Life Is a Merry go Round

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It would be easy to read this title and think it’s a happy video. Going to the carnival and having fun. Not Quite. It actually represents 8 prisons so far that Jamie has been moved to from one end of Texas to the other.

This is one of a growing number of music videos to promote my upcoming book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. Click on the YouTube link in the video to go to YouTube to like, Subscribe and click the bell for notification of any new videos.

If you’d like to read any chapters or excerpts go to my other blog My Name Is Jamie. My Life in Prison. The book cover heads any posts with chapters of “Inside The Forbidden Outside”.

Music facebook Page

Music website – Sonni Quick – complete music list, videos and photos. Sign up for mailing list to hear new music when it is published.

The Only Thing in Your Way is Doubt

There is more on this blog post than a music video. Some people will even click “like” but never go to the post.

 

This is my latest music video. I put it on YouTube a few days ago. The music was recorded about 18 months ago. There will be other videos made from previous recordings made before I started making videos.  If you like it PLEASE use the YouTube symbol or go to my YouTube channel to like it or leave comments. Share. Help me push this project forward. The success will help Jamie when he gets out of prison. Half of the profit from sales will go to help him have a new start in life.  He deserves that after what our justice system has done to him since he was 16. Today he is 35. He is scheduled for release in 2023.

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This music, like most of the rest is for my book, Inside The Forbidden Outside. which is in the second draft. This is taken quite awhile to do because a chapter is not a chapter when adding music and sometime poetry to go with the title of the chapter. I can see in my head where this is going but it takes time to do it all ( and take care of my very active, headstrong grandchildren)

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Pa and The Fl Keys. Less than a week ago or so I finally got a piano for the Fl house, a used piano that is an earlier model of my other one that records exactly the same with all the same sounds ( and 1/10th the cost!) So the creativity is turned on and new music is being made.

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You are what you think.  You are who you think.  You accomplish what you believe you can.  The only thing standing in your way is doubt.

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I now have T-shirts and a totebag for sale to help raise funds. For ten years I have covered all of his expenses, but with promotion of the book and music, my disability check doesn’t cover it all and credit card debt is climbing.   I send him food boxes, money for hygiene and other items at the commissary, books, magazines and stamps. There is also a donate button if you would rather give a little money – anything from $1 up is appreciated more than you know. In the credits of the book will be listed every person who helped in any capacity. so please, help me help him. Go to my other blog to read chapters from the book and to learn more of what prisons really are – not what they show you on TV programs. At the link below you can also read some of his backstory.

 

Purchase T-shirts, totebag and donate at this blog post

Thank you

 

 

How Do I Find My Way – New Music

This is a new piece of music – enjoy

Go to http://sonniquick.net to hear other music and also my music videos, all located in one place. Your support  for my music/book about Jamie’s life in prison is so appreciated. It will help his life inside and also help when he gets out because sale of the book will be his only income at that time.  He still has 4 years to go out of 17, but I have been preparing for that for several years.

You can find my music page at http://facebook.com/sonniquickspiano

You can also subscribe to my mailing list which is about new music I record.  I WILL NOT inundate your email box. It is an easy way to hear things when your are not at WordPress.  Many thanks

Sonni Quick

At the cove in Islamorada

 

