Monday, September 29, 2014

The Oakland-San Francisco Ferry (The Secret of the Sea, Pt.III Chap. 4)


Over twenty-five crossings in the last year and a half, made the San Francisco Bay itself  crucial to the Flaneur's beat.

Until the Bay bridge opened for business in the 1930s most land journeys to San Francisco went only as far as Oakland. From there you took the Ferry to the City.
The crossing has become something profound, primal, perhaps archetypal for me. It forms an analogy in my mind with memories of the first half of my life spent in a city in Massachusetts on the Narragansett bay.
In the hypnagogic passage toward sleep when the multiple levels of association existing in the unconscious begin to be discernible, I have long connected the lay of Berkeley where I lived with Fall River where I grew up. Both had an extensive bay at bottom of the  long hill of  my street.
Today I see the Bay skies and Mount Tamalpais at the end of Eighth street.
In the same time period that people were obliged to take the Ferry from Oakland  to reach San Francisco, many people traveling from New York to Boston took a boat to southeastern Mass and continued on by train. The boat was named after the city which grew famous as a result; it was called "The Old Fall River Line." A popular song was written with the boat's name as title--we used to sing it at our high school basketball games with great joy:

On the old Fall River Line
On the old Fall River Line 
How I wish O Lord
I fell over-board
On the old Fall River Line

Over board with too much fun. A portal in the same way that the Oakland ferry can be.
Remember the the dad at the start of this post? What becomes of the baby?

The Oakland Ferry landing at dusk

View of the Oakland marina from the Ferry landing

Approaching the landing

A Ferry departs for the ball park in San Francisco
another full boat went together in tandem with it

This is the Ferry landing building
I spend time here contemplating the water and the sky
No very many people pass by really
It's my de facto neighborhood park

The far side of it
A live re-enactment theater group 
Miming along to" The Wizard of Oz"
 On this lawn when I landed one evening

Off we go,
A clear mild day in Winter

Recent posts showed the sea breeze and choppy Bay in summertime
It was strangely dead calm most of the time last Winter

A groovy pedestrian pier
 I sometimes while away an hour or two there
with lunch or a smuggled bottle of beer

The Port of San Francisco justly renowned Ferry building

Site of perpetual arrival and departure

A sleek new style sailing yacht from the America's Cup races
Brand names  and personal fortunes 
attempt to prevail over sportsmanship

Three cheers for the beauty of the utilitarian
and the communitarian

The fetching topography of Telegraph hill
Note the America's Cup pier in the foreground
a huge hornswoggle by billionaires,
They promised the City mounds of tourist lucre
but instead the City got to underwrite their vanity sport 

It is to enter a domain of airy uplift
Smiles abound here

There's a music to nautical traffic
The manifest buoyancy of life

It's an existential realm out there
and then the Ferry turns in to the pier

Chubby mammals gather to stare at other chubby mammals
Here's where the Ferry docks, 
Pier 41 coming up on the right

Now they tell me...
Life during wartime, baby

 Awaiting departure time under the sheltering sky
 Finite civilization, world without end

 Leaving Pier 41
The arch on the defunct pier an elegant tombstone
A solitary Flaneur on the outside deck

One man's private island 
with a mad skein of starlings

Feeling outside of time

Another stop at the Ferry building
before cruising back to the other side,
late sunlight catches the bridge

Fairy lights on the Bay bridge
An art installation with a sunset clause
Best night shot I managed to get of the vertical light show
a bridge with changing lights from a moving boat at night
Said to be in constant mutation it is never the same twice

"Way over, far over,"
Sang Burning Spear for us
in that yonder city years ago

The charm of returning to solid earth, 
may the circuit be unbroken

Last thoughts

Rain or shine the Ferry's there to take you across every day
(except holidays and weekends in the winter half of the year)
Leave your troubles in the doorway,
today we going to sail
to the sunny side of the Bay


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Incipient Autumn

Berkeley by Day

 No Mea Culpas

Grotesqueries shall unfold,
I saw a vampire/I saw a ghost
And everybody scared me
Berkeley rents and traffic
Scared me the most

Signs of lost times,
The Flaneur shopped here when it was still a five-and-dime,
Vintage die-cut Hallowe'en placards

Oakland by Night

 Glass doors open into darkness

 Shakespeare he's in the alley,
Recusant Catholic poets unite

Leaf shadows waver
on the elaborated abode,
 My dual citizenship

23 September 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Industrial Twilight

An after-dinner walk with the Flaneur through not entirely deserted streets.

 Union Machine Works built like a brick steel house
Protruding girders represent structural testosterone

Windows like missing teeth, 
Dig the herringbone skylight


 Nervous systems

An approach to the Port of Oakland
 in back of the real,
Homage to Trevor Paglen

A windowless building,
one of Cheney's hideaways

 The moment after a train passes

The decisive moment
watching the sky turn violet for some time
the clouds parted and I stood up to capture it

Only a suggestion of the colors
purple clouds and indigo sky over the spectral yacht
the Ferry landing where the vessels sleep

21 September 2014

Sci-Fi Mystery Cult Occupies Oakland Catholic Church

In a recent post the Flaneur made reference to a new development that occurred this Summer:
a vacuous mystery religion took over the old Catholic church building on ninth street.

New Breed

This bizarre insignia glows throughout the night. It is not know what religion the group describes itself as being but that cross I'm seeing ain't exactly Christian.
They immediately added the non-stop klieg lights and the fortified wrought iron perimeter, factors which prevent me from getting a better image.

Population 0 whenever I pass by
Why do they seem so stealthy?
Have they got anything to hide?

To Serve Mankind
This is on a food truck that is always parked near the church after nightfall.
It may have nothing to do with the cult whatsoever...
 but it does add a lot to the sort of spooky sensationalism I reaching for

August 2014

St Mary's Church
The Last Day's

Faithful readers will recall images of the church from recent posts: "The Fourth of July in the Twilight Zone" and "Nostalgia for Last Summer." I found few more images in the Flaneur's Subterraneous Archives. 

A place of prayer and veneration for generations past


July 2013