The journal of Dave Gordon

1 March 2009

“Butterflies for My Sister”

I thought seriously about killing myself last night.

Please don't be alarmed by this, for this thought has been a constant companion throughout the 10 years I've been incarcerated. If I ever stopped thinking about killing myself, I'd probably just go ahead and do it.

I think these thoughts are always instigated by negative events that are beyond my control. Like yesterday morning, one of our guards killed himself. Most of the other inmates laughed about this tragedy, I didn't. I saw this man's death as a loss of a family member. Perhaps that's why I felt so low all day.

Anyway, it was approximately 5 years ago that another officer was killed. It was during that period that I began writing my first journal. I now feel that it is time to write another one.

A lot has happened in these past 5 years. My life seems to have made a complete circuit on this roller coaster ride through hell. What I'm experiencing today is what I've already been through before. You can probably tell that my tone of writing is reflective of an old worn out man.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm very much alive and full of froth, as you will see in the next few pages.

So much has happened that I really don't know where to start. But for your sake, I'll start like I did last time, with a poem.

A friend of mine was feeling low and I wanted to cheer her up. She's a very special woman who is convinced that she is growing old but is 7 months younger than me. Since I'm not old, she's not old. She told me that she was giving up on her future plans and was going to settled down into just being a grandma to her kids. She's a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart. As she spoke of her surrender, she touched my heart with her sorrow. My response to her was a poem called:

“Butterflies for My Sister”

		Butterflies, Butterflies, Where have you gone? 
			Awaken! Awaken! Her heart needs your song. 
		She thinks that you've left her with all of her loves 
			You need to remind her of her father above. 
		“We Butterflies hear you " God's promise we keep, 
			To stir up the passions of those who don't sleep. 
		But here in your sister, her heart feels dismayed 
			By Dreams that were shattered and loves all betrayed. 
		It isn't to us that you make your appeal, 
			To her heart convince her to once again feel 
		That passion itself is a fruit made for giving 
			That gives wings of butterflies reason for living. 
		So here we will rest " until she believes 
			That fruit she must bear, instead of just leaves.” 
		My sister, my sister, there shedding a tear, 
			My heart has been broken please listen and hear 
		I once held within me the fluttering wings  
			Of butterflies dancing as my true love sings 
		Embracing a love that I thought I could keep, 
			The embers of passion all dimmed into sleep. 
		I trusted in luxury, owning all things, 
			Except for the happiness that true love brings. 
		With every love false, my spouse my possession, 
			I floundered with grief, and later depression, 
		In losing it all, I asked myself why 
			After all of these years can't my butterflies fly? 
		The answer came suddenly while watching a friend 
			She poured out compassion that wasn't pretend 
		It all made me think, did I have true love wrong? 
			Was I searching for what was in me all along? 
		I tested compassion by letting it flow 
			I poured out my love just by letting it go. 
		The freedom it gave me was quite a surprise, 
			Then happiness came to me with butterflies! 
		Oh sister please listen this wasn't the end, 
			For you were the one I referred to as “friend.” 
		It was you who had showed me where true love is found 
			It was you who made butterflies in me fly around! 
		But now in your eye is a tear of dismay, 
			Your love's been removed from where it must stay. 
		So much you have given with little returned 
			You're failing to think of the treasure you've earned. 
		For as you were loving without any measure, 
			Your father in heaven was storing your treasure. 
		Now before you start thinking this makes little sense, 
			Your father he knows you have need of a prince. 
		But for you to find him you must rise from your sleep, 
			Your butterflies all have a promise to keep! 
...For Rayna, my dear friend.

I should tell you that the woman who inspired me to write this poem is also responsible for inspiring me to write this journal. I firmly believed that when my wife and children died out of my life, that love itself went with them. Rayna showed me that true love lives within us and can never be taken away. Every love I ever had is still alive within me. Even though the object of each love is gone, the passion remains as an eternal flame within me.

In my heart, another flame burns. Rayna lit it herself with her tears. It will be by the light and the warmth of this fire that I will write this journal to you.

2 March 2009

”The Apology”

In the winter of 2007, I had decided to do something to change my life. I had just spent a full year living next door to a juvenile delinquent and was about to rip our his lungs. He thought it was fun to harass me. After all, he was a homosexual monkey who was wrestling his personal lie of manlihood.

Anyway, my only escape from him was through our education department. I asked to be put into any available class and ended up in a class called ‘Cognitive Intervention.”

Since my motives for being in that class were all wrong, the instructor and I clashed miserably.

”Cognitive” is a class that teaches you how to examine your thought processes. As I sat in this class, I saw that the other inmates were using the material to examine their criminal game. I confronted this teacher on this point and she backed off from answering me. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but my brashness had hurt her. After 8 years in prison, I had lost every ounce of compassion for those around me and I had hurt this woman without a thought for who she was and what she was doing.

From that point, it was all uphill with her. She developed an instant dislike for me and I fed into it by daily rebellions against what she was teaching. She had decided to expel me on April Fools Day but on that day in class, while she was confronting another inmate, I saw something in her teaching that totally changed my life.

The other inmate was one of those black militant assholes that everyone loves to hate. This guy was blaming the world for all of his problems and everyone in the class was gagging on his pitiful accusations. Everyone except for this teacher.

She pulled a stool up to his table and through all of his crap, she began to ask penetrating questions that forced this man to face the ugly truth in his life. This alone wasn't what impressed me. It was the way she took his abuse head on and led him without judging him. I had never before seen such a powerful display of character.

This woman had instantly become the most respected person in my life, and just moments later, she expelled me.

I was devastated. Her class suddenly made perfect sense to me and now I was hopelessly removed from it. I did everything I could do to get back into it. I reasoned that if she could face me as she faced the other guy, then perhaps I would have the answer as to why I did my crime. I had no idea what had led me to abuse my daughter, but I knew that with this teacher's help I could find my answer.

Four months later, I was back in class. Naturally, she wasn't too happy to see me. But since I had totally changed, she began to warm up to me. Her words were like golden nuggets as I wrestled with my own ugly truth. When I discovered it, I knew I was healed.

This healing was very short-lived because no one gives a damn about why a person sexually abuses his daughter. They only care to hate him for an eternity.

It was with this in mind that I wrote the following poem. It basically describes everything:

”The Apology”

		A scarlet letter is who I'll be 
			A living badge of shame 
		I'll walk around in infamy 
			So you can curse my name 
		For who I am repulses you 
			I can see it in your face 
		If I could just escape your view 
			But I have no other place 
		I am a living human being 
			Who made some bad mistakes 
		I had no earthly way of seeing  
			The plunge my life would take 
		For I was once your brother 
			I thought we were family 
		But now I am some other 
			Who must give an apology 
		The pas is something I can't change 
			So remorse won't fix a thing 
		But the future I can rearrange 
			If to it can bring 
		The reason why I did my crime 
			That so offended you 
		That prevents someone at a future time 
			From hurting like you do 
		My life is your apology 
			Lived out for you each day 
		And still you want no part of me 
			You still won't my way. 
		But do you really know me  
			Or is it just you choice 
		 To openly deplore me 
			When you've never heard my voice 
		Not long ago in history 
			Your forefathers were told 
		Their temperance societies 
			Were barbaric and had to go. 
		Society saw drunks as men  
			Incorrigible and few 
		Abe Lincoln spoke these words to them  
			And now they're told to you:

”Another error, as it seems to me, into which the old reformers fell, was the position that all habitual drunkards were utterly incorrigible and must be turned adrift and damned without remedy in order that the grace of temperance might abound to the temperate. There is in this something so repugnant to humanity, so uncharitable, so cold-blooded and feelingless, that it never did, no ever can enlist the enthusiasm of a popular cause. We would not love the man who taught it " we could not hear him with patience. The heart could not throw open it's portals to it. The generous man could not adopt it. It could not mix with his blood. It looked so fiendishly selfish, so like throwing fathers and brothers overboard, to lighten the boat for our own security " that the noble minded shrank from the manifest meanness of the thing.”*

	    To this I owe my rectitude 
            And stand with Mr. Lincoln 
		To convict you of your attitude 
			That utterly was beneath him 
		So here you will find my apology 
			Remorse for what I do 
        I'm sorry for the antipathy 
			That my crime brought out in you

*Abraham Lincoln's Address to the Washington Temperance Society of Springfield, Illinois Feb. 22, 1842

To me, condemning myself to hell accomplishes nothing. But if I live my life to discover why I fell, then even in disgrace, my life has a great meaning. Society seems to be no different than I was. I couldn't see my ugly truth until I found a love for a teacher who could lead me to it. As I lay dying with this unknown disease I found the cure in the truth. Unfortunately, society doesn't even know that it's sick. It revels in the disease that is killing them. I can only pray that one day, something catastrophic will happen that will awaken them to this disease. Until then, their cure will lay dying in this prison cell with me. For this, I am truly sorry.

3 March 2009

“Time for her to fly”:

A friend of mine is having a difficult year. Her mother has been ill and last month, death visited her family twice. You would think that all of this would consume her with grief " but it hasn't. She has remained a pillar of strength who supports everyone around her.

In all of this turmoil, I discovered that her favorite song was “Time for me to fly” by REO Speedwagon. She said that it was played at her high school graduation and right after she graduated, she flew off and has never been back home. I wish I knew what she was running away from, or possibly running to find. But as I look at her today, I see that she's still running " and growing tired of it.

We all spend our lives running in one direction or another. But to find out which direction we are running, we must look back to see what he have left behind.

To assist my dear friend, I wrote her a poem that will take her back to that left behind life. Perhaps it would do her some good to return to those earlier days with someone who once lived them too.

We both were in the “class of 1981”, and as such, we have a lot of the same memories. So to free her from her present life of turmoil, I wrote a poem called “1981”

If I could have a wish, just one 
I'd wish to go back to ‘81 
While I was a teen still in school 
And drive-in movies still were cool 
I'd find a girl with farrah hair 
And buy her Jordache jeans to wear 
We'd drive around in my Trans Am 
And listen to my 8-track jam 
She'd let me kiss her maybe twice 
Cuz girls back then were awful nice 
Then while we were out on our date 
I'd take her out to rollerskate 
We'd fall in love and play pinball 
Then hang around outside the mall 
And when she told me it was late 
We'd make our plans for another date 
I'd drive her home and hold her hand 
While talking about our future plans 
Then at her house, at her front door 
I'd ask to kiss her just once more 
With porch light flashing off and on 
I'd know her dad was wanting me gone 
I know you know this all is true 
Because I know you lived it too 
The love we felt when our date was done 
Was unique to 1981 
Now close your eyes 
Remember all you've seen 
And forever we'll be seventeen 

As she reads this poem, I hope that it gives her time to fly back to the memories of those earlier years. They definitely aren't lost or forgotten. They just needed to be rekindled … well, I see that the porch light is flashing, it must be “time for me to fly”.

4 March 2009

“Two Lives Crossed”:

I call her Miss Texas. It's not because she's a raving beauty, it's because she rarely wears a name tag and has patches all over her uniform that have the word “Texas” emblazoned all over them.

Miss Texas is one of those women who reached a certain age and discovered that she has to get a job just to survive. At 51, Social Security is too far away and the only place that will hire her is this damnedable prison.

She is about 5' tall, very friendly and scared out of her mind in here. The “natives” see her as a person they can take advantage of " and for the past few months, they have been doing just that.

The ranking officers, in all of their great wisdom, have written this woman up for failing to crack the whip on these unruly inmates. What they have done is to cause her even greater stress because she must now confront the animals that she fears the most.

