Two weeks ago my part of the country was invaded by about a half-million motorcycles. It was Daytona Beach’s 73rd Annual Bike Week…one of my favorite times of the year.
As usual I took time off from work to participate in the event(s). The weather was pretty near perfect and I did a lot of riding, drank a lot of beer and listened to a lot of great live bands.
To a non-biker it probably sounds boring. I can understand that. To me going to a NASCAR race sounds about as exciting as watching a chess match in a nursing home, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who would disagree with me.
To each his own – right?
Anyway – among some of those I rode with was a pair of “bike-week virgins”.
My friend, and fellow author, Becky Pourchot and her husband Shawn wanted to take their recently purchased bike out for the event and see what all the fuss was about.
So I took them on a guided tour of the festivities.
Becky was appropriately thunderstruck and acted the proverbial kid-in-a-candy-store…or a Jewish-housewife-in-a-leather-shop (is that a thing?).
I think the only words she spoke for two days were “This is awesome!”
I felt bad for Shawn, he’s a bit of an introvert, so being dunked into a sea of humanity with only a leather life-jacket was probably a bit discomfiting for him, but he seemed to enjoy himself.
After the event was over Becky, still reeling from the V-Twin euphoria, decided to memorialize one of our outings in poem.
Anybody who knows me, knows I’m not a big poetry guy…but I thought her work was worthy of sharing.
So here it is…
A Ride to the Iron Horse by Becky Pourchot
I play dress up for the day
my eyes lined dark,
my lips brushed with burgundy rose.
I zip myself in to a bodice
that hugs my waist,
an embrace of leather and studs.
My breasts like half-moons rise upward,
exposed to the sun.
This is the look, the dress, I’ve been told.
I want to embrace it all.
“It’s time to go!” I shout,
ready for the day.
I call my man from inside the house.
Our friend is waiting.
“Kickstands up!” he says
and we ride us three
me with my man,
and the other in front,
on the ocean lined highway
Seduced by speed
in a worn denim jacket
his long hair whipping with the wind
the call of his engine
echoing to the sky.
With a click of our gears
what he has planned.
There’s a chill in the air.
The wind sketches coolness into my limbs,
so I latch my legs tight,
surround myself with my man’s warmth,
and press my face into the deep smell of black, tanned hide,
letting the crazy pulse of the bike
into a joyful,
ecstasy on wheels.
We ride the Loop,
a treasured trail
that wraps the rider in palmettos and pine,
dangling ancient moss like robes upon the trees.
As the sun lowers itself below the salted marsh
we swerve and bend at the wooded curves,
the iron oaks
reaching from above,
a silver silence
in the midst of the Harley’s cry.
We three arrive at the Iron Horse,
wind blown, but eager.
We dismount the bikes
and merge into a mass of bodies,
an expanse of leather and jeans,
surrounding us with the scent of
Jim Beam, cigarettes, and gasoline.
We wander through the crowds
my eyes, my ears
taking in the vitality a thousand people
who share a single common passion
for an engine between their legs.
And I feel myself,
like never before,
a part of something dark and deep,
something seedy and wild,
whispers in our ears
like the sound of a motorcycle
roaring down the road.
When she’s not planning her next bike adventure, Becky is busy writing. She is the author of five books, including a collection of poetry for the fallen homemaker- Forgive Me Martha. You can find out more about Becky at www.beckypourchot.com