Being a new member at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, I’ve fully been expecting to be tapped for a personal challenge, cringing inwardly a bit at the prospect of possibly being asked for a sonnet or villanelle (iambic pentameter is truly my poetic kryptonite.)
Sure enough, Kay Davies has passed the challenge baton to me with the following idea: “I know you enjoy car races and also karaoke, so I have this off-the-wall (not really, we hope) idea for a poem from the point of view of a race-car driver who is thinking about the evening's karaoke instead of the afternoon's race.”
Wow…definitely not the challenge I expected. Kay was right though, I do love my NASCAR and I love karaoke, and a chance to veer away from my the normal doom and gloom that seems to punctuate my writing is always welcome.
Two images immediately came to mind when I began thinking about this poem. This first was a commercial that has been shown often this racing season, with a driver actually singing karaoke in his car, mirrored ball and all.
The second was of my husband singing what has turned out to be his signature karaoke song; there’s just something inherently hilarious about a big, burly man with a beard singing “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. (I would insert a video here of him performing that particular tune, but mysteriously my camera seems to disappear every time he's set to begin.)
So here is my response to Kay’s inventive challenge. I’m not entirely sure I’m finished tweaking and expanding on this theme quite yet, but it has been a lot of fun to work on. Thanks so much, Kay!
|NASCAR by Todd Ellis|
photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net
Driven to Perform
It’s a muggy summer morning
And the fans have filled the stands,
As they await the start command.
Would-be heroes of the asphalt
Are now strapping in their cars,
To fire up those engines
And go racing toward the stars.
The drivers are all focused
On the massive task ahead,
Except for one, whose thoughts trail off
To his post-race plans instead.
The freedom that he finds in speed
Sure makes his soul take flight,
But he finds the same wild feeling
On the stage at karaoke night.
He channels thundering metal
On the track and at the shop,
But when he’s got the microphone
It’s strictly girly pop.
Mariah, Whitney, Katy,
Man, that boy can sing it all;
In a smoky bar or Victory Lane
You’ll find him standing tall.
We know the boy’s got talent,
He can drive like Dale or Jimmie,
But he loves to belt out Winehouse
With an extra shake and shimmy.
So when the green flag flies
He drops the pedal to the floor.
The end of that first lap
Will find them racing door-to-door.
Lap by lap the miles race by
At a frenetic pace.
He drives his crew chief crazy
While he’s humming “Poker Face.”
By the time the race is over
And he sees the checkers fly,
He’s energized to go and chase
His karaoke high.
It’s just two sides of the same coin,
You can’t tear his worlds apart,
‘Cause he’s got motor oil in his blood
And music in his heart.