The following poem was written back in June of 1996. Back then I was a drug using, drug selling, violent little badass. I was at Walla Walla, living with Mikey and Jeff. When we were using drugs and smoking joints people use to walk by our cell, look in, and fiend. A lot of guys would stop at our bars and try to make small talk in hopes it would lead to a free hit, or a joint.
(To read more about this crazy time in my life, please check out my ebook called, STONE CITY: LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY. Specifically, Chapter: 7.)
TAKING THE EDGE OFF PRISON LIFE
Waking up slow to the practical jokes,
where coffee is a must and everyone smokes.
Take a deep breath you can smell the green,
as the broke walk by they look in and fiend.
People say I’m gone how I wish that was true,
the fact is that I’m here so let me tell you what I do.
I kick em in the face sometimes I choke em out,
But then I get away with it and that’s what its about.
So please don’t mess because I gotta confess,
when it comes to fighting dirty I’m one of the best.
So what if I’m small so what if you’re tall,
within ten seconds guarantee you will fall.
The hell with taking the edge off prison life,
its more like taking your head off with my prison knife!
That poem illustrates just how sick my thoughts were. As a result, my actions were extremely destructive. I was oblivious to the fact that I induced my own suffering and hardships.
Now, it is with a joyous heart that I share a more recent poem that was written on 10-25-13, in the midst of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I am so blessed to have this gentle love in my life. THIS is what takes the edge off of prison life for me these days.
THE MAGIC OF HER LOVE
Love is like magic, at least it is for me.
I pulled a rabbit out the hat, and her name is Suzie.
She transformed my world, a cold hard place.
By showing me a warm soft glow, within the beauty of her face.
Our situation is unique, and to some very strange.
But there’s nothing in this world that love can’t change.
Her love is so pure, understanding and kind.
She loves with all her heart, body, soul and mind.
Her love is so powerful, it reaches my core.
Her love is a love I’ve never felt before.
Her love is a love in which I’ve been seeking.
Her love is a language in which I’m now speaking.
Her love is the love that inspires my life.
Her love is the love that I’ve found in my wife.
This book has me conflicted. The message is great. But the delivery of the message sucks. So I’ll focus on what I’m getting out of this book as it relates to my journey of becoming a successful, happy, multi-millionaire.
The first is HOPE. When ”The Alchemist” was first published, it only sold two copies in 6 months. And the same person bought both copies. After a year went by, the book was dropped by the publisher along with the author’s contract.
The author didn’t give up hope. He kept his journey alive. He kept pushing forward because HE believed. As of today, ”The Alchemist” has been translated into more than 80 different languages, and has spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Even after 25 years, the book is still very much alive.
One day, I aspire to write a book like that. Or shall I say ”books” like that. “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” is just the beginning of my story. So much more is yet to come. Please share my ebook and my story with your friends and family. It’ll help me reach my goal of becoming a multi-millionaire before I get out of prison.
So not only does “The Alchemist” offer HOPE, but I’m also feeling INSPIRED. Inspired to enjoy the journey and all I encounter along the way. This book talks about omens, universal language, the principal of favorability, beginners luck, personal legend, and how the universe will come together to help one achieve their goals.
”The Alchemist” is teaching me patience. Because at first, I felt like tossing the book and not finishing it. But now I’m on page 61, and I’m actually enjoying it. I’m understanding it on a deeper, spiritual level. Read it for yourself and see how it touches you. Oh, it will touch you!
Here are just a few quotes that I can strongly relate to:
“Never stop dreaming. Follow the omens.”
“The language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
“The mysterious chain that links one thing to another.”
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history or the world were written by the same hand.”
I encourage anyone to read this book. As you do, you’ll be able to identify and apply several principles and philosophies to your life. If you’re ready for some type of change in your life, this could be the book that catapults you into a new dimension.
I misspelled the word “patience” in an email to my mom.
She corrected me by Googling the word “patient”, and sending me the result. It was 14 paragraphs describing the difference between “patients” and “patience.”
This literally made me LOL. It wasn’t a full blown laughter, such as LMAOROTF, but it was a brief chuckle that could be heard. It definitely met the criteria to be classified as LOL.
As I read my mother’s email and the Google description, I couldn’t help but to think about an email I just sent to Suzie. It said in part, “…let’s use the words of others to motivate and inspire us.” I wrote THAT email because someone said they were embarrassed of our GoFundMe campaign.