Imagine yourself in her position. A group of murdering rapists are being loud and you, a 5' tall grandmother must get their I.D. card and write them up. All of this while knowing that no one is there to protect you and if you don't do it, you'll lose your job as well as everything else you have.

I spoke to Miss Texas today and gave her the solution to her problem. I told her that when she saw a group of “natives” acting up, to find someone who is tame in their midst. Go to that person and demand to see his ID card. Tell him loudly that she's going to write him up and then watch as the savages quiet down.

She thanked me and asked why I was helping her. I guess she lost sight of the fact that we're both humans. I told her that even though she doesn't belong in here, now is not the time for a grandmother to be out of work.

I know what it's like to be powerless in here. It took me a long time to understand how to coexist with the head-hunting cannibals in here. It's when a person is scared that they fuel the fires that heat the blood of these barbarians. Power is nothing if you don't have the courage to use it. Miss Texas has the full power of Texas behind her " and with a little help, she will find the strength to wield it.

She inspired me to write a poem that typifies not only the paradox of placing a woman in the position to do a man's job, it also shows how a weak man in a frightening position can do a stupid act that touches innumerable lives.

“Two Lives Crossed” 
It happened on a cloudy day 
When two lives crossed in a painful way 
One was an inmate, so boastful and strong 
Who had a short sentence that wasn't too long 
For abusing hard drugs and selling some crack 
He boasted so loudly of his illegal act 
For playing the system, he said he was cool 
Boasting that judges and lawyers were fools 
The other, a woman, who worked as a guard 
Whose duty it was to watch the rec yard 
She stood all alone with her gas gun in hand 
With wondering thoughts about her future plans 
Of finding herself a much better job 
And getting away from this unruly mob 
I remember so well that cold frightful day 
And all of the blood from where did she lay 
They say no one noticed who threw the large rock 
She shouted insanely, the inmates they mocked 
She fell to the ground, her short life was doomed,  
With inmates ridiculing her fast bleeding wound 
A dozen armed guards came, and then came ten more 
Into the small rec yard, in anger they poured 
Gas canisters fuming, with batons in their hands 
“Put your face on the ground!” I did hear them command 
Then as steel batons all began to swing 
I heard the sick snapping of arm bones breaking 
The horror I felt from those terrible screams 
Still haunts my soul and all of my dreams 
But one scream that still chilled me, I remember it most, 
Came from the strong inmate who proudly did boast 
That those who now beat him and treated him cruel 
Were nothing to him but a large group of fools 
He cried out in pain as each vicious blow fell 
Then cursed them out loudly to all burn in hell 
And when they had finished, they drug him away 
Assuring us all that he surely will pay … 
They hung that man inside of his cell 
Then laughed because they knew none would tell 
About the way, on that cold frightful day 
When two lives had crossed in a most painful way 
So true it was, that none did tell 
Of the murder in that inmate's cell 
For thugs and pimps and playa's too 
Don't stop to think before they do 
The things that often kill and maim 
Because it's all part of their game 
With rules known knly by the few 
Who lives in prisons like I do 
But then the next week, when I saw in the news 
A little girl crying, her mom she did lose 
She said that her mother had worked as a guard 
Only because paying the bills was so hard 
The tears on her cheeks, the rose in her hand 
Was more than my cold heart of stone could withstand 
I called for the warden, to him I did say, 
That our lives had crossed in a most painful way 
He looked so confused, I said, “Can't you see, 
That the man with the rock … 
Was none other than me. 

In this poem, so many lives crossed in so many painful ways. I'm tired of seeing such tragic crossings. So today, as I spoke to Miss Texas, our lives crossed in a much better way. She now feels safer and is feeling the warmth of courage within her. It's my prayer that when her life crosses the path of an oncoming group of savages that she will discover how easy it is to win their respect. It's also my prayer that in showing her how to use her power, that I haven't created another guard-zilla!

5 March 2009

“The Night Sky”:

You would think that when a man confesses to a crime he has committed that society would be thankful. But here in America, where confessions are seen only as ways of manipulating the system, a man who confesses is seen the same way that a man who runs away is seen.

I abused my daughter. The guilt and shame from this led to a cycle of abuse that appeared to be unbreakable. I threw myself into my work, I did my best to never be alone with my daughter, but still it continued.

My self esteem was sinking into an abyss of self hatred as this secret between my wife and I finally became known. It all came out after I had grounded my daughter for tanking her finals.

When she told her mom what had been going on, I felt relieved that it all was finally coming out. I wanted all of it to end and admitted openly to everything she had accused me of. My wife kicked me out of our home and said I couldn't return until I got help for my problem.

I had no idea where to go. My wife suggested that I go to our church and talk to the pastor. I called there and found he was out of town on a vacation. My mother suggested the Minerth-Meier Clinic so I went there.

I went in without an appointment and spoke to a receptionist. This girl listened as I told her about abusing my daughter and needing help. She called out a psychiatrist who came out and told me flatly “We aren't in the business of helping abusers " we only help the abused.”

Back then, it didn't dawn on me that the abuse that I suffered through as a child is what led me to become an abuser. This high-priced psychiatrist seemed to not be aware of the fact that in the cycle of abuse, it's always the abused who becomes the abuser.

The Minerth-Meier Clinic seemed only to care about public opinion and not the truth " so I'm grateful that that their hypocrite shrink kicked me out of their religious establishment.

A few days later, our pastor returned and I saw him right away. He listened as I once again confessed, then asked me to step outside while he called a friend for advice. When I came back in, he said he had called the police and turned me in.

We sat there waiting for the police to show up, and after half an hour, we called back and said I would drive myself down and turn myself in.

Once again, I confessed to the desk officer who then arrested me. As he was escorting me downstairs to their jail, he told me I was the stupidest son of a bitch he'd ever known. He said no one ever just comes in and confesses to such a crime.

I would find out that this officer was correct. It seemed as though the whole world was out to kill me. Even the jailer told me not to tell anyone why I was there. He said the other inmates would kill me and he wouldn't stop them.

I ultimately bonded out and was put in touch with another psychiatrist named Grounds. He saw me once a week for one hour and charged me $100.00 per visit. During these visits, he did his best to avoid the subject of me abusing my daughter. Two years later, I stood before a judge in a Dallas County courthouse.

I begged this judge for mercy " but he had none. He sentenced me to 45 years. My guilty plea meant nothing to him. In resignation, I thought that maybe prison would be where I would find the help I needed. As soon as I arrived in prison, I put in for this help. The response shocked me. They said I wouldn't be eligible for help until I was two years from my discharge date. Doing the math, I found that this date would be in 2042. Since my offense date was 1989, I would have to wait 53 years to get help.

It made me stop and wonder. Society hated me. They had now passed the sex-offender registration laws and my home town had passed a city ordinance that banished me forever. So even if I got the help I needed, I could never go home. What was it that society hated so strongly that they would actually banish me?

It wasn't until a law was passed that gave society the power to give men like me the death penalty, that I began to see what they hated. It wasn't me personally, it was what I personified. I was exactly who each one of them was " but I was openly confessing to it.

Child abuse comes in many forms " but only certain varieties are deemed acceptable by society. Consider the mother and father who go out and live beyond their means. They both end up working and their kids are raised in herds at their local daycare center. On the weekends and evenings, these same kids are babysat by a television set that fills their minds with sex and violence. Then, when these kids do poorly in school, the parents label them as attentio0n deficit disorder, “ADD” kids and pump them full of Ritalin. All of this abuse is acceptable, but still, it all comes with its share of guilt and shame. Society deals with their guilt and shame by condemning me like me to hell. They then stand proudly, proclaiming themselves to be champions against child abuse. But haven't you ever noticed, you never see them announcing this with their children present? Is it perhaps because their kids are farmed off to daycare? Or maybe plugged into a video game or a smut TV station that is babysitting them?

These parents confess to nothing except their own greatness. It is to them that I dedicated a poem called “The Night Sky”.

“The Night Sky” 
In daylight's bloom 
Of sun soaked light 
Stands pride unashamed 
To the world's delight 
Pride the great conqueror 
Of friend and foe 
Born of a righteousness 
Found deep below 
Christened by angels 
Who've all lost their place 
To live in a paradise 
Known as disgrace 
Where citizens there 
Require no name 
For a virtue known only 
To God as shame 
Great starburst of heaven 
Oh witnessing light 
The horrors of mankind 
Have so taken flight 
So poisoned by pride 
Each day the light dies 
Leaving crimson a blush 
In a cold dark night sky

A great man once said, “We stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new day.” But from my view of society, tomorrow's midnight will be darker for now we are living today. Our children simply don't stand a chance for a brighter tomorrow if we ignore what we are doing to them today.

March 17,2009

"Jessica's Song"

I still remember the day my wife told me that our next baby would be a girl. I chose the name "Jessica" because the sweetest lady I ever knew had that name.

Jessica was born around 3 in the morning. My wife opted to have her naturally and the birth went smoothly for both of them. Jessica enterted the world quietly with her eyes wide open. The doctor placed her on a pad in front of me and I kissed both of her hands and her forehead. When I held her, I knew that this little bundle of love would someday be someone's dear grandmother. She was special at her birth and to this day, she's still special to me.

I was taken away from her when she was 5 years old. She probably doesn't remember me--but I can never forget her.

When she would see me, she'd sing out "I love my daddy!" And I would always answer with "And I love my Jessica!" I miss her terribly.

The great tragedy of prison involves the death of everyone around you. My little Jessica no longer exists. Today, she's almost 15 years old and almost as tall as I am. I will never see my little Jessica again.

It was in great sadness that I took our short musical greeting and turned it into a cute song. My Jessica is gone forever--but my love for her is still very much alive.

Here's my song:

"I Love My Daddy"
Sung by Jessica: 
I love my daddy oh yes I do 
He's been my best friend since I was two 
He taught me how to ride a bike 
He taught me how to fly a kite 
He gives me all the things I like 
And takes me to the zoo 
Yes I love my daddy oh yes I do 
He's been my best friend since I was two 
Spoken by Jessica: "Do you love me daddy?"
Sung by me: 
Yes I love my Jessica oh yes I do 
She's been my best friend since she was two 
She sings to me her favorite songs 
She even lets me sing along 
She tells me that I'm really strong 
And makes me feel brand new 
Yes, I love my Jessica oh yes I do 
She's been my bets friend since she was two 
Spoken by daddy: "Do you love me Jessica?
Sung by Jessica: 
Yes I love my daddy oh yes I do 
He's been my best friend since I was two 
He taught me how to rollerskate 
He taught me how to bake a cake 
He sometimes lets me stay up late 
And helps me find my shoes 
Yes I love my daddy oh yes I do 
He's been my bets friend since I was two 
Slower: And if you knew my daddy you'd love him too
Sung by me: 
I love my Jessica oh yes I do 
She's been my best friend since she was two 
She wakes me up on Saturday 
So we can go outside and play 
And then at night we kneel and pray 
And then I hide her shoes   Jessica exclaims: "Daddy?!" 
Yes I love my Jessica oh yes I do 
She's been my best friend since she was two 
Slower: And if you knew my Jessica you'd love her too
By Jessica, slowly: Yes I love my daddy 
By me: and I love my Jessica 
Both: We love each other oh yes we do 
We've been best friends since the age of two 
By me: Oh Jessie we must say goodbye 
By Jessica: Oh daddy how the time flew by 
By me: It does that when you're by my side 
Slower, both: And now our song is through 
Regular speed: Yes we love our family oh yes we do 
We've been best friends since we all were two 
I best you didn't know it that we love you too! 
By Jessica, repeat and fade: 
Oh I love my daddy oh yes I do! 
Oh I love my daddy oh yes I do! 
The end! 
Wherever you are... 
Jessica, I love you! 

