Poem by Robert Hass
"The Yellow Bicycle"
The woman I love is greedy.
But she refuses greed.
She walks so straightly.
When I ask her what she wants,
she says, "A yellow bicycle."
Coltsfoot, on the roadside,
a goldfinch, the sign
that says, "Yield" her hair,
cat's eyes, his hunger and a yellow bicycle.
Once, when they had made love in the night
and it was very sweet, they decided they were hungry
so they got up, got dressed, and rode downtown to an all-night donut shop.
Chicano kids lounged outside, a few drunks, and one black man selling dope.
Just at the entrance there was an old woman in a thin floral print dress. She was barefoot. Her face was covered with sores and dry peeling skin.
The sores looked like raisins and her skin was the dry yellow of a parchment lampshade ravaged by light and tossed away.
They thought she must have been hungry and,
coming out again with a white paper bag full of hot rolls, they stopped to offer her one.
She looked at them out of her smile eyes, bewildered and shook her head for a little while and very kindly, said, "No."
What comes to my mind when I am thinking of a bike? I am riding, it is 1917, I am in love and Summer greets me, rising from the warm road while the sunsets in my eyes. It is a yellow blossom thought and I let it stay.
Her song to the yellow bicycle:
The boats on the bay
have nothing on you,
my swan, my sleek one.
I am lemony this summer. I have always loved lemons, eat them like a plum, I like the senses, never numb. I have been wearing lemon essential oil and lavender and it feels right. These yellow bike images remind me of lemon slices and I smile at them like I smile at lovely, old writing paper and sealing wax, I smile at them like a little sour expression on an Arthur Rackham fairy. I love them. The poem above is part of me. From the first time I read it, it became part of my peel, part of my story, the interesting thought I go to when I wish I could ride my bike at night on a July evening when the air is cool with memory of the day's heat reaching my bare toes, sharing. Robert Hass' poem has always been a glimpse into a faerytale moment for me. A love, a night journey, something simple, something profound, characters, character, love. I have not figured out this month of my life... not sure how it all directs my story. That is o.k. I know this. What I miss is the feeling of wind in my hair, riding bikes with a friend, just slow enough to see and fast enough for exhilaration. It is youth. It is love. It is hope. It is journey. A yellow bicycle. I miss it all so.
I finished my second graduate class last night, so sorry to have not written or visited any of you lately with the viruses and my intense, but wildly fun and glorious, course I had to take this week! Hope to catch-up.
Write me at asperryfaldet@gmailcom and may you feel the lemony blessings of all that is sour and bright and so very circular. It is a grand faerytale, this spin, this time around.
The image of the bikes is by Victoria at http://www.asubtlerevelry.com/vintage-bike-favors#comment-53480
Flower and bike drawing by me.