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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I’m Not Going to Say I Told You So, Part 1


Really, I’m not.  This isn’t me being smug, or some sort of willpower thing.  It’s certainly not any form of noblesse oblige-inspired quiet dignity.  It’s just that there’s no point in bragging.  It’s like the guy who complains for months that the pains in his side are clearly cancer, only to have everyone smile and condescendingly pat him on the head and mutter under their breath about hypochondriacs.  And they keep laughing, until he passes out at work and is rushed to the hospital where they find a tumor the size of a grapefruit in his liver that promptly puts him in the ground.  Sometimes being right feels just as bad as being wrong.

So I’m not going to say it.  It was an easy call to make, for anyone actually paying attention.  A few months ago, I wrote at SOME LENGTH about the flawed logic behind the University of Texas Medical Branch’s $100.00 inmate co-pay program. The basic gist of my splenetic little rant dealt with the fact that A) the Lege which wrapped up its business this past summer grievously (and knowingly) underfunded the overall prisoner health care budget, and B) the co-pay program was a cynical attempt to pander to the Repub base to cover up this fact, and in no way actually invented to address a huge budgetary shortfall.  I don’t have any illusions about my polemical (in)abilities, so I am certain that I was unable to convince many of you that were not already members of the choir that this mattered in the least.  That said, the slash-and-burn tactics employed by the super-dominated Republican Legislature to evade the necessary realities of increasing rates of taxation did gut some pretty important programs, and you might be starting to feel the pain of this now.  Maybe – in light of all of that – you will be able to summon up some minor levels of outrage, now that I have been proven correct.

Because it’s happened, just as I said it would:  In October, the UTMB came out and announced that the 900 million (and change) allocated by the Lege for inmate care was not sufficient to cover basic costs.  Shock!  Leading up to the bi-annual circle jerk that is the Texas Legislative Session, the directors of UTMB explained – in great detail – why they needed more money.  They didn’t get it, and are now threatening to ditch the contract and take their doctors, nurses, level 1 trauma hospital, and sundry mountains of equipment home with them.  What we have here, ladies and Gents, is a good old fashion game of billon dollar chicken.  Does anyone really have any doubts about who is getting to back down from this?

Of course not.  We all know that it will be the spineless cowards in Austin who cave in.  According to a story by Mike Ward of the Austin-American Statesman (which you can read HERE) the UTMB is currently running over their contractually covered costs by more than 2 million dollars a month.  Ouch.  And so they tossed down the gauntlet.  They don’t really want to leave, of course.  As the prison system ages, they get to keep charging more and more, and they know it.  What they have to do, however, is establish who the boss of this relationship really is.  And they do, quite literally, have a gun pointed at the head of the state.  Long story short: the state caved, and rewarded them a gigantic sum of additional monies.  Since this strategy worked so splendidly, you can be certain that they will attempt it again in another 6 to 8 months.  Mark my words.  That money, of course, came from you, though I haven’t the foggiest idea from which dark corner of The Land of Cooked Books they pulled the funds.  There aren’t many social programs in the entire state of Texas that haven’t been gutted already, and we all know their stance on asking the super-wealthy to pony up the dough.  Maybe they got it from the schools?  What’s and additional 40 million when you have already taken nearly 5 billion from their budgets, I mean.  Wherever they stole it, it’s going to end up hurting someone in a very real, very tangible way.  Not that they care.

The problem is that all of this was avoidable.  In the same Mike Ward article, House Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson stated that

We cut $100 million from correctional health care spending, so we knew there was a good probability there would not be enough money to cover everything…I’m not aware of an extra $100 million laying around anywhere, but we definitely need to find a way to resolve this so it doesn’t become a problem in court.

He goes on to say
   
We have these people incarcerated.  We have to provide them medical care.

Oh.  Well, I’m glad we are all clear on that point (and he’s right about the court thing: I’m about to fry them again in federal court over their denial of care to a man here suffering from the final stages of COPD, which, according to them, was due to a previously undiagnosed and recently acquired allergy.)  Think through Rep Madden’s comments again for a second.  This is analogous to a husband sending his wife to the grocery store with 30 dollars, knowing full well that the minimum she needs to purchase the family’s basic needs is actually 40 dollars.  He doesn’t care where she gets the additional ten bucks, only that she had better do it.  If this is irresponsible behavior on a micro level, it is even more revolting on a macro one.  And those are the people that are supposed to be good with money.

The writing is pretty much on the wall here: there will come a time when the UTMB is going to be forced to back out of prison health care.  It might be over the next few years as the coffers continue to dry up, or it may be ten years from now.  Whenever this event occurs, the state will have to either find a new provider (which seems doubtful even when enshrouded by the most optimistic of naivetes), or handle care internally.  Forced to take the latter path, they will bungle the entire operation, and bungle it in truly epic fashion.  I know that most of you couldn’t care less about the actual human costs of such a move – patients in pain waiting months or years for care, patients dying – but surely you would balk at the costs, which would be astronomical (think billions with a very large “b”).  There are two basic solutions to the problem.  The first would be to increase funding to cover the UTMB’s costs.  How?  I have no idea.  In theory, this move would require Governor Oops to call a special session of the Lege, a prospect which is politically untenable at present.  Ultimately, this would require some form of new revenue, and the chances of Texan Conservatives approving a tax hike are worse than the probability of you getting mauled by a pack of juvenile Burmese Tree Sloths while fishing in Alaska.

The second option is to decrease the population of potential patients, ie, prisoners.  Roughly 2/3 of all inmates held in the TDCJ are currently parole eligible.  Read that twice: roughly 2/3 of the 156,000 inmates in the state prison system are already parole eligible.  Since a little over 50% of all health care costs go directly to the 55 and older crowd, why not release some of them?  Pick the ones with non-violent offenses, the ones with medical problems best dealt with by free-world providers that don’t survive by suckling on the teat of state governments (then again, I’m not sure those actually exist).  Happily, the recidivism rates for convicts 45 and older happen to be the lowest of any age group by a fair margin (17.6% compared to 26.9% for those in the 25-29 age group).  This seems like a no-brainer, but, again, this is the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles we are talking about here.

This illustrious body recently released a “self-evaluation report,” which documents the state of affairs in Texas prisons (and we all know how accurate self-evaluations are in any context when compared to those by a disinterested third party).  You can read this flaming pile of nonsensical propaganda fine piece of journalism HERE.  It shows that parole rates have inched up slightly over the past few years (roughly 5% since 2006), but are still nowhere near the levels needed to save the citizens of Texas any real money, or to bring parity to a system very much out of sync with prison systems in other states.  Why?  Beyond the conservative, hang‘em high ethos of the state, the board has basically reconstructed the process to revolve around one key phrase: the nature of the offense.  Since this phrase encapsulates only the mindset of the offender at the moment of his crime, there can be no positive behavior ever engaged in during the prison experience which offsets the original act.  Effectively, what the Board is saying is that people do not change, that there is no redemption, no growth.  Well, you can’t have it both ways: if Newt can be the front-runner in the GOP race by claiming he redeemed himself through his relationship with god, then the same process has to be allowed to work for those not running for public office.  And, I add, it’s the same types of voters responsible for this hypocrisy.  In any case, since Texas offers few programmatic options for personal growth, this is an unfortunate example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In criminal justice terminology, the mindset of the Board is firmly locked into a pattern known as determinate or flat sentencing.  This is currently in vogue, as people have forgotten to care for each other in this nation over the past three or four decades.  Under this paradigm, model prisoners are treated no differently from problematic ones.  The keys to the gates are entirely out of the control of the prisoners, which flavors the entire process with a sense of arbitrariness and cruelty.  Under this penal ideology, the only well-behaved convicts are those with incredibly fine-tuned internal moral compasses.  It is a system designed for one purpose: to keep prison beds full.  They might as well hang a sign at the exit gates which reads: See You Soon.  You might reflect for a moment that this was not the original purpose of prison systems; you might also consider that sometimes systems develop in such a way that the primary goal shifts from serving the public to serving its own interests.  A prison system designed to benefit only those who have chosen to work for it for the rest of their lives is not doing you, the public, any favors.  Unless, of course, you decide to come to work here, that is.

Indeterminate sentences went out of fashion decades ago for two reasons.  First off, people decided that the proper penal experience should center around warehousing people, not rehabilitation.  Secondly, there were some public instances documenting how race played a huge factor into how inmates were judged for parole.  Inmate X and inmate Y might behave exactly the same, but Y would end up serving twice as much time because he had the misfortune to have been born with darker skin.  That is a real problem, and not one I take lightly.  That said, this is ultimately an issue of oversight, not of the concept itself.  Properly administered, this sort of sentencing gives the inmate some minor control over his fate: if he behaves and sincerely attempts to correct his deviance, he might shave some time off his sentence.  If he doesn’t, well, he can rot in his cell forever.  The choice is up to him.  In all systems where this sort of carrot-and-stick approach has been reinstated, the violence rates inside of prisons have decreased, as have recidivism rates of those released.  Again, this is a no-brainer.