Then today as I’m doing my daily reading out of “The Science of Mind”, I read a passage that says in part, “…Suppose someone says, ‘I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, I had opportunities I did not grasp.’ Every man has this feeling at some time in his life. This is a direct belief that there is but one opportunity which comes to a man and if he doesn’t take it he will have no more. This is a belief in limited opportunities and it must be denied completely and specifically.”
So I, being in prison for the last 21 years, could relate to that. Yes, I’ve felt like I’ve missed many opportunities in life. But now I realize that opportunity is LIMITLESS!
And, every word that comes my way is full of inspiration and opportunity. Even the words that say “how embarrassing” or “you spelled that word wrong.” Here is how I’m turning these two examples into opportunity:
- The “embarrassing” comment – This has inspired me to write my post titled, Our GoFundMe Campaign. It has also inspired Suzie & I to find more crowd funding sites, and to plaster the internet with our ambitions and goals. I’m trying to embarrass even more people. 🙂
- My Momma Googling “Patience” – This showed me that my 65 year old mom knows how to use Google and get desired results. So I have asked her to Google “the top 200 ways to make millions using the internet,” then to send me the results so I can review them and select the ones that Suzie & I can execute.
My realization is quite simple. I can choose to use the power and energy of others to motivate & inspire. NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY.
I have cultivated a practical guide to personal freedom within my mind. One of my virtues is: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
So with that in mind, NEGATIVE words will NOT affect me in a negative way.
Instead, they will motivate and inspire!
“Listen closely…opportunity knocks softly.”
I moved to this unit because I wanted to get away from all the hate, disrespect, politics, and negativity.
When I read the flyer that described the honor unit, it said things like: honor, respect, dignity, positive living, mentoring, etc.
Yes, there are a handful of men in this unit who respect those values. But I am extremely surprised at the large number of men who make ZERO effort.
Since I have been in this unit I have seen inmates cuss at and disrespect staff. I see guys stealing from the chow hall. I see guys gambling left and right. The bathrooms are worse than other units. The floors are constantly covered with piss. Then I see several guys with their feet up on the stools we sit on. NO RESPECT!
The sinks have hair, whiskers, and food left in them. I am constantly cleaning up after those who don’t.
I do it because I honor the rules and expectations in this unit. I look for ways to go above and beyond.
Just the other day some guy came up to me and said, “You have too many sex offenders on your team. Take me off the roster.”
I said, “No problem…done.”
Then he felt the need to continue by saying, “Your entire outfield is sex offenders. I could maybe deal with one, but damn, I’m not trying to play with a bunch of sex offenders.”
A couple guys at a nearby table found his comment funny as they laughed.
I started to feel attacked. My adrenalin gave me a quick jolt! I felt an old familiar sensation. The same sensation I use to feel before I would lash out.
I almost said something crazy. Like, F#*k you! I’m not a sex offender! You weak mother-fu#*ers…go say something to their faces.”
But I didn’t. I have learned from my past. That type of behavior doesn’t serve me well. It’s not who I am & it’s not who I want to be.
So I ignored them the best I could. I said, “I understand your decision.” And I walked away.
I went to my cell and prayed for guidance & strength. I meditated. I calmed myself. I focused on my priorities and goals.
I concluded that I don’t care about what people are in here for. My goal is to treat all people with dignity and respect. I do that so I may have inner peace. Love and compassion serves me well. Hate and turmoil has never served me well.
I know who the guys are that now look at me funny because there just so happens to be a few sex offenders on my team. I now go out of my way to say kind words to them. I treat them with dignity and respect. Not because they deserve it, but because I deserve it.
Even here in the Honor Unit, prison politics run deep. Heck I was even told by a few inmates that I couldn’t sit at certain tables in the dayroom. Because those are THEIR tables! Ten years ago I would’ve smashed their faces and sit anywhere I want. I’ve gone to the hole for assaulting sex offenders.
Today I use all these encounters to strengthen my faith in LOVE and COMPASSION. If I live a life based on love & compassion, then even my enemies will be at peace with me. It’s only a matter of time before the universe responds.
This is equally true with the good and the bad. I’m done being the one that responds to negativity with negativity. Those guys will get theirs.
And I’ll get mine…in the form of LOVE…beautiful, sweet LOVE!!!
I’d like to introduce you to Joe P. Guerrero. He is also an inmate blogging from prison.
His blog is called : Joe Writes His Wrongs
Joe is an awesome inspiration and he’s making the best of his time with something positive.
He has goals and ambitions, just as I do. We both are positive, like-minded men who are striving for success from behind bars, and we have big dreams for when we are released.
