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THE BANK ROBBER'S BLOG
SEPTEMBER 2013

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--- ISLE OF THE DEAD ---
28th September 2013

In the late fifth century there existed a place on the Southwest end of England called The Isle of The Dead. At the time, civilization was still evolving and England wasn't actually called England yet, and the United Kingdom was far from united. The land was fractured into territories that each had their own kings. The kingdoms had names like Powys, Kernow, Siluria, and Gwent. One of these kingdoms was called Dumnonia that the legendary King Arthur ruled. History has been kind to King Arthur's legend who was a warrior and more likely a prince than an actual king, but by most accounts, in the late fifth century Arthur ruled the land called Dumnonia.

In the Southern area of Dumnonia about 10 miles from a hamlet called Durnovaria was The Isle of The Dead. It was actually a peninsula that the Romans had previously occupied and that they quarried and built structures on for themselves and their slaves before eventually abandoning it. In the time of King Arthur the Isle was used to send people to for punishment, and later to segregate those who were violently mad. A channel fronted the Isle and once a person was rowed across it and crossed the threshold made of Black timber, they were counted among the dead...never to be free again.

The gate to the Isle was manned by guards, and the main wall was 10 feet tall and made of smooth stone that wouldn't allow for a foothold, and the top of the wall was lined with skulls in what was known as a "Ghost Fence." The ghost fence served to keep the dead souls inside the Isle, and was comprised of the skulls of people who'd been caught trying to escape...only to be speared to death by the guards. A second wall was a crude bank of sea stones and also topped with a ghost fence and once a person navigated this wall and then a smaller third wall, they were on their own.

The size of the Isle was such that it would take a person about two hours to walk from the entrance to it's Southernmost tip, and it took about the same amount of time to traverse the Isle from East to West. On one side of the Isle the great Green waves of the sea crashed against the cliffs, while on the other side laid a calm bay that occupied fisherman in boats that would steer clear of the Isle due to the whirlpools and currents near its banks, and also because of its reputation.

It's not enough to think of the Isle of The Dead as a prison, because it was much more than that. The Isle was a strange mixture of educated, political prisoners, people of status who'd angered the government, criminals and misfits, and abhorrent human beings who'd been banished to the Isle to fend for themselves. It was the personification of Darwin's "Survival of The Fittest" theory.

The inhabitants of the Isle segregated themselves by communities in order to eat and to protect themselves. There were the "Hermits" who preferred solitude and lived down in the quarries in caves and the former slave quarters, while the "Beasts" roamed the mid-section of the Isle committing barbaric acts such as rape, murder, and cannibalism. On the Southernmost end of the Isle were the "Sea Folk" who fished by using hooks fashioned out of thorns and line made from human hair. Their huts were wattle and mud that were thatched with grass and they were considered near the top of the hierarchy on the Isle because of their ability to consistently obtain food in a land where everybody was constantly hungry. Simply put, the Isle of The Dead was a very scary place filled with violence and insanity where people did their best on a daily basis just to survive.

Some 600 years later in the year 1215, King John sought to bring about a set of common laws that provided for the proscription of crimes, as well as more human ways of punishing the people who broke the law. This set of laws was called the Magna Carta and it still serves as the foundation of English law to this day.

Some 500 years after the Magna Catra was authored, a revolution took place, the end result of which was the inception of the United States of America. When the founding fathers of America set about to establish laws and a constitution they sought guidance from the Magna Carta because the principles that were inscribed in it were sound and humane and still relevant centuries after it was written. The Americans sought to expound and improve on the Magna Carta and to adopt a code laws and basic civil rights that didn't allow for people being put to the rack, imprisoned in towers or guillotined, or banished to Isles.

But sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It is now the year 2013 and I live on the Isle of The Dead. I crossed the threshold in a bus, not a boat, but the moment I entered the gates I was counted among the banished and the dead. The walls here are topped with razor wire and not skulls, but the guards still kill all who attempt to escape. The Isle that I live on has educated, political prisoners, people of status who angered the government, criminals and misfits, and more than its fair share of the violently mad. And while there are no Sea Folk here, there are Hermits who prefer the safety and solitude of their cell, as well as Beasts who roam the Isle committing barbaric acts such as rape and murder. The Isle also has cannibals. And the one thing that all of the differing communities have in common, both Beasts and Hermits alike, is the primal need to eat and to protect ourselves.

It's now the 21st century and some 1500 years since King Arthur ruled Dumnonia and people were sent away to the Isle of The Dead. The United Kingdom has long been united, and even though the United States is united, there are still territories and quasi kingdoms with names like New York, California, and Texas that banish their criminals, unwanted, and mentally ill. And although civilization has progressed to the point that I've been given a date that I will be allowed to pass back across the threshold of this Isle, it's hard for me to imagine ever being counted among the living again.

