Monday, December 15, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Floating Down

She floats down, hoping to find silence.
Her mind rests in this moment of uncertainty.
She like the darkness, is safe.
Her eyes are closed, but open.
She knows how to look inside. This place requires a different kind of seeing.
Her breath is soft. It is still in this place.

She hears the call and beings pull
Her out of this place, this place is where
She can only go.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


You know what I mean by 'Grave Robbing' don't you? Evidently, this game has gone on around here for years--a local take on 'seeing' I guess--a way to peel away interference. To be fair, it seems, if you do anything long enough and hard enough you'll see ghosts or colors or flagmen or Ohlone or whatever. When I first moved out here I thought it was the fog. Do you get that? Sometimes you have to rub your eyes at the stuff you see in this town on foggy days.

So go down to the where the creek runs under the freeway at night. Now each of you stands at one end of the tunnel. You can call to each other but you won't see a thing. (The pipe makes two turns.) On 'Go,' walk through. Don't speak. There's plenty to hear, lots of echos. After you pass the turn reach out because it's freakish black in there. You'll want to grab hold of each other at the center but keep going. When you come out, climb the slope and run back over the top to the other end. You'll pass each other, highway above. Go through again. That's a real creek, a real cutter. Run the circuit seven times, faster and faster.

I can't make any promises. But both Royce and her friend saw the same train and the same woman with the grave flowers and they both knew about the Ohlone.

I always want to stand in the sun when that gets told but it's foggy again today.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Motion and Orbs of Influence

A section may be a cut

A curve may be a coupling, a bell or a bridge

A transmission may have a trestle may have a station

Monday, November 3, 2008

Address in

The scent of BBQ smoke and chicken filled the autumn evening air. We wandered and chose some boundaries.
Points of interest.

For the light. As the crow flies, if you must know, approximately 3 square miles with stands of trees all along. Grids with some convincing absences.
We are after all the curious character and motion we can find.
Spots of interest.

A dalmation and her owner approach, investigate us and then move on their sunset rounds over the bridge. The grass and vines had recently been cut back. Where the creek is daylighted.there are storied layers more easily exposed, if you dig.
Points of address.

Ripples in the water as it enters and exits the subterranean passages. A stones throw up creek. The apartment buildings and convalescent homes are tall, but the redwoods are the sentinels of the waters’ course. They calibrate another length with their rings. Dive in to another protracted strata of time and story.
Spots of address.

Mushrooms and decay. Take a look in the branches shade. For example the small flags poking among the nasturtiums. Square up. It is not only in the numbers. In the cracks of the uneven sidewalks, in the empty barrels of Chinese honey, and the expressions on the faces of the gardeners as well. Yellow wasps are digesting the houses. Ring a bell, knock on a door. Our faces are all connected in looking odd, even and especially when we cannot see.

We are, after all, the curious character and motion we can find.
The laundrylines too. Try it on. But don’t get stuck…
the earth is expanding down there.

Off The Mark, On the Cut

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doubling Back

There is a half-mile stretch where the creek and the street car line run roughly parallel and just a stone's throw apart. For certain, these two courses were never fully accessible at any point in time. Even in 1903, when the first "C" trains ran along the avenue, the creek would have been disappearing behind fences, and under roads and buildings.

I can't be the only one who entertains fantasies of geography while walking through our city. An example, what if for every four city blocks there was one lot dedicated to raising chickens? Those familiar with the lifestyle and habits of these birds may have many plenty of reasons why not. Still. And what if trout still populated this creek? This kind of thinking is an indulgence so I'll get it out of my system and deal with some time-travel.

1. To see the stands of giant redwoods of the nearby hills. If not felled in a mere 20-year span in the 1800's, this might be our most sacred local site.

2. To stand (in 1750) on the east shore of what is now our city lake. At that time it was an estuary, open to the bay and mouth to several creeks, including this one.

3. To ride a C-train past the diner, through the Cut, and down 40th Street toward the bay. (A 40th Street rail line is a real possibility in the next 10-15 years)

It would be greatly satisfying to try and throw a stone from here (standing on the former street car rails) to the creek--just to see.

