Starving Poet Crystal Dawn

Just a hopeful broke girl, trying to make a living as a poet. Funny, huh? This is a diary of my thoughts and artistic searches on the web. Author of The Sensitive Callous

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday in the Hole

SK and I have finally made a little bit of progress with our new art and literature topsite, but it has a long way to go. I still have much work to do on it, and SK is working on the graphics for buttons and to make it look more appealing. Hopefully, it will be totally on track within a couple of weeks.

Well, for this month, my erotic poem, Ache, was published on Poetry Superhighway as the featured poet of the week. I hate to admit it, but I'm beginning to like them less and less. I know they are a big site, but if you submit to them, they always send you emails about updates or new announcements. I don't like my inbox flooded, but sites like these love to do just that. I also had a publisher ask me if I wanted to be published. Hello... Did you read my biography? I just got my first book published! It was a self-publishing company, where you have to pay to get your work published. That's not my cup of tea.
I also posted Prayer for the UnMother and my Christian poem, Comfort of Your Arms on AllPoetry. Their site is okay, but it's easy to get lost in the shuffle.
I also had a new page put up on Poetry in a Cup. I like them. They are a very personal group.

I also updated my site some today, but not exactly where it needs to be. I have lots more work to do.

I went to visit my boyfriend yesterday, since he's still in jail. Well, he must have gotten angry and "went off" like he kept telling me he was going to do. He's in the hole. From what I understand, it's a place where he is confined to himself in a room. He says he actually enjoys the hole, because he finally gets some privacy and doesn't have to worry about all the other guys making a bunch of noise so he can't sleep. Sleeping is definitely one of his ways of coping with the stress. It's not wonderfully healthy, but he doesn't have that many choices right now.

I just hope this doesn't add more time to his sentence. I found out that the time he's spent in jail should go to the programs he's supposed to be in. He gets "time credits" so that his time in jail doesn't go to waste. Well, I never got to explain that to him to ease his mind. So, when he calls me, he'll get an earfull for letting his agitation and impatience get to him. I wonder what he did to get in the hole. I have a feeling he either didn't back down from a deputy when one of them decided to get spiteful or forceful with him, or some other prisoner antagonized him or stole something of his. He's not a violent person, but he can get aggressive when pushed. I've always tried to subdue him when talking with him, but we haven't had too much communication lately so he can ground himself on what's important.

Life would be so much easier if I hadn't fallen in love with a criminal. But we fit each other so perfectly in personalities. He is strong where I am weak, and I am weak where he is strong. After almost 2 years, his smile still makes me melt.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Squeaky Wheels

Well, after finding out that they still have not taken my boyfriend to the Detention/Diversion Centers, I finally sent out a couple of emails that were long overdue. This first one, I sent out to any state official that I could get my hands on their email.

