white lines down this road

(photo by kwesi abbensetts)

we spoke in white noise nasally lifting white lines off upper decks
it was like we worked for the city our whole life
she stared into glassy glossed over corneas and caked up sleep in corners
we slept on money tucked away between comforts and a life we’d never get back
but we slept better than most
we woke up to windows blocking out anything natural and i loved her like she was dark
in shadows between the soul and wall
and if we stand in this room long enough we’ll collapse it all
we’ll fuck to collapse the darkness
we’ll love til we collapse our lungs
and we’ll keep lifting these white lines until we can’t lift ourselves

You Better Not Put My Son In Jail – I’ll Take This Country Down

[for troy davis and jamey rodemeyer]

They must have dreams
They must know how profound their thoughts and dreams can be
and speak them to us to make them come true with and for them
They don’t
They will bottle them and die of imagination attacks at 5 turning into kids who dream the dreams of broken adults
We must tell them not to dream as we do
That we are broken because we were raised by broken people but they can’t be
It must be chains that break this time

My heart hurts or somewhere near it
No state will murder my son
There will be no race to see whose tears hit the concrete floor
At least he never got to see the fall
Or smell the coming of it
He’d be forced to imagine country roads and old wooden fences held together by time
He’d cry about it and his tears would win
I would never write him in autumn
Those oranges and reds of home would come through the pen and pluck those loose lashes from his lids
The closing of summer will be like strapping a young man to a table and killing him
And the fall is never beautiful enough to make us forget what we did

I will not cry toward the sun or the grass for my boy
He will cry over me

so we end it here

the most powerful thing i heard all week was this:

the black girl with natural hair and a canvas skyped me to tell me about the couple she met who made a decision to never have children.
it’s not that children wasn’t in their plan, but they fell in love by mistake knowing bearing children with each other shouldn’t happen.
she’s extremely bi-polar and his family has a history of schizophrenia.

so what do we do?

they shouldn’t have fallen in love, but those sentiments came too late.
so they end it with them, and hope they get another chance to meet on some lake or at some bar.

Young and Reckless: Birth of the Goodfellas

We were young and reckless. Nothing else can be said, and no apologies will be given for our behavior because it seemed fitting for the time. Who wasn’t against us? It was a time of self-profession and territory claiming. We had gone beyond the ideals of fraternity and become what we would often jokingly call “a legal gang.”

“If I introduce him as a friend of mine, then he’s a connected guy. But if I introduce him as a friend of ours, then he’s a made man, and nobody can touch him. Not even Jesus Christ himself.” We spoke those words with such ease, and lived out the creed and oaths “made men” made.

We weren’t sure whom to trust. But whoever was tearing us down from the inside had to be handled, and whoever was breaking us apart from the outside was being dealt with in a less-than-discreet fashion, starting with the top and working our way down expeditiously. And none of these public dealings were secret to anyone. We were being thrown from public meetings, dismissed from forums, and banned from events in which we were well invested. We became the bad guys. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” We were doing nothing more than protecting the histories and traditions of our noble Klan. That was all.

In the Spring of 2003, in what seemed overnight at 357 Rose Avenue, in the apartment of J. Sills (Korporate) and Darnell Lamont Walker (S.p.e.r.m.), we had gone from “Glorious and Greater” to “Goodfellas” after a series of activities that should never happen on the campus of an institution of higher learning. We were young and reckless. But we had something to protect. We were made differently. We were entrusted with jewels by men who had put their lives on the line. Why would this tradition stop?

The Fall came, school came, we grew in size, and so did the opposing team, be them administration or guys who dressed like us, and looked like us, but were not us. And we kept growing because there were more eyes on these jewels than before. We needed numbers. We needed more young and reckless men who were willing to put their education and chunks of their lives on the line.

And in 2005 we had to be at our strongest. We were forced to act quickly and think after. We became masters at chess while the opposing team played checkers with their grandfathers on holiday evenings watching snow fall. It was that serious. It would appear The Goodfellas lost. Our tree was painted, ridding it of any signs we were ever there. A tree began by men we learned were legends in many respects. Our concrete diamond that served as sacred ground of sorts was crushed. The sidewalk I painted with my fingers was painted over. This is where we were.

It would appear we lost. But we were chess players. This had to be done. We knew about the process of destroying and rebuilding. We knew the necessity of slicing off one’s own thumb to save the rest of the hand. We sliced our thumbs, and waited.

The article was released, and I was interviewed. I do not regret any of my actions, and I do not regret telling the man who had the power to push the button to “destroy everything. Fuck everything and everybody sitting across from me right now. Burn it down.” It was necessary. It was necessary to spend weeks prior to graduation on trial for assault and battery. It was necessary to kick in doors, and demand answers. It was necessary to write a letter to the college president demanding she clear my brother of all charges “or else.” It was all necessary. Jewels, man. Jewels.

And now look at us. Stronger than any of us could imagine. Building a class of incomparable leaders, and we’re all Goodfellas. The opposing teams have died out or grew sick and tired of fighting. We fought on.

Foolish we were. “You would have done all that for a fraternity?” People who ask that question will never be able to fully grasp what we were doing it for. So we do not explain. That is who we were. Young and reckless.

