There’s no library here like in Newport, hard by the billowing Atlantic, to be a bookish brown tan bum on a July Saturday and chill with darling aged women, the older white men, the really older in deadly dull Brooks Brothers, the post-present war gen, all united by fleeting thoughts of literature and sex, behind the naked bronze God, far from tumult and war, but we limp along. not ponderously but with growing confidence, a crisp step, running, often on a black bike, a modern classic, in West Oakland, the last urban frontier in America, just past Detroit, where boredom is
The voice with inflections deep and sonorous, a manly man’s man and paid actor safely behind the ramparts in Fortress America, comes over the radio, poses a question: would you like to do something useful with your life presently deprived of a job over minimum wage, the bonus being health care & travel in exotic foreign parts? Then join the few, the proud, fight for the American Way, to paraphrase slightly. Pardon the interruption Mister, but what’s that, the American Way? If you mean dedication to the rule of the law and evolving standards of decency, the use of technology within a rigorous ethical framework combined with a healthy aptitude for fair play, the stars and stripes forever. Continue reading
It’s elementary, gawking from a car window won’t do. The eye needs to be trained in the trenches, with cats, hardened in various battles, to see.
Walk the streets enough in West Oakland, the outline of the American future appears, distinctly, brazenly even, the pieces coming together in a new way as China, India, the Philippines, the other world with their desperate billions, perform tasks once done here for what: fiddlesticks. Continue reading
At the border, in the midst of the flat lands dividing Oakland’s downtown from the parts to the west scissored off by a freeway, steel giants greet the dawn. Continue reading
After a lengthy spell in places where a man can be left undisturbed to think, one is reminded of an unpleasant fact of life in the Bay Area. If you are one of the many who feel the necessity of working for a living, a lot of people with no chance ask for money. Following months of these shake downs, it’s natural, inhuman, to ignore anyone who begs for what we need to preserve our dignity, the ability to shape the future. Before long, this approach felt wrong, because to remain silent in the face of these intrusions compels you to participate in the catastrophes of others. Continue reading
In Northern California, the traffic is typical of any metropolitan region of the United States. From Sacramento to San Jose and on all roads to San Francisco, pieces of machinery that drain the wallets of most people, cars, back up miles each morning, every night, on the weekends, randomly, at any hour. It can take 3 hours to travel 27 miles on public works notable only for their crushing banality, their supersize quality, the feeling of spiritual desolation that hovers above sun struck dashboards like an oil slick on the sea. Continue reading
The other never dull day, in the hour when the financial district in San Francisco begins to hum, woof, rotate, come alive with grim commuters on the way to prisons for the law abiding – offices – a man in Richmond, a struggling community on the rim of one of the most expensive cities to live worldwide, stole a car at gunpoint.
When American men, the modern ones, see people, they don’t see color, gender, no gender, sexual orientation, the l and q’s, they see complexity, an individual work of art hard to pin down, categorize, parcelize; the many moving parts make it so. Continue reading
There sits a parcel of land, a pocket park most delightful, nearby. Rolling hills surround a grove of young Redwoods, the watchtowers of crows. In all seasons, wild flowers grow in profusion, pungent rosemary lines the way. Here is a gentle place to pause, listen to the busy wind. Continue reading