Friday, March 4, 2016

Poetry Hour

Who besides Flathead Rob could turn this venue arty? Here's a poem he passed along. Pretty damn dark but I still love it. Rob's comments?

I had to look it up, but of course Bologna is the home of Ducati… I love the line that starts, “The Lord is my shepherd…”


I spend most of my time not dying.
That’s what living is for.
I climb on a motorcycle.
I climb on a cloud and rain.
I climb on a woman I love.
I repeat my themes.

Here I am in Bologna again.
Here I go again.
Here I go again, getting happier and happier.
I climb on a log
Torpedoing toward the falls.
Basically, it sticks out of me.

At the factory,
The racer being made for me
Is not ready, but is getting deadly.
I am here to see it being born.
It is snowing in Milan, the TV says.
They close one airport, then both.

The Lord is my shepherd and the Director of Superbike Racing.
He buzzes me through three layers of security
To the innermost secret sanctum of the racing department
Where I will breathe my last.
Trains are delayed.
The Florence sky is falling snow.

Tonight Bologna is fog.
This afternoon, there it was,
With all the mechanics who are making it around it.
It stood on a sort of altar.
I stood in a sort of fog,
Taking digital photographs of my death.

—Frederick Seidel (1936- )

Frederick Seidel

Siedel  is a heavy cat. 

In November 2011 the poet and bike enthusiast Frederick Seidel stirred up a bit of controversy with a piece he published in The New York Times lamenting the end of “the era of the motorcycle.” Simply put, Seidel’s argument was that as a piece of expensive, disposable technology the motorcycle—his example was a Ducati Panigale—has been displaced by the tide of multi-purpose personal devices without which consumers, mostly young male consumers, cannot function on a daily basis let alone legitimate their status, real or imagined, in society. Many of those who responded, often in online forums, turned Seidel’s critique back on the bike companies themselves for concentrating their advertising on flashy, high performance machines capable of 150 mph and requiring a significant measure of skill to use safely on congested roads and highways. With electronic control systems that only someone with an advanced degree would dare to poke into, the contemporary sport bike, like the heavyweight cruiser, appeals to a narrow segment of the market whose limitations have been aggravated by a depressed economy and by stagnant wages and salaries. Triumph, with its broad range of modern and classic models, appears to have avoided this self-designed cul-de-sac; but Triumph sales are just a drop in the bucket in the US motorcycle market. If there is a bright spot, it may just be the classic scene, among riders young and old who like to fix up old bikes, race them on occasional weekends, and enjoy them as much for their faults and eccentricities as for their aesthetics and their “honest” engineering.

I can't argue with any of that. I work in a field that couldn't be any more technically saturated and entrenched. For me at least, old bikes are an escape. I might be nuts without them. That said, it's not that rare an occurrence that an iPhone is the only "tool kit" I carry. Thank god my wife is a tolerant woman.

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