wo – 51

PICS2 1062From 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.

Provided there are no accidents, it can take several hours to travel less than thirty miles on public works notable only for the feeling of spiritual desolation that hovers above sun struck dashboards, like an oil slick on the sea.

But here, one can avoid a situation that contains plausible distant echoes – helicopters reporting on traffic flows, the squeaking mechanical parts as vehicles inch to the toll plaza, the rattle of engines spewing carbon – of the collapse of everything important.

To move about on foot or with a bike is, once you’ve had enough of this modern form of mass hypnosis, a way of living future Americans will dismiss as bizarre, an incomparable luxury, the best reason to live in a neighborhood many still call ghetto, from ignorance.

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IMG_2712Easily, the greatest disadvantage to living in the urbs, the entire absence of the greatest show on earth.

003Points of light billions of years old, trillions of them, tremendous, stars, the constellations, the wheeling planets, circling moons, flaming comets,

plall obscured by primitive methods of illuminating streets, public spaces.

004In the future, when the skies darken, city dwellers will see again what people have looked upon in awe for thousands of years

009due to better, more advanced lighting.

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IMG_8382The grim signs & portents (warnings) that appear at the border of West Oakland.

IMG_8359Beneath the off ramp by the railroad tracks at West Grand Avenue, an urban wilderness where the cash poor are comfortable, not bothered by authority, markers appear normally created by richly eccentric mountain men, dropouts from burdensome rules, taxes, marriage, left in the Colorado Rockies to say to those passing, broadcast subtly, Despite all progress caused by my coming this is not the suburbs, satellite towns, bland. Indeed, this is a place where even the rats roll over and die, sometimes, so watch your step, pilgrim.

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wo – 48

IMG_8356Cleopatra enters Rome after Liz Taylor.

IMG_8400Made from bits and parts, discarded treasure carried off the street, including long suffering soil infused with mother’s milk, chopped cabbage and succulents, restorative, in honor of two women who packed a punch.

IMG_8396The elaborate spidery plant at the top  – lascivious commanding & elegant simultaneously – the bulwark, for a time, of Richard Burton/Marc Antony, continuously relevant flaming and complicated men, the only thing bought besides blue spray paint.

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IMG_1279At the Berkeley border, a red banner with words in large black letters, covering the entire front of a commercial building, Less Internet, More Love.

IMG_0355Tell that to the cheerleaders of staying connected, now bloated with cash and quaint ideas of world domination, the people, vampires in expensive jeans, who run Facebook & ardently desire that you stay online till you’re dead, and then some, to mine your data, post triumphant numbers for Wall Street.

IMG_0783The same ones who ignore a fundamental reality – switch the issue rather ineffectively & apply technology to paper over the truth – you are born and die alone, which is comfortable, as it should be, harder to accept than corporate advertising.

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treeYoung urban street trees, which struggle to survive in the best conditions.

Fifty or so in number, planted at the corner of 20th and Campbell Street by the baseball field where ghosts that live and move in silence across the landscape,

IMG_8221men without shelter, homes, love, seek a brief respite from crushing banality under the spreading branches of mature trees, survivors in a pitiless environment where local predators, peddlers of misery, drug dealers on break, sit in their cars by the road side, staring incessantly at hand held devices & lingering, like odious bugs.

058After a year, all but five are dead, and of the small band who refuse to surrender with leaves mostly missing, or sickening brown, death, the end as they say in the movies, is near.

water2One has to wonder if this is not a sign of things to come,

h2an ominous token,

008radiant skyExhibit F in court

a detail mostly unnoticed in a land perilously short of the essential element to sustain life

055& weather that appears increasingly bizarre, punitive, unhappy with humans.

091the sublime, nature so awesome in power, gone berserk.  e.g.  the typhoon like forest fires that now rage in the Colorado Rockies for months at a time year round  the New Normal    as reported on the website sponsored by Yale’s School of Forestry,  http://e360.yale.edu/, for instance

Blessed Water.

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wo – 45

IMG_7987The Brown Sugar Kitchen.

mikesRecently written about in the venerable gossip rag for citizens who want to know what’s really going on (incredible bungling, loss of life and treasure for no good reason, habitual corruption, a cast of out of their depth generals, foolish & naive presidents,

002soldiers who haven’t the slightest clue what they’re doing in a monster den, the accumulation and compounding of error and arrogant thinking, gross negligence in continuing the unmitigated disaster, they never learn history, the conservative virtues of proportion, restraint) in Afghanistan, The New York Review of Books.

IMG_7660IMG_4168One of the things that works in fucked up Oakland, declared Michael Chabon somewhat loftily, more or less. Continue reading

wo – 44

IMG_7989Walking on a blazing Friday afternoon at Oakland Art Murmur, one of the best street parties in the Bay Area, it’s good to see the weird old America Bob Dylan drew on for inspiration is alive and well, flourishing even, in a place with infinite, still barely recognized potential, the nerve center of the urbs, downtown Oakland, California, which should be the most walkable, bikeable place for miles, but is not, not yet.

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wo – 43

IMG_7419It’s logical, like 1 plus 1 equals 2.  When cars are curtailed from the urban environment, people, ideas, soul, food, the Brown Sugar Kitchen, follow.

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