The Long Journey Begins – Chapter in Jamie’s Book

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The Long Journey Begins

Jamie’s son was born on July 7th, 2006. He was given his name, James. He might be in a bad place right now being locked up, but the day he found out his son was born was the happiest day he ever had.
      Morgan called the prison and they got the message to him. He was a father! That caused a smile to spread over his entire face. He gave a little laugh. He couldn’t help himself. He wouldn’t know what his son looked like until Morgan sent him a picture, but he knew he was beautiful, because Morgan was beautiful. He wouldn’t be able to be a father, not like he wanted to. He tried not to think about that. Not today. He was going to be happy today.
      A lot of the dudes were grinning and there were quite a few congratulations going around for him. Even a few of the guards said it. That surprised him. He guessed hearing about a new baby allowed them to let their “guard” down a little and act human for a change.
      Jamie told everyone he came in contact with. This day would never come again and he wanted to make the most of it. It was the first time in more than seven months he had something, anything, to be happy about. Good things didn’t happen too often when you were locked up. Any reason you had to smile was a big deal.
      He thought about his family. He missed them. He was gone for so long when he was in juvy. He wasn’t out long. They won’t even know him when he gets out this time. Everyone goes on with their lives. His son won’t really know him, either.
      Families are a big deal when you’re locked up. It was often the most important thing to know family was there, caring and all. He needed his family to help him so he could get hygiene and stamps and things. He’s not able to get any kind of job yet to make some money. They don’t have jobs at the jails. All you do there is wait. But maybe when he gets settled he could get one. He didn’t care what the job was, He didn’t want to be a burden on anyone.
      Some dudes had no family at all and some had families that had never been there for them even when they were kids. He heard a lot of stories, and most of them had hard times. Many said they weren’t guilty. He could understand that.
      A few of those he talked to came from foster care. They’d been on their own a long time. And sometimes they had families where bridges had been burnt and their family had had enough. Tbey got tired when their son or husband kept getting in trouble or couldn’t get off drugs. Everyone had a story, even him.
    Some had issues with their baby mamas and they couldn’t see their kids. Jamie was glad it wasn’t like that for him. His older brother had been good about writing him and he sent some money on occasion if he needed it. His mom never answered his letters, but he kept trying. He knew Morgan would never keep Jamie from him. She would never do that to him.
      Living through a prison sentence, no matter how long if was, it was ten times harder when you didn’t have family who cared. Today, him being a new father gave some of the other men a reason to pull out pictures of their own kids and show him how proud they were to be fathers. That was the normal part of their life. The part they wanted to get back to.
      A couple men said they were going to be better fathers when got out because they knew it was hurting their kids when they weren’t around. They wanted to be better fathers.
      That was all Jamie thought about, being a dad. He daydreamed about it for hours. Not just a baby, but learning things a father would teach his son. How to ride a bike and throw a ball. Later they would go see sports games. They would do things together he never got a chance to do with his own father. There is just a big, empty hole there where memories of his father should be.
      He tried to convince himself maybe he’d get out early and be there for him. All he could do was try. Stay to himself. Hopefully go to school and get his GED and train for a skill after that.
      But why did they move him so far away. He couldn’t do anything about it, but they knew he had family. Morgan was down as his wife, even though they weren’t really married. They knew he had a mama and brothers and a sister. It made him feel alone.
Jamie had been moved out of solitary a while back, but he was still waiting to find out when he’d be moved to a prison. He was told it wouldn’t be long now. Since he was back in a dorm with other inmates he was able to make a phone call to Morgan.
She told him all about little Jamie. He stood there with the biggest grin on his face hearing all the details about his son. He wasn’t happy, though, hearing how hard it was for her in the delivery room.
      “It wasn’t easy, Jamie. I had to have a c-section at the last minute. The doctor found the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times. They didn’t know that until they tried to take him out. That’s why he wouldn’t go down the birth canal. His vitals were dropping. The doctor had never seen that before. Without the surgery he would have died. He was lucky. We were lucky”
      Morgan sounded tired. He wished he could’ve been there with her. She must have been scared. Healing from surgery, taking care of a newborn by herself, as well as the other kids, would wear her out. He was glad she was with her mom so she could help her. Now more than ever he realized how much he screwed up by going out that night.
“I’m sorry I’m not there to help you,” he spoke quietly. Jamie’s regrets would become a pain that never went away.
      “More than anything,” he said, “I wish I could be there with you right now. Hold you in my arms with little Jamie between us. I want to protect both of you, and I can’t.”
A fifteen minute jail call goes by too fast. There was never enough time to say all you wanted to say. The sadness in his heart after he hung up the phone overshadowed the happiness he felt when he dialed her number.
      Reality hit hard. He didn’t want to think he wouldn’t be able to raise his son. He would miss every first – first laugh, first step, first tooth, first birthday, second birthday and more after that. He would miss it all. And little Jamie would miss having his daddy.

