Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not my own: Redux

As my mom was wont to say, I couldn't find the Atlantic Ocean if I was standing in it.

The mystery of the murals along Del Paso Boulevard is solved, thanks to my novelist friend Lisa and her pre-bionic pilot husband Kent, who possess the highest double-secret (black ops level) order of Internet search skills.

Lisa spared telling me how easy it was to find. And I didn't ask. I'm just gonna assume she forsook all else in the precarious quest.

The strange words I chanced upon, "in Scarcity we Bare the teeth," are part of Words on Walls, a temporary public arts project sponsored by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission in partnership with the city and the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership.

Words on Walls comprises the work of five poets in partnership with five artists/graphic designers, as part of what the Metropolitan Arts Commission says is Del Paso Boulevard's plans to be the city's premier design district. The work has been up since October.

Now, to give credit where it is due:

"in Scarcity we Bare the teeth," the giant calligraphic mural that caught my eye and curiosity, the unofficial unintended greeter to Del Paso Boulevard, is the title of a work by poet Tim Kahl:
In scarcity, we bare the teeth
selling them off one by one
appetites in search of the highest price
no longer able to smile at or chew on
what it means to live the good life.
The calligraphy, with apparent typographic liberties taken, is by graphic designer William Leung.

Assuming poetry is a marriage of minds — poets have something to say, listeners/readers have something of their own to interpret from it — I take Kahl's work to refer to the boulevard itself, having lost the sheen of its heyday and suffering from the grinding good intention of gentrification, as studios and theaters fill in among the pawn shops and little bygone diners and payday loan stores.

The other mural I found marries the work of poet Danny Romero and a designer/illustrator, Laura Edmisten-Matranga, whose posters and print only induce jealousy in me.

She speaks to me
about the mud dauber wasp,

reciting all she had learned
from Encyclopedia Britannica 1970,

the way it flies across the patio,

moving bits of earth larger

than one would imagine.
She watches it build a nest

beneath the eaves, a thing of beauty,
shining in her eyes.
Another company, LC Mural and Design run by Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel, applied Edmisten-Matranga's design to the wall.

Browse the other poem/murals, as you will, either online or by cruising the boulevard itself.

How temporary is this project? Who knows? Every mystery solved should leave residue, after all.

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