Merchants of Bon Air

This poem is in reaction to a mural at the Bon Air Shopping Center in Marin. My friend, Susan Barnes, wrote a great article called “Mural So White” in the Jewish Journal about it. The shopping center responded that they used white folks so as not to accidentally stereotype. I think the “Seeds of Peace” mural in Fairfax proves you can show diversity without stereotyping. Hire a different artist if they can only make white people, and please, take down this unrealistic piece of advertising. It doesn’t even reflect the customer base seen while briefly strolling the shopping center.

So in this post, a poem and photos of both. Thank you, Susan, for using my photo in your article.

To the Merchants of Bon Air

While out walking in Marin
in your lovely shopping center, then,
one of my good friends spotted a sin.
A giant mural with only white folks in.
This is not the kind of world we live in
nor should it be for artists and merchants alike a valid vision.
All kinds of folks live in Marin.
As an artist, I would say to you then
please in the future consider what your pictures are really saying
for to a person of color this is isolating.
The utopian mural in Fairfax is a far more accurate depiction of reality,
as by only showing white folks,
this is no “Fresh New Look”
but an idea that’s getting old, you see.
It’s not what it’s trumped up to be.
Even passing through for mere groceries
was a rainbow of humanity.
If this mural doesn’t disappear, oh, merchants of Bon Air,
Bon voyage! No longer shopping there,
even for want of kosher variety on Passover.

D.L. Lang
D.L. Lang
D.L. Lang of Vallejo, CA is the author of nine poetry collections, including 2016's Poet Loiterer which Kirkus Reviews described as containing "Free-spirited ideals couched in fairly infectious rhymes." She enjoys performing her poems at open mics and entering them in county fairs.
  • Thank you for the shout-out and for always standing up for what’s right. Regarding the last line, there is a Molly Stone’s in Sausalito where you can find kosher variety for Passover, although it’s a bit farther than the one in Bon Air.