Journal entries – March 31 – April 5, 2020

March 31, 2020

Under dog, Alicia Keys

« Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows. » Helen Keller

It’s Tuesday morning here and we woke up to no recreation – showers only. The guards says they are “working on the CCTV cameras” on DR. It sounds fishy to me… I guess we’ll see. I heard on the news that all people from the state of Louisiana and NY are being required to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon entering the state of TX. The TX State troopers are stopping cars coming from Louisiana imposing this quarantine. Imagine my surprise when I heard the guards talking about one of their coworkers having just come back from Louisiana after attending a funeral and who is running DR like it’s no big deal. I guess these people don’t follow the news? Insanity – that’s exactly how Coronavirus is going to get into this prison.

The building is quiet and I always appreciate that. It feels uncomfortable for people guards and general population prisoners alike to be coming and going here. It seems like the people in charge of this place really are not taking the situation. Can’t say there is a suitable solution; it just feels like that. The situation is ever changing so I am sure tomorrow they’ll be doing something else.

Last night, I received jpays from 2 friends in the UK. The thing is – I have heard that Mail delivery in England at minimum is suspended for 3 weeks. I am not sure the exact mail delivery service in France either. I kind of feel cut off from friends and loved ones in Europe. That’s not easy to deal with. The stress and anxiety level is high enough but I manage taking deep breaths.

April 3, 2020,

Lonely night, Captain and Tenille

« Peace to all beings, whether near or far, known or unknown, real or imaginary… » Buddhist prayer

Another week has passed by and I am secure and healthy. Now more than ever, that is a huge blessing. I am quite focused and motivated, which feels great and allows me to get a lot of writing done. For me, life is about writing and documenting what occurs in life as it swirls around me.

Our routine continues as normal on Texas death row. We go to recreation, shower, hot meals daily. On Wednesday and Thursday, we had recreation suspended. Work crews came in and replaced all the CCTV cameras on the pod and they say these new cameras have audio capability. So I guess these devils want to listen while they spy on prisoners and guards alike!!  I bet each camera costs $100 plus and there are about 40 cameras per pod. At 12-Building where Death row is housed, there are 6 pods, that adds up to about $25,000 on cameras on 12 Building alone. Who knows how many cameras are on the entire unit? I was thinking about that, and you can buy a lot of Personal protection equipment, masks and Covid-19 tests! Something that I am afraid we’re really going to need in 3-4 weeks.

NY City is on fire with Covid-19, it is horrible to hear the daily reports of hundreds of people dying daily. It has only begun – 200,000 people will die because the Coronavirus threat was not taken seriously. They’re just numbers until it’s someone you know then it’s serious as a heart attack. Remember that – Covid-19 does not respect privilege. It’s killing rich people too.

April 4, 2020

God whispered your name, Keith Urban

“You are not going to master your life in one day. Just relax, breathe and focus on mastering today”. Unknown

It’s been cool and rainy all day long, a nice break from the usual hot, humid days we get here. Today I was asked by the guard on duty if I wanted to make a phone call? I do and was told it will be today. I guess we will see when these yahoos decide to run phone calls. Prisoners in general population receive two 15-minute phone calls per week for free because visitation has been suspended. They have the phone system set up so prisoners call on their own when they want etc. Because I am on solitary confinement on Texas Death row and must be shackled and escorted to the phone to make a call, I get 5 minutes every 3 weeks.

Seems to me they could run phone calls day and night 5 days a week. You know those guards who used to escort us to visit every day? They can be put to escort death row prisoners to the phone everyday!

It’s 9 pm now and the guard walking around just yelled “we have to write our phone call request on an I-60 request.” I swear these idiots are making it up as we go. What will they do when people start getting sick with Covid-19 in this place? Now that’s a scary thought. One of many scary thoughts I’ve had in regards to Coronavirus in the past month.

Some things we are in control of and most things we are not. The most any of us can do is take deep breaths and focus on mastering today. If we can do that we’ll be all right. Keep safe, wash your hands, wear a mask and take the Coronavirus serious. It’s deadly serious.


April 5, 2020

Just like fire, Pink

« Grace woke you up this morning, grace started you on your way and grace enabled you to survive until this very moment.” Bishop Charles E. Blake

It’s 9 AM and I listen to one of my all time favorite radio/music programs “Acoustic Sunrise”. Three hours of live mostly acoustic recording of Top 40 music. It’s sounding good and I’ve started my day off right. It’s Sunday, which usually means no recreation for anyone, but they’re doing “make-up rec” for the guys who did not get to go when they were working on the CCTV cameras. I go to the day room next. I take with me a rag and liquid general purpose cleaner/dish-washing detergent I buy for $2,00 a 16 oz. bottle on commissary. As soon as they remove those filthy cuffs off my wrists, I walk to the sink and wash my arms and hands. Then I clean the sink and the table in the day-room thoroughly and then wash my hands again.

Today, the guards are wearing surgical masks on their faces and I am very happy about that! They will be the silent carriers who’ll bring Covid-19 into the prison if it gets in. Let’s think positive thoughts on it will not get in!

Things change at a snail pace here and I just hope it is enough to prevent Coronavirus from ever getting into this facility. I think it’s very important to keep a positive frame of mind and not let the unknown overwhelm you. Often times, it’s easy to say and much more difficult to do.