Dale, 56

Dale, 56


Meet Dale…

My blood beats her name.

Dale, 56
Incarcerated: 17 years
Housed: McPherson Unit, Newport, Arkansas

I want to share my late son’s memory, for closure not only for me but his siblings as well, his name was Marshall.
Here is his last poem before he died in protective custody, he was also in prison, he was 32.

What makes me tick?
With my soul scraping the bottomless pit of hell prison while looking for a sign of peace, I manage to encounter an angel that oversees my future. It’s almost like a miracle sent from God. I’m facing what seems to be the most exciting part of my life: At the most damaging time of my world. My guardian angel knows my heart and intentions and wants the best for me. She knows and wants to please each and everyone of my lustful desires. I can’t stop thinking about her because without her, I’ll die spiritually, emotionally and possibly physically. The breath she exhales is the enacted air I need to be happy. She holds my heart in her hand and has the ability to crush it to pieces at any time. My mind is wrapped around her soul like a wedding ring. I pray to God she never takes it off. My blood beats her name. My life is helpless without her skin. When she looks at me my body gets hot and my hands want to touch her in the most delicate ways. Even though I’m bound, she sets me free. I promise never to leave her side. I promise never to let go of her grasp. Baby, don’t ever let go of me. You are my air and I can’t go on without you. You make me feel like a man. I won’t ever stop loving you. So will you guide me to heaven?

Charlie, 47

Meet Charlie…

I share these snippets to say, you never stop being a dad. My girls are grown now, but they will always be ‘daddy’s girls’. I may not be with them, but I’m always here for them.

Charlie, 47
Incarcerated: 15
Housed: Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, CA

There are some memories you don’t forget. Mine happens to be of my girls. They say you never stop being a dad and I follow that idea as best as I can. My babies are the only thing I wake up for, they are my reasons for pushing on, I may not be able to hold and kiss them, but I’m always here for them.

When I was 19, my oldest was still in her mother’s tummy. I was forced to make a decision in my hometown where there weren’t many jobs straight out of high school. Knowing I had this little one coming, I needed to do something. So I gave up my life to the US Army to give a life to my unborn daughter. I didn’t think twice and I didn’t blink, it was all for my daughter and my budding family. That choice paved the way for my oldest to see other states and countries. My sacrifice gave her clothes, food, and shelter. It also introduced her to different cultures, places, foods, and a whole score of experiences. On the other hand, she gave me motivation, strength, and desire to be all I could be. If I needed one more push to go one more mile, all I had to do was to think about my baby girl.

Fast forward a few years, I had left the army behind, and was in a new relationship and expecting my second child. When my youngest was born I wanted nothing more than to hold her and do better for her. I drove a cube van and delivered furniture from sun up to sun down in Toronto. I didn’t care if it was all for my little angel.

The two best memories I have are of my girls. I was a real big fan of the singer, Eminem. One day I had the song, My Dad’s Gone Crazy, playing. I noticed my daughter was smiling and singing along, so I turned down the radio and my daughter didn’t skip a beat. She kept singing, “I think my dad has gone crazy!” I smiled like a Cheshire cat that day.

The other memory is of my youngest, we were going to Walmart to get her picture taken in her first easter dress. She would sit there, but she wouldn’t smile. It didn’t matter if it was the photographer with her toys, her mother, or her brother making funny faces. She would only smile when I stood behind the camera after the picture was taken. Then, she jumped into my arms and wouldn’t let go. I still have that picture with me now.

I share these snippets to say, you never stop being a dad. My girls are grown now, but they will always be “daddy’s girls.” I may not be with them, but I’m always here for them. One day I’ll see them again and I just hope they can forgive me for not being there. They are my life.

Morgan, 33

Morgan, 33


Meet Morgan…

Prison has been a roller coaster of self exploration and a chance to see the world around me with a clear mind.

