where does a street start? within sight of it? out the back of it? under the river part of it? when does the water end? with flood floating the rowing club? blue edging the memorial gardens? that’s a bit close, a woman says. and turns. to go.
flood waters retreat. leave high and dry beaches. of silt. skirted. by pedestrians. by what gauge. a river then? barging over banks. sliding under bars. a bar is a gate. a gate. is a street. is a river a garment then? of light. rustling. under steel girders.
an artery. has its capillaries. an alleyway. has its ventricles. air vents and bricked-up windows. what once passed. through these past portals. barrels. rolled off barges. into dank interiors. these short-circuits. between river and street.
look. there’s a doorway. from the river. a tree. from a crack. in a wall furred. with green weeds. the ghost. of a bicycle. haunts silty shallows. a beach. under the Ouse Bridge. it’s actually two bridges built side by side, a voice from the river cruise says.
the Ouse used to be wider. the sun used to be higher. the sky used its best blue. by twilight. gave the rest away. pausing. to watch the sculls slicing. bodies bent double. remind us. we weren’t meant. to walk upright.
As Writer in Residence for the Street Life project, J. R. Carpenter is researching the history of Coney Street as it is happening right now, and now, and now -- an ongoing ever-present present unfolding minute by minute. Carpenter walks slowly, noting fleeting sights, sounds, smells, sunny spells, and snippets of overheard conversation. Everything is of interest. Nothing is too ordinary. These notes become captions composed for Instagram posts. These, in turn, are typeset and printed.