Alberta Avenue, Just before 8 PM

It is almost 8 now
the crowds have gone and the festival tents are packed
away inside their Rubbermaid totes for
another year of hibernation

I am standing in the middle of the street
which is a crazy thing to do in a busy city
on 118th Avenue, or any avenue
but not now, on Sunday, before 8

The roads are still closed
The neighbourhood defended from marauding cars and trucks
by a mote of pylons and barricades
until 8 PM

You can still hear ghosts of laughing children
stumbling on stilts across a vast green lawn
and the syncopated rhythm of latin music
while a middle aged man remembers how to dance

You can still smell the mini doughnut oil
and salty sweet kettle corn butter
wafting through the parking lot beer garden
while neighbours meet and laugh beyond back fences

Chalk art and games have not faded from the pavement
yet, as these reclaimed roads have seen only feet
And they sigh for the lightness
The Avenue was Venice for three blessed days

I walk back to my car and see
two nocturnal prostitutes emerging
to return to work and recuperate revenues lost
while the darkness hid in shadow spaces

all too soon cars
reclaim their tarred turf
and in the flash of two headlights
the spell is broken


Dave Von Bieker thinks, writes, speaks and sings about art, faith, hope, love and sometimes technology. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his family.