California Dreaming

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 <em>There are trees beyond there,</em> 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.