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The Mind of Amy Frank

I've been sorting through old poetry and writing pieces all morning in preparation for my upcoming solo show. I found this writing piece. It was included in the intro to my very first website, that I made in 2008. I did do some slight editing to it today:

"A killing has occurred. It echoes through the TV stations and thunders on the radio airwaves.

It was a sick killing. Off the charts in a gory mess of a psychotic man beheading a fellow passenger on the Greyhound bus. It threw the modern day horror movies to the seagulls and created a hysteria and uproar that swept across the nation. The papers claim that the killing was unprovoked, but I do not believe them.

I listen to people speak, and my lips fall silent. I hear them talk of punishment and I quiver. Hate and anger radiate from within their words and I become afraid.

I watch the killer on TV. I imagine his mind, and what a scary place it must be. I sit still as I hear him whisper, “Please kill me.”

I feel somewhat the devil for sympathizing with the killer, although I sympathize with the victim as well. I cannot shout innocence for this man. I know well, however, that the killing was not unprovoked, it was spurred on by something deep inside of him.

I know that people only seem to see with their eyes. Over and over in my mind I have been going over the question of what am I writing for. What am I trying to say to the world when I scream, “Look at me!” and they look.

I guess I write for what we can’t see, and what we choose not to share. I’m writing for the Mind. My mind. I do want to advocate for mental health, but I am writing to free my mind.”

Artwork: The Mind of Amy Frank (2008) by Amy Frank



The Greyhound bus murder stood out to me at that time and still does as it was broadcast in a way that spread panic about psychosis. Most people in psychosis are not a danger nor threat to anyone. A spiritual experience would be seen as psychotic in Western society.

Many know that I am a Trekkie. There’s a great episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” where the ship, Voyager, comes to the aid of another ship in distress, taking on their passengers.

The rescued ship was carrying inmates on their way to death row—all murderers.

An attempted jailbreak occurs, which gets handled, but one of the inmates is seriously hurt in the kerfuffle. Even though he’s on his way to death row, the Star Trek Federation has their own laws so they treat his injuries regardless. The treatment they use is an advanced alien (Borg) technology that ends up curing the inmate more than they had intended. He didn’t experience empathy before.

The inmate begins to experience empathy for the first time ever. He’s stricken with grief for all he’s done. He’s in genuine agony; he begs to die. Voyager’s crew helps him process his new found emotions and grief. Later on, they put in an appeal on his behalf to his people, for him to be released from his sentence on death row. They provide the scientific evidence that his ailment has been cured, making him no longer a danger or threat to anyone. In his culture, the sentence is given by the victim’s family and loved ones. The family refuses his appeal, and ultimately he’s killed on death row.

It was an incredibly powerful episode. It always reminds me of the Greyhound bus murder.

This blog prompted some conversation on Facebook about how he fell through the cracks. I think there’s probably a lot more mental illness and substance use problems behind prisoners within the system than most realize.


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