Are we there yet?


2016 will go down as the year of WTF. Seriously, WTF 2016? I know you’re probably as tired as I am talking about the election but it’s just that incredible. It’s got me literally walking around looking at people asking myself, are you high? We have no choice but to let it play itself out at this point. I’m embarrassed to tell the rest of the world I’m an American right now.

In any case, I hope all is well with you. I wasn’t quite done with the summer yet but fall is upon us now. It’s a favorite time of year for me because of the colors of the foliage. It’s a shame it only lasts for a few weeks. I am not looking forward to winter.

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This was from a week or two ago. The leaves are almost all down now. When the weather is nice it’s really peaceful back here. I have so much work to do for next year. I want to plant some more flowers. I read this article about the disappearing bee population. It turns out that we have been responsible for this (as usual). Bees need a variety of flora. That is how they feed and take care of themselves. We have gotten so into grassy yards, we have practically eliminated all the native species of plants that they thrive on. My goal is to re-populate my yard with many varieties of flowers and things like clover. I’m already the person with the most trees on their property. Most of my neighbors have cleared most of their plots. I don’t get why people don’t realize that trees are vital to our survival and to the ecosystem.

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The down side to having all these trees is the leaf clean up. I’ve already hurt my back from being too aggressive cleaning them up. I sit on my ass way too many hours of the day and I over compensate trying to get exercise by doing yard work. It can be a hassle but it invigorates me.

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I was in the city a few weeks ago on the East Side. I was standing on this corner and for some reason a flood of memories overcame me from all my years I spent growing up there. Just so much of my life was here and now I feel like a tourist. It’s been 17 years since I left NY. A lot has changed. It’s kinda weird going there now because it’s like I know where I am but everything has changed. You don’t really appreciate it while you’re there. It’s gradual and subtle but continuous. It’s not until you’re away for a long time that you really see how different it is. What’s always fascinated me is that there are millions of people here but everyone walks past each other in silence. People only interact if forced to.

When you think about all the politics and bullshit going on in the world, it’s like none of it applies to real life on the street. It’s always been and always will be about people going on about their daily lives. A lot of the shit we go through as a society is the work of a very few people. People generally just want to live in peace.

So I’ve been very touched by the level of appreciation I have been getting across the board for my works. People are enjoying my photos and music. This is very special for me. It feels like I am connecting on another level with people. Being able to express yourself is amazing. I strongly encourage you to do the same regardless of what you feel people may think. Expressing yourself brings you closer to yourself. It forces you to ask the question of who you really are.

I decided to organize some of my music by type. It’s kinda difficult since my mission was to blur the lines between genres, so I decided to break them into groups based on the moods I feel they represent. I’m hoping it will allow people to sample more of my music that they may like. To that end,  here’s some stuff i collected I hope you will enjoy. Try listening with headphones for the best experience.

Little Jack Horner


Sat in a corner. Stop right there. Did anyone ever wonder why he would be sitting in a corner? Like why is that Ok?

I celebrated my birthday on Monday. Well I guess celebrated is the word. Being alive is actually something to be happy about.

Situations could be better but you can’t have everything.

I’m trying to relax at the moment. Sitting here in the dark, hence the Little Jack corner reference. I felt that I needed to explain the motivation behind one of my last songs. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, especially since it only took two days to finish. I got the motivation for the song from multi-talented Lola. I have a favorite picture of hers that was my inspiration that I would post, but I haven’t asked for permission. She has a blog and the title is inspired by it’s name.

As I promised I would post some pictures.  I have a few that are new and some are older pictures but have been reprocessed. It amazes me that so many people enjoy what I’m doing. Thank you

  
  

Art for arts sake


Just because?

Over the next few posts I’m going to try and publish things that I have been working on over the past whatever time it’s been. I apologize for the randomness but reality is random and I must do my part.

The first shot is actually from my iPhone early one morning before I’d had my coffee trying to psyche myself up to deal with the day

The second shot is in commemoration of the Supreme Courts decision to legalize same sex marriage. I chose the scene because it symbolizes the gradual lift of the fog of ignorance that permeates our society.

