Keep on Rich Rollin #13

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time. That is the life of men. – Zora Neale Houston (American writer) from her book “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

I read once that the only way to remember your dreams was to wake up during the R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) cycle of your time sleeping, because only during this time does one dream. I am not sure if this is correct or if my recollection is off, I only know that in my life before I came to prison I very rarely remember what I dreamt about, or for that matter if I had any dreams at all while I slept. What I do know is that I remember dreaming now almost every day, and I think this may have to do with the fact that getting a full nights sleep in here is a very rare, almost impossible feat.

I wake up at least twice every night, more often than not, even more than that, which brings me to the conclusion that since I can never get through a full cycle of sleep, I find myself almost always able to recall my previous dream.

For a few weeks now I have been mulling over the idea of writing this topic but until now I have not taken the time to actually put the pen to paper. I’d like to convey my dreams of last night to you, what they mean I am not sure, nor am I sure they mean anything at all, only that they are my dreams. One night of my dreams or one part of one nights dreams last night are all that I remember.

I am running, sprinting, faster than is humanly possible. I am running like I have super human agility, yet I am not aware of being anything other than who I normally am. I am on a lake, running across the water, looking down, likeit is totally normal, I feel in no way that my running across water is against the laws of nature, nor do I feel anything religious. The weather is cool, overcast and there is a mild breeze and what was a lake is now a swamp, a marsh and I am in a race. I have no idea what kind of race I’m in and I see no other contestants, but I am fully aware I am racing other people. The marsh no walls me in tightly on both sides like a hallway and I’m running like the wind across the water and I am only wearing a loin cloth. I have no tattoos on my body and my hair hangs down to my shoulders. I am running faster than any man alive and I am loving it, I have never felt more alive or free. I suddenly cut left into the marsh and I see a beach, I am now running on the sand, the beach is massive and beyond the beach are small hills with spots of green and what appears to be a village. When I say village, I mean something you would imagine a thousand years ago. Towards the top of the beach there is a barbwire fence, but I have no idea where that came from. I look around and there are frogs all over the beach, I am worried I might step on one and I do all I can to avoid them because I like frogs. As I near the barbwire fence I jump and easily clear the 15 foot fence and keep running, not thinking anything odd about jumping a fence of that height in a single hop. I just continue running. Now it is raining lightly and the weather is dreary, sad you could say but before I can think of anything else a fireball shoots past my shoulder barely missing me. I look behind me and a wizard is gaining on me, shooting another white-orange fireball at me which I avoid with another monstrous jump. I feel no fear, only excitement as I begin to think of how to defeat this wizard…

I wake up. I climb out of bed and walk to the restroom, I relieve myself, drink some water and walk back to my bunk. I lay back down to sleep.

I’m in a shack. Maybe it is a shanty, or a cabana or bungalow. Somewhere in the South Pacific or Southeast Asia. On the beach. I’m in Vietman, on a beach. My ex-wife is with me and it is raining, it is only one room and I am about to go somewhere but I don’t know where or maybe she is about to go somewhere. I am in bed and I am waking up afraid, feeling all alone, telling her not to go and she is soothing me. She is calming me, telling me that she is right there that it will be okay and I can go back to sleep. I feel safe and content, I feel so much relief as she gives me a small smile and I again feel totally safe.

I wake up.

I have no idea what my dreams may mean nor do I ever really take the time to ponder if they mean anything at all. I only know that every night when I go to sleep I know that I will dream, and every morning when I get out of bed I will remember those dreams.

It is a happy escape from a hard time, it is a welcome distraction from the monotony of every day being the same.

Who knows what I will dream tonight.

Until our next dream, KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

                                                            From your fireball dodging friend – DART

Song for this diary.

Song: THE RIDDLE

Artist: FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Keep on Rich Rollin #12

“There is something inherently depressing about jail… because it shuts off the world. It leaves one caught in the dull monotony of sameness. It is almost like being dead while one still lives.” – Martin Luther King, JR (from his autobiography)

This afternoon as I was making myself my daily cup of coffee I was having a conversation with a friend of mine we refer to affectionately by the name of Grady… because of his resemblance to the character of the same name on the old hit TV series Sanford & Son. Now Grady and I are chatting and he is telling me of his millions of jokes, and when I say he has a million jokes, this is truly not much of an exaggeration, for it seems as though he is always coming up with new ways to make fellas laugh. He also may be the oldest guy on the yard, though he never seriously answers questions as to his actual age, if I were to guess I would say he is in his mid to late seventies… the guy is pure comedy gold, telling great stories about the 50’s when he was a young man working as an elevator operator as well as a shipping and receiving clerk and some of his wild nights and adventures in a time so long ago… They always start and end with laughter, he can make the biggest problems seem trivial.

That being said, let me return to this morning, Grady and I are talking and he asks me, “how much time do you got left?” and when I tell him a few years, he looks at me solemnly and sighs, replying, “that’s a long time, I’m sorry to hear that.” I then take a moment and then agree with him, because to me it really does feel like an eternity. There are nights I can’t even sleep because of the thoughts that run through my head. I feel as though I’m stuck in a no man’s land where I’m wandering through a desert with no oasis in sight… totally lost.

Lost in my reverie, I hear Grady say, “it’s okay, you’ll make it. I made it and so can you.” And if anybody knows… it is Grady because he himself was sentenced to serve a term of 7 years to life.

That was 40 years ago.

Yes… he has been in prison for the last 40 years.

Now I know that I’ve written before about old timers and fellas doing heavy terms, and I can assure you that in the future I’ll br writing about them again and again, because there is so much we can learn from them, or at least I believe there is.

Sometimes we gotta laugh when what we really wanna do is cry.

We must never forget the power of laughter and the uniting qualities of humor.

We must never forget the power of a smile and a few kind words.

It was a wise man that said ‘If you can’t make things better, then just try not to make them worse.’

These are the things that are sometimes really hard to remember and put into practice, especially for me, living inside this prison. I have to always be conscious of my surroundings and the volatility of this place. But, I must never let it be the defining element of how I am and who I will become.

Having a friend like Grady, I am reminded daily of the undeniable and unbelievable resilience and strength of the human spirit.

