Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 77

I had a phone conversation with my attorney today. I found out that the issue that I had hoped would send me back for a new trial wont be happening at all. I thought the issue had merit but unfortunately for me the issue does not. This was a crushing blow to me. I had high hopes that I would be given a stay of execution because of this issue, and now I am 14 days out and looking at the maw of the beast as it slavers for my life. I still have the motion that I filed PRO-SE but fear it too will fail. Not because it has no merit but for a lack of time. It needs to reach the Supreme Court to grant me the relief I am looking for, but I fear the lower courts will just drag their collected feet to stop me from being granted the relief the motion calls for. I am sorry that this one is full of whining but I have nothing left to talk about. I am a man with little hope left. I still have a great plea for clemency, but that is left to a man who has never granted a single case clemency. Hell even George W. granted one!

Well I will return tomorrow with more of my insanity. It is said that insanity is best when shared, so I feel it is my obligation to make each and every one pf you as insane as I am.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poetry by Leon Carpenter

Who Listening
By Leon Carpenter

Its just the system
in which I exist in
no rhyme 
or reason
a senseless mission

the justice system.

Families will miss them
victims remain
pissed at them

Zero change,
law makers
whats this mist your in?

Truth in the sentencing?

Whos truth?
whos listening?

Mental health
property crimes
drug addiction

its the list I'm in.

but never mind him
just look at the list 
of crimes again

oh that boy needs
a long time again

I say it
All say it
I'll saying again
who's truth 
and who's listening

20 years for my crime
in this system?

who's justice?
who's listening

Mental health
property crimes
drug addiction

its the list I'm in.

Its just the system
in which I exist in

the justice system

Geoffrey Leon Carpenter 752058
Washington State Reformatory Unit
P.O. Box 777
Monroe, WA 98272-0777
Hello World! Friends call me Leon but the government officials get my attention by using my government-approved name, Geoffrey Leon Carpenter.  It is up to you which works best. I’m a 39 year-old male held captive in WADOC.  My crime… well, those are many but the roots rise out of poverty, abuse and drug addiction. I’m happily committed to a special person, my future and my life. A hope of mine is that something of value can be gained from reading these words. These unadulterated truths seep from the darkest depths of my wounded soul.

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 76

One more day closer to insanity. I have tried to stay positive and keep hope alive. Then the day passes with no word on a stay of execution and the hope dies within and the insanity grows once more. How soon before I am talking to the walls and they actually answer back? I have heard it stated that if you question your own sanity then you are not insane. I am beginning to doubt that statement. I am spiraling down into darkness. I know this and cannot do anything to stop that downward spiral. Knowing helps not at all. I do not think I will ever be the insane person who makes a hand puppet with my sock and listens to it’s every utterance as if it were the word of God. There are so many degrees of insanity/ I know of only a single cure for the insanity I feel growing within me, and that is to be granted either a stay of execution or to have my sentence commuted to life. Then I feel that will no longer have these insane thoughts. It is a subtle thing, my insanity. I guess it may just be the thoughts of what comes next after the poison stops my heart beating. Is there truly a kingdom of gold as it is stated in the Bible? Is there a Hell awaiting me because I am a mean and nasty person? Is there only oblivion, a rotting piece of meat in the ground and nothing else? The only ones who really know the answers to these questions are the dead and I cannot seem to get any straight answers out of them. I have heard so many people telling me, “everyone dies…” well until it is them who has to lie on a table and just wait until that poison drips into their heart, I cannot listen to them. I do not fear the actual killing (murder) the state will perform upon me, it is what comes after that has me lying in my bed in a cold sweat at night. I feel that if God truly has a kingdom of gold that I will be welcomed, albeit to the slums as, lets face it, I am not a high class kind of guy here. But the Bible states that the poorest in Heaven are richer than the richest man on Earth. That is something I could definitely live with.

15 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 75

I am so sick and tired of people coming up to me and saying to me “How are you doing?” I am living in a cell with a camera watching my every move, I have two weeks of life and they want to know how I am. I cannot give the answer that springs to mind, as it would make me seem like a complete psychopath. I mean how many times can one be asked over and over how I am when I am looking in the abyss before I snap? I have always heard that places such as this breed insanity, I never truly believed this before. I always though that one could hold insanity at bay by force of will alone. Then when one is in the position of coming within days of execution you realize that insanity creeps into you without you ever realizing it. How can I look into my mirror without seeing the insane person staring back at me? I had spoken to others that have stood here and lived past it, they told me that this would change a man. I always thought that I would remain constant whether they executed me or not. I have changed this point of view as I have now stood here and I have stared into the abyss, and I can honestly now say unequivocally that something has looked back from those dark depths. If I walk away from this date I am forever changed. There is an old adage that says, “You can never go back.” Truer words were never spoken. After this I can no longer be the man I was before this execution date. I leave you today with this thought… You cannot judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes… Believe me when I tell you that to walk in my shoes is to tempt fate with your sanity.

16 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 74

Yet one more time I have gotten my hopes dashed to the rocks below. My attorney sent me a letter stating that he may now be able to get me a stay of execution through the issue I have previously written about in these pages. Maybe this is just a way for me to place all faith in God’s will to grant me relief. I have prayed and prayed to God, though he stands silent in this issue. I do have faith that God will do what is best for me. I am scared of the unknown. The act of death scares me not. I have some little time to prepare myself for this. I look at each day as a present given to me by God. I know that many of you are not spiritual in nature I can understand this, but when you stand here overlooking the abyss, I think that many, if not all, would call upon God’s name to help them. I judge not as this is a choice that each must make on their own. I have only 17 days until I will know the mystery of death and what lies beyond the veil.

I very much wish I could tell you that in the days to come I will continue to write this journal but I have found that as each day passes all I wish to do is lie here and contemplate what is to come. I do owe it to you all to continue so I will write. Just be aware that I may not say things that you will see as conductive to good mental health. I think that as the day draws closer I will find myself thinking darker and darker thoughts. I want to wake each day with the news that I have been granted a stay, and each day that I do not is just another disappointment to my mental well-being. The only thing that one in my position looks for is those simple words, “You have been granted a stay of execution.” Without them I am just a corpse that hasn’t the sense to lie down and pull the soil over its head.

