image borrowed from google
“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one
genuinely modern pleasure.”--Aldous Huxley.
I am here to tell you,
speed can be an opiate.
I experienced a taste of it
driving beater muscle cars during the 60’s,
blasting more than 100 m.p.h.
at two in the morning, on
whatever that day’s designated
urban drag strip was;
no good sense,
mere inches from
but a couple of stiff speeding & reckless driving tickets
sobered me up like a quick dip in an ice pond;
but what that screaming, highly revved time
did for me was to help me fully understand
other’s cravings for speed, even
those obsessed folks who have to prove
that wheeled vehicles, without leaving the ground,
without leaping into the sky
without piercing the stratosphere
can now achieve supersonic speeds.
It all started in August 1902
in Albis-St. Arnoult, France
where American William K. Vanderbilt
drove a Mors at 76.08 m.p.h.
Then a fellow named Malcolm Campbell got into the fray;
in 1926 he drove a 350 h.p. Sunbeam at 150.87 m.p.h.,
in 1928 at Daytona Beach he drove the Blue Bird at 206.96 m.p.h.,
& in 1935 on the Bonneville Salt flats driving Blue Bird at 301.39 m.p.h.,
close to the limits of internal combustion engines.
In August 1963
Craig Breedlove on the Bonneville Salt Flats
drove the turbojet Spirit of America at 407.44 m.p.h.;
returning there in 1965 to drive at 555.48 m.p.h.
Today, the Guinness World land speed record
was set in October 1997, out on the Black Rock Desert,
where RAF fighter pilot Andy Green
drove the Thrust SSC turbofan
at an astonishing 763.03 m.p.h.;
but wouldn’t you know, this isn’t enough
for the plucky Andy Green, who in 2015
will travel to the NW corner of South Africa,
where his team is already working with
special laser-guided precision graders
to create a perfect surface.
He will drive a multi-million dollar 7 ton supersonic vehicle
called the Bloodhound SSC,
a jet & rocket powered monster
rated at 187,000 horse power,
designed to go faster than 1,000 m.p.h.
at Mach 1.4, faster than a bullet
fired out of a .357 Magnum.
So all ye speed freaks out there,
let’s start praying right now
for a successful run;
hoping that pilot daredevil Andy Green
will not crash through death’s door
before he shatters his own speed record.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
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