Don’t get too excited, but I feel that today’s poem might just be the apex, the magnum opus, if you will, of the Neon Poetry Project. I'm quite proud of this one, and it might all be downhill from here.
Warning: Reading the following poem might cause dizziness, dry mouth, heart palpitations, and an overwhelming desire to make a donation toward Josh’s ride in the MS Bike Tour, which is coming up this weekend, July 26-27th.
Many thanks to all the fantastic donors who have put my total at nearly $500 so far!
Today’s poem is dedicated to all the men and women who work at bike shops and gladly suffer dorky customers who show up 12 times a week to drool over shiny bike frames and ask millions of pointless questions about tread wear the best brand of chamois butter.
With apologies to Coleridge, on to today's poem!
The Rime of the Ancient Bike Mechanic-er
How a bike shop mechanic, having been harassed by the eager fixie-tross, was driven by annoyance to commit a crime, and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancient Bike Mechanic-er came to love all bikes equally.
It is an Ancient Bike Mechanic-er,
And he stoppeth one of three.
'By thine hipster beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
The bike shop’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of cycl’kin;
The guests are met, the growlers set:
May'st hear the merry din.'
He holds him with his skinny hand,
'There was a bike,’ quoth he.
'Hold off! unhand me, hipster-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye—
The bike-shop guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mechanic-er hath his will.
The bike-shop guest sat on a Park Tool stool:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mechanic-er.
'The shop was cheered, inventory cleared,
Merrily we did sell
Bikes off the rack, with a full till,
No longer in the red.
At length did cross a fixie-tross,
Through the fog he came;
As if he were there to spend a roll,
We hailed him in Trek’s name.
But he ate the lunch we had to eat,
And round the shop he flew.
Questions he spit with a thunder-fit;
“I prefer this wheel size, do you?”
Throughout the shop, before, behind;
The fixie-tross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
He came to the shop to holler hollo!
'God save thee, Bike Mechanic-er!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow
I shot the fixie-tross.
And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work me woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
Who made his back wheel skid.
Growlers, growlers, every where,
And all the beards did shrink;
Growlers, growlers, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the fixie-tross
About my neck was hung.
A hermit good lives in the wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with mechanic-ers
That come from a far countree.
He cycles at morn, at noon, at eve—
He hath an accurate floor pump:
And in sumptuous lycra he wholly hides
His shapely, old-oak rump.
‘A roadie, fred, a mountain man?’
The hermit crossed his brow.
'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say—
What manner of cyclist art thou?'
Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.
O sweeter than a poutine-feast,
'Tis sweeter far to me,
To pedal together on a trail
With a goodly company!
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou bikeshop-guest!
He rideth well, who loveth well
Both niner and 650b.
He cycleth best, who loveth best
All bikes both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth bikes,
He made and loveth all.
The Mechanic-er, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the bike-shop guest
Turned from the bike shop door.