John Morse offers poetry for the rush hour

Morse has installed 500 roadside signs that subvert advertising language into haiku


  • Flux Projects

A couple days ago, I got a call from a friend who was in the car on the way to her therapist. Stopped in traffic, she had seen one of those signs, the type you typically see planted into medians and nailed onto telephones with get-rich-quick and weight-loss schemes, but this one read something like, “¿Hay accidente? Freud: no hay accidentes. ¿Pues, que paso?” (Google’s mostly correct [|en|¿Hay accidente? Freud: no hay accidentes. ¿Pues, que paso?|translation], if you need it)

She said she didn’t see any phone number for a lawyer, “And what sort of lawyer advertises by quoting Freud?” Later, she told me that she’d kept thinking about the sign all the way to the therapist and then talked about it more there.

That sort of disruption of your daily commute might be exactly what artist John Morse is hoping for. With a little help from Flux Projects, Morse has installed 500 roadside signs around Atlanta that subtly subvert the language of advertising into insightful haiku. There are ten different haiku (only two are in Spanish, the rest are in English) among the signs and if you want to read them all, you’ll have to find the signs themselves.

If you really want to track some down, Morse has supplied a map to all of the locations (though I imagine that’ll change as some torn down for actual advertisements, stolen by thieving poetry fans, run over, and so forth). A relaxed approach, though, might be closer to the point: keep your eyes open and you’ll be surprised by what you read.