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Jamie found out he was being moved. They couldn’t have sent him any farther away from home. Was it on purpose? There were a hundred prisons they could have sent him to. They had to choose the one that was farthest away? It was clear across the state. East Texas, where he was from, was mostly pine trees and red dirt. West Texas was mostly desert.
      There was no way now that his family could come and see him. No one could take off four days from work for a visit that was only a couple hours long. Making the drive in one day would be too hard. It looked like he was on his own.
      Texas was a huge state to travel across. He had never been any farther west than Huntsville when he was on probation. He lived with his uncle during tenth grade. Now he was being to sent to the Smith Unit in La Mesa. By car it took about eighteen. By prison bus it would probably take four days. They didn’t take a direct route. They zigzagged to different prisons, picking up inmates and dropping others off. It was a trip to hell.
      It was summer and scorching hot. Even though there was air conditioning it wasn’t strong enough to cool down the heat from the sun scorching the metal of the bus. Too many bodies inside didn’t help, either. Some of them stank pretty bad and that made it worse. They’d all end up stinking by the time they got where they were going.
      Jamie wore the same white shirt and baggy elastic waist pants he put on the day they loaded up the men being transferred. He wouldn’t be able to take a shower until the bus arrived at Smith Unit, after be was processed. That could take awhile. No one cared if any of the inmates missed a shower, and no one cared how they felt about their travel experience. Suffering was part of their sentence. They deserved it, right?
      After all the red tape was taken care of and he was assigned somewhere, he should be able to make a phone call to Morgan and see how she and little Jamie were doing.
In the bus the inmates were separated from the guard and the driver who were up front, but the guard in the back had to deal with the stink – and stay alert. They changed guards and drivers a few times when when they stopped at different prisons to exchange prisoners for others.
      The men had to sit there silently waiting for the bus to start. The driver wasn’t allowed to let the engine idle when both guards weren’t onboard. They were standing outside having a smoke. The AC wouldn’t go on until the engine kicked over again. Jamie felt sweat drip down the side of his face. It was going to be a long, uncomfortable trip.
The seats on the bus were hard and uncomfortable like a city bus, not a Greyhound bus. There was no padding anywhere. They made sure they would be miserable. It was impossible for Jamie to stretch out his legs, so circulation was bad. He knew his ankles and feet would swell. The heat made it worse.
      The guards were never amused by complaining. It was pointless anyway. There was nothing they could do. He knew it was gong to get worse the farther west they went when it became a drier heat. It sucked all the moisture out of his mouth and throat. He felt dehydrated. He craved water. They didn’t give them enough water. Less bathroom breaks that way, he guessed. But if anyone asked for water they just might make them wait even longer, just to make them feel worse.
      It was impossible to do more than doze off for a few minutes of light sleep. The whirling sound of the tires as they turned on a road hot enough to melt the tires, was enough to lull the men into a stupor. Problem was, if they started falling to one side, the person next to them would give them a shove with their shoulder to tell them to straighten up.
      Jamie was cuffed to another man, through rings on the seats. “I gotta piss. We gotta get up.” the man next to him said after they had been on the road for about an hour. “Guard, we need to go to the back of the bus.”
      If one man needed to use the john, they both had to go. Peeing was one thing, but it wasn’t much fun if you needed to sit and take a shit. Sooner or later they all had to take a turn. The guard came and unlocked them from the seat, but not from each other. It was hard for two connected people to do anything that took co- ordination.
      A guard stood near the door-less restroom. Jamie and the other inmate made their way to it by walking sideways past the other seats. He stood looking away with his arm inside the door, trying to give him a little privacy.
      “Damn, it stinks.” Jamie muttered under his breath. Since they were cuffed they couldn’t easily clean up after themselves. There was pee on the floor and anywhere else it splashed. The toilet seat was kept up out of respect for those who needed to sit. After a couple days the smell was overwhelming. The men in the back had it the roughest.
      Jamie desperately wanted to wash up. Splash water on his face and neck. He didn’t have any of his property. That would arrives in a later bus, so no one had deodorant, either.
      The only good thing about traveling was being able to see outside. There wasn’t much to look at; west Texas was mostly desert. But the high point was being outside the walls and watching the day go from morning to night. Once he gets to his new home he is on the inside, and the outside becomes forbidden territory. The free world. A place he wouldn’t be able to go for a long time.
      “Hey, you got any family?” Jamie asked the dude next to him.
      “Shut up. No talking,” came from somewhere behind him.
      After a minute or so he heard a whisper, “Two girls. Three and five. You?”
      “Baby boy,” he whispered back. “Two months.” He glance to the right and saw him nod okay. “Too bad.”
      They weren’t allowed off the bus for any reason because of security. Food was bought and passed out. It felt to Jamie as though they were never going to get to the other side. It was like an old Twilight Zone TV show where a scene was supposed to be real life but you found out at the end it wasn’t. It didn’t get anymore unreal than this.

