Sunday, June 27, 2010

Siren Saturdays

Class War he declared in spray paint on the wall. Sirens and helicopters and news reports tumbled in our heads.

After the storm hit we walked out to assess the damage. Window replacement trucks lined the street; evening workmen held boards and hammered in nails. We walked a familiar city block, traded news and gossip with friendly strangers.

The cops moved in and out of street pockets, leading pedestrians through a maze. A man in a wheelchair screamed the New World Order into a megaphone on the corner. Second Cup served its last latte and bolted all the doors.

We ran forward then back, lost in public panic. The cops shouted North, then South, and North again, held up lines of shields to close off exits. We walked past a gaggle of mannequins in soiled linens, shattered glass, and the dim white glow of American Apparel.

Phone calls were made to lovers and lawyers, arrests of breach of peace. Cab home to fall asleep, hope to dream of peace.

*Photos from FlickR Creative Commons

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Twenty reasons to stop trying

Cops on horseback, cops on foot, on bicycle and motorcycle, in marked and unmarked cars. Security stationed on each street corner, helicopters in the air.

Sirens on the streets, paramedics push through traffic; a fire alarm goes off in the mall. Delegates in, homeless out, empty condos fill the sky.

Barricade off closed-door business, let black limousines coast through chain link fences towards pristine hotels; broadcast arrivals on the news.

Let the protesters tear the banks down, throw bricks through windows, eat Front Street alive. Chip off the concrete foundation between skyscrape basements and underground subway stops, feed it to famished mouths.

We need it now more than ever, all ribcage hunger for the beast. We’re dying here, he says: Welcome to the Harper years.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life on Mars

Spit five blocks from King to Queen and see the dichotomy of gender. Clubland lipstick lovers are from Mars; hip young things hiding in Ray-Bans are from Venus. And so the parade of Queen St. cool kids felt out of place today as it made its way towards the other planet.

Free booze and BBQ brought them south to King St., lured in by Fred Perry, Vice, and Red Bull. On top the Cheval roof top patio the barbeque smoked, sent out the signal. On the decks was Tim Harrington from Les Savy Fav, gearing up for his gig at Wrongbar.

NXNE passes dangled from necks but didn’t bypass the growing line. The crowd packed in tight together, sweat stains sinking in as the sun beat its rays down. Amongst the madness we hid up top the tables, leaning into the fake grass covering the walls. Sipped on beers towards daytime dizziness, waited for the phone call.

When it came the gig was up, time for the Raveonettes, Iggy, and the Stooges. Floated through the empty indoor air conditioning, down to the street. Followed a couple out the door, listened to their convo.

She looked around, leaned in to him, and said: “I forgot we were on King St.”

Raise the high roof beam, carpenters and season

The sun hit high noon and the rooftops called our name. After a photo stroll through the market and a birthday dinner, we begin the weekend concert series on top a shop in Chinatown.

Out the apartment window girls in flowery summer dresses stand by boys in band tees and skinny jeans, sunglasses covering all their eyes. The band plays behind too many too-tall heads, the sky rains confetti.

We b-line up the street to an apartment we know, fill another roof. Birds pull the curtains dark, we drink warm beer and watch the day die. Slipping south into our afternoon locale, we fill into a bar back room for another.

Two more cab rides, tracing tracks across the city. Scarf down take-out, wake to two white boxes in the fridge. Re-read the cookie paper, 6 13 28 34 37 40. It says: “Next summer you will dance to a different beat.”

Put the last of the leftovers in the microwave, nod head and accept the fortune.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stamped paper promises

The day began with breakfast: bacon, sausage, toast, coffee, and chocolate chip pancakes. I was the only man in the deli wearing a suit. A shirt and tie had been requested; the final hoop to jump through before the school handed over our papers and sent the lot of us on our way.

Graduation day. So soon, finally, etc. After breakfast the family was sent off and morning mimosas were poured. The four of us toasted to ourselves on a balcony overlooking the square of city block we’d spent the previous four years. We gulped it all down.

We showed up late and seemed early, traded our names for robes and other rituals. We were lined up, arranged, re-arranged, and led on an audience-less parade across the quad.

Other people’s parents bombarded us inside the theatre, waving frantically and flashing cameras in our faces. People we hadn’t heard of, deans and presidents listed on calendars but never seen or spoken to, gave the same speeches they’d given at the morning edition and would again at the third ceremony later that afternoon.

We were told again to stand and walk across the stage, shake hands with further faceless academics. Finally, at the edge of the room a final hand reaches out, this time familiar from so many Thursday afternoons in his classroom where we shared our secrets and our words.

So he smiles and says, “you’ve made it,” and I pull back my hand and give him a hug. Follow the path off stage, check spelling (R-U-S-S-M-A-R-T-I-N), shake head and say to self, “Yeah. I guess I did.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

The red flower district

The glow orgasm of red crustacean light. Dial the number: 514 525 9111. Cop flash blue parked cars, and hookers. It says SEX in faux diamonds, dripped across her neck. A dangling dash
of fake Chanel, and tits for sale. One man, one woman. That's the way God said it would be. On Ontario St., Montreal. June 4, 2010.

On art and escaping

Art is around us all the time. On postal boxes and parked cars, in back alleys and bathroom stalls. The pictures, paintings, sketches, tags, and stickers are good and bad, brilliant and uninspired. Art is all colours, in all places, in and out of galleries, at all times.

All last week in Montreal I kept nose to the pavement and eyes to alleys, snapped every stencil, mural, and painted portrait I saw. I wandered on to streets I had not heard of, peered in between fence posts to see backyard BBQers putting ketchup on their art.

On the bus back I flipped through people, places, and things. Say to self: Art is between each step, but is only visible when prints lead away.