Watts Towers

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I wanted to do something in the United States because I was raised here you understand?
I wanted to do something for the United States because there are nice people in this country.
—Simon Rodia

Simon Rodia’s towers
victimized and vandalized
crouch into a ravenous sky
which ravages their surfaces with acids.
The thirty-three year labor of a man
who meant to do, simply, a great thing.

Though many come to see them
others complain,
and the city would like them razed
in the guise of civic improvement.
This is not the way they wanted
to see the world paved—
plazas inscribed by scrap iron filigree,
spires mosaiced in tile shard and shell.
Brightly hued against the brown clouds,
bottles and crockery, mirrors and stones,
whorl into a delicate, weightless whole.

This is no conventional monument,
dead, easily forgotten and ignored
but a danger, a hazard, an eyesore.
An invitation to act
that stands as high as a hundred feet
over the vacant lots, railroad tracks
and one-story flats
of a flat and dusty neighborhood
never intended by city planners
to soar with any kind of grace.

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John T. Unger poet

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

Before becoming a visual artist, I spent 15 years as a poet. I studied poetry at Interlochen Arts Academy, Naropa, Stone Circle and on the streets. I performed my work for years at Stone Circle, solo shows, poetry readings, and at Lollapalooza in 1996.

I still write poems, but only if I can make them fit the constraints ofTwitter.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me

Art IS my day job

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