The Felonious PhD.

White Collar Female PhD. Felon, Prison Camp, Re-Entry, Criminal Justice Reform. Women, Lesbian

My Own Quietly Explosive Here! (Part 3)…..The Manifestation of the Liberal-Republican-Democrat Agenda: ALL Lives Matter to ME!

As I sit here on pause, “doing time” in a Federal Prison Camp, a warehouse for the politically and financially fueled Prison Industrial Complex, I am acutely aware of how Political agendas have begun formulating prior to the elections. I am also aware of how the agendas are typically developed off the backs of poor, at risk, on the fringes, and presumably helpless American People expense. The current political narrative, which seems to always surface during the election year is, “BLACK LIVES MATTER”. Why is that our Black Lives Matters most to Politicians, legislator and other community activists during a period when the system requires something of the Black American? We are needed to serve as the scapegoat for all political parties and still our conditions remain the same. BLACK LIVES MATTER IN THE MAINSTREAM DURING ELECTIONS! One side wants to take care of us, the other wants to dehumanize us, and yet another wants to institutionalize us. At some point we have to critically analyze this process and openly and honestly say, wait, OUR LIVES MATTER everyday. I know my life matters every second I can breathe and the same for my sons. Our lives matter not just because of Liberal-Democrat-Republican politics and liberal voices that now want to tell me that my damn life matters! I am speaking as an educated, black, woman, mother and I am boldly telling all that I know, love and am tethered to, that they are not to believe the HYPE! Be critical with your voice and stingy with your votes. Don’t vote by party lines but truly understand how the politics, the politicians and policies affect not only your ability to live but how they truly impact the lives of those you love.

     I am a mother to a teenage black son, two-stepsons who are Native American and Tongan, a mother figure to sons who are Latino, Hispanic, bi-racial, white and other Governmental racially defined categories and I am saying with pride and enthusiastically that their lives matter too. The manifestation of the Political Liberal-Republican-Democrat agendas are to rally and encourage a narrative that is all so familiar and implies that unless we (Black) Americans get out and fight, who we are fighting we are not sure, but we are to believe that our mere survival depends on participating in this us against the Police narrative, which only sets the stage for all parties involved to perish. We have to understand that our struggles are not simply against the Police, but the ongoing historical modality of Systemic Oppression that we keep voluntarily voting for to suppress and oppress us and those we love. That is my long winded way of saying, do not believe the hype!.

We don’t need to march against the police we need to be marching for jobs and a better educational system that is not structured to send people to prison. We don’t need to keep telling ourselves that our lives matter we know that! We need to develop a plan, provide the strategies and act to empower the young people in our communities to care for themselves and their families, without the constant internal question of their worth. We need to close prisons and juvenile detention centers and open up more boys and girls clubs, job training facilities, community centers, recreational centers, creative arts spaces. With all of the money in America today how can we just continue to accept the fact that poverty continues to exist, we can fix this! We don’t need to march to remind ourselves that we matter, we need to march to Venture Capitalist’s and partner with them to create a gateway and pipeline that will enable our youth and communities to become a part of the fiber of future technology. Use our very resilient and creative minds to impact the world instead of having to stress ourselves with how in the hell we are going to eat, sleep and breathe tonight!

I have a plan once I am out of the “belly of the beast” prison. I am once again broke and homeless but I will find a way to positively impact my son’s life, my families life and continue to provide a road map towards self-love, self-worth and self sufficiency! My plan can not be one that supports Liberals-Republicans-Democrats. I am currently banned from participating in any Governmental Healthcare programs for 10-years because I created a program that transformed the conditions of those who needed the assistance, provided for myself and enabled my family to care for themselves. I know first hand that Liberalism-Democratic and Republican politics is all self serving. In being aware of that fact I also know that “Black Lives Matter” only till elections are over. This American narrative is historical and the story never changes, generation after generation we are fighting the same fight. But Dr. Maya Angelou says it clearer than anyone I have heard, “When you know better you do better”. And after having my hard-working, non-felonious, community based, family oriented, educated life impacted by the Prison Industrial Complex and Democratic policies that limit my ability to help those who need it most, I truly “KNOW BETTER NOW”.