I have really begun my journey of really loving myself and respecting myself. I am not saying this in an egotistical or arrogant way by any means. I am expressing it with a beauty and elegance of my inner dialogue. Because everyday is the same here, it can drive a man stark-raving mad if you let it and sadly there are many that do break. I am grateful that as of yet I am not one of them, and for this I have many people to thank, Grady for one and myself as well. Grady explained it to me with an ease of age and wisdom that very few can ever match, for here is a man that simply refuses to lose faith and hope. He is a man that taught me a very valuable lesson, one that every man, woman and child should learn. That is…

Do not ever underestimate yourself.

Don’t ever underestimate the human spirit.

It is not the hope that I can survive… it is the fact that I will survive.

And so can we all… Grady has proven the fact that when you have no one else, it is still okay, because you’ve still got yourself. And if you learn to be happy with that, then you can make it through whatever life can hit you with. When you got that self happiness as Grady explains, everything is easier, because then you always got your best friend and your biggest supporter with you… yourself.

Think about it, what do you need to be happy? What is REALLY important in your personal universe? What is it that you value?

I value having a friend like Grady.

I value myself… and for today, that is more than enough.

Until next time, KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.

                                                From me, myself and I – DART

Song for this diary…

Artist: DAVID GUETTA
Song: TITANIUM ft. SIA

Write to me:

Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076

C.M.C. West Prison

P.O. Box 8103

San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #11

“What is past is prologue.” – Inscription at Washington DC museum.

So here I am… another day. For you. For me. For us both. The “holidays” are here and soon the new year will be among us. The sooner the better for all of us inside these walls, the faster time goes for us the happier we are. It’s odd if you think about it, most people want more time in a day, but we want less… hmmmm.

Thanksgiving here was a day just like all the others, the only difference was they served dinner at around noon and then locked us down at 3pm to have a pot-luck for the guards (your tax money hard at work, paying guards triple time to throw a pot-luck.). We got some mashed potatoes, processed turkey-ham, a scoop of yams and a bread roll. For desert we had some surgar-free grape kool-aid. It wasn’t much if you’re used to having big meals on Thanksgiving, but the truth is that it was a lot more than other people get out there. A lot of guys in here complain about us not having some massive meal, but I can’t do it. I’ve personally spent too many Thanksgivings alone, and had more than a few hungry ones. So if you’re curious if I had an alright thanks giving, the answer is it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t the best by any means, but it was a lot better than some I’ve had before and for that I’m grateful. And looking to next year’s Thanksgiving, I can already see myself being in a good mood, because I’ll know that I’m that much closer to going home. That much closer to spending the holidays where I choose, that much closer to being out there with you.

In other news, I’m holding up alright… I have my good days and bad days. We’re so cut off that at times it’s a real struggle. Mail is by far the most looked forward to thing in here. And when someone in here is hoping for a letter from a loved one, and it never comes it is tough. I see it far too often in my friends eyes, the sadness and loneliness that you can’t help but wear on your sleeve when day after day, week after week you hope for a letter that never comes. Not only have I seen it on my friends faces, but I’ve seen it on my own sometimes when I look in the mirror. It really makes you think and thinking can sometimes be the worst part. When you are lying in bed and ya can’t get to sleep and your demons take over, sometimes you just don’t want to think. Some days you just wanna crawl into a hole and shut off the world.

Those are the hardest times, those are the moonless nights. So I gotta constantly remind myself that it’s on the darkest nights that the stars shine the brightest and it is always the darkest right before the sunbegins to rise… before a new day begins.

So from this darkest of nights I say to you, hold on till morning, and until then KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.

                                                                        From a stargazer – DART

Song for this diary:
Artist: RIHANNA
Title: WE ALL WANT LOVE

 

Write to me:

Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
C.M.C. West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #10

“Time waits for no one.” – Unknown

I live inside a vacuum. To me, the world halted the night I got arrested. September 2, 2011. I still look at life the way it was almost 2 years ago. In essence, I am being left behind. Life goes on for the rest of the world, while I and so many others struggle with the process of being cutoff from modern evolution. For instance, I have absolutely no idea what Instagram is. To me, it does not exist.

This is just one example of how our world is nothing but a shadow cast off by the real world, the world outside of these walls.

We became distant memories to people that meant the world to us. We became forgotten lovers and used-tobe’s and remember him’s? We become irrelevant. We become the scapegoat to peoples problems, our incarceration the only proof needed to justify the belief that we are the cause for others problems, we are the reason they suffer. We have become the excuse. Just as so many people blame the government for their struggles. Never stopping to look at themselves or their own personal lackings. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things that I myself have not been perfect in, just as there are many mistakes our government has made, yet like I have said so many times before, it takes two halves to make a whole.

Now before I get totally off topic, let me return to the beginning, which is how the world I once knew no longer exists.

They say so often that the world we live in is based around computers, yet in prison there are none. No training what so ever having to do with computers.

To give you an example of how far removed from society a prisoner in California is I’ll tell you about a conversation I recently had. It was with a friend of mine who has been in prison for 31 years but will most likely be paroling relatively soon. We were walking around the track one morning and he said he wanted to speak to me about something but could we keep it between ourselves. Now being in prison, this can sometimes be a bad thing because sometimes just a simple conversation can involve you in something that you really didn’t want to be involved in. So I took a minute and thought about it before saying, sure, what’s on your mind.

Well he gets all quiet and secretive, speaking in a whisper and softly asks me, “what is telemarketing?”

I’d like to tell you that my response was empathetic and sensitive, but it wasn’t. I began howling with laughter, asking, is that what you wanted to talk about? He had made it out to be some heavy conversation that was of dire importance… and it turns out it was exactly that. It was a question of the utmost importance. Because it was a the question of, how can we stay relevant in a society that has forgotten us? How do we prepare ourselves to reintegrate into a world and become a productive, contributing factor when we are unable to get the tools and information to do so? This is a question I don’t have an answer to, although I really wish I did.