March 18, 2009

"The Family Tree"

Poems, plays and songs... Can you handle just one more poem? If you can, them I promise not to use anymore of them...for a little while.

The Family Tree
There was a branch that sprung a sprig 
The sprig it sprung, it wasn't big 
But upon that sprig a leaf did sprout 
It gave the sprig a cause to shout 
Hey look at me! Look what I've done, 
I grew a leaf where there once was none! 
So then a crowd came round to see 
The shouting sprig up in the tree. 
They stood in awe and disbelief 
That such a sprig could sprout a leaf 
But when in time, a wind did blow 
The tree did creak and the branch did bow 
The sprig held tightly to its leaf 
A sudden crack filled the sprig with grief 
The branch from which the sprig had sprung 
Had broken down and lowly hung, 
"Oh no, not me! This cannht be!" 
The sprig it shouted, "Why God, me?" 
And then a voice came soft and still 
"My little sprig, it is my will." 
The sprig it thought in worried haste 
"But look, my leaf! It's such a waste." 
A wind did blow in the sound of a rush 
The voice of God came down in a hush, 
"My little sprig, I see your leaf 
And in my heart, I feel your grief. 
You cried to me of the leaf in your hand 
But never a word 'bout the branch which you stand. 
From it did you sprout and from it came your health, 
But you claim the leaf as a work of yourself? 
So now that the branch is broken and low 
Spring forth a leaf! Oh yourself make it grow!" 
"I'm sorry my Father, you're wise above all, 
I now see the truth, it's as clear as can be, 
The tree you created can stand without me. 
For as I was boasting of my little leaf 
I never considered the tree underneath. 
But now that I see the end of my fate, 
Help me my father, before it's too late." 
The day turned to night and the night into morning, 
And axeman arrived without any warning. 
He looked at the branch bowing low to the ground, 
"Perhaps we can save it? It look fairly sound." 
With ropes he did tie it, in time it did  mend, 
The sprig was amazed that this wasn't the end, 
In time the sprig grew, til one day it did shout 
"Look upon me, a new sprig it did sprout!" 
And when a crowd gathered, they started to dance, 
For God turned the spring into a strong branch. 
This poem's a story of a sprig in a tree 
This poem's a lesson of your brother, me, 
I once stood so tall and in pride I did shout, 
"Hey look at me! See what I'm all about!" 
But then came that day when I heard that sharp crack, 
My life spiraled downwards with no clear way back. 
I fell to my knees crying, "Why God? Why me?!" 
It took me some time, to realize my tree. 
For I was that sprig with a leaf in my hand, 
A wretched exuse in the form of a man, 
but now my leaf's gone and I gaze up at you, 
I pray to the Father, in earnest I do. 
For one day I'm certain, the axeman will come 
His axe will be sharpened, my heart will be numb. 
But what if this axeman brings me a strong rope? 
Is there really a chance or a reason to hope? 
could he lift up my branch and restore my health, 
In spite of the damage that I caused myself? 
Until that day comes, my eyes will look low, 
Never forgetting this branch down below. 
But hope will abound, and while here I'll grow strong 
And soon be restored to where I belong 
For the sprig you once knew, when all this began 
Has grown to a branch in the form of a man. 
I give you my strength, and all that you see, 
And pray God restores me to our family tree. 

March 19,2009

"Time For Me to Fly"

For the past 15 months, I've been in a class called, "Cognitive Intervention." I've learned a lot in this class and have come to a point where I'm seeing huge philosophical differences in what's being taught and what's actually being rewarded as acceptable behavior. The hypocracy of the program is causing me to see that it's time for me to drop the class and move on in life.

This hypocracy stems from the instructor's desire to please and appease the morons in the class. The teacher has reasoned out that if she can keep the peace in her classroom, then she's done a good job. She fails to see that reasoning in this manner is deceptive because her conscience is unaware that benevolence can be a cruel form of hatred.

She just doesn't see that patting the morons on their heads is actually depriving them of just consequences of their immoral behavior. She is afraid of their hatred because in her mind, hatred equates only to violence. She hasn't learned that hatred most often operates as a defense mechanism that is used to divert and control people. She is clearly playing into the hands of these masters of hatred. She is also depriving them of the information they require by being a benvolent enabler to them.

The class that I'm in only meets once every two weeks, so if I drop it--it's really no big deal. I had asked for more class time, but this teacher wasn't supportive of the idea. I'm now back where I started, except what I have learned in this class is what's now pushing me away from the class.

The rest of the class has been given free reign by this teacher. As she shuts herself down, the inmates do what inmates do best--they start to imitate each other. As they do this, she lets them attend class until they have enough hours to graduate. She then gives them a certificate and the next day, a new moron shows up.

I had approached the principal of this school and asked her if I could help in this area. I gave her a stack of lesson plans and she seemed excited about it. But with the teacher of our class believing that there is no problem that is too big or too small to run away from--I was shut down right away.

Okday, so it sounds like I'm out to hammer this teacher. Actually, I believe she has a good excuse. She and I are the same age. When I look into her eyes, I see nothing but abject fear. Something has happened to her that has shut down her heart. This closed heart has caused her to have a closed mind. So whatever it was that hurt her--is now hurting others because she won't deal with it--or possibly, she's unaware of its effects on her and on others.

I can't understand why this woman has chosen to work in this shit-hole of a prison. Perhaps the reason is tied to her closed heart?

If I could talk to her, I would ask her what love she had that was betrayed. Then as she opened up and told me all of the sordid details, I would explain to her that she was loving someone or something that never loved her.

It's easy to go out and find someone to love you. All you have to do is have something someone else wants. This teacher is breathtakingly beautiful. It isn't hard to see what a man would want from her.

Sadly, intimacy for a woman is much different than intimacy is for a man. Perhaps in this area, she can see how her lover's benevolence was just a jealous hatred that was born when he couldn't possess what she could never give.

Love is greatly misunderstood in our culture. That's why when I tell this teacher to drop me from her class, she will never stop to think that it broke my heart to say goodbye.

True love says goodbye, and patiently waits for the love return.

March 20,2009

"The Book Wars"

After all of these years of reading hundreds of books, I've learned that the wisest man among us must admit that he knows nothing about himself. He also cannot possibly understand all the different versions of history or any social science.

My biggest question for the authors of all these books is how in the hell can each one of you claim to be an expert in your field and be so far off from each other on similar subjects? The letters "PhD" must certainly stand for your own "Personal hidden doctrine."

Anyway, an instructor once told me "dig through the straw to find the wheat." To that I have to say, isn't it easier to just drop a match and burn the whole mess?

Okay, i'm angry. Before I go on, I think I should resolve this anger.

Anger is composed of sorrow or grief mixed with beligerence. If I clip off the beligerence, all I have to do is ask myself what i'm sorrowful over.

I'm sorrowful over so many things. The first is this place, after 10 years of it, I'm tired of it. Another sorrowful point is that I miss my wife and kids--who incidentally don't exist anymore.

Then there's my mom who needs help, a dad that's dying, and two sisters who have forgotten how to write a letter.

Okay, with all of that on the table, what can I do about it?

That's what I thought! Absolutely nothing.

But wait, I recall reading somewhere that a person chooses his joy and his sorrow. So everything I'm feeling right now is something that I had asked for in the past? Argh!! That sounds so insane that it has to be true. I mean I did choose to love my family--knowing full well that each one of us was going to die or move away. But as I loved them, I discovered that they didn't love me. It was hell living with a wife who just used me out of convenience. I firmly believe that this was a factor in why I did my crime. I wanted out of that relationship so badly--but I didn't know how to do it.

I chose to escape through sex and became addicted oto it. In my addition I committed a felony and poof! Instant freedom!

So let's see, am I still angry? ...nope.

What about all of those warring books? I'm still angry about them. GRRRRR!! But why?

Clip off the "GRRRR" and why am I sorrowful? Is it because I've been using these books all for the wrong reasons? Is it because I've been searching these books for a better excuse as to why I did my crime?

Yes...I think that's it. The war wasn't between the books, it was within me all along.

Guilt and shame are powerful motivators. I just wish I could find some relief from them. Maybe if I called a truce, I would quit attacking myself and maybe I can heal up enough to pick myself up and start the long walk of recovery.

If only I could take just one step...hey! Isn't this journal entry a stp in the right direction? Hooray!!

21 March 2009

"The Bitter Truth"

A very long time ago, an old man once picked me up and put me on his knee. He looked into my eyes and said, "Son, you can lie to other people, but never lie to yourself."

His words became etched in my young mind. Their then obscure meaning would prove to have a prophetic value later on in my life. But I'll come back to that in a minute.

Lies seem to be an acceptable element of our culture. We lie about things to make us feel better about ourselves and also to protect ourselves from things that frighten us.

It's this pattern of lying that ultimately clouds over our vision of who we are. We lose sight of our direction because our past is hidden in a haze of half-truths. Basically, we no longer can believe in ourselves-- so naturally, we fail to believe in each other.

I've always been as honest as I can, or to put this more accurately, I've always been dishonest when the truth intimidated me. Fear of the unknown rules when a person must make a decision that alters his life's course. I think that this is why, for most of my life, that I've lived a life that's been wrought with fear.

I have no recollection as to what led that old man to admonish me as he did. Perhaps I had lied to him-- or perhaps, he recognized his own fear in my young eyes.

Today, my eyes are old. I have known fear and I have dodged it with many crafty lies. But recently, I came to understand why that old man said what he did.

When a man runs from the truth he becomes ensnared in his own lies. His very means of escape becomes a much heavier chain that enslaves him. I simply came to the point where my chain was too heavy for me to take another step. It's usually at this point where most men put a gun to their head and pull the trigger.

Suicide is insane. A man decides that a problem is making his life unbearable- so he kills himself. To me, this just never made any sense. Misery comes from a desire to live a better life. I can't think of anything that is more antithetical than a person who has the ability to desire a better life that ends his life to find happiness.

It is here in this reasoning that I return to that old man.

As a child, all of my thoughts were introverted. I thought that the man's statement was a golden nugget of wisdom mined especially for me. But today, I know that the old man's words were only a desperate confession from his broken heart.

I don't know what lies he told, but from the fear in his eyes, I could feel the magnitude of his message and thus, was unable to ever forget it.

This confession was directly from his broken heart. To most, his words would've meant nothing, but to my heart, his words were well received. They remain to this day an intricate part of who I am.

Yes, I destroyed my life. But even in the ashes of what I've done, I know to remain honest.

Problems were meant to be solved. In avoiding my problems, I ended up a prisoner of my own creation. Today, I work hard on solving problems that I never knew I had. I have discovered them by being honest with myself. In other words, I'm surviving by holding firmly to that old man's prophetic message. I'm not willing to believe another lie. I'm not willing to create a world that doesn't exist and crown myself king of it. Instead, I'm humbly accepting the responsibility of what I've done and am now learning the painful reasons why I did what I did.

A truth digested years ago would've saved my life"but instead, I chose the easy way out by committing suicide with a lie.

22 March 2009

I just finished writing today's journal entry and decided to rip it up and start all over again. I seriously doubt that any of my ranting and raving will benefit any of you-- so I trashed all of it.

One of my reasons for writing this journal is to give you some little helpful tid bit of each entry. Today's tid bit involves "venting."

