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Poems from the Street: Listening for a Song

Song

 

Listening for a song, and the quiet

is so hard to find.

The song would seep from my DNA

like an enzyme,

or fall from the stars like dew.

The song would settle like dust

on my bookshelf,

or form like a painful scab

on my skin.

It would be about everything,

and nothing at all,

heroism and trivia,

rage and lust,

entropy and boredom —

Listening for a song.

 

– July 7, 2014 –

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Stories from the Street: Old Man with One Arm

One Armed Man1024

 

An old man with one arm, African–American, sat on the bench in front of Days Espresso. He was bumming cigarettes, but I didn’t have any, having quit in January. He said, "Hello" to me but nothing more. I said, "How are you doing?" but he didn’t answer. He didn’t ask me for anything — a relief – but just his presence made me feel guilty. I wanted to fix his devastated life, but I couldn’t. I tied up my shiny bike; the price of it would feed the old man two months, but that wasn’t going to happen. I went inside and got a coffee. The old man finally walked away. I hope he had somewhere to go.

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Poems from the Street: Ride the Loop

Crank

 

Ride the Loop

Ride the loop.
Feel the burn.
Cranks turn.

From deep places
in the bone
the fire animates

sinew and muscles,
nerve and eye,
to defeat the climb.

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The Bike as a Drug

Trek Allant 20Syd Weedon

I had an intervention with myself and faced the fact that I am a bicycle junkie. I’m an addict. I don’t feel really right until I get out on my bike and ride. I received a particularly upsetting telephone call two nights ago. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and then I put on my helmet and reflective gear, turned on the lights and rode my bike until I got my feelings in order about what I had heard. The bike has become my drug.

The bicycle is actually a bunch of drugs for me. It’s my psychotropic anti-depressant. It’s my blood sugar reducing diabetes drug. It’s my cholesterol-reducing Crestor replacement. It’s my stiff-joint, NSAID, anti-inflammatory. It’s my blood pressure reducing anti-hypertension high blood pressure drug. It’s my diet and sleeping pill.

I have hypertension (high blood pressure) and due to the drugs I take for that, I need to have regular blood tests. A couple of years ago, I began showing very high blood sugar in the tests. My doctor said that I could go on another drug or get some aerobic exercise every day. I opted for the exercise and got really serious about getting some significant bicycle time every day. I’m averaging seventy miles a week on my bike and my blood sugar has been reduced by 60%.

The bike is my “non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory” drug. Once upon a time, just climbing the stairs in my home would have my knees screaming. Today, I climb them like a sixteen-year-old – no pain.

The bicycle is my diet pill. When I committed to riding my bike every day, I weighed 212 pounds and wore a snug 38” waist pants. Today, I weigh 178 and wear a loose 34” waist paints – in a bit more than a year and a half. My significant other totally loves the transformation. I feel fit and sexy rather than old and overweight.

I still have to take my high blood pressure meds. While I am getting better readings, I still have times when the blood pressure is too high. The bicycle is helping, and there may come a day when I can quit taking the meds, but it’s not here yet.

The bicycle is my sleeping pill. I have always been one who fights sleep. I will stay awake all night under the right circumstances, but that is unpleasant. It is hard for me to fall asleep at night, but when I have ridden 16 miles in a day, I care barely stay awake until midnight. It is well known that better sleep improves your overall health, including weight, skin, healing and mental acuity.

And yes, I suppose the bike is my cannabis. If you accept the traditional characterization that cannabis is a “euphoric” drug, then I’m getting my euphoria these days on the bicycle. After an epic ride, I really do feel euphoric, even if I’m tired and the muscles ache. I’ve smoked some pot in days past, and favor its legalization if for no other reason than to stop screwing up the lives of millions of young people who get arrested for it, but for me personally, the magic weed doesn’t do much for me these days. The bike is a different matter. A good ride will definitely produce a euphoric feeling, and I often wish that I could just keep on riding.

The bicycle simply makes me feel and look better. Even a fairly short ride will give me a warm glowy feeling. I suppose it results from the increased oxygen levels and the release of endorphins. Endorphins are described as “endogenous morphine” which is “released during exercise, excitement, pain, spicy food consumption, love, and orgasm.” After a good ride, I feel like I have taken some wonderful, perfect tranquilizer, but without any drug overhead. I have the proverbial “sense of well-being” while being acutely aware of my muscles and body. I have lost so much weight that I had to have my suits taken in. In the past couple of months, I have had several people, including doctors, tell me that I look “great” and it has been some time since I last heard those words. That’s great for the self-image. The bike is good for the body and the mind.

Yet, there is a downside to this rosy scenario. There are a few days when I cannot ride. Either the weather is just too foul (I don’t ride on ice or in thunderstorms which threaten hail), or I have business or social commitments which preclude a bike ride. On these days I go into serious bicycle withdrawal. Even on these dark days, I don’t despair because I know the clouds will go away; the ice will melt and my faithful two-wheeled medicine cabinet will be waiting for me in the garage, eager for another adventure and another chance to make me healthier.

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You wanna’ see something really scary, kids?

 

There’s a street in my town that you don’t want to walk down alone.. (click on picture for larger view)

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Brutal Soul

 

weird friends 2

 

Brutal soul,

cannibal of dreams,

you are rapacious,

insatiable.

Night burns into

day, and into

night again,

and there is no

mercy,

no reprieve.

There is only

hunger.

 

There is only

hunger,

the mother

of lies,

and a god

who will not

speak.

I will not

tempt you.

I am not

so vain.

 

I am not

so vain to think,

nor plunge

myself into

the cold flood,

believing

that I would not

sink. Mad,

but not a fool.

 

Mad,

but not a fool,

the lashes

make red stripes

upon my skin.

By them I know

I am alive.

The pain

is truth.

Pain is the

only truth,

brutal soul.

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Friday Scallops and Artichoke

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Farmers Market, 9-14-13

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