EASTSIDE SOUP
Matthew Walsh

I go for walks after breaking up
my weed and rolling a big fattie
from a big furry bud
of Grape God. It is cold at night
in these city strides, but you can find yourself
a deal on a used, deep green Mountain
Equipment Co-Op waist-length rain
Jacket. I pour my hands into someone else’s
deep pockets—and just walk Commercial Drive to East
Hastings, Hastings Dance, where I hear
things that aren’t mine to repeat. He’s not woken
up for twelve hours, that’s my heart. Astoria,
the sugar-smell of the British Columbia Sugar Refinery.
My poor teeth reduced to soups, my new esses.
I miss the sound of my different voices.
Cranes lift the downtown
condo loads, once described as terrariums for people.
Bird’s above me write long music chords, they go on
these power lines. There is much building,
development, worry. Some streets not simply street
but place with history, plaques, commemorations,
streets split by train tracks. We’ll always be connected
via the internet. Last night I walked Strathcona, all
into the tiny nooks, the park split perhaps sooner
than we like by the highway, future plans. Life is graffiti
in orange blue black, on bus-stops, changeable
and different. Someone has left
soup cans stuck to buildings. This is the artist’s love trail.
Campbell’s soup cans someone had plastered up.
America’s Condensed Stonewall Gay Love Riot.
Eastside Soup. And you worked around the corner
at the Shaldon, another shelter— a shelter formally known
as the Howard Johnson’s which you described as not changed
internally—it was still all Howard Johnson
and you know that sounds like, you
know—weird.  I am on book number fourteen
of this year, been very very extra
on Instagram. Last night I hung a crane
pictures, carried on my head swivel computer
chair to a studio I share. I`m trying my hand
at interior decorating as means of escape, just the tips
I found in a Chatelaine articlehad a waiting room nail
biter at the clinic, blue walls or green like spinach?
I walk to see enough strange things. Advertisements
for artist submission above toilets. Your art here
which you had considered because it’s a movement
many people will see. I`m worried about our personal,
separate futures. I’ve made a life mistake. Next July
I`ll be a very hot thirty-five-year old B.C. poet. Will
they have let dogs into stores by then? Will
I see you often, around Commercial-Broadway
Skytrain station? I might. I love to walk, love
to for reasons. I like to see the grocer
who says almost hi to me. Couples squinting
in rain, their Red Label, Lagers, very hoppy
beer. The constants. It shows me going
on: the dragon fruit rolling onto 1st, the cow
leg delivery on Kitchener street, all commercials
to me. I need that deep finesse, fine tunements.
A device-thing to make the simple easier.
I walk with my head down. I do and find myself
little gifts for free. Once a triceratops finger
puppet. The tiniest, cutest pet radish in cracks of pavement—
it was alive, bright pink, so perfectly fine.


Matthew Walsh is a Nova Scotian writer living in Vancouver, BC. He has work in The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry, Joyland, Matrix, Bad Nudes, Carousel, and others. He likes to do interviews, talk about books, and listening to Brandy. He’s on Twitter @croonjuice.