Paris fence with running man and birds; photograph 8 x10
Uniters of the world work
wooden 6 foot high wall
surrounding the blocks wide and deep
where once history stood
houses, factories, lives
the genealogy of the neighbour hood
written out in brick and stone
mortar, scaffolds, masons
street names wiped off the map
not to be remembered
“too old to be new”
“too old to be trendy”
“not the new economy”
gone, the only memorial
the wood fence
a few posters fluttered from it
curses and spits and spews
by activists, labour and unions
with starless sky black paint
a precise hand drove these letters
into the fence’s seemingly smug face
Uniters of the World, Work*
A clarion call to artist’s, activists, and
well, those with no higher motive or purpose
than to smash the fence with colour;
transformation of society not their agenda
Secret societies with mid-night meetings as
muralists emerged at night.
First big blitz mural wrapped around corner of the fence
a colourful “blow” for our side.
New mayor invited patients from the sick children’s hospital
to design, to draw, to pain, to laugh, to smile
other fences sprouted murals
other fences sprouted tagging and warning
dragging the oft argued line between art and vandalism
Eventually, the hole became the whole of office towers
with glittering, glinting windows
commerce, trade, money
Luxury apartments grew gangly
taller than the skyline limit
with balconies tongues stuck out to dare those
avengers of conspicuous consumption
And, as the buildings rose, the fence came down.
Our wall, our canvas, our confessor,
chalk board of hope.
I will research to see what happened to the fence.
It was, after all, a monument, a testament,
had a genealogy, a history too
* “workers of the world, unite [sometimes followed by “you have nothing to lose but your chains”] is a phrase loosely taken from Marx and Engel’s Communist Manifesto (1848), becoming the rally cry for unions, unionists, labour. A city with a strong tradition of unionism and anti-unionism, the flippant flip around stayed with me.
Written for Poetry 10: Day 8
Andy Townend, an amazing photographer, poet, writer and blogger, generous with his time and comments, provided the image and theme for today’s write.
© a darkened house, 2015