17 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Poetry by Damon Johnson

It’s On Us 
By Damon “Monebone” Johnson 

It’s on us 2: be the change we want 2 see.
It’s on us 2: change not only ourselves but the culture of this prison environment as well. It’s on us 2: pave the way 4 the ones coming after us, young, middle aged or old. It’s on us!!! Each one teach one!!! We R responsible, remember dat...don’t 4get it.
It’s on us 2: lead by example, no hypocrisy allowed. It’s on us 2: fight 4 us ‘cause if we don’t fight, who will? It’s on us 2: keep fighting & fighting & fighting ‘cause we understand this oppression. It’s on us 2: to change this ‘cause if we don’t who will? It’s on us 2 change this because if we don’t who will? It’s on us 2: change this ‘cause it’ll get worse B4 it gets better.
It’s on us 2: change this ‘cause we’re stronger, we’re wiser, more militant. It’s on us 2: change this ‘cause we hate the system, the cops, the prisons. It’s on us 2: make a difference but we gotta stay focussed throughout. It’s on us 2: stop beefing with each other ‘cause we’re not enemies, we’re brothers.
It’s on us 2: B fathers despite the fact we’re confined. It’s on us 2: B men, our women still look 4 our guidance. It’s on us 2: stop playing games because our situation is real. It’s on us 2: stop lying. It’s on us 2: humble ourselves. It’s on us 2: realise that it’s okay 2 have an ego, it’s okay 2 B prideful but there are times when we go 2 far.
Its on’s on’s on me. If we don’t lead by example who will? If we don't take ourselves seriously, who can we blame? Someone is always watching us even when we don’t realize it. We, as the political prisoners, our peers listen 2 us so we must stay on point. We must B the change we want 2 see. We R not perfect, we’re actually far from it but we do have the right idea.
It’s on’s on’s on U and it’s on me, y’all know who I’m talking 2 and y’all know what I’m talking ‘bout. Let’s lead by example.
P E A C E !!!

PS AS A MAN THINKETH...SO IS HE!!! Remember dat.

Damon Labron Johnson A586594
Toledo Correctional Institution
2001 East Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43608-2241

Wassup?  My name is Damon Labron Johnson.  I’m 35 years young, from the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio (Moosewood Projects).  I’ve been in prison for almost twelve years straight.

I’m in prison for one count of armed robbery with a gun specification.  Over the course of my bid, I’ve had a lot of ups and even more downs but I’ve weathered the storm, now I’m stronger wiser faster and better than ever before.  I’m ready to succeed.

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 73

I feel as if I am attempting to hold back the tide with my body/ No matter how I strain I will never hold back the passage of time. Each day continues to pass bringing me that much closer to the death chamber. I think of nothing else these days. I attempt to read or write but the thoughts of that date creep into my mind like a thief, and this thief is out to steal my very life.

Most of the people around me have taken my execution as a foregone conclusion. This type of thinking can really start to wear on a person. I cannot stop the tide, but maybe I can dam it slightly. Eventually the tide will tear away any dam that I am able to erect, but if built strongly enough, I can hold back that tide for just a little longer.

Nothing in life is as implacable as death, but that doesn’t mean that we run headlong into the arms of death. Howe can I turn death’s gaze away from me? My every though revolves around my impending death. If I could hold back that tide I would, I can only hope that by some miracle the tide is turned.

18 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 72

No, Tracey did not forget to post for days 69-71. I never wrote them. I have felt like the whole world has been intrusive lately. I know that I have written these journal entries of my own volition, and I have been fine with sharing with all of you that read my journal, but there are just times that I want to be private. I fear that my days of privacy are over. I have been moved into the cell equipped with the camera. I just felt as if the world were watching me.

I never though that these journal entries would reach so many people. Hello! WORLD WIDE WEB! I just never though, yes that is one of my problems; I often leap with no regard for whether or not I am jumping over the cliff with no means of flight. So I just wrote whatever came into my head without a thought about how my words would affect those people around me, in my personal life. I have had to apologize to so many people. I would take time here to publicly apologize to them, but that would change that I wrote about it in the first place, besides which it was my using this public forum for very private thoughts that has lead me to so many of my problems with this so I can only hope those who I have apologized to will accept my apology in private.

I chose to invite you into my head with this journal and I will see it through to the end. I feel you who have been following me from that first day deserve to see the end of this journey. Well, it will be decided in a mere nineteen days, less than 500 hours, I will know if I am to live or die.

I have heard that the Pope, YEAH! THE POPE! May speak on my behalf. I mean that is so beyond my comprehension. This is the most powerful man in the religious world and he may speak on my behalf. I feel unworthy of his attention and he knows my name. To contemplate this… my head spins as I attempt to put that into perspective. If the Pope does speak for me I cannot help but wonder what the uber elite Christian governor Rick Perry will think. I mean he has never granted clemency, I hope that I can be the one to show that he is a good man. I have thought long and hard about this man, I cannot believe that he is an uncaring “monster”, he is a man with a very hard job. I do not envy him having to decide whether a man should live or die. I do wish that he would come look me in the eye and tell me to my face that he has decided not to grant me clemency, if indeed he does deny my petition. I know that to be an unpractical desire as he does have the whole governing of Texas thing to do as well, and as many men that the state of Texas put to death each month, the governor would have to take a second residence here in Livingston in order to look each man in the eye to tell him he is denying his plea for clemency, but if he were to have to look a man in the face each time and see us as human beings still instead of just a case number, maybe then he would grant a few more pleas for clemency. I do not envy him his job now, but of he was forced to tell a man to his face that he didn’t think they were worthy to live, that a crime that happened, on the average ten or more years ago was so brutal and hideous that the man is no longer deserving of life. This is, to me, an admission that the state can no longer redeem this man. Most of the men that have sound their way here have committed crimes that were an isolated incident, and if they were to ever go back to society they could, and most likely would, live peacefully within the confines of any society. Of course this does not necessarily mean that all fall into the category by any means. I do think that most every man here though could, and would, go to any prison unit and not be heard from again. I have lived almost my whole like “inside”. I know these people, as I am one of them. I have gone far afield today, I close before I have you thinking that I mean to speak of every topic that comes to mind. I just needed to vent to someone and if I am writing about inconsequential things I can for a few moments forget what I am facing in nineteen days.

19 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 68

I fear I am on a downward spiral, every day I try to stay positive and everyday I fail miserably. I see that days pass with frightening speed. I cannot help but think of the day the state of Texas will legally murder me. How can I not fall into a never-ending loop of despair? I am still hopeful to get a stay, as I have not heard from my attorney to the contrary. There are doubts within me, am I still sane? Have I been pushed over into the abyss? I fear that I have stared too long into the abyss and maybe something has stared back. I feel a “darkness” within me, an apathy that I fear ay grow into something that will lead me to completely shut myself off from everyone and everything.

Today I may have to move into the cell with the camera. I say may because Billy’s date is the day after mine and he is in the cell next to that one, while the other “camera” cell I am next to, the current occupant of this cell next to me has a scheduled date for Tuesday, but knowing TDCJ I will be taken downstairs tonight and Billy will be brought upstairs on Tuesday. Yes, it makes no sense.

Things rarely make sense in TDCJ. Case in point I heard from Thomas last night, seems that TDCJ has punished him for MY journal! I can only imagine what will happen to me if I am granted a stay of execution. Thomas’ punishment shows me that I have struck a nerve with something I have said. To tell you the truth I never thought that I would ever have the influence that I seem to have due to this journal. I mean I am only expressing myself. I am not preaching anarchy not chaos here. I only wanted to share with you the mental, emotional and even the physical turmoil one goes through while awaiting the state to come and strap him down and stop his heart with their nice “humane” poisons. I once heard that poison is a coward’s choice of weapon. I am shocked that the ‘executioner’ doesn’t hide behind a mask. I mean does he/she look the condemned person in the eyes before administrating the poison? I am sure that the person hides in the next room as it would be more humane for the person forced (forced? I think not) to “push the button.” They are worried about the humanity of murder. How can these people continue to go to their churches and pray to God when they participate in legal murder? I am condemned for murder and these people, well I am preaching to the choir here. I can say with complete honesty that I am happy that what I have said in the last 68 days has had some impact upon TDCJ. It shows me that my voice can be heard. Thomas Whitaker is a good friend; I hope that he seems me as a scalpel and not a sledgehammer (an inside joke that he will appreciate). I never thought of myself as anything special, but I started speaking with Thomas and he convinced me that I have a voice that people may enjoy listening to. Well I now see that had I listened to him when he first started to ask me to write for his site, I think that I could have made a difference. Maybe I am being overly proud, I guess that we’ll never know now will we?

