Voices from Solitary: Everyone Needs a Friend

by | August 21, 2013

Drawing: The Close Management Cell, by Daniel McKafee, held in solitary confinement at Florida State Prison (Source: Concrete Cage)
“The Close Management Cell,” by Daniel McKee, held at FSP (Concrete Cage)

The following was written by Ricky Silva, 33, who is currently serving a life sentence at Florida State Prison, where he has spent almost four years in solitary confinement held in close management. He writes, “I even agree with my prison sentence… I don’t hold it against anyone who feels I got what I should get… But to someone else I might be a person who is need of human contact to prevent insanity.”

The following entry comes from Silva’s blog, Concrete Cage, which is maintained by a friend on the outside who periodically forwards reader comments to Silva. He can also be reached by email at ricky.lee.silva [at] gmail [dot] com or by writing Ricky Silva, L24722, Florida State Prison, 7819 N.W. 228th Street, Raiford, FL 32026-1000. –Lisa Dawson

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


My back’s to the wall but still I will fight
without saying I’m wrong or believing I’m right.
I could live an illusion or even pretend
that I don’t want or need any type of friend.

Do I deserve friends? Who am I to say?
Everyone would have a friend, if I had it my way.
Should a man suffer for his wrongs? I believe so
but what that suffering would be, I don’t rightly know.

Should they hang me upside down by the tips of my toes?
Should they beat me half to death with a length of rubber hose?
Or should they lock me in a cell and deprive what’s called my mind,
just throw away the key until the end of time?

I am without a doubt no angel, that we know for sure.
Many of my past actions were evil true and pure.
I make no excuses, my crimes I wont dismiss
but I don’t believe anyone could possibly deserve this.

To feel so alone at times that you don’t wish to go on.
To constantly reach out for contact and for no one to respond.
To suffer every day with only yourself to blame.
To know the way your mind works will never be the same.

After years in solitary the world sort of drifts away,
your past comes back to haunt you and is stuck on replay.
You begin to hate yourself for all the pain you have caused.
I have struggled for years and now my life is on pause.

I understand how many people would feel, I’m just a piece of shit,
that if my life is total hell, I’m the one who done it.
And if I’m honest with myself, I would have to agree
but everyone needs a friend and that includes me!!!


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  • jay

    Ricky, your pen-friendship has enriched my life! How lovely to get up in morn and find your letter! Really. For anyone reading this: use your passion for human rights to take direct action by writing a letter of support to our pals who suffer in solitary.
    You don’t have to give address. But you might gain a lovely friend!!
    Ricky I’m glad you accepted my invite of pen-friendship. You won’t be left alone and forgotten. Anyone can appreciate that’s got to be a big worry.
    I need to be reliable and consistent for Ricky. But you can send a one-off note expressing your support, for any individual.
    Awesome to meet you, friend.

  • jay

    Love poetry. Can’t feel your suffering its too intense but can relate it to when i went into a head-hospital after a breakdown. Thats enuf! Thanx love for your absolute honesty and willingness to accept the wrong things you did. It says SO MUCH about your strength of character. Also on the bigger issue that you’ll not back down from what you believe is right and true. YOU DO DESERVE FRIENDS YOU DESERVE HUMAN CONTACT. I cry reading ya poems – big hugs

  • kim cassidy

    Hey, Ricky… I really like your poem, man. And I’m feeling your pain, and I respect your honesty. Here’s the deal–people can be idiots, especially people with the power to make huge decisions over other folks’ lives. The riidiculously high stretches inmates are sentenced to are nothing personal, which is the heart of the problem. These days there is so much desensitization that, whether you are a judge, or a cop, or anyone else with a say in the matter, if you have not done any time yourself, then you are not TRULY qualified to decide a sentence for anyone else. You would have no sense of what you are doing. Time is maybe the most important thing in life, and the quality of how we spend our time in life is the sole purpose for everything we do from the moment we are born. For someone else to rob another of their right to control their own time is an extreme and audacious act. It should only be done in cases of absolute necessity, and then only with the goal of protecting society WHILE educating that person into gaining self-control and taking responsibility for his or her own actions. Sometimes they need extra help. Often crimes are committed accidentally, or with little idea of actual damages. This is correctable. The idea that people should be punished, instead of rehabilitated, is straioght up cruelty. Solitary confinement falls into this category. Our justice system fails inmates terribly. I think you have a good attitude, and I am sorry you are being kept out of society. You could be an excellent source for leading others away from crime. Certainly you have a talent for writing, and could inspire others with your creativity. Your spirit, no matter where your body is being kept, is beautiful. You have touched my heart, and I’m thousands of miles away. Rock on, man!

  • I am going to copy this poem and send it to my friend in Pelican Bay State Prison in California. He is an artist, and I post things for him on his website. For the purposes of replying to this post, I’ll switch to his website so you can cick on my name and see the amazing art he does in a maximum security prison.

  • mary magdelinea

    yes u r who u r but u r a person and only u can love ur self and u have someone who cares and that’s me I can be a friend I feel so bad for u and everyone else who faces this awful trajedy god will come to ur aid seek him first and he will acknowledge u take care and ill b praying for u.. and I hope they get rid of that solitary confinement …

  • Judy Belanger

    Read your post. You do have people who are friends. They are just not with you to touch. Please go back and like yourself first, yes you did wrong, but keeping this guilt is wrong. Your time is your punishment. Not in your mind. Your mind is worth keeping. Stay strong


    :( why do they gotta be torchering them why :( they should give them a second chance no one should judge nobody but god only.

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