ryan fitzpatrick: three poems

The Economic Case For Tackling Loneliness

What is
the mode
of writing

best suited
to mapping
the social?

I used
to think
about recombination,

which is
really the kind
of appropriation

where you
turn the oil
into Cool Whip.

How many cars
have passed by
in the last minute?

How many
stopped at
the stop sign?

How much gas
burned idling
in the cold?

What’s in
their tape deck,
iPhone, etc?

Who was it
spit against
this window?

How many days
to wait until
you complain

about a shipment
that hasn’t
arrived yet?

That book
I’ve been
waiting for –

how many
hands has it
passed through?

That’s a pretty
silly question
to ask

about global
logistics as they
play intimately.

When Laura
sings, “Oh
my dear,

it’s only
love that
keeps us here,”

I want
so badly
to believe it,

but it’s hard
when the
city-form

can’t imagine
life outside
sex and work.

Shit, in my
most cynical
moments,

what is here
if not structure
on the move?

What would
Marx say
about that?

Something about
capitalist totality
holding us together.

Emergence
doesn’t feel
like much

in the belly
of development
gone wild.

But also,
it’s just hard
to ask someone,

“Hey, do you
want to
imagine

new forms
of social
intimacy”

without it
coming off as
a pick-up line.

 

 

False Creek, Reconciliation Bridge

We don’t
want to
erase history,

but do
want to
fill in

the gaps we
made draining
the inlet.

What do
the internet
comments say?

Something about
not paving
over the past

like railyards
packed into
East Van.

How 12th Ave’s
a fucking
gong show –

you used to drive
through downtown
in four minutes,

but now new
spatial practices
disrupt the old.

But this is
a bad analogy,
not bad planning,

not happy times
or happy continuities,
but happy cities.

And no one
agrees to
change history,

but history
does its work
anyway.

That statue
in Charlottesville
inspiring Klansmen.

Their car
(our car?)
cuts though crowds.

The bridge
still shapes
the traffic flow

like law and
surveillance
shape cities

from gardens
to trashcans
to prisons

(or playgrounds
depending on
who’s speaking).

But maybe
that’s too obvious
for folks

who start
history
in 1492

(except for
the Bering
Land Bridge,

which is
very important
apparently).

 

It Keeps Changing Fast, It Doesn’t Last For Long

Waiting for
the 72
Circle Route,

I chat
with a
local

about the
C-Train extension
into Ogden

and the
expectation of
condo development

like the
pockets around
the skytrain,

the resistance
against the viaduct
in Strathcona,

the way
Calgary’s roads meet
Vancouver’s buildings.

On the 24,
driving past
the site

of the
Shamrock Hotel,
recently demolished,

though they
saved the
hotel’s sign,

like the Lido
in Kensington,
the Cecil downtown,

as if texture
were a form
of memory.

All these
ghosts of
relation past

just steam
pouring off
the wastewater

on the 24
heading north
on Ogden Rd.

past the
yeast smell
of the distillery.

It’s all
so 1970s,
isn’t it?

Or 1990s
or 1950s
or whatever.

Did you
know about
the residential school

where the
Calf Robe
Bridge is now?

Just south
of the
Bonnybrook Plant

on the
north side
of the Bow?

That’s where
this article
places it anyway.

I found it
in the VPL’s
stacks downtown.

 


 

ryan fitzpatrick is the author of two books of poetry: Fortified Castles (Talonbooks, 2014) and Fake Math (Snare, 2007). With Jonathan Ball, he edited the humour anthology Why Poetry Sucks (Insomniac, 2014). He is currently in the middle of a move from Vancouver to Toronto. These poems are also mid-move, written between Calgary and Vancouver.

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