All Lives Matters to me and we will forge together and create a way to care for ourselves and those we love. I am so glad I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment in my life. This has been a long hard road and I am not finished yet!

The journey continues…………………………………………………….felonious phd. 4/2015

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HOME (a message regarding Baltimore)

 troubled, trying

triumphant history

with a story that

has to always be

told

belonging

existing

desiring a connection

connectedness

to something

grandiose, pure

bright as

gold

shackled to the

realities of

ancestors blood

poured over

and over

spilled

shared for

our own

freedom we have

to pave the

road

forget the road

less traveled

that is our only

path

a generations of

agony

pain

riots

murder

bloodshed

and still

grasping for

peace and hope

in the

aftermath

Why?

What?

do a people

who have been

battered

abused

neglected

and constantly

diffused

miseducated

neglected

encouraged to

hate one self

Want?

HOME!

HOME!

HOME! We simply want to belong and connect to the souls of our existence without the constant questions.

I love all people- James Baldwin once stated, “I am only black as long as you see yourself as white and you are only white as long as you see me as black!” We all have the capacity to seek within our own souls and make a change. This is not a new American Problem.

the journey continues………………………………………………feloniousphd 4/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 5……………… “We were never meant to survive!”

I have met several incredible women, mothers, here at the Victorville Federal Prison Camp. Recently I had a wonderful discussion with one of the women I love to talk and laugh with. She was sharing with a small group of us how horrific and challenging her journey has been within the Federal Criminal Justice System. Like myself, Ms. Y.C. is a Black woman, mother, sister, non-violent, first time, white collar offender who worked hard to pave a way for herself and her family and struggled to find solace in how the U.S. Government Criminal Justice System worked diligently to create a narrative that was completely opposite of her reality.

During one of our many discussions, Ms. Y.C. shared with us how she and her family explained her absence from her younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic. She spoke passionately about her reservations about merging her two worlds by allowing the children to visit within a system that had treated her with such disrespect and disdain. As she explained her reluctance I completely understood how a mother bear would do whatever had to be done to protect her cubs. Well the same is true for an imprisoned mother soul, who has endured and experienced how easily it is for a prison staff (also a human soul) to completely disconnect from another soul and simply choose to be mean-spirited and callous at any moment in time, because they feel they legally can! So, the thought of allowing her children and family into this space was nerve wracking to say the least.

As time went, on Ms. Y.C. ran out of excuses and allowed her children and family to visit, which proved to be very therapeutic for all of them. My favorite part of this story is how she and her sister chose to tell the younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic, that she was simply away at “FAT CAMP” (lol). OMG! we all laughed and laughed at her description of the story. She then proceeded to tell us that her teenaged son, who was sitting next to her, gently patted her on top of her head and kindly stated, “Sheeeesh mom, it is not working! you must try harder.” That interaction immediately did two things for me. First, it provided me the opportunity to laugh and laugh, a wonderful, deep heart felt, soulful laugh at a soulful, loving story as I stood in the bunk area in a cold, barren warehouse. It felt so good! Second, it solidified my insistence that we must tell our stories. We imprisoned, women, sister, grandmother and friendly souls have to leave a deep, passionate, purposeful and powerful imprint on this process by speaking our truths FEARLESSLY!

I am dedicating my next chapter to making sure I tell all that I can squeeze out of myself. As I have sat here in the Prison Industrial Complex, a systemically oppressive environment, it has been the lives, words, and stories of incredible women that have pushed me through and given me the strength to move onward whole and sane. Once again I have relied on the loving words of Dr. Maya Angelou, the powerful words of June Jordan, the womanist prose of Alice walker, the pain and triumph of Mary J. Blige, the peace and soul of India.arie, the authenticity of Tracy Chapman, the intellect and graceful story telling of Toni Morrison, the real deal of Iyanla Van Zant, the courage of Melissa Harris Perry, and the spirit and power of Oprah Winfrey. Those and many other incredible women have assisted me with being purposeful and mindful in this journey.
Ms. Y.C. will be ending her 3 1/2 years of incarceration in about a week. We have discussed the importance of speaking the truth regarding this process. I remind her as much as I can to PLEASE tell her story, give others the real narrative. To use her sharp sense of humor and keen, aware intellect to tell her truth boldly and with the prideful spirit that she embodies. Our stories are very powerful and necessary as we understand the state of our Criminal Justice System and every other Structural Oppressive entity in our society. We must provide others with a clear and precise narrative that awakens and encourages others to not just empathize but take action in their own lives. We have to tell them over and over, again and again as long as it takes to get our Nation, Communities and Politicians to understand that the system is broken, but we can fix it. There has to be some credible, courageous and honest women at the table telling the truth about this process.

