Designated Driver

Designated Driver

stopped car ahead
swerve hard left
hard right, back into lane
front wheel dances
in slow-mo at 50 mph
bike takes forever
to slide to its side
my knee dents the fuel tank
I hit the pavement
in time with the handlebars
head first, headlight first
minor damage there
helmet bounces, grinding
away for a quarter-inch
denim jacket shredded
at the shoulder, hip
introduced to road rash
as my belt is ripped
and jeans are worn through
going down the road
facing that bike, cursing
up a storm on a sunny day
until we come to a stop,
my slightly damaged bike
and my battered and concussed
body waiting for the ambulance
where I tell the EMT
I think I can drive home

This is my response to Day Five at napowrimo.net, where Maureen asks us to write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment.

This is a true story that took place forty-four years ago, when right-on-red was so new that trial intersections had signs that read, “Right On Red After Stop.” The young man who pulled out of a side street on to the highway got it wrong. He pulled out, realized he hadn’t stopped to look first, and stopped right in front of me. My motorcycle survived with minor scrapes on the turn signals, my helmet was a total loss, the jacket was a souvenir, I limped for a month while my knee healed, and my road rash left minor scars that I can’t find anymore.

I can’t say this is a fond memory, but it has inspired me in past Aprils.
Roll the Bones
Motorcycle Math in 1979

Pre-collision (1978), although all damage was on the right side and minor

22 thoughts on “Designated Driver

  1. Firstly, I am glad you are still alive! Second, I love how this poem spins through so much detail, effortlessly, with each “vision” frozen in time. The way you’ve written it is almost like a gasp for breath on steroids. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brought back my own memories of minor bumps, Ken! My Ducati was once blown by a vicious crosswind across three carriageways on the island of Angelsey, Wales. I hit the grass and went straight over the handlebars. Thankfully the verge was all grass and mud, so not too much damage to bike and rider. I still have a bike: dusty in the outbuilding! Do you still ride?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Over the handlebars! Wow! I’m glad to hear you came out of that okay.
      I don’t ride anymore. I replaced that bike (actually sold it without losing money, and the guy put air into the fuel tank to pop out the dent without leaving any marks) with a Yamaha 750 in 1980. I kept that bike until I moved half-way across-country in 2012. My brother-in-law owns a commercial repair shop and over the years had done work on my cars, taking nothing for labor, so I gave the bike to him. (It was getting dusty, as well.) He also builds modified race cars — Here’s an example of what that category looks like: http://www.smartmodtour.com/ ) —
      After a couple of years, the engine from the bike ended up in a racing go-cart.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I’d feel the same way! And yes, I think memory can be rather fickle – and also I find I get more of a 360 degree look back the older I get 😊 But as you say, some incidents must go right into our cellular memory, branding the moment for life (god and bad memories)

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s