The record will not stand for long –
this not the codes, Rosetta Stone –
but scraping, melting, making cakes,
the bubbled surface, suction pads
prove its wrapper not paddle shaped.
We’ve heard of writing on the wall,
scratched scenting of tribe territory,
tagged branding like a stencil mark
on minds as that of cattle hide,
claim laid, its landfill grounded, signed.
Gang boundary or argued thought,
though Vandals, roots much further back –
those classic caves where seam was start
of canvas, easel, sharper use
of chalk or coal, companion point.
With satire, love, wit, curse, lament –
was Kilroy there, ubiquitous –
now risen from the catacombs,
then hand-drawn scraping on the plot,
sgraffito, cousin, on vase, pot.
While hobo monikers on track
was born the hip-hop, rapper trades
by rock-n-roll, cans aerosol –
an underground that’s overground
save that on station walls below.
Where underpasses mural-lined –
learned Smirnoff adverts, in reverse,
by cleaning hoses making space –
when pothole tarmac marked obscene
soon caused the city, repair, clean.
I’ve heard, East London, of Brick Lane,
a kiln of racial intermix,
swirl breakdance of a culture swop,
where walls have fallen since the war –
some folks’ ‘deface’ is ‘facing up’.
Here’s public, non-commissioned art,
a street scene, building from those tracks –
old Berlin after printed tracts,
its Roneo upon that Wall;
see Banksy now, his Wall Street dash.
Alles, if I include myself,
become friends, allies, one intent,
the churning mix of buttermilk
now pat for spreading all about –
trust, not intention, Űbermensch?
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church with Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, most recently The Sweetycat Press, The Parliament Literary Magazine, Poetry Potion, Grand Little Things, The Poet Magazine.