Thursday, July 29, 2010

"The Passionate Ones"

Artistic expression is the highest form of creative endeavor, for it is through art man reveals his rawest emotions. I don't necessarily consider art to be only visual manifestations. Art is anything that is created through the inspiration of our passion. It is creativity, imagination and emotion. True art requires no "talent", for talents are nothing more than skills that can be taught. Passion breeds inspiration, inspiration sparks the creative mind and this gives birth to creative endeavors. Passion comes from within and cannot be taught. It can only be harnessed to fuel the fires of creation.

Once one begins to tap into the creative consciosness and emotion gives birth to art, then talents may be honed so as to give more power to the works. But one must bear in mind that the more passion the work possesses, the more effect it will have on the lives of those it touches.

So, I say turn all you do into works of art. Fill your life with passion and creativity. Be inspired and in turn become an inspiration to all the world. Plant the seeds that will take root in the race mind and help bring about significant changes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"The Wrath of the Lyrical Dragon"

I'm the first of the last/ Whose lyrics surpass/ Those of the past/ And rip through the back/ As a matter of fact/ It's a must you react/ To a track that attacks/ And blows the mind like acidic tabs/ so close your eyes and enter a rhyme/ A scheme of time/ chopped out in lines/ you'll know you're right/ once you tear out the crimes/ and all the signs point to a lesson called life/ wake from your bed to a shiny new knife/ to cut out your sight/ in the depths of the night/ your vision goes white/ like tundras of ice/ where frozen hearts shatter the years/ millions of pages soak up the tears/ so blame it on heroin, liquor and coke/ blame it on all those hearts that you broke/ but whoever you blame/ just don't make it me/ cause I've always been there helping you be/ a Lyrical Beast/ with a killer instinct/ in the home of the brave and the land of the free/ I plant the seeds of Anarchy Inc./ Welcome the pain of evolution/ rise from the ashes my prodigal son/ let the pen bleed Armageddon/ the wrath of the Dragon born under the gun/ fire rains down to scorch the earth/ my birth was a curse/ but you ain't seen the worst/ eyes open wide, abdomen's burst/ spilling out fluids to stake the thirsts/ of all these lost souls searching for answers/ with a new breed of tumor killing the cancers/ never by chance/ always by fate/ I'm ready to die/ so open Hell's gate...

It's all in my head/ it has to be/ cause if not, then I'm dead/ and they've come for me/ these fallen angels calling/ those devils and demons crawling/ Through me...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Why Prison Is Failing (Part III)"

3. Low success rate of productive reentry: It is well known that prison is often a revolving door, with many convicted felons being released only to commit new crimes. Responsibility must lie with the offender but a measure of blame lies with the corrections department. So much more could be done to motivate , prepare and prevent. The problem is so little is being done. The end result is most guys leave prison in far worse circumstances and mental state than when they came in.

While the institutions claim to be promoting "structure" by enforcing a number of meaningless rules, all they really accomplish is the creation of a society unable to function without the institutional structure. When the institution is gone, these mindless pods return to the only other structure they know, crime. A rule that acquires us to be clean shaven or one requiring beds to be made at 8:00am does nothing to teach discipline or productivity. If these so called "rules of structure" worked to mature or rehabilitate then why are so many inmates former military men? Many of these rules are the same as those enforced by military organizations. If they provided rules that helped create productive citizenry, it would have worked in the first place.

The focus should not be on forcing structure but on teaching or supporting us in the development of our own structural lives, lives that are productive and work towards righteous goals. There are no proper preparations made for release. Another major problem is that while in here it is difficult to establish oneself as a working class citizen. There is no focus on establishing job skills or in allowing one to make use of skills they possess. Everything is handed to us on a platter, we don't have to work for anything. The skilled are not always given the skilled positions. Education is rarely encouraged and is often difficult to obtain. On release we find it difficult to overcome our pasts. As felons, we are often looked down on or feared. Society makes ex-cons into villains, even when we are trying to do the right thing, so many of us revert to old ways.

I will always remember what was said to me nearly 15 years ago upon my first release: "I don't think you will come back for the same thing but you'll do something else..." Thanks for the vote of confidence. It may have come true but that statement is what drove me to the state of mind that I was a criminal, so why should I try to be anything else.

Finally, prison isolates us in such a way that we become cold and dis-associative. We lack the capability to function in social settings. This leads to loneliness and further isolation. Again, many ex-cons fill this emptiness in their lives with "old friends" such as drugs, alcohol and violence.

It is for these reasons so many felons become repeat offenders. Again, I stress that a majority of the blame lies with the individual who commits the crime but some of the re-offenses could be avoided if more effort was put into rehabilitation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"A Song to End the World By"

Purge your wicked ways,
Oh broken One,
For madness has come...
To tear off the guises you wear!
Clearing the shadows that wrap you in poisoned tentacles...

