Forward by Christopher
I’ve met many amazing people throughout my incarceration journey. Behind these walls is a thriving community of humanity unknown to the free world save for close friends and family. Each time worn face here shields hopes and dreams shared by all free people.
T. Brozell, Sr. is a friend of mine. I met him a couple of years ago. He’s a fellow writer, journeyman, and traveler navigating life behind bars, and his journey is close to an end for he will soon return home.
He spends his time writing about his life caged away from society, and he’s an avid poet. He hopes you enjoy these excerpts about his life written in 2022 and 2023. “Strength” is poetry he composed in 2021.
Struggle T. Brozell, Sr. 2022
The next generation of inmates are rapidly entering the system, primed like sticks of dynamite waiting to explode. Of course, this is new to them. They don’t have a clue what’s ahead, but hopefully they will realize reality…
I just wanted to get that off my chest, coming to prison “to me” feels like a pain never felt before. I’m always up early, and of course I have to block a lot out mentally.
I was not rich out there by any means, but I wasn’t lower than a curb either. I have a court fine which is showing on the JPay kiosk as my I.O.U. that’s well over ‘six hundred bucks’. Yes a poor man like me why couldn’t it wait until I’m released so I can start payments on it? The state takes 6 bucks a month from my state pay earnings of twenty bucks, leaving me well short of getting the things that I “need”, you know hygiene is big to me including razors to shave, laundry detergent a must. After necessities I have little left to even get (I quote) a “healthy snack” and it’s frustrating. I pass by other inmates carrying Santa Claus bags of commissary, and I say to myself T. they don’t have court fines or even child support payments, “only saying”.
I tested positive for covid back in February of 2022, went into quarantine for eleven days scared, clueless and hurting saying, “why me” but then again, why the world?
Having no visits didn’t bother me as much as losing every single thing I owned, tossed out like junk as my possessions were packed up as I was sent to quarantine. I’m talking everything! Even pictures of my dad when he was a kid “RIP” pops, he passed in Nineteen Ninety Nine at the age of sixty nine from prostate cancer.
It is very hard in prison, it’s a grind twenty four seven. When I look in the mirror and see the name and number (mine) on this uniform it truly hurts because I don’t run anything, I’m not a CEO, entrepreneur, businessman nothing!! Just another human being that broke the law.
My son, my junior, is a staff Sargent (11 yrs) U.S. Army, protecting this nation every day and night. He had to endure my shortcomings and still calls me “dad” with pride–God is good, all the time. He wears my name proudly on his uniform. Yes he gets upset about all that’s happened to me, but his respect for me is through the roof. I’m in prison with men his age.
By T. Brozell, Sr. 2023
Multiply: To increase in number, amount, or degree. (Webster’s)
This is how I feel, awakening then back to sleep, when that time of a new day arrives here in prison, same day, different problem or maybe the same one over and over again.
For example, no state soap. There is no soap on the bathroom sinks to use after relieving yourself, none!! How is this possible, but yet it is. Prison isn’t a box of chocolates. Sure, there are laughs and jokes told but that sentence says it all. Some are long and others are forever (life). There is plenty of reality when the smoke clears.
I’m in school now. I had to move across the yard to enroll, this after having been in the same dorm for nine months, knowing everyone and how they move and what their jobs were and seeing the same faces. Now I start over.
I couldn’t sleep the first night. It’s like my body and spirit went through something even my eating habits changed for a week. There are no attachments in prison unless your mind thinks so. Everything is unpredictable, changing locations, people, places and things you will never know right off hand where or when you come or go.
Prison can be a puzzle or a game of chess take your pick or should I say take a guess. I was sentenced July 2021 and time has flown by. I have not a single ticket or dirty drug test (knock on wood). It’s all of God’s will and tremendous focus. It comes with turning 59 recently. I am truly blessed.
Anyhow, I’m taking classes in a tiny room without quietness. At times inmates want to tell the teacher about their cases without any regard for others. Remember this is prison no matter what.
Today my energy is low and slow but alive and well. Have a great day.
By T. Brozell, Sr. 2021
No world on our shoulders
time passed got older, took
a pass down memory lane
seeing flashes insane, but
smiling no blame…
The road went different directions
then curved in many sections, but
the focus steered right ahead as
my light turned red.
Reaching backwards grabbing
simple things. Pressing forward
diamond rings, “praying the
dreams don’t end” regrets, so
on to so forth, staying strong
*Find T. Brozell’s bio in the newly updated “About Christopher” page and the bios of other ongoing contributing writers to this blog.
Lettersfromchristopher was created in 2019 to draw attention to the plight of America’s incarcerated. Please, submit a comment if your heart moves you.