“Life is like riding a bicycle
To keep your balance you must keep moving”
There, that’s you, he thinks; one more marketable brand,
a warranteed product for our times, mumbo-jumbo,
an old man on a balloon-tired bike,
the titular symbol of a P.R. campaign:
toothpaste, whiter teeth,
a stigmata of flames glaring through lime.
To shut off that light.
To pedal and not be noticed.
To be at one with the passing scene.
Old man eye-wanders to an academic tome
beside him on the back-yard bench:
another offering: fruit from the serpent’s hand.
Bicycle leans against a pole
like a dog waiting for its master.
Tail ready to wag, wheels to roll.
* * *
Tired, but needing to ride,
he picks up the book and ruffles pages.
He does not especially want to read.
Great books are like ancient meals.
You remember quality, characters.
But the ingredients, like colors, tend to fade.
Errors and achievements gather
like storm clouds, equally forbidding.
For the imagination, reality is the surrogate.
The memory of memories, though, is tenacious.
Would that he could forget, start anew.
The child within him stirs, and at this, he smiles.
These protect me: fence, bushes, a cloak
of invisibility, like that of Hermes the swift, the messenger;
a sister, who won’t open the door to strangers.
Flesh is the burden. Mine no different.
There is no middle ground. Things
are either too simple, or god-awfully complex.
One merits a shrug, the other begs
a volcanic thrust, an awakening will,
the loft of ambition to lunar space.
* * *
Later, perhaps. Time enough to set a rocket ablaze,
find a wine to counteract
the gravitational pull of advancing age,
pry the corkscrew off a Ptolemaic curve,
open the bottle of my soul.
The universe is like a honeyed-hive, and I’ve made it buzz.
What’s needed now, to cleanse this dusty paranoia,
is long and empty, flat, a beach on which to ride.
The cool, reinvigorating cacophony of wind.
— Howard Lieberman
Writes Lieberman: “Was a physician, actually a spinal and neurological surgeon, until my fingers got too stiff, so I switched to poetry, thinking that it would all be so much less tense. It isn’t, though. Just less driving, and I have more time to play tennis. Now I have published one book of poetry, have a website — artpoetry.com — and am a member of the U.S. 1 Poets Cooperative.”