By Ben Hall
The temperature hasn’t broken 90 yet this summer but it feels rather hot in my cell just now. We are on lockdown, there is no movement inside the prison save nurses carrying medications cell to cell and the bulls walking the tiers. When I came to prison the term “lockdown” took on a whole new definition. I try to think of a good context for lockdown and all I can hope is some girl somewhere has my heart on lockdown although she doesn’t know it. Most of the time we go on lockdown for incidents of violence but today’s lockdown is a purpose of an entirely different animal, a pre-violent incidence if you will.
The state of Oregon is conducting a practice run on carrying out an execution. Last month the warden told us not to be alarmed that even though it’s been postponed he assured us his staff will be ready to make sure this execution is carried out humanely with the utmost dignity and efficiency. So WE ARE ON LOCKDOWN!
But more than just lock and key, steel making love to steel. We are on lockdown from compassion and humanity to methodically and allegedly humanly, premeditatedly kill someone after spending millions to keep them there for years. My eyes are on lockdown from shedding the tears I so desperately desire to release because pride and ego in the men around me have who they really want to be on lockdown. Their hopes and dreams are on lockdown. My longing for intimate touch is on lockdown; apathy permeates while empathy is on lockdown. It could be that insanity for those on death row is on a fragile lockdown that could explode like shard of metal in a roadside bomb without a moments notice. Who people really are in the dark when no sees, is on lockdown.
If I had a microphone I would implant it in the Warden’s head along with the cruelest men I know around me so I could hear their unspoken thoughts they have on lockdown then maybe I could find the key to set them free. We are on LOCKDOWN!