Man crushed


I was laying on the couch listening to some old Stevie Wonder songs and today being Monday, a lot of folks participate in this social media theme #MCM or Man Crush Monday. (No luck on that front this way haha) But the combination had me reflecting back asking myself who were my crushes? My mind took me back to an incident that I totally buried until today that I will share.
When I was in high school, there was this girl named Crystal. She was in the music department. I believe she played the clarinet. Anyway, Crystal wasn’t the girl you’d notice at first glance, She wasn’t doe-eyed exotic or voluptuous..the types I’d usually pine for at that age, but she was average I’d say. As a matter of fact, we talked for a while before one day we were having a convo and I took the time to really check her out. She had the most perfect complexion I’d ever seen..milk chocolaty and buttery smooth. There was something about her full lips that just drew me in. I could literally hear myself saying to myself, ah man she’s beautiful. I realized that I was staring and so did she, to the point where she said, Why are you looking at me like that? Is something wrong? To which I replied, no there’s nothing wrong. I just like what I see. Mind you..this was way bold for me. I didn’t even have the time to check myself before the words just came out of my mouth. She just looked at me with this look of incredulity, like are you serious?

A little background is needed here. I was very popular in high school, but exceptionally insecure. I would joke around a lot as a means of deflection and to channel my anxiety at being the center of attention. A lot of girls found me attractive but I hated myself because of negative images put in my head about the typical black man’s features over the years. Whenever anyone would compliment me or say anything about my looks, I would get totally fucked up awkward. I convinced myself they were just saying that out of pity. So that’s why for me to say something like that to someone’s face was way way out of character. She laughed it off but her friend, Evelyn (yes, I’m calling you out too) was like, you go girl! So now we were both miserably embarrassed and changed the subject. It wouldn’t end there though.
Not too much longer after that, one day Crystal comes to tell me that she’s leaving PA (Performing Arts) and going to another school. I was fucking crushed. It was like my heart beat one big thump and then my soul left my body. I can remember us standing there in mutual disbelief of the power of that moment looking at each other in the hallway. I felt betrayed in some way. We weren’t dating or anything but it felt to me like abandonment. I struggled with those feelings for a bit and then I finally got the nerve to ask for her phone number. You see, I could tell that she liked me but was unsure how far to let it go. There were many rumors about me with girls, a lot was just talk. I had admirers but at that time, but nothing was happening with anyone else.
I can’t recall how long it was after that this situation I’m about to describe occurred. It was summer like.
I’d called and made arrangements to come by her house. I remember begging because she was very reluctant to have me over. She was fighting the feeling, I said to myself, and that’s not going to stand in my way. So off I went.
She lived in Harlem, in a housing development. I remember being intimidated that I was heading into another hood that I’d heard so many bad things about. It turned out to be nothing but hype. When I got to her place, I was greeted by her father. He was a huge individual. When he shook my hand, his hand covered my whole hand and part of my wrist. I was like wow, there is NO way I’m gonna go ANYTHING to piss this guy off. I bet if he slapped me, my sneakers would’ve come off. He was on his way to work, so we just exchanged pleasantries and he went out. Her mother was there doing something..not sure, but she was in the kitchen. Crystal was in the process of doing something with her hair. I think they were going out somewhere later, but she her hair was wet and she had a towel covering her head. She invited me into her room to talk, which I was very nervous about but went anyway. She excused herself and then came back in a tee shirt with that towel on her head. She might as well have been an Egyptian goddess. She was talking to me and I got caught again. She said, Darrell what? I’m like what what? She’s said, Why are you staring at me like that? Are you staring at my boobs? Which by the way were extremely visible and her nipples were like doorbell buttons waiting to be rung. At first I tried to restrain my mouth but I was again, caught up in the moment and just said I find you to be irresistible. She was like, stop being so damn cute and came to hug me. Then it happened. We looked at each other and I went in for the kill. I don’t know how long it was but I was completely taken away by how good this kiss felt. I’d never kissed anyone with lips as full as mine but it was incredible. She was enjoying it too. So much so that neither of us heard her mother open the door. All I heard was, Crystal..when you’re done, I want to speak with you, and she closed the door. We were like OMG! OMG! OMG! I immediately started apologizing. I was in a panic. How could I fuck this up so bad on the first move?? Her father is going to destroy me. I have to move to Canada.
It wasn’t over just yet.
She walked out, closing me in her room to confront her mother. I was sitting on her bed in total shock. I could hear them arguing. All I could make out was, get him out of my house. Needing no cue, I got myself together and started to head out. I stepped out, said to her mother, I apologize. I was wrong. I’ve disrespected your home. it was all me. I meant no harm but I will go. Crystal then did the totally unexpected. She said, No..you’re my company. You leave when I say it’s ok to leave. I’m like no no she didn’t..no she did not just nuke her mom in front of me. Realizing that a save was seriously needed in that awkward moment that followed, I said, no..You’re mother is right. I have to go and I headed towards the door, with as much intention as to end this disaster and to save my own life. Crystal then grabs me and says, “You’re not leaving without me”. I felt like I was in a bad dream that would eventually end with me getting shot at this point. Her mother roared back, “You’re not going anywhere”. To which Crystal replied, “Watch me” and proceeded to get her keys and a jacket. I was dumbfounded at this point. I’d never ever ever seen a black girl speak to her mother like that and live. She got her stuff and walked me back to the train station. We talked for a bit. I was so concerned about what was going to happen to Crystal that I would have done anything to make it better. She assured me she’d deal and thanked me for coming. I then said the magic words..I love you. She grabbed my mouth and said, “Don’t say that! Just don’t! Ok??” I was completely lost. She just kissed me and walked away. I called her later and she said she would explain. She agreed to have me come to her new school. There was a show that she was in. So I went.
It was there as we sat in the auditorium that she told me she had a boyfriend, but she liked me as a friend. No sooner than the words came out of her mouth did he show up asking her Is everything ok? She dismissively introduced me as her friend from the other school and he went on. That train ride home was one of the longest of my life..

