this ride was organized by sara for may 26th at 11 a.m., primarily to honor cyclists killed on the road.
many people brought flowers, and these we left in profusion at the various sites.
on the back of sara's map she printed some memorial poems, and various people climbed up
onto plinths and abutments and declaimed them at some of the stops.
in addition to the planned stops on the map, we stopped at the steel bridge to honor jessica williams,
murdered there a few days before, and whose loved ones had erected a display for her there.
we started with about 40 riders and ended way up in washington park with maybe a dozen.
the whole ride took about 5 hours
Sara put together this ride too, and handed out a map again, this time with a list of memorials and fatalities that we are honoring in addition to the ones we visit this year. Memorials - police, fire-fighters, and various veterans, 911, Japanese American, Iraqi civilians, holocaust, and Joan of Arc, who refused to carry a weapon into battle. Fatalities - 14 more cyclist and pedestrian deaths, 6 of them young children.
May 31st, we gathered at the same place as a year ago, the bike memorial at SE 37th and Taylor, where Matthew Shekel's mom read a poem for him. A 42nd and Belmont, where Orion Satushek and Angela Leazenby were killed last June, Heidi read the Ralph Chaplin poem (above). At Lone Fir Cemetary, at the memorial for the "American" veterans of the Civil War (the Union), the Spanish-American War, World War I, and the Indian Wars, I gave a short talk about our country's covered-up genocidal massacres of Philippino patriots and read the Ingeborg Bachman poem:
War is no longer declared,
but simply continued. The unheard of
has become the everyday. The hero
keeps clear of battles. The weak
are pushed to the front lines.
The uniform of the day is patience,
the decoration the paltry star
of hope above the heart.
when nothing more happens,
when drum-fire ceases,
when the enemy becomes invisible
and the shadow of eternal armament
covers the sky.
for desertion of flags,
for courage in the face of the friend,
for betraying unworthy secrets
of every command.
(trans. Daniel Huws)
At the Citybikes Virgin of Guadeloupe Shrine to Ted Hriskos (beloved Citybikes habitue, also killed by a driver this past year), Sara spoke about his mystical knowledge of bikes. Where the Esplanade crosses under the Morrison Bridge, we left a passel of flowers in memory of Lynda Pigler, the animal rights activist run down with her dog Bear 4 days ago. Further along the Esplanade, at the Steel Bridge, where young Jessica Williams was murdered last year, someone read a poem by Sterling Brown - I think we found it posted there on the fence. At Dawson Park, Sean spoke about the intentional destruction of the African-American community of Albina hereabouts. Where N. Skidmore passes over the freeway, we put down flowers for Kendra James and James Jahar Perez, killed by police at traffic stops this past year. Then Heidi and i together read - working up to a shout - James Fenton's "Tiananmen" (sketchily scanned above). Then we quietly and briefly visited the home of Fernando Martinez Ponce, 11-year-old beloved Community Cycling Center habitue, run down on his bike 2 weeks ago, left flowers, marveled at the fantastic little drawing of a sinister SUV put up by his little cousin, and waved to his uncles. Then we proceeded to the Paul Bunyan statue on N Denver, where Sean again gave us neighborhood history and someone read the Mang Ke poem:
A Fallen Tree
On the branches of a fallen tree
a shroud of snow is melting
like the flesh of a corpse.
It halts me in my tracks,
afraid to come near.
I stand at a distance
until, at last,
when all the snow has melted,
I can see its skeleton on the ground.
(trans. Donald Finkel)
At Delta Park, Sean told the story of the Vanport Flood and a very self-sufficient old homeless dude named Mike added to the lore and identified the last remaining Vanport building just across the way, once the municipal bath-house, now a storage shed. At the Expo Center Max stop, we checked out the newly installed Vanport memorial art, and made our last goodbyes of this beautiful and cleansing day.