You Can’t March for Abner and Not March For Her

tumblr_n5qi8n7KkW1sfkedbo1_1280I spoke to the brothers
The real brothers about revolution and colonialism and oppression and Stokely and George’s letters
We rapped about our struggles and our people
Even our people who don’t want to be our people
There was nothing the brothers didn’t understand about oppression and the feet pressed against our throats

So we rapped about women

If they understand how oppression and racism have stifled and killed and if they can make out the obvious foot pressed against throats
If the brothers have been attacked by police and if the brothers have had their bodies violated and if the brothers in New York City know what it must feel like to have foreign objects inserted into them
We can make them understand sexism and rape culture


Hostel Conversations with Peter about Racism

Peter and I sat near what the Theater International Hostel of Guatemala City copywriters describe as an indoor pool and a magical garden discussing why he, a white man from Amsterdam, born to British parents, could not reciprocate the racist jokes his Black family members in Martinique threw at him. And in one breath and one long sentence he shares both his empathy for “Blacks in America,” and a joke about Black behavior around American police, based solely on what he’s picked up from the news stations around Europe and Central America on his pilgrimage away from Medical School.

I blamed him, his parents, their parents, and their cousins. We talked about how my mom’s dad’s side of the family has gotten as far as 1812 in the quest for putting together our family tree and can go no further because of erasures. I also needed to nail to his brain the thought that every anomalous act by a Black man or Black woman in the world, and specifically in America because I can speak on America confidently, must not be looked at and analyzed and judged and those doers must not be labeled until we look at everything that happened between the sale of the first Black person on white property, to 1812 when my family magically appeared, to today; Black babies in sacks were cut from stomachs, hanging from umbilical cords while their mothers hang from trees, husbands were forced to stand and watch their wives bend over for oppressors, and any babies she birthed, whether from her husband or the oppressor, were sold to men far away. “Before you talk about the behavior of Blacks folks anywhere,” I told him, “I need you to admit guilt on behalf of your people, and the people you created who created America.”


Open Letter To Nate Parker. Or Some Smart-Sounding Title.

Today, a former Black basketball or football player said white girls on college campuses can’t be raped by Black college athletes in popular sports. Another guy called you brother, though you feel he’s done a piss poor job at preserving Black men.

You raped that girl. You found her drunk. You undressed her. You let your roommate fill in the gaps. You blamed her. You lied.

She’s dead now, and the only two people (The third person only knows seconds of what probably seemed like an eternity to the woman) who can tell us what really happened don’t have clear definitions of rape. Hell, I don’t know what anymore. I believed I did once, but that’s since gone to shit. I do know I’ve never raped. You raped that girl.

And now she’s dead because an apology was too much to give when it was needed most. [Maybe].

Teach your daughters to set themselves on fire when men like you approach.

I Hate That I Have To Tell You

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I Hate That I Have To Tell You is a Children’s Book about the constant conversation Black parents must have with their children about how to handle encounters with police, but knowing in the end, it may not matter.

Is this children’s book controversial? Absolutely! But pretending this isn’t a reality has done more harm than good, and if change truly begins with the children, this book, and the parents ready to read it and talk about it honestly with their children, will be another step toward a more just future.

“One thing we don’t think about when planning for children is how to teach them how not to be killed,” Darnell Lamont Walker, the book’s author says. “At 11 years old, my son came to me, matter-of-factly telling me about the dream he had that morning in which a cop attacked and tried to kill him. Undoubtedly it was the news of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling that I refused to hide from him that put these thoughts in his head. ‘Why do they keep killing us,’ he asked. ‘I don’t have an answer for that right now,’ I told him.”

“These talks are too often between him and I. Our first conversation around and through the issue was after Detroit Police murdered 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. My son was 5 at the time. ‘I hate that I have to tell you these things,’ I said, ‘but I have to hope they will keep you alive for as long as you can be, okay?’ He didn’t understand then, and probably forgot as soon as he ran back into the yard, but I made sure to constantly remind him.”

With colorful, watercolor illustrations, and flowing, easily comprehended wording, Darnell Lamont Walker hopes to capture the attention of children, and with a quick worksheet and tips in the back, hopes to help parents hold these conversations, and even have new ones, with their child.

Darnell Lamont Walker is a father, writer, and filmmaker, currently working on a documentary series about Black Americans escaping American Tyranny. He resides in Los Angeles.


A Martyr In Her Bed Tonight

It was a swipe right, a short convo, a debate over the best Old Fashions and Black Russians, and a meeting downtown with every intention to be out of our minds then her polka dot panties and my Superman boxer briefs long before the bars closed. This town is small and made for bowlers and girls who wear side ponytails and Reebok Classics. Neither of us fit and found comfort in our sheepy behavior, however black it got.

Drunk, though I could argue we were tipsy, we stumbled down the cobblestone sidewalks, looking for pieces of Earth to hold tight to in case gravity wasn’t enough. “Just keep me where the light is,” I yelled out, and she went into a rant about John Mayer’s white supremacist dick. Drunk. Not one star in sight, just beams from our cell phone flashlights lighting our feet and attracting gnats and mosquitoes.

We replenished in each other everything drained from us over the past few days. I wasn’t sure how else to say “thank you,” except with a kiss while waiting on the Uber. She kissed me back pretending my hand on her back was the reason she came closer.

We left our shoes at the door, our phones on the coffee table, my shirt on the back of a dining room chair, and her shorts were kicked to the top of the fridge. All else made it to the bedroom floor.

We examined the markings strangers left on our bodies; the art and the writings. Between us were novels and galleries. I was The Met and her, the Gagosian. She’s a wanderer and a lover. I shiver next to her.

“Breathe. Remember to breathe.” Reminders when we were able to speak. “Breathe. Say something.” I read the poems on her back out loud.

Then there were no words. Just heavy breathing, a wind coming through the window, over our legs, and beneath the door, and laughing in the parking lot five stories below. They were probably lovers, I thought.

The silence wasn’t awkward, scary, or unsure. It was just there, like I was, feeling a peace, a serenity, a vibe. And she asked, “have you cried for Philando Castile or Alton Sterling yet?” Then I did.

A Martyr of sorts.


Overheard in a Conversation with Myself

The one guy said something about killing police officers. He said something about the way they make him feel when he’s just walking down the street and one walks by or pulls up beside him. “This one time on I-95,” he sighed, “a cop pulled up beside me and my heart was beating like I had a trunk full of dope.” Then he went on to talk about a teacher he had once called that a “conditioning.”

He said his mom was once touched inappropriately by a cop and one called his father a nigger and made the trigger pulling motion with his fingers; the one kids make when playing cowboys and indigenous folks with no real weapons.

He said something about badly wanting to kill a cop to see if it would stop them from killing us. He thinks about it so much, he wonders why he hasn’t sought help. What would he tell the therapist, he wondered. “Ain’t shit a therapist can tell you that’ll make you feel safe around police officers,” he said. He’s probably right.

He said it’s best he leaves, to which the other man replied, “just teach the people to police their own neighborhoods. Teach them to govern, to lead, to build and collaborate. Then teach them to kill anyone who threatens that. Paul refuses to leave and let go of hope. He told me,” and the man finished.

It was something about killing police officers that ended the conversation.