Court of “Law” (A Poem by Brandon Brown)

Court of “Law”

 

Give one man five years

and another a quarter-century

for committing the same crime…

the public just can’t see.

But, the men who are trapped

in a system of inconsistency

can’t help but feel rage-because

with their eyes, they see,

what no one seems to see.

 

There are rules for such things you know,

rules that supposedly are followed.

Yet nobody punished the violators of these rules,

while we, the victims,

are sent to the black hole of prison to be swallowed.

 

I made my mistake, GOD knows I did —

And for that I fully admit.

Now each day I better myself

and that night I’ll never forget.

 

But judges sentence men they know nothing about;

and it is assumed their decisions are right.

Some say LIFE, as if it’s not someone’s life,

and move on to the next, as day follows night.

 

These men will never be punished,

Even though they’ve obstructed on my soul,

with an incorrect judgment passed,

the effect of which, they will never know.

 

Their mistakes I will try to appeal,

file papers, one after another.

Will they see their mistakes? Probably not,

for in their eyes, I am not their brother.

Was my mistake that much worse than theirs?

 

If they move on can’t I recover?

For now I can only sit in my cell,

pray that GOD helps me through this hell,

as I file appeals,

one

after

another.

The Lotus (A Poem by Brandon Brown)

Brandon Brown is an inmate at Maine State Prison with whom I have become pen pals. He is working hard on his rehabilitation and is even working on getting his Bachelor’s degree. Brandon was featured in a the Trent Bell REFLECT project, which can be viewed here at the following link:

http://www.trentbell.com/video-production/2/caption

 

The Lotus

How beautiful a sight;

to see the lotus grow,

to see it rise above in beauty

despite what lies below.

 

The odds are not in its favor

and it is quite hard to believe,

that despite a vile environment;

growth it does achieve.

 

I dream to be a lotus,

who, surrounded by so much pain.

stays the course-refusing to quit

and grows tall, completely unstained.

Our Heroes, Our Mother’s. Austin says “Thank You” (A Letter from Austin to Buffy)

Buffy~

Hey there stranger…It’s been a while. I was sitting here thinking of you. It’s that time of year. Your birthday and Mother’s Day. I wanted to say “Happy Birthday!”. I missed it this year. I’m Sorry! However, Monther’s Day is fast approaching. So…”Happy Mother’s Day!” There are not many people I know who have the capacity to exceed the limits of one’s energy only to share with another person, genuine love. Genuine love is precious and to those who are capable of genuine love, it is the only path in this life to substantial joy. It is through your love that Megan & Drake will learn to challenge the limits of their capacities to extend themselves to develop genuinely loving relationships with partners and eventually their children. Then it can be said that you have already succeeded in accomplishing more than most people will in their lifetime. For this…I thank you! I found this poem. I thought I’d share it with you.

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”   — Kahlil Gibran

I love you far beyond measure, Buffy. You will always be my Hero!

 

Love Always,

Your Brother Austin

Facebook Page

Hey ya’ll,

I know it has been awhile, but I still haven’t received a letter from Austin. I am hoping it is coming any day now, but I never know. Every time I open my mail my heart sinks when I don’t see his handwriting. Well, the purpose of this post today is to try to get all of our blog followers to go visit our Facebook page!

 

https://www.facebook.com/Fight2Forgive

 

We are trying to build up a following and thought it would be great if those of you who follow us on the blog through wordpress would come visit us on Facebook, as well. I am much more active on a daily basis on Facebook, sharing inspirational quotes, and little things here and there about what’s going on with the blog and organization. So…with that being said if you could visit us on FB, like the page, and maybe even share it with your FB friends to spread the word we would be very appreciative. There is also a link to our FB page on the right hand side of the blog!

 

Thanks!!

 

PS Look out for a new blog later today 🙂

If — Rudyard Kipling (A segment from a letter from Austin to his daughter)

Megan Cherry has done us the honor of sharing an amazing section of the letter her father wrote her from his prison cell in Folsom. It is truly amazing to see that no matter where you are, what you have done, or where you are going even those behind bars hold out hope for a better tomorrow. I truly believe we could all learn from Austin Varney. What an extraordinary man!

I realize you’re a grown woman now, capable of making your own life decisions. But, with that said, I’d like to share something with you. It’s a father sharing advice with his baby girl.

