“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.