Making Choices 18.6 - Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation


Making Choices 18.6 - Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
Kolbe House Jail Ministry
Volume 18 Issue 6 June 11, 2016
Page 2
End of Violence
Making Choices
Kolbe House at Assumption
2434 S. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608
Kolbe House Catholic
Jail Ministry
Editorial Team
Fr. Dave Kelly
Lamonte Lay
Making Choices
Combines the voices of those who are
incarcerated at Cook County Juvenile
Temporary Detention Center, Cook County
Jail and institutions throughout the state.
It is published as a means to give a voice
to those who wish to speak out.
It is a project of Kolbe House,
The Catholic Jail Ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago and
Precious Blood
Ministry of Reconciliation
By Malcolm Gray
Vandalia C.C.
Violence is all I see in these
streets, it feels like I’m a co–star
in one of those big time movies
we always see on T.V.
Training Day or Street Kings,
turn on the radio it’s the same
thing, “Shoot’em up bang bang!”
You only hear about peace from
people like me, who depend on
“J.C.”. My savior Jesus Christ
saved me from slavery, and a
lot of other sisters and brothers.
He picked us out before we
were inside of our Earthly
mothers, to be the light and lead
the way,
with the violence and the hate
all over the place.
Money has replaced a lot of
people’s faith!
Satan is having his way with the
human race!
There’s senseless murders
everyday! A mother lose a kid,
another person lose a friend.
When will the unnecessary pain
finally end?
We must start teaching and
helping others to understand,
how the curse begin.
The birth of sin is when slavery
truly captured man.
Now obeying Christ is the only
way we will ever be free again,
and bring the non- sense to an
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V O L UM E 18 , I S S UE 5
One color
Poetry from
within the
What my brother means to
By David Rivera
Hill C.C.
Sometime he drives me crazy and
acts like a pest, but even back
when we were kids, my brother was
the best. He always had this loyal
way of sticking up for me, and being
in my corner when I trusted him to
He always knew just what I needed
to hear, and what I didn’t need to
hear. He knows the right time to
make light of things, and he knows
just the right moment to be serious.
So when push comes to shove.
I can always count on him to be
there for me, year in year out. I have
always counted on my brother and
his love.
R.I.P. My Brother Bayo 1972-89
By Valentine Arriaga
Big Muddy River C.C.
I am a member of all races
and a member of none, one
for all and all for one!
One day all races will be
combined and no face will be
defined! Mr. King once
mentioned me before I was
even born, before from this
cruel world he was torn!
We should take from his
teachings the right way to act,
little kids playing together
white and black! And we
should continue these results
as we grow into adults!
In the Lord’s eye we are all
brothers and in the words of
my father!
We primates, we migrate!
Let’s extinguish hate, and lets
mate, and integrate! In the
words of my mother, in the
future we’ll all be one color! I
am German, and also a
Christian who loves a good
sermon! I am Indian, I am
many men! I am African, I am
every man! I am Latino and
also considered molano!
I am made up of all the
ingredients, I am grade A and
none of me is deviant! I am
the lighting within my writings!
And within that I bury my rage
I am multiheritage!
Page 4
What I see
By Arnold Joyner
Pinckneyville C.C.
I see myself much differently,
especially after this fifth time in
Illinois penitentiaries.
I’ve turned to Father God
heavenly, to change me internally,
emotionally, spiritually, and those
character traits I expose to others
I truly want to be who and what
Father God wants me to be.
Every day now, this is what I see.
Choosing to Act
By Al Cunningham
You can worry and your constant
focus on the negative possibilities will help to make them real.
Or you can take action, and your
worries will quickly fade away as
you get busy creating a positive
You can complain about life’s
unfairness and your negative
attitude will prevent you from
seeing the best opportunities.
Or you can take action, and the
valuable opportunities that open
for you will grow more numerous
and more accessible with each
You can wait for things to be
perfect before moving forward
and you'll end up letting life pass
you by.
Or you can go ahead and take
action, transforming what you
already have, as imperfect as it
may be,
into even greater abundance.
You can take comfort in never
making a mistake by never venturing out, but then you’ll never
make any progress either.
Or you can take action and
even though there will be some
mistakes along the way, they’ll
be outweighed by the many
worth while achievements.
You can remain bitter and angry over what has already
happened, and by so doing,
you’ll extend your misfortune
even longer.
Or you can take action and
move yourself to a more positive , more fulfilling place.
You can choose to do nothing,
but you’re not going to like the
Or you can choose to take
action and create a life that’s
filled with purpose, meaning
and real fulfillment.
