Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

ways to ride a bicycle

A poem by Lacy MacAuley

Biking with an umbrella through my neighborhood.

A frame of steel and a couple of wheels
practical, a bit political and ill-fitted in terms of gender
this bicycle suits me just fine
it’s not elegant with clean lines
sort of like my rhymes but I make them anyway
and like this machine they get me from point A to point B
give my soul a little foot rub on the way.

There is more than one way to ride a bicycle.
When I started riding in the city I was, shall we say, anxious
hidden foes abounded like kung fu movie extras in a ravine in China
enemies in the form of car doors and drivers on cell phones
I put on armor and clattered down the street like a woman in defeat
to the broadcast safety warnings that bombast into life when you’re young
weighed down but expected to perform well
like a soldier in the desert trying to defend herself with 60 pounds of gear
but no bullet-proof vest – I used to ride my bicycle that way.

But now, it is just one soft me against a hard reality
how do I avoid injury? I dance
I weave through the cumbersome, clamorous motions
of people in their slick expensive homes on wheels
This misshapen-looking contraption becomes a thing of water
and I am rain on a path of least resistance
I know the trajectory of every driver – but I’m thinking about economics
and the backburner of my awareness
holds places for all the cars that aren’t moving yet, but could be
and the unseen pedestrians too
it’s like not choosing between putting on slippers or carpeting the world
just being careful to avoid the cold patches on the floor that the sun hasn’t gotten to yet

I can dance with you if you like
as we chase through streets of grey lifelessness
fill it with the music of our wings, the liberated things
that lift out of the wrinkles of happy faces
seeing only places down the road that glow

because this bicycle can go places a car can never dream of going
it can go between your legs
and it can carry you to new worlds
and when I ride I ride into a world where
people break up this city pavement for food gardens
and Dick Cheney probably has died finally from a heart attack
– and one of the Bush twins decides she’s a lesbian
a world where the carbon cycle has stopped playing tricks on us
and the sun becomes celebrated for giving life
rather than feared for bringing death
and where shoulders aren’t rounded from the subservient posture
of bending over slave-quarter work machines, tethered by lack of imagination
No – I ride to a world where people have calloused hands
from using shovels to grow the things that they want to grow
with a profit margin called “no one owns the land and no one is hungry”

I feel it while I ride this lady of the streets
I can feel the world ahead in between my teeth
I ride backwards sometimes
or with one leg slung over the handlebars
because it’s best to maximize the possibilities
the wind in my hair and racing age and time
so fast sometimes the colors blur into a contented blue

and then someone may yell something biting
like “Get off the road lady,”
maybe an SUV leaving McDonalds wrappers and greenhouse gasses
and sometimes these thick voices make the world go a little off
like all the sticky rice in Japan being just a little too dry
but not today, I fly
unfettered by the need for your security gear
or your terrorizing fears
into the world beyond.

And the ones who are happiest to see me
soaring by on my world-making machine
are the little children with dreams in their big eyes
and we may share a smile as I glide by
and we are both given hope.
That’s the way I ride this bicycle.

Filed under: activism, biking, environmentalism, lacy's life, poems, thoughts and philosophies

One Response

  1. Thanks for this prose and your defiant strength of spirit as expressed in the interview of your G20 arrest. It makes me wonder who they think you are. My guess is your spiritually traced as a political contender. Feel free to contact me for anything. Your fan. Cures

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