Venting is my way of releasing my emotional energizes in a way that doesn't hurt anyone. Rage and anger have their narcotic effects, so to avoid them, I highly recommend venting in the following ways:

1. Write a letter about your problem. Pour out your emotion in it! Then, go back a half hour after you've finished it and read what you wrote. Somtetimes, I get a kick out of my irrationality.

2. Exercise. Physical exertion works great"but for some, I probably wouldn't advise it. Some people seem to just stay mad. If these tazmanian devils exercised all of the time, they'd be massive mounds of mad muscle… and who wants to have that mad at them?

3. Cry. Yup. I said it and I support it 100%. Anger is a mixture of sorrow and fear that's tinged with belligerence. This belligerence is only a prideful defense that's sole purpose is to keep the person from crying over his sorrow. Crying is lost art, but its an art that can heal your soul so try to reconnect with it.

4. Make an ass of yourself. If you have an anger problem, the best way to cure it is to explode in a humiliating way. I knew a kid who stormed into the dayroom and cussed all of us out. He said, “one of you m_f_s stole my m_f_ key and I'm gonna beat the shit out of whichever one of you it is!”

This guy was barely 4 " feet tall"so we laughed at him. But later that night, he found his key right where he had left it. He had sat a book on it and couldn't find it. Oh he was so happy to have found his key. But when several of us made him keep his word to “beat the shit outta…” he lost his good humor.

I wish you could've seen this little guy whip his own ass. I seriously doubt he will ever get so mad again.

As for me? I prefer writing. I tore up what I wrote and tossed it into the trash. I'm fine now, but there's a few whisps of smoke rising from my trash can.

23 March 2009

"Born Again"

This evening I had a long talk with a man I didn't know. He told me that someone had suggested that he speak to me about his situation concerning his sex-offense and his daughter.

His main concern was about the registration laws and how they might complicate his relationship with his 11 year old daughter.

I told him that before he did anything, he would have to first take care of his own problems. He assured me that he was okay because he was born again. He said that all of his sins were washed away and that he is now a new creature in Jesus Christ. I told him that all of this born again stuff was his first problem.

Too many times I have seen this God thing derail men who've had the best intention to live a brand new life. Its as though they firmly believe that saying a simple little prayer and getting dunked in a baptismal tub changes everything. I know this because I was one of them that fell into this delusion.

How easy it is to take all of your emotional baggage and zap it with holy water. Poof! I'm a saint! Oy Vey!!

I awoke from this way of thinking by suddenly realizing that what I was calling “sins,” were actually only the symptoms of some much greater problems that even though I was “born again,” were still present within me.

The God issue didn't involve the act that brought me to prison, it involved the way of thinking that led me to do the act that brought me to prison. It's the failure to recognize this fact that prevents us from being truly born again.

Many of the bible thumpers in here are using the born again doctrine as a diversionary tactic. They don't care to deal with the mess that their lives are in, so they opt out for the white wash of religion.

These guys are easy to spot because they all have one thing in common, you'll not find a single one of them carrying their own cross. I asked one of them what Jesus meant when he said, “Whoever desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” The guy said, “Our cross is this gospel.” His words established his blanket denial of his own sinful ways.

Anyway, the guy I spoke with tonight seemed surprised when I told him that being born again involved the carrying of his own cross. He didn't understand what good it would do if he lugged around his past with him. I told him that his past was the first half of his testimony and the second half, which he is referring to as his born again life, must be built upon the first half.

Who I once was must be clearly established in my testimony in order to clearly define how I became who I now am. Any other way of putting together a testimony just won't hold up under scrutiny.

Take for example the earthquake in the Book of Acts. Paul and Silas were being held in a prison when a great earthquake hit. The doors were shook open and the chains that held them were loosed. When they saw that the jailer was about to kill himself because he had assumed that the prisoners had all escaped, Paul told him not to do it because not one of them had left. It was then that the jailer asked an astounding question, “What must I do to be saved?”

This question is astonishing because we have no known history of this jailer. His history had to have contained a past life that led him to ask this question"for without such a past, then why would he ask this question?

Our testimony requires such a past just as our testimony will require a future that is built upon the born again decision. The guy I spoke with this evening snapped to this point when he saw that all of his past was now being used to strengthen and direct him into his future.

The best example of this is the myth of Orestes. Orestes, while under the curse of the gods, slew his own mother for her killing her husband, Orestes' father. As punishment for his murder, the gods sent down 3 creatures to plague Orestes. These creatures were called, “The Furies.” They tormented him with guilt and shame until one of the gods stepped in and said it wasn't Orestes' fault because he was under a curse. To this, Orestes stood up and said, “Curse or no curse, I still killed my own mother.” His acceptance of what he had done and his embracing of his responsibility so impressed the gods that they removed the curse and transformed the furies into 3 new creatures that helped Orestes in all that he did.

Orestes' fame came from who he was in total. He didn't accept a blank check from a benevolent god, he accepted who he personally was and he repented of it.

We must be careful not to fall under this religious trap where everything we do is suddenly made holy and pure. The bible states that we are to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling.” How does this line up with saying the littler prayer and getting dunked in the baptismal? Salvation involves your heart. It involves the reasons why we do what we do"not what we do as stand alone sins.

I illustrate this by pointing out that if a man knows that a group of men are going to kill him and he knowingly walks into their midst, isn't this a suicide? If this man then kills himself, then isn't he doomed to burn in hell?

If you said yes, then Jesus is doomed for committing suicide. Fortunately, the answer isn't yes, what dooms us to hell is the intention of our heart. Jesus went to the cross in the same manner a man will rush into a fire to save a child. He didn't throw his life away in despair, he gave it willingly so we all could be save. This salvation means that the cross we carry will not have the requirement that we be nailed to it. This salvation means that everything evil that once plagued us, is now transformed into a great power that enables us to help others.

To be born again is to use who you once were to become someone you never dreamed that you'd be. Christ makes this possible, but you must never see this possibility as permission to simply wipe clean your past. It is all part of salvation. It is all part of being the person God intended you to be.

24 March 2009

"Tough Going"

I almost decided to stop writing this journal. I guess its because I'm getting selfish in my old age. After all, it's no secret that most of what's written in these journals is just idle ramblings off pissed off individuals.

Each day, I try to come up with something that might be interesting to you. Writing to my own interests only produces more ramblings of rage that accomplishes nothing in you.

So today, I want to talk to you about what's causing me to keep writing. It's a thing called “Grace” and its becoming an unknown quality in our society.

Grace is what comes when love is perfected in us. In other words, you must come to a full understanding of what love is before you can possess grace.

I've listened to people argue about what love is and learned that everyone of them was arguing out of what love isn't. It's from this backwards position that I saw what love truly is.

Love is the act of helping others become the best in what they dream to be. Love isn't a thing, it's an action. Perhaps this why it has been so hard to define. After all, if you believe that love is a thing, or it is a person, then you rob yourself of the ability to express it. You can only own love if this is how you feel, and anything you own, you often become choosy as to what you'll share it with.

You will quickly discover that once you've found this perfected love, you'll need some form of ethic in which to apply it. This is where grace comes in.

Grace isn't about tapping a magical love wand on someone's head and saying, “It's all better now!” Grace involves loving someone enough to say “no” to them. It can mean you will sit by and watch a loved one crash and burn in order for them to see the error of their ways.

I thank God that no one prevented my fiery crash into this prison. There isn't any other way that my character could have matured while drowning in a world of well meaning individuals.

So here I sit. I'm tired, I've spent the day reading another novel and all I can think about is you. I'll never meet you, I expect nothing from you, but from my heart, I want to give you every precious thought I have.

I will continue writing this journal because I want you to be safe from the pit falls that have consumed the majority of my life. I hope that you will find what I've written as being useful.

25 March 2009

"Personal Foul"

We call her “Speedy.” She's a guard who is always zooming around as if she's late for something. I don't think she's been working here very long because she seems to be overly nervous and is zipping around out of pure nervous energy.

This morning, while walking to chow, “Speedy” was in charge of opening our electronic gates. As we inmates get to the gates, she can control the traffic like a traffic cop.

Well, 99% of these guys can't stand to wait for anything. So when Speedy didn't open the gate right away, several of the guys began cursing her. The loudest one just so happened to be one of our church leaders.

“Jerry” yelled out several comments and I said, “Look, she's only trying to feed her kids.” He burst out with, “She ought to get the twenty fathers of her kids to feed them!”

I stopped him at that point and said, “You aren't being fair.”

Jerry got mad at me and said, “She's not fair to us!”

The childish game was starting to make me mad. Instead of continuing, I just shut up. It would have been pointless to explain to him that “Speedy” is just a frightened young woman who is happily married and is not a whore. None of this would register to Jerry because in his world, women are all whores, guards are evil beasts who inter-breed with each other and Jerry... Oh, my poor dear Jerry is simply just a victim of these vicious whores and beasts.

I thank God for prisons. If for any reason, just because it keeps Jerry away from hard working folks like “Speedy.”

3 April 2009

“Cave Granny”

I'll never know why my mom gave birth to me that day. Perhaps she was just bored that day.

For whatever reason it might have been, my entire life has been a testament to not only her singular reason for having me, but also for all of the reasons she had for raising me as her child.

One of the most surprising things I have discovered in my on-going recovery is that all of my beliefs seem to be rooted in what mom believed in. I almost feel as though I have little choice in each situation I face. All of my thinking has been done for me and then programmed into me by my mom.

When I look at my mom's actions, I see her mother at work. Then with “granny”, I'm sure it all goes back to great granny and so on, all the way back to my great great great cave granny.

There are things that I've had to learn on my own"like how to drive a car. Mom didn't learn until after I did. Yes, she drove for years before I did"but that doesn't mean she knew how.

Anyway, we have within us the moral make up of those who begat us. It's all hidden in our beliefs and we adapt it all so readily, we seldom sit down and asses it's validity.

Before I came to prison, it never dawned on me that I was building my life on a cracked foundation. These cracks were beliefs that, over time, I had trouble believing in. For example, “respect the police”. Perhaps in my mom's day, the police were respectable. But the police I knew were fat lazy slobs that didn't give a damn about dignity.

Roll the belief back to where it originated in my dear old cave granny and you can see that respect for such authority stemmed from a fear of being clubbed in the head by them.

I see now that my introspection is causing me to come full circle with my beliefs. It's as if I've dug up my dear old cave granny and put her beliefs on trial.

“Cave granny, how do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?”

Cave granny slowly stands before the court leaning heavily on her giant wooden club, “I plead guilty as sin!” She walks forward to the bench and addresses all of us.

“I plead guilty because I did it all on purpose. My main job, after birthin that boy's great great granny, was to insure that she would survive to give birth to another one of his grannies. I really don't understand why you dug me up, anyone with the size of a brontosaurus would know that if you don't have beliefs that insure your survival, then you'll be doomed to extinction!”

The judge interjected, “But, my dear cave granny, aren't brontosauruses extinct?”

“They are?!”

“Yes cave granny, they've been gone for a very long time.”

“Well, hallelujah! I won't have to worry about em getting into my garden no more!”

At this point, I had to speak up, “Since cave granny's beliefs were all formed in a time where things were a lot different than they are in today's world, why must I still use them? Isn't it stupid of me to act like a cave man?”

Cave granny's voice slowly raised, as did her club, as she replied, “Judge, are brains extinct too?” She added, “Boy, a lot of time has passed between now and back when your great uncles ug and thug used to run around, they used to act just like you're acting right now, rebellious and stupid. I did my best to teach them boys how to act right, but you know, there is a reason why you're descendant from their sister and not from one of them.” She waddled over to the table where I was sitting and in a tender motherly voice she said, “I see my boys living in your eyes. I call em “boys” because they never matured into real cave men. You dug me up to complain about the way I raised you " but as old as I am, I can figure out why you really dug me up. You did it to accuse me of your own shortcomings. I know how hard it is to be a man, your great great great cave granpaw used to have to fend off T-rex's and wild stegosaurs just to bring home the bacon. Now, with all of them dinosaurs being extinct, what on Earth are you complaining about?”