Through it all, I know that I may not be able to save the World, like I once so naively thought, but I can provide a prescription to those close to me or near me that will give them some hope and promise for their own tomorrow. I clearly understand, as I have stated numerous times, that our Country was not structured with us in mind (us- being all human souls who reside on the fringes) and essentially, “We were never meant to survive, but we do!”.

I am thankful for my many conversations with Ms. Y.C. and I am truly going to miss her. I am going to miss our passionate discussions about race, class, democracy, prison, capitalism and the elusive American Dream. My hope is that our paths will cross again, after probation, of course!. At which time we could continue to laugh like hell and have a couple drinks, well maybe more than a couple after this ordeal, lol. Thanks to Ms. Y.C. …..Always, and I mean Always do you!
I am also thankful that my time here is nearly over. I am beginning to see the rainbow after enduring this tornado. I have labeled myself as being “Beyond Resilient” because this journey has far surpassed simply being in a storm. And that is my own consciousness of truth!

The journey continues…………………………………felonious phd 4/2015

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The Absurdity of My Life Part 4………………………………………….. OMG! Another Shade of Green.

Over the past 18 months as I have sat here at the Federal Prison Camp, on many occasions I have just stopped and thought, (WTH?!). Honestly, there is usually an occurrence of ridiculousness happening on a daily basis within the BOP. I am hoping with the influx of Politicians, Police, Teachers and other public service figures, who are unfortunately entering into the “belly of the beast” aka Federal Criminal Justice System more people become tethered to the craziness and gain some insight into the absurdity of this entire life changing process.

Last week, Federal Camp officials informed us that we would be issued another shade of green tee shirt that would accessorize our ugly green uniforms. As if the variety of green we currently have was not enough, we now have a fluorescent, happy, bright green! OMG! the word is that the State of California does not want the toxins from the dying of white tees to the various colors of BOP green to continue to infiltrate the water systems. (Well I’ll be DAMNED! no one cares about the loving, caring souls that are being imprisoned, but we must not dye t-shirts lol). So now we have these bright, light, happy, green tees, it really is quite hilarious. My first question was well do we have to return our pale green, dark green, blue green, grey green, shirts to laundry asap? Because I have literally wore the exact same three tees for my entire incarceration, nearly two years (who cares really?!!). I was told no at this time you do not have to exchange the tees you have for the bright, fluorescent green tees, but that could change at anytime so just be prepared. I have got to the point where I absolutely can not stand the color green. It has truly penetrated my psyche and I am not sure if I will ever be able to see the color green in a positive light ever again. I will have to study that over the next few years, lol. I know it often sounds like I am making this madness up and believe me being that this process nearly took my life, I wish I was being facetious. I honestly would have been pissed off at myself for giving up over this absurdity. It is not worth it. Once you get to this point, just know that it is the easiest most ridiculous part of the entire process. The hard part is over! After you understand the entire process you come to the realization that it is all ridiculous, not about your truth and you find a way to peacefully surrender to the craziness and simply plan for your next. That is the truth!

I am thankful that the “White Collar Woman Fog” has lifted completely and I can see clearly now. Not that being consciously aware and awake makes this easier, I am just glad I am back to ME. I am once again thankful I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am also thankful that I dont have to turn in my other various colors of green for the bright, fluorescent, happy green. It just does not match the occasion or the ugly green uniforms, lol. Whew! Is this real Life?!!!!!!! lol.

The Journey Continues……………………………………….felonious phd. 4/2015

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! (The big 51, whew!!)……………….A birthday message from the Camp

Yes, today I am 51 years old!. A strange thing for me to truly grasp but it is a fact. Despite the fact that I am sitting in the Federal Prison Camp, a very visceral and irreverent environment, I FEEL GOOD!!! And I look good too (lol). Actually I feel incredible and I am ready for my next chapter and whatever comes with it.

