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Monday, March 7, 2011


Where I live in East Bakersfield, there is a lot of tagging. I consider it one of the most vile, degrading things people can do to their own community. As a therapist, I have studied and understood the motives of this behavior, and my clients have shared their own reasons for participating in this activity, but I find it hateful and shameful. So, I wrote a poem about what I would like to say to all the taggers out there that would listen. Unfortunately, if they do not already know how to feel shame, it is not in my power to teach it. So I will settle for posting this poem here.

That is not your tree,

your light pole, your sign,

your house-

That is not your garage,

your business, your car!

If you went to the other side of the tracks,

the "Have" side,

and destroyed their stuff,

I would understand your rage,

your jealousy,

your sense of injustice,

although repugnant.

But no,

you must destroy the home of your neighbor,

who has no more than you.

You must scrawl on the restaurant across the street,

destroying the hopes and dreams of small business owners eeking out a living.

How would you feel if I went into your room

and wrote on your XBOX, your Reebox, and your designer clothes your mother could not afford?


  1. Wow! This is a great poem. I like the anger. You're right- graffiti is a horrible injustice that people perform on their own neighbors.