So after I had a good laugh at my buddies expense I brought him up to speed on telemarketing and call centers and we went on to discuss other new developments such as ATM machines, Bluetooth and we moved on to me explaining to him that there are even cars out there that no longer use keys, only a computer chip that you carry in your pocket. It was a conversation of the likes I’ve never known before and may never know again. It was a surreal feeling. Like speaking to someone on a time machine, until I realized it was exactly that, and that is what I too have become, because when I told him at the end of the conversation that I’d be more than happy to answer any other questions he may have, that is when I realized I too am “outdated.” I too am “out of touch.” My knowledge stopped on September 2nd 2011. I can read all the magazines and watch the news on TV but no matter what I do doesn’t change the reality that I am on the outside looking in. The same way that someone on the outside can watch a million programs on prison, read every article about what it is like to be locked up but no matter how much they research, they’ll never truly know what goes through ones mind in prison the minute before a riot kicks off. The tension that can invade your bones and make the air you breath seem on the verge of shattering like glass. Having to wear your boots or sneakers every waking moment, even to the shower, because something may jump off at anytime.

Now lets combine this with being cut off from the world and is it any surprise people have a difficult time adjusting?

When I think about my friends I think of a group of people that I spoke to often before I came to prison, now they are distant memories of a happier time. As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.” And I can honestly say that I can totally understand, because like I said earlier, life goes on.

And it does.

Like I said, we become forgotten lovers, used-to-bes and remember him’s?

So to all of my old friends and former lovers, I leave you with this…

Love like there is no tomorrow, sing like no one is listening and dance like no one is watching. Do the best you can to enjoy every moment and don’t worry about me, I will be fine, I will survive, I will… carry on.

Honor me by never looking back. Honor meby never losing faith, by never giving up hope.

Honor me by living a happy life.

Honor me by trying your hardest to make tomorrow better than today.

Honor me by trying the best you can.

And I will honor you by trying to do the same.

So from all of the forgotten to all of the remembered, until next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.

                                                                           MAD LOVE – DANIEL DART 

Song for this diary:
Artist: FUN
Title: CARRY ON

Write to me:
Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
C.M.L. West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #9

“The best form of saying is doing.” – Jose Marti (Cuban National Hero)

Still on lock down; trying to keep my mind occupied in order to restrain myself from losing my sanity… no end in sight to a resolution of getting back regular program and regaining even a small sense of freedom.

I’ve been reading “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Latin American Diaries” by iconic Cuban revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara. I find myself becoming consumed by his writings and the inherent romanticism of his journey as well as his intriguing search for understanding of society and the laws it enforces. It is almost magical reading the diaries of a twenty-something student learning about social injustice while riding across a continent in search of good times. One has to wonder if he ever thought of knew that he would one day become a pop-culture icon around the world. The fact that he is just a lost young man with no obvious special talents or skills and yet he still has captured the imagination of all generations of people, from all around the world; coming from all walks of life is even more inspiring, and having done such as just one man, following his heart and his passion he gives hope to others that one person CAN make a difference.

I find his journey and his story even more relevant considering the stat of things here within my own country and the upcoming election we are racing towards in November. Who do you support? Why? Or are you totally disenfranchised and don’t care either way, feeling as though your voice matters not in the least. If the latter is your feeling… I beg you to reconsider… get involved somehow to help social change, in whichever degree you deem correct.

Although I firmly and strongly believe that society and it’s direction is on the wrong path and lots of changes need to be made, I still believe in the people, you and I and the fact that as long as we don’t give up, we can make those changes and get closer to our “utopian” society.

I’ve found that I am incapable of giving up hope or conceding defeat. I am a life long optimist, just as I believe “Che” Guevara to have been and I am proud to say such. I admit that it is not always the easiest path, as almost daily I find myself battling with depression and despair due to my present circumstances, regardless of how they came to pass. I try to remember to laugh and smile… because as The Clash frontman Joe Strummer once said, “the future if still unwritten.”

Until next time – KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.

Your friend – D.A.R.T.

Song for this diary –

Artist: PINK

Song: WHO KNEW

P.S. – I’d like to thank those of you who have written to me. It means the world to me and brings a little light to a place that at times can be overwhelmingly dark. I am grateful… thank you.

Keep on Rich Rollin #8

“The best form of saying is doing.” – Jose Marti (Cuban National Hero)

Still on lock down; trying to keep my mind occupied in order to restrain myself from losing my sanity… no end in sight to a resolution of getting back regular program and regaining even a small sense of freedom.

I’ve been reading “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Latin American Diaries” by iconic Cuban revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara. I find myself becoming consumed by his writings and the inherent romanticism of his journey as well as his intriguing search for understanding of society and the laws it enforces. It is almost magical reading the diaries of a twenty-something student learning about social injustice while riding across a continent in search of good times. One has to wonder if he ever thought of knew that he would one day become a pop-culture icon around the world. The fact that he is just a lost young man with no obvious special talents or skills and yet he still has captured the imagination of all generations of people, from all around the world; coming from all walks of life is even more inspiring, and having done such as just one man, following his heart and his passion he gives hope to others that one person CAN make a difference.

I find his journey and his story even more relevant considering the stat of things here within my own country and the upcoming election we are racing towards in November. Who do you support? Why? Or are you totally disenfranchised and don’t care either way, feeling as though your voice matters not in the least. If the latter is your feeling… I beg you to reconsider… get involved somehow to help social change, in whichever degree you deem correct.

Although I firmly and strongly believe that society and it’s direction is on the wrong path and lots of changes need to be made, I still believe in the people, you and I and the fact that as long as we don’t give up, we can make those changes and get closer to our “utopian” society.

I’ve found that I am incapable of giving up hope or conceding defeat. I am a life long optimist, just as I believe “Che” Guevara to have been and I am proud to say such. I admit that it is not always the easiest path, as almost daily I find myself battling with depression and despair due to my present circumstances, regardless of how they came to pass. I try to remember to laugh and smile… because as The Clash frontman Joe Strummer once said, “the future if still unwritten.”

Until next time – KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.

Your friend – D.A.R.T.

Song for this diary –

Artist: PINK

Song: WHO KNEW

P.S. – I’d like to thank those of you who have written to me. It means the world to me and brings a little light to a place that at times can be overwhelmingly dark. I am grateful… thank you.

