Jan. 26, 2018

My Prayer

From Heart Talk by Jack Branch


My Prayer

I kneel down before you, O' Lord
O' Lord lean over the clouds of heaven
and have mercy on dying sinners
Which seem they love distance well.

O' Lord, make my words shine in darkness
For the lost souls of our children
O' Lord help me bring them out of the lonesome valley
Of sin and the brokenhearted.

O' Lord remove our children from everlasting darkness
And from the gates of hell.
O' Lord shine your love on our children
So they will always shine on you. Amen.

By: Jack M. Branch #R17203
Century Correctional Institution
400 Tedder Road
Century, Floria 32535-3659


Replies (29) Replies feed

amazingsweetsound Posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 10 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
Your poetry is beautiful. I love reading religious poetry and hearing about other people's views on religion. I look forward to reading more of your poetry. As a fellow poet, I hope you keep writing poetry.
Thank you for responding to my comment by the way! That made me super happy! I hope you have a nice day.

Jack Branch Posted 9 months, 4 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Jack Branch Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 9 months, 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Hello, Jack!
1. I am from America! Illinois, specifically.
2. I honestly don't read religious poetry often. I love poetry in general, but not specifically religious. I myself am Pagan and I try to appreciate all sorts of religions.
3. Yes! I absolutely love poetry. I write it very often. My notebooks are full of poetry. I mainly write free verse, but I like syllabic poetry as well. I don't often rhyme my poems, however.
I hope you have a good day. You are in my prayers as well.

Jack Branch Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 8 months, 3 weeks ago   Favorite
Hello, Jack!
1) I have thought of publishing my own poetry before. I've been thinking of compiling some of my poems about darker things in my life from the past (such as abuse, violence, etc.) and making them into a poetry book. I think that art of any kind is the best way to not feel alone. Through poetry, I've found all kinds of people, some of them who've had similar experiences to me.
2) Over here in Illinois is pretty boring, haha! It's warming up for the spring so it's around 40-55 degrees Fahrenheit on average in the afternoon. Still not very warm. I do a theatre group up here, so that can exciting sometimes. I'm often stressed out with stuff like preparing for theatrical productions and also trying to keep up with school at the same time, but it's a good kind of stress for the most part.

Alright! I have some questions for you, then. I know you said I can ask you any question, but if any of these questions make you uncomfortable at all, you totally don't have to answer them at all, you can partially answer them if you want, you can give a vague answer... Really, whatever you're comfortable with.
1) How old are you?
2) What other themes in poetry interest you? I've only read some of your religious ones so far (but I'm going to read more of your poetry soon), but I'm curious what else you like to read about or write about.
3) Have you read much poetry? If so, what's your favorite poem/poet?

That's all the questions I'll give you for now because this letter is beginning to get very long, haha... But you can always ask me questions too! You can ask me any question at all. Of course, I may not necessarily answer every question, but you are always free to ask any question.

Have a wonderful day!

Jack Branch Posted 8 months ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 7 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
First of all, awesome! You share my sister's birthday and that's really cool!
1) I'm sixteen.
2) I'm still in high school and I do online-school.
3) I really like certain TV shows which make me super happy! I love theatre, journaling and writing which makes me happy. As for what makes me sad, I don't have a lot of friends because I'm online-schooled so I get lonely a lot which sucks. Also, I have a pretty low self esteem so ya know, there's that.
4) I mentioned above that I like theatre, journaling and writing! I journal at least once a week to capture what's happening in my life. It's really nice and therapeutic. Sometimes I don't write about emotions, though. Sometimes I just write fun facts or just things I want to talk about but feel like I'd annoy people with.
5) I love all sorts of things, which I know is a vague answer. I like David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen a lot, and a bit of Jimmy Buffet and Neil Diamond. I also like The Cure, though. I'm not super into new bands, to be honest. Pete Seeger is by far my favorite musician.
6) I honestly don't read much at all! I read fan fiction a lot though, if you know what that is. It's basically like fans of a certain TV show, video game, book, movie, anything, will create their own stories using those characters.

