A continued fight…

Just to put into perspective why it is important to continue to fight against the pervasive injustice in this country…

On, June 1, 2020, a memorandum addressing the prisoners at FCC-Beaumont, from the Warden, asserted that because “there were areas of the country experiencing civil unrest in the form of protest…” and because “some of these protest having turn violent in nature…” that “as a precaution… the BOP [was] initiating national lockdown

On June 2, 2020, a second memorandum was sent out to the prisoners assuring that “this lockdown [was] not punitive.” The warden reemphasized that the reason for the lockdown was due to “our nation facing difficult time[s]…” And as “emotions run high, and peaceful protest have turned violently,” then this lockdown was warranted.

It is important to note that the Federal Bureau of Prison’s actions were unprovoked by prisoners confined within this institution. At no point were prisoners showing signs aggression that would cause prison officials to result in locking this institution down to ensure safety for staff or the prison population. This institution has been on what is considered a modified lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prisoners were coming out of their cells ONLY ten at a time for an hour to shower, and communicate with family via the prison payphone and electronic mail service, Corrlink.

It was virtually impossible that any violent act by prisoners would not have been confined to a single unit within the institution, or that it would include more than the ten inmates that were allowed out of their cells at any given time.

What this shows, is that prisoners were being targeted and penalized throughout the BOP, due to free citizens of this nation exercising their constitutional right to protest against an unjust criminal justice system, perpetuated by laws and policies that are discriminatory and oppressive.

In the seven days of this lock down, prisoners only allowed to shower twice, and were served a hot meal only once. Communication to the outside world was suspended. Mail to family was intercepted and or destroyed – detaching any way prisoners can communication to family of their well being. Access to the law library, commissary, and recreational activates were all suspended; all of which constitutes a punitive lockdown. Frustrating the matter even more, is that as temperature climbed into the mid 90’s, the air conditioning within the cells mysteriously stopped working; making it unbearable to sleep at night.

To prisoners this is nothing new. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has its history of unfair treatment towards prisoners. It is not new that food is used as punishment to yield prisoners into “conformity” when it feels the need to communicate their authority to the prison population (inmates were given two hotdog buns, a slice of bologna, 2oz. packet of peanut butter, and an overly ripe banana for both lunch and dinner). Its not new that the BOP has a history of obstructing communication from prisoners to the outside world in order to keep hidden the malfeasance by prison officials; when they violate laws and policies that strip the prisoner’s of their hope, faith, and dignity. Its not new that the BOP has a history of impeding access to the law library, indicative of their intent to keep one trapped behind these walls. None of this new, to me, at least.

But what is new, is that the entire nation – no! The entire world has awaken, and has accepted the challenge to change this abusive and unfair system that has misplaced its purpose in amongst it’s citizens, and has forgotten the reasoning for its existence – to govern based on the will of the people. This country was founded on nihilism. Founded on the ideal that it was prudent to rebel against an oppressive monarch that took away the citizen’s power to demand their justice; demand their equality and liberties, than to accept it as an inherited way of life.

And if suffering through another one of these lock downs means having your freedom exercised, then it was a lock down well worth it…. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

That is,


Dear Daughter…

The following is my response to my youngest daughter’s powerful message expressing her feelings of me being out of her life throughout the years due to my incarceration. At times, society doesn’t see how our broken judicial systems also works to break down those that are attached to the ones that are victims to the system. I am not immune to the pain that many prisoners feel when they are confronted with the truth as only those that love can convey to you.

Dear Cupcake,

First, I want to thank you for venting what you have been feeling the many years of my incarceration. You did a wonderful job voicing your inner thoughts in a way that allowed me to feel the pain you have experienced from me not being physically present in your life. I must say, you are a brave person, strong willed, and mature for your young age.

Second, your message to me will lay the foundation from this day forward that will serve as our reminder of all the things we’ve had to overcome when all this is behind us.

