Monday, 8 October 2007

the coolest thing i've heard

it should be no surprise that in the life of the swiss there's a strong element of the motorcycle. a story that's soon to reach its end it's true but the fact remains that since my early teens and the first time i 'borrowed' my mother's moped two wheels good, four wheels bad would become a credo i've stuck to ever since

the doubters may question but my response is that, despite my great affection for the van it is no more than a tool for moving bicycles, boards, kites and me, to provide shelter from the wind and tentless accommodation. i love the van but it's a daytime love whereas the love of the motorcycle is more obsessional, moves in a darkness that isn't even reached by that of the bicycle.

the bicycle i can appreciate for its apartness, the fact that the truly beautiful bicycle can only be appreciated in use, a context in which a rational aesthetic is useless, fit only for non-cyclists. or cardrivers. i can't talk about how i feel about the bicycle, it's too personal, too revealing and even so even attempting to do so is like describing dropping into a good wave - that moment beyond time which really is indescribable and the attempts to do so have only resulted in decent waves across the world cluttered up with people who indulge the activity solely for its sign value

but the motorcycle. the motorcycle doesn't even need the functional. i used to go down to the local shop just to gaze at the mv agusta F4. sure it didn't work, but look at it! and to drive a ducati 996, uncomfortable, feet numb, unbelievable brakes, but in memory, in sense, just that quality of red, of speed. and then the noise. the gsxr at foolish speeds, the whine of the japanese, standing with my daughter listening to the triumph daytona, the starting of the ducati. the best motorcycle noise i've ever heard? i used to own a moto guzzi 1100 supersport, two into one exhaust. coolest bike i ever owned. worst bike i ever owned. but the noise. the noise would stop people in the street and then the bike itself, all black with the gold logo. i started it for a friend to let him hear the sound. that doesn't sound like a motorcycle he said, that said like all motorcycles!

but anyway, i came across frederick seidel the other day. i like what i heard and googled a bit to find out a bit more about him. then i came across this

Finally, there’s Ducati. Seidel not only writes poetry about the Italian motorcycles but owns four of them, and he will describe the bored-out, street-illegal, uncomfortable pro racers that reach 210 mph in minute detail. He rides them along out-of-the-way roads near his house in Sag Harbor and sometimes on Montauk Highway, occasionally hitting 150. His new ride, the six-figure 999FO5 factory Superbike racer, one of only eight made every year, was built for him in Bologna by hand. “When the mechanics found out they were assembling the bike for Seidel, the American poet,” he tells me, “they dubbed it Moto Poeta.”

in connection with poetry this is the coolest thing i've ever heard. better than money, better than prizes. i don't care for either of these things but something like this, if even the possibility that something like this could happen then the creative life would be worth enduring...

1 comment:

Marta said...

I love your prose when you are in love with what you are talking about! And the motorcycles! What a magic! I fell in love with a Gilera 125 when I was 16. Do you remember it? The gear was the other way round, up/down. I worked the whole summer at the mechanic shop at the corner, passing screwdrivers and wrenches and having my hair with car oil everyday :( but then I managed my money and bought it, fifth hand. It was red, shining, I could even go on the freeway with it. But I did only 3 was so beautiful to look around at speed, such an emotion…that I smashed against a famous roman wall! What a beginning! Nothing serious, luckily, but I still laugh of myself when I think about that emotion :)