How cold it was, to get the news of your passing as I did
An email, albeit from a friend, didn't seem to do the news justice
I sat in stunned silence, my hand poised over the mouse
One unbelieving click away from learning about your passing
I felt all the blood rush to my face, and then recede,
A mini tidal wave of emotion, licking at my forehead
My throat closed, a lump forming from nothing
No matter, because I was speechless.
I wondered where you were this weekend
As I proudly led my first programmed ride
Handing out route sheets at Olde Orchard
Looking for the purple Valkyrie you ride
Nita trailing close behind you on Captain Marble
Your long hair and beard sticking out from your helmet
I gulped down my disappointment that you didn't show
As I did what you do, said "Saddle Up"
And at the point of the column, kickstands up
Led my first group out, my first time as Road Captain too.
I missed you more at our lunch stop
Since my favorite time was sitting nearby
And listen to you palaver on politics, religion, morality
Shutting down the uncompassionate and intolerant
The only time I saw your eyes blaze up
Was when you heard someone being unkind
Your hands waved, and your beard shook
I thought you were going to launch yourself
And later, with a sly wink, you were proud of how
The small minded can feel the wrath of compassion.
You were not my father, or my brother, or even blood
But I was anxious to prove to you that I could grow
Sought your quiet approval in how I rode and
How I comported myself with others.
Only now am I feeling the pain of loss
The ache replacing the numbness
Your rumbling purple dragon, loud and fast
Accessories stuck on like an afterthought
Your vest, covered with the muted and sparkling
Detritus of a life on two wheels, pins, patches
Your forearm tats, something I never got the nerve
To ask you about, but I'd heard "Shaolin Temple"
The image of your bird preening your beard
While you limped after catching a bumper on helmet day.
Your looming presence at the GM Meetings
Always taking the same right-hand seat
Tossing in an offhand remark here and there
Sometimes making Nita giggle as she brought the hammer down
The pride in your eyes last Meeting, as you stood
And, with no fanfare, said "We won"
While you held our two Bikers for Babies trophies
Up high, catching the light, catching our light.
And here I am, struggling mightily to carry on
Wondering how I could have been a better friend
Wondering what we'll do without you
Wondering what Nita will do without you.
Dear friend, I will ride with my passenger pegs down
And hope that Buddhist belief gives you one more ride
One more time in the wind, in the sun, in the open
One more time to ride with you before eternity.
Missing you already, Ryugen.
In fond memory of Ryugen Fisher, husband, father, friend and mentor. Taken from us unfairly and too soon.