Graffiti as art? The writing is on the wall.

ConFab Cabaret last night: Dizraeli was a superb main act; fierce poetry and lyrics as a blend of hip hop and folk song – both artistic forms from ordinary people (and generally, certainly at the time, denigrated by the establishment). Definitely recommended and I’d like to see him with his band, The Small Gods, sometime soon.

I suggested “spring” or “graffiti” to the audience as topics for The Audience Poem (aka Fox Pops). We had some wonderful graffiti appear recently in Malvern: Sir Edward Elgar on his mobile lounging against a wall beside an old phone box, plus some portraits, also of Sir Ed, in the bus shelter. The audience added “bluebells” and “raised beds” to the possibilities. Graffiti won by a big cheer and WHAT a poem the audience penned! I particulary like Banksy’s hood being drawn over his face, and the wordplay on verses/versus. As usual, I have no idea who wrote what.

Here it is:


Picture Politics in Aerosol Art,
Spikey Words or Temperate Tart.
Bright and bold, does it make you think?
Crowds with cameras sharing a knowing wink.
I see the graffiti,
it looks quite sweetie.
Graphics appear on walls in the middle of the night.
Some ugly and rude, some cryptic and bright.
Graffiti are like [rainbows OR* nailbars] of the city,
they appear one day and disappear the next.
These are the words written on the wall
“The Emperor’s New Virus? There’s nothing
there, nothing at all”
oh my Hiroshima
prefigured Banksy figures
burn into a wall
makes you think
Urban confetti cascades on walls
Patterned pavement, and acid house doors
Grinding, riding and surfing the story
sounds of the underworld nation
before me – before you
happy faces look at the once dowdy walls ~
flaky flakes turned into some sort of
nonsense, to give us all something to natter about!
As Banksy was resting his paintbrush,
his hoody drawn over his face.
Banksy woz ere
said the sign.
I love Street Art – the real thing – words on bricks
when there are no letters at all.
A stencil, sewn into the lining of my coat.
Graffiti Giraffe left her mark
on top of St Pauls dome.
Don’t scribble on my bluebells
Please don’t deface my flowers
Don’t scribble on my raised beds
I’ve been digging them for hours.
As I floated my boat to the Isle of Manxy
I spotted an original, gotta be Banksy
Nefertiti drew old graffiti
on the wall, though she was small
What makes it art or what makes it graffiti?
Banksy verses [sic] random criminality.
Graffito, scratch me and I bleed
draw blood, draw breath
wall eyed pen pal
quick scarper, a copper’s coming…
Daub it over the station; splurge across the nation
Do it if you’re Asian, an aerosol Caucasian?
But smear it with elation to maximise


*Sometimes it’s impossible to read word(s) so a bit of guessing is involved…

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4 Responses to Graffiti as art? The writing is on the wall.

  1. Think you’re gonna need a bigger wall Fran – best of luck spray painting THAT all over Malvern later girl!
    As I’m embedded in the collective piece somewhere can I count that as being published?
    M x

  2. Good poem though I cringed a bit at graffiti/sweetie. I like well done street art. The wall near Cable Street, where Mosely’s fascists marched, is fantastic as is the Banksie I photographed on Sunday in Brick Lane.

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