Thomas is sending me poems on a regular basis now and we are also putting together a book for him. The book may probably take a while, but it’s exciting to be part of this process.
Today, I have a short essay written by Thomas Porter. Even if it’s not poetry, he still manages to bare it all, be raw with his words, and get us to think – it got me thinking, for sure.
Oh To My Differences
How do we describe differences? Disagreeable in an opinion or even distinction, or discrimination in stance, or causing disagreement?
I’ve always thought that differences made our world beautiful, given that through these differences we have amazing Music of Love, Pain, Joy, and even something to lean towards on those days when everyone weighs heavily on our nerves. Differences have given us amazing Art. When we all look upon the created forms we are able to see differently but still understand within ourselves what the artist provoked emotionally,
Yet, I’ve noticed within the very characteristic that distinguishes one from another or from the average, Men in prison find themselves committed to proving themselves to other men for whatever reason of their past lives or their negative behavior. For they insist one will live and kill over principles that I don’t value at all, It’s devastating to me to constantly question my self-worth in that nature of populated Prison.
I am partly or totally unlike the nature of this population or mental principal state that is this culture, I believe wholeheartedly the element or factor that separates or distinguishes me is that I am at times struggling with the fact that I’m deserving of the existence that was given to me for actions of creating someone else’s demise,
I’ve been going around in mental circles striving to piece together my thoughts, Knowing only through other people’s compassion that I am worthy of more than what I believe I am,
Yet, everyone I come in contact with in this population is trying to change my perspective with words like you should “just be happy” you didn’t get executed. Is there something soft-hearted about me that makes me wonder if I could ever have a conversation about my anxieties and anxiousness towards this life of relief?
Who would cherish my vulnerability, talking about the very things that chipped away at my soul…
By Thomas Porter
Some background information on Thomas. In 2005, Thomas killed a police officer. It was charged as a coldblooded murder, although Thomas has insisted throughout these past 16 years that he acted in self-defense. He was sentenced to death. He spent 14 years on death row – in absolute isolation – and he watched 24 men walk to their executions … He knew each of them by name …
When I started writing him in February 2021 there were only two men left on Virginia’s death row (he is incarcerated in Virginia), and soon after I contacted him Virginia abolished the death penalty. So, now Thomas’s sentence has been commuted to a life sentence. They recently gave him another one + 28 years, so Thomas has now 2 life sentences and 28 years.
As he said to me, he is still going to die in prison, it’s just a slower death.
There are people who have done things that are a lot worse than what he did and they got a lesser sentence and are even released. My heart goes out to the family of the victim, it does, this is a tragedy, but destroying Thomas’s life is not going to bring anyone back. And truth be told, the reason Thomas is made to suffer is not so much because of the crime but because of who the victim was. It was no “ordinary” citizen, it was a police officer. They won’t forget or forgive it …
Should punishments be based on who the victim was? I don’t think so, but living in the world we are, things like equality are naive aspirations.
I hope that you can look past Thomas’s past and crime and see the man he is today. Through his written word you can see who he is. I see no malice or repeat offender in any of his poems or essays. I see a kind man who has paid a harsh price for what he did, a man who has redeemed himself, and now it is up to us to show that we can also ignore our cruelty and give him a second chance at life instead of attempting to destroy it over and over. How does the destruction of a man’s mind make justice justice?
Find here some books by inmates. I’m currently reading A Voice from the Killing Machine by Kenneth Foster.
Amazon disclaimer: as an Amazon associate I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchase. This helps me maintain my website. 🙂