Just Like Fruitvale Bridge Park

Fruitvale Bridge Park

Fruitvale Bridge Park

Fruitvale Bridge Park
where fresh water mixes
with ocean tides,
storm drains
from Oakland
empty into its mouth
wide open
rents are industrial
and zoned cheap,
hold out for fish
away from tent cities,
the favelas
that crowd source
highway exits,
where a Monarch butterfly
sucks the life
from a milkweed
and lacy anise leans
on a cyclone,
gets off on it.
Now riding past me–
a man who balances
aluminum cans,
plastic bags
on the handlebars
of a bicycle.

I prefer intertidal zones,
brackish places,
salt marshes of sweet and sour,
fresh and salt,
a sandwich of charoset and horseradish,
honey and the taste of root knowledge.

Fringes of the city where I grew up
amid warehouses and plate glass studios,
auto body shops smelling of motor oil
promising to fix a vehicle in 24 hours.
Dark, dirty ceilings
with batmobile things

and equipment only men
in overalls knew how to handle.
I fell in love with the blue collar
of cities—What it took
to make things happen,

for stars to come out,
coffee breaks,
roach coaches,
deliveries and pickups,
and all the gravelly curses
that made a day go by

inside fans of corrugated
aluminum siding
wrapped around a city block
cooling its heels
against the whine
of heavy metal,

almost like the Fruitvale mudflats,
places that stink of low tide,
spangles of window glass
on sidewalks
bequeathed by minor gods
of the neighborhood

on their way to the courthouse
at the outreach edges
where rules
are broken and ignored,
for this
is an in-between place

that doesn’t attract attention
unless there’s a hip bar or club,
or a politician stumping for votes,
people who go about the business
of eating, sleeping, breathing
and making their own peace.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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