The pets that were lost have either been found or mourned by now; the bake-sales and yard-sales have cashed up long ago; the evening classes and gigs have faded into the night leaving minds and ears abuzz. The flyers are gone but the staples remain, punctuating the telephone poles like empty quote marks – jumbles of silenced declarations, each a little monument to something wanted or something offered. The poles in this Montreal neighbourhood have been armoured by years of wanting and offering. The newer ones glint like chain-mail, the ancient ones are stained with rust and tar, they reward your touch with a brutal rasp.
I am fascinated by these poles. I am wondering what wordless messages might now be coded into their brutal surfaces. We used to talk more like this. Pinning our notices to the physical world, leaving them to be seen, noticed, and to decay and disappear. We still do, of course, but I’m in the mood to perceive a quietening of this conversation. I’m feeling that these empty poles with their ancient staples and paper tags are mute when they would have been noisy. Better ways to communicate have come along, more effective ways to post, to ask and to offer, and this is just another little anachronism that shows how life changes. But still, I look at all those staples and it seems a shame (I’m in the mood for it to seem a shame) that maybe we don’t talk that way any more.