my fault

It’s my fault.
I walked under that open ladder.

It’s my fault.
I broke that mirror in the 7th grade.  I stepped on a crack in the sidewalk,
I made the cracks that others have stepped on.

It’s my fault.
I didn’t forward that email.
Years later, I chose not to share that post.

It’s my fault.
I work for a man who opens umbrellas inside.

Years before, I worked for a man who sent me to prison.

It’s my fault,
and I never claimed it wasn’t,

and if you’re really really lucky,
maybe your life
can be all your fault, too.

It’s my fault.
I married a handsome man who loved me, a man who I loved,
a good man.

It’s my fault,
I got all A’s in classrooms, but then went to prison
and got a C in firefighting.

It’s my fault.
I questioned God.
I questioned Science.
I questioned
my own
heart,

my own
history.

It’s my fault.
I wore white to my wedding.
I wore blue to his funeral.
I wrote in a book.
I wrote a book.

I stepped on a crack
and maybe that’s why
I broke my own back.

I stepped on a crack
and maybe surviving it
is why I have a story
at all.

It’s my fault.
I carried a talisman.
I found a four-leaf clover.
I blew out all my candles
with one breath.

It’s my fault.
I mixed my triumphs and disasters in the same bowl.

I never even put the divider between my grocery and yours.
I eat my salad with the same fork as my dessert.

Once, I used the same fork for 6 months straight.
Once, I was given a fork and forbidden a pen…
which makes sense.

I’m far more dangerous with a pen.
Just look what I’ve done with my own story.

Sometimes the ink smears and beloved pages float away.
Sometimes the words come to life in my nightmares and make me scream,
sometimes they stab into my readers and make them cry,
sometimes they make us bleed as mournfully as my pen.

I live my life.
I write my life.
I write.

It’s my own fault,
and if you’re very lucky,
then your life
is your fault, too.

chug, chug, chug.

The time is now,
and it is yours.
Wake up and
drink in dreams.
The world is
full of joy for you,
bursting
from the seams.

We’ve been saving
all the Stories
for you and
all your future friends.
They’ll make you brave
when the world looks cracked,
because you’ll know
how quick it mends.

Fill yourself up
with our magic and love,
till you burp up
a world-wide hug.
Be brave, lucky one,
we’re waiting for you:
so chug,

chug,
chug.

______________

Our beautiful #StoriesBaby and her mama and papa need your loving thoughts right now.   She needs to be eating more so she doesn’t get transferred to a hospital. When you’re in the right frame of mind to offer up good vibes and/or prayers– just remember this thought:

Dear #StoriesBaby, #ChugChugChug. We love you. Sincerely, The Whole World

roots and wings

I left prison today, last year.

I washed before leaving, taking the longest and hottest shower I had taken in what felt like years.  The girls gave me space, so I could get as clean and ready as possible.  I left all my bath supplies behind, the bodywash and shampoo, the deodorants.  Somebody would use it.

I left everything behind.

All I had was two bags of letters, large ziplock bags that had once held instant beans.  I kept my stinger, because Steph said I’d want to show you guys, and she was right.  Steph was usually right.  It’s why I left everything to her.  She was leaving just a few months after me, and I knew she’d leave everything behind, too.

To the girls who needed it, and everyone needed it.

I walked across the Yard, carrying the bags.  They were heavy in the way that paper so often is, the way that reminds you it was once a tree.  The way that shows the little sheets have not forgotten what it was to be rooted.

It was a drizzling day and I walked the long way.  I was wearing sweatpants, a white tank top, and a sports bra that Dave had purchased for me in one of my quarterly boxes.  I was lucky to have something to wear out, including broken oversized flipflops.  I had left my good flipflops behind and worn out the pair that no one really needed.

They handed me a debit card with $200 on it.  It was my gate money, intended to help get me the clothes and transport I needed to get me home, and to my first parole meeting.  I was lucky enough to have a car waiting and clothes inside, a possible job, and a house not too far from where my first parole meeting would be.  The girl going home the same day as me needed to use the money to buy a bus pass, to get to Northern California, where she’d need to get a hotel for the day to make her meeting since she didn’t have a car.  “Will it be enough money?” I asked her, as I did the calculations in my mind.

