Monday, July 8, 2013

Rarified Particles of Light & Sound: A mini-project on the Mountain View (Piedmont) Cemetery


“a view from the top in july”

Oakland – South Bay- the City – Northern bits too

and a tiny, tinny Cylinder Cuts into an innocuous sky

A Weak, pale-blue which angles at the Slight incline which brings It “up there”

flies by a slender Cylindrical bird an organic Imitation
ears hear it, Chest Bones Bounce it away

as a Broad Bellied airplane of Red
hovers in ease and Defiance of Dread

Suspension Above me Forty-five degrees away

another bird, another plane a Quivering Shake of Day

while miniature Chirps behind my back
Re-route some Memories
of recorded tweets

the ones that loop Harmlessly
at the zoo in Quiet defeats

This Metallic Bay bobs down there
a Saucer of melted Nickels
ground up with Diamonds
Spread ‘cross a Sheet of highlands
*Law of Diminishing Contrast*
I see you now

Spots in the hills Sparkle Bright with Dots and Dashes
 various City slopes and treed motes

a reflected sunshine
in Rarified particles of Light and sound

Land-locked into Frozen
And something Paused

“Sounds From the Top @ 7:00 pm”

On a Thursday on a hill like this, a big one, Oh, a big one, Lives a constant swoosh of air and invisible matter. It weaves in and ‘round an undulating ribbon of cars below which generate a Rumble, deep like a monster’s, above.
A larger machine than me eats the intermittent communications of birds.
I do not know them:
The birds.

The soundlessness of wind hits the sides of sand-duned earlobes Then licks the grass and trips along empty gravel pathways to caress smoothed-stoned-monuments in the holiest of ways.

From between the inside layers of a Lombardy Poplar a whistle streams forth to entertain the dead.


Lost in the Piedmont Hills and Productive in a way…from the little foray on the Number Eleven bus I am gifted some insight about this cemetery-skirting neighborhood:

Affluent with mansion-hobbit houses.  Everything in order, down to the dark, wood-stained window trimmings and perky flowers in rows.

Bus driver says this here’s where the maids, after work, catch the Number Fifty-seven home, while up higher on Moraga Street, up in the patchworked-hills made of noodle-bowl roads, a wall growing from the side of a house tells me more:

Mountain View Cemetery 1863

columbarium |ˌkäləmˈbe(ə)rēəm|
noun ( pl. -baria |-ˈbe(ə)rēə|)
a room or building with niches for funeral urns to be stored.
a niche to hold a funeral urn.
a stone wall or walk within a garden for burial of funeral urns, esp. attached to a church.
ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from Latin, literally ‘pigeon house’ .

Oh, a Pigeon House.

I arrive and the Gothic Chapel welcomes me.  Giant oxidizing letters spell it out.  Locked doors but Elegant, honestly beautiful, stained-glass windows possess me…with their extraordinary pink-violet sheen.  Like a little girl’s Fantasy color.  My new leather boots bite at my pinky toes, and I’m cranky.  Yet, stealthily, Thick patches of tree leaves girate above.

Many names branded with the Star of David: Zimmerman, Zatkin, Rosenblat, Burke, Stein…Jacoby, Weyl, Foxtoe, Axelrod, Uri… And inside, where it’s deathly quiet, my Breath chases its echo against the marble walls that are speckled like a Robin’s egg (tan & brown).  Here, a narrow, mustard-colored leather couch sinks into a cool, even floor. Though the resting place is armless and short, it’s an island of refuge. Four plaques, more bodies encapsulated by marble then decorated with copper vases a foot high that are mounted in front, and fake flowers shoot out in a memorial of life and Here, the Dead are enclosed and it’s 4:15 and I’m about to get locked in.

“Night Notes”

As we attempt to break in cross over hop onto sally forth into this mission of nighttime cemetery shenanigans we meet not with the satisfying success of landing on dead people’s grass but with instead the jarring splashes of sneaky sprinklers on the outside perimeter of a tall wall.
I have wet socks. Friend has soaked leg.  After a mini-brainstorming session that includes the hatching of new plans that includes the bringing of tiny ladders and the wearing of black-like-ninjas costumes we drive on.

As we pass the entrance and I say “No, keep going, let’s try the other side where there’s another neighborhood where maybe the wall is not so keen on disrupting our hopping of walls momentum”, friend says “No, I want to go the front gate just to see”.
A new development, aha! The gate is mysteriously open, left open, left unlocked, perhaps, perchance by some sort of providential accident.

As we wiggle through the divine uncomplication, we whisper our great fortune; we feel the general freakiness of this dark blue, dark trees too, a building to the right with-two amber-kind-of-lights place. Even the stars are semi-snickering. 

And I hear a symphony of frogs and a ghostly noise of chamber music in a foggy far away concert.

As we walk through a building that’s painted like white toothpaste that’s holding the bones of a hundred at least, that’s mounted a street that’s narrow and pock-marked we sit against the skinny iron bars of a mausoleum.  Scared while we press the flesh of our living selves against the wroughtness of this all, we feel the false protection of two toothpaste pillars which frame this tiny church.

And the ground is white, diamond shaped, and the black tiles sprinkle their random appeal throughout.  The headstones could be people, and the bonsai tree could be a spirit and “I dare you to sit there, man, to test our bodily strength and resolute stupidness”.

As we purposefully pulse our nerve endings I must ask in confused repetition how does a place transform from peaceful to menacing simply with the setting of the sun and “No, I’m not going in the direction”, while friend mentions it’s time to go back.

And something’s behind us, but it’s made of mist and mere mockeries and a fucking cat pirouettes from behind a grave to set off a domino cascade of scary things shooting off sprinklers and more ghost concerts in the distance.  Not to mention the invisible gurgle which is probably a zombie thirsting for my brined brains which is actually more realistically a broken sprinkler-head embedded into the earth. 

As we continue even deeper into the blue-black-bric-brac I know I’d be paralyzed if alone, yet we see the entrance gate again and double back. It’d be quite beautiful here if my electrical cords and vocal chords weren’t firing and fried and my friend comments that tonight is so “shockingly quiet”.