I know exactly where you are coming from. I too felt the same way growing up when my father never showed up to my birthday parties (when I was lucky to have one); when he never came to my rescue when I mostly needed his support. I felt abandoned and unwanted by him, and this caused me to grow into adulthood still carrying these feelings. Unlike myself, he was not locked away or unable to reach out to me – he simply just left. I found myself confused, hurt and angry – at times afraid. I grew into adulthood not knowing the guidance of a father; the importance of needing to be a father, and not knowing the value in being a father – all the above I was deprived of, consequently, depriving you of the same things.

Life can be cruel, baby. You will come to know that life can give you some uncertainties when all we desire is certainty. Certainty of happiness. Certainty of peace. Certainty of love, more importantly for a child, certainty in a structure that will keep us safe from dangers. Certainty, that when we fall down, someone, something, somehow will incubate us from a fall we are afraid of. Trust me, I know just how you feel.

Honey, I need you to know just how sorry I am to have made you feel such pain. I need you to know that I have never wanted any of this for you. Believe me, there has never been a time where I didn’t feel the need to pick you up because I know you had fallen. Or to help you blow out those birthday candles that as they increased throughout years – to simply hold you outside of these prison walls. Regrettably, I can’t find the words to express how me not being there with you has opened up my heart to a pain I never felt before. And yet, it is that same pain that guides this pen to give you a glimpse of me as you have given me a glimpse of you.

But to give credence to this pain without being able to draw out a roads map that will guide you through the storms you’ll encounter on your travels into adulthood would be futile. Its important that you remain as strong tomorrow as you are today. Life’s road will seem difficult at times; challenging beyond what you may feel you’re unable to handle.

As a woman, you’ll be marginalized and objectified rather than placed at the head of the line for your cognitive abilities – that is, you’ll be sought more after your physical attributes rather than your intellect. Your heart, as priceless as it is to me, will be ignored by many, whom themselves have yet to realize that the heart determines the intrinsic value of an individual’s worth. Somehow, the world has forgotten that women are the mother’s of civilization, and without you it can go on no longer. You’re invaluable and essential to mankind, but if you don’t know this or understand this, you will fall victim to the many lies you will be told along the way.

You will be told that you are ugly without makeup; not woman enough without sexual desire; not qualified enough without submission to your male counterparts; not ready to advance in life because you fail to meet the standards set in place by those that rather reap your benefits and keep you in a place that will ensure their ability to control you; to demean you, even to enslave you. You will be told that sex is the only way to prove your worth, or your love.

These are all lies that you must guard yourself against. You will be told that you can’t! That you shouldn’t! And that you won’t!!! These are all lies you must ignore. Lies, that if you are not fortified against, will consume you and defeat you as a woman. Sweetie, you must know that liberation starts in the mind. You must never confine your mind to a space designed by others or by outer elements outside of yourself. Meaning, you and only you can control your destiny. Learn to synchronize your heart with your mind – as long as you remain true to your heart, you will remain free from these lies. Lies that have been promoted by those desiring control, wealth, and to keep you powerless as a woman.

Truth is that you have been empowered by God Himself! That is evident by your importance to our civilization. Beyond His proof, there is nothing else to remind you of your greatness without question. Walk Tall, my love. In every step find pride; find esteem; find humility; find strength; find POWER and there you will find success. These are the things that will be hidden from you.

Liberate yourself at every turn and at any cost. Let your vision be seen by the many. Let your creativity be used to inspire the many. Let your purpose in life be your guide and reason why you stand tall against the odds, and establish yourself the best amongst the many.

Never let the pain of my incarceration blind you.. Don’t let my incarceration fill you with void, sorrow or HATE. Rather, use it as your reminder that nothing can stop you from reaching the finish line. I promise that I’ll be standing there to see you win!
You have to BELIEVE!!!



Welcome to (his) journey

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Welcome… This is a journey you’ll be experiencing with the one and only, Nonfiction! This journey will take you into the mind and reason of one of the many wrongfully convicted men in America.

