Photo of Delbert Tibbs
HOLY HERETIC DEVOTIONAL-Nov. 14, 2016-I WAS IN PRISON AND YOU VISITED ME
Compiled by Mercy Junction Administrative Assistant, Reiki Master, and Empath Kali Meister
“When I meet people now, if they try to make a big deal about me having been on death row, I sometimes gently remind them that we’re all on death row. The difference is that here the state’s gonna do it, and at some point you’re gonna know the date and the hour, but that’s the only difference. I mean, if you’re walking around here, shit you’re on death row, ’cause you’re going to have to leave here. You’re going to lay down and they’re going to throw dust in your face. They never set a date for me. And I thank God for that.”
— Delbert Tibbs
Delbert Tibbs was an American poet who was wrongfully convicted of murder and rape in 1974 and sentenced to death. Later exonerated, Tibbs became a writer and anti-death penalty activist. He was released in 1977 after a major witness admitted to lying under oath in order to have his own rape charges reduced. Tibb’s charges were completely dropped in 1982. Delbert Tibbs is one of six people whose stories were dramatized in the acclaimed play The Exonerated. The play, written by Eric Jensen and Jessica Blank, details how Tibbs and five other individuals were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, in addition to their exonerations after varying years of imprisonment.
I’m going to address the elephant in the room.
This election has many of us scared and afraid of each other right now. I’ve turned to the poetry and words of Delbert Tibbs to help me deal with my anger at the system. For me, right now, everything seems so hopeless and dire. In this quote Tibbs speaks of the existential dilemma of death that we all face. In this quote he is equalizing that element, but he also puts a reality of death row into the perspective of the known versus the unknown. He talks about how grateful he was that the courts never put a a definite date on his death. Maybe this is because if we know when we will die would that force us to live, or would that force us to go ahead and just lay down and die.
We have this one life to create the action we want to see. We can choose to lay down and let dust cover us, or we can live the life we have in action. We are a part of a collective, yes, but we are only responsible for us. Will your personal actions reflect that you are not alone, even when you may feel incredibly isolated? Sometimes when we are alone our own actions and words are our best company. Speak. Create. Art and poetry can be our best companions.
Today’s Action: Create art for social change. Your scribblings can inspire the good fight, even if you are the only one they inspire.
Today’s Sharing: When has art changed you or moved you to create a difference in the world?
** Don’t forget your gratitude journal at the back of your print edition of Holy Heretic!
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