Monday, July 21, 2008

Mr. Fred's Unpopular Poetry Corner: The Dash

Sure, poetry is bullshit, but it has no monopoly on bullshit and some of us happen to enjoy it, unless it's too pretentious, see poetry-review supra.

How about a poem about a machine?

"The Dash"

Just loping down the street
It rattled and popped along
In no apparent rhythm,
Sounded more like fireworks
Than a motor.

With the wick turned up
It sounded like gunfire,
Pulling steadily up the gears,
Explosions more regular now,
With overtones of Steel-Drum
Bands, happy but impatient,
Longing to get on with
The business of speed.

One piston as big as a child’s fist,
Gas consumption of a mid-sized car,
Stand on it and watch the gas gauge
Roll counter-clockwise like a
Stop-watch in reverse.

With the engine in the Second-House
And Jupiter aligned with Mars,
Opening the throttle suddenly
The bike shoots forward
With enough force to throw
The incautious rider straight off the back.

Rev’s ascending, throttle at the stop,
The sound now of a steam-whistle
Woodwind blast, engine fully alive,
Quickly through the gears,
Bigger clouds of gas drawn in
To the inescapable gravity of the motor.
Indistinguishable explosions now
A ripping, terrified
High pitched Psycho scream.

Roll it off and the angry noise
Subsides, again the rattle
Like something deep inside has snapped,
Random pops and huge banging noises,
The Steel-Band now, after Midnight,
Drunk and celebratory,
Reduced again to a shambles
Of potential violence, almost like
It will fly to pieces at any moment.

That bike was hot.
When you turned it off it sizzled and crackled
For two minutes at least.

Written on a commuter van from Lopburi to Bangkok, July 21, 2008


Anonymous said...

I'll see your "dash" and counter it with another:


I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the the end.


He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.


For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.


For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars....the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.


So think about this long and hard...
are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash midrange.")


If we could just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.


And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we've never loved before.


If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.


So, when your eulogy's being read
with your life's actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they
say about how you spend your dash?

Author- Linda Ellis


fred c said...

Mine was a Honda. It was dangerously fast and it weighed almost nothing, there's a picture and more raving down in the bowels of the blog.

The dash in this poem is a good one too. My favorite dash is that on the grave stone of Joe Tanaka in the Catholic cemetary on Kissena Blvd in Flushing. Born August 15, 1948 (day before me)- died within two weeks. It's across from my grandparents so I got to say hi to Joe every so often. Always made me feel lucky.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Joe Tanaka would have been like? Who would he have become, who would he have loved? What children might he have had? Yes, considering all the fantastically improbable odds involved, we The Living are indeed lucky to be here.