The Ghosts that follow in the Slipstream


In scorching steel, cocooned inside a roll cage, I live to experience the limits of hot rubber adhesion while in my mind I make unsought decisions on chance, and with lips of clay pass through Beau Rivage, turning into corners where Bandini’s ghost applauds, Albert Ascari telling me I’m not dead; that the thirst in my throat, the force against my body, the suffocating heat within the hideous heart of factory built precision is no more than an endurance examination while the Kiss of Caiaphas hangs in my slipstream.

There’s no time to think about love; I think about rain, two-second wheel changes in a stone valley called pit lane; I think about the crystals of information, fuel, tyre heat, angle of aerofoil, thousandth of seconds, not love, not compassion.

Only the watcher sees the slanting cloud, the dreamy eyes of women, or can sense the breeze on the faces of cool-hair’d creepers playing the wealthy pretend mariners after the Greeks had first come flying that prolific emblem — of chastity, fruitfulness, and prosperity.

I’m sunk deep into my beastliness, looking for the grandeur of a podium finish, feeling most human, most attractive when blushed more from modesty than from anger. I play the darling, plucked eyebrows, earring studs, my set of regular white teeth, and, above all, my delightful manners in front of the media. To the camera, modest and reticent if I win, a violet prince, but the bareness of defeat cannot leave my heart untouched because then, after Garibaldi’ s glories, well then there is nothing more to tell about me.

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