8:00pm Semi-Blues

May 1, 2006

The guy next door just fired up his lawnmower. It’s 8:00pm on a Saturday and he should be swinging and rattlin’ that bottle by now, but no, he pulls the cord and spins that blade and chews up the barely-there lawn. The girlies are walking by with their girlness on full display, toes a-janglin’, skirts a-flashin’, hair a-runnin’, voices a-sparkin’. And the men too with their standup hair, wire Ray Bans, denim dungarees, and two tone tanners arcing into shade. The cars rush on past bubblin’ and burstin’, the city hummin’ a Friday hymn behind everything, the streetlights striking, the dogs wagging and beefing, the guns of Whyte ready to blow, the cafes stacked with cheap caffeine and faux-bohemian décor, the motor rod pipes howling at the new moon, the club music pounding the sidewalk blocks loose, the infirm patrons of genteel restaurants afraid and fleeing, the windows ready for break and replace, the mailboxes hot to receive, the concrete steps blessed with cigarette butts and traces of puke, the horny assjean riders and their cigarette Sylvias, the twenty-one crew so old for this strip, the seventeens too slutty to be real, the street guitars strumming sorrowful, the patios filled with sunglasses and shortpants, the ripping coughs of the alley blazers, the crash of Molson bottles to the ground, the sting of a badged beatstick, the ten-ton muscle car bass, the five ounce cyclist hustle, the fifty cent draft scholars, the coca cola rim jobs, the used book store, the cigar shop, the ice creamery, and all I can hear is that damn lawnmower, louder than my stereo at sundown in the city.

Vignette #66

StreetRag, An Urban Notebook

StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook

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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.

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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?

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