The Best Birthday Gift Ever!

My cell is considered a executive suite for two reasons. The first is that I have a direct TV shot of two out of the four 50 inch flat screens, so should I choose to I could stay up all night watching television that we listen to through our walkmans. 

My celli’s love the fact that I don’t watch much TV, so when we lock in at 9:30 pm for the night, they can stack our two blue plastic chairs on top of one another, place the pillow over the back rest for a cushion and sit comfortably watching their shows. 

When word spread that I don’t watch TV, offers to buy my cell started coming in. Yes, you read that right, offers to buy a prison cell. It’s one of those things you don’t hear about or see on prison shows like “Lock up,” but cells are sold all through out the federal system. 

I got this current cell the old school way. Once I saw it was empty, first thing in the morning I moved in and made the change with the counselor and that was it. There was a little fuss when those that had their eye’s on the cell woke up later to find me already comfortably moved in, but you snooze you loose, the early bird gets the worm and all that. 

I wasn’t trying to hear anything about it and they defiantly didn’t want to argue with me because I was here for only a few weeks at the time and mentally I was still in a penitentiary mode that no one wanted to test. 

Currently the market value for my cell is at a one time price between $200-$250. The Presidential suites, where you can see all four televisions go for up to $500. But the second more important reason my cell is considered an executive suite is that my 7th floor view where I spend hours gazing out at the New York city skyline has another million dollar view when I look down across the street of the Metropolitan Detention Center and see a huge one story warehouse that runs the length of the block whose side red brick wall faces our building. 

Single parking spaces the line the street, where I see correction officers coming to work, attorney’s on their way to meet with clients, mothers, wives, girlfriends, kids and friends on their way entering the building to bring an hour of freedom for a visit. 

On the corner of 29th and 1st street, directly in front of my cell towards the back of the red brick wall there is a dark burgundy aluminum structure sticking out on the side that was probably used for extra storage or deliveries. 

It’s been out of commission for years since there’s no roof and a tree about eighteen feet talk growing within the middle of it, but this aluminum burgundy structure gets plenty of use. 

It’s a platform of expression for us that look at it everyday seeing signs from loved one that have turned this aluminum burgundy structure into a memorial of inspirational support. 

Fathers day and birthday wishes, signs reading how much we’re missed and loved, balloons, flags, blown up photos and pictures drawn by children are all testimonials that help everyone of us in this building during these challenging times. 

It doesn’t have to be a sign specifically for us, placed by our family members, we all appreciate the effort that’s made and know that it’s our loved ones who are doing the real hard time. 

Everyday family members stand across the street looking up at our darken windows waving and blowing kisses, hoping that their incarcerated loved one is looking back. I always take my nail clipper and repeatedly tap on the window acknowledging their presence, letting them know they’ve been seen and efforts are appreciated. 
During the last two week lock down when there were no visits, I saw the same mother come once each week to put up a sign and blow kisses for a full hour towards our building, letting her son know the level of love and devotion she has for him. It reminded me of my mother who’s giving me that same type of support, not only these last 13 years in prison, but for each moment of my life. 

I had a visit on Tuesday October 24th, which was considered my birthday visit since I’m turning 45 on Friday the 27th. During the afternoon lock in prior to the visiting session, I looked out on the wall seeing all the same expressions of love from the day before. An hour later, when they unlocked the doors, I rose up from my bed to prepare to get ready to hear my name called to the visiting room, extra excited to see my mother and daughter Nia. 

I glanced out the window again and noticed five blue helium balloons tied up on the corner of the wall and instinctively knew it was my mother and Nia that hung them. They were both beaming with smiles when I walked in the visiting room and said, “I saw the five balloons!” as soon as I hugged them hello. 

This morning, I woke up and stared at my balloons. I went and worked out, took my shower, got dressed, fixed my 2nd cup of coffee and enjoyed it sitting on my plastic chair looking down out my window seeing the three dark and two light blue birthday balloons blowing in the wind. 

I’ve often written how these years in prison make me grateful for the small things in life. A hand written letter, a thinking of you card, pictures and taking the time to visit. I’ve been blessed through out these years to have people in my life that do all these things showing nothing but loving support. 

I know in a week or so those five blue birthday balloons will be deflated, hanging by the string, fluttering in the wind against the wall, but the symbol of love that those balloons represent is everlasting and the best birthday gift I’ve ever received!

