Category Archives: Prisons

No More Massacres

“First, this is not a method for cowards. It does resist. The nonviolent resistance is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which we protest as in the person who uses violence. This method is passive or non aggressive in the sense that we are not physically aggressive towards our opponent. But our mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade the opponent that he is mistaken.
This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually. It is not aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually.”

A Message from Martin Luther King Jr.

No longer do I spread a message of violence
not even in silence
My Old Testament
was shoot anyone for whatever reason
My community was infested with gun violence
and I didn’t take a liking
just the sound alone created fear in my heart
Still I didn’t submit
Unfortunately I found myself at 13
in a hospital
a victim of gun violence
bleeding
shaking my head
Like dang
What’s the reason?
Started holstering a gun for All Seasons
morals became corrupted
trapped
in reaction without Law & Order
secretly, tactically, preparing for war
Cuz there’s brutality all over the world
See in my ghettos we groom-to-be Killers
Black-on-black killings
Hearts full of Madness
cuz we misguided from youth
But ever since Gabrielle Gifford got shot
and that little girl Christian Taylor died
that was with her
I died a little inside
truly it was then
where I realized
that my heart was divided from truth
I became teary-eyed
My new testament begins…
Now I’m picking up the shattered pieces
digging through the rubbish of my rearview
Face-to-face with my own demons
Please forgive me for my mishaps
Reality check
No more 21-gun salute
Hands up don’t shoot
I’m motivated to be a positive man
now can you tell me the same about you
Please don’t send the troops
Can I get a moment of silence
For all the victims of gun violence
Pay attention to all the pro-gun ads Across the Nation
cover with kind Pleasures
design to take over your mind
but I stand with councilwoman Janice Hahn
Keeping Columbine, Sandy Hook
Las Vegas shooting victims
Them 17 kids and Parkland
10 in Santa Fe Texas
Them church shootings in Charleston and Texas
Let’s stand up for our little cubs
it touch my heart
When Emma Gonzalez and Edna Chavez led the march
to Washington
to approach Congress
Ignited the walkouts of classrooms in all 50 states
In a fight to ban assault weapons
Look how we took it to another level
Reuniting as one
cause the willing stop chilling
and became willing
So please get up
and don’t give politicians
Please stand up for us
as America’s Got Talent contestant Flau’Jae said it best
“Let’s put down the guns”
Dedicated to the victims of gun violence

by Darryl Burnside

Artwork by: Donald “C-Note” Hooker

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Today We Are Sisters

Today we are sisters
Tomorrow we won’t
unless for reparations
together we fight
I am Pro Choice
I am Pro Life
just because she’s in prison
She still has rights

About Paintoem:
Painting by: C-Note
Poem by: C-Note

Today We Are Sistersis an original work of wax on paper. Done by Donald “C-Note” Hooker in 2018. Today We Are Sisters tells the tale of the 150 California female prisoners that were forcibly sterilized from 2006-2010.

[Editor’s Note ]: This Paintoem, like all Paintoems, are given to the public, to have free use rights, so long as acknowledgement is given to the artist(s).

Links to other Paintoems:
Mprisond
My Dilemma
Tears of the Mothers
Black August-Los Angeles
More Paintoems

White Noise

High ceiling
windowless room
soundless
except the white noise
of bright lighting
humanless
except me
furnitureless
except door’s knob
queasy
of uneasy
a hot mess
but nevertheless
I wait
in this Twilight Zone
of a disaster
seconds
turn into minutes
minutes
turn into hours
still feet
a quickend pace
a slow jog
complexity of thought
rise and fall
like a statistical graph
wondering
searching
Did I see?
Crashing the disturbance
of the undisturbable
Deputy good cop
and officer bad cop
hurled accusations
of machinations
I could not have done
I remained silent
silence brokered for a cigarette
to which I refuse
until
the swiftness
of wiffness
of roasted caffeine
filled the room

by
Donald “C-Note” Hooker

[Editor’s Note]: The Sorcerer’s Brew, was a work created by the artist for the “Everything Coffee,” prisoner art exhibit in New York.

The Sorcerer’s Brew

I was first awoken
by its smell
It was carmel
smell
in my mind
roasted
and toasted
to perfection
like an erection
so orgasmic
like reaching out
for a lover again
on the morning after
washing over the tongue’s tendrils
like the baptismal cleansing
that washes away all sins
this caffeinated liquefied warmth
with all its herbal toxicants
of sugars and spice
tho it brings nothing nice
but sin
to do
again and again
Lust
a lust
a desire
an indescrible addiction
for more and more
caffeinated liquefied warmth
sips unending
its herbal toxicants
of sugar and spice
amongst the souls it treats
so
damn
nice

by
Donald “C-Note” Hooker

[Editor’s Note]: The Sorcerer’s Brew, was a work created by the artist for the “Everything Coffee,” prisoner art exhibit in New York.

