about a butterfly and compared it to a man? Why not? Man is like a butterfly. Stop and think for a moment with me. Let’s look at man. We know in his youth he is really a footloose, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants person. We know he has many ambitions, and egos. We know he can be stubborn and bull headed, and just won’t take time to listen.

If you really observe the butterfly, you will see how it will fly against the wind no matter how much the wind blows it backwards and it has to start again. A butterfly will flutter from place to place aimlessly, until it sees a flower to investigate. It will try to love the flower, even if it’s just for a moment. Even when it finds the most beautiful flower that really draws its heart, it will look in other directions. The butterfly doesn’t know why. It doesn’t stop to think about how lucky it is.

Then, at last, the butterfly finds contentment, finds its true nectar of life. It will linger and just drink in the love till it can drink no more. It uses every part of its body to love the flower. Wings, tiny feet, arms, gently caress the flower then it will curl up and sleep with its mind a bliss. 

Now let’s stop and think about all these things. Do you see how deeply you can go inside yourself to find new meanings, concepts, and understandings? What about comparing yourself to a speck of star dust or a meteor? You are part of everything in the universe. And yes, there are untold numbers of universes. So, to understand the depth of Native understanding is to understand that your quest is never ending and always just beginning. We are all so much more than we can possibly fully comprehend. And to understand ourselves is to understand being one with everything that exists.  And just as every second something changes, so does this affect you. Higher understanding comes from seeking it. Acceptance is just that.

Respectfully, Ghost

Ghost Dancer, July 2017 ©

Like A Badger

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 40 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

This story started a couple years ago when my adopted sister, Leontien, told me about the stimulus money the IRS was giving out. I asked my dear cousin, Sings Many Songs about the forms and addresses and all, so she sent them to me. This was during the pandemic and the lockdown, but before the pneumonia that almost killed me. Anyway, I get the forms, fill them out and sent them in. So does my cellmate, Jason. A couple months go by, we finally get to the point where these nice people were letting us Unicor workers go to work, but everyone else was still under lockdown protocols.

Ten or so weeks go by. Jason gets his $1200 and $600 checks; 11 weeks, others around get theirs. Then 12, 13, 14, 15 weeks nothing for me. I’m thinking, Oh heck no! Not me, you ain’t gonna give it to everyone else but me. So I get a Letter of Incarceration from my unit manager, and made 30 copies of it cuz I’m thinking, man, this is the IRS, I’m gonna have to send more than one letter.  

Now, a letter of incarceration is an official declaration that I am who I say I am, verified by a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee. It has a picture of me, my mug shot, my birth date and social security number. It states that I have been in the custody and control of the Department of Justice since 1986. It gives the names and phone numbers for my unit managers so the IRS can call if there are any questions or concerns regarding my inquiry letter or my identity.

So I sent the first letter to Kansas City, then the following week I sent one to North Carolina. Now I’m thinking, “OK. I’m cool, they will look into my claim that I didn’t receive the $1200 or the $600 and rush my checks. I wait and I wait—a month, 2 months, then I end up in the hospital with the great cancer/T.B./not a darn thing wrong with me scare of 2021. Finally I get out of the quarantine unit back here at the prison and life starts returning to normal but I’m still unhappy about getting nothing from this omnipotent, put-the-fear-of-god-into-people IRS. After all, I’m in the right.

Then one morning I wake up and get on the computer and what do ya know, all of a sudden out of nowhere I get the third check in the series of “free” money from the government. $1400.00 appears on my account. yyyyyiiiipppppeeee!!!!!!! Some money to go home on and I’m sure as heck gonna need it. I’ve spent all these years paying my dues to society and working for the government’s slave labor for profit manufacturing empire with no benefits for my future whatsoever. When I leave here I won’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of.

So, a few more weeks go by and I get to thinking, wait just a minute, I’m a red blooded American, ok, so I did once have an indictment that read: the united states of America vs. Steven Maisenbacher, but that doesn’t mean they can just give everyone else the $1200.00 and $600.00 and not pony up for me too. Then I remember, hey I’ve still got those letters if incarceration and plenty of time and plenty of stamps, so I’m going after mine!

