Marion: the gates of hell

I Heard You Were in Marion

I heard you were in Marion...

That you had walked past the gates of hell.

Not of your own free will, of course,

But shackled and cuffed,

Chained and roughed,

Tagged and dragged

Into the belly of the beast:

Child of Alcatraz.

Disguised as an office.

Camouflaged with trees

To please

The architects of hell.

It doesn't matter

Who sent you there or why;

It only matters that you're there --

A pearl amongst the swine.

And the swine are your keepers

Moreso than your brothers.

The losers are all weepers

Crying for their mothers.

It doesn't matter what you did

To get there...

No one deserves such a fate.

No one has created

A crime so great

As Marion.

Someone called me the other day...

Said they'd looked the other way

When men armed with the colour of law

Pinched you with a hateful claw.

But they won't help you;

They won't even try...

For what they've done

They need to hide.

So they'll just sit back and joke

About their friend who walked the rope

To Marion.

It must be hard confronting such power;

Being afraid to take a shower.

Defending your manhood

While swallowing your pride;

Witnessing all of the victims who've died...

So many defendants

Have given their lives

Because someone called

Their politics "crimes".

How long would the judges survive

In Marion?

So-called "humanitarian" groups

Oblivious to all the Roman salutes

Scream out for justice in lands afar

And turn a deaf ear on their own country's war.

Fearing to battle the monster, though urged

They choose to take on those minimally purged

Africa's easier, so they say ---

Than incurring the wrath of the U.S.A.

So another day passes

As they twiddle their thumbs

And the citizens grow

Increasingly numb.

They must be deaf

And they must be dumb

To not feel the pain

As they chew their gum.

Today it's him

And tomorrow it's us.

In the marbled floors

In God they trust

At Marion.

The conveyor belt moves a little bit faster

The inmate's hand throws the slop on the tray

That will represent dinner for his brothers today

For slaves serve slaves in this modern dungeon.

If this makes you sick,

Stick around for the luncheon:

Stale bread with saliva and roaches and mold

Very hot coffee, served very cold.

Fresh peanut butter from World War II

Fruit is forbidden, vegetables, too.

Eat quick or be beaten

Move quickly or die.

Life is cheap in the Government's eye

Better not vote

If you don't vote right.

Your Uncle knows every step that you take

Your Uncle knows every move that you make

Try to lash out, and you'll do it alone

Better watch out what you say on the phone

Lady Liberty died long ago

Now she's the main attraction to show

The way to the immigrants

Who flock to her crown

As she carefully shows them

The way out of town.

She'll sell you a ticket

But her price is quite high

Tell her a secret, tell her a lie.

She might treat you well

Till she gets you inside

There's always room

After you're tried

At Marion.

Some people think I'm wasting my time

Writing about people suffering inside

So few listen

And so few care

So few help

They don't dare

For sticks and stones

May break their bones

But sure death comes from Truth alone.

Exposing the misery

Of a foreign general

Who exists in a cell as small as a kennel

Exposing the torture

Of a man who sold drugs

To the president, hidden in Persian rugs.

Describing the corridors

Electronically locked

The cameras watching

The guns fully cocked

Psychological torture inflicted

Dissident diabetics neglected

The beatings

The routine rapes

The bribes the guards discreetly take

The knife pulled from the cold cadaver

Lying on the marbled floor

To be used on someone else once more

How can I ever ignore

The pain they made me suffer before

When I washed dishes on a blood-stained floor

At Marion.


Marion: the gates of hell

The Octopus

Today I saw a stranger in the mirror:

A tired, grey-haired, balding old man.

But I should have known him,

For it was me!

It seems like yesterday

I saw a young, handsome man in the mirror;

A heartbreaker,

A ladies' man,

Every woman's dream.

It's amazing how pain can age a person.

I was a happy, young, aspiring composer;

Cool and calm,

Humourous and witty.

And then I made a mistake:

I told the truth about the Octopus.

And my life hasn't been the same since.

Life is so short.

I see that more every day.

