Monday, June 22, 2009

Rubber Side Down: The Biker Poet Anthology, Ed. by Jose (JoeGo) Gouveia

Rubber Side Down: The Biker Poet Anthology
Ed. by Jose (JoeGo) Gouveia
Copyright 2008
Archer Books - Poetry
195 pages, incl. photos

Poetry is an iffy thing with me because I know absolutely zippo about it. I just know what I like and what I don't. Most collections are a little of both -- love some, like some, a little falls flat. Even my favorites, like Pablo Neruda, sometimes leave me thinking, "Nyeh," to one poem and, "Wow, wow, wow," to another. Pablo leans heavily toward the wow side.

Rubber Side Down is, in my humble opinion, better than average because it gives those of us who aren't a part of this unique culture a peek into the joy of their somewhat rebellious lifestyle. I can't even balance on a scooter, so motorized biking is certainly not my thing, but it didn't matter one whit. You should see the number of little Post-its sticking out of my copy. I really enjoyed this book. It's an anthology by a variety of authors, so there's a good mix of serious and funny, breezy and deep. I was particularly fond of some of the funnier poems and those that tell a story. Sometimes, the language alone made me smile.

I get in one last, quick ride
Before the hinting tumult of clouds coalesce
Into the thunder light show and falling
Bucket cat dog pianos of rain.

--from "Weather & Other Maps" by J. Barrett (Bear) Wolf

Another favorite: "The Ballad of California Slim and Nightstick Jim" by J. H. "Colorado T." Sky tells the story of a biker and a highway patrolman who are at odds until they decide to race in order to determine who gets his way -- a biker who wants to drive at his own speed or the patrolman who wants to give him a ticket. The highway patrolman, Nightstick Jim, wrecks his car and the biker, California Slim, must decide whether or not to save his nemesis before the car bursts into flames.

"Wondering Aloud: Several Haiku" by Wu Hai "Woo Wu" Tien contains this little gem that can't help but make you smile:

truth, punctuating
with comma fangs, will bite you
in the asterix

"Biker poetry is more . . . " by MarySusan Williams-Migneault beautifully puts the experience into words (excerpt only):

Biker Poetry is the engine firing up
blasting across the horizon
stretching out before you waiting.
It is the gravel in your pores
the bugs up your nose
the rain scraping your skin
as it whizzes across your face
the sun setting while the engine cools
and you sit staring out a diner window--
admiring your steel pony while breaking bread
with your Biker brothes and sisters
Biker Poetry is the break . . .
the soul . . . of a spirit
that chases after the wind
and calls the "Road" home.

Cool. So, the experience itself is poetry.

4/5 - Very good, a really terrific mix. Some of the poems didn't do much for me, but the vast majority are just wonderful -- like the gift of a translator, explaining the foreign language of another world.

Thanks to Lisa Roe, publicist extraordinaire, for the review copy!

And, while we're on the topic of poetry, I Did Not Finish a very slim poetry book that I attempted to read, earlier this year. Of Dreams and Realities by Dr. Frank L. Johnson is described as, "A collection of poems about real life situations, fantasies and inspirations." Only 39 pages long, but I found the poetry far too rhythmic and . . . I guess predictable in that you can read one line and automatically know the rhyming word the next will have as its ending. The cover is absolutely beautiful, but the image I saved is corrupt so you'll just have to trust me on that.

Just finished:

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer - and, unfortunately, it kept me up till the wee hours of the morning, so I'm in agony with a reading hangover. Ouch, ouch, ouchy ouch.

Note to Borders:

Those 40% off a single book coupons work. Another ouch -- a hit on the bank account. I bought only Young Adult novels, yesterday . . .

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell and
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

City of Bones caught the kiddo's interest so he also, unfortunately, stayed up late reading. He's already halfway into the book. At least he managed to go to bed before I did. I wish I read as fast as my son.

Next reviews will be The Unit, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The Corinthian -- in no particular order. I have only one tour book, this week, and I could not finish it because the writing was too good -- too painful to read a book that begins with grief during a week that contains Father's Day, which I never handle particularly well (the protagonist is widowed), but I'll post the sneak peek chapter.
Off the top of my head, the only photo I can recall with a two-wheeled motorized vehicle, from my files (taken in Costa Rica):
Love that hat. Off to stick my sore head on a pillow. Happy Monday!


  1. I LOVED wicked lovely and I cannot wait to hear your thoughts. I am hoping to finish my book this month and call it good. lol

  2. Krista,

    I'm really looking forward to Wicked Lovely. Now and then, I have to read some YA for a mental break and it looks so fun. I didn't realize you'd read it!

  3. I never thought of it as a reading hangover. You are brillant! I have gone to bed at midnight for the past two nights in a row for a book(s). At work today I was not so hot. lol

    I spent the weekend reading The Lady Julia Grey trilogy by Deanna Raybourn. I am still thinking of what to say in my review because I have a few concerns overall. :)

  4. It has to do with fairies! Nuff said. :)

    The poetry one looks interesting too. You're quite the eclectic reader.

  5. Brittanie,

    Now you know what to call it when you stay up too late reading! "Misery" is another good word. LOL Thanks, you're too sweet. I would not have functioned if I had a paying job!!

    It's a lot harder to criticize a book and keep your review balanced than to praise it, I think. Best of luck with your review. :)


    Oh, gah, big mental head slap. Fairies. Krista. I don't know what came over me. I didn't even connect the dots. It was the fairies that I loved in that opening. So nice and different.

    The poetry book is surprisingly fun. Yeah, I crave variety. Can you tell? LOL


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