Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Symptoms of Our Illness

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We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love - Madeleine L'Engle

Close to Death

By Allen Cox

All my life I have struggled with the urge to end my life.  I have made 3 attempts that came very close each time.  I was 16 years old the first time. I am 53 years old now and sitting in a cell on Florida´s Death Row waiting for my death warrant to be signed.  The following events describe what my latest attempt was like. Starting around July 15, 2015 I had three different people write to me, all with bad news. That, and all the other stuff I deal with on a daily basis was more than I could stand.  It sent me into a deep depression. So I got myself some pot to smoke and it helped until I got caught with some of it and they sent me to the hole (disciplinary confinement).  

So now I´m really in a bad depressed state, and I ask the Mental Health Department for help and they send me over to the prison Mental Hospital where they take all my clothes away and toss me into a cold cell with no blanket or mattress.  Nothing but a bare metal bed - and this place has real good air conditioning system and they keep it very cold in this place.  Only after a few hours it feels like I´m freezing to death and I´m ready to put an end to this hell I´m living in.  I find a rusty old razor blade that someone else had hidden under the metal bed.  I cut my neck and arm and when the blood starts spurting out with each heart beat I feel a calmness come over me thinking it will soon all be over with.  So I lay back on that cold bed and close my eyes, only to awake in the prison emergency room.  They send me outside the prison to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital where they stitch me up and send me back and put me back in that very same cell.  When I get there they have just finished up cleaning up all the blood.  

I spend the next 24 hours in that cell feeling like I´m freezing to death and wishing I had died. They finally give me a blanket and mattress and move me to another cell which turns out to be worse than the first cell because this one had shit smeared all over the walls, and everything and the smell would gag you and it feels even colder than the first cell was.  There are 16 cells on this wing, and the guys in them were all as crazy as bed bugs.  They screamed and yelled and beat and banged on the doors non-stop the whole time I was there.  When they feed you it comes in a Styrofoam tray and you get no spoon to eat with.  I got to where I would just use my fingers, or stick my face in the tray and eat like a dog would.  Picture trying to eat spaghetti like that. 

They give you a small amount of toothpaste in this tiny paper cup and you use your finger as your toothbrush.  It took me 5 days before I could talk them into sending me back to the hole on death row, and when they send you to the hole they take away your little plastic fan and there is no air-conditioning on death row and it gets very hot.  So I sleep on the bare cement to stay cool and it does help.  Now here I sit doing 120 days  in the hole and remembering when I tried to end my life just to get away from the cold.  That old saying - “No matter how bad things get, it can always be worse” – is very TRUE.  They have given me some medication and I´m O.K. now and glad to still be alive.  I enjoy hearing the song birds just outside my window and watching the sun rise each morning.  

Allen Cox 188854
Union Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Raiford, FL 32083

If you want to hear the whole story of how I ended up on Florida´s Death Row, go to my website:

Cancer, the Unwanted Companion

By Milton Gobert

It was about 9:45pm, I was mad because the officer had passed out mail late, and I wanted to make sure I could answer my letters that I was sure to be getting that night. It was hot, really no air coming out the vents that are placed over the toilets sitting to the side of it, on the left-side of it. The officer came to my door and said; "Gobert?" I said, "554", the last numbers to my TDCJ-number. He handed me my email, (JPay), and I read it. It was my big brother, who always checks in with me. I read through the few lines that he sent me and got to the, "I did get your present for mom, and I did read the song and the Spoken-word-Poem you sent her and did get it to her, and she loved it, but I didn't want to tell you like this, but I could not make it down there to tell you, so I'll tell you now (I started to get butterflies), "Man, mom, has cancer, I didn't want to tell you like this but she told us at her birthday party''

My mind went blank, and I could not even think right, all I wanted to do was hold her hand and talk to her. I could not stop tears rolling out my eyes. I’m miles away from her, and I’m miles away from my oldest brother who is the closes to me living in Austin, Texas. The prison allows a five minute call every three months. I had been trying already to call her for the past two weeks, and the officers had been pulling me out to call her about 9:30pm at night when she would be sleep. Officers pull you out as an inmate to the major’s office, and there are four or five other officers in the room listening to every word you say and sometimes disrespectful as well, by talking loud while you’re on the phone. I was allowed to call about two days after I received that bad email. It was stage two, and it was breast cancer. My mom is a retired after working as a nurse for 42-years. I was trying to hold myself together while I was talking to her and letting her know to stay strong through it all.

So I just want to have her understand that she is strong, and she is special and needed, so I told her, "Mom, you remember back in 2002, when I was released out of prison the first time, and we were at the family reunion, and I had surprised you and everyone else when we had the talent show and every one ask, "Well what the Goberts going to do?", and Michael and Michele, and Eric, said "nothing', and I said, "I have a little something, I wrote for mom, when I was locked up and it went like this:

Chorus. (x3) 

Wonderful woman—
You are my guide please stay by my side 
Through this hard and trying time

Verse 1:

Through the pain and through the tears
You were always near 
You never let me lonely 
Always there for me 
And even when the rain was falling 
Even when the Sun was shining 
You stood by my side 
You open up my eyes

Chorus (x3)


But listen mom-----
It makes me break right out in tears 
To know how much I put you through and how your still here 
They say love don't love nobody
How can you love somebody 
Who put you through so much hell 
And who didn't love themselves
But you taught me how to love 
By showing so much love 
Even when we fought and fussed 
And sometimes even cussed


Verse-3 : 

And if I had all the Gold in the World
You would still be the most valuable to me 
Diamonds and pearls - precious things 
 My momma…

Chorus (x3)


Wonderful---wonderful woman you are my guide please stay--- please stay by my side-momma please be my guide. ---

She and the officers in the room were in tears, but I know she knew just how valuable she is to me and all who knows her. It’s healing right within your struggles. I wrote this song the first time I was locked up getting through the hate, pain, anger; I had to dig all that, just to grab a piece of heaven from deep in my soul that would speak for me, from my spiritual-tongue, to my mom's spiritual-ear.

 I wrote this spoken-word-poetry for her this time on Death row. I wanted her to get her flowers while she lives, so I wrote once again from my spirit. I’m learning to live in the spirit but it is very challenging and hard but writing helps me cleans my soul. Her poem:


Mentally, I hold on to you like Egypt holds on to the Sphinx
And great Giza Pyramid 
You’re our star gate 
The Pathway of our Souls 
The way the family tree is to be told 
We have to gather your wisdom 
That's more important than any materialism

Spiritual gifts are trapped in your consciousness 
Treasures, blessings, and solutions 
All paramount to our being 
You’re the third-eye to us seeing (Spiritual-Eye)

Share with us your world 
Before we came into existence 
Be very meticulous because nothing I want messing 
Take me on a voyage like Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas past
Educate and mold my soul to our ever evolving path
Our sphere keeps rolling 
Bloodline is none 
Stop even when your casket drops 
Memorialized in our consciousness 
Your spiritual silhouette, etched in our memory 
These are your flowers while you live 
We're made in the image of God I guess that’s why you reflect him so well

To us your value is infinite
Our yellow brick road to Oz 
The very reflection of God 
So allow us to sit by your feet 
Because that’s where heaven lies 
And let us see our history 
Looking through your eyes

Milton Gobert 999554
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
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