So, where does that leave us?  I don’t know.  I sit here in my cell, and I read whatever reports manage to come through the mail-room gauntlet, and I cannot help but feel like I am in the midst of a gigantic running gag.  Surely, I think, this cannot be right.  We cannot really be this bloody stupid, can we?  I may have once been laboring under the delusion that something I penned on this site would cause someone totally unconnected to anyone currently in prison to get involved in a real, tangible way.  I tried to show how we are all connected to this, and that the system has been set up to broadcast the very opposite message, which makes it easier for them to get away with gross atrocities on a daily frequency.  I think I was a little nuts for believing this.  But a few of you do have husbands or brothers or fathers caught inside the beast, and I know that you often feel impotent to do anything to help them.  I know that it doesn’t feel like calls to the ombudsman do any good, and that emails to other prison officials usually get a little but a boilerplate response.  You are right: most of these actions don’t change anything.  In my opinion, the activist community needs to stop doing two things.  First off, stop preaching to the choir.  You have your little get-togethers and speeches, but it’s the same people in the crowd every single time.  Use that money instead to take out ads in newspapers.  Draw people into discussion.  Because when you are able to do this, we win.  Secondly, stop complaining to prison officials.  They are not interested in changing anything, no matter the platitudes they spout over the phone.  You have to go over their heads.  Start writing your state Reps and calling them.  It doesn’t take but a few minutes each week to fire off an email, listing a new complaint each time.  There is a basis for a legitimate complaint in this very article, and there are many more like it to be found here and on the blogs in the column on the right side of this page.  You can find a list of your state Reps HERE. If you feel really committed to dealing with someone in the system, go as high up the ladder as possible.  If you want to talk about parole, for instance, don’t waste any time dealing with low-level bureaucrats who don’t actually make any decisions.  Instead, go right to the top.  In years past, this was difficult, since they wisely guarded their email addresses from public dissemination.  This is pure piffle: even in a formal (vs. a real) democracy like ours, you should have the right to contact state officials whose (exorbitant) salaries you pay.  That wall has started to crumble of late, and I’d like to do my part. Ahem:
   
Agency Head, Texas Board of Pardons and Parole:
     Rissie L. Owens, Presiding Chair
     209 West 14th Street, Suite 500
     Austin, TX 78701
     
     TEL:(512) 936-6351
     FAX: (512) 463-8120
     Email: rissie.owens@tdcj.state.tx.us

Whoops.  Have fun.


© Copyright 2011 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poetry by William James Jonas III

Hate Mail
By William James Jonas III

You are a felon!
Ha Ha Ha!
That’s what the hate mail said
The guy writes me so often
He’d cry if I were dead

The hours that are wasted
In unkind notes to me
After a while
Make me smile
I’m a celebrity

Bilious letters
Like kind ones
Are just the price of fame
So keep those missives coming
And don’t misspell my name


Send My Hate Mail To Jesus
By William James Jonas III

Refrain: Send my hate mail to Jesus
I said to the postman
Send my hate mail to Jesus
He loves me so I can
Send my hate mail to Jesus
The sender needs him too
Send my hate mail to Jesus
He’ll take it postage due

Verse I: Hate mails’s found it way to me
Almost all my life
Business partners former friends
Children and Ex wife
Even folks I’ve never met
Somehow will write me
But I’ve found a special path
To serenity

Refrain

Verse II When the mail call brings to me
A new piece of hate
Venom takes a written form
Someone did create
I’m no good a dirty dog
It’s always the same,
Wonder who they wrote before
They found me to blame

Refrain



Missing
By William James Jonas III

My left thumb moved across my palm
As it had done for years

Somehow this time I caught myself
Inside I shed some tears

My thumb touched then my ring finger
You know a ring’s not there

A judge had it removed one day
Without a human care.

That ring never defined our love
Jail rules took it away

It’s one more thing I miss from you
Love does not miss a day


Answered Prayer
By William James Jonas III

Thank you Lord Jesus
You answered myt prayer
I asked from comfort
And absence of care

No money worries
Just rest for a spell
You gave that to me
In this prison cell

My boat of troubles
Was full to my eyes
Some I invited
Some were a surprise

It was overwhelming
My saddness was real
Now it’s all better
In concrete and steel

Living in prison
Is a simple life
Food is provided
And no home front strife

Quiet not lonely
Is my life today
Long talks with Jesus
As I read and pray

Jesus you did it
You brought me some peace
Life in satan’s town
Had been killing me

Not here forever
My sentence will end
But there’s no hurry
With you as my friend


Peter James and John Mt 17 1-9, 26:37 Lk 5:10, 8:5
By William James Jonas III

Friends with a shared business
We three called by him
Beside the sea formed us
As fishers of men

We were part of the twelve
Three times set apart
To witness his glory
Yet understood not

On a sacred summit
Jesus did commune
Elias and Moses
Told us tell no one

Then we were the escort
To Jairus home
As he raised his daughter
Us three in the room

The final time he called
For only us three
Was that final evening
In Gethsamane

We three were only men
But he made us more
Apostles of Jesus

We three for the Lord



Real Rights Restored
By William James Jonas III

Hey you bleeding hearts
Your two-faced game is clear
Letting felons vote
Will help you win next year

You are such selfish garbage
Agenda in plain sight
You don’t give a tinker’s cuss
About the Bill of Rights

If you stopped mirror gazing
And wanted to end harm
Read the Second Amendment
It’s the right to bear arms

The Constitution gave it
You punks took it away
Since you claim we paid our debt
Why don’t you act that way?

So stop your pompous preening
And give us liberty
You’re the ones that claim to care

Arms will make us free



“No, we don’t have NA (Narcotics Anonymous), 
but we have 257 other activities to occupy your time.”
Warden C. Gomez, February 2019, FCI Gilmar, Glenville, West Virginia

By William James Jonas III

There is a theory
That some would suggest
The wardens don’t like
Drugs inmates ingest

But that is quite wrong
They like it this way
Cause they don’t allow
Chapters of NA

One thing is quite clear
So think it over
You only fight drugs
Promoting sober

The SHU (Special Housing Unit) does not work
Transfers are a waste
A sober inmate
The junkies can’t face

The only reason
For this inactiom
Is twelve steps apply
To warden’s addiction

With NA on site
There might be a risk
Someone might condemn

The booze in their desk



Fathers Day 2019
By William James Jonas III

My thoughts this year
Are far from new
As I give thanks
For all you do

Some how
Some way
Your gifts to me
Define the man
I seek to be

In all my years
I've not yet grasped
How you were there
The first and last

Your life and love
I celebrate
That you're my Dad
This Fathers Day


Joseph - inspired from Matthew 1:16-2:23 and Luke 1:26-2:52
By William James Jonas III

My life was quiet
The prospects were good
King David as kin
My work was in wood

Nazareth business
And a fiance
In all earthly ways
I sure had it made

Until confronted
With a rumor wild
The one I'm to wed
Already with child

Plans now are a wreck
But what can one say
This is a disgrace
I'll move on some way

Faith has always been
A part of my life
An angel appears
And said "Keep your wife"

A child born of God
I can't comprehend
Jesus was my son
Yet more than a man

Torah and trade skills
He did quickly grasp
Me teaching my God?
Sometimes I just laughed

His body grew strong
Our world was in wait
I would not survive
To witness His fate

God so loved the world
He sent us His Son
Christ called one man Dad
And I was that one

"No we don't have NA (narcotics anonymous), but we have 257 other activities to occupy your time."  Warden C. Gomez, FUCI-Gilmer, Glenville, West Virginia

There is a theory
That some would suggest
The wardens don't like
Drugs inmates ingest

But that is quite wrong
They like it this way
'Cause they don't allow
Chapters of NA

One thing is quite clear
So think it over
You only fight drugs
Promoting sober

The SHU* does not work
Transfers are a waste
A sober inmate
The junkies can't face

The only reason
For this inaction
Is twelve steps apply
To wardens's addiction

With NA on site
There might be a risk
Some one might condemn
The booze in their desk

* Special Housing Unit


UNICOR Blues
By William James Jonas III

Unicor blues, oh Unicor blues
Wearin’ that khaki, no tennis shoes
Start work at eight do nothing ‘til two
Never in red with Unicor blues

Got a lot of time, no drugs to kick
Caseworker say no programs to pick
The thing to avoid is bein’ bored
That’s why I’m workin’ at Unicor

Unicor blues, my Unicor blues
Only thing I’ve lost is my IQ
Start work at eight, do nothin’ ‘til two
Can’t stay in bed with Unicor blues

Tried kitchen work, the money’s for real
You’re paid two bucks, the rest you just steal
Egg for two stamps ‘aint my set of shoes
I like singin’, the Unicor blues

The library work, that is ok
Nothin’ to do, read papers all day
But I want a job that is big news
The gig like that is Unicor blues

Unicor workers, we have it made
Walk to the warehouse, always get paid
Don’t ask the question, what do we do
You’re in the band, play Unicor blues

Unicor blues, yeah Unicor blues
Union conditions without the dues
Not really a business, don’t be confused
Just doin’ time and Unicor blues


