Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Biker Poetry Comes of Age

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Biker Poetry Comes of Age: 'A Biker Poet`s Eye View'
Interview 2: K. Peddlar Bridges
By MarySusan Williams-Migneault
Editors Note: Open Call for Submissions: Send your Biker Poet`s Eye View of Biker Poetry History, your early Biker poetry experiences or any thoughts you have about Biker Poetry Coming of Age to rdhousepress@aol.com for future publishing so we can archive and / or document Biker Poetry coming of age as a genre in its own right.
This month, RoadHousePress cyber-views (as interviewed over the web) K.Peddlar Bridges, First Biker Poet Laureate to be officially named and appointed as Don Clady`s SuperSunday (R) Motorcycle Expo`s and First Bikerpoet Laureate for Connecticut Bike Week. Through the many miles and hard work of the Highway Poets Motorcycle Club, Bikerpoetry has flourished on the East Coast and is now spotlighting and sponsoring Biker Poets south and west of Connecticut, to the Florida panhandle to the shores of the Pacific West, and Northward to Alaska and Canada. Biker Poets such as Chopper Kate, Ironhorse Writer, Uglicoyote and their Biker Bard Friends are riding/writing for poetic Gold in America`s 'out west' horizons. Wild Bill, First Biker Poet Laureate of the Northern Frontier rides and writes in Alaska! Gypsypashn, a club member of the Highway Poets is serving her second term as First Dual Biker Poet Laureate of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Every day Biker Poetry is stretching the horizon! Bear in New York, Panhead Josh in Iowa, Joe Go, Colorado T.Sky, Sorez, The Holy Ranger, there are so many to name -- all Biker Poets out there in the wind, on the road riding to bring Biker Poetry into its own standing.
Last month we posted the Lost Interviews of Radio Man Dave by K.Peddlar Bridges that traced a path from cowboy poetry to biker poetry. This month, we will get his Biker`s eye-view of how he ended up on that path and where it has taken him.
There is no `King of the Hill` Rants
By K.Peddlar Bridges, Biker Poet Laureate,
Senior Columnist: Connecticut Cruise News Newspaper
Columnist: motorcyclegoodies.com (BikerPoetry 101, 202)
MSWM: Who`s on First?
Who`s on First.
That`s what I said, Who`s on First?
Abbot and Costello`s famous sketch reminds me of Biker Poetry History - There is no `King of the Hill?` .. seriously, Peddlar -- Who`s on First?
Peddlar: That does seem to be an issue, who was the first Biker Poet? First let me digress ...
I always think it was August `63, but in truth, it may have been a warm night in late September. I was 16 and had a `53 Ford Ranch Wagon I was driving ... this Ranch Wagon was to play an important part in my first ride down the black top, by myself, because a friend of mine was riding an old Honda Dream ... Old now/ New then ... He asked me if I would like to trade rides for a few hours ... we all know how that story went ... I didn`t care if I ever saw the car again ... But he missed his ride in short order. But, by the time we were back on our own respective rides, I was in love.

From that night on, or perhaps even before, I was to fall for every ride I ever saw. In `66, I was to buy my own ride, an old beat `46 Indian Chief. The bike didn`t last long, but the fever never left. I always banged words together in my mind like rocks, but in `66, before I bought the old Chief, I wrote my first Motorcycle prose piece. By today standards, it could be considered a prose-poetry piece. It was about a teenage dude ( that`s what I was then - a teenager) who has a dream of buying a Bike. In the spring he buys an old Harley with a blown engine and tranny. Then in the late fall he finds a wrecked Harley (wrecked from a street jockey,' he calls it). And then spends the winter in the barn putting the two together as one. Then come one (next) East - Coast - Spring evening, he pushes the Bike out the door to the yard, fires it up and rides it West into the Sunset, knowing that during the dead of night, he will spin back around, ride East and park on the East-Coast beach, just in time to see the sun-rise over the Atlantic. I wrote that story in 1966, and there has been a lot of Bikes, a lot of Sun Rises - Sunsets and a lot of stories in between, then and now. I don`t feel that this story is all that unusual for any Biker Poet, be it man or woman Biker Poet. The story is always about the same. Youth sees motorcycle, youth falls in love. The first words hit the page and the romance is on. And the story ain`t over till they tap on the copy page of your life.