By all I've seen and continue to see on the Isle of The Dead, I've determined that in spite of the King's best intentions, the word "Civilization" is sometimes a misnomer.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS A LA HAZELTON ---
22nd September 2013

A while back I did a blog called PENAL REFORM that derived from a conversation I had with one of the owners of Murder Slim where he asked me what the worst thing was that I'd ever witnessed back here. The answer to this question was when a homosexual with gender identity issues sashayed into the chow hall on Hot Dog Day and screamed at the warden about the surgery he couldn't get and then took a straight razor out of his pocket, pulled down his pants, and lopped off his penis and threw it on the floor next to where me and my buddy Angelo were sitting. The chow hall erupted and the (former) man swung his hips like Shakira as he sprayed blood everywhere. While still chewing, my buddy Ang glanced down at the absconding member laying on the ground and said, "Do we have any more mustard?" It's safe to say that this incident is the worst thing I've witnessed or heard of back here. That is until last week.

Prison is a microcosm of society that includes species from all across the anthropological spectrum. This includes homosexuals. I've sometimes wished that I was gay, because then this 20 years that the judge slammed me with would be more akin to a singles cruise than a prison sentence. But my luck's not that good and I'm stuck doing a straight twenty.

The homosexuals back here tend to be a flamboyant lot. They wear tiaras made from potato chip bags, carry purses that they've crocheted, color their shoes pink, and use M&Ms and pistachios for lip color and eye shadow. They take names like Paris, Honey Boo Boo, Queenie, and Brittney, and just like girls at the club, they tend to travel in packs. One of these is an individual that I call David Bowie. He's white with poufy brown hair, and thin, with long legs and pale skin and wears clothes that look like they were spray painted on him. My cell has a window that faces the yard and the gun tower in the middle of it, and it also faces the sidewalk that runs in front of all of the cell blocks on my side of the compound. Some days, I'll sit in my chair at my window drinking a cup of coffee and just people watch. I first spied David Bowie on a windy day as he came scissoring down the sidewalk and the wind blew his hair to and fro. He stopped directly in front of my window and kissed another man. I took a sip of coffee and thought, Jesus! Put a helmet on it soldier, then I looked at his butt to see if I could spot a concave from all of the pounding that it took. It looked normal, but I knew that in spite of its looks it was bored out beyond spec. David Bowie is quite popular around here, and as such has way more Honey Buns in his locker than I do. He also frequently shows up with bruises and black eyes because it seems that people like their prison sex a little rough. But none of the violence meted out to Ms. Bowie could've ever matched the violence that swirled around in her own head.

Jurassic Park was pretty active this past week. The events included everything from one gang member taking a knife and cutting the tattoo off of another gang member because he didn't think he had the right to wear it, to four Native Americans going on the warpath in the chow hall on Cheeseburger Day and beating the absolute living shit out of each other. But none of it came close to what David Bowie did.

As were were locked down while the prison officials rounded up the Raptors and put them back in their cages, David Bowie broke open a shaving razor and took the blade and sliced open his scrotum and ate his testicles. Then he took a pen and continually rammed it into the hole of his penis in an attempt to destroy it. (Bank Blogger winces.)

Now, I'm no nutritionist or penisologist, and I'll be the first to admit that the kitchen could stand to be more generous with the portions they serve us, but I just don't ever remember being that hungry before. And God knows that my penis has made some awfully bad decisions in his life that I've been mad at him for (when the alcohol wore off), but he's never done anything that he deserved to be stabbed for. Perhaps beaten, but not stabbed. (Sorry.) I also have much better uses for my pens.

Like writing this sick blog for you guys.

So there it is. As my lawyer said after the judge gave me a semi-emasculating sentence, "It just is what it is." I'm not sure where they've taken Ziggy Stardust to, but wherever it is, I hope they have a vegetarian buffet.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- A.M. LOCKDOWN ---
12th September 2013

Well, it's about 7 am and I'm sitting here listening to Miley Cyrus on my MP3 and drinking a cup of coffee that's blacker and more bitter than my neighbors. Gnomez is sitting in his Blue plastic lawn chair in front of my house with his big Black sombrero on with a stain on his shirt looking happier than a .99 cent taco. Somedays I think that it would be good to be Gnomez and live in Gnomez Land where your only problem was figuring out how to get El Jefe (see Meester Yeff) to put you in the car for dinner or find stamps to chase a pair of fives at the poker table. Hell, I'd even sign up to be deported at this point. I wouldn't be gone long. I can swim. So my plan today is to try and write a blog post without my cardboard because we're confined to the cell block all day until they clear out lockup. They seized my carboard as contraband in a shakedown about three weeks ago and I haven't written since. What a shame that my whole literary career hinged on a piece of cardboard. They pass out toilet paper today so maybe I can pay off the guys who pass it out to give me another piece. Everybody's on the take around this joint. Imagine that, huh? Have a good day.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- A.M. LOCKDOWN ---
12th September 2013

Well, it's about 7 am and I'm sitting here listening to Miley Cyrus on my MP3 and drinking a cup of coffee that's blacker and more bitter than my neighbors. Gnomez is sitting in his Blue plastic lawn chair in front of my house with his big Black sombrero on with a stain on his shirt looking happier than a .99 cent taco. Somedays I think that it would be good to be Gnomez and live in Gnomez Land where your only problem was figuring out how to get El Jefe (see Meester Yeff) to put you in the car for dinner or find stamps to chase a pair of fives at the poker table. Hell, I'd even sign up to be deported at this point. I wouldn't be gone long. I can swim. So my plan today is to try and write a blog post without my cardboard because we're confined to the cell block all day until they clear out lockup. They seized my carboard as contraband in a shakedown about three weeks ago and I haven't written since. What a shame that my whole literary career hinged on a piece of cardboard. They pass out toilet paper today so maybe I can pay off the guys who pass it out to give me another piece. Everybody's on the take around this joint. Imagine that, huh? Have a good day.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2

