The tick tick tick of the bike on the potholed street,
scatter of gravel, twigs among shadows, glass
from a shattered whatever it was and flap
at the cyclist’s eye a burst of pigeon, rings
and sunlit feathers and tick tick tick the bird
stays with him, both their heads in flight it seems,
wind in his ears he’s almost young again,

flying along till the pigeon forks out of sight
and he sees before the homeless camp the fence
full of vines and light, the auto body shop
with its sprayed declaration YO MO SAPIENS.
Watch out for the STOP where traffic comes out of nowhere,
the hidden lane, that was a lovely face
at the wheel, her dark eyes—did they look his way?

YO MO SAPIENS indeed. YO MO—MO—
who knows what, speeding along in a warm chinook.
MO wind in his eyes, MO tears passing the camp,
the smoke of their fire the sweat pressed out of the trees
the bike path now no traffic now, the day
MO SAPIENS, MO she was lovely, she
brown-eyed and floating with her windows down.

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DAVID MASON’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, his memoir, News from the Village, appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. His poetry, prose and translations have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, The Irish Times, and The Southern Review. He has also written the libretti for composer Lori Laitman’s opera of The Scarlet Letter (which will have its professional premiere at Opera Colorado in May 2013) and her oratorio, Vedem. He recently won the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize for the development of a new libretto. A former Fulbright Fellow to Greece, he serves as Poet Laureate of Colorado and teaches at Colorado College.

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