Where did it all start?

Where does it all start for any Biker Poet?

Most likely pretty close to all the same.

When I was three or four, I wanted to be a singing cowboy and ride a quarter pony.

When I was 8 or 9, I noticed my first Harley-Davidson, Also about that time I heard the song, Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots, for the first time. And I knew from that day on, my quarter pony would say Harley-Davidson across the reigns. Black Denim Trousers, and Motorcycle Boots, Leather Saddle Bags, Harley-Davidsons with rumbling exhaust that echo thundering horses hooves and a heart set to flame and motion. For me, from then on the quest was set.

But for me, for many years, I always thought, it was to be a solo journey. I met Poets and I met Bikers. I knew a few Hipsters and a real Beatnik or two. Traveled with about a gazillion Hippies, but, the lines never seemed to cross over from Biker to Poet. Somehow like Darwin`s Duck, the strain was written into the genetic code of the creature, but the species never seemed to manifest into being. Then suddenly, on one tad pole poet, his jacket turns to leather and the Harley wings appear. Then on one old wild dog Biker, a grin appears, the eyes turn bright and crafty and there is the flash of a weapon ... no... it is of an ink pen. The Biker Poet has come to be.

The real issue here is not who the real first Biker Poet was, but a History of Bikerpoetry. For myself, as said, I only have my own yard stick to measure by. The writing and the riding started for me in the 60`s and was full bore in the early 70`s. I have no way of knowing of really who was doing what, when, because for the most part, the work was not brought to the public. Easy Rider`s Biker Life Style never seemed to present Poetry as a solid event. Often it would be published under an unknown name, even if the writer was well known under another name.

Other times Bikers when running with the pack would dress as Bikers and often dress as citizens when ever it would work to their advantage, Yes, I have done this.

If I have any claim to anything at all. it is because for the most part, I did it as a Biker. I wrote it as a Biker, I published it as a Biker. For no better reason than I didn`t know any different. I was a Biker.

The first piece I ever Published in the Local News Paper was a Biker Piece. When I went college I went as a Biker. Many of the pieces and poems I published in the schools paper when I was the schools photo editor were Biker pieces. For the most part, the photos taken of me and printed in the college paper were of me wearing my two vest, because I`d lost nearly a hundred pounds and carrying my ruck sack with my club patch and Harley wings painted on it. I published a small poetry magazine, with two other poets, and did it as the staff editor and Biker. We performed at gigs and hosted coffeehouses and homeless Benefits, and because, I was doing such, my photo was in many local papers including the Boston Globe. As a Biker Poet and wearing my vest. I shot one hundred cable TV shows and over 90 of then with my vest on and not wearing a jacket and on several shows I had my bike on stage and performed Bikerpoetry with another biker playing blues harp. I`ve sold my Biker chap books on street corners to get gas money to go to the next poetry gig. I figure the profit for my chapbooks in one gallon for each book sold. I have shown for what I thought was a pre-booked gig and feels because I as a Biker was never allowed on stage ... ended up reading my poetry in the parking lot and selling chapbooks in the parking lot for gas money to get back.

I have given dozen of writers their first ink. Their first shot at the mic, their first stand in front of the TV camera. And I did it as a Biker. I have performed in clubs they didn`t want to let me cause I was a Biker, I have performed in clubs that I almost didn`t make it out of because I was a Biker. I have shared the stage with Poet Laureates and Publishers and famous Poets and walked away with the show and I did it as a Biker.
Every college professor`s class I ever walked into they had their doubts because I was a Biker and every College professor class I walked out at the finish ... They knew I was a writer and a Biker Writer to boot. I recently sat in Harvard`s Faculty Club, which I would venture to say, I am one of the First Biker Poets to ever be a member of, talking with a professor, who I feel is a friend of mine, and whose class I took at another college and received grad credits with.

