It was an unbelievably beautiful afternoon in Detroit, and I had a chance to stroll a bit after picking up mangoes at HoneyBee Market on Bagley (these were for students to carve at Ceasar Chavez Academy--truly delicious edible works of art that attach themselves to many senses, more later on that.)
On the backside of a small cluster of short buildings on Michigan Avenue, I found these painted walls (see above) which triggered all sorts of memories for me. One was of growing up in a New York City that, at the time, was covered in graffiti (I read recently an analysis of my neighborhood that suggested that neighborhood youths felt powerless and manifested their feelings against an environment that was hostile to them with corresponding hostility. )
The other was of a visit to an alley in Southwest Detroit a few years back that one of the students I currently teach mentioned to me just this past week. While the smell of all that aerosol is hard on the nostrils at times, these painted walls are pretty glorious--visual splendor that seems less hostile and far more welcoming and vibrant than I had remembered.