“We do have crazy women in SUV's to contend with…”

Granny's eyebrow raised up into a question mark.

“Okay, Granny, I give up! You are right. I'm just a modern day boy who doesn't have the brains to be a cave man, so with you being gone, how will I ever learn how to be a good cave man?”

With a strong arm, cave granny pointed at my mom with her club.

“I put all I know about that in your momma. Stop rebelling against her and take care of her. In doing all of that, you'll be one of the greatest cave men that ever lived.”

The court was adjourned and granny was exonerated, the judge decided to find me guilty and he sentenced me to 400 hours of community service.

I now see why things are the way they are. This thing we call instinct is just the whispering echoes of our long lost cave grannies. They still love us, and their words are there to keep us alive. I'll o longer question those old beliefs because I can see now why the cops and dinosaurs were needed. They weren't given to harass us, or even eat us, they were given in order to encourage us to be the men God intended us to be.

Cave granny wherever you might be, thank you for all you've done.

5 April 2009

“A New Frontier”

My life has been a disaster. I have lived in accordance with what I grew up around. I did my best to accommodate who I was with those I was forced to associate with.

Accommodation is where you take who you are and you set it aside in order to be able to relate to those around you. After years and years of doing this, it finally occurred to me that accommodation was blocking me from being who I knew I truly was. You just can't imagine all of the problems it has caused me to live this way.

I think I started doing it because I didn't believe people would really like me for who I really was. I saw the things that other people did that got them some attention " and I copied them. I've lived that monkey-see monkey-do life until it nearly choked out who I really am. To free myself, I had to declare a revolutionary war against the way I was living. I had become so entrenched in that accommodating lifestyle that I lost track of where it began and I ended. In the insanity that ensued from trying to determine where this dividing line was, I slipped into a walking depression and then into an addiction that blurred the line even more.

You would think that this depression and addiction were very bad things. But in my case, it was just what I needed to break free. The depression eroded my prideful ego that kept me locked into a lifestyle that I couldn't walk away from without openly admitting that I was a big phoney. Then with my pride out of the way, my addiction ran off all of my friends and family who had built their relationships with me on 100 percent phoney bologna.

I was their “yes” man. I forfeited all I was in order to be what they needed me to be. I was drained, I was emptied of all the wonder that made my life worth living " so nature took its course.

Once all of my accommodating was exorcised out of me, I found that to be myself, I would have to find a way to still relate to these other people. A way that kept my identity free of theirs. To do this, I discovered that I could adapt who I am in order to relate to who they are. In doing it this way, neither one of us will have to sacrifice a part of who we are just to be friends.

Something else that I found beyond the horizon of my addiction was the realization that a new frontier existed in simply rediscovering who I truly am. It's there that there are no pressures to force me into being someone I'm not. The air is clear and my vision of the future is unobstructed. I have the benefit of hindsight to guide me into the enjoyment of who I am. I guess to sum it all up for you, it was after the disaster was over that I crawled out of the wreckage of my life and made friends with the person who lived next door to my heart. That person was who I am today.

The greatest battle I've ever faced involved the discovery of who I really am. Every enemy force was strengthened by my own pride and stupidity " they almost defeated me, but just as I was about to give up, I recognized what I was doing to myself. Yes, it took a judge in a Dallas courthouse to point it all out for me, but once I saw it, I began pulling the plug on all of the powers that help me in chains. The battle ended when I shook hands with myself.

Who exactly are you? Are you just a collection of platitudes that you've stolen from those around you? Do you for relationships with others by being yourself or by using the monkey-see monkey-do method? Spend some time searching yourself you might find a whole new you that you never knew existed. Once you've found it, you'll be able to live out your life by excitingly rediscovering a new frontier named “you”.

6 April 2009

“Spiritual Welfare”

How is it possible to describe an aspect of your being when everyone around claims that what you are describing simply does not exist?

A man once asked me, “Why should I go on living?” He had bottomed out both physically and mentally. He had no idea that a third aspect of who he was existed within him.

In today's world, most people use religious terms to describe the spiritual side of life. They do this because they are so detached from what it truly is and that for them, they have no other words to describe it.

I once asked the same question. But I was alone in a prison cell and no one but god was there to hear me. I asked tearfully, “Why should I go on living?” The noise outside my cell prevented me from hearing my “still small voice,” in fact, I got up and yelled angrily for everyone to shut up while God and I had our final confrontation.

It did get quiet, then I asked again " waiting for that “still small voice”. But the guy in the cell beside mine started knocking on the wall. He had a question about a crossword puzzle. I chewed him out royally.

Assuming my kneeling position, I asked again, “why God, why should I go on living?” It was then that the mail had arrived. I got several letters from people I haven't heard from in ages. While I sat there enjoying those letters, It dawned on me that God's “still small voice” had been speaking to me the whole time.

The noise from the other inmates was their invitation for me to join in with them. My neighbor's question about his crossword puzzle was also an invitation and all of those letters? Each one was an invitation of a loving friendship that went beyond the physical or mental planes of existence.

It took me a long time to get used to this third aspect of who I am. This third side was rooted in love and I was nearly bankrupt in that department. I had trusted that love is what other people give to you. I believed that to be loved, I had to have someone outside of myself give me their love. This belief nearly killed me when all of my love suppliers were removed. It was for this reason that I became so angry.

Anger isn't the opposite of love, it's actually response that is based in love. I certainly didn't know this back then " after all, when you are hurting, you rarely stop to remember that we only hurt the ones we love. It's when a person no longer cares one way or another that he is devoid of love.

So as my anger grew for those around me, I realized how much I was caring about what people think and do around me. Then I realized that all of the things that they were doing that bothered me were exactly the things that I was doing myself.

The discovery of love is a magical moment in our lives. I once believed I had discovered it when a girl with Farrah hair and Jordache jeans kissed me. But love is so much more than just an evacuation of blood from one organ to another.

I discovered love in a classroom here in prison. A teacher illustrated how to freely love someone that was obviously not loveable. She loved him through his hatred of her and she snapped his will to hate. This wasn't a physical showing of strength, nor was it a mental contest. This woman exerted a spiritual strength that totally blew me away.

After seeing this well-spring of life in this woman, I sat out to encourage one to spring up within my life. It did. This journal is strong evidence of this love.

Other strong evidence can be found with the man who asked me, “Why should I go on living?” This man was convicted of a sex-crime. Society had just passed a law that allowed such offenders to receive the death penalty. This man was facing a huge prison term with little or no hope for ever making parole. If he made parole, he would be forced to wear the scarlet letter of registration until the day he died. His wife had left him and in his hands, he held a court order that gave his kids to a total stranger. In utter confused defeat, he asked me, “Why should I go on living?”

I ushered him to my cell and without saying a word, I gave him a copy of my divorce papers. I then let him read about the stranger who adopted my kids. He was shocked at seeing that I had endured what he was going through. He said, “How is it possible? You don't act like you've lost so much?”

I told him that I never lost anything. It is an error to think that you own anyone aside from yourself. Aside from this, I pointed out that in what he sees as a devastating loss, I see only as a magnificent gain. It was then that I told him about who he was spiritually.

I explained that in his physical and mental capacities, he had concluded that his life was over. But when I asked him to explain why he asked me his question, “Why should I go on?” I asked him which of the two capacities did his question arise from? Instantly he said mental so I told him that he wasn't seriously considering suicide. Otherwise, mentally, his mind would've been made up.

His question came from his third aspect. He wasn't wanting to physically die because he was both physically and mentally healthy. His questions arose from an aspect of his being that he knew nothing about, it came from his neglected spirit.

In time, we will all feel pangs of death draw near to us in 3 distinctive ways. We will feel it mentally as our thoughts slip away from us, spiritually as we neglect who we were designed to be and physically as our bodies cave in to old age.

My friend listened as I explained all of this to him and he said “Since we are all going to die, why delay it?”

I told him I never said he would die mentally or spiritually. He argued vehemently that once he was dead, it was all over. I told him again, only his body will pass away, not his spirit. I then challenged him to a duel " (this was fun) I told him that if he could show me how he could kill his spirit, then I would slice my wrist. He thought I was nuts until he realized that no man has the power to kill a spirit. The most we can do to it is what he had done to his " ignore it.

Although a spirit cannot die, when it ebbs near death in a person's refusal to acknowledge its existence, it will lead the mind and the body to release it so it may return to where it came from. A body that doesn't care for its spirit really isn't worthy of the spirit's presence.

So what then is this spirit? It is the part of you that relates to others in truth and love. You cannot physically love someone without using them for your own physical desires. You cannot mentally love someone without controlling every aspect of their life. It is only through your spirit that you can love someone as God intended them to be loved. And it is only through your spirit that you can find a true love for yourself. Think about it, someone who loves themselves physically is called a narcissist. A person who mentally loves himself is called egocentric. You'll have to look into your Bible to see what a person is called who loves himself spiritually. I looked in there and in Matthew 5:48 and in Corinthians 13, it says we are called perfect when spiritual love comes into our lives.

When my friend asked me, “why should I go on with life?” I answered him by showing the perfection that he had lost sight of. Today, my friend is doing fine, in fact, he asks me to say hi to all of you! Hi!

10 April 2009


When I was still a small child, I remember praying each and every night that God would give me a brother. I know I prayed this prayer thousands of times and never did get an answer.

It's easy to say that this answer was "no", but anyone who is familiar with the way God works, knows that He always does things on His time table and now ours.

Later on in life, I realized that all of those unanswered prayers were kept by God until I needed them the most. It wasn't until I had come to prison and found myself totally abandoned by my family, that I noticed that I was suddenly surrounded by thousands of guys who called themselves brothers.

It took me a long time to fit in, mainly because I had lived my entire life without a brother. I just didn't know how to talk to another guy and in my many attempts at befriending one or more of them, I only ended up chasing them away because, as they have said, I was a weird guy.

It bothered me to be called "weird", but from their position, it was very true. I had grown up thinking that I had to be smart in order for other guys to want me around. Athletics was another way in to their circle, but it took me 15 years just to weigh 100 pounds.

So, I studied and studied until I had so much knowledge that those around me gave me the coveted title of "Weird Dude".

Anyway, there have been a few guys who have put up with my weirdness. One of the most noteworthy guys was a guy who goes by the moniker of "Big G".

Big G's real name is Gilbert Laceman. I'm not exactly sure why he opts to use the name "Big G". Perhaps it's because he's about 6'3", black, and weighs in close to 400 pounds. It might also be an ego booster to be known as big in any capacity.

I call him Big G, but I prefer his real name, it fits him perfectly. Gilbert is a name that means a promise of brightness. Big G is very smart and I can see this over-growing promise of brightness in all of our conversations. Laceman is also appropriate for Big G. One of the not so well known definitions of "Lace" is to attack physically or verbally. It seems like all of or conversations are laced with Big G's verbal attacks. We love to argue about inuendos that really have no great significance to us. We do this primarily out of our internal need to mentally joust with each other. We both have won our share of victories and share an equal number of defeats. Even still, we continue to be friends for one reason, we are brothers.

