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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Nov162005

Graffiti Grows in Brooklyn


With the sting of The Surge's departure for Europe and all things rock still smarting, Max and I decided a wander through the streets of Brooklyn was in order. Max and I are regular fixtures on the city sidewalks of our neighborhood, managing at least one stroll a day regardless of sun, rain or snow.

We briefly argued over where today's adventure would take us:
Me: Let's cross The Williamsburg Bridge into the Lower East side, that's always fun.
Max: Nah.. Too noisy. Besides, the subway freaks me out when it roars right by our heads. Too many speeding bicyclists to dodge. My leash is always getting tangled when we move out of their way.
Me: True. Let's walk deeper into Brooklyn. We hardly ever do that.
Max: Yeah, remember why? The guy pleasuring himself behind the van as we walked by? That was no picnic.
Me: I know! Let's take a notebook and write down all the graffiti we always stop to read.
Max: I can dig that. But only if we can play fetch in the park first. And none of this ten minutes and we're done business. I want a full half hour of ball chasing.
Me: Sold! Get your leash.

And so, after the obligatory thirty minutes of fetch, Maxer and I rambled up and down the brick lined streets of Brooklyn. It was ten in the morning, so most respectable folks were still sleeping off hangovers, and the rest of the world was at work. The streets were empty in a Tom Cruise screaming in a ghostly Times Square Vanilla Sky way. Kinda creepy, kinda cool.

Graffiti speaks to me. Am always compelled to stop and read. A mystery person occupying a single moment in time decided this word, this sentence was what they wanted to say to the world. Drunk, sober, joking, serious.. Some of it profound, some of it inane.. but it always means something. A thought in time.. It's like art in that it's my interpretation of the intended message. Was it a well thought out missive? A frenzied spray painting before New York's men in blue moved in for arrest?

We wandered leaf strewn streets, my dog and I.. the Empire State building looming across the East River as dirt colored clouds filtered over her shoulder, the grey backdrop of an angry New Jersey sky. The scent of rain filled our noses, flame colored leaves scratching along pavement filled our ears, November wind with a bite nibbled at our goosepimpled flesh as we observed the graffiti crusades.. Rainbow colored spray paint gang fights and building owners who wage war on that paint with their own.. inevitably the graffiti artists prevail.

Here is what we discovered.. Some are obvious gang tags.. graffiti battles in the concrete jungle, they are words created from made up letters that defy keyboard explanation.. Others are thoughtful messages on the state of the world, some are one word warnings and some are just plain crazy.. But I am only the scribe, I'll leave you to the interpretations...

BIG GIRLS DO BIG THINGS
KUMA
SURF NUTS
AWARE
WE SHOULD BE INDIANS
EAT AT MCSYSTEMS & DRUNK ADDICTIONS, HAVE FREEDOM FRIES, TV PRESCRIBES, MEDICATIONS
HELLBENT
CONTROL
MOAN MOAN MOAN MOAN MOAN
I SPY
BEAT YOUR KIDS!
SOAK TKO
I DON'T LIKE HOTDOGS!
COULDA SHOULDA WOULDA
AUDIO 7DC
IS WACK!
FUCK A SPUNK AS FUCK
CHENEY 9/11
READ ME
THEY LIVE! DO NOT LET THEM USE SOCIOLOGY AS AN EXCUSE FOR ANGLO IMPERIALISM
R.I.P. KVJEICS
Q: WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE CURRY? A: THEN YOU SHOULD MOVE TO A THIRD WORLD SHITHOLE LIKE NIGERIA AND PAKASTAN AND YOU WON'T SEE WHITE PEOPLE
DON'T TAKE SHIT FROM GROWN UPS
YOU ARE YOUR DECISIONS
IT BURNS
FORGET SELF
DARWIN: LIGHT WILL BE THROWN. THAT LIGHT IS NOT FOR SALE OR EXPLOITATION ON THEIR "FREE MARKET"
3 MERE BLACKS, YEAH!
SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL AT BLACK BETTY!
NO FADING
THIS IS ART, DO NOT TOUCH, FUCK YOU HIPSTER DICKS
SHIT HAPPENS: CHECK YOUR PARADIGM
UNDERSTANDING HUMAN NATURE FREES US TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR FUTURE
LOW CITY
NECK FACE
ONE PEOPLE, ONE PLANET, MAGNIFICENT NATURE
LOVE IS IN GOD
REALITY IS FROM OUTER SPACE
VANDALS IN CONTROL
MR. ANTI-SOCIAL
ART & SANITY = ANARCHY
PLEASE THINK GLOBALLY
YOU ARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE
THE GOD GENES
THE MIND IS A COMPUTER, GOD IS DEFAULT. DON'T BE LAZY

Reader Comments (4)

I believe you forgot I SWEATSHOP LABOR on Berry & N7th
November 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNND
How could I? The "I heart sweatshop labor" graffiti extravaganza is but a block from my hallway of an apartment...My bad..
November 16, 2005 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I miss you. We need to play soon.

No that's not a tag or graffiti...
November 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterStephanieKlein
I remember one as I pilgrimaged through Brooklyn on my recent visit there with you.... we beat people up who beat people up....then of course the famous caterpillar on Bedford. Shaun particularly liked that one.
November 16, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermama

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