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Tolerance

Jul 01, 2011
» Reflections

My 12 year old nephew asked me this morning, “Uncle Eddy, were you robbed last night by a Black guy?”

I said yes and briefly shared with him what had transpired.

He inquired, “How come it’s happening to our family? MaMa (grandma) got robbed by a Black guy, you got robbed by a Black guy and Daddy got robbed by a Black guy.”

I said, “Sometimes desperate people do desperate things. This did not just happen to our family. It happened to our neighbors also. There’re many reasons why things happened.”

Before I can say more, he went back to playing with his dog and puppy.

7-1-2002

It’s my shower day so I got an early start on my exercise. It felt good as always. I showered and ate breakfast. The cop surprised me by asking, “Shower or cigarette?” I couldn’t understand him at first until he explained. He has a bag of rolled cigarettes on him. If someone chooses the cigarette he will give up his shower. I asked why he did that. He said, “That way I don’t have to shower that many people. The sooner I finished the sooner I can go to my little room and sit down.” What a job!

I folded some heart shape origami to decorate the cell. It’s one way to pass time. Mr. K came by to visit. He wanted to check on my correspondence course status. He just got back from vacation and heard that I was in Ad Seg. The rumor he got was that I was caught with weapon. I laughed out loud when he said that. That’s the first rumor I heard so far.

I was hoping to receive some letters in the afternoon, but I didn’t. I felt disappointed and started to wonder why. Then I had to let it go because is out of my control. There’s no need for me to stress about it. I wrote to J a bit. I won’t send the letter out until I hear from her.

I had a long talk with “Little”. He’s a good neighbor. I saw people rolling boats and wind surfing on the bay. They were having fun.

After the Officer picked up mail, the other lady Officer gave me two letters. One is from Yuri and the other from J. It was too late for me to respond to the letters. The reason they were late was they were rerouted to me from North Block. The letters were opened. Instead of giving them to me right away the Officer decided to read them first. That delayed my chance to write a letter. Yuri and M (a sister) wants to visit me tomorrow or the next day. They sent in the visiting forms. They don’t know that it takes 4-6 weeks for the form to be approved. I won’t be able to see them anytime soon. M is going to China in a few days. I will miss meeting her this time around. Hopefully faith will brings us together again. Yuri sent me a group letter since she’s behind on her correspondence. She writes a few lines on the margins. She also sent me a couple of pamphlets. I appreciate her for caring about me.

I want to maintain the sense of peace I have during the last couple of weeks and extend it to my future. I want to overcome this obstacle and start over.

Autobiography @ 33

Mar 07, 2011
» Poetry

I am 33 years old and breathin’

it’s a good year to die

to myself

I never felt such extreme peace

despite being mired in constant ear-deafening screams

from the caged occupants – triple CMS1, PCs2, gang validated,
drop-outs, parole violators, lifers,
drug casualties, three strikers,
human beings

in San Quentin’s 150 year old solitary confinement

I don’t want to start things over

 

@ 33

I am very proud of being who I am

I wrote a letter to a stranger who said
“You deserve to lose at least your youth,
not returning to society until well into middle age…”

after reading an article about me in San Francisco Weekly

I told him
“A hundred years from now when we no longer exist on this earth of humankind the seriousness of my crime will not be changed or lessened. I can never pay my debt to the victims because I cannot turn back the hands of time…I will not judge you.”

