20150728海边情侣接吻
Tandem Bike
by Vincent Francone

As any other couple might do
in an instance of idiotic idealism
they rented a bicycle built for two
and rode through the fresh fallen leaves
of brown and orange inclination
an outing designed to solidify their bond
yet the trouble began almost instantly
one pedaling quicker than the other
the other complaining— This isn’t a race
you know—while the other felt the swell
of frustration and angrily bemoaned—
What’s the point if we’re going to go slow?

They couldn’t find sustaining rhythm and rode
without joy, too stubborn or maybe too used
to enduring to abandon the thing
and admit that they weren’t getting anywhere

And I love them very much
for finally calling it quits,
dismissing old world dogma
and dissolving their decaying union
for if they had stayed together
I am sure I would have witnessed
from my awkward adolescence
the bitter fruit of mutual resentment,
breaking plates and verbal daggers,
silent dinners and stifled tears

PHOTO: “Tandem Sunset” by lisheng2121.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is not about when I learned to ride a bike, but about the time my parents tried to learn to share a tandem bicycle, which resulted in a fight. They wouldn’t last as a couple, which I celebrate in the poem and in real life. It took a while for me to come to the realization that my parents’ divorce was the best thing that ever happened to me. This is, to me, akin to the time when we first balance on a bike—so amazing, so effortless after so much struggle.

vf at millers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vincent Francone
is a writer from Chicago whose memoir, Like a Dog, was published in the fall of 2015.  He won first place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writers Competition (Gwendolyn Brooks Award) and is at work on a collection of poems and stories. Visit http://www.vincentfrancone.com to read his work or say hi.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO: The author at Miller’s Pub in Chicago.