On this Journey you’ll uncover what its like to walk some of the most violent federal penitentiaries in America, and those like Nonfiction fighting to keep progress through it all. You’ll visit the effects of dishonest prosecutors, corrupt cops and the system designed to protect it all.

You’ll get the highs and lows of Nonfiction’s reality. How betrayal of those he trusted became the norm. How this carefully crafted system, not only worked to destroy the fabric that is meant to bind families together, but how society is kept in the dark. This system is a twisted mechanism with the goal to establish civility while actually working to destroy human decency, and strip men like Nonfiction of their dignity and humanity.

More importantly, you’ll meet the heroes who have stood with him; showing true unconditional love and support without waver. The heroes that have come to believe in his innocence, and have taken up the challenge to meet the obstruction that lies in the way to his freedom. And through it all… You’ll see how he refuses to allow the above challenges to define him. That when compared to the effects this journey should have on him, he stands as a contrarian.

Lastly, you will see the tenacious spirit he posseses as he shares some of his ideas for the corporate world – now that’s called an upgrade! Witness what happens when an ambitious man morphs into perfection while witnessing the world progress though a broken glass.

So, welcome! This is his story, his journey – a Midnight Sunrise… As far as the wind blows, that’s how far he intends on taking you as his now companion… In case you forgot, this is Nonfiction’s Blog.

Trapped But Free.

Introducing a friend, Mimi & her book…

I want to introduce you all to what should be highlighted as a success story in the making. I recently got in the mail the self titled book: Izou, by Izuo-Ere Digifa. I know her as Mimi whom I met while on a writ looking to grow academically as we all were. Though shy, and clearly out of her element, she maintained a keel approach to her reality. As a young Nigerian woman, she was riddled with many set backs that could have served to weaken and destroy all of her dreams and aspiration. Faced with imprisonment, isolation, betrayal, heartbreak, condemnation love and finally the threat of deportation, yet non served to destroy her.

Her book is a collection of poems that she wrote while confined pre-trial, where one can experience so much uncertainly and unanswered question while awaiting a fate that is scary to must. She gives such raw emotion in her poetry which surprised me because of her genteel mannerism. But it left me appreciating the strength of women that encounter the judicial system and its harsh reality. For Mimi, “some of [her] deepest thoughts come from the spaces of [her] incarceration”, and within these spaces were mirrors that gave off reflection of all that could go wrong in one’s life, but yet know hope, and hope she kept.

In one of her poems, she says:

“The place before the place that meets the mind, are the places we rebuild hope.”

In another she writes:

“I came to this country with nothing,
I am not leaving with nothing,
especially not in chains, cuffs, and shackles.
I will accomplish all the things I came here for and more,
then I will leave when I am ready,
As I came when I was ready.
I came here with doubts from people,
I am not leaving with those doubts fulfilled.”

Her strength is at the least stronger than I could imagine in anyone having to deal with all that she has had to deal with. Mimi is not different from any one of us. She was motivated by love, or what was defended to her as love, and fell in the process. Living in one of her most darkest moments, she was left alone having to deal with a system what was bent on bringing her to her knees, without being given the opportunity explain how her heart was mislead into a world she had no intentions on entering.

From what I know of Mimi, she is a woman living her Vision and Purpose (V.A.P). She has refused to be broken; refuses to yield to that misconception of her or women like her. She walks tall. Proud. Firm. And in every step, humble. As they work to break her, she rebuilds better.

Please help me support her in her walk. For as a people, as ONE people, as ONE link in the human family – putting aside the lies and inferior fears that are propagated of us being upper and lower class; black and white, straight or gay, we are each other’s crutch in the race to preserve the beauty of life.

Walk Tall,

Her website can be found here: www.Izuo-ere.com

A heartfelt thank YOU…

There is nothing more rewarding than to know that there are still very selfless people in the world that makes up humanity.

