January 2006 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 "We tend to see a person in the moment, not as the journey they travelled to get here."  Kat Lehmann

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January 31st, 2006

What a day…It started off slowly...I got up, made some tea and did a little reading. Shortly after I received some books and a magazine on space which I absolutely loved. It took me back to the days of being a child and in complete awe and love of the cosmos. Then, I washed my sheets and did my exercises…

About 2:55pm, I was called out to a visit with Mary. I had not gotten my hopes up that she would come today, but I was more than happy to see  her. Standing in front of the visiting booth I could see her through the mesh. I smiled at her and mouthed the words, "you're beautiful." Because she really did look so good. Our eyes locked and she was starting to get teary eyed. I came pretty close myself…When I was let into the booth, the first few minutes with us were odd. I didn't know what to say, but then my pain and anger came out and we kind of went back and forth at each other. No yelling or arguing, but still we were both kind of hurtful. But I didn't want that. I just wanted to resolve the matter. And so we talked and talked and I saw that she was hurting just as much. I told her I wasn't upset that she wanted more out of life. I mean, yes, I hurt that our marriage didn't work, but I didn't fault her for that. What I was upset about is, it just seemed she didn't care, and when she explained and we had our little cry fest and got it all worked out, I felt so much better. We both came to the conclusion that, no matter what, we would remain the closest of friends and allow the love we have for each other, to use that energy and focus on being friends. I can deal with that. I just don't want to lose her completely. We both ended the visit with smiles on our faces, and she promised, she would not close down on me again. Yes, things will be weird for a bit, but we can pull it off, I think. She'll always be dear to my heart. I guess, we ended up having a happy ending after all and I'm just glad it didn't end bitter, like it almost did. Dangerously so…

She promised to come and see me in a couple of weeks or so. It's all good. I think, I can sleep peacefully tonight. In other, sad news, they executed another man tonight. I didn't know the guy too well, but I heard he was trying to help someone who was innocent. The system is so screwed that they might just try to keep the guy locked up and admit to no wrong doing. Who knows. That's Texas for ya.

I will close this up and mail it off tonight. Peace, and as they say on this vegetarian show on KPFT… "Show compassion and stop eating meat, because every animal killed was running for it's life…" (My goodness, I still can't believe I'm a vegetarian now. Smiles…)

January 29th, 2006

Hello...I just finished writing some letters and I'm sitting here listening to KDOL. The day has been absolutely gorgeous! The exact opposite of yesterday. I got up and exercised about 9am and then I went out to play some basketball and won 20 games to 2. I was running my butt off! But it felt good to win.

It's still early in the afternoon, so I have much to wait on. I will see, if Mary calls in later. I hope so. I'm kind of anticipating a response on a very important letter I wrote her. We'll see, if she comments on it. Okay, well, I'm going to relax and do some reading right now, while I listen to the show. More later!

It's later now. Just got done listening to the show on KDOL. My wife didn't call, but it's all good. She was probably out doing whatever. Hope she had fun, though I still wonder what in the world you can do on a Sunday night. I guess, I will find out on Tuesday – if she comes!

I think I will close here and write more as the week passes. I don't plan on sending this out tonight, because I don't have enough substance this week. Maybe something interesting will happen this week.

January 28th, 2006

Just got back from my visit with Ilene. Wow. That was really cool! It had been fifteen years, and she wasn't what I remembered, but still she was cooler than I could've imagined. We talked about our parents. She made me remember this time when her mom pulled me out in Sunday school class and made me cry. We talked about my dad and a bunch of other stuff. Such memories. Like, I actually remembered the station wagon they had and I remembered making out with a couple of girls from my Hebrew class in the back of the station wagon. Really crazy!

She won't be able to come again for a while, but it was really cool. I had a lot of fun. Today was actually pretty boring up until that point. It had been raining all day long and was just so slow. Saturdays are like that, though.

January 27th, 2006

I'm just getting settled into my new cell. I was moved a short while ago and right now it's a little after nine at night. I was kind of disappointed to be moved because I liked where I was at. Here, it's so-so. Not horrible, but I don't particularly care to be on this section. The cell I'm in, doesn't have a shelf either! Argh…

I finally recieved a letter from Mary. Hmmm. I was pleased to get one, but it kind of, well, it upset me, but I'm okay. Her email she sent into the KDOL program was kind of strange. I can't explain it, but she  called me "aloof"; I think we've both been aloof. I know what she means, because I sent several contradictory letters, too, but it's only because I'm very conflicted right now. I know what my heart wants, though. The good news is, she did promise to come on the 31st. I really hope, she will. I need to see her so badly.  

In other news, my friend Ilene, who I haven't seen in so long, is coming tomorrow night. That's going to be cool and I will write about it. Right now I'm emotionally and physically pooped!

Good night!

January 26th, 2006

I am so tired! Really, today has been quite a busy day. I started off the day feeling quite lazy. I was waiting for commissary to come so that I could eat my ice cream and then go back to being lazy. I was so sore from yesterdays work out that I didn't really feel like doing anything. Plus, I admit, I was a little bit blue because I started thinking about my problems with my wife again. At about 11:00 a.m. I said, "Screw it, I'll do a light work out." I exercised for about 30 minutes and then commissary showed up. I ate my ice cream and then I went to recreation with the intentions of being lazy. Somehow I ended up jogging for ten minutes and then ended up doing these things this black dude showed me  called "Mountain climbs". Oh boy. Those about killed me. He pushed me to do two hundred and promised I would be really hurting tomorrow. Wonderful. I can't wait to see how sore I am. Ugh.

I ended up staying at recreation for almost three hours, which is two hours past the time we're supposed to get. That was cool, though. Trust me, I do not mind being out of my cell for three hours. The more the  better.

