By Agnetti Sheldrake, Team This Space for Rent
Apparently we Americans have a rhotic “r.” No, not an E-rotic “r,” a rhotic “r,” meaning we have a hard pronunciation of the letter “r.” British and other English dialects do not have this cat-like growl. Maybe we are more animalistic in this linguistic isolation.
I would say we are more barbaric. Barrrrbarick. I’ll tell you one thing, I feel barbaric scrapping for a piece of bread in this biketalk fixed-gear haven. Portland is the only place where fashion is determined by retro bike hats and messenger gear, a quasi-ethereal ideal world for us vane legged fanatics. In a way the bicycle genre meshes with the artistic, or at least the vision is true.
Chuggin’ his bike-home up the hill goes J.C.
Sweat runs down the sharp inlets of his skin, highlighting his mahogany tint, surely toned by the thick woods of his environment. His eyes are brown and gray, his muscles broad and worked. He leans over his bike; because, as he would tell me later on the hill, “it holds me up.”
I thought about how my bike holds me up as well. In the droppit shallow well of the soul, when there is nothing but a gut-cutting feeling, my bike is a saving instrument connected to the rubber go-go of my desiring heart.
I was sitting outside of Washington Park on a blood sun Monday looking at the passing entourage of people.
“I’m double-jointed,” he said, walking by. “Boom, I’m here I’m there. Double-jointed.”
I was intrigued by this man’s vagabond aura, and decided to approach him. We began to tell the story of our lives. Every emoting description coming from his wise lips seemed to me related to this double-jointed nature he spoke of. “I push my bike I ride my bike. Boom. Double-jointed.”
J.C. is a Native American who, eight years ago told his wife he was going to get a pack of cigarettes and never came back. He became disenchanted with romance when he found out she had an incestuous relationship with her father and sister. In this case we can use the E-rotic “r.” Sisterrrrr. I’m sure he was growlin’ when he discovered that sweet little secret. He’s been in the woods of Portland ever since, shaded from the drizzling sorrow of his past, tucked between branches, talking to raccoons and white cats.
His tales of a past on the reservation as a ceremonial dancer and musical artist opened me to the fact that we are a part of a civilization, pulled in by a collective thought process excluding certain eruptions in us, repressing intuitive – barbaric you might say – ways of being.
We think we are so far from not having a home.
J.C. explained that his choice to displace himself from that whole was a choice of freedom: to be with his bike, to be with his love. We have shame of becoming insane. But who is insane: the love-shifted barbarian living by the promptings of an animalistic freedom, or the safe-going product of unpronounced dreams and predetermined rationale?
His guitar notes streamed up beyond the forested outskirts of the city, drifting into the sky like silent parading non-ego smoke. The lights in the distance pulsed and flickered, recognizing this exact harmonious moment, and he turned to me and said “I feel like a human. Finally.”
J.C. kept playing in the flip flying night.
If its wheels you wish for, let them hold you up. Lie on their turning changing space, and do not think “oh I cannot see the drained possibility in life.”
You too could be negotiating the difference between a rhotic “r” and an E-rhotic “r” tomorrow.
In a city of two-wheeled dreams and misplaced human matters, there is a hectic urge to move, one I had never witnessed through my burning young eyes. Whether this really is the white sky heaven of chain grooves or just a fashionate frenzy of wannabe’s, I feel the traction of wet tires healing the streets, loosening tongues and paving the way for a future generation of crank grinderrrrrs.
After the song, I turned to him, saying “me too.”