“Forbidden’s Love, and the time before, Time”

By Monsieur Mills

Once upon a time, during the time before time existed, there ruled a lord and his name was Forbidden. Forbidden's rule stretched for as far as the eye could see, for as deep as the ocean's deep, and as high as the skies could rise. All this and he was still the lord of nothing. Be that as it may, Forbidden was still a very powerful lord. But if this story was told about him alone, it would be somewhat drab. He was a very dark being and willed all things to be so. So, for the sake of this story-and our perceptions of life itself-it is not. Yes! There was another being, one even more powerful than Forbidden himself, ten times-no!-one hundred times more powerful than Forbidden! And that being was his brother Love. Now there are some tales that tale that Forbidden and Love were two characteristic traits of the same being: two sides of the same coin, if you will, but that is not completely true, or at least I don't think so. No one really knows. If you were to ask me, "where did Forbidden and love come from?" I could not answer that either, but, in my defense, I can say that to this day-and every day that the world spins, for as long as every future day becomes presents' now, then, past, passes us by­ -- Forbidden  and  love will  reside in the hearts and minds of all of us. Until  the end of Time.

 

So, what do we know?

 

We know  that, in the beginning  of beginnings  everything  was black, an eternal  sea of night. But like all darkness, there  was  a light that resides within-and  that  light  was Love.  Love loved his brother  as only Love could. This is why even though he was most powerful,  Love allowed Forbidden to rule. For time immeasurable, Love sat at the foot of Forbidden's throne, thinking of new ways to make his brother embrace him. These silent conversations that Love had with himself  were what gave birth  to thought.

And-with Thought came: Contemplation, Idea, and all things related.

 

"Thought," Love thought. "I again need you counsel. My brother Forbidden is still without love."

"But you are here," Thought replied. "And I can sense that you are stronger than Forbidden: you are more vast than the eternal sea of night. You are the greatest of the Great­ Beings. You could make him embrace you." Love did not deduce that Thought meant by using force.

"I know," Love said. "But for some reason he will not embrace me. In our first discussion with each other, we came to the conclusion to allow Forbidden to rule. That did not make him embrace me. I even  went as far as giving him a piece of you, so that he may think  thoughts of  love,  but  it seems he only thinks of darkness:  of night.  Please, Thought.  I need your help."

Thought contemplated.

 

" ... Well-maybe if Forbidden could better see himself, then he would realize the strength of love, and then he would embrace you," Thought thought.

Love found this idea to be a fantastic one. So he reached deep. Deep-deep-deep within himself and brought forth a tiny piece of his eternal-light. And this-was the birth of, Day. Now Day, being born out of Love's light, was so immensely powerful that in his presence, Night began to retreat; where once Night had covered all things, hiding them in darkness, the light of Day shed Light on a vast emptiness: exposing everything and nothing at all.

The Great-Being, Forbidden, sitting atop his throne of eternal-Night, took notice of this change right away-and with his ability to think, thought of this change as bad. Forbidden appeared immediately before Love.

"Love, what is this... this thing you have created which causes night to retreat?" In response, Love, like a magician using hands that were not really hands at all, formulated Day into a ball then held it before the face which was not really a face at all: the face of Forbidden.

 

"Its name is Day," Love replied. "And its essence is Eternal-Light. I thought it would

be-"

 

"You thought?" Forbidden interjected." "Yes, I thought you would like it."

"Well, I don't like it," Forbidden said. "In fact, I. ..I. ..I don't know, but I don't like it. I forbid it. Love, you must remove this... this Light.

"This cannot be," Love told his brother. "It has always been. Even in darkness, Light remains."

 

 

 

"Well. .. Day then? You can remove this Day thing." Forbidden said.

"Yes," Love replied. "But I will not."

 

Forbidden could not believe his brother's words, and  in that instant  he experienced something  new:  Frustration.  Forbidden's  frustration  rose  'till  overflowing:  it  filled  his  entire being  so  mu  that  it  seeped  outside  of  him-and  this  was  the  birth  of  Anger.  Anger,  for Forbidden, was a very welcomed emotion. He embraced it as he could not embrace Love. And in embracing  Anger, Forbidden discovered  the birth of another emotion:  Hate.

