The steel door is slamming shut again, and it’s loud. Another night is rolling into tomorrow.

October 10, 2009 | Saturday

ANOTHER DAY GOES by in an institutional penitentiary. More precisely, on Texas’ Death Row, Cellblock A, Section C, Cell 30. In this cell, you find me, on this day. It’s a Saturday night and unusually quiet, except for the guards’ doing their normal security rounds, which echo the slamming of steel doors throughout. This, of course, would not be normal to you, as it once was not normal to me. It was in those days when I used to caution myself against becoming institutionalized. It was in those days when I never knew the amount of stress the mind can cope with, nor how easy it is to slip into depression or insanity. Institutionalization will happen to anyone who is incarcerated for prolonged periods of time. I have lost my battle against institutionalization (humongous word!) inn small ways, but gained better understanding of my emotional condition and spiritual self although I do remain a work in progress, human in every sense of the word.

Only yesterday, after an amazing visit with my friend Juana, two guards handcuffed and escorted me back to this cell. For some strange reason, on our way here, one guard simply state to me, “You are not crazy.” I quickly uttered something that came to mind:
In my own way, I think all of us are a little crazy.”

I may say this because I believe that no one of us who lives, breathes and is able to think intelligently is of one mind or one total personality. We constantly change our minds, both immediately and in long-term ways. Call it the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome. A chance in our emotional state of mind will likely change our choice from one minute to the next. A change in circumstances will make us somewhat different in 10 years than we feel now.

Today marks 16 years to the day when I was placed in segregation and isolated in an area about the size of a walk-in-closet. All those years ago, on that night, when an older man attempted to have his way with me, I changed from one minute to the next to prevent it and, unfortunately, this ended in tragedy. A sentence of death and 16 years of isolation has been the result so far. In all, it has almost been 20 years since I lost my freedom. The past 16 years I have been segregated and transferred to different maximum-security prisons across the state of Texas. Eleven of those years I have remained on Death Row. I’ve experienced the worst sort of places and have seen men in total despair who gave in to insanity, later mumbling their irrational thoughts to nobody in particular or hurting themselves in way you cannot imagine.

I want to introduce you to a friend whom I lost on the 23rd of January, 2008, José Flores. Despair pushed him into suicide. He was found during the early morning count. Two deep gashes on either side of his throat were the cause of his death, but other wounds that were more telling of how disturbed he had become were deep slashes on his forehead. This is a case in the extreme, although it began as a mild form of craziness.

The steel door is slammed shut again, and it’s loud. Another night is rolling into tomorrow.

Not long ago, my cousin Linda closed a letter to me with this quote: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Gracias, prima.

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3 Responses to “The steel door is slamming shut again, and it’s loud. Another night is rolling into tomorrow.”

  1. gina Says:

    never commented on this before, never talked to roy in my life…but i read this religiously and checked it just about every week since last december waiting for an update. i really don’t even know how i stumbled across this website but i fell inlove with it when i did. so glad to be reading some updates and reflections.

    i’m gina, 22 years old and no stranger to jail/prison. i’ve been to jail and will be going back. im home on bail right now for firearms charges that carry up to 5 yrs in state prison. my husband has been in/out of state prison and county our whole relationship (4 years), he’s currently in and isnt up for parole til next september. i may not know how it feels to go down state or be on death row…but knowing how it feels to be in jail and how lonely it is i can only imagine what DR feels like. my heart goes out to roy.

  2. Jackie Says:

    I too, like Gina, have never commented before nor have I had any type of communication with Roy. I came upon this website awhile ago (not sure how) and read everything. Soon it magnetized me to come back and check for updates regularly. When Roy’s writings stopped, I felt compelled to try and find an update somewhere, anywhere but had no luck. I am pleased to know that Roy has continued his writing. If not for my own curiosity then for Roy’s knowledge that people are out here learning and listening.

    Thank you.

  3. çelik kapı Says:

    Exterior Steel Doors are very strong.

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