Monday, August 5, 2013

The Previous Exercise: So, How'd It Go?

A few posts back, I posted an exercise as a challenge (see June 7, 2013).  As a teacher I always try to do my own assignments, so I thought I would post a sample of my exercise and encourage readers to do the same.  It is rough; I have done only minimal editing.  So here it is.  And please, post your own.

Biking At Night

Riding the bike through the first neighborhood, I disappear into another world.  The houses are lit up from the inside and the outside, a stage set, like Disney World or Santa Land.  I am biking by them but I am apart, part of another world yet.  Deep.  And cold.  The dips in the road hold a cooler air.  I am breathing in the night, lit by the moon or by my Cat Eye bike light.  My mother is afraid.  She does not like for me to bike at night.  My grandfather used to offer to give me a ride (the quarter of a mile home to my own house).  He is dead now.  I am alive.  Alive in the night.  The world holds me.  I am torn: which way to go?  Down Hatcher?  The road is bumpy, crumbling, enacting Earth’s repo plan.  Besides, Hatcher takes me down past St. Joseph’s cemetery, the one where my great uncle used to let the kids loose and disappear.  At night. Or the Heritage Trail?  Smoother, but still a cemetery.  I cannot take the middle way—Hanging Rock—the police officer chastised me last time (after he handed me my fallen bananas).  I decide on Heritage, put my left arm out to signal.  Sirens tell me that there is an officer racing down Hanging Rock.  Good thing I didn’t go that way.  Passing the valley of the white wooden crosses, I hear what at first I think must be another siren.  Soon I realize it is not a siren, but coyotes.  Their cries could be mistaken for neighborhood dogs, almost, but they tangle and wind the way domestication would not.  A shiver runs through my body that has nothing to do with cold.  I pedal harder.  Around the next curve is a deer.  This time I do not jump (as I did last week, knocking the tail light from my seat post as the deer fled, white tails raised in alarm).  No, this time, neither of us flinches.  The doe watches me glide by.  I watch her.  We see each other we are alive at the same time I turn descend the pavement tilts the bike and me with it IdonotrunofftheroadIaccelerateIamcoldIamcolderIamalive.


Angela Elles said...

Thanks for posting, Jill. I wrote something after getting a massage. It is also rough:
I Think Too Much During a Massage

There’s a sign at the science
museum that says touch
doesn’t lie.
I picture it now
with my face down
on a terry-cloth covered
doughnut pillow
waiting for my mother-
in-law to start finding stress knots.

There is a kind of relative
pain that explains why my
skull is tender from the way
I hold my arms.
For relief she pushes hard
on a knot at the source
near the rotator cuff
she notes out loud
that knots don’t usually form here
she speculates my accident
affects how I respond to
or absorb shock
as a defense mechanism
after tearing a path
down a bluff, (100 feet)
not a scratch on my face
just relative pain.

She applies pressure
and we talk shared admiration
for her son: patient, athletic,
not like her step-daughter
who is never engaged:
a short span of attention.
I feel disapproval
in her hands, on my “traps.”
I joke: something is trapped there,
tension, I guess.
She feeds it now,
and I wish I hadn’t changed the subject.

Jill said...

Oh oh oh, there is so much to like here: "touch doesn't lie" and "relative pain"-- I have always been fascinated by the notion that pain can travel and decide to stay, like a vacationer. And of course there is the lovely play on the other sense of relative and how we can choose to help relieve another's pain. I'd love to talk more about this. Thanks for posting!