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By Mike Sonksen

I sing of a River dammed,
dumped, pumped & Diverted;
I sing of a River
they almost Murdered..
I sing of a River
the people forgot,
I sing of a River
that flows from the rocks…

I sing of a River rushing from Mountain slopes,
Snowmelt below Mt. Wilson,
the mouth of the Arroyo.
I sing of a River where the shifting bottom
of soft sedimentary sandstones
& clay mixes with gravel
washed from seasonal runoff.

I sing of a River less celebrated
than world waters,
still powerful enough
to wash away a village.

I sing of a River that switched beds,
Underground moisture in the watershed.
I sing of a River where much of the water
never reached the sea — forming
Marshes, lagoons & mud flats.

I sing of a River with
a huge underground reservoir
beneath the San Fernando Valley,
I sing of the River that built this city..

I sing of a River that provided life
for the Tongva Tribe. Later to be called
GAbrielinos, they lived amidst the willows,
Edible berries & sycamore trees.
I sing of a River where steelhead
were hunted by grizzlies.

I sing of a River with an archipelago
of birds, insects & tiny green particles,
Foam bubbles, towering power lines,
Cottonwood trees, tadpoles & morning frogs.
I sing of a River where pelicans songs
echo off canyon walls.

I sing of a River unknown to many,
Perhaps first seen in GREASE
or The TERMINATOR,
I sing of a River that’s always been here.

I sing of a River with tributaries,
Like the Rio Hondo.
I sing of a River with a confluence
in the Arroyo Seco.

I sing of a river weaving through crossroads
of freight rails & intersecting Freeways.
I sing of a river below
Metrolink & Gold Line trains.

I sing of a River with a bevy of bridges.
Merrill Butler built iconic bridges
in the City Beautiful tradition.

I sing of a River where 44 pobladores
Established the pueblo of Los Angeles
in 1781 at the Confluence
in the name of Spain
& King Carlos the Third.
I sing of a river that was here
Long before sig alerts.

I sing of a river before concrete,
squatter camps & floating cans of beer.
I sing of a River paved in concrete
by The Army Corp of Engineers.

I sing of a River resurrected
one pocket park at a time.
Blades of grass breaking concrete,
Riparian Wetlands in the Compton Creek,
Oleanders in Atwater,
Re-instate the native garden!

Lewis MacAdams founded
The Friends of the Los Angeles River
With the Power of the Word.
Like John Kinsella says,
“Poems can stop bulldozers.”
I sing of a River where
Wetlands & Washs once dominated
Witness the Return of the Watershed!

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