Keep on Rich Rollin #7

“Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.” – Jason Statham (Actor)

Some days are really long and really hard. It feels like the clock stops and time goes by in slow motion. Today is one of those days… this whole last week as well. The prison is currently on lock-down, which means that there is no movement what-so-ever and no interaction between inmates from different buildings, tiers, yards or blocks. The reason for this specific lock-down is that they are trying to re-integrate two different prison gangs that are currently at war. Which means that everyone is just waiting for it to kick off. Counting down the minutes. Getting ready… cuz it is gonna crack.

I’ve personally got nothing to do with it, nor do other 70% of the prison population but still we can all feel the tension and the anxious anticipation. Sad. It is really sad. They’ve not been mixed at this prison for 2-3 years due to a previous rito that left dozens of people stabbed and just generally fucked up. Then aout 2 months ago they brought them back together and that attempt left a dozen more in the hospital, some with permanent brain damage.

It is sad. It is really sad.

Families at home waiting for their songs, fathers, uncles, brothers, boyfriends and husbands to come home. Not knowing they’re faced with a war within their borders. The guards, captains, wardens and politicials all playing games with lives… no concern for the human beings involved and hurt. The daughters who just want their daddy to come home. Parents wondering why their son hasn’t called and they have no wayt to contact him. A woman all alone missing a man that she may never hold again.

Business is business. Right?

Right?

It is sad. It is really sad.

When is forgiveness granted?

When is your debt paid?

Why are the ones enforcing the law not held equally accountable?

Someone might die… we all know it and most morbidly think that is most likely what it will take to get the “powers that be” to open their eyes.

If a man dies… is not the warden an accomplice to murder?

Are the politicians not an accessory to the fact?

I’m not a genius, but I imagine that escalation is inevitable… and both gangs have been separated for good reason. So if the facts are right in front of you… why are you not equally responsible?

It is sad. It is really sad.

I don’t know who is right or wrong… but I know what is right, and what is wrong.

It is wrong. This is wrong.

Who cares right? Let the convicts kill themselves right?

I care. I care. I hope you care.

Why do I care? Maybe if we all cared then tomorrow would be better than today.

If you don’t care about anyone else, how can you expect anyone else to care about you?

Today has been a long day.

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

To all of my friends as well as my enemies… lets hope everyday gets better… for all of us.

Until next time folks… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN.
With love and respect to all – D.A.R.T.

Song for this diary –
Artist: JOHN MAYER
Song: BORN AND RAISED

Keep on Rich Rollin #6

“Fuck off with your sofa units and lime green stripe patters. I say never be complete. I say stop being perfect. I say let… let’s evolve, let the chips fall where they may.” – Brad Pitt (Actor) from the film “Fight Club”

Who decides what is best? Where do we draw the line? What is justice?

Can someone try to explain how anything can ever be objective and not subjective?

Is anyone out there?

The show must go on. The Obama-Romney show. Who is watching that? I’d watch but I’m in prison. I find a lot of humor in so many aspects of our great presidential race. Looking at it from a distance one would expect a thing as important and regal as a presidential race would bring out the best in all of those involved. Because we are electing the man that we lead the largest and most powerful empire in the history of man kind. One would expect and demand greatness… I would expect. Well… maybe we are not great after all… maybe the fact that we have an election that is based on smearing an opponent is a reflection of America and the world in general. I keep hearing people talking poorly about Romney based solely on the fact that he is wealthy. Wow. Isn’t that the American dream? Don’t we all dream of financial stability and the best for our family? Wait… is it because maybe he lied on his taxes? Ouch… but let’s be honest… wasn’t America founded on the same principles? We didn’t wanna pay taxes back then and we still don’t… and if you tell me any different then you are a liar and a fat mouth. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not for Romney by means, I am for Obama. But that doesn’t mean I wanna watch dudes get torn apart when we should be lifting each other up. We are not perfect. Not you. Not me. Not Obama. Not slave owning George Washington or getting head Bill Clinton or fake weapons of mass destruction George W. Bush. Not crack smoking Robert Downey Jr or steroid using Roger Clemens or pot smoking Olympian Shaun White. Not gun toting Daniel Dart or Lil Wayne or what about Madonna… can you say cult? It doesn’t stop there though… how about leaving your dog at Michael Vick’s house or sweat shop Queen and prison alumni Martha Stewart? So what’s my point?

We are not perfect.

We are not perfect

(one more time)

We are not perfect.

Not you. Not me. Not Romney. Not Obama. None of us.

They tell me that space is curved. And since everything is connected, it makes perfect sense; maybe that is why justice is crooked.

They also say justice is blind. Now let’s think about this, justice is blind. Would you let a blind person drive you to work? Why then do you want justice to be blind? Maybe we gotta open our eyes and stop being blind. I for one am grateful for eyes to see.

Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.

I’m a fuck up.

I am you.

You are me.

You’re a fuck up.

You’re amazing.

You are me.

I am you.

I am amazing.

Our faults make us beautiful. It is our faults and short-comings that give us reason to be great. It is thus we overcome and conquer.

We want what is perfect for us, we want faults.

I want a friend that will go to war with me. I want a woman that will do the same. I want loyalty. I want to be there.

My best friend is far from “perfect”, he is missing teeth… he has regular health problems. He is 53 years old and has spent nearly 30 years in prison. He has never traveled the world, or done anything that would be called “great” by normal circumstances. We spend our days together drinking coffee and laughing. Me telling stories of traveling and playing music. Him telling me facts of space and science, of nature and genetics. Imparting wisdom that comes only with age while I exude hope that comes only with youth.

Youth is wasted on the young.

We must make an odd couple. We are the perfect example of “not perfect.” Two fellas walking the prison yard. Both the dregs of society. Yet I have to consider him one of the best friends I’ve ever had. It is kind of amazing. The most amazing thing is that it is not an isolated incident by any means. It is quite common in fact. It is not perfect and that is ok.

I say fuck perfect.

I say let’s start a new “perfect”.

I say you walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror and say “you are the new perfect.”

We are flawed, therefore we are perfect.

I am perfect.

I am you.

