Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letters to a Future Death Row Inmate, Part 17

by Anthony Haynes #999330

Part 16 can be seen here

I don’t know your name and I guess it really does not matter since it’s not like I’m gonna get the opportunity to get to know you. But if it matters to you then I'll tell you that my name is Anthony Haynes. You may be hearing more about me and my case and all that in a couple of days because I have an execution date coming up later this week. Don’t let that fact deter you from reading what I have to say. There are many other things I could be doing with my last days but I’m choosing to spend them writing you this kite. Hopefully you’ll at least take these words to heart. Before I get into what I want to say, I’m sending you some stuff you’ll need. I’m pretty sure that you already went through the bag but just in case I'll let you know that I’m sending you 6 legal pads, 6 pens, 20 44¢ stamps, 10 98¢ stamps, 50 envelopes, a tube of toothpaste, a couple of toothbrushes, some hair grease, a brush, 20 bars of soap, a bottle of lotion, a bottle of shampoo, some shower slides, 2 bags of coffee, my radio and headphones, some ketchup, 12 soups, 12 sodas, 10 small bags of chips, 2 big bags of candy, a drinking cup, a stinger, 5 chili pouches, 5 refried beans, 1 bag of corn chips, 2 bottles of hot sauce, 2 pairs of boxers, 2 t-shirts, 2 pairs of socks, 2 packs of cookies, a new issue of "American Curves" magazine and a leather Bible. I know that it seems like a lot, and it is, but I can’t use these things where I’m going and since you have nothing you’ll need them more than me. They let me spend more money because I’m on Deathwatch and you wont have an ID card for awhile, so accept the blessing. And if you’re thinking maybe I’m giving you these things to try and take a shot at your booty, well, I might be, but I guess that dead men can’t rape you so you have no worries. Now to more important things.

I’ve been here for awhile and have learned quite a few things along the way. There are things that took me years to figure out but that I wished to God that Id known earlier. There are other things that others have passed down to me. I want to give you an impartation of knowledge and wisdom as I’ve learned, in hopes that these things will make your life in this crazy new world just a little easier. Some of these things may not make sense now but if you store them in your file cabinet in your mind, I’m positive that sooner or later you’ll be able to use them. So be open-minded. I don’t know it all but I like to think that being locked up half my life I know something. I’m kinda stupid if I’m honest with you! I say that because I had people attempt to impart wisdom to me but many times I felt I knew better on my own and paid the price for that pridefullness. I learned some of these things the hard way and I want to spare you that if I can. In the end of the day every man here had to figure out how to do his own time. I figured out how to do mine and you’ll do the same but if you listen up to what I say and take heed to these things I can assure you that they will act as a guide to lead you in the right direction.

The most important lesson I learned while being here was, perhaps, the hardest to accept, understand, and grasp. It was also by far the one that caused me the most pain trying to figure it out. Bro, keep both of your feet firmly planted in this prison. This is your world now. If you try to keep both feet out in that world, or if you attempt to keep one in here and one out there it will eventually destroy you emotionally and mentally. You can’t control what goes on out there and the sooner you accept that the better off you’ll be. Your so-called friends will mostly forsake you and you’ll be blessed if, in the end, you can even have your family. Know this up front and don’t deceive yourself. This is your world now. As much as it hurts me to say that, it is the truth.

I used to be in a drug abuse program and at the end of every meeting we’d say this prayer that said something like: "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference." That always stuck with me, in this environment. If you do what those say, you’ll be much better off. There will be many, many things in this place that you can’t control and that will threaten to drive you insane at times. But you have to learn that you have no power over those things. Accept that. There are other things that are within your realm of control. Figure out those things and always work to change those things for your benefit. But be wise because some back here get these two things confused. In learning to accept things, I’ve learned that indifference can be a beautiful thing! If you develop tolerance and learn to be indifferent to those things you can't change then they will cease to even bother you. Something to think about, huh?

Hope is a wonderful thing, but never lie to yourself. Be stronger than that because a false hope will, in the end, leave you in a very sad state. Understand where you are and why you are here. You’re on the TEXAS Death Row and they kill people!! Understand that you are here to die. If you can “escape” then do it but never lie to yourself about it. And more importantly, never allow the specter of death that looms over you to stop you from living your life. Learn to enjoy the life you have as much as you can. It is not much but you can still make it yours. That way, if you find yourself about to be executed at least you’ll know that you did not waste your life away. Learn something. Educate yourself. Grow as a man. Leave a legacy. Make sure that the man you are when you walk out is a much better man than the one who walked in, Live in such a way that those who know you can be proud to call you son, brother, friend, cousin, father. Be able to look in the mirror and actually love the man you see looking back at you. Live so that you can respect that man.

