After burying their son’s ashes, Joseph and Carolyn Levy sat and sorted through the box of things Darryl had left behind. Yearbooks from James Ford Rhodes High School. Scholarship certificates. A few photographs. But in their search, his poetry chapbooks remained unopened.
Their son, Darryl the poet, was better known as d.a. levy. A notable member of Cleveland’s 1960s counterculture, Levy was recognized for rambling and sometimes profane poetry, an underground newspaper and a pro-legalization journal, Marijuana Quarterly. “I know about the words he used. I would tell him, ‘Darryl, why do you have to use those words?’ ” his mother recalled. “And he would say it was to call attention to himself.”
Levy’s bearded face was plastered all over the news after he pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of minor in 1967. All the attention brought on instability and depression, leading to Levy’s suicide on Nov. 24, 1968.
A few weeks later, his parents went about their vigil. They showed Cleveland Press writer Dick Feagler photos of a beardless Darryl and a certificate of his — First Class Boy Scout. “He was a good boy,” Carolyn said. “I wish you would write about the kind of boy he really was.”