April 8, 2018 | Rahoul Ghose
-- Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
For biker scribe Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska, poetry is as much about capturing his passion for the moto lifestyle and the raw energy of two-wheeled travel in prose, as it is about documenting determination in the face of the often-harsh struggles of life. He has had his fair share of both.
From Brooklyn, to Queens, and finally to Jersey, Sorez The Scribe – as he has been dubbed – has lived a storied life, a tale of ups and downs, in and out of biker fiefdom, made for words. Serious bike accidents, a failed marriage, lost loved ones, addiction, depression and troubles with the law have fueled the 57-year-old scribe’s lifelong discourse, a subject that always comes back to his love of riding and the ‘Brotherhood’.
It all started at a young age on the streets of East New York and Brooklyn, where Sorez was first introduced to the culture of motorcycles, when even he refers to himself as a ‘sidewalk commando’ … dressing and acting like a biker before he’d paid his proverbial ‘dues’.
“I was 10 years old when I picked up the very first issue of Easyriders and fell in love with the biker lifestyle. The photos and stories about motorcycle riders intrigued me and I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a biker,” Sorez recounts. “In one of the issues I read a piece titled ‘Ralph In A Helmet’. It was about a guy that crashed his ride and all that was left of him fit in a helmet, and that's how he was buried. It was written in verse and for some reason that style of writing was very interesting to me and I began to try writing like that. My first pen in 1971 was about a Brady Bunch episode where Greg had orange hair. Looking back, it was a waste of ink. But it did begin my literary journey.”
Sorez, who admits school was not his forte, also credits a high school teacher for stoking and directing his passion for writing.
“When I was in high school in the late ‘70s I had an English teacher that noticed my obvious disdain for schooled poetry, and literature in general. My taking notes during class consisted of scribbling profanities on the desk in pencil. I could not understand how poets from hundreds of years ago could benefit my education. She explained to me personally that the poets and writers of their time wrote about what they were experiencing at that time in their lives and that their words and works reached out and touched many others’ lives. She gave me a journal and asked that I try writing about what interested me and what I thought might interest others. When I told her all I was interested in was motorcycles she said: ‘There ya go, write about motorcycles!’.”
He doesn’t remember the teacher’s name but will never forget that advice and encouragement.
“The passion to ride is deep seated in the very depths of my soul,” Sorez says. “Every ounce of my being longs for the freedom of the wind. It is the driving force that keeps me going. That passion grew out of the depths of despair and the graveled roads of downtime and addiction. It has helped to heal the many wounds I have suffered throughout my life’s time.”
Sorez’s missive Damage Done details some of that pain -- but ends on a positive note … with a goal to rebuild.
-- Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
“After the breakup of my family I went on the run. Problem was that everywhere I went, there I was. I could not escape the fact that I messed up, big-time. I lost everything I had. Jail cells and mental wards were my pit stops. I had to rebuild my life from the ground up. It took some time to do so. My life was a basket case. In order to survive I had to get back and ride … rebuild and ride … (and) in more ways than one, that is what I have accomplished.”
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Sorez's creative process and his final works display a more free-flowing style. Even his description of that process is poetic:
“My muse has been very kind to me over the years. I do not sit down and try to write a poem, rather the words come to me. Sentence after sentence, stanza upon stanza. My thoughts flow from heart to pen. There is a sense of passion when I am writing, and a poem is coming together. Almost like shifting through the gears of my bike on a warm sunny day. Not a cage in sight to ruin the moment, I am able to enjoy the ride, the write. The Pen ... the Wind ... the Road ...”
Speaking of rides, Sorez has had quite the assortment through the years, starting with a 1969 Americhi Harley Davidson 350 Sprint at age 13.
“I rode that bike on/off road until the tires fell off. Fun times back then, not a care in the world.”
At 16 he purchased a stock Triumph Bonneville basketcase.
“Over the course of two years I built a chopper with just the motor and original front frame section. I busted knuckles on that bike … wrenching became second nature to me. That bike was taken out from under me by a hit-and-run cager. Over the years I pretty much stuck with building Trumpets and Sportsters from stock to chop. My thoughts were that I was paying my dues. Those dues have now been paid 10 times over.”
Sorez, who has been based in Jersey since the mid-90s, currently rides a ‘09 Electra Glide.
“The day I got it I removed the tour pack and put 500 miles on it. Every ride, every mile, is like the first ... and could be last.”
As a scribe Sorez early on made the decision to remain an ‘independent’, not prospecting for a specific club to maintain the purity of his craft as an observer of biker culture.
“I have always admired the dedication and commitment it takes to become a patch holder of an established club. That journey is not for the faint of heart. From the outside looking in can be intimidating. From the inside looking out it can be very rewarding. It’s a 24/7 way of life.”
-- Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
For Sorez the word ‘Brotherhood’ holds a revered place in his poetic arsenal.
“Out on the road, in the wind, passing another rider, a hand is extended. Acknowledging that individual as part of the lifestyle you both have in common is a form of brotherhood in the wind,” he says. “I will not ignore another rider’s gesture of respect.”
But going much deeper, Sorez sees something even more special in ‘a collective’ of individuals as another form of family.
