6am on the avenue. Early for everyone except the school goers and the early work arrivers. It’s fucking cold. Isn’t it about time March escorted her shivering, bony ass out of here and made way for April’s daffodil kisses? The coffee wranglers just opened. Lucky for me, ‘cause a day isn’t a day without a shot of the oil first thing. Large, 2 and 2 up. Nary a nod from the coffee kid behind the counter. Bowie on the stereo and I step outside. Wind hits like a cheek-bound papercut. The orange “don’t walk” hands and whiteman “do walks” seem frozen in their incandescent utility. Tripe-like Dodge 1 ton dually clobbers past and throws stones up everywhere, one of them barely misses my skull and hits the cafe window. Motherfuckers and their trucks.
Whispery. Lack of voices out here. Just caught a glimpse of a shitbox Toyota dead in a back alley. Cobraheads are curved and throwing off the light; sun’s coming up. Exhaust in the air. Tap my foot at the corner. Guy walks up beside me. His cellphone rings. Innocent maybe. The prick busted my dawn.
Sunrise Industrial park, October 2006
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?