You took a blow for those who had thrown me away at age 16. I've taken a beating for being...'ME'. I saw no faces as I was being punched in my face repeatedly. Everything is in slow motion. I feel onlookers watching; I am in a familiar place. I remember the Central Unit Yard Office on June 20, 1998. I was hog-tied on the floor. I feel the hammer fist blows and combat boots all over my body...I'm numb; the pain comes later. My left ear rings like a church bell. Twenty-three years later it still rings. (I've lost my hearing in my left ear). A woman's voice calls, "get off of him, get off of him. I'm calling Major Turner". The blows and feet slowly start to fade away like a dying drum beat. Sgt. Grimes, was that you who put a stop to my brutality? I'm handcuffed. I'm being dragged through the hallway in Winslow's Kaibab CDU of concrete. Always concrete and steel. Always steel chains and shackles...always chains and shackles. The entrance door and my head have become one. Why? This pain is intense, like a dull hot nail penetrating the palm of your foot. My head; no, my mind; no, my conscious. I'm fading. "Don't talk t my officers like that." I'm back. I'm angry. I speak "Sgt. _____, I haven't bathed in 9 days. Sgt. _____, I haven't brushed my teeth in 9 days. Sgt. _____, I haven't washed my hands in 9 days. Sgt. _____, I'm dizzy." She said, "he stinks". I say "I am a human being, so why am I not worthy of the basic necessities of life"? No response. I'm sick. I've lost over 20 pounds in 10 days.
I'm almost defeated. It's March 2014 and a female CO holding a camera says, "Flowers, talk to the camera." I plead to the camera for medical attention. A doctor tells the CO, "There's no way this man should be in this condition." I need fluids, antibiotics, and a special diet. She saves me. Sgt. Grimes, was that you?
It's June 2014, I'm in solitary confinement in Browning Unit. "They" show up "Flowers Disciplinary." (I know this is not true.) I say, "I do not want to go". You have to they say. I say no. Their smiles turn to grimaces (different officers, same grimaces.) I quickly reach for my blanket; the pepper spray consumes the dreary cell. I am shielded only by this fire retardant grey blanket...my lungs are now on fire! I'm trying to take a breath...I can't breathe. I cough and it's painful. My eyes are flowing with puddles of fluids. Are these tears?" I oddly ask myself. I haven't cried in 19 years. My nose is being suffocated by thick mucus. I give in. I stumble to what I think is the door to get chained and shackled (always chained and shackled). I find the door and I'm sprayed again for good measure, I suppose. The handcuffs are so tight. My hands are numb and eerily cold. The scars are still on my wrist to this day as keloid reminders like my slave ancestors. They yell commands..."don't resist"...I'm not...I'm handcuffed. "Don't move"...I'm standing still (always steel). The cell door opens and I am body-slammed to the floor. I'm cuffed. I can't see. My head is being slammed into the concrete (always concrete). The concrete is so cold but my body is so hot; oh, it's the pepper spray and I'm still gasping for breath. I feel like an elephant is on my back. I can't breathe...I can't breathe. I'm thinking it...trying to say it. My tongue doesn't work (George Floyd). Speak for me, please. Nobody speaks for me this time, Sgt. Grimes. There was no you this time.
On October 17, 2021, I walk to the Chow Hall. Walking the same circle I've walked for 26 years now (a bond I wish for no one). The officer speaks...I speak...he speaks about my mother. What? Why? I'm watching him; he's belligerent in his tone. I'm moving fast now-my Mom? He looks at me, he's angry, I'm confused-we clash. For a moment I believe I hear my Mom's voice, "no son". I'm in a battle not of my own. We tangle. I am taken down, it's over. No, it's not over! I am being punched, again I'm numb; I'm being sprayed (always sprayed). I'm not human? I'm struggling for my life (natural life). My face absorbs these blows like a dry sponge soaking up a spill. I'm conscious I think. I hear your voice, "Flowers, Flowers." I try to focus, and a voice so familiar says, "you hit me". I look confused, "Sgt. Grimes, Sgt. Grimes"? I hear your voice saying, "I know it wasn't intentional". The blows have stopped on my face and head, my body still tense from the brutality. I ask, "Can I sit up so I can breathe"? You allowed me to breathe. Why I'm not human, right? You stopped the blows. Why I'm not human, right? You took a blow not meant for you. I was a human being to you, right? You see me, right? You are the rose that grew from this concrete (always concrete). Eulandas J. Flowers # 125290 - Arizona State Prison