Barack, the man of my dreams


I am going to preface this post with a disclaimer that I already know I need some kind of psychiatric evaluation.

For some reason, I keep having dreams with Barack Obama in them. In each dream, we are close friends, but the surrounding scenarios are always insane.

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Last night I had a dream that I was going to the park to play basketball. It was a very warm and sunny summer day. I was dribbling the ball as I walked down the street. I don’t know where I was, but it had the feel of somewhere in Brooklyn. As I approached a corner, there was Barack walking up the adjacent street. He looks at me and says, You know what to do with that thing? (he’s typically a wise-ass in my dreams as well). So I’m like, do I have to school you? He looks at me and gives me that half chuckle that we’ve seen many times as if to say, Yeah right.
He was dressed in slacks and a white collared shirt with his sleeves rolled up. So he says, Come with me, I got a few things to do first, then I’ll play you for beers. So I accept and we start walking together. He starts telling me he’s got “Some Presidential shit” to take care of first but it shouldn’t take long. All the while walking, he’s wise cracking on me, saying stuff like, I’ll play you in my shoes so it will be fair..Do you have any face insurance?..I’ll try to keep the media out of it so you won’t be too embarrassed to go home, we wouldn’t want your family to disown you.
We came to these steps that lead to an underpass, kinda like a subway station and he says, Hold up, I’ll be right back. Don’t punk out and run. Then he jaunts down the steps in the manner that we are so familiar with. He had something like a walkie-talkie on his belt that was connected to the Secret Service. I could hear the static from it fade as he got further away, then suddenly it stopped. I stood there expecting to see him come up the other side but he didnt surface. Worried, I went down after him to see what happened. It was dimly lit and dank, much like some of the lesser maintained subway stations you’d find in NY. I called out to him a few times and all I could hear was the echo of my own voice. Off to my left, there was an opening in the wall. I saw his shoes slightly sticking out. I slowly approached it, calling his name. Suddenly I heard movement coming from further back in the opening. It was dark and water was seeping through cracks in the wall. I yell out, Yo man, this ain’t funny. Again..no answer.
Something was moving and I stepped slowly closer to see what it was. At first it looked like he was laying on the ground covered in something white and leathery. Then it moved and I was face to face with a huge white Anaconda, it’s eyes gleaming at me like a dog when you take it’s picture. I turned and started running, the snake chasing me. I could hear the massiveness of its body as it slid down this wet and dungeon like corridor. I reached the stairs and was met my a low hovering helicopter with Secret Service agents in it. I was out of breath and struggled to tell them what I’d just seen and I woke up..
I lay in bed, my heart pounding so hard I thought my head would explode, asking myself what the fuck is wrong with me?
This disturbed me so much that I started Googling dream interpretations.
I came across this info. Scroll to the section about a person being eaten. Read it for yourself..It’s pretty deep

The year that was


2014 was as year that re-shaped and reignited my desire to be creative. To delve deeper into who I am. Peeling back layers of changes I’ve gone through over the years trying to please others or focus on someone else’s agenda. That’s the kind of person I was in relationships and over the years I kinda lost myself. I realize even more so now that you should never shut down who you are and anyone that insists on it is not for you.

These are a few shots I want to share from this past year that I thought came out pretty good. I think the measure of a good photo is that it should pull the viewer into the moment. That is what I tried to do. I used different processing methods for added effect. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did attempting to reach that goal.