C M

    Artist Statement

    This is a true story that I have reconstructed from my journal accounts of my work as an artist in the California State prison system. Now that the person in question has gone I can tell the story. I try hard not to deny this person his humanity, but it is bothersome to me that “we” should have allowed him to enjoy the narcissistic notoriety that he manufactured while he lived. In my experience he was a truly despicable human, but not the most dangerous I encountered in my years working in prisons. If you will pardon my prison language, he was just a pimple on God’s butt.

    Selected pages from the text:

    One afternoon I felt the famous CM stare as I worked on the phone. He inspecting me through the office window, trying to freak me out. I looked up and waved and smiled as I would to any other inmate and went back to my work. He continued to “stare.” I refused to give him any more energy. Finally he moved on.

    Another day he was washing something at the communal sink. I had to walk behind him to get to the rear of the main workspace. He wouldn’t move his head to acknowledge me, but I could see he was watching me from the corner of his eye. As I got closer and passed it seemed that his eyes would pop right out his ears so intently was he scanning without moving his head.

    Then one day he walked into my office and moved toward the concealed storage room saying, “I’m going back there.”

    “Can’t go back there,” I replied.

    “I’m just going to get something George gave me,” he said continuing his way back to the hot room.

    “What is it that George gave you?” I asked.

    He turned and said, “Some stuff in a bottle.” He resumed his path into the storage room.

    I said, “Go ask George what is in the bottle he gave you, and then I’ll try to find it for you.”

    CM turned abruptly back to me and demanded, “Who Are YOU?”