“No,” she said, and I knew what she meant.  She’d be skipping that parole meeting and hoping that it wouldn’t land her in jail again.  We all make choices.

I gave her the number of a friend up that way, told her to call if she decided she wanted to do it right this time.  She had tattoos up and down her arm, prison tatts that told me this wasn’t her first rodeo.  She looked clean now, though.  Resigned, older, but clean.  She wasn’t trying to subvert the system, but $200 doesn’t take you up the coast and get you clothed and fed and ready to see your children.  It certainly doesn’t buy you a hotel room and a bus pass for your parole meeting.  It doesn’t pay for the job interviews that you’ll need if your friends and family don’t come through, or if you don’t want to ask because then you’ll be re-immersed in the world that got you locked up to begin with.   She’d been down 4 years.

The man in the watchtower shouted down to me.  He said my mama was already here.

There’s a tone people have in their voice, when they’ve met my mother.  I’ve heard it my entire life.  It’s slightly disbelieving, it’s gentler than they’d use with anyone else, it’s sort of wary as if they expect to be told they were the butt of a gloriously juvenile joke.

It had been so long since I heard that voice, that I stared blankly up at the watch tower.

It was raining now and my eyes filled.

I walked to the car.  We went and had tacos. I changed into the clothes my sister packed for me.  She’s been packing clothes for me my entire life.  I didn’t inspect them first or think about it, rote memory clicked in and I gathered the pieces that I knew she would have considered.  I changed in the taco shop bathroom, thinking that every waiter in there must know I just got out.  I looked at myself in the mirror and saw more of myself than I had seen in years.

I spoke to my family.

I began the journey of reactivating my accounts, but almost all the Rarasaur accounts were locked up.  Dave had changed passwords and without his notes, there’s no way I’d be able to figure it out.

I stopped by my father-in-law’s house and gathered up some of my things.  Some of Dave’s things.  Some of our things.

When I arrived to the home where I’d be staying, I took a bath.  The bathroom here is about the size of my cell, just slightly smaller.  I didn’t need to take a shower or bath because I just washed, hours before, but the privacy and hot water was too appealing.  The shower here is fancy.  You can control temperature, flow, direction.  I sprayed it on, and stood under it.

And dirt filled the tub.
It washed out of my hair, peeled off my skin.
The cleanest I had ever been inside, left dirt rings on the tub.

I sat in the tub, wasting time, wasting water, getting the outside of myself clean in a way that the inside of myself might never be again.

I thought of the girls and the jokes we told.  How we’d wear flip flops in the shower forever.  How we’d clean the dinner table with pads.  How we’d use the flashlight system to call the kids in from the playground.  You joke about trauma because laughter makes it lighter. Laughter distances you from the roots you’ll always remember.  It lets you stretch.

It gives your wings a little bravery.

Roots, and wings.
They’re both so important, though they often pull you in different directions.  Neither one is necessarily better, or always smarter.  They’re just two things that we wish on everyone we love.

In this way, paper is like us.  It can be heavy from the memory of roots.  It can be light for the hope of wings.  Each sheet is no different than another sheet, except for the words we write on it.

I step out of the tub and wrap my hair in a towel, full of colors I hadn’t seen in a long while.  I remember standing in front of my dad, my hair wrapped in a towel, trying to make a paper airplane fly.  I was six.

Six and one quarter, actually.

The folded plane just kept falling, and skidded across our tiles.  I reviewed my instructions over and over again, as dad watched.

“I folded it right,” I told him, as if he had made any claim to the contrary.

He inspected the airplane, pointing at my scribbles that had become unintelligible in the folds.  “What does it say on the paper?” he asked.

“It’s my name.” I told him.

“Your full name?” he questioned, surprised. “Well, that’s the problem.  That’s a big name. Thousands of years old.  Imagine how heavy it is.  It might just be weighing it down.”

I peered at him, wincing my face up in skepticism, but his face was blank, so I started over.  I used a clean sheet of paper, folded it, and let it go.

It glided across the room.