"I hate it!" Forbidden screamed, immediately embracing this new emotion. "I hate Day, I hate Light: the light of Day. I hate it. I forbid these things. Love,  remove them." Forbidden  was angry and  full of hatred. "Remove  them now!"

To which Love calmly replied, "I  will  not."

 

Forbidden, seeing his brother would not budge, became confused. Why would he not obey?  I need to think, Forbidden  thought;  what  was his brother's reason for this?

"Thought," Forbidden thought, but he received no reply from thought. Instead, Forbidden was answered by two others: Anger, and Hatred.

 

"Yes," they responded, their multilayered voice hissing like angry-hateful snakes. Dripping poison, dark and ominous, each word they spoke was elongated, almost as ifto reverberate forever, given there was no word to succeed the previous one. "Love is being insubordinate; he does not acknowledge you rule; he does not believe you are worthy of your throne of, Eternal-Night. He has brought forth this Light to cause all you have to retreat. He wants to take your place-that  is why he refuses to obey."

"This is a challenge, then?" Forbidden asked.

 

"Yes... challenge... challenge... challenge," they cooed so sonorously. "You are forbidden: the ruling lord of all, the commander of the Eternal-Night, you are the stronger of the two Great-Beings, You... you... you...."

And this-the combination  of hatred, Anger, and very little thought-was  the birth of ego. Fueled by Hate, Anger, and now his Ego, Forbidden went on a very long and lengthy tirade about himself, listing all the things he was and everything he owned. 1 am this, he said, and 1 am that. 1 own this, and 1 Rule that. 1 forbid this, and 1 demand this, and 1-1-1...

Love watched his brother with a calm serenity. He knew forbidden possessed the ability to create-creation was a part of both of them-and he saw his brother's creations (hatred, anger, etc.) for what they were: poison. But Love did not fear his brother's creations. He did not fear anything. He was Love. But still he felt something. Seeing Forbidden in this state-a state much worse than he had ever been in before-almost crushed Love. And this was the birth of Sadness. And with sadness came, Empathy, Sympathy, and all things related to Compassion.

Forbidden finished his long and lengthy tirade. He stood before Love, his chest-that was not really a chest-poked out, his chin-that was not really a chin-held high, and gave birth to Arrogance. Love did not waver. He did not look away with his eyes that were not really eyes at all. He merely stood there and waited to see what his brother would do.

Forbidden, ignorant of Love's true intentions, was still confused. He stared at Love, who stood  calmly  before him  with his ball of Day,  and  in its light  Forbidden  could  see himself the way love saw him. And for a brief moment, he experienced self-pity. He tasted sadness, and with this sadness came: Hurt and Pain and all things related. But only for a brief moment;  Anger,  Hatred, and his Ego forced Love's feelings out 'till only the Hurt and Pain remained. Forbidden sought Thought's corrupted  counsel  once more.

"Thought," Forbidden thought in agony. "We are here" they hissed.

"What shall  I do? He refuses to obey.  I want  not this light of Day. What shall  I do?"

 

"You can strike... strike... strike. . .," they hissed repeatedly. But Forbidden  did  not understand their meaning. So he let himself go. Forbidden  allowed  himself to succumb  to their will.  Greedily:  Hate,  Anger,  Pain,  Ego, and  Hurt  took  over. Taking  hold  of all  Forbidden's power, they made him lash out with great force, and in that brief moment of moments, Forbidden struck  Day with all he commanded.

 

And this was the birth of violence. And with Violence came Destruction, and all things related. The blow was so great that it caused Day to shatter. Small pieces of Day scattered across the Eternal-Sea  of Night.  And this was the birth of the stars. But as hard  as Forbidden  struck Day,  he did  not  destroy him. Day only decreased  in size,  and this-was  the birth of sun.

WARDEN

(An Interview)

By Martin. Q. Public

 

 

How do I feel about them? (He suppresses a smirk) Well, first let me tell you about who I am. I graduated from the academy in the early 70's, where they taught us how to deal with these nigg…criminals. Don't trust 'em. If they get out of line, swing your baton and crack a few ribs or teeth.

