Date: August 24, 2015 at 10:08:19 AM PDT
Subject: a sudden shift in circumstances
My family, friends, Spiritual Warrior Companions,
A cruel twist of fate has arisen abruptly and without warning. Four amiable transport officers showed up at Oregon State Penitentiary on Monday the 18th, put me in cuffs and leg irons, and packed me off to California via the Interstate 5 express route, with only two brief pee breaks along the way. My kidnappers were pleasant enough to me, and sitting in the front seat of a Chrysler Town and Country SUV afforded me with expansive views of the passing countryside. Crossing the border between states, I was shocked when the lush green of Oregon transitioned within just a few eye blinks to desert chaparral and juniper trees shrouded in smoke and dust. Welcome to California!
One of my escorts told me that the California parole board back initiated my transfer. The people in Oregon, who said they would have been happy to keep me, had no say in the matter as I¹m still under California jurisdiction. During my telephonic parole hearing last February, the chairman of the hearing panel said that he would prefer to see me face to face when he considered my parole. After the aborted hearing someone, apparently rankled that I had been allowed to do my time in the Oregon system (as if to imply that the Penitentiary is like a country club), said to the press that, since my wife was now dead, there was no longer any reason why I should be allowed to remain in Oregon. (Sigh.) So there were some indications that pressures to have me returned to California were being applied. Now we know why the rescheduling of the hearing was delayed.
Around 1:00 A.M. we arrived at our destination, Deuel Vocational Institution, one of my old stomping grounds. Yep, the same prison in Tracy where I recorded the film soundtrack back in the 1970s, where I studied and taught myself how to build electronic musical instruments, where I met Barbara, and where I was stabbed nearly to death in 1982. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the music room I negotiated for and led the charge to install in a former barbershop in 1974 is still in the same place and still operating as the music room. Pretty much everything else has changed, retrofit with modern gadgetry, and procedures, mostly security oriented, to make it a more modern and less dangerous prison then it was back in the day. Yet all the staff I¹ve encountered so far wear Kevlar vests. Deep down DVI is still the sweltering armpit of the state¹s prison complex, of that I feel confident.
Having been in Oregon for over 21 years, it¹s unlikely I will be running into anyone I know. None of the staff I knew before are still here. I showed up to DVI in the middle of the night, almost unannounced and my records did not come with me. Most all they know at the moment about why I¹m here is what I¹ve told them. They are treating me as a new arrival for now, and once my records arrive they will figure out where they want to put me. It¹s likely I will be on 'reception unit' status for the next 3 or 4 weeks, and then I will be in general population where I can begin to look into what creative and spiritually enriching opportunities may be available.
DVI is too far off the beaten path for visiting with my family and friends. This is the most heart wrenching aspect of this change in my physical circumstances. I will be able to make phone calls as soon as I get my legs under me. The carrier is a different company, but I¹m told the cost is about the same. The device I bought in Oregon that lets me do emails has also been adopted by Calif. Corrections, so regular communications will continue to happen in that way.
It is certain that I will be able to return to producing visual art, quite possibly at a higher level than in Oregon with the more varied range of materials available through the Hobby program. While there will be opportunities to play some music, it¹s likely that there will be few if any opportunities to record new music, as California is more restrictive that way. Recording new music may have to wait until I¹m out of prison. I consider myself blessed that I was able to record quite a lot of music while in Oregon, some yet to be released, including Voodoo Shivaya, an ambitious recording project I worked on for six years. The last of the tracks for this album, along with a surprise retrospective album, is on the near horizon. On the writing front, there is a distinct possibility that I will finally be able to purchase a portable word processor device, as this system has the history of allowing such things to be purchased. Those of you who have been waiting patiently for my book may be reassured to know that my intention to finish this work has never waned.
Have no fear, our community, is of great value. The love at the center of all we do remains unshaken by the unpredictable turbulence we encounter in life.