--- BOYS IN THE HOOD ---
4th September 2013

Each cell block in a penitentiary is similar to a city, in that people tend to create neighborhoods and live with people of their own ethnicity. The Latino guys tend to live together, just as the black guys from New York or the white guys from the south or the Italians do. And the same way that you get a different feel when you're in Harlem than you do when you're in Little Italy, when you go to these different areas in a cell block you feel the particular vibe and culture of that area. Last night I was on a mission and had to go see a boy of mine from East L.A. who lives in an area of the cell house I call Spanish Harlem. Every time that I go down there there's guys in hairnets and freshly pressed khakis with their shirts buttoned up to their collar sitting in plastic lawn chairs that they've trimmed the bottom of the legs off of to make them ride low, and there's always spicy Salsa music pumping from the speakers inside of one of their cells. On my way there I passed through an area that I refer to as "The Fatherland" that's comprised of a run of four cells that inhabit guys who sport tattoos of iron crosses, lightning bolts, and swastikas on their bodies and heads. As I passed one of their cells I noticed the curtain up and I heard the steady buzz of a tattoo motor coming from inside, and as I passed another cell I glanced in and saw a few guys sitting around a board playing Dungeons and Dragons with D&D books scattered all over the floor. After I passed this area I cruised through the D.C. area and peeped muscled-up black guys in doo rags and wife-beaters leaning over a guy who was on his knees throwing dice against the wall and trying to make his point. Just like a city, a cell block is a cultural melting pot of the people who live there, and a person's cell reflects the things the person loves, likes, reveres, and lusts over. That's why we call them our "House."

Like most of the guys in my immediate circle, my cell is a mixture of shrines to Jesus, Mary and the saints, and to half-naked women. And like a good Catholic I spend half of my time lusting over one shrine and then asking for forgiveness from the other. Taped to the outside of my locker is bright-colored pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Jerome (the Patron Saint of Scribes), and St. Margherita. Taped dead-center in the middle of this honorific collage is a blue and orange logo of the Chicago Bears football team. People frequently ask me why it's there and I tell them, "Because these are the things I have faith and believe in." Hanging down above my bunk and my big fluffy pillow is a black rosary that was blessed by an angry Nigerian priest named Father Willy. The inside of my locker doors are spiced up with a collection of beautiful women who had sufficient money for nice hairstyles and manicures and pedicures, but apparently ran out of money when it came to clothing. I don't put pictures of my friends and family on my walls because it might unwittingly invite an off-color comment that would turn out bad for the person who made it. And finally, above my desk on Faceblock is a kaleidoscope of my writings. I have a color print of the initial page of the Bank Robber's Blog with my picture on it. The same blog that you are now reading and that I've never actually seen; I have a color proof of the jacket to my book BANK BLOGGER, and one of my new friend u.v. ray's forthcoming book SPIRAL OUT that I'm doing the introduction for and that I recommend you check out when it drops in a couple of months; I have one of my poems that's published on sayitatyourwedding.com (my other writing venture); a mini print of the promotional poster for The Godfather that's black and white, except for the red rose on Marlon Brando's lapel, and I have a collection of postcards that friends have sent me from various places throughout the United States and the world. My cell is also defined by smells. It either smells like garlic and onion, or like the cologne "Eternity" that I wipe on my vent to try and mask the smell of the cigarette smoke that comes from somewhere...but not from me, because smoking is against the rules (as the Warden at Lewisburg was kind enough to point out to me).

My buddy "Tony Cigars" lives a few cells down and our houses aren't that different. I've got better saints, but he's got better naked women. But there is one major difference-Tony Cigars won't allow me or anyone else to bring a MP3 player into his house because he thinks that the government has placed a microphone inside of it and records our conversations and then downloads them when we plug our players into the USB cord attached to the computer. Every now and then I'll clip mine to the front of my shirt and walk into his house just to watch him spaz out and put his finger up to his lips and whisper, "Get that fucking thing outta here!!!" Ever since he read the 302s on his case (the FBI's surveillance reports) and found out that they had a microphone planted in the espresso machine of his social club he hasn't been quite the same. Sometimes when we're out walking the track and he's ranting and raving about something I don't want to hear about, I'll point to a hawk that's circling in the sky and say, "That looks like the new drone the government has that I read about in WIRED magazine" and he'll instantly shut up.

This concludes your tour of my hood for now. It's a neighborhood that I definitely never wanted to live in, but one that I try to make the best of while I'm here, because it's part of being Ford Tough and because nobody likes a whiny property owner.

Jeffrey P. Frye
murderslim.com
Bank Robber's Blog
bankblogger.weebly.com
@bankblogger2