It’s your life and the choice is
yours to make, what will you
I also see the majority of prisoners
in here look like me. I see what has
happen in America overtly. Still we
can change when we call upon
thee. We truly don’t have to live
nor be criminal. These bad choices
are based on lust, evil and greed.
Ninety-five percent of us are here
because of a plea.
I have tried to be a role model to
the majority. I have been even
acting and presenting to all a little
superiority. But the multitude in
here are afraid and unsure, like
their confidence is the basis of
inferiority. I guess that’s what they
see compared to what I see.
I see freedom and liberty, dignity,
integrity and equality.
I see my future wife Zee, my
daughter and two grand babies.
I see my new Godly family, please
people join me and let’s change
our future trajectory tentatively.
I know yall can see what I see. I’ve
been where you all are
mentally and physically.
Today, I’m a prodigy, Father God
changed me, no bull,
I’m A new me, it’s what I see.
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Your child's future
By Christopher Toney
Antisocial personality disorder
(APD) —characterized by a
pervasive pattern of disregard
for, and violation of the rights of
others that begins in childhood
or early adolescence and
continues into adulthood.
Does this sound familiar man,
“When I get out I’m gonna get
the first women I see pregnant”?
Yeah I’m going there, look, if
your planning on gangbanging,
carrying guns, selling drugs, and
having sex with multiple women
once released... Then this
popular idea that’s among the
prison population is not for you!
Think about your actions and
what your doing…
Multiple women means multiple
baby’s and no father figure
because your not going to be
with one woman. And even if
you did, living the “Street life”,
will eventually put you back in
prison anyway.
So why create multiple babies
knowing your heart still belongs
to the streets?
Next, The mothers’ of your
multiple children's self esteem
will be damaged.
Whether she's young or a bit
older, life will get really, really
hard when she becomes the
single parent of a new born
Especially when the father or the
child is in prison again.
You’ll burden these woman with
a divine responsibility that they’ll
naturally assume you both
could, and would handle!
Now what about the babies…
A child with no father figure is
more likely to become a gang
member, rapist, drug dealer,
and other kinds of fuel for the
Illinois Department of
Corrections—all because you
couldn’t control a carnal, but
also divine urge.
Also, and for the people of
Illinois who read the Making
Choices newsletters.
Do not believe that the Illinois
Department of Corrections takes
a Pro-active approach to the
prison population having kids.
Because it takes a re-active
The programs are geared
toward prisoners who already
have kids. And not towards the
younger gang members who are
planning on having more kids
than they can handle—with
multiple women.
So talk with your loved ones
about having children once
released, because the Illinois
Department of Corrections isn’t.
Unless you don’t
think a fresh parolee
and three babies,
with two different
is a problem.
Enemy affliction
By Valentine Arriaga
Big Muddy River C.C.
It’s a ruff ride on the wagon for
me. Do you know the limits of
my suffering agony?
Tweak goal affliction, is a
physical addiction! This life is so
grizzly, living in my own misery!
Hated by the multitude,
and gated by my own solitude!
When I do without, I’m filled
with doubt!
I don’t respect what I’m about!
And I always just wanna check
Repentant pain is my constant
The darkest days of my existence, swayed no resistance.
Desperate, and broken,
in hate I’m soaken!
Envy is in me!
Enemy of my own,
I am my own enemy!
Page 6
By Eric Snead
Danville C.C.
If times flies then my wings are
clipped, stabbed in my back,
and front tooth chipped!
I am the trash that you’ve discarded, with a stench you’re
about to be bombarded!
Arrogant and conceited with so
much gall, I lost count of how
you made me feel small!
You had me in the palm of your
hand, handle with care you
couldn’t understand!
The “Unwelcome Mat” you
placed out, your actions would
remove all doubt!
On a pedestal you stand ten
feet tall, in my eyes you still
very small!
So much food and yet you still
hunger, the mirror shows you
not getting younger!
Cappuccino and coffee quenches your thirst, karma will make
sure your bubble burst!
You rise up just to see me fall,
A simple mind that’s thinking
Much to your chagrin and big
surprise, like Maya Angelou and
Still I Rise!
This poem has been so long
over due, I write about someone I once knew!
Before you walk you learn how
to crawl,
Big ideas come in package so
You can't separate peace from freedom because
no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
- Malcolm X
End of chapter
By Floyd Stewart
Pinckneyville C.C.
Year 2009, I was suppose to be
in my prime, instead I was doing
hard time!
Seven years of my life gone
down the drain, I had no control
of my life, the PCP had fried my
Not to mention doing an extra
four months for getting caught in
Shawnee for smoking a blunt.
I couldn’t tell my family I got
caught in the joint for smoking,
I just said a fight is what happen.