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Looking Into The Crystal Ball – YouTube video

This is the latest music video for the book I am writing, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. The description at YouTube for this video explains in more detail what this video is about. I am writing a soundtrack for the book with a piece of improvised piano for each chapter that has the same title.  I am also making music videos as another way to promote what I am doing while I am doing it. They will be uploaded to You Tube as they are finished. There is another one there – “Waiting too Long”. Another one will be posted a week from Saturday. If you like what I have begun, please subscribe and share.  We all know that it is the stats that brings other people in to see what we are doing. The hardest stat is #1.

This has been a major labor of love.  I am on the second draft of the book.  I had no idea what I was doing having no experience writing a book.  Writing blog posts is not the same.  I have had to go back to the drawing board over and over, and take online classes. Gradually, I am getting better.

The reason this is so important to me is because it is a true story, taken from letters between me and a prison inmate over 12 years.  He is the father of one of my grandsons. He has 5 years to go, so it is s story still in the making. I started writing it because I knew, when he was released in 2023 he would be encountering an unfriendly world. He would not have the life experiences needed to navigate life as an uneducated black man with no job experience or tech experience of any kind. There was no “windows” in his life before. I am determined this book will open doors for him to be able to use his story and make money to survive.  Without your support it can’t be possible.  Only the power of sharing can make it possible. Below I have listed various sites were you can find him and my music.

 

My Name is Jamie – wordpress blog on Jamie’s life and info on prisons and the criminal injustice system

Sonni Quicks Piano Improv – YouTube videos of the music soundtrack for Inside The Forbidden Outside. New videos released as they are made. When you subscribe and share, other people have the opportunity to learn about the book being written which will help Jamie start a life when he is released. He needs your help. If you have read his story on the blog you understand why. Thank you.

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Skunk Radio – Indie radio out of London. My personal page

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked from other musicians. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the worldS

Improv Piano music of Sonni Quick – at Facebook . . . music news and other musicians

Twitter – My Name is Jamie

Picking up Broken Pieces – Poetry

Broken glass

Picking up Broken Pieces

Pieces falling one by one
Scattered at my feet
I bend and try to pick them up
but I couldn’t reach beneath
the bottom of the lowest stair
where broken dreams did sleep

I see flashes of my deepest dreams
Too late to make them true
Time has passed I can’t go back
I don’t know what to do
Pieces crumble into dust
when connecting even two

They cut my fingers if I try
Blood seeps between my fingers
When I try to hold my broken dreams
the scent of memories linger
The pain, the loss of years gone by
The echo of no answer.

 

This poem is on the newest music video I’m making. It should be ready in a couple days – hopefully. The rewriting of my book “Inside The Forbidden Outside”  has taken quite awhile since I began writing.  Because I write piano music I began recording a soundtrack for each chapter. A month ago I started making videos and adding poetry, so it is a four part project. What began as a book on Jamie Cummings life in prison has become much more. Time intensive it certainly is.

I decided to publish the poetry so you can read it at one time. In the video you’ll see it one line at a time throughout the video. The poetry has the same title as the music, which is also the title of a chapter in the book, which is in the 2nd draft stage.

I have posted a few chapters I have written but I haven’t posted this one. You will find them on many other blog. If you do a search on the title of the book it will even pull up the first draft chapters.

The title of this poem correlates to the time during Jamie’s prison term when he finally has to mentally deal with, and accept, loss. In the beginning he had an unrealistic hope that if he was good he could get out soon. The 17 year sentence hadn’t really sunk in. I think that is most likely common thing with most people if it is their first time in prison. How did anyone deal with the ride to prison, go through the red tape – alone – and face a prison for the first time with men you had to present the right face to. Taking care of yourself now had a new meaning,

Losing a woman he loved, losing the role of being a father, quickly losing the support of his family, who no longer came to see him enough to pretend it counted. Three to five years between visits – maybe. He lost any type of meaningful communication with anyone in his family, and he never had any friends who mattered.  No one answered his letters. On rare occasions his grandmother wrote and told him some things that happened, long after they happened, but they weren’t the type of letters where he could write back and forth about what he was going through.