I once knew a guy who agreed with everything I had said. He and I were great friends until I realized that he never took a position on any issue. I tried to ask him questions that demanded he take a position, but he slithered away from every one of them. I had never met a person so devoid of character. I reasoned that in order for my own character to grow, I would have to fine someone who had a character of stone who would defend their position with a sword or honor. That person turned out to be Big G.

I went to Rec with him today and he was insulted that after all we've been through, I had never mentioned him in this journal. I told him I would go inside and promptly write an essay that covered my thoughts and feelings about him. I tell you this midway through the essay in order for you to understand up front that who I've been to Big G has been marred because of my stated handicap of poor communication. I can write far better than I can speak, so allow me to speak freely in ink what I can't seem to say in words.

I found Gilbert holding a picture of a beautiful young girl about 3 years ago. With a tear in his eye he explained that this picture was of his daughter- a daughter he hadn't seen in years. The vulnerability that I saw in those tears and that I heard in his voice touched a part of my heart where only my own daughters had touched. I don't think that Gilbert knew this, but instantly, in my heart we were forever bonded together that moment as brothers.

I say I don't think he realized this bonding because in the years after this event, we've shared many wild arguments and he later told me that he had stopped talking to me because he feared that I would retalliate against him. When he told me this, it hurt me more than every other stab into my character combined.

I fully understand my inability to speak intimately with another person. But have I become so coarse that those I love the most fear me? According to one of my closest friends, I am exactly that way.

As I write this essay, I find myself trapped with a mind that imprisons my heart. I sincerely don't know how to speak that I find so easily to write about. It's here that I am quite weird. Perhaps it's because I have never learned how to be intimate with myself. My entire life has rested on my physical and mental abilities with nothing in me finding a use for emotional feelings. Certainly, those emotions were there. I mean, if they weren't, then how could I have bonded with Big G over our shared lost in our daughter.

I have become a very emotionally removed man. I need someone who is willing to show me how to be vulnerable. I need someone who isn't afraid to open up their hear and explain to me how they are hurting. I need all of this because in all that I have learned throughout my long life, I have somehow never found the way to express my feelings- because in the greatest of all life's tragedies, I've lost much of my ability to feel them. Big G has brought me closer to discovering who I really am and I cherish our friendship because of this.

So as he will certainly read this, I will say in ink that I may seem like the most imperiously impervious jackass that he has ever known, but I'll ask him to please be patient with me, because there is a much nicer me hidden deeply beneath this overly coarse exterior. I'm just too frightened to leave it undefended.

We live in a very mean and demanding world. Perhaps I will find an island beyond this present tossed sea and a brother like Big G will help me navigate my way to it in a vessel called friendship.

I'm trying hard- but the waves terrify me.

11 April 2009

"It's 6:00 AM"

It's 6:00 AM in the morning. I spent most of last night talking to two friends who will soon be going home. As can be expected, they were really excited as they spoke of the simple things that for many years, they've been unable to do.

I did my best to be happy for them, but deep down in my heart, there was a voice reminding me that I still had 35 more years to go before I'll be able to join them.

As I've mentioned so many times before, my greatest foe in here is loneliness. Loneliness is the self-inflicted gunshot wound that you give to yourself when a gun, or courage, isn't available to you. It's basically an inner form of anger that expresses its rage by denying others the fellowship of your character. It is also one of the strongest ways that a person can avoid all the emotions that caused the original anger. Even in light of all of this, I'm still lonely.

For me, withdrawal seems to be all I have left. My life seems to have nothing of value since I lay her condemned to live in a cell with only scum and insects. Suicide is my only suitor. She visits me when no one else will. I've danced with her many times but have refused to take her into my bosom because in her sweetest of words, I hear a faint whisper of mockery. It all brings to mind something I learned a long time ago, "He who mocks is jealous". If suicide is jealous of my life, then there must be some part of me that suicide sees as being valuable. Maybe there is a facet of who I am that I've not discovered? Maybe there's a part of me that's shining a light into the darkness where suicide wants to thrive? Otherwise, as useless as I feel at this very moment, the attack of this rabid cover makes no sense to me. We only attack that which frightens or threatens us. So perhaps I should continue to dance with these black widows called loneliness &. It's while admiring their beauty, that I just might discover what it is in me that they find so attractive.

But as I said, it's only 6:00 AM. I must face this new day as a gentleman and not let it be known that I spent the night sorrowing with two seducing widows. I'll keep a positive attitude that will hide the tawdry affairs that wait for me each night. I wish that God would send someone into my life who can see into my soul. Perhaps they could tell me what it is that these widows find so appearing. Or better yet, they could explain to me why I have continually chosen to seek refuse with them.

You know, there are times as I write I make subtle discoveries about myself. Like just now, what am I seeking refuge from? The answer to this is obvious. I cling to loneliness so I won't be lonely. She gives me an excuse for my chosen affliction of running away from a life I don't understand. I cling to Miss Suicide because she pities me when I'm feeling sorry for myself. Both of these widows have become a strong part of my life because they strengthen my cowardly resolve. I call them lovers, when in fact, they are replacement mothers who suckle me with their poisoned milk of false kindness. I must find a way to tear myself away from their addictive lures. When loneliness comes, I must surge out and find someone to talk to. When suicide sings her seductive sonnets, I must not allow myself to long for her

It's 6:00 AM in the morning, a new day is dawning. My only fear is one that all lovers endure. It's that once you have fallen in love with someone, that person will forever hold a piece of your heart. I worry that one day sweet loneliness and suicide will come back to reclaim what I cannot deny is theirs.

The clock is ticking...

12 April 2009

"The Measure of a Man"

I don't know how many times I've heard the old saying "If a man won't fight- he ain't got no heart." It always seems to be said by some self-righteous coward who is attempting to look brave by putting another man down.

This morning, one of the weakest guys in our dorm made that all too overused statement when talking about a little Mexican ho had gotten himself into a wreck.

Since he seemed to be an authority on bravery, I asked this boisterous philosophising pugelist to define the word "Heart". He replied, "It's bravery stupid".

I had to laugh when he called me stupid because since he knew this definition wouldn't stand up to my scrutiny, he assailed me with a punch to my brain. So instead of returning his blow, I began asking him questions like, "Can a person prove he is brave in any other way than fighting?" "Is it possible that a man can fight another man without the use of physical violence?" and "Is it wise to step into the ring with someone who's only strength is in his fists?"

Naturally, since this guy knew we were talking about bravery, he answered each questions in a macho way he claimed that bravery requires fighting and that fighting without physical violence isn't fighting. He then added, that any man who turns down a fight is a coward. So I asked him to fight me. I wish you could've seen the look on this guy's face. he was instantly naked of all his bullshit and stood before me as his truly was, a confused little boy who had been pretending he was a bully.

If you ever want to see the measure of a man, simply ask him questions about what he claims himself to be. If he doesn't run off or start yelling at you, you might discover who he really is. But keep in mind, who you are as a person will be exposed by how you relate to this denuded individual.

It's so easy to attack someone when their defenses are down. I've seen others stalk their victims- waiting for that perfect moment when the odds are tilted into their favor. I call these opportunistic attackers cowards. A coward is someone who uses his strength against someone he knows that he can't defend himself. A brave man is one who uses his strength to protect those around him. And heart? I see a person's heart as the throne of what they truly love. A man may brown any number of things as the king or queen of his life. Then, when he seats this crowned object on the throne of his heart, he enslaves himself to serving it forever.

So many of us accept a lie into our lives and instead of humbly admitting that we made a mistake, we plop a crown on top of the lie and defend it to our own death.

There can be only one king in a man's life- it is truth. If you aren't sure what truth is, then kick out whatever is currently sitting on your heart's throne and truth will find you.

The measure of a man is determined by who, or what, resides on his heart's throne? What are you willing to fight for? If it isn't truth, then to use the words of a great philisophising pugelist, "You is stupid>"

13 April 2009

"Rayna's Bookmark"

In class last Friday, my teacher gave me a book to read called, "The World According to Mister Rogers". Since the other inmates call me "Mister Rogers", she thought it was appropriate to loan me his book.

Within this book, I found a bookmark that had the words, "God's Love Shines Through You". It marked a page that said, "There is something unique about being a member of a family that really needs you in order to function well. One of the deepest longings a person can have is to feel needed and essential" (p. 70 "The World According to Mister Rogers") I'm not sure if Rayna marked this page on purpose, or if the bookmark just randomly ended up there. For whatever reason, this single page summed up the relationship that she and I share in the classroom.

Classrooms across the country all have their own unique personalities. Some are wild, while others are sedate and relaxed. But try to imagine a class in a prison with rapists, murderers and crack heads that is being taught by a beautiful woman who looks like Helen Hunt and talks like Jodie Foster. Some folks would call this a Psych 101 class, I call it "Cognitive Intervention 90210". Everyone is in love with the teacher and the completion for her attention creates the "90210" drama.

Overall, the class truly is a form of a family. Its primary disfunction involves an inability to communicate in every direction. Ms. Williams does her best to understand what's being said to her, but unfortunately, nearly everything that she's being told or asked of is designed only to obtain her attention. It's here that I come in.

As Mister Rogers said concerning "A family that really needs you to function well", I'm there to translate what Ms. Williams is saying in prison terms to the inmates and also, to translate back to Ms. Williams what the inmates are actually saying to her.

One such incident involved an inmate who discovered that by loudly talking about how he would beat down a woman who disrespected him, he could control Ms. Williams through emotional terrorism. I told Ms. Williams to simply ask this inmate what characteristics of his personality were respectable. She bravely asked, and this thug turned into a slimey slug and dissolved under her gaze.

The primary function our "Little Family" is to teach each other how to meet our needs without depriving others of theirs. It's my hope that Ms. Williams finds my presence beneficial to all- the bookmarked quotation certainly meant a lot to me if this was the case.

But concerning this bookmark, the words printed on it seemed very appropriate for how Ms. Williams teaches. She has such an innocence about herself that causes me to want to protect her at all costs. She teaches us from her heart with a humbleness that turns her violent criminal students into small children who gladly gather around her feet. Her inner strength flows freely from a compassionate belief in what she's doing. The brilliance of who she is and how she teaches obviously comes from her sincerity in allowing God's love to shine through to us. Whoever gave her that bookmark has seen in her what I'm seeing. She is one of God's precious diamonds and we are all blessed by her presence.

14 April 2009

"With Pen in Hand"

It is ironic that two totally different men would come up to me and boast about their book writing exploits while both refused to let me read whatever they've written.

One of the first things writer should know is that whatever it is that they write, their stories should know not only the characters in the book, but also the character of the person writing the book. I'm sure that this is the reason both of these guys have refused to see their work.

Although they wouldn't allow me to read their work, they gladly described it without thinking that the exploits of their daring characters would outline their own repressed inhibitions.

"Bo" told about how his main character kept falling into sultry sex scenes. "Joe's" book a quick turn down shady street as well. It's one thing to write a ficticious story, it's quite another for your fiction to transform itself into the non-fiction that tells the world your deepest, darkest secrets.

Even though I pointed all of this out to these guys, they still roiled through their languid plots like drunken men divulging their licentious stories to a room full of sailors. It was then that I realized what they were really doing. They were using their stories as an alter-ego to finally confess what they themselves cannot admit.

I'm sure that there is a psychological term for this behavior. I just wish that I knew what it was so I could study it in greater detail.

My intention is to encourage these men to write more, but I'm concerned that without these guys ever owning their past actions, these stories will only serve as a psuedo release of guilt and shame that only sedates the deeper problems that these guys have.

