NASCAR meets Mother's Day in today's featured poem. All week we're showcasing the winners of our Mother's Day Poetry Contest. Our judge, Susan Porterfield, picked "Hot Rod Mama!" for a variety of reasons:
Let’s just say this straight out: Moms can be sexy. And this poem celebrates that other side of her, the one that her kids probably don’t see or even want to see but that her spouse or partner does.
I like how this poem gets at her sexiness, not only by saying what she looks like — “pretty-eyed” and “blonde” — which is traditional, but also by what she does. She’s a race-car driver, for heaven’s sake, and a good one!
In fact, in some ways, this poem seems to be tickled by what some might call her liberation. She’s a free soul, we’re told, with a “who cares grin.” Because of her appearance, “5 foot 3” and lipstick-wearing, the other drivers, all men, “can’t believe she’ll win” but in fact she does, leading our author to, perhaps, make a slight and telling pun — calling his red hot mama an example of “first-class sass,” (that’s sass) one engaged in “breaking barriers” -- both literally, by being first to cross the finishing line, as well as symbolically, by loving to race fast cars.
What Porterfield didn't know -- because she didn't see the author's names -- is that this poem's author is a woman: Carol Ingersoll of Beloit. Ingersoll's poem is one of five selected by Porterfield from 85 entries received. Here's "Hot Rod Mama!" read by the author, followed by the text:
Hot Rod Mama!
dirt track racing in a red dress
5 foot 3, pretty eyed and lipstick
the smell of raw fuel, sweet perfume
open piped v8 keeps the back beat
blonde hair with a who cares grin
she lines up to race
'64 Ford keeps the pace
all the men who can't believe she'll win
they won't wonder again
here she comes round the stretch, blasting past
the checkered flag is hers
she is first class feminine sass
walk the mile
toe the line
redefine the times
my beautiful, amazing, trailblazing
hot rod mama.
We have one more Mother's Day poem to share with you. Porterfield selected a runner-up or honorable mention, which we're attaching to the bottom of today's winner.
We also welcome your comments about these poems -- and don't forget to tag us on Facebook or on Twitter @WNIJnews.