This swiftly slammed out riff is for you, Oakland,
because you've had one of those raiding and killing days today.
|Gertrude Stein, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1935|
Gertrude Stein, most unkind, spoke of Oakland the oft-quoted line:
"There's no there there."
|Lake Merritt alight, from a collection here.|
|Ornamentation of Oakland, from Oaktown Art|
I guess she didn't know Fairyland or the cormorants and black crowned night herons, the string of lights ringing Lake Merritt glowing in a winter's fog, the eucalyptus-and-elephant-poo scent of the Zoo, the angels and bowls of fruit adorning downtown buildings, Housewives Market for lemon custard ice cream or andouille or fresh smelts, or hundreds of other marvels in what ought to be a paradise.
Oakland: in those days when I lived there: my toddler played at playing golf in Snow Park or chilled in her stroller on the path around the lake or helped me choose fresh greens on Chinatown sidewalks, rode the web of Anansi at that Fairyland and climbed a golden lion at that Zoo, longed for a saxophone in House of Woodwinds' shop window, marveled in the Paramount Theater at her first favorite film (Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and the Mighty Wurlitzer, huzzah!), ate that lemon custard ice cream from Housewives and demanded of me on the spot a song about the black crowned night heron which of course not to disappoint a two year old I composed on the spot ---
|Black Crowned Night Heron at Lake Merritt from Nancy's Bird Journal|
|Saxophones at House of Woodwinds|
|Oakland, city of cormorants.|
Photo by Tadashi Tsuchida Photography
A paradise you once were to the toddler who knew the building near the swings and slides to be a castle, who made snail discoveries in the botanic garden and koi discoveries at the museum, who threw smelts to the cormorants to watch them dive and fly underwater or catch the smelts smartly out of the air and oh! Do you remember the pigeon man, and the tortoise man, there by the lake?
A paradise you could be to anyone, anytime, with your place in the sun and convenient bay harbor, your sheltering, wooded hills and your wonderful variety of humans, but for some reason, dear Oakland, you always get the shit kicked out of you.
Today was just another such shit-kicking day.
|Richard Lee, Founder and|
This morning, despite the protection of California state law, US federal drug enforcement agents raided Oaksterdam University, its cafe, its gift shop, its classrooms, and confiscated the hell out of its evidence, and also visited the home of and arrested its founder Richard Lee.
|Federal Agents at Oaksterdam this morning.|
Photo from KTVU coverage
people prevent crime.
|Shooting site, Oikos University, by Ryan Phillips at OaklandNorth|
Yeah. That was Oakland today.
There's the there there.
There, there, Oakland. There there; don't cry. Or cry: go ahead and have a cry: you've earned it over and over again. Sob for the senselessness, and then, when all your sobs are dry, do what you always do: take to the streets.
|CBS News photo: Federal agents turn their backs on protestors.|
Update: Here's a petition to sign, asking for an end to the costly raids on dispensaries.