I would like to, but my mother isn't super comfortable with the idea of sharing an address, which I have to respect. Also, I don't have a P.O. box. However, when you get closer to getting out (which I'm super happy is in a year!), I can give you my email address so we can keep messaging each other.

So here are more questions for you. Again, you don't have to answer all these questions if you don't feel comfortable.
1) What's your favorite animal? A kind of silly question, I know.
2) Where were you born?
3) I don't know if this is really rude to ask, but how long have you been in prison?
4) Do you have a family? A significant other/spouse?
5) What kind of music do you like? (I'm throwing that question back at you!)
6) What's a TV show you remember from your childhood?

That's all I'm going to write for today. I hope to hear from you soon!

Jack Branch Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Kylajohnson_81 Posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 6 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Hello jack my name is kyla. Ive recently been studying criminal justice. I wanted to just thank you for sbaring your story and your wonderful poetry. I aspire to work in the judical system in the next few years so i can help. Because ive been raised around in the streets i think that inmates who can connect and have a professional relationship between inmate and staff is important. What is your idea on the topic? I would like some insight before continuing with making career choices

Jack Branch Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Kylajohnson_81 Posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 3 weeks ago   Favorite
Hello jack its kyla again, i was looking into being a counsler in a prison. I love helping people and veing someone that is easy to talk to. My friends come to me for advice or to vent about anything. And one day i got to thinking about inmates and how you have all the time in the world to sit in your thoughts. People shouldnt have to bottle things in. I am the person to bottle my emotions up until i burst, but for me if i were to at least help one person or have the oppurtunity to impact someone elses i would be entirley grateful. And you dont have to worry about the time. I have plenty of patience. But what i had written you for was to see how i could be a good counsler. What kind of stuff would make you trust a counsler with helping you on a bad day? Would i be more effective if i went above and beyond my work and did daily check ups? I really do appreciate you for taking the time to write to me. I hopw you are having a wonderful day

Jack Branch Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Kylajohnson_81 Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 4 months, 1 week ago   Favorite
Hey Jack, its kyla again. Sorry i am writing to you so late. My dad was put in the hospital for a really bad seizure. But i really do hope you are having a good day.i just wanted to say thank you for writing me. I really do appreciate it, more than you probably think. I haven't really told anyone what i want to do for my career choice because of 2 main reasons. 1 being that noone ever really ever thought i was smart enough in school, but that's because the teachers made me feel really insecure about how i learned or when I didn't understand things. 2 because not everyome is optimistic about a female working in a prison, but as i get older I have realized that what other negative opinions don't matter. But i have some more questions for you.
Have you done any school programs while you have been incarcerated? And imagine seeing yourself out of prison and your charges what career path were you looking into? What kind of music do you Like? What do most of your days consist of? Do you write alot, or draw?
Well i hope to hear from you again. And like you said last time, keep your head up and stay strong

Jack Branch Posted 3 months, 4 weeks ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 3 months, 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
I'm so sorry I haven't written to you in over two months. I've been incredibly busy and it slipped my mind. I'm sorry.
To answer your previous response to me:
I love AC/DC too. I haven't listened to much Lady Antebellum, but what I've listened to by her, I've liked.
Now to your questions for me:
1) My favorite animal... I don't know if I have a favorite animal. I have two cats and I really like them, so maybe cats are my favorite animal.
2) I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I still live in Illinois and have never moved from Illinois.
3) My favorite TV show is a show called That 70s Show. It's a sitcom set in the 1970s about a group of teenage friends. It mainly just makes a lot of references to the 70s.
4) I have one brother and one sister. I live with my mom, too. My dad is not around. He left when I was thirteen, and I'm glad that he left.
5) My favorite food is probably enchiladas. I don't watch movies a whole lot, but Forrest Gump is my favorite. My favorite color is lemon-lime, specifically the color of Mountain Dew. I don't know why, I've just always liked that color.
6) I don't watch movies a whole lot, so I don't have a kind that I like the most. I like kind of inspirational movies, though. The Blind Side is one of my favorite movies as well.
7) Currently I'm studying for my GED. In Illinois, I have to be 17 to take the tests. I turn seventeen in a few months, so I'm going to take those tests as soon as possible. I dropped out of high school because due to mental illness, I couldn't continue school with my peers. After I get my GED, I plan to take classes at a community college in January. I'm still working on my driver's license, though.
Again, I am incredibly sorry about not responding for so long. I feel really bad about it.
I hope your day is nice!

