texas Blog by perfectlyinked
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perfectlyinked's blog: "texas"

created on 02/01/2009  |  http://fubar.com/texas/b275180
I've spent the last several evenings working on a website to raise awareness about some issues involving capital punishment in general and that also focuses on Robert's case in particular. He's been writing his story and mailing it to me in installments for me to post and I have to say I'm really proud of how things are going. It's a work in progress, but it is definitely a good start. I'm pretty proud of things so far. I think my main reason for blogging about this, though, is to acknowledge in public view that I couldn't have done it without the help of a good friend...Davin. Some of you who read this may know him here on fubar as xaaltriolith. He's been helping with the technical issues I have just about as much as I've been working on the posting and writing the stuff for the site. He's been wonderful. Thank you--you're appreciated more than you know!
sometimes this is me: i don't know. seems there's not a visible light at the end of the tunnel. i'm just holding my breath and hoping to see the darkness fade. As I am constantly reminded, I chose this path I'm on knowing that it wouldn't be easy. i did....not that i need that fact to be tossed around for my amusement, but yes, i chose my path. i chose it and i will walk it with my head held high even when the night is at its darkest. the things i cannot see will not cause me to cower. In many ways, this blog entitled texas and all its parts are my outlet. my release. Choosing to bare a heavy load on your shoulders doesn't lessen the weight of it. 1-30-09 My day started bright and early...it's hard to squeeze 6 hours with of sit down visitation time into an 8 hour day when you figure in the checking in process included each time and the wait you have between the time you enter the visitation room and when the person actually arrives. I give another ride to Renate. We both need to stop by the bank and head that way. The tellers are used to foreigns asking for change, it seems. Asking for 50 $1 coins doesn't seem to phase her. We make our way to the prison and deal with the same check in processes as the day before. It's a pain in the ass and I hate random people I don't know touching me. And, they really put their hands all over your body to check for contraband. I didn't get felt up as well on my last date, for fuck's sake. I'm seeing Lee this morning. It's actually our first face to face meeting, but I know him and his wife pretty well. She hasn't been able to visit in a while and is glad I can take him out and get him some junk food. He's tired just like me. Neither of us is a morning person. Lee is a strange creature in a lot of ways. He's 30 and has been in the Texas prison system since the age of 15. At 19, he killed another inmate in what was proposed as self defense and is now on death row for that crime. His case doesn't have much to stand on and his attorney is a 'real piece of work' i.e. he is a fucking bastard. He only filed a skeletal writ in the federal court...never went back and expanded on any of the issues. So, whatever chance Lee might have had with this attorney is out the window. We talk about that. Lee's depressed. He's talking about dropping his appeals. He looks me in they eye when he says it. Even though he says he is joking, a big part of him really isn't and I can see that. It's something he has really given some consideration to....his wife is probably the only thing preventing that. It would kill her. What sort of life do you live if you haven't any hope...if the darkness of the tunnel continually closes in thicker and blacker than ever before? How do you survive with any sanity? I don't think you do. A few more years of this and he may be the next guy to remove his own eye and try to eat it. At least his wife keeps him somewhat grounded. Lee is also a sort of conservative, oddly enough. So, we debate politics and history for a while. we discuss obama a tiny amount. there are topics he and i will never see eye to eye on, so we steer clear of them or our two hours will speed by in a frenzied debate. And, really, the visit is over before I know it. He has seemed so lost this visit. He has been moved away from everyone he knows and his sadness is apparent. I hate to leave, but I have no choice. I walk out into the sunshine, grab more quarters, and step back into the abyss once more.
the kid. richard. what a card. richard has been on death row for six years. he's 23...24 in april. you do the math. he's a baby, really....has a baby face and all, but he is an old soul. don't let his age fool you because he is actually wiser than his short years would let on and not because he's been totally socially isolated for so many years--you'd think that would have the opposite effect yet he is witty, sarcastic, very funny...this place hasn't handicapped him in that way. after my visit with robert, i return to the car for another roll of quarters ( you can only take so much in at a time) then i run back in trying to make it rhrough the check-in process in time to have my full 2 hour visit with richard a.k.a. dick a.k.a. psycho a.k.a. robin (inside joke). He makes it out. He's all smiles as usual. He's had some problems with his attorneys. Basically, they fucked him. Dick is a really intelligent guy. He has studied his case thoroughly and he has valuable opinions to add, but public defenders only get paid so much and his are intent on doing the bare minimum (as most are) whether his life depends on it or not. I don't even know how they sleep at night. I know I couldn't. We discuss that issue. We discuss Robert's case some. I talk to him about getting together a form letter I can send out to law firms for him. he knows the ins and outs of his case much better than i ever could. we talk politics, religion, multiculturalism between jokes and one shot barbs....typical of our visits. we have fun talking and laughing and gorging on bitchloads of candy. i had a dream once that i saved his life--helping with his case. it most likely won't happen. his case is pretty much cut and dry. i've asked him some point blank questions about his life and he's answered truthfully, it seems. he makes me curious--how can someone so young find themselves in the sorts of situations that led him to death row...a death sentence at 18. He's realistic about himself. He says he just wants a few more years of living...just a few. I cringe everytime I think about the needle going in his arm. I return to the guesthouse and hide in my room. I'm not a social butterfly. I hear the germans and the owner talking and laughing. i don't care to join. i work on homework and get to sleep rather early...another long day is ahead.