See, I’m as tenacious as a badger when I’m after something or think I’ve been wronged or taken advantage of, so…over to the mail room I go envelope and letter in hand and a plan. I explained to the mail room officer that I’m gonna write to these people till they answer me, or I’ll go to their office in person or to somebody who can help and give them a third of the total I feel I am owed by the IRS, $1800.00.  

I mentioned to some of my outside friends that I am going over there to the mail room every Wednesday morning with one of these letters, and I did just that 19 weeks in a row! On week 20 I get a letter from some supervisor of complaints and payment discrepancies and I send back the little form he sent me. Then I wait and another 13 weeks go by. Now I’m really ticked off, and determined I’d be going to the IRS in person when I get home and I’m gonna get my money.

Then the other night, I get a letter from the IRS with the beautiful words, “Dear taxpayer, we at the IRS are aware of your situation and are currently processing your payment, expect your check for the full amount in 4-6 weeks.”

Oh man! I’m laughing like a madman. The next morning I took the letter to the mailroom and showed it to the mail room officer. He said he had never seen anyone as determined or persistent as me. In fact he couldn’t believe it, so I said well here’s the letter, and showed him the proof. Then I told him when the check comes, just please post it to my account.

So there it is, I believe I’m gonna get up and come out here one of these mornings and do what I always do, check my account to see if anyone sent me anything and to make sure I still have what I’m supposed to have and there will be a nice little lump of extra money on the account to take me home. I’m gonna need it, make no mistake about it, and the funny thing is the 6-week mark falls in the 2nd week of August, 2 weeks before I get out. But hey… I won’t be mad if they go ahead and send it a little early; my birthday comes around again on July 20 and what a great present that would be!

One thing is sure, I’m not the kind to just sit back and not go after what I think I have coming. That’s me, I get on something and I’m like a badger. I don’t give up, I don’t give in, and I’m certainly not afraid of any government agency. After all, I’ve lived thru the worst they can dish out, now I’m prepared to deal with the best. Let that be a lesson to ya’all, don’t fear government bureaucrats; after all they are YOUR EMPLOYEES! They are there to serve you, not the other way around…but sometimes ya gotta keep telling them, 23 times if needed.

UPDATE: So yesterday was July 20 my birthday. As usual I got on my account and lo and behold what did I find? There it was $1800 + $68.63 interest! What a birthday present! With that and the other payment I had saved and some nice gifts from family and friends, I now have a nice little chunk of money to help me get started in just a few weeks! Persistence pays and I am one happy badger!

Truth Be Told

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 47 Days and Counting

Walks On The Grass

I have a confession to make. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be good for the soul and all that other metaphoric mess, but I can only hope there is some truth in that. See, for a little over a year I’ve been on here talking about all the wonderful plans I have for when I get out, how I want to do this and I want to do that. But I haven’t told you the part about not having a clue how I’m going to do any of it.

Oh, I’ve told Sings this and she keeps telling me it’s all gonna be fine and deep down I know that ultimately it will. Hey, I would rather do bad living under a bridge in a cardboard box than to do good in these prisons. I know that my worst day of freedom will be far and away better than my best day in here and I know that I am going to have to do it one step at a time, one day at a time. I must not be impatient or expect more than is realistic. I have a lot of patience, prison taught me that. I also know just exactly how little I need to get by and the small amount it takes for me to be comfortable, so I have no reason to doubt that at the end of it all, I will make it.

But here’s the thing… I am scared to death, and as my release date draws closer the anxiety is kicking my butt. Basically I will have a year in the halfway house which is meant to help me make the transition. At my age I have many concerns like how will I get on social security disability. I know they are going to deny me the first go around, that’s what they do to everyone, but here is a problem, I am diabetic and I wonder where am I going to get my insulin? I sure won’t be able to afford it, not with the testing supplies and the syringes and all. Then there’s the other medications I’m on as well, so it’s going to be a matter of emergency public assistance and I worry that being in the halfway house may throw some monkey wrench in that. There are just so many things, it’s like what? where? but even bigger, how???

