Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Imagine - by Edward James

When you wake up tomorrow morning I want you to imagine that you are in a 6' x 9' concrete cage with one wall overlaid with a set of 1''round steel bars covered by a dimond shaped steel grating. After having slept on a 3'' thick mat laid over a metal bunk that is bolted to one wall.

Now imagine not having to take more than one step to partake of your morning routine because your toilet and sink are only 3' from the edge of your bunk. Then imagine having straddle that toilet to reach the sink so you can wash your face and brush your face.

Imagine only being able to take 4 steps in one direction, from the front of your cage to the back, then 4 more back to the front. Where if you want you can look out a window. Only in order to do that you must gaze past two sets of bars and that dimond shaped grate to see a brick wall through a grimy plate of glass.

Imagine having no control over the meals you will eat this day. Somebody else will decide what you shall eat, when you will get it and whether it will be hot or cold. Then when it does come it arrives on a crusty slotted tray. Which you have to hold it on your lap or place it on the sink above your toilet, or simply hold it braced against the bars at the front of your cage. Because there are no table or chairs as any other human might have to use.

Imagine having no privacy, where people who don´t care about you at all can come in and go through your belongings anytime they want and there is nothing you can do about it.

Imagine on the few occasions that may get out of your cage you are first forced to strip naked and bend over and spread your cheeks so someone can look you over for contraband.

Imagine getting sick and only being able to get generic Tylenol and cheap coughdrops, nobody is going to bring you hot soup and tea, or put cold compresses on your fevered brow.

Imagine being in the environment and only being giving 1 pair of pants, 1 shirt - both bright orange, 4 t-shirts, 4 pairs of boxers, 4 socks, 1 pair of cheap camvasse shoes, 1 toothbrush, (1 tube of toothpaste, 1 bar of soap (every two weeks)), 1 towel, 1 washrag, a 3''thick mattress, a pillow if your lucky, two sheets, a pillow case, a thin army blanket and a jacket (light weight). Also, to your amazement, a 12''b/w tv and the opportunity to mail one letter a month.

Now you will be allowed some minor luxuries, but you will have to buy them out the prison canteen once a week. But wait a second, where you will get the money for that ? You aren´t allowed to work or operate a business in any way. So you will have to, if you want to have any kind of luxuries like coffee, tea, a coffee cup, shampoo and deodorant, or if you would like to write a letter more than once a month, depend on family or friends to help support you.

And imagine that is only the small stuff you have to deal with ?

Imagine never being able to walk on grass again or to stroll barefoot along the beach. Imagine never again to be able to look up at night and see the moon or the stars. Or to experience the sun rising to a chorus of song birds, or to sit with a loved one and gaze at the setting sun.

Imagine never again hearing the laughter and joy of a child on X-mas morning. Or to simply get up and go for a stroll when you get the urge.

Imagine never again to be able to dance with your sweetheart, to be able to look into their eyes and tell how much you love them, except for the weekly visits.

Imagine never again being able to make love.

Imagine not being able to get up and go to the fridge when you want an ice cold drink on a hot day or maybe a snack or sandwich.

Imagine not being able to leave the room when those around you are making so much noise they are driving you crazy.

Now imagine having to deal with all this and more every day knowing that the government is doing everything in its power to murder you. So I guess with all that considered, one could still say we here on Death Row have it easy.

Oh, one more thing, imagine that you were wrongly convicted and are truly innocent.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The end of the day - by Average Joe

And so once again - Plug your ears. Chow Time !

4:45 p.m. tonight's meal is one that´s ok. A burrito slice of cheese. Rice - salad and a cookie - it´s not great - but, you can fill up on it. And now - another important time of day approaches.

Mail time. It´s always a spirit lifter to receive mail from a loved one - family or friend. It´s a life line to them - the free world. A way to keep love and care flowing. Doesn´t matter if it´s full of interesting news ect, if it´s just a note. That´s ok. Or news of every day life. You touch home base. You get a smile or laugh - or share a problem or a sadness that may have occurred. It´s the sharing ! So, yes, it is important !

It always sucks, when the mail man passes and doesn´t stop at your door ! I got two so I´m good ! Can you sense the smile ?

7 p.m. not much on T.V. tonight - so I´ll hang out with
the guys till 10 p.m.
Then catch "N.Y.P.D. Blue". Hopefully they won´t show Dennis Franz´s butt, that could scar a person for life ! They only did it once - but, that was once too many. Time to play jeopardy. Play with my two neighbors. Well I lost tonight. 12 right for my neighbors, 5 for the others, 10 for me.

We play or I do, cause it keeps the old brain oiled. Same reason I do crossword puzzle and read. Plus I learn a lot and it passes time. A lot of what I do - it´s just getting through a day. I get through today then I´ll worry about tomorrow - tomorrow.

And yes, I´ve done these same things over and over for years. And sometimes I´m just going through the motions ! Not really experiencing them. But, that´s part of survival too. I´ve survied 28 years of them. By my math 10,120 such days ! And yes, there´s times when I just want to say screw it. Just lay on my bunk and let the world pass on by. I even allow myself to have a pity party for a day or two here and there ! Then that old voice says - get your butt up and be about something. It´s that spirit - or will - that knows no quitting !

True I need to get a life. I´m working on it. Who knows what the future holds. And I decided long ago I will stick around to see where it all leads. And find things to enjoy along the way. Remain myself not what this place would make of me.

Time for "N.Y.P.D. Blue" ! I´m back 11 p.m. Time for lights out - in the hall and in the cell. T.V. stays on - time for me to hear the sirens´ song - crash open their rocks. They call me with promises of delights I´ve never dreamed of. Like from the tales of Ulysses !

So, I shall bid all of you good night ! Another day in Paradox !
Take care and stay strong in the fight !

Average Joe !