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Letter From Prison: Trans-Dimensional Travel

January 27th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon


Listen: transdimensional travel already exists. It’s not as dramatic as ripping open a hole in the fabric of space-time and shaking hands with some lizard men on the other side, or painting a pentagram in infants’ blood on the floor of a church and conjuring up a smoldering slobbering demon.

I was walking back from a bar in Clinton Hill this summer, and even though I’d had a pretty good evening, I was feeling kinda sorry for myself. I’d just moved to New York and my work had dried up, my girlfriend had dropped me, and I was sharing a bedroom with another grown man. I’d had a decent dinner and a few drinks and was flagellating myself internally for spending money, any money at all, when my resources were at such a rapid dwindle.

A breeze kicked up and a piece of paper hit my foot. I picked it up and fell through a wormhole in my own reality to a serious realness congruent to, but utterly different than my own. The letter was from a guy in prison to a friend on the outside. Although technically written in English, the words were in a language I barely spoke.

You can see the letter itself here:

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However, it’s pretty tough to read the scan. I’ve transcribed it below. It was originally written all in one big block, so I’ve broken it up into smaller paragraphs for easier reading. Otherwise, the text is unchanged.



What’s good my nigga? I got your letter last Monday and it was good to hear from you my dude. I see that your chilling and that’s whats up. You still smoke free and going to the program my dude, they gonna have me going to one of those dumb ass programs too and they gonna make me see parole every week. I don’t give a fuck though, that shit not gonna stop the kid.

I’m just hoping they parole me to the crib, they might not because it’s all fucked up and shit. My pops said he gonna have something set up by the time I get out, if not they gonna parole me to my sister crib. Thats not bad I just don’t want to be doing all that traveling.

Whats good with you and Kim, I hope y’all doing the damn thing and not beefing, that shit is for the birds. Thats crazy about them C.M.B boys, them niggas better hope they got some good lawyers because the feds is serious. I can’t even speak on that, I’m just glad the kid never fucked with them niggas. The summer is over, that probably mean that the hood gonna cool down for a minute.

I’m just glad the shit is over because that means that my day is coming closer, next month the kid will be home chilling, you don’t know how bad I want to touch town. Yo if you speak to Tone tell him to send me those bitches, Nazdal and Toya address. I’m just chilling son doing the same old bullshit, these two bitches coming to see me and my son this weekend, thats whats up a nigga get to be on the VI floor and for like 6 hours and eat some candy and drink some soda.

I’m just glad to be around some chicks (feel me son). I got a letter from Muffin, she sent a nigga $50, and was saying some cool shit, I think she doing that because she know a nigga be home next month. I’m still doing me though, I’m just playing all these chicks to the left.

Yo I’m about to end right here because they rushing me to hit the bed, if I don’t hurry up these crackers gonna have me doing some type of dumb shit that I’m not in the mood for. I just wanted to drop a few lines and holla at my boy. Tell Booch, Mitly, D-blay, Kizzy and her crew the kids and the whole hood I said what up. Tell the nigga Tone don’t forget to holla at me.

Son did you get that last letter I sent, I sent it right before I got the letter you wrote. I wanted to know do you want me to send the letter to Tompkins or Lexington, I see Lexington on the envelope but I don’t want to send no mail there. And I be talking about bitches and Kim get mad. Thats my cuz but I know how girls can be (feel me). When you get the chance holla back at your boy, stay up my nigga.

One luv


In prison? On parole? Knowing, possibly firsthand that the Feds is serious? The guy that wrote this had bigger problems than me, way bigger, and he wasn’t even in as bad a shape as he’d ever been. Sure, he may have been locked up in jail, but he was seeing the bright side: candy, bitches and freedom were coming his way. It’s something to think about, for real.

Some people can travel all over the world and not learn a damn thing. Me, I try to do the opposite. I try to travel transdimensionally whenever I can — keep my eyes open, pay attention to other realities and learn a little something from it.

Sometimes when you take a long look at another plane of realness you get jealous — other lives seem exotic and exciting, way better than whatever you’ve got going. Whatever this dude did to get himself locked up was probably pretty thrilling. But even stone-cold urban cowboys have to face down some serious monotony and the consequences of their decisions. No matter how broke I get or how dumped I am, I’m not locked up and hoping my homeboys drop me a line.

Overall, that’s doing pretty good, I’d say.

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