He came to the point of realizing he had to accept it and let it go. He knew that to keep waiting for someone to write, and making excuses for them in his head, had to stop. He didn’t want to think about why they were too busy to answer even one of his letters.  He had to make it okay or it ripped him apart. He didn’t want to think he didn’t matter. It was painful and he was lonely, but he had to get it right in his head.

People in the free world could never imagine life in a small cell completely a-l-o-n-e without anyone who gave a damn. Many of the men he met inside had no one who cared. And no one who helped get the small necessities that made their existence tolerable.

I got angry. I was angry at his mother for saying she didn’t write to Jamie because it hurt HER too much. 12 years, and it hurt HER. Damn, it makes me angry when I write these words. She said them to me and she also said them to Jamie during one of her rare visits. He lost everything and everyone and it hurt to think he was never a priority in his family’s lives. So he had to put it away. He couldn’t change it. It was these feelings of loss he couldn’t change that prompted this poem, “Picking up Broken Pieces”. The music is sad and melancholy. For me it tells the story. You can hear it here.

When I started writing to Jamie in 2007 how could I stop? How could I justify abandoning him, too. It was a commitment. I looked forward too his letters. We’ve sent over 800 by now. It is a diary of his life. It needed too become a book.

He is the father of one of my grandsons. That made him family. Okay, my daughter moved on. She wanted to leave him behind. She had to. 17 years when you are only in your mid twenties is too much separation – unless you had no choice, like Jamie. She later resented me for writing to him. She was trying to forget him and I wouldn’t let her. I’m sorry if it was painful for her, but I want going to stop writing fot that reason.  If he wasn’t able to have anyone in his life then there was no way I would abandon him, too. He needed me. Our letters were deep and thought provoking, making him think beyond what had happened and realize why it happened. If you spend a lot of time in a solitary cell and don’t have the right things to think about, you go nuts. Many do. It was important to me to teach him ideas about life and how to change direction. Him being okay and being through this was important to me. Out of 17 years has had only 5 to go. Only 5. A long time still, but time is passing.

Several years ago I started his blog: My Name is Jamie.  Many off the posts are portions off his letters. Then came the idea of writing his story. I did a tremendous amount of research and reading to understand our prison system. I also started the monthly  newsletter – ITFO News. (I’d publish more often but I don’t have the time unless I can get some – free – help from someone who believes I what I do.

This second blog, Watch and Whirl and trying to keep up with social media is all day ( night) project. In my off hours I write and record music.

This is what Jamie has done for me. He gave me a life – a profession that is much enhanced from what it was. We have been there for each other. There is much more to the story. If you haven’t yet, go to the other blog and start with the white pages at the top,

Enjoy, Learn and Understand. Become a penpal with an inmate who would cherish your letters about a life he can’t live behind walls. Most inmates are not what the media portrays.

Sonni

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ITFO News

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison – blog on Jamie’s life and other articles on our prison. Educate yourself to reality, not what mainstream media tells you.

Waiting . . . too long – The Poem

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WAITING . . . TOO LONG

Waiting . . . too long
Days that never seem to end
Hours that pass, am I that strong
I watch them curve around the bend
Many weeks, months and years
I watch the sky beyond the bars
Eyes slowly close to keep the tears
From falling down my face like stars
That light my life and keep me sane
While days that never seem to end
And wonder why I live at all
The only life I can pretend
Knees on the ground so I can crawl
Through these years that no one sees
Or cares to sooth this broken heart
I beg no more, I can’t say please
One more time or hope will start
I can’t beg to wait again
As minutes tick and days go by
Days that never seem to end
Beyond the bars I watch the sky.

By Sonni Quick copyright 2018

This is the poem that goes with the chapter in my book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”, with the same name. I recently posted that chapter as I continue to work on the book. A little father down the posts is also the music video made for this chapter. The other chapters also have piano music recorded and videos in the making. It’s the major reason why it has taken so long as I attempt to keep up my blogs and newsletter and the infernal social media. It takes tremendous time. So with patience I continue to work out the intricate puzzle pieces as I try to write a book work reading. In my imagination I see it as a movie worth making. Because Jamie’s life is width saving since no one in his life gives a damn but me.