Uneasy Rider

By Diane Wakoski b. 1937 Diane Wakoski
Falling in love with a mustache
is like saying
you can fall in love with
the way a man polishes his shoes
                which,
                of course,
                is one of the things that turns on   
                my tuned-up engine

                those trim buckled boots

                (I feel like an advertisement   
                for men’s fashions
                when I think of your ankles)

Yeats was hung up with a girl’s beautiful face   

and I find myself

a bad moralist,

a failing aesthetician,

a sad poet,

wanting to touch your arms and feel the muscles   
that make a man’s body have so much substance,   
that makes a woman
lean and yearn in that direction
that makes her melt/ she is a rainy day   
in your presence
the pool of wax under a burning candle   
the foam from a waterfall

You are more beautiful than any Harley-Davidson   
She is the rain,
waits in it for you,
finds blood spotting her legs
from the long ride.

Diane Wakoski, “Uneasy Rider” from The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971). Copyright © 1971 by Diane Wakoski. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (1971)

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Poet Diane Wakoski b. 1937

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Diane  Wakoski

Biography

Diane Wakoski, described as an "important and moving poet" by Paul Zweig in the New York Times Book Review, is frequently named among the foremost contemporary American poets by virtue of her experiential vision and her unique voice. Wakoski's poems focus on intensely personal experiences—on her unhappy childhood, on the painful relationships she has had with men and, perhaps most frequently, on the subject of being Diane . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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