But the Octopus made mine even shorter.

God damn the Octopus!

The weight of his clumsy tentacles

Squeezes the life out of artists

And makes martyrs of poets.

I sacrificed my childhood for my music.

I was told that practise makes perfect.

But a musician is expected 

To play beautiful music

While the world around him

Crumbles and rots.

Today we have no Mozarts,

Wagners or Beethovens.

They're all strangled before they bloom

Lambs can't live in a lion's den.

Ask the Octopus. 

He grows stronger 

As he sucks the blood of his prey,

All the while pretending to be their friend.

He has become an icon

To the empty souls who dream

Of living in his garden.

They think they know it 

Even before seeing it.

Some see it with blinders.

Some see it for the lair it really is,

But often it's too late, 

And like too many others,

They are snuffed out

Before they can tell the truth.

There is no room for truth in his garden.

He thrives on lies.

He lives in a disguise,

Squirting his magical ink

To cover up his mortal sins. 


Marion: the gates of hell

My Country

I thought I knew my country

The country they call America.

They taught me all about it 

In the many schools I attended

All those years ago.

I stood there blindly

So many times

Saluting a flag

That I thought was mine.

Pledging allegiance

As if it was

A living god

Or master

How odd.


I tried to serve my country

The country they call Milk and Honey

I learnt all about it

From the many books I read

So very long ago.

I sat there innocently

So many years

Listening intently

Being all ears

Don't drop out of school,

I was told.

You won't get a job;

You'll die in the cold.

I worked hard for my country

They country they call El Norte

I slaved like a dog

Trying to get ahead

Like everyone else. 

I laboured constantly

Too many years

Having patience

Holding back tears

We're all equal

I was assured

All of your problems

Are going to be cured.

I fought hard for my country

The country they call the Promised Land

I turned the other cheek

Like all my other friends

Trying to be a Christian

Like everybody else.

I battled infinitely

What seems like eternity

The many enemies

Who'd stick a sword in me

Commies and hippies

Were out to destroy

This good, young, innocent

All-American boy.

I believed in my country

The country they call the Land of the Free

I kept a closed mind

Like they expected of me

Trying to be a hero

Like all the other fools

I defended eternally

What seemed like Nazi Germany

The many traitors

Who'd write me traitor's letters

About the real America

And all its injustices

Wanted to convince me

Of something other than...

But I believed in my country

The country they call the United States

I kept my mind closed tight

I fought the truth like they taught me to

Trying to get a piece

Of the pie they said was mine

I pursued the riches

Like all the other ants

I protected myself

From the truth they tried to hide

The many heroes

Who'd have to die

In the real America

Because of all its injustices

Wanting to brainwash me

That it was something else

I finally found my country

They country they call the Great Satan

I opened my mind

I saw the truth they tried to hide

Trying to lie

And promise me all

They failed miserably

I finally saw

I guarded myself

From further attempts

To make me be

One of them

In the real America

The only room

For a true Democrat

Lies in a tomb.


Marion: the gates of hell

Survival of the Smartest

The only man who could survive this hell

With his mind intact and his body well

Is someone who can play the devil's game

And beat him at it, all the same.

I know a lot about the devil.

I've been in here with him so long

That sometimes I almost

Forget who I am.

But all of that Catholic education

All of that talk about sin

From those wild-eyed nuns

With the  Irish chins

And the octagonal glasses

And the million pins

Will never let me forget

When the moment's here

What happens to us

When the devil's near.

I remember a classmate

Named Paul White

Who always wanted to cheat

(You know the type)

And one day he asked me to write

An essay for him overnight

With the title chosen by the

Square-chinned nun

Who bore a strong resemblance

to Attila the Hun

The title was to be

(What else?)

"Why I Love Jesus"

She thought it good for our health.

I decided to have some fun

With this scoundrel and cheat

I'd write all about Jesus

And he'd get beat

So it started like this,

I'll never forget:

"I love Jesus Christ

I love Him because he's a tuff god

He scares the hell out of me."

