Rollie Pemberton is rapper and producer Cadence Weapon. His albums Breaking Kayfabe and Hope In Dirt City were both shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. He served as poet laureate of Edmonton from 2009 to 2011. His book of poetry Magnetic Days was published by Metatron in 2014. He lives in Toronto.






A flag boy has turned auburn in the citylands
Bounding over wrinkles in the cityskin
He will soon be waving his banner behind you
When you steady yourself and slowly rotate your body toward him
A glorious pattern will reveal itself to you 

A crested shield and some primary colours
It will remind you of not being hemmed up
Of not drinking in the day in your casual garms
Of not capering toward some dull postulation
The sight of it will untwist you, make you new again 

It is hot dusk and you are out of your bachelor
Deep inside the accelerated veins of the city's heart
Couples walk all slow and love-legged
Clotting up the sidewalk and raising your candor
Until you tightrope on thin streetside concrete to make your escape  

Tonight you will pray to the roman candles
The silver salutes, the girandolas, the crossettes
You will remember being flag boy age
Sprinting across the river valley way past sundown
Aerial flashes mirroring the phosphorescent stars on your bedroom ceiling 

And just like that, the streets will darken considerably
The patter will eventually come to an end
You will find yourself in the mode of retreat
The drips cascading down boxes stuffed in windows
And the animals made to walk without leashes will be your guides 

When you return home, you will stretch in front of a mirror
You will raise your shoulders and arch your back like a boa snake
The shadow above you will play puppeteer to your tiptoe
Stretch, stretch, stretch yourself out of the mirror's frame
And into the morrow of a new day