You are me.

You are perfect.

WE… ARE… PERFECT.

Until next time, KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

-         DART

P.S. To all the women out there. Each and everyone of you. This song goes out to ya’ll.

Artist: BRUNO MARS
Title: Just The Way You Are

Ya’ll perfect!

Keep on Rich Rollin #5

“Whenever I was younger and I would be like, how am I gonna get out of this situation? I always told myself, well, you take one foot and you put in in front of your other foot, and then you go forward into your fuckin’ future.” – Chan Marshall AKA Cat Power (musician/entertainer)

Left. Right. Left.

Left. Right. Left.

One step at a time.

Don’t look back. Look forward.

You can make it.

Don’t sweat the small shit… or the big shit… don’t sweat shit, you better bring an army with ya. Cuz I ain’t trippin’. I’m smiling… smile with me?

Today was a good day… so was yesterday… just like tomorrow. Everyday is a good day. Ya gotta be a giant cuz everything is small shit to a giant, ya feel me?

I just make small attainable goals right now. Focus on things that are reasonable, and think about what I can do within the next 24 hours. Write a verse, do 100 push-ups, do pull-ups, write a letter, read a book. Do something productive or do something to exercise my brain or body. If I do what I do everyday then I’ll keep growing and getting better. All I gotta do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and refuse to let my tough circumstances rule me or overwhelm me.

I am in prison. I’m looking out the window, staring at gun towers and barbwire topped fences as far as the eye can see. I’m reminded everyday that I’m just a number. AL2076. I got a lot to be stressed about. But guess what? It ain’t that bad. I go home in a few years. It could be a lot worse… for both of us. You and me. Let me give you one example… for I am sure that over the next few days, months and years I will give many more examples of why we always gotta look on the “bright side” of life.

Let me tell you a story about one of the fellas here on the yard. I believe I have actually mentioned him before. He goes by the name “Savage” and I would have to consider him one of my closest friends in prison. He is 21 years old and has about 1 month left of a 2 year sentence. I’ll tell ya right now that when he goes home next month eh will be sorely missed. He is well known here at the prison as a guy that is constantly laughing, joking around and smiling. We all know or have known people like him in our lives. The type of guy that just seems to have no worries at all. He almost doesn’t even seem human. Especially here in prison, you don’t come across that many fellas that are always smiling. Well “Savage” is one of those guys. No matter what I’m going through or how my da is going, he is always there to lighten the mood. It is pretty amazing. I’m grateful to have him around to be sure.  You might even say I’m lucky. Yes. I am lucky.

Well you get the point I’m trying to make about what kind of person he is but what am I trying to tell you? Just this. When “Savage” arrived in prison last year he was told that he is HIV positive. 20 years old, just got to prison and told that he is positive with HIV and because of how advanced it is, most likely he has had it for about 5 years. The doctors told him that they believe he contracted the disease at around age 15. now I’m gonna tell you this again, this guy is one of the closest friends I’ve made since I’ve been down, so the truth is, even as I write this my heart gets heavy. It sucks. It is unfair. It is really sad. But worst of all… it is really, really inspiring. I say that is the worst because it is. Because it takes away all my bullshit excuses to get sad. Here I am everyday with a dude that is a beacon of hope and positivity who refuses to let his day be brought down. Who refuses to “give up” who refuses to “lose hope”. It is really fucking inspiring. It is beautiful in every sense of the word.

How trivial my problems are. So I am in prison. Big deal. I will survive. So maybe you lost your job, or your girl, or you are sleeping on a buddies couch. Maybe you’re not as tall as you wanna be, or maybe you’re going bald or don’t like your belly. Maybe you can’t afford a car so you’re taking the bus. Maybe your band ain’t as big as you want it to be or maybe it’s some other problem that gets you down. It could be anything… I know that in my life I got stressed by loads of “little” things. Looking at it now, all I can think is just how much of a coward I was. To be stressed or insecure or anxious over such truly trivial things, I don’t know about you but I know about me.

So many times in my life I have let little, minute things control the way I felt or acted. Even the way I treated other people. I would have a bad day and take it out on someone else totally undeserving. I would let small shit fuck up my day and let little things control me. Prison. Little thing.

Prison.

Little thing.

My life is far from over. When I touch down I’m going to hit the ground running. I have my whole life ahead of me. You too, you have your whole life ahead of you. And so does my friend “Savage”.

He laughs and smiles when asked how he deals with it. He just says “What am I supposed to do? Give up? Fuck that! I got my whole life ahead of me!”

Damn fucking right brother. We both got our whole lives ahead of us.

So I leave you with this. Weather it is 5 minutes or 5 days, 24 hours or 24 years… when it’s over it’s over. So I suggest we all make the best of it. Remember… tomorrow is the first day of the rest of our lives… so till next time, KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

-          DART

Diary of this journal:
Artist: BRIGHT EYES
Title: First Day Of My Life

 I would love to hear your thoughts.

Daniel Dart Richert
CMC West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
SLO, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #4

“Ever notice how sometimes you come across somebody you shouldn’t have fucked with? Well, I’m that guy.” – Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino – 2008)

A kid walks up to a dog and kicks it… over and over. Now the dog is trying to get out of the way but this little kid just follows the dog and keeps fucking with it, taunting it and kicking it. He keeps it up and with every moment the dogs feels more and more trapped until finally after being kicked and abused relentlessly he bares his teeth and takes a bite out of the little bastard… now answer me this… who is the “victim”?

People wanna play with fire… then they wanna cry and throw a fit when they get burnt. They wanna act like they somebody and they all big and bad, then they wanna call the cops… straight snitchin.

Hypocrisy rules the world.

The dog gets put down and the powers that be call it a monster and talk about how dogs are beasts, that they’re a danger… such a shame. They fawn and dote on the bitten kid and tell him how the dog was to blame… it was the owner… the dog was blood thirsty… the dog… the dog… the dog…

Why is America in a depression? Because we are greedy, shady, selfish bastards. It ain’t the dogs fault. You wanna know whose fault it is? Look around… look in the mirror. It is your fault… it is my fault… it is our fault. We been blaming the dog too long… now we got these same bastard kids running the country… and they too busy blaming each other… we too busy blaming them… it ain’t the dogs fault.

