Thursday, 21 February 2013

Political Graffiti

Anna loves Steve

There was a time
when it was good enough
to leave my presence etched
in eons of the grime
of history lessons,
heart carved upon a desk. 

Then an awakening,
an epiphany of knowing
that all
that had gone on before,
rest not upon desires
of love and peace
but that of the greed,
the spoils of war,
war spoilt the past,
dictates the future. 

And I throw away childish things,
suture innocence inside lest it be forgot.

I leave X as my mark,
believe in democracy,
believe I have the power
to elicit change with simple stroke of pen. 
How innocent I was.

Then realisation that I have no power at all,
I leave my presence scribed on brick


 YOU’VE    GOT  
      A          SAY?

Anna :o]

Graffiti has existed since ancient times and perhaps in its early days was the only means of those without power to make their voice heard.   In the present, graffiti offers not only an opportunity to voice ones opinions but also to display artistic talent, such as that of Banksy, marking territorial boundaries by those wonderful people who belong to street gangs and so such more.

Is graffiti vandalism or artistic expression?  Read the history of graffiti here at Wikipedia.

Anna’s prompt at dVerse is that of graffiti and searching through Wikimedia Commons – I found the above image there and decided to centre my offering round it.  (The graffiti is not mine – although it mirrors my views.)

My dad was a mild-moderate political animal and there was much reading to be done in his library – from religion to politics to Agatha Christie to natural history and I learnt much there.  As young as eleven I wrote my thoughts on the injustices of the world in letters to newspapers and the majority were published.

Like my father my politics were to left of centre (learnt behaviour?), my first vote cast to Labour – and it was not long after this I truly opened my eyes and discovered that for the most part, political parties exist (almost) entirely of self-serving (and of their donors) hypocrites and seemingly (some of) those with original good intentions were capable of being seduced and thus soiled by the politics of power, the power of politics – and sold their principles along with their souls.

Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem – I find it hard to differentiate these motley crews.  Democracy – it’s an illusion…

(Image:  Graffiti on the South Bank of the Thames in London. Graffiti by Arofish. Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, April 24, 2005)


Brian Miller said...

dang...indicting poetry....the further we go the less power we really have it seems...especially when they choose who we are voting for...still think you have a say? well you had it on the wall...and in your poem....we have that still...for now...smiles.

Claudia said... how you start with the carving on school desks...brought back some memories...smiles..and we may not have the power to change the world but make our voice heard with the paintings on subway tunnels or in scratching our words to paper...and make a difference in the world...that's what i want to believe..ha...smiles

Filip and Kristel said...

Certainly love the "No War".


Brudberg said...

How true, we can draw as much, and politicians should just legalize it to keep the people quiet. :-)

Anna Montgomery said...

Sharp and insightful. Say it isn't so, though I know it is. A fantastic take on the prompt.

Grace said...

I like the turn from childish to political power at all~ Its an illusion, sad to say ~

kkkkaty said...

yes, the school desks...and, if only a few people read and are impressed by our remarks or graffiti or poetry then that is better than no mark left...the power is in the idea that we can write what we feel and say what we think...a tiny movement can cause an avalanche...;)

Delaina said...

I like how you actually used images to take the place of images. :)
"No War" great theme I still hold hope we will evolve into enlightenment before we kill each other off.

Nicely done!

Susan Daniels said...

I'm with Brian, this is an indictment, and necessary.

Susan Daniels said...

I'm with Brian, this is an indictment, and necessary.

Frances Garrood said...

Excellent poem, and I totally agree about politics and politicians. It seems we have no real statesmen any more, and our politicians are deeply flawed.

aprille said...

Such a pity that mindless always wins.

Anonymous said...

Our graffiti grows with us as our views change. I was a writer to the editor too! Also to MPs and every so often still do. Must say the time seems to be coming again when I will lift my pen in letters but as you say, so often it appears our words fall on the deaf ears of self serving politicians. Some decisions are just crazy these days...ah well very thought provoking poem very much enjoyed!

Anonymous said...

I really like the way you've used symbols in your poem, Anna. Fits with the prompt very well.

Anonymous said...

Anna - love the idea of suturing innocence inside so as not to lose it. A very interesting poem - certainly the complexity (and seemingly inevitable corruption) of social life is hard to take. One, I think, typo - I think you want it happened "anyway" - you have "anway" -

Really interesting poem. k.

Sheila said...

democracy is an illusion. great poem and love the notes after. gives me a lot to think about.

Kim Nelson said...

Insightful and self-examining, this piece likely feels biographical to many of us. I quite appreciate your explanatory paragraphs as well. Fun to better acquaint ourselves with one another.

jane hewey said...

what is a piece on graffiti w/o the "f" word anyway?
in all seriousness, though, this is tightly held. I especially like how you suture innocence and follow with the X... the overall way you weave "innocence" throughout is quite brilliant. enjoyed this, very much. Anna.

Martin said...

Difficult. I think there is no alternative to democracy but Western democracy actually turns out to be plutocracy and self-service for some politicians. But I know that the million small voices have the power to change something.

A post to ponder about.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thank you for your welcome comments folks.

Katy ~ a tiny movement can indeed cause an avalanche - it's the starting of the tiny movement that is the problem...

Unfortunately democracy is a delusion - vote them in on the backs of their election promises and then they do want they want.

Martin - your observation of plutocracy is correct whatever the colours the ruling classes is rare to find a poor socialist member of parliament...some may have started that way but oh how quick they develop a love of money...

Anna :o]

kaykuala said...

Scratches on school desks(good thing they were made of wood) were the beginnings of expressions not asked for. It took bold forms in graffiti with political overtones. Underground messages can tell a lot if only they reach the target audience! Nicely!


Renee said...

Not into politics, myself, so whatever anyone's opinion of, in that regard, is fine with me. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Anna - there is no difference between them. They are all in it for themselves.

Strong story-telling element in this - the development of making your mark from the almost trivial - although it seemed important at the time - to passionate political protest.

Dave King said...

Oh, this is just perfect. Love every line.

Cressida de Nova said...

Absolutely right about self serving politicians. The wrong people have the power.

Anonymous said...

A powerful and honest piece of prose Anna.

I'v always viewed graf. as a form of art. however under the umbrella of politics, it often depends on which neighborhood this art is
acceptable and embraced.

thanks for this thought-provoking piece,

Friko said...

Oh Anna, what are we going to do? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. My grandfather was a committed socialist, as was my father and as was I. And now?

I have no idea.

btw, my local hospital Shrewsbury has had an efficiency drive which means that I waited six (6) hours in reception after having been delivered there by ambulance. I saw various professionals throughout the six hours, but nevertheless, I sat on a chair in reception for six hours, feeling pretty damned unwell, before they finally admitted me to a ward.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I truly love this. Makes me feel inspired to get involved politically :)