Chris Espenshade: Honesty of the Harley Rider : Now 2020

Southern Legitimacy Statement: In keeping with the theme of this poem, various motorcycles marked my years in the South. In high school in Winston-Salem, I rode a Honda CT90, low on speed and power, but I got back and forth to school for 50 cents a week. At Wake Forest, it was a Honda CB350. And for my 50th birthday, I got a Kawasaki baby Ninja for my High Point to Greensboro commute.

Honesty of the Harley Rider

I chose my ride for flash and noise,
ostentatiousness not performance,
for I am selfish

I modify the pipes
to increase the racket (look at me, look at me),
for I am selfish

I tune the idle too low,
so I must blip the throttle at each stop sign,
for I am selfish

I play awful music, extra loud
over the engine’s roar,
for I am selfish

I travel in noisy packs,
individualists dressed all the same,
for I am selfish

I ruin the serenity of wild America
and small-town Main Streets,
for I am selfish

I ride with no helmet, uncaring
of the pain my death will bring to others,
for I am selfish

I welcome my spouse
on my bike, with no helmet,
for I am selfish

I congregate in Sturgis, mask-less
to help spread Covid-19 far and wide,
for I could not be any more selfish