The Old Man In Me

The Old Man In Me

A Poem by C.T. Bailey
"

The making of a racing legend. This is a poem about the culture of stock car racing in America. Yes, this is a rare topic to see, but I think you will enjoy this narrative, uniquely written in conversation form. It explores the qualities of age versus

"

This wrinkled face has felt the sweat from many chases,
I had once been at the top of the heap in winning races.
Now I’m much too old of a man to sit in someone’s hot rod-
But I wish I could still feel those front tires cuttin’ sod.

 

 

I’ll not go on ‘bout how much I did or who I once knew;
You, young man, will figure this out on your own to.
You seem like the hot shoe, all dressed up in black and red,
But I could tell you ‘bout racin’ without a helmet on my head.

 

I want to help ya boy, I’m real tired of just being a fan-
But young lad, I don’t want it wasted on a flash in the pan!
Tell me boy if your serious, if your for real, I wanna know,
I can get you to the front, if this chance you’ll not blow.

 

My years have been spent and I have not much left to give-
My knowledge I have to lend, but not much longer I’ve to live.
I have watched you from the stands, you run a really good line,
I want to make you the champ, then your win will also be mine.

 

So how ‘bout it, is it a deal, will you let this old man have a thrill?
Give me a month, give me two, a championship will cover the bill;
I am ready, times a wastin’, I’ll bring the scales and you the desire,
I’ll have you freed up, wound up, and setting the field on fire.

 

Well old man, thank ya for your thoughts, yea I’m a young buck,
I know my way ‘round the track, but some say it’s a lot of luck.
I’ve won a time or two and I got a lot of ‘em left in me-
With a car that's good, a motor that's strong, a championship I see! 

 

If you think the winner's circle is what your skill will bring me,
Then old man, by all means, to the checkers your setup will be!
Don’t you worry about my desire or my black and red drivin' suit-
There both gonna fit well when we’re winning in that 3200lb brute.

 

Well then boy, let’s get started, we gotta ways to go before we’re ready-
Gather your crew and your tools, we’re gonna make this car fast and steady.
We’ll start with the chassis, then on to the motor, leaving the driver for last-
That last part is the tough one, but it’s the one that will make you go fast!

 

Here's a little speed secret, something you never did know-
With the spindle like that, that right front’s gonna really grow.
And changing the angle on the pinion - more torque will surely follow,
I'll tell ya this as well, some speed will come if that part is hollow!


Old man, you worry me, we ain’t never set one up like this,
This car’s gonna be all wrong and the handling will be a'miss!
And what’s that your doing right there on that centerlink?
I am certain that to drive this car will have me on the brink.

 

I know what I’m doing lad, your rais'n too much heck;
Maybe your suit needs pressin’, you’d better go and check.
I’m gonna twist and tweek this crate like no one's ever seen;
Back on the track, you’d better be on the wheel of this machine.

 

Ok, Ok, old man, now am I ready to terrorize the front five?
I’ve watched us work for a month now and listened to the jive.
We’ve tweaked, twisted, polished, and adjusted anything that moves,
Surely this car of mine is ready to run in the groove!

 

Alright my boy, you need to listen up and listen real good-
You are the most important part, all the tweakin' stops at the hood.
You gotta see the race from a whole new perspective and view,
This car’s gonna get you there, but finding the holes are up to you.

 

Race with your whole head and not with your whole heart;
Think your way through the turns, and the traffic will begin to part.
You'd better never drive that car from just ahead of the front bumper;
You had better be way up front, planning your next race stumper!

 

Now my boy, I’ve told you all, from the springs to the shocks,
To the bumpsteer and the Ackerman, I’ve got you through the roadblocks.
I’ve told you how to drive and the front five now you can find-
Now go out there and race that car, and give me some peace of mind!

 

That was the year that me and the old man laid the field to waste,
We saw top fives and victorys in just about every single race.
The old man was as no one had ever seen him before;
Bright eyed and ready to race, he was always lookin’ for more.

 

I’ve moved on from that little track, so many years ago;
I was a nobody then, but now I’m a real racin’ hero.
The fans out there think that it’s all me drivin' that race car-
But I know better, as the old man still speaks to me from afar.

 

I can still hear his words as through the traffic I dart-
“Race with your whole head and not with your whole heart”!
I have discovered over the course of my many racin’ years,
No truer words have been spoken, and they still bring tears.

 

I miss the old man, his life really made a difference in me;
Funny thing, now when I look in the mirror, it's the old man I see.
Soon I will be lookin’ for that young buck to take under my wing,
Then he will hear me say, “peace of mind to me bring!”

 

© 2008 C.T. Bailey


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Featured Review

Well...I am a racing fan and have been a Nascar fan forever. Dad always had the races on at our Marina where I worked for him growing up. Now my son in law and I are at each other, as he likes a different driver then I. I loved this piece...it is so sentimental..and endearing. It was manly and reminded me of my dad...always wanting to impart more of his knowledge on me. We had six girls and he was 46 before my brother was born...so I was his token tom-boy learning all the things his son would have normally learned. They weren't planning on having anymore...surprise!!!
The piece was philosophical, and I like the way you brought the beginning and the end in full circle..like the characters intentions to pass on what he learned about winning in life. It was also picturesque...I could see the car..the small track and smell the oil and grease...see the man working on the car. Very good descriptions....made me melancholy for my dad.Loved it CT.