He has quality content and intriguing stories to share. A few of his blog titles are: A Positive Mindset In Prison, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, 8 Reason’s I’m Thankful To Be In Prison, Dumbing Down The Conversation, Never Give Up, Jen Joe & A Prison Phone, Walking In On A Rape, 10 Tips On Stress From A Guy In Prison, and Steven D. Jennings
Joe is a talented cartoon artist and an articulate writer. In fact, you should take a look at his short story ebook for sale on Amazon called, “Coffeeman Almost Dies During The Coffee Challenge“
Joe and I both have the love & support of amazing ladies in our life (Jen & Suzie). We know it takes a strong woman to be in a committed relationship with an inmate. And we are blessed to have them in our life. Their dedication is what helps make it possible to share our journey with you all.
I recognize the energy and devotion of both Joe & Jen. They have my support and my friendship.
My wife and I made a goal to get 50,000 followers by the end of 2015. We currently have 3,390 followers. THAT’S GOOD!!! I am very pleased with that. I appreciate every one of you. Thank you. Here’s my humble request:
Will you pretty please try to get 10 of your Facebook friends to follow my blog?
Also, how can I make this blog better? Because if you’re asking people to follow, it’s my responsibility to give the absolute BEST content I can. I owe that to all of you. So please feel free to guide me. I will try my best to post a variety of topics for you guys.
You know, I was told by a dear friend that I was being TOO AMBITOUS because I told him I wanted 500,000 followers by the end of this year. He said that would mean I need to get 13,000 new followers per day.
I said, “Too ambitious! What’s that mean? It’s like too much money…no such thing!”
What if……….just what if, all 3,390 of YOU got 100 of your Facebook friends to follow my blog?
OMG!!!!! That would be AWESOME!!! Do you have any idea how much this vision EXCITES me???
Please dear friends, help make this vision a reality. I’ll cut this short so you can act NOW.
Thank you sooo much!
PS – I’d like to say Thank You to my readers for all the comments. I appreciate your patience in my replies. I’d love to reply to everyone immediately. But due to my circumstances, that would be a little beyond practical. So thank you for being patient. I will get back to you.
What is the difference between knowledge & wisdom? I say wisdom comes from applying knowledge.
I’m learning all this knowledge from reading potent and influential books. Books that teach the Laws of the Universe and that inspire great change. Books that contain the distilled wisdom of many eras, cultures, and one great soul.
I’m learning about Faith, Prayer, The Law of Attraction, The Universal Subjective Mind, and I’m learning all about the Science of Mind. All this is great knowledge. Now it’s time to apply this knowledge and convert it into wisdom.
I want to specifically focus on getting into the Honor Pod, or the Dog Program. I want to specifically apply all that I’ve learned to these goals. Because these are two programs I’ve been trying to achieve for almost 6 years!
In the past, I mentally gave up on these programs. But in light of my new journey and new-found knowledge, I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to apply the power of prayer. I’m going to apply the principals of “Cause and Condition”. I’m going to stick with these goals until I get accepted.
Three weeks ago I wrote Mr. Grubb a letter (see: Going Above & Beyond). He hasn’t responded yet. So today I wrote him another letter:
“Mr. Grubb, A few weeks ago I sent you a letter expressing my interest in the Honor Pod. What is your honest view regarding me getting accepted into the honor pod? Will I ever receive a fair opportunity to thrive in your program? I appreciate the feedback.”
I kept this letter short and concise. I’m not trying to bug him. I’m just trying to be persistent. I also wrote another letter to Mr. Cherry (the dog program supervisor):
“Mr. Cherry, On 7-26-12, you responded to my kite. You said, “Stay infraction free for a while and I’ll look at giving you an interview down the road. You have time and so do I.” Well sir, I’m going on 4 years infraction free. May I please have an interview for the dog program? I won’t let you down. Thank you.”
I share this with you because I want to make a point and illustrate how the Laws of the Universe work.
Not too long ago I told myself, “These people are not going to let you in these programs.” I gave up all hope. I lost faith. Today my hope & faith is restored. I now understand that The Universal Subjective Mind is entirely receptive to my thoughts. Therefore, I must ALWAYS think and believe that I will get accepted into these programs.
I now realize that I’m dealing with an Infinite Power that can only objectify that which is impressed upon It. So I’m going to keep pressing until I reach my goals….no matter how long it takes.
Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. I absolutely love this blog and all the inspiration it brings me.
