Social Goodness & Abundance

The “BIXI” is one of those city short-trip rental bikes, stationed around Montreal, and actually pretty affordable ($30/month, for unlimited trips under 45 minutes). The price of affordability is ads on all sides of the BIXI. A group of “vandals,” as the BIXI execs understood it, decided to cover all 5,500 bikes, or 11,000 ads when you count each side of the rear wheel, with poetry. That was round 1 in spring 2011. They also produced a Web site that looked BIXI official, proclaiming that the ads were being replaced with poetry. When BIXI denied that, there was a near riot among city folk, who loved the public good of the poetry. As the Quebec student strike reheats in this hot August 2012, a second round of poetry is appearing, in random batches, and I’ve captured some of them here. Or as the clandestine elves have written of their own magic: “BixiPoésie is the work of a group of men and women. Students, workers, artists, activists … Men and women who dream of a world where art and culture flow freely in our streets. Where our minds are no longer stuck in the logic of might and economic reason. Where public space belongs to the citizens, rather than corporations” ( For a related article that discusses this in the context of the Quebec student strike, see “Social Goodness & Abundance, Montreal, Night 108,” by Cindy Milstein, at my blog Outside the Circle,