many of the people the world has written off for dull have the brightest spirits, and shine
out from the darkest places where their bodies have been relegated


magpie valley summer

i bent down by the river and cupped water to cool my face and hair. the summer was hot as ever and not letting up. you flew down and hopped over to me, where i could admire you in the half-light. little magpie of the valley, what have you seen and where have you been? your tail feathers long and dark, of blue and purple hue, your legs like twigs and feet splayed. cocking your head to one side so i can meet your parrot eye. what can i do for you, brave bird?

you told me of the coyotes and their dens above the levee, and how they walk the rails to get from town to town. you told me of the river and how it made its way. you told me of your kind, long gone from here…and yet, you stay? there is an old man comes from the city to see you, he cracks a beer and lies down with a jacket rolled up under his head. you look after him. he speaks to you in a calm and gentle tone. you climb upon his shoulder where he takes selfies with you. then feeds you shavings of turkey and ham…dear magpie, i am hot and tired and wish to rest for a while. what more do you know? would you share with the likes of me?

loss one

another loss -i

You let me stay one night in your room, many years ago,  i was in between places and spaces and a kick in the gut had landed me in Oakland with nowhere to go. Brown-outs were my life back then, and nobody can tell you what your psychosis is gonna look like or how it will feel, because they aren’t buried behind your eyes. Electronic Dance Music was one thing we had in common that night, and we had what was left of my battered laptop to trade tracks that touched us…

the one-two -i)

She was a plain looking young woman; hazel eyes, brown hair, age twenty. She had a finite memory, the limits of which were self-imposed. On one side the limit prevented her from remembering anything that ever happened to her before age five. That was the age something good happened. She could not tell you what happened before, only that it was bad. She became loved at age five, and ever since. She was an avid reader, and particularly loved anything by Dostoyevsky. She preferred brown paper bags to plastic, at the grocery store. They reminded her of going to the grocery store with her father, as a child. After her mother died drunk behind the wheel in a late-night backroad collision with another drunk driver, coming home from the apartment of her lover. Just before she turned five. She remembered carrying a brown bag in her arms, and the sound and smell of the paper. Following her dad to the car. Age five. A plain brown bag crumpling, but secure in her arms.

1012648151496281370 (1)

He was a dark-haired young man, with a cut and a part in his hair like William Butler Yeats, portrait of an artist. He had a smart way of talking, walking, thinking, responding. But was naive to love. He had a family history of bipolar. There was also a family history of running away, but this was only known by interstate records of relocations. He was twenty-five. He was ambitious to a fault. Job promotions and self-glorification would always have to come before anything else. These successes could be shared, so long as whomever shared them decided to forego anything that would get in the way of them. His mother had died young in Calcutta, of self-sacrifice. He had no Indian in his blood. He missed his mother. His memory of her was the only thing that got in the way of his uncanny ability to drown everything out and focus his clear mind on his unparallelled effort to succeed. He used to read, and preferred Tolstoy to Dostoyevsky.

to be continued…

Katya Mills, 08/13

life fully hydrated -vii/fin)

The curtain closes and lights go down. Everyone and desperation herself comes along and bulldozes through everything, just to get in touch. Human resource department? So and so demands we run that by such and such. Now and then but no later than now. And no sooner than then. Translated? do not put it off. Rather than be something distasteful, choose to be nothing at all. Nothing. Nada. Substance? Dissipates like the audience down the aisle… like confetti, down, tumbling down from the sky.

Okay, well, i keep tryin real hard to turn this moment, this day, this memory falling like heavy sitting room drapes over me; my thin and fragile half-broken quarter-bleached thin volume of a history of my life as dramatically raced through the last seven or eight years i suppose, the length, so very recent some days or weeks in my memory, and much of the rest falls out into moodswings of greater density and greater into an anonymous telltale of a nervous lovin heart (52 bpm on the average this week). And how would i possibly be truthfully reporting dedicated personal vitals to you? Who do i feel like today? Well, this is personal but I will tell you, no bullshit… an unemployed, overeducated, working-class downgrade. From automaton to human being. The best fuckin dowgrade you ever fuckin seen.

As for the rest of them? The contradictions were stoppages of their so called progress with questions filling up all that cold air in their heads, teeth showing with rembrandt smiles. Twenty thirteen, and the whole operation suddenly seemed on edge of the ice ready to fall into the pond. Back to serene. No longer obtuse. No longer obscene.

For you and me, me and you? Like waking out from under the worst of worst dreams. Like that time back in ’98, you know, up in Chicago. Where latin kings played with queens behind victory gardens on Pulaski. There we were. Homeless in the mind. Looking for the same old shit. Fragments of water, dripping off the lake street el trax. When what was underground rose to the surface, and into thin cold air. So easily. Icicle clear.  Meeting your conscious understanding, even at any odd angle. Life fully hydrated. Frozen into stalagtite-hard times.

This was life on her terms.

modern thoughts

The numb required affective treatment.

The emotional burst and asunder, as shot from the gun,

left a hole only silence could fill.

Now they come for their scheduled fair dosing of real hell all fucked over. Through one of any of the senses. Pick one. This is not no rocking chair turn of pages, in some dim lit dusty living room. No. Too dead end for this century. Seems most imaginations are no longer built to overcome that kinda scene…more like efficient, careful, non-impact modern cars. Modern thoughts. Compartmentalized. Prepackaged, prelabelled, shipped. Big brown cardboard boxes picked up by big brown burly men. Taken to big brown trucks, double parked. Modern. All Quiet and eco-friendly. From sender to sendee.  No more sweet thundering like some mid-century chevy. Without any smoke trails, train whistles become   uselessly gigantic like beached whales. Modernity.

We lift battery powered cigarrettes against their cuban cigars perched like hindenberg hydrogen bombs, on hang nails.  We label the old ways sleepy, and ship them away with an old paradigm stamp. Feels good. Until we realize something is missing. It’s too quiet, spell-checked out and passported –century now come of age @ twenty-one — halfway creepy.

Well there will be some. But mostly what was and less is. Presence is a motherfucker in a technologically-formfitted times.  Hard to be sorry for those whose bases got stolen out from under them. Hard to be sorry for you and me. On our cell phones, about to get mugged. Best of luck to those who still guard them. The old ways, I mean. May you not go senile before  you have lost  all our disinterest. Favor moves fast, from Myspace to Facebook, then down into the Tumblr, non-plussed and discarded. Like some underage kid tossed out the bar. Poor boy,  slurs our century behind heineken and glass. Fucking carded.