The Orion Series

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Sometime around 1993 I began noticing desperately scrawled poetry taped to phone booths and storefronts in the New York City Lower East Side vicinity of Avenue A, 7th-10th Streets, on the East side of the street. The first find yielded perhaps 10-20 fantastic specimens of street poetry, tacked up out of a need to be seen and heard by an unknown audience. For the next few years, I went out of my way to pass by this area, always hoping to find more. And I did. As a matter of fact, there seems to be an unending stream of this work. I have 2 folders full, the best of which will appear in the following pages.

Orion's work is marked by quickly scrawled words in thick black magic marker on the back of found xerox paper, hastily placed on "street furniture" with bits of scotch tape (it's a genuine mark of street writing: small pieces of cellophane or masking tape holding the writing in place; almost always the tape is used sparingly, stretched to its limit). It is voluminous and continues to this day.

For years, this work has always been shrouded in mystery; I never saw anyone placing the work and the hipsters of the East Village seemed to pass it by with little notice. However, I was recently having coffee with the New York poet Jordan Davis and I happened to mention that I was building this site. Jordan immediately asked me if I was going to put up any of "Orion's" work. "Who is 'Orion?'" I asked. As it turns out, Jordan has followed the "career" of this brilliant poet of the streets for several years. It seems that he has been a part of certain Downtown poetry scenes where Orion has been a presence.

-- Kenneth Goldsmith