June 25, 2020 (“So into you” by Fabulous) “If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory” William Hazlitt
This morning I had an attorney phone call.
I suppose I am expected to feel relief and be grateful. And I think I do when I think of the relief my family and friends have. For me personally? Not so much. I think I can’t get past the fact that I, the brown-skinned person who’s maintained his innocence from the start, have to deal with this. And the white skinned confessed murderer who committed the crime I’m on Texas death row for is FREE on parole.
Being a victim of a criminal justice system that intentionally has institutional racism built into it for 22 years and counting has affected me in ways that I am unable to comprehend. And these traumas have changed me in ways that I can never undo.
That’s just the fact of the situation.
One thing for sure I am not satisfied with just having the pressure removed. I will not be satisfied until I am forever free and far away from here.
June 26, 2020 (“You’re no good” by Linda Rondstadt.) “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” John Lennon
I’ve been pushing myself hard these past few weeks as I have developed tunnel vision keeping my eyes on my goal and not letting anyone or anything to knock me off track.
Today I was up at 5:30 am for my turn at recreation. At 6 am I am put in the day room and I’m not in there 15 minutes when the guard gets a call saying No rec! Showers only. The whole time I’m thinking I could be asleep right now. So I get my shower and get right back in bed. It’s pretty quiet so I go right back to sleep. I sleep for a few hours and it’s funny I have this thought, “You’re going to get an attorney phone call”, about FOUR times. And sure enough, at 12:30pm, the guards are at my door, “Attorney phone call!” I’m waiting on the “message”, “You’re going home, wake up!” to come on any day now! Ha ha!
Anyway, it’s who I knew it would be and it seems that for the foreseeable future we have made it through the storm and are sailing in calmer waters and I’m grateful and now, back to my grind and tunnel vision. Got a lot to do and that’s a good thing and today I started my day twice and am on that right now. Doing what I need to do not what I want to do. It feels good and there’s some sun shining through the clouds on me.
June 27, 2020 (“Damn’ Good”, by David Lee Roth)
“The only thing that is worse than not being free is not remembering when you were free. That would be the saddest thing of all.” – Leonard Peltier
I have a love-hate relationship with the memories of when I was once free. I hate them so much that I have for years intentionally not thought of them. I love them so much that when I do take them out of the box I keep them locked up in they hurt. They make me want to cry. So my way of dealing with them is to not think of them.
Today I was moved to write an essay about my memories of being free. I talked about my friend named Justin Cody Prather. He was a good dude and was always down for whatever and was not a snitch. For better or worse, he learnt that from me. Folks can say whatever about Cody – but he was down and wouldn’t tell it! We were best friends for years until incarceration began to separate us. First him, then me and here I sit. I remember Cody telling me about his dad who rode a Harley-Davidson and was from West-Virginia, I think! It’s been more than 30 years. His dad died young in his 40’s and had passed when we became friends.
In 2016, I learnt that my friend Cody had passed away in his sleep. Like his father he was gone way too young. I remember when “Damn’ Good” was released, me and Cody would jam to it in that El Camino. I loved that song the first time I heard it. Who knew me and Cody were living those Damn’ Good Times then.
June 28, 2020 (“Long long time” by Linda Ronstadt)
“Not where I breathe but where I love, I live.” St Robert Southwell
Another Sunday morning and I listen to “Blues Brunch with Nuri Nuri” and man, that brotha knows his blues. Got the tunes rocking, had a full nite’s sleep and I am hitting this thing at 100% I hit my floor and got 30 minutes of exercise (non-stop) in. And a lit bit of meditation in before my turn for shower. Someone I know told me to stop biting people and I said Okay. To keep from allowing my “Battle Mode” from bleeding other relationships, I gotta exercise-burn that mess up and out of me. I can get it down about half way and then I am able to control it. But it’s NOT easy. Not by a long shot but I manage and you already know – I was built for this.
That sad cloud that I had following me around for a year has finally gone away. That feels sooo good. I was wondering how long it would last… And I am grateful I am back to 100% again. At full strength I am capable of manifesting all my dreams into reality. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
It’s pretty crazy here lack of staff means no recreation, the past couple of days rumors of positive Covid-19 case on the unit abound, some are true. No more phone calls as the TDCJ emergency order has expired. So no visits, no calls, no meetings/visits with my legal team and I am supposed to be happy about it. Looks like I need to exercise some more cause here it comes again!