Whatever. They're the worst society had given birth too. See, the academy taught same of us how to think. For me, it only reaffirmed what I already thought of…them. I moved through the ranks fairly fast, aspiring to become Superintendent because I had a plan, a vision, and now that I've reached my goal, no one can stop me. Not these prisoners. Not their stupid families. Not Senator O'Donnell or little Andy Cuomo. That letter from O'Donnell, dated January 22 of this year, which was addressed to my old buddy, who was then the acting Commissioner, Anthony Annucci. It fell on deaf ears. So what he mentioned to  buddy that "human rights violations" are taking place inside here. This is a prison. No one gives a f*** about people in prison.

Ummm -- excuse me? Do black lives matter? (chuckles) Do roaches matter? You can burn them, drown them, you can stomp them into the dirt. But they'll keep coming. And just like roaches need a motel. They'll always need prisons. They tell you that in criminal Justice 101. Black lives matter only in the mind of other blacks who don't realize that they're expendable. They are chattel -- cattle. To be slaughtered. Hearded. Lorded over by someone like me! That's how we keep people, our good ole boys

honest and hardworking. Modern Day Slavery? America was built on slavery! That's what once made this country great. Like Slave Master General Garrett Storm, the man that Stormville, New York is named after. Same place Green Haven Prison is located. I'm just carrying on a long tradition of slave handlers. Huh? Yes. I'm sure there have been complaints about the severity of my methods; about how I run the facility. Thanks to my connections at the local Post Office, and my... anonymous relatives working in Albany, I've been able to keep a tight lid on them.

And I can't believe you even asked me about Deincarceration. This is my bread and butter! So do you really think I give a damn if my ideals, and how I run this plantat--prison conflict with the Governor's agenda? I don't believe these prisoners should have anything. Recreation? Visits with their family? Re-entry programs? If it was up to me I'd lock 'em in their cells 24 hours a day! Do you think I give a shit whether they can console their baby's mama? or talk to their nappy n**** kids? or hug their poor mothers? (makes a mock sad-face) This is why the Department of Corrections has began a pilot program of video visits. Because it's easier for their families to "visit" their loved one on video. And once enough prisoners' families get fooled into agreeing to them -- we can stop contact visits, permanently. Their families are lazy, ghetto idiots.

I only want criminals reentering society if they're going to come back. That's why I've told my Deputy of Programs to shut down programs. That's why I've socially engineered the violence in the recreation yards. Tear gas flying everywhere. Sergeant Terigglio stomping the back of a nig-­ inmate's head in. I love that guy! He has a tattoo of a black baby getting hung by a noose. He's just as passionate about what he does as I am.

Besides, roaches don't need recreation -- or programs. I don't want them to socialize with each other. I want to keep them anti-social. I am a mythical creature. A god. I oppress them because I can. I keep the enlightened public-eye out because I can. I don't need them whining like O'Donnell about civil and human rights? Or writing an expose, the way Janet Reitman did for Rolling Stone magazine about Guantanamo Bay. We like being able to use the mass media as our puppet masters to tell the mindless public whatever we want.

Human Rights violations? Ha! They'd have to be human for me. to violate their Human Rights. They're not human. Like transexuals or gay people. Best thing about it is: we don't even get hate-crimes for killing them. I don't worry about anyone's rights. Every single one of these... they're a race of prostitutes. They need a real man like me, to treat 'em like a lady; slap 'em around when they get out of line. Show whose...Masa... to tell 'em to get back in the corral, and keep making us good ole boys rich. 

THE OTHER F-WORD

 Joseph Sanchez

As a "felon, inmate, prisoner or offender", I find myself in a conundrum in the label debate. All the words can fit, but none define me. And that, I believe, is the problem with the words, they are to broad and lead to speculation. In prison there are different classes of felons, inmates, prisoners and offenders. In New York we are. called offenders. Most of us in prison reject this word because it sounds too close to the lowest class class--child abusers and rapists. As the saying goes "the only offenders I know are sex offenders." An "inmate" is regarded as an informant or uncle Tom -- which is the next lower class. Which only leaves felon or prisoner.

