Bicycle Poem No. 1

Bicycle Poem No. 1

Bicycle Poem No. 1

Heat mirage hovering


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


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





 (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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