Drive In Dream

Christmas, 1997 / No. 1

Tonight he dreams

he is driving

across a landscape impaled

by satellite dishes.

The land is a Chia Pet

someone is painting with a secret

so it sprouts

U.F.O. launch-pod-like

satellite dishes.

He stares

out the bug-spattered

tell a vision windscreen

as he chugs to the future

a place where

with a clear reception

you can watch anything:

five hundred channels, five thousand channels

five million channels.

He shifts gears with a

telephone receiver,

moves himself, his car,

like a picture from a magazine,

he moves his payload

’cross the country

changing channels

using a converter box

an old brown box

with a single row of

fifteen buttons

framed as in life

by a knob at each end—this rig

on the dash of his car.

He pushes buttons

on the converter.

He’s on a superhighway now.

A cul-de-sac in suburbia.

A dusty track in the country,

houses set far away from the road,

each house guarded

by a phalanx of satellites.

He changes channels faster,

steering his car

with a measure of cliché

white-knuckle desperation

for that which he’s searching,

for that which he’s left behind,

missed, in a wide city

boulevard now.

Driving down a coast beside cliffs

with the ocean below.

He is back on the rain-blackened

streets of his neighbourhood

now. A commercial break

on the windscreen.

The gearshift begins to ring.

From its cradle

between bucket seats

he picks up.

It’s his ex on the phone.

His ex from the seventies

—no—from the eighties,

his ex from the nineties

his current ex-lover

yes her.

She’s calling out to him

huffing on the phone.

She cheats and hangs out

with a clique.

She shrieks and hangs up

with a click.

He stares

into the receiver

puts his foot on the gas.

The sun is setting.

Just another day in the future.