Am I allowed to breathe?
Is that a punishable offense?
Am I allowed to feel
Is that a shot?
Are my thoughts read
like my letters
scanned and stored
to be used against me later
My dreams dissected and distorted
Tearing apart the meanings
Digging for something
Does my firing neuron
Have sinister intentions
By Eric King, political prisoner, FCI Englewood
Here are submissions from Eric on life inside during the COVID pandemic.
March 29, 2020
They aren’t doing testing here, they aren’t doing shit really. No hand sanitizer, no mask, no ‘social distancing’, the tiers and showers aren’t being cleaned even semi-daily, we still only get 3 showers a week and only 1 hr outside a day, typically super early in the gloom or rain. Medical staff told me they can’t even order tests! They have to refer it to a doctor, who then refers it to Regional, who then reviews it and decides whether to test or not. Bureaucracy at its finest. They will let us die in the name of justice, blame it on the virus and move right along enslaving, business as usual.
Things here have been boiling a bit and almost went off today. There have been guards going out of their way to make things difficult, lying through their teeth, talking so reckless, small things that build and build. So today during our cell rotations (every 21 days we rotate cells) we just decided to slow burn them and not participate. It’s not much of a stand, but it gave us a chance to say “no” to these pig bastards and blow off a little steam. We ended up moving cells, they will move you one way or another, but it felt good to air our grievances and make the day cops look like clowns who can’t handle the basic task of cell rotating. Here soon it could have been something much worse, so letting the small aggro out now was a good stress relief.
May 13, 2020
Big IRA and Irish history memorials this month. Bobby Sands death-iversary 2 weeks ago, and James Connolly yesterday. Fittingly, last Tuesday the mail police here rejected two IRA books from reaching me, calling them books that “advocate criminal activity”. I pointed out, what to me is obvious, when your country is occupied EVERY act of freedom is considered criminal activity. The USA considered MLK Jr and every civil rights activist to be criminal, the ANC was banned and forced into illegality and so forth. Naturally, my pleas fell on deaf ears, but I was told the S.I.S. Lieutenant would look into which books on Irish history would be acceptable… I’m expecting Cromwell and William of Orange biographies.
..It seems like absolutely no-one remembers Sundiata Acoli. Like he’s just a side-note in the Assata story, when in reality he sacrificed so much for the struggle, and is so brilliant and inspiring to this day. Before this assault robbed me of the chance, I was angling to get transferred to his spot in Maryland, just so I could meet with, learn from, and just respect and appreciate him. I did get to be cellies with Jaan Laaman multiple-time long-term political prisoner – easily the best prison experience of my life. His understanding of resistance, history, perspective, prison resistance: unparalleled. He taught me the old-timer expression of “Fight to Win”, which I write on the wall of every call I’m forced to occupy. It meant to him, choose your battles and go ALL-in, don’t waste struggle on frivolous bullshit. He may not be pleased with me, because at the moment I go in on EVERYTHING, big or small lol. Resistance is resistance, and something as small as a missing item on a food tray or a pig violating my space via shake-down is enough to go to war over. We (my pals and I) have been working diligently to create a spirit of resistance back here, to make it a hostile environment for those who deserve it. Last night they bullshitted our dinner trays, and the entire SHU held their trays until a replacement was brought in. That wouldn’t have happened months ago, so that’s a win. The admin terrifies a lot of these dudes, like they are traumatized to both fear and punishment and they feel like they deserve it. That’s how battered partners feel, the trauma bonding. So I spend A LOT of time disabusing that spell they’re under. By dogging out staff, going hard on the range, standing up for THEM when staff disrespects them it builds confidence and convict loyalty. A lot of times it’s just me and one or two others, but it still shows others that these punk-ass Admins are not either 1) infallible, or 2) invincible. It also shows spirit, that we aren’t here, either on Earth or in prison, to be fucking conquered. I set my limits of what behavior I’ll accept, then also accept the consequences when they come crashing down. All we have is our minds and our actions, and mine are always set on my dignity and freedom.
BTW, share everything! Lol, everything I’ve ever said or done is open game and I insist you share. Lol. All I said above, SHARE! That Warden X refuses to let me call my family in the middle of a pandemic because two years ago A-News posted about my being beaten at Florence, SHARE! That S.I.S. Officer Y considers books about Irish history to be criminal and writes fraudulent shots about my poems “inciting riots”, SHARE. That Officer Y considers a spiel I wrote to my pagan wife to be “assaulting staff”, SHARE. That pre-trial prisoners are only getting a 15-minute call a WEEK with their lawyers, despite pending trials – SHARE. That our showers are only cleaned once per week and we only get three of them a week, SHARE! That I had 26 letters rejected between March 8th and May 13th by Officer Z, who has a history of retaliatory action and weird sexual comments, SHARE! Ella’s article*, please share! That we have trial in August and still desperately need people to donate because legal action is expensive as fuck.That daily newspapers are often held for weeks at a time – also by Officer Z – and his boss ISM W sees nothing wrong with it, SHARE!
*I never got to see it. They rejected it six different times.
Eric G. King, a 33-year-old vegan anarchist political prisoner and poet, was arrested and charged with an attempted firebombing of a Congressperson’s office in Kansas City, Missouri in September 2014.
Eric was charged with throwing a hammer through a window of the building, followed by two lit Molotov cocktails. The criminal complaint states that both incendiary devices failed to ignite. Eric was identified as a suspect by local police because he had previously come under suspicion for anti-government and anti-police graffiti.
On March 3, 2016, he accepted a non-cooperating plea agreement to one count of using “explosive materials to commit arson of property used in or affecting interstate commerce.” Almost three months later, on June 28th, Eric was sentenced to ten years, the statutory minimum and maximum for the charge he pleaded guilty to. As part of his plea and sentencing, Eric publicly and proudly acknowledged that his intent was to take direct political action in solidarity with the community of Ferguson, Missouri following the August 2014 police killing of Michael Brown, Jr.
Since his arrest and subsequent incarceration, he has been extremely isolated from his loved ones and has repeatedly been targeted by the guards, who have regularly put him in jeopardy. At CCA Leavenworth where Eric was held in pretrial detention, he was kept in segregation for 6 months at one point and was often subjected to stints in solitary confinement after the guards targeted him. Despite these struggles, he continues to maintain his good spirits and resolve to see this situation through to the end. He is also maintaining his dedication to struggling for a world free of domination and oppression.
Eric is currently facing one count of assaulting a government official for an incident that occurred in August 2018 at FCI Florence. Eric has been housed in a segregation cell at FCI Englewood since August 2019 fighting this charge and is on “restricted general correspondence”. He can only communicate with his wife and mother for a 6 month period minimally. He faces a maximum of 20 additional years in prison and is fighting his case under very bleak circumstances and harassment by Bureau of Prisons staff.
***Supporters are encouraged to donate to Eric’s legal defense fund. You can also follow his case at supportericking.org and on social media for more information on sending letters, books, magazines, etc.