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The Ultimate Writers Retreat

We’ve all heard the saying “Everyone has a book in them,” yet the most difficult obstacle would be authors have is actually finding the time to sit down and write the murder mystery, romantic drama, science-fiction fantasy, spy novel or non fiction memoir without having to worry about the gas and electric bills, providing three meals and the numerous everyday necessary responsibilities causing distractions from that creative zone to freely express thoughts and ideas to be shared with the world. 

I don’t have that problem, waking up at 5:30 am after seven hours rest, enjoying my first strong hot black coffee while checking e-mail messages at the computer followed by a two hour work out session. After a nice sweat, I take a steaming hot shower, get dressed in some comfortable gray sweat pants and matching tee shirt, then I mix a banana with a scoop of peanut butter and small carton of milk, like they gave us in elementary school to go with my brand flakes, nuts, and granola cereal. By 9:15 am, it’s time for my second cup of coffee that cools on the table behind me while I lay my note book out on the bed that I use as my writers desk. 

If there’s no pen marks on the light tan cotton blanket it’s a sign of writer’s block, but that doesn’t happen much because I’m surrounded by an over abundance of true life stories with main characters anxious to reveal details of everything from murderous gangland plots, wall street money schemes, credit card scams, embezzlers, gun traffickers and even Isis terrorist. I don’t have to solicit their stories or pry for details, actually I just sit back and listen, finding myself saying “I don’t want to know about that!” far too often. 

If there’s one person that knows the power our government yields with the broad scope of a conspiracy it is I, having been fighting my draconian sentence for such a charge since 2004. It’s taken me over 12 years, but I’m finally back in New York at M.D.C. Brooklyn on a 2255 motion for ineffective assistance of counsel. Most of the guys in my unit are here on pre-trial or transferring to another prison. This facility is a lot different from where I’ve spent my previous 8 years at USP Canaan, where there were stabbings every week and we could count on a murder or two a year. 

I was shell shocked for the first few months I came here. There’s a big difference from being in a jail and a penitentiary. Jail is like the rides at a local carnival, the penitentiary is like the rides at a Six flags Great Adventure amusement park. 

Some of these guys look like juveniles and coming here I realized the gang epidemic is spreading through New York like in the West Coast L.A. back in the 80’s. A young Puerto Rican Crip calling himself French is just 18 years old, he was six when I got locked up!! He only weighs about 130 pounds with black low hair cut like a member of the Beetles and an angry baby face who has no idea what’s waiting for him once he reaches the real compound of the Penitentiary.

I see him on the visiting floor every week with his mother, who’s about my age but looking older by the week due to the stress brought on from the light of her life. 

It breaks my heart to see, considering I’m being visited by my mother, who’s been giving unyielding support to me on my numerous prison trips since I was his age. I know what lies ahead for this young kids mom since when I tried to talk to French about changing the way he lives he wasn’t trying to hear me. 

“I’m a Crip for life! That’s what’s cracking O.G.” he said, calling me a title of respect since I’ve been down so many years due to my previous gangster way of life. 

At first I took offense when all the younger guys called me O.G. (which stands for Original Gangster), not upset with them but with myself. I came in on this sentence when I was 32 and I’m about to turn 45 now asking myself “Were all those years wasted?” 

Most would probably think “Yes” but I can attest to the fact that after a year into this sentence, I had the desire to change the way I live and that choice to change saved my life. Spiritually, I built a relationship with my higher power, God and I had some issues to work on but we’ve been good for some time. Physically, I was about 50 pounds over weight so I changed my diet, stuck to a work out routine, lost all the excess weight, started practicing Yoga and I’m as fit as ever. Mentally, I had to learn how to think, not from a gangster mentality but from a spiritual point of view by understanding the power of my thoughts, words and actions. 

I had to think about a new career so I began to write and discovered that when I pick up my blue Bic ball point pen, open my wireless notebook with the steaming aroma of my black coffee setting the ambiance to unlock the mental doors of my creative imagination, I am once again free. Not only am I free but I’m at peace, I’m happy and I’m blessed. 

I’m not delusional, I realize that being in prison isn’t the ideal situation, but honestly it can be a writers paradise. 

I have an unlimited amount of resources to tap into, real characters that crime writing authors would love to sit with for an hour or two for a question and answer session. I live an F.B.I. profilers dream, to interview these individuals that come seeking guidance from the Gangster Turned Guru. 

Most of them want me to write their books, after having read my first published book “Voice For the Silent Fathers”, but I advise them to start to write for themselves because if anything, writing is therapeutic and if they stick to it (which most don’t) hopefully they will discover the gift of freedom that writing offers. 

