Finally, after all these nights away, a dream coughed up the perfect metaphor: L.A. played on an IMAX screen and I sat in the theater. The control-box voice narrated smog like smog was a monarch butterfly on a filmstrip soundtrack. Thick as cigarette smoke, hyperbolic. A term for every gust. I knew the narrow blue building forcing its way up to the street, but couldn’t remember the intersection. Finally I noticed the screen, understood the image was both near and far. Score another for the dream, for all the places like that, marquees and billboards I can still see rolling by in slow motion in my mind’s car-window frame.  Smug and compassless, left to my own devices, I will never find any of it again. A man in the audience said There are trees beyond there, and although we couldn’t see them, we burrowed our vision like cathode rays, looked hard, and knew it was true. In real life I was living quietly in Chicago and watching lots of foreign films for the first time.

Becca Klaver is a founding editor of the feminist poetry press Switchback Books and a PhD student in Literatures in English at Rutgers University. She is the author of the chapbook Inside a Red Corvette: A 90s Mix Tape (greying ghost press, 2009), and her first full-length collection, LA Liminal, will be published by Kore Press in 2010.

California Dreaming
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