PS – I just got a reply from Mr. Cherry. He said for me to submit another application. Okay. Will do
Why won’t the honor pod accept me? I feel I’m a model prisoner.
Mr. Shanahan is the Correctional Unit Supervisor (CUS) for H4. He has personally thanked me (a couple times) for being a positive role model in his unit.
Every month my “OFFENDER PERFORMANCE EVALUATION” sheet is marked with “superiors and above averages”. The behavior log is full of positive comments about me.
I’ve even received an award that expressed appreciation for the time I responded to a massive fire in H4. I saved hundreds of lives and prevented millions of dollars in damages! (I’m exaggerating. I helped clean up all the water and soot.) But it felt like a heroic effort. I got this Certificate for it:
I treat staff and inmates with respect and dignity. I participate in positive programming. I talk to others about making positive choices. I hold open the door if someone is a few steps behind me. AND…I stopped Gambling & Hustling.
So why won’t they let me in the honor pod? Or the dog program?
I’m not exactly sure. But I have my ideas.
I asked Mr. Shanahan about the honor pod. He said, “You don’t want to go over there. You won’t have me to look out for you.”
Every time I ask him about it, he says pretty much the same thing, “You don’t wanna go over there.”
I tell him, “Yes I do. I’m ready to live by the rules in every area. I’m sincere in my efforts and I know I can thrive over there.”
He just responds by saying, “Trust me, you don’t wanna go over there.”
I read into his responses as saying: I don’t think you’ll make it over there. You’ll get in trouble and kicked out.
I think Mr. Shanahan takes a lot of credit for my positive lifestyle. I think he thinks that I won’t be able to sustain positive living outside of his unit. I appreciate him looking out for me. But it’s not him. It’s me!
I do want to go to the honor pod. Despite what Mr. Shanahan says.
So just like everything else I do….it’s time I go ABOVE AND BEYOND. Because submitting an application, obviously isn’t enough. Not for the notorious Steven Jennings. DOC makes me work for mine. And that’s ok. I’m going to choose to view this as a positive thing.
It teaches me patience. It allows me to develop problem solving skills. It teaches me how to be persistent and relentless when pursuing my goals. It teaches me how to communicate and articulate my feelings and point of views.
It makes me want it more. And I’m going to go get it! So today I wrote a letter to Mr. Grubb. He is the CUS in the H6 honor pod. Here’s what I wrote:
Dear Mr. Grubb,
I have submitted an application to the honor pod , 8 months ago. The purpose of this letter is to express my desire to be given the opportunity to prove to you that I am honor pod material. I have come a long way in my 21 years of incarceration. I humbly ask that you please see me for who I am today.
I am committed to positive change. I am committed to helping others. I treat all people with respect and dignity. I could fill up page after page explaining why I feel I deserve to be in the honor pod. But ultimately, the tangible truth will be found in my actions.
Please sir, I ask for one chance. I promise I won’t let you down. Thank you for your fair consideration.
Steven Jennings #727504, H4
That’s it for now. When and if I get a response, I’ll be sure to share it with you.
It’s okay to be ambitious.
It’s okay to have huge goals.
It’s okay to dream.
And for me, after 20 years of incarceration, it’s okay for me to live a “Pipe Dream”.
My pipe dream consists of writing several ebooks. Together, my wife and I will publish them. The more we publish, the more we’ll learn. The time will come when we’re comfortable taking on other projects, such as publishing the work of inmates around the world.
My pipe dream consists of a publishing company. It’s called Stone City Publishing, LLC. My dream is to one day have hundreds of titles by hundreds of inmates worldwide. All selling under my network of prison literature.
My pipe dream is to get out of prison as a multi-millionaire. This dream is in action!
Stone City Publishing has already featured its first release! That release has already sold 51 ebooks. Hey, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The longest journey starts with a single step. And my wife and I have already taken that first step. I couldn’t do it without her. She is EVERYTHING to me. Her love, support, commitment, and dedication to me and Stone City Publishing is absolutely AMAZING. Together we make a powerful team.
Stone City Publishing is no longer my pipe dream, it’s our pipe dream. Together we will succeed. We will NEVER give up. We will continue to work hard and progress. We will succeed!
If a person has a burning desire and sets their mind to something, they can achieve anything. Regardless of what the nay-sayers say.
I focus on the positive. I focus on the encouragement I receive from others. I focus on my ability, my drive, my passion, and my dedication. I know I have what it takes to succeed.
If a statement doesn’t serve me well or someone is doubting me and throwing shade, I ignore it. I’m not going to defend my pipe dream against a pessimistic. Instead, I’ll harness that negative energy and re-focus it towards our dream.
