A Day in the Oubliette

Greetings and welcome to the Roost. This is my first “official” posting after the setup of the site. To be honest I am not real sure what blogging is or how to go about it really. I have a real concern about my being repetitive as my world is so limited here. Let me begin with how a day usually passes for me.

I arise at about four AM. I throw some water on my face and then clean my floor. (This place is so filthy so every day is a must.) My cage is only 7×10 so this does not take too long. Then, at around four-thirty, a guard brings me a small brown lunch-sized paper bag. This is my breakfast and lunch. (No lunch on Saturday and Sunday, just breakfast) and it is to last me until about five or so in the afternoon. (Today it consisted of a half-pint of 2% milk, a plastic sandwich bag with half a bowl of cold cereal, another sandwich bag with some peanut butter that had been mixed with…something… yet another bag of some sort of highly processed sandwich meat (two slices), and six slices of bread. (Two sandwiches and six slices of bread!) After making sure everything that is supposed to be in the bag is (which is not always the case) I throw that on my table and begin my workout. I won’t bore you with the details but this takes about an hour and a half to two hours. (There is never darkness in my cage. There is always a light on. The guards claim they must be able to see us.) If it is not a shower day, I bathe in my small metal sink. (Speaking of showers… I get twelve a month by law.) If it is a shower day then I just clean up a bit and wait for someone to put me in the shower.

I never leave my cage unchained. Always, I am chained like an animal. Even to walk about thirty feet to the shower. The shower is a six-by-six-foot cage with a shower head in it. I am allowed to take a towel, a washcloth, and soap. The shower has a button on a timer. It is supposed to be fifteen minutes. The timer in the shower I use is set to about four minutes. Once it goes off, it takes it takes fifteen to twenty minutes, to come back on. After your shower, you stand in the small cage until a guard comes to chain you up and take you back to your cage. It usually takes about an hour.

Once back in my cage, I wash my laundry in my sink. This is not allowed and one can get into trouble for it. I don’t care because sending my laundry in for them to do it is unacceptable. It comes back smelling bad and has more dirt (other people’s dirt!) in it than when I sent it in. Anyone that has sense, (and can buy soap), washes their own laundry.

After this, I may read (I read voraciously, anything I can get my hands on. Books are scarce, however, I can only get one per week from the library. I can read a book in a day if I do not pace myself. I am currently re-reading some poetry by Charles Baudelaire. Les Fleurs du Mal translated by George Dillon and Edna St. Vincent Millay. As am I, he too was a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. I more “digest’ Baudelaire’s work than read it. I will read again and again his poems until they are almost a part of me.

I also will usually listen to my little radio at some point during the day as well. This is my only source of news as I do not have a television set. (It stopped working about… eight or nine months ago.) I also enjoy music. Several types. Classical, jazz, old rock and roll, metal…most types of music I find enjoyable on some level.

After my laundry is dry, I may try to use up some time by cleaning my whole cage (ceiling, walls, floor) or I may try meditation. (That can be difficult as the day wears on… a lot of noise in here) Morning is usually best for meditation.

If I am lucky I can fill my time until five or six in the afternoon in the afternoon/evening when my “dinner tray” comes. Today that should be some sort of ground meat product mixed heavily soy and formed into a hamburger-sized plop, instant mashed potatoes mixed with way too much water to save money. (I call it potato soup), some sort of beans (brown or white), and two inch square of very dry cake just to bump up the calories. (Perhaps that is what the extra two slices of bread in the paper sack are for? The soy-meat plop?)

Then after I eat and write some (compose prose or poetry, answer a letter if I am lucky enough to have gotten one) or I may listen to more news and music until I go to bed at about nine PM. Then I get up at four and do it all again. There are small variations here and there but my existence is one of living in a cage, and waiting…always waiting.

Well, that is a typical day in my oubliette, so I suppose I have nothing else to rave on about for now.


2 thoughts on “A Day in the Oubliette

  1. Tod & Anna, thank you for sharing. I have a pen pal on Florida’s DR and have become very invested in and passionate about the treatment of death row inmates. Keep it coming! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, and it’s great to meet a fellow DR pen pal! Incarcerated people are possibly the most marginalized group in this country, and none more so than those inmates who face execution. It’s so important that those of us in the free world are willing to hear their voices and are willing to speak up for their dignity and rights. Thank you for being a part of that!


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