Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Love Parade: One year later

I couldn't do a better post than what you find here, posted by Fred Schywek, honoring the people who died. Silence and respect and yes the Mayor Adolf Sauerland has to go. You can follow the memorial service at / Warning: Probably these links in German will only function during about a week.

Het motregent verdriet
massaal in de wereld gezet
stilaan worden we allemaal

Love parade
One year after the Love Parade disaster, I see and hear the sorrow in others as it lives on, as it is brought back in all its vividness by the memory of fear for loved ones.
Sorrow brings loneliness. The only connection possible is one is held physically and feels supported. So memorials are a help. Survivors see their pain acknowledged, realize that others people know and understand that the survivors are still suffering in body and/or soul of the consequences of that fateful day. People who lost their loved ones can feel the solidarity and understanding of a mass of strangers and maybe just a feel a touch comforted by it. Twenty one people died, yet one young woman was pregnant. So a father to be lost two, just as grandparents lost a child and grandchild at once because of sloppy planning in the organization of the event. I understand the anger one feels at the dignitaries of Duisburg who refuse to take personal responsibility and refuse to leave their post. The kids just wanted a day of fun and dance and partying and they didn't find the joy of life, but panic and pain and death. Those who survived and the witnesses to the drama who were powerless to do more than what they did- some saving a life- some being wounded or unconscious and saved by a turn of fate are not yet healed.
It is three days after the bomb in Oslo, after the shooting of young people on a Nordic island, where they came together to look into ways on how to make a better, more just world.
It is Sunday and sadness reigns.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The flight back

The flight back was as it should be uneventful. I was fascinated by the clouds. International travel becomes harder and harder, control upon control, not always in a friendly way. Random check of hands, random check of bags...
Yet traversing the continent is interesting.

The snow in Nevada, the ripples of mountains further East and in the plains one could actually see the flooding. And then the glorious sunset from my window again. it is hard not  really knowing where is home. Home is where the heart is, I guess.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Music and Jack Kerouac alley

After a congenial meal of Fish and Chips - no not wrapped in newspapers, just served on a plate - at the O'Reilley's a down town evening stroll brought street musicians with wonderful rhythms and Jazz sung by Lisa and the band. That is one of the many gifts of San Francisco one finds in one of the bars and watering holes.

 Of course, since poetry was on the agenda in San Francisco we walked as a last tribute Jack Karouac Alley, reading the moral or literary thoughts one finds there. No it is not poetry but interesting none the less. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hippie days and Ana's memorial

For peace loving aging hippies Haight & Ashbury Streets in San Francisco are almost a place of worship, a pilgrimage to take. The area is still full of love and peace, of cute shops and all things alternative: eco, bio, piercings, drunks totally out of it sleeping on the sidewalk ... and patches for the soul.
Jimmy Hendrix watches over all this.

After the walk down memory lane, Ana asked to visited the Holocaust memorial: I repeat the motto: Remembrance is the beginning of redemption. Ana was right about this place a stark and moving beauty held up against the horrors of war and the concentration camps where Jews, gypsies, trade union people, resistance members, communists and many more perished... No more- never again.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fog over the Golden Gate


Fog on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is an almost daily occurrence. Yet it doesn't deter the tourists, although some are a  bit disappointed when the picture of the full elegance of the mythical bridge can't be taken. The fog however lends mystery, and since above there is nothing to see the exploration yields a view of the construction and its beauty. Friends have taken the time to share parts of the city they love. For Ana this includes this Holocaust Memorial. And yes remembrance is the beginning of redemption...

The quiet beauty of the Golden Gate Park with ponds and lakes a botanical garden, museums is a pleasure to the eyes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Frienship's crossing

The water, the bay, wind in your hair, a shawl is advisable, is a quiet time on the way to see an old friend in Sausolito. Friendship requires crossings, letters, phone calls but always a hug, a touch will erase the time of distance.

The rewards are manifold, the Golden Gate Bridge in a quiet fog, lifting above the tide.
Alcatraz, where a few students stay for a couple of months to repair the salt eroded steps,where tourists flock to to see the place of the movie or the occupation by AIM in 1969.

Here the Sausolito Bay where my friend grew up, and the hills with her father's house. She grew up a wild child without mother and became a strong and independent spirit. Friends try to let one grow and become the best one can be.

Goodbyes are hard, the distance to bridge is vast and friendship is priceless.
Like beauty friendship is its own reward.

Monday, July 4, 2011

San Francisco Mime Troupe

       In the Dolores park the San Francisco Mime Troupe  offered a free play in the park. The Troupe has been performing their old style type political theater for 53 years: Death to the pigs! The fascist capitalist conglomerates, accepting money from the 'wrong side' is being a whore of the corporations. The singing and dancing is professional. The audience consists of colorful and happy people and pets. Pick nicks and wine and water, chairs and pillows, make shift  blankets, music and fun. Here two flower-children discuss  the task of the mayor to come.
View of the fog drifting into the bay as seen from Twin Peaks

Saturday, July 2, 2011

San Francisco, the city, the bay, the café...

People make a city, from union activist to musicians playing on an array of discarded bins and pots and pans, from editors to singer/songwriters to poets. And then there is the Bay, the bridges, the hustle downtown, the tourists, the stylish locals.
And the Bay Aria with the Golden Gate Bridge (the color is actually international orange), the Secret Beach and the China Beach. near Land's End.
A bit of nature soothes the heart, calms the mind from an overactive city, which seems big yet where circles pulse, growing and shrinking, a heart beat for friends and like minded people. Accidental meetings, meetings which change or strengthens one's path. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

San Francisco Poetry

Shawn at the Paradiso studio
© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2011
One of the reasons to come to San Francisco was to  record Susan Birkeland's poetry. Through Nicole Savage's website of San Francisco heart, and indeed a big heart and a fountain of information, some poetry friends of Susan gather at the Paradiso Studio and will record in their voice,  Susan's poetry.
The first to read was Bill Mercer  choosing three of Susan's poems. The next friend and poet was Ana Elsner reading one and afterward sharing about her friendship/sisterhood with Susan and their shared life experiences like having overcome cancer... Clara Hsu with her melodious reading of Flashlights of Innocence, was followed by Nicole Savage who brought this group together and reading 6 poems. Also Jerry read two poems.
After those voices and words are secured, devorah major read from tears in the mouth of the moon and Dark Love from where rivers meet ocean. A powerful display and moving performance. The studio is very professional: in three hours all the poetry that needed to be recorded was on cd's, all this under  the watchful eye of the organizer.