When you take in the poetry of Julian Davenport (aka Juelz), you feel yourself immersed in the streets of Harrisburg—the poverty, the richness; the despair, the beauty.
Indeed, many of Juelz’s poems follow an arc from hopelessness to hope. But, fittingly, that describes Juelz himself.
As a young child, Juelz was raised on Vernon Street on Allison Hill, spent some time in Rhode Island, spent some time in prison. More than a decade ago, he began to turn his life around and, since, has become known locally for his verse and for giving back—teaching his craft, giving readings, participating in workshops.
Today, Juelz lives in Carlisle, but still spends much time in the city of his birth. In 2011, he released his first collection of poems, “In My Eyes,” and, last year, his second collection, “In My Eyes II,” from which these selections are taken.
Memories fade in and out like a shadow.
Shadows of my past come and go in my memory
as I rewind situations back slowly in my memory. I think once I am dead and gone …
there are no more memories except for the ones you can remember of me.
For me: Let my children know my smile could light a room,
and that daddy became a man way too soon.
Shadows of my past seem to be painting the ending of my destiny.
If I pass before my time, what has God expected from me . . . what was I destined to be?
What will they do when I am gone, faded away,
never living for tomorrow. I am only concerned with today,
tomorrow’s never promised, especially to me.
The things that are truth in my life—it gets stressful to see!
I receive so much envy, some days I don’t know why
but some days I wake up wishing I’d die.
What is the purpose? I’ve been asking God that question for years,
instead of an answer I got no response and I received no reply.
Instead he keeps me with the strength that I need to hold on.
Even though at the same time he strengthens the storm . . .
what is it you want—I scream to let it out,
I contemplate in my head,
they won’t be happy
until I’m lying in the gutter,
blood leaking from my head.
Gone and dead not a breath left—I can’t stay!
What will they do when I am gone, faded away?
I Saw the Storm Coming
I saw the storm coming,
but refused to move. I guess I got tired of running.
I guess it was time to stand up.
Sometimes it’s so easy for anyone to give up.
That’s when you think of times when the odds were much greater.
It’s so easy to forget but remembering it is major.
The things we take for granted could be the things that change our life.
If you live negatively with no care,
then be prepared to pay the price.
I saw the storm coming. This time I took my own advice.
I am the leader of these situations
I call life.
I saw the storm coming.
Instead of running, I stood.
I saw the storm coming but I knew I was good!
Tears of April
April, one of 12 spirits.
She cries so blatantly. I wonder if you can hear it!
Man so fearless! The earth lives but he tears it!
April cries and the tears lift
seeds toward sunlight.
Demolition provides paved roads,
so we enjoy Benz Bentley and Range Rove.
April cries so that summer arrives.
So hear the tears thud the roof of your home
and when the sky is painted smoky gray, beams of light refuse to penetrate.
Just know the tears of April paint pictures of what’s to come.
Sun after rain, but above clouds is all the same.
To learn more about Juelz and his poetry, visit www.JuelzPublishing.com and follow him on Instagram at imeurbanpoetry. His collections, “In My Eyes” and “In My Eyes II,” can be purchased at his website.
Article introduction by Lawrance Binda.