I don’t want to sound like a cry baby, but the simple truth is I don’t know how to get over the anxiety I am feeling over some of these things, and I don’t know what I can do to get any real answers to any of my questions. My case manager and counselor are absolutely no help; every time I ask them about something they say they don’t know and “they will help you figure it out at the halfway house.” But that’s a real b.s. response; I should not have to wait till I’m there and these situations are on top of me before I have any answers.

I did manage to find out I will be able to work 20 hours a week and still be eligible for social security disability, but then again, if I can find a job that pays well enough, I may just go ahead and work the 35 hrs. a week, hold off on applying for the SSD and go to school in my off time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to do the majority of my schooling on-line. I’m not gonna be able to afford a car, and I don’t think I’m game for a 3-hour bus ride on a daily basis to get back and forth, so I’m having all these dang wonders and worrying myself to distraction over all the things that I can’t control till I get to them.

So again, I can’t seem to figure out how to stop the worry. I do know that I really, really need the money from the IRS that I am now waiting on. At this point it seems to me everything is going to hinge on my having some money to make things happen and to get from point A to point B. I’m thinking of buying a bike after I get to the halfway house to get to some places, but that would only be an option for 2-3 months till it’s too cold for me to bike wherever I need to go.

So there it is, I’m scared and out of answers but I want to throw this out there for you to consider: When I walk out the door all I will have are the clothes I’m wearing, my meager savings, and some paperwork. Yes I have the jewelry I’ve made over the years. That’s all being held for me but for it to serve my financial needs I will have to get it and then somehow find a way to market it.

I will also need to get an id card, then re-apply for a driver’s license. See, I got into some mess in my addiction and my license was revoked 38 years ago. Unless I can find a way to prove that long ago I did all the drug and alcohol rehab in prison and have been clean and sober for all these many years, according to the DMV, that is going cost me at minimum $250.00 to reinstate it.  

I know I will need a computer and a phone. What are those going to cost? Then there is the matter of buying clothes and shoes to wear. Even at Goodwill or Salvation Army I’m looking at another $150 and I absolutely must have new glasses. There’s another $200 I’m sure. Constantly thinking about all these things is just killing me. There will be so many expenses just to get to the point where I can start trying to move forward with getting things done toward my future and leaving the halfway house. UUUggggghhhhhh!!!!!

It’s obvious there are a lot of problems coming my way, mostly all little things, but collectively I find them overwhelming, not because I can’t get over the hurdles but with no concrete answers about what to expect, I just feel stymied. I’m stressing, I’m worried and I’m scared. No matter how many reassuring platitudes I hear; “you’ll be fine,” “it’ll be ok,” or “it will work out,” my level of trust in “the system” is very low. My rational mind tells me the halfway house and resource services will be there to support and guide me through the transition, but still I can’t help being apprehensive. Truth be told, what I really need most is for the Creator to reach out, bring me some solace and some serenity, and yes, patience that the answers or solutions will come…

Losing Track

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 54 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

In retrospect, as I go back thru some of the things I have posted, I seem to have fallen off the track on what my whole intent was. In the beginning it was to be more lighthearted and whimsical, with things I have discovered about myself thru the Creator’s love and care for me. Once I applied myself to those same spiritual teachings and the ways of the whole belief system, I began to become a better man, and someone I was proud to see when I looked in the mirror and not the reflection of the monster I had become thru my addictions, selfish behaviors and lawlessness – all the things that led me to the brick wall I eventually hit. It just didn’t kill me, so me being somewhat intelligent, I finally got the message. BAM!!! Like a light went on, “Hey, knucklehead. You are your own worst enemy.” So at that point I was able to gain the positive transformations that allowed me to grow.

