The 4 Seasons Rikers Island: Yoga and Buddhism Friday- July 11, 2014

Friday July 11th 2014

Arose to the 5 a.m. feeding of grits which I wanted to eat, since I heard they were healthy, however my bucket was full of nutritious food from yesterday’s commissary shopping. Overflowing with trail mix, oatmeal, bananas, Yellow fin tuna steak and peanut butter. I guess my protest last week worked; when it came time for me to pay I complained about the lack of nutritious food stuff at the commissary. The guard yelled “Fucking take it or leave it and get out of my fucking line” I walked away, leaving everyone in shock. I said “I would rather starve that eat that junk food.” Now a week later, there were plenty nutritious choices, even a new food stuff, “refried red beans” for 33 cents a bag. Survival on the Island was all about protein intake. Between the commissary items and ¼ of the food served through the mess hall, I could eat almost as healthy as I did back in California, minus the fresh vegetables. I really did “love Rikers Island” at that point.

I watched the sunrise which was a little on the light side but it still had some beautiful pinks and oranges. The heavy clouds were a mixed blessing, like this Rikers Island captivity I thought.

Fish the poet, (a dark skinned prisoner who resembled his moniker) had one of his wife beaters stolen so I gave him one of my new ones. He couldn’t believe the generosity. He looked me deeply in the eyes and repeatedly said “Thank you brother.” Saw Otero the Basque about to throw out some over ripe bananas which I gladly took to mix into my oatmeal dough mix. Got about ½ dozen and mixed some with oatmeal, trail mix, and mini-wheat, was pure heavenly.

Saw Diablo, the Vladimir Lenin doppelganger, who was fired from his mess hall job, he wasn’t getting paid for, since he had gotten a Chinita (Synthetic Opiate Suboxone) related ticket. His boss would let him come to work for free off the books. He would make it up by stealing food from the mess hall which he would sell back in the dorms and I was a loyal fruit customer. While on shift, one of the workers got a heart attack so the mess hall got “hot” and Diablo got “re-fired” which meant he lost his only source of income. I gave him a pack of strawberry cookies and 2 bags of coffee. Later he says “Walk With me” and we walked up and down the center corridor. He looked around as if to see who was looking, tilted his head to one side and said “ The person who stole yo stuff ain’t here no more.” I said “Fila?” and he said “nope, but he was the look out” then I said “Minister?” to which he responded “Yeah.” I had suspected as much but was now glad, he didn’t take my challenge to reveal himself, since he did have 2 bodies, one outside and one inside the gulag.

Someone alerted me to fact that today was Friday, when I was thinking it was Thursday “Chicken day yesterday, remember?” Was never so happy to lose a day. It was always good to lose a day on the Island.

Went to the yard even though my legs felt sore. Decided to do biceps 8 reps and 10 sets curling the 125lbs bar. Amazed at how strong I was getting. I walked a couple of laps in the comfortable weather about 83 F with beautiful azure skies and a mix of clouds to block the sun occasionally. After the yard there was lots of traffic in the hallway. Saw “Ramadan traffic,” the angriest looking bunch of Muslims. I wondered if they were naturally angry or exposure to the gulag for decades had made them that way. The prisoners returning from yard were extra chatty. An angry black woman CO with a major’s rank (gold oak leaf insignia) came out of nowhere and began to yell. She blamed the other CO’s for “not having these nigga’s in check, these nigga’s quiet when they going to rec, but noisy when they coming back, we ought to take their rec from them.”

I also overheard some Spanish guys talking that Fila got jumped, which was false; he got into a fight for sneak thieving (stealing food from somebody’s bucket when no one was looking). Talk about damage control, it seems Fila was a master Publicist.

Came back to chow, dirty rice. Since it was late, decided to eat a trail mix to hold me off then ate tuna steak with a slice of bread. Traded my dirty rice for some collard greens.

Received a book on Buddhism, The Teachings of The Buddha; In the Buddha’s Words and The Key Poses of Yoga which I read both then practiced some yoga positions which caused quite a scene amongst the prisoners. Some prisoners said “That shit is gay” while others said they’d never seen someone do yoga. A couple of prisoners even imitated my moves trying to learn.

Relaxed from the yoga routine at dusk, I watched the sunset behind a high cloud with a shape that resembled the state Virginia. It melted away to then reveal an almost perfect orange red tequila setting sun. I sat back and pondered that the warm light I was enjoying took over 100,000 years to rise from the core of the sun to the surface and only 8 minutes to reach me. What a pleasure to watch.

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