Daniel Royston

I Dream in Prison by Daniel J. Royston

I know I teased and promised my poem “The Missing” and the tale of how it came to be but I dreamt I was in prison last night. I haven’t dreamt a dream that didn’t take place in prison for twenty years and I just had to put my pen to the page (or rather my thumbs to my touchscreen) on this phenomenon that I think affects every person, male and female, that does extended amounts of time in a cage. So I apologize that you aren’t reading “The Missing” but I promise its coming soon and that, in my completely biased opinion, it will be worth the wait.

I dreamt I was in prison last night.

I dreamt I was in prison last night and it wasn’t a nightmare or anything as dramatic as that. I mean no one was trying to shank me or stalking me in the shower with some odd hope that my cute ass might drop my state soap. And it wasn’t the one where I wake up screaming and almost kicking from the fading vision of the very polite corrections officer quietly insisting that I ignore the crushing blows and descending boots, put my hands behind my back and to please…quit resisting. No it was just one of those ordinary run of the mill dreams that I have all the time. You know the dream right? The one where I’m in prison wearing my prison uniform, better known as State Blues, and it makes total sense to be hanging out in a cellblock sitting at a table with my mom, my cellie, and my son….who all happen to be rocking state blues too…the four of us are talking about everyday shit, smoking a cigarette and watching the chaos taking place all around us waiting for a strip search, a shakedown or, more than likely, waiting on count to clear. Like I said….ordinary, run of the mill, everyday dreams that we all have.

This might come as a surprise to someone if you weren’t paying attention up top, but I don’t dream outside of prison anymore and it doesn’t freak me out as much as it used too or even as much as it should. And it happened so subtly that at first I didn’t even notice it. The first time I had a dream in jail the dream wasn’t about jail at all. It was about an everyday activity but with one minor detail altrered.

(begin dream sequence)
I was riding shotgun in my best dude’s Delta 88 like I always did and we were going through the drive-thru of the golden arches across the way from Rolling Acres Mall. I was flirting with the chick at the window whose hotness totally negated the weird headset and badly colored polo shirt she had to wear when I noticed, without any real alarm, that all of my dudes and me were wearing bright orange county jail jumpsuits. You know the ones right? Those fluorescent orange tragedies where both the sleeves and the legs are too long and too short at the same time and ride up in the most uncomfortable way for everyone involved. Uncomfortable for the guy wearing them because the way the crotch seam crushes, lifts, and separates his junk. And uncomfortable for everyone else because its almost impossible not to look at the train wreck happening down there.

Anyways, the dream continued and ended without anything of note happening and I woke up. That’s it….I woke up!! No OMG! I just had the craziest dream! No WTF!! What was that about? Why were we all in jumpsuits? Nope, nothing, none of that. I just went on with my day, uninterrupting the daily routine of the mind-numbing boredom that is the county jail.
(end dream sequence)
This transformation of my dreams and my identity took place only three months into the 30+ year sentence I had in front of me. and has only gotten worse as any remnant of freedom has vanished from inside my dreams I can only hope that when I finally make it out of this cage and back into the real world that my identity and dreams go back to normal just as quickly erasing each and every bit of this cage from my psyche…

Thanks for sharing these dew moments with me.

Rock on and Drive Safe.

Daniel J. Royston
DOC #358054

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