I came back in around four or so and just got my shower a little past seven at night. Right now I'm waiting on mail. Mary did promise a letter this week, so I'm hoping. We will see. I'm actually kind of nervous about it. I should sleep pretty darn good tonight. I have to get up at six in the morning because I'll be first round and it's an outside day. Nice chilly mornings. Love them. Hopefully it won't rain. I heard rain was headed this way again. Okay, we'll see if I  get any mail… Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No mail whatsoever. If I don't get a letter from  Mary tomorrow it will be three weeks now without a single letter. That would be pretty messed up. Actually, that would probably cause me to use my nuclear option; but I'm trying real hard to be PATIENT. It's just really, really, really hard…

January 24th, 2006

Another day has passed. It really wasn't too bad. When I woke up it was a little gloomy outside, but around noon everything cleared up and it turned out to be a  gorgeous day. I started the day doing this new exercise for called "Isometrics". I actually started doing these on Sunday and I really liked them. They're so simple, but then later on you really can feel it all over. Basically you're using your body as a form of resistance against you. After that, I wrote Mary a letter. I was in a pretty good mood, so I thought, "Why not?" Every letter can't be full of heartache. And besides, until I have real answers of what's going on, I'm not going to dwell on it. I have a, or am trying  to put a different light on my life. I decided to make some changes in my on going evolution of myself. (More on that in a bit…).  So, I wrote Mary a sweet letter and then I did a straight hour of my normal work out routine. After that, I went outside to play some football. Well, the Death Row version. What you do is try to throw the ball, one handed in-between the chin up bar. If it makes it in, that's 3 points. If the ball bounces off the bar and you manage to catch it, that's 7 points. The first to 50 wins. What makes it so tricky is when the ball hits the bar and it goes flying it could go anywhere so the catches are trickier than you might think. I ended up scratching my knee up pretty good today, because one ball bounced low and I dived for it. As I was  falling to the concrete I realized I could hold the ball and land on my face, or let go and try to break my fall so I had to let go and tried to break my fall with my hands and then skinned my knees up in the  process. I ended up losing the games. I then jogged for about five minutes and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. That was pretty much my day. Right now I'm just waiting for mail to come around. Hope-fully I'll have something.

So for my new changes...I've decided to become a vegetarian. Yep. I made the commitment. What I'm going to have to do now is send a request to someone who runs the kitchen and ask that I recieve an all vegetable tray. Boy, this is going to take some getting used to. I did good with dinner and only ate the black-eyed peas and the green beans, but I'm so hungry! Ugh. I'm determined to be successful. I asked my friend Susan to help me out with some tips, because she's a vegetarian, too. I just hope I don't break weak!

I'm also going to try to pay people more compliments and encourage others. I've generally been nice to everyone here, but I see some need lifting up, so I'm going to try to just, you know, be better. Sometimes I get aggravated and irritated by a lot of things that go on around here, but maybe I'll feel better if I help someone else feel better. Does that make sense?

Oh, I've got to tell you about this ingenuous system people use to talk to each other now...Unfortunately, I can't because it's top secret. I love it, though. It's really cool because you don't have to yell over the walk ways. I swear, there are some really brilliant people locked up. It's really a shame that so much talent goes to waste. It always amazes me. If only some of us had the resources or desire to have put this stuff to good use.

I'm really excited about meeting my friend, Ilene. Hopefully this weekend. I think she's going to try to be here Saturday evening. I really dislike visits on Saturdays, but because it's been fifteen years since I've last seen her, it's all good. I wonder what she will be like? I wonder what we'll talk about? Maybe I'm a little nervous, too. Just four more days. And then hopefully, Lord willingly, my wife will come next week. I NEED TO SEE HER SOOOOO BAD!!!! I miss her so much and despite everything, I'm still so in love with her. Do you hear me, Mary? I'm still so in love with you! I want you. I need you.

Okay, I'll stop here. I'm being goofy.  


January 22nd, 2006

It's a little after two in the morning and I can't sleep. I just finished writing my wife a letter that's almost ten pages long. I just couldn't get to sleep and so I just poured my heart and soul onto the pages. I guess it came from everything that's happened over the weeks.

Earlier today it was strange. The weather was horrible and I was listening to the program on KDOL. I had to use the bathroom and so I took my head phones off and then I put them back on, all I caught was "...forever yours, Mary". I wasn't sure who the message was from and/or for and I assumed it wasn't for me, because on the Friday program Mary did send a message in and it was kind of insensitive, I felt. She didn't even close it with anything just, "Mary". It kind of pissed me off, to be honest. So, in response to that I wrote a kind of angry letter. All of a sudden on the Sunday program the station goes off the air. It stays off until 5:45pm; they had lost power from a lightning strike. At about 5:50pm, Mary calls in. She, well, the call broke my heart...She sounded so sad and conflicted. I could hear so much in her voice, but what really just made me burst out into tears was she said, I had been on her mind a lot and she missed me and she even said, "I love you". I haven't heard from her in weeks, in letters or her voice, so hearing her call… I just lost it. I couldn't stop crying. But, she said, she did send a second email, but I don't have a clue what it was or said, because I missed it! I'm an idiot!

Well, the call made me think about things and I just tossed and turned and I realized at about 1:15am I was not ready to give up on us quite yet. I'm going to fight until I just fall over and can't fight anymore. I love her and I'm not going to give up. So, I wrote this letter, but I realized it may be too much at once. What I'm going to do is later today write a shorter version with the core of how I felt at the heart of it. I will tell her I want her and I'm not willing to give up, just yet. I still have hope. It's still there. My love for her is unconditional and there's nothing she could do, no amount of pain or hurt that could make me stop loving her. Because I know, deep inside she still wants me and loves me. I heard it in her words, on the call. I felt it in her voice. Maybe I'm crazy, but I know her better than anyone on this earth. I won't be pressuring. I'm not even going to bring it up past the letter I write. I put it into her hands. If she comes back, then we were meant to be, if not, well, then I'm an idiot, but at least I know I didn't quit and that I tried. So, Mary, if you are reading this: I still want you, baby. I still have hope. I still love you.

January 19th, 2006

Well, I just got finished writing my wife and mother-in-law...I didn't recieve any mail from Mary last night, but I did from my mother-in-law and it was a sweet letter. She's very torn about the current situation. She wants us to work things out, yet she also realizes it's a hard life for her daughter so – I just don't know. Every day I feel like I'm sinking further into the abyss. Every day that goes by that I don't get feed back from my wife I feel more lost, more hurt, more confused…

Today has been extremely boring. I'm waiting on a shower right now, but it's getting late in the day and this shift probably won't get to me. The day has been grey, but not too humid, which is nice. So, today I want to write about the incident in which I watched a man die. I'm thinking about it now and trying to bring back all of the details. It's not hard for me to remember, because it was my first time to watch someone pass away in front of me.