“If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all others doubt you, but make allowances for their doubting too; if you can wait and not be tired by waiting; or being lied about, but don’t deal in lies. Or being hated by others, don’t give way to hating, and not act too good, nor too wise…If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch…If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…”

You will truly be a woman! It was through long days of sorrow and many lonely nights that these words have carried me.

– Austin Varney

 

Below you will find the poem Austin is quoting:

 

If—

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

A Rainbow That’s Not Long Enough (A Letter from Austin to his daughter)

Dear Megan,

Wow! Your beautiful message…was amazing! You wrote something that truly spoke to the very center of my soul. And, believe me that does not happen very often.

See, all my life I’ve been flawed! I’ve struggled to overcome my shortcomings. “A rainbow that’s not long enough” That’s me!

You know, the time I’ve wasted is my biggest regret, spent in these places I’ll never forget. Just sitting and thinking about the thing’s I’ve done. The crying, the laughing, the hurt, and the fun.

Now, it’s just me and my hard driven guilt. Behind a wall of emptiness I’ve allowed to be built. I’m trapped in my body just wanting to run, back to the time with it’s laughter and fun.

My memories they flash through my head, and the pain is so obvious by the tears that I shed. I ask myself “Why and where” I went wrong? I guess I was weak, when I should of been strong…

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
This speaks of the human spirit. The strength that resides within you is unconquerable. Never lose sight of that! You can achieve anything in your life if you commit yourself to doing your best to achieve your goals…you will!!
You are such an amazing woman! But, you’ll always be my little girl. Thank you for not giving up on me, Megan.
I love you!

Away from the Sun (A Letter from Austin to his daughter)

Dear Megan,

Hey there…It’s just me writing from the land of oz. I really hope these few words of mine will cross time only to find you in the very best of spirits.

I hope someday you’ll truly understand HOW SORRY I AM that I haven’t been able to be there with you. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about you…you are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. I seriously mean that…

I hope you had a wonderful birthday? Did you have your party? Of course, you have to send me some pictures! I want to see how beautiful you are…how is everything going with Carlos?? Good, I hope. You sounded so good the last time I talked to you, I only wish I could talk to you more! I love hear your voice, your laugh. I love it!

OH…did you get my Valentine’s Day card? I hope you liked it? Was it broken when you go it? It sounded like the wooden frame cracked when they picked it up. I hope not…that would suck!

Hows Mom doing? Good I hope. You do know…that she’s my hero, right? Girl! You have no idea where you be right now, if Mom hadn’t stepped up to raise you. And, DAMN! Does she love you! If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be writing this to you now. She’ll do just about “anything” for you, Megan! Someday…I honestly and truly hope you’ll realize this…she’s an amazing woman! And, she’s raised you to be one as well…

Well, sweetie…I’m gonna close this for now. I just wanted to make an appearance to let you know…I’m thinking of you. Give Mom a huge hug for me, and give Drake my utmost respects as well…and, tell Carlos I send mine to him too…

I love you, Megan!

Love,

Dad

Austin attached the following for Megan:

“Away from the Sun”

3 Door Down

It’s down to this
I’ve got to make this life make sense
Can anyone tell what I’ve done
I miss the life
I miss the colors of the world
Can anyone tell where I am

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun again
Away from the sun again

I’m over this
I’m tired of living in the dark
Can anyone see me down here
The feeling’s gone
There’s nothing left to lift me up
Back into the world I know

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun
That shines to light the way for me
To find my way back into the arms
That care about the ones like me
I’m so far down away from the sun again

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun

It’s down to this
I’ve got to make this life make sense
Can anyone tell what I’ve done
I miss the life
I miss the colors of the world
Can anyone tell where I am

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun again
Away from the sun again

I’m over this
I’m tired of living in the dark
Can anyone see me down here
The feeling’s gone
There’s nothing left to lift me up
Back into the world I know

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun
That shines to light the way for me
To find my way back into the arms
That care about the ones like me
I’m so far down away from the sun again
It’s down to this

I’ve got to make this life make sense
Now I can’t tell what I’ve done
Now again I found myself so far down away from the sun
That shines to light the way for me

‘Cause now again I found myself so far down
Away from the sun that shines into the darkest place
I’m so far down away from the sun
That shines “into the darkest place, I’m so far away from you…” (This part was re-written by Austin)