adventures in biking

riding my bike again. after months and months off. what happened to the winter this year? mild. never even got cold. tonight after work, after sundown. dark sky and a chill in the wind. but it’s not cold. sweatshirt and windbreaker is all i need. my route up milwaukee to elston and on to kedzie.

waiting for the light to change at western and elston an older man pulls up on his bike and says something that’s hard to make out – something about we don’t ride, we glide. i smile and agree and we’re off when the light changes. breathing as i ride. watching the street and the lights. at california the light is turning yellow but i hear the older man’s voice, let’s beat the light. and he comes from behind and flies by me on my right.

we ride together the rest of the way. he’s from poland. he’s in his 60’s but bench presses 200 pounds! he rides everywhere! he and his son both do. he loves to ski! has skied all over europe! he asks how old i am, i tell him 34. 34? like my son. you are an old goat. but i am an old ma-a-a-a-an. he bleats like a goat. he’s on his way home from volunteering at catholic charities. we head north on kedzie together. a car pulls out in front of him just north of the brown line tracks. when we meet up again at lawrence, i say, bad drivers. he says – what can you do? i’m patient. there are bad drivers all over. poland? terrible drivers. russia? terrible! czech republic? terrible drivers. germany and belgium, terrible. switzerland? he pauses – not so bad.

at foster we say goodbye and i head home. the light is on in the kitchen.

winter dream

August, 2008.

This morning dreamt that it was winter. Winter. Cold. I had to get to work. H not at home. She told me to stay with a friend so they could take care of me. But it was late. Late out. Dark. Night. Cold.

Leaving school late. Filing out of the train station. In a line going up wooden stairs. Slow moving line. I see JP from high school. He’s speaking French to a girl who’s with him. There is also a third man. I hear their French and turn to JP and say, “Mirate! Cómo hablas el francés!” Continue reading “winter dream”

adventures in biking

on my way to work the other day. cold. sun. me wrapped with scarf and ear coverings. layers under my windbreaker. breath frozen. left eye tearing as it does in the wind. at the corner of petersen and jersey. i was stopped at the light.

jersey has a left turn lane, a lane for going straight and a right lane for turning right or for assholes who also want to keep going straight. if said asshole wants to do this they have to cut off the car in the lane to their left fast. otherwise the asshole will crash into the cars parked on the street just north of the intersection. jersey is only a two lane street on the other side of petersen. the turn lane is unmarked but it’s pretty obvious that you can only go straight by cutting off the car to yr left.

when i get stopped at this intersection i stop in between the middle lane (that goes straight) and the turn lane. this way cars making a right can still do so while the light is red.

an suv sort of car pulled up in the right turn lane. the window rolled down. this dude with coffee in his left hand. close beard. heavy flannel shirt.

“hey. are you driving a car or riding a bike?” he said with the setup.
“i’m riding a bike.”
“yeah. yr supposed to be all the way on the right side,” he said smug with his punchline.
“yeah. i am. that’s the turn lane. i’m going straight.”

he hesitated for a second. it seemed he hadn’t thought of that. “well, yr brave buddy. that’s all i can say.”

the light turned green and I headed on my way. i noticed his car when it eventually passed me on the other side of petersen.

this sort of thing pisses me off. drivers who pull into the right turn lane or shoulder of the road at a light and then floor it to cut off the people to their left. not only are they assholes. they fucking scare the shit outta me cuz I never know if they are turning right or are going to run me over in their attempt to pass everyone else.

january 2009

holy shit was it cold last week! like 30 below 0. i call that cold. i know if you live up in minneapolis or winnipeg it gets colder. but 30 below is pretty cold. winter came on fierce right before we left for new jersey for christmas. and then when we got back it was 60 degrees for a day. no shit. but then winter came back even more! it’s a bit more normal this week – teens, 20’s etc. i can ride my bike again. that’s something. here are some winter pics taken from inside our apartment. where it was warm. i sure wasn’t going outside to take pictures.

blue line, winter

so i’ve started writing in a new notebook and before i put the old one in storage i started looking through it. and i decided to post some of the pieces that didn’t make it into the upcoming flotation device 12. the pieces start a while back, 2005. it’s taken me three years to finish what turned into fd 12. that’s a long time for me. it looks like i’m starting chronologically, but we’ll see if that lasts. i might end up getting bored and wanting to jump around a bit. and with some of them i’ll want to talk a little about them, others – like this one, are kind of just what they are.


     friday night on the blue line train coming back home from work. the long way around. the red line at belmont downtown switch to blue line. 11.45pm. blizzard. 7 inches of snow in a few hours. didn’t want to deal with busses.
     sitting in the corner writing lyrics on a scrap of paper. hat on scarf wrapped around my neck. so many layers of clothes on. a guy across from me. huge duffel bag. appropriate cuz he’s so huge. black with long black hair.
     a girl talking loud. everything’s fucked she says. fuckin this. fuckin that. “my fuckin landlord gets back in a week. he wants the fuckin money. i don’t fuckin got it.” real pale. dark hair. some pulled back some in her face. “this shit is like fuckin pure mdma,” she says…
     walking down wrightwood from the blue line. 12.30am. snow blowing in the wind. still falling heavy. following paths carved by cars, walking in the tire tracks. the sidewalks still unshovelled, too much work to walk on them. occasional cars. they drive slowly – careful not to lose control. snowflakes in the headlights. i step out of their way and into snowdrifts to let them pass.
     quiet. muffled. mute. i can only hear what’s inside a 10 foot sphere around me. everything else fades away in the snowy night.