They had the unmistakable quality of having been made
By machine, or even of being themselves parts of machines

The city-dwellers are three-dimensional
Eating breakfast in the wraparound corner windows
Screened by a crown of craggy spires and streamlined grids
Elegant theatres for living and working

There is a truer unity in the results
Of striated bands of orange brick weaving walls
The city’s canyons of glass and mirror
Her multistory metal sunbursts and tile rainbows
Sculptural forms symbolizing radio waves
And electric energy, man’s potential for progress
In the endless lines of dancing girls rising to view

And the silhouettes are tossed
With their bracelets resembling parts of bridges
Into the display window at the distant end
Of a pillared arcade
Into a profusion of ferns
Which lean forward across a table, resting
their weight
Into a FADA radio which sits
Upon a bronze side chair upholstered
In peeling red leather
Which sits upon a geometric Indian blanket
Into coloured lights that drain over gleaming cars
Onto wheels mounted in fender wells
And a patch of stones and glass encountered in the road
Sparkling little Nomas in the bottom of a bowl

No longer is the old blaze of light
From the footlights necessary
For in the display soft concealed lights are laid
Along picture mouldings
Above doors and window jams
The visible equivalent of
A plumage of arrowheads emerging
From the black holes of Sacred Hearts

The city is sheet glass for the dwellers’ basic perceptions
Of black-and-white cinematography
A chill of circuitry
Hard-edged sheen and colorless glitter
A vocabulary of shadow and sparkle
A flickering of cinematic light
A black kaleidoscope motion in a white froth
Rushing movement
A man in underwear crawling around a
Pitch-black bedroom carpet yelling
For the desire to get to the future
As quickly as possible
Is casket-like elegance to spacecraft embellishment
Machine-shop chic, but

A stage constructed on the same plan
a David Belasco scene, for instance,
must have real running water in its kitchen taps
Light and colour are yet to be developed, however
The city seems to have increased the proportions
Of all its properties
And chose only the tallest actors
For the other parts you walk about

~ Paul Zits

Paul Zits received his MA in English from the University of Calgary in 2010, completing his creative thesis, Massacre Street (UAP 2013) under the supervision of experimental Canadian poet Christian Bök. Since, he has served two terms as Writer-in-the-Schools at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary, teaching Creative Writing to students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, and taught at the WGA’s WordsWorth Camp at Kamp Kiwanis. Zits is the editor and publisher of the Calgary-based small-press 100 têtes Press and the Managing Editor of filling Station.

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