I'm no expert in this field, so as I watch these guys sink deeply into their non-fiction fiction, I wonder if there will ever be any hope for them. They may spend the rest of their lives with pen in hand illustrating their past crimes and deeper plans that they never could carry out. It makes me wonder what other fiction writers are confessing in their works. Look at Stephen King's prolific works. He has laid his soul before us bare on an autopsy table. I believe he writes such frightening works because he personally has a vendetta against everyone who had terrorized him in his early years. He claims he got his inspiration to write horror stories from old horror movies. I think that these old movies just showed him a power that he could use to get even with those who excluded him from their society.

There is a great force at work when words are printed onto a page. A written thought is indelibly inarguable. A person can rape, kill, mutilate and torture- as Stephen King has done with ink stained into the pages of a book, or a person can teach, sow kindness and impart a loving wisdom by using that same ink bleeding out page by page. The ruling force in a person's life is what dictates what kind of story that will be written. The story is the blueprint of the author's soul- his confession to us all of his love or hatred for us.

Bo and Joe are busy writing stories that illustrate how little they know about themselves. Perhaps one day, they will look back through their seedy manuscripts and find out who they really are.

When you read a story, look for the reason why the author wrote it- only then will you comprehend the unwritten plot of the author's heart. With pen in hand, he reveals his darkest mysteries in a hope that someone who will solve them for him.

7 June 2009

 "Letter To Sheri" 

On December 5th 2002, I sat down with a pen, a piece of paper, and a broken heart, and began writing a letter to my ex wife took nearly seven years to finish. This morning, I wrote the final words and then threw the 35 paged letter into the toilet. -FLUSH!!

The letter was written in spurts over this 7 year period. It was sort of an overview of my journey through an emotional death with an occasional moment or two of hideous remarks that resembled the sounds of an undead corpse clawing away from inside his buried casket.

Lessons of life come in terrifying blows when you are emotionally blindfolded. I've never had anyone sit down with me who cared enough to tell me the things I needed to hear the most. Things like, "your wife doesn't love you" and "your kids don't respect you because your wife degraded you when you when you're not around."

Of course, I probably never would've believed them. I had such a false view of who I believed them to be-and also, who I believed I was.

Anyway, in this long letter, I wrote about how sad I was and then, later on I wrote about how sad I was and then, later on I wrote about how angry I was. It's strange that in the end I was quite happy. Life has turned out quite well for me. This too sounds strange considering where I'm at--but when you look back to my last visit with Sheri (my ex), you'll understand why.

She told me in tears that she still loved me. This really didn't mean much since her soon to be new husband was cowering outside in the parking lot. She then said that she needed to move on with her life and that had none of this happened, she would've stayed married to me.

I remember exactly how I felt when she said those words, I believe the word "horrified" fits perfectly.

Here was this woman who didn't shed a tear when I told her that her dad had taken a shotgun and blown his heart out--but now, when caught admitting to her own adulterous activity she cries her eyes out? What a monstrous beast! And to think that had I not come to prison, she would still be married to me? Excuse me while I kiss my cell door! Prison saved my life! Hallelujah!! And to think that back in December of 2002, I felt sad about this? I truly was insane back then.

As I finished up my 35 paged letter to my ex, it dawned on me that I'm no longer dependent upon her in any way. I took the letter and tore it up into tiny pieces and then flushed them down into the sewer where they belong. it felt great doing that. But sadly, there is more.

Mom always told me not to pick on the crippled kids. After all of this crap, I now see my ex as a cripple. I can't help but feel sorry for her. Think about it, she firmly believes that the road she's presently on leads to happiness. I wonder though, will she realize it when she has arrived at happiness--or will she just zoom through it because she hasn't a clue what true happiness is?

I was miserable out there. Happy times for me seemed to carry with them an over shadowing dullness that defied explanation. I didn't figure out what caused this feeling until I got to prison. It involved not knowing who I truly was. Sheri hasn't a clue who she really is--and she is undoubtedly feeling that same dullness. I wish her the best in figuring all of this out. But since she is searching for happiness--she'll never find herself.

I still love who she once was. Who I once was has been reunited with who I am now. This is the only way I can bridge these 7 painful years and say that it wasn't Sheri who moved on with her life--it was I who moved on with mine.

8 June 2009


Today is actually June 19th. I have gone back and deleted the last ID entries because they sucked. Yup, I had mercy on ya, but keep in mind, I'm making no promises for the entries I'm replacing them with.

I'm growing a lot right now. I've not only tossed out Sheri's 7 year long letter, I've tossed out other letters that I've kept for years. I decided I'm not into that Bob Marley look with chains binding to iron clad boxes that hold nothing but empty hopes of past relationships. So today I have only a few items that are precious to me. My bible, my kids photographs, and a promise to collect nothing more that draws my attention from the first two items.

You folks deserve a treat. So over this weekend, I'll write you a story or two. I'm sure that they'll be more interesting than the 10 essays I trashed.

Thank you for hanging in there with me!


The following story was written for a photo essay project. The photo was of a teenage kid wearing a leather jacket jumping by a water garden. From this photo came a boy called:


"I hate my life!"

"Frankie, How can you say that? You are so talented and popular." said Shelley.

"Popular?" Is that what it's called when a person has absolutely no privacy, no time for himself and is forced to live out a life that's scheduled two years in advance by a law firm in Manhattan? I would give anything to have the word popular removed from my existence." Frankie lit a cigarette.

"Then why don't you do something about it?" Shelley leaned in for a light.

"Yeah right, I can just quit and everything would just fade away. Do you know how many CD's I sold last year? Now I'm hearing that I'll win a grammy this year."

"Frankie, you're sounding really ungrateful."

"Ungrateful for what? I never chose this life! Doc Stein chose it for me after he adopted me. He pushed me into this shitty life and now, he's sitting back on a sofa that's stuffed with my money." Frankie took a long drag off his cigarette, then he flipped it over the balcony.

"Frankie! That could land on someone!"

"Good!" Once they figure out that it came from the famous pop star "Frankie Stein", they'll be able to sell my butt like my dad did and live in luxury!"

Shelley reached forward as Frankie moved too close to the edge of the balcony. "Run away Frankie, run away and I'll go with you." If you really are that miserable, then take control of your life and do what you want to do."

"Dad would have a heart attack."

"Then let him!" Shelley continued, "don't you see that you are living his life and not your own? Can't you see that living this way is killing you just like a heart attack might kill him? Do you think your dad ever once thought about what you would want out of life?"

"Okay Shell, you've made your point. But how can I run away when the whole world knows who I am? As soon as dad finds out I'm gone, he'll know where I'm at as soon as he tells the press." Frankie stepped away from the balcony's edge. Shelley stepped up to where he had been standing, then turned back to speak, "all we have to do is change your look. A little makeup, some added hair and some regular clothes--you'll look just like everyone else."

Frankie rushed up to where Shelley was standing holding her at the edge of the balcony. Shelley held him tightly as he whispered like Elvis, "maybe we could fake my death like 'The King' did?"

Shelley bristled when Frankie spoke like this. She said it was spooky hearing Elvis Presley's voice coming out of Frankie.

A week had passed by since Shelley and Frankie vanished. The tabloids were going crazy with the story. Their by-lines read, "Frankie Wed's Groupie" and "Frankie Abducted by Aliens." But high in a sky scraper in the south end of Manhattan, Doctor Stein sat comfortably sipping a martini, a large man stood by his side wearing a suit with an uncomfortable bulge under his left arm.

"Just let me know when you're ready to bring them in" Both of them watched a monitor that showed Frankie's exact location. The radio frequency identification chip was operating perfectly.

"Let our children run and play for a little while longer. After that, I'll let you have your fun." The old man turned off the monitor then told the giant to catch a flight to Dallas. "I'll give them until tomorrow morning, at that time you can bring our Frankie home to us."

As the suited giant left the room in New York, Frankie entered a room in a Dallas hotel. "God this is seedy." Frankie noticed the barely made bed and the handprints on the wall of glass windows.

"You aren't anyone special anymore hun, and don't forget to tip the bellboy when he brings our bags up." Shelley swept her arm across the bed spread. "There, good as first class!"

Frankie knew everything about being famous. To him, with his natural talents it all came so easily. Singing, dancing, and acting, there really wasn't anything that he didn't know how to do--except for this tipping the bellboy. "How much should I give him?" Shelley looked at him with a concerned half smile, "you don't know anything about being normal do you?"

A hurried knock sounded at the door. Frankie jumped to his feet, "Dad's found me!" Shelley threw a pillow at him. "Sit down you maniac, it's just the bell boy."

The bell boy was hardly a boy. He was an older man with grey hair who appeared to know more about Dallas history than American pop stars. Frankie watched helplessly as the old man unloaded his bags. The old man spoke incessantly as he adjusted the blinds. "Check out is at 10:00 AM. The maid comes at 9:00 even though she's not supposed to show up until 10:30. Just shoo her on out if she gets in your way and don't you mind all of that spanish talk of hers. She's just a lonely old woman with nothing else to do." The old man held his hand out to Frankie. Shelley nodded her head as if to tell Frankie to tip him. Frankie pulled out his enormous roll of hundreds from his pocket. The old man's eyes grew as Frankie put two hundred dollar bills in his hand. Frankie mistook the old man's shock the wrong way and peeled off three more notes. Shelley stepped forward and ushered the old man out as he replied back to Frankie, "anything you need son, just whistle for me! Clyde's my name and I'll be all right..." The door thunked shut. "I'll be right there for ya!"

Shelley looked at Frankie as through he were a misbehaved child. "Let me see that roll of bills." Shelley rolled through the heavy supply of hundreds. "Haven't you ever heard of a twenty dollar bill?" Shelley handed back the cash and said "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to teach you how to be normal." Frankie laughed, "but for tonight, we are going to be as abnormal as possible!" He reached over to the nightstand and said "I wonder where a good place to be abnormal in Dallas would be?" As Frankie fumbled around for the phonebook, a voice form outside their door said "If i was gonna be abnormal, I'd head on down to Deep Ellum." Clyde was posted outside their door. Frankie reached into his pocket while opening the door. "Hello Clyde."

"Hello Mr. Frankie."

As another hundred dollar bill hit Clyde's palm, Frankie had complete directions as to where Deep Ellum was at. Clyde even offered to drive them down to what he called a very abnormal club.

Dallas is a city that goes to bed early. The downtown passages between the tall towers resemble a ghost town after 10:00 PM. An occasional blowing sheet of newspaper appears as a modern day tumble weed.

But on the lower end of town the restless heart of Dallas beats in clubs that stay open all night. "Zaggo's" was tonight's destination. A long bar, a stage in the back with standing room only for kids exploring the world of jazz.

Clyde dropped Frankie and Shelley off at the end of the street. He said, "when you're ready to go just whistle. I'll be right there for ya."

Up at "Zaggo's," a soloist was murdering a saxophone. Frankie met a waiter at the door, "you actually pay him to play that bad?" The waiter, a man about 60 pounds heavier than Frankie, grabbed a microphone and said "stop the music!" As a silence rolled across the crowd, a young girl said "oh God, I hope its not my dad again." The waiter snidely said "this man says our saxophone player stinks! So why don't we all let him step up and show him how it's done."

Frankie wanted to punch the man, but inhaled deeply and said "sure, I'd love to give him a free lesson." Shelley grabbed him by the arm, "Frankie, this isn't a good idea. Remember we came here to run away from show business." Frankie smiled, and with Elvis in his voice he said, "Shelley, this ain't show biz. This is what life is all about"

The sax felt good in his hands. He closed his eyes and started playing an old song that no one there had ever heard. The crowd was silent as Frankie hit and held every sad and mournful note. When he finished, the crowd cheered for more. Outside the door, Clyde stood with tears in his eyes. The waiter asked what he was crying about. Clyde took off his hat and said "son, you call this a jazz bar and you've never heard the song "Melancholy Moon?"

