Loud and Clear: Bird Shit and Toilet Water
A unique topic, though one worth discussing.
On the Polunsky unit, there is various buildings. 12 building holds those on Death Row & administrative segregation. Each pod has 4 outside rec yards. Two on each side of the pod. The 2 rec.yards are actually one big room, with bars down the middle & across the top. There is two doors for each side of the bars. Okay, the bars over the top act as the roof. It is considered an outside rec. yard due to the bars being an open roof They allow in sunlight & the weather elements. The walls of it are over 25 feet high. Concrete floor with a floor drain. There is a sink and a urinal toilet on each side.
Over the top of the bars, there is supposed to be a netting. This netting is fastened to the bars to keep the birds off the bars. As when the birds gather on the bars, they turn the rec. yard into “their” personal toilet. They always congregate at the bars near the walls. It just so happens on one side of the bars is the area for people to walk into the outside rec. area. The other end is the sinks and urinals. With the netting up, then all is good. The birds stay away. The officers have the general population people, that are locked up, clean the rec. yard once a week with a water hose. There are no birds, so it is just washing of dust. They are supposed to clean the sink and urinals each night. The key word is SUPPOSED. As they certainly do not. Which is the problem with not allowing us people on death row to do it. As being that it is seen as the environment we live in. We would keep it clean. Some of us that is. Which is the point of this blog. The general population people that are locked up. The ones that work to clean up in 12 building. They are known as S.S.I. which stands for Support Service Inmate . A fancy saying for janitor. In Texas there is only a very-very small select number of prisoners that get paid for the work they do. S.S.Is do not. I am unsure of the actual people locked up that get paid. There was just an article about prisoners & free labor that I read years ago. It mentioned a small minority . Though that article can be wrong. As I know of none that do.
“You get what you pay for,” rings true in here.
They do not get paid, they really do not want to do it. They have to! See, when slavery was banned. The wording was that it did not count as slavery if the person was convicted & sentenced to penal servitude. Basically, they redefined what ‘slave’ meant. The government then expanded what was known as ‘ criminal laws’ such as drugs, so they could lock more people up. The prison population exploded. Many want to blame hard noses ‘ Republicans,’ however, that is not true. The largest prison population expansion in U.S. history happened under former Democrat president Bill Clinton. All politicians try to get elected on ‘ tough on crime’ platforms. Anyways. Point is, people do not get paid to clean up. The officers do not have to live here. It doesn’t get cleaned. Many people on death row, they just turn a blind eye to it and do not complain or take the initiative to do it themselves. The showers are a prime example. Only a ‘few’ people here take it upon themselves to clean the shower, that is at the end of the row of cells that they are housed on. Each pod has 6 sections. Each section 2 rows. Each row a shower. It is a single man shower.
I moved to the pod I am now. Went to one row’s shower one day (I am on 2nd row). The sides, of the base of the shower was black with mold & gunk. I had to go back to one row shower, with a hair brush that is sold on commissary, that I use to clean with. I also took a detergent & the cleaning powder that the prison passes out each week. It is called Bippy. It is similar to Ajax cleaning powder. (This has happened a few times that I moved to different areas. The detergent is sold on commissary also. It is made by TDCJ. TDCJ has several industries that prisoners work at. TDCJ then sells the goods, for a profit on free labor. I yell out, when coming out of the shower, “Yeah you all are welcome from cleaning your nasty ass shower!” No one says anything, though they usually start to wipe it down themselves here & there.
90% of the people here complain about everything, though very few do anything about it. Many will not even file a complaint with the administration.
