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Essay: "Rituals"

The Writer as the "Ritualist"

I just woke up. It's about three am and my breath smells worse than the receptacle of a BFI truck. I'm still in prison, the cell is cold and now I'm pulling the huge fuzzy gray covers over my head and rolling up in a fetal position--like I used to do as a kid. My ... is as hard as times are these days and at once I'm reminded of the woman I saw in my dreams. I woke up just as I'd reached out for her. I squeeze it. It's firm and hard as it ought to be and suddenly I want to jerk it off. It's too early for this! So I will get up and pee. It feels good as I relieve myself, and I feel my desire diminishing, spraying into the lake of the toilet. The bright light of the cell blinds me as it comes on automatically. I can hear the metal food containers bumping and grinding against each other making an awful clanging racket. We're having fucking pancakes again.

I think of my past, the present, and the future all at once. I am struck by hope, fear, anxiety, fear, guilt, optimism. All at once, "Mason, you gon eat?" says the Big Boss Man, bringing back into to realm of essential concerns. The reality of steel, light grey uniforms, billy-clubs and tear gas, violence, hate--they broke a young man's neck yesterday--lies, blood, and cover ups.

I look at the books in my locker, and take in the beautiful colors- pinks, greens, and blues- that add an aesthetic atmosphere to this wretched room. I've read these works with pleasure, Dostoevsky, Lermontov, Tolstoy, and the Treatisies of Mill, Rousseau, and Michiolelli. The prison crats think I'm crazy. I have found more freedom in these books than in any other place in the world. Why didn't I love books when I was in school?

Today I have to write my novel in progress, The Dissident, is calling. Perhaps I should rewrite that essay or this short story. I could read more of War and Peace. I think of sex again. A woman in lingerie...Let's not go there. Every time I have to write--hold up, let me pour myself a cup of coffee--I, it appears, do everything except that before I can start. Then why do I love it so much when I hate to start?!

Umph, the coffee is cold but it's okay. Now I reminded of the pages upon pages that I must write! It's a tough job and I have to do it. Pray give me leave and I shall get right to it...

-Adrian Perry