Morgan, 33
Incarcerated: 2.5 years
Housed: Wyoming Women’s Center, Lusk, WY

I never felt good enough for a good guy because of my abusive past relationships. I had little to no self-worth. I’m trying to break the patterns now and it’s deeper than my relationships with others, it’s finding out who I am and what good I can put back into the world. It seems like my first experience with loss and heartache threw me into a dangerous self-destructive whirlwind and I’ve never quite been able to reel myself back in. It was like only other broken people magnetized to me and I guess that’s part of the law of attraction. Love has changed so much over the years.

When I was young it was new, bright, and airy. Love now feels like an achy, empty dark hole in my heart. I am a broken person, but I’m not going to waste the time I am here, leaving the pieces on the ground. I am doing my best to piece it back together into a beautiful mosaic of different chapters of my life. I’ve been through some crazy stuff since being incarcerated… Finding out I was pregnant, realizing my family and I could not raise her, choosing an adopted family, going through the heartache of not keeping my child after birth, being handed down a life altering sentence, and finding myself again. It has been a roller coaster of self exploration and a chance to see the world around me with a clear mind. I’ve realized most of my so-called friends were not going to be by my side, and I’ve learned to be okay alone. I’m in a different state where I don’t have one familiar face, but I’m alive and I know I will come out better on the other side. Thank you for letting me share. And to you, our Humans of SQ audience – thank you for being here.

John, 64

John, 64

Meet John…

My fear is that I will not get a second chance to use all I know after prison.

John, 64
Incarcerated: 28 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

I thought I was going to be a great father. Turns out I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I was a great provider for my wife and two kids. I kept a roof over their heads. They got everything they needed, except for me. I had a great job, but it required me to work overtime, not just a few hours a week but sixteen hour shifts four to five days a week. I enrolled in a carpenters apprenticeship school and learned the trade at 18. I worked as a pipefitter during the winter months. I learned a great deal about pipefitting and plumbing. With some instructions from other welders, I became a state certified welder. That was a big day for me!

I believe if I had grown up with a fathers guidance, it would have turned out totally different. Life was hard growing up. I was abused by different men and women that my mom would bring home from time to time. I was lost. All I wanted to do was get away as soon as possible. I’m sorry to say it was no different for my older sisters. I left home at the age of 16. I worked odd jobs here and there with my uncle. I got married at 18. How did I get through all these hours? I got turned on to meth. It was at that moment my life changed forever. I became a different person. It led to all my troubles. When I fell, I fell hard.

I’ve been incarcerated for 28 years now. I’ve often thought about paroling and what I would do. My greatest fear and why I’m writing is to share my fears about life after prison. With all my skills and knowledge about pipefitting, carpentry, plumbing, welding and general supervision. I fear there won’t be anyone out there to hire me. I have a lot to contribute to someone that would give me a second chance. Who out there would want to hire a 67 year old parolee?

Robin, 39

Meet Robin…

I have many flaws, insecurities, thinking errors, and so much guilt and shame, yet everyday I try to do better, to be better.

Robin, 39
Incarcerated: 5 years
Housed: Federal Correctional Unit, Waseca, Maine

“No amount of darkness can hide a spark of light.”

I am not sure where this quote came from or when I first heard it but this is what gets me through the day. This is not my first time in prison and I’m not going to lie, there is quite a bit of darkness in me. I am an addict in every sense of the word whether it is drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, exercise, money or any other form of instant gratification, I struggle on a good day. I have many flaws, insecurities, thinking errors, and so much guilt and shame, yet everyday I try to do better, to be better. I have been to a state prison in Michigan and this Texas federal prison is a different world. This place is ruled by a cash app and exclusivity. Probably the hardest things to get here is treatment, programming or an education, yet everyday I stay positive and focus on that spark of light. I am a mother of three beautiful children and my dream is to show them I can overcome anything, that they are worth fighting for and that my mistakes don’t have to define me. I work in education in the morning and I am a math tutor for GED students in the afternoon. I facilitate adult continuing education. I love to learn and I am trying to find a way to get a degree. I want to want to be good. It is hard with a long sentence to see light at the end of the tunnel or to find a reason to care. There are times when I embrace my darkness and like it, but I always find my way back to the light.

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