I intend to share some of these stories in the future because I just can’t let this material go to waste. Even in this moment of writing, my new celli who’s been here for a little over two weeks, is laying on the top bunk, staring out the window, shaking his head wondering how he ended up here. He’s one of the MS-13 gang leaders which are responsible for over 20 killings in the last two years on the east end of Long Island. The reality hasn’t set in on him yet, he’s only 23 and was about to be deported when the Feds charged him in a new indictment. His other three fellow gang members on the unit are charged with taking part in murdering two teenage girls and four young teenage boys in Brentwood as an initiation rite to join the gang, and he’s still wondering why he’s here! I’ve seen this movie before and know where it’s going. But his story will have to wait until it plays itself out. 

Earlier this afternoon, I spent about an hour in a theological discussion with a young man who’s charged with promoting terrorism as an Isis recruiter. El Chapo’s right hand man and best friend was asking me for physical training advice this morning when I finished my work out. These three interactions are just from today and I’ve been here for 18 months hearing and witnessing episodes that can keep a writer like myself running out of ink. 

I use my interaction as an opportunity to shed light on the conditions we all find ourselves in and most that listen are receptive to my guidance because I’ve walked a similar path and speak in a non-judgmental tone. But I still give the raw and uncut truth about the situation we’re in and why. 

When many of these guys, most young gang members, come to ask me for legal advice I don’t like being the bearer of bad news when I have to tell them “Tell your lawyer to get you a plea deal for 20 years!” They look at me like I’m crazy. I’ve had the toughest of street thugs unable to hold back tears, that if he had learned to cry years earlier probably would have helped him avoid this situation, but that’s neither here nor there. I take the time to explain that being in your early twenties, you can come home from a twenty year bid and live a productive life, which is something you currently can’t do with a life sentence that Federal Judges have no problem giving out, especially if you dare to exercise your constitutional right to a trial. 

In pointing out that we’re all currently in this prison situation as a logical result of things that we’ve either thought, said or done, I emphasize that the exact same method of creation is what will change our condition. Although physically it may not change over night, I advise learning to use this time for the more important transformation from within, will bring a greater change with life in general. 

I attempt to keep a spiritual content with my writings, whether it’s my political thoughts, a fictional novel or autobiography. I just want to let my readers know that I’m currently in the ultimate writers retreat, so have no fear for there will be no lack of The Gangster Turned Guru’s reading material.
#gangsterturnedguru

#voiceforthesilentfathers

#eddiekwright

#mwrightgroup

#iwrite

Gangster Turned Guru Presents: Current Events: Las Vegas

The recent shooting in Las Vegas Nevada has many people wondering how any person could commit such an act and why God would allow it to happen. When tragic events occur that appear to make no sense with logic and reason, our faith, trust and belief in an all-loving God can be put into question, shaking the core confidence in our higher power.

Naturally, our country is grieving for the injured and those that lost loved ones. A huge population is angry because these mass shootings continue to happen with no solution to a growing problem. I’m not claiming to personally have the answer, but my faith and trust that God is in control at all times remain.

When situations happen on such a large scale as in Las Vegas, a firm conviction of an almighty God can be difficult to maintain. We pray for clarity and ask why? Many simply chalk it up to the devil’s doing or an evil force that’s in opposition with the goodness of God, a God who just lost the battle that day but not the war. Others will use this event as evidence in their case against the belief that any type of God can possibly exist with mass shootings at the Newtown elementary school, Pulse nightclub and now, here, at a country music concert that helped in mounting a strong prosecution for their claim.

So how could I continue to sustain my conviction that we live in a spiritual system that’s governed by God’s Universal laws? I’ve been confronted with this question often in the confines of one of the most violent Penitentiaries in America. But it’s not the penitentiary that’s violent, it’s the individuals that choose to make it so.

After having made a conscious choice in changing the way I live my life, that violence hasn’t physically affected me, but the possibility is always there and should it come, I would take the personal responsibility of accepting my role in its creation because everything happens for a reason and purpose, even when it makes no sense to my finite understanding.

I know that we are blessed with the choice to choose who we are in this relative world and in order to have that choice, the opposite to choose from must exist. This realm of relativity allows us to express who we choose to be in our relationships with ourselves, others and with our higher power. This is the essence of God’s unconditional love, the freedom of the choice to choose. But remember that in order for us to experience God’s absolute love, everything that love is not must exist. There’s no light without dark, left without right, good without bad or love without hate.

Our belief in God can be tested when we lack a clear understanding that God has this life thing under control. There’s a spiritual system in the way life operates, a system that we’re able to use in creating our individual experience and our collective experience.

