Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An American selfie (iii)

photo by anne worner

Bicycle Bob goes everywhere on two wheels,
fills the wire basket on the front with odds & ends,

rotund legs thrusting the pedals away from him
one at a time
               in an easy rhythm,

never breaking orbit.
A wisp of silver hair whi-whi- whipping,
does little to protect the burned moon
       like the bush-stache does his lip,
       he says

Gas can, gas can, gas can

as he passes, as if ---
on a scavenger hunt for madness,
or seeking a lost pups
& there is
no desperation                  in his voice.

We pass each other
at the railroad tracks, I footing into town
he heading out - a styrofoam cup
from a fast food joint, a small ball & a cucumber
riding in the front,

gas can, gas can, gas can --- a disfigured angel, wings
clipped, in a town of ships, with bound sails,
scuttled in their slips,

he is a subway with no tunnel & plaid shorts,
a collared chartreuse shirt, tan loafers, toes scuffed
& leaving, out the North,

I see him again near the laundro-mat,
a deeper shade of man - still glowing teeth forming
constellations under those silly ass eyes

a little fuller basket, things buried
in a nest of newspaper - the bell on his bar
tinkling with each bump
                               & tires
of unsung asphalt

Don't go home man,
there is still time
                            before the shadows
                      long enough
                  to swallOW us ---                           gas can

                                                 Sail on!
                                                 Sail on!


  1. This feels like this old guy I see around the neighbourhood, who seems to be in a world that is not the same I see...

  2. It is either one of your known alter egos X or you have seen to the depths of my being when i am unobserved. I am glad you never asked about the need for gas cans.

  3. As this went on I was reminded of Jim Carroll and you know that I LOVE his work (or perhaps you have only just learned it), I think it is in the conscientious witness of absurdity if that makes any sense. They way you absorb all these amazing details and portraits and keep this kind of compassionate humor. Wonderful writing


  4. beautifully vivid and tinged with sadness...such men live in every part of the world, ignored and scoffed at, only Bob made it to the canvas of poetry...a heartfelt sketch....

  5. i dunno but this made me smile - and i don't feel sorry for him at all.. the captain of his own ship on a cruise we cannot understand and probably way beyond our imagination... glad that you saw him - you always see people with such loving eyes...

  6. These are my favorites:

    "A wisp of silver hair whi-whi- whipping,
    does little to protect the burned moon" ... Love the way you squeezed "why, why" out of "whipping."

    "on a scavenger hunt for madness ... in his voice" ... Kind of like changing your writing style as a poet.

    "he heading out - a styrofoam cup" ... This makes me picture him AS a styrofoam cup. My kids rip those to shreds and never look back, and Mama's left picking up the pieces. Frankly, I've had my fill of their nonsense and am ready to hand over the broom to all these other people who surely know how to handle it by now.

    "Gas can, gas can, gas can" ... This really makes the poem, as far as sound goes. The italics make me whisper it. Gas can what? I just keep thinking about a madman setting everything on fire and then walking away like nothing happened. This dude is nuts.

    "clipped, in a town of ships, with bound sails,
    scuttled in their slips, " ... Great sound in this. Double meaning in "bound" ... and "slips." Nice.

    "he is a subway with no tunnel & plaid shorts,
    a collared chartreuse shirt" ... My very favorite part. Char-truce. What a cool image. I like it. Yeah, I set the whole city on fire and laughed about it, but hey, let's just shake hands and call it a day.

    "a deeper shade of man" ... Love that.

    "tinkling with each bump
    & tires
    of unsung asphalt
    melodies" ... The way you placed the ampersand under "bump" draws out the word "ump," which adds even more layering to this. The same thing with how you placed "long" under "time" ... it creates "tie me long enough to swallow/allow/all ow us." Did you ever notice that "swallow" is an anagram for "owl laws"? Also "wall sow," but that's not as pretty.

    Why would he ever tell the shadows to sail on? They're beautiful and add so much depth and intrigue to a world of light. He should keep the shadows to enhance his art.

    1. owl laws - They are wise, I wonder if they need laws. Or if their laws make a bit more sense than ours. You really got me thinking on the craziness of this guy yesterday, particularly the arson-ist thoughts. I did not realize I put as many things in that would point to that, but it made me go back and think too on how I first viewed him.

    2. Nooooo. They most certainly do NOT need laws. Owls, I mean. Not arsonists. :P

  7. Sounds like a character, doesn't he? We all have them, sometimes too invisible to see, but they are still there. Occasionally only good poetry will shine alight on them. You did. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  8. I adored reading this. My fave of yours so far. I can see him so clearly. I love the burned moon scalp, the scavenger hunt for madness, the disfigured angel, wings clipped. Brilliant writing!

  9. This is beautiful, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Your compassion always bleeds through your words and that's what make your writing so powerful and compelling.

    Love "he is a subway with no tunnel & plaid shorts,"

    another new fave!

  10. X change your follow : http://photographl.blogspot.ca/

  11. How am I suppose to not visit when you're so frigging brilliant, bicycle Bob, never so loved before and his gas can or lost cat scan, I so love how you write

  12. Ha, a sweet old man riding his bike to the shops and back. Forgetful, he has to keep reminding himself of what he must remember to get. I think he forgot anyway at the end. New car tyres do make a lovely singing sound on the tarrred roads. Maybe bicycle tyres do too.

  13. And there he is, springing to life.