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    A typical day in solitary?

    It has evolved through the years.I've been on Texas nefarious death row solitary confinement since Nov.1999.It has fluctuated over time.When i was younger,i would arise around 6am to see who was working the area i was being housed for that day.Because who was working actually had a lot to do with the mood i and others would be in.If we had some asshole officers that day then i would be more edgy  and serious.Not talkative.This ever-changing persona was actually a defense mechanism unconsciously,in a pantomime way alerting those in a different colored uniform,''Dont fuck with me,and i wont fuck with you."Cause the reality was from 2000 till 2004,Polunsky unit's administration and staff were really wicked.Officers was attacking inmates,and vice versa.

    If we had ‘convict officers',or compassionate officers who just wanted to do their jobs and go home, then i(and others) was more relaxed.We smiled.We laughed.We conversed with officers as if theRe was no prejudiceness or implicit bias barriers between us.And on these days i would spend hours working out doing many different exercises.I wasn't doing this to build muscle mass to flaunt.No.I punished myself in this form to relieve all the stress and anger that boiled inside of me.And it was the only way i could tire myself out enough to capture two to three hours of sleep,if.

    They use to have three working shifts for officers when they had a lot of officers to work.This was cut down to two shift which has become permanent shifts for officers due to staff shortages.So you have a first shift and a second shift.Most of the day-to-day operations are done on first shift;whereas second shift just has to pass out mail,if there is any;and do 30 minute security checks-using bright flashlights,that they will shine into your face if asleep to make sure you are,“Alive''.It's a concept that i have never understood-logically.And have only challenged as just another form of psychological antagonism, that cause sleep-deprivation;and a behavior imbalance amongst the men.I mean,we are sentenced to be murdered via execution if all appeals fail.So why is there some hard-pressed desire to make sure we are,“Alive?" I mean,i am no rocket scientist;so the same state that is trying to kill you,is also wanting to keep you alive?Talk about fallacy.

    When i was younger,and a bit more aggressive and immature-still;this flashlight practice would mess with me.Cause me to get up and argue with officers.They telling me they doing their job.I'm telling them to go fuck themselves.And within this back and forth;i would later realize that i was the only looser within this verbal-homicide,for i was the one with the spiked blood pressure levels,and the inability to return to a calm and or resting state.Whereas; the officer would go home,and think nothing of another pissed off 'inmate'.

    When i first arrived on death row,i had little experience in reading and writing.And one reason why i had the time to focus on my anger instead of peace,is because i had no distraction.Every feeling was combative,which i didn't know it then-but it was actually a product of this solitary environment,that was actually labeled AG[gravated]SEG[regation]...fitting.So if someone wrote me a letter saying,"I know you dont want to be there,but just chill.“Being so aggressive towards anyone and anything,i interpret it to read,"You put yourself there.So deal with it."Which caused my mind to erupt like a volcano,where my mouth would spew lava-like words that cut.I mean,it didn't matter-everyone could get it from my baby-mommas,to siblings,to friends who wanted to help me,lawyers, relatives, did not matter.And what actually mattered,was the one thing no one could truely see:I was struggling big time.And was on a crash course with a depression that nearly drove me to a few attempted suicides in here.I wrote the judge asking that my appeals be dropped-instead i was brought back to the county jail for a month just to 'cool off’.

    Here's the moment you,the reader,may feel i am about to tell you about some religious saving grace that brought me through,right?

    Not even.

    Exonerated and former death row inmate,Anthony Graves,was my neighbor.And i struggled with spelling words,and kept asking him to spell this word for me and that word.I was writing a letter to my dad,and it became so therapeutic,that what started out intending to be a two-page letter had quickly turned into a ten-page letter.Graves was curious and asked to read what i was saying.I have always been a open-book kinda guy,who had little shame on the facts of a situation."It is what it is",was a motto of mine.So i sent it to him.When he read it he said,"Man,this was so riveting it should become a book."How my words was like a Coming To Jesus moment for me,was seen as a book to him,never registered.He did tell me i needed help with spelling and how to properly form a sentence,and if i was willing he would allow his publishing friend,John Pizer,to aid me.

