Mostly I drive my car like a considerate road user and law-abiding citizen. I observe speed limits and follow the Highway Code. An old car like mine begs to be driven with reverence and sympathy, bearing in mind it has rolled some 90,000 miles. I was educated in the “mirror, signal, manoeuvre” school and reckon I could comfortably pass my driving test again, thirty years on. So how does all this mature motoring proficiency benefit me? Well, when the occasion demands, I know how to drive like a maniac!
The problem with cruising sedately and courteously is that it represses our natural instinct to race. That eight year-old Ford usually behaves like an armchair on wheels. You have to wind the motor above 4,000 rpm for it to become an altogether different proposition. From time to time this reckless behaviour bursts through and reasserts itself, transforming the faithful family saloon into a tarmac-burner. So often music is the trigger to this exuberance on an empty and inviting country road. “I been drivin’ all night man, sweat on the wheel…”
… floor the gas pedal and drop the clutch. Rubber screeches for grip on tarmac as old steel is pushed hard through the gears. In fifth at eighty all four wheels leave the road over a crest, hitting ground again just as I stand on the brakes for a sharp right. Throw it into third and scream out of the turn drifting left. Eyes scanning the open horizon, I see the empty roundabout ahead. Hold the needle on sixty and straight-line the junction, hands crossing on the wheel, tyres kissing the curbs left right and left before hurtling on.
A flat-out downhill stretch puts one twenty on the clock. Golden Earring thunders from the stereo, “…we gotta thing, that’s called radar love.” Unblinking I watch a tightening left approach fast and drop through fourth and third, shedding speed and listening as the engine note rises and the exhaust spits. Heavy braking now for a blind crossroads, then hard acceleration in second, gripping the wheel over familiar bumps in the road. Flicking left and right through back streets and slowing all the time as civilisation approaches with its speed cameras and pedestrians.
The old Ford noses gently into my driveway and glides to a halt. The softly purring motor belies its age. Now I think I fancy a lay down.
29 September 2005
25 September 2005
crooked smile and lazy wink
broad grin and twinkling eye
boyish charmer slightly shy
blue sky high gear rolling
top down sunshine cruising
huge horizon music pumping
fragile self esteem falling
false laughter seldom smiling
desperate sorrow barely breathing
sinking shoulders and curled lip
ugly glare and furrowed brow
blinking back angry tears
fire deep inside the belly
bitter anger in the heart
but nothing on my mind
all an act a stupid game
life’s a cunt death’s the same
I lost my mask am I to blame?
24 September 2005
a comet spitting orange fire delivers by chance
its elemental payload to some giant lifeless globe.
a chemical sea of sulphurous foetid waves
is warming by degrees as a stellar furnace glows.
vacuum stretching epochs will map the crimson sky
as gravity exerts its pull on time and tide.
orbits dictate climate eclipsing light with shade
while random moving bodies converge and then collide.
precious squirming life crawls from stinking pond to hill
grows beaks and wings and learns to climb the clouds.
seasons produce golden corn; man tames the savage beasts;
order settles cautiously over nature's chaos.
intellect brings culture where art and science flourish
then walking talking rapists murder friend and foe.
technology rampages to final mushroom war,
through cataclysm all is lost, nothing left to show.
20 September 2005
music and love
love and life
life and death
200 feet per second
degrees of life
death by coma