The Girl Gets Back on the Bike*
1. Freedom is what it offers you, after so many years locked away in the shiny red shell of a car without a name. *
When do you stop naming your cars anyway? *
Oh. When they stop having personalities, because they are so perfect and smooth that they don’t need personalities or brains. They have automatic windows, instant gears, black bumpers like kohled eyes. There’s no need for names or shift-stick dreams. *
1a. Leda and the Swan. That was the rider and the last bike. All white. Both of you. Which was which depended on the day. *
2. Freedom is the word you’re trying to think, to stick with while you’re barreling, pedaling, pop-pop-pop wheels on the pavement, pup-pup-pup, thumb on the shift. *
But freedom slips away into that last time, the stop-sign that didn’t make her stop, the sweep and skid, how darkness rose to meet your face. How breath goes away in that moment and the ones after.
Nothing. Nothing. Grasping.
Raspberry jam, you said later, looking at your arm and shin, the way the skin bubbled red. You said it funny, because you’ve learned that funny makes good stories. *
In weeks, all the glass bottles of jelly go to green, unable to be opened. *
3. If you don’t know how to fix a flat every shiny, every nail, every piece of every thing that might or could or should puncture is enough to stop you or swerve you. * Car doors look sharper from the outside. Tires hold a lot of air, but that is not the same as breath.
* 5. Freedom freedom freedom. It is the way the wheels turn.
It is the way your breath sings. It is the way you are when you’re your best self. Which is rarely. * 6. The bike is a gift. It tells you: Monster mash. Read a fucking book. Be free!
But those aren’t your stickers, so maybe it’s not telling you anything except. * 6a. Part of the gift is the lock, which spells words. You are in love with this lock, maybe more so than with this bike. Your word is four letters. Your word is not free. * 7. It needs a name, this new bike. You both need a name And a home. But now you have a road and a lock and this whirr, this sound, this thing that you finally realize is you breathing into yourself, pumping
back to full.
About This Poem: The prompt is “flashbulb moments,” which is kind of a hard one because I kind of feel like that’s what poems are anyway. This one, written stream-of-conscious at the coffee shop after having just gotten back from a bike ride. Following a path without knowing the destination. Per usual.
About Poem-A-Day: For the month of April (National Poetry Month), I’ve signed on to write a poem-a-day (eeks!). To make it slightly easier on myself, my rules are that I have to write each poem in fifteen minutes or less, and that I have to post it here on the blog as soon as I’m done. No edits. Just rough. Raw. Right out of the gate. (Of course, if you’re playing along, I hope you’ll post a link to your poem in the comments here — mainly because I’m selfish and I want to read them!)