“All central beliefs on human matters spring from a personal predicament.” - Isaiah Berlin
As of today I have been at this new prison (Red Rock Correction Center) in Arizona for two months. It feels like a day, it feels like a year, time will never be the same. All things are relative, it may be easier for me to do 3 years in prison than it is for the next guy to do only 3 days. We all have such varied thresholds for the obstacles we all have, for the mountains we all must traverse and for the rivers we all must navigate. This being said, these past few months have been especially trying for me. From the first month, of being locked down 24 hours a day for over a month, to this the most recent month, where we once again found ourselves on lockdown, yet this time for entirely different reasons. Some of you may have read about in news online, or some of you may have seen it on the television. Recently, around 30,000 inmates in the California prison system (myself included) took part in a hunger strike. The largest in American history. At my facility, we refused food for 7 days and 7 nights. It was and I’m sure will remain one of the most memorable times in my life. I am not saying that as a good thing or a bad thing, only stating a fact.
How will I ever be able to forget being part of a hunger strike? Part of a peaceful protest against the injustices prison inmates face every single day. How can I ever really explain what that is like?
How do I ever really tell someone what prison is like?
Right now as I write this, the clock say 3:03 am and I’m awake after having trouble sleeping. Rarely do I ever have a full nights of uninterrupted sleep. I feel melancholic and alone. I’m writing this using a miniature book light in an otherwise dark concrete cell as my cell mate sleeps. I am listening to the ‘Night Visions’ album by Imagine Dragons that I borrowed for the night in exchange for my J. Cole 'Born Sinner’ album. I just ate a roast beef flavored cup of noodles and I’m drinking a room temperature bottle of wild cherry Pepsi that I bought from the prison canteen. My thoughts wander from old loves and past mistakes to what the future my present. The best part of most days is the few minutes when I speak to friends and loved ones on the phone, the collect calls that act like a life preserver in 20 foot waves on a moonless night, holding us connected to the ship that is the free world, letting us know that although we may be floating and thrashing by ourselves, we are in fact far from alone. There are those on board that vessel that are pulling us to safety. There are those that are waiting for us to come home. Every time I get a letter or a photo something that only takes a moment out of your day. Those are the moments that us in prison live for. We find deliverance in the little things in life, we redefine the things that society says is the most important. As long as we have each other what else do we really need?
Until next time, keep your thumbs up and KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN
Humbly yours, Daniel Dart
song for this:
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Song: Every Night
Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
North Fork Correction Facility
1605 E Main St
Sayre, OK 73662