On September 5th, a very dear friend of mines, Cecily Burge, a third of Team Martinez, decided that for her birthday, instead of indulging in the fun that comes with celebrating one of the most important days of the year, she would start a fundraiser in an attempt to help in any way with my cause. This was unplanned and totally the thought of a good conscious and loving hearted person. It is by far, the most kind thing anyone has every offered me, and goes to show that there are people that KNOW the core value of living.

It is rather emotional for me, in these most trying times, to come across people like Cecily, who, no matter how her day maybe coming long, she still manages to show so much support and love towards me and my cause. Although, she thinks she is strongly opinionated to the point of not being open enough, she is most definitely a caring person who sees others self worth as a reason to cultivate love and bring about the best possible outcome, even if its only to put a smile on someone’s face.

I want to thank those that supported Cecily in contributing to the fundraiser by name. Although we may not know each other, we all share the common bond through Cecily. This common bond is grounded in good heartedness and kindness. The lessons I walk way with from her selfless and kind deed.

Love to all, and to all love.

James Burge
Marc Howard
Lisa Burge Swotes
Seth Davis
Dan Kim
Elizabeth Hansen
Emma Ladouceur
Henry Morris
Maya Silardi
Frances Trousdae
Dominic Palumbo
Macy Uustal
Caitlan Jones
Yahya Abdul-Basser
Nikhil Wadhwa
Oliver Erle
Faisal Al-Sulaiman
Shipley Foltz
Mathew Davis
Maggie Dunbar
Bryce Kassalow
Sarah Connor
Merrin Foltz
Blake Faucher
Madeline Cohen
Phoebe Woonprasert
Jonathan Greenberg
Cloe Roske
Elizabeth Gregan
Jessica Highland
Olivia Cooley
Kyle Ratner
Jenna Douglas
Valentina Silarah
Pia Bhatia
Kyle Cassara
Izzy Fletcher
Katherine Mathias
Miranda Wollen
Malcolm Brainerd
Bridget Fay
Alejandro Correa

Checking back in…

First, I’d like to apologize for my absence from posting my chronicles, but I am sure that by now it is understood that we are living in some very unusual times; more apparent should be that prisoners are not immune to the affects of unusual times that society itself has met challenges adapting to. Part of the affects of these unusual times for me, is living in conditions that prison officials have created in an attempt to curve the pervasive reach of Covid-19 within that Federal prison system – illogical policies that remain futile and ineffective.

Initially, here, at the United States Penitentiary, in Beaumont, Texas, I was being allowed out of this cell one hour daily (minus the weekend). Belatedly, once testing was done and medical staff here was forthcoming that there were, in fact
positive cases – my time allowed out of the cell was reduced by forty minutes; allowing me twenty minutes out daily (minus the weekend).

Its puzzling to me who could have actually rationalized that forty minutes less out of the cell would lessen that changes of one
contracting Covid-19 if they have limited access to other prisoners and not staff, who obviously, are the primary source of any exposure to the virus, more so when the prison has been on a lock down for nearly six months. My ability to access both email and phone has been immensely hampered by these illogical and ineffective policies that do not seem to construct the barrier between a healthy environment and exposure to Covid.

It would be rather illusive of me to represent that the faces around me don’t look tired; don’t look stressed; don’t look worried… But I must say with certainty, that the men that I walk with and have shared the last 16 years of my strength and tenacious spirit with, are neither defeated nor abandoning their hope that better days are as sure to come as the sun rising in the east. Hope is the substance that carries every man and woman behind these walls beyond the merits expected of them by the designer of this unjust system. I can say for me, what has helped me the most besides hope is my ability to interpret this reality as a cocoon where I maintain sole authority over my thoughts.

Just to make my point… I write this as hurricane Laura passes by my window; disruptive as it may be; with its 120 mph winds, I find peace. In knowing that when this storm passes by, rebuilding better and stronger will come.

Walk Tall,

Life Can Show Us Amazing things..

