Quotable Graffiti

I like graffiti that makes a statement. If I can get a literary reference out of the deal I’m more than half way home. It’s juicy to chew on some thought while experiencing rampant vandalism. It’s feels like a pyrrhic victory.

So It Goes.


Off the top of my head I can’t tell you the book but I know this slogan appeared in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. I know this even without having read his books since my teenage years, because he used the phrase often in the book. Seeing it on this traffic warning sign is oddly comforting. I’m not sure how it relates to the cul-de-sac being sealed off by the guard rail, but it feels like a vague philosophy of life, especially if you spend any time in the area that surrounds Columbia Blvd. A quick internet consultation revealed that the line is from the book Slaughterhouse Five and that the saying relates to existentialism, one of the greatest of all the “isms,” next to bagism of course.


Anger is an energy.



How great does it get to look across Columbia Blvd and see a Johnny Lydon lyric from the PIL song Rise spray painted on the trailer of a semi-truck?—that being a rhetorical question, I don’t expect an answer, but I have to say I find it oddly inspiring. The rig seems inoperable or I would find even more inspiration in imagining this semi traveling across the country giving people in traffic a chance to read and contemplate Lydon’s words. For now it’s a message tucked away that I peek at when I’m heading down Columbia Blvd.





Not necessarily a specific quote from anyone besides the odd rebellious peasant or serf from back in the day, this plain message spoke to me. I found it somehow ironic to be plastered on the side of a crumbling shed. The exclamation point is a nice touch. Seeing this enroute to Woodlawn Elementary School, I had to wonder if it was giving the kids any ideas. I found comfort in knowing that they’re not that organized.

Fight War Not Wars

Fight War 2

Photo by Ronna Craig

This message jumped out on us in the dark of night down by the frog wetlands past Linnton. It sure seems to be the kind of quote that I would liked to have heard from Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr or at the very least Muhammad Ali. After finding out it’s from a Crass song it makes more sense as a punk sentiment. Having anything to do with fighting could hardly be related to a message of nonviolence. It’s enough of a song or slogan to inspire legible train graffiti. Considering words on trains made me wonder why freight cars are never employed as a means of being moving billboards. It could only have something to do with trainspotting never really catching on.

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