I’m saying goodbye to Oakland, goodbye lake view and long cement walks, goodbye lake birds who’ve let me stalk and hold you with my eyes, goodbye Preacher man on Sundays and 3-redwood stand in the park across the way and the flock of Canadian geese who take over and scare the dogs away. Goodbye Hanover street and neighbors who rankle and ratchet and share and watch out for each other. Goodbye neighbor with the two small white barking-at-all-times-of-the-day dogs and goodbye walk to Woody’s. Goodbye Woody’s. Goodbye this neighborhood dreams: you have been so good to us. Goodbye up the street flock of chickens. Goodbye neighbors houses with windows we can see into and who can see into ours. Goodbye coin-operated laundry, goodbye one bedroom apartment, goodbye sunset view in the living room and sunrise from the kitchen.
Goodbye Grand Lake Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and goodbye Jack London Square Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Goodbye interracial neighborhood. Goodbye Lake Merritt walkers who say hello and good morning to each other. Goodbye partially blind man who walks the lake every day with his cane and scruffy beard who has lost so much weight. Goodbye bird sanctuary, goodbye Grand Lake district, theater, Parkway (again).
Goodbye walking into the Trader Joe’s and seeing lots of folks of many races. Goodbye morning walk to BART. Goodbye morning view of people making their way into the world, headed to work or exercise. Goodbye morning window writing here in #8. Goodbye walk-in closet/dressing room. Goodbye quick drive to our friends’ for dinner for hsingyi for movies. Goodbye Jack London Square walks, white pelicans in the lake, great blue herons stretching out from morning to dusk with their wingspan. Goodbye Alameda beach walks, goodbye house-hunting for the time being.
Goodbye stairstep sidewinding jasmine and hawthorne. Goodbye Lake Merritt BART and goodbye lurker night herons, goodbye man who sits and listens to headphones and thinks and watches the morning come up over the Oakland hills across the lake from his vestibule outside shelter at the Oakland Auditorium, living there. Goodbye Witnesses at BART, goodbye It’s a Grind at 11th and Clay, goodbye 7am garbage pickup banging, goodbye bright flowering backyard, goodbye electric stove, goodbye big lakeshore eucalyptus and big big oak.
Goodbye Oakland. Just in the living-in way, not in the forever or break-up way. We are always here, too, sheltered, heartsick and home.