Video Room Parking Lot, Oakland, CA, Sunset from Big Sur Fires, December 17, 2013

Video Room Parking Lot, Oakland, CA, Sunset from Big Sur Fires, December 17, 2013

(to Oakland, CA)
This city of mine, this home
this mess of streets and lights
river sound of freeway
whine of overhead subway tracks
skies crisscrossed by power lines
that hum and buzz sub rosa

This small alluvial plain
forty-two feet above sea level
ringed by hills we visit
to escape the atmospheric pressure
to rise above in wonder
at trees, unfettered sky
or what teems below
as geometry and glitter.

This urban dream and nightmare
this city that bleeds into
into another and another
these potholed streets, painted
bike lanes and disrupted sidewalks.

And in that coveted corner of you
where we go early and late
columns, cascades, this lake
that pulls us round and round
in a dizzy dance among golden eyes
and buffleheads, the dark and light
pelicans, our resident geese
and night herons, the gulls,
the grebes and the rats.

Our home, we dance in you
we cry to the skies over you
we move through you
we lay our heads down in you
our city, as beautiful and scarred
as someone we once loved.

©Marty Williams, 2014

Marty Williams, poet and writing workshop leader, writes about her homeground, Alaska, where she grew up, and 46th Street, her Oakland, California, neighborhood.

4 Responses to “Someone I Loved Once by Marty Williams”

  1. jdannenberg Says:

    Beautiful poem, Marty.

    Jennifer

  2. Ruby Bernstein Says:

    Love the movement of your poem, Marty,and the ending, yes!
    Ruby

  3. Tom Says:

    Marty, I’m never sure where one of your poems is going, so I’m always surprised and delighted when I reach the destination. I would never have thought of Oakland as a “scarred lover,” but you’ve got it exactly right! Well done!

  4. Lanette Says:

    Marty such a beautiful poem! Reminds me of the writing session at your house.

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