The tragic death of Sue Zimmer of Rice Lakes, Wisconsin, during the Arizona NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway caused Chris Martin to once again write a poem. A word of warning: this contains some strong images and language.


The vacation to end all vacations…
Aftermath of a trip to see a son and a race.
Just bounced from the ice of Wisconsin
to the deep freeze of a cactus morgue

Likely, no one saw the landing.
Thousands of jacketed backs
focused on the wicked Top Fuel launch
from the mouth of a black rubbery sky

Perhaps she heard ‘Funny car to the lanes’
before a stupid break cracked the clouds
for the unfunny and brutal splashdown.

The pictures stop.

Firebird. The universe.


#  #  # 

Except for the scrambling ants….
The picnic shattered and chaotic

blood splash on the trailer door.
What the fuck was that?
Things can go nuts at these moments

Arms waving, voices yell out
at what has been struck to the ground
and spilled on the pit gravel.
The Raceway gets parked.

One struggles to focus on useful old bromides
She’s gone to a better place
Recall her goodness and sudden loss
As per usual, go with future resolve … think

#   #   # 

It wasn’t the kid’s fault
He was upside down and on fire
If there be blame, take it to the gods
back from rock and rolling in Haiti

It will happen again, innocence be damned.
No matter how hard we try to do otherwise
there’s always one son-of-a-bitch not counted on
No panic catch screens will quiet future sirens

Infants will fall out of the bleachers
Drunks will roll down aluminum rows
300 miles an hour; 300 shots in the dark;
rolling dice always shadow fast lane fireflies.

So, let’s sift through the rubble with our hats on
and tone down the vigilantes. Try for solace from
the body count.  Fate always resists legislation.
Shake off this dirt from the
desert floor … and in this bluest of moments …


hold her dear,  this so unlucky one.

Got a poem you'd like to submit? Email it to kayb@dragracingonline.com. We'll read it and if we like it, we will publish it. Remember the title to the department is "No Rhyme, No Reason, No Pay," so don't expect any and we won't either. -- Jeff Burk