I have chosen not to do anything celebratory in here. Yes I am happy to have lived another wonderful year but I am reserving the pomp and circumstance for when I am home surrounded by those I love and care about. I will, however, take my usual 2 mile walk in circles, round and round and listen to India.Arie’s song “private party” out loud. OMG, I miss my karaoke machine and mic (lol). This will be my last imprisoned birthday and for that I am thankful.
Incredibly, at 51 years old, my journey the past few years has incontrovertibly been challenging to say the least. At the same time it has forced me to clearly define, refine, and renew my own purpose in life. It has also encouraged me to use my strong, powerful, loving, passionate, loving, authentic and consciously aware voice to speak from my own “consciousness of truth” at all cost. Because of my interactions with the Criminal Justice process my life has physically been on “pause” but my soul has continue to blossom, bloom and become a source that will take me to places I have never dreamed I could reach and I am ready! I am ready to live my life “Beyond Resiliency” and revel in its magnificence and simply do ME. I am not finished yet peeps!’
I am forever thankful for being born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am thankful for my mother, father, grandfathers and my very powerful grandmothers who provided me with the inner strength to overcome anything. I am truly thankful that I am almost out of here. OMG!!!! I am over it! That is my real consciousness of truth.

Happy Birthday to me! felonious phd 4/20/2015………………………………………………The journey continues.

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Prison Industrial Complex Part 2…….. “Business is Good!”

Today marks my 18th month of incarceration. Every time I sit still with the reality that I am in a Federal Prison Camp for Healthcare Fraud, Money Laundering and will leave here a felon, I get to the emotional state where I don’t know whether to laugh or scream at the absurdity of it all. It is very difficult for me to clearly explain my disposition in regards to this process without utilizing every curse word in my vocabulary, (lol). So I will just say that over the past 18 months I have grown more and more disheartened, angered, and disgusted with our American Criminal Justice System. I am also aware of the fact that WE (Americans) have to fight for more than just simple reform for Justice but we have to courageously strive towards real bold changes to this broken system. From my vantage point, I know that the task at hand is a very challenging and difficult one for the politicians and legislators to address as they should because of Politics. That level of awareness truly places me in a position of helplessness and forces me to plan to focus my future energies and efforts on assisting those who are about to enter this Criminal Justice System and those who will be exiting this process wounded, depressed and battle worn. And that is my own consciousness of truth!

There are many examples of ridiculousness and pure ignorance that occur within this structure. I have learned that unless people are tethered to the Criminal Justice Process and have a certain level of awareness they do not have a true understanding of what is going on in our American Criminal justice System. American citizens do not fully grasp how this process, as it stands, has and will continue to destroy our communities, families, and our individual lives. Here at the camp there is a Correctional Officer who loves to say to the women, “Business is Good!”. I find it quite disturbing and interesting how callously he allows those words to flow from his lips. He has said it to me once and even though I remind my stubborn, prideful, quick-witted self that it is essential to remain invisible in this setting, once in a while the “death of silence” pokes me hard and I am forced to respond. When that sense of urgency to speak in an attempt to save my soul occurs, I do so from a loving and respectful place! (that is my story and that is how I am going to tell it, lol). My one response to his statement, “Business is Good”, was this simple short reply, “that is the truth, so YOU better be careful!”. I am not sure if the CO truly grasps what he is saying or my reply, because if he had any ability to critically analyze what was going on with the structurally oppressive entity that is today providing him with a means to live, he would not be so selfishly entertained by such demeaning statements, and he would be concerned for his family and his own personal freedom.