Felon sounds permanent, maybe due to conditioning, it is something that will never wash away. With every crimme the media, the politicians, and the public go to blame one failure or an other. A majority of these "failures" are someone failing to predict the occurrence of a crime based from the perpetrator's criminal history. It goes as far as finding blame for failing to use the perpetrator's free speech (i.e., Social Media Postings) to incarcerate them. Until we stop placing blame on decision makers for not using one's criminal history, we will never be able to transcend the label of being a felon. Until then call me a prisoner and when I am released an ex-prisoner.

 

 

"THE OTHER F-WORD"                                                                  

 

The Marshall Project. Org, by Bill Keller, April 27, 2016.                                                                    

October 6,  2015, 6015 A.L.

A literary Pilgrimage Comes Full Circle By R. L. WILLIAMS

 

We whisper the same wish...we'd like to place fresh flowers on  these graves...to honor  the..[Johns]..whom some loved so...to acknowledge the meaning they made by caring about one  another.

- JOHN GALLAGHER (1941-2015), "A Literary Pilgrimage Takes a Detour."

[NYTIMES March 17, 2002]

 

 

John Gallagher was my Writing Coach, but I wasn't an official member of the Re-Entry Program called, Network. I was a straggler, an unschooled hack. Rough around the edges. Desperate to meet John after I was told by the program's librarian that Mr. Gallagher wrote for The New York Times.

 

We were introduced in the hallway, it was almost time for John to leave, so we quickly shook hands, and I told him I was the Teacher's Assistant of the Creative Writer's Workshop here in Green Haven Prison and currently writing a novel. He told me that he made a living as a writer,

wearing a huge smile so contagious ·I couldn't help but smile back. From the looks of it, he was

living my dream and enjoying it. But then, his escort arrived and he left. I wished I'd brought my

work-in-progress that night. However, I'd just met John, it could wait until the following week.

 

 

On the evening I finally handed him the manila envelope containing the first three chapters of my manuscript, I felt overly sure of myself-arrogant, like a proud father of a newborn; forgetting what harsh realities await children.

 

I expected John to come back the following  week, praising my writing, fawning over the prowess

of my prose. That didn't happen. Instead, he gave me the sorry-to-have-to-tell-you-this smile, and said, "No." I repeated the word as if asking myself  a question, thinking maybe I hadn't heard him

ight, but then he continued,  "You know Robert, you have the same problem my brother has as a

writer..."

 

As John went on, his voice started sounding distant like he was talking to me underwater. I didn't want to listen? He was making the sky fall, crushing  my delusion of how great I was, me-the writer. In my mind, I began to argue with the so-called makes-a-living-as-a-writer, John, your brother is a published author! How can I have the same problem as him? None of it made any sense to me. Was he trying to be funny? Was he giving me a sly compliment, dressed as an insult?

He then pulled out my manuscript, pointed to page one, read the first sentence aloud, and asked, "What are you trying to say, here?" I didn't understand. I knew how to write-well. At least I thought so, and others who I considered really great writers thought so too, some of which we professors and professionals in other fields. But John wasn't patting me on the back, he was talking to me, quietly, in the comer, making me so angry I felt nauseous, I could hardly answer his rapid-fire questions intelligently, which were really the same question, "What are you trying to say?" And although I was frustrated, I began telling him what I meant, sentence-by-sentence, and after each explanation, he'd said, "Okay. Then, say that."

 

I left Network, manuscript in hand, walked across the hall, back into the general library, sat down in a chair, glared at the envelope full of a draft I thought was kindling, and let out a long)

heavy sigh. No more hot air. Suffice to say, I was mortified, that is, until I found a piece of paper

titled, General Comments, also tucked inside the manila.                                  

 

John Gallagher made me put my ego in my back pocket, which was exactly what I needed. So, each week during the break, I would dart inside the Network room, let him check out something I'd written-and leave with a homework assignment. "Robert, read Hemmingway! Short effective sentences." John had once said to me, and another time it was, "Write what you know-about where you are."

 

The evening I finally noticed him nodding in approval as he read an essay I'd written. He had no idea how much that simple gesture motivated me to keep polishing my prose, perfecting my craft; a passion we both shared, but a labor of love he had excelled in, and savored as a master craftsmen.

