Konch Magazine - “So There” by Theo Konrad Auer

 
So There.
By Theo Konrad Auer
 
 
If I wished
to make a list
of the the places
that could only ever
if ever!
Exist
in Oakland
it'd include God's Gym
(where Jesus is depicted as a bodybuilder on its sign),
 Lake Temescal,
where I used to train for an Alcatraz Swim
I never completed or embarked on,
anyways,
the grand bike rides up
and over Old Tunnel Road,
Mountain View Cemetery,
(designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
who planned out New York City's
Central Park and much of UC Berkeley and Stanford University)
where my father is buried, and a
airport that holds within it
a simulacra of
Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon,
an establishment where Jack London
once drank and
was immortalized in
one of the author's worst works:
 "John Barleycorn"
 
Behind the Target, I
once hopped a freight train with an old high school
friend on much the same
route as Jack London, Merle Haggard, and
The Emperor of the North Pole himself:
Leon Ray Livingston aka "A-No.1" who
taught Jack just about
everything about being
a hobo and the difference
between that life
and
the one undertaken by a tramp.
 
Laugh lines
like tree rings
tell of days
Through the tracing
of trails
I took
The street's new/old/new names tell
of compromise and
collaboration and
elaborate pithily:
East 14th becomes
as it always was:
International
though:
it was
originally
intended to be  named after
Cesar Chavez in
an alternate universe
perhaps better than ours.
 
Trace elements remain,
the molding is being restored,
painstakingly,
right now,
the new blue bottle coffee place just opened,
but
 
All too often a viral
Re-branding
comes
with
a palpable lack of
understanding
 
Whereas the Black Panther Party Leader
Huey Newton
once resided atop a high rise condo building
upon the southwest shore of
Lake Merritt
To the northwest of that
-        not far -
once stood my birthplace:
Samuel Merritt Hospital
which is now the Summit Medical Center
To southeast shore again in
what was once known as Brooklyn
So many houses
Demolished long ago to
make way for more housing and
yet If there is still a shortage and yet
no shortage of people to blame for
the weather we all have had a hand in
To the west of that
-        not far -
stands The Henry J. Kaiser Auditorium.
I saw Nine Inch Nails perform there when
I was in high school, Marilyn
Manson opened
spending half of his set recanting a
silly H.P. Lovecraft style monologue that
half worked...
The venue is now shuttered, due to political graft and
Earthquake damage. No one
expects it to open soon even as
the economy is in full b(l)oom.
A high end restaurant faces the condo building at
the opposite side of the lake
occupying the formerly disused boat slash water pump house.
Unless its Happy Hour,
You'll pay for that view!
 
Whereas Too Short sold rap tapes
out the trunk of his ride,
a Google Bus now
picks
up
Tech Workers
a few feet away from where
sex workers ply their trade
and have for many several decades.
 
 
 
Arc of a circle: telegraphed.
Papa Buzz Cafe then
Mama Buzz Cafe then
Telegraph, which people used
to call “Sausage”
Because of the Sausage Sign
it used to sport, sport,
All show(ed) a/Art
its current incarceration trends towards 
an abundance of “hipster art” and
has a large beer garden
and most of the diehards have carried over
anyways, but there are less junkies and more
yuppies or yipsters now,
Ego Park then when
Animal Collective played one of its earliest shows
there
and
helped put Oakland's art scene on the map is now
Hatch Gallery and soon its new tenant: ___________?
 
An adjacent complacent is
displacing the empty vacuum
with a morbid intensity that
that borders on pedantic pageantry
Lest we forget on Presidents day that
Washington, DC was built by slaves and that
in the hippest neighborhood In Oakland, CA
the Ku Klux Klan once marched
where Angela Davis stood trial and
Don Johnson acted in and around for
a while.
Oakland was the placeholder for San Francisco in
that case, but it might as well have been
and could likely still be or will be
Brooklyn,
Detroit or New Orleans.