whenever I think about my crime I feel ashamed

I’ve lost my youth and more

I’ve learned that the more I suffer the stronger I become

I am blessed with great friends

I talk better than I write
because the police can’t hear my conversation

the prison officials labeled me a trouble maker

I dared to challenge the administration
for its civil rights violation

I fought for Ethnic Studies in the prison college program

I’ve been a slave for 16 years under the 13th Amendment

I know separation and disappointment intimately

I memorized the United Front Points of Unity

I love my family and friends

my shero Yuri Kochiyama and a young sister named Monica

who is pretty wanted to come visit me

somehow I have more female friends than male friends

I never made love to a woman

sometimes I feel like 16

but my body disagrees

some people called me a square

because I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs

I am a procrastinator but I get things done

I’ve never been back to my motherland

I started to learn Spanish

escribió una poema en español

at times I can be very selfish and vice versa

I’ve never been to a prom, concert, opera, sporting event

or my parents’ house

I don’t remember the last time I cried

I’ve sweat with the Native Americans, attended mass with the

Catholics, went to service with the Protestants, sat and chanted

with the Buddhists

my mind is my church

I am spoiled

in 2001 a young lady I love stopped loving me

it felt worse than losing my freedom

I was denied parole for the ninth time

I assured Mom that I will be home one day

after she pleaded me to answer her question truthfully
“Are you ever going to get out of prison?”

the Prison Industrial Complex and its masters attempted to control my mind

it didn’t work

they didn’t know I’ve been introduced to Che, Yuri Kochiyama, Paulo Freire, Howard Zinn, Frederick Douglass, Assata Shakur, bell hooks, Maurice Cornforth, Malcolm X, Gandhi, George Jackson, Mumia, Buddha,

and many others…

I had about a hundred books in my cell

I was internalizing my politics

In 2000 I organized the first poetry slam in San Quentin

I earned my associate of art degree

something that I never thought possible

I’ve self-published a zine

I was the poster boy for San Quentin

some time in the ‘90s my grandparents died

without knowing that I was in prison

 

@ 30

I kissed Dad on the cheek and told him that I love him
for the first time

I’ve written my first poem

I called myself a poet to motivate me to write

because I knew poets would set us free

in 1998 I was granted parole
then it was taken away

the governor’s political career superseded my life

some time in the 90s
I participated in most of the self-help programs

in 1996 I really learned how to read and write

I read my first history book “A People’s History
of the United States”

my social conscious mind was awakened

in 1992 I passed my GED in Solano Prison

I learned how to take care of my body from ’89 to ‘93

in 1987 I turned 18 and went to the Pen from youth authority

the youngest prisoner in San Quentin’s
Maximum Security Prison

I was lucky people thought I knew kung fu

 

@ 16

I violated an innocent family of four and scarred them for life

money superseded human suffering

I was charged as an adult and sentenced to life
with a possibility

no hablo ingles

I wish I could start things over

I was completely lost

 

@ 12

I left Communist China to Capitalist America

no hablo ingles

I was spoiled

in 1976 I went to demonstrations against the Gang of Four

life was a blur from 1 to 6

on 5/29/69

I inhaled my first breath.

 


1 Correctional Clinical Case Management System Mental health condition of prisoners
2 Protective Custody of Prisoners

I love my GuMa

Jan 05, 2011
» Reflections

“It’s been 29 years. When are going to come visit GuMa? I saw everyone else in the family except you.” GuMa asked me over the phone.

How time flies!? The last time I saw Guma, my Dad older sister, was when I was 12 years old in 1982. We’re at the training station in the city of GuangZhou, China.

“Do you remember the piggy bank of coins you gave me before you left?” GuMa started talking away. “I didn’t use any of it. I put those coins in rolls and saved them. I still have them in the village.” I can’t believe GuMa still remembers everything so vividly. She’s already 85 years old. I was closest with GuMa out of the family. She helped take care of me when I was a kid. I gave her all my savings before I left for USA.

I have to tell GuMa it’s not that I don’t want to go visit her or forgot about her. I don’t have a passport to go anywhere. I told her that whenever I am able to adjust my immigration status and travel abroad, the first person I want to see in China is GuMa.

Yet, the reality is, I don’t know if I will ever see GuMa again. That’s why I wish that she will live to be a hundred years old. That way, hopefully I can fix my status within 15 years and go visit GuMa.

03/2005 Bond Hearing

Mar 16, 2005
» Photos

Photos by Malcolm Yeung