I have just over three weeks until this is decided and I will make an attempt to stay positive, but it is getting more difficult with every rising of the sun. Thank you to those who have given me their support. I can never repay all the kindness that has been shown to me in this hour of need. I met some new people and I hope and pray that I will be granted a stay, or even clemency, so that I may deepen my new relationships. To build a relationship that will be beneficial for them as well as myself. I have often wondered what I have that could possibly be of benefit to those people that write to me. I have been told that I have a nice sense of humor, but is that enough? These are thoughts, though, for another day…

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 67

I have just finished writing a letter to the Board of Pardons and Paroles asking them to vote for recommending me for clemency. You see it is not the Board that decides whether or not I am granted clemency or not. The Board only voted to recommend to the governor to grant clemency and he either grants it or denies it depending on what he feels is necessary in my case. I hope and pray that he will grant it to me. I have lost faith in the legal aspects of my case. I see the men who have dates before mine being executed and to me they have better claims in court that I do, so what will become of me? I think that by the time this is posted on the site my case will have been decided by the courts. Am I still breathing as you read this or am I literally reaching from beyond the grave as you read my words? It is kind of surreal for me to think about this. I want to live of course, or do I? I guess I have moments that make me believe that I am ready to just say, lets end this today. I think that it if weren’t for my loved ones I would just let them have me. I am so sick of living in cages. I know that it was my actions that brought me here, we not exactly “here” but to prison. I believe that I should be punished for the crime I committed, which is negligible homicide. This crime carries a two-year maximum sentence. I have paid that sentence four times over since I was arrested in 1998. Twelve years is a lifetime when you live inside a box. Some people in here have actually gone certifiably insane from having to live in a box with no human contact, with the exception of the officers placing them into hand restraints to be walked from one cage to another. Is it any wonder that some of the men here long for their release; even it is means they will be executed? I never would have thought that I would think that way, but looking at another twelve years here in this box, and well I could see it/ I would treat going to population almost like being set free. The freedom to just walk from my cell to go eat in the chow hall would seem to me a vacation. But no matter if I am still alive as you read these words or not, please know that each of you reading these words have supported me and for that I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you.

24 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 66

These days just seem to fly past me, with no real sense of accomplishment. I have filed the motion with the court asking for the to dismiss my execution on grounds that if granted will see me released! Well this is not entirely true, and I would still have to go to Kansas to face what happened there. That would be my luck to win my fight here and then just be taken to Kansas to start the process all over again. I do know that if this were done hat I could much better defend myself. Then again I may do a lot better there, as they no longer even have the death penalty. At any rate, I have filed this motion and have asked my attorney to the secessor writ on the information that is from the neuropsychological tests I took, coupled with the petitions that several of you have started on my behalf to ask the governor for clemency and I think I may have a fair chance of living to see May 13th.

I can say that writing this journal has shown me the power of the written word; I think that if I am granted a stay of execution I will continue to write for Thomas’ site. Thomas has given me a great opportunity with this journal; I am so indebted to him. Thomas is such a good friend to me and I miss him very much. They moved him to another pod and I have not had him around me for some time now. His presence is definitely missed by me. I have no wisdom today, wait, have I ever had “wisdom” in this journal? I close…

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 65

They have added two more people to our small community today. For some odd reason a scene from the movie Pink Floyd’s: The Wall popped into my head. There is a scene where the children are lined up on a conveyor belt and as the conveyor reaches the end the school children are deposited into a huge meat grinder. I know that the visual imagery there is quite ghoulish, but that is what jumped into my head as these two men were brought in and placed within their cells to start their own “count down to extinction”.

I am the next in line to be placed into once of the observation cells. There are two cells on death watch that are equipped with cameras, and as each man’s date looms closer he is placed in one of these two cells, the current occupants have dates for this week and next so if the man this week either gains a stay or is executed, I will be placed into his cell downstairs. Funny that the state so jealously guards their right to kill isn’t it? I mean they place a man into one of these cells equipped with a camera only to prevent someone from taking their own life. I feel that it should be the right of the individual to decide whether or not to live to be executed. The state of Texas would adamantly refute this, case in point; a few years ago (when Death Row was house on the Ellis I unit) a man who had an execution date decided that he would rather die by his own hand rather than to submit to the whims of the State. He took a box cutter and cut his own throat! The officers came into his cell and tried to staunch the blood, ultimately the man was taken to the hospital and had his throat sewn up and the state saved this mans life. Not twenty-four hours later they lead that same man into their execution chamber, strapped him to the table, his neck still had the fresh stitches from the hospital, and stopped his heart with a lethal dose of poisons. Had they just stood by they could have allowed the man to die “his way”. Yes I know there are legal ramifications to that line of thinking, but seriously! I am not looking forward to being placed into the camera cell and living out what may remain of my life like an exhibit in some exotic zoo.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 64

Sometimes I feel like I am inside a giant pressure cooker and the lid is sealed tight. The heat has been turned up with no release in sight. I have high hopes that I will receive a stay of execution, but as I lie in this bunk and my mind is allowed to wander, I cannot help but to think about “what if” What I the courts deny my motion, what if the people helping me to file this stop, what if those same people start asking for money that I don’t have, what if, what if…. These pressure have been building so much that there are actually times where I find myself thinking about just throwing my hands into the air in surrender. The only thing keeping me from doing so are the people in my life that love and care about me. For them I continue to fight. I mean sure I want to live to be a doddering old an, shuffling around in house shoes and a bathrobe complaining about “how it were in my day” but seriously I will never see the free world no matter what happens to me. It is thoughts like that that have me thinking about giving up, well also the thought that I may have just over 3 weeks of life left and, oh wouldn’t it be better to live out what remains of my life without any stress. I could relax and just allow it to happen. I have never been in this type of situation in my life, where I think so much that it seems as if my brain never shuts off. Even in my sleep I am typing a letter, or thinking about motions and possible outcomes from the appeal of the motions. My heads seems to be filled with explosive gases and I am just waiting for the tiniest of sparks to ignite my whole existence in the most impressive explosion imaginable. Good thing is that I have only three weeks for the pressure cooker to either cook me or release its pressure and allow me to breathe, bad news is I have only three weeks to… Catch 22 where no matter the outcome I am still in the cook pot and that lid can be closed at a moment notice Well in just over three weeks our journey comes to an end one way or another.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 63

I received another visit today. It is always so good to be able to sit down and talk to her. She spoke to me about these journal entries; she was hurt by what I had to say about her. I never knew some of the circumstances that forced her to stop coming to visit me here. So there I say while my mother cried because of what I said about her. I felt all of two inches tall there. Who can feel good while making their mother cry? After we spoke and she magnanimously forgave me for my words we had a good visit. She is my mother and she can make me smile without truly trying. She can also make me cry so I guess it evens out.

