1.5 million pounds of soil raised
to the 4th floor of Calgary’s CORE
shopping complex supports an inner-
city oasis. The Devonian Gardens
are open publically during mall hours.
Oil executives employed nearby
visit the green-space on lunchbreaks,
eluding the paupers of Stephen Ave.
in +15s returning to work.
As children we attended summer camp
at Lindsay Park Sports Centre,
belayed each other up its rock walls
shouted chicken on the high dive.
Kids today learn to play water polo
in a pool named by Talisman Energy.
Since 2002 the City of Calgary has
sold naming rights to the company,
20 years for 10 million dollars.
Fish Creek Provincial Park is the largest
urban park in Canada, abutting the
Tsuu T’ina reserve in the southwest.
Roughly 12% of the city is stewarded
by Parks Calgary, the highest ratio of
green-space per capita in Canada.
Rumors of a horse found dead
in Sikome Lake are merely rumors,
but a person did drown in its weeds.
Within the cemented waterways of
Century Gardens a man offers me
beans from an unlabeled can. He was
bitten on the leg by an unleashed dog
and chased into the park by police.
Concealed behind a bench and a
juniper bush, each donated by the
Devonian Group, we leave him sitting
in darkness atop the Brutalist landscape.
Later that year a decentralized dance-
party develops in Century Gardens,
culminating down the road under the
spotlights of Millennium Skate Park.
Despite the armed chaperones, shouts
emanate from a parking lot around
the corner at Mewatta Armoury. I try
to tell a girl she doesn’t have to go with
the guy gripping her by the shoulders.
Public gardens in Calgary are closed
from 11 pm until 5 in the morning.
When cops caught us hallucinating
after midnight in South Glenmore Park
(you in my driver’s seat, our drugs
on the passenger floor), they left
us with grins and a warning.
We were two blocks from where
I taught you how to drive a stick-shift.
After ditching my red Ford Ranger in
the grafittied enclosure for road debris,
we climb the dam on Elbow River. A
glassy reservoir reflects streetlamps
to the West as the artificial cliffs arc
down in the East. The capacity of these
sloping concrete channels have been
exceeded but twice, causing damage
to the riverfront properties.
All the black squirrels in Prince’s Island Park
will follow you along a path at dawn.
It must be a cold summer’s day
before cyclists and yoga seminars
arrive to claim the green-space.
Watch deer and geese retreat downriver
from a window of the Route 3 bus,
I’ll greet you soon in Votier’s Flats
with a cold 6-pack of beer.
these words by Kyle Flemmer were inspired by the art of Allison Gildersleeve