Donnell Saadiq Palmer

BEFORE                                                                 AFTER


I wonder, I wonder if somebody would have asked me, “Did I think I would ever do time in Jail on July 10, 1995?” I would have emphatically told them “Hell No!” I would’ve said “Hell No” while knowing that I was carrying a deadly weapon in my waistband at that very moment. Why, or how could I think that? I’ll tell you the logic of a 21 year old child. The logic of an underdeveloped brain. A brain that was damaged from years of substance abuse, Marijuana, Alcohol, Angel Dust, Codeine, Nicotine.. Am I making an excuse for taking a Life? No, I’m telling a story of how easy it is to think one way and act another especially when your thought process is flawed, flawed because of your lack of true rationale. The rationale of a child in the form of a man. When I reached the ripe old age of 27, I was sitting in my cell on my birthday, awaiting the arrival of my mother, not for a celebration of the day I was born, but more of an acknowledgement of my existence. Her only child. All at once it hit me harder than ever before, the gravity of my situation, the seriousness of the last five years.

It’s was like being awoke from a dream, and all I could say to myself was what the f#$! how, why, was I trippin is this shit real? It was very real and it was no dream or nightmare, this was my reality and would be my reality for many years to come. If somebody would have asked me on that very day, April 9th, 2001, 6 years after my 21st and last birthday free, “did I think I would ever do time in jail?” I would’ve still said “Hell No” even though I was sitting in a cell and not a bedroom… Why? Perspective! My perspective on life at 21 was totally different by the time I turned 27.


Now I set here 21 years later, with the light at the end of the tunnel getting dimmer, I wonder what if. What if Eric and I did look the other way, he would still be here and I would still be out there. What about his children, I believe there were 3 of them I knew one Jawan I played with him, I held him… He should be 22 now. I wonder about his Mom, the pain I saw in her eyes, the loss they expressed to me… What about Craig his little brother, did he ever graduate from Temple? He should be 42 like me now, I wonder… I wonder where my sons’ life would be right now if July 11th 1995 never happened, would he still be struggling to find himself at 23 if I was there to mold him and guide him through life, in away my father failed to do…

I wonder if my little brother Reggie would still be here instead of being buried with his uncle Rock, I wonder about the pain I still see in my Moms eyes every time she visits me… I wonder about forever being judge by the events that took place that sad day, knowing it doesn’t represent who I am today. All my life I heard the saying “everything happens for a reason.” This maybe true, but I often wonder will the true reason for what took place on July 11th, 1995 ever be revealed…

I write this in the memory of Eric Wiggins, my Little Brother Reggie McNeil, and his Little Brother Stephon McNeil, my Nana Mrs. Patricia Anne Palmer and to the countless men, women and children who are no longer with us. To all the families affected by my actions and the actions of others, I humbly ask for not only forgiveness, but understanding as well.

To My Mother Ms. Chandra Palmer thanks for always being you and for always loving me as I will always love you…

May Peace and Blessings be upon You,

Donnell Saadiq Palmer 2016. I wonder…



What’s up son
I see you but you don’t see me.
Damn my bad,
this ain’t about me seeing you or you seeing me.
I’m not talking about the sea
that separates a piece of land from another.

This is about the sea of deep misery
that has us locked up, boxed up,
like cargoing boats that floats over the seas to lands
That seems like make-believe to me

​I can’t be with you
to hold you and mold you
like a captain and his first mate.​​

But at any rate,

I can try to guide and steer you
from falling into the sea of never-ending abyss.

No fish no coral no islands but plenty of salt
that comes from the water that leaks from the eyes of those
who secretly shed tears out of fear of never escaping the Abyss.

The abyss I’ll say it again
cos it’s not your friend.
This water is not blue or green
that seems to come to life when you enter the moon like movie screens
with beautiful colors that shake and shimmer as the sun and moon illuminates every glimmer.

Naw, son, this is the Black sea,
the deep dark place where
you don’t wanna be.
Where everyone looks and feels like me
full of pain and despair in this
sea of stale air.
Take heed to my words
or this will be your destiny.
Because the road you’re heading down
has already got the best of me.

So I hope you see what I didn’t see
and follow the Blue sea
and not the Black sea that has
swallowed me.


Life! Life without the possibility of parole…
This is our sentence, this is our punishment.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’ve been through.
It’s about what you are accused of, well now what you did…
Forget about change, forget about growth, forget about transformation.
Forgiveness is not about forgetting.
And with this sentence you may never be forgiven.
and what you were accused of, well now what you did,
will never be forgotten.
What about a second chance?
What about change?
What about growth and maturity?
What about Redemption?

Are we irredeemable?
Are we absent of any redeemable qualities?
Does the fact that you haven’t committed a violent act since that sad day,
15, 20, 25, or 30 years ago count?
Does the fact that you have educated yourself,
completed all your prescribed programming count?
Does the fact that you have given back to your communities,
been charitable in society count?
Does the fact that you’ve saved lives and changed lives count?
You can do everything in the world to help change and educate,
but one fact will always remain you will never see the light of day,
because you have life without the possibility of parole…
Death By Incarceration, is your destination…

D.Saadiq Palmer 23 served, 1995

Continue the conversation…

Smart Communications/PA DOC Donnell Palmer, DA8230
St. Petersburg, Fla. 33733

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