A Poet Among Us

Recent Prize Winning Poem from Larry D.

I Married a Cro-Magnon Woman

Even though you wear petite,

I should have known.

The way you hold your head,

the focused movement,

thrift in speech —

All were clues.

When you muscled the case of wine

into the trunk while

I was calling, “Wait!  Wait!”

When you dug up the whole garden

with a rusty shovel.

When you dragged the garbage bins

up the driveway two by two —

I realized that twins would be no problem.

You’d suckle one at each breast

while chewing leather to downy softness

for me to wear on winter hunts.

You’d make our autumn fire,

spinning one stick on another.

You’d keep it going throughout the winter

to cozy up our share of cave.

You’d heat up water with hot rocks

and use the waiting time

to ply your awl for boots.

You’d swat the kids and laugh.

You’d be ever looking out

for fat and protein.  And so in spring

you’d heft a load, and off we’d walk

to where the fish were running.

I’d use up secret hours

to make a necklace from

a thousand shells I’d found

and managed to hide from you.


Idea from Rob:

A lot of us love great books, and we have gotten up many hills discussing the books we have read.  With that in mind, let’s try a book of the month club for 2017.  For those who are interested, here’s how it would work:

-At the beginning of each month I will send out an email with the title of this month’s book.  If you want to read it, you can do so.  Hopefully during the course of the month you’ll be on rides with others who have read the book and you can talk about it.  

-If you don’t want to read it, don’t.  This is totally optional for those who are interested. 

-I am hoping that every month a different person will volunteer to suggest the book.  I will organize and send out the monthly email.  Let me know if you want to suggest the book for a future month.

-This has many of the benefits of a regular book club with none of the guilt.  If you don’t feel like reading the book and don’t get around to it, there is no expectation.   Added benefit – if you don’t really like the book and don’t want to finish it, but are mildly curious how it ends, you can find someone to tell you.

As I said, I’m hoping a different person will select a book every month.  Since I’ve suggested this, I’ll go ahead and select the book for this month.  It is:

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  This book won the national book award and is one of the NY times 5 best fiction books of the year.  It is a very unique book that combines a historical novel with a touch of magical realism.

Each month the new book title will be posted on the web page under Links

Happy riding and happy reading in 2017!

Poetry Corner April 2014


Bicycling with Mom on Foxen Canyon Road

In Memory of Gracie

December 15, 1913 – February 8, 2014

 I thought that you would love this, Mom,

because you once said, as I drove you

over Pinehurst Road and you looked

at the chaparral, “How can God

keep all of this in mind?” And you meant

that it was wonderful and beautiful

every crack in the bark every aspiring

leaf of manzanita turned sideways to the sun.

And because I think that just being outdoors

would thrill you after all that old age

and confinement and solitude

and arthritis and the one-hundred years

of living of which the last ten were

a challenge to us all.  And because together

together we would just love the freedom

and the speed and the risk and the downhills

together.  And because I want you to know

what I do when I go cycling to know how

much I love it and how the cool wind

feels on face and legs and how a bike

can tip and lean and swoop like a hawk

and you would feel what I could never

exactly tell you about the joy of it

in those effortless moments

just before the downhill

and the turning on the curves I could

go on and on.  But I don’t have to

because you’re here and laughing

and crowding in your shrieks and giggles

and the “Watch it!” and “Oh, my God!”

and your face looks forward and intent

on the pleasure of it all the doing it

with me. Your flannel nightgown is

snapping in the wind like a bright flag

in a windy March mid-morning,

like silk robes, like the controlled

feathers of an eagle’s wings,

as if, as if you were an angel like me

and we are in our own particular heaven.


Poetry Corner

Cowboy Christmas

For V.G.B.

He’s riding out while it’s still dark.
The creak of leather makes
A dry-sweet song, the only mark
On far black mountains’ shape.

In moonset, sage begins to glow,
The horizon faintly lightens.
Star lanterns from the dark hang low;
And make all white things brighten.

