Folk Hero

Leo, Crazy Leo,
the Mad Man on a motorcycle
always pushing the limit
and going to the extreme.
You went faster and further
or got wilder and higher
than anyone else
in the neighborhood.

Not because you needed to
but because you could
and you had the toys
and the balls to do it.

In your youth, you started
to tear up the neighborhood
with home made
mini-bikes and go-carts.
After you got your license,
you moved on to driving
a black-grey Chevy Vega
Muscle Mini-car that packed
a 327 V8 engine.

You would fly
into the shopping center
parking lot do 360 burn outs,
kick up gravel and slide
into a parking space.
Then you rode street rockets,
threading the needle
as you zigzagged between cars
jammed on the Belt Parkway
leaving us behind
as we made runs to Queens.

And your reputation and repertoire
grew with death defying acrobatics
and other dare-devil deeds
like standing up and surfing
along Sunrise Highway
on your 750 Honda
or doing quarter mile wheelies
as you raced down Peninsula Blvd.
with the KZ 900.

But, you had a mellow side
and just for kicks you would cruise
the suburban side streets
at night, rattling
your neighbors’ cages
with the roar of your chopped
blue Sportster’s loud drag pipes.

Your street machines
were a reflection of your image,
lean, mean, loud
and built for speed.
From Forest Park, Queens,
to Bellmore on the South Shore
no one messed with you.
I think they were afraid,
not of your 5’8” thin, wiry
frame, but of your attitude.

To make the point that you meant
what you said, you would tilt
your wild unkempt bushy
haired head, give your patent
twisted grin and with that twinkle
in your dark wide eyes, fill
them with the fear of God or devil.
No one was sure which it was.

I remember the time someone
came after you with a baseball bat
and you pulled out a chain saw
to end that confrontation.
Some people said it was a sign
you were nuts, but I think
you just didn’t give a fuck.

They say there are old riders
and there are bold riders,
but there are no old bold riders
and at 47 you went down
on your Harley Hog,
blind sided by an SUV.

I heard the Angels came to see
you off and I’m sorry
I wasn’t there to say good-bye.
You now reside in the realm of myths
and legends, cruising in the stars.
Leo, Crazy Leo

I hope you have a good ride.
 

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Monday, August 1, 2011 - 13:42

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poetpete

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