Wax Poetic

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Urban Planning by Kim Goldberg

from RED ZONE (2009, Pig Squash Press)


Urban Planning

Kim Goldberg

Train tracks scrape past the sun-hammered miners’
shacks left over from the last
century. The front side is tarted up
as the Historic Old Quarter. But the backside
holds the story. Just ask the crumbling sunflower
sentries guarding the ass-end
of the Women’s Center. Or the weather-stripped
shiplap on the Bride’s Closet next door
luffing like a beaten flag while some gunk
the color of old blood drips
from a rusty pipe. I know this stuff
because I am now at a sufficiently advanced
stage in my daily rail-walking to support
a head-up gaze at my surroundings without
tumbling into the thorns. Beyond the
bridal store the shaling Occidental
Hotel and Bar prevails like an asylum
for the criminally insane. While across the
tracks a torn quilt pocked with bodily
stains lies splayed on a weedy patch
behind the Thrift Shop – a cardboard box 
nightstand totters beside. She will
sleep here again tonight
unless chance finds her at the copshop on
the corner or perhaps in the bed
of someone she meets in the Oxy. And if he’s
not too bad, maybe they’ll get hitched
and pay a visit to the Bride’s Closet (except
that’s likely where her problems started – it’s all so
cyclotronic). He’ll probably keep
spending his nights at the Oxy, coming home
mean, talking fist-speak, till she ducks
out, goes to the Women’s Center, which
will be closed due to funding cuts, so she’ll do
some dumpster diving in the donation box
outside the Thrift Shop till she finds another quilt
and a spot to lie.

*  *  *

RED ZONE is available at People's Co-op Bookstore in Vancouver and other independent bookstores or directly from the publisher, Pig Squash Press. Email goldberg@ncf.ca for details.

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