Tag Archives: Restorative Justice

FATHERS AND SONS (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 (Plays 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 (Plays 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 (Plays Written by Prisoners.

Click here for link to free download of play Father’s 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

THO HER NAME IS NOT GIBRALTAR, STILL SHE’S CALLED THE “ROCK”

She once belonged to a community that lived high in the California Franciscan sky.
Who was torn apart by war with the Sky.
They fell to Earth, but the Rivers would not let them settle their.
They drove them to the Ocean where they fell to the floor with other displaced people and called their name ALCATRAZ.
Once settled, they could not rest as other displaced people settled on top of them.
And so it goes, four other settlements settled on top until they were 30 miles below.
But a great shift in geological politics were to occur when the Farallon Tectonic Plate people went against the great North American Tectonic Plate people, and upheaved all the settled people.
Now the Alcatraz people lived on top of all the settlements, and the San Bruno Mountain people, the last to settle, now lives where Alcatraz once dwelled.
Having dealt with the pressures of 30 miles at the bottom of the Ocean, she’s now mightier and stronger than before.
Resistant to the wiles of the Sky.
Tho no longer held in her former elevated state, elevated nevertheless into her former regal and majesty.
Tho her name is not Gibraltar, still she’s called “The Rock.”

by C-Note

©2017 Donald”C-Note” Hooker

Tho Her Name Is Not Gibraltar, Still She’s Called “The Rock,” is an allegorical work that gives animation to the inanimate. It is the origins of Alcatraz. Alcatraz began as a mountain; who as the result of the elements, suffered erosion. The erosion was washed into the ocean by the rivers, where it settled to the bottom. More erosion and more and more erosion settled on top of that initial settlement that geologist call Alcatraz. Then two tectonic plates collided and caused the bottom settlement to be the top settlement, and the top to be the bottom. Having been buried 30 miles and under the pressure of the ocean, Alcatraz rocks are wheather proof. Doesn’t she now sit regal and majestic?

[Editor’s Note]: Tho Her Name Is Not Gibraltar, Still She’s Called “The Rock”, is a work that was specifically created for the Art Escape At Alcatraz, prisoner art exhibit on Alcatraz island May-June 2017, curated by Prison Art Touching Hearts.
Help P.A.T.H. in their mission of touching hearts through prison art and give a donation.

NO SOUTHERN SHALL GOVERN THIS ISLE

America’s great war wasn’t the First World War
nor was it the Second
It was civil in nature.
Brother against brother
North against South
In came Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston
to govern the great fort Alcatraz.
Born in Kentucky was he
raised in Texas did he
Roots dug deep in the South
That’s why good ole San Franciscoans had their doubts
That a good ole boy could defend Northern territory
When Confederate President Jefferson Davis was a friend
goes the story
It lead to his removal from this great isle
As rumors of Southern sympathies did they beguile
For the good citizens of the Bay could never reconciliate
That a gentleman of the South could expatriate
So rejected by his Northern brethren he retired to the South
But picked up a Confederate command and died valiantly at the battle of Shiloh
A hundred and fifty years later
I don’t salute you as a foe
because shame on us
for mistrust
of our brethren
must be told.

by C-Note

©2017 Donald”C-Note” Hooker

[Editor’s Note]: No Southern Shall Govern This Isle, is a work that was specifically created for the Art Escape At Alcatraz, prisoner art exhibit on Alcatraz island May-June 2017, sponsored by Prison Art Touching Hearts.
Help P.A.T.H. in their mission of touching hearts through prison art and give a donation.

THY HALOED LAND 1ST NATION SPEAKS

Ride out!
on the horse
you rode in on
Two feet
the land
we stand
firm on
Dare not
a thread
you tread
on land
we bury
our dead on.

by C-Note

©2017 Donald “C-Note” Hooker

[Editor’s Note]: Thy Haloed Land 1st Nation Speaks, is a work that was specifically created for the Art Escape At Alcatraz, prisoner art exhibit on Alcatraz island May-June 2017, sponsored by Prison Art Touching Hearts.
Help P.A.T.H. in their mission of touching hearts through prison art and give a donation.

