Daniel Romo

Pedaling


We ride our bikes out of June, far away from May. Summer days stick in our

spokes: a ninety-five degree record of our travels and soundtrack to seasonal

heat. Even better than baseball cards. We pedal down the boulevard; hot

wind is neither reminder of hope nor remnants of sin. But our legs are

devout faith--grinding away, not having a choice but to put our lives in the

hands of humanity. Still, drivers never stop to look right. Two tons of metal

makes a man feel invincible. Though the most violent deaths are the result of

car crashes. The forecast called for record highs; our singed skin can’t deny

that. But we look so pretty. So glistening, red, searing. Yet weather didn’t

dictate how long we stayed outside as kids, how much effort we exerted in

the name of fun. Nor should it now. We understand these are not the streets

we grew up in. The streets that raised us. Where we rode in the back of our

grandfathers’ pickups and waved to strangers we passed (when seatbelt laws

were less stringent). New paint and bigger buildings have replaced quaint

visions. Some of the businesses with Grand Openings just last year have

disappeared. Mom and Pops that lined the street can’t compete with major

chains. Vacant windows call for help, but a man’s dream is not sufficient

enough to pay bills. Freshly-painted bike lanes promote intimate travel,

however where is the incentive to ride between the lines when nothing is

ever familiar? But we are die-hards, and will continue to ride even when our

September fades, and we are too tired to remember the sound of the ticking

of our youth.

 

Mum

 

Man gets life for stealing tube socks. - FOX News

 

I want to believe it was a quality striped pair

sporting character and flair,

rather than an all-black accessory

that conveys uniform necessity.

 

I’m hoping he swiped the socks

and sped through the mall,

tucked the bag under his arm like a football

he was determined not to fumble,

while he jutted and juked though the food court

until he tired and a team of police

tackled him to the ground,

rather than him simply stashing them in his waistband

and being caught on camera

by an overzealous store manager

looking to score a promotion.

 

I’m unsure what crimes he committed

those other two times,

or why he risked freedom for

a common, cotton product.

But who hasn’t done foolish things

for the chance to feel something soft, new,

and smooth so close to their skin?

 

There are times when we live our lives

according to our own laws,

when we give in to sin to see if

what we didn’t have is worth being

imprisoned in a personal jail

and only our conscience can make bail.

 

I picture the man sitting on the edge of his cell’s mattress.

Leg crossed over the other, foot dangling,

swaying from side-to-side like a  

life-sentence pendulum,     

white socks glowing under prison garb

like shining informants

that will never tell.

 

____________________________________________

 

 

 

Daniel Romo is the author of Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013) and When Kerosene's Involved (Black Coffee Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, MiPOesias, Hobart, and elsewhere. He teaches English and creative writing, and accepts and rejects prose poems as the Poetry Editor for Cease, Cows. He lives in Long Beach, CA and at danielromo.net.