I hadn't been in prison too long. Maybe about five or six months. At the time I was on a transfer facility that was located not far outside of Dallas, Texas, in the small town of Bonham. The unit was basically a series of dorms made of aluminum. Almost like some sort of concentration camp. Basically, you stayed there until the prison administration figured out which prison facility they would place you in. I ended up staying there for two years, until I was sent to the facility that I escaped from.

Inside the dorms there was an area filled with bunk beds. On the perimeter of the bunk beds was a series of single beds that we called islands. I had one of these beds. On my right side was an older man, named Ferrina. The bed next to me on the left side  was empty and then on the other side of that bed was a younger guy, we called "Bundy" because he looked like the character "Al Bundy" from the television series, "Married with Children". That day an older black man who just came back from the hospital was given the bed that was empty on my left side. He made his bed and laid down to get some rest, obviously not feeling well. About mid afternoon he sat up complaining of some chest pains, so asked the guards, if he could go to medical. They sent him down. He came back about ten minutes later with a couple of Tylenols and laid on his bed. "Hey, old man. What did they tell you? You still look sick." I asked. He mumbled that they said there wasn't anything wrong with him if he was released from the hospital. He then fell back to sleep.

Dinner time came and we all filed into line. Seeing the old man still asleep, Bundy and I woke him up to see if he was going to dinner. He said "no" and so we went out to the chow hall. When we came back he was still sleeping. I think maybe a couple of hours had passed. I was in the day room watching T.V. when I got bored and decided to go lay on my bed. Bundy and Ferrina were reading books. I had a song on my mind and so began to beat on my chest, just kind of singing to myself. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the old black man stir a little restlessly. I turned to look at him as he was stretching his arms. His eyes were wide open and he let out a little yawn. And this is no hyperbole – a tear fell from one of his eyes.

His arms fell back down and his eyes remained open. I didn't know what to think at first and so I jokingly said to Bundy, "Hey, I think this guy just died." Bundy put his book down for a second and looked at him, "Nah, people sleep with their eyes open all the time." I looked at him closely at his chest to see if the old man was breathing and saw nothing. "No, I really think he just died!" Bundy shot up and then Ferrina came over and we all started shaking him, "Say, old school! Wake up, man, you okay?" Ferrina checked for a pulse and then began giving him CPR. Bundy and I ran to the window and started banging for the guard's attention. "A man is dying, we need help! Call medical!" We kept screaming until a guard noticed.

We went back to the bunk area and noticed a crowd gathering around Ferrina and having taken life guard classes I knew he needed his space, so I started pushing everyone away. Then I asked, if Ferrina needed help. He said "no" and kept working. A sergeant showed up first and he walked up to us. "What's going on?" he  asked. Bundy and I were astonished. He wasn't trying to help or even make an attempt. "A man is fucking dying!" Bundy yelled at the Sergeant. The sergeant only looked at everyone with slight amusement. Finally about twenty minutes later the nurses – the same nurses who turned the black man away – showed up. The sergeant ordered Ferrina off of the dead man and then began to act like he was giving CPR. It was a truly disgusting spectacle. I could see panic in the nurses eyes, like, "Oh crap, we really messed up on this one."

Later that week Ferrina, Bundy and I were interviewed by Internal Affairs. The sergeant and nurses were fired and Ferrina was given an early parole for trying to save a man's life. He was a substance abuse offender and in prison for a nonviolent crime, so they let him go, which I think was a good thing for the state to do.

I've seen many others die in prison, but this is the one that stuck with me the most. I've heard that so many problems like that could've been avoided had only medical taken the complaints seriously. I'm not saying some inmates don't take advantage of the system and try to come up with fake complaints and such, but when you're a professional medical practitioner all should be taken seriously.

January 18th, 2006

Another depressing day. Well, it wasn't terribly bad, but bad enough. If that makes sense. My attorney, Bruce, stopped by today which was a nice surprise. He got me a salad and Mountain Dew, which is always nice of him. We talked a little about my wife and the situation at hand, but really he didn't have any advice to offer other than getting in touch with her.

The latest legal update is basically an add on to what he told me last month. Not only is the judge of my case running for D. A., but also my lead prosecutor, Toby Shook. I think there's one democrat running, but Bruce thinks my judge will be the one who wins because he has a political background. I would put my money on Toby Shook, only because he is a tough ass prosecutor – I know from experience. He may have helped get me a death sentence, but I'll give him his dues. He's good. But both will be playing the Texas 7 card. Lovely.

The good news is that the judge who is in to replace judge Cunningham is a female and a democrat. My lawyer feels until she wins the seat permanently she probably won't even look at our appeals and just let them sit. They're trying to get me last in line even after that all happens so I still have a long ways. Maybe over a year. Not bad, I suppose.

I wrote my mother-in-law a letter today, too. Just to let her know how I feel about everything that's going on. I asked her – begged her – to talk Mary into coming down and see me on the 31st. I really hope she will. I just have so many questions. So many things that are just bugging the hell out of me. My thoughts are like a billion tiny cockroaches running around in my brain and it's bugging me to death. I don't think I've ever felt this way before in my life. It's horrible.

So, it's close to nine at night and they still haven't passed out mail. I'm listening to this computer show on KPFT. I haven't touched a computer since 1996, but I still like to keep up with the technology and how things are working and such. I'm fascinated by it. I really am a geek at heart.

Tomorrow I will write about the guy I watched die back in 1997, right next to me. It's a terrifying story and the first time I had actually seen with my own eyes a person die. The thing is, I really believe he could've been saved, if only the nurses would've treated his complaints seriously. A really horrible story.  

I suppose I will close this up for the night and sit back and wallow in my own despair. After this program is over I'm going to put it on the love song station and torture myself and maybe have a real good  cry. I'm a glutton for pain.