-Darnell Lamont Walker

Dear Me:

Dear 10-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker,

Remember that girl you fell in love with that first day of 5th grade? She’s long gone, loving others, tending to girls that aren’t babies anymore, and feeding addictions. You were so shy around her, yet you called her “goddess” when others asked. You should have stayed that way for a few years. Shy, i mean. But confidence came with age, and you were due for growth, I suppose.

You should have kept popping the bras on the girls whose breasts were budding, making them insecure. They should have stayed that way. Tiffany’s still around being the same ol’ Tiffany you sat behind in Ms. Payne’s class. The years weren’t bad, just slow. You were the beginning of consciousness. The awakening of something that 29-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker still hasn’t figured out. Something beautiful, though, and though it may never get figured out, it’s great to look at. Like a Magic Eye. You would stare for hours, upset you couldn’t quite figure out what you were looking at, not knowing the years to follow would be much like that. Thank you for that conditioning.

Your heart will be broken. It’s cool. You need that. You need those who will love you then feel indifferent toward you equally. I wish I could have prepared you for that, but it’s probably best I couldn’t. Had you known what to expect and who to look out for, you would have become an engineer or some wrong-brained science freak, staring at numbers all day. Two women stand out more than the others. The first will love you hard, and she probably shouldn’t, but you love her equally. She will introduce you to a grown up kind of love and a son. This is heartbreak number one. The second will know long you’ve dreamed about her, but she won’t know you think about her everyday unless you tell her. You won’t be able to do that. That girl you fell in love with on the first day of 5th grade really messed you up, and your communication with women.

You learned the art of building friendships and being able to wear masks to slightly blend in, but still stand out among those who wouldn’t have the option of becoming anything they wanted, and those who go above and beyond the average person’s dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer. The people started loving you.

Yours Truly,

29-year old you.

Dear 29-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker,

You just got a call from your mother telling you your grandmother isn’t eating, and her health isn’t improving. You’re going to be okay. Don’t drink over this, please. You woke up to two rejection letters waiting for you and the pain in your back is still there. If the sky wasn’t clear and the sun wasn’t out, there would be cause to write a note letting the people know you were headed to kiss the river.

Smile. Of the few things you’ve learned and shared about life, you know that it is going to be what it is unapologetically, and brighter days are coming. You share that, so you must live it, too.

I know your dreams aren’t happening the way they should, but you’re happy. You want to be a television writer. You want to be an educator. You want to be a nomad, traveling the world, falling in love with everyone you meet, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes, sitting outside of a cafe in Copenhagen talking about the ills of America. This, though, is the life you’ve built.

You’ve surrounded yourself with people who complain little about their life because they realize they were the lone architects, and what they’ve built is beautiful. You love people who make you feel like your success is minimum, and those are your friends.

You’re waiting on ABC to send you news that you’re hired or rejected now. The educator dream is just about done. There are five more rejection letter coming soon probably, and that’s cool. It’s what happens when you step foot off the path. You said 31 would be the age when you made that drastic life transition.

So, Copenhagen first? When you return stateside, LA again? Fall in love with the night life, and make better use of your day life.

This third book of yours is going to be insane. Release it and run. Stop answering calls, emails, texts, tweets and facebook messages the day you send it to your exes. It’s probably the smart thing to do. They’ll be hurt, shocked and embarrassed, and you, being you, won’t give a shit.

Listen (well…read), and I’m only going to write this once: You are probably one of the most talented people I know. Use those gifts, and be happy-er (i know it’s happier). You’re in your last few months of reckless abandon (sort of). You have writings the world needs to see, words the world needs to hear, and people who need to feel your face and heart a few times before you disappear on some plane one morning.

You did not become your father’s child. Remember when that was enough? It isn’t anymore. When one goal is complete, there needs to be one waiting right behind it. Let’s see what this fall from 20’s has in store. Idi Amin and Adolf must have known such fright and confusion. I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.

In hopes that I made sense,

Darnell Lamont Walker

“never forget” is unnecessary

I wasn’t a new Yorker then
I was a Floridian lost among ballot papers and black folks who would have given up on voting had the seven years that followed not been post racial
I was watching bush read to a classroom of his peers and conspiracy theories forming in the heads of mine
fuck him still
even more now because the truth has still not floated to the top like a good cheerio
I remember that breakfast
I remember that vigil
I remember moms being out of reach
when it was the fathers we should have been worried about
fore and the days after
I haven’t forgotten any of it
the worst part being awakened from a dream to deal with bullshit for years to follow

invitation to mrs. robinson to come flying

i’m going flying this weekend
over a few buildings in midtown i think and i want you to come
i want you to want to hold hands but grab my pinky instead because you believe you have more time to get to the whole
over buildings in midtown we’ll laugh over lemon drops and how the weather man predicted rain like they do every weekend in the city just to scare the idiots who are scared of getting wet
we’ll have the streets to ourselves and no umbrellas whether he’s right or wrong
this is your invitation to come flying with me over the buildings in midtown
i’ll wait for a miracle around herald square
but i won’t wait forever