I see plenty of messages crudely painted on cement walls, the sides of buildings, scrap wood, and many other places while touring Detroit on my bicycle. Some are nothing more than senseless words, and others are insightful opinions, philosophical quotes or sayings. Several have stopped me in my tracks because of the accompanying graphic or length and subject matter of the written piece.
One in particular caught my attention as I passed under a railroad overpass near the city’s new center area. The black and white piece included an interesting, sad image of a downtrodden person that accompanied a scroll with about fifty words on it. Both were posted to the cement support. The simple but powerfully written piece of urban poetry complimented the image and both captivated and moved me.
I especially like the drawing of the defeated character. He or she appears to be totally at the mercy of the streets, out of touch with the surroundings, and beaten down from the daily drudgery of life. Based on the image, the character’s life also looks to be shackled into a repetitive, day after day mechanical routine, much like a Detroit automobile assembly line that never seems to end.
When reading the street poetry from the photograph below, note the capital letters and boldness that were used to stress the importance of what the author had written.
“Please pick up your weary head.
I know how the weight of this town can put an arch in your spine and I’ve spent far too long memorizing the cracks in the pavement.
There is far too much to see in this city and I can assure you that you’re not going to find any answers located beneath your step.
Today is for moving on.
Today is for finally feeling OK.
Take a walk with me.”
These are powerful words and an engaging image from an anonymous street poet and talented artist.