“Speed Metal Symphony,” Jake Tringali

Judith Nelson, Smack, 1969, 60X60

Speed Metal Symphony”


engines tick

bzzt, group text: “no cops let’s go”. the street race begun, seven drivers screaming in seven screaming junkers. immediately, an iroc-z rumbles into a ford escort, scraping and sparking, the drivers keep the pedal down, and they push together to 30 mph on a side street before popping away from each other

the other drivers hoot and holler and honk, slamming pedals as they all take the first corner onto olympic avenue, seats squeaking, tires rumbling through midnight

some joker in a lincoln is punching every interior button, window wipers wishing away, front light flitting erratically, hazards synced to motörhead on the stereo, dopplered destruction through downtown los angeles

purple volkswagon finds itself in the middle of the pack, swivels left and right, bouncing off concrete gutters, ricocheting towards the porter street scrap metal yard

leaping forward, a focus hatchback barely misses oncoming traffic, her left side filled with spiderwebs of yellow spraypaint over the word ‘JUNK’ in three-feet-high letters

just five feet in front, last decade’s altima batters into pothole after pothole, possibly on purpose, as its loose trunk lid flies up and down cachinking. on the fifth hole, the driver’s window wallops into a spray of shards on the street

the spraypainted hatchback pops a back tire, gravel rattles the undercarriage, skidding out near skid row, but keeps revving the engine, the city responds and reverbs

some freaky green gremlin takes the lead near homeboy silk screen, rattling and ratcheting and spronging into high velocities, the rest of the automobiles continue their drunken march through los angeles

they’ve three thunderous laps in front of them, before approaching the end, the quiet l.a. river sleeps, a rubicon not to be crossed


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