Each Day
By William James Jonas III

Each day is a mountain
Three parts compose
The summit Gods spirit
The eternal goal,
With my human body
Physical is core
I must be strenght building
For what is in store
God’s spirit with my strength
Then will manifest
Each day new creations
His love to attest
If each of theese pieces
Are within each day
What remains matters not
Paradise awaits


Sharing Time
By William James Jonas III

My Great love, I ask you not
To serve prison time with me
That service would be alone
As I am already free
Earthly confines matter naught
When our spirits are entwined
Days are filled with thoughts of you
And new insights for all time
Poems I write are not escape
It is our reality
My hand touches yours each day
As your face I always see
So while the miles between us
Still remain a wretched fact
Our soul mate life continues
Together great bliss expect


Three Monkeys
By William James Jonas III

Three young monkey on the beach
Know it’s time to have a drink
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Thirsty monkeys with big cups
For lemonade cool and pink
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Ocean swim with eight armed friend
He gets scared and makes blue ink
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Monkey wander in the woods
Skunk jumps out and quickly stinks
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Monkeys sitting back at school
Watchful teachers never blink
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think

Monkeys see a movie star
Her gold chain has many links
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Hungry monkeys eat good food
Nutrients A to zinc
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think
Helpful monkeys do cleanup
Washing dishes in the sink
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think

Sleepy monkeys say their prayers
Time to get their forty winks
One is happy, one is sad
One does not know what to think

Inspired by Reverend John Lewis, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church


SHU (Special Housing Unit)
Life in the SHU
By William James Jonas III

Life in the SHU, Life in the SHU
Roomservice daily, orange rubber shoes
Why are you here, don’t have a clue
Breakfast in bed that’s life in the SHU

SHU life’s easy, no work to do
They pick up laundry, no walk for you
Nice plastic mugs, make your own brew
Meds are delivered, Living’ in SHU

Things can get strange, livin’ in SHU
Thre’s a transvestite, what can you do
Just act normal, aint’ about you
Who is the cellmate, one more day through

Your door is locked, most of the time
No rush to get up, everything’s fine
Get your K2, after count time
Sometimes it’s not good. Might be SHU slime

I went to SHU, Christmas last year,
Was selling pictures, Porno Reindeer
Is that a crime, not very clear
Could use a lawyer, send me one here

Life in the SHU, Life in the SHU
Just have a good time, what can they do
You are still here, too bad for you
Order some books, don’t gripe in SHU


On 3/20/2019, the National Academies of Science, Engineering,  and Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse issues a report requiring prisons to offer Suboxone
(buprenorphine) funded by Medicare. 

Prison Junkie Alert
By William James Jonas III

Hey there cellie, I’ve got real good news
Help’s on it’s way, for our drug abuse
Now pretty soon, things will be just fine
We’ll get Suboxone, In our pill lline
The Feds sure hate, them ole opiods
They got a plan, that’s great for us boys
The story in “USA Today” says “act now"
And “do not delay”
It’s time to rejoice, prison junkies
Make prison pushers lower their fees
Your market’s blown, Thank you Uncle Sam
Now we can get high, paid by the man
*USA Today 4/3/19 Opinion Today’s topic
Opiod Epidemie by Bill Sternberg


Dear Sparticus
By William James Jonas III

Hey Corey Bookie
We understand that
Your’re thinking about
A second Step Act
Before you rush off
get dad back on his feet
Think what he does
When he's on the street
He’s high all the time
Like he’s in the can
But today his rent
Is paid by the man
When he’s selling drugs
Inside Prison walls
All our bills get paid
And he’s fed by y’all
You may mean well pal
You don’t have a clue
Keep dad in prison
We’ll sent cash to you


Space Available
By William James Jonas III

Quitters listen, stay on your back
When you hate school, it hates you back
But there’s a place, you will fit in
There’s lots of room, it’s called prison
You can watch sports play cards or chess
No one will care, if you’re a mess
You’ll pay for drugs, but that’s the same
Where you are now, avoiding blame, no charge for rooms, a free meal plan
Just sit around, and blame the man
Stop being sad, you’re almost there
They'll love your dreads, or unique hair
Folk owe you stuff, well you are right
Your long term home, almost in sight
Tattoos are cheap, and no one rants
‘bout child support, or baggy pants
This is great news, you can stay high
Get your spot now, this gig’s for life
Do not worry, about release
It never works, for good junkies
Not being smart, a home run hit
the less you know, the more you fit


No Second Step Act
By William James Jonas III

First moments in prison, are just a bit surreal
Do humans live this way? Do they know how we feel?
But now a year has passed an end of time for grief
I look around, and I have found
A great sense of relief, cause this population
Is toxic with a T, and can add not a thing
To the land of the free, prisons house animals
A hateful chicken coop, few even read or write
Or function in a group, undisciplined junkies
With no redeeming skills, if we were freed
We’d surely breed, increassing social ills
Dollars housing each one, prevents even more son’s
Keeping us under key, is very wise indeed
Guards are another group that really should not breed
While guards are free to roam, their procreation stalls
As they prefer sex found, within prison walls
Reformers back to sleep, you know what you do
Don’t mess up a good thing, we’re thinkling about you


Eager Weasel
By William James Jonas III

Beware of eager weasels with desks near the boss
Gossip is their god, self promotion at all costs
Masking initiative, suggestions at a snap
Claiming to be helpful but that’s a bunch of crap
These shallow sacks of silly can’t spell the word team
Posturing as powerful, that’s their twisted dream
Eager Weasels never breed, they love themselves so
Work around I’ve found that’s best for weasels you know


Introduction to "Buck Fever"
By William James Jonas III

When President George W. Bush decided to reward West Virginia voters with a shiny new prison in Gilmer County, the federal holiday list did not include Appalachia's observance of deer slaughter.  Notwithstanding this government oversight, culture has triumphed over a federal payroll.

Buck Fever - Ode to a West Virginia Prison Guard
'Hope you get a big deer
That is what they say
Instead of good morning
Or have a nice day
The month is November
Appalachian state
Get yourself a ten point
Or you will not rate
If you're a prison guard
Life just aint complete
'Less you got a freezer
That's full a' deer meat
All felons are sleeping
The warden's away
It's hunting season
Boss man's gotta play


Pokey (to the tune "Okie from Muskogee")
By William James Jonas III

We don't smoke marijuana in the pokey
Meds are free for us and paid by you
Sometimes things get tense and there is a lockdown
We lay in bed smokin' that K2

That's the life ya lead when you're in the pokey
No rent for our rooms and food is free
Taxman 'aint allowed here at the pokey
I'll watch sports you keep your liberty


Back To School
By William James Jonas III

Ray don't like his cage
Ray stays in a rage
Ray know white folk don't care
Ray say life 'aint fair
Ray has got no breaks
Ray's judge's on the take
Ray don't have no hope
Ray wants to smoke dope
Ray shouldn't feel this way
He's in First Grade
And this is his first day


La Perla
By William James Jonas III

The secret to romance, according to a certain inmate demographic, is La Perla (the pearl) sometimes called a domino or marble.  While the name, size, and procedure for installation, in the penis, vary, it's advocates swear to the satisfaction of wives and girlfriends.

Recently, the story of La Perla made its way to Hawaii and the sing-a-long bar of the legendary Don Ho commissioned new lyrics to that signature song "Tiny Bubbles."

Tiny Pebbles
Tiny pebble
In my dick
Makes her happy
That's the trick
Magic pebble
Makes her feel good all over
And it's a feelin' that she will be feelin' from me everytime


Zoo
By William James Jonas III

Quebec flight to Miami delayed at mid-point
In fact the whole truip was a bust
As head of the family gaggle please know
A perfect venue for all was a must
The mountain retreat serene
But kids wanted something to do
No worries I said as we tucked them in bed
This place has a wonderful zoo
A zoo! That's boring! The adolescents moaned
But little ones were satisfied
Oh give it a shot do not be a snot
Don't complain until you have tried
Expectations in check we went to inspect
The local animal collection
And we were please to see a menagerie
About us in every direction
Big and small animals from far and near
Little ones looked on without fear
From Africa, South of the Border
Even some freaks with genetic disorders
The zoo was a calm and peaceful dear place
The animals there adored their own space
Our days were a dream we loved our quaint zoo
When departure came the kids were quite blue
We have discovered this wonderful zone
When flights are delayed this is a great home
"One thing we will miss" the younger ones said
Is the way the animals feed us bread

This report came from a family of Canadian Geese visiting Federal Correctional Institution - Gilmer, Glenville, West Virginia when there south bound travels were delayed.


