The Bicycle Review
August 24th, 2010
Original Artworks by Ira Joel Haber, Collage by Valery Oisteanu. All Images Copyright 2010 by Haber and Oisteanu.
Bicycle Review # 8
...Is late again. Seems like it gets harder to get this thing out every issue. Send money or booze, and...
...Share the Road,
J de Salvo
TAKE CARE BENNY
"Good evening Cesar. Give me a minute to change."
"Be well Benny. Do you want me to close the outside door?"
"Good night Mr. Prentiss."
"Good night Benny."
"Good night Mr. Carnes"
"Good night Mrs. Carnes."
"Good night Miss."
"Have a nice one."
"Good night Mr. Park."
"Good morning Mrs. Saito."
"Good morning Bob."
"Good morning Mr. Berman."
"Morning. Raining again?"
"All night, sir."
"Good morning Romero. Give me a minute to change."
"Take care Benny."
"You too Romero."
Copyright 2010 By Mark Hage
The Dreams of Trains
All day in the drag and clatter
of each other, the trains compass
their dreams. In their dreams
the trains lose their teeth, all
their tags; they go to Baltimore
naked. They have big parts
to play in a play about trains
but cannot remember their lines:
New York/Los Angeles? Calcutta/
Bangalore? Everyone is staring
at them. The wish they could fly.
They can! But they cannot look
down because in the dreams
of trains they're falling, falling
through tunnels of black smoke,
falling until startled awake
on the rails bound for Tokyo.
Copyright 2010 by Brendan Constantine
I had a crush on Popeye
The sailor man
And I thought that
Olive Oyl seemed like
She would be happiest
With a man like Bluto,
A couple of beatings during
The day and a
couple of beatings at night
She might leave him
For a little while,
Maybe find a
Would always find
Out which one,
Olive, I can’t live without
You, please come home
He would say,
I promise things will
I miss your skinny
Legs next to my
as you caress
my sweet manhood
I had a crush on
Popeye the sailor
Always in the way
Copyright 2010 by Melanie Browne
Review of the Unknown Pencil Pusher
My brother the unknown writer and I sail our ship through rocky sand. With twig muskets in hand. We pretend we are pirates. My brother wears the puffy white shirt. His ear lobe pierced wearing a hoop made of fool's gold. I am barefoot and decide to remove my wicked wench skirt.
Thirsty and now naked. Stuck on top a hot open sea chamber. Both of us fucking. We slide together and fall on a raft made from banana peels.
A desert rat notices our clumsy moves as he eats his dinner from the shore. Chewing at a dead man's heart. The man drowned and shrunk as a rodent long ago.
With my scream and moan... "Land I feel land!"
Our rotten boat leaking. Injured and hungry we beg the tiny man for a rubber hand out.
"Send me your wet souls for free and just maybe I will save you"
"Not a problem here you go" We spit him our blood.
The rat fake swallows our protein and smiles at my brother's chest scar. Kafka would be proud. "The sign of a gifted mind and reads like an amateur I give it two stars."
Does it matter why we fuck? Desperate we listen as rattlesnakes sing near rocks to the sizzle of sun. My brother and I try to understand why cocks come and go. Scared some even fly. With muskets drawn. Our kissing now fatal. What else can we do? Hidden in someone's mind my brother and I continue the push and pry.
Copyright 2010 by Ginetta Correli
Kickball on the Washington Mall
The NSA Nukes could not believe the arrogance
of the Agency Argonauts trotting in minutes before
the championship match, not after the scandal
over the tampered ball, rocket propelled from remote
control, blew off the thumb of the umpire so that
no one could be gestured out at the plate. A middle-
aged Jason Bourne lookalike, the Argonaut's hotshot
pitcher, sneered Snidely Whiplashly and pantomimed
a sewer-sized nose plug, clapping insults in Morse
code against the rubber, letting fly a bouncing
curve to the plate. Passing tourists on the payroll
foiled double plays as double agents, letting both
sides rent their loyalties as they aimed beer can
at sundry players' heads. An outfielder undercover
as a nun replaced old habits with new vices, chugging
a cocktail laced with adrenaline and sodium pentathol.
The supercharged serum was dispensed for each
kicker at home plate, and state secrets were launched
in ballistic arcs, some in pop-ups and fouls, some in
grand slams approaching orbit, the ball shining down
like a dull red eye in the sky. Inning after inning,
the shady plays and recriminations accumulated,
but the golden lambswool T-shirts of the Argonauts
tarnished first, after the shortstop puked out his guts
and sat criss-cross-applesauce on the diamond,
halting play, staring at the warm yellow of his stained
chaps and the sun's bare bulb atop an overlit stage,
realizing this game would never be done, never be
decommissioned, never run out of extra innings, never
never rest from internecine pecking and heckling.
