When I had no paper, I took to the walls.
As pens were denied me, I came upon
an old spray can with paint still in it.
No, that wasn’t it. When no movie star
would give me a second glance, I launched
my face into ordinary people.
I couldn’t afford the Ritz. I lived
at home with my mother. When my
mother died, I had only myself for assurance.
Spray can in hand, I splattered my name
across walls. I couldn’t sing
like Ray Charles. I talked tough.
I couldn’t write my own name on a check.
I pointed to it on the side wall of the Laundromat,
on the front door of the cheap chicken place.
When I had no comeback, I took a bullet
in my left thigh. Not a drop of blue blood
but an ocean of red. Same as my spray paint.
Red on the bridge. Red on the church steps
Yeah, that’s me on the stop sign. Funny
choice, seeing as how I never could stop.