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Rated: E · Poetry · Travel · #2280838
Ode to Berkeley, for weekly poetry challenge
Ode to Berkeley, My Home-town

Hark,
I hear the spirits
Of Berkeley
Calling me home.

The more I roam in this world
The more I am drawn
Back to the land
From whence I came.

Berkeley, California
Is what it is
And sometimes
It is what it ain’t.

Berkely is a “how Berkeley, can you be vibe” town, an African diaspora, an Asian American city, an anti-big box store vibe, an artistic city, A Berkeley High school rocks place, the Berkeley hills, the birth of the black panthers, the spiritual home of the beatniks, bike friendly, The Berkeley Rep rules, To the rest of the world, a very “Berserkly place” a Buddhist friendly city, filled with deep, dark memories, a vibrant Chinese-American city, creative city, Home to CAL with 40,000 students who flood into the city nine months of the year, Coffee is God Mecca, craft beer paradise, a crazy city. a cool city, a cutting edge technology, a delicious food is everywhere around the corner sort of town, a diverse although less day by day as it now a very expensive city, a city of big dreamers, an environmental friendly city, a very ethnic town, used to have the largest Finnish community in the U.S,, lots of Russians and Eastern Europeans back in the day, a city with people, from all the known world, where 250 different languages are spoken at home, a fast paced city, a Feminist city, A very frank town where everyone has an opinion and is not afraid to speak up, filled with the scent of good craziness, and sometimes very bad craziness as sometimes on a bad night things can go bad if you are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people or are the victim of a drug deal gone bad, when the guns come out to play to settle disputes, or knifes are drawn and people get very crazy, or are just unlucky to be caught up in the cross fire, or on a bad trip on bad drugs, in short Berkeley does have a dark side to it, but for the most part it is a friendly town, but not too friendly, a city at times lost in 1969, or lost in the future, A freaky place filled with freazoids, A funky vibe, a funny town all around, and you can have fun there as well as get lucky and meet the woman or man or your dreams, as there are lots of young single men and woman looking for Mr. Good, or Ms Good as the case may be, a gluten-friendly city with the best GF pizza in the world the Berkeley Cheese collective, a foodies delight, a gourmet ghetto, A SF giants town, forty niners (although some hate them for moving to San Jose, the Northern California clone of LA. And Golden States warriors and A,s but everyone now hate the Las Vegas Raiders, as much every person born in Berkeley must hate LA, sort of the part of Berkeley and the Northern Californian DNA to be hating on LA, A live and let live z tude, A loony tunes place, A happy go lucky sort of vibe city, A hate bigotry town. a “Hella Berkeley “city, A historical city, A Hippie town back in the day, A hip hop center, A hip city where everyone knows what hip is but can say what it is, what is hip, yal? Do you know? Hipness, like Berkeley is what is it is and sometimes is what is not, an Hispanic, where “Howl” was first written, at times hot city, living with the constant fear of fires and the big one, atmospheric rivers, polar vortexes and other global warming phenomenon as climate change becomes nightmarishly real, but most days the same, foggy cool mornings, nice pleasant in the 70s afternoons, then more fog dipping into high 40s by midnight, used to be no rain between April and October just the cool morning fog, but nowadays with climate change we get rain even in the summer, and they joke there are two seasons now in California the rainy season October to March and fire season April to October, all due to the non-existent climate change hoax, an Iranian diaspora, and now Afghani diaspora as well, third and fourth generation Asian American communities, French people, European people, Jewish people, but no Jewish space lazers yet, Korean people, An artisanal craft beer, and spirits, coffee, herbal tea, Kombucha, and wine drinking city, where coca cola is seldom served, a liberal Christianity city where fundamentalists are not welcomed, where atheists, free thinkers, liberal Muslim, liberal Hindus, new age types, and wiccans are welcomed, an atheist and free thinker’s sort of mecca, where making fun of the street preachers is a fun game for the militant atheists of city (personal disclosures that was me back in the day, I loved to heckle Holly Hubert whom I am sure is long gone by now as that was almost 50 years ago,) too many homeless people living on the streets city, panhandling and becoming a nuisance, getting into everyone’s face, destroying everyone’s mellow, lonely at times city where many people have thousands of virtual friends but few real friends, Indian-American little Bombay community where you can get the latest Bollywood movies, food and Indian political gossip, A very insane city. Too many damn drugs everywhere, at times, a very joyful city but not enough joy due to the political disputes and anger as people in Berkeley are very into political discussions and are news junkies, very LGBTQ friendly, A Motown friendly city, MOES book rules, A only in Berkeley kind of vibe, a recycling mecca, a city where people still read a lot, where newspapers have not died but are mostly read on line, a very progressive city, probably the most progressive city in the country, which in my opinion is a good thing, not something to be ashamed of, A very sad town, filled with lonely people, a special city, A city that would welcome space aliens who might already be there, an OMG place, a PC is cool city that invented PC before it became a curse word of sorts, a city where there are real live Marxists, communists and socialists but no one takes them seriously, and there are a few proto fascist political science professors as well, Peets Coffee is God kind of town, Philip K Dicks hometown, (Philip K dick dated my Mom before she met my father, end personal disclosures)Thornton Wilder and so many other great writers back in the day and here and now, Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg lived and loved there, a rainy blues sort of day, Rock n Roll fantasy world, A robots are cool city where new robots are being developed every day, a city where people are building the singularity not fearing it, a very pro-choice town, a stuck in 1969 vibe, used to be a very black town, 40 percent back in the 70’s now perhaps twenty percent, a middle class suburb of Oakland back in the day, but with a black lower class, working class, who are still hanging on somehow, but still a lot of my African Americans brothers and sisters hanging on despite the high rents and housing costs, many property rich but cash poor, joined by so many African immigrants and Caribbean African immigrants as well, a very marijuana friendly city where the joke has always bene pull out a joint and its cool, pull out a cigarette and everyone wants to send you to jail, smoking cigarettes being so uncool nowadays, a mask up follow the science town badly hit by the COVID pandemic, particularly the small business who took in on the chin, still lots of minorities around and still a working class town, A city with one of the highest per capita, Movie theaters in the country city, same for book stores, music stores, a very musical place, Jimi Hendrix’s last high school, the birth of NaNoWriMo, A poet friendly place where people get poetry, a Political city up the Yazoo town, a one party town but with two rival political factions, republicans and there are some of them in town, feel like they are an endangered species, (another personal disclosure, my Dad was Curtis Cosmos Aller, the President of the Berkeley Co-op from 1968 to 1985 when he died, the President of the Peralta board of Colleges, who ran for Congress in 1974 in the democratic primary against the legendary Ron Dellums, end personal disclosure) very few Q nuts but I am sure there are some, just as there are no doubt people who believe in the lizard shape shifter conspiracy, rents are insane, housing prices too, the only people who can afford to buy are people with boats loads of money, and somehow there are lots of those types hanging out, and lots of people who don’t have money who somehow manage to get by, the home of the song, “sitting by the dock of the bay”, a stand-up guy sort city, the city that gave us the SLA who briefly terrorized the Bay Area, and my family during the 70s calling my father “a fascist insect that preys on the life of the people, his offense = demanding that students and staff at the Peralta college be required to wear ID’s to combat a rise in violent crime on the campuses) student friendly, kind of a suburb of Oakland and SF, yet doing its own very Berkeley thing, home of Inspiration point, strawberry canyon, Tilden Park, Wildcat canyon and part of the Bay Area Ridge Trails and Bay Area bay trails which are almost complete, doing a thru hike of both, the Appalachian, the cross continental and the PC trails are among my bucket list dreams, A Tai-Chi mecca, Tower of Power “East Bay Grease sort of town, too cool for school, too many pan handlers, causing a nuisance, causing the generally tolerant Berkeley folks to sometime lose their cool and compassion, sometimes a traffic hell place, BART trains too crowded, pickpockets and other unsavory criminal types hanging out by the BART train stations, along with high school students, the druggies, the down and outers, and mentally ill street people, a “west Coast Rap kingdom, wine drinkers paradise, the former home of the weathermen and other leftist domestic terrorists) a wonderful world for the young at heart,

a very unique city, a pro-vac place, vibrant, vegetarian and vegan friendly, yet still offering enough meat options for the carnivores, University professors, staff and students, city employees alike and still the ultimate university town but as you can see by now, so much more than that, yoga is God kind of town where yoga is mandatory, Yuppie place, a zany city, a zestful town, and lately a zoom work by home town, Berkeley is all of that and so more in short. Berkely is an of kind sort of place, unique in all the universe and it is my homeland,

But still, I am drawn
And want to return
Before my time is done,
As it remains
My spiritual homeland.





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