Poem by William Karnowski

when riding a harley
you are in fact no freer
than a walking man
it just feels that it is true

there is no room
for kitchen sinks and libraries
of other peoples knowledge
and their guesses of knowledge
nor their pretenses of knowledge

one is left with motion
and wind and wandering
with no agenda for a day

there remains only friendship
flights of fancy
hedonistic joy
all in all
the physical expression of poetry

the instinctive leaning of a turn
and putting a foot down to stop
and with a dab of the toe
a flick of a wrist
to disappear into ones own sunset

William J. Karnowski
author of: Pushing the Chain, Painting the Train, Catching the Rain, Hardtails and Highways, and The Hills of Laclede.

Open Letter to Biker Poets

Greetings Brother and Sister Poets,

First let me introduce myself. I’m a teacher/biker/poet from Pocatello, Idaho. Some of you know me and have heard from me before; you may even have read some of my poetry. Others of you are hearing from me for the first time. Bear with me.

Most of you have probably heard of Elko, Nevada, a small western community located along I- 80 in northeast Nevada at the foot of the Ruby Mountains. One of Elko’s claims to fame has been as the home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a week-long event held each January/February. Cowboy poets and writers from all over the country converge and words and rhymes fly like bullets at the OK Corral.

Elko also holds their Annual Motorcycle Jamboree- Rumble in the Rubies each June and that event is becoming one of the best rallies in the southwest. It seemed to me natural that Elko would be a good place to locate an Annual National Bikerpoetry Gathering, to be held in conjunction with the Motorcycle Rally already in place. To make a long story short I have contacted the rally’s board chair and she agrees. Evidently they have talked about this before but haven’t really gotten it off the ground.. I volunteered to help (Pocatello is only about 200 miles from Elko), thus this letter.

In order to organize a National Bikerpoet Gathering, we need Bikerpoets. I’m hoping that some of you will express and interest and perhaps even make a commitment to attend such a gathering in June of 2008(June 20,21,22). This could be a great event for all of us and for the cause of Bikerpoetry in general. Let me know what you think, and of course, pass this along. Many of you are in contact with far more poets and writers than I am and I could use your help getting the word out. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

E-Mail: uglicoyote1@yahoo.com

Keep On Keepin’ On

Escorting the Wall

Yesterday (7/25) we brought the Viet Nam Memorial Moving Wall into town for a four day stay. The Moving Wall is a replica of the real Memorial in Washington, D.C., although smaller. All 58,195 names are there. It will remain on display through Sunday during our POW*MIA Rally and Bike Rodeo. It was while I was riding as part of the 125 bike escort to The Wall that this poem came to me.

Escorting the Wall

We escorted The Moving Wall today
Rode beside it into our town
The names all there reminding us
Of brothers and Sisters who went down

We escorted The Moving Wall today
But it isn’t with The Wall that we ride
We ride with those fifty-eight thousand,
One ninety-five brothers and sisters who died.

They went off to Viet Nam to serve
Their country and you and me
They served us well, but then they fell
Their homes never again to see

The Wall is a moving symbol
But we don’t ride with The Wall
Its all those people whose names are there
We’re riding with those who gave all.

So visit the wall and bow your heads
Remember them with pride,
Then raise them a glass and keep riding on
With the spirits of those who died.

Bill “uglicoyote” Davis

Bikerpoet, Viet Nam Veteran, USN 1967-71

Living in the Ride

Living in the Ride

Riding in the world,
I hear the meadowlark’s song
I taste the dust coming off
The wheat field harvested
As I pass by

The sound of the wind
The sound of the wheels
The rumble of the engine
With these sounds,
Every moment I ride

In the distance a thunderstorm
Watch it grow, see the lightning.
Soon to feel the sting of drops
Cooling skin too long burned
By the high plains sun.
Long days in the wind

The fresh smell of falling rain
The sweet smell of freshly cut hay
The smells of asphalt, fuel, exhaust
Mingle with the odor of yesterday’s roadkill
The living and the dead,
All with me as I ride

I pass a car
In the back a small face
nose to glass, a wave
a smile, perhaps a dream.

I’m in the moment,
Living in the ride.

Copyright 2007 Bill “uglicoyote” Davis

I love Loud Pipes

I Love Loud Pipes
A love song for the Denver City Council

Window rattling, earth shaking,
Stomach churning, ear-drum-busting
Loud pipes

Alarm starting, backfiring,
Flame-throwing, head-throbbing
Loud pipes

Snorting, snarling, rip-roaring,
Feel-em in your guts, kick-em in the nuts
Loud pipes

Hear them clear across town,
What the hell was that, an Earthquake?
Loud pipes

Get off your cell, pay attention,
Roll up the window, watch out for that bike
Loud pipes

Loud pipes thundering
Through the valley
Up the hill
Down the highway
Into my soul
Singing the song I love
I love those loud pipes

Copyright 2007 Bill “uglicoyote” Davis

Sensual Bathing

Sensual Bathing

Cool spray soaks us both,
I run the sponge softly along
sensuous, graceful curves and hard,
straight, lines, water beading on
smooth skin. The droplets
burst beneath my fingers and
the white soapy suds overflow,
gently rolling to the floor
as I massage softly, first the front,
then move to the rear and down.
Later, a soft, clean towel rubs us
both dry.

I love washing my bike.

Copyright 2007 Bill “uglicoyote” Davis

Yo-mama-ha Rider

The Yo-mama-ha Rider

I saw him pull in where we stopped to rest,
A dude on some rice-burner ride
He had on leather chaps, a black biker vest
And tattoos all over his hide.

He wanted to ride with us today
Our road captain nodded yes
He fell in line as we pulled away
Then I saw what it said on his vest.

The back of his vest read “Big Dog Bikes”
But that wasn’t a Big Dog I saw
Big Dog may have made the ride that he likes
But he was up on an old Yamaha

That this guy was going to wear thin,
At our first stop we quickly would learn
Every time we would stop and pull in
This dude had bullshit to burn.

Of his biker exploits we heard all the tales
He was better, tougher, faster than all
His bikes were more powerful than ours without fail
I didn’t know they stacked it that tall.

No respect for other people had he
All bluster and bad attitude
No inner strengths that I could see
To many, he seemed just plain rude.

I guess he thought this made him a biker
He was caught up, playing his role
But tat’s and two wheels don’t make a biker
Just another poseur lacking the soul

At one time he might have been what he said
Before beginning to play this role
He let way too much myth go straight to his head
Now he’s just a Yo-mama-ha riding asshole

Copyright 2007 Bill “uglicoyote” Davis