April 23-29, 2001: Elizabeth Iannaci and Catherine Daly


week of April 23-29, 2001

Elizabeth Iannaci and Catherine Daly

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Elizabeth Iannaci

Bio (auto)

Writer/actor/singer ELIZABETH IANNACI has been a regular of the Los Angeles theatre and performance community for over two decades Currently, she is pleased to serve as one of the co-directors of The Valley Contemporary Poets Her first book of poetry Passion’s Casualties, (Fate’s Creation Press) was recently published Her work has appeared in the television series “Ghost Stories” and on “American Freeway” for FM Yokohama A founding member of the award-winning theatre company The Wilton Project, her critically acclaimed solo show “O Beautiful Doll” ran in Los Angeles for seven months at the Harman Alley and Carpet Company Theatres She has performed in venues as varied as the Pasadena Playhouse, Luna Park, L.A.C.E , the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, the Matrix Theatre, Beyond Baroque, the Lhasa Club and the Palomino She is kind to animals and has a horror of men who wear their hats in the house You would like her.

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Elizabeth Iannaci and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Message From a Lost Pilot

China Clipper calling Alameda—
China Clipper calling Alameda—
You’re breaking up
Can’t read you
Have lost bearings
Drifted off course
Abandoned scheduled stops on Midway
Guam and the Orient
Weather conditions perilous
Visibility close to zero
Call it pilot error
Or rather pilot arrogance
Strength of will alone
always my strong suit
Won’t conquer the monsoon this time
May be forced to land
without clearance
Cargo of dark wood and jewels
Intended to grace the homes of the great
Will be traded to Pygmies in Africa
Punans in Borneo
Not what you expected
Will keep me alive

China Clipper calling Alameda—
China Clipper calling Alameda—
Crash landing in the jungle
Not as romantic as
I’d have you believe
Radio only static
Don’t be too quick
to write me off as lost
This craft will fly again
When I teach the natives
to make fuel

Learning to Cut Bread

One-thirty in the morning I’ve just come
from a poetry reading in Orange County
for God’s sake, that Republican

stronghold, bastion of the
bland—white bread
geographied, and I’m hungry

so I home in on the olive bread,
grab a knife, cut
off a chunk It’s awkward I imagine

my hand slipping due to my
fatigue and the jagged blade cutting
an artery Rushed to the hospital,

still ravenous These institutions
are not known for their cuisine. 
Don’t eat there Everything

in a hospital seems intended to
heighten one’s discomfort The lighting The temperature Arctic conditions are

supposed to curb the proliferation of
bacteria Humans were not designed
to function gracefully under such

hardship This is often confirmed
by explicit outbursts in the emergency
room My son was once taken

to the ER He cut a tendon in his hand
while demonstrating to a friend the proper
way to stab a box The waiting room

was filled to capacity Sign on the wall
allowed 25 people in that room We
made 27 To my reckoning there were

three cases of flu, a broken collarbone
acquired falling off the back
of an SUV, two food poisonings

(the salmon mousse)
one early labor, one foot
run over by a forklift, an eraser

stuck in an ear, the famous knife
wound, and all too apparently, one
case of I need drugs for the weekend,

each with an entourage Ten minutes
into our second hour of waiting, the broken
collarbone’s wife started screaming

bansheelike—If he’s not tended to
immediately, I’ll sue this hospital for
deprivation of sexual ability!
They were

escorted behind heavy swinging
doors and never seen again. 
Not by us We were eventually

ushered into another cold room Again
waited while pictures were taken of
“the hand.” They were stuck on the light

box by an East Indian doctor with
eyelashes long enough to catch falling
snow The negative stopped me cold
Black picture of white bone Like any
other hand Except, it was my son’s Unmistakably
His hand. 
I could pick it out of a line up I didn’t
know I knew it Of course, I did
He’s my son In time, he would have
surgery on that hand For now he was   
sewn up and released The sun

washed the morning with an anemic
glow The parking lot attendant
had misplaced our keys We were

entertained by the security
guard Observations on American
life told with a thick Russian accent
Here are many stupid people
for which there is no excusing No culture No sense of elegance

Russians know how to
cut bread You see them
in movies, cradling the loaf

against their chests Cutting
toward themselves Quickly. 
Passionately So, at one-thirty

in the morning, just come
from a poetry reading in Orange County
for God’s sake, I hold the loaf

fervently to my chest, and
for a brief moment,
I am Russian.

Defying Gravity

It’s in the staying Whatever it takes In the “that which doesn’t kill us”
times No fleeing to
Cuba to escape
the pain No “you should
have seen me then”s You’ll
know You were there Here Now Want to make love to me
when I’m 80 Doesn’t matter
if we can When my breasts succumb to
you’ll say You’re still the most
beautiful woman I know

and mean it When your knees
finally give out
I’ll buy you a silver
dragon-headed cane Everyone will say
He has such style.

Catherine Daly

Bio (auto)

Catherine Daly lives across the street from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles and works as a software developer The Hacker’s Dictionary definition of “Turing tar pit” is “a place where anything is possible but nothing of interest is practical “

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Catherine Daly and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Turing Tar Pits

I could take that job and live on the beach for the summer Summer would stretch into fall and Christmas
in the Southern Californian way
We would miss me here at the tar pits Take the pet with you
I could take a job where they’d send me to school,
away from early until late
You might as well live in paradise then, and be single
Would you help me fix up my dorm room?
Could I come home weekends?

Even if there were jobs at the tar pits,
doing them would be like being home,
and I want to get away
and then return
My old job seems more interesting from the tar pits
than it was Good jobs and poetry where we don’t live
Without a job, I can’t to move anywhere nice,
away from the tar pits
Nothing interesting is practical I had a job an hour away but I didn’t see any more people
than I see around the house
after the woman I shared an office with
left since there were no people in the office
My supervisor escorted me to the women’s room
for national security reasons
every time I had to pee It was a dull job I couldn’t drink the coffee I needed to stay awake
I had a job nearby but it didn’t pay well enough
for me to get a car The bus only dropped off, didn’t pick up,
at the stop
The harder I work,
the deeper writings’ inadequacies draw me
If I live here at the tar pits I can write, yet
I could write dull poetry here until I run out of money.

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