Unicor is the Federal Prison Industries Program

Unicor Blues
By William James Jonas III

Unicor blues, oh Unicor blues
Wearin' that khaki, no tennis shoes
Start work at eight, do nothin' 'til two
Never in red with Unicor blues

Got a lot of time, no drugs to kick
Caseworker say no programs to pick
The thing to avoid, is bein' bored
That's why I'm workin' at Unicor

Unicor blues, my Unicor blues
Only thing I've lost is my IQ
Start work at eight, do nothin' 'til two
Can't stay in bed with Unicor blues

Tried kitchen work, them money's for real
You're paid two bucks, the rest you just steal
Egg for two stamps, 'aint my set of shoes
I like singin', the Unicor blues

The library work, that is ok
Nothin' to do, read papers all day
But I want a job, that is big news
The gig like that is Unicor blues

Unicor workers, we have it made
Walk to the warehouse, always get paid
Don't ask the question, what do we do
You're in the band play Unicor blues

Unicor blues yeah Unicor blues
Union conditions without the dues
Not really a business, don't be confused
Just doin' time and Unicor blues


Getting Over The Wall
By William James Jonas III

President Trump had taken a nap
It was three AM
And then his smart phone buzzed with a text
The buzz from a friend
The text from Manny the Mexican Prez
Short and in English of course
Trump said "Love that guy" kissed Melania
Walked like a cat to his porch
With a sleeping bride
Trump calls from outside
Manny's message brought intrigue
"Trump, if you want a wall, keep your eye on the ball.
Follow my Mexican lead.
Yankees can build
But I got workers
That need jobs now and work cheep."
Then came Manny's chide
"Your cost of supplies
In US is way too steep.
Stop arguing with that old West Coast hag
And her two-faced snobs
Go to your office
And write me a check
I will do your job
A Mexican wall will be best of all.
We build cheap, fast, strong.
You get your dumb wall
I get Yankee cash
Let's just get along"
"It's a deal" Trump told the Mexican Prez
"Except paying you"
"I guessed you might blink at that" Manny winked
"Here is what to do"
"My labor, the best and ready to work
Supplies are already ordered
The check you do send we will just pretend
Buys a wall on MY southern border"
"I knew we could be pals
Let's do lunch with the gals
No staff, let's just have some fun
I have always said"
As Trump went to bed
"Two walls are better than one."


West Virgnia Travel Safety
By William James Jonas III

Well thar you are Ethel
The news man was clair
The areo plane crashed
'Cause of human air
Maybe mechanical
The air was real bad
When air crashes air planes
Thangs sure nuf are sad
So if you ride them planes
Make sure to take care
Trust nothin' that 'aint yours
Jus' brang your own air


Eager Weasel
By William James Jonas III

Beware of eager weasels with desks near the boss
Gossip is their god, self promotion at all costs
Masking initiative, suggestions at a snap
Claiming to be helpful, but that's a bunch of crap
These shallow sacks of silly can't spell the word team
Posturing as powerful, that's their twisted dream
Eager Weasels never breed, they love themselves so

Work around I've found, that's best for weasels you know


John
By William James Jonas III

They killed my cousin today
Now with Father you see
A wilderness voice silenced
Echoes eternally
A camel haired clarion
John the Baptist his name
Angels told of his birth
My coming he proclaimed
But men with power
Kill men without
To gain girls favor
While it may seem cruel
They are just lost
Awaiting Saviour
John's time has now passed
Mine has begun
Victory at last
With death of Son


Bethesda Pool  Jn 5:1-15
By William James Jonas III

While Jerusalem feasts
A crowd at Sheep Gate
Bethesda awaiting
Pool waters rotate
Angels stirring the pool
Bring promises of healing
Thirty eight years sickness
In one man heart breaking
Our Master asks the man
"Do you want to be well"
"Is that not clear?  I'm here
To the stirred pool, please help"
"Rise take your bed and walk"
His voice came to the man
Knowing not t'was Jesus
Yet up he got and ran
Later in the temple
With health he met Our Lord
"See you have been made well
Stay strong and sin no more"
The man now was in awe
To all Jews he did tell
How at pool Bethesda
Jesus had made him well


Mount Moments  Mt 6
By William James Jonas III

From a mountain lectern, His wisdom came forth
Guiding our path closer to God
Crowds listen closely to His immortal words
The Way to glories beyond
Seeking earthly praise of heavenly labor
Absurd when you work for the Lord
Show boating piety with cheers from the pit
Chasing neighbors' positive word
Cheapens Godly efforts, makes His praise unfit
Act in simple silence, as you do good things
Stop playing your trumpet, see what Father brings
Your left hand's charity, and all acts of alms
Need be known by no one, even your left palm
The Father sees all, and from Him Blessings flow
Accolades of this world are cheap circus shows
Two masters honored, impossibility
One Master is ruler of eternity
When you approach prayer
There's no need for flare
Find ye a closet forthwith
Ignore pagan creeds
He knows every need
Seek first the kingdom that's His


Deviled Pigs Mt 8:28-34 Mk 5:1-20 Lk 8:26-39
By William James Jonas III

Tombs of Gergesenes
Two possessed men reside
Blocking all road travel
From Jesus cannot hide
"Why do you torment us
Before it is the time
If you must cast us out
Place us in nearby swine"
Jesus told the demons "Go"
The pigs were quickly found
Tormented beasts ran east
Dove in the sea and drown
Swine shepherds without herd
Ran into the city
Proclaiming what happened
Asking local pity
A delegation came
Speaking to our Master
Requesting we leave town
Fearing more disaster


Over Sight  Jn 9
By William James Jonas III

Always blind
Born that way
Jesus sees
Men ask why
Father's sins
Or of I
Neither one
Master says
Works of God
Manifest
Within me
Spit made clay
On my eyes
Then pool wash
Siloam
Now I see
Neighbours doubt
It is me
I was healed
By Jesus
Where is He
I know not
Pharisees
Question me
My miracle
Is a sin
No healing
On Shabbat
Work that day
Not of God
Mom and dad
Must confirm
Birth blindness
But they fear
Jewish wrath
Temple ban
Silence safe
Once again
I am asked
Who healed you
Story's same
They got mad
Kick me out
Jesus heard
Of my plight
He found me
Then I said
I believe
Pharisee
Cannot see
Why blind men
Have no sin


What The Band Saw  Mt 9:18-29  Mk 5:21-43  Lk 8:40-56
By William James Jonas III

My work is with music, and death drives our trade
When the wealthy die, there's money to be made
Our group of flute players, are not profiteers
We play when death comes, just a part of group tears
The house of Jairus, is our gig today
The guy's daughter died, his wife asked us to play
Jairus a synagogue source of great power
Was gone as his child, saw her final last hour
Where he was who knew, he just rushed down the street
Screaming about some guy, named Jesus to meet
So now we are playing as mourners lament
And we have no clue, where sad father went
Distraught daddy returns, there are five of them
The group is Jesus, John, Peter, James, and him
"Your daughter is dead; do not waste Teacher's time."
But Jesus took control, the crowd sent outside
From a quiet corner, we saw what he said
"Parents, Peace Be With You, your daughter's not dead."
With words "Talith cumi" He told the young thing
And then she got up as if it was morning
"This child is hungry, give her something to eat."
He swore all to silence, and walked down the street.


Almost Stoned  Jn 10:22-42
By William James Jonas III

Dedication feast
Always draws a crowd
To Solomon's porch
The temple gets loud
"Hey Jesus! Talk straight!
End all of this doubt
Are you the true Christ?
Say it, in or out?"
"What more can be said
When you don't believe?
Work's in Father's name
You just do not see.
My sheep know my voice
While goats move along
My sheep know that I
And Father are one."
"Now you have done it!"
The mob sent its cry
"Your good works are fine,
But blasphemers die."
"Check with your lawyers
Before stoning spree.
Father's work I do.
See that and believe."
While crowds befuddled
By Son of Man
Jesus departed from
Their wicked hands


Gold Fish Coins Mt 17:24-27
By William James Jonas III

One day it was
Jesus and me
Capernaum gate
Just arriving
Then the temple
Collector came
Asking for taxes
In the Lord's name
Does your Teacher
Pay temple fees?
Of course he does
I said with ease
He expected to get the call
To pay this man acting for God
Then we discussed how earthly kings
Never collect from their siblings
"Nevertheless, we will pay them"
Avoiding a situation
"Go find a hook, cast in the sea
Returning fish, will have money."


