Former Rubber & Plastics News Editor Ed Noga used to waste valuable editorial space by describing my secret alternate life as a P-word: Poet.
Now, Bruce Meyer thinks that instead of his wasting editorial space on the subject, I should do it myself.
The whole thing about being a poet is that it can never be more than a hobby, unless you teach it or are lucky enough to win a Nobel Prize. The poet Edwin Arlington Robinson (you remember "Richard Cory" from high school English classes, or at least the song Simon and Garfunkel drew from it) was once asked the most important attribute for a poet. "A small appetite," he answered. And as those of you who have seen me at an industry gathering know well, that is so not me.
What I can say about poetry is that it is a different way of looking at the world, a way of expressing what is almost inexpressible. It is something you don't do for fame or fortune, because there isn't any. You do it because you can't not do it. And that's the closest I can come to saying why I write poetry.
In all my poetic life, however, I have written only one poem about tires. My friend Kim Roberts, a local Washington D.C. poet and editor, dared me. So, below is the result.
As Robert Frost once said, the goal is to unite your vocation with your avocation. You can judge for yourself how well I managed that.
Ode to a Tire
Unloved and unlovely shoe
of every painted hussy from Detroit,
you bear on your sloping shoulders
the weight of our journeys.
Child of the caoutchouc tree
and Vulcan's forge,
you endure the kicks of ingrates
uncaring that every crumb of bread,
every drop of milk or beer,
every letter and loved one safely delivered
arrive only at the sufferance
of your many pliant layers of being
and guts of steel.
Sometimes, worn down by neglect and load,
you give up your ghost explosively.
Your carcass unwinds in roadside skeins,
your epitaph the indifference
of those who beat and starve your brothers.
Nevertheless, you roll
from punch to pothole punch.
For our sakes you battle the merciless road,
scrawling on our dotted lines
your black and gullied mark.
Miles Moore, a 40-year veteran of the rubber industry, has published three books of poetry: The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995); Buddha Isn't Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999), and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004). Copies of his books are available on Amazon or by contacting him directly at [email protected].