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“A Christmas Story”

It was the night before Christmas and here throughout the jail,

A mood of indifference wrestled

Among those who, unlike in New York, could not make bail

Their tattered clothing, business suits alike

Pepper spray, blood and alcohol, is the tainted aroma

Among us this night

Some dozing in the corner, others squeezed upon a wooden bench

A few stood close to the cell door seeking refuge

From the holding cell stench

Not yet convicted, some having their rights retained

Murmurs and grumblings toward the jailhouse guards

Keeping the atmosphere bitter & strained

The hour draws nearer, as others are moved about

Receiving an orange jumpsuit, signifying that jailhouse clout

I spied an old man, sitting alone

Unlike many others

Not complaining or crying or wishing to go home

Watching from a distance, not desiring to appear obtuse

I thought to reach out a hand, but figured, what’s the use?

The bodies dwindled down, leaving only a few

A stark contrast to the initial number of prisoners that have come through

We see many things in this life we live

Wanting always to take…too few willing to give

The old man off in the corner

Slowly arose with a groan

I thought they’d call his name, letting him go home

He peered into my eyes, asking for the time

I replied, “Time no longer matters to me, for I’ve committed a heinous crime

They’ll give me life in prison, and there I shall die.”

He stood straight up, a glow emanated from his being

Tears welled up as I could not believe what I was seeing

He said, “The hour has come, unto us a child is born

For the life you have taken, your life you must give

Surrender to Christ, in Him, he shall live.”

Being raised in the church, his words I understood

For the life I’ve lived, not sure that I could

By His grace and mercy, however, I knew that I would.

In my 24th year of a life sentence, some days I struggle with time

Still, it is much better today than my worst yesterday

And the things I’ve left behind

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight


Scars are imprints of my life

Leaving discolored reflections of mistakes made along the way

Through undesirable destinations

Revealed after healing, which only takes time

And a lifetime of time is what I am doing because of scars I have left behind

How does one describe the scars that can not be seen?

When shall we tell how those unseen scars are healed enough

When will we have grown enough?

Taking responsibility though rough

For the scarred blemishes inflicted forever

Upon those claimed to be loved above all else

And yet, salt open wounds with momentary kisses,

Empty Promises, and lies I’ve tried to make them believe

Why have I done these things to get behind the bars of prison scars?


Behind, not wishing to face the reality of my own inflicted scars

Deeper than any flesh can comprehend

I have been a dead-beat dad to my own children like my dad was with his. Like him, I wish to be forgiven. Knowing their scars, like my own, will remain unless changes are made. How can this be done when I sit in prison for 24 years of a life sentence?

At the age of 33, my daughter found me and came to see me; signifying her strength and independence. The added blessing was introduced to my then 11 year-old granddaughter. I was so proud at that moment.

Like my own child, I wanted a dad to sit with me and discuss the meaning of life. How to find a proper wife, from a man who played more games in life than Super Mario on Nintendo. I was not able to comprehend until my life took a path of destruction and unhealed wounds flourished.

I fell into addiction.

There are scars on each of my wrists that remind me of the hurt I’ve caused to others. Not dealing with the blemishes of life, leaving scars I could not see but remain sadly in the lives of those I love, but never got to know.

“If I Knew Then…”

How many of us have heard the statement… “If I knew then what I know now?”

However, I often fail to see such things. The simplicity of my life back then. Repeating the same acts when desiring different results.

Each time I was caught in the web of lies I had often told myself as well as to others who have said they loved me unconditionally. While repeatedly defying their trust, my responsibility was to be the best that I could beyond selfishly ignoring what I knew then.

Now I think about being behind chain linked, razor wire topped fences, and cold closed steel prison doors.

How about, “What I know now I knew then” which makes it possible to see beyond yesterday. Molding a unique path forward.

Holding onto the things I learned along the way gives me the ability to better recognize the twists and turns, hoops and hurdles of an outraged life. I tried to hide behind fear, masking over those inner pains suffered through my own unique and real traumas because I didn’t know then what I know about self and the ability to rise above the past that existed.

In my today

Can I see now

How I have grown to know what I know

No matter the time of then or now?

How adjusting heart and mind

To make it through

The drudgery of holding onto inflicted pains that remain

A little less intense

By understanding that past mistakes

Nor the opinions of others

Does not define who I am

In this I am free

To be the best one can be

By simply accepting who I am to myself

Coming to terms as best I can for all

That has been done within my control

Of what has been known

Here’s the thing about time. I am trying to grab a piece of yesterday by applying it today. If I knew then what I know now, my circumstances change in time and may not fully apply to who, what, when, where, or why I am now. For I’m being better than yesterday’s history, inflicted with hurtful memories that no longer keep me bound by prison chains and shackles of time.

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