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living the life

The Marriage of Biker Poetry and Photographic Genius: Q-Ball’s master lens and Sorez the Scribe’s road-sharpened pen ignites the page with the lure of the steel pony, the rolling thunder, the chink, chink, chink of the gravel, and a brotherhood that rides forever towards the horizon. MarySusan Williams-Migneault RoadHousePress

Todd Ingram Editorial Director Iron Horse Magazine

Q-Ball | Sorez the Scribe

Doug Barber’s photos remind us of a time when the bikes, and the people that rode them were the real deal. Thankfully, Doug was there living it; not just as an observer from the outside. This collection of images combined with the words of Sorez the Scribe provides a unique glimpse into our culture’s past.... Living the life, it’s good for your soul.

living the life

Photos by Q-Ball | Poems by Sorez the Scribe

living the life Photos by Q-Ball | Poems by Sorez the Scribe

limited edition available now from lowside SYNDICATE

This book is dedicated to family & friends, with me today & in loving memory, for your support & encouragement. The road would be empty without you Love & Respect Q-Ball

living the life Photos by Q-Ball | Poems by Sorez the Scribe


living the life photographs by Doug Barber, aka Q-Ball poems by Eddie (Sorez) Pliska, aka Sorez the Scribe designed by Eric Wheatley fonts By House Industries Published and Printed in the United States of America. Published by Lowside Syndicate. Printed by Ridge Printing. 8900 Yellow Brick Rd. | Baltimore, MD 21237 All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written consent of the publisher and author. First Edition January 2010 This edition is limited to 3,000 copies. ISBN 978-0-615-34271-9 Library of Congress Control Number: 2010920255

Copyright Š 2010 Doug Barber


or years I’ve been encouraged to compile a book of these images. I hesitated pursuing a book because I did not want to explain, or analyze my photos. The thrust of this book is a collection of my biker photography accompanied by compatible Sorez’s biker poems. Living the Life is a personal view of a biker’s existence. Allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions from the material presented. It is not my intention to stereotype the folks in my photographs. This is because all bikers are not alike, but share the same contempt for being categorized. The photography in this book is editorial in nature. Everyone in this book was photographed with their knowledge, and permission. It spans over 30 years of traveling with hard core bikers. I would like to thank everyone who is featured in this book for their part in preserving our history.

Long May You Ride, Doug Barber AKA Q-Ball

the forwards Living the life, it’s good for your soul. By Todd Ingram Editorial Director, Iron Horse Magazine 5

The Marriage of Biker Poetry and Photographic Genius By MarySusan Williams-Migneault 6

Living the Life – Explaining the Whole Thing By Rusty Baker 8

Biker Poetry 101... The New Mobile Literary Scene! By K. Peddlar Bridges 10

the photos and the poems 12 - 166

the bios Q-Ball 167

Sorez the Scribe 169


lassic images of bikers from the 70’s and earlier are a hit among today’s discriminating enthusiasts. And it’s not just a case of looking back through rose colored glasses to motorcycling’s past. Rather it is the natural consequence when popular culture celebrates cartoonish exaggerations, and shuns the genuine. Doug Barber’s photos remind us of a time when the bikes, and the people that rode them were the real deal. Thankfully, Doug was there living it; not just as an observer from the outside. This collection of images combined with the words of Sorez the Scribe provides a unique glimpse into our culture’s past. For those that lived, partied and rode during that time it’s a memory book of sorts. For the new generation it represents the path less chosen, inspiration, and a history book of our two-wheeled forefathers.

Living the life, it’s good for your soul. Todd Ingram Editorial Director Iron Horse Magazine



The Marriage of Biker Poetry and Photographic Genius it is easy, and quite popular, to romanticize that Cowboy Poetry is the evolutionary parent of Biker Poetry. I thought so myself for a time. Upon deeper scrutiny and reflection, I began to see things differently. Take for example the fact that Cowboy Poetry is still a force of its own.  Look at the cadence, the rhythm, and the icons of the Cowboy Poets themselves (their lifestyle).  Now give some thought to the Biker Brotherhood.  Yes, one can think of the heat of the motorcycle engine, the nuts and bolts, the gravel.  However, you must also consider a brotherhood based on principles, principles that are carved into their souls (read Sonny Barger’s: Freedom... Credos From the Road, Pub: William Morrow (HarperCollins), July 2005 ISBN: 978-0060532567).  In truth, not any one element of Biker Nation is separate from the road itself.  The Biker, the Bike, the Road, the Wind, the Brotherhood, the Code – just as in the theory of quantum physics - the sum of all the elements in one particle is bigger than the particle being measured.  Picture, if you will, this scenario: A lone biker climbs off his motorcycle, listening to the click, tick, clicking of the engine cooling down. He unties his

