Slippery Road

Slippery Road

by JR Walsh

Wear me. It’s cold. Ride me. It’s faster. The goose-down trench and the tuned-up bike were trying to help, but that’s what you get for listening objectively.

I mounted the bike like a horse. It was low-slung like the good Schwinns. And so was my nerve, but the sky’s the limit on the pelvic floor when you’re young. I had never ridden a horse. Or any Schwinn, though I’d seen a bunch and knew their reputation.

I was pedaling away from the future. Ten speeds of Shimano-like shiftiness and Schwinn-like precision. The gears worked a little and the brakes worked a little less. The frame was brown like copper cooking pot bottoms after a couple of uses and no scouring.

That snow year had eight months. October in Syracuse was month two. The four months of the non-snow year were but intermission. Nothing but snow retrospect and snow prep. This was my sixteenth snow year. Enough snowfalls and crack! Puberty thaws into your shoes.

It’s all downhill from here and here and here. And here too. There is truth in movement. And then the market corrects itself by going flat. It’s no coincidence that movement is a music term. And so is tuned up. And so is flat. So make a joyful noise and be sharp as a tack and stick to your list of notes. Be a good listener and note her changes of tune.

The trench coat didn’t say, Buckle me. Fasten me. Unite female with my male, for this is the nature of buckling. I’m just supposed to know this. The seasons hadn’t made up their minds yet. Month two could be hot and wet and still snow. How should I know if buckling time was now? Should I grow the mustache? Shaving accomplishes acne and coarse shadows.

A trench coat is a cape for a depressed teenager, but it doesn’t come with powers. A trench coat wears you like a bicycle rides you, but a woman makes you a man. A man is flapping in the breeze and indecisive just like a depressed teenager wearing a trench coat. Your circular reasoning puckers.

A French kiss thrown and then it’s downhill. Zipper yourself and thank your non-denominational god of lust. Merde. And also with you. I wore the coat. And still. If a woman wore the coat — praise fuck.

The wheels aren’t turning. A belt goes free and wraps itself around the wheel until around is a former turn around. Speak to your spokes, man! A nun will take your name and become bride of your bicycle. You are free of transportation but transported. A round is like Mary had a little lame leg or head or scraped face. Which Mary are you? The mother, the lover, the quite contrary, the lamb of god? The habit of riding was cursed this winter.

The bicycle gets me to love usually. A job gets the job done but the bicycle pays for our romance remotely. Pedaling makes strong legs. Oh rectus femorus! Oh flexor digitorum longus! Oh gracilis! Nature is more powerful than sprockets. Muscles seek revenge on forgotten bones because muscles are always thinking.

Personification is murdered in winter. A faceplant stings like a butterfly. The bicycle was action sculpture. The trench coat was down and down and ripped and molting. And I was late for work and bloody.

When you’re late for fast food, they just pay you slower and in bandages. Wheels turn over new leaves covered crimson and cottony. Leaves are for disappearing. I crawled to the side of the street. Empty of cars, full of twisted bicycle. I was becoming nothing but a pile of leaves. Look at the trees reflected in ice. Leaves are for the guests. Don’t look at them. Look at the outdoor table once trees. You can almost smell the varnish, the deep stain. All the unshoveled, unsalted driveways looked the other way.

Make them leaves for sitting. Make them eat leaves. Make them leave. Make them work drive-thru. Can I take your orders? A paper bag feeds a family of two hours. Rent the family. Buy the tilling and trilling and I was the passenger and now I’m flat on the road in part. Crescendo/decrescendo. So many orders. Not enough orders.

Falling off a bicycle is supposed to be like riding a bicycle. You can do it again and again and in the unhatched years again. Metaphors are smiles from those who act like they know. No one remembers growing up, you remember what happened just before. Then you go to a garage sale and buy a new bike. But you need money and a job so you end up walking with a handful of slush held to your head by a soggy mitten and melting down your neck.

How did I become you? Grammar is lost in accidents. Everything intertwines. A bicycle becomes a coat making a third mess. A grandmother can fix that coat or make new mittens, maybe. The elders have secrets about entanglements. Is love death, denial, or moving on? Deny death and it doesn’t exist. Deny yourself and you are in denial if someone else hears about it. It’s never foggy enough. Maybe we get things fixed. Maybe we can get fixed. Maybe I will get a tractor seat for comfort and watch my wheels spin. Maybe comfort is not important. Maybe I’ll get a Schwinn and a good woman who’ll remember my bones and shovel me off the swaying cement. My blood will fly again. We’ll go to work, leave the leaves. A plow will clear the road.

“Path to Unknown” by Armen Alex