Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Moraine of Twenty-Fifteen

The Flaneur dispenses associative impressions regarding recent history

Political World

"The Republicans are no longer a political party they represent a right-wing insurgency"
-Noam Chomsky

This was the year the traitors in congress wrote to Iran to say the sitting chief executive officer had no power to make treaties then inviting war-monger Netanyahu to address congress to spite the President's face. They apparently went from the Senate chambers directly to Sheldon Adelson's office to receive their checks.
Boehner invited Beebee only to have a fistula of his own party's extremists force him out. He got a chance to invite the Pope as he grabbed his coat, knowing it was going to be all down hill from there he chose to escape the Boschean scene he helped create. The lachrymose chain-smoking dipso from Ohio side-stepped into the lucrative field of lobbying.

More than one mass shooting a day.
Congress doesn't even bring up gun control anymore. 
The Supreme Court again  showed itself to be thoroughly corrupt,
source of the rot at the top.
Rapacious capitalist demagogue races to the top
pouring gasoline on xenophobia
and status angst, threatening to thwart the GOP
 when he takes his voters with him.

All invoke Reagan supply side tax cuts,
"We're gonna give all the money to people at the top,
 but hang on it will trickle down to you soon." 

The United States produces half of all the world's arms then says,
"It's a dangerous world out there,
 we're gonna have to send our drones in to kill you."

White Lives Don't Matter

No one has to tell me how grim daily life has become, 
I see it on a daily basis. 
No one is more appalled by the treatment of poor blacks than I am,
the summary executions of the defiant,
the body left in the street for hours in Ferguson,
the NYC cops choking a petty offender to death,
The Ohio cop not warning the kid from inside his own vehicle 
to drop the weapon, a toy it turned out,
It's a continuous litany.

I have been very pointedly trying to expose and express dissent
from the police-state plutocracy it's become.
This repression courtesy of the very wealthy
is coming for all of us,
Which is not to say that the hardest edge of it
 doesn't come down on African-Americans,
It does

I don't believe the answer is for the disaffiliated Blacks
to double-down on the hostile threatening behavior,
That only gives them further rationalization for
The militarization of  the police and of surveillance
And prison-building.

Attempting to dominate by intimidation, bullying,
Displays of anger and contempt 
for innocent bystanders who happen to be of European dissent,
Hatred is hatred and no one is justified who hates.

On College Avenue Black activists disrupted a restaurant
Crowding in a reciting the names of those killed by the police,
A mulatto woman stood above an Oakland demonstration 
With a sign unironically reading, "Rules for White People"
On campus Black students shoved and blocked
Other students from using Sather gate
To make them feel the discomfort they feel themselves every day,
This tactic spread to "Black Friday" and "Black Christmas"protests 
when free citizens were physically blocked from shopping,
A very long way from the program 
of respect and responsibility fostered by Dr. King,

But who are the leaders of this movement?
Ta Nahisi Coats,
Half-baked and spiteful,
Blames all ghetto pathology on white racism,
He strikes me as the Black protest 
Equivalent of Mr Donald.


Not the place I used to know

(more rants to follow,

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Flaneur Looks Back

The Flaneur Looks Back

 Kaleidoscopes of one hundred years past

 Mementos and souvenirs of  halcyon hallucination

 I think because a boy climbed it
after it had soaked up the rain in November
and fell to his death when the bough broke,
It's now a make shift shrine with rainy flowers
and Mexican Catholic candle jars

There was a fire on the first floor of my building,
A commercial space.
The apartments didn't really burn but some were smoked

 I suppose lead was found,
This led to a rebuilding of the frontal interior,
The place had just finished being entirely rebuilt,
I have the good fortune to live at the very back
The only real effect besides coming and going past workman
Was the rather pleasant one of the place 
Remaining half-deserted in the interim


Best Films 2015

The  Best Films of 2015

1. American Sniper
2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
3. Unfinished Business
(Vince Vaughn movie)
4. Jupiter Ascending
(Channing Tatum movie)
5. Kingsman:The Secret Service

These are the only films I saw on the big screen
and they weren't any good for the most part. 
The film more or less happened to playing
 at the Jack London cineplex when I was in the vicinity
  and was bearing a gift card for admission.
They are not in order of merit and I would say

