This is the blog of Keven James Bramwell, an inmate in a maximum security Texas prison. These are his real-life stories of life in prison, and how he got there. Behind brick walls, steel doors, and iron gates, he shares the pages of his journals with the world. (Some material is adult in nature – reader discretion advised.) Cannot be reproduced without permission. COPYRIGHT 2011

Latest

Father Time

It’s hard to believe I’ve spent a decade of my life incarcerated. Life in prison can be an absolute, tormented balancing act on the sharp edge of massive heartache and each man’s own search for meaning. I have not sat idle. I divide and conquer as if this is all a study. To comprehend the complexities of prison life and all the elements and the inter-workings of this foreign world, it takes delicate handling. After ten years, I know this, for my integrity and being absolutely comfortable as an outsider. I do my time very differently than these other men. I’m not involved in all the politics and controversies here. They go full force. I don’t hustle politics or gamble.

What I do is inspire and remind people that true freedom can not be bought and sold in any courtroom. It’s without question something you have to discover within yourself. We all are deeply wounded and continuously degraded down here. Some have lost their will entirely. We roam, helpless, while our mothers, our fathers, and children pass away. Helpless. There’s a loneliness like nothing you’ve known that aches deep in your bones. The vacancy in the repeated abandonment and discarded promises were told every day from those of you who think they’re free. Are you free?

Over the decade, I’ve found pieces of my life’s puzzle in only ways God could have orchestrated. I’ve loved in ways that have taught me selflessness and how to be courageous. To love someone is to be courageous. Have you ever thought of it that way? I’ve said many good-byes and watched that last corner be turned and then VANISH. It’s comparable to a death. It really is, because that person is just instantaneously gone. Life moves on (and incredibly fast) when a man reclaims his freedom. I’ll hear from them for a few weeks, then maybe once a month. But the world begins to consume and command your every hour. I don’t allow myself to feel discarded or forgotten. I know with certainty that I made an impact on your life, and in some way will forever remain a part of it. With or without you in mine.

My days are very busy. I work as a clerk 0500 to 1600 hrs. I have an important job and actually enjoy being able to organize groups and create projects with individual accountability. The way I do things is not conventional here by any means. The system here is designed around old ideas and outdated solutions. Things have now been modernized and after a process of getting everyone familiar and on board, we have the best department in the state.

It is important, even behind these walls, to continually challenge yourself and adapt those processes to other areas of our lives. My challenge right now is a huge one. I’ve had some research done, and there has never been a study and/or book written about the communications between incarcerated men and their fathers. You hear every war story imaginable in here. I’ve noticed over the years that no one ever speaks of their father. This person, this part of your life, is sacred to a man. Much deeper emotions to talk about than say, a wife or mother. What was his nickname for you? Did he ever tell you he loved you? Do you hope to meet him someday? I’ve worked on a collection of 42 questions that I believe will grant others great insight on this topic. I’m going to interview as many men as possible. I’ve done five interviews already, and the intensity is obvious and present; I talk to my father first, and allow them to see my own vulnerability. What’s amazing is the person who has never even met his father, and yet has much more to talk about than those who have. One man watched, as a child, while his father beat up and raped his mother. It was when he watched his dad put his hands on his 8-year-old sister, that he stabbed him in the face and neck 21 times. He wipes tears away and asks me if anyone is looking. These stories are powerful and I’m looking forward to this project. It will become a published book. When a title surfaced that could not have fit better, that’s when I decided this has to be a book. Father Time.

What are reason and purpose in this life if not to be on a constant search for understanding and the ultimate realization that we may very well never find the answer. It’s our own individual quest. I’m sending this out with all my love and a single request, that each one of you look in the mirror and love that person you see in its reflection. Look in your mirror’s reflection, and treat that person well, you’re their protector.

Little Earthquakes

Always

Suns rise and set

Moons come and go

Stars journey to a distant sky

Tides ebb and flow

Clouds form and fade

as if to silently say

That all we ever really have

is tomorrow’s yesterday

But there’s one thing time

will never ever own

And one day time itself

will have to finally show

that though the winds of change

may carry away the days,

My heart will be here

holding you always…

all ways.

–Terah Cox

 

Epic

It’s not that I have changed my mind

Or misplaced all the reasons

And it’s not that I have lost my courage

It’s still secure and in safe-keeping

 

It’s the tangle of misconception

That ravages my spirit

The decision made to carry away

And annihilate my existence

 

Where in one’s soul does redemption go

When judgments have already denied it

And when the one’s you love, have turn and run

A sentence of a different confinement

 

I’m not quite certain if the search is over

Petals still cling to their vine

Like a poem to a poet

A voice to a choir

A riddle trapped inside a rhyme

EPIC.

–Keven James, April 2016

Me, Myself & I

Me, myself, and I is the anthem to The Solo Flight (Keven’s newest collection of artwork, poetry, and blog entries)

Gallery

Solo Flight Collection

If You Want Me To

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear and I don’t know the reason why you brought me here, but just because you love me the way that you do, I’m gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.
‘Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step and I’m clinging to the promise you’re not through with me yet, so if all these trials bring me closer to you, then I will go through the fire if you want me to.
It may not be the way I would have chosen when you led me through a world that’s not my home, but you never said it would be easy, you only said I’d never be alone. I’ll remembering the suffering your love put me through and I’ll go through the darkness if you want me to.
–Keven James, March 2016

In So Many Words

and it aches

that place in my soul

where the notes scroll

lost keys on a chord

bolted doors closed

the forgotten words

a voice unheard

and where do I turn

please no more — no more

and all the signs say that I

have the answers

like they are hidden inside

and that is all that really matters

but there’s a song left unsung

in a book with unwritten chapters

and without the wings of my heart

a petal from a flower

and it aches

that place in my soul

a story untold

a hand that still holds

all the world

never let go — wings that can’t fold

in so many words

in so many … words

–Keven James, September 2015