Letters From my Brother in Prison- New Segment
He’s almost 40 now. With many years left to serve. He’s a criminal. His crime of choice: Being a drug addict. He’s quietly tucked away from the eyes of society. “Out of sight; out of mind,” you know? But not for me. At least, not entirely. These letters are not recent. They are from over ten years ago, when we were young, and his life still held possibility. He was a brilliant artist, a legendary (at least in our circles) guitarist, an inspiration to little sister me.
At the time I received these letters I was in my late teens, he his early 20′s. I tried to write often, to remind him there was still hope. I tried to save him for years. It was an exercise in futility, in the end. He showed signs of promise, upon each release. But, prison would prove to be his destiny, for most of his adult life.
Through he is not dead, he is almost dead to me. His mind warped by drugs and possibly insanity, he is almost unrecognizable to me. I love him, to the end, but more than that, I love who he used to be. I remember the yesterdays, all of the things he taught me, and I close my eyes and bow my head. I mourn him continually.
I am not posting these letters simply to preserve his memory. I am posting them because they tell a story. A story about drug addiction, and family, and abuse, and love; a story about him, and a story about me; a story about most of humanity.
*Comments are welcomed, if anyone has any. However, a full picture isn’t likely to emerge, until the segment is complete.
*Names have been changed to protect the Guilty.
Prison doesn’t begin in prison. Prison begins with jail. And that’s where I’ll begin, with his first letter to me from Jail:
August 25th, 1994
It’s really cool to talk with my crazy sister on the phone. You make me laugh & I gravitate toward anyone that can. I hope that when I get out I can find a girlfriend as weird & as pretty as you.
Jail sux, of course. I think I’m going crazy. I chew on my fingers until they literally drip blood & don’t even notice what I’m doing. And, I’ve achieved an almost zen-like indifference to my adversity. I have made an art out of killing time. My real problem is that I can’t sleep at night. True, a 30 grams of coffee a day habit might have something to do with it, but I’ve always been plagued by insomnia.
But I have learned to be very resourceful when it comes to keeping my mind busy. I like to read & draw, and I’ve learned a little Spanish. I wish that you knew more Spanish so that when I wrote none of these fuckin guards could read it.
I hope that this drawing gets to you & that you like it. I made it especially for you. Let me know if you don’t get it.
Hey, guess what? If you don’t want to know, don’t turn the letter over….This dude Philip Carr that was here for awhile says he knows you. He amazes me because he could open any of the jail doors here with a playing card. He already went T.D.C. to serve 10 years. But we were cell-mates for awhile & he kept getting me in trouble. One time he filled out a request form saying he wanted a blowjob from Sheriff X & signed my name & we got locked down with nothing but some shorts & our mattresses.
Okay, I’ve got to go because my medicine is making me tired.
So, do I really have a drug-addict brother in prison? Yeah. I forgot to warn you, I’m from the wrong side of the tracks.