Whether it is a father /son driver (or) grandfather/ grandson driver or even just an old pit boss and a young buck driver, whatever the scenario...the story spoke to me. I was taken under the wing of a kindly old man who had something more to give...and just wanted one more chance to share his knowledge and have a legacy of teaching someone how to win. To make a difference in a young mans life. Congratulations!!!You should have won first! JB

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

OMG....LOVED IT!!!! This is a truly inspiring poem. The message should be taken to heart by all drivers lucky enough to find a mentor

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You did a great job contrasting the dialogue between the young and old...very well written!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well...I am a racing fan and have been a Nascar fan forever. Dad always had the races on at our Marina where I worked for him growing up. Now my son in law and I are at each other, as he likes a different driver then I. I loved this piece...it is so sentimental..and endearing. It was manly and reminded me of my dad...always wanting to impart more of his knowledge on me. We had six girls and he was 46 before my brother was born...so I was his token tom-boy learning all the things his son would have normally learned. They weren't planning on having anymore...surprise!!!
The piece was philosophical, and I like the way you brought the beginning and the end in full circle..like the characters intentions to pass on what he learned about winning in life. It was also picturesque...I could see the car..the small track and smell the oil and grease...see the man working on the car. Very good descriptions....made me melancholy for my dad.Loved it CT.

Whether it is a father /son driver (or) grandfather/ grandson driver or even just an old pit boss and a young buck driver, whatever the scenario...the story spoke to me. I was taken under the wing of a kindly old man who had something more to give...and just wanted one more chance to share his knowledge and have a legacy of teaching someone how to win. To make a difference in a young mans life. Congratulations!!!You should have won first! JB

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

un-freaking-believable...this is such a touching narrative...you're knowledge of that speed machine made it extra special...truly a great piece of writing! i can't even get into detail about how great this poem was...it was so epic...and perfectly titled. excellent piece of literature...

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love this poem with its very endearing and philosophy story.
You put a lot of heart into this. The depth is excellent. The flow
is wonderful...and from word to word it each reflects the other.
I don't even like racing, but this story gave me the peace that there
are still some kind people out there that still care. AD

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is a great Narrative Todd!! I liked all of it. It held my interest from the first word.

"Race with your whole head and not with your whole heart;
Think your way through the turns, and the traffic will begin to part.
You'd better never drive that car from just ahead of the front bumper;
You had better be way up front, planning your next race stumper!"

This I love. You are an exceptional writer. I like your style. I think that this should be shared with everyone. What an inspiration you are. Thank you for posting this.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh Tedd! I cannot say which stanza was favorite for I am in love with all of them...This is soo wonderful amazing writing. You are combining here rich and evocative poetry, with curiosity which is not fulfilled, it is waiting to be toldl... tumbling into the ground of my mind, this was a mammuth-like spectacular piece.
(sorry that it took longer to read it). LGandr�

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A most captivating narrative from first to last lines~the entire tale

paints vivid images for the reader~with a great message therein~

A wonderful piece of writing here my friend~

Fran Marie

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a great story! I agree with Rick; it reminded me a lot of "Casey at the Bat," except without the sad ending. It carries a great message of what an experienced person can do for a younger one, even if the younger one think that he knows everything. You obviously know your subject matter really well too - that definitely shows in your work! I really like how the stanza go back and forth between the old man and the hotshot driver, too - I really got a sense of their personalities.

I notice that your punctuation's been changed to feature commas and such, too. Good for you! You're getting a feel for what you can really do with puntuation, and what you use really helps the poem flow. There are a few spots where the rhythm deviates from the scheme that you set up (most noticably the lines that have the word "championship" in them - the stresses of that particular word just don't fall into the rhythm that you set up and you always get extra syllables and weird stresses when you use it. I'm not sure what other word you would use, though. Try expirimenting a little and you might come up with something better). I think that the rhythm changes are actually kind of helpful in this poem though - it reflects how the people in the poem are changing, too. I would point out some spots, but I'm rather charmed by it the way it is.

Oh! And using the dialect and diction throughout the poem was a really nice touch - it made everything seem much more real. I think you lose that a little as the work goes on, though, so you may want to double check everything.

Sadly I don't have time to go back and point out too many specifics, but there are two changes that jump out at me from the first and second stanza: the word "to" in the second stanza should be "too" (I make that mistake ALL the time, so don't worry about it) and, here's an irony for you: because the first two lines are complete statements the comma that seperates them should actually be a semicolon. Hehe!

Great job with this, Todd! Your style is really fun to read and you've really got something special here.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Absolutely brilliant. Something to aspire too. But I am but a young lass with lots left to learn without a mentor.
This is not just for the racing fan. Anyone can relate to the points you have so cleverly entwined.
As Todd says below it indeed needs to be recognized in a higher grade.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 28, 2008
Last Updated on July 18, 2008

Author

C.T. Bailey
C.T. Bailey

Kingsport, TN



About
C.T. Bailey has authored a number of professional articles which have been published in various industry trade publications. He is also an award-winning and published writer of poetry, prose, and fic.. more..

Writing