I’ve Missed You: More For Betty Than Malcolm


I start everything heavy with a deep sigh. It’s more of a “I don’t want to do this right now, but i need to do this right now” kind of sigh. I didn’t want this day to pass without me giving at least a little focus to Malcolm, and since I’m done eating my burrito, and Criminal Minds in a rerun, why not do it now?

I kid, I kid. Malcolm isn’t a second thought to me. It’s been on my to do list since last year on this date. And most recently when I asked my wife of 2,000 years to paint something commemorating his life. Outside of where he stood politically and religiously, some of which I agree wholeheartedly, some of which I do not, I pay homage because he’s part of the reason many causes have been fought by me. He’s the reason I give speeches from time to time, and he’s a major part of the reason I find value in education.

So to give a little focus to Malcolm, I want to talk about Betty. 32 years is a long time to live without the one you’ve loved most. I cannot imagine what that must feel like. I’ve gone weeks, perhaps even several months, but 32 years would never find me; a broke heart would claim me soon after.

“Malcolm,” they heard her screaming from beneath the flames. Her grandson, they assumed. Why not him? after all his name’s Malcolm, too, and he’s the reason for the oranges, blues and pinks covering his grandmother’s body. “Malcolm!” Not me, though. I’ve never thought that that. I imagined she found her way through the thickets or warmth and planted her eyes on the man who left her in the Manhattan Cold 32 years prior. “Malcolm,” she screamed. Quietly, and this part I’m making up, she said “I’ve missed you.”

I could not let this day pass without telling that story.

Darnell Lamont Walker

chinese food: and my birth

starting time: 2:23

i’m drunk.

los angeles shuts down too early for me to celebrate like i’d want, but i’ve done plenty tonight (feb 16/17).
i made new friends, ran into evander holyfield, robert townsend, james avery, and the guy that plays red on the five heartbeats at the airport, and made a bee line straight to the bar for the 2-for-1 drinks, then the club where i danced the my birthday in, made new friends and had new drinks forced down my throat. who could ask for anything more.

chinese food. my mom, doreen wells (once walker), ate it plenty while pregnant with me, and i eat it plenty now. probably not so much for that reason, but because i simply love it, and it’s cheap. and they deliver (rain, sleet, snow).
7:14pm she gave birth to her son.

i’m drunk. random, but true. i’ve had too much to drink and not enough to eat, and too much to think about today.
earlier i spoke with a woman who found me transparent. she got to the bottom of them problem in a matter of seconds, almost bringing me to tears. i now know who i am and why i am and what i need to do.
so this birthday is here and i want to thank everyone who’s responsible for this day, especially my mother, who could have made alternate decisions once upon a time, but didn’t.

yeah, i’m drunk.

and it’s my birthday. the day i’ve had several times before. i once got a walkman and a tony toni tone tape. i once got a bike. i once got a surprise party with my closest friends in daytona. i miss them all.
i expect a multitude of messages throughout the day, and hoping for two in particular. they won’t come, i say to myself, but i still hope.

and now i’m tired…and sleepy (yeah, i’m sleepy…because of the effing rum)…and i want to keep going, but i won’t. i will sleep, and smile at the love i’ve been getting since 9pm PST.

i love you all

finished at: 2:41am

darnell lamont walker

everything the last two days brought

i used to think sometimes that me and my grandmother somehow split a soul. i sometimes still think that.
she is one of the best people i know, much like i’d be if i were a 78 year old black woman. she’s 78, and dealing with 78-year-old black woman issues and it’s hard to think about, proven earlier on the phone with my friend tiffany, whose been one of my closest friends since 1992 at Walker Upper Elementary School.
i say all of that to say: i need to go home soon. i miss my grandma irene elizabeth jones.
i miss them all. sometimes all you need is a hug from your mom, a few bites of your favorite meal made by your aunt, and a few laughs with old friends over drinks and nachos. yeah, i’m going home soon.

—–

i’ve spent the last few days falling in love with so many new things, eating dried fruit, cheesecake and touring pluto. 25 minutes ago i walked in to the place where i lay my head, and on the floor was a box and a card. gasp. who remembered my birthday (february 17)? the psychic in me knew exactly who it was.

let me revisit friendship real quick: there are many many many people i call “friend” just because it sometimes makes sense. there are very very few people i call when i need something. these are the people who, if they suddenly became disloyal, would cause me to question it all.
the people i love very much.

so yeah. jill & darling nikki. you two mean the world to me. now i have to eff you up for almost making me drop a few tears. if you could have seen my face when i opened it all. i know i know – the birthday isn’t until tomorrow. but…yeah…i had to.

—–

for valentines day i built that castle that touches the clouds. not to get closer to god, but to get further from y’all:


education came between us

I grew up running barefoot down railroad tracks with kids whose feet were equally callous and large. We shared ramen noodle recipes, though my best friend’s sister would always make mine leading me to believe there was a crush there. We sat in parks on weekends anticipating future milestones, picking out cars for our 16th, and in which clubs we’d host our 21st.

My 16th was spent with my friends whose feet grew soft thanks to the Jordan’s their work permits helped them afford, but my 21st was spent without thoughts of them. In fact, thoughts of them disappeared three years prior upon my arrival at my undergraduate institution.

Was it college? And if so, did it turn them or me into a stranger? My last visit home was the most lonely. Fresh off the plane with a carry-on, a few gifts, and my degrees, I headed to my grandmother’s in the “Projects,” the place where it all happened for me. Outside of my grandmother and favorite aunt, I had no one to talk to. This was where I grew up. This was where I snuck into second floor windows while Jessica’s mother was across the yard playing cards. “You’ve changed,” she said on my last visit, accompanied by a strange look on her face, and a change in conversation that ended with “you’re doing so good for yourself. Don’t come back here. Ain’t nothing here but trouble.”

It was me that changed. It became unacceptable to run barefoot down railroad tracks, and the stories weren’t asked for. I became that short necked, hungry giraffe placed in the middle of tall trees. To survive I needed to adapt, not knowing adapting meant blaming unanswered phone calls on my so-called friends back home. They didn’t give a damn what happened when the lights went out on the campus, and why I found it funny when they used a salad fork on their entree, and progressively they began giving less of a damn about the new me. The me that sat in class while they sat in the same parks, discussing more milestones, jobs I now looked down at, and kids they may or may not be carrying. They were the same, and I couldn’t relate.

“What have you been up to,” she asked, scanning my box of fruit snacks, wearing her name tag proudly in an economy where not even the degreed me can find a job. “Nothing,” i respond, knowing if I told the full truth, I’d be too far removed from the life she knew, and the person she remembered me to be. Nothing. I downplay my education to fit into a place I’ve long forgotten. And I am not alone. Many of my circles consist of alums who no longer go home, because they’ve become strangers.

But I’m still advocating for post-secondary education because growth, though it has its consequence, is great. Equally, I believe we are not free until we are righteously and throughly educated.

my black daughters (for those women not in videos)

(photo by kwesi abbensetts)

my black daughters (for those women not in videos)

i want black daughters
black like the color of my true love’s hair
skinfolk that will sit under breezes on the other side of fences
they tend to fight harder
they tend to those who need them most
those black daughters of the dust
those dreams of julie that never made it to anyone’s screen
just my dreams

i want black daughters
jane black
revolutionary starters who get upset when they’re made the the exception
he say you look good to be dark
she blacker than her old man’s fist and stronger

a midnight blink they’ll be
my black daughters