A Poem

I’m an American, happy to be in America.

You see, for twelve years, I lived in three communist/socialist countries, and one on the edge of anarchy. It takes generations for the nature of a people to change, and I was thrilled to join in the evolution of a free-spirited nature in Viet Nam, more than in China or Laos. Sadly, such an evolution in Kashmir has been suppressed for decades.

I crossed many borders during my fifteen years in Asia, and in most countries, people commented with a bit of cheer, or envy, about the freedoms we have in America. The Vietnamese, in particular, admired the American Way and followed the lead of our nature.

You see, Viet Nam’s history reaches back to the time B.C., when their nature was dictated by threats from occupation, feudal wars, colonial repression, and the American war; followed by a corrupt reunification, and finally, rebirth. In contrast, America’s short history began with the Revolutionary War; followed by a broad westward expansion of people with grit, who built the greatest nation on earth. To sustain our brief existence, and that of others, over three million men and women lived and died by creeds, such as: “Give me liberty, or give me death”, and “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Late on a quest across that mystical and sacred land, with occassional curiosity about the depth and disparity of our natures, I was enlightened to the God particle of the American soul; something with greater definition to me as time passes; something missing, or fading, from the lives of too many people within our borders. 

Now, I’m going to entertain you with a story. It’s about an obligation many of you would have felt the same.

“An Ode to My Boys”,

was a funny little ditty I wrote last year.

It’s now a full length poem 

with a message to hear.

I call it: 

Essence

By: Mike Rinowski

 

It’s been a good year

I said with cheer.

 

To the north and south

west and east,

my Boys beat with the heart of a beast.

 

I looked to each with pride

as I would to a bride,

but spoke words neither wanted to hear.

 

Our season has gone

last tracks have been laid, 

I sadly said.

 

You, whose miles are few, my ’98,

with my battle-scarred ’08,

the time has come to hibernate.

 

While frigid winds blow

and trails cover with snow,

I’ll tend to your needs

for another season you’ll roll.

 

And in a blink,

winter’s chill will shrink,

and in May I’ll call

the ’08 to make

another ride to The Wall.

 

Once upon a time, you see,

its tires laid tracks, 

to honor our fallen 

on the land they saw last.

 

My boots on the ground

they had not been,

nor those of friends

nor any kin.

I was just—an American.

 

From one job to another

I landed in Hanoi,

and with shady arrangements 

imported a Fat Boy.

 

No Harley had been

on trails like mine,

with beauty and welcome

at a peaceful time.

 

The solitude of jungle

was a powerful sensation,

on a war-torn land

now a young nation.

 

A threshold was crossed

where I felt a bond,

and the spirits were quick

to respond.

 

NOBODY rode alone,

it was said.

I became nobody 

with over 58,000 instead.

 

Fearless we were

on my iron beast,

made in America

to say the least.

 

With innocent and noble intent,

no judge of events,

I laid tracks

with a playful vengeance.

 

I taunted trails and elements

with a fist in the air,

and some situations

just weren’t fair!

 

In the spirit of freedom

for them I did ride,

with a handful of throttle

and a heart full of pride. 

 

Beside my trails 

remains did wait,

while their spirits looked down

 from the Pearly Gate.

 

The hell they all passed through

I imagined with tears,

but later to them 

raised Ba Muoi Ba beers.

 

On the land they did battle,

some would say-

their cause was not lost,

in slid shades

of the American Way.

 

Within its borders

our colors are bold,

in fashion or flag

and our nature takes hold.

 

From the tip to the top

41,000 miles I rode,

with the spirits of young men

it was a ride to behold.

 

The wind in my face

blew caution astray.

I was Viet Nam’s luckiest rider

everyday.

 

With asphalt next year

the ’08’s tires will rhyme,

as they have now

for nine years’ time.

 

My word was given,

and rightly so,

when I’m done with the bike

to The Wall it will go.

 

For those yet to come

I hope they will see,

as an example of many

one acted—naturally.

 

In my life came a quest

you would attest,

to follow a path

truly blessed.

 

What it was for

I thought I knew,

but followed faith

to awareness anew.

 

One if by land, two if by sea,

since the ride of Revere 

grew our essence so pure,

that of a free-spirited 

and patriotic nature.

 

We have freedoms galore

that many adore,

but there’s an old saying, you see,

that nothing is free.

 

To those who gave all

—from that fateful ride

to the latest fall—

we have a debt,

to live responsibly

and never forget.

 

The morals, values, and excitement

they cherished in life,

must be in ours, too,

to honor them true.

 

That, is the American Way

***

Thank You 

&

 Welcome Home

The Boys

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I reached a point of excitement in preparation for the 2021 Donnie Smith Bike Show, but three days before opening, I received notice it had been postponed; due to insurmountable regulations due to Covid fukin 19.

Both the Boys were polished and lookin good for a magnificent presentation.

 

December 2019

Snow covers the Land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota), and consequently, the riding season is over. But another great season it was; riding for those who can’t. Like many in the north country, I’ve torn the Fat Boy down to the engine and frame for minor repairs and clean up in preparation for the bike shows in Feb and Mar.

(My annual May ride on the NVAR was another success. Mpls to Sacramento to D.C. and back to visit veterans in homes and hospitals on the 10 ride, CA to D.C. was another emotional roller coaster. Then in July, I rode down to AZ to my Brother Mike’s, whom I met in Vietnam, and write about in my book. We had rode coast to coast, and in July we rode border to border for those who never had the chance. Hwy 191 is an All American byway with National Parks, Forests, Monument, deserts, and mountain passes.)

I’m learning more about the literary world, and it’s tough for a naive indie author, but I have a great review from Kirkus. They’re not cheap, but their reviews are unbiased and recognized by many book buyers and readers. It goes well in support of the many readers comments posted on that page, along with comments in conversation with readers across the land. Check it out.

I’ll have more news in the New Year, so please check back.

In the meantime, I wish all a Merry Christmas with many Blessings, and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

As you celebrate the season, remember those who sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, for us; the fallen veterans, those now serving, and all of their families.

Thank you & Never Forget

Events of 2019

After a winter restoration, the Fat Boy received a Best Bagger at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, and an honorable 1st Place in the Open Class at the Donnie Smith Bike Show. Great recognition for those I rode for; more to carry into posterity.

Check out the wheels! I wasn’t sure how to get what I wanted. It was a long process, tough on my arthritic hands, but after 40+ hours they turned out as I imagined they would. I like it when that happens!

My 7th ride on the National Veterans Awareness Ride (NVAR) was a fantastic emotional roller coaster, as usual. (Please click on the NVAO link beside the Home Page for a lot more on that) I was honored to be selected to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Ceremony. Standing on the most sacred ground in America, if not the free world. I could hear the bugler’s breath as he blew each note for taps. It was a humbling experience, in which I placed the wreath in proxy for those I rode.

Three weeks later, I rode down to Sierra Vista AZ to meet with Mike Swinscoe, who I met in Vietnam three months before I left there in 2012. (Meeting him was a pivotal role in the completion of my quest, which is detailed in the final chapters of Harley Tracks.) We have ridden coast to coast on the NVAR, and wanted to make a special ride for those who can’t; from the Mexico Border in Douglas AZ to the Canada Border. A great ride, and scenery along Highway 191 is some of America’s best.

The Fat Boy hit 130,000 miles and runs great.

As summer creeps into Labor Day, I’ve received interest for newspaper and biker rag articles. I look forward, also, to a veteran’s recognition affair in St. Paul on Oct. 5

Please browse the site, and remember to hit the Paypal Buy the Book Button.

Never Forget
Thank you,
Mike “Track” Rinowski

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera