Abyss & Abysmal

By Kevin Cockman


In his response to my call for submissions Kevin noted, “I have thought of trying this for a long time and decided I might as well. My life can’t get much more embarrassing than what it is now. So, that said, here goes.” What he calls a story, I call an essay. An essay, as Michel de Montaigne once wrote, is an “essai” (French), an attempt, a “trial” of sorts. This is Kevin’s attempt at coming to terms with his place in life and his feelings about it. While brief, I think it signifies something much bigger brewing behind the scenes, and that is what essay writing is all about, trying to make something clear and visible that is convoluted or entrenched.


Abyss – an immeasurable depth

Abysmal – absolutely wretched

(Definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.)

Hello to everyone out there. Hope this finds you all doing well. My name is Kevin. I am going to attempt to write a story for you.

I picked these two words out because to me they best describe my life and the guilt and shame I feel in my life.

Ever since I was a young child, I have always felt a gap between me and everything and everyone. It’s like an invisible barrier. Then in my early teens I discovered drugs. Wow, the barrier went away! Little did I know or even suspect what the ultimate price would be:  loss of family, friends, jobs, my son, my freedom, self-respect. My desire to live.

So here I sit in prison at the age of 43 1/2. Existing in the wretchedness of my life.

I started coming up for parole two years ago. The first time I went I asked him to set me off for three years, to just leave me alone and let me do my time. I don’t feel like I deserve to be out there most days. This is not to say I have never done anything good in my life. Quite the opposite. I have had my “good” moments as well as my bad.

I guess my point is this:  No matter how much “society” hates or dislikes me, it cannot compare to the self-loathing and mental punishment I put myself through.

My abyss is measurable. It is the 16th of an inch chain link fence that separates me from the world.

If you read this and I have done you harm in the past, I am sorry. If I could go back I would, but I can’t. So I trudge forward. I know this rambling doesn’t make sense. I have a lot of stuff going on in my head and do the best I can.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Take care, have fun.




If anyone would like to write, I will be more than happy to respond. I don’t have but one person who writes every so often. Thanks again.



If you’d like to respond directly to Kevin about his essay, you can contact him at this mailing address:

Kevin Cockman #1609934

Neal Unit P-24

9055 Spur 591

Amarillo, TX 79107-9696