Back to the topic of the outside rec. yard. Which is another example. Every 6 months or so, the officers get on the roof to hit the bars with a hammer. This is to make sure they are still secure. When they done this, they needlessly removed the netting. Though failed to put it back. I cannot go up there & fasten it back myself or I would. Now that the netting is pulled back. The birds have come back. Being that the S.S.Is have failed to clean it for over 2.5 months! Can you imagine how bad the rec. yard looked? The sink was covered with bird shit. It is 95degrees F outside. The sink is nasty, so no way to get fresh water to cool down. One sink was so bad, it was plugged up and doesn’t drain properly. I ended up going to rec. with a guy who is like minded as I, when it comes to this place. He is a guy I associate with. Friends is a strong word rarely used in here. I have a couple friends. Though him and I would be considered good associates. On the outside looking in, people could consider us friends due to the way we associate. I know all that seems technical. I just want people to understand that when I indicate that someone is my friend &/or that I love someone. Then it is a valuable statement. More so in my older years. Anyways, to cure your curiosity, it is Paul Story. We was at rec. & being that it was Monday, the rec. yard was supposed to have been cleaned that previous Sunday. It wasn’t. Both of us have a long history of protesting and making the officers suit up in their ninja turtle gear & use the tear gas & pepper spray. That is where the talks started to head. As my special visits had not been set up yet & I was tired of being exposed to bird shit! The pod officer called & asked for the sergeant to come to the pod & speak with us. The one working knew us both, so he came. He called & spoke to maintenance about fixing the netting & then Sunday the rec. yard was sprayed down as it should be. The netting still has not been fixed yet though. They say they are ordering new netting. Which isn’t needed! As the netting is bundled up on the roof. I wrote a grievance about all of this. The response from the warden, was that he spoke with a Lieutenant that works 12 building. That this ranking officer said the netting was over the rec. yards. Which is NOT true. All it takes is for anyone to walk onto the pod & then go to the windows, that allow observation, to the outside rec. area. Then look up & can see the netting is gone. Then look down and see the bird shit everywhere.
This is the area we are supposed to work out in! Also there is NO WHERE to sit besides the ground. Okay, being that the netting is not fixed. It was a week before the rec. yard was sprayed off with the water hose. I decided that I would take it upon myself to clean it up. I went to the rec. yard with Randy Halprin on Wednesday. It is the usual outside rec. day for the section we live on. Not everyone goes to rec. We was going to work out. Though I couldn’t find a spot clean enough to do push ups at. I started to try to use a hand towel to knock the bird feathers out of the way. The dust kept flying up, so all I could think about was breathing in microscopic pieces of bird shit & parasites. That pissed me off! I used a bottle to pour water on the ground to stop the dust. I then just said. “Man, I am tired of this bullshit!”
I told Randy that I was flooding the rec. area. I then took what is known as a Chill Towel (a green deal that is sold to us. It holds lots of water & is supposed to help cool a person down. They started selling them after being sued repeatedly for heat related problems in the summer time.)
I got it wet & folded it in half & covered the drain. I then grabbed some trash that was laying on the filthy ass fucking rec. yard & stuffed it in the drain of the urinal. Now these are not weak urinals. These are some industrial strength urinals! These things spit out like 3 gallons of water a flush. Come to think of it, it is really a HUGE waste of water, when half of Texas is in a drought! Anyways. I plug the drain & start flushing. Randy looks it over after I explain what I am doing. He decides to join in. The rec. yard ends up with like 4 inches of water in the middle of it. It drains to the middle, so wasn’t that deep all over the yard. The side of the rec. yard I was on. It is the window side. Meaning one wall is these big windows. They cannot be broken. It is so the officers can see all of the rec. yard. Now it isn’t every day that people see a guy flooding the rec. yards! haha
The commissary officer came on the pod to deliver a commissary care package. As she is walking off the pod, she has to walk past the window to get to the exit door. She does such, as I am running to the deep part of the water & I side kick it in a sweeping motion. This huge wave of water flies up into the air & hits the window. (I do this so the water will hit then edge & then come back to the drain. Pulling all the dirt & filth towards the drain.)
She sees this wall of water hit the window & stands there stunned & yells at the officer. The officer then looks & runs over & she starts beating on the window telling us to stop. She thought we was trying to flood the area, so the water would go into the pod. Some do flood the cells & such to protest. Though she calmed down when she spoke to us & figured out what we was doing & seen no water go into the pod itself. I just wanted to clean the rec. yard. When I yanked the chill towel off the drain, there was this whirl pool in the middle of the rec. yard. It was a loud roar as the water went down the drain. That was cool! J The rec. yard is a fairly large area. I did this twice. By using my foot to knock the water to different areas & let it drain back. It actually cleaned the rec. yard. Though it also ended up knocking a great deal of the bird shit to the area the officers have to stand. Hey, that is just the way it worked out! 😉
So yes. I had to use toilet water to flood the rec. area, so I would not have to sit in or work out in bird shit! Needless to say, I took an extra long shower and scrubbed the hell out of the cool down towel. Twice!
I am sure people are wondering what I consider Randy. We are closer than me and Paul. Though I connect with both in different ways. Now, do you all see the “shit” I got to put up with here? It turns out that when I say that, it is meant quite literally. Loki vs. The Birds. A short battle won by Loki. 🙂 haha
Stop by and see me next week. Until then I remain,
Veni, Vidi, Vici,
Clinton Lee Young #999447
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351