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words by Tony Medina
“… when all one has is one`s own thoughts, it won`t take very long for them to turn inwards on themselves, and on the one who thinks them… Where lies the path to insanity.”
What they say about history repeating itself is true. A couple years ago I sat in this very same cage, at this very same steel bunk, typing on this very same typewriter and wrote about this world I`ve been in since 1996… DEATH ROW. For as sure as I am sitting here writing these words, Death Row is undoubtedly a world unto itself.
But that was for a different website, one lost to the World-Wide-Web when someone I trusted a little flipped and erased it all. So my friend who runs this site for me and is struggling with me to help save my life suggested I write about, or describe, Death Row. So here I am again, and in a way it`s poetic… You see, it`s a little after 11:30 p.m. on December 31, 2007. NEW YEARS EVE. Since it was on this night 12 years ago that my whole world was forever changed, it feels right that I spend this time now trying to give you a glimpse of the world I now struggle through.
I`ve been trying to put these words together for over a month but just could not seem to focus my thoughts properly, then earlier tonight, as I was sitting in this cage reading a book a friend sent me, it was like my mind was a Las Vegas slot machine with all the 7`s lined up… Thoughts just started pouring out.
In the more then eleven long years I`ve been on death row (4, 126 days to be exact) I have had a lot of people from the outside world ask me what it is like here. What do we do during the days? How do they treat us? How is the food? Can we make friends? How do you buy stamps and food? What can you have? What do we think about? How do we deal with being trapped in this cage?... A hundered different questions with a thousand different answers. After all, each man back here in these concrete and steel cages has their own way of dealing with being here. So this time around, I decided to do something a little different, this time as I give you a tour through Death Row, I`m going to let you see it through my eyes…
Walking into Polunsky unit is something of a confusing experience for most people first time around. They already have their own ideas of what it will be like. Then they arrive and see these huge concrete buildings, coil after coil of flesh tearing razor wire and fences within fences within more fences – then there is the flowers right outside the front door looking so pretty… How do you process the contradictions?
That`s Death Row folks… A world full of contradictions. Not only is the place itself a contradiction, but many of us within it`s walls are also.... read more