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

MR. WARDEN

They call me Mr.Warden
and in my mansion
there are many rooms
Rooms of despair
where nobody cares
If you live or die
Where nobody cares
if you scream or cry
So addicts beware
the high you receive today
Will be the low
I’ll give tomorrow

By
Donald “C-Note” Hooker
©2017 C-Note

STRANGE FRUIT

img_20170207_075459

California
is the place to be
Fun living
is the life for me
Spacious places
far and wide
Except at C.I.W.
home to women suicides

About the Paintoem
Poem by: Cn
Painting by: Cn

We create monsters
of ugliness
but we’re scared
to look at
our own creations.
—-Cn

Strange Fruit, is an original work of wax on paper; made in the form of a collage. Done by Cn in 2017. “When I had to do an expedited visual work for the Paintoem, Life Without the Possibility of Parole, I used an image from a magazine, but drew the background,” says Cn. “I have a push, or thirst to bring attention to women issues. That’s what Life Without the Possibility of Parole is about. Strange Fruit, is to draw attention to a report that I read in the October 2016, edition of the San Quentin News. It stated, ‘During an 18-month period in 2014-15, the suicide rate at the California Institution for Women (C.I.W.) was eight times the national average for women prisoners and five times the rate for the entire California prison system.’ When I did Life Without, there was an aesthetic there. This was from a fashion magazine. This was of a white woman, a young white woman, on a very serious subject. I say to myself, ‘Hey, much support in the prisoner rights movement comes from older white women in the Catholic Church. This is an image of them. They see their younger selves in her. Promote the $#@! out of this work.’ I could have used that same racial device in Strange Fruit. With Life Without, it was about the aesthetics. It was about the shape of that image in the magazine. Later on, I realized how I could use race to my benefit. That device really did not go unnoticed to me when doing a work on women suicide. But I couldn’t play on white populism; I had to speak the truth. So a black woman had to be used. Blacks out number all the other races combined in incarceration. There are lots of ways of committing suicide, but I think the hanging is the most salient in our human conscious. That being the case, that brings in Strange Fruit. ‘Strange Fruit,’ is the title to a song, sung by Billie Holiday. The tener of the song is about all this strange fruit hanging from these trees in the South. What was this strange fruit? Nooses around the necks of dead African-Americans. That’s why the piece is entitled ‘Strange Fruit.’ That’s why there’s a noose around her neck. Why a collage? Because I had discovered with Life Without, collages create a certain depth perception. The poem, is a play on the CBS television show Beverly Hillbillies. ‘California/is the place to be/Fun living/is the life for me…’ In Black intelligentsia, and its grass roots also, they have really latched onto Michelle Alexander’s seminal work, ‘The New Jim Crow (Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.’ So here is her thesis, that 21st Century mass incarceration, and post incarceration reentry, looks very similar to 20th Century Jim Crow laws in the deep South. People generally agree with her thesis, and actively use the siren call end the New Jim Crow. Incarcerated blacks even started the Neo Jim Crow Art movement, to which this piece is a part of. I hold up Sandra Bland as our 21st Century’s Emmett Till. Emmett Till, like Sandra Bland was a fellow Chicagoan who went down South. Emmett allegedly in 1955 made a whistling sound in the general area of a white woman. He was only 14 years of age. He was bludgeon to death. His mother, from the North (Chicago), wanted an open casket burial to which a Jet Magazine photographer snapped a picture of his gruesome remains. It was the shot (photo shoot), heard around the world. Well, I’ve been holding up Sandra Bland to go with the theme of this work. She is our 21st Century version of Emmett Till. What was her offense that caused her to lose her life? It started with a traffic stop; whose legitimacy is dubious at best. But an officer who physically feels the need to pull a motorist out of their car for smoking a cigarette? An activity that is associated with a high degree of stress, to which this encounter with this law enforcement obviously was. But I think anytime a person comes in contact with law enforcement, and especially an African-American with a white officer, it is very harrowing; because an African-American never knows where this thing is going. And Ms.Bland allegedly or apparently committed suicide while in a jail holding cell for a nonsensical lane change violation. To which the officer was fired as a result of this incident. In certain activist circles, it’s common to hear women say, ‘Prisons were not designed or intended for women.'” Strange Fruit is still retained by Cn until he can find a party interested in the work. 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