T.E. Lawrence had a great love for his Brough Superior SS100, in the 1920s and 30s one of the truly great motorcycles of that era. Lawrence lived his life always just one step ahead of uncertainty, which should be the seasoned, disparate path into cataclysmic oblivion we might all consider with more unbiased regard. Lawrence, as most know, died in 1935 on his last Brough Superior when he unexpectedly encountered two youths on the rural roadway ahead as he crested a rise at speed. He was not wearing a helmet, of course, as no one did at that time. One of the physicians who attended Lawrence immediately after his fatal accident was a neurosurgeon who thereafter began a campaign to encourage the design and development of protective crash helmets for motorcyclists. The irony of that final contribution of Lawrence (although inadvertant) to vehicular safety today is immense, yet worthy of no small amount of reflection, I believe.
FIVE UP, ONE DOWN
Wassup wit speed?
Youthful flames with white hot tongues
Still flicker out to stroke erogenous memories of days long gone
When passions flared and dared to accelerate life to limits unknown,
Now lost beyond recall that assumes insanely wheeled vehicular
Velocities down recondite pathways towards mature boredom.
Age brings forbearance, tempered by fear, now that
Recollections of motorised hormonal impulse fade,
Oddly muted by the squeak of bones and failed
The universal male drama:
Every living act aimed at recapturing that
Which once passed, can no longer be regained,
No vibrating echo of perfect physical energy unleashed
By two-wheeled constructs of energy-fed metalized emotion.
Looking back into the dim past of hippocampic neural connections
I vaguely perceive a one-time urgency to feed this beloved monster
Whose name may only be uttered in loudest tones of shrieking protest,
Ridden on the cushioned spine of motorcycled thunder.
What was it Aristotle once observed?
When asked how it felt in the darkling twilight of human life,
To now be denied the passionate pursuits and erotic entanglements
That immature forms of life carry as ineluctable, burdensome baggage on
The lightspeed journey that is unfettered youth? A relief, that ancient august
Person noted, so we are told, to finally dismount the raging, snorting stallion
And stable it in some pleasantly remembered, quiet pasture to graze,
Now no stranger itself to rheumy disconnectivities of ironic life.
One such stallion sits in my garage.
A monster on two wheels that can reach 60 miles an hour in 2.9 seconds.
Its mad, inertial doom arrested only by my failure to wake it one last time
To ignite great explosions of psychological defiance amid the burnt cinders
Of my own decelerating life, it sits there patiently lurking, malevolently plotting
My ultimate end, a cataclysmic death-wish in the making. All I need do
Is sit upon its saddle, turn the key and stroke it from its slumbers.
Who knows but death may be a better lover in this fatally erotic form?
A coital moment, 2.9 seconds from infinity, beckons.
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|Reviewed by Ed Matlack
|Rode my dads 59'(?) softtail once & only once as it got totally destroyed in an over the cliff ballet with me at its helm...I held on for dear life, hoping to keep it in one piece, fat chance, ripped from my hands, almost taking me with it to its final demise & permanent resting place in a very large & deep river in western Pennsylvania...okay, so it was snowing & I was doing about a hundred, but hey I had to wring her out...and then there was this cop that was chasing me...but thats another story...dad never let me forget that, & every time I looked at another bike, even one that I could have pedaled, he looked the other way & growled...Ed|