I know the way I've been living is
possibly unforgiving, but now I
got a new look on life, and as I
continue to strive with my head
held high. I hope to make my
decisions wise.
Because I’m not ready to die!
I have a son who doesn’t even
know me and a son who’s not
mine, but all he knows is me.
I love them both equally, I want
the best for both of them, even if
that mean sacrificing me. For
they can be “Army Strong”,
being all they can be!
In a couple of weeks I’ll be
leaving this penitentiary, I
continue to right my wrongs, so
when I’m gone, I stay long gone.
You see I don’t want to be a
“Role model”, because I’m not
an actor.
I want to be a “Real model” in
my kids lives.
I been through a lot and done a lot
in my life, and I’m not tryna boast,
I’m just sharing my experience,
strengths and hopes.
On my journey I’ve learned that life
is more than just living, it’s
spending time with family and
being home for every Christmas
and Thanksgiving!
Life is shorter than a Newport
short, think of all the ashes you
dump from a cigarette, you
could’ve been else where using
that time well, with no regrets.
I wish my mom was here to read
this letter, then she could see my
life is becoming better.
Sometimes I don’t know where or
what I would do without my sister
“Sharon” support.
I’m LOL now, cause I know she will
kill me if I go back out there
smoking them Newport's. She
wants the best for me, even
sharing her money, home, and
religion, but I’m not a religious
person. I just know I have a
purpose and who knows? If I spent
more time in religion, I’ll spend less
time in prison.
My outdate is this May and as I
continue to contemplate my
thoughts are walking out that gate.
I wish I could take everybody with
me, just remember be good in life,
and everything will be alright!
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A Daughter searches for
her Daddy’s face
By Tracy Denell
Decatur, IL
In a dark place. Isolated. Insidious. Demons.
Something lurks there, scavengers of the mind.
More like an invitation, a test of
Depressed, PTSD, psychosis.
Sexual and physical abuse.
Anxiety. Thoughts of suicide…
Is what remains when hyenas
and buzzards have finished their
work, picked the bones clean…
Alcohol. Drugs. Relapse several
Impulsive. Insecure. Overwhelmed.
Drilling a hole in your skull to free
frustration of what cannot be
Half way houses. Rehabs. Jail…
VA. Meetings. Unsure how long
you’ll stay clean. Drink. Scared.
Start over. Nobody’s perfect.
Teasing the weak. Drink.
Squeezing the air from their
lungs. Drink.
Pressing them to their knees to
pray for help...a grizzled face.
Sad. Tired brown eyes.
Eyes like movie reels. Rewinding.
Memories. Replaying jungle films.
One scene bleeding into the next.
Your not alone…
When your back is against the
She holds you there with the truth
and love in her eyes. After all, a
father is the only man she loved
first. Happiness. Surrender.
Pray. Make amends. Serenity.
Place. I need you. I love you.
Please Lord let me know
By John Vazquez
Sitting in my room separated
from the world, separated from
my life, separated from my girl.
Remembering all the times of all
the fun and laughter, now I’m in
my cell fearing the next chapter.
Never would I thought my kids
would grow up to be bastards!
I would give the world just to see
their smiles, reminiscing where I
went wrong growing up as a
Hoping to give a better life to my
falling seeds, something more
better than I had ever seen.
Where did I go wrong?
Please Lord let me know, for me
being clueless eats away at my
I showed my friends “Royalty”,
I showed the block “Loyalty”,
I paid for some lawyer fee’s,
and this is how they’re
rewarding me.
As a juvenile I knew I was
destined for great, I wanted to be
on top separated from the fake.
Somewhere down the road I
must of made a wrong turn and
that one single decision leaves
me in hell where I burn.
Friends who I thought were
friends are no longer in sight
once I turned around they must
of up and took flight.
Lord why am I still here still
putting up a fight, Lord why
couldn’t I be taken away, why
couldn’t I see the light?
Instead it was “Chango”,
“Rambo”, “No Good”, “Oskeeno”,
“C-Ball”, “F”ila”, “Matill”, my
Grandma, and Grandpa.
People I thought deserve to live
forever, instead lives cut short
due to a stormy weather.
Page 8
Where were you?
By Darius Walton
Dixon C.C.
Where were you when the
demons attacked me?
Where were you when my
enemies tried to wack me?
Where were you when I needed
Where were you when I felt like I
was by myself?
Where were you when the
voices hunted me in my head?
Where were you when I needed
you close to me in my bed?
Where were you when I needed
commissary and mail?
Where were you when I got 60
years in jail?
Granite city…
Monstrous choices
By James Hollins
Pinckneyville C.C.
