This morning’s ride was in a 20% chance of rain shower.
I didn’t mind because riding through it is better
than taking the 1 train during rush hour with a bike.
The west side bike path is my favorite stretch of asphalt
in the world. Maybe it’s the 69th transfer bridge
rusty house shape set on rusted beam and bridge half
submerged in the hudson. Or the 79th street boat basin
full of sleepy sailboats knocking into docks
in the choppy bed of dark blue water. It may be the
tunnel up to the 91st street garden. Today I counted
twenty-six different types of flowers splaying their
insides before giving up on guessing which was named
what. The rain cleared by 110th and riverside, but the
sky hung low as the bridge on 125th. I turned onto
135th and took the hill by standing up and downshifting
letting the bike swing from side to side like a tired
horse beneath me. I arrived early enough in front of City
College to get a chai tea and print out the days homework
from the new computer lab, mostly empty this early.
One writing workshop after another before pancakes with my
favorite girls on 155th street and back to school for poetry.
After listening to lectures on Li-Young Lee and Elizabeth Bishop
I unchained my bike from the No Parking sign next to the man who
sells honey roasted peanuts, almonds, and coconut. We smiled
and I took Riverside to Broadway this time to meet up at Mamoun’s
in St. Mark’s on time. The tourists were terrible, but that isn’t
fair. A picture of a bicycle in an empty lane can be confusing to
anyone, I suppose. Karen was waiting. Beautiful. Telling me her latest
poems and asking about the writing group while I ate falafel and drank
her pumpkin spice something or other. The sun was dipping down,
and I decided to come home instead of going out. The familiar final ride
passed the Bowery Hotel, outside cafes. I turned onto Houston past Whole
Foods, and Sunshine Theatre. I even managed to avoid the foot deep
pot holes that line the street once Alphabet City begins,
and turned left near Pitt Pool now quiet and dark. It hadn’t
rained since morning, the air was just starting to cool. And I
could feel the muscles in my legs begin to twitch from miles of
riding then sitting. The collapse of close to home.