n the process of ‘living the life’ of an editor, publisher of RoadHousePress, I would quite often run into a Biker Poet that credited Q-Ball as being the first to publish them. I decided to check out Q-Ball’s I was impressed by the extensive run of Biker Poets published over a couple of decades or so by Q-Ball.  I was just as impressed by the Biker Poetry that popped from the page. Clearly, Q-Ball had earned a solid place in the archives of Biker Poetry History. I had the pleasure of interviewing Q-Ball of for an ongoing series, “Biker Poetry Comes of Age” © MSWMigneault/RHP.   Sorez the Scribe’s name also ran across my desk from time to time. Sorez was Q-Ball’s house poet for quite some time before I began working with him on a column for the Poets’ Corner in the Connecticut Cruise News. Sorez is a prolific, and very talented Biker Poet, but more than that, he is first and foremost a Biker Brother.

But what of Biker Poetry? It would be easy to credit Cowboy Poetry as inspiring Biker Poetry, and many a Biker Poet holds that thought near and dear to them. Personally, I believe


but it does not end there. Just as the Beats revolutionized poetry, Biker Poetry is freeing minds to explore alternative creative processes. Through the mind’s eye of the poet, coupled with the lens of a photographer’s eagle-like eye a new canvass erupts…

bedroll from the back of his sissy bar. He lies on the ground next to his bike, not wanting to be too far from her. He might take out a pen and scratch out a few words on a piece of paper that is wrinkled up in his vest pocket, maybe even have a few coffee stains on it. His mind is still on the road. The wind grazes his face; insects suck up his nose; and he has to write it down. He is not worried about spelling, rhyming, or meter. He is listening for the sound of his soul, the call of the road, and the pulse of his steel pony’s thunderous heart, driven to keep the ride going by writing out his mental pictures.

The Marriage of Biker Poetry and Photographic Genius: Q-Ball’s master lens and Sorez the Scribe’s roadsharpened pen ignites the page with the lure of the steel pony, the rolling thunder, the chink, chink, chink of the gravel, and a brotherhood that rides forever towards the horizon.  While there are many photo books that spread bikers and their motorcycles flat out across a coffee table, and certainly Biker Poetry is beginning to stand on its own in the poetry community, Living the Life is the ‘IMAX of the Biker Nation.’ Sorez’s poetic cadence draws you into Q-Ball’s lens where you are not just looking at some pictures, you are on the bike, riding with the pack, or just taking a solo run into the wind. From Basket Case to Road to Redemption Q-Ball and Sorez bring the Code of Ethics into ‘True 3D Soul’ with photoword-graphics. Living the Life is more than a photo-documentary, or a poetry book, and it is deeper than a historical perspective, Living the Life is history in the making - a history that can open the pipes and blast down highways at the speed of light.

A solitary biker... a piece of paper. In a suburb – somewhere - a biker climbs off his ride and locks it in his garage. He lingers, checking it over from tire to tire, wiping down the chrome... It hurts to leave her in the garage, but he does. He sits down, pulls a notebook off a pile on the table, hooks his camera to a USB Cable and downloads his day’s journey to his computer.  Pen in hand, he writes with longing about the road he just left waiting, like a lover who whispers to him, begging for him to return..  A solitary biker... a piece of paper or perhaps a camera clicking away the sunsets, locking images into the mind of the biker, keeping the road, the horizon, the landscape drifting through the years of rides, leaving trails of memories for others yet to come. Someone, something, somewhere begs destiny to unfold… That destiny is now about to unfold for Q-Ball, Sorez, and for the Biker Poetry & Artist Community,

