The ride


When first she put her leg over the motorcycle
and clung to the rat bastard’s back…
when first she felt the thrum of the engine
and felt that surge when he gunned it…
when first she threw herself all in,
giddy with knowing that this was it—that this, just this—
this was what she had wanted all along…
even then, knowing that the crash was sure to come,
knowing that she would break everything she had to break,
knowing that she would lose everything she had to lose and more…
even then, knowing all of this from the start,
the anticipation was awesome,
just awesome.

A person’s life choices are never anything to comment on or to judge because life and its decisions are so personal and none of us are perfect. But trying to tease apart the process, to understand how it is that we drive ourselves and how we face the world…to do that is universally human, and I trust, forgivable.

Thank you for reading The ride, and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is entitled Swing! and was taken at my home in Putnam, CT. It is the rotating pendulum going all a whirligig at the bottom of a clock. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.


Filed under Poetry

5 responses to “The ride

  1. Helloooo! This is powerful, John 🙂

    • Julia, it is so-o-o good to hear from you! And I see you are back with a poem that I will read right after this.

      Thank you for the compliment. This is the first post I have completed after reading an article I talk about in this article I posted. (If you read it, please let me know what you think.) I really am looking for a new approach to my poetry that is less self-centric and more readable. Here’s hoping!…

      • Thanks John, I just read your post and the start of the article, which I will go back to later. Interesting reading. I wish I had more time. Of course, there are plenty of ‘gritty’ poets about – yep, this will make me think…

  2. Man.
    This is such a powerful piece. I am grateful that I can experience some of your giftedness. Wow. Thanks for your good work, John. Peace, T

    • T, always a pleasure. I am particularly grateful that people are responding positively to this poem (several by direct email) because it represents for me a ‘new beginning’…poetry that is both more readable and not self-centric. I don’t know about everyone else, but I am quite heartily sick of hearing about me! 🙂