We can’t keep blaming the dogs.

Call the judge… tell em I’m a monster… scream out “he a gang member, I’m so afraid!”… then blame the dog… “I feared for my life… they is killers I tell ya!”… then blame the dog… “he a drug dealer… he a gun runner!”… then blame the dog… “He got malice in his heart… lock him up and throw away the key!” and… blame the dog. Blame the dog… blame the dog. The kid ain’t to blame, just blame the dog… it has got to be the dog.

Well blaming the dog is all fine and dandy… but in the long run all you doing is letting things get more and more fucked… what about the instigator? What was the catalyst?

It takes two to tango… there are two sides to every story… except in America… we just blame the dog.

Blame the dog.

What’s the worst part? The worst part is that most of us are the dogs. We’re the scapegoats. And you know who you are. We all know who the dogs are. We are the dogs. We know who the bastard children are too. The “too cool for school” snitches and the draft dodgers and the responsibility runners. Just like we know who the real motherfuckers is and who the sucka’s is. The “victims” who always point the fingers… the “dog catchers.”

Blame the dog.

Well what happems when all the dogs are gone? Then they’re all caged and put down? What then?

Am I bitter? Yes. Why? Because I’m American… I was raised to blame the dog. Am raised to be cynical, I’m raised to blame.

How often do you hear people talk about suing? Everyday people talk about how they would sue this guy or sue that guy, don’t touch me, I’ll sue! How they would be millionaires if only they could fine someone to sue… someone to blame. All you gotta do is… find a reason to sue. You just gotta find a dog to blame. Just find a dog.

Step 1. Find a dog.

Step 2. Blame it.

Sounds like a plan.

So In conclusion:

To all the “little kids” out there… read the sign… beware of the dog.

To all the dogs out there… bark loud, bark proud… and until next time KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

 -         DART

Soundtrack to this diary – F.A.M.E. by Young Jeezy ft. T.I.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, write to me at:

Daniel DART Richert

C.M.C. West Prison

P.O. Box 8103

San Louis Obispo, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #3

 “We have to keep on believing because that’s the only way that things change. I don’t want to be scared of the future.” – Walter Van Beirendonck (fashion designer)

 Happy birthday L-Mac. Hope you had a good 34th here with your family… Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang! Haha! If you were here you’d be laughing too.

 Today was another day like any other, except for the simple fact that it was my boys 34th birthday. So what do we do that makes the day any different than the previous or the next… the answer is simple… nothing. We wake up at about 6am and head to breakfast at the mess hall; we call it “chow”, which on this foggy Friday morning consists of a small portion of scrambled eggs, 2 triangle shaped tater tots, two pieces of wheat bread and 1 sausage link. Add a small carton of milk and you’ve got a prison breakfast. Whoohoo!

 After sucking down breakfast in the 5-8 minutes of allowed time… we are shuffled back to the buildings that we call home. My building is 5; known with affection as the “Dirty Nickel” because of its notorious reputation as the worst building on the yard. As a matter of fact… the prison sends all inmates on discipline status to dorm 5. Awwww…. There is no place like home. We actually have a sense of pride about our dorm and I speak about it with nothing but warmth because although it may be the “problem dorm”, it is still our dorm, feel me?

 There are 90 men that reside in the “nickel”. I reside on rack 25.

 So now that I’ve brought ya up to speed on that note… let us return to the day as we were…

 I get back from breakfast and like clockwork I prep myself for my day… starting with my coffee. Now obviously I don’t have a Starbucks or an AM/PM to rely on so I make due with what I got. Which happens to be Taster’s Choice instant coffee. I open the jar and scoop out 1 large spoonful into my cup (which I have adorned with the “double R [Rolls Royce/Rich Rollin] logo) and add 2 packets of sugar free sweetener and some hot water… poof… a “Dart Latte”!

 With my cup in my hand I engage in some conversation with my neighbor Dave. A chill older cat from Watts who has been down for 29 years. While we are getting ready for the yard to open. We live in very close quarters… just to give you a rough idea…. 90 men live in our doors and there is roughly 36 inches between racks… so you can imagine how little space or privacy one has… not much.

 I toss on my workout clothes which consist of a pair of Nikes and basketball shorts, a white tee, a paper-type baseball cap and sunscreen (sunscreen is a must cuz there is NO shade on a prison yard) and a pair of knock-off Ray-bans.  Now that I’m suited and booted… I’m just finishing my cup of mud and waiting for yard to open, which it does around 9am.

 On my way out the door I grab my last item before starting my day’s run. My CD player. Today I’m slapping an old Ne-Yo record “Year Of The Gentleman” (It’s a fucking classic if ya didn’t know… know ya know… ha! Cuz! Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang! Haha! L-Mac’s birthday!).

 It’s about 85 degrees as I head out on my run and as I start I look at the length of the record and noticing that it is about 50 minutes I begin my jog. I decide that I’ll go either until my legs feel like they’re gonna give out or ther cords plays all the way through. Today I slack… about 20 minutes in I see “L” waving me down and saying “lets get a soda” cut it’s his birthday. So we get a soda and I wrap up my run and get myself a Pepsi. We “spin laps” which means we just walk around the track I was previously running and just bullshit and chop it up. In our case we have connections from the “street” so the time flies as we talk of mutual friends and share fond memories of birthdays past and of hopeful ones in the future. We do all of this while walking and by afternoon we’ve most likely walked 10 miles by the time they call yard recall and we must return to our respective buildings. He lives in 10 and I in 5 so we split off and say goodbye (this includes two other homies, Touche’ and Sherlock who had joined while we were “spinning laps”). We all have connections from the street so we’re pretty much left alone as we laugh and joke, feeling a little lighter on our feet and taller in our posture knowing that it is our friends birthday and in doing so we can give him the best possible day while refusing to let our present circumstances dictate the way in which we carry ourselves.

 If we can spend our term smiling and laughing…. Refusing to feel at a loss, who then is losing?