And when all the blood has dried
In only you will I confide,
that everything we've worked for is a song to end the world by...

When it comes crashing down,
I'll be nowhere around;
'Cause a fallen tree all alone,
Doesn't make a sound;
Into the webs we've spun,
the chambers of our guns,
And pretty things,
(yes they die too)
By the twisting of our tongues...
As yesterdays fade away,
And tomorrow comes lined with gray
I'll write for you a song to end the world by...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Why Prison Is Failing (Part II)"

2. Avoidable sentences: Many of the guys I have met in here should not be here at all or should be serving lighter sentences. There are the guys who are first time offenders, who only made a mistake, either out of youthful ignorance or a bad string of events. Take the 18 year-old kid who stole his neighbors car for a joy ride now serving five years for grand theft auto; or the 26 year-old youth pastor who went to a friend's bachelor party, drank a little too much and ran someone over, now serving 24 years for reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter. How about another kid, barely 18, who slept with his 16 year-old girlfriend on prom night and is now serving 12 years for statutory rape. This list could go on and on. I could even include guys like myself who committed serious crimes but did so in impulsive ignorance and fully recognize the seriousness of their crimes. Guys that regret their actions and wish to do all they can to make up for their past....

Admittedly, all of us are guilty of criminal offenses but the severity of the punishments are often excessive and unnecessary. Take the joy-rider for instance; a notably bad prank on his part but just a dumb kid who made a mistake. Community Service would have been sufficient. Hell a night in jail with no charges would have probably been good enough to scare him straight. The youth pastor could have done far more outside of prison walls to make up for his crime. Do I need to even comment on the 18 year-old prom attendee? Maybe some of us believe in waiting till marriage or that they are too young but is prison really necessary when we have all suffered the raging hormones of adolescence...The 16 year-old by the way is now 22, married to the guy who "raped" her and visits him every weekend.

Then you have other guys, like this one friend of mine. He robbed a house and is now serving 20 year sentence. It was his first offense. He was a kid doing something incredibly stupid and yes he committed a crime but like the other guys I have mentioned, the sentence is far too severe. Each one of these guys should have either not received any time or charges or they should have gotten less time. Instead, a mistake or poor judgment has cost them their lives.

These sentences were unnecessary and the cases should have been judged with more logic. In this way, these guys could have avoided the trials of prison and worked towards developing a productive life on the outside. Their mistake not forgotten but also not something they should pay for with the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Night of the Living Dead - Part 5 (Resident Evil)"

I can't remember who I was
Awakening in a place unfamiliar to my eyes
Memory eroded, my thoughts are unclear
A deathly silence greeting my ears.

Evil seeps through these walls
I hear it screaming inside my skull
A plague unleashed upon the night
The dead have come back to life.

Somewhere, someone still has breath in their lungs
But the living are just as dead as the rest
A dark journey down into the hive
Brutal images scarring my mind.

And she watches as the blood is spilt
Ruler and queen of this kingdom she built.

I can't remember who I am
Awakening in a place unfamiliar to my eyes
A mutated virus infecting me
The reaper's touch, cold and bleak.

The darkness thickens, concealing the damned
Vile creatures with a hunger that burns
A taste for flesh, these decaying demigods
Compelled to kill by the bitch in the machine.

Evil seeps through these walls
I hear it screaming inside my skull
A plague unleashed upon the night
The dead have come back to life.

Night of the Living Dead
The sickness inside my head
Residing without remorse
The darkness at the source.

Evil seeps through these walls
I hear it screaming inside my skull
A plague unleashed upon the night
The dead have come back to life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Why Prison Is Failing (Part I)"

One of the most pressing problems the penal system faces is over population. The fault lies as much with the system itself as it does with the criminals. We are responsible for our own actions and most of us are guilty of crimes deserving time in prison but it is the justice system that is to blame for unnecessarily lengthy stays, avoidable sentences and the law success rate of productive reentry into society. Allow me to explain:

1. Unnecessarily lengthy stays: Sentencing is not based upon the likelihood of re-offense, there is no rehabilitation system for the earning of early release (at least not in Virginia) and most institutions enforce a retinue of rules designed not with the purpose of running an orderly operation but with the intent to antagonize the inmates. This allows them to write institutional charges that cost us money or lengthen our sentences.

Many of us can look around and clearly see who will get out and never cause another problem in society and who will still be a threat. Those striving for betterment in their lives often are serving lengthier sentences. Many of the most corrupt, violent and ignorant individuals are the ones getting released soon. Speaking of which, a prime example just sat down across from me. He is serving his third sentence. The first two were drug related, this last one an attempted car-jacking. Everyday he tries to scam people, looks for drugs and masturbates in a place where female officers working in the building can see him (an act known as 'gunning' in here). Now, I'm sure we can agree that this is a sick individual, unfit for society. A con man, a drug addict and a potential rapist...Guess what? He gets out in less than two years.

