In Kyoto, yes: where bicycles are widely venerated,
cherished, loved, accoutred with the gloves that fit
around the handlebars, and springdown stands
that hold against all winds, and easily surmountable
low crossbars, wide soft-saddles, bells that ring
(discretely), baskets for your bread-rolls, paper,
early morning milk. No fancy paints, pretentious
water bottles, complicated gears or gadgets — See!
A Buddhist monk glides out the temple door,
unhurried, tranquil, coloured robes wound round
for safety, one hand to steer, the other to hold clear
his umbrella while he weaves through traffic,
his white socks and sandals snug in plastic overshoes
and safe against the rains that Brahma sent today.
So yes, it is quite possible to be elegant on a bicycle
in traffic in the rain and there’s no strict requirement
one must worship at the temple shrine to learn to balance
handlebar, umbrella, inner peace and pedal against the rush
of cars and buses and the gaze of curious tourists. But
a little worship helps. And inner peace. And wide soft saddles.
Came upon this shop (and bicycle) in London near the 'Poetry Place' open mic venue. (see 'Readings' August 09)
Came upon this shop (and bicycle) in London near the ‘Poetry Place’ open mic venue. (see ‘Readings’ August 09)

Another great night of poetry, short stories, novel excerpts and other rarified creatures from the Seven Towers Last Wednesday Open Mic in Cassidy’s Bar in Westmoreland Street. Two American Poets as guests: Joe Bacall and Correy Switzer, both really good. Joe reminded me a bit of Charles Bukowski, who is a favourite of mine. Certainly the same direct, on-the-spot type of scenarios and absolutely in-your-face dialogue. Terrific stuff. We also had an Irish guest, Edward Lee , now based in Dublin but originally from Galway. Great poetry, with a humorous twist now and then. One thing I certainly DO like about the Seven Towers Open Mic is the possibility of actually enjoying a night out listening to poetry and prose readings. Nothing po-faced about these evenings, thank God.