Although most of this year was spent behind the wall, I like to think it was a productive year. A mistake that many people in jail make is that they only really live two days of this sentence; the day the arrive and the day they leave. I did not make this mistake...I utilized my time, I bettered myself physically and mentally. I rehabilitated myself. With the help of my teacher and friend, Sivali, I learned more about the Buddha's Dhamma and as a result understand myself a great deal better than I did a year ago.
I think most importantly I was able to reconnect with my family. It will take awhile with my daughters...I have been absent from their lives for too long, but we are starting to all know one another. There is work to be done ahead, but it has begun and we are moving forward.
Sometime in Dec 2012 or Jan 2013, when I was in jail I was called down to the guard's desk. The counselor, who had been accused of sexual misconduct(and who testified against one of his co-workers @ grand jury), told me that he had read by Dead End King blog...A blog that I had thrown out some opinions about the situation, and about guards behaviour in general. He told me that the administration had had a meeting about my blog. They were obviously uncomfortable with it. This made me determined to write more about my experience...and upon my release I published a great deal of my writings to a new blog- http://joshmaddog1976.blogspot.com/ I have enjoyed a healthy number of followers, and will continue to write on the experience.
On the 5th of November, I became Guy Fawkes. I met other people who are also Guy Fawkes. I am fortunate to have met these compatriots. They have helped me to see that I am not insane...that there are others who are tired of the facade of civilization at large. People who believe, as I do, that the wheel of fate should be in the hands of the people, not just a few tyrants.
I got to see three of my close friends get clean.
I also lost some people this year...First, Carl Opperman. His passing remains the hardest for me to accept. I still miss him everyday and can't bring myself to delete his number out of my phone. I will see him in the pit of every show I go to...I will hear him every time I listen to Bob Marley. I want to say now that I will never forget Carl's friendship. A truer and better friend would be hard to come by. Jimmy Sullivan was beaten to death by a gang of cowards outside of a shitty bar in a shitty town. He was also a good man, and deserved a better end than he received. In May, Miami-Dade police shot and killed my friend Frito Valcin. It had been many years since I had seen him...but his death was no easier for that. A young and very lost man, Zack Frobe, who I knew only from jail died not long before I was released. He was still finding his way in the world...like so many others from this area he succumbed to drugs as a way to deal with his angst. He had a good heart and good humor. Brad Wroblewski...one of the craziest mofos to ever walk this planet passed just a month ago. He was my sponsor when I joined the Brotherhood of Irish Americans, he was my room mate for a time and a friend in my darkest hour. Finally, yesterday Sammy Shultz passed away...another person who couldn't let go of the poison. Sammy was one of those people you meet who is an instant friend...5 minutes or 5 years made no difference. I will remember all of these men fondly in the years to come and celebrate their lives rather than mourn their deaths.
In 1875 William Ernest Henely wrote a poem called Invictus. Invictus means "unbreakable", it has become my personal mantra. I wish to end this note with the poem in it's entirety. In memorial to those who have passed, and as tribute to those of us still in this world who refuse to be broken.
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 circumstanceI 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.