I don’t envy you your mortal enemies –

coaches, scoutmasters, priests, uncles,

arrogant enough to tell you how you must live –

who want you to believe the only regimen

to go from boy to man takes huffing, puffing,

gritting of teeth, spasms in calves and thighs,

a catch in your ribcage –– pain


Shouts and hoots from passing cars confirm

the tyranny of what you’ve been taught to believe:

“candy ass,” for one thing; “sissy,” for another,

that you need to “earn those abs”


What I do envy is that you just don’t seem

to give a shit:


the flaps of your helmet swing freely under your chin,

no tears I can see, a steady march uphill,

teeth riveted in steely and unforgiving sass


I like your private smile at the pinnacle,

how you snap your helmet tight,

casually mount the bike,

arch up the front wheel into the wind,

pedal furiously downhill


Fly now, iconoclast, fly