A Net-sinker, used by local tribes to weight fishing nets

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Bridge

She noticed the light was fading
Her thoughts concerning the shape she was interested in capturing made her feel anxious
She wondered how long it would take before the light would completely disappear
Her senses seemed heightened, the sounds of the water slowing passing near her feet made her remember that this random stream was once a surging creek carrying the elements from here to there
She noticed the light had changed, the daylight she was using was gone and what remained was the artificial reflection of a moment she had captured for others to share

Within Address

Within the neighborhood there is an ease of movement, natural, curious and instinctive. Movement: aloft contours and slopes, along streets and steps, adds markers, tracks and signs of our investigations as well as the erosion and wear of the terrain. Inevitably we are taking it away with us, but we want to give it to you dear reader. Discovery is what you make it. THE 40th STREET CUT is making looking listening, and imagining the whole of where we are living.

This cross section is situated, marked out and encircled in an idea of time that is often hidden from our day to day concerns and remains an effecting part of expanded histories of the transportation system in Oakland.

[From the still partially forrested Richmond Street Glenn below West Macarthur our line plots north-west above the watershed and then north-east below the Kaiser Hospital complex up to a gate of the neighborhood, the key pivot of 40th and Broadway that slices along the contour of … Hill then continues sliding up to the Mountainview Cemetery grounds and along slopes to the 51st/Pleasant Valley terminus of the old Key line where, suddenly sloping south, carving through the arterial streets of single floor homes, apartment buildings and convalescent dwellings our line traces the creek path on its way down-stream to and through the Richmond Street Glen Echo where it has its most dramatic exposure with a few redwood stands and then disappears back underground for the final journey on its way to lake Merritt.]

This our address.

Within this description, these lines, is the home-grown cartography from which we will extract our art, the place ideas have grown and into the ideas of where we have placed.

There is a difficulty with language, with missives attempting to reconcile competing forces, and dualisms: an expansive/abstract and interconnected/convergence. A poetic intention. A difficulty of address arises, of noun conjugation, and an invocation of an animism that is seemingly grounded in a solitary conversation.

Agencies of oneself in the flurry of transformation are continually reaching for relational definitions.

Keyhole Cutaway

We’ve been out to look at the former ‘cut.’ This section of hillside was excavated to make way for an on-grade rail-line to pass on 40th Street from Broadway to Howe. Since the ‘cut’ existed for more than fifty years, we are almost certain that a different wedge of fill was used to re-occupy this gap.

Here is a view of the ‘cut’ at 40th Street and Broadway. A articulated bridge unit emerges heading toward the Bay Bridge.

The depth and length of the now filled-in ‘cut’ would certainly have been great enough to accommodate three articulated bridge units at once. It seems unlikely, however, that any trains were buried when the hillside was recovered and paved over. We’ll look into it.

The flagman stationed at this shanty was responsible for controlling the flow of rail traffic through the narrow ‘cut’ in the hillside at 40th Street and Broadway in Oakland.

Photographs collected from

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grounding, Opening Glen Echo Circuits

Underway Underground

If you wish to measure it, you might pick out a number of objects and shapes that have stood out, something come across on your watch, weighs and passages. Under crumbled concrete, hanging in the air on a spiders web, printed on a billboard, shot through a blackberry patch, in a thrift shop, dangling from a bridge, or even up in a lime tree, tools are plentiful. Shadows might be useful.

You could define these things as units, related to a moment, a particular sojourn, something a friend said. Most certainly pleasure would be taken as well. Use one or a sum to plot locations, some locomotion on that figment, marking and track. It would be splendid to get there. But you might not. Your lines when redrawn are broken yet intact. This time it is uncanny. It can be elusive restarting downstream or underground where an old road or game trail had crossed carrying others to their own measurements, destinations and address.

Weighs and Passages

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Plumbing the span

Every week or two a small group meets to explore this Oakland Neighborhood. Our initial directive was established after receiving information that a missing hill was no longer missing.

Recently we spent some time above Glen Echo Creek. A local gave us this tip: Don't fish a creek that flows through a cemetary. Those words have given us reason to return next week and poke around some more.

Friday, June 20, 2008