Towers & Banners 1.0: A Proposal

Towers & Banners 


The Ivory Tower. The Tower of the Tarot. The Tower of Babel. The Panopticon. Woven deeply into Western culture, Towers have been symbols of both power AND the folly of power. By shrinking the Tower from architectural to humanoid scale, I’m offering people the chance to experience some of the ancient fear that we peasants have of our patriarchs, but at a manageable size. I’m building on that gift by making it out of cardboard and paint. My tower-puppet says “tower” in comic-book, which camouflages it as “silly” in the language of power and money. 


So many Americans have been marching since Trump was elected. Marching with them, I was moved by the poetry and the impromptu calligraphy of the placards and banners all around me. Some of those poems, especially the nasty ones, will fade from memory quickly; but some of them are uplifting mantras of great power. Some of them are old, like Bob Marley’s “Chant Down Babylon,” a little ghost pepper packed with pure, fresh meaning. And some of them, though new, are no less picante, so jammed with radiance are they.

Seeing that see of banners and placards, I thought: “I’m not a poet. I’m an artist who has a lifelong love affair with hand lettering, calligraphy, and type.” And so my ruminations on Towers found an opposite: “Banners.” Hand-painted banners of “one-to-threes,” the one-to-three word poems that so many political banners form. 

I went out and asked a handful of Abq poet/activists if they had noticed the poetry of political banners themselves, and if they had, if they’d be willing to make up some of their own. I was blessed with a tidal wave of them. Take a look! Take them out for a spin by saying them out loud for yourself! I bet you’ll find they’ve got more torque than a 1000cc Harley… more staying power than a skyscraper… and more possibilities than a Tower, any day. 

ONE-TO-THREES: Brief Poems of Long-Lasting, Fast-ActingJustice Power

From Hakim Bellamy, Abq poet, activist, soccer player and dad:

Never Give Up

Never Give In

Die 4 Something

Live 4 Something

Stand 4 Something

S. O. S.

All we need

Love is love

Power up

We are magic

Fight fascism

Write Love Poems

No turning back

Love Conquers Hate

Mind over matter

Evolve or die

Revolution is necessary

Evolution is inevitable

For the people

Do for love

Love radically

Pray for change

Dancing is revolutionary

Love changes things

F*ck the patriarchy

Sexual Revolution

Love > Hate

People over profit

Pen the revolution

Truth lives

Dead or alive

Pain is temporary

Be Good Ancestors

Make a Fist

Black Lives Matter

Never Again

Dream in color

Live out loud

Speak up

I declare more

I declare love

Declaration of interdependence

Make more music

FROM LIZA WOLFF-FRANCIS, Abq poet, activist, wise woman and mom, circa January 2019:

Grace in Voice

Believe People

Believe the People

Strive for Better

Voice is Power

Believe Each Other

Listen to Us

Listen to All

All Voices

Believe with Grace

Listen with Grace

Celebrate Us

All of Us

Good of the Whole

The People Speak

Unite All People

Speak Strong

Stand Loud

Our Rights

Justice and Grace

Justice and Voice

Love from Justice

Love Justice

Love Voice

Unity and Difference


Include not Exclude

Free Voice

Free People

Choice and Voice

Equality Up Front

Love Equality

Love, Equality

Equality Planet

Planet love

Planetary Grace

From Myself:















Use Your Power For Good






As above

So below


Make Good Art [Neil Gaiman]

Chant down Babylon [Bob Marley]

Everywhere is War [Bob Marley]

NEXT UP for this Project: digital studies of Banners

Using Format