Bicycle Poem No. 1

Bicycle Poem No. 1

Heat mirage hovering
above
fertile clods, foxtail barley stubble,
wild oats, star thistle,
and ripgut brome.

Tires on my Phat bike flat from sitting idle
I borrow Boomer’s bike pump and fill till firm
then off we go
amply supported.

First to the roses at the dead end
then U-turn and left down Jamie Drive
per the instructions
 (as if we once read them):
revolutions per minute,
revolutions per minute.

Quick thought:
 “My butt may give out before my legs”
 (Tiny smile)

I resist the constant cadence

You see
I love to see
how long I can coast
how long I can glide
before I have to
a b s o l u t e l y  h a v e  t o
pedal again

Towers on the Buttes smudge the skyline
a California buzzard,
bones filled with air,
soars against blue sky
passing over
for less than a second,
wispy dregs of grey moon.

That’s sun to moon to eyes to mind
to the click-clack clickety-clack
of the poetry machine and voilà
a cup full of words
a cup to drink on an August morning
in the township of my birth.

Watch it
car to the left
exit blacktop
gravel under tire
geez that house is ugly
sprawling, uniform fence did not
under any circumstances
provide remedy

Diameter of wheel times teeth in chain ring
divided by teeth in cog = gear inches
gear inches times pi (3.14) = x inches
calculate feet per crank turn
there’s 5280 feet in a mile
divide 5280 by your feet per crank turn
to arrive at
fresh tomatoes for sale —
have to come back with the car.

I wonder if
Michael Polanyi
could ride an effortless mile
sans hands
on handlebars
at 53
as if
14.

The new ritual is this:
bike then swim.
Someone said: “2/3rds of a triathelete.”
You betcha,
I got the belly to prove it.

Sweet daughter
gave me plastic for my birthday
representing food
at a favorite restaurant in the
township of my birth
El Zarape to be exact
$40 worth of plastic
representing food
all masterfully held together in one magnetic strip.
Tres chicas
wife, mother, big sister
and me
we dine.
Tacos, fifty years, same exact taste:
I give God praise.

Mom tells a story about
her beloved aunt
who spent her last days on earth
in a rest home
fearful that
people and place
were at work conspiring to steal
her false teeth
and so she kept them
hidden
in
her
vagina
 (more accurately resting on her mons tucked between legs).

Outside El Zarape
the breeze is 1970
some of us are transported
there’s the hint of smoke
falling into the valley
from two thousand burning acres
near Lake Francis
near Dobbins
where the elder Redbone found leisure
where the Redbone son took his marching band for leisure
where the Redbone son of the son kissed and begged his bride to be
till she could find no leisure.
That Lake Francis.

It was a red-tailed hawk
fried on a power line
that started the fire.

It is love that prevails
again and again.
Ritual: bike, swim.


Charlie Peacock and his wife, Andi Ashworth, are Co-Founders/Executive Directors of Art House America. Prior to his long career in music Charlie was an aspiring poet. As his Twitter page says, "I thought I was going to be a poet or a novelist. I wanted to wear corduroy, work boots, and flannel. Only one problem: Music." Charlie counts Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, D.R. Wagner, and Viola Weinberg as his earliest influences. According to Charlie, he finds "more poems in California than anywhere else. Poetry is always on the move. I just seem to bump into it more in California."

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