Over the past month, I engaged in a personal challenge to ride my bike each day, take at least one picture during my ride, and find a poem that somehow encapsulated the day.
Poetry has always held a special place for me, but over the years our relationship became distant. I saw it as extra, even pretentious, and my reading shifted to consist mostly of non-fiction prose.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I pledged to 30 Days of Biking this month because it reminds me to see the novelty in the familiar routes I travel in Washington, D.C. I’m not a photographer, but over the years I have enjoyed having a camera at the ready to capture moments by bike. The bicycle is a lovely muse, and the flowering city in April a spectacular backdrop. Continue reading Final Week of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.
Bicycling is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in a city. As riders, we easily exchange hellos with others on our route. We feel the bumps of the road, see flowers bloom and fall, and watch the waves of people (and buses, did I mention buses?) come and go through the District.
Thanks to everybody who has been following along with this year’s 30 Days of Biking photo and poetry project. April rides have been so rewarding, allowing me to seek out both new and familiar writers while also exploring my city.
Last year, 30 Days of Biking helped renew my interest in urban cycling, and that carried through into this year. The city is such a dynamic place, changing under our noses if we pay any attention.
Bells. A time to turn
for home. But now you
pretend to listen to a
piano in the window of
the music store. Songs
shine at the corners of
your eyes. Whether to
turn another corner is
–Donald W. Baker, Waiting
Hoy viene a mi la damisela soledad
con pamela, impertinentes y botón
de amapola en el oleaje de sus vuelos.
Hoy la voluble señorita es amistad
y acaricia finalmente el corazón
con su más delgado pétalo de hielo.
Por eso hoy
gentilmente te convido a pasear
por el patio, hasta el florido pabellón
de aquel árbol que plantaron los abuelos.
Hoy el ensueño es como el musgo en el brocal
dibujando los abismos de un amor
melancólico, sutil, pálido cielo.
although he had no sense of being on a journey,
such memories made him realize how far he had
traveled, which, in turn, made him ask how he
would look back on the person he was now, this
person who seemed so substantial. These images, it
was like looking at a book of old photographs,
recognizing a forehead, the narrow chin, and
perhaps recalling the story of an older second
cousin, how he had left long ago to try his luck in
Argentina or Australia. And he saw that he was
becoming like such a person, that the day might
arrive when he would look back on his present self
as on a distant relative who had drifted off into
Slowly, slowly wisdom gathers:
Golden dust in the afternoon,
Somewhere between the sun and me,
Sometimes so near that I can see,
Yet never settling, late or soon.
Would that it did, and a rug of gold
Spread west of me a mile or more:
Not large, but so that I might lie
Face up, between the earth and sky,
And know what none has known before.
I am dying to be written about in your diary
and my self-involvement extends to endless
photographs of my eye makeup, which might be described
as “signature.” FYI I prefer a fine brush to a pen.
What can be said about slush, about the corners cut when cleaning
the fridge. What can be said about what is considered
to be ordinary. Crucially, love is a desire
to be a witness and be witnessed, how you might skate
past the provisional. If the house were burning down
I would rescue all the photographs
The song is drink, is color. Come now, taste
what the world has to offer. When you eat
you will know that music comes in guises—
bold of crepe myrtle, sweet of daffodil—
beyond sound, guises they never told you
could be true. And they aren’t. Except they are
so real now, this spring, you know them, taste them.
Did I say I was a creature
I meant the opposite.
I meant behavior
is a pile of clothes
I might or might not wear.
Before all the sowing and reaping
could go on for centuries,
before the calendar,
I must have been convinced
that my movements
were both mandated
How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander
the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head
like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from
the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove,
to the grooves in that man’s voice
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves
of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads
of one’s bones.
–Joanie Mackowski, Consciousness Continue reading Week Two of 30 Days of Biking (and Poetry) in Washington, D.C.
When I was just as far as I could walk
From here today,
There was an hour
When leaning with my head against a flower I heard you talk.
—Robert Frost, The Telephone
Continue reading Week One of 30 Days of Biking in Washington, D.C.
“How many miles to the sun?” He smiled
In answer to my “Where are you going?”
Lilacs were caught in his handle bars,
His pedals were mud, his eyes were stars,
His hair was blowing.
—Marion Strobel, “Man and Bike”
Today kicks off 30 Days of Biking, where people far and wide commit to getting on their bikes and– you guessed it– riding them for the 30 days in April. Continue reading April is for 30 Days of Biking. And Poetry
This past month I participated in 30 Days of Biking, a challenge to ride one’s bike every day in April. In all, I rode 28 of 30 days.
I made the 30 Days of Biking pledge because I was in a bike commute slump I could not shake. Continue reading Slowdown Commutes in D.C.
Whenever we hop on our bikes, we not only expose ourselves to all sorts of elements, but we also come face to face with other bike riders.
Despite that, riders do not tend to talk to one another. We share space, but generally our only apparent common goal is coming and going each day from home to work and back home again.
Continue reading Our House, In the Middle of Our Street
Present is a space I don’t occupy well, especially in the city.
My bike takes me places while my mind calculates where I’m going and where I’ll head next. Work. Appointment. Grocery store. Repeat.
I ponder the past. How did it go? What could have gone differently? The ride is a pass-through as my thoughts bounce forward and back.
Continue reading Present