The essay continued,

Read aloud by the nun

And I continued

To have my fun

Until she determined

The author was me

And condemned me to hell

For eternity.

I think of those things

While I'm sitting here now

Cold and naked

Without soap or a towel

It keeps me from going

Completely insane

Like the guard outside

With his long rubber cane.


Marion: the gates of hell

Yankee Justice

Imagine this:

You are at home 

Sitting at your dining room table with your wife, 

Who is six months pregnant, and your children. 

Your baby daughter is sitting in her high chair, 

Which you have pulled up very close to the table 

To make her feel a little more part of the family. 

It is a cold winter night and your fireplace is roaring. 

You had a long day at the office 

And drove several hours through a blizzard 

In order to get home in time for dinner. 

You're all so glad to be together in your comfortable home. 

Suddenly, your front door bursts open. 

Several strangers, wearing business suits, 

Who resemble stereotypical Chicago gangsters 

Come rushing in towards you, 

Aiming guns at you and your family. 

Your small daughter, 

Whom you have gone to great lengths to shelter 

From any violent television programmes, 

And has never even seen a picture of a gun before, 

Becomes hysterical: 

Screaming, crying, her little face turning bright red, 

Tears streaming down her terrified face, 

Which is smeared with her mashed peas. 

Some of these men grab your pregnant wife 

And baby daughter out of their chairs 

And drag them across the room. 

Some of them grab you and rough you up 

In front of your horrified wife and baby daughter. 

Then they handcuff your hands behind your back 

As tight as possible, 

Until you can feel your blood circulation being cut off. 

Several of these thugs begin to search your home, 

Aimlessly throwing your precious belongings all over 

As they aggressively hunt 

For what you can only logically assume to be your valuables. 

You watch as they take the last existing photos 

Of your cherished mother, who has been deceased

Since you were a child. 

Your wife watches 

As they take her treasured teenage love letters 

Sent to her from other boyfriends 

And begin to read them aloud in front of you.

Finally, these violent mobsters identify themselves

As being agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

The F.B.I. 

You ask them what's going on. 

They say you're under arrest. 

You ask for what. 

They refuse to answer. 

You ask them if they have a warrant for your arrest. 

They say they don't,

But that they don't need one, 

Adding they can get one any time they like. 

They ask you to waive your rights, 

Beginning with your right to silence. 

When you intelligently refuse to give up your precious rights, 

They become combative and bludgeon you more in front of your 


So much for sheltering your innocent little daughter 

From violent television programmes.

You are told that they are going to take away

Everything you have in the world: 

Your house, 

Your bank accounts, 

Your business, 

Your cars, 

Your private correspondence, 

Your family photos, 


Then they take you away, 

Out into the dark night, 

Into the blizzard you were so glad to come in from 

Just a few moments earlier. 

Away from the most precious thing in the world to you: 

Your family.

You are eventually taken to a military air force base, where, 

With hands cuffed, 

Legs shackled, 

And waist chained, 

You are forced at gunpoint to board an aircraft 

Which in such a state of disrepair 

That you wonder if it will really get off the ground. 

After the airplane crash-lands in a distant state, 

You are taken to a maximum-security prison, 

Where your business suit is exchanged 

For a ragged prison jumpsuit. 

The guards happily divide up your fine clothes and jewelry 

Amongst themselves. 

You are put into a tiny, filthy cell 

With a grisly, foul-smelling, garlic-chewing man, 

A Spanish-speaking murderer from Cuba 

Who has been imprisoned for many years in your country. 

You spend every minute of the day 

Defending your life and your manhood from this maniac.

For the next several weeks, 

You are transported on other equally unsafe planes 

To several other prisons all around the country.

Finally, you land at a military air force base near Chicago, 

And are driven to a high-rise prison in the middle of the city 

And taken to the twentieth floor. 

Most of the prisoners are mafia hit men, 

Columbian cocaine kingpins, and big-time drug dealers. 

Murder, violence, perversion and disease is everywhere. 