I have been on Newspaper Staffs where they did not want to let me use my Biker by line, (The Peddlar). Ask them today and they will tell you that (The Peddlar) produced some of the best work they ever had. And yes, it was published with the by line, The Peddlar. I have won awards, written a novel and received 9 grad credits for it .. left there and went though Harvard and received a degree in Creative Writing and Literature. And, I did it all as Biker.

In truth, I was the First double Biker Poet Laureate: Connecticut Bike Week and Super Sunday (R) Expo both at once. I am the Co-founder of The Highway Poets Motorcycle Club, the Biker Poets and Writers Association and the Founder of Roadpoet eMagazine. If you counted up all the photos, essays, stories, News Items not to mention poems I have had printed it would easily range around a few hundred ... Four chap books, four page spreads in Motorcyclist Post and Wail Magazine. And every time I`ve ever made an advance, I`ve turned and shared it with my fellow Biker Poets and Writers. Right, now I am helping give our fellow Biker Poet Writers a chance to be guest columnist in two publications and that is not mentioning the number of Biker Poets we are publishing on a monthly basis.

Do I think I was the First Biker Poet? I have no Idea, I just know for the most part there were no other Biker Poets standing beside me well I was doing it. If I was at a Lit event, there were Writers and there were Poets, but there were no Biker Poets. If I went to a Bike event, there were Bikers and there were Motorcyclists, but there were no declared Biker Poets or Biker Writers beside me.

I met Lizzard in `77, he was with a band ( Storm Bringer ) and considered himself a song writer and a photographer. I met Colorado T. Sky in `83, when we both read our work to a group of Hippies living in a big old bus garage. I had published, or was just about to publish, my first local Newspaper piece, which was a story about a biker and a pan head. They did not publish those kind of stories in the local paper in those days ... the night I met Sky he had already written (Night Stick Jim) a classic Bikerpoetry piece.

Sky and I have always run nose to nose. If you go by the time frame, I was there first. I`m older. If you go by age in years of events, I believe Sky was there first. Measure for measure, Sky and I have always run neck to neck. I hosted a gig in a bar. Sky hosted a gig in a bar. I put out Wail Magazine, Sky put out the Highway Poet. I wrote for The Post, He wrote for the Express! Sky founded the Highway poets, I co-founded it with him. I Hosted a cable TV show, The Poets` Cafe with Peddlar. Sky Emceed a Radio Show, The Other Side of Mid-night with Colorado T. Sky. I started Poetry venues and it was listed in the newspapers as open mic with feature, Hosted by Bikerpoet ..... Sky opened for rock bands and was listed Colorado T.Sky Biker Poet opening for ...

Sky and I read and performed in night clubs, poetry festivals, and true Bohemian Coffee Houses, and we did it as Biker Poets and there were no other Biker Poets there. Sky and I performed as part or Connecticut Bikeweek Poet Laureateship, to symbolize the end of my Poet Laureateship and the beginning of his Poet Laureateship. We read in a real Biker bar, with near a hundred Harleys in the parking lot on Big Mike Griffin`s stage. We had brought Bikerpoetry to a new height.

The issue is not 'who is or was the first Biker Poet in the Bikerpoetry pack,' but 'who is the first Biker Poet out there at your local reading; who is or was the first Biker Poet to be published in your local newspaper?' How many Biker Poets have you ever put on stage or have put in ink. That is what counts! Sky and I and the then Wild Card, Martin Jack Rosenblum, were doing it long before the Internet.

The issue is not that who was first Biker Poet because there have been some fine Biker Poets and Bikerpoetry pre-1960. Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots is a true Ballard, disguised as a novelty song.

But the real issue is bringing Bikerpoetry and Biker Writers to events, readings and places that were never opened to the Biker Poet before. Again the Wild Card Martin. Sky and I brought Bikers and Biker Writers to the Literary World and we brought Poets to the to the Biking world. As we were introduced at the Show, where Big Mike Griffin was performing, by the Emcee who was a Biker saying 'These Poets are not just poets ... they`re bikers too! They ride.' The Emcee said this with pride and I felt pride. And I feel because we were Biker Poets I/e fellow bikers, the audience gave us the respect fellow Bikers receive from one another.

What Martin Jack did was up the anti ... Sky opened for bands; Martin Jack opened for bands too; who opened first??? I hosted Poetry Gigs, Martin Jack hosted Poetry Gigs too; who hosted first? Sky and I cut tapes. Martin Jack cut tapes too. Whose tapes were first??? Who published the first book? Who went to College first ... that ain`t what counts. What counts the most, I believe, is Sky and I brought Bikerpoetry to the public and Biker sector. What Martin Jack did was bring Bikerpoetry corporate. As far I know he was the first Biker Poet and perhaps the only Biker Poet so far for any Corporation. Martin Jack cut tapes and published Books with a Harley catalog number on them he was listed in the book as the Harley-Davidson Poet, The Holy Ranger.
Through the years there has been much discussion as to whether he was Harley-Davidson`s official Poet Laureate or not. In the TV Documentary, 'The secret life of the Outlaw Biker,' Actor Peter Fonda of Easy Rider movie fame is near quoted as saying, 'And some times it takes the soul of a poet to describe the feeling of riding a Harley-Davidson, here we have Martin Jack Rosenblum, Harley-Davidson`s Poet Laureate.' Peter Fonda`s word is good for me.

Perhaps my view in mono-dimensional ...as I said I`m the one I have traveled with most. So, it is my view I have seen. I don`t just write about Bikerpoetry I live it ... 24/7 and I have for many years. I was cautioned by a trusted friend and colleagues to be careful, for this could easily end up as a battle for the King of the Hill ... and I must admit she was near right ... for this could easily end up as a pig pile and as near always, with the best on the bottom.

But, in truth, even Sky, Martin Jack, or myself could be knocked out of the batters box on a technicality, for find the oldest dude in the pack and he most likely rode first, and wrote first. Harleys have been around a hundred years now, and before that there were bicycle poems and perhaps Org our friend the cave dweller ... wrote a poem about being in the wind on his ride, a Dino-Davidson.
Some-one-else was always first ... Jack Nicholson was the poet in 'The Hells Angels on Wheels,' filmed in the `60`s. Hunter S Thompson, Freewheeling Frank prove a lot of great ink was dry long before I ever published. They say Sonny Barger wrote Bikerpoetry, I`d love to read that ... and Red and White Geno published a book of poetry ( The Modern Day Barbarian,) back when Harleys were still running four speeds and drive chains. And Peter Fonda could out top us all by simply reading a Bikerpoetry Poem of his own on Jay Leno on any given Tuesday Night during our next Bikerpoetry Month.
And, as said, even if Sky, Martin Jack and I were out of the running, there is a lot of other hot competition out on the poetry track.

Gypsypashn ...
Member of Highway Poets MCC, holds the Dual Motorcycle Poet Laureate of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She is a Columnist for Motorcyclists` Post, Bikerbits Editor, poetry venue host and has published dozens of times, as well as, her own chapbook.

Marc Goldfinger AKA Moshe Dean ... Member of Highway Poets MCC, former Cambridge Spare Change Editor, and the Changes Poetry Editor, has published several chapbooks of his own, has had many poetry features and easily, a couple of hundred publishing`s behind him ... Moshe has repeatedly brought Biker Poets and Bikerpoetry to the pages of Spare Change. So, if you want to read a Biker Poem - head for Harvard Square.

Joe Go Gouviea ... Member Highway Poets MCC, Co-Founder of Biker Poets and Writers Association and Former Poet in Residence for Cape Cod Community College, has published Poems, Articles, and a Poetry Anthology. Joe Go is, at present, publishing an Anthology of Bikerpoetry, including a large number of our contemporary Biker Poets between its covers.

J. Barrett Wolf AKA Bear ... Member Highway Poets MCC, Editor and Publisher of Roadpoet-ny.com and formerly one of Connecticut`s Traveling Poets, has published numerous articles and poems and recently produced a chapbook with CD recordings.

