headwaters

we descend Mount Shasta to a city park at its base, where you find the headwaters of the Sacramento River. they say the snow water takes 50 years to flow through the mountain to this source. people carrying containers make their way around the mouth to the reach the cave the pure water pours from. a sacred place. from here the giant river opens up and irrigates the land. from Redding to Chico to Sacramento. across the Delta and down into San Francisco Bay. the days are hot and dry. this is the valley. we search for olives…trailed by birds.   #katyamills

action on the street. two thousand some.

the women with newport smooth hundreds walk the sidewalks, smoke sweeps into their lungs. heads dizzy with the chemicals they swing their upper bodies down over the bus stop benches, regretfully, and around go the hips, puff their lips out at the strangers, push middle fingers out at dangers. the drunks duck into meeting halls, intoxicated by sweet anonymity, the junkies escape the blistering heat of the valley, prayers and those who care, or want to care, inside open doors. tears of misery. tears of joy. the women born in the forties and fifties come out with abandon, pushing upper ages into push up bras with powder, in triple digit heat. the older they are the stronger. the men have become very kind and sugar sweet with old age. out with their canes, in wheelchairs, on walkers. ripened and unashamed to be weak after lifetimes of having to be strong. the heat has the strip malls and parking lots cooked, melting tar into rivulets dripping down where the rainwater is supposed to take the oils, the wheels they are spinning and change direction to avoid an ugly truth in the road, the film drips off of grills embedded in the pavement, the fishtails of boys in cars dragging the streets take water in through the gills. the ones been around the block stand there talking, don’t need to go around it again, the quiet ones come out to listen to the talkers who are talking to anyone and no one, the young ones quiet and listening but not for long, the young girls holding the hands of the young men and young women, smile and kick up the dust, the young boys are satellites who blush. the workers are working, the players playing cards, the surveyors, construction, on the job, hammering and drilling and surveying, connecting wires, hard hats on hard heads, staring at a soft ass passing by on the street, hard, hammering and measuring and shouting over the trucks, wishing they was talking to some honey, sugar sweet. the smokers are kicking snipes into the street, newports and kools and camels, dehydrated, rolling embers off the end of a half-smoked marlboro, rollies, talking shit, looking, the girls gossiping and looking and laughing a little, the men boasting and smiling, the punks smoking reds like joints. real estate agents taking smoke breaks on the hour. waitresses cursing into their breaks, called back in by a supervisor or line cook to get their asses inside and grab that fucking marinated mountain trout with rice and green beans. they sashay into the air conditioned dining rooms to their tables. waiters incensed by ten percents, dropping cans and butts on cold cement. then out on the streets, free, after they all punch out.  #katyamills

mag.pie

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?

fluffy white towels the kind you find in only the finest hotels

When all the bridges have been burned and all congeniality has been lost, looking at the river you will not feel the same as before, wondering how to cross it alone, wandering, then discover you can swim if you start by floating on your back, belly up,  staring up at the sky, even with horizon with the dying. You must continue on to farther shore, for there i await you, my child, with an oversized fluffy white towel the kind you find in only the finest hotels, to wrap around your dear self, and as you drip dry i will say nothing, just clasp my arms around your neck and lean into you so you can feel your strength and the beating of my heart with yours, in the valley, verdant of all that arise by the sun, solitary, captivated by the life.