Poetry| Motorcycle Sutras | Tanika Attrewa

Motorcycle Sutras

The chrome sees wind
          mist its voice
three times, with flaws
          the color of air.

[Chrome does not really see wind. Wind lends its lightness to chrome. Its voice is mist-like, but chrome itself cannot have a voice and one cannot see voice. Voice can be the color of air, but like wind, we do not know what air is. Air must be flawed because it makes chrome into something else.]

Chipped paint at the edge,
an invisible trace 
          in itself
like spots of blood 
          after a fight.

[Since the trace is invisible – we can assume that people are painted. Or, maybe it is the painted people from whom the color chips. If it is invisible, then it is only a figment. One can mistrust the “f” in figment and replace is with a “p.” Then meaning that is violent becomes peaceful.]


in grease, grease
on chain      chain
in cog             make it go.

[Dust makes it go.]


In sleep, like a pillow
between legs – 
a shiver of sex,
feathers flake in air.

[This is a dream. It is possible to sleep with a pillow between legs. The pillow is not a pillow. The sutra does not mean that. This annotation tells you what it means. The sutras and the annotations are not written by the same person. Sex like feathers flies.]


A reflection of him
self on the biology of 
an engine, a heart
bolted to the crank.

[If the heart is a piston, he is a machine stuck in the chest. He does not know reflection. It could have been the monk’s face before he went on a long ride. Buddhists who do certain things are called monks. There are others who do certain things but are called different things. The reference to monks is a generalization. If you notice, this does not indicate their individual levels of enlightenment.]


          The pliant rubber 
makes way for pebbles
          that stick like grit, 
between tread and teeth. 

[Travel is messy.]


A throttle tugs at wire and valve
like marionettes in a village play.

[The word “play” is used only as a symptom of ignorance. Puppets imply control, which is also a symptom of ignorance. Throttle also means to choke. Valves prevent backflow.]

(image courtesy: Wikimedia commons)

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