I also heard from my attorney, he sent me the petition that he intends to send to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Within those pages I discovered something that I was not previously aware of. While awaiting trial, my attorney had a battery of tests performed on me, one was a neuropsychological assessment. I recall these tests, but what I was not aware of was the results and what they say about me as a person. It was brought to my attention that I suffer from a neurological deficiency that hinders my ability to anticipate my action, or the consequences from them. Which is one of the questions asked of the jury to convict someone, whether they should have anticipated that a murder would take place. I never knew that this test says that I co9uld not have anticipated the actions of my co-defendant due to the neurological deficiency I have asked my state appointed attorney to file what is called a secessor writ on this issue to gain me not only a stay of execution, but in all likelihood it will bring me a new trial! I know most of you who read these pages do not believe ion God not in his power to overturn an injustice, but look at this, just when I need it the information is brought to my attention that not only gains me the coveted stay, but also will bring a new trial when I can better defend against the charges that have brought me here. I know that gross negligence with which my last trial attorney used to defend me against these charges and with that knowledge I will be better prepared to defend against them in a second trial. With this news I have renewed hope. The only problem that I can see is that with this new hope I am soaring into the sky, and as we are all aware, the higher you fly the greater the fall if it goes south on you. I am going to try and stay grounded as much as possible just in case my attorney cannot gain me a new trial. I will keep you informed in any new developments. I hope now I have many years to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 62

As I sit and wait to find out if I will receive a stay I am becoming more and more despondent. I am fighting off the depressive state I find myself in. I hate that all I do lately on this journal is complain about how sad I am, how being here is so hard upon me. I tend to forget about the people that care and love me, how must this be affecting them. I am sure that this isn’t any easier on them than it is on me, I really have the easy part in all of this, I get to die at the end if it goes bad, they must live on, sure at first it be an overwhelming pain of loss, but soon they will learn to laugh after time. I will not have to deal with that, I just get to lie down and have my heart stopped and that will be the end of it for me. Written out like that it doesn’t sound so easy to me. There is so much agony and pain for everyone, my family, the victim’s family, and me. The circle of suffering just won’t end. I am wondering if the victim’s family feels that they will have closure as a result of my execution? Do they truly believe that my execution will help them in their grieving process? I cannot help but think that this execution only serves to continue the circle of suffering, I have but a single voice, and I have seen so many men murdered by the state of Texas, that I have my doubts about the effectiveness of my voice, but I do hope that if my voice isn’t enough to save my life then maybe it will be enough in the future to save another life….

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 61

Yet another milestone today. One month until the day Texas wants to kill me. Sixty-one days of journal entries. When I started this journal I was full of optimism and hope for gaining a stay of execution, but as the days slipped away I lost that hope to despair. Now as I sit here all I can think is that I will be dead in a month. I have placed all my hopes of a stay onto to a motion that I am having to file PRO-SE (which means without a lawyer). What shall I do though if the courts deny my motion? I will have no other opportunity to gain a stay if this one is denied. It is difficult placing all ones hopes and dreams in a single source, but what other choice do I really have? I do hope that Governor Perry will commute my sentence to life as opposed to death but he has only done so once and I am short on optimism there. I do know that many, many people have been writing in for me to have my sentence reduced and I do hope that it works, it is just that as a person sits here and faces death in a month, hope is all you have truly. I close for now.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 60

Today I want to try and bring some lightness that has been missing from this journal as of late. I have been looking through my property to decide that is to be saved and what I shall throw out if I am executed. I have come across letters and pictures that I had forgotten about. I have smiled at some of the things that I have found in my possession. I have also come across some of the old stuff that went with my gaming days and the memories that came with it. I would like to share with you all one of the adventures that we played through, if it is alright? I will lay some groundwork so that you can more easily follow my story.

I played a character called a “Crazy.” That is a human who has been augmented through brain implants making them faster, stronger and all around better. The other members of the group one was a ”Juicer” he is a lot like the Crazies except they are augmented through chemicals. The Juicers are better than the Crazies. Now the fun thing about the crazies is that as they progress through levels they become more, well crazy! They pick up all kinds of things such as phobias and disorders and other mental problems. I love this as they bring about some interesting situations when the group must be serious the crazy may start a water balloon fight. Look at it like this, if you would, in a movie such as Scar Face when Tony is fighting for his life at the end, a crazy may have jumped out of the door and tried to pelt the emerging “bad guys” with those afore mentioned water balloons! Okay now after the Juicer there was a Cyborg. Picture the Terminator without his skin and that was exactly what you’d get. To finish out the foursome there was a dragon. I based my crazy (Murdoc) on the old character from the 80’s television show The A-Team’s “Howlin’ Mad” Murdoc, do you remember this guy? He was the guy who had to be broken out of the mental institution to help the team? Well the Juicer’s name was Speed, a hugely muscled guy with a heart of gold, he was the kind of guy who would blow the hell out of the bad guys one minute and then with his gun still smoking help rescue a kitten from a tree. Then there was Harry, the cyborg. He spoke like Clint Eastwood. Then Spitfyre, the dragon, she was in love with Harry and that made for some interesting times! The adventure I would like to share with you today is one of the Doomsday Mercs’ best! A bit of background on the gaming world here. This is called Rifts and is based upon an apocalyptic Earth in the future when magic and technology live hand in hand. At the time that this next adventure took place the Doomsday Mercs had been living where the Hoover Dam sits, in a community that is slightly water logged (funny thing about that was that before the game ever started Murdoc in a random roll of the dice was given the phobia of water!) well the town was called The Stys. We had adventured in a nearby cave system and then it was decided that we’d stay. One day as we slept a deep space spacecraft came in over the lake and sent down a huge hose and began drawing up hundreds of gallons of water. The town tried to speak to these aliens to no avail, so they turned to the DDM to fight off these water stealing aliens, well we get aboard their ship and fight for control of the ship, at one point Spitfyre ripped out all the hoses that they had been using to draw up the water. Then once we have command and control of the ship we discover that the hoses were drawing up the water to “cool” some malfunction in their ship! No we are faced with an eminent explosion that has the possibility to destroy the entire town!

I can remember so many details of that adventure, like I am remembering a favorite book or movie. Those characters came to life. Now as I sit here going through paper work I have discovered other just as loved characters from other groups. I want to live to play some of these characters again. Murdoc is my favorite character of all time and when I run the games for other people I often will bring in old Murdoc to help them out. I have had many of the guys who have played with Murdoc say that he is a memorable character. What more can one ask than to be remembered fondly? I close for today. I hope that I will be remembered as fondly as a fictional character has been.

