California, you used to make me brave

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I am thinking about you, California, you used to make me feel brave.

I stopped on a side-road outside Santa Rosa to eat tacos.  There was a sale on RedBull which is all I drank.  It was after a weekend making love with a pot grower on a secret coast hidden by the North trees.  We ate oysters and he took me to a place with caves and cliff-crag clearings where I could lay naked in the grass in the sun.  I tucked wildflowers in my hair.  I had to rearrange my living so I pulled off the Avenue into a little womb space where the pine needles lay and ensure no sound.  I took everything out of the car and put it on the ground: Now, to clear out and remake my little house.  When you live in your car and your home is the road there’s never any place you’ve got to go.  There was a stretch of land on the Sonoma coast where the ancients used to talk in rock-tree language, clean as wave spray.  I ran the 1 up and down. I was running from nothing, nothing to run to.  Just the pure relationship between movement and the ground.   I listened to the native speak.  Oh land.  You’ve always been my home.

You~you made me brave.

Remember when I used to be frightened of the sea?  Not the mama prima, oh Atlantic, who raised me?  But wild, thrashing Pacific, untamed, unknown one?  This was up north, Goat Rock, where the froth was so spiteful it shook the beach with thunder sound.   Now I bow at your feet, Sleepy Hollow, Thousand Steps, Crescent Bay, and move as breath does from the lungs into the autonomous air.  Aqua green peace.  I move into you, mama, with you.  I hear no sound.  I am no more separate from motion than stillness is.

On Tuesdays now I often take PCH home.  The line of dusk on the horizon is dark blue or purple-orange.  Coming down Macarthur near Fashion Island where the bunnies are in a circle for the Easter Parade.  That is when you first see the sea.  Catalina laid out like a woman on her back and I always catch my breath like she is me, like I am that breathless woman made ecstatic from the sea’s all the time covetous caress.  When you see her lips part that is my moan.  The line of palms on the Coast Highway in Corona Del Mar from that vantage look like giants at the foot of breathless woman.  She gives her breath to the sea it helps her rise and fall through the respiration of the trees.

I open my sunroof because in the dark on Tuesday’s even if the clouds are out you can still feel the still simple breathing of the stars.  I drove the coast and felt their light in my hair.  I pulled over on Cliff Dr to feel the sliver moon.  I called Jon then drove up in to the high canyon hills.  The land ran through me with the tremor-weight of horse thighs.  It was so much to contain in through the windows, in through the sunroof, crescent moon and all those hills, that I stopped the car and turned off my lights in the middle of the road.  My breath was so thick with you I had to gasp.

California, I am thinking about courage.  My body without you is brittle.  My muscles barely move.  I lay in bed and feel the stars still in my hair from the sunroof and can’t deny the truth in quiet, the truth behind your dark moon.

2 thoughts on “California, you used to make me brave

    Andrea Stephenson said:
    April 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Gorgeous Kelly, I love this piece of writing and the wonderful images you’ve used.

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