He gazed at watchmen without seers waiting for him
to arise and choose between tagging friends or enemies.
Copyright 2010 by John F. Buckley and Martin Ott
ridin' along in my
my car looks like a cock
I model fiberglass for a living
everything from boat hulls to parade floats
I'd long wanted to use my talents to replace my nondescript car
one day I saw the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile pass by my house
I doubled up like Beavis and Butt-head plotzing over a sex joke
it took ten months to build
the front edge of the coupe doors is flush with the circumcision scar
the balls are over the rear wheels
there was plenty of extra space for twin trunks
hundreds of three-foot brown hairs rake back from the balls
one gray hair is a whip antenna
lots of drag but gas mileage wasn't the main objective
I unveiled it on a lazy Saturday
I'd backed up errands for a month
the cockmobile went fourteen places that weekend
I kept the design within code
so the cops couldn't order me off the streets on a technicality
way-out extended mirrors give me a good view of anything back of the balls
(what's behind me is important)
the fiberglass hairs don't obscure the taillights and rear license
next weekend I strayed into a hick suburb and got ticketed for indecent exposure
of course the judge threw it out
you can't prosecute a half-ton of glass
my neighbors took it well after the first shock
now they stop me and make jokes
your tires are low, your cock's dragging the ground
you parked on the street, I guess you need a bigger box
I'm glad they're such good sports
I got engaged
my bride to be wants a car of her own
Copyright 2010 by Robert Laughlin
Four before that
The wind kisses icicles through your hair where you stand huddled in icy doorways pulling hard on a cigarette sweet-talked from the last boy you danced with to make you feel just a little warmer and the shivering is just the dance you do when you're outside. And the song was one you loved, but you loved it first 2 years before in another city with another boy, whose name makes you feel a little dizzy and a little sad before you put him away and forget for a while longer that you're two years older now, and there was another year before that and four before that.
Copyright 2010 by Jamie Kerry
—after Jackie McLean’s Why Was I Born?
shaped by outer-womb
dexterity? And remade
woven apprehension, fear of
toward listening creatures’ recreational
mentions of answering sans
Copyright 2010 by Felino Soriano
Thanks for the blankets
The U S Supreme Court says that
since the Washington Redskins
have been calling themselves the
Washington Redskins since 1937,
any Native Americans who take
offence are SOL according to the
bench because the Redskins have
been calling themselves the Redskins
for a really substantial amount of time
and if the Natives were so offended,
they should have done something
about it earlier. This is great news
for Stens Bargland, of Racine, Wisc.
as Stens has been saying the n word
every chance he gets since he was a
kid. My mother called to say he stopped
her this morning in the 4 runner, and told
her how he’s planning to stand on his lawn
all day the 25th of December to sing his
grandad’s old n word songs. If any n’s are
offended, they can just refer themselves to
the high court, he said, because those songs
have been around for a really substantial
amount of time and if they were so offensive,
the n’s should have done something about it
earlier. We kept going after that she told me
— we pulled away — and I could see them —
driving between the snowy sidewalks on that
clear grey concrete, all the way to school.
David was with her — my brother’s boy —
and they were running late. I imagine if there
was all the time in the world, nobody could
explain it so it’d make sense. But it was all
there — the morning, the clean breakfast she
served, the softness of the cable knit as she
put it over David’s head, the hum inside the
cab. I used to love being at home.
Copyright 2010 by Linda Ravenswood
WHAT THE SEA IS SAYING
The broken wave repairs itself.
Life is contagious.
The drowned at the door
look touchingly young
in their sideways baseball caps.
You can only dive so deep
before the places you love
begin to forget you. There’s
a scar where the shore should be.
Copyright 2010 by Howie Good
The Legend Of Joe
Once there was a man who worked in a lab
because his mother died She said marriage
gave her cancer The man wasn’t sure
this was true His brother thought it was
hilarious & laughed so hard he drowned
His father said he only meant to take her
The man’s heart was a bag
of children’s sculpture Whenever he wore
his white coat, a dinosaur broke it’s neck
One day a nine-fingered girl came to work
in the lab The man could not stop looking
at her, at her hand, the ghost in her glove
If he tried to look away, a dinosaur skipped
He was deep in love
the way some people are deep in the earth
He asked her dancing & whether she missed
raising her pinky to drink tea
She said no,
she just raised the next finger over & yes,
she loved to dance the way some folks loved
to blame their families for cancer Just then
a team of child archaeologists burst out
of the man’s coat & argued down the hall
Copyright 2010 by Brendan Constantine
In Deepened Dance
"Could it think, the heart would stop beating."
She said, hold on,
this is the part where
love usually enters in.
He said, this is my
fourth, darling, this is
a meet, a just ratio.
She said, I was thinking
about a place we
went once, where there
were women, both
beautiful and mean.
He said, it’s my mast-
odon heart, darling,
it’s my celebration of
the living part of me.
She said, I’ve said
enough. He said, always
a consonant and a vow-
al, always this run-
on sentencing, darling.
She said, it’s all dying,
the part where love us-
ually enters in, it’s stulti-
fying. He said, I’m made
of lightning, a storm-
front, a way to keep moving,
inside, in these vacant rooms.
Copyright 2010 by Corey Mesler
of an old Iraqi man
being held by two
was captioned: Soldiers
help man cross a street.
The same photo in
Tariq al-Sha’ab read: Man
beaten by soldiers.
Copyright 2010 by David Allen Sullivan
The 13th Victim
Rhythms shock the air like speakers on a blue Camaro
while drums play incessantly absent a melody
this must be what hell is like
A hummingbird rides the hipbones of impropriety
while dragons encircle the arms of
young boys in wheelchairs trailing IV bottles
behind them like drunks in the desert
dependent and angry
Waiting for the apprentice to sneak in and touch
she pulls the covers up to her cheeks and waits,
does numerology in her head to stay primed she
wants to add tongue plus skin
but has never learned to play chess.
She will be a horrified mother someday
pale and lank, desolate, subdued
up the ante on theatrics, take a bow
all she ever wanted was to
wear an apron and
bake cookies but that was only in
red-covered innocence and a lie
The 13th victim
she is always the victim
how to get from there to here
in perfect linen shorts and
always doing the right thing
yes, this must be what hell is like.
Copyright 2010 by Tobi Cogswell
The Motorcycle Race
I no longer hoped to see the contest. The basement
window was obstructed by plaid trousers and socks in vivid
colors. But the motors' noise could be heard distinctly, and the
loudspeakers installed along the track were broadcasting names in
selective order. Soon I saw the motorcycles with their black
bodies and golden numbers, glistening amidst sand bags strewn
along the track curb.
Shiny leather outfits covered the motorcyclists,
with striped helmets and large glasses shielding the whole face.
Boots and long gloves completed the outfit.
The race started at an unexpected pace, the cycles' wheels
would easily disengage from the pavement in airy vaults and long
loops, then they would come back to the ground, elastically,
continuing in elegant pirouettes. They would revolve in pairs or
would line up and switch mates when signaled by a heated engine
discernible through this choir, while the loudspeakers would go
on announcing in unmodulateed voices changes in the race
sequence, slanted, motorcycles would embark on wide curves,
slightly touching the macadam or the slag concrete while the
noise would rise to the highest pitch. The audience moved,
amorphously, aimlessly, agitated, people changed their seats and
cheered with no enthusiasm the names of their favorites.
The contestants seemed ageless, one or the other would lag
behind then come forward with an unsuspected fury. Nobody gave
up. The closed loop had stretches of variable terrain and
obstacles, the rest of the track was made up of wide, or
surprisingly abrupt curves. The short curves would stifle the
noise for a while, and only by the sound could one tell that the
curve has been passed. Obviously, the sharp turns were the most
difficult and the motorcyclists' mastery in wriggling their way
through proved decisive. The accidents were inert, the
motorcyclists would be thrown against the sand bags or would
fall tumbling down. A few bags ruptured and the sand run over the
sidewalk, under the spectators' soles wherefrom it was pushed
further down towards the basement window, threatening to cover
it up completely, but the accidents were becoming less frequent.
I was following the race over the entire path, the flights
with the front wheel looking up, the pilots stooping or
stretching down over the gas tanks, and then landing, first the
back wheel, then the front wheel, pushing the rudder slightly
up, and the pilot would revert from the standing position to the
normal. Countless obstacles were passed, the dirt barricades
were broken, the platforms were escalated, the slanted pools
crossed, with pilots splashing each other with water jets. Light
Motorcycles, alike as a herd of heated buffaloes, pushed each
other and breathing heavily entered the final stretch of the
race, but the speed did not go down. Four motorcycles were well
ahead, the stretch of cloth announcing the finish came up,
Swinging very low, between the groups of young girls with flower
The motorcyclists' sweaty faces, with unnaturally extended
necks, passed the black and white checkered flag at full speed.
Presently the fans carried them away. The other motorcyclists
abandoned their dust-covered overheated engines by the bag pile.
Motorcycles thrown one on top of another, some of them humming,
somewhere underneath. The guards picked up the pennants, the
ropes and signs, rolled up the loudspeaker wires, untied the
bags. The sand run between the wheels, still hot, dampening the
muted noise of the motorcycles and filling the voids between
them. Soon it covered them all. The only thing left was the piece
of cloth with large characters and the winners' podium; then they
Copyright 2010 by Valery Oisteanu
GOOD NIGHT ROMERO
"Good morning Mr. Jeff."
"Here you go man, for 8P. You need to sign for it."
