When the color of the world drains away… Someone left a trap for me… I entered Terra Haute federal penitentiary alone and unknown…sentenced that time to 24 months for breaking my earlier parole for an assault. I knew nobody… but upon hearing of me coming into the can all the Minnesota inmates immediately knew of me… and what they heard and challenged me with right away on the yard put me in one of the most life-perspective changes of my whole life. On the streets a couple times I’d been chased down and blasted at by some people because of something my little crazy blood bangin’ self had done but this was something totally different… here there was no running or riding away…here u had no choice but to bang or bend… and respectfully said to u who might, Pack bends over for no man… and until the last of my blood flows from my veins and my soul departs to the heavens I never will. A street colleague I had years before who I had looked up to had whispered a snake’s lie into these murderous and hate-filled lifers’ head about me over something very personally controversial that happened between us like 7 years before. He told these men That the same Pack that risked his own life and freedom so many times for him out there, not to mention attempting to take the lives of others by his command, was a tattle-tale…what’s called in court a confidential informant. The worse of titles in the criminal world. Yeah, u have no idea how much shit I was in. Most these guys were in doing big numbers behind a deal-making false flagging gangster. If found to have holes in my courage, I’d be on knees in someone’s cell doing the deed, or laying on the rec yard coughing up red with the rest leaking out of multiple puncture wounds in my body. I remember a Muslim leader there watch me intently as I told my story. He trailed me and took honest note of what I promised I was going to do. He didn’t initially intervene. Although yes, I was a gangster blood tatted up and conversationally representing by my choice of hood word play and handshakes with other bloods… I was also claiming to be also a believer in the faith of Muhammad…I.e a Muslim, which made them spiritually responsible for me. Knowing how serious this was and with no way to prove myself to these associates of my enemy who was at one time my mentor, I was basically on my own. I prepared to write my family and say goodbye. I accepted I was going to die… but not pleading… I was going to go squabbing with a shank in my fist, trying to drag whoever rushed at me with me to the prison morgue. I remember feeling like I was high…constantly stopping to drop and do push-ups to keep my body pumping blood. I remember my breathing… my sharp as a razor seriousness of resolve..my chest poking out swoll… all my muscles flexed, my face locked in an unmoving killer’s mug. Allah, forgive me for my life… $&@$ bring it on…let’s do this… talking to the then imam of the prison I told him all I was asking from the Muslims was a good knife… I’d fight by own battle to whatever end. Looking at me again very serious he asked me a question. He asked me to swear and take an oath in the highest name in creation, Allah…that the man who started this whole situation had lied and that I was innocent… damn, so complicated, the truth isn’t always a straight road or an easily comprehendible single explanation… this man… this false brother, who took a homeless, spiritually lost, and impressionable teenager and had him selling crack alone in a dirty trap house in the hood, running in banks, underground gambling parlors, and dope houses masked up with pistols, this vile predator who used the words I love u to get me to view other human beings as just collateral damage if they got in the way of his ambitions dares to call my integrity and honor a hoax by calling me a snitch? A traitor? $&@!!! I said… no brother, I said… the Man’s a liar…. I didn’t do nothing but be there for him, but chose me when his heart became known and I could truly see him for what he was to me…my pimp…$&@$ him! upon my statement the Muslims intervened and prevented my death… damn… close call…my truth…

Published by Pack Redfeather

I am a walking contradiction of traditions some say. An African American and Native American Muslim poet with a personal life history as violently turbulent as a Storm. A visionary from the bottom of life’s social barrel striving to share the hope found in the light of faith through sometimes dark but real poetry. I’m a former member of the Bloods street gang, former serial bank robber, and both federal/state prison convict. I live on my mother’s tribal reservation of the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe in Minnesota.

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