Running From Streetlights | 2020
Self-Published | Cover Art by Rawley Clark
Semifinalist for the Foglifter Journal Start a Riot! Chapbook Prize, Running From Streetlights is Darnell’s third self-produced poetry collection. This body of work examines what it means to be Black in today’s America, and how Black people carry on despite the threat of danger always lurking around the corner.
The poems in this book feel familiar like they’re something we all know too well or have experienced. “We Been Runnin” opens up as an offering to joy as a way to remember yourself. “After Quarantine” is a longing packed tight and speaks to what always will be and is missed. In this book, some parts of this navigation and exploration in the process are breviloquent. Other parts are constructed with aegis and intentional. Nothing is scathed. Every poem is already well or healing.
- Ebony Stewart, 2017 Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion
Running from Streetlights is a remarkably moving chapbook. Radically situated in the present amidst protest & pandemic and in deep conversation with history, Darnell “DeeSoul” Carson offers us an aesthetically expansive and important collection.
- Sam Sax, Author of Bury It
Running from Streetlights is a muscular leap into the Black future, full of poems that insist on the very act of living. In this chapbook, in this space between starshine and clay, the collective reigns. Carson evokes the cookout, the block party, and the stoop during summertime and a “prayer for every good thing yet to come” falls lushly into place. Here is a “we” that is as Black and familiar as the sound of my mama’s voice calling me inside before day breaks into dark evening. These are poems that don’t stop at naming the wound. Rather, they repair, they soothe, they map out a multitude of paths leading to the next world. If the future is our next breath, these poems are the wind they ride on.
- Sojourner Ahebee, Author of Reporting from the Belly of the Night
What does it mean to write yourself alive in a world that only dares to see you when you are dead? How does one live as a shadow of America’s past? Running from Streetlights is a heartfelt collection of work that delivers a refracted image of what it is like living as a queer black boy in America. The phrase “what’s done in the dark shall come to light” is what comes to mind when reading Running from Streetlights. Darnell “DeeSoul” Carson offers us a look inside his life living as ghost not willing to wait to be honored at the next memorial; a shadow who does not wait for the streetlights to come on to wait to be seen.
- Asia Bryant-Wilkerson, 2017 Berkeley Slam Individual Champion