BACKWARDS PEDALING

I'm thirteen and allergic to the saliva of cockroaches
when he buys me a Huffy with a digital speedometer. 
From then on, life is to be an explosion,

like drinking a hormone Molotov cocktail --
peach fuzz, crop-eared haircuts, pencil mustaches --
But what happened is different from that.

Every Sunday we ride, a moving line of joined hands,
of legs lifting, of pedals spinning gunmetal gray.  
The wind combing our sleeves into bat wings,

untucking our shirts to kite-tails at an unregistered speed
as we coast down our Pentecostal hill. 
Our legs above the spinning pedals, 

and the coast too fast to hold a moving line.
This is when I realize sex will be different for me.
A backwards and brakeless pedaling.


Scott Bailey



BILDUNGSROMAN

Someone plants someone else
The wind moves into the empty head
and begins to give birth to its own little winds.

-- Seeds from The Little Box, Vasko Popa

I am someone I knew.  Cotton-top head not beyond our ten mile stretch of land and the pride of a preacher when I hide in the pulpit and sleep among the hymnals, the gospels that hold faith together, but I am a trailer looking for a get-away hitch when my thimble fills with prescribed desire and ain't nothing the church can do. Want lodges within me, and I'm a sentence of confusion when one shoulder claims there's a turning point for God, if he forgives us all, what is left to forgive?, and the other -- denial is the truth of a body unable to walk -- Inevitably, briars refuse to settle along the fence line and make movement and eventually join my fields in holy matrimony.


Scott Bailey
SCOTT BAILEY's poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Louisiana Review, Monster Review and are forthcoming in The Journal, SEGUE and The Southeast Review. He is a recent recipient of a Writers-in-Residence Fellowship made possible by the Mississippi Arts Commission, and currently teaches Creative Writing at the Harrison County Adult Correctional Facility. Since completion of his M.A. in Creative Writing from The Center for Writers, The University of Southern Mississippi, he has conducted poetry workshops at N.O.C.C.A., New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and the Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center.
The Adirondack Review