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THE RED AND SILVER MOTORCYCLE

by James Mitchell


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THE RED AND SILVER MOTORCYCLE — for Steve Lowell

If I had a young friend we would leap at once onto the smooth strong back of my red and silver motorcycle more swiftly than this poem can relate, we would flash like deputies of lightning itself across the pleasant hills of San Francisco, fly west down Geary past rows of nobbly wooden houses snug as brass in the nameless light of dawn fleet children of excellence contending bastard sons of the wind, like love's own samurai we'd howl across the Great Bridge to the northern frontier, where hills stand dry as thistle below the August sun; all the day long


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we'd climb from peak to virtuous peak, foolish with poetry discover strange metaphorical lizards flashing their cool red eyes beneath each hot shale stone; chatty with shrewd philosophies we would minutely and tediously discuss and resolve all the outstanding problems of mortal existence; sharp with spitbrain intelligence of youth and generous in the exchange of past visions, quarreling and laughing, charging the hills in endless celebration, together we'd cross the afternoon slaopes and find an empty lake; in the honorable company of turtles and crayfish quickly submit out naked bodies to those prosperous waters


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and not hear at all the subtle oafish laughter of rabbits come to watch out fleshpink behinds joyously bobbing upon the surface then to a secret stream in the virgin cleft of evening hills we'd hurry to attend the fribbling riotous festival of salamanders, till tiring of such episodes we'd build a fire and devise new tales of the unutterable Dharma over a can of noble beans. When skills of day are lost to the muted earth, her romping deathbound sons can see the fame of night invested in the skies... perfect democracy of stars! all splendor to the Cosmos rising! the rights of man celestially assembled! superlunary bulbs in farforth congress!


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Fast as the forest now darkens my friend and I remount the red and silver motorcycle and contrive a course to the west the machine screams above the heaving salt-cracked ocean where sleek dolphins cry in moanful lyric complaint to see us pass two hotspur heroes of poetry (at least of this poem) ascending high and rapidly heavenwards upon the Pegasus motorcycle, pausing first at the moon's sharp cusp to scrape clean both angelic sparkplugs and revive the battery with gentle snorts of lunar mist swiftly we enter the mansion of planets, over the bold shoulder of Mars, deftly parrying all manner of pebbly vagrant asteroids,


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now transfigured in the blushing light of Uranus, soon lost like children in the labyrinth belt of Saturn, then safely received at last in the misty hand of Neptune; spheres of excellence in diligent gyration, drifting away to the hallowed starfields of night in the choir of constellations two immigrants kneel to accept the astral salutation from tribes of starfolk assembled and then we scan the twelve great houses in strict inspection, studying the wisdom of Aquarius, trembling in nameless admiration before the blazing apparition of Sagittarius, discussing at length the intergalactic situation with businesslike Capricorn, we polish


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the heavy horns of Taurus, comfort Virgo sobbing alone in some forgotten stellar broom closet, and finally discover our eminent mischievous forebears, Castor and Pollux! embracing like comrades we swear unshakable alliance upon the vasty plains of the universe which soon transform to our personal playground: chasing from star to star on the legendary motorcycle we tickle the chin of courtly Capella, liberate Lyra from her loneliness, tug at the milky breast of Cassiopeia, and disregard various devilish winks from Arcturus; we persuade Antares to dance and Aldebaran to sing, unbutton Sirius and bestraddle the


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mammoth Betelgeux, then tease Regulus forth to the rainy brothel of the Seven Sisters, who squeal for joy in their celestial whorehouse at last, in the final days of of the universe, after endless aeons of cosmic mischief, we would travel together alone to the quivering crossroad of space and time where all cosmography commences, exists, and ends, and there we'd stand as proud as two young lords who meet and quickly embrace, then vanish forever into a fast bright stream of falling stars

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Steven, we come too soon for the stars ! nobody will ask our advice when the enemies of poetry dispatch their dreary squadrons of computerized refrigerators hurtling through space without even any windows in them (meanwhile you are off at summer camp, I see your vast blue eyes and impenitent walrus moustache exuding limitless contempt beneath your little iron helmet, dreamy guardian of the nation, sneaking a joint at evening on some desolate hill, scrutinizing the terrain for bleached dry bones of small dead animals to add to your dreadful collection)


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the night lengthens, the light from the fireplace is dim; I see from my window false consciousness, Maya mindfuck spreading through the streets like an ugly rumor. too soon for the stars, I take my penis to bed with me, it will go to seed, Jacob's cock, which is Steven's cock, the cock of man, all become my own, small and wet and droopy such idle penis worship for us barking pagans! but the race of man is no greater than the least of us, and you and I no more confined than our imagination is free and poets resolved to relate the deeds of love which occur

Š JAMES MITCHELL 1967, 2010


The Red and Silver Motorcycle, by James Mitchell