K. Peddlar Bridges, shown here after his poetry reading yesterday afternoon at a used bookstore in Saco, has two Harvard emblems on his Harley. It turns out he took some courses at Harvard Extension and proudly claims membership in the Harvard family. He is helping celebrate Biker Poetry Month in August, because the mainstream celebration, in T.S. Eliot’s cruelest month of April, has lousy weather for riding a motorcyle to readings.
I liked Peddlar’s poems and the story of his Highway Poets Motorcycle Club, the only one in the country for which you have to be a published poet in order to ride. The club’s motto is “Ride hard, read fast.”
As a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, I had not the least temptation to consider Peddlar anything but a full-fledged Harvard man. Truth be told, I had a Harley once–a 1450 cc black Dyna-Super Glide. I was a PR exec for a gas company at the time, and I named my Harley Merwin, after my favorite poet, W.S. Merwin. I rode Merwin to writing conferences in Napa Valley and Arkansas. But compared with Peddlar, I was attending Harley Extension night school. I sold my Harley after 14,000 miles and a year of safe riding. I didn’t get a tatoo. My next bike was a 50 cc Vespa. But I get what Peddlar was saying in a poem that he read titled “Highway Poets.” It begins with this:
We’re Motorcycle riding