Michael, 44

Michael, 44

Michael

Meet Michael…

I was a troubled kid and had experienced too much hurt and seen too many disappointments to give or receive love properly. Once I really found love, it would eventually lead to my incarceration.”

Michael, 44

Incarcerated: 23 years

Housed: Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Ossining, New York

I ended up meeting a woman who was willing to let me live with her, under one condition; that I break up with Rose. Looking back now, I know the smartest thing to have done, would’ve been to tell Rose the truth of my plan rather than have her really believe I was breaking up with her. Especially when I had already proposed to her. Thinking back now, I’m really seeing how stupid and idiotic my plan was. Especially with someone like Rose. I was far from being a man back then, so I ended up going with my foolish plan and all hell broke loose. Events led to me being jumped by Rose, her mom and Rose’s step-sister; and even then I did not hit anyone. Rose was now 4 months pregnant at the time. When I tried to leave the scene, Rose grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, nor would anyone help me get her off me. Everyone just watched, friends, neighbors, everybody. I just wanted to leave, because I knew the cops were already out looking for me because of the fight Rose and I had earlier at her mom’s house. Rose had destroyed the woman’s car that I had driven over there, and I threw a car-jack through her house window in return. It was pure chaos earlier that day, but now all I wanted to do was get Rose to let me go without hurting her or the baby. I thought if I pointed my gun at her it would scare her into letting me go. That didn’t work. It just made her madder, and she started pushing and pulling on me. All I heard was the gun go off. I couldn’t believe it as I watched her body collapse in front of me. It was only when I got away from the crowd that I cried like I did the night I nipped her on the chin. I call this story “Unspoken Love”, because I never told Rose I loved her. This is a pain I have carried for a long time. If I had just been honest with her about my reason for needing to pretend that I broke up with her, if only I had told her how much I loved her. If only I could go back in time. If’s- have become the eternal burden I carry. Three lives were lost that day though the world only counted two. Rose, my son, and me.

Chimezie, 40

Chimezie, 40

Meet Chimezie…

Through her letters, poetry, song lyrics, phone calls, visits, deep thought provoking conversation, and mental stimuli, Beauty helped me elevate beyond the wallows of my self pity.

Chimezie, 40
Incarcerated: 20 years
Housed: Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, Shirley, Massachusetts

In the early years of my bid, I never slowed down long enough to write letters. I was always in some form of trouble. If I wasn’t lifting weights, I was chasing someone who owed money. If I wasn’t in the hole, I was headed to the hole. An intellectual connection with a female was the last thing on my mind. I lived in a crime college, and criminality served as my solace. That changed when a friend introduced me to a young lady, I’ll call Beauty.

Beauty and I began exchanging letters, then phone calls, and eventually she came to the prison to visit me. I remained non-committal and detached. My primary focus was on the wrong things. In 2013, the Supreme Judicial Court denied my direct appeal, and the reality of a lifetime prison sentence became a realistic reality. I was devastated. I was on the floor y’all. I tried to pull away from Beauty, but she pulled me closer to her. Through her letters, poetry, song lyrics, phone calls, visits, deep thought provoking conversation, and mental stimuli, Beauty helped me elevate beyond the wallows of my self pity. My mind was able to transcend the imposed limitations of prison and depression, through Beauty’s otherworldly devotion to our bond. Beauty nurtured me back to form with love. When I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet. The universe sent me an angel that changed the trajectory of my life. I’m humbled and forever grateful.I’ve learned firsthand, love is the only emotion strong enough to override human nature. Love is divine power. Inspiration through love is a divine influencer.

To Beauty, you saved me from myself. To the women loving incarcerated citizens of our communities despite conventional wisdom telling them to do otherwise: You are the heartbeat of an often forgotten tribe. To my fellow incarcerated citizens, follow your hearts, and dare to love. Love truly conquers all. May peace be with you. Always and forever.

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