January 17th, 2006

It's 1:21pm, and I'm sitting here on this Tuesday, wondering if Mary will be here within the next hour and a half or so…l looked outside and it is a beautiful day. It would be perfect for a visit, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high.

The strangest thing happened yesterday – well, last night to be specific. My ear had felt like it had water in it  so I kind of rubbed and shook my ear lobe and I heard this popping sound. Suddenly all of my hearing came back in that ear. See, way back in July, I woke up one morning and could barely hear out of that ear. My right ear. It improved over the months, but there was still a slight muffle to it. I couldn't hear the way I wanted to hear and being a musician and relying heavily on my ears it was driving me nuts and I could never quite get used to it. But now, it's perfect. Everything is really intense in my right ear. I can hear the slightest of sounds. Even this typewriter pounding away sounds very loud. I'm almost giddy about it. I wonder what the problem was? Could it have been a lot of pressure build up? Or maybe somehow my ear drum shifted in the canal somehow? I just don't know, but I am sure glad that it's back to normal. Let's hope it lasts.

I had started part three of my "The Beginning of the End" memoir piece, but honestly I wasn't feeling like doing any serious writing right now. Mary is on my mind and I am very anxious. I think my patience is running out on things. We haven't discussed anything major and well, I just want to move on, but I can't because I'm stuck in this emotional limbo. I'm trying to be as patient as I can be, but I'm getting anxious and frustrated. I don't feel it's fair for her to do this to me. It's like, okay tell me how you feel, let's talk and move on from here. But we can't. I'm stuck with my tires in the mud. I think if nothing is resolved by the 31st I'm just going to move on. I don't want that because I do want to salvage a friendship or something out of us. I've spent almost five years knowing her and I just couldn't kick her out of my life, but I feel like it's what she's doing to me so…Sometimes you have to be selfish. Right? Well, we'll see what's going on by three won't we?  I will definitely do some writing about what ever happens…

3:22pm...Nothing. She didn't show up. It has been officially a month since I've seen her now. I'm sick. I'm literally sick to the stomach. Pain, anger. I don't know what's going on. I feel out of control. She won't  talk to me. What the hell did I do wrong? I was honest. I was supportive. I was loving. I went way beyond the means I even had. I made her a priority and structured my life around us. I've wasted 3 years since I've been on death row. 3 years that could've been focused on other thing …3 years on a marriage that didn't even work out. I feel so stupid right now. I'll never trust my heart again.

January 15th, 2006

Man. I cannot believe this month is half way through. I can't believe I've been going through all this garbage for 2 weeks. I didn't write any because I was in a zone. My thoughts were in a far off land. I woke up this morning and said to myself, you gotta stop moping around and get over it. Easier said than done, of course, but at least I have stayed busy today.

Yesterday there was a little incident with an inmate down the run. It was sad that things had to go to such extremes when the problem could've been solved easily. It all started with the inmate (non death row inmate) and he was trying to get the guards' attention because he was sick. They just kept ignoring him. He then began to kick the door to get their attention. This pissed the guards off and so they came out of the control center and came to his door, "Stop whining like a little bitch. Sit your faggot ass on your bunk…" One said. Yes, the inmate is gay. "I'm sick! I need to go to medical!" the inmate cried. "You shut your punk ass up. You ain't getting no medical attention."

They exchanged words back and forth and finally the inmate said, "Well, if you refuse me the attention I'm asking for I'll just cut myself until I have to go to medical…" And then he proceeded to cut his arm with little nicks. Nothing serious, just enough to draw some blood. The guards couldn't do anything but call medical now. Boy, they were pissed. One kept threatening to pepper spray him. It didn't have to get to that and I often wonder why these guards make things harder than they need to be. Now they had to fill out paper work and get a sergeant involved and then get a clean up crew to wipe up the blood…When all they had to do was send him to medical from the beginning. Nuts.

Today I spent most of it doing laundry. I then exercised and got caught up in some writing. Right now I'm waiting to see, if Mary will call through. It's 5:18pm right now and she doesn't get off of work until after 5:30 or so. I guess we'll see. I try to tell myself to not hold my breath, but again, easier said than done. I planned on sending this out tonight, but tomorrow is a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Day) so they probably won't pick up the mail. It'll for sure go out tomorrow night. One thing I'm happy about is my time on this pod is almost up. Man, I hope they move my sorry butt Tuesday night. I'll be so upset if not. I can't stand it here. It's another reason why I've been so out of it this week. If I was on another pod I could deal with everything that's going on because I could talk about it with someone or at least talk about something else another topic or something.

Okay. I'm on standby to see, if she calls in. We will see. I really would like to hear her sweet voice. I need some soul comfort. It's 6:30 pm now. I just took down my laundry. It only took 6 hours to dry. I sure do miss electric dryers and washing machines. I've got a clothes line that extends from my light fixture to my window. Usually I just turn my fan on and let the fan dry it, but I've been using my type writer so I have to choose between my radio and fan, or radio and type writer. I only have two outlets in the cell. I guess I'll wait until about 7 or so to see if I get a phone call or not. Right now the odds are against me. When she used to call all the time it was always around 6pm, so…

Sigh… No call. KDOL is shutting the program down. Either the line was too busy or she couldn't call. Now I will be in suspense until Tuesday to see if she comes or not. This really does mess with my head at times…On a closing note, there is a new song by the Houston, Texas band, Blue October called "Hate me". I love this band and this song is really good. I think this band will break through this year. I highly suggest them for anyone who's into good, smart alternative rock.

January 13th, 2006

Friday, the thirteenth. Who said don't be superstitious about this day? Ugh…Well, I heard an email from Mary about thirty minutes ago. It's settled. We are officially over. She got my letter and well, wanted to end things. I'm not going to lie. I cried. I cried for about 15 minutes, because I never wanted to be a failure at marriage. I didn't want us to end because I am still very much in love with her. It's something you just don't get over.  