Kylajohnson_81 Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 3 months, 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Hey Jack its kyla, i would like to consider writing your personally but i think i should get to know you a little bit more. Plus I'm waiting for new address to get all of my mail without getting lost everywhere. I'm from Arizona, i have lived all over the state so i guess you can say I'm native. I listen to all sorts of music, like I'm opened minded to any kind of music. My day usually consists of waking up and either going to work or on my days off I'm catching up on school. Things that make me happy is when others have a positive mindset Things that don't make me happy are, negativity, lying, and betrayal. It's really my biggest pet peeves. Once I get my address all figured I would be glad to write you.

Jack Branch Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 2 months, 2 weeks ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
I'm glad you're getting closer to getting out. I hope you're excited to get out, too. Is there at least a vague estimation of your release date? Do you have any plans for when you get out?
As for community college classes, I'm going to take it really slow. I have pretty bad social anxiety and I dropped out of high school because of mental illness and physical chronic illness, so I'll probably just start with one or two classes. I really want to take an American Sign Language (ASL) class. I already know some ASL, but I want to know it fluently. I don't know anybody who uses it, but I just kind of feel like... There's a whole culture of people in America that use a beautiful language that I at least want to be able to understand. Also, I never know when sign language might come in handy, you know? No pun intended.
I've been really productive and studying for the GED tests a lot, which is nice! I've also even been lifting weights and working out, which I pretty much never do. It's funny because my world is kind of collapsing around me (my parents are getting divorced and my mom is really not taking it well, and my sister has been kind of self destructive), but I'm really thriving. I almost feel kind of guilty, honestly.
What's with the PREA for sexual harassment? I don't mean to pry for details and I won't judge you either way, but were you the sexual harasser or the one that was sexually harassed? Again, I won't judge, I'm just concerned for you.
A lot is changing in the world, in both of our worlds at least. I think they're for better, too. As always, I hope you have a wonderful day and a wonderful month (or however long it will take until I can get your response).

Jack Branch Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago.   Favorite
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Kylajohnson_81 Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 1 week ago   Favorite
Hello Jack, I'm sorry I'm writing back to you so late, I went on a vacation for my birthday and I was visiting with family from another state. How have you been? Thank you for respecting my choice. I'm sorry things have been crazy. I hope it gets better. If there is anything I can do to help let me know. Sexual harrassment is not okay. And it should be dealt with accordingly. I hope to hear from you soon

Jack Branch Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 1 week ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
It's wonderful to hear back from you. I'm excited for July for your sake. I can only imagine how overwhelming, both good but maybe nerve-wracking, it would be to get out of prison after being there for so long, so please make sure to take care of your mental health to the best of your ability as you get closer to July.
And yeah, sign language is very helpful! Another reason I'm learning it is because I have a lisp. Although I'm still understandable, it's enough to be pretty frustrating during speech. But with sign language, I don't have to speak. I'm also very sound-sensitive and I'm often overwhelmed by loud sounds and people's voices. When I have a conversation with a non-speaking deaf person, I don't have to hear anybody's voice, even my own. It's really nice. Do you speak any other languages?
I'm currently in the process of scheduling my GED tests. I just turned 17, which means that I can legally take the tests now. Hopefully by the next time I send you a letter, I will have my GED.
I'm really sorry about the sexual harassment you experienced. I can't say at all I've been in your shoes, but I've had my fair share of sexual harassment and threats. I hope you're okay.
I was wondering... What were you like when you were my age? I mean, what was going on and what were your goals for life?
Also, are you allowed to keep the letters I send you? I'd like to give you my email before you're released. There's many reasons I can't give you my snail mail address, but I would still like to keep in touch with you.
Does the prison do anything for Halloween? I'm going to hang out with some of my friends the weekend before Halloween and watch Halloween Disney films we used to watch as kids. We're not really an exciting or cool-kid kind of bunch, but we do have fun.
I can't wait to hear from you again!

