The man on the train sways to and fro as he sits in his seat. His head – an old, rusted hood propped up by his arm – looks out the window with distant eyes at the falling slush. I have piano music in my ‘phones and I plant the audible melancholy onto him; compose him in my head. His chaffed steel toes tumble to the dirty train floor. His canvas jacket has a large burn on the pocket, possibly a Zippo accident. His grizzled moustache almost touches the gray on the other side of the window. The piano becomes slow and impressionistic. Mournful. He turns to survey the passengers. Rubs his dark hands on his pants. Adjusts his hat and looks back out the window. The sleet is beautiful. The train is on time. The piano is lost somewhere in his upper lip.
Saskatchewan Drive, Night, March 2007
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?