In which Your Humble Blogger gets by with a little help from a friend:
"Riding a Bicycle"
It was autumn, and someone
had soaked our sweaters in the cold air.
Someone had put our bicycles to sleep
under a blanket of rust. It wasn't
either of us, we said. We wouldn't do that.
Except that we had. So we woke
the gears and chains from their long naps,
and we tried our feet on the pedals.
Then, not long after we began,
the trees exploded
into a sky ecstatic with sparrows
that were following the leaves
behind the good idea of being loud and happy.
Every mark on our bicycles' wheels
went around, over the blacktop we had crossed
in spring, when we had ridden for days in t-shirts.
Your breath filled my ears when we finally stopped.
But the leaves, remembering green April,
kept traveling the streets, laughing.
* * *
Kind of a meandering, unfocused poem that doesn't do a lot for me now (though, once again, I like the last couple of lines). I'm also mad that I reused the idea of approaching pedals hesitantly, though this time on a bicycle instead of at a piano. I was still feeling a little desperate and doubtful as I tried to get back into the writing habit.
This poem was born out of -- well, not quite a challenge. A friend (hi, Andy!) sent me a message one day, asking me to provide a topic or idea or object for him to use as the subject of a song. I, too, was trying to gather ideas to write about, so I told him that I would write a poem about whatever subject I assigned to him. Well, I had been going out on walks a lot since returning from the warehouse trip, and I would see people riding bicycles all the time, so... there you have it.
If nothing else, there's something to be said for the power of community when it comes to finding motivation to write. Speaking of community and socialization and all of that, I left the house again! :D I was at the Printers Row Book Fair in downtown Chicago on Sunday, where I listened to some poets read and picked up a couple of literary journals. If you were there, did ya happen to see me?