31 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 59

I have been attempting to shake off the lethargic mood I have found myself in. I find myself just wanting to sleep and not wake so that I do not have to face the reality of this place. I mean I watch the days slipping past me with no way to stop them; each passing day is one closer to May 12th. It looms in the near future like a movie monster that cannot be stopped by any means. I have turned within myself for strength, only to find that I am empty within myself. I found no strength only sorrow and apathy. I wish I could find within myself the strength to face what may come, but I cannot. I know that a lot of people are fighting for me. They are trying to gain me a stay so that I may live; to each and every one of you I send my utmost appreciation. From you I can find the strength to continue to breathe, to fight, to live in a place that crushes a man’s spirit. Some people may think that I have strength because I have survived in here for so long, nothing could be further from the truth though. I only survive when I wish to live. I am sorry that I have turned this into a whine session.

I have 32 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 58

Each day that I am forced to sit and watch the sand fall into the bottom of the glass I realize how little time remains to me. I have become so depressed while I sit and watch. I can think of nothing else. I think that my letter writings and my journal entries will suffer from this depression. I wish the 12th were already past so that least I would know something one way or the other. As my date draws closer I have drawn more inward, I wish that I could allow others inside to see my pain, but as this date looms in my future I cannot help but to withdraw from everyone around me, even those I love, It is not as if I didn’t trust them or anything just that I feel that no one can help me through this, now can they? These other men around me could but they are going through it themselves and so how would I look if I were to “reach out” to then for support? That is just not done in prison. The whole system is based on testosterone. Every man trying to never show fear or any other emotion that is deemed “unmanly.” So here I sit watching those sands fall.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 57

I was just standing at my cell door watching the officers walking back and forth to feed the different sections of inmates. I was struck by the cold indifference with which they go about their jobs. It was at this time that I realized that before receiving my own scheduled execution date I too had that cold indifference to those who received a date of execution. Now as I sit and watch the world prepare to move forward if I am indeed executed. We are all changed by out experiences in the world, but almost no experience in my life has changed me like this one has. The birth of my son, the death of my brothers and a few more are these life-changing experiences. The days are growing shorter for me, each day I awaken with a sense of dread and must find a new reason to bring a smile to my face, it may come from a letter received in the mail, a card that a person took time to pick out to maybe bring the quick smile. I tell you now that those smiles are getting rare as the date looms closer, more and more I just wish to be alone with my thoughts and my letters.

The people around me are facing the same execution that I am, but if you will remember that I once said that we face it in our own ways. I choose to turn within for my strength; I do not want to go around bantering with these people I have found myself with. We are still a close knit community I have just become that crazy old man that yells for those “damned kids” to stay out of my flower gardens! I have always been content to be alone with my thoughts and now that this is coming I want to just be left alone by those around me, unfortunately they cannot understand this about me and have attempted to force me out of my self-imposed isolation. I have refused to be brought forth. I just cannot see how I can bring a smile each day but I do. I can tell you that they are getting harder and harder to find, so I cherish each as the treasures that they are.

I hate to sound all doomsday here and truly I am not, it is just that there are days when I can feel “May 12th” shrouding me like a specter, when I “feel” this I can almost imagine the coldness of the grace seeping into me, infusing my spirit with dread until I am full of mortal terror. It is a hard thing to do to face one’s own mortality.

I close for now, 34 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Admin Note

Please be aware that while Kevin is posting his Death Watch Journal here, Thomas has been using his Facebook Profile  (no longer available) for his entries. Several entries have been posted today.

Thank you

PS This Admin note is dated 7th April as that is the most recent entry received from Kevin, however Thomas entries were made more recently

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 56

I sit here typing this while listening to my radio. I have been listening to more and more talk radio that I ever did before, I never really paid much attention to the views and opinions of these people. I was shocked at the way in which many of those people see me, and other men on death row. I mean sure I have always known that they are staunch supporters of the death penalty, but never have I heard myself described as a rabid animal that should be “put down” for the safety and security of society. One woman said that in her opinion, when a person is sentenced to death the sentence should be carried out immediately, like the same day, hour that the person is sentenced! Yet someone else said that the mode of execution should fit the means with which the victim was killed. I must ask myself when these people became so bloodthirsty? Then I think about the innocent that have been sent to death row. What would these people say to them? I mean I have seen already one man that has been proven to be innocent of the crime that sent him to death row be executed. Do these people believe that one innocent man being “knowingly and willingly” put to death acceptable? The quote is what Texas describes as “murder”. Since Todd Willingham (not sure of the spelling) was proven innocent of the fire that took his daughters lives and subsequently took his when Texas murdered him, should not those involved now be held to the same standards that they have held us? I do not mean the death penalty here, but should charges not be brought against them? What would those people that call for swift and meaningful vengeance say about the fact that Texas has put to death an innocent? I have never claimed to be innocent, only God has the right to judge a man to death, the Bible clearly states this, but will Texas ever acknowledge this fact? I feel that they will only give up their death machine when “it’s taken from their cold, dead hands” Yes it is a sad world we live in when simple men like myself are forced to be the moral compass for the government. Yet I am the man who has been deemed unworthy to continue to breathe. Why should I be held to a higher level of culpability than the very state that will be my murderer?

I am going to close for now. 35 days of life remain to me. I am not afraid to die but this does not mean that I rush forward into the embrace of death either. I will fight until my heart stops and lungs collapse from the poisons that they inject into me. I will not give hope even then because God has me in the palm of his hand.

35 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Poetry By Adrian Mariscal

The Roots of Remorse
By Adrian S. Mariscal

I feed on myself
Like a lunatic left to starve,
Well fed thanks to my
Legs and an arm,
Carving myself to pieces slowly
Preferring to be numb than lonely,
This is my shame and pain that
I don’t want to write with,
History and labels I can’t 
Fight with my fist,
So instead I self-mutilate
By asking myself ‘What if?’
Then I self-medicate with rehabilitation,
High off the distance
Separating me at thirty-two,
Self-educated in prison
With me at eighteen,
Acting a fool eager to catch
One of my enemies slipping,
Until the realization of having blood
On my hands forces me to understand
Change is limited by the hemorrhaging,
The constant remembering
By my victims’ family and mine,
The absence bleeds into every moment,
Into every act of love
Planted in a field of dreams
Cratered by nightmares,
Cause life doesn’t fight fair
Or spare any man’s conscience
But even still,
I am responsible,
In every way that makes me human,
For the true justice that doesn’t stop
When you’re placed inside of a box,
To live and to give beyond
The measure of me at eighteen,
And accept there is no balancing
The good and evil we create,
But for now somebody please
Remind Lady Justice to keep
Her blindfold tied tight,
Because the remorse in itself
Is a life sentence,
The remorse itself  is redemption.