Corn Pickers  Mt 12:1-8 Mk 2:23-28 Lk 6:1-5
By William James Jonas III

It may be Shabbat
But travel we will
Earthly days numbered
So much to fulfill
As I instructed
We carry no kit
Disciples hungry
Corn satisfies it
Until some big wig
At the synagogue
Starts quoting torah
And Shabbat laws
Since they are readers
They need to recall
David's shewbread meal
With no priests at all
Yes it is Sabbath
But do not complain
Even on this day
Son of Man does reign


Sea Stroll  Mt 14-25-33  Mk 6:47-52  Jn 6:15-21
By William James Jonas III

The travels with Him
Have reached a new place
Electrified folk
Want kings of their race
So he's mountain top
And we are at sea
Strong winds are blowing
Save us is our plea
It is the fourth watch
Strong winds boat filling
Jesus approaches
Walking not swimming
We think we have died
He says "It is I"
And as he steps in
Our destination


Stone Choice  Jn 8:1-12
By William James Jonas III

Mount of Olives refuge, to temple morning walk
People hungry for the Word, listen to me talk
Pencil pushers interrupt, dragging in a girl
Screaming words adultery, stones Moses says hurl
"But Rabbi, what say you" asked by the scheming scribes
Meriting not a response, on the ground I write
Pharisaic scribes move slow, often repeat questions
They're still here, I looked up, offered this suggestion
Yonder is a rock pile, and you have your target
Find sinless rock tossers, get the stoning started
Writing in the dirt undone, so back to my task
Mean men are full of sin, where they went, I didn't ask
Girl remained, still ashamed, "Where are your accusers?"
They are gone, you go on, to a sinless future
The world of Light
I bring to you
To end darkness and strife
So follow me
As is to be
And have the Light of Life


Hypocrisy's No Secret  Lk 12:1-3
By William James Jonas III

The Pharisee
The Pharisee
Always Bringing
Hypocrisy
That's their leaven
Jesus warns
When they comment
One sees their horns
Overshadow
Is a failure
All that's covered
Is discovered
Whispers in ears
Now housetop cheers
Dark won't abide
Light from His side


A Keeper  Mt 19:16-22  Mk 10:17-22  Lk 18:18-23
By William James Jonas III

All my rich friends relaxed, but I never slept
They bragged what they had, while all knew what I KEPT
Moses ten laws I KEPT all of my life
No coveting neighbors riches or wife
So I asked good Jesus my question great
What rule KEPT would assure heavenly fate
Instead or responding as 'thought He should
He started asking why I called Him good
We agreed God is the only source of goodness that is pure
But my question remained for a path to heaven that is sure
Since commandments I KEPT every one every day
Jesus said it was treasure I must give away
My wealth to the poor and then follow Him
Was His response for a life without end
Now I was quite sad, had some wine and then wept
He did not understand all that I had KEPT


Betrayal  Jn 13:18-30 Mt 16:14-25 Mk 14:10-21 Lk 22:21-23
By William James Jonas III

Twelve disciples loyal, we were to one another
He was our Lord Teacher, and so we all were brothers
Knowledge flowed from Him, we saw beyond today
Beside Messiah, for vanquished Rome we prayed
Now it's uncertain, He talks of sacrifice
His death the price for, blissful eternal life
Some moments hopeful, an entry for a king
Now it's betrayal, within our sacred ring
That yesterday so far away
One of us a traitor surreal
Yet He assured apostate near
The Jesus to us would reveal
From our steadfast band
Would come black seeds of hate
Enabling Master's death
Bright coins for His fate
As He reached the bread, that he would hand to me
I could not believe my role that was to be
As the morsel touched the hand, touching silver soon
Satan grabbed all my being, as I left the room
"What you do, do quickly," were His words to me
My guileless brothers thought, I left for shopping
But feasts were not a thought
As I met chief priests
On this day
I'd betray
Holy Prince of Peace


I Hate Myself  Mt 4:19, 14:25-31, 16:16-17, 26:69-75  Mk 8:31-33, 14:66-72  Lk 22:54-62
By William James Jonas III

He promised I would learn life as a fisher of men.
I was no longer a fisherman.
My learning, a collection of failures.
Yet, I know He is the Christ; He smiled when I said that.
A singular time.
I thought we should fight hateful ones.
He called me Satan.
At sea, I sought to walk with Him.
Almost drowned in lack of faith.
I remained at His side, desperate to comprehend
His next blow confirmed my lowliness
He told me
Before morning light, I would thrice deny my Master and Messiah
Devastated unbelieving of my future fecklessness
Disoriented but not unarmed, I attacked when goons of nasty high priests came for Him.
My attack condemned with a rebuke that I doubted angelic battalions on call
He is now gone
I am a scared fisherman
Survival seems all that is real
They will kill me as soon as they prove I am connected to Him
A damsel, a maid, and then a group asks,
If I know Jesus
In fear and distress, I proclaimed, each time, that obviously I did not
His gaze found me as the cock crew
The hideous forecast fulfilled
I am now in a courtyard corner alone
Having learned that I hate myself


Soul Food Mt 14:14-23  Mk 6:34-46 Lk 9:10-17 Jn 6:1-15
By William James Jonas III

It seems to happen where ever we go
The crowds come for Jesus they all want to know
Without preparation they rush to see Him
No room or board plans yet much more than a whim
Yet people get hungry and there's food in town
"Master, send them away to eat and lie down"
As He commanded, we carry no larder
Still feeding the mob is what He has ordered
Five loaves and two fishes is all we have found
The multitude is told to sit on the ground
And after He blesses the fishes and bread
We pass food about and all people get fed
Five thousand men and beyond were filled that day
Then our Teacher went up to a mountain to pray


Transfiguration  Lk 9:28-35  Mt 17:1-13  Mk 9:1-13
By William James Jonas III

The Master called three of us John, James, and me
A mountain before us to climb, pray, and see
Exhausted but with Him, the summit our goal
A spiritual retreat, as He fed our soul
His prayer brought bright light to His face and His hands
His garments were glistering white as the sands
My body is weak so sleep came as I feared
Not so when Moses and Elijah appeared
We but observers to their sacred exchange
Death venue Jerusalem as they explained
I then spoke out to suggest what should be done
Three tabernacles we build for these great ones
A cloud covered us with God's voice deep within
"Jesus is my beloved Son; now hear Him"


Taxman Zach  Lk 19:1-9
By William James Jonas III

Rome's good for business, least it's good for me
Caesar gets his piece, and I take a fee
Most folks thing I'm a no good so and so
That's life as chief tax man in Jericho
Being the "big cheese" does not make me tall
Not quite a midget, I'm just rather small
Crowds circled Jesus, I climbed up a tree
See Him I must, but I'm just four foot three
The amazing Master walked as He taught
Came under my tree, and then He looked up
He called out my name, I came to His side
"Make haste for at thy house I must abide."
The hate-laced crowd was completely aghast
"Jesus should not spend his time with such trash."
His tender mercy enveloped my heart
A changed life for me, I knew where to start
Half of my wealth for the poor it is needed
Four fold repayment for those I've cheated
He spoke of salvation, I said Amen

As He called me a son of Abraham


Advent
By William James Jonas III

A holiday created of pagan sequence
Covered with colored lights of no consequence
Piercing this absurd costume of man
Eternal Light proclaiming His plan
Of life and joy and eternal bliss
God as a child, betrayed with a kiss
A salvation path brings peace on earth
We honor the gift of Jesus' Birth


Merry Christmas
By William James Jonas III

As you gather for this time
To worship and adore
God's gift of life sublime
And bliss for evermore
My gift to you
Are thoughts of love
A brighter view
Brought from above
When bells will sing
Of freedom's ring


Heavenly News
By William James Jonas III

Heaven announced, God's boy birth
Creator on earth for man,
To see and hear,
The hate and fear,
Part of the sacred plan,
Men of stars took note,
Of the declaration,
Did exit castles
Seeking true salvation
So began a path
With rare trinkets of wealth
Hoping to behold
The gift of God Himself


First To Know
By William James Jonas III

On a lonely cold night
'Flock was mountainside
Away from the wild beasts
As best we could hide
When black darkness destroyed by clarion call
To proclaim peace on earth and good will for all
Our eyes transfixed angel messenger
God was now on this earth in a crib manger


Joe's Donkey
By William James Jonas III

He owns three of us, somehow he picked me
We walk a few miles, then she has to pee
Joe is my master, he builds things with wood
Mary's the rider, life's essence of good
Rome has decreed, so travel we must
Back to Joe's hometown, Bethlehem or bust
A trip to pay tax just seems very odd
For our sacred road's a pathway to God
Is it a mission of great consequence?
I'm just a donkey, no omnipotence
I walk with great care, my precious Mary
Carries a baby, we can't wait to see
As the time is near, the birth will take place
I know this child brings His amazing grace


No Vacancy
By William James Jonas III

This inn's been mine for a dozen years or more
Empty rooms are always right there on my mind
I'm often repairing the roof or the floor
My bill payments are short and never on time
But serving the traveler is more than a whim
Shelter's a promise at the Bethlehem Inn
So crowds of the season may be good for debts
But I seek to help all the ones life forgets
The empty room curse that I do truly dread
Is when I cannot give a lost soul a bed
So it broke my heart one "No Vacancy" night
A couple appeared a most pitiful sight
Young and expecting with no friends in this town
Just here for the census, no place to lay down
I checked three full times, there's no room in the lodge
Meager was the offer, they took the garage
A few hours later, I checked on the two
And to my surprise, they knew how to make do
The nursery was arranged the best it could be
As they prepared for their blessed boy baby
A heavenly presence was guiding their moves
Stepping away humbled, no more I could do
The trio remained, with us for awhile
The boy was happy, he made us all smile
What the government calls, they can send away
The three disappeared where to I cannot say
I prayed they'd return, saved a room just in case
We were blessed just once more to see that child's face
And my heart assures this I know my dear friend
Get ready, that boy is coming back again


I'm Glad You Were Born
By William James Jonas III

Books claim your summer birth, yet your season is this one each year
'Not sure that day's import, my greatest care is you came right here
Dates and places precise, will meet a prophecy
But getting these things right, did not save my lost life
Pay debts to make me free
Governments picked a winter date
For work to end, and kith and kin
To congregate and celebrate
How your blessed birth, brought peace to earth
While some men may not see
This gift of life
And end to strife
My thought supreme
This time of year
Simple and well worn
I pray this day
My God and King
Thank you for being born