But that’s really not what I want to say here, I want to get back to this illumination I have had about the past few postings. See, it’s crazy in that I have more hope now than ever for a bright future, for my release, for the adventure that “doing it right” will inevitably be. But I have allowed the conditions of my confinement to creep back in and control the conditions of my continuance in my journey, the thoughtful preparation, the sincere plans and dreams I have formed and am everyday forming.  I don’t want my story to read like that.

See I don’t really care about the lockdown per se; it’s really just a minor annoyance to me at this point in my incarceration, like a gnat buzzing around trying to irritate me, and it would appear to be successful to the point of affecting me mentally, but then I snap back out of it and chuckle. Yeah, that’s right, I said chuckle, to myself.  Man after all these miles, all the wars, all the inner turmoil and changes I have undergone, to let the little inconvenience of “The Bureau’s” silliness bother me, well, that’s no different than me being my own worst enemy all over again.

So I ain’t gonna let that happen and I am not going to show that to you anymore. I don’t want to have this wonderful Journey of the Spirit turned into a rant at my keepers. Here’s why. I am more than my confinement, I am the product of my own journey, not the product of the place where all these changes have come to be. Does this make sense? I mean if I let the silliness that they get up to in here just to keep us off balance and unable to find tranquility succeed, then I let this prison become the dictator in my self-rehabilitation. But if I just go about my journey and from time to time remark on the actions of my keepers for you but refuse to let them get to my peace of mind then it’s all good. I can give you a better idea of what prison life is like, but I am not dwelling on the negative forces at work around me and against me. If I just keep pushing on and following the path that I have forged, it’s all good.

My exit from here gets closer every day; I won’t trip on anything but my soon to be freedom and halfway house date. Man that trip is gonna be enough for me to deal with as it is, without letting the silly little games of my keepers invade my space. I’ve got better things to concentrate on and to talk with you about than whatever these buffoons are up to. So from time to time I will probably throw a gripe out there, especially if it’s something so monumentally stupid that I just have to comment, but no more rants.

I have everything I’m going to need to make it: First, the Creator’s love for me and the love of some very true and dear friends, all who have my back. I would never want to let down or disappoint those who love and support me, so what else should matter? or could? Even more than anything else, I have the chance to get out and get it right, do the things I have planned and dreamed of, and just enjoy what life now offers me, definitely not losing track of my blessings.

Losing Track

the need to go was crystal clear,
so i closed my eyes and lengthened my stride,
to where i do not know.

are we there yet?

i said it before, so i’ll say it again,
when you think too hard you don’t go far,
to where you are or even when.

are we there yet?

well i thought i'd arrived kinda sorta alive,
but a bit none the worse for the wear,
wasn’t sure but almost positive i was somewhere.

are we there yet?

pay attention to anything but this,
actually i was looking for total and complete bliss, 
but i tripped and i stumbled and somehow lost track..

but now i’m back, yea, we’re there yet....

© Steven Maisenbacher June 17, 2022

A Grocery Store

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 61 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

WOW, TODAY I ATE AN ORANGE!!!!!!!

And I’ve got 3 more on deck!  Yes, I hot-wired them and smuggled them right out of the chow hall in my smuggle buggy. (My bad) See, for whatever reason they have actually seen fit to give us oranges as the fruit alternative at meals where there is a desert on the menu. Amazing, and I have totally taken the pleasure out for them insisting on cutting the oranges in half. I’m saying it’s to save me time in peeling it; I can just do the push on it, it flips inside out and low and behold there is the sweet delectable meat all oozing with juice, dripping all on my hands and down my arms, uhhhggggggggg!!! This was sooo good.

It has been more than 5 years since I had an orange!

