UrbanArtistry is a nonprofit program, (supported by the Claude Harvard Foundation), dedicated to bringing art to young and old in the most interesting ways. This journal will have comments from those participating in the first UrbanArtistry workshop in Detroit, Michigan as well as the other events to follow. UrbanArtistry:Detroit creative focus is POETRY. Come journey with us as we explore the arts and contribute to the greatest good!

Monday, October 06, 2008


at 6:25 Monday morning, September 22nd, I swipe
my flimsy good for 31 days irreplaceable if torn transit card
and I, along with two other early riders
take our pick of seats on the #4. I sit
my overstuffed work bag in the seat next to me. Opening
my twice renewed A Hungry Heart,
I fall into Parks’ words. Speeding
down 60th street I pay no attention to my wonderful
world of options, despite my gripes about students,
the attempted care for my mother, gas prices, other
peoples choice of friends I sit there reading, forgetting
the car I drive everyday to the bus stop. I sit there
unnoticing the people piling onto #4. They dump
change, smooth dollar bills for
insertion, prop purses of infinite
design backgrounds atop the fare machine for ritualized
routine searches, some give
themselves intimate body searches looking for fares. Then
the search turns to the increasingly crowded
aisles for a seat. My actions support selective awareness, I’m not
completely unaware just tuned much out, I remove
my bag from the seat next to me so someone
can sit down. There is always someone
needing to sit down, even the turning pages of my book
know that
but this many at 6:40 am? I pull my head
up from the pages and am struck claustrophobic
the crowd has jammed the #4 nearly airless. Then
I see him sitting sideways on an aisle seat, backpack
plopped on his lap. He’s #4’s youngest predawn passenger and
he’s comfortable in the ride. He’s neat. Maybe twelve? Searching
the personal space around him, it appears he rides alone
searching for answers about his early morning
public transportation ride, my eyes move
across his face much faster then the sun’s slow melting
of darkness around us. Like me, he’s too brown
to be black and in that we share thinking ways always
catching us between worlds. It’s not until my gaze falls
on the stitching in the upper left-hand corner of his
school-blue shirt that answers come before the words, I
see the ins and outs
made by thousands of little holes where
sea-deep blue threads enter and exit the fabric
marking curves, angles and lines forming letters
forming two words I finally read
St. Andrews. So he’s up early because
he’s going somewhere. Like me and all
the others when you come
straight from Busboyovia
there is no place for you to go but somewhere.

--by Mursalata Muhammad
--Written for Gordon Parks presentation 9/26/08 @ Grand Rapids Art Museum