A man paints Oaxaca wants peace (Oaxaca quiere paz) in the streets as traffic persists. It appears to be futile endeavor as the paint smears into the intersection, but he is determined even in the face of fast taxis and bus barreling up Reforma.

I try to imagine working in spray paint, writing in a much larger font…

Even the hottest nights, I mask my face with a bandana, shroud myself in a dark hoodie, put on my fastest tennies, arm myself with my favorite colors of paint: red or those who they tried to eliminate, black for the lost ones they want to quietly efface.

For them, the oppressed, the unjustly imprisoned, the dead, I paint reminders of their names, these veterans of this millennium’s wars, sketched on the city’s vacant canvases, on the walls of banks and businesses that will try to whitewash my missives, but I will return the next dusk, for I refuse to be erased.


From Beyond Words

Mudd Club 4th floor gallery
Manhattan, April 1981

If you bomb
the IND
or tag the 2
dousing it in tribal
shrapnel, you’re it
—the shit—
If you can lie
between the rails
—Please Stand
Clear the Closing—
or press yourselves
betw. train
& the wall
spray can rattling
like a tooth—The roof
the roof
the roof is on
the 6 will whistle
* Read Poet Dennis Schmitz’s collection, The Truth Squad, Copper Canyon Press: https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Squad-Dennis-Schmitz/dp/1556591829. What is the truth? And, how will you spread/spray/shepherd it?

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