Missing Boy
By William James Jonas III

He is not my son, but I do my best
In my care He is, for that I am blessed
And now He's missing, this Passover trip
A twelve-year-old prank? I'm losing my grip
This curious boy should not disappear
His mother's a wreck with dark raging fear
While not a rebel, the norm for his age
Lone children get hurt, no way to assuage
He's not with uncles, or nephews or aunts
In Jerusalem, finding Him's slim chance
Then we see our boy, in temple no less
A student a teacher, relaxed with his class
The kid's not unkind, but he seems non-plussed
That we did not know, Father's work comes first


He Came To My Show
By William James Jonas III

The road is my home, that and my stage
The crowd matters not, souls must be saved
My role is to warn, and heed the call
He will be here soon, to claim us all
Then as I began, matinee show
He found me backstage, blessed face a glow
Why did you show-up? My cousin friend
I merely forecast, world without end
He had other plans, things to fulfill
Then I baptized Him, that was God's will
He is my Saviour, His will be done
When He came on stage, God blessed His Son


The Duel
By William James Jonas III

A man, He was more
But human the same
Opponent he faced
Stole souls as a game
Without any food
Forty days had passed
And yet one with God
Much more than a fast
Dark forces can tempt
Stones to become bread
That shot was not close
As souls will be fed
The next bullet came
Was cloaked as a dare
Jump off of this cliff
To prove that God cares
Reckless gunfighters
See not He is one
Testing Dad is not
The role of the Son
With one shot to spare
He prepared to win
Promising the world
By bowing to him
Another stray shot
The duel was complete
With Christ's victory
Satan hit the street


Net Dropping
By William James Jonas III

The fishing was bad, no worse could it get
'til came the advice, on where to drop net
Advice from the shore, is never worth spit
If they were so smart, they'd have their own net
These words were unique, that came from a source
Speaking with power, t'was Jesus of course
So I moved the nets, as he instructed
The day all but lost, more than disgusted
And when the nets filled, beyond wildest dreams
A perfect days work, or that's how it seemed
It was from His words, the catch came we agree
So we did not pause, when He said "follow me"


Thirst - John 4
By William James Jonas III

Galilee trip, is not far
Samaria to Sychar
Where Jacob built a deep well
Six hours then, rest a spell
We looked for food, at the well he remained
She drew water, without a husband's name
His drink request, to her seemed out of place
Jews do not speak, to Samarian race
"Woman listen, as I intend
For you to never thirst again"
He then revealed God's whole plan
Spirit and Truth for all man


Big Shots - Matthew 12:38-41
By William James Jonas III

The masters of words and law
Possessed self image quite fine
And unsure of Jesus' rank
They asked him to give a sign
You dirty old men
Pretending no sin
Nineveh, that was your sign
Jonah, a fish
Three days dismissed
You are beyond warning time
I will repeat, simple and clear
If you were truly wise
You would open your eyes
Greater than Jonah is here


Why Stories? Matthew 13:10-16
By William James Jonas III

Teacher, Rabbi, Saviour, Friend
To us great things impart
Yet as we walk town to town
It's tales day in and out
You have come to claim a throne
And share wisdom profound
Yet simple lesson sessions
Appear to be dumbed down
"They must have stories" He warned
All are not as you
The great heaven mysteries
Are for you blessed few
They have ears that do not hear
And eyes that lack real sight
The parable will fulfill
Their comprehension plight
Stories are the Father's path
That I share with them
So transcending sight and sound
To forgive their sins


Servant's Entrance Luke 19:28-40
By William James Jonas III

Jerusalem bound stopping at Bethphage
Mount of Olives prepare for next stage
A colt is waiting not far from here
We take for the Lord for the time is near
The pony retires it's rider less life
Transporting a king that ends worldly strife
Our Master riding the crowds singing praise
The Pharisees panic when voices are raised
"Teacher rebuke them; do not let them shout"
"If I silence them, the stones would cry out."


Tidy Temple Matthew 21:12-16 / Mark 11:15-18
By William James Jonas III

Father's House has been messed up
By creepy punks and thieves
Ripping off the faithful
Ignored by Pharisees
Tables, they have got to go
Dove merchants a disgrace
I am not mad just certain
This trash must leave this place
My mission here is teaching
And that's what I will do
As for chief priests they're the least
The message is for you


Eternal Meal
By William James Jonas III

As in years before, we twelve were with Him
Celebrating freedom from Pharaoh's whim
Recalling the time, the hour at hand
To end slavery, here we were again
Blessing the unleavened loaves He then said
"This is my body, in the form of bread"
And then as he took God's fruit of the vine
Sharing His blood in the cup of red wine
This Pesach meal was forever transformed
Remembrance of Him, Supper of our Lord
As our work today looks toward the time
In Father's kingdom there's eternal wine


Gethsemane
By William James Jonas III

I asked them to come with me here to pray
Connection at night prepare for next day
My hour is close and as man I'm alone
Prayers with my friends will ease the pain to come
Blood flows from my pores my heart is cut deep
Yet my trusted men have fallen asleep
Again I call them and say stay with me
Be my prayer companions at Gethsemane
The body is weak at least in their case
My task still remains save the human race
Dozed off once again, I speak to Father
But now they awake,  guards in the garden


ETA Unknown Matthew 23:36-44
By William James Jonas III

You will never know for sure, the hour of judgment day
Fools of Noah's time confirmed, how quickly wrath held sway
Fat and happy perverts, celebrate with no pain
Dieting tomorrow, then it started to rain
There will be no difference, with hour that's not known
Two men working the field, then one is alone
Grinding mill with women, working all in pairs
Unknown hour cometh, one will not be there
As the master of his house, in fact would have stayed home
To guard his hearth from the thief, had attack time been known
Watch therefore we do not know Son of Man's return hour
Claiming faithful cleansed by His Majesty and Power


Thank God You Weren't There
By William James Jonas III

You are still my King, Though missing today
'Got up this morning, To grieve and to pray
Your death expected, The prophecy clear
Your death for our life, The hour came near
And then you were dead, I wished you weren't right
Redemption's remote, With your corpse in sight
A few of us ran, Coward's not a curse
We all are the weak, For better no worse
My feet were frozen, Along with my heart
I went to the tomb, For healing to start
Each visit the same, Dead flesh needed care
Until this third day, Thank God you weren't there!


Emmaus Walk
By William James Jonas III

You don't understand, we told the strange man
He is Messiah, fulfilling God's plan
Why is he still gone? some don't comprehend
But he will be back to rule without end
Your questions are odd, manner familiar
Stay with us tonight, and share our dinner
The came the moment when bread was broken
He looked straight at us, we knew it was Him
Christ Jesus returned, bringing salvation
A gift we can't earn, a new creation


Sheep Feeding Time
By William James Jonas III

When you died that day, our loss extreme
So craven and weak, with broken dreams
Your promised return, fishing today
Bountiful catch, we dine and pray
Now you're asking me, cowardly Pete
Validate my love, and go feed sheep
How when where and why, a fool might ask
Yet I love you, Lord, now to the task
You soon will depart, and work will I
By feeding you sheep, until I die


Now It's Our Job
By William James Jonas III

Eleven shell shocked soldiers, no one in the lead
Master triumphed over death, perhaps so could we
The next step unsure, it's Rome we feared
And then as promised, our Lord appeared
Was it really Him? Who else could it be?
So He let us touch, holes in his body
The cocoon of love, now became a shell
To protect our work, His Good News to tell
Where to go unsure, what means far and near?
But proclaim we will, Christ's truth is our spear




You  Taught Me Thanksgiving
By William James Jonas III

A day
Was all
It was
 To you
To eat
Miss work
Not much
To do
And then
At once
A world
Began
Of thanks
And love
And pies
Pecan
Ten years
Of bliss
You gave
To me
And shared
What thanks
Was meant
To be


Washington and Lee (Fall 1980)
By William James Jonas III

Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
Drove her to the airport
She’s back on the plane
I’m in Virginia
Walking in the rain
The weekend was magic
These are college years
But scholarship calls me
To books through the tears
Heart heavy as I walk
Freshman love-sick blues
On the library route
Past the chapel pews
As the wind hits my face
Stepping with great care
Fallen leaves on wet path
Some float in the air
A bold transformation
Of summer’s bright green
 Into stunning red gold
Hues I’d never seen
There I manage the loss
My first lover friend
With colors of autumn
Shenandoah blend.


Sir Jack – The Homeless Mandarin Duck – Central Park NY
By William James Jonas III

The name is Sir Jack,  a Mandarin Duck
A park’s now my home,  and plum out of luck
Audubon Boston,  has taken my case
 There are perks when you are  an endangered race
Was born in China,  a nasty old hole
A trip to New York,  missed date with rice bowl
Traveling solo,  best way of goin’
Group travel with ducks,  is worse than poison
New home’s a penthouse,  viewingCentral Park
 Owned by two humans, Phoebe and Big Marc
Big Marc loved the birds, Phoebe loved Big Marc
Until I got dumped,  into Central Park
While still loving birds, Marc made a new friend
Big Marc left Phoebe,  my gig had to end
When I came to New York
Danger I did not see
That I would get fired
By someone named Phoebe
A return trip to China would make me cry
Once home’s Central Park South, to leave is to die
The park is getting cold
Big Marc’s in the Keys
Gracey Mansion’s too old
No pond, just some trees
But I’m in a bind,  and don’t have great need
A walk-up will do,  with a bath tub please.