The Prison Industrial Complex is a high powered, politically motivated, stakeholder guarded, lobbyist protected, financial entity that has become as untouchable on some levels as the Wall Street Banks. This is an analysis that is rarely discussed as a talking point for Criminal Justice reform. As I sit in “the belly of the beast” and participate in this non-productive, visceral process I have become very mindful and alert to how the current reform mandates for the 20-plus years drug laws are finally providing some relief for many who were incarcerated so unjustly as the Americans supported the so-called “war on drugs”. However, I am not hearing or reading any legislation, political talking points or politicians advocating for “closing prisons”. The lack of discussion of real change and de-carceration efforts have led me to believe that the current efforts at reform is simply leading to a legal way to create a “New Felon” that will occupy the space left void by the drug laws and continue to financially support the Prison Industrial Complex. They do not care who they are getting paid for… remember we really are just a number in this process. I am not Cassandra Little, I am 47078-048.
From my vantage point I have witnessed an influx of “white collar” middle-class Americans enter this system for the broad based obscure laws that are connected to “fraud” and young Hispanic women for obscure immigration and border issues. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I am a realist with an acute awareness and connection to reality. I am sitting in this Federal Prison Camp predicting that just as we once were asking “where are all the black men?” because they were trapped in the Criminal Justice System, we will soon be asking “Where are the middle-class, voting, self-employed, free enterprise citizens?”. My answer will be check the prisons and jails!! Over criminalization does not change with reform, it only shifts the blame and moves the dollars to another bureaucratic department. We must defund the Prison Industrial Complex and all of the industries that benefit from its purpose of incarceration and the failure of average citizens. We truly are collateral damage and our communities and families are the ones who lose in the end. Or we can continue to believe the hype and not become conscious, mindful voters who will demand change of the Criminal justice System so that Correctional Officers understand that they are a step away form incarceration and will not be so excited to say “Business is Good!”.
I am thankful my time is winding down at the Federal Prison Camp. It takes a tremendous amount of resilience, intellect and restraint to not just tell some of these folks to “F-off” and to remind them that they could be ME. I will leave here my loving, caring soulful self and live my life to the fullest. I am forever grateful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment!!

The journey continues…………………….felonious phd. 4/2015

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My Own Quietly Explosive Here Part 1………………………….I’M Still Mad as Hell!!!!!!

Lately I have dedicated a tremendous amount of my time here at the camp trying to formulate a plan for my next, which includes but is not limited to where will I work? where will I live? how will I keep myself emotionally strong? etc. I know most people feel that we are happier and are more productive when we limit how much we focus on our future issues and remain present in our NOW. Because of this irreverent experience and after I have lost everything, including my right to PERSONAL PHYSICAL FREEDOM, I know that I must prepare for tomorrow, otherwise, what will happen to me?

As usual when I find myself in a major quandary and my emotional, spiritual and physical self are in an uproar in here (whew and I mean a feisty one! lol) I depend on reading and writing for some healing and clarity. My current reality is that I am MAD AS HELL! Simple, there is no sugar coating it, that is my own truth. Anger has always served as a motivating emotion for me. I know that if something has me angry then I need to change it. But being that I am incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp and legally enslaved in the Federal Criminal Justice System that has served absolutely no purpose, I have no choice but to move with and through my anger. Over the past 18 months I have wrestled with this process and asked the same damn questions. Who benefits? What is the purpose of this incarceration process especially for non-violent, low level offenders? Does anyone really cares that this is going on? Why destroy a persons life and those tethered to them over nothing? Aren’t I an American with value also?

Daily, as I sit in the t.v. room watching the news, my questions continue to be answered as I witness the on-going incarceration of non-violent human beings. When will it end? Some say I should not watch the news or read the newspaper, like that will somehow change the facts. The facts being, as politicians continue to discuss, debate and plan for Criminal Justice reform, the American Justice System, those who are benefactors and stakeholders, continue to advocate and encourage to support the mass incarceration of non violent people. So yes, I am mad! I am mad that there is a continual influx of elderly females into the Federal Prison Camp of all races so it is not just a color thing. I am mad that as Politicians maneuver for political clout and positions, their policies are continuing the mass incarceration of not only hard working people but they too are getting caught in their own Criminal Justice nets and still they refuse to make urgent changes. That is scary to me. I am mad that as legislatures refuse to honestly legislate for real Criminal Justice changes for political reasons many incarcerated non-violent women are dying, getting physically injured, depressed, mentally ill, isolated and just plain forgotten about in this Criminal Justice System. I am mad that Federal Government Agencies, Federal Government Criminal Justice System and those tethered to it are not encouraged to utilize any form of critical analysis when it comes to over-criminalizing those who understand that to make lasting changes in the lives of vulnerable people you CAN NOT operate inside a box, but know that you must use creativity to effect change and that does not make you a FRAUD or a MONEY LAUNDERER! Yes, I am mad.