Even though you have a serious back problem 

Which you have been under doctor's care for many years for, 

You are assigned a top bunk called a "rack", 

Which is really nothing more than a metal slab 

With a two-inch plastic mat on it. 

You finally get the use of a telephone, 

And discover that your pregnant wife and child

Were thrown out of your home during the blizzard, 

Causing them to contract pneumonia. 

The F.B.I. took everything of value you and your wife had. 

Having nowhere to go and no money, 

They travelled all the way to Georgia 

To live with your mother-in-law. 

The F.B.I. has visited everyone you know, 

Terrorising them and warning them 

Not to assist you in any way, 

Even suggesting that they change their telephone numbers

To avoid your calls. 

You try to find an attorney to represent you, 

But, without any money, no one will accept your case. 

They're all too afraid to seek the return of your assets, 

Even though they admit they were unlawfully seized. 

The F.B.I. visits you and terrifies you, 

Telling you that your pregnant wife will soon be arrested 

And your unborn child will be born in a prison 

And taken away from you. 

You will never see her. 

Your white daughter will soon be given to a black foster home. 

Her whereabouts will not be made known to you. 

You will spend the rest of your life in this terrible prison...

Unless you are willing to "cooperate" 

By telling everything they want to know about your friends. 

Some of the things they want to hear they already have written 


They just want you to say that you said them, 

Even though you really didn't. 

You refuse, and confidently wait to be freed. 

But you aren't. 

Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. 

You are starving. 

Your thick brown hair quickly turns entirely grey, 

And most of it falls out. 

Wrinkles and lines emerge on your face. 

You develop pneumonia and are refused medical care. 

You miss your wife and daughter. You worry about them 


Having no money, 

You are forced to accept the services 

Of a court-appointed attorney 

Who immediately begins trying

To scare you into pleading guilty 

To crimes you couldn't possibly have committed. 

He tells you nothing but lies 

And uses every trick in the book to try to break you down. 

Every day you see more and more 

Of your fellow inmates receive lengthy prison sentences 

For refusing to "cooperate", 

For refusing to plead guilty to crimes they often aren't guilty of. 

You begin to realise that your attorney is

Working against you, 

With the same people who brought you to this place. 

You realise that this man is your enemy, 

That his only job is to get you to plead guilty. 

You can never get justice with him. 

This causes you the greatest depression.

You grow weaker by the day. 

The food you are given is unfit for a pig: 

Moldy "hashed brown potatoes which resemble spinach; 

"Hamburgers" with maggots crawling in them; 

Coffee with cigarette butts in it. 

Your family's mail is withheld from you. 

You are told that no one is writing to you 

Because they don't care about you, 

That you're completely forgotten, 

That your wife is sleeping with other men, 

That soon your wife and daughter will be taken away, 

As you were told when you were first taken away. 

You have to fight for your life and manhood constantly, 

At all hours of the day and night. 

You do not dare to sleep deeply. 

You can only sleep lightly for a few minutes at a time. 

You cannot believe that you are in the United States of America. 

You feel like a foreigner in a Third World prison.

Then, your second daughter is born. 

But you can't see her. 

The F.B.I. won't let you visit her. 

Your attorney refuses to even ask the judge 

To release you on bail. 

Time passes. 

Nothing develops except more depression

And worsening health. 

As anyone would, you begin to feel forgotten, 

Alienated, despondent. 

There seems to be no solution. 

Then, one day, your attorney comes to you

To explain that your infant daughter, 

Whom you have never even seen, 

Is dying of a spinal meningitis. 

She only has a few days to live. 

The F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney 

Have agreed to let you visit her on her dying bed. 

You'll be taken to court in a few minutes 

To get the judge's formal approval. 

You are torn to pieces. 

You can feel your heart bleeding with sorrow and grief.

You are quickly taken to court. 

The judge asks your attorney why you are there. 

He answers: "To enter a plea, your honour". 

In other words, to plead guilty. 

You ask your attorney what is going on. 

