Bicycle Wheels
by Richard L. Ratliff

I remember clothespins and baseball cards
Used them on my bicycle spokes
Made it sound like a Harley
We never heard of helmets back when

Let’s be pretentious as grown ups.
Bad-ass bikers all of twelve.
Chuck Taylors roaming the neighborhood
Like a little rascals our gang movie

Always sang off-key like Alfalfa
And Spanky’s voice was cracking
No church choir for us
Carla was the little redhead two blocks over.

There was no Buckwheat in our neighborhood
We didn’t know why and that was our loss
We didn’t know any better
We would have liked him

Roamed blocks and backyards till dusk
Chased frogs at the creek, butterflies in a field
What is it called today — free-range kids?
But mother yelled and home we rode
Wonder if we used any Mickey Mantle cards

We buried old coffee cans of stuff
Outside our treehouse fort where we shot Indians
Time capsules for the future? I wonder

Copyright 2015, Richard L Ratliff

PHOTO: Mickey Mantle baseball card (1952) clothes-pinned to bicycle. (Photo by Jim Degerstrom, All rights reserved.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poetic process is simply to paint word pictures of my memories and observations — to try and create new and unique images, hoping to touch the reader


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard L Ratliff is a baby boomer, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana — his midwest ties have built the foundation and setting for his poetry. He is a Purdue University graduate with two years of engineering turned into a degree in English Literature, along with being a two-year letterman in wrestling. All of these eclectic combinations have given him a career as a boiler and combustion expert and poet. He has two published books.