“Can I have this one?” my dad asked, pointing to the airplane on the floor.

“It’s broken.” I reminded him, looking down at it with a critical eye.

“No,” he said, setting it on his desk.  “It’s not broken, it just doesn’t fly yet.  I like the weight of it.”

I shrugged. My towel falling off my hair constantly as I ran around the room letting the airplane go and glide, time and time again.

I looked in the mirror again, seeing even more of myself than I did in the taco shop.  I wondered where that airplane ended up.  I wondered if I could leave the bathroom without panicking now.  I wondered how many more times I’d feel clean when I really wasn’t.  I wondered why I felt so heavy when I had no roots left at all.

The girl in the mirror had a long name, thousands of years old.
She crossed it off and wrote “Ra”, but her skin remembers the roots.

I look at her with a critical eye.  Even today, a year later, a year to the date that she came back.

She is broken, no matter what dad says, because she cannot do what she was built to do.

But I like the weight of her roots, I like the stretch of her wings.

I like her,
even though she doesn’t fly.

Yet.

Live reading:

it’s okay to play.

It’s even okay to win.
So go do that.

wp-1467601820126.jpg

Win a copy of Sack Nasty at GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30822141-sack-nasty

Win a copy over from Book at the Door and a print of one of my signboard images:
https://behindthewillows.com/2016/07/12/book-at-the-door-july-giveaway/

And/or, come to my party and win one there:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/poetry-from-the-edge-tickets-26251100749?aff=es2

[If you win at Book at the Door but you already have a copy, just tell Jessie who you think we should surprise.  I’ll still send you a print of the signboard, or any of my other signboard posts if you’d like a happier one.  At least play, though.  She appreciates your support, as do I.]

You have permission. Go put something silly in the world. #JoyIsAVitalResource

A photo posted by rarasaur (@rarasaur) on

It’s okay to play.

Actually, it’s awesome to play.  It means you’re making the world a little more joyful, and I am thankful to you for doing that.

So blow bubbles.
Win a book about prison poetry.
Hug a friend.
Put something happy in the world. It needs it.

#LetsGoLetsGoLetsGo

a funny thing happens

I have too many worries to be blogging. They’re weighing me down. 

I want to write about something happy, but a funny thing happens when I’m writing.

I start to tell myself the truth.

As soon as I start typing, I know that I will be led astray. Somehow my words always take me to the truth that wants telling, rather than the stories I want to share.

But untold stories don’t want to live inside me. I am a bad host, an infertile garden. Stories don’t blossom in my heart, they need to be spoken into my world.

My heart is heavy lately. It is not a garden, it is a jar and I fill it with things. I fill it constantly.

I don’t want to write because a funny thing happens when I am blogging.
I start to remove the lies.

The careful little ones that decorate my atmosphere. The ones I tell myself I believe. Everything is going to be okay, my jar is labeled. But if I write enough words, that label might fall off.

There are few beliefs of my own that I can count on. Common ones, like how I know that I will defend my friends to the very end. Uncommon ones, like my love of balloons.

I went over to the Daily Post for a prompt idea, so I could post something superficial. Something that will end happily, something that won’t scrub the jar-that-is-my-heart so much it bleeds off the labels I applied.

The prompt made me think of helium balloons, and how they’re going extinct. It’s a complex thing, relating to economic systems and caps, byproducts of products regulated by places outside of our control. It has to do with the availability of a resource that will need to be so expensive that it creates its own extinction.

It made me think of rarity.

Rara avis is Latin, for rare bird. I’ve shortened it to Ra Avis and I use it everywhere as my name, though my real one is inky and distinct– centuries old, and centuries young. It will exist far long after I am gone.

Names are not so fleeting as the things I have loved:

Balloons,
and boys.

balloon

I’ve loved balloons my whole life. The giant kind. The tiny ones. The ones that are filled with confetti and the ones dipped in gold. I like the kind that are plain and simple, and the ones that you can get from grocery stores and realtors just by asking. I love balloons, yet I never have any problem letting them go. I just open my hand and trust that it’s the right thing to do, for me.

I’ve never wondered where my balloons go.