To whom it may concern:
My boyfriend, TK was arrested on April 6th for a probation violation. He was found guilty in May. The lawyers, Mr. H and Commonwealth Attorney, and the judge could not find any earlier date than August 8th for his sentencing.
During this time, he was supposed to be screened for a detention/diversion center. When he went to court on August 8th, he had a new court-appointed lawyer, Ms. P, and the detention/diversion centers still had not approved his screening, eventhough they had over 3 months to screen him. So, they set another date for August 25th. He also asked to be screened for drug court while he waited.
On August 11th, the Detention/Diversion center came to get TK, but he hadn't even been sentenced yet.
On August 25, 2005, he had his sentencing. Drug court had still not screened him before his court date, and they asked if he wanted his sentencing postponed once again so they could screen him. He said no because he was tired of just sitting in jail, wasting his time. He was sentenced to the Detention/Diversion Centers at this time.
Two days later, the head Public Defender of the city came with drug court for his screening. He explained how he had already been sentenced, and they said that if he was approved for drug court, the detention/diversion center sentencing could be overridden. So, he received the screening.
Around September 5th, I called his lawyer, Ms. P to find out the results of the drug court screening because TK was getting impatient with waiting in jail instead of starting his sentence. The secretary at the Public Defender's office told me that she believed he had been approved for drug court and would transfer me to the lawyer handling his case while Ms. P was on vacation. This lawyer could not give me any information and just told me he had a meeting that afternoon for the drug court decision. I would have to wait until Ms. P returned before I could receive any information.
All this time, TK has been sitting in jail, asking to see his lawyer. As of today, September 21, 2005, she still has not come to see him, though me and his mother have called her at least 8 times to go see him.
When I finally got ahold of Ms. P on September 13th, she told me his drug court screening had been stopped and told me, just like she had told TK, that detention/diversion should come pick him up the next Monday. (She's been saying that since August 25th.) She said that if he wanted to appeal and see if he could be re-screened for drug court, he could receive a worse sentencing than he already had. I called the head Public Defender and explained how I had been told he had been approved for drug court, from what the secretary had told me, and Ms. P was being uncooperative. She said she stood behind anything that Ms. P said, and that if his drug court screening had stopped, he must not have been approved.
I called the Commonwealth Attorney, and she finally gave me more information than his own lawyer would. She said she did not know whether he had been reviewed for drug court, but she would have a meeting with the head Public Defender the next afternoon to discuss it. I just received a call today from the Commonwealth Attorney, stating his was not approved for drug court just because he had been approved for detention/diversion. Now, almost a month later, TK still has not gone to the detention/diversion center. His mother has also called Ms. P, the head Public Defender, and the circuit court office, and finally received a call from circuit court, stating TK had been declined for drug court and detention/diversion was backed up, and that must be why they haven't picked him up yet.
I am writing this letter because I have become very frustrated with this entire situation. If you can read the court documents from his conviction court date, you will see that TK has been taking care of me and most of his other responsibilities. I have a disability which makes it impossible to work outside my home, and he was our primary income. I don't make anything close to the amount I need to pay the bills. The longer it takes for his sentencing to start, the more probable it is that I will lose our apartment and end up homeless.
I am wondering how long does it take for him to finally start his sentencing? They told me that the almost 6 months in jail that he has done during this time will go towards any jail time that he receives in the future, but he has no intention of being a criminal anymore. He has changed most of his ways before he was ever convicted, excluding reinstating his probation, but he has ADD and never got around to it. He was diagnosed with ADD in February, and was supposed to go to the doctor 2 days after he was arrested to get on the medicine. We were hoping that would help him stick to his probation.
TK, his mother and I had all been very disappointed with the lawyers and the system with this whole matter. TK just wants to get out and take care of his responsibilities again. It just doesn't seem fair that just because he doesn't have the money for a good lawyer, we don't have any idea how long this will take. It seems like his mother and I are just receiving excuses for people not doing their jobs. I am contacting you to get this situation resolved, since we just keep getting shifted around with no answers.
So, can you tell me what the next best step is for us to take so that TK can finish his debt to society so that he can start anew?
Thank you for your time.

Well, since then, I have received one phone call from a state official, and he told me that they cannot use jail time to go towards crimes in the future. He said I needed to see if the time he's spent in jail will go towards the time he was supposed to be in the programs. He said that the courts can make the time he's waiting part of the sentence if they word the paperwork right. I looked over his sentencing statement, and it says he's been placed on indeterminate probation and must complete Detention and Diversion. The programs are 20 weeks each. That means he SHOULD already been in the second part of the program, according to his sentence papers. If they don't have room for him at the programs, why isn't he out of jail until they can, since no where in the paperwork does it say that he is to do time until the programs are available? Politics... ugh.
TK always used to complain so much about the system, and I, a normal naive citizen, thought it ran great. Now, my eyes have been opened, to say the least. I realize more and more if you don't have the money, you are just screwed (with no lube).

