Today I found out that another friend got a parole date. His eyes were bloodshot red from crying as he told me, “Paul, the parole board found me suitable today.”
That’s wonderful news and I’m happy for him. He asked me when am I going to the board. I had to tell him that I am not scheduled for another 18 years.
He tried to cheer me up. He said, “Well, you know things are changing.”
That’s true. This past year three of my friends who had life sentences were found suitable by the parole board. That wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. Things like that give me hope.
[…] My deepest and best relationship right now is the one I have with my pen and this writing program. I love being able to sit down and write something that I know another human being is actually going to read. I know that my writing is not very good as far as grammar, punctuation, and all the rules are concerned, but I can say this. It is mine and it is how I feel. […]
These clowns have some witch doctor (i.e. psychologist) walk around every so often to ask us if we’re okay. They can care less one way or another; it’s just for their own paperwork. You say “yep” and they’re on their way. I wouldn’t really actually discuss anything with them anyway, and certainly not at my fucking door in front of the cops and anyone else who is listening. Besides, if I was to hop up and say, “I’ve been locked up for 21 years […], being kept in this little cell and treated like a cow has me so fucking angry,” they would just smile and tell me to put in an I-60 form or something equally stupid.
Monsters are being created in these places; modern day Frankensteins.
Mom came to see me today. We had a good time and lots of laughs – as usual. The older I get the more I like her and the more I appreciate her. We fought like Tom & Jerry when I was a kid. I always felt like she was trying to fuck me over. I realize now that she was being my friend even when it seemed otherwise. She had a tough time back then, and I didn’t make things any easier. I remember her working three jobs and still we didn’t have any money. Sometimes there wouldn’t be anything to eat. I remember going to Montgomery Ward to buy a load of candy when there wasn’t anything in the house to eat. We didn’t have any money to buy any but she had great credit. She always managed to pull us through.
The Saints play tonight, they are having a great year, that makes me happy. I don’t really care about football although I enjoy watching the game. I could not tell you the names or states of most players yet nothing in the world of football makes me happier than seeing the Saints win a game.
Saints games, much more than Mardi Gras episodes of Cops, remind me of a truly happy period of my life. I lived in New Orleans for about seven years and just loved it. The freedom, the food, the people. The smell of night Jasmine as I walked the streets of the Garden District after the kitchen closed. The smell of the river as I walked to my dad’s house down in the French Quarter. It is a city of smells, even the stale beer and urine that permeates Bourbon Street so often can be endearing when you love the city.
It is also a city of color, a city of music and a city of flavor that has no peer. It is everything prison is not. Damn this place sickens my soul. My cell is loam, not just the walls, everything. My locker, my desk, my bunk, my mattress, even my damn coffee cup. My clothes are brown just like the other 1,300 men I share this place with. The food is soy bean, no matter what shape or name they give it, covered in tomato paste and water or gravy base and water.
It kills the soul, it really does. I don’t care enough about anything to be angry, or sad, or happy. I just don’t care. So thank god for the Saints, pun intended, for a few hours tonight I will care about something. I’ll eat a ramen noodle, pretend it’s gumbo, and remember what being alive was like.
I’m not sure how all of this works, but I would like to become involved in your program. Guess I can start with my name, which is Sonny, and I am 39 years old. They give out a lot of time in Texas, especially if you make ‘em angry. This is my third time in prison for doing stupid things (stealing cars, escaping outta jail, etc.). Way back on Christmas Eve of 2003, I jumped off the roof of the jail and tried to get away. I didn’t make it 50 yards and they had me. Didn’t hurt anyone, or hold any hostages, and have never done anything violent. Guess how much time they gave me for trying to escape? 77 years! They filed “habitual criminal,” and wouldn’t make me an offer, so I had no choice but to go in front of a jury. Needless to say, they didn’t make me look like the altar boy I once was.
I’ve been locked up almost nine years. I just came up for parole for the third time and they gave me another year set-off. That’s the only good thing about the 77 years… it’s non-aggravated. So, I come up every year now. Maybe they will let me go next year because I don’t get in any trouble, and I’m really and truthfully an alright guy. No joke. I just have the worst luck. If I try to steal a piece of bubble gum I’d get caught.
It seems like every time I get started with my writing, something always comes up or prevents from writing or stopping me.
And when I stop it’s hard for me to jump right back into it, but here I am again, with a thought in mind. I woke up today and everything around me seems to be calm and collected, there is no malice or tension in the air and it seems like everyone is getting along just fine. That seems too to be overwhelming, or something’s not right about this picture. As the day progresses, I knew it was too good to be true; somebody has been doing some stealing around here which is why everybody seems to be alright, but instead they are not alright, they are uptight…
… I am so ready to go home, till it’s just a shame to even think that I can’t go on my own free will. I remember times that I could go home on my own will, but the street-life would not allow me to go, so I worried my wife and her girls so much that it drove me to this. I finally realize how much I value my life. Pettiness has driven me thus far and I know that I am now reaping what I have sown. It used to be time when I wouldn’t even answer my cell-phone because I knew my wife was calling to see where I was, and to ask me to come home, but I wouldn’t, due to the vices that had me whooooooped! Now I realize my errors and mistakes that my own hands have cost me. I may not be guilty of what I was accused of doing, but I am guilty of something, and that is constantly neglecting my duties as a man, a friend, son, husband etc. Some times I have to beat myself up, just so that I could face reality, because no one got me in this situation but me. And all I can do is wish. Wish that this could all be over with soon.
I’m fighting my case, and I know that I’m right in my innocence, and I believe that the courts know as well, but they insist on taking their time in responding to my claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. They are taking their time…
Well, it was back to work today. Man I need it. We were in the woods and I found out just how out of shape I am and how much I miss that type of work. Cutting down trees with an axe, cutting it up, dragging or carrying it out. Hard, rough work it is, but the kind of work that will get you into shape and make city boys understand what country boys do when they clear ground. It almost felt like I was at home again, only a lot more help than I’m used to having while working. Now I’m sore in a good way, and am looking forward to the next day when we go out, because I want to go back to the woods and cut some more trees. End 5:48pm
Start 11:26 am
As much as I love good old classic country music, there is a reason I don’t listen to it much anymore. And it is a simple reason, hearing most of it is like a punch in the gut. It makes me think of the past, my family, my grandfather, so much more. And yes, I admit it, I do cry when I hear certain songs. Life as a country boy is never easy or simple, as some people would think. Up early to start working, work till late at night. But it is a life that I love and wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m always happiest when I’m doing farm work, brush clearing, tending animals, anything that I grew up doing. Because even if I’m in prison doing this work, in my mind, I’m at home again. End 11:37am