I refuse to ever let them break me. They would have feared my look back on the
cold Philly streets, but now, I have no power over what they do. I guess that’s
what happens when the same people have imprisoned you for 17 years. No, this
isn’t prison anymore it’s Hell. What they do to us . . . I bet if we were a
different color, we’d have the same primetime of that Iraq torture prison. Of
course, that’s not the case. If you tell what goes on, you’ll not only get
laughed at and called stupid, but you’ll get it 10x worse than what you told
“What you want
“I’ll take the cream of wheat sir,” I always say, with a
smile. My brain has been programmed to say this, even though under my skin, I’m
hot like Mt. Saint Helen in 2004.
“Good, cause you ain’t getting no banana MONKEY!”
“Oh no sir, I don’t want that, too much potassium for my
diet.” That’s how you get’em back. They never like it when you use “big words”.
The accomplishment felt good until the expected happened. Every guards fist was
flying at my face, while my legs instinctively dropped and curled up. 2 minutes
and the occasional n-word passed before I got up, brushed my jumpsuit, and
I go out to the yard to play
basketball with my best friend. No one knows his real name, but he goes by
“Silk”, though he’s almost 90 years old and wrinkly. I though about what I’m
going to do when he passes, when the ball he shot missed and hit a guard smack
in his head. I remember saying, “RUN NOW!” but it was useless to say to him, he
could barely walk. I turned to see about 20 guards, tasers out, and every
inmate outside. Everyone was looking at Silk, who was crying.
“NIGGER YOU MINE!” bellowed one of the guards as he raced at
Silk. He swung his big meaty fist and hit Silk in his jaw, retracting with a
couple teeth. That must have been the cue. Every guard rushed in to get their
licks, fueled by the smell of flesh opening up revealing pearl white bone. The
horde of guards retreated, revealing an unrecognizable, close to death, Silk.
As he lay there unconscious, inmates running furiously over to him, I could already
see that he was dead. Somewhere, dormant inside my heart, a spark ignited the
fuel that the guards’ 17-year-old abuse provided.
“What the HELL is wrong with you! It was an accident! You
didn’t have to beat him to death! Fear was no longer a registered word in my
vocabulary. Seeing my friend, my diary, the man I told everything too, my mentor
dead at my feet, that overfilled the cup of hate I had towards the guards.
“Boy, you better watch your tongue.”
If I hadn’t looked at him, I
wouldn’t of saw the sheer fright in his eyes. He knew what he did was wrong,
but he tried to keep his composure. Standing on a large boulder in the middle
of the yard, the Death Valley sun beaming at my forehead, I did what I hadn’t
done since my trial: spoke my mind. “My brothers, and that’s exactly what we
are now. Not by blood, but by bond and hardship. We can no longer allow these
oppressive tyrants to slaughter our souls! We can no longer stand back and
watch one of our brothers get the leather belt across his face. The day for
revolution has come, and this damn sure will not be televised! We pray to be delivered
from evil every night, today YOU HAVE THAT CHOICE! MAKE IT!” Silence washed
over the entire yard while I awaited the fist of these human devils.
“Amen” came a voice echoing through the crowd.
A roar erupted, drowning out the sounds of 400 inmates
piling on to 70 guards.
A discreet but extensive letter was sent to each inmate,
apologizing to each one, promising a better future for us captured survivors.