So white and blue, so calm and cold,
Man and his horse breathe clouds.
The quiet’s pooled in every fold
Of cloth, of earth, of sound.

Anon he spies a golden speck
That brightens coming nigh
Until he has to bend his neck
And look through creased brown eyes.

Up close there are three Mexicans
Broad hats with bright gold braid,
They smack each string of their guitars,
Full throat their loud refrain.

They sing of every love he’s known:
His mother, dad, dear friends;
And every future love he’s shown,
A girl, a wife, children.

With song they lead him to a shed:
The baby laid inside
Crows, smiles, grabs his hatless head
With laughing baby eyes.

Soft hands, fat feet, the too big face,
The belly like a ball,
All strike inside a deep down place:
Thick tears begin to fall.

When dawn comes clear and night is gone,
He says his thanks and parts.
And rides into the light alone
The song fast in his heart.


Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

Fearless Post-Ride Lament

Fearless Post-Ride Lament:

Fearless:  Got time for ‘recovery drink’ ?  I’m waiting by YMCA entry rd.

Ride Leader:  Sorry, just got your message. Couldn’t make it today – maybe next time

Fearless:  No recovery drink for 3rd Sat Rides ! No bad food, alcohol and social opportunities ? Shocked !

Shocked I am !

(Now smooth Motown sounds)


Please Ride Leader,  Plan for me

Bad food, alcohol, Social opportunity

Please look and see, Been waiting so patiently

Bad food, alcohol, Social opportunity

Please, Please, Please

Ride Leader


Poetry 1


Cyclist Encounters an Insect

This butterfly, the touch of a cat’s soft paw

Against my chest.  A short moment of vibration.

The soft claw of wing’s edge.   Then air.

                               Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                              On the Volcano road,

                              May 27, 2007


Bury me in a meadow, some untilled waste,

Next to fields of lettuce or off the highway’s verge.

Let it be my stone, engraved in repeated rotation

Through timeless years.  Where rabbits start in the grass,

Mice rustle, and slender king snake makes his way,

In the warm breezeless understory of bush and weed;

Where song sparrow hangs on sideways to dry stalk,

And kestrel teeters, flaps, teeters, on rigid feathers

Spread out in points.  Here it is dry and quiet.


And, when the Resurrection comes, let the trumpet be

The brassy, tuneless vibration of the bee, against the clacking

Of locust wings.  Let my waking eyes gaze up

On sweet fennel or Queen Anne’s lace in sun.

And, if God should come to look for me, Let Him be

The cyclist, pausing to rest.  Hands light

On handlebars and saddle, He gazes on this modesty.

And let Him say:  This is too good to waste.

                                     Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                                    June 27 – 28; September 14, 2005

Top of the World: Bicycling Coleman Valley Road  

 I climb above the fog, yet do not know

The reason for this effort. Can it be

The pleasure when I draw up and see

How sunlight blankets rolling grassland with no

Dark tree to stitch it to the blue. I slow

And see the seam of the horizon smooth

Against a bowl of blue, the only truth

And world my distant forebears long ago

Could love. They hoped beyond that line

There await the lovely muscled herds, the streams

Of fish, the comfort of a hunt: in short, the Place

Where limbs feel happy aches. God, rushing by when time

Runs down, should see I have romantic dreams

And fondly scoop me up from this high place —

The cycling dawdler with the dreamy face.

Lawrence N. DiCostanzo

                              July 12 – 15, 2009


The Race

Don’t tell me how many miles you ran,

Tell me of the flowers underfoot at the first mile

How the birds sang when the end was in sight,

The way the clouds parted for the light.

The night.




Tell me the story of the grass, how it flattened

As the wind blew you by,

How it sprang up again.


The rain.

Tell of the flight.


Don’t tell me how many miles you ran, how fast,

Tell me of the last mile,

and whether you reached at the last.