Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Message from the Sea: San Francisco Maritime Nocturne

Notice anything strange ?

As with a recurrent dream, the Flaneur sees something noetic and new 
in all of his by now familiar circumnavigations of the Bay

As the vitrine fills with warm saltwater
The good citizens waltz onward to oblivion

Aquatic Park Grows Dark

A mild and placid evening,
Not many people around

Mount Tam broad-shoulders the evening sky,
The lights of imaginary Sausalito come on,
The Golden gate bridge throws the switch

Before long it's just the swimmers and myself,
The water was like a blanket of ice,
Colder than it seemed last month

The Wharf After Dark


A time for coming in 
From landscapes of darkness

I am easily mesmerized these days

"San Francisco--Sailor Beware"
Black out on sex booze and music
Wake up on a ship to Shanghai


Some people are quite skillful,
At never seeing you again

It was a case of life's perfect casting,
He looked like a manikin street car driver 
In a video noir TV episode
He was more noir for concealing his face

Oh well there's always another street car...
But I'll never get another shot of that driver,
God damn it

Kitsch Palace Row

San Francisco is without any doubt
One of the Kitsch capitals of the world

In a Barbary coast watering hole,
Classic California outsider kitsch,
This miner lost his nose to frost bite

Nighttime at the Fun House

 For some systematic disordering of all the senses
Always spare a little time

Madame Sozaska is in the house,
She has never forgotten anything,
She'll spill a lot of sawdust for a sawbuck

Some unfamiliar faces as well,
Emanations of social anxiety

 The psycho-pathology of the everyday sideshow

 A rigged game of chance
In a miniature world
Made nightmarish by time and death

A hillbilly hoe-down was in full swing,
Sounding cheerful and carefree

Tragedy and schadenfreude 
Always seem to show up too

There are plenty of cars and guns available
For the children

There is even a barbershop quartet
For any centarians in the family
Who still remember that sort of thing


 Souvenirs for the senescent,
An embroidered patch that says
 I left my mind in San Francisco

These guys were my favorites,
Baroque rock versions of "Mickey's Monkey,"
and of "Monkey Man" 
By The Stones and by Toots & the Maytals

The Night Club

Full moon rising in the Eastern sky,
Past the darkened Red&White fleet dock,
One encounters a  fine dining experience

 The celebrated Franciscan Crab Restaurant

We call it "celebrated" because 
 Tawdry show business personalities
Used to hang out there

Pile-up of San Francisco signifiers
In a kitschy stained-glass tableau,
The City as it never was, and never will be

Keep your eye on this blue neon swordfish

Dark Departure

Look back as we set sail,
A tiny light blue diagonal under the dark blue lights,
The neon swordfish

Next comes the raison d'etre 
For tonight's dark journey

Seeking illuminations, same as ever

From far left: Port of Oakland lights,
Bay Bridge, Moon, Saturn, light show,
downtown San Francisco 

Way out on the Bay, almost halfway home
We turn and make for the Ferry Building

Bridge lights and the moon 
In the distance my home port of Oakland

Two nights ago the switch was thrown
For new lighting on the Ferry Building
Recalling the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915

As we were boarding the downtown passengers
A guy raised a toast to the thrilling bridge lights,
Co-incidentally this was the last night for them,
Originally a two-year temporary installation ending tonight,
The ever-changing light show will now return next February


Photos of the 1915 version of the lit-up Ferry Buiding
Illustrate that it was quite a bit more elaborate than this,
Every edge of was articulated with big bright bulbs,
Not to spoil a cool eyeball kick with my critical eye

What perspective in this image,
A streak of light out of the heavens
A fond goodbye for now,
O fairy lights of the Bay Bridge

Back at the Port of Oakland,
After we drop off the Alameda crowd
The boat crosses over in the most exquisite slow motion,
Inducing hallucinatory drowsiness and a sensation of no motion,
Little kids drop off to sleep like puppies

5 March 2015

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