Crazy Otto by Patricia Nelson

Heidelberg Project Penny Car David Yarnall Crazy Otto Patricia Nelson

Otto paints his house again,
with his changing love of colors.

The blue and green are high with hopsack edges,
the stops of yellow clear and low.

As if something is recited and a mark made
where each mistake is swallowed by another.

No one color ever makes it
to the sky-colored end of the job.

Each daub taller, brighter than his eye or word,
his loud and undistinguished singing.

Someday, one color, one light
uniting all the eyes.



Patricia Nelson is a retired attorney who has worked with the Activist group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird, Poetic Matrix Press.


Detail of photograph by David Yarnall, The Heidelberg Project – Penny Car.


Heidelberg Project Mission & Vision, from their website:


The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is an outdoor art environment in the heart of an urban area and a Detroit based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.


The theory of change for the Heidelberg Project begins with the belief that all citizens, from all cultures, have the right to grow and flourish in their communities. The HP believes that a community can re-develop and sustain itself, from the inside out, by embracing its diverse cultures and artistic attributes as the essential building blocks for a fulfilling and economically viable way of life.

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