Painted Plywood, Stencil & Poster, Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

it said, in a staccato burst of bold white stencils the building’s entire length. Eight windows sheathed in brown plywood, each with a stencil, right in the center.

A stencil, and bills. A few, or a pattern of eight or more. Posters posted over the admonition, over the order, “POST NO BILLS”.

Some might say a rebellion. Others, preferring academic obfuscation, might say cultural subversion. But, simply, laissez-faire don’t care. I just had 100 more posters to put up, and this was the end of my last block.

Five years later, and nature has done her work. Paper curled and tattered. Small patches of ink, pigment faded, and perhaps there is the mug of a gorilla there. 5,000 posters, and you’d think I could recall the image, the band that played. The venue. The date.


Paper and glue. Paper and glue. Five thousand times, paper and glue.

All this poster does now is obscure the admonition. I look down the building. Ten times, obscured. On one board, I left only “POST”, to which someone has added the exclamation point in a nifty little tag. “POST!” Here, on this last board, just leaving “OST NO ILLS”.

I take a couple photographs of the old handiwork, the ravages of time having improved the look.

Multiply that poster by 5,000. Then by 250 days. Times that by 5 years.

All that paper and glue done for the Queen-faced plastic bills necessary to earn another piece of paper. Well, two, if I include the conviction for defacing public property along with the degree it nearly cancelled out.

Indelible letters on permanent paper in exchange for faded letters on tattered shreds.

Thank you judge, for the leniency. And thank you, even, for enough community hours to remove at least 100,000 examples of someone else’s handiwork. Yet, not these. This reminder of my carelessness… no, my lack of fucks to give. And now, Judge, with parole over, time and debt served, thank you for expunging that conviction, for erasing the permanent blight I’d written on my own destiny.

It’s all worked out. But as I walk away, I thank fucking god that was the last goddamn poster I ever glued up. I’d stopped caring. And then I was forced to care.

Painted Plywood, Stencil & Poster
Downtown Eastside
British Columbia, Canada, 2015

Inspired by Alphabet, this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.