I just left the wardens office on 12-bld. Polunsky Unit-Death Row. It’s still not registering and the fact that we’re constantly infitratrated with these illusions, this shit get harder by the day to shake the logic. I was pulled out the cell on F-Pod, where I was placed to serve out my solitary time as punishment for my last major case. I didn’t even want to talk. i was just in the process of navigating the same pointless path i’ve traveled over the last 14 years. I believe that every step you take will lead you to a different place than you’ve been before, it don’t matter if you know the place. Either your mind, body or soul will percieve it differnt, we just be too emotionally clouded to see the difference most times. In this wardens office was another warden from another unit. If it means anything, he was black and had already humbled his personality from the perspective that he may have at his unit. His goal was to get clarity or closure. i’ve never seen this happen before, when they move like this and display so much consideration, if thats the word we can use. I found that odd that just a week prior as I tried to take this same path, another warden made a comment stating that he was done with this shit. I spoke to the warden that I was now faced with. i told him how long I knew you and what you ment to the people you loved, the people that knew you and how we used to ride and do our time. I told him that there wasnt much talking in the last month but, i had been talking to you all day long. He took some notes and we agreed on a few aspects relating to the black culture and the mental aspect of life in general and the shit that can and will bring us down. He attempted to get closer to me or get me more relaxed by telling me a mini story im and a white cop, and eventually I was on my way back to the cell. I was rehashed and shit got dark on me. I had a anxiety attack walking down the hall and im telling you, it was a bitch to not be visable around all these people. Im walking all the way to the back of the building with cuffs on 2 staff escorting me now and I feel like I cant breathe, my visions blury and all I know is, how I underestimated what that shit could do to you. Im still in a state of mind that put off these cultivated traits and I know that happyness simply comes whatever is left at times when your mind bring you lower than the sand at the bottom of the ocean. Before this, I had to train my brain to focus on this and you and not just my emotional outlook that could come off like I was venting. I went to a visit with my Queen and as soon as she saw me she saw that our worlds were still rotating, but now more of like a human stand off and the vibe being the ‘you go first’ approach. I told my momma how my day had went and how shit got secluded when it came to what i seem to care about and the way i saw shit, from this socall dark place if you let the system call or LABLE it. Im telling you, this woman is Super Nova, she can sooth a rock to a smile. Her news to me was non the less of very important and i saw that i was given her something that she had the duality of to give me. I couldn't accept it just that moment. I felt like she had just overlooked my pain for the moment, like wanting me to focus on the more personal views of her. So, i suppressed it so that i didnt steal her happyness. Before that, I had just got done crying tears from my deepest dispatch. I had to sit and think about how STRONG some people can be to just say fuck it and reach their goal. How do you let all the bullshit around you go and focus on what you want? How do you do that when you know you have a team that depends on you. You know what a person that’s been forced to leave their land because, of war or because of persecution. You know what a person that’s just been tired of being in a cage is? I mean no insult at all, but they can be a refugee, they both an just want to get away. I was trying to read and couldnt help thinking, damn he did it on his own and that’s what he wanted to do. I know you got that mind that be OCD about shit. I know you thought about what could happen and the pressure that would come if you didn’t do what you wanted to do. That’s not a new pressure or thought process for you. I know. i’ve been there before. But, before I sat there thinking the unit major and warden had come to the pod where we were. It was a weekened and and they were all in their casual clothes. They wanted to know if there were any signs and symbols. but if you didn't want them to know or do shit, then I helped you reach that goal, because my mind was fried, died and denied when it came to my thoughts. I spoke to them and told them what came to my mind when it came to you. I told them about a few things I heard you say out loud and that I talked to you for hours and then he wanted to see my book, he took a picture of it, told me to reach out and talk to the field ministers if i needed to talk to anybody. It wasn’t much said or comprehended at that moment. But before that happend, the field minister came to the pod and as he tried to talk to us, I heard a few guys tell him to go get the rank to come talk to us to avoid the middle man, so that was a play that was shifted back to them. i always wonder why they put these guys in the same color as us i those positions to have them looked at a certain way and to give them front line access to the bullshit and the thrashing that the staff usually get when they put bullshit into their ways and work ethic. Not too much longer before that,they rolled you out of the section on a stretcher. I saw that dude jumping on your chest like he was on a trampaline and on his knees trying trying to bounce high up and flip from that position. I know you heard what I yelled out, because I heard one of the female staff say, OMG! I yelled, get off him and let him go, but in my mind i swear i saw you watching them and shaking your head even with your new found freedom, saying, you just dont care anymore, they not getting you back. I can see you and your humor now, in spirit form walking next to them rolling your body away, you thinking about how long your dreads were and how come there wasnt a woman doing CPR instead of a man. It was quiet, bro. I mean, that shit was out of the blue. Prior to that, there was a off unit officer walking around doing his checks and a SSI pushing the broom on the run. The officer got to your cell and the SSI must have saw you in that position and said something was off. The officer was spooked the fuck out. he wasnt even from America and you could hear it in his tone but he was for us overall. The SSI ran down the stairs to the gat to get the picket officers attention. The staff was calling your name and , we all got allert to that silence and we started to yell your name aswell,all in worry for you. WE saw the officer run down the stairs yelling, ‘HE’s HANGING’.....Over and over and you could barely understand him but he was making the hand signals. they were SUPER short that day that day also, just like everyday. They called for the help and the female sargent that came along with the male, you know that shit fucked her up. i heard it in her voice when she called your name.