No one has asked me if I ever regretted letting go of the balloon before I made tiny replicas of them inside my body. No one has ever questioned if I’ve really let go of the balloon, or if I’m secretly holding onto it in ways that prevent me from holding anything else. No one has ever judged the reasons I chose the balloon, the type of balloon I chose, why I chose to hold onto it, or how long it took me to let it go.

Balloons are beautiful.
They’re lighter than air, the way the worries should be.
They’re shaped by their insides, the way we are.

Balloons are fleeting, by their very nature, but circumstances of the world around them are making them extinct.

Our children’s children may never know what it is to hold one that can fly.
They may never know what it is to fill one.
They may never know what it is to let one go.

They may never know that sometimes you don’t let balloons go, sometimes they just slip away, and the only thing left for you to do is be okay with it.

Yes, sometimes balloons let you go.
Be okay with it.

The balloon tied to your birthday table wasn’t your birthday. It wasn’t your year or your life.  It was just a moment, and moments are fleeting.

The balloon tied to your car wasn’t your wedding. It wasn’t your marriage or your happily ever after.  It was just a symbol, and symbols live even when they are gone.

The balloon you loved so preciously loved you too, but it had to go.  It was headed somewhere, even if you don’t know where.

You’re headed somewhere, too.
Even if you don’t know where.

Don’t worry.  Love goes with you.

Everything is going somewhere. The world is in constant motion. One day, in the future, balloons will no longer be lighter than air.  They’ll be filled, like us, with hot air and love and heavy moments.  Tomorrow will be very different, and yesterday will just be one more fleeting thing we’ve had to let go.

Yesterday is on its way to Today.  Today is headed toward whatever it is going to be.

It’s going to be okay.
Everything’s going to be okay.

Well, look at that.

I was so afraid to write, afraid of where I was going, but it turns out my heart knew all along.  Hearts are such funny things.  They get heavier and heavier from the love they store, and somehow that makes them lighter.

Lighter than air.
The way worries should be.

The way worries are, if you are just brave enough to let them go.

Tomorrow, I might be brave.

as least it revolved

I was a BlogHer 2016 VOTY Honoree

In 2014, I was selected for my second BlogHer Voices of the Year award nomination, but more importantly– my husband was nominated for his first!  Of course, that same month marked the beginning of my journey in jail.  We missed the festivities.

This year, I was honored to be selected again and I am excited to say that it will be spittin’ distance from my stompin’ grounds. I really hope to see you there.  You can click the badge to find some amazing posts that I am humbled to be listed amongst.

In the meantime, with a heart full of grief for the giant signboard of his words that I never got to see– the one he never got to see because he was taking care of me– here is his post that was selected in 2014.

________________________________________

A Portrait of a Diabetic

Written by Grayson Queen

Sucrose.
Sucrose.

My life revolves around sugar, despite the fact that I can’t have it. It’s everywhere and in everything– stalking, hiding, begging and tricking me into eating it.

I can’t really eat carbohydrates either.

No fruit, bread, rice, carrots, tortillas, candy, ice cream, sauces, noodles, tomato sauce, milk, juice, etc, etc, etc.

Today I’m standing in a fast food restaurant staring at the menu, trying to decide what to order. A simple task like this requires an acute amount of attention. I can’t have any burgers because of the bun, so I strike them off the list– that’s items 4 to 12. The dressings on the salads have too much sugar—there goes items 13 to 15. I have to settle on a lettuce wrap even though I usually tear off most of the lettuce. It costs about the same as a burger. I’ll leave hungry, but the point was to satiate myself before the party. See, everywhere I go I have to make sure there’s something to eat. If I go too long without food my blood sugar will spike, and I can’t assume there will be food I can eat at any event.

The immediate effects of high blood sugar: Mood swings, ranging from rage to depression; paranoia, to varying degrees; and extreme thirst and urination.