MarySusan Williams-Migneault RoadHousePress



Living the Life – Explaining the Whole Thing put a motor on a bicycle. Hotel Orlando Sidewalk Commando (photo at right, and page 48) is not about motorcycling, and yet it is. It is how all of us start, imagining our two wheels and oily chain have a better motor than just our skinny legs. This is a lucky kid, shot well by a lucky photographer. If there is any luck at all left in the world, the little biker in this picture may now be getting some gray in his beard or ponytail and is out there riding, too. Orlando (inside cover spread), seems to portray the same group of bikers barely visible in Hotel Orlando. It may be the same hotel or another one on the way, but there’s something remarkable about this shot. It’s a sum of its parts. Never mind the picture is hip enough to be an album cover for The Band. There is rest. There is dirt. There is dirt you don’t care about because rest is better, laughter is better, PBR or something somebody twisted up is better. Orlando, like most of the images in Living the Life, come from another time but are timeless. This group could just as easily be a group of Confederate Calvary taking a break in the streets of some Pennsylvania town in 1863. We are them and they are us. If riding is the one pure thing about being a biker, the one place where nothing else matters, a neutral ground for the good, the bad, and the ugly to find some small scrap of peace, we need images like this to remind us of the pure joy of riding. Welcome Back, (page 44), The rider’s posture, his whipping vest, and the hazy, otherworldly background flashing by tell you this thing is speeding up all the time. This

usty Baker put together a museum exhibit that included Doug Barber’s photographs called Motorcycles and Art: 1950 - Present for the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2004. The exhibition included fifteen motorcycles, five images from Barber, and about sixty other works of art. He had invited Doug Barber to be a part of it because he was immediately drawn to his work. It was real. It was part of the past, but there was more to it than that. Motorcycling gets under your skin. Whether you are new to it or have been riding since you were a kid, riding takes you places that only you can go. Whether it be work, war, or women that inspire you, at the end of the road your story is yours. The first time someone describes you as a “biker” and you overhear it, you may be proud or pissed off but one thing is for sure, what has gotten under your skin is now visible to others. Living the Life is a clear window into the history of American motorcycling, a huge history of machines, technology, culture, social politics, and the individuals who have their own tales to tell. Whenever you take a complicated thing like motorcycling and make some part of it visible, like the iceberg and its tip, you run some risks, one of them being that you will have to explain the whole thing. As with any artist, the success of Doug’s work often relies upon a little good luck. Good luck could have the entire G volume of the Biker Encyclopedia, but we might all agree that bicycles, not luck, are the real reason it is possible for any of us to ride motorcycles. A little over a hundred years ago, people in Germany


always ride solo whether we like it or not. Motorcycling, like your work life or your personal life or your spiritual life, is just you at the core. You can ride in a group or with a club. You can go to work or take care of your kids or go to church, and you are around other people all the time, but your time on the earth is yours, your only property. You try to take people or things with you, it just gets complicated. Riding is something you must do alone even in a pack of a thousand bikes, and it becomes part of you sometimes best kept as a small, knowing smile on your own face, a joke to yourself, a good way to go into the night. Like that significant, understanding quiet in a conversation between friends or a long rest in a great stretch of music, it’s not always the noise we make but the wind in between that matters. That is Living the Life.

rider, this bike, this whole world are just fading into the rush of it. He is drinking in the wind that Sorez’ poem so beautifully describes. This image reminds me of the dedication image, IMO Ricky, which honors a man who was clearly content and comfortable in his own skin on two wheels. There is always the dream of a having a better bike, improving your ride, or getting your hands dirty, and Jan’s Kitchen/Basket Case (page 34) is the place for that. It’s not for everyone, working on motorcycles, but everyone does something they must do to their bike now and then with some deadline looming. Sturgis. Daytona. Laconia. Blessing of the Bikes. The list is endless, but we must get there. You may have no garage. You may not have a mechanic. You may have a thin wallet but have some skills. If you miss a chance to ride with your people, it is hard for you to forget. This is a part of Living the Life. Sorez the Scribe’s words, as in the case of many other poems in Living the Life, strike a true tone on the tuning fork next to the picture Run Gathering/Solo I Ride (page 142). The deal is that all of us

Rusty Baker Susquehanna Art Museum



Biker Poetry 101... The New Mobile Literary Scene! All through History there have been many poetic schools - The Romantics, The Imagists, the Symbolists, etc. There have been many literary movements The Bohemians (circa 1850s), The Exiles (circa 1919s) etc. There have been many literary generations, The Lost Generation (circa 1920s), The Beat Generation (circa 1950s). The Literary poetry scene has been shard into many different genres from Mountain Loggers, to Seafarers on to Soldier Warriors all leaving their mark and memory on Literary history as the shadow of the passing cloud leaves it’s image on the photo print of life.

