Archives for category: Street Art

by Roz Levine

Because it takes only a tiny misstep
I check blankets for frayed wires
Examine feces for blood clots
Search for carjackers in my Honda
I sniff out gas leaks for toxic fumes
Scan the mall for kidnappers
Carry a whistle on dark streets
I map my breast for new lumps
Keep a packed bag on my nightstand
I’m always ready for an earthquake
Always on the lookout for death

IMAGE: “Umbrella Girl,” street art by Banksy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roz Levine is a Los Angeles poet who has written poems since the age of eight. When she retired several years ago, writing became her number one passion. Words have helped her navigate cancer and helped her maintain her sanity in a not-so-sane world. Her letters to the editor on issues of national and international interest have appeared frequently in both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Her poetry has appeared in a range of publications, including Cultural Weekly, Poetry Superhighway, Silver Birch Press, Pulse, The Sun, On The Bus, FRE&D, Forever in Love, Deliver Me, and The Juice Bar.

Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.


“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

JACK KEROUAC (1922-1969)

Photo: Dan Allison (Street art in Boulder, Colorado)

“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him and whom he will miss terribly.” PABLO NERUDA

Illustration: Wall Art in Valparaiso, Chile — photo by Janet Rudolph, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


“There is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these times when stories are considered not quite as satisfying as statements and statements not quite as satisfying as statistics; but in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells.”


Illustration: Flannery O’Connor street art, Chicago, photo by Billy Craven, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Note: Who would have thought that you’d find a street art portrait of Flannery O’Connor? Shout out to my beloved hometown Chicago — as always, you are one classy place!  Above, I’ve noted Flannery O’Connor’s years of birth and passing. Yes, she only lived to age 39 — and many of those years she had to endure intense pain from lupus. Yet, she always found a way to write. As she put it to a friend, “I have enough energy to write with and as that is all I have any business doing anyhow, I can with one eye squinted take it all as a blessing.” 


Street art featuring Jack Kerouac‘s handsome face pops up all over the world. In the one at right, he implores us to read more books. Merci, Jean-Louis! Tu nous manques!


“Girl with Balloon” by Banksy

Find out more about street artist Banksy in the 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. Lots of interesting info in this New York Times article.


..bison were the gift of a good spirit and were our strength…” BLACK ELK, from the book BLACK ELK SPEAKS. Find it here.

While driving on LaBrea Avenue in L.A., I saw a vacant storefront where a street artist had painted a graphic version of the Buffalo Nickel. I was at a red light and snapped the image through my windshield, telling myself I’d try to stop by again and get a good shot before the people trying to lease the building obliterated the buffalo. Often, I will drive to a meeting in the morning and see a beautiful piece of street art that’s gone when I return in the afternoon. L.A. is always in flux.

When I got home, I looked up bison and buffalo on animal totem websites and learned that they bring good fortune. If you’ve read this far, I share all my good fortune with you today. The image above is a graphic I made from the blurry image shot through my windshield. Many thanks to the artist — I think your work is beautiful.

Update, August 6, 2012: I learned that this is a wheat paste poster (not painted) and the artist’s name is Common Cents. Again, thank you! Your art made my day.

Illustration: Street art in Los Angeles, photo by Silver Birch


All is love in fair and war. ” PEPE LE PEW, Wild Over You (1953)

My paths crossed today with that debonaire Frenchman, Pepe Le Pew. I love street art and adore Pepe — so seeing them together made my day. Merci to the artiste!

Photo by Silver Birch (street art in Los Angeles)