We had already knew you had shook the spot, certain shit, in the same position as the victim, you feel and know it from within, they know the shit too, they just gotta follow the play book to try to cover their failure. She yelled your name and then said, oh shit-oh shit. then they went in the cell, just the 2 of them and I dont know what they did but i know you didnt even care. It’s fucked with me since then, because before they found you, they had just served lunch and I thought, man this shit is fucked up, they starven the fuck out of a nigga, down here. I had also been talking to you all morning, since atleast about 5:25am. We onle stoped talking so we could eat. Well, actually I did most of the talking, you just gave me short answers, which i knew I was the one reaching, but I was feeling your pain, homie. I wasnt trying to fix you, just wanted to talk to you to try to open you up a lil bit more, you feel me.
My homie killed himself hanging on the veins of the muscles of solitary condfinement. I feel like shit, because I talked to him litterally all day before he did it. I can’t get past, what the fuck was he thinking when we were talking. did he want me to shut the fuck up so he can get to what he had in mind. This shit is hard, because as a man, we really don’t know how to project our fear. If you do any voicing then you are now subjected to punnishment over treatment. I still dont grasp the seriousness of this shit and the shit that we deal with and seem to be able to deal with. I grew up with all this shit on repeat and yet, i never knew it was bad or how it hendered me. I simply thought, well fuck, we strong in the ghetto, and in a way it came with pride voicen that shit, low and behold, i was basically saying i was proud to be broken in a way. damn that’s fucked up. because I KNOW my momma gave me some strength that most people will never reach when it comes to healing themself or the way they see themself, insecurities and how they dealt with pain. Since, i’ve been in this cell, i have allowed myself to have cenerios that take me away from everybody that I love, just to kinda get the feeling of life without them. I’ve thought about, well, i won’t say I thought about it, it just came to my mind for some reason, all kind of shit, me dead, me in animal form, all the bad dreams that hurt and then being confused to think, were they really dreams I have repeated of a action in my life that i just dont remember, but my minds telling me about the time. I’ve pictured myself with no head, a hole in my head, dead with my momma looking over me in a casket, laid out in the street with bullet wounds in me, it dont matter, if you can think of it, then chances are i’ve done the same in every empethatic way or my way. In my mind, i put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger, I jumped off cliffs, I hung myself, everything, this fucking cell be haven go through some wild shit. But, you have to be strong enough to come out of it. See, most guys are great at coming out the cell physically, but when it come to mentally, they are always willing and ready to get back in the cell. The cell is their new cave where they feel safe, private and away from the bullshit. They close off, then they start getting cameras in the cell watching them, their neighbor steal their maiul, the feds. put microchips in their food to track them. someone is talking to them throught the walls, they dont trust nobody and they loose a thought process that can stand next to society. from that point, the state has the chance to dope them up, with drugs they test on prisoners, before they eventually put it on the shelf in the stores for the big money, thats why the meds change so much, for the same diagnosis. But when they start to dope you up, you are now liable for ‘treatment and trauma’. You fight your demons and they fight you, calling you a crazy person. You go in and out of consciousness and MOST guys are so dope at something, even considered as crazy, there will be a few topics that you would second guess anything relating to them not being all the way there. Point being, I seen a man cry when i seen a man die. I seen a man rot before a man died. I seen a man cry outside, due to the pain inside and I seen a man cry inside due to the lie outside and I have been receptive to every word on this paper. So as Nas said in his song ‘Moment of silence’...can we please get a moment of silence, for all the niggas doin time in confindment, for the souljas that done passed on…..
This was my recap. I will no longer open it again. But, I met and lost a friend in the same position and condition. We met in the ‘security’ unit of TYC as kids. They look at this mental health shit differently now, but its actually worse, because their protection is gonna make you not want to ask them for help. How I know….? BECAUSE, I been watching it, they been haven men on CDO all around me. I’m watching them get denied hot food and showers and a regular staff, with no training at all is on observation. To my homie, i’m not scared to go, but I don’t want to go, I pray for you to put your wings over me from time to time, because im still growing and the walls still close in. I hope you don’t have a scar on your neck and I hope the cut wounds you applied to yourself are all healed up. I hope they don’t judge you due to your actions. You know they say if you kill yourself then you go to hell. I always think , when they say Allah knows your path in life, so how can they say this or that when he’s suppose to know. So you mean to tell me, you were created to…Nevermind. I love you with all my soul and I wish your family well, im here for whatever within reach. Be free and solve you solutions, when one hurt, we all hurt….Peace King.
*Terence Andrus killed himself on Jan.21st.hurt and and in a pain deeper than his root could hold as solitary confinement won another battle….
Polunsky Unit, Livingston, Texas
11 years in solitary / ad seg
February 21, 2023
Words by TEDDRICK BATISTE
Photography by TEXAS LETTERS