All These Hills and Valleys
Todd Astarita

This Saturday morning in spring

An amber glow begins to ride along the streets of San Francisco.

The streams of light creep slowly up and into cracks of brick

And over bumps of rough stone.

The angular storefronts smile at one another

With golden arched glares in glass.

The windows capture moving snapshots of a trolley car

As it passes -- travels all the hills and valleys – and breaks the smiles for a short while.


The salty seas of Charlize

Fill his mouth and pacify an arousing thirst

As the morning swarms in; they welcome the day.

He raises and delves – traveling all the hills and valleys -- with

The glide of a long tongue on her glistening waves.

She pushes, she squirms.

He holds and he licks.

She pulls, she twists.

He holds and he tickles.

She grabs at the headboard behind her

But punches instead;

As she digs curled toes into the mattress

The pillow falls off the bed.

He grabs at her upper thighs and massages them apart.

He looks up once to her eyes that roll like a tall shore breaker

That finally falls as she clamps her spread fingers in hair with final tension,

Then runs them through with release.



Making waste of day

With shades of haste,

Down falls the man to the knees of broken dawn.

In through the shades

Breaks light in parallel rays, but not enough to overcome the dark room.

Onto the floor falls a quivering shadow of this slave.

He peers out through a crack he has made

And in shines the same amber glow he has tried to avoid for three days.

The grime in his nails makes direct way to his clammy face

Much like a cat’s head turns to the ghosts on the wall.

He scratches dirt into blood – traveling all the hills and valleys –

And wipes coke snot from his nose.

He grabs the sock from the floor – the tissue in which he blows.

Out falls the dripping slime and burned away pieces of nose

As his eyes remain locked open, affixed on any slight motion.

A cigarette rests on the sill and there’s one his mouth;


The smoke combines and clouds in his eyes but they remain like blackened wells

That run dry for miles.

The rush of the drug surrealizes his view of the world

As he grabs at his throbbing chest and falls to the floor…

He wrestles with pain.


He squirms and he twists.

Thump Thump.

He convulses and arches his back high off the floor.

Thump Thump Thump Thump

He wrestles with god and with an overwhelming dosage.

Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump Thump THUMP THUMP.

He clamps his spread fingers in hair with final tension,

Then runs them through with release.




Through all these hills and valleys

Apartments awaken to natural ways.

Some see the light

And some turn away.

With both the

Sweet salt of her sea


Dead throb of his streak

In comes the amber glow

Of the Golden Gate Sun.