Then there are the guys like myself who spend everyday working to better ourselves. Yet, no matter what we accomplish, we will still be here long after the men I just described above.

There are no policies governing how sentences are determined and no real method of evaluating an offender prior to the sentencing. We are subject to the whims of the judges hearing our cases. Judges vary from case to case, so you may find a murderer, a car-jacker and a child molester all serving 50 year sentences, while three others with the exact same charges are only serving 20 years. A rapist serving 5 years, while a drug dealer serves 15 years.

The State has made it abundantly clear it cares nothing for rehabilitation. So, they chuck us into these holding pins for various amounts of time and do nothing to aid us in our quest to mature into productive citizens. In fact, they often work to hinder us in our goal. Educational programs and institutes of higher learning are difficult to enroll in, particularly for any of us in with more than five years left to serve. Pursuit of personal interests are not encouraged. As a writer I have no access to a typewriter and publication requires me to jump through hoops, if I ever get a shot. Rather than encouraging offenders to strive for betterment and aiding us in this pursuit, they offer us no motivation. Now, I agree that this is not an excuse. Those who truly wish to change will be self-motivated but certainly by offering rehabilitative programs that allows one to potentially earn an earlier release date, will find those who are not as self-motivated working towards various goals. Of course, there should still be some form of evaluation to determine who is truly ready for reentry and who is not.

Finally, it should not be a priority for institutions to create numerous policies that are unnecessary or to antagonize inmates who are causing no problems. The institutions primary goal should be to work with the wards of the institution, as to see the operation of the prison run more smoothly and the inmates housed are encouraged in attempts of productivity and ultimately a successful reentry into society.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"A Moment of Heartbreak"

(Two short compositions for a love that never was)

"Beautiful Pain"

My Stains/ They wash away/ Every time I close my eyes/ Enter the rain/ The sweetest thing/ I've ever known/ Comes down all around me/ Sinks into my bones

If I've never said it, I will say it now
I've always loved you, and I always will
As I grow older, my soul will never change
My heart beats softly for you, Beautiful Pain

My eyes/ see into you/ Gently I lay you down/ In clouds of blue/ Reveal the truth/ Look into me/ Drown all my fears/ In ecstasy

And if here, I should remain
I would give my life
To breathe you in again

Your touch/ Makes me complete/ Another year goes by/ In agony/ If I could be/ A part of you/ Would it give to me/ A life renewed.

If I've never said it, I will say it now
I've always loved you, and I always will
As I grow older, my soul will never change
My heart beats softly for you, Beautiful Pain

And if here, I should remain
I would give my life
To breathe you in again
And nothing lasts forever
But with you I'm satisfied.

"Little Daggers"

And she came into my life
Like daggers to the heart
Deadly and beautiful
My sunshine, my rain
My comfort, my pain
Like daggers
My everything.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"To Be or Not To Be"

The eternal question has always been, "What is the meaning of life?" but should the real question not be, "Why do we spend as much time searching for a meaning, and not just living life to its fullest?" We are so caught up in our questions, we miss the answers that exist right in front of us.

But you still want an answer so I'll be clear in giving you one....

The meaning of life is To Be! To exist fully, allowing your individuality to shine forth and leave your mark upon the race mind. By achieving a greatness that will be remembered always, one achieves immortality, living forever in the hearts and minds of mankind.

It is the creative mind; intellectual, spiritual and wise; that becomes ingrained deepest within a society. Those who see beyond the boundaries of reality and into the realms of what could be, that other worldly universe of possibility, are the ones who shape the future.

This is the 'Purpose', the meaning of life, to achieve all you can during your allotted time, to constantly move forward, so that the generation that follows may pick up where you left off and continue moving forward, for the good of all.

I will not preach God here, for views differ, but certainly all can agree that there was an initial Cause, a prime mover. The nature of that force is debatable but certainly there was a beginning. This First Cause bare many effects. Each effect in turn becomes a cause to some other effect and thus the universe exists. This is the fundamental basis of existence, the ongoing cycle of Cause and Effect. We are effects as well, therefore it is within us to becomes Causes. To mimic the Prime Mover is Divine and the most noble of all goals. So become a Cause, affect the world around and create. Creation brings new life into existence, life that will blossom into new causes and allow the cycle of existence to continue.

This is what I mean "To Be". To exist fully one must become a cause and have an effect which will impact others and inspire further growth. Through every one of us the world continues to mature, or begins its decay.