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book review: Bicycle

20080329.jpg Bicycle

Bicycle is a short book of delightful poems, haiku-short and epigrammatic, written by Paul Fattaruso with drawings by Adam Thompson. I found it in the “small press” section at Powell’s bookstore last weekend. A few of my favorites:

Twice a year the air carries the faint whir of migrating bicycles.

Romance. A bicycle parked on a slope.

Today’s bicycle is amiss; it is an imperfect echo of yesterday’s bicycle. Then I notice that I myself am amiss, an imperfect echo of something.

The assassin carried a quiverful of arrows, a strip of jerky, and rode the shadow of a stolen bicycle.

Through the quiet of each night, a faint song, the mild squeak of a heartbroken bicycle.

We arrive a an intricate crossroads. I hand the compass over to the bicycle.

The bicycle cannot know it is a bicycle. It cannot even suspect.

How easily one commits its fragile balance to memory.

Under tires, the road sings out in its hidden language, sforzando.

At moonrise, the snow is the same purple as the sky. This is the secret hour when the bicycle leaves no tracks.

Like haiku, these short poems are grounded in sensory experience, and also like haiku they inspire and justify reflection on larger truths. The whimsy of many had me stifling laughs in the bookshelves, while the quiet and contained sadness of others will stay with me for a long long time. Of course I read it all there in the store, and of course I bought it – and it doesn’t feel presumptuous for me to put it on my shelf next to Basho.

Bicycle, by Paul Fattaruso with drawings by Adam Thompson. Published by the Hotel St. George Press, Brooklyn NY (2007).

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  1. May 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    I enjoyed the bicycle poem, I used to cycle everywhere at one time,
    thanks for sharing.

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