Poem: “Perpetual Motion”


First there was a railway
connecting downtown Ottawa
to surrounding communities.

Then came the rapid transit system.
Articulated buses. Double-deckers. Express lines.

Now Light Rail Transit,
plagued with jammed doors,
faulty switches,
computer failures.

Trains get stuck for hours
winter is coming.

buses are deemed redundant.
The City takes them off the road.

Sarah lives near Billings Bridge
and works at the Experimental Farm.
“It used to take me 40 minutes
before they cancelled the buses,”
she says.
“Now I need an hour-and-a-half
to get to my office.”

After blaming the riders
for meddling with the doors,
the Mayor is quick
to condemn the LRT builder.
“I am furious, angry, and frustrated,”
he announces.
“We are bringing back the buses.”


(Editor’s note: poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday)

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