I also sent out an email to the Correctional Billing Services company. They are the company that I pay to get his collect phone calls while in jail. Here's that email:

I have used your company of Correctional Billing Services since the end of April or the beginning of May. I was billed on my telephone bill until the end of July. I paid $51.68 on August 1st for a bill sent to my house, the first bill I received from you. I paid $48.56 on another bill on August 23rd because I was unable to receive calls. The customer service rep said that they were having technical difficulties with the system, and I would not be able to get it fixed for about a week unless I changed my bill paying to pre-pay. Which I did. Needless to say, within a week, I could not receive calls again, saying that my balance was in the negative. So, I paid another $33 towards my bill. Within another week, once again, I could not receive calls because my account was in the negative. I called customer service and talked to representatives and supervisors for over 8 hours, yes, 8 hours, and never had my account resolved. They just told me I needed to manage my money and calls better.
I did not pay my balance, and within a week, my balance went from -$2 to -$11. How is that possible if I'm not taking calls? I really needed to speak with the inmate I receive calls from, so I put another $33 on my account. Within 4 days, I could not receive phone calls again.
The customer service representatives were very inconsiderate and would put me on hold for up to 45 minutes when I would finally hang up and call again. The supervisors would also give me no information including how to contact the company besides their customer service line, just that they would send a note to the credit department.
I am extremely frustrated and upset with your business practices at this time. I have given your company over $166 in six weeks, and still, my account is in the negative balance. There is no way possible that I have received this many calls, especially since I wasn't even accepting calls for over a week of that time. I would like this issue resolved immediately.
Thank you for your time.

I received a call from Collection Billing Services this morning, and due to a technical problem and lack of customer service rep knowledge, they finally fixed the problem. They've credited me with $30. Not much, but enough to keep me quiet.
My mother tells me I shouldn't make waves, just keep my faith in God, and He will change things. Sorry, mom, he may do that for you, but I've had my faith in God before, and nothing changed for the better. I may stick my foot in my mouth sometimes, but at least I'm doing something instead of hoping my rain dances will make it rain.
The government has still done nothing to resolve the problem with TK. God Bless America.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Destiny Must Hate Me

Today is a bad day for my health. Even now, my legs are tingling, my spine is throbbing, and my head is well.... I can't think of a good word. It hurts.
I have had a hard time holding down my food for the last few days. I do keep it down, but I've dry-heeved and burped up hydrochloric acid. I thought it was something I ate... until today. I haven't had an episode like this in a while.
My friend James says it's probably the stress of money again. Whenever I get stressed out a lot, my health problems seem to accelerate. I've been quite lethargic lately, too. Today, I can barely sit upright at all. I took a nap, but it didn't help.
I'm supposed to be working! I have over $700 I need to make before the end of the month to keep my apartment. The money I've made so far this month has gone to the phone and groceries. I'm still a month behind on rent (I have been since February) and if I can't make the bill, I'm out on the street. Or I'm living with James again...and his family of six other people and eight other animals. I get along with most of them, but his father hates me and says I'm using all of them. He's just another person in this world who feigns compassion, but when it's time to actually help someone less fortunate, he believes it's the person's fault for not trying harder. He is the majority of people I've met, my family included. I can't blame them, really. If they are in good physical and mental health, it's hard to understand someone who isn't.
Today is one of those days I feel like I could literally die. I feel as if my brain is going to explode. Please, not today. Just let me have a few days of touching my love again. Then, you can take me. Just a little more time. (Funny, some days, I'm begging to be taken.) Dammit, I don't need to cry. That just makes the migraines and nauseousness worse. My ears are starting to pop. I've been having some distortion in my vision again, too.
The exterminator came by today. Good. Maybe all these roaches will finally die. When I opened the door, with my blanket wrapped around me, he asked, "Are you sick?"
I chuckled as I laid back down on the couch. I never know how to answer someone when they ask me that. Usually, I don't go around telling people about my problems, because it makes them uncomfortable, but I didn't have the brain power to avoid the question or cushion my answer. "I have... a brain disease."
"Really?"
"Yes, I have all the symptoms of a brain tumor without the tumor." It's the easiest, most efficient answer to give people, so they understand in laymen's terms.
He answered with the same question I've heard more times than I care to remember. "Are you sure it's not all in your head?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"Have you been diagnosed, gotten all the tests, and applied for disability?" Another repeated question.
"Yes, I've had CAT scans, a spinal tap, and I have been diagnosed. Social Security does not consider it a disability."
He finished his spraying and smiled with distrust, like so many others. I didn't need another scoffer today.
It reminded me of my mother, also saying it's all in my head, that it must be psychological, eventhough she was there when the opthamologist told me, "You need to go to a neurologist for these flashes in your vision. After studying you, worse case scenario is that you may have a brain disease."
James also went with me to the neurologist. The last time I saw her, when I went to see her to sign the forms for Social Security, she told me, "Don't ever go more than three months without seeing me again." That was over a year ago. She isn't going to pay for my visits. I haven't had any of my medicine for over a year and a half. I've been relying totally on herbal remedies. Of course, the money isn't there for that, either, now, so I just have to suffer. Let nature take its course. Ignore the scoffers. Remember a love that holds me together. A love that I wait for as patiently as I can.
"Be strong." he told me last. I'm trying.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

