Though I am loved, I am alone, left to sit and suffer in a cold, desolate cell of confinement. On the other side of these prison gates I have many people who love and care about me, who are touched by my courage and compassion, and who are moved by my love for them and by my love for life, freedom, and justice. The sad reality, though, is that they're out there and I'm in here, alone ....
I am surrounded by people who like to think that they're my enemies, surrounded by foulness and perversion, and blanketed by sheer coldness. I have no friends, just a few people that I talk to from time to time, people who share no true feelings of connectedness with me; their conversations might be good sometimes, and comforting, but there's no camaraderie between us. People in here will talk to you one day and then decide that they don't want to talk to you ever again; that's just the way it goes in here. It's something that a prisoner has to deal with, knowing that the only person in here that you can truly depend on is yourself.
We have to find ways to deal with this loneliness so it doesn't take us under.
Overcoming loneliness is a huge part of survival in prison. Loneliness is painful. It's agonizing to my soul. To know that I could be in here, in this world, with other people around me, in cells next to me, above or below me, and still feel unconnected to anyone, and still feel like I don't really know someone, or that nobody really understands me, and to feel like I cannot truly trust another man in here - it defines the feeling of suffering. To be alone is to suffer.
In solitude I suffer. My heart dies, my blood turns cold and the spark of life leaves my eyes; when you look into them now all you can see is anger, pain, loneliness, and suffering, and all I can do is sit here and ask myself, what have I done to deserve this? What did I do to have to be forced to live in such torment?
For I know in my heart of hearts that I'm a good man. I know in my heart that I live by the principles of righteousness, respect, honor, integrity, fairness, equality; and I know that I am a man who has stood up for my beliefs and who has stood up for my rights, and who has also been beaten down for standing up for them. But still I am left to live in solitude, like I am some kind of piece of shit or something.
In prison that' s the price we have to pay for being a man who stands up for himself and for what he believes is good and right. We have to pay for that by sitting and suffering in solitary confinement until the authorities feel that they have broken you down. They try to break your will, break your spirit and your determination, and they try to destroy you. The things that we see as good and the things that we see as being right are the things that we are being punished for.
I sit here in solitude, feeling so alone. Tormented by my loneliness, and even though another man lives in the cell to my right, and another man lives in the cell to my left, and a man lives in the cell right above me, I feel no connection with any of them; there's no trust between us and absolutely no sense of camaraderie, and it kills me inside.
I understand that all of this is by design, and I want to be strong, I want to resist, I want to overcome, because I know I can't give in, I know I can't surrender, I know I can't let my oppressors break me; but deep down inside I know that no matter what I do, I cannot win, for either way they are slowly destroying me; whether I fight or surrender, they have already won. But I just can't give them the satisfaction in letting them know that they've destroyed me with loneliness, so I continue to fight and I continue to resist, because anything less would be suicidal ....
From the depths of my restless soul,
Ely State Prison, Nevada October 25, 2007