The only thing about it that really bothered me was that she was a little too happy in it. It kind of hurt  my feelings. I don't know. My mind is kind of drawing a blank right now. I won't know anything until I can at least talk to her. I really wish things didn't have to be so difficult. I wish my life wasn't so difficult at times. Never a dull moment turns out to be a curse. For the first time in my life I'm de-mystified by love. I believe in love as in giving love to others in acts of kindness and such, but as in romantic love, falling in love etc…I don't know what I believe. I'll put it like this: I've got about 3 to 4 years left in my life if the worst happens. Is it possible to fall in love, meet someone, go through all of that – again…I don't know if I want someone after Mary. It took five years to even meet her, then another four of us being together. That's a long ass time. Time is something that's working against me, though. The clock is ticking… Tick… Tock… Tick…I am addicted to love and I love being in love, but I just don't see it happening. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. I don't know. She said she might be here on the 17th. I hope it happens. I may end up seeing my friend, Ilene, the following week if she makes it down. I haven't seen her in something like 15 years? I was 13 or 14 the last time I saw her. That'll be a neat visit.

My head is really not all there so I'll try to write a little more Saturday and Sunday. I'm going to sit back and try to relax and listen to PBS, feed my brain a little food for thought.

January 12th, 2006

Today was a grey and very humid day. I spent most of it listening to the Judge Alito hearings on deciding if he can be appointed to the Supreme Court. He will be appointed because the Republicans have more votes and unless the Democrats filibuster there's not much else one can do. I have to say if he does get appointed you can guarantee the death penalty in the U.S. won't end. Also, the court will be stacked with conservatives and a lot of things in this country will change and I have a sneaking suspicion it won't be for the better. Scary times indeed.

You know, since I've been on this pod I have not talked to a single person. I just haven't, and really have no desire to. Saying that, though I feel like I need to talk to someone because I'm very depressed right now and would just like to pour my guts out to someone. I feel so alone. I feel like I'm on a deserted island.

I think today I gave up in the belief of true love or soul mates. I feel like it's an illusion. Make believe. Something we trick our hearts into thinking might be real. It doesn't mean I don't want it, though. I do wish I could find that person who doesn't put restrictions on love or how to love. I wish I could find someone who could look beyond the physical aspects of a relationship and enjoy the love that comes from inside. I think I'll always be a hopeless romantic and I'll always hope for that person. But my time is running out. I love the feeling of being in love and I think I might be addicted to love. I know I love being loved. Does any of this make sense?

This is just a random thought. I wonder what ever happened to my friend Jennifer Roe? We were pretty tight all the way up until about 2004. I was focused on my marriage so I let that get into the way of our friendship. I mean, I had my reasons why. I was very loyal and in love with Mary, but still maybe I did the wrong thing?

Well, I'm on standby to see if I've got mail…My tooth still hurts a bit. I put in for a dental request but they don't always answer right away. In fact during Hurricane Rita I had cracked a molar and because they lost power I recieved my request back with the words: non serious medical request, please submit at a later time. I was like, "Huh? Cracking a tooth in half isn't a serious issue?" That reminds me of this news report I heard a month or two ago about how prisoners recieved top notch medical care. They would interview average citizens and ask how well their own medical care was and then they'd say "Well, did you know prisoners get etc…" They would be outraged and say we didn't deserve to be given that good of a medical option. Huh? I'll put it like this: The common cure is Tylenol and lots of water. Unless you are dying it takes an act of congress to get any type of treatment. And sometimes when you're dying you don't get help and die. I witnessed a man die in the bed next to me when I first arrived in prison. I'll have to tell that story sometime soon. His death could've been avoided I believe, but the nurses refused to listen to his complaints and sent him back to the dormitory.

There are some songs I hear that just make me say, "Man! I wish I would've written that!" I just heard a song by My Chemical Romance called "Ghost's Of You" or ghosts or something like that…Perfect. The band is so-so, but this song is awesome. The melody, the lyrics, all perfect. Even the singer's vocals and pitch fit the song – and I usually think his vocals are annoying. They nailed it. Bravo!

I sure will be happy when I'm moved off of this pod. Argh!! Well, maybe I'll have something more interesting to write about tomorrow. Good night and sweet dreams…

January 11th, 2006

Today has been a long and straining day. It started yesterday and carried on into today. I had hoped on a visit from Mary. We still have so much to discuss and I really need to talk to her so I can start the healing process in this. No, my mind still hasn't changed, but it doesn't mean I don't hurt. Man, do I ever.

I was moved to F-pod last night. I really didn't feel like going here – especially since I'm stressed and depressed as it is. It's so loud and annoying. You can feel the hatred and negativity towards each other. You can cut it with a knife. I should've started off with how I began my day yesterday. I woke up at about one in the morning with a terrible tooth ache. No amount of Tylenols helped. Well, they don't give us real Tylenol but this generic stuff that I have a sneaking suspicion is a placebo. I didn't get much sleep the whole day. Then I came to the loudest pod in the building. I was able to score some Ibuprofen eventually and crashed out at about 11 p.m.

I woke up this morning extremely depressed. My tooth still ached, but not as badly. I made some tea and then just sat around in my boxer shorts and thought. I really missed Mary and wish things hadn't spun so out of control like they have. At noon I was told to get ready for a media visit. I was surprised and completely not prepared. Turns out the documentary crew was here and ready to do an interview and filming. I was picked up, handcuffed and walked down to have my interview. George Rivas, my co-defendant was there, too. I was polite to him, as he was with me. When the director showed up he briefly spoke with Rivas and then came down to the booth I was in and spoke to me. He assured me that he wasn't trying to sensationalize anything and that he wanted honesty from me. He seemed really nice and straight up. I enjoyed speaking with him. The crew was from the UK and all very nice.

They set up the cameras and filmed  Rivas first. I could hear everything that was being said and I'll just say all I could do was roll my eyes at what he was telling them – or more like how he was telling them. If I've ever met a narcissist, "me, me, me… I, I, I"…that's all I ever heard. And then the poor little sob story at the end. Give me a break. But that's him I guess.

My interview was a little short because the guards were trying to shut down early. They filmed me and the director said I gave a good interview. We didn't get to talk about much, but I think I expressed myself well enough. They took some pictures and did a shot of me holding a picture of Mary and I that I still had in my ID holder. That shot pained me because it was saying I love her so much, but the sadness in my eyes was that it was over.  