Shabbat
By William James Jonas III

Shabbat, Shalom
      No one,
                At Home.
Don’t work, don’t play
                Read books,
                And pray.
Some claim,
                        Rest day
From what you say
                   No work
                   6 days
Sleepless, always
                       Connect
                       To God
Or try
                                At least
For the free feast
                        Come back
                        Shabbat
                  You’re all
                                       I’ve got.


Reality Check
By William James Jonas III

They kicked in your door,
And then read you some rights,
Why would you believe,
A goon with a flashlight,
With his machine gun,
Bad breath and dumb look,
Destroy and arrest,
Are the steps in their book.
A lawyer for free,
That is worth what you paid,
He works for the thugs,
It is all a charade,
You are played the fool,
And presented a deal,
Like a starving dog,
You take the poison meal,
Are you just a child?
Or a street idiot?
The deal just helped them,
You did more than forget
Grow up, stop playing,
Black face minstrel show
Your only power
Is when you tell them  ‘No’
They told you to plea
It could be worse than you think
But most daddy’s girls
Live at home and wear pink.


Ranch Verse
By William James Jonas III

Since the days of the Republic*, Jonas’ family
Has been ranching in the Texas Hill Country
(West Centra Texas).  From his grandad,
Parents, and uncles he learned how to
Raise sheep, goats and cows with a good
Horse and a good dog.  Wishing for rain,
With fences that washed away in most any
Storm, fighting a losing battle with the
Coyote, and watching the grasses in
Each pasture for when to move stock,
Were part of being a rancher on the
Home Place or East Place.  In the Hill
Country, ranching is what you did; that
Land is called a place (i.e. not a ranch).
Jonas went on to apply rancher resilience
In his life beyond the pasture.  Currently
Living in the Appalachian Mountains of Gilmer
County West Virginia, Jonas plans to
Return to Kimble County, Texas to wish
For rain, repair fences, and try to
Get caught up with what needs to be
Done on the place.
*The Republic of Texas joined the United States February 1846

Pokey
By William James Jonas III

We don’t smoke marijuana in the pokey
Meds are free for us and paid by you
Sometimes things get tense and there is a lockdown
We lay in bed smokin’ that K2

That’s the life ya lead when
You’re in the pokey
No rent for our rooms and food is free
Tax man ain’t allowed here at the pokey
I’ll watch sports, you keep your liberty.


My Mom
By William James Jonas III

Our world was big when I was small
And you were with me through it all
Moving was part of Dad’s assignment
Change is life with boss man government
You gave so much I did not understand
With precious lessons on my path to
We were friends, you and me, when I was with none?
I have no greater gift than being your son.
Heartbreaks I bring you, yes, even today
The tears you have shed, I cannot repay
You have never denied me and often paid a great price
And forgave me each time I ignored your loving advice
Bright days are ahead, I know this is true
A future that is all because of you.


My Dad
By William James Jonas III

Larger than life is a cliché
Always for me, that’s you each day
Others were coach, you’re my biggest fan
Loving support, the model man
Loss of control you did not teach
I picked that up beyond your reach
But you were there, stood in the breach
Helped me heal up, and never preached
Endured the drama that has been my path
A safe place to cry, the best place to laugh
Tested, pestered, disappointed, let down
Without showing anger you still stuck around
To listen, be helpful and  provide a plan
While showing the meaning of father and man
One thing is quite certain, I don’t meet your best
You gave me the goodness and forgave the rest.


Mule Wanted
By William James Jonas III

For thirty years,
I could be found,
Astride my gelding,
Riding around,
No shirt, leather chaps,
Burned skin, sweat, and dirt,
Chasin’ strays, fixin’ fences,
I never got hurt,
Then college, law school,
Army and career,
Took the reins from the ranch,
For the next thirty years,
And straight to the pain,
That comes with success,
No more chasin’ strays,
My life was a mess,
Of politics pomp,
And, of course, private planes,
But hands become cold,
When you’re without reins,
Rejecting that show,
Began a new quest,
Do you want my place?
Please do be my guest,
So, back to the ranch
Ain’t nothing to catch,
No need to ride horses,
My age will not match,
The years will be happy
There’re/There are things to up keep
Water troughs, water gaps,
For cows, goats and sheep
Still, I will ride
You can always do more
When your two legs,
Are riding on four,
For me no more horses,
It’s my old man’s rule
‘Cause back on the ranch,
I am riding a mule.


Missing Christmas
By William James Jonas III

I’m not going to see you for Christmas this year
Not news to you I’d say
The papers report all of my complications
And why I am away
At this time of peace on earth, my war rages on
To  seize the victory or be a prisoned pawn
Either way it is the same, Dad is not around
You are used to it by now, how I let you down
No more glum, I love you so
And be of blessed cheer
I will find you in my dreams
Of freedom for next year.


Halloween
By William James Jonas III

Halloween was last week
Still thinking of you
Trick o’ treat ninjastyle
Your face not in view
But signature green eyes
Through slits in a mask
Assure me it was you
My first, best, and last
A decade has gone by
Costumes and you change
Halloween fun with you
In my heart remains.


In 1930, Fabulous Is Not Late
By William James Jonas III

Fabulous is not late
You’ve been told before
If you check that damn watch
I will hit the door
Looking so amazing
I do for just you
Just one way to reflect
That your love is true
Yes, I am right here
Don’t act so surprised
Who cares if I’m late?
I always arrive
The party’s a gas
Our usual crowd
As long as it’s jazz
It can’t be too loud
Since this is your party
The fun can begin
If you want to just talk
Bring me some good gin.


Eye was gonna lose
By William James Jonas III

Eye was gonna lose
That’s the story told
The victim a rapper
Eighteen years old.

Actors from Brooklyn
Fake making a point
About a rigged system
Youths in the joint.

Cry baby players
Ignore when men choose
To give in and say
Eye was gonna lose.

What made you so smart?
What advice you took?
How dumb can you be
To sing from their book.

How is it their fault
As you cry the blues
When you stop trying
You will always lose.


Calling in Sick – Buck Fever
By William James Jonas III

Ode to a West Virginia Prison Guard
Hope you get a big deer
That is what they say
Instead of good morning
Or have a nice day
The month is November
 Appalachian state
Get yourself a ten point
Or you will not rate
If you’re a prison guard
Life just  ain’t complete
‘Less you got a freezer
That’s full of deer meat
All felons are sleeping
The  Warden’s away
It is hunting season
Boss man’s gotta play.


Birthday
By William James Jonas III

Sorry I missed your birthday
My best excuse so far
Not quite dead
In the Fed
No idea where you are
Only have your phone number
No way that I’ll call
‘Cause you’ll  pick up
And with my luck
Another bill I won’t pay, that’s all
Still, this is your Happy Birthday
You can save it for next year
By that time
Things will be fine
Celebrating for you up here.


Back ridin’ soon
By William James Jonas III

Knocked off again
That’s no surprise
I play to win
That means survive
Arenas I pick
The bull a guess
It takes just one
For great success
In my years ridin’ hard
Not much happens quick
Falling’s part of the climb
And then that big pick
Will give the ride
That will change your career
You’re now the best
The one that the bulls fear
I’ll get there some day
That time will come
The right rodeo
On the right one
Takes me from good
To great in one ride
Fame will find me
Time is on my side
But first I must learn how to walk again
Last night’s ride was tough, I need time to mend
Make no mistake, you will see me in lights
Thanks for stopping by, tell my nurse goodnight.


Advent
By William James Jonas III

A holiday created of pagan sequence
Covered with colored lights of no consequence
Piercing this absurd costume of man
Eternal light proclaiming His plan
Of Life and Joy and eternal bliss
God as a child betrayed with a kiss
A salvation path brings peace on earth
We honor the gift of  Jesus’  birth.


13,000 Bucks
By William James Jonas III

Hunting season’s first day, West Virginia’s rep
Thirteen thousand bucks killed, Mountaineer’s beloved
Just imagine pre-dawn
At each male deer house
An early corn breakfast
With children and spouse
Then daylight came calling
Dad kissed mother and daughter
Walked out in the open
And then promptly got slaughtered
On that Appalachian day
It was not a crime
‘though it happened so they say
Thirteen thousand times
Others may not like my bleeding-heart tale
Describing buck deer like a human male
Is it easier
To just blindly accept
Statistics that make
One day’s hunting correct
How in this small state, on one single day
So many horned deer, were ready to slay
That is why I suggest
As a very wise geezer
Many a first day buck

Greeted morn from the freezer.




