Joanie age 16
Cellular Memory…a song about learning to ride
by Joanie HF Zosike
May 6, 2016

So it comes back to me, this caramel memory
Of learning how to ride a bike in Germany
The kind of thing I’d never do unless
I’d not been severely pressed to do so

Oh yes, I rode a bike when I was just a tyke
Back in my Pittsburgh days, and in El Monte
But despite my coast-to-coast proficiency
I forsook the skill to shadow other quests

Years later, visiting friends in Germany
We visualized an idyll in the afternoon
Time for comrades to keep fit and to commune
A ride to celebrate the looming harvest moon

I would have said “no” to it immediately
I do confess, I felt it beneath my dignity
Until a craggy Berber face oozing sensuousness
Worked its way into my reckless consciousness

“Perhaps a bike ride wouldn’t be so bad”
A babbling brook sang sweetly aside a wall
Encircling Augsburg with such fulsome melody
I was moved to ride a bike again, after all

I mounted the bike amid my friends’ encouragement
Their small son took my hand and bravely cheered
The stranger with a craggy face was my bike guru
The things we do for lust are often veiled

Lush forests ahead; a sunlit pathway tempted
This magic Wunderland to me was presented
I knew I must impress my handsome specimen
I strove to defeat my viscous anxiety

The cells have memory, and they snapped to it
I felt my balance kick in; knew I could do it
Yet the bike got away from me, as did the man
But if you ask me, “Can you ride?” I’ll say “I can”

PHOTO: Joanie in dirndl, age 16.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: First learnings are often taken for granted. I remember little about when I experienced that amazing moment of achieving total balance and confidence astride a bicycle. I lost interest in my bike quicker than my parents had hoped, abandoning it for singing, acting, and boys. But just like the sentiment, “Love is lovelier the second time around,” learning to remount that bike and achieve total balance and confidence again for one brief shining moment in Augsburg, was a lot like love. Complete with its unpredictability. Ah, yes…


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanie HF Zosike is a writer, actor, singer, and director living multiple lives in New York and New Jersey. Her most recent publication is in a limited edition of White Rabbit No. 5, dedicated to the late Judith Malina (director and co-founder of The Living Theatre) and the late poet, Bill Kushner. The work was feverishly collated and assembled in April 2016 by 25-30 poets and writers at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. Her poems will appear in upcoming publications: Maintenant No. 10 (Three Rooms Press, NYC, June) and The Bastille (SpokenWord and Other Writers’ Group, Paris, France, June). She’s working on a novel (The Nose’s Tale), a play (RelationShifts), aiding and abetting the Beautiful Nonviolent Anarchist (R)Evolution, and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Author photo by Susan Chute.