1-28-2009 Wednesday morning began as any other excpet the undercurrent of excitement rippling under my skin. I was, in fact, almost sure it was visible there just beneath the surface as the hour of my departure drew near. Going to Texas is always an adventure for me. I worked until 1 and travled south to Tallahassee to pick up my rental before heading west. The drive is long but easy; it's freedom from work, from the responsibility of parenthood, from school...it is almost another life completely. The panhandle was cloudy....warm still and wet. Alabama began to cool me off. Mississippi brought the night. Louisiana held her mystery, and Texas, as odd and death filled as it is, has become a part of me. Recognizing the roads, the towns, the landmarks creates a stirring in my soul much like the one that comes from making my way back to my childhood home. I arrived in the wee hours to the guesthouse on Mangum Rd....lights from the prison (Polunsky) visible from my car's spot in the dirt parking area. I am greeted at the door--people excited to meet me and show me in. Eileen owns the place and Renate is in from Germany to visit her special someone over the next few weeks. We talk for a bit before I retire to let friends and family (few of them actually know where I actuall am) that I'm still among the living. I pick up a book as if reading is an option after so much time on the road. It never even gets opened before I decide I should get some much needed sleep. I have full days ahead. Texts wake me early in the a.m. making me smile a bit before the alarm sounds (M! <3). I go through the motions I usually take to go anywhere--shower, makeup, hair, smell goods and let's go. I meet Weibke. Her husband was scheduled to be executed but he was granted a stay. His case is exactly why we need to relook at this system of ours (www.larry-swearingen.com). She's somber. It was a close call and attending vigils for other executions this week has brought things even closer to home. Renate holds me up needing a ride to the unit but not quite ready to go. Finally, we arrive. I'm nervous as always and excited. The watchtowers loom over me. The fencing, the vast grayness, the palpable sense of angst all remind me just where I am. The car is searched and I sign in. The guard checks every nook including under the hood of the car (I don't even know how to pop the fucker to begin with...I had to search for ages). We park and go through the front check in process: metal detector, spread 'em and get felt up, take off your shoes, take off your coats, getting the wand...., then I step up to sign in for my visitor's pass. DR visitor #9. There is an electric door which warns that no hostages will go beyond this point to pass through...another door, an electric gate...an 'open' walkway to the next building and 2 more electric doors to get to visitation. Mrs. Tucker is friendly as always and knows me by name now. That's oddly pleasant for me. There are tiny cubicles lined up one after another opposite vending machines. each cubicle has two phone booth phones and a chair. thick glass separates visitors from inmates...their side is a tiny cage. This is what I stare at while I wait...an empty dog kennel. Renate's nervous chatter drowns out my tension--almost. It takes forever, but then I hear a familiar clang and click. Guards. Robert--wearing his 'serial killer' glasses to boot (inside joke). I am all smiles when I see his face light up. The next four hours speed by. The electricity has been off, so half the vending machines aren't working. We pig out on candy and chips and all sorts of junkfood. What I have to do is wait at the vending machine, deposit my money, and let the guard bag up the food I'm getting for him. I'm not allowed to touch it. Then it gets taken to him and handed in through a tray slot. We talk about some things I can do to help raise awareness about his case. He has a website that doesn't get enough attention...time to redo it. I get some ideas for how to contact journalists there in texas...We discuss the merits of contacting the ACLU and Amnesty Int. We also laugh, talk, joke...discuss anything and everything, really. He's become a friend to me since we first started writing and he probably knows me better than most people could. It's easy to open up in a letter, but it's more than that. A lot of people wonder why i do this...fuck, I often wonder why I do this to myself. It would be easy to forget about it all...to not become involved, to not care, to not be a friend...but haven't I cheated myself by treating them like they're already dead? Life is about learning and also about hardships on top of the happy, joyous occasions. Life is also about experiences. So, fuck it. I'm L-I-V-I-N. to be continued.
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