Archives for posts with tag: graffiti

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.


“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.” 


“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.



Long before the river was confined in concrete by flood control projects, before settlement by the Spanish and the increasing diversion of its water for irrigation and domestic use, the river flowed when and where it wanted, often raging out of control during the winter rains…

Much of the river’s waters never reached the sea, instead spreading over the countryside and joining with springs flowing from surrounding hills to form vast marshes, shallow lakes, and small ponds.”

From Chapter 1 of  The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth by Blake Gumprecht. Available at Amazon.

Note to Writers: Imagine you are the Los Angeles River. Think of the ways you have become “confined in concrete,” then make a conscious decision to spread over the countryside and join with springs flowing from surrounding hills to form vast marshes, shallow lakes, and small ponds. Splash, splash, splash away!

Photo: Shot by Silver Birch  from an Amtrak train a few years ago — before the City’s Graffiti Abatement crew descended on the area.