“They ride together, break bread, get into it and out of it relying on each other for support. There is no question as to right or wrong. If a Brother needs help, then you help. No questions asked. Through good times and bad you know for a fact that a Brother has your back. Brotherhood can be talked about and that word can be tossed around in conversation, but when push comes to shove and the rubber hits the road, ‘Brotherhood’ is ‘Old School’ and cannot be taught.”
THE BODY OF WORK
Sorez now has more than 40 years as a poet under his belt and countless published works in motorcycle magazines and books. His subject matter has changed significantly over that time.
“In the mid-80s, when I was being published in Outlaw Biker, I was a hang around in New York. My world back then tended to be more hardcore and it showed in my published works. There were biker poems published that could have gotten me a case of I did not have 'poetic license'. Over the years and throughout the miles I have mellowed quite a bit and instead of ‘Standing there with blood stained hands ...’ (Picture This, circa 1978), my sword now is my pen.”
In Road to Redemption, Sorez celebrates his roots in the grittier side of New York … that uncontrollable urge to ride no matter what the conditions, as both therapy and meaning in life.
-- Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
Most writers either intentionally or beneath the surface, want to achieve something with their works: public acceptance, understanding … respect for a lifestyle.
For Sorez that journey of self-discovery continues to evolve.
“When I was younger, just starting out as a writer, my ultimate goal was to be published in a book. Four books, hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and a thousand miles of written lines later, my intention is to be true to myself and help keep the craft alive. I hope some ‘young blood’ might pick up a pen, twist the throttle, and become a published biker poet, continuing the tradition that so many of us have truly given blood, sweat, and tears towards: To chronicle the lifestyle that we live and breathe and to be a part of biker history. To continue that literary journey is a sincere endeavor of mine.”
To date Sorez’z proudest moment was being asked to collaborate on a project with Doug Barber (aka Q-Ball (vtwinbiker.com)) in 2010.
“Living The Life, a conceptual biker photography/poetry book in many ways was the highlight of my literary career,” Sorez says. “There was a lot of time involved with that project, I had to work with storyboards and had to be in close contact with Q-Ball and our editors at Lowside Syndicate.”
The 180-page, 9 x 9, limited edition hardcover book, now out of print, featured classic photos of bikers from the ‘70s, paired with Sorez’s poems documenting the feel of the times.
“For those that lived, partied and rode during that time it’s a memory book of sorts,” Iron Horse Magazine’s Editorial Director Todd Ingram said of the book. “For the new generation it represents the path less chosen, inspiration, and a history book of our two- wheeled forefathers."
An invitation from a Brother in Texas almost 20 years ago also hits Sorez hard.
“He requested I scribe a poem for his long-lost daughter that he would be meeting a few weeks later. I came through with a piece titled, My Dearest Daughter. Before he spoke to her, he had her read the framed poem. It was quite an honor to be a part of their shared experience.”
In general, Sorez says the biker community has been quite receptive to his writing and the work of many other biker poets.
“It is a genre of writing that has come into its own and established itself as being beneficial to motorcycle magazine publishers and their advertisers. The readers and riders seem to enjoy the ‘ridden’ word. I've had consistent monthly publishing, individually and collectively, for the past 10 years.”
With the aim of continuing the tradition Sorez also helped to establish The Road Scribes Of America™, a group he co-founded with MarySusan Williams-Migneault of RoadHousePress, tasked with promoting the works of biker poets and the creativity of those who love the road, the wind and the pen.
“MarySusan has been a close friend and Sister of the Wind for over a decade. She mentored me when I was a newspaper columnist for the Connecticut Cruise News. We also co-edited the soft cover book Verse and Steel together.”
A literary fellowship was also founded in 2012 after a split/division of the East Coast Biker Poets, offering a venue for writers, poets, photographers and musicians to come together and share their works with one another through social media outlets and the group's website features.
“The fellowship is open to bikers and non-riders alike,” Sorez says. “A sincere passion for their respective artistic expression is a requirement for membership consideration. While hardcopy and online publishing opportunities are not implied, we have had a rotation of biker poets that see ink each month in various motorcycle magazines across the country since our inception.”
Sorez hopes his work documenting biker culture will help to preserve the tradition well into the future.
“I really dig the garage build chopper scene. Hopefully many will continue the lifestyle that we know and love. I see the fad of being a biker becoming passé and old school rules being re-established: where individuals that ride motorcycles are ‘motorcyclists’ and Brothers and Sisters who live the lifestyle are Bikers.”
What does the future hold for Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska. Not even he can predict. He will, however, always be proud of his New York roots and his biker heritage.
“You never know what tomorrow may hold. All I can ask for is another day, another mile to ride, another line to scribe … "
-- Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
For more on Sorez The Scribe, visit his website and social media: Back to Homepage [+] | Links:
Excellent article on Sorez. Very well written. Sorez has given countless hours as our submissions editor, our webmaster, as well as Co-founder of the Road Scribes of America. He is a true brother in every sense of the word.MarySusan 'Shadow-Wolf' - Road Scribe of America
I am humbled by all of this. This has to be the best and most meaningful feature I have ever been honored to take part in. Thank you. Two Wheels and Open Roads ...Eddie ‘Sorez’ Pliska
Terrific article @nyc_motorcyclist and @eddiesorez! Great and deserving poet, not to mention a great man!Debbie Fitch