Bicycles: Love Poems

Bicycles: Love Poems

by Nikki Giovanni


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061726491
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/02/2010
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 483,466
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Nikki Giovanni, poet, activist, mother, and professor, is a seven-time NAACP Image Award winner and the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Woman of Courage Award, and holds the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry, among many other honors. The author of twenty-eight books and a Grammy nominee for The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, she is the University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Read an Excerpt


Blacksburg Under Siege: 21 August 2006

(for Carolyn Rude)

Not safe . . . not even all that nice . . . when you think about it . . . What mean fraternity boys do with their fists . . . and drunk fraternity boys do with their penises . . . barefoot boys do with guns . . . Whether it's a redneck screaming "nigger" . . . or a poet hollering "titties" . . . illegal and unkind behavior tells someone s/he doesn't belong . . . check it . . . check it out . . .

Not nice . . . No . . . And no reason to feel safe

A good day . . . someone pointed out . . . however . . . to be black . . . or a woman . . . and not be hunted . . . and not have to hold your head down . . . and not have to quiver . . . when you pass a man . . . police . . . or professional . . . yet still knowing . . . at any given moment . . . you are a target . . .

"They didn't move fast enough" . . . they cried . . . "They could have done more" . . . they demanded . . . "More to let us hold on to our illusions of safe . . . to let us hold on to our illusion of fair . . . to let us hold on to our illusions . . . illusions . . . illusions" . . . And whether it was a bullet flying or an animal cracker coming straight at you . . . it was an attack . . . And yes . . . maybe there could be faster motion . . . faster lockdown . . . faster dismissal . . . but hey there is the bigger picture . . . and after all he didn't mean it . . . his leg was sprained . . . he's so intelligent . . . so talented . . . so special . . . he didn't realize his heart was blind . . . he didn't understand he was causing pain . . . Bang! Bang . . . he sang . . . I shot you Down but I really didn't havea gun . . . and just because you're dead . . . doesn't mean I really did it . . .

I shot the deputy . . . hey hey . . . he sings . . . but I only pretended with the rest of you

And in the end he was very careful with himself . . . Sure not to be treated the way he treated McFarland and Sutphin . . . Avoiding the knockout blow or killer smile he dealt the man who came when he called "Help" . . . Silencing his victims with death for their goodwill and sense of decency . . . Or their pity for him . . . Do all the sane and sober things to protect yourself, Monster . . . so that you can plead Innocent By Reason of Not Paying Close Attention . . . Threaten us that you can make Blacksburg not ever be the same again . . .

But we will be the same . . . willful ignorance will overpower indignation every time . . .

That still does not make us nice . . . and it sure doesn't make us safe

Bicycles. Copyright © by Nikki Giovanni. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Bicycles: Love Poems 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Scott-Waring More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely entertaining poet that touches the soul, warming it in the process. Nikki Giovanni will entrance and enthrall anyone who dares read a passage. I especially loved her willingness to confront her true emotions, spun in a way that enlightens the reader into seeing the world in a new inspiring way.

Being an English teacher, a poet and writer of novels George¿s Pond and West¿s Time Machine, I was enthralled that Giovanni touches on the most sensitive of memories, those of pain and those of passion. She is wonderfully unpredictable in her poems, whisking the reader into her world, but never is the reader alone, but caringly guided in a way that will allow for a breathtaking journey.
kidzdoc on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The latest collection of poems by Giovanni, who is currently a professor at Virginia Tech. The first and last entries describe the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, in which a deranged student shot 32 people to death on campus before taking his own life. Most of the other poems are tender statements of love, with the bicycle used as a metaphor, as "love requires trust and balance". A representative example is If Only (which I'll post in its entirety here, as it is also available on the book's page on the HarperCollins web site):If OnlyIf I had never been in your armsNever danced that danceNever inhaled your slightly sweaty odorMaybe I could sleep at nightIf I had never held your handNever been so closeTo the most kissable lips in the universeNever wanted ever so muchTo rest my tongue in your dimpleMaybe I could sleep at nightIf I wasn't so curiousAbout whether or not you snoreAnd when you sleep do you cuddle your pillowWhat you say when you wake upAnd if I tickle youWill you heartedly laughIf this enchantmentThis bewildermentThis longingCould ceaseIf this question I ache to ask could be answeredIf only I could stop dreaming of youMaybe I could sleep at night
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read...less than a week to finish.
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SirJahUso More than 1 year ago
What an amazing collection this reading was! And the thematic subject matter the title entails was elusive. So simplistic, so true, so awesome! I absolutely loved this book. She definitely knows how to put together phrases and make words make sense together. An amazing talent.
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PerryGood More than 1 year ago
In typical Nikki Giovanni fashion, she lures you into her world and the universal experience of love. You don't feel like you're being bashed over the head with bland generalities though; there's something personal (as there always is) about the stories being told through the poems. I'm not an avid poetry reader, but I've always loved Giovanni's simple yet powerful expression. She makes you think, reflect, and best of all, smile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were little moments that seemed wonderful, but in some ways it just seemed too personal. Too many of the poems seemed like "mash" notes. I loved the fact that my husband gave it to me, though!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw Nikki Giovanni in her interview/conversation with Bill Moyers several weeks ago and had to have her book. The poems are clear without being didactic, their meanings plain but not simple. Writing "about" poetry seems silly. If you've had an important love in your life, you'll like this one--if you give it to that person, they might love it more.
Crosswoodspoet More than 1 year ago
This noted poet has the ability to zero in on emotions experienced by all readers--particularly women--and stir them to recognize the human needs we all experience. She does this with a wonderful sense of humor! This is a 5 star poet and writer.
ttdiamond More than 1 year ago
Nikki Giovanni returns with a collection of poetry that reminds me why I fell in love with her work in the first place. Open hearted and relatable this work expresses love in a way that is rarely spoken. I treated myself to this book as a valentines day gift and I am so glad that I did!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Giovanni poignantly depicts the longing, satisfaction and youthfulness present in women in mid-life. Her spritely way of telling "love stories" in which she may have played the fool, tugged at my heart and had me nodding my head in recognition. My goal is to surround myself with women like Ms. Giovanni.
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What is it about?