At midday midweek, Buena Vista Park is windswept and silent, an empty idyllic space. The dog-walkers rush through, tending their panting, pedigreed flocks and disappear, leaving again emptiness, wind.
Clouds of fog sweep over—clouds of fog are always sweeping over. Filtering through them, the magical western sunlight washes with gold all the many greens of grass and shrubs, and, scattered among them, bright swatches of wildflowers.
The emptiness here is both welcome and scary. Where are the other people? What can happen here? At the edges of the park, in the dark hollows of twisted cypress, rent boys turn tricks and suburban kids score black tar heroin. Here on the sunlit crown, only the few: the rich and leisurely, and their pampered pets.
Look: the city, this city, has always been like this: a beautiful emptiness in its eyes, at its heart, and the deepest sleaze collecting in its insatiable boardroom belly, its tender loins. The old tribal people had no use for this place, except as a burial ground. It is the burial ground of many dreams. The Paris of the Pacific, the Beat Bohemia, the Power of Flowers, and the Reign of Love have all perished here.
And the wind blows ceaselessly, and the clouds of fog race by, singing When will you be gone, be gone, be gone?
When you are gone, we will still be here.
We will still, still, still, be here.