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Ronna Bloom's poem "The City" installed by PLANT Architects on King Street in Toronto

  • "The City" a poem painted on King Street King Street West at Brant Street Toronto, ON Canada (map)

Asphalt Poetry

In collaboration with PLANT Architects, my poem "The City" has been painted on King Street as part of the King Street Pilot Project. 

Here's what PLANT says: Poetry needs to be read more than once. Read a little today, then a little more tomorrow. Read it all at once. Or savour only some of the words today, and a few more tomorrow. Read it while you are walking. Read it while you are cycling. Read it while you are on the streetcar, fleetingly. Asphalt Poetry is both a ground mural and a performance collaboration. The poem The City by Ronna Bloom is presented on the ground – able to be read from the north and the south, at different speeds, words intermingling. "The City" will be on view throughout the summer.

King Street West at Brant Street (Just west of Spadina)

The City

A network of roads spreads finely
through fields, between tower blocks
and building sites, it spins
through highways and downtowns
and downtowns. Dangerous neighbourhoods
await arteries. Maps
the city Toronto to the city Dublin to the city London.
All converge.
Circle road, Ring road.

I am going out all the exits on the highway
at the same time. Mapping
a leg to a shoulder, a memory to a hill, a blue vein
to an arm. Cross
sections of past. Yonge Street meets
King north of Piccadilly Circus
like a skin graft. Major intersections
cross the body. 

I don’t know where I’m going and the city
calls to my voices, my limbs,
all my uncertain directions, saying:
Lie down in the not knowing.
Lie down in me.

Ronna Bloom, Fear of the Ride (McGill-Queen's Press, 1996)