Pushing II
By William James Jonas III

Pushing Through
Pushing To
Pushing Threw

Through with all the waste
Fear is just a taste
Jackals run the show
Blind men do not know

We are through
Going to
Passage threw
Dragon Zoo

Garbage cannot hide
Highway suicide
It may be home to you
But that’s not pushing thro



  Screaming
By William James Jonas III

Why are you screaming
There’s nothing to do
Why are you screaming
No one’s hearing you
Until you stop screaming
Nobody will care
Cause anyone screaming
We know isn’t there



Back to School
By William James Jonas III

Ray don’t like his cage
Ray stays in a rage
Ray know white folk don’t care
Ray say life ain’t fair
Ray has got no breaks
Ray’s judges on the take
Ray don’t have no hope
Ray wants to smoke dope
Ray shouldn’t feel this way
He’s in first grade
And this is his first day



Keep Moving
By William James Jonas III

As our world’s met 
A union craved
You saw me one night
Thought perhaps a dream
It was me
As meant to be
A path of connection 
Some slur misdirection
Others condemn
Real love as pretend
Sad ones doubt judge and control
Say
“What are you doing”?
They deny the light
Keep moving
Moving is not past, or on, or over,
Or down, or up
When moving is that – it’s not moving at all
You will know the time to 
Reach for my hand
Until then –
Keep moving



The Portal
By William James Jonas III

My walk is short
And she is there
Your moon
Our moon
Bringing you near
When I lift
Eyes to her
A shining face
Reveals
The moments you
Commune with her
You are close
To me
As I send
Comfort of love
Talking won’t do
No words express
The tenderness
Moon beams me 
To you



William James Jonas III 66834380
Federal Correctional Institution – Gilmar
P.O. Box 6000
Glenville, WV 26351-6001


Jonas (William James Jonas III) lived in San Antonio, Texas from 1965-2016 and is a graduate of Alamo Heights High School where his first published poem, “Colorblind,” appeared in the 1980 edition of Jaberwocky. Jonas’ poem “Missionary” was published in the San Antonio Exress-Newsa. He currently lives in West Virginia.

Poetry by Jeff Freeman

Afterlife
By Jeff H. Freeman

Day after day the condition plays on.
Plays on in monotonous meter, leaving
Nothing except more of the same.  When night comes,
Even my sleep seems deprived of its pulse,
Passing on from dream to dream,
It’s hard to settle on what has struck me more,
That I am still here, and you are there,

Or that there’s still a meaningful rhythm somewhere else.


Life, Unlived 
By Jeff H. Freeman

A generation went away today,
Gone with the time it robbed
From the young dreamer’s life,
Now caught in the madness of emotion
Swirling round in his now old head.

Folks say it’s not so bad - I don’t know,
As bad is all I’ve known, you know.
Can’t you see how time can change you,
How good folks fade away, go away
To leave another generation behind.

I remember sad times, people striving
And dying and trying to find their way,
Wondering if time would be their friend,
If their break would come some day.

Can‘t you see the clock ticking, the hands
of time swing wildly against time?
Folks are pulling away, living lives
On the run, scared to face the day.

I can’t say no more how I feel -
That time has since passed us now,
A generation has wasted away, gone.
Now there is only a dying ember,

A hope that’s settled on sadness.



Over The Moon
by Jeff H. Freeman

I see her again, clearly;
though she is not here.
I am sitting in the corner
chair in my room.  It is Saturday.

Every thought becomes lucid: of her,
of our Saturdays together. The smiles.
The laughter. The carefree walks,
hands joined together, perfectly content.

For close to thirty years no
I’ve been chasing this past
picture of a life gone by, resurrecting
scenes of total bliss, dreaming

of happier times through sadness,
watching days turn into months,
years into frightful; realities
of seeing how life turned away.

I picture her now, at work, at play –
Everyday.  I see her smiles,  The slight
Dimples.  The sound of her laughter as
it sails across her unique voice.

She is an older woman now,
more vibrant, more fuller, uniquely richer
in the way she shares her time.
I see her yawn, and I yawn, too.

I look out my window and see
the moon passing above the roof’s edge.
I see it pass over the gabled end
and wonder if she sees it, too.


Sheets and Knots
by Jeff H. Freeman

I wake up with the grey shirt
still knotted around my eyes.  Somewhere
nearby I hear blather.  Prison talk.
I don’t say anything. I feel
numb, frustrated, spent.  I sit
up on the edge of my bunk-bed
stare out at the grey walls before me.
Below me a guy making his bed,
whipping his sheets around, tying knots.
When I look at him, he clutches
his left knew, rubs it, then says something.
He regathers the sheet, pulls it tight
and tucks it in the corners.  He winces.
Behind me, I hear a guy say, “Hey sheets!”
Then sheets says, “My knee, man, my knee!”
I say, “What did you do, Sheets?”
“I banged it against the rail,” he says.
“Hit it, eh?” I say, as he
shimmies his pillowcase over his stiff pillow

and hurls it upon his cold sheets


Discovery
by Jeff H. Freeman

It’s time to ride the river,
The New River above the house that runs
Through craggy mountains, then snakes
Across the open meadow and flows
Northward in divers country –
In defiance of earth’s gravity
To unwind and let go of everything
Bound up in my life’s narrative.

People come, and then people go,
When seasons and weather permit
Down the stretches where rapids run
Freely and favorably for all adventurers
Seeking to find their better selves
In eddies, in currents, in each other.


Welcome to The Rock
by Jeff H. Freeman

Is the loathed greeting 
By the guards at the prison
Where I have spent the past twenty-nine years of my life.

It could have been said,
Welcome to hell on earth
Or some other disdainful thing,
For it wouldn’t have changed the mood.

Here I was unmoored
With really no real rock around,
Fighting with sadness and madness
With truly no in-between ground.

They line you up, then strip you down,
Tear through your bags,
And make you feel like the clown,
All the while you stand to be a man,

Broken, dejected, and blue,
Sad at the state that becomes you.
They look at your neck
When they tell you what to do.

They say, stand here, not there,
Unlike anything you ever knew
Before any of this happened to you –
Long before this stone was unturned,
Way before this rock was revealed.


Looper
by Jeff H. Freeman

I come to bended knee
And turn over one leaf.  Then another,
Then another from this Capture
Cabbage that presents a rosette look.
Somewhere amongst the  pale green leaves
There’s a hungry pest residing incognito.
I peer down into the center
Sanctum of this future mission meal
And recognize the round chameleon
Sucker locked onto its gorgeous stem.
Moving now, it crawls sluggishly –
Perhaps drunken by the elixir from this plant’s heart.
Resolute, though, it clings delicately to the new
Growth that proposes to become its expected head –
Sucking, nibbling, and voraciously determined,
A cabbage looper inches its way
Across the middle, working vigorously
To save its life from the inside out.


Hummingbirds in April
By Jeff H. Freeman

One cannot help being stunned
By their especial grace

And Straw-like enamel beaks
Like ancient Roman dirks.

For they mostly fly solo,
As if some time ago

They were somehow left out
Of the wing-flight kingdom

The bright hues draw them.
Their tiny five-hour energy

Bodies dart in and out
In dizzying little spurts,

Furtively dashing around
The red-bottom feeder bowls,

Wings modulating at lightening speed
To help them stay afloat

When the soft winds buffet them,
Their yellow-green bodies hovering

Majestically above the pink flowers.
They come and go in spring,

Mostly when the bluejays are gone
And the shiny red sugar-water saucers

Are hanging so invitingly
From the pretty pink dogwoods.


THE ART OF LIFE
by Jeff H. Freeman

Sparkling dew drops on a blade
Of grass,
Silver as mercury.
It's not your art until you make it;
Not poignant, I learned, until you
See the meaning in it.

Yesterday I crossed a river,
Shallow from shore to shore,
And watched the scurrying minnows
Chase their lives away.

I saw their stunning colors
Shoot through the crystal waters;
Watched their thin bodies dart
Around and over grey rocks.

I saw geese fly upriver,
Then watched them trade places
And make art in the sky.
With every step, I felt
How amazing it was to be created,
How glorious it was to be alive.


THE LONE HAWK
Jeff H. Freeman

The prisoner felt nothing
As he wondered outside his circle,
His eyes gazing up into the blue sky.

And no one else in the courtyard
Even noticed the hawk,
Of if they did, no one mentioned it

That afternoon as they sat at a picnic table
Out by the corner fences
Talking about old times under the hot sun.



Jeff Freeman 0136517
Sampson Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1109
Clinton, NC 28329

I am Jeff Freeman; and, before the world casted any other perception, I have always enjoyed writing poems and creating pieces of life through fictional stories.

I'm 49-years old, 5'8'', and 165 lbs. I have hazel eyes, salt 'n pepper hair :-) , and am endeavoring to “stay in the groove”.

When I'm not working my day job as a Carpentry Assistant, I enjoy jogging, light weight training, and other aerobic exercises. I also truly love the outdoor life-hiking, canoeing, camping, etc. As well, I love good humor and letting go and having fun and letting life become rich & meaningful.

Of course, I've made a few mistakes in my life – most while I was very young. But I try not to let these define me nor keep me from living my best life now and seeing the sun instead of the clouds. Look forward to sharing with all of you and the community of Minutes Before Six (mb6). Do feel free to contact me at the address listed above. I would be grateful to share with you and answer any of your questions – honestly and openly.