I have no idea when the program will be aired or on what channel still quite yet. The paper work said the History Channel for the UK. I'll try to find out and keep you posted. I came back and was exhausted. I turned down recreation and listened to  the hearings for the supreme court appointment. Quite boring in itself and so I zoned out.  

They just passed out mail. I didn't get any. Figures...that means Mary hasn't written any since at least Saturday. So nice of her to care. Like I said, I'm no longer a priority so why even bother? Why put myself through that hoping and begging for her to come around…

Shit. I'm going to sleep.

January 9th, 2006

It's 7:53pm...now and my day is starting to come to an end. I'm sitting here listening to the Radio station "The Buzz". I actually just came back from a shower about five minutes ago. The water was very nice and warm and I kind of just let the stress rinse right off of me.

I woke up this morning in a daze. Last night after I straightened up my cell and put my mail in the door to be picked up in the morning, I got ready for bed, but had planned on lying in the dark just thinking and listening to music. I crawled into bed, pulled my blanket over me and sat my head phones onto my desk. I began to say my nightly prayer and then found myself waking up at 6:30am. My head phones were still sitting in the same place I left them. I looked at the door and the mail was still sitting in the side. I thought about the letter I wrote Friday night to Mary and said to myself, if I wanted to change my mind here's the chance to yank it out of the door… About a second after that, a mail lady grabbed my letters. It was on it's way out. No going back now.

I stayed in bed until about 7:50am and I was wide awake. I thought about Mary. It's weird because every morning there's this commercial that comes on at about that time with an inspirational message. This one was about moving on from a relationship. Was it a sign? I thought it was one hell of a coincidence…

I planned on doing a bunch of writing today, but honestly I had major blockage. I couldn't get anything to come out. My neighbor, Ghost, somehow managed to talk the guards into letting us go outside and so at about one we went out. Talk about a beautiful day. Warm and perfect. We talked about if I was doing the right thing in my decision to end things with Mary. I feel I am, but before I can talk to her in person I've decided to keep my comments to myself. It's a very private moment and some things should be respected as such. All I can say now is that I do hurt, but I am going to try to heal.

I thought I would be moved tonight, but I wasn't. I'm surprised, because I've been on this pod for so long. I can't believe it. Right now all of my thoughts are on tomorrow and if Mary will come. It is our visitation day. I hope she does, so we can discuss things. I would much rather speak to her before she gets the letter I wrote. The letter wasn't harsh, it was very delicate, I would just feel better discussing it.

I'm tired and I'm waiting on mail to be passed out. To be honest, I don't expect anything, but maybe I'll have a surprise. After that I'll probably go to sleep. I have to get up at 6 tomorrow. I'll be first round for  ecreation. It's our outside day, too.

And so, that was today in a nut shell. Tomorrow should be interesting…

January 8th, 2006

Sigh… I wish I could write today, tonight, with a light heart, but I cannot. I've had very little sleep this weekend and I've been turning over and over my current predicament inside my head. Searching my soul, my heart on what I should do, how I should handle my situation.

I'm doing something I've never done before. I've decided to face down my worries and own the situation. Instead of letting the year control me, I'm going to control the beginning of this year.. And so, I decided to end it with Mary. I wrote her a letter late Friday night after midnight, but I wasn't sure if that was going to be how I felt two days later. I still feel the same way. My mind hasn't changed and so with a heavy heart I will be sending my letter out tonight to her and letting her know what's on my heart and mind. Believe me, I don't want this. She is all of my heart and I hadn't loved someone, been in love with a person in so long. I've known her for almost five years and we've been in love for almost four. It's not like you can just sweep it under the rug. Plus, we're married…I never thought I'd be a failure in that, if I ever got married. I never wanted to be a statistic. I married for an eternity. I didn't marry for a fling. But the odds were against me, I guess. I'm not out of love with her. Not at all. I love her now more than ever. I really do, but it's so difficult for her – for me, going through this. She is my best friend and as long as I can at least keep that much I think we'll be okay. It will take time to adjust, but I will give it my best. It's not like I'm just writing her off. Truth be told, I just don't have any more strength emotionally to keep fighting for something she can't put her all into. I'm pooped. I've been fighting for the past four months, giving my all. Pouring every ounce of love and devotion into our marriage, I just can't do it anymore. Yeah, all of my poems for while are going to be pretty depressing…It'll do good for my creative process. Ha. Ha. Not really funny. I  just don't have it in me anymore. I need to talk to her and we have a lot to talk about. If she could give me her all 100% I could change my mind, but even if she could, I don't think it's fair for me to ask that of her. I don't want to be a selfish person. If she wants more and it makes her happy, I will let her have it. I want her to be happy more than anything – even at the expense of my happiness. I will always be there for her. I will be her best friend. She can always confide in me. I'm going to write her and still be a part of her. Love never really truly dies. Sometimes absence makes it grow stronger, as the poet once said.

I don't know if she will come this week or not. I hope at least she will come soon. I will of course write about it and I'll probably have more to reflect on during this coming week. My life the soap opera. My life, never a dull moment. I just ask for those reading just keep me and Mary in your prayers. I ask for healing and for this to be as painless as possible.

And so I send this out in the hopes for the best. And if you're reading this, Mary, I do and will love you no matter what. That could never change.

January 6th, 2006

I hate being right. I hate getting these weird feelings and then have something happen.  

