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.
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#voiceforthesilentfathers

#eddiekwright

#mwrightgroup

#iwrite

Sister/Publisher Mimi Here…

I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from Author Eddie K. Wright or myself but let me assure you that he has been hard at work on his next release “Gangster Turned Guru Presents: The Evolution of A Gangster Turned Guru!” As I’m reading through his next book, I’m often amazed at the memories my ‘little’ brother sparks in my mind! Memories of a childhood where we shared every experience while at the same time experienced life so differently!

Most of the memories bring a smile to my face and an uncontrollable laugh to my belly. Some bring a tear to my eye and a lump of sadness in my throat.  Others then give me a clearer understanding of why I do some of the things I do as a parent.

After reading a part of the chapter titled:  “The Beginning” I was filled with a sense of peace regarding a decision I made as a new mother that I KNOW was a direct result of my mother’s belief system!

I’m not saying I had the best discipline rituals with my boys (now aged 16, 18 and 19 with no behavior problems) but… Before I gave birth to my first child I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would NEVER ‘beat’ my children.  I made it very clear to my (ex) husband that neither would he or anyone who came in contact with my children.

Now I know why…

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…My childhood years were spent growing up in the suburbs of Smithtown Long Island where I realized early in life, I was on the ‘only’ list for a number of things. We lived on Twilight Lane where my sister Mimi and I were the ‘only’ kids without a father living at home. We were the ‘only’ black population in this town and probably for the next two towns over so Mimi was always over protective, being three years my senior. I was the ‘only’ one who had a sister who beat up the strongest boy on the block. We were the ‘only’ ones who’s hair little white kids were asking to touch like exotic animals that they previously read about and actually were able to pet.

When my mother would drop me off at school, I was the ‘only’ one asked by other kids if I was adopted and looked upon with such disbelief when I answered: “No, that’s my real mom.”

“But she’s white and your black” was the all too familiar response.

This was another subject added to the ‘only’ list. My sister and I were the ‘only’ mixed kids. Even the other two or three minority children at school had both parents of the same ethical background.

My mother was raised Irish Catholic in the same house we grew up in, nurtured in the hippie generation of love, peace, and happiness. She did her best to create a loving environment by herself from when my sister was three and I was just two months old. That’s when she finally had the strength to choose to change the direction of her life for the best by divorcing my father who I only saw a few weeks out of the summer. But even with such a limited time shared with him, he was still my hero. Big, strong, bald and black as the night. He always made me feel like I was the light of his world when my sister and I would visit him eight hours away in Rochester, NY.

I loved my summer vacations when spending time with my father’s side of the family and although I still felt some of those ‘only’ list effects, it was a different type of ‘only’. Now I’m the ‘only’ one with such good hair or the ‘only’ one with such a nice red bone complexion.

When living with my mother it was always a struggle for her to make ends meet and compared with everyone else in our town, we were considered pretty poor. But up in Rochester, I experienced what real poverty was like. Not so much with my father who had a good job and a decent place to live, even if it was for a period of time in a trailer on the grounds of the industry juvenile prison where he worked as a guard. It was when he took us to our grandmothers in the city or any one of my 18 aunts and uncles houses, that at a young age I realized how much my mother provided on her own.

In all our years of visiting my father, my sister and I were only allowed to stay over my favorite Aunt Linda’s house because she was married to my Uncle Eddie who together provided a beautiful home, was successful, heavy into the church and the only one who gained my mother’s trust.

My mother’s wrath concerning her kids was well known as my father once made a crucial mistake when he got an unexpected call into work when I was five years old and left me in the care of some girlfriend he had. At the end of the day, around 4:30 p.m. he pulled up to the curb and found me sitting on the front porch, bottom lip puffed out, eyebrows scrunched together and my arms wrapped around my chest. He knew something was wrong.

Normally, when he comes home from work, as soon as he steps out of his van, I’m running arms outstretched to be picked up, hugged and covered with a barrage of kisses. As I stomped towards him, chest rising from my deep pouts he asked: “Eddie what’s wrong?”

The floodgate of tears took over as I started breathing faster, trying to get the words out to express the cardinal sin that had taken place.

“Son,” he said bending and lifting me giving a reassuring hug. “It’s all right just tell me what happened.”

Placing me back down, I looked up with my light brown tear filled eyes and said “She whipped me with a switch!” pointing my accusing finger towards the house.

Whether it was panic, fear or both I don’t know. I don’t even remember what it was that I did and my father didn’t care. All I recall was that he stormed into the babysitter’s house raising all hell and no matter what justification she gave for whipping me with a switch, my father wasn’t trying to hear it. All I heard him yelling was ” When his mother finds out she’s going to kill me!!”

