Motorcycle Passenger

William Plank
Foreign Languages & Literatures

Sometimes on the interstate,
Hegel rides with me.
And sometimes on the Beartooth Pass
While glancing in the rearview glass
Nietzsche's mustached face I see.

From Billings to the Acton Bar,
Shakespeare's ghost mounts up behind
And slams his visor down,
And Villon betimes will hook a lift
Along I-93.

But when the taunting needle sweeps
Hard to the dial's right
And stiff winds begin to blow,
The dialectic then no longer moves
And Universal Being sleeps.

Then will the will to power rest,
And the hanged men swing no more
From on their gallows tree.
For while the engine laughs at Death
And I inhale Montana's breath,
I cannot hear the Prince proclaim,
"To be or not to be."

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