Today is Friday. It started off well enough. I wrote a little and then spent the afternoon drawing this Bucky The Katt from the comic strip called "Get Fuzzy", my favorite comic strip. My friend David had sent me this calendar full of Bucky Katts, so I found one I wanted to draw for Mary. I was listening to KTRU Rice university and they were playing some awesome music. My afternoon felt like it was going good. At four p.m. I turned on the "Shout Out Show" on KDOL and began to listen. I heard a wonderful message from Josef and David. Things were feeling good. And then I heard one from Mary…

Most things she writes to me or to be read to me have this spark to them. They're full of life and love and this one was flat. She said she didn't write the station or call in because she forgot and couldn't promise to call this week because she'd be busy Sunday night. Then there was the classic "We have a lot to talk about" line. Boom. Bomb shell dropped, gut instinct proven right. It was the same in a letter I recieved around 7pm. She said she had a lot on her mind and well, we'd talk whenever she could come down to see me, but there's no promise she can come this coming up week. It would've been simpler to take, had she closed the letter with her cute little love symbols, but she didn't. Nothing. My heart dropped. I don't know how to feel right now. I'm sad and I spent a little time talking to Ghost, but he said I had to do what I felt was best. I just don't know. I doubt I'll write anything to her until tomorrow, once I can organize my thoughts, but I think we may be over. I don't want that. I really don't, but I don't see how I can go through the pain and agony of trying to fight for what I may not be able to keep. It's too much for me.

I realize that Mary is young. It's why I really didn't want to get married at first, because I knew eventually she would have these longings for more. More than I can give. I don't doubt she loves me, but in this situation, it's a lot of work and effort. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. I could be. My head's fogging up and I think I should sit back and think.

To be continued…

January 5th, 2006

I thought maybe I'd be moved tonight, but I wasn't. I'm not complaining. I went outside pretty late with my neighbor "Ghost". We talked for while and just thought back to the days we were free. One thing I admire about Ghost is that even though he says he's innocent, he recognizes that had he not made bad choices in his life and did things he shouldn't have done, he may not be here on death row. I respect that and it takes a lot to acknowledge that.

I didn't get any mail from Mary, so now I'm really freaking out. I just don't know what's going on. It's driving me nuts and consuming all of my thoughts and now I have this really bad feeling about things…Like, we could be going back to early September territory. I don't think I could go through that again. Well, at least tomorrow is the show on KDOL and I should hear something.

January 4th, 2006

Another long day. I hoped that Mary would show up this morning, but she didn't come. I guess things are tight back home. I do worry though. I did get a letter later last night from her but it was mailed out on the 28th. So, I still worry for her. My thoughts are pretty crazy right now. I'm just hoping she's safe.

My other neighbor, nick named "Ghost" is a really good neighbor. We've been talking through a hole in the back part of our walls. I like the guy a lot. He's very straight up and an excellent artist. He shared some of his poetry with me and while some is not my style, one did stick out very much, because it was filled with a lot of emotion. I want to include it with my journal entry and he's given me his permission, so it will be printed up here.

The Important Question
(by William Berkley; printed with his permission)

This must be an illusion;
It can't be happening to me.
Can't you all see?
What's blinding you?
The legal system is not true.
It's extremely manipulative.
Whatever happened to the people who use to care and give?
The topic is death!
What gives you the right to cause the last breath?
You gripe and complain, "To take life is wrong";
Yet, we lead in execution, and take life all day long.
Why don't you practice what you preach?
Remember, it is the little ones we must teach.
What kind of example do we set for them.
"To take life is wrong!"
Yet we do it again.
"What about the innocently executed?"
A voice in the crowd once said,
It wasn't a knife in the stomach,
Or a gunshot to the head.
It was a needle that caused this person to be dead.
And you put them there on purpose just to do that!
Doesn't anyone give a crap?
It's an insult, a slap in the face!
I wonder, are you going to make me walk the corridor to that awful place??
Is life that meaningless?
Or could you all just care less?
Shouldn't we stand up and fight!?!
Nah, just sentence them to death tonight.
Oh, my bad, as long as it's not you, right?
One last thought before I'm off and trot away,
For this one simple answer I hope and pray.
It is the most important question of all.
Because God only knows and heaven forbids,
So let me ask all you people:
What are we teaching our kids????

Ghost has an innocence claim. I can usually tell when people are feeding me a crock of crap, but I believed him. None of his story seemed false and usually when a person tells their story things don't add up. I wish the best for him and hopefully I can catch up with him again.

January 3rd, 2006

What a day, what a day…I've pretty much been stressing the whole blasted day. I got up this morning with a positive feeling. Made some tea, exercised real early. The sun was shining bright and it was a very calm and clear morning. After working out and feeling good, I went ahead and shaved and asked the guard to allow me a shower because I wouldn't be going to recreation. All in the hopes of having a visit today.

My window to the cell I'm in right now faces the parking lot and entrance to the prison compound. In the distance is a giant red and white checkered water tower and just under that is a guard tower. Inside the compound you can see the side walk from the parking lot and entrance to the main visiting building. So, you can see all of the families coming in. Whenever I'm in a cell with this view I like to watch for my wife to come walking down the side walk. I can always pick her out from her very elegant and distinct walk.

I watched and watched out the window as the day passed, knowing that if she didn't come by three I probably wouldn't be getting a visit. The minutes passed and became hours and all closer and closer to three in the afternoon. At three I climbed off my bed and drooped my head in sadness. I wouldn't be getting a visit today.

I'm very worried right now because I just don't know what's going on. I hate not having regular access to a phone or whatever. The mail takes too long and I just feel so out of touch right now. The KDOL program they do is always a good way to know what's  up, but Mary never sent an email or even called (and if she did it didn't go through…) so I'm clueless. All kinds of crazy thoughts pour through my head. I mostly worry that she's okay. For her safety. All of these crazy scenarios start popping up – and my imagination is bad enough controlled – imagine when it runs wild… Sigh. Well, there's always the hope of her coming tomorrow. If not I won't know what's going on until Friday or Sunday. That's too long away. Tonight I plan on listening to some programs on PBS. One about mummies and then another about how Wal-Mart conducts business. Should be interesting.

January 2nd, 2006

What a cop out! Okay, I admit, if I was free I'd love an extra day of no work and of the holidays, but I'm not, so I'm upset that the federal government is closed and there will be no mail today. I mean, it's not New Year's Day so why say everything is shut down for new years? Sorry, I want my mail.