Just think about that for a minute – 5 years without one bit of citrus fruit in your diet! I eat pill form vitamin C tabs every morning and evening, but it just ain’t the same.  I think that I’m gonna have to be real honest here; I need to tell ya, at this stage in life and after all these years, if I could have my choice (and I will very soon) between a gentleman’s club with all sorts of pretty scantily clad women dancing and prancing around for the tips OR a trip to the grocery store with a nice crisp $50.00 dollar bill, well, I’m sorry, it’s me on the way to Publix, or Kroger, Save-On, Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly, or wherever they got all the fruits and veggies on display! OMG, that’s almost erotic to me – all the oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, the bananas and the cherries, and grapes – Oh Man, can’t forget the grapes, and I don’t even wanna think about the frozen foods isle.

See that’s where I will be able to get the stuff I can just toss in the microwave or oven, heat and eat. Geeminy, wish I could convey to you how deeply I long for real food, whatever I want to eat. I have definitely been starved for real food! I remember pizza rolls, those little things ya heat ‘em and eat ‘em; I used to smash a gang of em watching a movie.  I remember the taste of broccoli, fresh and green; rinse it off and sling some ranch on it, man and cauliflower! I love and long for the day when I can get these things again. And all this dreaming is sparked by the taste of a stolen from the chow hall orange. And I got 3 more. Hehehe, feels like a big deal to me. Like you hadn’t had an orange in 5 years then all of a sudden, “wham” score! It’s crazy cuz I’m sitting here writing this where I can see my cell door, wanna be dang sure no one goes in there and relieves me of my prize.  No siree, gotta ensure that I get the opportunity to devour them all by myself, and I know just what else too… if they had em today, then maybe they will have ‘em tomorrow… Maybe, just maybe, a grapefruit! Oh, I’d be in bliss.

There are a few other food tastes that I have truly missed over the last 20 or so years – a hot ham and cheddar sandwich or real bacon. I got real bacon when my brother Mike and his wife, Karen came to visit me in the form of a bacon cheeseburger and damn it was so delicious! Even tho it was probably a decade old from a vending machine, I sang praises in their names for being instrumental in getting it for me. Smile.

Another delight I have thought about at least a thousand times, my sister-in-law, Bab’s, lasagna. Let me tell ya, Bab’s lasagna is by far hands down the best I have ever tasted.  I had some a couple times decades ago and I can still remember clearly and distinctly how delicious it was and probably still is. I have on occasion while in my ignorance and captivity thought to myself, man, some of Bab’s lasagna would be enough to make me a content person at this very moment!

Sadly enough, that dream never came to pass all these decades, so I have had to do with what I could concoct myself out of what I could steal from the chow hall, the stuff they sell us in the store or whatever can be scraped together by combining things we can obtain by other means like a chow hall, store or kitchen worker looking to make a little side hustle money off whatever they can get their little mitts on. lol.

It’s funny to think that something most people take for granted is something that I dream for, long for, even plan for. When you have to do without or when you are truly hungry, the only cure is plenty, and the only place I know of where I will be able to find solace or satisfaction is only days away from my grasp, that’s amazing! See, once I get out I will be able to walk in and buy one or 10, no limit, no one to tell me I can’t have one or no one to say hey, put it back – well at least as long as I’m paying for it. Smile. Yeppers, one thing on my mind, one thing that can cure my desire, my absolute want and need – a grocery store.

I’m gonna need some napkins, lots and lots of napkins…

Be sure to check out Walks’ Footpan Foodz in Along the Way for some of his creative culinary delights. ed.

It’s Funny

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 68 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Yea, it’s funny how things turn out. See today I was in the midst of my daily call with the wonderful person “Sings Many Songs” and we were talking about the amount of credits I had on the computer to write with and all that she has there already to publish on a week by week basis.  She said she had a couple things “on deck” ready to go and I could just take time to think about my next “stroke of genius.” It occurred to me I never set out that way, I never think too hard about what is gonna find its way to the page after I have an idea or an “occurrence.” I just go ahead and get on it, letting it flesh itself out as it will or wants. Not by far would I ever claim to be a genius; hell my best ideas are maybe lucid and somewhat intelligent, but genius, I don’t see that.

