If you’re experiencing a sense of Déjà vu, the following selection for Poetry Monday comes to you from the archives.

There is no question that Southern California is a car culture. Visitors who come here for the first time are often amazed (and frustrated) that it’s almost impossible to get around the city without access to an automobile. Until I moved here, I managed to survive quite nicely without owning a motor vehicle. My favorite poet has escaped from the auto-centered life style to Paris, a city that provides excellent means of mass transit, and where he now resides without that California icon, the car. However, before departing from here, he penned the following poem, capturing the flavor of that favorite youthful pastime,  going out for a spin.


a little red hatchback gleams like a scarab in the desert

burning through the Alemeda corridor

down the freeway-wide surface streets

with Gothic-steel factories pluming white into the white

afternoon sky,

white that the falling sun will soon ignite into stained glass

yellows and oranges.

but for now the car cuts through the enfolding haze

then out of the industrial and into the lower-rung commercial

with liquor stores and blacks and Mexicans crowding the bus stops

marginalized, problematized, by money or lack thereof.

it is late summer afternoon on the western side of LA County

where the asphalt meets the ocean

and the red hatchback dodges smoothly through thickening

rush-hour traffic

like a ruby sifting through gravel

flashing under the California sun.

p. ferenczi

This entry was posted in America, Cars, Los Angeles, Poetry, Thoughts & Musings, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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