Joe Blake is searching for something real in a seemingly depthless world. An alienated, underemployed professor and aspiring poet, Joe roams San Diego in his own personal disquiet and discovers that agony and ecstasy coexist all around him.
Joe has fallen in love with Theresa Sanchez, a single mother cultivating her own garden of doubts. As Joe and Theresa negotiate their intimacy amid bouts of passion and lines of Neruda, they find common ground in their yearning for a more authentic life. But what they later discover along a lonely stretch of highway is almost too real for them to bear.