Susan Buck ... Member Highway Poet MCC, a true working member of the New York Publishing World, has numbers of publishing`s, including gloss magazines, and is now about to bring her name forward in the field of Motorcycle Photo-journalism.

The Ironhorse Writer ... Highway Poet MCC (prospective member) is Super Sunday (R) Motorcycle Expo Biker Poet Laureate, is an Associate Columnist for Poets` Corner/Connecticut Cruises News Newspaper and has numbers of hard copy publishing`s, scores of web publishing`s and, at present, is in the process of producing a chapbook.

Sorez The Scribe, Highway Poets MCC (prospective member), has published hard copy in gloss and paper magazines as well as droves of e-publishing`s. Sorez is the House Poet for VTwinbiker.com and has recently published an I-book.

Panhead Josh, Highway Poets MCC (prospective member), has been published in hard copy, newspapers and magazines, and at present is working toward publishing a chapbook of his work.

Wild Bill the Alaskan Poet, Biker Poet Laureate of the Northern Frontier, has published much e-copy and, at present, is the Editor / Publisher of the Midnight Sun Rider Magazine ... Alaska`s only Motorcycle Magazine. Wild Bill gives ink to Brother and Sister Biker Poets whenever possible.

Not to mention what I call the Shooting Stars on the rise ... some new to Bikerpoetry, but, because of great talent and effort in the Bikerpoetry Community are already becoming well known:

Kate Johnson AKA Chopper Kate ... Watch this rising star ... She has been published in hard copy, e-copy, and what she ain`t done this year, you can bet your carburetor she`ll have accomplished by next year. Chopper Kate is an Associate Columnist for the Poets` Corner/CT Cruise News Newspaper.

Tom Quinn, Springfield, MA.`s Biker Poet, hasn`t published a lot at recently, but you know what ever he sends in next will be good.

Uglicoyote AKA Bill Davis - (Candidate pending, Highway Poets MCC) Come this time next year, you will most likely have seen a lot from him. He publishes a Biker Poetry blog and recently was published in hard copy in the CT Cruise News and in e-copy on motorcyclegoodies.com. He also recently was chosen as an Associate Columnist spot in the Connecticut Cruise News Newspaper`s Poets` Corner.

And lets really look at it ... every publisher, every venue host, every professor that ever gave a spot in the classroom, a shot at the mic, or ink on the page to a Biker Poet is part of Bikerpoetry. Poetry is about words ... Bikerpoetry is a life style and commitment to the art form, the life style and the Bikerpoetry Community at large and let`s not forget the ride ...

Before I end this rant let me stop and say thank you to our Editors and Publishers who have taken every chance and opportunity to give we Biker Poets a brake and ink whenever possible.

Thank You, Don Clady of the Connecticut Cruise News. Thank You, Jodi Lipson of Motorcyclegoodies.com. Thank you, Leo Castell of the Motorcyclists` Post. and let`s not forget to say Thanks to QBall of VTwinbiker.com, Blaze of Laconiabikeweek.net and Metal Man Dan of loudpipes.com and the many other who help Bikerpoetry to keep making History. And of course, Thanks to you and RoadHousePress Editor, Publisher MarySusan.

I will close this with a short story, one time, brother Lizzard and I were stopped at a red light in Manchester, New Hampshire. Me on my old Rat Chop, and him on his Old Green Sporty, when these two Ninja riders pulled up to the light and slid in front of us. When the light turned near green they cracked their throttles stood on their tale and blasted off leaving Lizzard and I in the dust ... Lizzard looked over at me and called, 'I think they`re going to lap us a few more times to catch up!'