The Greatest Actor Alive
By Adrian S. Mariscal

Leave me alone
Along with my masks,
They’re needed to survive the crash,
I have to become something else fast,
Not just to survive but to laugh.
To convince myself my soul
 Hasn’t been cut in half,
To be able to stand my reflection
Without being crippled by questions,
A mask for any occasion,
For any devil waiting to greet me

On any level of devastation,
Like when I lost my trial then
Picked up denial to ignore my fears,
Then I picked up hope
Cause the texture was similar
And wore it for years,
Then a mask with a smile on it
To hide all my tears,
Followed by a stoic white one
To hide the grimace left
After losing my last appeal,
Hell, my masks are more real than me,
Understand me as in the dream
That used to be a sentient being,
Before I distorted my imagination
To find meaning in a box
Where underneath all the static props
And sadistic plots my thoughts,
Like troops, fight to become absolutes,
Fighting to shoot proof on the frontlines
Of action, no longer just afterthoughts.
Or abstractions, unravelling then travelling
From being a shadow of a man
To a shadow that gained traction on land,
Then the upper hand that ripped off
One mask after another,
And another then another
Till nothing was left except
Flesh disfigured by the insanity
Of trying to suffocate my humanity with hate,
Which was fake as hell but
Better late to love than never,
So I plan to keep this one mask
Covered in cracks to help me remember
Never to surrender the light that finally broke through!

All That Is Done Here
By Adrian S. Mariscal

Writing for the sake of writing,
Writing like I’m still fighting my case
And all hope hasn’t been lost,
Unaware of the cost of words
But I can’t afford anything
And I’m not a part of the herd
So I’m down to say anything,
And it can make you feel everything
Or nothing but I don’t even care
Cause I’m just writing for the sake of writing,
Like if I can relate to getting home late
Or flaking on dinner dates, cause I’m 13 years late
And mistakes at this point
Are a loser’s way of having fun,
No point to make, I’m a bum in a box
Screaming at my mind to stop
Every time a thought hops over the fence
And goes on the run,
Rally the troops killer on the loose,
Grab your guns and call in the helicopters,
To hell with the lawyers and doctors,
What this guy needs is a bullet,
Finger on the trigger, clear shot, pull it,
Bring him back dead or alive
But I was gonna come back anyway,
No lie, I’m institutionalized,
Hunting down memories till
There’s nothing left to visualize,
I see an enemy when I see myself
Man I think I’m ready to go blind
I think I’m ready to lose my mind,
Sensory deprivation to go with
Spiritual decimation, tell me,
Am I out of line?
Freak’n running out of time?
Guess I’m finally coming home
To the house of bones
Where all we do is
Write for the sake of writing.

Adrian S. Mariscal F60045
Pelican Bay State Prison
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532

My name is Adrian and I’ve been incarcerated for 15 years and I’m currently in Pelican Bay.  I am a College of the Redwoods student and I’m working on earning two A.A. degrees.  I also play the guitar and lead worship services here in A-year.  I love writing poetry and performing my pieces for visitors and college events.  I write about the lessons I’ve learned, my experiences in the prison system, feeling lost, searching for hope and my struggle to become more humane, kind and empathetic.  All in all, I am working to earn my parole and return to my family and society better and more wholesome then when I entered the prison system.

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 55

I am back once more and I have to yell you that today has been most difficult for me to deal with. Last night I had yet another dream that disturbed me no end. I seemed to be lost, at least I knew that I had someplace I needed to get to but could not, in a quagmire. The mud sucking at each step I took. Soon my feet would sink down until the mud was up to my knees. Each step became a struggle, then in the way of dreams I am climbing a hill of mud, I am clawing and crawling up this hill to get to where I need to be, mud is coming into my mouth, covering me from head to heel, my body wants to give out as I pull myself up by inches. I am halfway up the hill (that seems to grow taker every moment) when I slip and slide back down to the foot of what is not a mountain of mud before me. I decided to try and make my way around the mountain instead of climbing up the face of that mud mountain. Now the base of the mountains mud comes up to my chest and soon the mud becomes soupy until I am attempting to swim through this sea of mud. I turn and try to once more find the mountain. I figure that I have once more lost my way and the mountain was the true way to go, but as I spin in the sea of mud I can no longer even see the mountain! Next thing I know, my own body betrays me and I can swim no longer. I slowly sink down into the mud and just before my head is covered over with mud, I woke. I got up and had a cup of coffee to settle my nerves. This dream upset me very much. After a while I decided to try to go back to sleep, as I lie there thinking about that dream I just could not go to sleep as that portents of this dream weighed heavy upon me. As I sit and write to you about it now, I can feel the mud as it seeped into my mouth, my nose and began to cover my eyes. The coldness of that mud filled me until I was numb. I do not know if this portends a tragic end for me or not. I do know that I am not going to stop fighting until that mud covers me and I am sinking through the dark depths of the mire. To do any less would be to betray who and what I am.

36 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 54

I have just returned from speaking to my lawyer. I am reminded of an old adage that says “you get what you pay for” and when it comes to attorney help here, that holds true. My lawyer was hired by the state and it shows. I have been speaking to another inmate here on death watch and he feels that a motion he is putting together has a good chance of gaining him a stay of execution. He is willing to help me by writing and filing a motion on my behalf. Problem is I do not have the money he asks to do this. I am going to ask my mother of she can afford to give it to me. I do not wish to fill this page with my financial shortcomings. My lawyer told me that the petition for clemency that he is putting together for me looks good. He seems shocked at the amount of support that has poured into his office from people.

I have difficulties believing my own worth. I have been told that I am not a productive member of society by a panel of my “peers” and that is the type of thing that can begin a person to start thinking that they are not worth anything. I know any of you have written to me telling me that this just is not true, but I still harbor doubts that I am not worth saving. My own lawyer says that he has doubts that Governor Perry will allow me to live. I plan to write to the governor personally on my own behalf to ask that he commute my sentence to give me life. If he refuses me then I guess that the death chamber awaits me.

37 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 53

Easter Sunday. I thought I would just wish you all a wonderful day and just relax from my journal. I am going to spend my day reflecting on what today means to me. I will be back tomorrow.

38 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 52

Today is Saturday. Saturdays are usually lazy days for most people. The day when you recover from Friday night’s exploits or the day you plan what to do for the Saturday night out, I spent today writing letters to those of you with whom I have been corresponding. I have to say that writing to so many people gets to be draining, I run through so many emotions when writing. With one person I smile and joke, with yet another I may feel a deep seated sorrow, or even an anger. To feel so many conflicting emotions in a day’s time can truly leave one feeling empty of any emotive energy at all. As I write this now I am apathetic at best. I feel like a robot as the typewriter clicks and beeps along with my fingers. I look up to see what I have written and am at times shocked to discover that there are meaningful words there!

I have been writing this journal every day since I discovered I had been scheduled an execution date. I have dug deeply at times to find something, anything, to write about. I will be the first to proclaim that I am far from the most gifted of writers, so I am amazed that so many people are reading this journal. I do not think I have any more right to be heard than anyone else, not do I have any more right to live. I am just trying to save my life. If I have ever said anything that was not warranted on these paves then I will apologize, but I wish you to know the truth of how I felt at that given time that I write that certain entry. I know that all of us has said, or written something and later regretted the telling of that. I am no different. What I feel today may change on the morrow. Does this make me an arrogant or evil man? Cannot someone look past my words to see that I am scared of what may come? Am I any less human because I am here? I may feel like a robot because the emotional roller coaster ride I currently find myself on, but no matter what, we can always find new emotions locked within out hearts of we only look.

