The Bicycle

The Bicycle

the work goes/ the shops close/ the boredom grows/ the grown-ups he knows/ dream so small/ they seem not to dream at all

seventeen/ not a bean to his name/ the facile papers he rest his paints upon ooze parties and fame/ speak another language/ ridiculous in this setting/ the tagging is his expression/ to this town set adrift/ to the blood-letting

another kick-heel night/ he comes across the carcass of a mountain bike/ it’s still tethered as it was last night/ only they’ve stripped it clean/ entrails of brake levers/ its gloopy blood/ inks the scrub/ a sickly green

eight days he walks past/ notes weeds wriggle and slither through squat grass/ poke through spokes/ and make the only claim/ and finally he takes the chain in his hands/ and cuts it free

drags that sad machinery/ past white-washed shops/ and beleaguered cops/ the wind-whipped faces of mid-morning sops/ the boarded-up post office/ the rapacious moss/ the dusty sympathy of the elderly/ the knife-edge conviviality of the neighbourhood

the frame is strong/ before long he masters the buckle/ retrieves a front tyre from the canal/ a short paddle/ to a saddle/ its useable

forgotten hunger/ missed meals/ scouring ripples of rust from the rim with a rounded knife/ the fork/ the chainwheel

old and woolly biscuits tins/ within his grandfather’s shed/ bequeath nuts and thread/ his stained-prints pan gold/ hold allen keys/ twist and turn with expertise/ at ease/ he doesn’t think those things

give someone purpose/ fill their chest with pride/ and when all the parts are in place/ you can ride/ you can ride it away

or you can stay

stay/ and turn a bit of the world your way

©Copyright 2017 Ash Dickinson