These people can do what they want so it is advisable not to get attached to material things. If you never get attached then if they take them it means little.

Over the years I’ve been here things have gotten progressively worse and worse. Live with a mindset that says, "it could always be worse" as opposed to one that says, "it could be so much better." In doing this you will learn the secret to enjoying what you have today to the fullest. You’ll be able to make the most of everything that you have. The alternative will make you bitter and miserable.

When it comes to the legal stuff I’ll say this: if you want to raise money to help yourself, then the first thing you should do is to hire a good investigator. They will make your state attorney do his or her job. They do not cost that much when compared to trying to save money for an appeal attorney and they will uncover things that may help you save your life. Always remember that no matter how much commissary you have, that will by no means help you save your life!! Use your money wisely if your goal is to make some attempt at escaping that needle.

Don’t lie to the people out there trying to help you. Most would still help you save your life even if you are completely guilty. But if you lie to them then you bind their hands. Be real with them to give them the best shot at helping you.

Never lose sight of the big picture if your goal is to get off the Row. IF that is your objective then saving your life is like your personal war. Don’t lose your life over a minor skirmish that will mean nothing tomorrow. Always keep your goal in sight. Stay focused and don’t allow anything or anyone to steal that away from you. That way, even if you do die, at least you’ll know that you gave yourself the absolute best chance to avoid that fate.

Live your life for YOU!! Live the way you see fit and not how others want or expect you to live. Many back here follow the crowd. Many act out to please those around them. You do not have to live that way. Make your own paths and be your own man. Live according to your own standards and not those of the next man.

You do not have to be a tough guy!! Be yourself and respect others and don’t be a pushover and you’ll be just fine. Do you!! Your word absolutely HAS to mean something back here!! I can’t stress that enough. A good word goes a long way in a place like this.

You’re gonna get pen friends and they will help you do your time, liven up your days, and pick up your spirits should you need. These people are out to give you something. Maybe not always of the monetary but they will give you SOMETHING. Take what each is able to offer and be true to them. Some will be flaky and fake but never stop being real and genuine. And please never stoop to the level where you feel so inadequate in yourself that you feel the need to start "running game"!! The best "game" in the world is simply being yourself. Those who are drawn to you because they see you for who you are will be with you through thick and. thin and you’ll derive much more gratification and satisfaction from a friendship like that because you know that everything is above board.

Romance can be very fulfilling, if short lived, but many times it is overrated. If you find some girl that you "love" and she loves you then go for it. Just remember where you are and understand that in most cases the romance is very short lived. Enjoy it while you have it but do not allow it to destroy you if/when you lose it.

I do not have any idea of your spiritual beliefs. I myself am a Christian and that is why I sent you that Bible. Even if you do not believe in the Bible I’d encourage you to find some higher power. The benefits are more than you’d ever believe.

Last but not least, take good care of your own health and especially your teeth!! Most of the guys you see with no teeth did not get that way through fighting!! That is bad oral hygiene! Medical help SUCKS in this place so the best thing you can do for yourself is make sure that you don’t need it

Okay, man, I hope that something I’ve said helps you along the way. Hopefully you never find yourself sitting here I am today, but if you do let it be that inside your heart you can smile as you reflect over your years here knowing that you made the most of all that you had. God bless.

Anthony Haynes #999330

PS Books can be your keys to "escaping" this hell. They can also open up new worlds in regard to educating yourself. Learn the beauty of good books!!!

© Copyright 2010 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker. All rights reserved

Monday, October 18, 2010

Poetry by Jedidiah Murphy

I’d Save You If I Could...
by Jedidiah Murphy

The broken unwanted don't have a lot
coveting our dreams we've almost forgot
brave faces and shattered hearts we‘ve fought and fought
I'd save you if I could...
I drank my pain away each day
I begged sleep to come my way
to take me far away away
I'd save you if I could...
It's not easy to trust someone else
having been deceived of our belief
patchworked personalities of former selves
all too silent in our grief
I OD‘d on pills, I sliced my veins
never loved life like we should
35 years yet the pain remains
I'd save you if I could...
Took sobriety and prison to learn to live
to deal with facing my past
we've always wanted to come in first
reality is that Foster kids are last
I can’t take my mistakes away, or make you dreams come true
yet there's no fire I wouldn't walk through
face all your demons to save your dreams for you
and save you if I could
I'd save you if I could...