I do not know what message, if any, I am trying to write today. Maybe I just wish to show people that I am human and not just some evil thing. Oh I do not know what I am saying today! I am almost looking forward to May 12th I know how that sounds but on that date I will either know that I shall live or die. Either way, I will know peace of mind. I only want to rest without the threat of this over my head. I lie here at night as I try to fall asleep and I think about what will happen to me. I was up knowing that I am one day closer to it. I am fighting but I am seeing no results from my efforts. I have a lawyers phone call on Monday, not sure what lawyer I will speak to. I wrote to the Texas Defenders Service about my case only to be told that they cannot represent me due to a conflict of interest. I have expressed a desire to fire my attorney, as he seems content in allowing the state to just kill me. I shouldn’t expect too much from him, since after all he is paid by the state of Texas to represent me. My mother once said it so beautifully: If you pay a person to paint your house he works for you, but if your neighbor pays a person to paint YOUR house who then does he truly work for? I will write about whom I got the call from in Monday’s entry.

I also have a visit coming from a man who said he might be able to help me. I do now know what he will say, or if I will be able to financially afford his help. I do know that in this great country of ours, anything is for sale, even justice! I mean look at the cases we’ve all seen and you will see what I say is the truth. Unfortunately for me I cannot afford too much American justice, if I were able to afford that level of justice I would never have had to have a state appointed attorney filing each of my appeals for relief.

I will close for the day. 39 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Death Watch Journal for Kevin Varga - DAY 51

I have just returned from the visit room. I am on an emotional high. The visit today was better than the one yesterday; I believe it was because my mother and I spent the day in laughter rather than in tears. Not to say that there were no tears involved, but they were not the tars of deep-seated sorrows. I still hated to see my mother’s tears as hers brought my own tears. I am not a man to easily allow my tears to flow yet that is not to say that I am totally emotionless when it comes to the feelings of my loved ones.

I have had several family members show an interest in coming to visit me now that I have a date, which to be completely honest makes me angry. I mean where were these people when I was forced to live here without moral support? Well at least moral support from my own family embers. I had so many people who would support me. Even though most of these people would sooner or later leave me to my fate. I have a couple that have been with me for years in moral support. I would normally refuse to see these people but I wish to not die with any harshness within my family structure so I will place them onto my list to come and see me, if I am unable to gain a stay I will be able to say my farewells to those who loved me on this life.

I cannot blame them for living their lives; I mean it was not them here. I should be more sympathetic towards them for their lack of moral support. I mean it wasn’t easy to see me here I guess. I also believe that many of them truly thought I would not die here. I too thought this. I still hold out hope that I will live past the deadline of May 12th, but if not, then I most certainly want to die with my loved ones around me like anyone would.

I think of this date like a terminal illness. I feel the worst for my mother who has already buried two of her four children. Not only is she watching my slow death at the hands of the state, but she also has to watch my children watch and that is tearing her up in a bad way. I please ask anyone of you that is of a praying mind to keep my mother Beth Vargas in your prayers. Thank you.

40 days to live.

Kevin Varga 999368
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

© Copyright 2010 by Kevin Varga and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Artwork by Roberto Hurtado

Roberto Hurtado K79902
Menard Correctional Center
P.O. Box 1000
Menard, IL 62259
I’m currently incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections (I.D.O.C.), at Menard Correctional Center (I’ve been in all I.D.O.C.’s max pintas and just got released from solitary confinement after spending four years there).  I’m 40 years old but have spent the last 20 behind bars, serving a sentence of natural life (life without parole) for a double murder.

I was born in Mexico (Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl), but moved to the U.S. at the age of 12…eventually the “street life” landed me in the system, where I started drawing to pass time and in the process, have become a self-taught artist.  It has taken me years to improve my skills but I believe that I’ve come a long way compared to where I started, with just a pencil or a ball-point pen.  Now I’ve evolved to mixed media (color pencils and pen), doing handkerchiefs (panas) making pillows, carving on mirrors and lately, I’m also doing oil paints.

Here’s some of my artwork for you to check out and my contact information in case you would like to send me a shout out (I speak Spanish also). Alrato!

Poetry by Andre Coe

By Andre Coe

"Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually nothing to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed."
-Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
American editor, critic, lexicographer

R.I.P. To Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, Abdul Kamal, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Ramirez, Emmett Till, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown Jr., George Floyd and the others murdered by those sworn to serve and protect us. And my condolences to the daughters, the mothers and the wifeys who lost their men so unjustly. Before I let my thoughts travel without filter about the black pandemic, allow me this moment of literary pause for their lost...

I appreciate that we're standing up to these injustices, not only nationally, but globally as well. From India to London to Africa, even in Japan, all you hear and read is, "Black Lives Matter." I honestly didn't view it going that far for this long. That's peace. Pardon my pessimism though Bruh, I'm not all that hopeful about any real change coming about these protests and riots. It's not plausible. We see the residue of officers killing unarmed black men. Let's take a moment to understand that this has become a grave concern now because these murders are being caught on camera phones and are then posted on social media platforms for the world to see. It's devastating to watch that in real time with the ability to rewind the shit. The more and more you view it, the more you feel that impulse to act; to do something, say something. No need to describe the what one experiences after watching the footage of those murders, my point is...this has always been our reality. Word. Do your homework: in 1999, 6 or 7 years after the Rodney King riots, there was a man named Amadou Diallo. He was from Africa, spoke 5 languages and was about to go to college. He was shot 41times by the police because they thought he was a rapist they had been looking for and they alleged that he had reached for a gun when they confronted him. The man was reaching for his wallet to show the police who he was. He didn't even have a gun on him. They shot him 41 times, went to court and got acquitted. That incident in particular wasn't caught on camera phone. I don't even wanna imagine what that would've looked like if it would've thought after the other incidents caught on camera phone of the cops murdered us, that the protesting and the funds donated to orgs. that supposedly aided against these injustices would've made a noticeable change of some kind. But aside from the fact that these officers were being acquitted, if they went to trial at all, the murders just kept happening. And even with all of that said, what about the brutality of the justice system that isn't caught on the camera phone...? Yeah Bruh, let's really look at this justice system through a magnifying glass and put things in their proper perspective. This Justice system is composed of the police practice/ investigation stage, the interrogatory/preliminary stage, the trial/sentencing stage and the review/post-conviction stage. Now, what happened to George Floyd and 'em took place at the investigative/police stage. The other stages of the Justice system that I just mentioned, NO CAMERA PHONES ARE ALLOWED! So is it hard to believe that there is a detective, a prosecuting attorney, a public defender, a judge, a correctional officer or a warden who holds the same hatred and malice in their heart towards the black man as those officers did? What about the death sentence or the life sentence placed upon a man who is actually innocent? A man innocent of a rape conviction was freed by biological evidence after 3 1/2 decades...Really? Did it really take 36years to figure that error out?! Or what about that black man named, Jonathan Irons, who was released after 22years for a burglary he didn't commit. Y'all saw how those detectives, district attorneys and judges carried Jamie Foxx's character, Walter MacMillan, in that movie, "Just Mercy." That was based on true events! I'm in the unit right now with a homie who received a numerical life sentence for murder. The only evidence they had against him was the testimony of some guy who made a deal with the D.A. to get his own ass out of hot water. Check this out...did you know that if my public defender doesn't object to a violation that takes place during trial, I can't bring the violation up on my appeal? FACTS! 

