Bicycle by Paul Hostovsky

Now I would rather remember life than live it.
I would rather imagine life than live it.
I’d rather watch life going on from the sidelines
in a comfortable chair than stand in the midst of life
living it. And maybe that strikes you as sad
or perverse. And maybe I’m kind of a perv
because I’d rather watch some young people making love
than make love myself. And I would rather
read a poem about bicycles than ride a bicycle–I am done
riding bicycles. I am done making love. I am, sadly,
too old for that shit now. But I will never
be too old for the memory or the thought or the idea
of making love. Or the word bicycle. Which is
as good a word as any. And better than most. In fact,
I think bicycle will be my last word, my dying word–
not I love you, or bless you, or God forgive me,
but bicycle. And the people standing over me–
if there are any people standing over me at the last–
will look at each other and ask if they heard me right–
“Did he say bicycle?” “Yes, it sounded like bicycle”–
as I remember or imagine us riding our bicycles
in a summer rain, abandoning them on the edge of a wheat field,
taking off all our clothes–because it was raining
and we were soaked and hot and young–and running
naked through the field in the rain, and then, breathless,
sinking down in that field and making love. I don’t
want to be in the field, in the rain, with the bugs and spiders
and rodents, the roots and stalks digging into my skin,
the itchy stems and leaves, a rat snake slithering past
and me freaking out and losing my erection–I just
want to remember or imagine two overturned bicycles
abandoned on the edge of a field, in which we were young
and soaked and happy and making love, kickstands
pointing randomly up toward heaven.

Paul Hostovsky’s poems appear and disappear simultaneously (Voila!) and have recently been sighted in places where they pay you for your trouble with your own trouble doubled, and other people’s troubles thrown in, which never seem to him as great as his troubles, though he tries not to compare. Website:

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