When things are working according to our plans, it’s easy to recognize God’s role in bringing it all together, but when events like the Las Vegas shooting happen, our belief can be discombobulated as if God was asleep on the job. That’s a result of our limited foresight and in the raw moment of certain events, we’re unable to see the final outcome which is often revealed in time. But God knows the ultimate result. God perceives an acorn taking root in the soil, growing into a great oak tree that’s cut down a hundred years later and used for firewood to heat the house and cook the meal all in one moment. I can’t do that and I’ve learned to find comfort in not having too and just put my trust in God.

Don’t allow your fear, anger, and confusion dictate the way you think about the goodness of life because the immutable laws of attraction will draw experiences according to your inner thoughts and beliefs. God is good all the time, even in what appears to be a negative situation. The Universal laws of cause and effect emerge as the creative principle, but don’t misconstrue the principal for the essence of God’s personality which is the infinite love that’s always working for us.

I choose to consciously use my freedom of the laws to resist the evil with an abundance of good, the negative with an abundance of positive and the darkness with an abundance of light. Please believe me, it’s not always easy for the Gangster Turned Guru to stay positive and optimistic, but I’ve experienced that it brings better results than being negative and pessimistic. There’s plenty of times when I have to just “let go and let God,” but that’s because I trust God with an unwavering faith and expectant heart. So again, don’t allow negative situations or conditions in your life, divert your faith and belief in your higher power. Look at them as opportunities to depend on your relationship with God all the more during this journey of life.

Gangster Turned Guru

#gangsterturnedgurupresents

#voiceforthesilentfathers

#lasvegas

#currentevents

Gangster Turned Guru Presents: Current Events: Puerto Rico/Trump/Kaepernick

One of the challenges with writing about current events while in prison is that unforeseen obstacles can delay my post even more then the slight delay system I’m dealing with in having to have a third party post on my site. This post is almost two weeks overdue because the day I went to type it out, two MS-13 members attacked and stabbed a member of a rival gang on my unit, triggering a chain reaction of events throughout the prison.
In the past two weeks while I’ve been locked in my cell much has gone on with the continued neglect of Puerto Rico due to the hurricanes which is Donald Trumps “Katrina” moment. I kept waiting to hear one of the Puerto Rican entertainers pull a Kanye West and state “President Trump doesn’t care about Puerto Ricans!”
Instead of caring support, he sends insulting tweets. Two days after Haiti’s earthquake, there were 20,000 American troops deployed to help a foreign country. It took over a week to deploy half that amount to Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. In two weeks time Haiti had 300 U.S. military helicopters deployed to transport the sick, deliver water, food and supplies. It’s been over two weeks and Puerto Rico has received only 40 military helicopters to assist in their recovery. The brutal attack by Trump on the female Mayor of San Juan who was only trying to get the help that citizens of United States deserve once again reflects the character of our President.
Although I was prepared to write more thoughts on the Puerto Rico catastrophe, the recent Las Vegas incident is now overshadowing all else so I had to mention the Puerto Rico condition which affects the lives of millions of Americans. I’ve written a separate piece on Las Vegas.
But I still wanted to also share what I wrote prior to being locked two weeks ago which may read like old news but I still think is worthy of a read.

President Donald Trump never stops giving us incredible opportunities to express who we are in response to the tweets he sends out and the statements made, not only at his rally’s when he’s specifically speaking to his fan base but when standing on the world stage in front of the leaders of the United Nations where he actually threatened to commit a war crime saying he would “Totally destroy North Korea” prompting their equally crazy leader to respond with similar threats. This is reality TV at it’s best!

Now Trump calls on the NFL owners to “fire any son of a bitch…” that peacefully protest the injustices in America by taking a knee during the National anthem in unison with the movement started by quarterback Collin Kaepernick, which resulted in him being blackballed by the owners of the NFL organization, in an attempt to silence his voice.
The first Sunday of football games after Trump’s directive resulted in over 150 players locking arms or taking a knee in solidarity which isn’t disrespecting the flag or our country, it’s actually reminding us of the freedoms that the flag is supposed to represent.

I’m not surprised that Trump thinks since athletes are paid large salaries by these team owners that they literally own them and they lose their constitutional rights, especially when expressing that right goes against his overall agenda, clandestinely stated with slogans of “Taking back our country” or “Making America great again.” At least Trump is blatantly honest in his opinions that a black man peacefully protesting by taking a knee while the national anthem is being played makes you a “Son of a bitch.” But as long as you’re a white nationalist, marching at night holding tiki torches shouting “You will not replace us!” resulting in a woman being run over and killed, the president stated his opinion saying “Some of those are good people.”

