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  • Rob Will

Reason Four Of Ten To Support Steven Woods: Because Mario Benedetti Said So

It’s hot, oppressively hot, here in the Polunsky Death Camp. Some rain fell yesterday but it was quickly and greedily soaked up by the unforgivingly dry and cracked East Texas summer earth. Looking out of my little three-inch window I see the ground with deep thick cracks running across it like a distorted spider web. The metal fence topped with bloated bundles of razor wire seems to have leapt forth from the dead earth and frozen stiff in the air like a scene from some drab surrealist painting. I’m sure Dalí could do justice to this scenery and make one really feel the macabre nature of this place.

If Dalí did paint this wretched little Orwellian Hell perhaps he’d include a spot on the piece where there is a picture frame and inside this frame you would see Steven Woods. Trapped. Held captive. Unjustly caged. Steve is scheduled to die in only 19 days. It’s 3:38 am and I’ve been up all night writing, letting the battle axe that is my pen blaze swiftly and relentlessly across my paper. I’m tired, it’s oppressively hot, I’m extremely exhausted but I can’t rest until I scribe out a few more thoughts on Steven. Mario Benedetti did this to me actually, a particular piece of his entitled, Vice Versa.

There is nothing like visitation—going to a visit is a beautiful, brilliant, wonderfully sense-enlivening experience. When I go to visitation I’m transported to a whole other plane of existence. All of the horrors of this wretched place disappear and a feeling of warmth and comfort surrounds me, pours over me, courses through me. There have been times, however, when I have felt mixed emotions during, before, and after visits.

For example, about two months ago, in June, I engaged in three direct action demonstrations in three days. I went out to visitation to see a compañera on the second day. I was still bleeding from being hit with 9 rounds from the crowd dispersal assault rifle and my lungs were still seared from the CS riot control grenade I was assaulted with.

We held council on the direct action I would conduct later on that day. We knew I’d face the SWAT team not long after our visit ended. Fear, Love, Anxiety, Inspiration—all of these things were in the air during this visit. Reading Benedetti’s poem brought this to mind… And then I started thinking of Steven and his family and friends who will be coming to see him during the next few weeks. I read the lines of the poem over and over…

Can you imagine how Steve is feeling right now? He’s scheduled to die in only 19 days. Can you imagine how those who love him are feeling?

Vice Versa

by Mario Benedetti

I fear seeing you

I need to see you

I expect to see you

I’m anxious to see you

I’m willing to find you

I’m worried about finding you

I’m certain to find you

I doubt I’ll find you

I urgently need to hear you

I’m happy hearing you

I’m lucky to hear you

and I fear hearing you

In other words

summing up,

I’m fucked up

and ecstatic

perhaps more the former

than the latter

and also vice versa

Mario Benedetti didn’t actually say to support Steven Woods but I’m sure if he was still alive and knew of Steve’s situation he would. Why? Because Benedetti was a life-long social justice activist who would quickly stand up and challenge injustice. Will you do the same? Go to Steve’s website and Facebook and get involved. It’s time for some nice Yoga and Shaolin Qi Gong and perhaps I’ll get some rest…

From the Polunsky Death Camp

With Peace, Strength, and Love:

Rob Will

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