“Some Fish Need Certain Bicycles”

I want to be very clear that the narrator of this poem is NOT ME. That is, she is perhaps an aspect of something within myself – but the poem wasn’t written about someone specific. It’s from a couple years ago, and I just rediscovered it in my files and thought I would share it.

I’m sorry I come off strong,
But I’ve been with you too long
to try to hide what I feel and shut my mouth.
I would agree to never see another snowflake
if only things would stay the same,
If only I’d be the only name in your mind
that brings memories of the kind of pleasure
you and I share.
I cannot imagine another life,
Not without your mind and body and soul.
My only goal, as of now,
is to make sure you don’t get tired of me,
that you keep on loving me,
that you won’t want to forsake me.
I wish I needed you like a fish needs a bicycle,
but it’s not true that I do,
And I don’t know how it ever could.
Scary? Oh, I know I am.
Am I in love? Very much so, thank you.
Sad? You have no idea.

The Day of No Pollution

As evening falls outside my window, the sounds of the world shift. The ocean-like sounds of cars and buses whooshing past disappear, and instead falls a silence so intense that it is hardly broken even by bird sounds. Little by little though, a new sound dominates the city streets of Israel. The sound of a myriad little bells and rings and children’s screams and laughter.

Gone are the motors, and instead the steady pump of legs is the only mode of transportation, whether the legs are pushing pedals, rolling on wheels or walking all on their own. It’s Yom Kipur, the day to atone all sins, and the most dramatic thing about it is the taboo that dominates the country. No cars will drive tonight, nor tomorrow until sunset. No cars but ambulances and slow-moving police cars.

It is no wonder then that children and their bicycles rule the streets on this day. While the people who fast stay at home and guard their mouths from touching food or drink, the young – who aren’t actually required to fast by Jewish tradition until they’re thirteen – and the secular play in the empty streets to their hearts’ content.