He says that the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney 

Told him at the last minute that they had changed their mind; 

That the only way they would permit you

To visit your dying daughter was 

If you pleaded guilty. 

He tells you that he just spoke 

To your good California attorney friend 

On the telephone 

And that he wanted to relay the message to you 

That you should do as you're told and plead guilty; 

That if you refused, 

You'd spend the rest of your life in prison 

And feel guilty about not seeing your daughter before she died. 

You look around. 

The F.B.I. agent, U.S. Attorney and your attorney 

Are smiling at each other 

Like the closest of friends 

Who are about to receive something 

They've worked very hard together for.  

It is obvious that you will never get any justice in this court. 

You simply cannot stand any more pressure. 

You are so worn down. 

You have no strength left. 

No energy. 

No hope. 

You're in the worst health. 

The prison doctors have told you you're dying. 

You could cry right there in the court room, 

But you have no tears left. 

You have cried until there are no more. 

You tremble. 

Your hands are shaking so much you have to hold them behind you.

What would you do? 

If you think about that for a few minutes, 

I think your answer will be that 

You would see no choice but to plead guilty. Exactly as I did. 

But I wasn't guilty. 

And my newborn daughter wasn't dying. 

And I didn't get to visit her. 

In return for my "cooperation", 

I was transferred to the worst prison on earth: 


None of my assets or my innocent spouse's were ever returned. 

I was never even provided with a receipt 

Indicating they had been seized. 

Not only was I refused early release on parole, 

I was refused my right to apply for parole. 

I was also refused my right to serve the final portion 

Of my sentence in a halfway house. 

After my release, I was on five years' probation. 

Probation was used as an instrument to harass, 

Intimidate, control and further punish me 

WIth the intention of eventually returning me to prison 

On an even longer sentence for a technical violation. 

I was unlawfully exiled three thousand miles 

Away from my family, whom I had dreamed of reuniting with. 

I was unlawfully forbidden to travel anywhere 

Outside of San Diego County, even to visit my family. 

I was prevented from accepting gainful employment. 

Things got so bad that I was finally forced 

To move to Switzerland 

In order to prevent losing my freedom again, or even my life.

There is a term to describe what happened to me. 

It's used all over the world: 

"Yankee Justice". 

It refers to an evil, unfair system of injustice 

Which allows the guilty to go free while the innocent suffer. 

How many men do you think would refuse to plead guilty 

If they were in the same position, 

Under the same set of circumstances that I was? 

An attorney friend told me 

That any man with the slightest intelligence, 

Love for his family, 

Or survival instinct 

Would have done the same thing that I did. 

What would you do?

You should think about this, 

For someday you just might find yourself 

In the same position I was in. 

It can happen to anyone. 

If you wouldn't want to be in such a position,

If you wouldn't want one of your loved ones 

To be in such a position, 

You should become active 

In working to change this system. 

Write your Senators and Congressmen today. 

As they say, 

"The life you save...may be your own".


Marion: the gates of hell

How Much Did They Pay You?

How much did they pay you

To ruin my life?

To cut out my heart

With a rusty knife

To shatter my dreams

And batter my soul --

To leave me stark naked

In a cold concrete hole

How much did they pay you

How much did they pay you --

Just what was your share?

To make a young man get such grey hair

To aid in corruption

And unspeakable crimes

To take for themselves

All that was mine

How much did they pay you?

(Tell me the truth) --

To keep your silence

As they divided their loot

As they brought their terror

To my family and friends

With you eagerly tying

All the loose ends

How much did they pay you

To distort all the facts?

For leaving the room

While they whipped my back

For abandoning ethics

To which you had sworn

And all you'd been taught

Ever since you were born

How much did they pay you

For telling those lies?

For ignoring my children

And their pitiful cries

For manipulating me

As I grew so weak

That I couldn't stand up

On my own two feet

How much did they pay you

For standing there mute?

Disregarding the dandruff

Adorning your suit

Never filing a motion

Or making a fuss

Having orgasms as

I was put on the bus