"...[N]o ruling of the trial court...will be considered as a basis for reversal unless an objection was stated with reasonable certainty at the time of the ruling..."
-Rule 5A:18 of the Virginia Supreme Court rules.

Is that all it takes for the justice system to take a black life? Is it really that simple? Obviously. If you can't understand that, then my lack of optimism has to be felt anytime a white man who is an alleged rapist and fails horribly in the elusiveness of his bigotry can become the president of the United States. One really has to question the structure that makes errors of this magnitude permissibly; how can any of us anticipate change that equates to justice and equality with a system like this? I'm gotta call a spade a spade, my G, as black people, as a lost people, as a hurt and broken people, we are desperately seeking liberties in structures that has never, nor will never provide them to us. This entire country and every structure derived herein stinks of racism and inequality. And like any other structure built on sand, that is leaning, with cracks in its foundation, as the United States of America reflects, it needs to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up with hands that view one as all and all as one, not by the hands of racist whites on the back of blacks. But hey, this movement is the strongest I've ever seen or read about, so I truly hope they prove me wrong..."

Who Am I?
by Andre Coe

I look into my eyes,
In search of who I am,
Only to find,
Everything and everyone,
But myself and nothing...
Who am I,
If I am Black?
Am I an African?
Am I an American?
An African-American, perhaps?
Each an impossibility.
I am Black because,
From where I've come,
Is as blank as the space in between thoughts.
And where I am housed,
I am not welcome.
Who am I,
Prior to my enslavement?
Who am I,
On the land of my enslavement?
"I can't breathe..."
Because this is not my air.
Like this place is not my home.
I am lost in time...

Who am I?

I look into my soul,
In search of who I am,
Only to find,
Everything and everyone,
But myself and nothing...
Who am I,
If I am not free?
A prisoner,
But am I a convict,
An offender,
An inmate,
Even if I am not incarcerated?
Am I a villain,
A predator,
A monster,
Before I even utter a word?
Who am I,
If I am not a man?
A slave.
A nigger.
A Person.
If I beg to differ,
I am told to "Stop resisting!"
Here, I am a dark blemish,
On a light surface;
A black mark,
To be cleaned white;
A beast,
To be killed dead.
Liberty, Justice, Equality,
Is not meant for those,
Who look like me.
Who are dark like me.
Who are black like me.
Not easily seen.
And even more complex to understand.
Since the day of my birth,
I've been lost in time...

Who am I?

#R.I.P. Eric Gardener & George Floyd

“In love, one and one is one.”
-Jean-Paul Satre

Revelations of Don-Alajahndro:
The True Love of Your Heart
by Andre Coe

Under the planet of Love, I am born.
Venus - The Goddess of a gift so sweet,
I can't help but overindulge her taste,
And savor her flavor from time to time. 
The essence of Love, I love to discuss; 
I love to fall, and by it, be engulfed.
Be a fool for it ….? I even tend to.
Stumbling head first in her vastful bliss.
Shy? I am not to reflect on heartbreak, 
And pain I”ve necountered in my travels.
Everywhere I go, this wisdom follows; 
Everyone I meet, this wisdom touches. 
So acknowledge me as your man of Love, 
Alajahndro, The Hopeless Romantic.

Of you, knowledge of Love I inquire. 
How I wonder what wisdom your heart holds.
In due time. For now, I will teach my Love,
And of myself, give you which enlightens. 
None of us are perfect, I understand. 
For even within those whom possess strength,
Deep within their depths, their weaknesses hide. 
The light of good knows the darkness of bad,
And even ugliness lies in beauty.
However cliche the statement may be, 
Finding one “perfect,” in or of itself, 
Is to cruise a road of appearances,
Missing reality at every turn. 
Breathe in the wisdom of Alajahndro … 

If knowledge of the formula is found, 
Then be joyful, for all hope is not lost. 
Love is the ingredient of all things. 
Big and small, there is no greater power. 
To such truth, even nature can attest. 
Earth births fruits and vegetables selflessly,
As a Blue Jay feeds her young in a nest, 
In a tree that provides shelter for them. 
How sad is it that Love is not enough, 
To hold everlasting companionship …?
A more complex species us humans are. 
Becoming one alters our vision 
Duality being the enemy. 
Alajahndro erases confusion …

Good or bad, right or wrong, joy or sorrow,
Love knows not such differences - the mind does. 
So becoming one in Duality,
Is similar to...a house of mirrors,
In which two companions wish to call home. 
In war between Love and Duality,
The victor is determined only by,
The level of understanding one holds,
Knowledge alone breeds more Duality,
Leaving Love without structure to hold her. 
Like...two  bags placed into one another,
If each has holes, how can they hold water?
In Duality, how can we hold love?
Bathe in the wisdom of Alajahndro…

In Love, conflict is inevitable;
It is necessary and purposeful. 
“The application of Duality,”
Makes this truth difficult to interpret. 
Does a Butterfly not endure conflict, 
When it is time to exit her cocoon?
Watch conflict in a child learning to walk… 
How many stumbles? And how many falls? 
When the main focus becomes being right, 
Then conflict will disembark from its course. 
Your happiness means more than being right. 
So how could we ever go wrong in love, 
If my happiness you feel the same for?
Succumb to the bliss of Alajahndro…

There was once a story of a woman, 
Who went out to search for the perfect man.
And she found him, surprisingly enough.
However, they could not connect because…
He was searching for the perfect woman!
Ha! What a tale of wisdom and meaning. 
So much of ourselves must be studied,
In becoming one in Duality. 
I would adjust for the sake of balance,
I would then make your needs and desires,
A degree of importance as my own.
The ending result...perfection for you!
So that I may find joy in perfection,
Could you do the same for Alajahndro…?

Let’s regard “Marriage” - two becoming one. 
Connecting the mind, body and spirit.
Is such a union even possible?
Yes…? Then is divorce not equal to death?
Just think...two wholes merge to become one whole,
Then this one whole happens to split in two,
Tell that not two halves?
We would die! You would take so much of me,
While abandoning so much of yourself.
If divorce brings life, then marriage never lived. 
Or is there “conflict” in our thinking?
Nevertheless, I love you endlessly,
And look forward to your correspondence. 
Alajahndro, The True Love Of Your Heart...

Andre J. Coe 1182513
Sussex 2 State Prison
24427 Mussel White Drive
Waverly, VA 23891

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My name is Andre J. Coe, known by most as "El Presynt."  I'm 36 years old, from Brooklyn, New York and I'm of Trinidadian descent.  I'm a legal consultant in various areas of the law, a writer, and a free thinker.  I'm passionate about causes relating to the education of our youth, the upliftment of abused and battered women, character development and enlightenment, of which a majority of my literature and philanthropic acts are geared towards. I have a book coming out titled, "My Infinity Mirror," which is an anthology that consists of essays, poetry, memoirs and short stories that reveal who I am, what I've seen and all I've experienced.  Look for it on Amazon.