Midnight Pub

Crumbling clods of clay and earth.


I remember that time when I went to see Terry at his house, which was a ways out south of Rodiqum. It was still clear of the U34 out there, back then. We ate some macaroni or something, and set down there in the room.

And he had this whole rear axle hanging on the wall, like someone would with a stag's head for a trophy. Rusty, with the housing undone to show the gear. Probably like some old gm 10-bolt 2:29 or something.

And I was like, Terry what's that. And he said something like, a lot of days , a lot of clicks rode on that one. Happy ones, miserable ones, and every single one's energy went on down through that case to the road. And he stood to reach up and touch the ring gear, and said he can feel the vibrations of all that old energy still. He got quiet for a minute.

And then he closed his eyes, and he bellowed. As loud as the whole of him ever could. It sounded like a mud-soaked choir, ancient as caves, bloody as wounds. Voices of triumph and anger, of grief and sadness, of pain and joy. Of wildness, deep without measure.

Then he stopped, and he took his hand off the gear. And for a moment, I thought I could hear it vibrating too, trembling. Into my head went that buzzing. I broke down and cried for the first time in a long while, heavy brown sobs like crumbling clods of clay and earth, worms and all.


I had a whole bike graveyard of frames that could not be salvaged. I hung them up outside my window when I was younger to remind myself of that pure feeling of taking a light alu-frame into a tight corner. Lost them in the move, and they've been likely trashed since, but god do I remember that feeling still when I think of them.