"Right. And print your name here. Ok, take care."
"Good Morning Romero."
"Good Morning Mr. Baum."
"Hello Mrs. Weinstock. You have a box delivery downstairs. Ok, I leave it here."
"Hola Romero, Mrs. Schmidt left me the key for the cleaning."
"Hola Luz, you are working in Mrs. Schmidt now too? 4D right?"
"How long you started?"
"Two weeks now."
"What is the key chain look like, you know?"
"Like metal letters, with a name: cartel, babyhell, somethin' like that."
"Cornell. Here is."
"You looking beautiful Luz, how long you up there in 4D?"
"You talkin' sweet to me diablo. All day, until five."
"Mrs. Schmidt is in San Francisco this week. She's not coming upstairs today, I am cleaning alone."
"Si, muy bien."
"Hello Mr. Black."
"Good morning Mrs. Lambert. Do you need help with the bag?"
"Here you go Mrs. Lambert."
(Never a thank you. Siempre descontenta this pobrecita.)
(El costo de la vida sube otra vez
el peso que baja ya ni se ve
y las habichuelas no se pueden comer
ni una libra de arroz ni una cuarta de cafŽ
a nadie le importa quŽ piense usted
"Aqu’ no hablamos inglŽs
ah ah es verdadÉ ah ah eÕ verdad..."
"Good Morning Romero. Nice voice."
"Thank you. Nah, I should only sing in the solitary confinement Mrs. Elias."
"Good morning Miss."
"Romero can you tell Tom to come up to 23P, I think we have a leak from the neighbors upstairs."
"Miss Showkart says she has a leak in 23P from upstairs. Copy?"
"Copy. 24P, is that the Lamint apartment?"
Ok, tell her I'll be right there."
"He'll be right there."
"I heard. Thank you."
"Ah ah e' verdad...e' verdad"
"Hello Mr. Darby, Lilly is looking like she's back to the regular Lilly."
"Oh, she had us worried. She hated the new low protein food. I had to fight with Lyndon, he is on this organic crusade, but the darling put her foot down. She is back on Alpo."
"Hellooo Lilly. Good girl Lilly. Keep eatin' Lilly."
'Hi. I'm here for Mr. Horvath."
"What is your name?"
"Hello, you have a guest. Yes. Carl. Yes. Yes, folding table with him. Dark blond. Yes. Tall. A backpack. No, Bermuda shorts. Ok."
"Apartment 12 F. Straight to the end for the elevator."
"Good afternoon Mr. Slade."
"Good afternoon Mrs. Moffatt."
(Fuck you too, Mrs. Moffatt.)
"Hi, listen Romero. A lady is coming over to visit, let her go up, and don't ask for her name."
"No problem, Mr. Pell. Two buzzes when she goes inside the elevator, like usual?"
"Yes. But if you recall, I won't answer."
"No problem Mr. Pell."
"Hey Gary, it's Romero. Yes. Ok."
"Who is here?"
"This is Romero, Luz. I have a delivery for Mrs. Schmidt. I have it with me now."
"Aren't you supposed to be at the front desk, diablo?"
"No, Gary is covering for me. Stop playin', unhook the chain and let me in, we don't have a lot of time."
"Ah ah e' verdad...e' verdad"
"I am back. Thanks for coverin' Gary."
"What's the word, Romero?"
"Hello Mike, how are you bro?"
"Same old, man. Not a lot of mail to slot in today, like in the old days when Ed McMahon went on vacation. I should be out quick."
"Did my wife leave the apartment?"
"I don't know mister, I did not notice."
"Weren't you here?"
"Yes, but I did not see."
(Don't you call me racist names in a low voice, you fuckin' wife beater.)
"Hey champ, how is the tennis game? You making your old man run?"
"Not yet, 'cause I am 11. When I am 13, he is toast."
"You got it champ. Keep hitting, and don't forget: stay low, and no Mr. nice guy."
"Romeo oh Romeo."
"Still, no Juliette for me, Ms. Dalland."
"Here, these did not fit in the mailboxes. Take care buddy. Excuse me sir."
"Excuse me. Hello Romero."
"Hello Mr. Altieri."
"Hello Miss Linda."
"Did you like the book I left you on the desk Romero?"
"It is very good. Thank you Miss Linda."
"More where that came from, if you want more that is."
"Thank you Miss Linda, yes, I like more."
"Hey Romero, ready to switch? Or wanna also take my shift tonight?"
"Nah, had a full day man, ready to go home. Good evening to you Cesar."
"Jesus, you are in a good mood."
"Yeah, why not be? Life is good Cesar."
"Good night Cesar."
"Good night Romero."
"Good evening Mrs. Brandt."
Copyright 2010 by Mark Hage
The Bicycle Review is edited and curated by J de Salvo and Kaitlin Anderson. Thank you for reading.