Frankie and Shelley decided that 2:00 AM would be their cut off time. Bar hopping, dancing and karaoking to fast paced punk rock music had worn the two out. With a whistle, Clyde had them on their way back to the hotel. Behind them followed a black SUV.

At 9:00 AM, a sharp knock at their door woke them up. Frankie and Shelley looked each other in the eyes and moaned "Clyde?!"

"Geesh! Doesn't he ever sleep?" Frankie pulled on his pants. Shelley watching said "didn't you know? Clyde lives in our hallway." Frankie opened the door and Clyde walked in, "good morning missy, good morning Frankie. I figured you both would enjoy an early morning get away." Clyde seemed to be a little too confident. Frankie resented it when someone else made plans for him.

"Clyde, have you ever been in show business?" Shelley glared at Frankie as Clyde answered, "No sir, I don't reckon I ever was." Clyde walked over to Frankie, "at least not until last night."

Shelley pulled the blanket up around her, "he knows who we are Frankie."

"Yes ma'am. I do know, but calm down, I'm here to help you." Clyde readjusted the blinds. "I think I know a bit more about you and your dad than you do." Clyde handed Frankie a shirt and then sat down on the foot of Shelley's bed.

"When you kids look at me, all you see is a foolish old man. I've lived a wonderful life and I've got memories of spending time with all of those singers and musicians that you only know as legends. Fats Domino, Muddy Rivers and the ones that were larger than life like the Big Bop and that boy out of Memphis called Elvis."

Shelley moved closer to him, "you knew Elvis?"

Clyde smiled and said "he let me drive his Cadillac," then laughed. "but only because he was too drunk to know it. Elvis always drove himself around town. He said it wasn't manly to be chauffeured around like some high and mighty king."

Frankie pointed back "you said you know more about my dad than I do?"

Clyde continued "there's a lot of money in the music business. The artists don't make anywhere near the amount of money their managers do. Take Elvis for example, I recall the day Elvis found out he was a millionaire. Elvis got so excited that he went out and brought everyone he knew a brand new Cadillac." Clyde paused to reflect back in disgust "he didn't know that his manager had hit the million dollar mark a whole year and a half before he did. I figure that's why he gave he gave the old shark a Cadillac too. Guys like you attract the worst kinds of sharks." Clyde paused again then added, "I've known your daddy for a long, long time. He's one of the cruelest sharks I've ever known."

"Okay," Frankie said, "my dad's got a bad history. But look what he's done for me."

Clyde shook his head no "son, you are the one that did all of that. Do you think your fans show up because your daddy told them to? And besides Frankie, Doc Stein isn't really your father."

Franke got furious. "Here we go again with this tabloid crap. Dad told me that some moron made up a kook scientist and I was his science project."

Clyde was shocked. "He actually admitted that to you?"

Frankie slipped into his leather jacket, "dad admitted nothing. He told me it was a story that was made up to sell newspapers."

"Tell me Frankie, did your dad ever talk about your mother?"

"No, nothing more than to say that she died while she was pregnant with me." Shelley was getting uncomfortable with the topic, "cant you guys talk about something else?"

Clyde opened his shirt while he spoke, "Frankie, there's no way that your dad would let you run away." Barring his old arm, Clyde pointed out a knot under his bicep. "Frankie, I work for your dad. He implanted this chip in me so he would know where I'm at. I'm willing to bet that you've got one too."

As Frankie felt his arm, the hotel door door was kicked open. A large man in a suit entered with a gun leveled at Clyde. Frankie spun and kicked the gun out of his hand and Clyde grabbed it. The giant seemed a lot smaller with the gun aimed at him. Clyde held the gun steady while telling Frankie, "get out of here. Cut that chip out of your arm and run away, the stories you heard were all true. Doc Stein was a geneticists and harvested genes from performers. You were the recipient of those genes. It's like he robbed their graves to harvest pieces of their dead bodies to make you. Run away Frankie, its the only way you'll ever get away from Stein."

Frankie smiled at Clyde. "You honestly believe all that crap?" Frankie slid his arm out of jacket. "Look old man, there isn't anything in my arm." Frankie laughed at the old man, "Dad's going to be royally pissed off when he hears that we overpowered one of his best body guards."

Clyde was in shock at being so wrong. He knew that the boy's life was only a play being orchestrated by Doc Stein. He was sure that finding a chip in Frankie's arm would have convinced him that his life was being totally controlled. He then realized his mistake. Clyde took a step back, apologized to Frankie and then fired a shot into Shelley's chest.

"Oh my God!" Frankie yelled. Blood was oozing from Shelley's wound as she tried to speak. Clyde shouted out "Feel her arm! Damn it son, feel her arm!" Frankie lifted her arm up and there it was. He dropped her arm, then stood back confused.

Clyde pointed to the chip, "your dad wouldn't damage his main investment so he put that chip into her and paid her to be your girlfriend." The giant on the floor said, "Clyde, you don't know what you've just done. That girl was together like Frankie was. Doc Stein is going to kill you slowly for this."

Clyde pulled a card out of his pocket and gave it to Frankie, "son, you'll have to change your name then go to this house in Vegas. There are people there who will help you. Just don't talk to anyone son--Do you understand me?" Frankie read the card and then ran out of the room. The elevator didn't open up fast enough, so he ran for the stairs. When he ran out of the hotel, a water garden lined the walkway. As he ran past the spraying fountains, a shot rang out from high above in the hotel. Frankie jumped from the sound, and then another shot rang out.

Out of breath, with tears streaming down his face, he stopped. In his heart he knew that four people had just passed away. Shelley, Clyde, the giant, and Frankie the pop star. He clenched his fists in rage, then roared out a savage cry.

Every birth begins with pains of sorrow. The greatest trauma of any man's life occurs when he is violently removed from the safety of his mother's womb. Frankie walked the city streets as a homeless man. He owned nothing, he had no family and no name to call himself. All he knew was that help of some kind would be found in Las Vegas.

The bus ride was uneventful. A radio was playing one after another of Frankie's songs. Then, a sad DeeJay announced that the famous pop star Frankie Stein was found dead in a hotel room with his girlfriend. It was reported that the two committed suicide. Frankie sat silently as several passengers wept over his untimely death.

The address in Vegas was a massive mansion, guards patrolled a 15 foot tall wall that encircled the compound. When Frankie approached the gate, a guard welcomed him. There were three large gates that opened slowly. Frankie felt as though he were entering a prison. After the third gate, an old woman stood waiting for him.

She was 5'4". Her once blonde hair was now almost all gray. The only thing that remained of the beauty of her past was a small beauty mark just above her top lip. "Norma" was her name, the same name as Frankie's mother.

There were other people there. Like"Robert" whose real name had once been Jim Morrison. Nancy was another old woman who once sang songs with her brother. Their last names were once Carpenter.

As Frankie met each one of these legends, the one he hoped to meet the most was no where to be found. Elvis really was dead and Frankie knew exactly how death felt.

It was while Frankie was walking around the garden that an old familiar voice said, "if you whistle, I'll be there!" Frankie turned to see Clyde smiling at him.

"You're not dead!" Frankie shouted. Clyde shouted back "and you are!" Frankie hated the thought of being dead. He told Clyde there just wouldn't be any way that he could live out the rest of his life in this old folks name. Clyde pointed out 3 old men arguing over a horse shoe game. "Do you know who they are?" Frankie shook his head no. Clyde said they died in a plane crash back in the 50's. They were tired of being popular and decided to run away like you did. Frankie asked, "you mean they've been here over 50 years?" Clyde laughed, "Frankie, this place isn't 50 years old. What happens is this; a celebrity wants to retire--or in some cases like where your dad was concerned, a celebrity suddenly is retired by a mysterious death. The celebrity isn't killed, they come here to form a new identity. They live out normal lives and even have children--but you already know that."

Frankie said, "I did?"

Clyde said, "but you were with Norma all day yesterday."

Frankie looked confused. "Norma never told me who she was."

Clyde sat down on a garden mall. "Frankie, Norma was once named Marilyn Monroe. She is Marilyn Monroe."

Frankie asked, "then who was my father? Was it you?"

Clyde proudly gave Frankie a hug "no son, it wasn't me. It was him." Clyde pointed to an old man who was tending a vegetable garden. "His name was Aaron, go say hello."

When Frankie's shadow fell over Aaron's hands, the old man stood up and Frankie's smile said it all. "I knew it was you! I've known all of my life that it was you!"

The old man held his son tightly in his arms. "They told me the old bastard was going to kill you."

Frankie replied "no dad, Doc Stein has always been good to me. Didn't you hear how he fixed up the hotel room to have a body that looked just like me?"

"Stein had nothing to do with that body, we took care of that. Stein wanted you dead because he couldn't control you anymore."

"How do you know all of this?"

The old man pointed to Clyde "he has lived his life as a nobody out there and is invaluable to us because of his anonymity."

Frankie thought for a moment about his situation, "then Stein will be living out the rest of his life on my money?"

The old man pulled a newspaper out of his pocket. On page two was the sad story of a bereaved father who took his own life after losing his son. The old man's name was Doc Stein.

"And my money?" Clyde handed Frankie a stack of papers. "This sir, is your last will and testament. You will be leaving everything to us. You have lost nothing. Please sign here...and here."

Frankie looked at his dad and asked, "who really killed Doc Stein?"

The old man stood up, shook of the dirt in a familiar way and said in his Tennessee accent "son, I may be old. But i still believe you taking care of business."

--The End--

(Dedicated to the great Elvis "Aaron" Presley)

This was just a first draft. So please excuse the rough spots.

10 June 2009

"The Death of a Day"

Usually, before I go to sleep each night, I set some goals for the following day. Last night, I had planned to finish reading Barack Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope", I'm about one hundred pages into this book and I'm stumbling upon something that I discovered while reading books about Martin Luther King's life.

Doctor King and President Obama seem to share a distinct character that few of their supporters understand, or share. King wanted equality. He based this desire upon the fact that he believed he could accomplish great things for humanity if only he were given the chance. Today, Obama is making those same claims. but in the context of government. Obama and King are definitely very intelligent men, many of their supporters are also intelligent. But when this intelligence is mated up with a deficient character, the result is what has been plaguing the black race for centuries.

We have in here a Black who firmly believes that he has what it takes to ascend as Obama did. Nevermind the fact that he is a convicted felon. Nevermind the fact that his character is 100% "ME" centered. He only sees two things in Obama and Mr. King. He sees big words and Black skin.

Everytime this guy gets up to speak, he uses words and quotes form books that he's memorized. his actions betray his fake rhetoric and if you listen carefully, you'll even hear in his big misused words. The underpinning selfishness of what he's all about.

Even still, with our black warden and our education department that cares only for motivational speeches, this black ego-maniac is slowly being elevated. It makes me see how blind people are to the truth. The openly identity with selfish motives and thus, leave men like me out of their society.

I richly applaud them for elevating a fool to be their speaker. Their house of cards will crumble with a foundation of fools. The same held true for Doctor King, after he died, the movement ebbed. Obama will only be a brief flash in the pan because are no other Blacks with the character needed to press onward.

I wish that what I'm reading in Obama's book would come true. But sadly, Americans do not have the character to live in Obama's promised land of politics.

I'm sad today. I don't think I'll do anything, seeing people for who they truly are gives me ample reason to mourn for the death of a day that great men can only dream about.