Once, it was a mural. It signified hope and overcoming obstacles. It signified a longing for a greater dream, but in reality it actually signified a lucky artist getting paid a meager sum to slap some paint on a wall for people to ignore.
It’s a living, that artist once said, it’s kind of like being in a gallery.
If the gallery was traffic, that is.
Once, decision makers came together and said, this place needs sprucing up.
And even though the Hollywood sign on a deep brown hill is visible only a few streets away to the north, they said, why not paint it here as well.
Add some spotlights and an American flag.
Add rockets in the sky with a galaxy of planets above it.
Add tall buildings, and fireworks yes! And next to it, the simple folk, like people on bikes, and someone in a wheelchair, and a firefighter looking heroic.
Not a police officer, that would be too controversial.
Once, it was a representation of aspiring lives. Though really, it was a PR stunt on an empty space of wall where nobody was really there to tell them no. And they believed it, those decision makers. They thought the needs of the populace were met. In a sort of haphazard way, they were. The message was driven into the minds of commuters or travelers or tourists or young bloods, and though it never really represented the lives they wanted to lead, it at least structured the facade of someone out there wanting those things. The person in the next car may want that life, these people all assumed. It was an easy thing to apply to others. The ideal life was always for someone a vehicle away.
Once, it was a project to subtly uplift the thoughts we had for one another. Someone surely felt those things. In reality, it became a more desirable stretch of canvas for spray paint poetry, for scrapes and inky, aggressive dribbles, whose messages of ownership cut through the dream. First claimed are the faces, and planets and spotlights, and growing like foliage these dappled words and searing nonsense fought their way outwards, pushing up from the street below. The graffiti markings of reality, competition, hardship smeared over a shallow guise of ambitious dreams.
The mural sits like a tin and plastic crown on a pillow of colored glass-shard phrases.
This is the real dream. The true representation, the actual meaning it had lacked all along. The airy brightness and bitter dominance of the city encapsulated on a wall that nobody bothered to look at anyway. It spoke volumes that had nothing to do with the messages it had intended. It spoke of truth and imagination, image and control, pleasantries and apathy, all combined. The mural had lacked an essential part of the city in which it existed.
All in all, it fits perfectly.