empty condom wrappers : quick note on friendship

you should treat your friends like you treat your condoms:
when things get hard, you shouldn’t have to hunt for them – they should be right there.

sometimes there must be a destroying and rebuilding.
longevity has its place, but not friendship.

there should be five people you can call at 5am & they’ll answer because they know it’ll be: extremely funny, extremely sad, a call from the county jail, or you need a designated driver.

those same five people should be the folks who, if they were to betray you, would cause you to question everything.

“always put up 50%” i was told on an interview. how true it is. every relationship should be fifty/fifty.
when the other side drops – you remain.

i’ve always remained at 50% with true friends.
i show up.

i lost a best friend in 2010 & seem to be losing friends weekly.
but i’m still at 50%.

parachutes and friends: if they aren’t there the first time, you may never need them again.

bury me pretty but not deep

(photo by kwesi abbensetts)

bury me pretty but not deep

bury my body by the river i kiss most
i want to live downtown forever and a week
build me a house on the border
east west and me be lovers watching the sun come up straight down broadway

put me in a tomb
wrap me in a sheet
and leave my body for the hungry
bury me pretty but not deep
bury me pretty but not deep
bury me pretty but not deep

bury my body by the river i kiss most
i will have lived down here long enough
bury me high
anywhere on the lower east or west side

where i am now: to y’all (yes, y’all)

i’m holding on to those laughs i poured out under clothes lines and raggedy, old basketball hoops and monkey bars. i remember well those days i was eight years old and sent to the corner market to buy cigarettes and beer for my granddad with a note from my grandma saying “dear shorty, he’s buying these for me. thanks, irene jones.” shorty was the name of the store owner.

i grew up, found my way through the alleys and back streets, and became familiar with the hustlers and future ceo’s. i joined drama clubs, ate bagels and flew as far as i could at the time with future dancers, artists, poets and transients. it was the best life i could fathom.

but it’s not where you’re from.

and i’m approximately 2,814.2 miles away from a small spot in brooklyn i shared with dru that last housed my thoughts. there’s a 14 mile difference from the place where i’d sit for hours, biting on a lemon square, sipping on a chai tea latte or green tea frapp, writing some story inspired by some girl i met on the lower east side in a mcdonalds while eavesdropping, or some poem about a b-bop boy from brooklyn listening to music on the train, bopping his to the beat. there’s a creperie on the lower east side, just off the f train where i’d make kathie p. meet me for a banana mango white chocolate and grand marnier crepe with powdered sugar on the top. i was about that life. that hustle and bustle and meeting donte in harlem, and jean in fort greene to standby on kwesi’s shoots, and sandra joe at some bar in the village to get something strong enough to put hair on our chests. the ride in with selam to meet up with linara and eventually with lauren was even worth leaving a paper trail for. yeah, i was ’bout that life.

but i’m 2,814.2 miles away from those places, and i’m about this life now. i’m about turning the sun into my personal daycare provider, and the moon into the only one who has enough energy to stay up almost as long as me. i do the beach now, and i eat healthier. the lattes are less frequent, and i’m beginning to juice things again, like i did in detroit those summers with aaron with the yard sale juicer i bought with aunt ann and grandma katie.

i’m so los angeles. i go to parties in the hills where coke is easier to get than sweet tea (but i’m not doing it). i have a personal psychic who’s right about my life more times than i am, and john and i can talk for hours about aliens, metaphysics, the dead and traveling through our own dna with the help of gurus and shamans. i eat with people who love to laugh as much as i do, and introduce them to a life they never considered: mine. we feed off each other, and eat off the others’ plates on sunset, and share shisha on hollywood at that place where o. simbiat almost burned down the couch. sushi with de-bore-ahh and throat collapsing laughs with jai bernard. this life is about creating, producing and utilizing, so i’m making use of this happiness. it was here i decided i was a filmmaker. it was here i became a filmmaker. i’m about that life, too.

charlottesville – florida – dc (november 23, 2004: the birth of the greatest individual) – florida – charlottesville – seattle – new york – dc – los angeles – new york – los angeles – and many many points in between.

though i remember pork bacon and being “most unforgettable” in charlottesville high school class of 2000 senior superlatives, i am not “so charlottesville” anymore. and i owe a part of that superlative honor to by brother, charles because all i had to do was show up and say i was his brother and i became cool by default.

i am not daytona beach, but i will always be gamma theta and the southern prov. and i will always be there for those brothers (ace: dennis) and friends i MADE (four points).

i am definitely not seattle, though i miss those well fed billionaires.
i am not DC though i miss them ALL (i guess it was no accident that i was accepted into a program that didn’t exist).

i will always be that kid that cooked noodles and baked cakes randomly in doreen and larry wells’ home, but i am los angeles because it is not where you’re from…but where you are.

so, los angeles: here i am. let’s make this time work.