hen most folks think of Bikers i.e. Motorcyclists, they don’t think of Literary History. When they think of Bikers, flashes of sunlit chrome, polished steel, flat black iron, the roar of engines, leather jackets with studs and perhaps the scent of gasoline come to mind. When folks think of Poetry, they think of stiffnecked rules they learned in school, professors in tweed jackets, and the confines of ivory halls. They don’t think of the freedom of the open road, the whine of a high-speed tranny, or the howl of the wind, but, in truth, these are the things that give birth to true Poetry. Yes, Life, itself. In 15th century Paris, a band of bandit poets grouped together being called Coquillards. The most famous of this group was Francoise Villon. Villon was twice sentenced to death... both times while waiting for his sentence to be carried out, he used this time to write down the body of his work The Grand Testament and the Petit Testament. Twice he was spared death... the first time he was pardoned, the second time his sentence was commuted to exile.  In the 1460s Villon stepped into the quagmire of exile and was never heard of again. Some say Villon was the only literary figure of this band of bandits... but a line in a Villon biography always stands out. He says of his friend and comrade, Guy Tabary, “Never was there a man that could copy a truer line than Guy Tarbary.” This is not the statement of one bandit of another, but of two literary men and there love for the word, the image... the written line.

Biker Poetry...Cowboy Poetry Several years ago, Cowboy poet, Waddie Mitchell, along with western actor Richard Farmsworth, made a Cowboy Poetry video for PBS... Buckaroo Bard. On this video Mitchell recites and dramatizes the role poetry played in Cowboy Western History -- from the entertaining of cowpokes of the old west, to that of preserving the Cowboy history and legends.

This is where Biker Poetry comes in. Of all the artistic mediums, Poetry seems to cut closest to the marrow of the bone... right to the soul... to our fears... to our memories... to our dreams for all will rise to the searing of its light. Biker Poetry is no different from any other of the poetry genres, in the sense that it is real poetry... It is the substance and dreams of our real lives. It gives the images of flashes of chrome, the heat from hot exhaust, the thrill of the ride and the surging pain of road-burn.


The cadence of Biker Poetry doesn’t have the rolling swoop of the Seafarer’s poetry, nor the rumble and clack of the railroad tracks of the Hobo’s poetry, or the squeaking shift of the saddle, or the steady clomp of the horse’s hoofs of Cowboy poetry. No! It has its own cadence of quick shifts, fast stops, and sudden accelerations. As it echoes the cruising of the road, the running with the pack and the sudden squealing stops of real life. K. Peddlar Bridges Edited by MarySusan Williams-Migneault Reprinted with permission


More than just a way of life This life I live this bike I ride More than tats upon my skin They tell the tale of where I’ve been More than just the words I Scribe

just another biker

Down to earth the poems I write More than just a broken heart When my ol’ lady died in my arms More Than just the Patch I wear Above my heart upon my vest There is so much more to my life Than being labeled “Just Another Biker”


There’s nothing like a long haul ride To shake the cobwebs from my mind Karma finally swayed my way As I throttle on today I stayed the course strong and true Never gave up on being who

this is now

I am the Brother I’ve always been But doubted myself when downtime hit Suffered through the loss and pain Nothing more to lose yet all to gain I wear my heart upon my sleeve My Colors proud for all to see Yeah there’s nothing like a long haul ride To shake the cobwebs from my mind


This ride won’t last forever So let’s enjoy it while we can Kick the shifter twist the throttle Take off into the wind Onward now and forward

one more day

Two wheels and open roads Rumbling down the highway Solo or with some Bro’s Freedom don’t come easy Always a price to pay So ride to live and live to ride Into another day


They told me when I was young To choose my own destiny They told me to live my life Told me I was free Yet when I chose this way of life The lifestyle they oppose


They labeled me as “Scooter Trash” And put up a wanted poster Did not want to take the time To get to know me So well fuck the world Fuck ‘em all In this life I will ride free


living the life Photos by Q-Ball | Poems by Sorez the Scribe

limited edition available now from lowside SYNDICATE

Living the Life, Biker Photography & poetry book  
Living the Life, Biker Photography & poetry book  

Classic images of bikers from the 70’s and earlier are a hit among today’s discriminating enthusiasts. And it’s not just a case of looking b...