Hip City Blues

Buford Youthward

Graffiti has rewired the nervous system to accommodate the overload of endorphins and to coast through the surplus of exhaustion, registering upon the dial only the immobile needle of a hang-loose ironic cool. Graffiti lays low, lives in the margin and twists and tumbles to a driving adrenaline panic within, while hoisting an off-peak impassivity for the transitory world without.

Graffiti is an uncrackable code for good reason. It was devised to defend the cat burglar's quick kernel from the rip-off. Many of it's patron saints died of that, burned out, soul sick, self contemptuous, and fumbling with the boredom in the back of the neck which comes from watching commerce's cold clones overtake.

Qualities conveyed include the cigarette smoke streaming from a saxophone solo, highlighted ride cymbalism, finger-snapping rhythm offbeat. Keeping the claps in triplets. All the while graffiti is hinting in the wake of a wink and a bombastic dismissal.

Graffiti requires great ears, eyes and greater instinct but is easy-over on the words. Communicating with itself, graff has shifted more shades than any other philosophy throughout history, but fewer manuals exist and what is considered existential is mostly state's evidence.

Graffiti is hard to nail. It no more responds to definition than it does to the common light of day, which is little. It can't be taught. Graffiti suspects words and manifestos, and has not developed a recruitment pitch since it doesn't recruit. Graffiti writers always assume their membership is filled, even when, particularly when, they are the only cat burglars on the case.

And why not? Perhaps graffiti maintains an understated state of grace that does not necessarily wish the world well. And that may very well be a healthy thing.

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