    And that was my introduction to writing.The moment people began to tell me to Shut up and write.

   John was a blunt teacher.He used constructive criticism to push me forward. This only worked cause i could handle the truth,and not be offended.So when he once said,"This is trash!Do it again or don't contact me again."I did it again.

    He sent me books on writing.He tested me.He gave me the doorway to a realm where 'words' were gods.And i soaked it all up.Not cause i wanted to become a legit writer.No.Truth is i dont like writing.Even today,as i write this-i still feel the same.However;writing isn't some hobby.It's my only connection to the freeworld.It's my only expressive means i can get people to understand me without assume to know me.Writing is how i have survived.

    So you can only imagine John's disappointment when his student,me,decided to move on.John wanted to publish books written by me.Graves wasn't a writer,he was a organizer of getting writers(mostly poets)to submit materials that he had published using his name to gain financial rewards.With me,John saw and wanted every line to be my own literary DNA.But i knew enough,would have never been enough with him.He was a perfectionist.I wasn't.

    I started to read books... a lot.And the more i read the more i began to enjoy reading.But for me it wasn't about the material.It was how the material was written and told,that i was attracted too.Because i began to mimic these authors' writing style.And in a way,they became my teachers to advance my own writing style.To be clear,i do not fancy myself a 'good writer'.Not even close.One professional author actually wrote me after reading my first published book and several online articles,saying,"You break every rule there is in fundamental literature.And yet,your words are captivating.''I have a famed UK pen pal who is a author,educator,brilliant oratrix;who reminds me constantly that my writing style is addictive,even thou its in a class of it's own.I tell her that if i had to describe my writings it would be described this way,''I am a emotionalist."Too which she,being the educator extraordinaire that she is,would say,“That's not even a word."(lol)

    What i do is neoterism.And i tell people i am a self-described neoteric.What i do is simply being ME.I am raw to a degree.Honest.And speak my mind,without a care one of being canceled by this cancel-culture.I am on death row,do you honestly think i give a fuck about being canceled?

    I use to get paid by two online companies who paid me as a defacto blogger.One company was based in Las Vegas,and they also had a news magazine they published too,and many times what i wrote made their front cover of their magazine.The other was based in New York.The latter actually searched me out,which i will be honest was a ego-booster,if any.It wasn't like i was making major bucks, just $20 a pop if they published what i wrote.It was a steady income i suppose.I grew bored with Las Vegas.And when New York asked me to write what they wanted as a topic,i severed ties with them.I don't like being told what to write about.I dont like being forced to meet why would i stay?

    I dont write as much as i use too.Hell there's a lot i don't do like i use too.The mirror reminds me every day that i am getting older.Far from the tawpie i once was over two-decades ago.My mentality has changed even if my environment has not.

    I woked up this morning to the annoying silence of a place that had no movement,which told me this was going to be another day with no recreation and no showers.I came to the front of the cell's door and looked out.Seeing the same redundant images i have seen through the years.Wondering to myself,"How in the fuck did i make it this far?"No human should exist like this.Even wild animals have more liberty than we do.And yet,here we are.Not even in the wilderness,rather buried underneath it.And i entertain ideas of curiousity of how will this end for me?Will things get better as they have promised for decades with no advancement thus far towards betterment?And the more i consumed myself with these thoughts the more angry i could feel myself becoming.The old me lurked.Requesting one last hurrah of yelling like a mad-man,beating on the doors;dogmaticcally doing things that would let everyone know that i am tired of this shit(mistreatment).Then the wisdom of my mind called out to me and told me to,“Shut Up & Write!”

Polunsky Unit, Livingston, Texas

23 years in solitary / ad seg



January 24, 2023


Photography by TEXAS LETTERS​​


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