Sighting a concrete canvas off the exit ramp from Interstate 25 to West Alameda Avenue, Kyle Harris was moved to ponder "The Saddest Graffiti in Denver." His piece starts with this:
"Some pieces of graffiti are poetry or art. Others are political. Many are immature: naked stick figures and curse words.
"And some are simply tragic — an explosion of incoherence, the diarrhea of a troubled mind, an apocalyptic outburst."
Harris's musings inspired their own outburst, as readers responded with comments that, like graffiti, are all over the place. One writes:
Thanks for your story shedding a light on a big problem in Denver. People tend to ignore that the gap between the haves and have-nots in Denver is a huge issue. That those left to the streets for their homes are lost. They lack affordable housing and proper mental-health care. Denver will continue to grow a dark side if everyone doesn't start helping each other out and [stop] ignoring the homeless.
But then there's this:
I've read a lot of Westword articles and a lot have made me roll my eyes... but this article made me want to gouge my eyes out and roll them down the hallway. First, this is a piece about graffiti on a traffic barrier? Were you trying to make your monthly word count? Ayaaiiiayaiii! This piece starts on a flimsy idea and quickly collapses with a haphazard "grammatical analysis" and complaining that this graffiti doesn't fit into your definition of "real street art." Street art belongs to the human beings who do not live by society's rules, your rules or anyone else's. It belongs to vagabonds and creatives who want to put their mark on the world. It belongs to the underdogs and the people who see fundamental flaws in the rules of society. It certainly doesn't belong to "the city and businesses, which can account for their messages." I've seen a lot of racist and elitist things published by Westword but this piece is almost overt in that sense. If you don't believe that this piece infringes on a large swath of culture, then you are living in willful ignorance or you're a bigot yourself and you gladly push your employer's bigoted agenda. Don't push this hatred. Make the world better with your writing.
Says a newcomer:
As I'm new to Denver, I cannot begin to guess how long that particular barrier has been placed in that exact spot, though it is fairly common for Jersey barriers such as those to be redistributed several times across multiple projects and survive for decades. With that said, I work and live near this intersection and can attest that the transient and homeless population appears to be growing. The commercial developments nearby have provided opportunities for resources and shelter in a area with low pedestrian/high automotive traffic. It is my opinion that local businesses should take action for outreach and cleanup efforts. Let's get these long-time Denver institutions to show a sense of pride and community by organizing assistance and/or services.
A former high-school newspaper columnist weighs in:
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This useless, question-riddled attempt at free speech makes me want to pick up a Jersey barrier for light reading. As a retired high-school newspaper columnist, I urge you to eat a dead jellyfish just to see if it stings you. Or is it a dead squid that resembles the wasted ink that is this attack on my creative space? Yore beta than this, or is it your, or you’re, or your? So many difficult questions proceed this dire attempt at journalism. I guess you have to pay the troll toll or else you are stuck reading “free” articles like this? Or are you living under the bridge you are peering down from? At the intersection of boring and forgotten, you chose gutter filth as the leading cause of social disturbance. I would rather read a heartfelt critique of fast food than your attempt at what appears to be the equivalent of reviewing the graffiti on a hot dog cart. Has the social landscape really changed so much that journalists have run out of leads? Feel free to contact me with more questions, as soon as you seek the true answers.
And this reader concludes:
Did you really write an article about a concrete barrier? You are the biggest pussy, beta, cuck I have ever seen. Grow some nuts and then cut them off.
Did you read Kyle Harris's "sad graffiti" piece? (You can do so here.) What do you think? Post a comment or email email@example.com.