Today I was able to get out to the bike again and one fact has made itself plainly clear, I will have to cut back on the distance from 10 miles a day to 5 miles; it’s just too darn hot and I ain’t gonna ride till I’m panting like an insane dog.  I just have to accept the fact that  I am at least doing something, even if it’s not a lot. Twenty five miles a week is a respectable amount for an old geezer like me. Smile. I’m happy with it and I’m gonna do all I can to keep it up, barring any lockdown, rec yard closings, or other delays or setbacks.

So there that is, but back to what I was talking about. Yea, I first started this at the coaxing of Sings after I was asked to write something for my brother Ghost. Writing down my story just kinda went from there taking a life and breath of its own and its gone from there to here. I believe that it has changed, meta morphed if you will. I also know that the heart and soul of it has never faltered. I’m trying to share who and what I am, how I feel, the recognition of the changes and evolution of my being. I’m trying to chronicle things that happen to me, how I feel about them and the impact of these feelings.

I think that the stories and things  I share are as pure as they can be, I just sit down and “let it go,” not trying to win a Pulitzer, not even trying to get anything out of it, but writing about my experiences has already paid me the richest dividend I can think of.  It has helped me share who I am and have become without having to face the world as I am doing it. See, I can always hit “save” and retreat to my cell where I know I’m all safe and sound, where I won’t have to face the things I write about.  

On the flipside, I have been able to make someone proud of me as well, and the mere fact that she tells me this from time to time is like a balm to my soul; it lifts me and assures me that I do indeed matter, that I do indeed have relevance in this world and that I am capable of being a person to respect and care for. My decades of captivity and selfish ignorance have stripped me of a lot of these things. When I started these writings and this reaching out to you, my self-respect started to grow in the process.

Writing out my story was not my idea, Sings Many Songs is the one responsible for putting it out in a format that others can see, read and think about. If it wasn’t for her, none of this would have ever seen the light of day. Let’s face it, I was not the least motivated to share with anyone the truth of all I’ve been thru in my life and what I’ve put my family and all those in my life thru. I didn’t think there was a forgiveness or a healing or a way anyone would understand.  I just kept on pushing along in my spirituality trying to immerse myself deeper and deeper into a spiritual existence and one of change and positivity. So there it is, but after all is said and done, it’s funny that the words just make their way here and what’s even funnier to me is that someone could care enough to read them, and of me.

All that’s left to say is, Thank You!!!

Editor’s Note: This piece was written before the recent lockdown Walks wrote about and I posted last week. The lockdown continues and as a result his whole bike-riding exercise regime crashed and burned. He sees no change anytime soon but isn’t too upset since the summer heat is far too oppressive for vigorous outdoor exercise.

Why?

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 75 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Pardon me while I get side tracked – again. I’m trying to write about the personal process of preparing for release from prison, but having to deal with constant deviations from any kind of stable routine is par for the course. So I must ask the same old question: Why do they do the stuff they do?

This latest fiasco not only ticks me off, but it’s also something I just don’t get. See the entire prison has once again been placed back on red (severe operational modifications), and it looks as though this is all at the control of one man, the hospital administrator, who in fact doesn’t come from a medical background but rather a business administration. Never-the-less, they have 0 cases of inmates with Covid here, and only 3 staff have tested positive or reported the fact that they are out ill with Covid-like symptoms.

I do know that they allegedly base the reaction by this place and the “code” (red-severe operational modifications, yellow-moderate operational modifications, and green-no modifications to operations) by the percentage of reported hospital rates of Covid cases in the entire county. But this is ridiculous. See, we have been under the Covid restrictions since the pandemic began, and it has been one lockdown or loss of privilege after another, be it our activity or amount of freedom  of movement.