July 2nd 2020 (“Little by Little” by Robert Plant)
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” – Teddy Roosevelt
I was once told that the reason I am so organized and obsessive about having my things in their proper place is because I have so little control over my live so I am really serious about what I can control here. I plan tomorrow’s activities today. When I want to go to recreation in the morning, I will be in bed by 11PM so I can be up at 5 am and feel rested. Every other day, 5 days a week I go out to rec’ at about 6AM – or I am part of the “1st round” of rec’s the guards put out in the 6 day rooms and 4 outside rec yards. The guards begin 1st shift at 5:30 am, come through asking everyone if they are going to rec? By 6am we are in the day room. I like going out early, when I plan it right, I get rec, a shower and a day’s worth of writing or whatever work I need to do.
Last night I was in bed by 11PM and up at 5AM this morning. Early bird gets the worm and all of that. When the guard comes through she asks me, “Are you showering?” I reply, “Yes after I go to rec!” She then says no rec’s, showers only, not enough guards showed up. I think prison guards are like roofers! They don’t like to work and on pay day they give it hell drinking beer and partying then won’t show up for work the next day. Hell they’re still drunk the next morning. Guess what yesterday was for these devils? Payday! So I exercised in my cell and here I sit wishing I could get out of it.
July 3, 2020 (“Mercury” by The Steve Miller Band)
“Love and Trust, in the space between what’s said and what’s heard in our life, can make all the difference in the world.” Fred Rogers
Today, I’ve done something I enjoy very much. That is to take a day to catch up and read the different magazines and newspapers I receive here. Often times during the week, especially Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I focus hard on my correspondence and get lots of reply letters written. This is Independence Day week-end-4th of July. I’m sure we’ll have a mail holiday – just what we need! Probably not get any mail Monday. We’ll see.
It’s no surprise that the roofers – I mean the guards did not show up so no recreation again for us. I am not happy about it but there’s nothing we can do about it. I said that to a friend today – the only thing that will happen is we’ll end up in trouble and on Level III. So I’d rather exercise in my cell and get that frustration out like that. So far so good! When things in our life occur that we have no control over we have to accept it and run with it. No matter how much we want to make THEM feel our pain. All that will do is land you in a cell with nothing in it covered in Gas. So I’ll pass!
I’ll enjoy the day instead. We got old school music vs. new school all weekend on the Box Radio Station so I’ll jam instead. For your information, I’m always team old school!
July 4th 2020 (“If trouble was money” by Albert Collins)
“It does not require many words to speak the truth” Chief Joseph
So today is our Independence Day and on Texas death row we celebrated with being denied recreation – AGAIN. I am grateful for my being able to shower. You have to be thankful for something. We were given baked chicken for lunch and I took my leg and thigh and used it in making some chicken/rice/beans tacos. That’s how a Latino celebrates the 4th of July!
Somewhere right now, some of my kinsmen are in a backyard; music going and cold beer in hand as the Barbecue is cooking. The 4th is always a day off from work and this is how they will spend the day. Mexicano/Tejano musica going, children running around chasing the dogs around the yard. Family and friends coming and going, as they drink plenty of beer. Budweiser, Bud Lite, or Miller Lite are the favs, ice cold out of a cooler. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, ribs, steaks, all kinds of food is being cooked.
I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about what my life was like before Texas death row now but I have! I notice it isn’t as painful as it used to be. Not sure but it’s been on my mind a lot especially during the holidays. I continue to do my part trying to get back to the free world I left so long ago. I might be on the long way back – as long as on my way!
July 5, 2020 (“Blues Power-live” by Albert King)
“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Sundays always find me listening to “Blues Brunch with Nuri Nuri” on kpft.org. He is amazing like usual sharing so many great blues songs. I slept late till 9AM after realizing when I don’t get enough sleep I am not at my best. It’s 8 hours for me and I am in top form like today. It only took me 50 years to figure that out! Got my exercise and spiritual practice done and here I am with pen in my hand. I have come to really love the blues. I had a friend names Bill Dillworth who was a mechanic and once, many moons ago had a shop next to my dad’s roofing and construction business. Bill was a Mopar guy – he owned Chrysler/Dodges and he had some nice rides. We became friends. I was 20-something and Bill was 40 something and Bill loved the blues. I knew nothing about it but one week he invited me and my girl to go out with him and his girl to a live blues club. And we went. I only remember it was in east Dallas and Bill drove. We got there in the early evening and we had drinks and the music began. It was amazing. That was one of my best live music experiences ever.
Only now do I understand how wonderful the blues is and enjoy it every weekend. When I am out of this dump I’ll be sure to see a lot more blues played live!