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Daily Lyric: GRAFFITI

A man’s ambition must be small

If his thoughts are reduced to a bathroom scrawl

Especially if he can’t say anything smart

As he sits there with a broken heart.

But sometimes at a volatile age

It becomes a forum for his rage

When he feels the walls are closing in

And no one around will listen to him.

A man’s ambition must be small

To write his name on the outhouse wall

But sometimes it’s the only place

To criticize the human race.

Everyone expects him to go along

And act as if there’s nothing wrong

Though his world’s been turned upside down

And his true self’s being stifled and drowned.

A man’s ambition must be small

But then again, so’s the men’s room stall

If you’re looking for some deeper thoughts

Philosophy class is where they’re taught.

This is the realm of the dumb and inane

Expressions of lust and anger and pain

Crassly daubed, with malicious intent

Because there’s nowhere else to vent.

Oh-oh, my ambitions aren’t small

Oh-oh, the graffiti’s on the wall.

That was me at age fourteen

Uprooted and told to make the new scene

A five-cornered peg in a six-cornered hole

Forced to play the good-boy role.

What was I gonna do, protest?

Acting out seemed to be best

And so I gathered up my friends

And brilliant words of wisdom penned.

The authorities got royally mad

And, of course, they told my dad

Who, true to form, blew his stack

He yelled, he screamed, he swung, he smacked.

His voice raised, his eyes severe,

“You brought the worst of America here!

The actions of punks and ghetto trash!”

Mud on the family name got splashed.

That episode I’ll never forget

But the only parts that I regret

Are that I dragged my friends down with me

And that I chose my words stupidly.

I should have written what I felt

To the proper targets, directly dealt

And Dad should be relieved his son

Wielded only a pen and not a gun.

Oh-oh, my ambitions aren’t small

Oh-oh, the graffiti’s on the wall.

©2023 The Hesh Inc.
This is graffiti.
The graffiti's on the wall.

A true story, which went pretty much as described in the fourth verse. I was in ninth grade when this happened (so my actions couldn't rightly be called 'sophomoric'), in a dump of a school I never wanted to attend in a hole-in-the-ground town that I never wanted to live in. We all do stupid things when we are young, and I was no exception; there are still some people in that town who choose to remember me for the stupid thing I did while I lived there. But my only regret, as I wrote, was that I wasn't more to the point about what and who I was angry at. Not that I wrote anything on any walls. And in the era of school shootings, graffiti as revenge seems so innocent and quaint.

It took awhile for me to actually write a song about the incident. The graffiti incident happened in 1981; the song got written a good two decades later. A look back in teen angst. No music to this one yet.

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