Cat & Mouse & Confusion About Friendship

the story: [a mouse was being chased by a cat around a barn. a duck saw what was going on, and stopped the mouse, throwing a pile of shit on the mouse to hide him from the cat. the cat, however, saw the tail of the mouse, pulled him from the shit, and ate him.]

the moral of the story: [those who get you into shit aren’t always your enemies. those who get you out of shit aren’t always your friends]

i need my heart: for barack and michelle (written in 2008)

i need my heart
(for barack & michelle)

sometimes it’s not all politics
sometimes when it’s late i want to hold your hand and cross streets for the hell of it
i want to put the kids to bed and put marsalis on the record player we brought together in college
then dance to the sound of crickets when the record skips
between debates i want to argue about the perfume you wore on our second date
and laugh about the letters written from passenger seats watching white lines fly by
i want to cry in front of you now
i want to struggle hard with you as though we may not survive the life of the moon
then wake up smiling at our progress as we run to the sun
hand in hand i want to hold down a family
hand in hand i want to uphold the people
and teach our daughters the way of the block
they way of the land is whichever way we choose to walk
i want the way to my heart to be through you
so to you i give it
it’s not all politics
sometimes it’s just us
sometimes i can’t handle the distance
so i walk a few miles to lessen it
sometimes i can’t handle the pressure
so i need you to tell me to stop stressing it
i need you
i need you to be no more than fingertip’s reach when i get the urge to grab you
align the freckles in our eyes and wait for our souls to do whatever it is they do
i want to stand on stages before millions to tell the world about this
i want to stand on a front porch and tell you about this
nothing political about it
just an exchange of us when we kiss
and we have this moment
there are no words
and the politics have subsided
and i need my heart

darnell lamont walker

i want to feel : for something or someone if we go to NYC

(photo by kwesi abbensetts)

whatchu feel like doing?
i feel like eating a crepe on the lower east side not far from the F train
now is perfect since it’s cold and we can avoid the masses
we can avoid the massas and pretend we never got the texts and the phone calls
please don’t try to convince me to catch the path with you tonight
you know i’ll come to jersey if you ask
you know i’ll lay in a hard bed in a small room with a view of the neighbor’s wall if you ask
i’ll kiss you for three hours if you ask
all you have to do it ask
mango bananas and white chocolate
baldwin and the 20th century homosexuals
and jokes about frostbite

i don’t feel like pizza again
or the dashiki wearing purse sellers in midtown
i don’t feel like a night of low expectations and no love however we choose to express that
i want to feel

The Social Network : And All It’s Colors

It’s 9:33pm PST and I’m sitting on Delta Airlines Flight 370. My intentions, as they are with every flight, were to pass out within 10 minutes of boarding until we were 10,000 feet above the earth at which point I’d be able to use my approved portable electronics. I’d pull my laptop out with a bit of a struggle because my shoes are in my bag, and my bag is under a seat with bars, ropes and inflatable life saving devices. I’d work on one of the five scripts I’m currently editing, or make progress on my novel that should have been done by November 2010’s end. None of that happened this time.

Delta Airline decided to show The Social Network, a film I’ve spent the last few months purposely avoiding out of jealousy for Mark’s Z.’s lack of financial struggle all due to his idea. I hate that of all the things that don’t make me jealous, this is the one thing that does. Similarly, this is the exact reason I rarely watch celebrity interviews. Well, partial reason – the other reason being because they talk about nothing that doesn’t happen amongst us common folk.

Back to The Social Network. It’s probably safe to say that we’re halfway through the film now [at 9:47pm PST], and the four people of color in this film have served this purpose:

1. Asian Girl [Christy]: introduced as the whore.
2. Black Guy Sitting At The Table At Restaurant Where Asian Girl Had Sex In Bathroom:the muscle whose job it is to protect the white girl who was called a “bitch” online.
3. The Secretary: because we needed the eye roll and neck pivot from the help.
4. The Silent Black Woman At The Table in the Deposition [who used to be a comedian then a commercial actress – now we get a two-second shot of her]: she used to be a comedian, then a commercial actress.

While definitely a great film, it falls in line with the rest of Hollywood magic in race politics. At this distance above the earth, and without a Gogo Inflight pass, I am unable to find the stats on Harvard’s minority population, Palo Alto’s minority population, and minority populations in every other location where the film was shot, but I can guarantee more people of color exist.

What do we do to grab Hollywood’s attention? A question asked repeatedly. A question that’s been the cause for so much, though so little has changed. Thank God for Melvin Van Peebles and what he began. Thank God for organizations that force production companies to put at least one spot in their sea of whiteness, and thank God for cultural/film critics who watch films with eyes others don’t have. Again, though, what do we do? Short of shooting Hollywood in the back like they did Ricky in John Singleton’s Boyz in the Hood, there isn’t much that can be done – To Hollywood.

Solution to the problem I presented: Screw Hollywood & Make Your Own.

Where, though, lies the difference between what I’m suggesting and what’s been suggested by filmmakers like Tyler Perry, Ice Cube, John Singleton, and by my fellow minority filmmakers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Virginia (yes, Virginia)? Be inclusive. Show the world as you see it.

“How did the friends of Friends and the friends of Living Single live and work in New York City and never cross paths with members of other races?” An outstanding question asked in Teresa Dowell-Vest’s 1998 Production of her one-woman show, Countin’ Stars and Smellin’ Roses.

It’s 10:29pm PST and the film just ended. Watching the film as a movie-goer, it was a great [expletive] film with an outstanding message of ethics, friendship and value, if in fact you cared about the message. In the event it wasn’t a Huxtable lesson you wanted to walk away with, it was just a good movie.