Spotlight series #59 : ryan fitzpatrick

Curated by Canadian writer, editor and publisher rob mclennan, the “spotlight” series appears the first Monday of every month.

STATEMENT

“Vancouver Does Not Taste Like Calgary” appears early in my forthcoming book Coast Mountain Foot, which attempts to map out the material and affective overlap between Calgary and Vancouver. The poem is one of a series of lyrics that anchor the book. Written in moments of transit or repose, these poems reflect on the two cities and their shared politics. Written while procrastinating in the window of a Starbucks at Hastings and Howe, “Vancouver Does Not Taste Like Calgary” takes its title from a poster that hung on the wall of my Vancouver apartment made by Calgary artists Mia Rushton and Eric Moschopedis. They reflect on foraging in Edmonton and how the plants they found were different than what their Calgary-based assumptions had them believe.

Vancouver Does Not Taste Like Calgary

How to start
writing about
any city?

Is it anything
like living
somewhere

when you
don’t feel
so welcome?

A shitty question
when structures
benefit you

though they
never feel
too beneficial

when rent
is cheaper inside
the couple form

or when work
involves constantly
bootstrapping

all the slack
anxiety of
comfortable precarity.

What does
that ad say
across the street?

Pocketed deep
inside the doors
at Hastings and Howe.

“Luxury never
makes anyone
beautiful.”

They’re debating
view cones
at the edge

of the
upcoming
civic election,

whether seeing
the mountains
is an amenity

if the developers
near the stadium
keep their word

about building
1800 units
of social housing,

unlike the
rug pull
of Olympic Village

where they
felt the
sudden luxury

of all that
prime waterfront
real estate

unlocking like
the tides
through Snauq

were gulped
by Vancouver’s
swallowing growth.

Managing
Vancouver’s
postcard view

is a hell
of a tough
question

when you
scoff at
privileging sightlines,

but also
love that view
down Main

even if
it raises
property values.

Some places
you can only
see mountains

hitting the crest
at Glenmore
and Blackfoot.

ryan fitzpatrick is the author of three books and fifteen chapbooks of poetry, including Coast Mountain Foot (Talon, 2021), Fortified Castles (Talon, 2014), and Fake Math (Snare/Invisible, 2007).