The Poem that Foreshadowed CarLess in LA

While I was shooting CarLess in L.A., I had a blog going — here is a portion of it, re-published.  For more blogging during the 80 days, go Here.   

I grew up in Mobile, Alabama (yes — Mobile as in “movement”– I’m not kidding) and attended all-girls school until ninth grade. It was while in Ms. Bosler’s seventh grade English class, with her poster of Tom Selleck and her bright orange and yellow canvases that were supposed to “encourage thinking,” that I discovered what poetry was. It was a specific poem that led to this revelation. I think she had us read it out loud. I remember just following along robotically to what the words fed us. And then Ms. Bosler asked some very smart questions when the lightbulb in my whole being went off. I later learned that what I had stumbled upon in that poem was what high school students call “figurative language” and “imagery.” In that one poem, a whole world opened up.

I recently tracked down Ms. Bosler to find the name and author of this poem. May Swenson called it “Southbound on the Freeway.” I call it: beautiful and strange foreshadowing.

Here it is:

by cocoi-M on Flickr

“Southbound on the Freeway” by May Swenson

A tourist came in from Orbitville,
parked in the air, and said:

The creatures of this star
are made of metal and glass.

Through the transparent parts
you can see their guts.

Their feet are round and roll
on diagrams or long

measuring tapes, dark
with white lines.

They have four eyes.
The two in the back are red.

Sometimes you can see a five-eyed
one, with a red eye turning

on the top of his head.
He must be special –

the others respect him
and go slow

when he passes, winding
among them from behind.

They all hiss as they glide,
like inches, down the marked

tapes. Those soft shapes
shadowy inside

the hard bodies – are they
their guts or their brains?

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