 

Before John passed away I'd written him a letter, unfortunately, he never received it. My first words were: "Thank you, you were right-about everything " Since art always imitates life, later, I realized exactly what he meant.

 

The act of writing is the expression of our creative longing's made tangible. We as human beings struggle to find our voices, to speak our humble truth without falling in love with out own words...our own hot air.

Wait. I can't end it like this, not yet, or John would say, "Why the story Robert?"

 

Why? Why do we writers write and throw away thousands upon thousands of drafts of the same scene, or comb through thirty-ton thesauruses searching for million-dollar words, when the right words might've already been written; scribbled out or worn away to deep impressions, legible even underneath streaks of pink-eraser peelings?

 

Because writers are merely men and women, mortals without pedestals, searching for clarity of thought...word, perfection, only to sometimes complicate things for themselves. So they  keep on searching for...

 

...simplicity?

 

 

Simplicity.

 

Yes. That's what I was trying to say.

RED ENVELOPE

HECTOR RODRIGUEZ

I was washing my hands and face when through the mirror, I noticed an officer with her hands full of mail standing in front of my cell, asking me for my last name and din number. Rodriguez, 98 a 1419, I said to her as she searched her pile to see if I had more than one piece of mail. I didn't. The red envelope made a smacking  sound when it hit the feed-up slot on the gate.

I waited for her to leave before walking to the bars, I leaned forward, peeked at the return address, and nodded my head in a surprised, shocked sort of way while picking up the envelope by the edges so that it didn't get wet.

I tossed it onto my bed, dried myself with my t-shirt,

and looked around for a bed sheet to hang on my bars for privacy. I took a chair and placed it facing the bed, and Red Envelope.

I sat hunch-back with one arm laying across my stomach, and the other one bent at the elbow, caressing my chin while pondering on the contents of her emotions clasped in that Red Envelope.

As if the pores on my face were rioting, they all started to throw out beads sweat as if each drop of sweat had a life of its own. They started to form patches of salty water around my nose, ears, and forehead.

A storm of old memories and illusions kicked off in my head as if they were threaded on a set of reels, playing over and over. Images of the first time I met her with those white

jean-shorts that seemed air-brushed on her. Her curly hair pulled back in a pony tail. Her complexion gave the impression that

it was double dipped in cinnamon. I let out a surprising giggle as the thought of her dimples forming every time her smile played on the reel of memories.

I picked up the envelope and brought it to my nose in search of her scent. I started to panic as my nose wasn't able to capture even a drop of it. My nose took a life of its own, and 

like a bloodhound it was all over the Red Envelope in search of her scent, but the Red Envelope was free of her scent.

Disappointed, I opened it and saw a birthday card, some pictures, and some writing in a hot pink color. Seeing her unique handwriting sent uncontrollable chills all over my body. Her words, "forgive my tardiness••• I forgot to mail it on time•••

I love you the same••• you will always be special to me•••" and right next to her words in a deep pink color were her lips printed on top of the words Happy Birthday.

Nervously I brought the card. to my lips, held it there

for a moment, then I placed it back into the Red Envelope, picked

up the pictures, and one by one I study her smile and eyes.                                      

I knew that if her eyes weren't sparkling,    her smile wasn't

a genuine one. However, on this occasion she was happy. My eyes started to bulge up, and tears the size of sunflower petals started dropping to the floor. I picked each petal and placed them in an envelope with a note that read "Each one of these petals holds a memory of our time together, and apart from each other••• I am nothing••• but a flower-less stalk without you."

I sealed the envelope, walked toward the window, opened it, and asked the Autumn wind if she could carry this letter all the way to Brooklyn, and drop it off in an old friend's mail box?

The wind agreed to do this favor for me, for she is also a believer in true love, but as soon as the wind touched the envelope, I froze, and like dried up oak-leaves, the envelope and me turned golden crisp. Once the wind let go, the envelope full of my words and myself shattered into hundreds of pieces scattered in every direction.

The wind, upset that she couldn't deliver on her word, turned into a whirlwind destroying everything in sight. The world was in chaos, but it was the only way the Autumn wind could pay me back. She figured that the very next best thing

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