A Man Died Today
Kenneth M. Key
It was about 12:00pm when I saw the EMTs run pass my cell house window to the adjacent cell house. The sound over the radio said, a man was down code 3 medical emergency.
It would be less than a minute and a half and the E.M.Ts' would be walking back past. The word would come down he didn't make it.
I would learn later in that day that it was a Friend of mine, whom we will simply call my Friend. They said my Friend had died of a heart attack, and at that point I simply thought he had been ill, after all he was a diabetic and over the last Few years now on dialysis.
It would be a week later and rumors would start. A 170 man tactical team dressed in riot gear, with drug sniffing dogs converged on the prison (Pg.1) and all the wardens and administrators from Springfield to shake one cell house down that my friend had resided in and the reason some say behind it, was Fentanyl was found in his blood.
Mind you this was a rumor and no one I knew had any information otherwise. I'm sure the confidential informants were at work and Internal Affairs had more information than they needed.
All I could think of was my friend had died, and if it was because he had used some drugs, my question would be why?
My friend had served as many years as I and maybe he had grown tired of his body hurting in an environment that gave him sub-par medical care, or maybe he was simply tired of being sick and tired.
Maybe he simply felt alone, as many in his family were all long gone, thirty plus years have a way of doing that. My Friend and I spent many years living next door to one another and ofter we would sit at our cell doors and talk about all the memories of Family and meals cooked on special occasion.
We would speak of the loves we lost and the friendships that got away. See for many years my Friend and I traveled the back roads of sinning together, getting high and drinking homemade wine.
When I reflect back, I have to ask, why did I get high? To be honest it was to escape the reality of living with men in prison, of the possibility of dying here alone, failed relationships with family, and a girlfriend who was about to leave, as well as shame and simply wanting to feel good and forget.
This would continue until my resurrection and my crossing over both spiritually and physically. I guess it had not been for the covering of YAH, I could be where my friend is today, gone! Unable to deal with the barbwire of Life present entanglement of doing Life without the possibility of parole.
So I understand why, not really and I could go on and on summoning a thousand and one reasons. But I know this to be true, when a man enters this world and he has Family, Friends, relations, etc. it gives him a certain sense of hope and provides them with all types of possibility that they may return them.
But as the years go by, Life has a tendency to claim its creation and circumstances take place and you can wake and Find yourself all alone.
I always express in my writing, that freedom allows you to place yourself in a different environment and create new Friends.
Prison does not allow that, many men are guarded when it comes to letting someone into their Family, into their their private life and emotions. So you don't see men hooking their homies up with cousins and sister, those aren't the stories that love is made of.
Loneliness can make a man seek out many things and my Friend never really stopped trying to escape, only to awake in the reality of living in prison, of living in pain and loneliness.
That 170 man tactical team would make everyone pay, the situation liken to the winds that hit Puerto Rico. Some cells would be damaged, others demolished so badly that nothing could be salvaged.
This is what happens when officers are beaten or stabbed or a death by drugs happen in prison. The shake down becomes the statement and example for the rest of the prison units, 250 men would be subjugated to the harshest punishment imaginable and in a flash everyone would forget my Friend and the fact a man had died.
No news releases, and the State would create the story narrative. No one would mourn my Friend. Don't remember if he had any Family left and if not, no one would claim his body.
He would be cremated and ashes thrown against the wind. They don't bury anyone anymore, simply make a record of the death and cremation.
It's what will happen to me, since no one in the free world to claim my body or bury me, and the only person I can depend on to do that resides in the cell next door to me.
Yeah, you can come here and find yourself years later all alone and trust me you will seek some sort of escape.
For me, these days it's writing to you and telling you about life in prison. I've yet to find a true Friend to ride the storms of life with me, after all. I'm saying a natural life without the possibility of parole; what is commonly called Death by Incarceration.
And Friends, like many others see no future in that. It takes a kind of commitment and is a rarity, the exception is Family and usually the mother is the link. My Friend lost his many years ago and me just over a year ago.
Maybe my Friend simply struggled with addiction, many do, even when they hit the prison and many never ever turn, but become the type of addict that any thing that will alter the mind is okay, and maybe this was my Friend. But the Fact remains a man died today.
Some of us enter into these prisons always dealing with a half of deck, of opportunity, of love of what hunts us and it keeps us/you anchored in your troubles unless you truly seek release from its grips.
Yes! A man died today and he was my Friend. But to be honest no one and I mean no one owes us anything.
When we make the choices to harm someone or take their life or property or commit sexual battery upon their person. It's that costly American hatred that allows for such, but never forgiveness.
What you're done will be what defines you, if you remain there, never changing. No one will remember my Friend, but I will. May you rest now, and may He who is able, forgive you, and keep you always.
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