Thursday, September 16, 2010

Motorcycle riding days, 1977-78

'pa mis amigos motociclistas

Not like I want to
go back, when Cotton
Belt locomotives ran
between Tucson and Las Cruces
it’s not my
favorite time, but
I want to thank you
for keeping
me in mind. I haven’t
ridden a dirt bike
since 1980. And
all that desert east
of Juan Tabo Blvd.
has since been plowed
to make room for houses.

In that short year I owned
a Kawasaki KE 100,
beat it up so bad
that when the bank
came to take it
they had to carry
it out in pieces.
We used to ride
out to the high
desert. We used to
take turns
racing on well-cut
tracks that had been there
since the 60’s.
Then there was danger—
yours or mine,
the resentment bred
in working-class kids
who had to live
among the rich.
So for a while,
when my dad
could afford such treasures,
Rudy and I
rode with you,
smoked with you, learned
how to fight,
how to compete
with riders and bikers,
some meaner than others.

But the other thing is this—
for the first time
I saw the desert
on my own,
was often lost
watching the high
mountains in the near
distance. Your big dream
back then was to ride
all the way
to Santa Fe, my dream
was to keep riding
away from the cruel, paved
roads awaiting us.

Don’t write me
to tell me about
Jesus. My heart
is hardened plutonium
on that subject,
and my religion consists of
faith in my children, fear
of the powerful natural world, all
the women I love.

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