Weekly Poem: ‘Graffiti’

BY Arts Desk  June 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM EDT

Paintings on the face of brick
Tell the story of a man and this chick
He loved her but she could not see
That the street was his canvas
His part of history
He ran to his place in the darkest of night
Ready with his paint to take on the fight
Tell about the memories of the friend he had
Who fell victim to violence from a fellow gang lad?
Carving the names of the fallen ones
Who were put down by the blast from a gun?
Senseless, foolish he thought in his head
So many young ones, so many dreams lost
Dead
Over to this neighborhood notorious for
Going to any length to settle their score
He sprays “Peace and Harmony”
But they only know brutality
He runs to the side of this house he loves
Where he paints the face of a thousand doves
He hopes these doves will show this city
That killing each other is just plain silly
Crying for the brother that he knows
Who will never be the same because of his foes
Crying for the daughter he hears at night
Who will never know her father because of a hood fight?
This street historian leaves a piece of his heart
With every spray stroke of his street art
He runs to a park where he once played
And goes to the bench where he once laid
He remembers the stories of the people he knew
There are not many left, just so few
We go back to the building with the story of
The street artist and the girl that he loves
Going out on his night time visits
To paint his personal city exhibits
The District of Crimes as they call it now
The street artist depicts this the only way he knows how
He shows the city as no one knows
The festivals, the lights, the cultural shows
The diversity, the love, the mixing bowl
The love of his city as a whole
The piece of his heart, the art of his soul
We follow the artist back to the brick
Where he tells the story of him and this chick
The nighttime life that she didn’t know
Where the artist put on his art show
The street he loves
The city he craves
Tells the artist that is unknown
This is the life
This the art
Through the graffiti
This is his heart

Javairia Henry recently graduated from Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C. Her poem, “Graffiti,” is taken from ‘The Way We See It: Complete Coverage of the Nation’s Capital From the Inside Out,’ presented by the Capitol Letters Writing Center, a nonprofit that supports student writers through workshops, tutoring and student publications.

The part of D.C. that inspires me most is the cultural aspect of the entire city,” says Henry. “The different sections dedicated to different cultures and the exposure to many lifestyles is where I draw most of my inspiration from. I am able to see through the eyes of others and how they live.”