Life can show us some amazing things…

Adversity can test our faith or the lack thereof. Challenges can test both our physical and mental acumen,enabling us to accept these challenges and overcome them. Setbacks in life can test out agility to maneuver
in any storm. Hatred can test our patience and humility, creating virtue within us and knowing, that vicariously, love stands as the ultimate in any arena, the light that can never dim.

But more importantly, life can show us how to place the greatest of value in people. Yes! People. Life reminds us that we’re not some insular spec on this earth. It shows us how connected we are despite the biggest lie we’ve been taught, that titles, race, ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation and ideologies increases or decreases our value as people. Life can show us just how invaluable we are to one another, and create within us a sense of purpose.

Initially, one of these many lessons started when I enrolled as one of the Marty Tankleff Scholars – part of a higher education program extended by Georgetown University to the incarcerated men and women at the D.C. Jail. Amongst the many professors and student that participated in this program to bring a sense of purpose to those discarded
as misfits and criminals, was the spearhead of the program, Dr. Marc M Howard, a professor of Government and Law, at Georgetown. In addition, he directs the Prison and Justice Initiative; a total investment in the advancement of humanity and the acceptance to the challenge of rebuilding what many have gotten wrong.

Unfortunately, due to my abrupt transfer back into the Federal Prison Complex, I was unable to fully experience all that Georgetown was introducing in terms of academia. Nevertheless, I left receiving a lesson in the power or people. And how people committed to changing the reality of those incarcerated are far above those authoring legislation that perpetuates discrimination and the dismantling of families and communities.

I left knowing not only the meaning of Robert Dahl’s “polyarchy”, but what qualifies as a true democracy are people and their willingness to invest in others – that is, weaponizing, polarizing, and marginalizing can never establish
true democracy nationally or globally if the people viewed as meaningless and insignificant as a whole is the pretext by which this democracy is authored. Nothing within the Federal Bureau of Prison could have taught me this valuable

In fact, the BOP has made it so that social interaction with any group promoting higher education, or any other valuable resource that promotes rehabilitation that effectively addresses the dilemmas that surrounds many of the imprisoned to be a hurdle in participating in, or just negligently not offered to prisoner (especially in maximum security prisons) for obviously reasons (to keep the prison gates open).

After getting a taste of what an effective and efficient correctional administration is willing to provide (shout out to Director and Asst. Director of the D.C. Dept. of Corr., Mr. Booth and Ms. Amy Lopez), and what a few educators with vision and purpose are willing to offer, I was back in this human warehouse, dealing with a decaying system that
unequivocally provides nothing substantive that addresses the needs of the prisoners. It was devastating to know that a much needed opportunity for myself and others was lost under this carefully crafted bureaucracy that would never allow the proper remedies that are effective in curving the rate of recidivism in this country.

Efforts to stay connected to the class by means of correspondence proved very challenging for me, primarily due to the countless lock downs that hindered my already constraint ability to actually interact with professors on foreign subject and matter concerning the curriculum being taught. But above all, my continuous plight for justice distracted me. After the D.C. Superior Court denied me any relief on viable claims that amount to a miscarriage of justice, I found myself, once again fighting a system that ultimately placed me here to die (I have yet to meet a prisoner over the age of
80 in the BOP).

Either Marc’s tenacious spirit or higher intervention, he remained fully committed to me and my cause. After flying out to visit me, he left, I believe, with a better understanding of what I was facing. He submitted my case to the class of “Making An Exoneree”, as a case study in hopes that his class would pick my case as their project (cases go through rigorous selection process – not all cases submitted are selected – students alone select the cases they will work on). There were “no guarantees”, I remember Marc saying, but it was worth a try at this point; clearly, any faith in the judicial system would
be in vain.

After a series of nerve-racking months of waiting on the students to deicide if my case would be chosen, I was elated to hear that the students of “Making An Exoneree” class had selected my case as one they were willing to work on. Marc characterized the group as a “intelligent and vibrant bunch”. His words have proven to be prophetic.

