You Keep Pedaling, n’ I Promise Those Gears’ll Shift

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”   ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities




This morning I got me two disparate things rollin’ ‘roun’ my head.
One be the words at the end o’ that openin’ paragraph that man Dickens gave
all us in his story The Tale o’ Two Cities. The second be a funny thread
that I be sparkin’ a re-run on time after time ’cause I a giggle-slave
to a picture that be generatin’ anytime I recollect how once I was ridin’ in a car
got a bicycle strapped to the top. It was bein’ driven by a man who played scar and star
in my storybook. He be the most common-sensed filled celebrity
I think I ever known. Which be why when we be havin’ some kind o’ angry
words ‘n he drive that car right into the garage all swift
n’ the bicycle scrap off the roof ‘n clatter to ground – I go all helpless n’ snort-giggly!
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

That man, he give me so many fun ‘n funny memories that done fed
n’ fueled a whole bunch o’ gear shifts when I catch myself feelin’ all furiatin’ or grave
an needin’ somethin’ powerful t’ help me remodel the mood-bed
I be rollin’ around in from one moment to the next. Now, how that giggle-seed pave
me a path to Mr. Dicken’s Tale can’t rightly be ex-splained ‘cept by how far
this mind be weavin’ an old thread from there and a piece o’ mylar
from here – cause I know it be waiting to fashion itself into something I’d never see
if I didn’t avail myself on how us humans got this fantabulous capacity
to find a pattern ‘n create some special-to-us meanin’ in what all drift-
in’ aroun’ us just waiting to spin some gold-meanin’ value for free.
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

That Dicken’s Tale, it be opening with that word-song done everyone but me read
’bout how it be the best ‘n worse o’ times. That Dickens, he ink a gorgeous name-wave
o’ opposites, like his epochs of belief ‘n incred-uality – dang his pen done led
my pendulum t’ swingin’ an easy rhythm – til it screech like Vic’s Vapor Rub after-shave
when he round out the ink of his openin’ rap by sayin’ how them noisy Czars
o’ authority be insistin’ the noisy comparison of far set opposites be the bar
everyone be drinkin’ around back then and now. First 89 times I read that I be
thinkin’ he sayin’ we shouldn’t be excavatin’ for ourselves why all the same duality
presentin’ all the time. You see, I be pitchy-fit annoyed at how all these opposite rifts
just repeatin’ over ‘n over ‘n I thought Dickens be saying that be okee-dokee.
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

It be botherin’ me enough that I ask someone who know these things an’ they shed
some light that help me see Dicken’s weren’t suggestin’ a wave
of investigatin’ and excavatin’ shouldn’t happen, only that it weren’t led
by those front ‘n center in the story’s time or present-time either. My crave
for insight ‘n meanin’ be somethin’ I know exists, n’ findin’ it be worth big dinar.
That be the tune my very cells know ‘n sing anytime I’ll listen. True tho’, them scars,
they mark us up any time one polarity spins hard against another, makin’ us all road rashy
and wary of takin’ another run at it to see if we can soar above otherin’ polarity
n’ discover a third thing we couldn’t lay eyes on where we cycling below the super-cliff
we be aimin’ to rise up above. Momentum, that there be the key.
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

All this here is to say, I think bicycles, peddlin’ & Dickens all done bled
together into some kind o’ new insight for me. It be ’bout hows people behav-
in’ back then ain’t much different then how we be actin’ now – n’ how I be done dread-
in’ my metaphorical bicyle be strapped to some car drivin’ into the historical cave,
that garage rerun I done seen 89 times before. That scene jus’ end with a bizarre
sound o’ death, devastation ‘n destruction as the bicycle scrapes the car
n’ hits the tar! I done ridin’ that bicycle, Now I be seein’ what personal Palestinian n’ Israeli
conflict I be hostin’ inside, cause it be waitin’ for me to go do some in-sight-see-
in’ and findin’ the self-knowin’ that be waitin’ to fuel me n’ power another run that lift
me up, up – above the garage, the house, the history, the trap – and into clarity.
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

I remember the one time I try riding a bicycle with some star played in my history
I done barely figure out how to move forward while keeping the bike steady –
when he say it be time to take it up hill, and I know he’s about to rise above me all swift
I be wrestlin’ with my gear-changin’ lack-o’-knowin’ n’ he smile all gorgeous sayin’ to me,
Sweetie, you keep pedaling, n’ I promise those gears’ll shift

© Lori Fleming, 2014



11 thoughts on “You Keep Pedaling, n’ I Promise Those Gears’ll Shift

  1. brian miller

    go do some insight seein…smiles. i like the repetition as well…a simple truth made into a fun journey in this…nice to put a face to the voice with the vid too…it caught me off guard a bit..ha…but nice reading…

  2. Grace

    Enjoyed your read very much as you give your words life, verve & passion ~ I also like the word pairings (giggle-slave,pitchy-fit annoyed, okee-dokee)) & nod to Dickens Tale ~

    Thanks for sharing this, smiles ~

  3. Dru Micn

    Lori, I like how this brings things down to a very personal experience level; the abstractions still come through loud and clear but that is because you show us rather than just tell us. I hope you’ll continue in this vein. I think it is great the way you be spontaneous rather than sticking to an agenda/plan/structure (mandala). You will cover those appendages in an organic way, in a way that you are not shouting them at us, but rather smoothly seducing our ears to hear about them. Good advice that, “Sweetie you keep pedaling . . . ” I for one am looking forward as you describe the view from the top of each new hill!

  4. claudia

    hey – cool to hear and see you read the piece… i started reading tale of two cities but never finished it…think i should def. pull it out of the drawer again

  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    Ah.. yes this was a nice way to write .. really couldn’t listen where I was sittin’ but I’ll be back to read… love how you created this poetry-prose and those insights drawn from a crashed bicycle and Mr Dickens.. (I still haven’t read it..)

  6. Glenn Buttkus

    My goodness, this was my first experience with DownInTheHollerPoetics; sounds pitch-perfect, head-spinning, smile-provokingl, toe-tapping. Would love to see an audience respond to this melodic excursion at an Open Mic Poetry Slam.


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