Three Poems

Drive In

you are one off-ramp on the santa monica freeway
you have a dustily marginal air
            Peter Schjeldahl, To Pico

Aficionados in the dark say shush. 
Even popcorn distracts, detracts.

The phone rings, there's a gun,
boy meets girl,
the girl wearing a white shirt enters,
lock the door!

The monster thrashes through goo,
bang, pow, the criminal staggers, quivers,
the criminal just won't die. Ms. Wrong dies.

You are all you can hear.
All I can hear is Los Angeles.

Helicopters hovering
make certain it is happening, and where.

Like Eternity, a Falsehood

If this strip of dotted tarmac, this list,
turned and twisted

Air Strip, Jet Strip, Spearmint Rhino

back on it self, joining

Sunset Strip, Moebius Strip, Listing,

if at the Tehachapi Loop, trains
lay one symbol of eternity on some others,

then in the high desert, in Death Valley
or Valley Ball, where geology's raw,
can we have pure topology?

Second Shift

Another day, another

I take my briefcase containing
tuna fish-filled tupperware

past the gate
sign, "How is the air? Clear"

to my car in my assigned slot
in the employee lot, the Beige lot,
the Taupe lot.

The road is a famous former
cruising spot. Now driving
back and forth slowly's illegal
except at eight and six.

Nature announces itselfwhat?
sunset when I lock my keys in my car
and wait for AAA. 

Branch banks, Sizzler, trophy shop,
locksmith, laundromat, beauty shop,
post office, dry cleaner, and convenience store
are anywhere. Erehwon.

A wig shop. The factory
is a hungry dragon in a fairy tale.

—Catherine Daly, Los Angeles, CA