 I’m in the best physical condition of my life; I’m outrageously focused and driven. I’m living every day with epitome of virtue because what is prison other than the most basic practice of patience? Are we not told our whole lives that patience is a virtue? It is not I that has failed… it is the system that has failed… our state is bankrupt… the prison system of California is an expense that has become the cement blocks on the feet our our society… yet we still turn our eyes blindly away… say I tell you.

 I have sait it before and again I will say it… I have faith that god is aware of my being right with him… and so I ask you again… who is losing?

 I refuse to fail.

 I may lose a battle but the war is far from over I assure you.

 Moving on… I head back into my building for 4:30 count and hop on my rack where I open up whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment. At present it is “The Secret Life Of Laszlo, Count Dracula” by Roderick Anscombe. A fantastic read I might add. I pop in ear plugs and read until dinner which normally runs around 6:30 but which tonight seems a bit late and I decide to just make myself some top ramen and stay reading until they open the yard again for “night yard”.

 At about 7:45pm I hear the customary “yards open!!!” over the prison loudspeaker, which is my cue to get up and hit the yard. Again as I did in the morning I brew up a cup of some “Dart Latte” and throw on my C.D.C. issue jacked and I hit the yard to go find “L” so I can spend the rest of his birthday with him.

 The remaining hour of yard sees us again “spinning laps” with another soda, more jokes and the customary shit talking… another day in the life of me, another day closer to the house… another day closer to the rest of my life.

 It’s 8:45pm when we recall and lock it up. The day is over and we all return to our racks for our final count and lights out.

 I lay down, again I open up my book and toss in my earplugs. At 10 pm when count clears I can get off my rack until then I’m headed to story land with Laszlo.

10:10, count clears and I get up and decide to write a letter to post… this letter… so here I am at midnight… wrapping it up. One… more… day. And to L-Mac and to all those dudes who read these words… I hope y’all have a beautiful day. Everyday. Goodnight.

Until next time KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

-         DART

P.S. Dirt Gang! Dirt Gang! Dirt Gang! Ha!

Keep on Rich Rollin #2

“Prison not only robs you of your freedom, it attempts to take away your identity. Everyone wears the same uniform, eats the same food, follows the same schedule. It is by definition a purely authoritarian state that tolerates no independence or individuality… as a man, one must fight against the prison’s attempt to rob one of these qualities.” – Nelson Mandela, from his autobiography (Long Walk To Freedom)

I’m here; in prison… just another day closer to going home. I’m pretty happy about that to say the least. I spend a lot of time reading in here and the book I just finished was the Nelson Mandela autobiography from which I got the quote above. It was amazing getting inside the head of such an inspiring man. The fellow spent over 27 years in prison and never lost hope or courage. Very inspiring read and I recommend it for everyone.

Being in prison gives a person an overwhelming amount of free time to think about the most pointless and absurd things possible. One of which is calculating a persons time until release. For instance, I jog five miles a day. Because I do this, everyday instead of saying I have two years left… I say it in miles at the end of each mornings run. Like, after this mornings five mile run, I remark to my running mate, who is known by the name “Savage” and my good friend “Touche” that I only have three thousand six hundred miles left to run before I go home. It may seem odd but in all actuality, for myself at least, I find it much easier to digest instead of just always focusing on the actual amount of days. It gives a whole new dimension to the phrase “stay in the moment” and “one day at a time”.

For all of us here, we are constantly trying our best to keep our spirits up. And I know that in the small group of friends I have made we are always doing anything and everything we can to stay positive. There is a phrase that is famous in prison that goes:

            “we try to keep on laughing just so we can keep from crying”

We are constantly clowning, joking and messing with each other. One thing is certain, laughter transcends pain. Some days are harder than others, but even the hardest days only have 24 hours. This to shall pass… and luckily it always seems to.

For me, I find myself counting my time with books. If my numbers are correct, I have read about forty thousand pages since I was arrested over a year ago. With that in mind I have come to the conclusion that I only have to read one hundred thousand more pages and then I’ll get to go home. That doesn’t seem too bad. I really enjoy reading and seeing as I already read forty thousand it seems very do-able.

Regardless of the method of keeping track of time, weather it be through miles, books or football seasons, the tracking and passing of time is one of mans worst enemies in prison. I do anything and everything possible to avoid the reality of that all imposing question: “How much time do I have left?”. With every passing day I deal with it all over again. For better or for worse, I’m here. So I may as well make it “for better”. This is exactly what I have been doing and intend to keep doing.

Now with that being said I wanna return to the quote by Nelson Mandela that I began this entry with. The quote rings truer than one can realize without ever having been incarcerated. To begin with; the men and women in charge of guarding the prisoners are consistently disrespectful, dehumanizing and outright deceitful. In order to survive a day in here, one must learn to curb all emotion when dealing with the guards in state prison or the deputies in county jail. One must understand that no matter what one has been charged with. One must remember that there should be professionalism among the staff in order for someone to expect a reflection from the ranks of inmates. To be more to the point… treat someone like an animal and expect them to act like one. Treat someone with respect, then it is fair to ask for respect in return. Being inside for a year I have seen hundreds of cases where justice has failed. Where society has failed and where the prison system and prison guards continue to fail.

We as people (guards & inmates) must learn ways to uplift one another. We are obligated by our duty to our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters to everyday try and create a better world for which to live in and raise our families. We must not look at what other people are faulted for, but instead look at how we can improve ourselves and improve the lives of others (even our enemies). Maybe in doing so, our enemies can become our friends. We must not try and make everyone the same. We must not be afraid to be different or afraid of these people or ideas that are different. We must learn to celebrate our differences and appreciate them. Grow to nurture all the different cultures and ideals, different feelings and philosophies. We must always strive to make each other better instead of tearing each other down. It may not always be easy, but life seldom is. Lets not let challenges deter us. Lets rejoice in the challenge and look forward to the fight. I may be in prison but I for one am not dead. And I refuse to act like what I do or say does not matter. If I am still keeping my head up through my trials and tribulations, then why can’t others do the same? I refuse to let prison break me.

Are you in prison? A prison of a bad relationship or bad job? A prison of your mind, through sadness and insecurities? Maybe the only prison we are every truly in is that of our own creation? What do you think?

