Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ride the lightning

After a sharp left
we head up the dirt road.


This is something you do with
friends in the car, heavy on the accelerator
and harsh with the brake.
The aim is not to shock
but to thrill, shaking off
frustrations, anxieties and
that intermittent pain that has
no discernible source and comes
from somewhere within—some body part
that hasn’t been found and studied yet.

There is no substitute for the risk
of speed, the recklessness that gave
the white knuckle bar its name.

Music pulses loud from the stereo,
heavy metal
distorted beyond recognition but still
worth having because it gives us
one less thing to think about.

We reach the top of the hill, pull over
by a sandstone cliff face, watch
the swallows swarm like mosquitoes,
and pass a fat joint.

Someone says, down there is where
Gordie died. Right there is his car went over,
last summer. My dad helped
pull him out.

We respond with long slow silence,
taking deliberate drags of skunky
BC bud and holding our breath
until we choke
and burst.

Someone changes the tunes and
we’re off again,
still faster now--
celebrating our shared madness
which will one day pass, whether we
move onto other things

or we take the plunge
like Gordie did. He is immortalized now-
our teenage demigod, ever
unchanging with his eighties ringlets and his
ass-fitting jeans-

he has become legend.

Rachel Westfall
May 27, 2008


Kyddryn said...

There used to be a little gravel road near Mum's house that I loved to zip down - sharp turns, up hill, down hill, woods all around, it was a blast. At one particularly sharp turn, there was a drop-off, and there were several old cars rusting quietly in the trees at the bottom, mute testimony to the danger that I scoffed at.

I was so very sad when they paved that road, straightened several of the curves, took away the thrill of it.

Shade and Sweetwater,

RachelW said...

We are never more immortal than when we are teenagers... and if we die then, we get to stay immortal, right? Right?