Old Man on a Bicycle

“Life is like riding a bicycle
To keep your balance you must keep moving”.

It’s not you, he thinks; I’m just a symbol,
mumbo-jumbo for civilization and the times,
an old man on a balloon-tired bike,

the titular product of a P.R. campaign:
toothpaste, whiter teeth,
oxyhydrogen flames glaring through lime.

To shut off that light.
To pedal and not be noticed.
To be at one with the passing scene.

Old man in huddle, eye-wanders to an academic tome
beside him on the back-yard bench,
another offering: fruit from the serpent‘s hand.

Bicycle leans against a pole
like a dog waiting for its master.
Tail ready to wag, wheels to roll.

Tired from the ride
he picks up the book and ruffles through pages.
He does not especially want to read.

Great books are like ancient meals.
You remember quality, characters.
But the ingredients, like colors, tend to fade.

Errors and achievements gather
like storm clouds, equally forbidding.
For the imagination, reality is the surrogate.

The memory of memories, though, is tenacious.
Would that he could forget, start anew.
The child within him stirs, and, at this, he smiles.

These protect me: fence, bushes, a cloak
of invisibility, like that of Hermes the swift, the messenger;
a sister, who won’t open the door to strangers

Flesh is the burden. And mine is no different.
There is no middle ground. Things
are either too simple, or god-awfully complex.

One merits a shrug, the other begs
a volcano’s thrust to wake a will,
loft ambition into lunar space.

Later, perhaps. Time enough to set a rocket ablaze,
find a wine to counteract
the gravitational pull of advancing age.

To pry with corkscrew a Copernican curve,
open the bottle of my soul.
The universe is like a honeyed-hive, and I’ve made it buzz.

What’s needed now, to cleanse
this dusty paranoia, is long and empty, flat,
a beach on which to ride.
The cool, reinvigorating cacophony of wind.