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Vancouver’s new poet laureate

May 4th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Brad Cran has been named as Vancouver’s new poet laureate and will be official inducted tomorrow at council. You can read his official bio on the city website, but here’s a brief literary pause to read one of his actual poems which has, you’ll be pleased to note, a kind of urban development theme.

On Childhood

Do you understand your sadness?
Last night I took a photograph of a tree
and a bicycle leaning on a kickstand.
This tree I passed every night without interest
until the potential of slick rubber tires,
the sparkling handlebars that I gripped
as my imagination pedaled off into the night,
where what exists around the corner is left
out of the lens. We see what we want to see
and when we are able to ignore the rest
there is fire in our eyes and strength in our teeth.
Our legs peddling as fast as childhood
chased by dogs, as we lean into a corner
and break for the freedom of streetlights
far as the eye can see. Do you understand
your sadness? The word cul-de-sac
always meant friendship.
Now it lingers like a maze of dead ends
that carry on through labryinths of suburban fear.
An end to street hockey and children
out after the streetlights flicker on.
We dreamt of bloodied hammers,
a bad man and a rusty van hunched down
in the parking lot of Safeway. Now we say
it was just a matter of time before the seasons
turned and the roadkill mentality grew
sick of shooting birds. Do you understand your sadness?
The trees cut down. The stucco homes demolished
and the ditches filled in to begin the good life,
television’s tectonics reducing our needs
to pixilated rubble and lawn. The forest path
and fort-filled fields now gone. The ditches
we jumped for fun. Do you
understand your sadness? Do you understand
streetlights, ditches, cul-de-sacs and trees?
Bad men, bloodied hammers and endless streets?
Your bicycle, legs pumping and the desire to fly?

From The Good Life by Brad Cran.

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