I have seen more lockdowns and loss of privileges since this new warden got here and the pandemic mess ended than I have seen in 20 years. That’s the fact, so now we have been back on “red” for several days and the remedy they have instituted goes like this: Half of my unit is locked down for half the day, then the other half the day the other half of the unit is out and we are in the cells. But here’s the kicker, it is still ok for us to all be out and mixed together with no social distancing at least 3 times a day when they make us all walk over to the chow hall and get a styrofoam tray with a little bit of cold food in it, then walk back to the cell to eat it back on lockdown.

This saves them from actually having to just bring food carts to the unit and feed us themselves. (themselves being the lazy inept and usually worthless babysitters that they are, you know – the same ones responsible for all the contraband drugs and phones and tobacco that comes into the institution that all inmates, guilty or not, are always being punished for.) Anyway, so now it’s like this: We get up and are all let out together until they send us to get our trays to bring back. Then we are locked back down, but half of the unit is let back out for several hours while the other half of the unit is forced to endure lockdown conditions, that is of course till the next meal then they hurry up and unlock the other half so that they can push them out the door to go and get the next meal tray, then of course its lock back down.

As for recreation, well 3 times a week we are allowed to go outside to the recreation yard and be locked into a caged area by unit for 2 hours, and you never know where you will end up – the track area? the handball area? the outside tv area? So it’s really not at all worth the hassle. When you come back in after being out in the heat and sweating for 2 hours, you are sent right back into the cell with no shower, no pass go, and definitely no $200.00, unless you happen to be one of the staff members being paid your tax dollar to do absolutely nothing.

Needless to say I’m upset over all this charade. I don’t understand how this kind of foolish abuse can be tolerated, even promoted by the Bureau of Prisons. Of course I’m gonna try to keep from getting sick; I’m trying to keep my sugar levels in check but I’ve had 2 sugar crashes in the past 3 days. My situation only looks favorable in that I will be out soon and can try to regain the good strides I was making with the early morning exercise and diet improving my sugar levels. In the mean time I’ll be right here locked down kinda sorta just enough to keep me uncomfortable, and I’ll make sure to hide from the Covid that the staff is bringing into the institution, cuz it sure ain’t gettin in by jumpin the fence, and I damn sure ain’t been nowhere.

I just wonder why?

Here’s What I Think About

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 82 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Someone once asked me, “So Walks, what are you going to do when you get out?” Man, what kind of question is that? I want to do everything I have been planning! I want to go back to school in order to get certified to counsel, but I really don’t know how much I will have to do or what it will take. I know my credentials are impeccable if you’re going on life experience but somehow I think there is more to it than just going out and applying for jobs as a substance abuse specialist or counselor or a juvenile counselor. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of time in school or on the computer studying “on-line.” We will see. When I get home I’ll go out to the college where they will think I’m someone’s grampa.

I also want to get a new line of “rocks on a string” started. I want to do some religious jewelry like super nice rosary’s and nice necklaces with various crosses or religious pendants. I think there would be a market for them. So on that I will see as well. I was just telling “Sings Many Songs” on the phone earlier that I had an idea to put up flyers wherever they had a bulletin board, like in grocery stores, laundromats and such offering custom made birthstone jewelry and other jewelry. Heck, I might even try selling online in order to help me obtain a used car, maybe offer custom made one of a kind pieces of jewelry for every donation or a pair of free pearl earrings with every purchase over $20.00. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, but I don’t know. I’ve been away for so long that I have no idea how the world works now.

And… I want to do all of these things:

I wanna go swimming and do a cannon ball. I know it sounds silly but hey, I wanna so I will and I know just the places to do it.

I wanna maybe join a band or just have some friends to jam with, I miss the music. I’m sure I could go to a church and sing my way into a choir or a gospel band but it’s not the same thing as good rockin’ music. Man, I’m gonna be in big boy heaven when I get that!

I know I want to go out somewhere for a meal and I long to hear some nice person ask, “May I take my order?”

I want a deep dish pizza with extra cheese, black olives, sausage and pepperoni.

I want an ice-cold glass of iced tea, no sugar, and I want to have more if I want more.

I want to be able to go to the Goodwill thrift store and buy clothes – anything but gray or khaki. lol.

