Christopher, 42

Meet Christopher…

…My freedom appears to be a beautiful sunset on the horizon.

Incarcerated: 23 years
Housed: Graceville Correctional Facility

My freedom appears to be a beautiful sunset on the horizon and despite my trepidations, I am not fearful of seeing th “new world” which has obviously changed over the last two plus decades. There are many blessings in my life that I sometimes consider unearned. Friends and family who are awaiting my departure and offering various means of support. My brother Eric has already secured me a job making a decent wage for someone who’s been out of the workforce since 1999. He also has a car for me and is to relocate to a new home which has an extra bedroom. All of these efforts to see that my transition is wonderful, but there is one particular gift that stands above the norm. This gift presents something that only the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated can truly appreciate. My friend of more than 23 years, Rachel has invited me on a cross-country trip that ends in the state of Oregon! She is looking to resettle. She’s a natural born New Yorker. As a single mom whose only son is preparing to take the reins of his life and move out on his own, Rachel wants to explore and find a new home. She wants me of all people to go with her! She recently told me that “There isn’t any other person in my life that I’d rather travel with than you.” I am humbled. Whether I am truly the best person for this endeavor with Rachel will soon be determined. The one truth I can proclaim without any doubt is that seeing the country for the first time after decades of confinement is the closest one can be to heaven on Earth and my travel companion must be an ‘angel in disguise!

Calen, 40

Calen, 40

Meet Calen…

Escape seems inescapable. Now picture incarceration with an utterly broken heart.

Lost Lover, Lost Freedom

What do you miss most about being outside? Women. Inside, femininity is obscure and rare. The judicial process has the ability to gut the unprepared and we are all unprepared. Once incarcerated, those who live in their own head may fall victim to their surroundings, reality swallowing them because they allow themselves to be enveloped whole.

Escape seems inescapable. Now picture incarceration with an utterly broken heart. If you thought the situation hurt before, attempt completing the process without your lover.  Better yet, how about the notion that you’re going through this brutal process, not just without your lover, but because of your lover. I miss conversing with women the most.

Since being separated from all things female, I can now smell perfume through a solid cement wall from hundreds of yards away. Jos always smelled so good, perfume or not. In all likelihood, closure will continue to elude me from now until forever. I still know what I felt for Jos was intense, complete and very real, from the first day to the last. Yeah, she’s forgiven. I’m over it. But there is and always will be a part of me that will resent her forever. And here’s some songs that mean volumes to me. Some are myself and Jos’, while some get me through this incarceration. Call it the soundtrack to the story ‘Lost lover, Lost freedom’. In no particular order of importance. They’re all important to me.

Beck -‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Die Waiting’

Bjork -‘I Go Humble’ and ‘Moon’ (slips remix)

Old Dominion -‘Crazy Beautiful Sexy’

Roxy Music -‘Mother of Pearl’

Blake Sheldon -‘Who are You When I’m Not Looking’

The Clash -‘Police on My Back’

Brothertiger -‘Beyond the Infinite’  

Talking Heads -‘This Must be the Place’

Danny Elfman -‘It Only Makes Me Laugh’

Meiko -‘Reasons to Love you’ ‘How Lucky We Are’

Mazzy Star’s -‘Fade Into You’

The Thermals -‘Returning to the Fold’

Mean Things -‘You Make Me Sick’

Voodoo Glowskulls -‘Symbolic’

Dolly Parton -‘Home’

Owl City -‘Vanilla Twilight’ ‘On the Wing’

The Distillers -‘The Hunger’

Incubus -‘The Warmth’

The Sundays -‘Wild Horses’