Author: Theresa Smalec

Wend and Calque by Lea Graham

Installment 25 features two poems by Lea Graham: excursions into meaning that meander toward etymology, history, memory, and association. “Wend” and “Calque” travel the back roads and back channels of language, constantly surprising and rerouting expectations in the process.   *** Wend: to direct one’s course; to travel, proceed 1. Forty years later in Mayflower, Arkansas, I wake from the dream where I am forever riding the Greyhound around hairpins, a car-sick kid next to a chain-smoking crone draped in a pink afghan. I’m eager for the mountain’s descent where the river begins to bottom out this drive, but stuck...

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Glendette by Brent Raycroft

Our 23rd installment is Brent Raycroft’s “Glendette,” a reflection on the sedimentary nature of used vehicles and previous owners. Raycroft suggests that seemingly inanimate cars impart their histories in material ways, thus keeping traces of the past alive through us.     *** Glendette From what we were told we’re the third or fourth owners of this heavy appendix to car transportation. I’ve got the original road registration: a worn paper slip for a sixteen-foot, one-axle ’65 Glendale Glendette. We might make it road worthy, go for a trip. But it looks pretty good where it is. It will be...

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Sestina On Doing One Hundred And Forty On The 405 by Michael Caan

Michael Caan’s tribute to incorrigible driving is our 22nd installment. Built on repetitions with a difference, “Sestina on Doing One Hundred and Forty on the 405” puts pedal to metal, dramatizing the risks that accrue value with time.    *** Sestina On Doing One Hundred And Forty On The 405. The speedo pegged at 130 and man that felt fine. I was twenty-one, an age when a guy’s just got to speed. Forty-five years later I’m on the 405 again, same wide cut through the Valley where I’d gone so fast. The Sierra foothills frame the shimmering asphalt. The...

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Custom Car Parade by Laura Winton

Laura Winton’s “Custom Car Parade” is our 21st installment. This is also our first installment featuring a recording of the poet reading their work. Deeply in touch with our age of precariousness, Winton’s driver dares us to risk what little mileage we have left–and possibly win back something much bigger, like freedom. *** Custom Car Parade Who knew we’d make it this far already who knew that our hearts wouldn’t wear out so much sooner than this that the big one was this far off that we could spiral down this far without hitting bottom so hard it knocked...

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Beware the Beast by James Livingston

The title for Installment 20, “Beware the Beast,” is inspired by the visions of William Blake. The various beasts remembered here blur the lines between heroic and pathetic. They are flashes in the rear view of those broken, precious things that love resolutely tries to salvage. *** First car I bought was a ‘58 Ford, cost me fifty dollars, Three speed on the column, we called him The Beast: Already rusty, never had enough miles an hour. I loved that old hound, but he kept on breakin’ down, Lou and I spent two days just replacing the clutch: Already...

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