Johnsenia (a recent graduate with major in Government and Psychology, and a minor in French; assertive and focused), Austin (a recent graduate with a major in Government, and a minor in Spanish – also a recently admitted into Harvard Law; humble and intelligent), and Cecily (a rising senior majoring in Government with a minor in African American Studies; a game changer in times to come), came with an immense sense of hunger. Hungry to challenge a system they quickly recognized has served injustice in these case.

JAC (or team Martinez, as the group is known) invested countless hours into a maze of legal material that may case has amass within the last sixteen years, and where experienced lawyers missed key pieces of evidence, or leads of exculpatory
evidence, JAC drew them out and are bringing them to light.

What has moved me the most is not their sense of commitment, but what fuels this commitment in them. Even the perils of COVID-19 has failed to diminish this drive. They walk tall amiss a system they are determined to change. Where many generations added layers of policies that replaced Jim Crow to perpetuate discrimination and disenfranchisement under the guise of various tittles, sub-titles, chapters and sub-chapters, this trio, I believe has accepted the challenge to dismantle this fragmented system in order to rebuild it Their piercing caveat alone will crumble the walls that hold in place decades of indignation and biasness, codified and legislated in policies against people of color.

They are champions in the coliseum designed for them to lose (Jonhsenia and Cecily are both women, and Austin is African American); modern day freedom fighters in a seemingly raging sea of oppressive institutions that take more than give to the people what is unalienable theirs – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Thankfully, Johnsencia, Austin and Cecily understand that prisoners can feel pain; get hurt; have dreams; bear tragedy and failure; suffers from loneliness; need to cry as well we laugh – have hope and faith; are creative and ambitious. Thankfully, they understand that prisoners are men and women that are human; have made mistakes; work to correct those mistakes, and pick up the broken pieces and are looking to rebuild what others have broken. And as long as retribution and an unapologetic implantation of a punitive approach is absolute – society will become lost and isolated within a bubble where natural human instincts, such as to love, to care and give a helping hand; to build lasting bridges of compassion and empathy are non-existing.

Thankfully, JAC has proven that we are far from that place. Thankfully, their investment in change says that we may never have to reach such a place. Thankfully, in them, I see the meaning of Walking Tall.

Walk Tall,

Allow me to reintroduce myself…

Here I am, still standing…

It is with great pleasure that I reintroduce myself back to you – the WORLD. As I walk upon the 16th year of my incarceration, it has been, without a doubt a transformative event. Every step is accounted as being invaluable in my quest of becoming an ameliorated me.

What shall follow in my writings will be an unambiguous representation of my vision and purpose. Please know that my intentions are not to be obtrusive towards people, places or things in these writings. And to those personally connected to me, my absence may take effort in getting to know whom I’ve become in the past 16 years. I magnanimously leave my past where it belongs – in my rearview. There is no foul; no ills that I have not equated as a point in my favor to helping make me a better man (translation: thank you haters for helping me win!!!).

For those that have really and truly loved and supported me, know that I still stand. I stand tall amongst many that have bowed out either through a mental decline lost in an environment meant to suppress God’s given gift of Light, Laughter and LOVE. Or that have emotionally hung their hooked on dark clouds that navigate through an endless maze of sorrow.

Know that I still stand tall amongst many that have physically perished in this sea of mass confusion. Nothing can consume me outside of what I allow. I am king in this JUNGLE, you’ll hear me roar! I am trapped but free… Limitless in my thinking which makes me conqueror of EVERYTHING.

My weapons are love; patience; determination; intelligence; kind heartedness; compassion; and tenacity.

Know that I still stand… I stand for you; for me and for humanity in which God’s eternal breath flows freely from. I’ll share my journey with you only to have you as my witness that the Sun Shines at Midnight – when people least expect it to – I Still Stand…

Trapped, But Free.