Earlier this week I decided to try something different. Usually there are only three or four places I can eat at while out. I passed a fried chicken shop, the big grinning face staring down at me in his fancy mustache– too enticing. Sometime after my third chicken nugget, I realized something was wrong. My body was already starting to feel the sugar in my veins. I stopped eating, leaving most of my ten dollar meal on the table. For the first time in awhile I let my guard down and made an assumption that they didn’t put sugar in the breading. Driving away I became angry at myself and the restaurant. I should have checked, and they should have mentioned it. That was the end of my day. At that point, I needed to head straight home. The only non-drug related solutions to high blood sugar are fiber, cinnamon and water. Lots and lots of water. I started drinking it by the bottles. By the time I hit bottle number five, I finally needed to pee and then the peeing and drinking wouldn’t stop. From there on, it would be nearly impossible to go anywhere or do anything.

This is exactly as simple as it looks.
This is exactly as simple as it looks.

I don’t use drugs to control my blood sugar. My aunt is also diabetic. Recently she had to increase her medication. Eventually diabetics become tolerant to the pills prescribed, which then requires higher and huger dosages until they no longer work. The stage after that is daily dialysis.

Still dealing with the three chicken nuggets, I plan to isolate myself for as long as possible. Soon the chemicals in my brain will begin to act irrationally and by then I won’t even notice that there is something wrong with me. Everything will make me angry and the rage will seem valid. I’ll start blaming people for intentionally trying to make me angry. My wife watches with a worried expression on her face. There is nothing she can do.

When the diabetes first kicked in, we didn’t understand what was happening. I had no appetite and was quickly losing weight. I went from one-hundred-and-seventy pounds to one-hundred-and-twenty. Cinching my belt to the last hole was barely enough to keep my clothes on. Towards the end, I could hardly get out of bed. The times I did get up and out, I was rushing off to the bathroom in a desperate panic. In my mind, everywhere I turned, someone was following me. People stared, plotted and watched my every move. The doctor, when we finally went to see one, said that with my blood sugar level, I should have been in a coma.

If a coma isn’t enough to scare me about diabetes, there are plenty of other things.

Going shopping for food is fast because most of what is sold, I can’t eat. I have to keep to a strict high protein diet, especially now after the sugar I accidentally consumed.

This is my life and I’ve become an expert on cooking meat. It takes me a while to choose a steak. I analyze the fat, cut and size. Slabs of meat day-after-day can be boring, so I wander down to the seasonings and pick up a dry rub. As my wife and I are on our way out of the grocery store, we pass a large man in a mobile scooter. My wife nods her head in his direction to point him out to me and whispers, “Diabetes”. His foot is a swollen, callused mess. The sole of his un-shoed foot is dry and cracked to the final layer of soft pink skin. I can feel my stomach turn and slip into my throat.

My wife works with a kid whose father has diabetes. They either don’t understand or don’t know anything about the disease. A month ago the doctors had to amputate his father’s leg. This is not uncommon in diabetics who don’t take care of themselves. The limbs begin to lose blood circulation and die. It’s hard to imagine not noticing your leg is dying right underneath you. Symptoms include: numbness, itchiness and a severe burning pain. Your nerve endings scream at you to do something. When the kid’s father came out of the hospital, they celebrated with cake. A few days ago he had to go back into surgery.

After eating a steak lunch and dinner, I look at the dry rub and see it has sugar in it. One gram per tablespoon. Rage consumes me. I’m going to write a letter to the company, maybe post something about it online. It’s my fault, but I’m angry. I consumed at least six tablespoons of that stuff. Who puts that much sugar in a dry rub? Why? There’s less sugar in some desserts.

blood-sugar-levels-chartThe muscles in my back and arms start to get stiff. It’s my blood thickening. Oxygen can’t get where it needs to go and it’s painful. I have to make sure my blood keeps moving. A bath would help, but if I am too hot my blood pressure rises. If my blood pressure rises, so does my blood sugar. If either goes up, my anger is fueled. My impulses tell me to smash something. My laptop takes too long to load and I grab it by the screen. I’m shaking almost uncontrollably, trying to stop myself from throwing the two thousand dollar machine across the room. All I can really do is lay down and try to fall asleep. My body hurts, my head hurts and depression takes hold. I try my best to eat well and then something like this happens. What’s the point?