American Sniper was the most unpleasant experience of the lot.
Dispiriting as any film I've seen,
the mise en scene was enlivened by a fight next to me
A rolling-on-the-floor fight
It was over smart phone usage

 Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was possibly the most fun
beyond absurd in terms of plausibility,
It was nevertheless an unflagging fun ride.
Tom Cruise doesn't have a Marvel or DC comics superhero franchise
But he doesn't need one because he is almost always a super-hero,
Imagine seizing onto a jet as it takes off so he can climb into it in the air
And who can find any fault with that title
A worldwide poll recently found that the country
 Regarded as the greatest threat to peace was
our own failed state

Unfinished Business was a real roll of the dice on a night
when I felt like seeing a film and looked for the least
 of the various evils on offer.
I may have laughed aloud at its depravity a few times
But my immediate impression was that Vince
 makes rather low-budget exploitation movies now,
He was fine in his role as Vince Vaughn
But the excruciating part was James Franco's younger brother
In my cannabis-sensitized state it hurt to look at his close-ups
His bewildered and bewilderingly bad acting
As the dumb young white guy--the predominantly black audience
Howled and slapped at his maladroit cluelessness
A comedic actor from UK had the indignity of being encountered
Standing at a glory hole with his genitals protruding
Introduced by Vince as a business associate
Franco goes over and shakes his extremities,
Tom whatshisname prestigious British actor is also in it
But like Vince I guess he does anything

Jupiter Ascending  is rather difficult to remember, cheap thrills usually are to the adult mind.
I wanted to check out a state of the art modern 3 D film and this was my introduction to them. Channing's chest and Mira Kunis' eyes were the eye candy dazzlingly displayed in futuristic outer space civilizations. Eddie Redmayne showed beyond any doubt that he was able to portray a bitch.

The Kingsman: The Secret Service was some sort of pre-release early showing or something, I certainly hadn't heard of it when I got a ticket. It was a sort of a send-up  of the James Bond film genre with that sort of droll commentary on rapacious classism that passes for dry satire but is easy to mistake for admiration.

Another saber-toothed year-- some random thought balloons
All best wishes to my readers for 2016

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree 2015


 Another chiaroscuro Solstice day spent on the Estuary,
Brief light arctic rain showers and a cold bite kept it fairly deserted,
 the way the Flaneur likes things to be,
 A day last week when the cold front first marched through 
on the phalanx of a nippy North wind,
Lakeside park was mobbed by great misfortunes of crows,
They densely populated the top branches of firs
But were restless and prone to take to the sky
Like ants spilling from an anthill
 Geese fed happily on new green lawns
While seagulls hunkered down passive yet alert,
The tumult of the crows spilled across the sky 
In the mounting winds of Winter

Mountain View Cemetery
Christmas day the weather remained chilly but with a brilliant sun
The Flaneur spent hours outdoors enjoying an infused chocolate,
A lunch of sardines and pumpernickel 
and a wee jar of  Christian Brothers brandy
Scattered hikers, an impromptu chat at Cogwell's monument,
An overall cheerful scene with  very few mourners
Deep peace came falling slow 
Passing a church I had prayed for grace 
And God was kind to me

Home for a feast replicating the one I had on Christmas eve
Tender bresats of wholesome free range chicken
Sweet and golden Yukon potatoes, peas, carrots, onion,
Broccoli and red bell pepper, cranberry sauce,
Ginger saps, fine coffee, highest quality cannabis, brandy.
Profoundly beautiful sacred music proceeded from my humble radio
As I read Peter Ackroyd's William Blake
Napping after my long hike, some oneiric lines of verse follow on,

Gratitude for such a profusion of blessings

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Darkening Glass

The Sign of the Cross

Old Saint Mary's
San Francisco

The Flaneur exhibits secretive images of darkening stained glass 
Expressing the mystery beyond image, Word beyond word
O heart become holy! O Christmas become earth

To enter a sacred space
here is elsewhere

The Faceless Centurion

Saint Patrick made me a bishop in primordial time,
I try not to be a bishopric

The way of all things

Saint Nicholas bless all of us

 May all the great saints bless us

 Centurion, remember thy face
The face you wore
before your Mother was born


Advent 2013/2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, San Francisco

