Archive for June, 2010

down by the canal

A fence encompasses a field of gravel and a few insidious weed-tree sprouts. It’s two-thirds of a block, and used to be solid with warehouses. They tore them down and wrapped the lot in its fence and then nothing happened at all.

I’m in front of the fence with my camera, trying to get the light just right, when a man walks up and says, “Can I ask you something?” He’s got a clipboard, I’m wary, but it’s an airy sunny day, the kind of day that makes it hard to say no.

“Ok, sure.”

He points to the sprawl of the lot. “What do you see here?”

Now I’m smiling. There’s a joke and he hasn’t gotten it yet. “I see something funny,” I tell him.

He pulls his chin back a little into his neck, waits for further information.

So I point to the small metal sign that someone has pinned to the fence. It says, “KEEP OFF THE GRASS.”

He looks and after a quick beat he’s laughing and laughing, doubled over into one raised knee. It would not be imprecise to say that he sounds like the devil is tickling his ribs.