But there’s still tomorrow and the rest of my life. Food has become a conscious effort. I struggle every day to eat enough calories. It’s disgusting when you think about how much weight people gain from eating all those things I can’t eat. And it’s not just sweets– it’s breads and sugars put into everything for no apparent reason. There’s a popular chain restaurant that sprinkles sugar on their salads. I found that out the hard way. I try to eat two pounds of steak a day– it’s the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective way to get my calories. I buy them daily and I can see people looking at me, thinking I’m not eating very well.

One positive thing about my diet is that I’ve lost all my excess weight. With my high protein diet and the regular exercise I need, I’m covered in lean muscle. Still, the cashier  feels the need to comment on how unhealthy my purchases are.

The day after the dry rub, I spend going back and forth to the bathroom. My stomach is twisted in knots and I’m breaking out in cold sweats. I have almost no control over my emotions. At times like these, it’s easier to go out to eat rather than try to deal with me and cooking. My wife and I sit down at a restaurant. I order the usual. Instead of a diet coke the waiter brings me a root beer.

I know he’s done it on purpose to mess with me. He doesn’t care about hard it is to live like this. He’s just trying to make my life more difficult. My wife puts her hand on top of mine. It’s a silent signal not to act, that I’m thinking irrationally. I frown because she’s right. I never notice. It always seems so normal until I look back and can’t fathom why I was acting that way.

insulin2There are many variations of diabetes beyond type one and type two. Diabetes can come from obesity or genetics; it could come in childhood or adulthood; and some need insulin and some don’t. As the outsider, the only thing you need to know is that you don’t know anything. Your comments and beliefs don’t make it easier, and– believe it or not — we’ve probably heard it before.

“Doesn’t everyone have to eat some sugar?” “It’s just a little bit.” “I’m sure this one time won’t hurt.”

Don’t get me started on not accepting food. If I’m not sure exactly what’s in it, I can’t trust it because people don’t always know what is good or bad for me. “Oh, I didn’t know that had sugar in it.” “Corn is a carb?” “You can’t eat pasta?” It’s why before attending an event or party, I eat first and research places nearby where I might be able to find something to eat. Often times what’s being served at someone’s home is inedible to me– from the strawberry vinaigrette to the pigs-in-a-bun.

On the weekend, we’re going to my father’s house for dinner. I spend the next few days trying to get the sugars out of my system. It’s arduous, time-consuming and filled with ups and downs. Before driving down, we stop to pick up something to eat, just in case.

It was the right decision.

Dad’s made a salad with slices of mandarin oranges mixed in– can’t eat that. There’s a basket full of fresh baked garlic bread– can’t eat that. For the main course, my father has barbequed some ribs. He hands me the large plate of meat slathered in barbeque sauce. I raise my eyebrow at him, but he doesn’t seem to understand. My voice betrays my frustration, “I can’t eat that,” I say.

Barbeque sauce is loaded with sugar. My father is also diabetic. He takes drugs to manage it, though I often see him eating like this– Ice cream, fruit, corn, and on and on. I notice that his legs are beginning to swell from it. I mention it to him but he doesn’t seem to hear me. As the child, it’s not my place to lecture him about what he should be eating, though he often lectures me.

Water.
Water.

Even eating right, I have to be careful about the amount of protein I consume. It can build up in my joints and kidneys, so I have to drink a lot of water. My life also revolves around water. Drink it when I’m doing well. Drink it when I’m doing badly.

Water, water everywhere.

It’s annoying, but I put it in perspective—it’s not as bad as amputation, blindness or a coma.

My life revolves around sugar, but at least my life revolves.

you’re not tired.

You’re not tired, you’re broken.
Your ankles are twisted and your body is bruised.  The wind is in your face, pushing you down,

down,

so far down
this mountain.

You’re not tired.  You’re lost.

You thought you were going up, but you just jabbed yourself on the same rock for the second time. You’re going in circles and the only thing you can do is hope that the circles are spiraling you up,

up,

to the top of this mountain.

You think you want to go up.  You’re not sure anymore. 
You feel tired, but you’re not.  Truly.
You’re not tired.