by Jedidiah Murphy

Lately I´ve been saying
That luck´s a fool man´s game;
You plant your fields and reap your crops,
And love your family through pain.
Whoever said it was easy,
Never flew like a dart to the wall;
Never sang about pain in the rain,
Or wanted to sleep through it all.
We all want sunny days,
And baby birds to fly like the wind;
Though should they get burned by the flames,
They know to come home to us again.
Sometimes we plan to walk tall,
And often times end up chopped at the knees;
For who among us plans to fail at life,
Instead of striving to succeed?
In the era of survival of the fittest,
Where we trample the weak and the lame;
Politicians praise God on Sunday,
Then kill those unfortunate in your name.
So when you say your prayers at night,
For love, for life, for family,
While down on your knees with God,
Say a few for sad poets as me…

Depression Defined
by Jedidiah Murphy

They say that loneliness is a razor that cuts the heart to shreds,
That a child has every right to dream;
That if we don´t strive to be happy now,
Most never will, it would seem.
To count the endless seconds for a horse of the apocalypse,
To turn away in fear in the eye of a twister,
The world whirling and disintegrating all around
Is the mind with mental illness as a visitor.
Whatever abyss the broken mind looked into meant,
We barely talked and appeared to feel even less;
Maybe it was fear that changed us all
Maybe we left a lot of ourselves behind to rest.
The numbing, the personal disconnection,
Was far worse than the physical injury;
Suffering from our own version of shell shock
It broke the man from the broken family,
You find yourself deeper in the canyons of despair.
Praying for relief at the bottom,
Wondering what joy there is in having,
When it´s your life that´s become the problem.
Sometimes in those worst moments of secret pain,
When you´re both judge and executioner;
You weigh your life, both loss and gain,
To decide if you even deserve a future.
If you go down deep enough in the darkness,
Nothing will ever be the same,
Outside the concrete tomb of the injured mind
We wounded fake smiles through a life of pain.
Yet even depression, we learned, can be replaced,
That even the unyielding has a span;
And though we´re scared, with love it´s restored,

The life and hope to those that were damned.

by Jebediah Murphy

A faint black blur registered in the corner of my vision,
as if conjured into life by my mind.
Some haunted dreamscape staged where,
sketchy versions of reality reside.
I remember the car ride in the country,
stationwagon packed for some but not others;
my childish mind flickering hope like it should,
yet comprehending the plans of my mother.
I remember the feel of sunshine on my face,
while watching our life drive slowly away;
standing there with my brother and sister,
I lost sight to any landmark to happiness that day.
Like a wounded animal, a thing alive and breathing,
my young life tottered, broke, and crashed.
I understood at five the destruction could not be halted,
that in the ruin of betrayal, our hopes lay smashed.
Being sacrificed had a startling effect on us,
rippling like tsunami waves throughout our lives;
from jails, from suicidal places and insanity,
while those with family live, those without merely survive.
The weight of what we experienced would never leave us,
it would smother we three throughout life;
we abandoned have scars that only we can truly see,
lost to a world that never heard our cries.
There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for me...a pariah,
statistically insignificant it would seem;
professor emeritus at destroying things that matter,

beginning with my life and ending with my dreams...

Jedidiah Murphy 999392
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

My name is Jedidiah Murphy and I have been incarcerated since October 4, 2000 on Death Row in Texas.  I was raised in Texas and was adopted twice.  I graduated High School in 1994.  I am a husband and father to two girls whom I love without limits.  I make unfathomable mistakes and most times cannot see the forest for the trees.  I am flawed, I am human and I am trying to be something more than the sum of my parts.  So far… no such luck but I am stubborn and I have faith in tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art by David Brown

Magdalene Passage
Note:  This painting is a copy of an original

(wearing blue)
David Brown 293387
Lousiana State Prison - Death Row
Angola, LA 70712

