Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Earth Day in the Thanatopolis

Mountain View cemetery revisited in the Springtime, is a paradox almost surrational, as if it was a Surrealist conceit. A sprawling manicured sculpture park for the all but entirely forgotten and the totally forgot-- a landscape built on the grandiose narcissism of robber barons and on the humble grief of ordinary people.
Famous internees include Frank Norris whose novel McTeague looked at corruption in a city not far away, in fact visible from here. Here lies as well the remains of the murder victim known sensationally as The Black Dahlia, presumably in reunited form, perhaps a corset of some sort.

Naturally it is more appropriately atmospheric in the dimming light of Autumn. There are quite a lot of recreational visitors during Unholy Week around Hallowe'en and the Day of the Dead.

But it is a another green world of wonder in April and the metaphysical 3-D chessboard feeling remains vividly intact. 

1. The Thanatopolois

Once upon a time you could get a nice place
To wait for the End of Time

Married for all eternity

Landed members of the post mortem gentry

You don't get to choose your neighbors

Good taste is timeless

The church of one's self

Should the earth itself be destroyed in flame
Let no one in this world disturb my bones

Mine is the biggest

Flowers grow from the roof of a tomb

A glimpse of fellow Earth Day folk frolicking
Pivotal Mount Tamalpais in the distance

Heaven is in your mind

(that doesn't mean it's not "real")

2. The Marginal

This old tree has a noticeably odd personality
You get a little eerie living here, I suppose

This can't be good--I remember a viable pond here full of birdlife
I suspect that they are filling it in for more burial ground

Grave desecration....you hate to see that
And it's Easter time too

In years gone by, the birds frequented this lower pond
Neglect may predict a fate similar to that of the red pond above

These trees were here for two long centuries
Watching the dead being buried by the living

3. Final Thoughts

 I don't need no mansion on a hill
Maybe a little cottage in Hobbiton
 where I could rest for ever and ever

 In a nice quiet neighborhood

A happy ending for all

Earth Day, 22 April 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Secret of the Sea, Pt.2,Chap.2. Representing West Coast Marine and Industrial Culture

The Port of Oakland

Like the chapters on the technical side of whaling that comprise a good portion of Moby Dick, the Flaneur offers a guided tour through the actualities and the sumulacra of marine industry, seen here as arte trouve

Next stop Jack London Square
Dig the guy riding the grill on this freight train

Emergency boats and a floating lighthouse

Leaving the Oakland Ferry landing
The floating lighthouse next to the Potomac
Roosevelt's "floating White House"

Shipbuilding at an Alameda boatyard

Bay Ship looking tres hip

The Alameda Ferry landing 

Another container ship Oakland-bound

They're here.... the X Ships have docked
Think of all those toilet flushes

The Military and Prison industries leave picturesque detritus
Decorative bookends on the untamed Bay

C'est moi

  Ur source...

...on Beach street...

... the old main drag

Justly proud 

Behind the curtains

The aqueous theater and its double

Ghosts of the Lighthouse hotel

The wilderness begins at the Golden Gate
Enter the fog after fish or after adventure
The odds are fair that you'll return

Not you, shipwreak

With the printing press came a host of chimeras 

Fugue state on a Sailor Jerry's tide

Everybody needs some kind of ventilator

 San Francisco was a hard-core Union town

The first settlers may have landed
 in pods from who-knows-where

   Heavy metal led to the Industrial Revolution

With your street car visions of cannery row,
sang the prophet
The cable cars do stop at this former cannery

Made in San Francisco

Wooden ships fashioned here

Built to last

From Penny Arcade to today's extreme video parlors
The Amusement Industry is big business
Laughing Sal retired to the Musee Mecanique
After a career at Playland at the Beach.

Tour boats stay afloat

The Port of Oakland full moon approach

 Another perilous voyage

December 2013-April 2014