1970s freeway
Shattered, ripped, jagged
by Patrick T. Reardon

“Drive,” he said. So,
21 and never
behind a
wheel,
I did

on the 1971 freeways of
Los Angeles and
up into the hills
and down into
the city
on palm-lined
side streets
where,
nervous,
I clipped
the left
rear
corner
of a
parked
car,
marked
and
marred,

fiberglass
shattered and
ripped like fabric,
jagged like a bottle broken
along the curb as the tire has turned.

PHOTO: Traffic on the Hollywood Freeway near Ventura, California, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, in the early 1970s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I borrowed the phrase “ ‘Drive,’ he said,” from the very good and now forgotten 1971 Jack Nicholson-directed movie Drive, He Said, which borrowed the words from the short Robert Creeley poem “I Know A Man,” which ends with these lines: “drive, he sd, for/christ’s sake, look/out where yr going.”

Reardon.....with shattered

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, who actually is a very good driver, spent six months in the suburbs Los Angeles, bored with the perfect weather. A Chicago native, he has published essays on the joys of snow-shoveling during a writing career that has spanned more than half a century.

PHOTO: The author in 1971.