endless practice: the art of slow motorcycle riding
The first time I saw Mark Walker’s parking lot practice video – shot with a drone – I was mesmerized. For one thing, it’s difficult to ride a motorcycle as slowly as he does in the video. For another, the practice struck me as being like a slow-motion ballet. And third, the shape of the flattened figure eights he rode reminded me of a lemniscate, the symbol for infinity. More on the lemniscate here.
I watched Mark’s video dozens of times without sound. Yeah, I know. OCD. But in my defense, such a beautiful dance. The cracks in the parking lot are perfect. Every time I watched, I was filled with peace and calm. There was a poem in those turns and curves and circles. I felt it.
The poetry emerged over several weeks. Mark generously supplied additional footage to supplement what appeared in his edit. Then, one morning, Sandra Powell, an FB acquaintance who plays on her keyboard at home and shares the pieces online, posted her interpretation of Endless Love.
The music was/is perfect. The title expresses how motorcycle riders feel about motorcycles and riding and the music fit beautifully with the sweeping arcs of the parking-lot practice. I asked Sandra, whom I’ve never met or even spoken to, if I might use her recording. Her answer was an enthusiastic Yes!
As of today, Mark and I have spoken a grand total of once on the phone and the three of us have never met – even virtually. But somehow, together, we birthed this collaborative piece of digital art. (Gives new meaning to the word threesome LOL! Sorry. Couldn’t resist. There must be gutters around the edges of that there parkin’ lot :P)
We hope you enjoy the piece. I think it’s unique and arresting and I’d like to thank Mark and Sandra for collaborating with me to make it happen. The words are below the video.
life rides in silent figure eights
in sweeping curves, near heaven’s gate
it seeks and finds in empty lots
rounds the poles, ties slippery knots
dark cracks and veins upon the surface
belie a deeper, timeless purpose
where endless love below still grows
and infinity in grace is clothed
the rider stitches ancient symbols
with silken thread and leather thimbles
crisscrosses faded yellow lines
sun-bleached, earth-bound traffic signs
wheels cycle in gentle arcs
mimic calligraphic arts
between the throttle and the brake
tracing streams that leave no wake
safe and tight in black and white
lean slightly left, turn to the right
look to where you want to go
meander as a river flows
at intersections in the middle
queries form a twisted riddle
to which the answers and solutions lie
somewhere up in silver skies
nothing rankles, there’s no more pain
the world has never felt so sane
everything is smooth and calm
slow motion is a soothing balm
some solo biker’s shared sashay
in a ‘captured-by-a-drone’ ballet
makes words on pages sway and dance
puts hungry riders in a trance
it’s early practice in the spring
while longing whispers on the wing
for summer days and country roads
and freedom soon to be unstowed
© 2022 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry and posts widely, but please do not reprint, reblog or copy and paste them in their entirety without my permission. Thank you.
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