L.A. Three Way

by Michael McLaughlin

3:00 a.m. My private Idaho.
Where the 405 curves.
—Ten east.
My favorite overpass in the world.

You’d make a great cop.
You got more Wrong things
right than anyone I know.

She never have a man before.
“You very lucky,” Mr. Gypsy Cabbie says.

The absolute has no door into it.
Emptiness, no exit hatch.

Self and Lust and the Higher I.
An L.A. three way.
Of all things.


Victim of enthusiasms, Michael McLaughlin has worked for over twenty-five years as a Poet-in-Residence at Atascadero State Hospital, a maximum-security forensic facility, as a Contract Artist with the California Department of Corrections and with California Poets in the Schools. A graduate of USC’s Master of Professional Writing program and founding editor of The Southern California Anthology, McLaughlin’s most recent collection of poetry is Countless Cinemas (University of Hell Press, Portland, Oregon 2016). Selected Poet Laureate of San Luis Obispo County in 2003, McLaughlin curates Santa Maria, California’s Live from the CORE poetry/performance series, is a Poet-in-Residence at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California and currently resides with his beautiful wife and nine indoor cats on California’s Central Coast.

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