So, if any one is worried about who is a head of them - or - who thinks they are ahead of them ... My advice is:
If you want to run with the Bikerpoetry pack ... Strap your saddle bags tight, crack your throttle and hang on. (Peddlar)
MSWM: Thank you Peddlar for all that you do and have done to keep that Bikerpoetry pack writing, riding and bringing their Bikerpoetry to the community. In closing this months installment of Biker Poetry Comes of Age, let me once again make a call for submissions:
A couple of years ago, I sent out a question to the Biker Poets that I had in our files: 'What is Biker Poetry?' The responses ranged from tongue in cheek to informative, without any clear definition.
Today I am looking for historical information regarding Biker Poetry emerging as a genre in its own right, from where you ride and write, your impressions and your historical account. I am also hoping to connect with the Biker Poet that is out there holding a pen or tapping a keyboard to bring the wind, the road, the steel pony to the page, that may never have considered Biker Poetry as a genre, but has been writing and riding all along. If you have been a part of this historical progression, please send me your Biker Poetry history.
If you are not a Biker, but you have historical information or you know someone who does, please drop us a line. Send an email to rdhousepress@aol.com and write the word 'history' in the subject line. In closing, here is a Biker Poem, for what would an article about Biker Poetry be, without the Biker or the Poem?
The Rally by Kate Johnson AKA Chopper Kate
the rally

thunder rolls, a chromed storm brews
backslaps and beer hugs
catching all the latest news
leathered bodies and weathered skin
beards, tats, babes and sin
cold ones crack like throttles on blacktop lanes
moth like they gather `round the flames
confessions and tall tales
reverent silence and sordid details
weaving invisible bonds

Kate Johnson/Chopper Kate/all rights reserved
For more information on Bikepoetry check out any of the following links:
... K.Peddlar Bridges, Co-Founder Highway Poets MCC,
Former Biker Poet Laureate Connecticut SuperSunday (R) Motorcycle Expo`s
Former Biker Poet Laureate of Connecticut Bike Week,
Founder/Owner RoadPoetMagazine (www.roadpoet.com)
... Colorado T. Sky, Co-Founder of Highway Poets MCC
National Biker Poet Laureate 2007-2008
Former Biker Poet Laureate of Connecticut Bikeweek

... The Holy Ranger: Martin Jack Rosenblum,
Member of Highway Poets MCC:

... Mark Goldfinger AKA Moshe Dean, Member of Highway Poets MCC:

... J. Barrett Wolf, AKA Bear, Member of Highway Poets MCC
Editor/ Publisher of Roadpoet-ny.com

... Jose` Gouviea AKA Joe Go, Member of Highway Poets MCC,
Springfield, MA Motorcycle Show Event Poet,
Founder of Biker Poets and Writers Association

... Gypsypashn AKA Betsy Lister, Member of Highway Poets MCC,
Founder/Editor of bikerbits daily eZine
Roadpoet eMagazine`s Dual Biker Poet Laureate:
New Hampshire Motorcycle Poet Laureate,
Massachusetts Motorcycle Poet Laureate
Motorcyclists` Post Columnist
... Panhead AKA Josh Griffith, (Prospective Member) Highway Poets MCC
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

... Dr. Mark 'Tiger' Edmonds, Professor of English (St Leo University),
(Candidate Pending Highway Poets MCC)
... Sorez The Scribe (prospective member) Highway Poets MCC:

... UgliCoyote (Candidate pending for Highway Poets MCC):
Associate Columnist Poets` Corner/CT Cruise News Newspaper

... Ironhorse Writer (prospective member) Highway Poets MCC:
Associate Columnist Poets` Corner/CT Cruise News Newspaper
... Kate Johnson AKA Chopper Kate,
Associate Columnist Poets` Corner/ CT Cruise News Newspaper:

... Wild Bill, Biker Poet Laureate of the Northern Frontier
Owner/Editor of Culture Corner

... Don Clady, Editor, Publisher/Owner of Connecticut Cruise News Newspaper,
Founder Connecticut Super Sunday(R) Motorcycle Expo

... Jodi Lipson, Editor at www.motorcyclegoodies.com

... MarySusan Williams-Migneault, Editor/ Publisher of RoadHousePress.com
RoadHousePress eCafe & Wordsymthery

Biker Poetry Comes of Age by MarySusan Williams-Migneault
c October 2007/RHP
all rights reserved

Suite 342-H
Cummings Center
Beverly, MA 01915


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