I want to just be able to walk outside or sit outside and daydream, in freedom, without someone breathing down my neck to get inside or whatever.

I want to go to the library and get a library card, check out books, or listen to a book on tapes. I guess they are audio books, I’ve never done that, and I do so love a good story.

I want to go to the park and feed the ducks and maybe have a picnic there, even if it’s by myself.

I also think about taking my pipe to the park and having a pipe ceremony. I know I can do a pipe ceremony almost anywhere, but I like the idea of having one outside where the ancestors may have roamed. That would be amazing to me.

I want to see animals and maybe pet a dog or a cat. I love animals but outside of the occasional scruffy prison cat or the dope-sniffing K-9’s they bring in here, I never see one in real life.

One thing I think I will enjoy most of all is just the freedom to do what I want when I want to. If I want leftover pizza at 3am, I would be able to go to the refrigerator and have it.

And another thing, I wanna just sit with the door open, knowing I’m not being locked away from the world anymore unless I choose to close and lock the door.

If I want to walk around my own house in my boxers, I don’t want to have to feel uncomfortable for having done so.

So there it is, just a few things I think about that you probably take for granted; these things may sound silly to you but to me they mean freedom…

Make Sense???

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 89 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

On Monday, May 23, 2022, 10 days ago the guards came in around 8am and screamed LOCK DOWN!!! So I did what I always try to do, fired off a burst e-mail to Sings Many Songs telling her we were being locked down so somebody will have a clue. I didn’t know the reason then but it turns out someone in another unit had an “episode” on K-2, a very dangerous synthetic drug, and management here went ballistic.

So the day progressed and they sent in the shakedown squad. Everyone in that particular unit was strip searched, then the guards ran them outside to the rec yard to sit in the cage and wait while they shook down the unit looking for whatever contraband they could find, drugs, phones, or whatever they deemed to be contraband in that moment. As I have seen so often in these past decades they change what they want to take from day to day. What’s cool to have today may be contraband tomorrow and they confiscate pretty much anything they want.

Anyway, they spent around 6 hours this particular day in this particular unit looking for whatever and keeping the entire prison locked down. Then the next day more of the same; the entire prison stays on lockdown while they hit another unit. Same old song and dance, every day another unit, then finally it’s Friday before a holiday weekend and they decide they didn’t have time to do my unit, Gamma A, so they kept the entire prison locked down all weekend including Monday, Memorial Day. This means we got no holiday meal, no anything, we all just sat in our cells for an extra 3 days. We barely got showers all week and nobody got to go to commissary to stock up on food and necessities.

I don’t want to sound like a whiney baby but damn, this corporal punishment crap gets really old and I have something to say about it. Treating men this way – punishing all for the actions of a few – is in no way conducive to rehabilitation, but then again, maybe that’s the point. We are not meant to be rehabilitated by these people! No matter what the BOP public information propaganda says, they do not want us to get out and succeed. After all, if that were to happen and recidivism was to cease, then these foolish, sadistic morons would soon find themselves unemployed and they wouldn’t be able to afford the luxuries they have become accustomed to living on your tax dollar.

I guess that also includes the whole world would be shock. See the thing is, the prison system (prison industrial complex) has become the largest industry supporting the economy in the country. Take a minute and think about all this massive system supports. Consider the multi-million-dollar food budgets and all the community services prisons support including doctors, hotels, postal workers and guards, etc. etc. The expenditures of the prison into the economy is a billion-dollar industry, and as long as no one is looking or questioning the way they treat the inmates or the “overtime” they’ve just got to have over a major shakedown they must have they are going to keep on keeping on with the charade. Pitiful, the most corrupt of all.

I can’t remember who said it but one note of truth that always stuck with me in relation to the actions of my keepers: POWER TENDS TO CORRUPT AND ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY. So think about that while I go to my cell and make sure my sacred pipe and eagle feather were not desecrated by these goons during this charade. As for me, I’m chillin’… absolutely….

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