Poetry by Jesus Murillo

Blue Bird

By Jesus Murillo

Blue bird can’t you see

Blue bird won’t you be

Blue bird in a cage

Was captured for his rage


Freedom was lost

Then came his pain

Thoughts of an eternity

In a cage to remain

No longer able to fly

Makes him feel insane

But this is a story

Of everything to gain


Blue bird can’t you see

Blue bird won’t you be

Blue bird in a cage

Was captured for his rage


Early on the rise

Misery on the mind

Losing his feathers

Of every kind

Thinking far back

Of how he was so blind

Wishing he had

A button to rewind

Just a will to survive

With lots to unwind

Makes a promise to himself

His freedom he will find


Blue bird can’t you see

Blue bird won’t you be

Blue bird in a cage

Was captured for his rage


All alone

Perched on his seat

Pecking his apple

His daily treat

Feeding his hope

Pushing his dream

Envisioning himself

On a new scene

Chirping and laughing

Smiling away

Thankful there will be

Tomorrow another day


Blue bird can’t you see

Blue bird won’t you be

Blue bird in a cage

Was captured for his rage


Now he sings to himself

What’s in his soul

Rockin’ side to side

On this here pole

Longing to stretch his wings

And fly so high

Look back at his cage

And say goodbye


Blue bird can’t you see

Blue bird won’t you be

Blue bird in a cage

Was captured for his rage


The epiphany came

With a bit of a wage

No longer suffering

But advanced in age

Ironic to say

He thought back to his rage

Realized this was

What put him in a cage

Finally came the day

He conquered his rage

For this is what led

To unlocking his cage


Blue bird began to see

Blue bird began to be

Blue bird found the key

To set himself free

Missin' Our Moments

By Jesus Murillo


I’m missin’ all the time

I used to spend with you

I’m wishin’ all the time

Our love stays true

Awesome are the days

Sweeter the nights

Remembering our visits

My lips you would bite.


Missin’ all our moments and missin’ all our ways.

Wishin’ all the time, for our better days.


How many times

Do I pop up in your head?

Am I the first when you wake,

And last when you go to bed?

I love it how you get

So blushy, blushy red.

Just with that look

Nothin’ needs to be said.

You have the cutest eyes

And a lovely nose.

Can’t wait to caress

Your face with a rose.

Touch on your body

While you wiggle your toes.

Take your mind places

Nobody goes.


Missin’ all our moments and missin’ all our ways.

Wishin’ all the time, for our better days.


Nibble on my ear

With my hands around your waist.

My tongue on your neck

And I’m lovin’ the taste.

Such are the feelings

I’ve always chased.

Now I have them with you

And they’re properly laced.

You never seem to fail me

You always listen.

The thought comes to my head

As we’re still kissin’.

These are just a few

Of the things I’m wishin’.

With a reminder of some moments

That I’m missin’.

Our Future

By Jesus Murillo


We rise and mobilize

Against what we know are lies

So our future never dies


Portrayed as a threat to the unforeseen

Unaccepted, yet we have an American dream.

Don’t you know, for generations we picked your greens?

Contribute to the economy, while living on minimal means.


To what do we deserve such treatment?

A cruel mindset that’s truly bent


Closing the door in our face.

Show me otherwise, but this seems to be about race.


Such a bully mentality, egotistic brutality.

And what a mystery, it always happens to be

Towards a class of minority.


And I’m supposed to respect the leader of the free world?

All over the news pushing his blog.

But all I read are the traits of a demagogue.


How do we show our value and worth?

To a man whose had it good since birth.

Business first, morals last on his turf.

He’s never tasted the sweat from struggle on this earth.


Speaking propaganda about the caravan.

Can’t you see the pain in their country, man?

Unfortunate people living in a danger zone.

And you deny them a chance at building a home.

Then activate the military to shoot them in the dome.


This comes at the heels of family separation.

I thought you were in office to rebuild a nation?

Empathy and compassion can get you appreciation.

Just understand we don’t come to the U.S. for a vacation.


Peek through our lens with your own eyes.

A working class with whom to humanize.

Realize, our future never dies.


Jesus Murillo F70343

Pelican Bay State Prison

PO Box 7500

Crescent City, CA 95532

Thanks for your interest in my writings. May they stimulate sentiments of love, peace, mental freedom, and ignite your social activism for justice in our nation. I’ve been incarcerated since 2008 and although I began this journey on a dark path, it’s not how it will end. I’ve discovered a profound power in education, writing, and giving back to others. Currently I’m pursuing degrees in Sociology/Business, with ambitious goals to eradicate the criminality that’s plagued my family. As well as start my own greeting card company utilizing poetry and art by incarcerated people. I’m also honored to be a curriculum writer for “Hustle 2.0,” a rehabilitative program that teaches character development, entrepreneurship, employment skills, and a path to freedom for the incarcerated population. Most importantly, I’m a devoted husband and proud father.