About Me & My Goals

About Me
I was born in Virginia in 1974 as the youngest in a family of six. I spent my whole childhood there. After I graduated from high school, I went to college. I was diagnosed with medical depression in my third year of college, and I dropped out. I was kicked out of my mother and my father's house, due to some personal issues. I was homeless or moving from house to house for about six months. I also became deeply involved in drugs and an abusive relationship that lasted two and a half years.

In the past five years, I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease and Psuedotumor Cerebri. With PCOS, it is very unlikely that I can have children, which is fine with me, because I never really had my heart set on it anyway. With the Pseudotumor Cerebri, I have all the symptoms of a brain tumor without the tumor. If it goes untreated, I could become blind. I have migraines daily, and they are aggravated by flourescent lighting, stress, and barometric pressures. Because of this, I applied for disability with Social Security and was rejected due to the rarity of my brain disease. So, I have no choice but to work from home, hoping to make enough money to be independent.

I now live in an apartment complex where drugs, prostitution and other crimes run rampant. Why do I live here? Well, where else do you expect a girl with barely any money to find an apartment? There's not really a place devoted to poor folks who don't fit into the crime scene. If you're broke, you just have to deal.

I used to live with my boyfriend, who I helped rehabilitate off of drugs, and he supported me. However, because of his criminal past, he was sent to jail for a probation violation. Eventhough he hasn't been involved in any criminal activity in over a year, he still has to pay for the consequences of his past.

Some days, I swear I'll never make it through. This week, they towed away my car. I haven't been able to drive it for over a year since I couldn't afford insurance or registration, so it's been sitting in the parking lot. I guess it was just a matter of time.
I saw my boyfriend for the last time yesterday for 10 months while he goes through a drug program. I still love him as much today as I ever did, and I'm gonna try to keep trucking alone as a mousy girl in the ghetto until he gets out to pamper his "queen" (one of his many nicks he's given me for supporting him through this time.)

My Goals:
Since I was nine, I have been writing poetry. I just had my first poetry book published, called The Sensitive Callous - Poetry by Crystal Dawn, and it is now available for purchase with me, being the sole marketer of my product.

Right now, I have 2 work-at-home businesses. So, every other day, I promote my book and poetry via websites. I spend over 10 hours a day, searching sites for exposure. This takes an enormous amount of time on my 10 year-old computer! (Now, if I could just get paid for searching these sites!) hee hee. One of my best friends, a graphic artist, SK and I are working on a Kage toplist, which is a place for artists of all sorts to post links to their sites. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Here's my future plans: I want desperately to get a regular .com site. Once I do that, I will be able to make a much better toplist and give poets and artists a rockin' message board! I also have other plans to contribute to the art/literature community, but I don't want to reveal those plans just yet. I have to get the money to pay for a .com site for a year first. That will take a little while for me to raise. Got tons of other bills to pay for first. I'm doing a ton of struggling, but I guess that's what being a starving artist really means, eh? I don't want to be a Van Gogh, I want to be a Jean-Michel Basquiat! hee hee