Your heart is crushed so flat that it can barely beat.  You’re not tired.  Your lungs are sick of breathing in the contamination you ejected.  You’re not tired.  Your mind is hiding from the sheer magnitude of the world is it being forced to translate, but you’re not tired.

You’re just going somewhere, and the journey has been bumpy.  There’s been twisted paths and closed roads.  There’s been pitfalls and jagged edges.

Every injury caused by this journey, though, has been healed by this journey.  Every scar you had when you started, every wound you earned along the way, will be healed in the next few steps.

If you can make it.

You’re slowing down.  You’re aching.   You can’t see where you’re going because there’s blood in your eyes, sweat on your hands.  You’re slipping and everyone can see it…

But they can also see your destination, and how far you’ve come.  Not a single person is worried that you’ll fall.  Not a single person is worried that you won’t make it.

They see the breaks in you, and how those tears did not break you.
They see the calluses on your feet, and how those calluses did not weigh you down.

They see your eyes closing on your journey, but they know you’re not lost, and you’re certainly not tired.

You’re just a little sweaty.  You’re just a little broken.

But none of that ever stopped you before.
You’re just getting started, so keep going,

up,
up,

up.

You’re going somewhere.

#SackNasty

sacknastySack Nasty is a compilation of poetry about prison. Unlike this blog, the stories told here don’t always fall sunny-side up. They are an outpouring of the uglier edges of prison life. They are about the illusion of dignity, the malleability of justice, and the fluidity (and fluids) of the human condition. These are true stories from 438 days of incarceration.

The title, Sack Nasty, refers to the nickname given to the bagged lunches served to jail birds. Prison food is nearly inedible, and the lies cooked up are all too easy to digest, but the important thing to remember is– you don’t have to eat what they feed you. Freedom sustains itself.

Available for $13.99 via Amazon.com. Signed copies available here.

 

Where should I buy the book?

The fastest way is to purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sack-Nasty-Prison-Ra-Avis/dp/1945681047

I make about $5 more if you order through me, but it takes some extra time.

I made little bookmarks from real prison paperwork to go with the books I ship out, but if you do order from Amazon, snap a picture of your book and send it to me with your address. I’ll send you one, too.

 

I would like to order a signed copy of the book.

Thank you.

They’ll ship July 7th or earlier, and I’ll sign them to you and include a bookmark made of laminated paperwork from prison. I’ll also email you a bonus ebook. Shipping is included, yes, even for those of you who live far far away from me.

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This next button is for if you want to help get the book into the hands of people who cannot afford it, from long-term and loyal readers, to the girls I knew inside who are now trying to make their way on the outside.

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You will receive an email shortly after ordering, to help us clarify shipping details, dedications, and bookmark preferences.

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I’m broke, but I want to support you. How do I help?

Your support means the world to me.

Tell others about the book! Remember to hashtag everything #SackNasty so I can find you.

Go to GoodReads.com and add the book to your “Want to Read” shelf.

You can also show your support by adding your name to those numbers that others care a lot about. You can add yourself to my mailing list, or follow me on my social medias.

Facebook.com/Rawra.Avis
Facebook.com/Rarasaur
Stories That Must Not Die
GoodReads
Pinterest.com/Rarasaur
Twitter.com/Rarasaur
Instagram.com/Rawra.Avis
Instagram.com/rarasaur
Youtube.com/RaraSaurLovesYou

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I’m in the Southern California area, can I get the book or a signature from you directly?

Yes! I am having an event with author William S. Friday.  On July 24th, in Long Beach, we’ll be gathering to read a few poems, sign a few books, have a few drinks, and get to know everyone who attends.  We’d love to meet you. You can RSVP on EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poetry-from-the-edge-tickets-26251100749

 

I have the resources to support you for projects that go beyond this. How do I do that?

At Patreon, you can donate a monthly amount of your choosing toward my creative endeavors– starting with this blog and expanding to all creative projects and books. Including children’s books and the memoir of prison life. There are rewards at different patron levels.

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If you want to donate directly to me, you can let me know what you’d like to see me develop and work on. Just send an email. Donations have been used to frame Dave’s artwork, and to start a business. Who knows what’s next?!

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