The preacher’s wife is half bucolic cliché and half dominatrix:
round and ruddy in a gingham check halter top, long and lean
legs in leather chaps, she fries eggs over an open fire, pours
Folger’s, flips pancakes, pats ham steaks as hickory ashes fly up,
settle in her hair. “Lord, bless these bikes,” her preacher man
of 27 years intones to his denim and leather-clad congregation.
Last night, we promenaded along the mud motorcycle runway
Celebrating the final Bean Blossom Boogie, billed as “The Midwest’s Best
Biker Fest.” Softails, pan heads, rumbling pipes glide by as artists design
10-point bucks and supine babes on gas tanks. The fat lady
with goggles rides in her old man’s sidecar. Two small-town
lawyers impeccably coordinate their leather gear and helmets to their bikes.
Rituals flourish like born again virgins and penitent addicts.
Bikers rub worry stones, coon tails, rabbit feet. Tobacco anoints
lips, sweat baptizes bodies, and the breeze intoxicates and forgives sins.
Some play at ancient pagan rites as the Bikers for Christ try to usurp
the spirituality of the road. “Loud pipes save lives” is our Hail Mary,
gaudy juxtapositions are our grace. Amen. See you next year again.
This poem appeared in And Know this Place, ed. Jenny Kander and C.E. Greer, (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011).
Katerina Tsiopos Wills has enjoyed reading her work to audiences in Café Trieste (San Francisco), the Indianapolis Museum of Art, StoneSong Arts Festival (Bloomington), Skokie Public Library (Skokie, IL), and venues in Thessalonica, Greece. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Motel, ART/LIFE, River Styx, Y-Bird, the Otherwise Room Anthology of Poetry, and two audio tapes from the New Linen Weave Poetry anthology series.
Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.