I am mad because as I sit here serving as a monetary number for the Bureau of Prisons off the backs of tax paying citizens, my son is without his mother, my grandkids are without their grandmother, my siblings are without their sister, my mother is without her daughter, my foster kids are without their mentor, my extended family is without their niece/aunty, my friends are without their friend. The remaining question is…..WHO IN THE HELL IS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT HAS INCARCERATED ME PROTECTING FROM ME? I am not and never have been a threat to anyone!!!!!! So yes I am mad.

Today I am thankful for the powerful writing of Ms. June Jordan. I have titled one of my books, “My Own Quietly Explosive Here” after this poem she wrote:
In my own quietly explosive here
all silence isolates
to kill the artificial suffocates
a hunger
likely dying underground
in circles hold together
wings
develop still regardless
Thank you Ms. June Jordan because of that poem this week I have been able to breathe deeply. I won’t remain silent about my pain and anger in regards to this Criminal Justice process and I will continue to move forward and RISE in spite and because of it all!
The journey continues………………………..felonious phd. 4/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul, Pt. 4……

Transformation of Fear into Action to GREATNESS!!

As I quickly approach my 18th month of incarceration, I am consciously aware of how my anxiety level in increasing. I am attributing the increasing state of being to my awareness of my pending re-entry into the community. I am also in tune with how my anxiousness is a cause that is related the transformation of my fears. For me, a fearless, brave, resilient, prideful woman it is not easy to speak openly about being fearful, but my consciousness of truth is forcing me to boldly speak it! and say it loudly. I will continue to be committed to authentically describe how I move through every phase of this extremely abnormal Federal Criminal Justice process and how it has affected my way of being.

My fears or anxieties are attributed to my own personal drive and goals. It has less to do with my being accepted by others or being able to secure employment or any of the other intense disenfranchisement structural oppressive structures I may encounter. Why would I once again work hard and become a productive United States Non-Voting Citizen after being treated so unjustly? Well the answer to my question was answered very poignantly from an Elderly Asian Woman, who is non-violent, white collar, 1st time offender, hard working successful business woman of 40 plus years, and lost her husband a few months ago as he sat in a halfway house, she stated that, “Success is the BEST revenge!”. I heard that!!!!! And as she let that statement roll of her tongue and through her lips, she lifted her head quickly and her stoic and sad presence swiftly changed to a big smile and as I captured the sparkle in her eyes at that moment my answer was revealed to me. I was reminded once again that no matter what I can not be collateral damage for this system and I can not allow my son to be either.

Like I have always done my entire life I will work through my fears, pain and anger, develop a concise plan and rise to my GREATNESS. Honestly I don’t know any other way of being. And since I have made a conscious choice to live, I am going to do it my way, fearlessly, purposeful, lovingly and with a whole lot of passion.

I am thankful that I am almost home to my son. I truly miss him. I am forever grateful for the many conversation with Ms. F, she is tough as nails and a constant reminder that I am not finished yet. She has a quote on her board that says, “America Loves a Comeback Story” I love that!

So the journey continues……………………………Felonious PhD 4/2015

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SMOKE AND MIRRORS: We cannot handle the truth

constantly moving
moving in a motionless space
clouded by visions that
are repeatedly put in
our face
governed by laws
that we want to
blame on others
forgetting that we
are
the people
the people who really
are in charge

manifestation of blaming
a disregard for self
reflection
self
respect
self
accountability
in a time
where
our mirrors
are broken
foggy
or non existent
time is here
actually time has never
left
we will perish
we will perish
we will perish
if we dont
stop looking for
answers externally
and believe the
messages within
ourselves
smoke and mirrors
we see in on the tv
smoke and mirrors
we hear in everyday
smoke and mirror
we operate opposite of our
own consciousness
consciously surrendering
to the pressures
the irrelevant
the insignificant
why?
why?
because we
can not
handle the
TRUTH

felonious phd 3/2016

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