See a 6’2” approximately 200lb black male running south on Vernon Street in Harrisburg’s south Allison Hill area overlooking the Pennsylvania State Capitol? Well, Vernon Street is the street where I wrote my book, In My Eyes -- and it’s the same street where I grew up as a child.
Hello, my name is Julian Davenport. Good friends call me “Juelz”. Sometimes I wear a hoodie. Sometimes my pants sag. I prefer my music loud, profane, and with lots of bass. I have a certified skill at rolling medically-approved homemade “cigarettes” in 60 seconds or less, but ironically no higher education degree.
Gifted with a natural love of writing, I was never a great student. You might say I would easily fit the statistically archetypical by-product of a struggling single Mom and a disengaged, frequently incarcerated father. An at-risk kid, yes -- but a reluctant caricature, largely left by institutions and circumstances to be raised more by the loveless code of the street than tony choice schools, with no privileged nepotistic opportunities or appropriately refined etiquette to grease the way.
Convinced by veteran street mentors, a self-maximizing choice against poverty and squalor made the allure of fast cash irresistible. Unfortunately, those activities were not appreciated by The State. My successful entrepreneurial career as an independent South American chemical distributor for needy self-medicators was abruptly cut short and exchanged for frugal free room and board at a secure, gated community of like minds.
Prison is a bad, bad place. The Pen can, however, provide useful time for seriously deep reflection. On one humid hot summer night, long after my release, I leaned back shirtless on the cool porch steps at home to consider the wild but not uncommon confluence of contributors that led to my revolving door of crime and punishment, prosperity and despair. While watching winged moths do their dizzying death dance in urine-colored sodium vapor glare, it occured to me that others might benefit from my life’s laborious lessons learned. I decided to compile both past poetry and write fresh works about living in the trap as a cathartic attempt to heal my emotional wounds. “In My Eyes” born on the cold concrete steps of Vernon street -- a proud Pennsylvania original.