Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Arts Passage

An opening--something about which to crow

Can you locate this Neo Dada arcade by the clues included herein?

 Charcoal Mirror

"Open Secret"
Kind of underwhelming idea,
Nice execution

 Concrete Birdcage

 The Passage continues on to another street

 Exhausted Sausages

Tight Fit
Do you suppose a man or a woman made this?

 Rogues' Gallery
A sneaking sense that they are ridiculing men
Connected to the venerable KALA institute
I showed an artwork there long ago
Curated by a rather witchy Euro lady, Ursula

 Family Meal, 
Large work on what may be paper
Or perhaps it's on buffalo hide

If you guessed that it was right across from this place 
you'd be correct

March 2015


Wondering if you are aware of this Jimi Hendrix bio-pic with Andre 3000 in the title role.
They were denied use of Jimi's recording so it was hobbled to begin with,
The next blunder was to fabricate a scene where Jimi smacks his bitch up.
This never happened.
They  dramatize a story that appears in only one sleazy biography whose authors later disowned it;
this was despite clear denials from all other biographers, and from the girlfriend in question--Hutchinson is her name I believe.
This is wanton damage to his reputation included no doubt at the insistence of investors who wanted more lurid action. Such reckless lack of responsibility to the facts.
It reminds me of the willful inaccuracy in Selma
though it is not nearly as insidiously damaging.
Hendrix reputation will recover but how many people will get the false idea
that LBJ was only a reluctant supporter or an active opponent of the movement for Negro civil rights.
I grew up with LBJ and he was president when my revolution took place in 1966.
Meaning I blamed him for Viet Nam and was glad to see the back of him when he resigned.
So I don't look at his role in civil rights as an uncritical supporter of him.
But he was more important to the civil rights cause as a man than even  MLK was.
I say that because even if MLK was killed at the start of it all the movement would have continued without him.
But only LBJ, only LBJ, could have gotten civil rights legislation through Congress.
He was an extremely intimidating operator who knew every secret and where every dollar was for every Southern Democrat .
People forget that the racist South was Democrat in those days.
Only Johnson could have made them swallow that medicine
and he deserves credit not a stupid attempt to feed us and them bias.
Black kids should learn that powerful white men sometimes help them too.
It also gives credit to the current African American president whose ascent was made possible by MLK's and LBJ's success, to acknowledge that a president of his party did great things for his people.
  The unwholesome effect of the distortion is somewhat similar to  that dull crappy Lincoln by Spielberg.
He decided to have abolitionist Connecticut opposing ending slavery!
Guess he thought it made it look like more a more exciting horse race.
The good people of that state protested loudly, but commerce prevails.
  Spielberg refused to change it, a calumny and the insult stands.
(from an email)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Long Walk North

The Flaneur walks for miles in sandals,
having refused to enter the perplex
of public transportation re-routed by some smug footrace,
to reach symphonic moments in a church North of the Estuary


A lovely day for walking neither hot nor cold,
The charming desuetude of the old urban center
A twenty foot fanlight from yesteryear

Immense clouds stacked over Lake Merritt
View from courthouse plaza

This indigo flower sends me
The color here approaches what the eye sees

In direct sunlight photos come out thus
Lovely but somewhat washed-out color

This is what I'm talking about... kind of,
The largest planting of this flowering shrub I've seen

The roadway was half closed and as I walked here
An absurd solitary pooped-out runner came by
Accompanied by her own police car crawling behind
As she cleared an incline I called, "You got it, baby"
She seemed to weaken, slowed to a walk

 Eucalyptus de-contextualized by its own shade
A beautiful girl in a sexy swim suit
Was having her photo taken by a small crew,
Afterward she changed in a little nylon booth 
Concealment making her even more charming,
Dreams are made of this

A journey of a thousand steps
Made fascinating by the abundant sky

Scottish Rites Temple
Another colossal artifact of secular quasi-religion

Appropriate for this Sunday in Lent,
A Jerusalem pine,
Saint Paul's must be just around the bend

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

They made him look very Jewish, 
Paul was a demagogue at the stoning of Stephen,
Both are Baptismal names of mine,
I had an ass-kick Damascus experience myself,
Mary Fabilli said I was a martyr, seriously

High windows, 
The Prometheus orchestra tunes up

The second piece is the heart of the concert for me
An Adagio by Mahler
The conductor describes it as spiritual,
As evocative of thoughts of one's past

One was able to feel elevated to the level of rapture,
A strange final dissonant note not withstanding,
Some prescience of the difficult listening to come

Lamb of God
You take away the sins of the World
 Grant us Peace

The concert resumed with
Manuel de Falla's "Three-Cornered Hat"
Balletic dance themes, the uplift of Spring