 The Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

A worthy rerun from last December

Returning to a holy venue that I first attended in its original role as a parish church. North Beach was a quite different place then in the last years of the nineteen-seventies.
Everything was, of course, very different than today. Local parishioners fall away,

The place was closed by the Diocese for some time. Its steeples cast  a lonely silhouette in the dusk.
Then the relics of St Francis and of St Clare arrived salvifically. The order of St Francis brought the church back as a national shrine with a liturgy and an outstanding music program. A minor miracle.
After a few years of its success, local Italo-American pride kicked in the funds for a precious re-imagining of the small chapel Francis and his followers built so long ago: the Nuova Porziuncola. It is a place for meditation and prayer and, I think perhaps rarely, a Mass.

Masses in the Shrine itself are well-attended and visitors from all over stream though each day.
Regularly scheduled classical and sacred music concerts take place there as well.
It seems visitors are present at the Shrine whenever I'm there; sight-seers respect the prayerful atmosphere and get a spiritual contact high I am certain.

 The approach on bountiful Columbus avenue,
It's a good time to go in and say a prayer.

Measuring the Nuova Porziuncola

 The entrancing goodness of the entrance,
Dig the window
like a Renaissance Magritte

 The inner porziuncola,
Re-enter the sacred
like a spacecraft air-lock

 Kneel and pray in solitude,
Forget about the passing time,
Unburden your circuitry

 Your own true mind may emerge,
A larger self may manifest in you

 The bread of eternity within reach,
A sandwich from Molinari can be good too

Inside the Shrine

The bells had been rung,
Vibration still quivered in the rafters 
Like winter birds come inside


 The boys choir had finished their program,
The buoyancy of it had lifted all vessels,

 A member of the faithful lights a candle
Extends the feeling in her heart,
It illuminates her day after she leaves

 The figures in the manger
await the coming of the Christ child

 Open throughout the day and throughout the year,
All are welcome and all are blessed

 The mystical light of the sun of Solstice,
Reaches through the stained glass,
Onto a mural of the death of Francis

 An old friend of mine, the poet Philip Lamantia had his funeral Mass here,
The tendentious and misleading introduction to his Collected Poems,
Attempts to portray him as a desultory convert who finally said phooey,
It ignored the fact that a funeral Mass with the music of Messiaen
Doesn't just happen for any merely nominal Catholic who passes away,
It is the decedent's last and most profound profession of faith,
After a coke habit and the bug house Philip swore
The Relics and the Franciscan brothers redeemed his soul and his life
Narrow careerists would rob him of his redemption

Once someone has experienced the Sacred Heart
 Through the Blessed Sacrament,
He exists in relationship to it for eternity

22 December 2013

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Retrospective on The San Francisco Bay

Here are unused, nearly-used and out-taken images from recent Bay crossings
Retrospective maritime documentary

August Adventure

Always busy over at Bay Ship in Alameda

Always a bald guy with a phone camera

Under the bridge to a land of fantasy

San Francisco,
Financial district constructed on landfill

I'm just window-shopping,
I'm never stopping to buy

Hands off ,buddy
I saw her first

Low tide 
Before the storms of Winter

A lot of heavy industry used to go down around here,
Now it all comes in containers from China

All we have to do is milk the tourists,
Progress one would suppose

It's a place I like to be

Pulling off

September Expedition

 Back on the water again

Into the San Francisco headlands

 Fort Mason
Its bold geometry
Before the grandeur of the Gate

 Ha ha here's comes more people
Always a welcome sight
Unlike relentless bicycle traffic

Sea Scouts learn to launch here

 Back to sea level,
Rising with it if need be

 An emporium for those of us with more discerning taste
In home decor

 Galleries offer exciting exhibits of action painting
And other curiosities of modern art

 My own taste runs rather more to the traditional

 Evening falls
On all the joys and diversions
On the seagulls and the sea

 Time to shove off
Nice to have a home to return to after a journey

Intoxicated view of the Ferry Building
Lit-up to recall the 1915 Exposition

August-September  2015