Monday, September 21, 2009

8.30.09 Poem and Journal from Kenneth Foster

Hello friends, family and abolitionists!

I had a wonderful visit with our friend and brother Kenneth on Sunday at the McConnell Unit. He looks healthy and happy and we were able to take pictures. Unfortunately our visit was through glass, but we have applied for a contact visit through the warden. He recently celebrated his 2nd year off of death row and sent us the following journal entry and poem. Kenneth's words are poignant and inspirational and it pleases me to be able to share them with you all. -- Laura E. Brady

8.30.09 Journal Diary

Here I am to share a few words to those I love, to those that have stood fighting and to those that just need to know how real it is. I’m sure it’s not hard to understand how hard it is to share the inner-chambers of one’s heart. You think to yourself- who cares? Who will understand? But, for those whose hearts have been forged to fight for the higher causes in life we still seem to do it, regardless, because we know it must be done.

Here I am 2 years after I left death row. I sat back and absorbed and observed my day and I peered deep within myself to try and understand what was going on. This is SO necessary, but I know it’s easier for me to do this than for you all out there dealing with everyday life. But, to understand ourselves is a great power, because when we can do that we can unlock the secrets to the universe. Just look around us at what we’ve made and done. The people who make technology, computers etc. - they have unlocked something. You follow me?

And so I continue to try and unlock the complexities of my own life. I still struggle with my new environment. The Penal System is full of problems that you can’t imagine—some made by us, some made by the system. So, I have gone from one struggle to the next. I’ve gone from the lynch tree to the cotton fields. Oppression takes many shapes. But, I always have that knowledge and strength that was instilled in me from those years on death row- a “training” that will never leave me.

It’s often hard to compose thoughts that are so chaotic and painful. But, for those that I share with on a regular basis they know that I remain as determined as ever to overcome this situation and uplift as many around me as possible.

I was fortunate to spend my 2nd anniversary off death row with a beautiful friend from overseas. Originally she didn’t want to come on 8.30, because she thought I would rather spend that day with my family. But, as I have come to see, family is not in blood but in bond. And so sometimes a friend is more esteemed than kinfolk. I love so many of my friends more than those I share a bloodline with and so it was a great day to share with someone like her. I ate good (of course); laughed good and made good on this blessing I was given.

Because life moves so much faster out here it’s hard to do as much writing as I used to. But, you can be assured that I am never stagnant and am always brewing up a plan for success and freedom. And when the time comes you’ll all be aware of some of those plans. Our bill didn’t pass this year, but we’ll try again in January 2011, but I may have a trump card before then.

There remains so many fights going on that need to be supported. Keep your eyes on the work of the Campaign to END the Death Penalty (CEDP), because Texas is not going to let up. So lend an ear, a voice or a signature where needed.

In close, in my best tradition, I’d like to leave a poem that I wrote on my 2nd Anniversary off death row. And I’d just like to ask you all for your continual prayers and support and know that every day I give praise and try to make this chance like on never before. So keep your eyes toward me and know that the tide is just beginning to rise.

Love and Struggle



the days pass,

I tally the months and

the years begin to pile,

but these memories remain as clear as

what I did yesterday and

they also make me

push for my tomorrows

cause I still feel the

urgency of

living life to its fullest degree,

because sometimes we take for granted

the smallest things that

end up meaning the most.

I said it once

and I’ll say it again-




the years of solitude,

the stereotypes and sneers,

Texas’ resolution on being

The Killing Machine,

the loss of friends,

the screams from families who are the new victims,

the children,

the children,

the children,

the contradictions,

the petitions,

all our failures

that made new discoveries,

the love for a brother.

I am covered in a

psychological hurricane

that beats down my brain

and sometimes all I can do is pray

to still the storm, and I have tattoos

that tell stories

my lips can’t!

I feel like an enigma,

because just when I think I’m stable

the slightest thing will

draw my throat tight

and make the tears well in the corner of my eyes.

I can only cast my eyes down and

casually wipe my eyes

stiffen my back

and make it all disappear,

because who could understand what I was feeling!?!

what I have seen!?!

I’m alien in the land of unknown.

and I counted 2 years

and it feels like mere seconds,

but I hold on.

I hold on to

the way I can kiss my grandpa’s cheek

or the way I can lift my daughter

and I realize through all the darkness

there is a light-

even if only candle size-

that can have shattering effects.

so, I flicker on

wavering in the wind gust of

this Texas storm.


is a mantra

bound by rage and love.

4 tattooed with it.

the memory will never succumb.

I remain

with the pain and love

as determined now

as I was then.

unable to stop

this pursuit

of Struggle

we have claimed

as our own!

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