Vox Populi

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Doug Anderson: Tucson, 1970

I remember standing in a long line being processed into jail. Guy behind me is furious: they’ve handcuffed him to a transvestite who is smiling at his discomfort. They put me in the tank: it is about 15 x 15 with concrete benches against the wall and about 20 people in it. There is a stainless steel toilet next to a stainless steel drinking fountain against the right wall. The drinking fountain is full of puke. There’s a guy passed out on the floor with two other prisoners stealing his shoes. There are about six Yaqui Indians sitting directly across from me. The guy passed out on the floor, I would learn later, chased his wife into the bathroom whence she locked him out. He then emptied six 357 magnum rounds into the door while she cowered in the bathtub. The rest of my cell mates are homeless who’ve been picked up in the parks.They are regulars and have access to all the jail gossip, know what is going on. It is Friday night, which means I’ll have to wait till Monday to be arraigned. What fun. I’m going to be there with these guys for three days. I had quit smoking the previous week but asked one of the homeless guys if he had a smoke. Perfect time for a relapse. He stares at me and shakes his head, like, don’t I know anything? But he gives me a smoke. What am I in there for? I don’t remember. I should have quit something else. And all these guys, well, they’re my brothers.

Copyright 2015 Doug Anderson

One comment on “Doug Anderson: Tucson, 1970

  1. sharondoubiago
    August 18, 2015

    In the late 60s I had a significant correspondence with a man in the Flagstaff jail for “smoking a joint on the rim of the Grand Canyon.” The arresting officer turned out to be a fellow student in a Cal State LA sociology class who had heard him talk of the legalization of marijuana. Allen Ginsburg and Robert Kennedy were scheduled to testify for Max in the trial when basically a Cal State organization busted him out, which then led to our long term relationship. I still have all our correspondence, including Ginsburg’s and Kennedy’s, and still sometimes dream of making it a real book. Thanks for this, Doug.


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This entry was posted on August 18, 2015 by in Personal Essays, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , .

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