INCARCERATION NATION

My country
is still not free
This sordid land
of hypocrisy
Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died
Land where the slaves did cry
on every mountainside
Prisons reign supreme

About Paintoem
Poem by: C-Note
Painting by: C-Note

Incarceration Nation is an original work of ink, graphite, and wax on paper. Done by Donald “C-Note” Hooker in 2017. The painting was inspired by the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in August of 2017, and is the sequel to his first political work Black August-Los Angeles. The red dots represent the location of the state sanctioned deaths of: Travon Martin in Florida; Michael Brown in Missouri; Sandra Bland in Texas; Philando Castile in Minnesota; Freddie Gray in Maryland; Ezell Ford, Wakiesha Wilson, Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) & Oscars Grant in California; and Charleen Lyles in Washington State. The poem written later in the year was inspired by the NFL players “Knee Protest.”
” I was looking at other iconic American verbal expressions of patriotism,” says C-Note. “And ‘My Country, Tis of Thee,’ also known as ‘America,’ is probably third on that list. The creative juices to create the poem had nothing to do with the painting; however, together they make an excellent one-two punch, as a political work of art.”
The painting Incarceration Nation was given to the California Prison Focus as a donation. However, you can still buy prints of this piece, and other related products, at Fine Art America

[Editor’s Note ]: This Paintoem, like all Paintoems, are given to the public, to have free use rights, so long as acknowledgement is given to the artist(s).

Links to other Paintoems:
Mprisond
My Dilemma
Tears of the Mothers
Black August-Los Angeles
More Paintoems

California Prison Focus is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose work as a prisoner’s news source needs generous public support. Click here to their website’s donation page

California Prison Focus • 1904 Franklin St • #507 Oakland, CA 94612 • contact(at)prisons(dot)org • (510) 836-7222

FATHERS AND SONS (A Play Written by Prisoners)

Edited by:
Donald “C-Note” Hooker and Mohammed White Ali

A once in a generation work of art that gives voice to the boy in every man, and to the man who needs to be heard by every boy.

ABOUT

Fathers and Sons, was a play held March 15-17, 2017, at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC), and performed by the prisoners housed on the B Facility yard. It was directed by Leah Joki who was assisted by five professional actors under the supervision of Meri Parkarinen of The Strindberg Laboratory. It consisted of 20-acts. These were established works from playwrights such as Shakespeare and August Wilson. It also included original works from the CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners.
Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), is a multiracial work consisting of the edited and unedited versions of the written plays by the prisoners performed in March of 2017. This work also includes new material from CSP-LAC B Facility prisoners that were not a part of the original March playbill.

PLAYBILL

Another Wounded Soul
by Tuan Doan
Tears of Shame
by Tuan Doan
Running the Streets
by Mohammed E. White Ali
Father to Son
by Dontay Hayes
Accidental Legacy
by Derric Burbie
Foolish Man’s Land
by David Garcia
Chasing a Dream
by Travon Pugh
The Seed of Bonnie and Clyde (South Los Angeles Edition)
by Donald “C-Note” Hooker
Grandpa and Michael
by Jerry Cooley
My Father’s Gone
by Ira Benjamin

FROM THE EDITOR

I put together this compilation after conversing with most of the prisoner writers on the play Fathers and Sons, and hearing the frustrations of their stories being edited down. None of them have ever put on a prison play before and may not have understood brevity is good. But my concern was the editing of content. So much so, I felt it was a real travesty against our society.* I am quoted in a Paintoem as saying “We create monsters of ugliness but we’re scared to look at our own creations.” As a member of the Restorative Justice Community we believe at getting at the core truth. We will never get to the core of the mass incarceration problem here in America if we simply whitewash its causation. Simply acting that our criminal justice is justified because our prisons are full of degenerate Wally Cleaver’s of Leave It to Beaver, who’s background are from good homes is not the truth. This is not the general upbringing of the men in our prisons, nor the sons they have left, or are leaving behind. While not all women may agree, the Chorus of Voices are loud enough that bodies of work that give women insight into the man, man-child relationship, are helpful. In households where the woman is raising a man-child alone, her sisterhood, her gender, is not enough to rear a man. This is not some chauvinistic banter, but is the authentic Chorus of Voices of single women households raising a man-child. A man must be involved in this endeavor. While Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners), cannot substitute for a living, breathing, and present male, it is a must-read for the junior males of our society. An insight, a tour, of how one gets into a mess, and how to avoid it.
Finally, for those who want to work with prisoners and have their voices heard, don’t whitewash it. To do so makes about as much sense as a U.S. President serving a foreign dignitary a state dinner consisting of the cuisine from that dignitary’s homeland. When foreign Heads of State come to America, feed them hamburgers. We live in a golden age of television that was founded on the backs of cable shows such as Sex in the City, The Sopranos, and further exacerbated by Breaking Bad. The point being, the American public will support gritty reality. And these were my frustrations, and my passions, in presenting to you, Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners.

Click here for link to free download of play Fathers and Sons (A Play Written by Prisoners)
Related Links:
Prison Foundation
The Strindberg Laboratory
Leah Joki

*This comment should not be misconstrued. Leah Joki is a Julliard trained actress, and has over twenty years of teaching prisoners theater. She is highly beloved by her students. The schism between writers and the direction a director takes the writer’s written material is nothing new to the process or the industry.

Artwork:
Dreams of the Fathers
by: C-Note

YOUR INTERSTELLAR

The Sol
of her solar winds
crossed my face

Dusk filled dust
is what I taste

But still
I soldier on
Still
I launch into the madness
of a quickened pace

You are the light of my world
and as this hunk of rock
rotates itself, away from you
Still
I solider on

Tho darkness becomes nigh
and the twilight sets on our love
I’ll just set my sights higher
in the sky

I know if I seek the Heavens
where the gods abode
I’ll find your light the brightest
amongst Heaven’s neon lights

And so shall you be
my hope eternity
till fortunes shift
and this hunky rock gives the gift
of a new horizon
and the soul
of your solar winds
across
my face.

To: Mickie
Love C-Note
poem #1

@2017 C-Note