Jack Branch Posted 1 month, 1 week ago.   Favorite
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Kylajohnson_81 Posted 1 month ago. ✓ Mailed 3 weeks, 5 days ago   Favorite
Jack hello I am so sorry I've been so busy with work and helping my family pay there Bill's. To answer your question I'm working at a food chain restaurant called culvers. It's not like regular McDonalds or Burger King. All the food is actually fresh made after you order it. I've been doing good out here. It's just been hectic with work I've been going like 2 weeks without having a day off. It gets stressful at times but at the same time it's adult life. I'm glad to here that the sexual harrassment has stopped. I hope all is well you have a great day I look forward to hearing from you soon

Jack Branch Posted 2 weeks, 1 day ago.   Favorite
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Jack Branch Posted 1 week, 5 days ago.   Favorite
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amazingsweetsound Posted 1 week, 2 days ago. ✓ Mailed 5 days, 2 hours ago   Favorite
Dear Jack,
I've been better, but I'm surviving. I've been generally depressed but not really about anything specific. I haven't taken tests for my GED yet, and I don't know when I will. I haven't scheduled any tests.
I'm glad you're trying to take care of your mental health. I'm also glad that you're doing a bit better after going back on meds. I'm kind of in the same boat right now, trying to get psych meds sorted out.
As for spoken languages, I only speak English. I kind of want to learn Klingon though, if you know what that is. Klingon is a fake alien language from Star Trek, but a lot of Star Trek fans (Trekkies) learn Klingon for fun. I might try to learn a few words and phrases.
And thank you! I didn't do much for my birthday. It was pretty casual, which is nice. I just played a few board games with my family and went out for frozen yogurt that night. It was nice!
I'm sorry, it sounds like your teenagehood was pretty rough for you. It sounds like it was a very angry and stressful adolescence.
I don't have many plans for the future, honestly. I want to get my GED. As for careers, I'm interested in civil rights law and anthropology/sociology. I think that I'd be happy as a teacher, too. I'm not sure. Right now I'm kind of "floating" in life without much of an idea of what I want to do.
My teenagehood is pretty boring, I guess. I have a few friends, I don't go to high school, I don't have a job and I spend most of my days inside and watching TV or writing scripts that will never be performed. I suppose though, that an eventful day can be a whole lot worse than a boring day. Boring isn't necessarily bad.
It sucks that the prison doesn't do anything for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I hope that you took some time to at least think about things that you're grateful for, in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Even when life seems pretty bad, there are always things to be thankful for.
My December is always eventful. My sister is Jewish and Hanukkah starts on December 2nd, so we'll be celebrating that. Then I'm pagan, so I'll be celebrating Yule starting the 20th. Then of course, there's Christmas. I know in your poetry you've mentioned God before. Do you celebrate Christmas?
I've read some of your more recent poetry. I read the poem "Dreams" and I think it's absolutely beautiful. I love how you described that dreams are things we hold in our hands and protect from other people. The imagery of holding something in a hand specifically is fascinating to me. The way you described it, I envisioned a dream to look like a smooth stone. Is the poem Dreams about anybody? What was your inspiration for that poem?
Speaking of poetry, I think I promised that I'd send you some of my poetry a long time ago. So here, I'll send you one of my short poems.

Title: Mephistopheles
She deserves the moon and
stars but instead you gave
her a burnt blistered soul.

I hope you have a good day. I look forward to hearing from you again! :)

Jack Branch Posted 4 days, 21 hours ago.   Favorite
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