On a traffic control box
A traffic control box is painted in muted, watery colours, like age-old slate, with faded images of ships and skylines.
- ‘the square is the only major shape that is man-made’
a pause, of sorts. a rupture
in the stolid brick
& concrete rote
that is the city’s downtown counting;
our stepped caesura.
it has been here — we have been
here — for the tumult & explosion
of the core, its people.
a frenetic foreign chaos of
have been right here
& shuffled the icy restlessness
of near-zeroed november
mornings & — mindless — kicked at
what’s been cobbled,
together. we have,
i’m sure, been here — just
some of us — a slight
bit drunk. loose shouldered &
slack jawed, searching
the night’s unsteady dark for
a fight, for a bite of salty meat or slice
of pizza. we have been here,
on the way: up, or down,
or over. we have been here;
we have been.
we have, at very least,
just this: a near accidental architecture
of moments; a shape of who we are.
The painted traffic box is part of an HRM-wide project. Poet Matthew Robinson was contacted by Heather MacLeod, who works for the city’s Community Relations & Cultural Affairs department, to work on a site-specific poem for Grand Parade.
"From that point on I started to do a little research on the Grand Parade—after Heather explained the particular traffic box that she had in mind—and eventually came up with the poem we ended up using,” says Robinson. He says the poem isn’t exactly commemorative, but “something that was accessible and interesting; something that would be rather easily associated with the city and its people. I hope the poem does that in a reasonable way."
Sue Carter Flinn. (2009). Matt Robinson gets poetic in Grand Parade. The Coast, (august 14)