NFL owners were forced to recently come out in public support of their players because of the Presidents statements and tweets. Collin Kaepernick probably feels those owners are a little late, especially when they were in 100% compliance with assuring that he no longer had a job in their organization. Maybe if he chooses to fight dogs on the side or physically abuse his wife, he’d at least earn a couple of million as a substitute quarterback, but to peacefully protest the undeniable injustices in the black communities of America wasn’t going to be tolerated. Hopefully, one of these owners will come to their senses and have the courage to offer him a contract, particularly since he’s a better quarterback than some of this seasons starters.

The president injection into this football topic is possibly a masterful distraction from other significant issues such as the third failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans, who for the last seven years did everything to criticize our health care system, haven’t taken the time to create a better comprehensive program equal to the needs of all American people. There are no perfect Health Care policy’s, but there are systems in this world that work and can be improved. The biggest problem America has concerning Health Care is that it’s based on a profit margin, which automatically institutionalizes discriminating practices between the have’s and the have not’s.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimel entered the health care debate after his newborn son had to receive open heart surgery and he realizes that if he wasn’t so well off financially, his infant son wouldn’t have received the same quality of care, and there is something inherently wrong with that. We live in the richest nation in the world, yet can’t come up with a method that provides equal and adequate health care for all? The truth is that we choose not to by continuing to allow pharmaceutical manufacturers and health insurance conglomerates that make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits dictate the rules to the game. I’m sure those same companies can still do their research, provide adequate health care to all while continually earning enough to provide for a luxurious lifestyle.

Or could it be it wasn’t the health care issue, but a distraction from this Russian investigation? President Donald Trump is exposing how the laws in America are applied differently based on who you are. Being a guest of the federal criminal justice system for the past 13 years, I’ve witnessed and experienced what little evidence is needed for a successful criminal indictment. Government officials have been caught lying under oath and changed their stories after their lies have been exposed. The FBI director in charge was fired by the President who was under FBI’s investigation.

This Russian debacle isn’t a republican or democrat issue, it’s an American one and it would be hypocritical to lay all the blame on the Russian government for succeeding in the manipulation of our elections. Let’s not forget when the Palestinians held democratic elections and the leaders of Hamas won. Instead of respecting the rights of the Palestinians choice, regardless if we agree with them or not, the United States chose to physically put in place a government and president of their choosing, not of the people.

But the problem here in America is that those in the Trump administration, prior to him being President, actively sought help from a foreign government to gain an advantage in our American elections, which is treasonous. That’s been admitted to by Donald Trump Jr, after months of denying that any meetings with Russians took place once that meeting was exposed.
How deep does that rabbit hole go? We have yet to know, but if there was half as much evidence in a regular criminal conspiracy, because this is what it is, not a collision it’s a criminal conspiracy that would have seen swat teams deployed kicking down doors, assets being frozen and anyone who knew anything being charged with a statue that carried a mandatory minimum sentence to force them to talk regardless of the role they played. This double standard of the law is just what it is and nothing new.
Who knows’s what’s going to come of this Russian investigation, the racial discussion from the NFL protest, health care or the two psychotic egomaniacs both threatening nuclear global destruction? Only God.
As chaotic as the world appears, I never lose sight of the fact that life is based on a Universal spiritual system. That’s difficult for many people to comprehend, especially in the violent conditions of a Penitentiary where your faith and goodness of life and God is constantly under attack.

But I’ve long ago learned the secret power of not having to prove myself right, admitting when I’m wrong and accepting that I don’t know the answer to a lot of things. Yet I do know that God is all there is so regardless of how divided America or really humanity as a hole may appear to be, there is an inseparable unity that we share which is the Divine energy of life. That’s the first fundamental principal I try to keep at the forefront of my mind, which isn’t always easy when interacting with gang members or correction officers who don’t recognize the divine essence within themselves.

I’ll admit it took a lot of work and spiritual soul contemplation to expand my conception, detaching myself from what appears to be and trusting in God’s overall plan. I know that sounds a bit cliche, but my faith and conviction of God has given me the ability to accomplish far more then when I felt I had to do this life thing on my own. So regardless of how much political turmoil there is, don’t loose faith in your higher power and rely on your spiritual relationship more, that may be the reason things seem so chaotic on the outer world, from failing to recognize the divine essence of life which we all share within.

Gangster Turned Guru

#gangsterturnedgurupresents

#voiceforthesilentfathers

#puertorico

#Kaepernick

#currentevents