I’m telling you, without this pipe dream, who knows where I’d be. All I know is it’s a healthy, positive, productive presence in my life. It gives me a sense of accomplishment as it fills several voids within my soul.
Thank you to everyone who believes in me. I appreciate all your support and encouragement.
Forty-three years in prison sucks for more reasons than I care to list. But the good news is I’ve realized the power within the mind. No matter what the situation is, life is an attitude. And my attitude is within my control.
One of my favorite philosophies is, “With every setback or hardship comes an equal seed of opportunity.” It’s almost an art form to recognize and apply this philosophy. Because the opportunity always comes during a dark troublesome time. A time when the negative seems overwhelming, and accepting the grief & heartache seems like the only option. Don’t get me wrong, grieving in moderation is necessary for healing. Just don’t make a habit of it and let it ruin you. Instead, take a step back, clear your head, and look for that “equal seed of opportunity.” If you can’t find it, create it. Impose your will and make it happen.
Here’s just one example of how this equal seed philosophy has helped change my life: my setback is forty-three years in prison.
What could possibly be EQUAL to that? The truth is, nothing. It’s simply too long. There’s no coming back from such a harsh blow. It’s over! I’m done. I quit!
Lucky for me, my mind doesn’t think that way. I believe in this philosophy with all of my heart, and I will create my equal seed of opportunity. Such as: sober living, healthy diet, exercising daily, straightening out priorities, self improving, and focusing on a positive life style. All those are great. But are they EQUAL to forty-three years in prison??? In my mind, the answer is NO. Not even close. The philosophy says there is an EQUAL SEED OF OPPORTUNITY. Forty-three years in prison is extraordinary. Therefore, my equal seed must also be extraordinary. So I came up with earning 47-60 million dollars over the next twenty years. Is that EQUAL to forty-three years in prison? I still say NO. But it definitely brings more balance to the equation. My goal to earn millions is already a definite plan, and the wheels are in motion. I now have definite purpose. I will not stop until I reach my goals.
What fuels me? How about a forty-three year prison sentence! The man in me now realizes how the boy in me altered my life forever. It angers me beyond belief. It now fuels my passion, and that is to do something extraordinary with my time here in prison. I refuse to take my incarceration in vain. I have to make this time work for me, not against me. I need redemption, for myself more than anyone. Once I achieve that, I will strive for redemption in the lives I have hurt. I have a strong desire to give back to all those I’ve hurt. No matter how big or how small, if I’ve ever hurt you, then you are a part of my redemptive mission. Please read my blog titled, Saying Sorry Isn’t Enough.
My passion to make millions has now become a healthy obsession. It’s the main topic of my conversations, thoughts, and dreams. It has consumed me in a healthy, positive way. It sets the bar of balance high. When I achieve financial success, I expect all my other personal characteristics, morals, and attributes to elevate along with it.
Without the hundreds of little details, my plan is really quite simple. I am writing prison literature, self publishing, and selling my work worldwide using the greatest marketing tool in the history of the world: Social Media. (aka: The Internet).
I am building my own publishing company called, Stone City Publishing. My short term goals are to learn the publishing business by publishing my own books. My long term goals are to have hundreds of titles by dozens of inmate authors, all selling worldwide under my network of prison literature, AKA: Stone City Publishing.
My genre is one that has appeal to millions of people all over the world. PRISON! I will write and publish dozens of books.
Here are my first five titles:
Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary – This book brings the reader deep inside prison society and truly exposes the realities of prison from my perspective. Stone City is full of pictures that were taken with illegal cell phones smuggled in by convicts.
Chirpy…The Amazing Jail Jailbird – This book is about a baby bird I saved & raised for fifteen months inside a max security prison. It’s a story you have to read to believe. Pictures included.
101 Ways To Get Your Ass Kicked In Prison – The title is self explanatory. Prison fights are wicked! Learn about what causes them, the weapons used, and the consequences.
Prison Ink…The Art Of Hate – This book is full of pictures showing off tons of prison tats. Learn how they’re paid for, what they stand for, and all the drama they cause.
How I Made Millions In Prison – This breaks down the entire process from the first idea to the first million dollars. I share philosophies and basic concepts as I build Stone City Publishing from behind bars.
My agenda is up front and simple. I’ve found my EQUAL SEED. It’s on!
If you have any Q’s or comments, feel free to respond and drop me a line.
Have a great day.
“With every setback there’s an equal seed of opportunity.”