How many times have I driven past

and not noticed the beauty of the abandoned

truck, its black-tinted windows safeguarding

a homeless man's makeshift bed, or taken in

that war of names, the faint, illegible,

legible scribblings dashed off in weak light

of a nearby lamppost just before city cops,

seemingly patrolling only this part of town,

rush to manhandle some shy kid who longs

merely for the miraculous,--a recognition unfound

among his six younger siblings whose sprawling

caretaking fades him to a name among names

when needed & called in their cramped

walk-up apartment? Here, in the open

gallery a lot makes, a canvas for the poor,

this non-erasable truck, a quick aerosol emboss

where he swiftly tattoos and revives each letter

in a made-up name like gold till it glitters even

in darkness on a city with its spilled

tires, crumbling facades, and sidewalk blossoming

weeds detonating dreams of permanence.

No wonder then, each would-be immortal hasn't

climbed the truck's roof and tagged the upper reaches,

having to scurry their scrawlings fast enough to sign

evidence of having been here: Dondi, Samo,

Lee, or Oz, then a make on the run.

By Major Jackson