Welcome to Granite City, dope
drops, gangsters and sorrow is
what you will find.
4:20, is it day or night the methamphetamine tweaks your
Muriatic, behavior erratic, automatic weapons we seek!
Granite City, the crank machine, no room for the weak!
Just surrender, let go, embrace
the “Lifestyle”.
Put your life on hold and let’s
get spun a while!
Into the needle, the foil my work
goes everything else.. to hell.
Forget the M.E.G.S.I., D.E.A.,
they lie, this, my friend will end
Your headed to the top (prison
or death) your only fate.
Your life, wife or children,
freedom, nothing else holds
This isn't a cautionary tale f*** it
we all have to lose.
Broke, nobody or big dope dealer.. You choose.
So give me your life, I’ll make
you rich a super star of meth.
Until the narcs run the raid on
your lab, or maybe just death.
All you need is a little time and
pseudo to get into the mix.
You don’t need my name, you
know where I am, right here in
“Spunny” Granite City, just call
me, my number is six...six...six.
Where were you when I needed
a friend to heal the pain?
Where were you when I didn’t
have money inside of the of the
Where were you when I needed
a help and hand?
Where were you when they
forced a boy to become a man?
Where were you when I needed
someone to help me get
Where were you when I thought
of suicide and felt blue?
Where were you when I needed
a woman to hold me down?
Where were you when only
family stayed around?
Where were you?
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V O L UM E 18 , I S S UE 5
Live a good life that
By David Rivera
Hill C.C.
Whether you ready or not, someday your life will come to an end.
There will be no more sunrise, no
minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected,
whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal
power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned,
nor what you were owed.
Your grudges and resentments,
frustrations and jealousies will
finally disappear.
So too your hopes, ambitions
plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once
seemed important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came
from, or on what side of the
tracks you lived on.
It won’t even matter whether you
were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender or skin color
will become irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days
be measured?
What will matter is not how
many people you knew, but how
many will feel a lasting loss
when you are gone.
What will matter is not your
memories, but the memoires
that live in those who love you.
What will matter is how long you
will be remembered by whom
and for what. Living a life that
matters doesn’t happen by
accident. It’s not a matter of circumstances, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that
By Corina Mendenhall
Logan C.C.
Life is a thing that mutates
without warning.
Not always in enviable ways.
All part of the improbable
adventure of being alive, of
being a brainy biped with giant
dreams on a crazy blue planet.
Something in my
By Christopher Toney
Danville C.C.
I’m up to something...
Is this something a someone,
somewhere, or just a
something to me; but
something never minded by
you– I think I’ve found
What is this feeling…
somethings found me, but yet
remains inert until my feet
touch Earth.
Until my soul returns to Earth.
Until pen touches paper and
represents a feeling unfamiliar
to the Earth.
There’s something waiting for
me in the future, and my
feelings about somethings will
inevitably help me find
something– my success will
mean something,
Prisoners… represent life!
And be something!
What will matter is not what you
bought, but what you built, not
what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you
learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of
integrity, compassion courage of
sacrifice that enriched,
empowered or encouraged others
to emulate your example.
What will matter is not you
competence, but your character.
Let’s pray for a
more peaceful
I was coming back to the Center after a
meeting and noticed the police had some
young man on the hood of the police car.
He hollered at me to come over and so I
walked that way.
The young man was upset, stating that
this was “bogus” and a few other choice
words. The police asked if I knew him
and I told them yes…. We talked further
and the conversation ended with
something like, “Father, there are just
some guys you can’t help….you’re
delusional if you think you can.” I
responded, “I guess I am just delusional,
Just the other day, I saw a video from a
guy who was in prison….he used the
word “positive delusion.” He was
referring to the fact that he lived his life,
even though he had life in prison, as
though he was going to get out one
day….he lived his life preparing for that
The thing is, he did get out, and today
he owns two businesses.
The words he used—positive delusion
– has been part of my life for the past
39 years. I choose to live in positive
delusion—that youth who are written
off as “not worth the time or energy”
will become successful and live out
their dreams.
I challenge you to live “positive
delusion” especially when things don’t
seem so positive.
As always, you are in my thoughts and
In positive delusion,
Fr. Kelly
Making Choices Newsletter is
a project of Kolbe House,
the jail ministry of the
Archdiocese of Chicago and
Precious Blood
Ministry of
Reconciliation .
People called him delusional if he
thought he was ever getting out—after
all, he had life.
Continue to send your
articles and poetry to :
That didn’t stop him from taking all the
classes he could, preparing for the day
(positive delusion) he would get out.
Making Choices
2434 S. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608
Kolbe House
2434 S. California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608
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