A Little Writing on the Wall
Lately, the graffiti in my neighborhood has been getting very positive. I find that each day on another block I’m getting bombarded more and more with messages of Magic and Think of the Future. On good days I find it practically overwhelming how lovely it is, on bad days I take offense. But either way it reminds me of how many of us feel like we must write things down and then share them with other people. (Yes, I know there are many legal implications, and I’m not encouraging graffiti. I might add to that however, that some of my favorite artists started out making street art including Basquiat. And some of my favorite artists are still making street art, such as Shepard Fairy.) I like the urgency of it, the immediacy of having to write on the wall.
In another lifetime, I might have done that. Coming from a culture that is very proud of murals and can take “street art” to a new level of “we’re going to paint this whole street until it is transformed to beauty,” writing words real large on wall makes utter sense to me. So, here’s my question: Why isn’t there more of it? And I don’t mean one word or another, I mean, whole poems? I remember that Albuquerque had quite a few poems up there on buildings, and a few in San Francisco. It seems like something that makes sense in our wildly expressive culture. Just a question. These are just phrases and words, but really, wouldn't a whole stanza be nice? If you see any good ones out there, let me know. I like keeping track of those midnight writers that could help keep poetry in the public eye.
Ada Limón is the author of Lucky Wreck (2006), This Big Fake World (2006), Sharks in the Rivers (2010), and Bright Dead Things (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award. She earned an MFA from New York University, and is the recipient of...