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Five new Poems by Rusty Sprocket

Around The Last Bend
Rusty Sprocket

The old road had diminished in size
and seemed about to end…
but I’d come this far and needed to see
what waited ‘round the last bend

What had been old concrete, was now just a gravel path
that dipped through a woodsy glen
and ended this side of a broken- down bridge
then could be seen to go on again…

But it would go on without me
as it went on without others, I could see…
for here was a ring of dark fire-stones
and seats made of smooth, fallen trees

I shut down my bike for a minute…
sweet birdsong and murmuring stream
filled the air around me with music
                     in this hollow as peaceful as dreams

And on one of those stones was God’s own Book
and the words to some old gospel songs … 
some singin’ and preachin’ went on here last night
with a fire to help things along

The round marks made by their kickstands
that I noticed pressed in the ground
told me a group of riders
were the ones who had circled around…

Then, as I rode on back up the hill
and back around the bend,
I thought how some warm, glowing light and some music…
and of course a circle of friends…
should be found at every road’s end

All rights reserved/2009/r.sprocket


Waking the Dragon
Rusty Sprocket

The dragon sleeps this dark night…
the hard shiny plates
on its lean flanks glow
with but a dull luster from the few cold stars
that probe the small glass opening
in the sleep-lair of the beast…

The thunder of its roar
and the fire of its scorching breath
are both at rest now
while all the village snores…

But when the sun’s brim just begins
to chase the dank darkness
from its lair…
then comes one of the breed of beast-riders
to mount it, unafraid…

To tickle the wiry strands
running through its hidden, beastly nerve core
with his miniscule two-edged magic key
until its latent power finds its voice
belching flame and thunder

But the beast-rider smiles
as he charges from the near-dark den
out to where the hard flank plates shine in the sun…
out onto the road

all rights reserved/2009/r.sprocket


What Hardcore Bikers Read
Rusty Sprocket

They read the hard road they ride---
the bends, twists and flat-out straights
of their asphalt/concrete dream
punctuated by the stark white
broken lines

They read the ways of skin---
the heft and fit of good leather…
the itch they have for the needle and the ink
to mark their own highway-weathered hide
as a message board
beyond the spoken word

They read the music of the pipes
from throb… to growl… to roar… to scream
as their motors romp and rock and roll…
the righteous song of the road scene
and of the biker’s soul

They read what’s real in a Brother or a Sister…
who has stayed true
who has strayed away
and who has betrayed a trust

They read the difference
between what they gave for the life of the road
and what they took---
It’s who they are
It’s the way of the highway
It’s their book

all rights reserved/2009/r.sprocket


My Misspent Youth
Rusty Sprocket

Held the throttle open
through Dead Man’s curve
ran flat-out down a mountain
never lost my nerve

Whipped a downpour into rooster tails
anyone could follow
put my kickstand down at midnight
in Redneck Hollow

Camped out in a lightning storm
on Hurricane Ridge
crossed an angry flooded river
on a loose-planked bridge

That was all done yesterday
in my misspent youth…
but now that I’m older and wiser
I’d do it all again tomorrow
if you want to know the truth

All rights reserved/2009/r. sprocket


Welcome Sounds
Rusty Sprocket

She recalls early spring days
when she used to sit
in the old kitchen
keeping the inner door open
so it was just the screen
between her and the sounds
of his coming…
His crisp downshifts
out on the two-lane…
the steady low throbs of the motor
tunneled to echoes
up the long drive
by the tight-growing pines…
the low “swish” as he hit the long shallow puddle
left as a memory of the last rain…
the sudden volume as he swung
close in front of her porch
sending faint vibrations
beneath her thin hand
on the oilcloth tabletop


The click of the kickstand
then three quick thumps of his riding boots
up the steps to her porch…
two more footfalls and the long-drawn screeak
of hinges and the small bump of the screen door
behind him
as the last sound of his coming…

Her own chair scraping the wood floor
and the soft scrunch of leather
come together with leather

Then all the sounds in reverse,
but louder and faster
as she rode off with him

all rights reserved/2009/r.sprocket





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