Blessing all who come into His house,
Whether they know it or not

To everything there is a season, 
And straight is the gate 
To the great outdoors

Time for me to climb back into the boat
With the good Saint Timothy

The clouds over the Estuary had altered themselves
A higher strata prevails, a cooler front came in,
Seagulls circle at various altitudes,
Somehow connected in a vast mobile 

22 March 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Batman Roundabout

Red turns to green

Niche Berkeley

The Flaneur lived nearby for many years and walked here countless times

The places you see everyday become sacred to you. When you move aware and come back there is an echo of this. You remember when you felt it more, but there has been a red shift in the light from that that system of stars
My pad on Woolsey had a lot of shade and
here there sunny benches to read, write and otherwise enjoy
Batman Street so re-named by denizens
has a legacy of counter-cultural legacy

  The Bohemian front garden of  a ceramicist sculptor

 A thicket of flowers 
A fairytale for children
 With a suitably storybook house

 Severe lines of this imposing house
Suggest pilgrim settlers
Witchcraft in the family cupboard

 Threshold of a wooden dwelling place on Batman

 I took a little detour on my way from the Claremont library 
To the natural foods supermarket
To try to see if I could run into a friend who probably still lives here
She helped to record God Nose at KPFA studio in the late 1990s
Lately I listen to her midnight radio program
Last saw her ten years ago when she took me
to see Bob Dylan play at the Paramount
It was the first time I thought he was slightly boring

 There's no bakery and no cafe here
Nor was there ever
They must dig the sign though once in a while
They can avoid hitting it with their car

 Red is the new green

These flowers around my ankles
Were like Aztec bells

March 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Winter's End, Marginalia

a seagull ruckus
over starbucks coffee shop
with blown-out windows

everyday life
the crests of towering clouds
some avoid looking

The Blessed Mother stands at the end
of the corridor of mannikins
that beat themselves up
and bemoan their lack of grace
Mary of course is herself full of it

hummingbird in the rain
works its way up a trellis
of bougainvillea

the smudgy moonrise
furtive racoon and offspring 
vast city center

I come forward
from my rocking chair
skeined with theatrics
to continue the poem without end

diadems reach the same shores
the same conclusions

up front on the bus
a cross of ashes
on her young forehead

senses my awareness
in back of her mind
a bus seat behind

we used to share ashes
with someone who missed Mass
seeking the blessing seeking the grace

pariah par excellance
parsed in the parish register

benediction from a passing bus

middle aged awake
lies in the long green grass
one cloudy weekday

vehicular atavism

broad parkscapes at the Port of Oakland
well maintained but lightly visited
today the scene of a momentous drag race
we drive past in a 1967 VW bus

No race on at the time
mildly resentful looks
unintelligible comments
leather jacket toughs near choppers

theorhetorically speaking

significant trees
and watery breeze
are my realities

no screen at home
no library today
patterns of sunlight

the side of a ship
crisscross ripple effect
worrisome warm weather

sun goes behind a cloud
naturalism responds
to no jacket on

walking on the water surfaces
naturalism responds
with another dreary fact

December 2014-March 2015

One Morning in Spring

Up early today
Always something cheerful to see in Oakland
Temperatures ten degrees above normal as usual

Hie thee, mortal...Berkeley lies that-a-way 

19 March 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bus Stop

Patience is a form of grace.

 A charming green belt in Alameda
I spent an afternoon on the bench at Crown beach,
To get here I walked down from the 51 busline
but my dogs don't favor an uphill rebound
So I await the somewhat sparse 20 bus down here,
You must be alert because the bus comes around a curve 
and it will leave you behind without the slightest regret

 Time passes

 In my long life I have developed skills to avoid impatience--
the almost psychedelic color of early California poppies,
the meaning of trees and grass and clouds...

 More time passes

A father and his toddling daughter come along the long sidewalk, eventually are even with me. She is filled with the pure joy of the Springtime, a contact high for me. She reaches for a poppy and Dad says no. I say, "it's protected." She pets the flower as it it was a kitten such touching gentleness.
Then they slowly move on and are gone...

More time passes

 Across the street tennis courts and sports fields,
A row of admirable trees
 hanging outdoors, tired, having exercised myself
I enjoy observing the activities of others

 More time passes

 A so-called aboriginal or primitive person  sees a landscape in a much more profound sense. This capacity occupies the exact structures in the brain that we so-called civilized humans use to store knowledge of symbolic language of all kinds.
My goal is restore as much of this capacity in myself as I can. While here I heard crows, watched a bluejay make his rounds, and I keep a long watch on a lovely Anna's Hummingbird hovering over the scrub trees...

 In no time at all

But I didn't see a snake until I got back to Chinatown,
The bus showed up and dropped me at 8th street minutes later,
Racing through the tunnel under the Bay like it was 2001

15 March 2015