Words about Oakland….

Here is a piece of writing I found slapped up on a telephone poll near Hove’s blue trees mural from Monday.  I didn’t have time to read it all that day, but I took these photos…

telephone pole, story on telephone pole, writing

It’s about Oakland. Here is the text in its entirety… typed to match original as closely as possible. It’s interesting. It’s even more interesting that someone left it on a random telephone pole on Peralta street… it is unsigned. (correction… signed by “FOR FEAR THE HEARTS OF MEN ARE FAILING”… a fantastic psuedonym.) Thanks for sharing your work.

There are millions and millions of people in the city.  There are people arguing in the streets.  People looking out their windows to see what all that noise is about.  People driving their cars, riding bikes, walking, staying put, people moving just because they can’t stand to stay still.  Cowboys doing tai chi in the park.  Single moms jogging.  Cops giving tickets.  Haters hating.  Old Asian ladies playing hacky sack.  Kids throwing fits on the bus.  Scam artists sitting outside of grocery stores with a typewriter, selling what he calls poems.  Baristas getting hit on.  Hipsters calling each other hipsters.  Teen girls wearing pajama bottoms and flip flops.  People are putting their trash outside of their houses, cuz Earth Day is once a year but trash day is every week.  Some people are taking that trash home, sleeping on it, dusting it off, eating it, hanging it on their wall and then throwing it away again after a week.  This one kid was killed by a cop who meant to taser him.  People are rioting because of that kid.  This one girl is saying that it’s lame they should torch some innocent stranger’s car and this one guy is saying that some white artist hipster slumming it up in what she thinks is the ghetto being more concerned about the destruction of property than the violence against youth of color is a part of the reason that kid was killed.  Oh snap, those people aren’t talking to each other after that shit!  Someone is just going to work, minding her own business.  Someone around the corner used to be in a popular band in the 90’s, The Counting Crows I think.  Someone is quietly doing charity work. Someone is spitting on the liars and hypocrites in the name of Jesus Christ.  Someone fell asleep on the bus.  People are playing music.  They’re walking down the street, rapping.  They’re performing for elementary school children.  They’re only playing to the sound guy.  They’re making country music, city music, fifth wave ska, traditional Balkan dance songs exactly like they have been played for centuries (they imagine).  They’re taking old music and adding electronic dance beats, beats antique.  They’re making the newest sounds.  They’re imitating their favorite bands.  They’re playing music alone in their room.  Everyone’s dumpster diving.  Everyone’s watching lots and lots of TV shows on DVD.  Everyone’s littering like crazy.  Everyone drives up on the weekends to hit up the bars.  Everyone’s wearing oversized white t-shirts and baggy jeans so the cops can’t tell them apart.  Everyone’s jaywalking inhumanly slow.  Everyone’s having unprotected sex.  Everyone’s putting up signs saying they reserve the right to refuse service, for any reason.  Everyone’s playing dice on the sidewalk.  Someone’s saying its a pity.  Someone’s gonna call the cops if you don’t get out of here this very second.  Someone else lives here too, you know.  She’s getting the shit kicked out of her.  She’s singing the Dead Kennedys songs while she bikes home.  She’s teaching yoga.  She loves the Lord, Lordy Lord.  She walks into a restaurant, sits down at a table that still have food on it and eats.  He’s applying for a job at every goddamn corporate eatery on this goddamn street.  He’s waiting for the library to open.  He’s telling every young woman who walks by that she’s beautiful, but in the most obnoxious ways possible.  He’s going to night school so he isn’t pushing a broom when he’s forty.  He’s selling bootleg DVDs and drugs.  They’re reading the Koran, books on how to fix appliances, Found magazine, Chick tracts, the whole Harry Potter series for the 2rd time and the newest issue of Cometbus.  You are being racially profiled.  You’re dressing up like a goblin for your jug band’s concerts.  You’re looking good!  You’re hooking up with people from the internet.  You aren’t racist or anything, but you won’t go to certain parts of town after dark.  You’re just looking for a decent cup of coffee.  You have the right to remain silent.  FOR FEAR THE HEARTS OF MEN ARE FAILING

4 thoughts on “Words about Oakland….

  1. ffhmrf

    Uh, its not unsigned, for the record. Glad you liked it and sorry for the grammar and spelling errors, which I still don’t see.

    1. studiodeb333 Post author

      My apologies FFTHOMAF… I didn’t realize that was your signature… I thought it was the end of the piece. I’ll fix my wording in the post. Oh, and only spelling error is “2rd” towards the end. And I thought the sentence beginning with “Scam artists sitting… ” had a grammar funkiness to it ’cause you switch from plural to singular later in the sentence. Don’t mean to nitpick… just wanted folks to know I transcribed it as best I could to match the original. I really liked it! Do you have others you’ve put up?

      1. ffhmrf

        You have a good eye! I fixed those errors in the second run, which was why I even commented. I’d have been steamed had I missed more! Maybe mystery is more interesting then reality, but it was written as a poem, zine, letter to a friend and promotional tie in. FFHMRF is my band and our album is called City Music. I wrote liner notes about what its like to live in this city and liked it so much I made what you read. The liner notes is a longer version, as well as having some alterations. I’m about to make a third run and then I will probably move on to the next project. Thanks for noticing!

  2. PaulK

    I’ve heard FFHMRF’s album and it is a real humdinger. Brilliant old time music played like the Holy Modal Rounders used to do.

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