Lucky Numbers

bad days

Friday the 13th. I sit at home & watch the numbers change on my digital clock. Their economy of form has always pleased me: only seven red bars, but the clock can make any numeral. I keep expecting it to slip & display an upside-down 7 or a backwards 3.

home away from home

I could be a housesitter, I think. What could go wrong? I’d say to the house, “It’s bedtime,” & sing a lullaby to every empty room. When the man from the bank came to visit, I’d show him the bright yellow sun in the corner of the sky.

wall ear

The man from the bank would listen so hard, he’d hear the plaster shrinking in the cold. I’d show him the clock on the side of my coffeemaker. I’d ask him where the lucky numbers go.

18 Comments


  1. Great graffiti, I especially like that figure in the top one, and the face in the bottom. The idea of slipping numbers on the clock intrigues…

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    1. Yeah. I found all this graffiti in State College, Pennsylvania yesterday. The face in particular is not likely to stay up for long — the building owner is assiduous about painting over graffiti — so I thought I’d better document it. The other two photos come from a hidden, grimy loading-dock area that the kids call Little New York.

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  2. If the banker knew where the lucky numbers went, he wouldn’t need a bailout. I love these firm little micronarratives.

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    1. Exactly. Thanks! Micro is about all I can manage at the end of a long day (which was a very lucky one for me).

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    1. Thanks. I thought about adding my words directly to the images — making postcards out of them — but Photoshop doesn’t have the fonts to really make convincing graffiti. I would have to go back to the physical locations with a fat magic marker, add my poem-like things that way, and take a photo of the results. And I’m afraid my vandalism days are behind me.

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  3. I could be a housesitter, I think. What could go wrong? I’d say to the house, “It’s bedtime,” & sing a lullaby to every empty room. When the man from the bank came to visit, I’d show him the bright yellow sun in the corner of the sky.

    I love it.

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  4. I would have to go back to the physical locations with a fat magic marker, add my poem-like things that way, and take a photo of the results.

    Nice image though. Starts my day with a smile.

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  5. I really like this! So, when is the book coming out with all of your writing and photos in it?

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    1. Thanks. Gosh, I dunno. Books with full-color reproductions end up pretty expensive, and aren’t too easy to do via print-on-demand (Lulu and the like). I do have a title picked out, but it’s not a front-burner project, I’m afraid.

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  6. Great words, pics and graffitti, Dave

    “I thought about adding my words directly to the images — making postcards out of them — but Photoshop doesn’t have the fonts to really make convincing graffiti.”

    Have you tried using the brushes and/or pencil tools in Photoshop? If not, have a go: use the mouse and just paint/draw on the photo with your own handwriting. Much easier than the mouse is a graphic tablet but if you don’t have one, you can get used to the mouse after a while.

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    1. “After a while” is the operative phrase here, I think. Especially for some with really poor hand-eye coordination. But thanks for the reminder.

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  7. Didn’t intend to be anonymous in the last comment! It’s me, it’s me!

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    1. Hi Natalie! Sorry I’ve disabled that plugin I had before that allowed people to edit their own comments. I’m not sure how well it’ll work with the javascripty comments functionality of the latest version of WordPress — not well, I suspect.

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  8. Very cool — love the form. May I appropriate it?

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    1. You can appropriate anything here — it’s in my license at the bottom of the footer. But which form do you mean?

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  9. I love this graffiti. and I love the imagined slippage in the digital numbers. If it were me, I’d have run all over the place with (what I see as) the metaphor here, but I like your economy and the spaces between things that it sets up for me. if that makes any sense.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback. If I’d written this post at a different time of day or in a different mood, I might’ve been a lot more expansive, too — who knows? But lately my inclination has been to try and avoid squeezing every possible meaning out of something. I want the reader to work a little bit, too, filling in those “spaces between things” as you so aptly put it.

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