Another day in this pit. It's been warm – again. Global warming at it's finest and I'm listening to KTRU as I write this. Whoever is the DJ right now is playing some really good stuff. I got into an argument with my neighbor last night because he was gay bashing. I decided to throw my two cents in because listening to it was irking the hell out of me. I was already irritable because I'm worried about my wife. It was the first time she's never called into the radio show or sent an email. So I say, "You don't think some people are born gay?" Of course he said "no" and called it an abomination God, and if I defended gays I must be queer myself. I couldn't help but laugh at that. Then I basically said his views were right winged and fundamental. "Ah, hell no! I can't stand Bush!" I said, "Well, that's what his views are…" He got mad and called me a queer again, so I said, "I hear you, Pat Robertson." Yes, life on death row is wonderful. Not really.

Today I've been writing mainly.  yped up some poems and wrote a letter to my wife. I hope she can come tomorrow. Right now I don't know because like I said, I didn't hear her call yesterday so I'm clueless. I feel she will be here though. It's a picture week and we keep missing our chance to get some more pictures so I don't think she'll miss it. They only do pictures in visitation one week each month and it's usually the first week of the month. They cost three bucks each, which is pretty ridiculous (This singer "Annie" is awesome! I love this music – very pop, but irresistible!), if you ask me. They are Polaroid's, too. But saying that, I do like getting them. Any picture of my friends and wife is always a blessing. I just I hope I'll be able to get one tomorrow. To be continued..

I was listening to the program earlier on KPFT called "Go Vegan Texas". It's a vegan show and they discuss all of the pros about going vegetarian or vegan. I want to dive in. I really do, but having eaten meat my whole life, it's like quitting drugs. I'm addicted. I doubt seriously if I could stop cold turkey (no pun intended). I determined to eventually stop eating meat for health and moral reasons, but I think it has to be a gradual process. My wife and I had decided to stop eating pork a while ago and we both did it. I have no craving for ham or anything and if it's served I can easily turn it down. I think hamburger or chicken will be a little more difficult. But I will! One of these days.

I'm reading a fantasy book called A Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It's pretty good, but there's four books to the series. I very rarely get a chance to read a whole series or I lose interest after the first couple of books. I think the only series I followed completely were Ann Rice's and the Harry Potter books (though, I haven't read the latest).

Okay, that does it for today.


January 1st, 2006

Happy New Years! I start this out with hope that this year will be the year of peace, love, understanding. Where humans can learn to co-exist, where we can learn to respect and appreciate other world cultures. Where we can love and respect each other as the humans we all are.

I haven't written anything in my journal for the last couple of weeks because honestly, I just wasn't feeling it. I don't ever want my writing to be forced. And when I do it's very half hearted and bland. I had the holiday blues and so much on my mind. Christmas Eve was especially difficult for me as it marked the five year anniversary of what lead to my being put on death row. Mary had called into the Christmas show KDOL Radio was holding, and that call made me very happy. It was nice hearing someone tell you they love you and are thinking of you. Earlier that day I had been called out for a telephone call to her, which surprised the hell out of me. Unfortunately no one answered, so I missed out on that call.

To make a phone call here you have to put in for a request to use a phone. Sometimes that process takes months to go through and I sure as hell didn't expect to be allowed to call on the holiday. At least Mary was able to call into the radio program. Later that evening I forced my self to look at my disfigured toes on my left foot as a reminder of the incident on Christmas Eve in 2000. I was shot that night, the bullet passing through four toes, damaging two to the point that they no longer move. I then thought of how things went horribly wrong that night and how a life was lost. Something that should've never happened. While, I didn't personally pull or shoot a gun, I can't help but feel shame, disgusted in myself for not trying to be more forceful in refusing to participate in a robbery – or for even allowing a robbery to happen on Christmas…And saying sorry just doesn't seem enough – it isn't enough and at times maybe I think I should pay with my life. I don't know.

Christmas day we had a very spectacular meal. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, smoked ham (I don't eat ham though…), sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, cole slaw, three sweet pickles, two deviled eggs, a celery stick with peanut butter, spread on it. We had two rolls, corn, and peas. Then (!) we had three pieces of pie, two big cookies, an apple and orange. To my astonishment, no one complained! I mean, how could you complain about a meal such as that? It was too much to eat.

Christmas day lead into the first night of Chanukah for me, which Mary called me once again on Sunday on KDOL to wish me a happy Chanukah. This warmed my heart. I love her so much. Monday morning everything here (on the 26th of December 2005) was very slow. No mail services, no visits etc. But I was called out for a phone call once again – no luck in getting hold of Mary though. I'm not sure if she went to work that day or not. I probably had just missed her as it was around eight in the morning. The rest of the week I just zoned out. Sulked mainly. I was getting over a cold and knew I wouldn't be getting a visit from my wife which sucked. I miss getting visits from her every single week, but I know money is still tight, so I'm patient and understanding.

Last night on New Year's Eve it was relatively calm. Things got a bit loud at midnight and then it quieted down. I spent most of the night listening to the top 94 alternative rock songs of the year. Then, I drew a picture for my wife and wrote a couple of poems. I was in bed by one in the morning. I woke up this morning and was called out once again for a phone call and another try to get hold of Mary. I hoped upon hope I would get through to her, but to no avail. Ugh. I was so disappointed. This being my third try  – it would be my last. They have a three strikes your out rule and so I chose to instead call my friend David. We talked for about five minutes and it was very nice phone call. I was pleased. Now I have to wait 90 days until I can make a call again. I came back, had lunch which was mystery meat – seriously, it looked so strange and had such a peculiar smell to it…I'm inching further towards becoming a vegetarian. After I ate, I exercised for an hour. I really have to get back in shape. I'm starting to get these love handles on my waist. But that's neither here nor  there. Yeah, I can be vain at times.

Today here in Livingston, Texas, it's very humid and 80°. It's freakin' January for crying out loud! This weather is insane – if we can't get our heads out of our butts and try to figure out a way for better energy policies and cleaning up our planet…I can't imagine how much more nuts this planet and weather will get. Just last week I heard news reports  that fires broke out all over my hometown in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Then, in California, torrential rains started flash floods and mud slides. NUTS! I'm rambling…Right now I'm listening to KDOL and all of the messages sent to inmates here. I'm about to get to some other writing. And then later I'll do some catching up on reading. I'm slacking. I suppose that does it for now.

Happy New Year!

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