After reading an email from my sweet wife about what she is thankful for, I realized that my previous Thanksgiving post was incomplete. I failed to mention the things that I am thankful for.
I’m thankful for having such a wonderful family. Starting with my wife. She is so incredibly kind and loving. Her dedication & loyalty is absolutely impeccable. I am so blessed to have her. Thank you, Suzie!
I’m thankful for my amazing mother and all of her love & support. Thanks, mom! I love you.
I’m thankful for my sisters, and my nieces & nephew. I’m especially thankful for my brother-in-laws and how they treat my sisters and their kids.
Wow! There’s so much to be thankful for.
I’m thankful for my Friends.
I’m thankful for my readers and followers.
I’m thankful for being in The Dog Program.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to blog.
I’m thankful to be alive and to have a release date.
I’m thankful for my Marriage.
I’m thankful for clothes to wear and food to eat.
I’m thankful for JPay.
I’m thankful for football season.
I’m thankful for Influential Books to read.
I’m thankful for my health.
I’m thankful for Stone City Blog.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to take NA classes to earn back good time.
I’m thankful for all my blessings and for all the people who love & support me.
I am sharing the journal I kept while I did 7 months in the hole.
Dec. 29th, 2008 @ 2am
I tried calling my mom yesterday and found out the prison has blocked all my numbers. That means I can’t call anyone. This week I’ll try to get that fixed. All I can do is write a kite to my case manager. We’ll see!
The hardest part of prison is hole time. Because it makes you think more. Things just pop into mind. Good and bad.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my crime. I wonder how could I have actually carried through with such an act. I think about my family and all the pain I’ve caused. I think about the victims and all their friends and families, and how I hurt so many people.
I’m in a tight little box with just me and my thoughts. When my thoughts get too intense, I force myself to switch gears. I seek the positive aspects that are within painful situations and thoughts.
For example, I’m thankful no one died. I’m thankful that I have a release date. I’m thankful that I won’t die as an old man in prison.
Despite my situation, I’m so lucky in so many ways. And that’s what I like to focus on.
All of my poems are a reflection of how I was feeling at that time. Certain feelings inspire certain words. On 10-29-13, I was inspired by my amazing wife and our beautiful love (see: The Power of Love). So I grabbed my pen and paper and wrote this poem:
FOCUS ON LOVE
Life is a mixture of joy and pain,
blue skies, dark clouds, sunshine and rain.
All days can’t be bright, this we know is true,
what you choose to focus on is always up to you.
Seek out the positive in your life and cherish every day,
focus on the things you love and your blues will fade away.
Show a smile instead of a frown,
look up instead of down.
Shine your light a little brighter,
and watch your burdens get so much lighter.
Life is good life is great,
focus on love ignore the hate.
If you live in love with a heart that’s true,
then love will reflect in all you do.
And when love reflects in all you do,
it takes from the time of feeling blue.
* * *
If I knew back then what I know now…I wouldn’t be in prison. Early on in life I was on a dark path that lead to destructive behavior. Violence, suffering, hate, turmoil, conflict…they were all a constant theme in my life. As a result, my writing reflected that.
This next poem was written during my middle school years. There is no title. It says:
Now I lay myself to sleep,
I pray to hell my soul will keep.
No one knows what I plan to do,
but you’ll find out when life is through.
Through for who is what I wonder,
but you’ll find out 6 feet under.
As I read this today I shake my head in disbelief. I was around 12 years old when I wrote that! I could easily shed a tear right now. Left to my own demise, I didn’t stand a chance.
As I reflect back to my childhood, I can remember a re-occurring statement that teachers, principals, coaches, and other adults would say. They’d say that I was going to end up dead or in prison.
The first time I heard the “prison” version, I was in the 3rd grade.
The first time I heard the “dead” version, I was in the 9th grade.
Sure enough, I escaped death only to land in prison. Considering my options, I got lucky.
Even after I got locked up, my mindset didn’t change very much.
Here is a poem I wrote back in 1994, just 6 months after I arrived at the Snohomish County Jail. It’s called “Who’s Lucky” because that’s what I used to ask myself every time someone pissed me off in the jail. Am I lucky because I have a release date? Or is he lucky that I have a release date? The poem goes like this:
People are lucky I have a release date,
or taking a life I wouldn’t even hesitate.
I’m already in jail paying a price,
I often times wonder why am I so nice?
Hatred and violence run through my veins,
murderous thoughts invades through my brain.
I use to think my thoughts were something I’d inflict,
now I see without thinking my thoughts come out sick.
I feel like killing for little or no reason,
look at me wrong and your death would be pleasen.
And for all you punks who talk too loud,
I like watching your blood drip like drops from a cloud….
with a big fat shank piercing through your gut,
dying slowly, you deserve what you got.
By all means don’t cross my path,
if you’re a punk ass bitch who won’t take a bath.
You’re better off staying in your cell,
because your life will expire if I get one smell.
When I was drinking these thoughts I’d be thinking,
but now that I’m sober it’s starting to sink in……
That maybe I was born with blood to kill,
because every thought that I get is way too real.
Today I wouldn’t have the slightest desire to write such non sense.
Behind all the mental madness, there was a little place of peace and love. Here’s a poem that shows a glimpse of sunshine in the midst of a storm. It was written in August 1996:
LOOK FOR HAPPY THINGS
Look for happy things in life if you desire peace,
appreciate all that’s done for you and watch your love increase.
Things like a loving gentle smile or sincere words of cheer,
a sunrise or the precious time when twinkling stars appear.
Seek out the good in people and cast errors to the side,
fill your heart with love because that’s where good resides.
Drink in soul deep pleasure that nature gives to all,
enjoy the beauty of a rock bound shore or a cascading waterfall.
And do not forget the value of just a humble prayer,
it doesn’t matter where you are because God is everywhere.
Open your heart to children they fill this life with bliss,
who can deny the love of a baby’s tender kiss?
I hope you see just what I mean, look for happy things,
If you do that, then you’ll have love within a heart that sings.
PS – Dear Readers, I thought twice about sharing these violent poems with you. I wish to be transparent about my transformation and my journey. Would you rather I didn’t share violent poems on my blog? Let me know. Thank you.