Until next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLILN!

-         DART

I would love to hear your thoughts… feel free to write me:

Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076

C.M.C. West Prison

P.O. Box 8103

San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

Keep on Rich Rollin #1

Weekends. Weekends are the worst part. Time seems to stand still on the weekends. I’ve been incarcerated for over a year now and the weekends always drag.

On September 2nd of 2011 I was arrested in South Central Los Angeles as I came out of a recording studio where I was working on a new record for my band “Time Again”. I was charged with kidnapping, carjacking, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, street gang allegation,  dissuading a witness, assault along with about 10 other charges. I was told that the State Of California would be seeking to give me 4 life sentences. Needless to say it was not the best Friday night I have ever had; especially when you know that the person pressing charges is an admitted liar and crack-cocaine addict that is going out of their way to take the rest of your life away… literally. Well I’ll tell ya this… it has been a year and I’m not broken, I’m not beaten and I’m still smiling every mother fucking day. It’s gonna take a whole fucking army if ya wanna stop me… cuz until the moment I’m 6 feet underground I’m not gonna lose hope or stop fighting for a second.

Sometimes in life you gotta take a step back to take a larger step forward. And that is exactly what I’m doing. I’m not sorry. I don’t feel remorse… and I don’t give a fuck! I’m doing these years to pay my “debt” to society so I don’t owe anything. I’m just gonna do me… ya hear? 30 days is more time than I should have done… but I’m doing years… so I’m all paid up. Get it? Got it? Good.

I’m not trying to be all serious; really, I’m just trying to do my time. It’s just a hard pill to swallow if you can feel where I’m coming from. In the end I agreed to a plea bargain where the state dropped 16 charges if I agreed to plead guilty to 2 charges and serve 4 years; of which I’ll most likely serve about 3. So I got 1 down and 2 more to go. It ain’t so bad, you got a lot of cool cats and ya got a lot of knuckleheads… a lot like the regular world. The hardest part is the racism. In prison in California… it’s like going back in time a hundred years… all races are separate and it is propagated by the inmates. Now I’ll tell ya right now… I don’t subscribe to racism at all. Black, brown, white or green… if you’re cool with me… I’m cool with you. I’m an outspoken advocate for equality on all levels. I try to remind myself daily that prison is not the reality of our world today even though it’s where I’m at today. I’m not gonna let this place change who I am and what I stand for. No matter how unpopular that may be sometimes.

I spend a lot of each day in self-reflection… which is not always the easiest or most comfortable thing. Although I’m angry about getting lied on by the person that put me here, I knew how fucked up they were from the start and their malice doesn’t surprise me. Sometimes we gotta let god handle shit for us. And in this case… I’m gonna trust he got me.

I miss so many things… little things… I’m not gonna get into it but to anyone that happens to read this… make sure you appreciate the time you got with your loved ones. Shortly after I got arrested one of my best friends and mentors passed away. His name was Curt Livingston and was known affectionately to those who knew him well as “Silk”. Many a day goes by where I’m saddened with the knowledge that I’m not gonna have another chance to hang out with him until the wee hours of the night laughing and smiling. I love you bro, and I miss you.

Now for all ya’ll reading this, I want ya to know I’m gonna be writing these little posts on the regular and sending them out to be posted for ya’ll to read. The format will change and vary and I’ll be covering any and all areas and ideas that cross my mind. One may be about my day to day prison life and happenings or one may be about Obama’s re-election campaign. I may discuss my fears one week and my hopes for the next week. The format is that there is no format… ya dig? Cool.

As for life in prison right now… things are tense and anxious. There have been 5 riots here where I’m being housed in the last 5 months. It has continued to escalate and has resulted in men getting their skulls caved in… multiple stabbings and other really sad things. The two groups that have been involved don’t include me but nonetheless it is hard seeing anyone getting hurt when it is avoidable… and in this case it is becoming blatantly obvious that the prison guards are putting these dudes into battle. It sucks and my heart goes out to all the cats involved. Prison is often a place where you are left with no options other than to go to war. Regardless of the reasons for the fight you are painted into a corner… and for the men involved in the recent riots and the unavoidable ones in the future… my heart goes out to you. My hope for everyone here is that we can go back to our families and loved ones. And for all you cats that wanna preach that some people deserve to be locked up… I don’t wanna hear it… because you know the point I’m trying to make. I agree that a lot of people here fucked up, myself included… but I also believe that society has failed a lot of people as well. The courts and D.A.’s and public defenders give out disproportionate and undeserved punishment. The proof of this is the fact that the federal government said that California’s prisons are so overcrowded that it can be considered cruel and unusual. They have been ordered to reduce the population by 30%. Shit is fucked up… bad.

Something has got to give soon. The whole country is broke and we got people in prision who don’t deserve it. Or people that should have been released but are serving extra time for petty violations. As Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography “Long Walk To Freedom” – “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside it’s jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats it’s highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.” I can tell you from first hand knowledge, California is failing it’s citizens. There is no rehabilitating; it’s human warehousing pure and simple. There is no surprise in the fact that it is a revolving door. We fail to give “convicts” the second chances they deserve… we punish them and then deem the penance served, yet give them little or no chance for success after the fact. The stigma of being a felon is enough for the majority of society to just cast a person away like a piece of unwanted furniture.

This is just one of many things that wander through my mind on a regular basis and over the next months and years I’m sure I will touch on it again as well as many other topics that I feel passionately about. If ever any of you that read this feel the desire to respond, I would love to hear it. If you take the time to write to me I will respond. Sometimes it takes me up to a month to receive a letter through the prison process but I assure you that I respond to everyone letter I get. If for some reason you wrote a letter in the past or write one in the future and you don’t get a reply within 6 weeks, then the prison lost your letter. This happens more than they would like to admit. If this happens please write again. Letters mean the world to me. To all of you that have been writing me or have written before… thank you so much! I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for each and every letter. With that being said, I will say farewell for now. Until next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN’!

                                                                   Humbly yours,                         

                                                                                               DART

WRITE TO ME:

Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076

C.M.C. West Prison

P.O. Box 8103

San Luis Obispo, CA 93403