Ode to Lisa, in Memory of Michael Stewart


Lisa of the World!

Every day I love you, solemn signature

black-sprayed on tan-gray warehouse wall.

From my bus ride mid printed prattle

I look up, after reading how we helped fight commies yesterday,

afraid to face the editorial page -- and there,

along with all the alliterators,

Shorty Shawn, Alvin of Alabama Ave. I behold

the baddest bard of Bladensburg Road.


Shes not trapped, like rappers couplets claiming,

from ashes to ashes; dust to dust, how they

are gonna make it; or else well bust in rhyme

(co-optible as drunken sailors songs,

embedded for the culture vultures in

iambic péntaméter white male tales);

Shes from the obverse (street-

level) side of omnipotent Reagan-

city, and cares for the souls

of the underground artist heroes,

fallen in battles with local

officials who try to deny Her.


Lisa of the World!

I dont want to buy you flowers,

but a state-of-the-art spraypaint can

(automatic flow control,

digital readout of paint used and paint remaining)

illustrated like the shield of Achilles:

scenes of Africa, humanitys cradle, of

slave rebellions and civil rights campaigns, of

stars and planets colliding





[At the time this was written the work of Lisa and others could be seen on a wall across Bladensburg Road from an abandoned fried chicken carry-out (both since torn down), about a block north of the intersection with Maryland Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC. Michael Stewart, a subway graffiti artist, was killed by New York City police in 1985.]


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