On my fathers side of the family, seeing my cousins get in trouble and being told to go out back and get a thin branch off a tree to make into a switch to get beat with was normal, but it was a well known fact that no matter what my sister or I did, we are not to be physically disciplined by anyone, my father included.

For my mother to hear that her five year old baby boy was beaten with a switch, would produce images in her mind of me being strapped up and whipped like the man in the beginning of the movie Roots. Mom enforced a non-violent, unconditional loving environment which she expected to be honored…

~Eddie K. Wright

I remember people throughout my young parenting years (INCLUDING MY BROTHER) telling me… “You need to spank/beat him.” Or, “One good whoopin’ will fix that little attitude.”  I’m honored to say that I stood behind my mother’s style of discipline in this regard.  My children have never known what it felt like to be hit with a switch, a stick, a spoon or a belt.  I firmly believe NO CHILD needs that kind of discipline.  My children prove that to me every day!  I’m not the greatest mother and they are not the perfect children but… but we are perfect for each other and physical violence was NEVER a part of our lives!  Thank you Ma!  I love you!  Thank you Ed… For reminding me!

Thank you for reading.  You’ll be hearing more from Eddie very soon!

Big Sister Mimi

Feature Spotlight in P.A.R.C. Mag

Click cover to follow to my interview

I was honored to be interviewed by KC Loesener, CEO, and founder of P.A.R.C. Magazine.  

Their July 2017 issue is highlighting discovery and focus’ on subject matters where others have dug deep and discovered something about themselves and overcame or brought certain challenges to light.

My book Voice For The Silent Fathers shares how I overcame my personal challenge of being a young father and street gangster who’s son was gay. 

Please take a few minutes to read the article and share with anyone you know might benefit from reading it. I would also love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment. 

Click to purchase my book

Proud of how far I’ve come!

Aug 22, 2016, 12:07 PM
As I wrote in “Voice for the Silent Fathers”, the acceptance of my son’s homosexual lifestyle didn’t happen overnight. There have always been steps in my development and growth. Once I acknowledged and accepted that my son was gay and let him know that I loved him none-the-less, it didn’t mean that my growth process was complete. I set limits on what I did and didn’t want to know and although my son wanted to discuss certain things with me through the years, he was able to recognize that I was still growing in my responsibilities as his father when it came to his gay lifestyle issues. 

God bless him for being so sensitive and understanding. As those boundaries began to widen and expand through the years, I realized how much he valued my opinion and insight when it came to discussing relationships. That was another milestone we crossed that again made me recognize that I was making it more difficult than what it was. Drew continues to allow me to direct where the flag post go when setting the boundaries and is always congratulating me for having the courage to speak up as a father of a child in the LGBTQ community. 

We correspond threw e-mails and speak once a week every Sunday at 7 p.m. and about a month ago he mentioned that he re-connected with his first true love, you know….that “One” and that he was looking forward to him coming to visit. Each week as the date for the visit approached, I could hear how excited and happy he was because things had just been going real good between him and his friend. I gave him my fatherly advice with taking it slow, don’t expect too much and don’t get distracted from all the positive things he’s been achieving ect… and he assured me he wouldn’t. 

The much anticipated weekend finally arrived and he told me how great it was on our scheduled Sunday 7:00 p.m. call as he expressed that his friend was leaving in the morning. 

“Where is he now?” I asked. 

“Oh, he’s right inside” Drew answered while sitting on the outside porch eating and ice cream as we talked. 

“Well put him on the phone” I said. 

“What!?” the shock of my request was clearly evident in his tone. 

“You heard what I said Drew” 

After a slight 3 second pause he said “OOO-Kay” as I heard him opening the front door saying “My father wants to talk to you.” 

His friend got on the phone and we had a nice pleasant conversation. He was polite, friendly, and understood when I explained that I knew he was in my son’s life in the past, but at that period of time I wasn’t to receptive to what was going on but now I look forward to meeting him. I could tell that he was shocked at our conversation, and when Drew got back on the phone he said “I can’t believe you!!” because I completely caught him by surprise. 

I know that my son was proud and of course a little embarrassed as all children are when parents want to talk with their significant other at every age. This is the man that my son cares about and who makes him happy so since I care about my son’s happiness, it’s only right that I embrace whoever he chooses to share his life with. This includes his other friends also. 

Honestly, I always knew this day would come but I would just block it out my mind. After getting back on the phone with Drew and sensing another breath of relief that his old man has crossed another mild stone, it made me feel happy and proud of myself for just how far I’ve come. 

Eddie K. Wright

#voiceforthesilentfathers

#gangsterturnedguru

#eddiekwright