Century Gardens

“This inner city park
is for passive recreation.
No game playing.
No climbing on concrete
(or trees).”
– City of Calgary Parks Bylaw 36/76 Calgary’s own crackhead corner
green junk lawn mown weekly
brutal ledges and bridges
like powerhouse bruising
built from cement and cigarettes. This is a passive park. Beer bottles set sail in the water features
that no one wants to set foot in,
carved out in the space between
the nervous-steady C-train
and Jenga-block high rise apartments. Stringless marionette can collectors
shuffle past old mothers on benches
hand-holders lying on southern grass and
young commuters turning pages for a train
all pretending they don’t see each other. This is a passive park. “No climbing on concrete.”
The first time I notice this sign
it’s because a thirty year old
is doing flips off the wall beside it
– lessons in situational irony. Sweatpanted athletes throw themselves from
corner to corner
worn sneakers scrabbling over cement
inches above water-splashed ledges
hands slapping the dark side of bridges. This is a passive park. No one else lingers here for long
except once-a-year cowboys
being taught how to do handstands,
and traceur tourists come to use
Calgary’s own parkour hotspot. From the sidewalk it is nicknamed crackhead corner,
because pedestrians don’t have time to stop,
catch that train, get from point A to point B,
to reclaim a little space from the margins.
But we’re not meant to. This is a passive park.

~ Bethan McBreen

Bethan McBreen is a young writer, poet, and athlete from Cochrane, Alberta. She is currently an arts student at Mount Royal University, taking Psychology and English.

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