Monday, March 27, 2017

Letter to Wade

March 27, 2017

Wade Cleveland
DIN: 16B3094
Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility
P. O. BOX 901, 75 Burhart Lane
Mineville, NY 12956-0901

Hey man,

I saw you wrote to Josh a while ago. He posted your address and I made a note to write to you. That was a while ago obviously but I made a point to sit down and do it. Here it is.

When I was in the seminary, looking back anyway - the thing felt like a prison so I kinda sorta know what it’s like. No one writes letters these days but, I remember when I did get one it meant a lot.

Katie read to some of us what you wrote her recently so I heard about all the stuff. Shock camp. Reminds me of how I was training for the Marines. I worked out 2 hours a day, everyday. Ran a lot. Felt great. Was hard but felt good. I keep some of that up. Always gotta look cool for the chicks, haha.

I don’t have any money. In fact, I’m literally paying for my mistakes now and for a while as well. I meant to visit you when you were being held downtown. I had to take care of my kid. He’s always my priority.

I look back at my life and honestly, even though you could say I fucked up quite a bit, I have no regrets. I have my son and life is good. I recently got over losing my ex. It was really hard but I’m a better man now.

I realized the other day that I am so proud of who I am and mostly I am proud of my mistakes, because they made me the man I am today. It wasn't just the mistake though; it was the will to rise above it that made all the difference. I am stronger and cooler and better than I ever was. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not perfect but I’m finally cool with how I am.

I wanted to send you what I do have - not riches as in wealth, but riches in character. There were two poems, one especially that help me through life and the worst times. “If” - I used to yell that everyday when I got out of the seminary and didn’t know what the fuck I was doing with my life. I felt later - after I memorized it - that it was inside me and it guided my actions and made me a man.

I wanted to give these to you. Because they are worth more than anything I got besides my kid. Nothing I could write could be better.

Read them. Memorize them. Breathe them. I hope they help you like they helped me.

I can honestly say that I both felt bad for you and didn’t when I heard the news. I felt bad cause you’re human. And I didn’t because only in justice do we find peace. I’m sure you’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I can’t say I don’t judge you 'cause we all do all the time about everybody. The rest is bullshit.

There was a time when I was in a dark place when it was hard to see that life was worth living. I think that if I lost my kid I would have a lot harder time believing that, but I do, very much so, mostly because my son but overall because it’s true in general.

That’s enough I guess.

I’m sure I’ll see you again man. Read the poems. Memorize the poems. And don’t lose hope man.

You are the master of your fate, you are the Captain of your soul.


Joe Cunningham

PS: The gold:

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, 

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.