I recently met an exceptional young man at LAUNCH’s non-profit event, which took place at the Green Chili Kitchen restaurant in San Rafael a couple of weeks ago. At first I assumed Taalib was in his early-mid 20's due to his mature demeanor and carriage, and was surprised to learn that he's an 18 year old college student. I had the opportunity to share with Taalib some artwork created by incarcerated artist, Jeremy J. Hammill (who paints with coffee and colored pencils and who recently started drawing stunning portraits with black pen).  When I showed Taalib this particular painting by Jeremy (homage to Salvador Dali's 1931 "Persistence of Memory”), Taalib was immediately struck by how closely it aligned with his own poem titled "A Splash of Color", which I'd like to share with you. This is a poem that I plan to share with all incarcerated artists.

Enjoy and be blessed.

Leslie, Director 

Arwork credit: Jeremy J. Hammill; FL (2/13/16)


“A SPLASH OF COLOR" by Taalib Smith, 2017

Einstein said darkness is just the absence of light.

So is sadness the absence of happiness?

Ignorance is bliss and happy to say that I'm not experiencing this.

But tell me what did you really mean by that kiss?

Confusion, without an answer there's no real conclusion.

But confusion is a true fusion of black and white.

Not necessarily right and wrong because who established that white is right and that black is wrong.

Why is white always pure, as good as the perfect contour, and the cure to being insecure?

And black perceived as dangerous, contagiously outrageous and negatively courageous.

What if everything was grey? That's not a place I'd necessarily want to stay.

Yeah no hierarchy, no structure, one color not better than the other because we're all the same. But living in a universe like that wouldn't you feel shame?

See grey is yin and yang mixed together into one, complex but boring and one color is no fun! Metaphorically grey to me is the lack of foresight and creativity.

Why must the spectrum be diminished to the polar opposites, and yes opposites attract, but why must we subtract, the other colors?

The gorgeous greens we see in the trees, the fiery passionate reds, the buzzing yellow bumble bees, the beautiful blues of all these colors there's different hues, blends, opacity, mixtures, textures, and new colors being created in seconds by nonconforming thinkers running free running wild, this trait I have to ingrain in my child.

All colors, new colors, true colors interacting as they may,

Reminding us how we re-envision the world, something like clay.

All the colors flying free, beautiful chaos, just as tranquil as can be;

This is really how I believe the world to be,

And anyone can too,

Just takes a pair of open eyes to see.

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