Poetry

Traffic Reports in Strange Cities

Geoff Inverarity

You’re driving into a city you’ve never been to

with the radio on 

listening to a traffic report

about roads and places you’ve never seen.

Got the radio on

Everything is exotic, mysterious, potential— 

bigger sales, better service.

It’s all better, sleeker, more exciting, 

more modern than that provincial dump of a town 

where you live.

Radio on

— …because it’s another beautiful morning here in the foothills!

That makes fourteen in a row! But who’s counting?

And now, here’s traffic with Jen Lunaria.

How’re things on the road this morning, Jen?

Thanks, Andy.

Things on the road?  Well, they are not looking good, my friend.  Not looking good.

Be warned, commuters! Heavy, heavy volumes.

Everything moving very slowly,

from the Benchmark all across to the Navigants.

And maybe you’d want to avoid the Bypass Memorial Bypass Bypass today

after that big oyster meat spill. 

At least keep your eyes peeled for the seagulls.

And the cars keep coming.

Got the radio on

Traffic’s seriously backed up

from the Celebrant’s Mall

past the Brief Sojourn Funeral Home,

beyond the Young Paupers Cemetery,

past the gates of the Old Fever Hospital.

Radio on

Detours in place around the New Dawn Research Lab

even though most of the Modified Animals that broke out

are already back in their restraints.

Crews are sifting through the rubble for clues

though we still don’t know

how the animals got aholda the guns, the ammunition, or the drugs.

And the cars just keep coming.

Got the AM Radio on

I guess everybody’s heading down to the Marmite Centre for the big game, Jen.

Go Roadrunners!

Yeah, thanks, Andy. That’s really not it.

I dunno, man,

the cars keep coming and coming,

and nobody knows where they’re coming from.

OK, seriously, you should be thinking ahead to this evening, people.

There’s no way you’re making it home

with this volume of traffic.

I dunno. I really don’t.

I guess you better

you better

please, please

just leave work right away, now;

remember the curfew’s still in effect,

and the Army have orders to shoot on sight.

This appeared in Geist 116 as part of a suite titled All the Broken Things, along with One Day and Traffic Reports in Strange Cities. 

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Geoff Inverarity

Geoff Inverarity is one of the founders of the Gulf Islands Film and Television School. He is also a father and an award-winning screenwriter, producer and poet who splits his time between Galiano Island and Vancouver. He is currently the president of the Galiano Literary Festival. His poetry collection All the Broken Things will be published next spring by Anvil Press.

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