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I did this colored-pencil on paper drawing in 1996 while in prison. It is my most memorable piece for sure during my stay. I had just read several American history books and was dissecting the Reagan era and this is what I came up with. I think I was just rounding up the piece with the final details of the globe when I heard over the intercom, “G Woods to the counselor’s office! G Woods… to the counselor’s office. CLACK!”

All of us inmates were down in the basement area because they were doing a routine search in the blocks above. I stood up and pushed back my chair, staring at the piece, nervous of what the answer would be. As I left the library and headed to the counselors office, everyone gave me dap and spoke words like, “you got this Gemal. It’s your time” or “good luck bro!” It was the week or two time period after parole hearings that quarter, when folks started getting their responses (never positive). My vision became very narrow and my heart started beating in overdrive as I walked to the counselor’s office.

I entered the counselors office and there he was with a look of bewilderment. We had a recent beef and as usually, I found my way to challenge the system, so we were kinda at odds. “Have a seat”, he said and so I did. He sat there swiveling in his chair just staring at me then the paper. “Guess what it says.” I swallowed hard, “What? No?” He then threw the paper at me and I read it. I made parole!

I fell on the floor and cried like a baby. I had been in the system for over two and a half years and I never saw anyone make parole. I had to get myself together before I left the counselors office, drying my tears and collecting my thoughts. The counselor didn’t know what to make of it. He was as stunned as I was.

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