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Bicycles and Symbols

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In this week’s edition of the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers asked poet Nikki Giovanni why she chose to title her new collection BICYCLES. Giovanni said:

“I just thought 'I've got to rethink it, and then I've got to find an object'... Well, tragedy and trauma are wheels. And they're always with us, aren't they? They're always spinning around. That’s the parameters of life, these tragedies. They just spin around and spin around. And so what you're trying to do is bring them together. And when you bring them together you've got the bar, so you have a vehicle, right? When I grew up you learned to ride a bicycle by getting on a bicycle, which means you're gonna fall off. And love and life and bicycles are about trust and balance. It's about riding it and believing that this thing, that doesn't make sense for you to be on, can move... We do that in our relationships. It's the same bike. We are continuing relationships through trust and balance.”

What do you think?

  • Is the bicycle a good symbol for life? Why or why not?

  • What object would you choose to poetically symbolize life?


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    Comments

    Balance and Trust. A Bicycle. Yes. Yes. A tousand times, YES! Thank you, Nikki and Bill. I trust the balance of your works. Trust the earth to spend your balance. Balance And Trust man = BATMAN. Ride, Sally, Ride!

    Melissa,

    One more thing. Yes, understood, Giovanni sees a Black identity as political, a means to combat racism that still exist in society. It’s still no excuse. If Giovanni or others want to consider Woods (who sees identity as personal) as a “race traitor” because he does not identify as Black, fine. But at some point perhaps she and those like her should just move on.

    Melissa,

    You simply repeated your earlier claims, but did not refute mine. How about this, there is no need for me to “kill the messenger,” when the messenger kills herself.

    "That little Negro (Tiger) wants to act like, in 1990, people didn't have to picket Augusta National for his kind to play golf," [Giovanni] said, chastising the putt master.

    One can debate whether or not Woods should have taken up the cause of Women’s Rights at Augusta, as a minority/person of color. But try arguing that “That little Negro” in no way implies Giovanni sees Woods as “Black, period!”

    @ HPChi: we all should be able to self-identify in any way we want (nikki does not deny this), and in general the people we meet and get a chance to know should respect that. the problem is when ignorant people make snap judgments about who i am as a person based on what they perceive my "identity" to be (w/out getting to know me), especially if those people are in positions of power or influence. nikki was not saying tiger woods is "black, period" b/c she herself believes his black heritage is the only valid part of his ancestry; she was making the point that this is how any ignorant person would perceive him on the street, especially if he weren't a celebrity, and certain treatment may or may not accompany that perception. who cares normally what people like that would think. but this type of ignorance combined with power (and sometimes hasty decision-making) can lead to inconvenient, at best--dangerous, at worst--consequences that are beyond one's control. this is a real problem TODAY in this country, when imposed perceptions can trump self-identity. don't kill the messenger when she's just speaking the truth.

    If you've seen Cleavon Little as the sheriff in "Blazing Saddles" you know what "faggoty white horse" means. In our culture male bonding (ganging up on others, maybe for rape, hunting or business) is the high voltage exception that proves the rule: It is derogatory gay or faux homosexual at heart. George Wasington rode a "faggoty calico mule" suggests his collusion not only with the businessmen boy-pal Alexander Hamilton brought to his attention, but with next door neighbor Lord Fairfax (who shared Sally) and with his mentors and military superiors before that. We fantasize about Abe Lincoln in love with his business partner in anticipation of his love affair with the nascent corporate establishment, and maybe with his team of rivals. We posit conspiracies because they always happen. This is no reflection upon men who are honestly attracted to men who are honestly attracted to them, who might practice defensive secrecy for survival. It is a reflection upon bargaining for hierarchical status by power obsessed men symbolically (and often, by personal disposition, unnaturally) taking the passive or subserviant sexual role. This sort of imagery predominates in the ritual of all male secret organizations: Bohemian Grove, Skull and Bones, Masons and Shriners.....

    I've never thought of gayness as ignorant, but maybe more aware than the norm. It is curious that homosexuals are offended by a criticism that by cultural structure does not apply to them. They are there for love and not for status. You will never see Harvey Milk ride a big white horse. He didn't need one. His heart was true.

    Dear Prof Simon Johnson,

    Why do you not discuss the (to me) obvious solution to our economic crisis? ie, Nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank, repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, resume federal government creation of fiat currency as provided in the constitution and thereby end the present practice of monetizing debt (allowing us to gradually pay off the national debt with fiat money - not tax money, and to pay for the necessary stimulus programs the same way), update and enforce the Sherman Antitrust Act, pass a law forbidding anyone from selling anything they do not actually own (like short selling stocks) and reinstitute Glasss-Seagall making it illegal to have common ownership at any level of both commercial banking and investment banking companies.

    The oligarchs arguments against all the above are just so much hot air to keep their status as the owners of the USA intact. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Abe Lincoln, and FDR, not to mention the Wizard of Oz, Ben bernanke, Tim Geithner, and I pray also Barack Obama all knew or know all this too.

    Are we now going down to national poverty because we are too weak, scared, and cowardly to even discuss it?

    I was asleep during parts of the interview and Nikki Giovanni's voice became incorporated in this dream:

    I was walking from dusk through to deep night in San Francisco (where I grew up). There was a thin gray veil over everything. Must have been the fog.

    Every person I passed, on hills,in restaurants, glimpsed in passing cars, was speaking her words, in a continuous rush. They would each say a sentence, or phrase, and then the next words were spoken by the next person, in a flow.

    Some of the people I knew, or used to know, or were strangers to me.

    What struck me most was when Kiki Smith (the artist) (who I knew for a while 30+ years ago) passed by saying "Young people do things differently. And I did what I thought I should do." referring to her art, and of course it was really Nikki Giovanni referring to her own art.

    Very surreal and nice dream.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers.

    i loved nikki giovanni
    her poems
    her self
    till i heard her read her "fagoly/faggoty white horse"
    which makes her a double fake
    or at least a two-timer
    retaining moments of dipping

    after all
    homosexuals aren’t really killed just for being
    or beaten or vandalized or robbed
    and if they are
    they deserve it
    why do they let it bother them
    they don’t really mind
    they just laugh it off
    any gentle or isolated among them deserve to be punished for being weak

    after all
    homosexuals aren’t really denied housing or jobs or promotions just for being
    or treated and graded differently by many instructors
    or preached against with an attitude different from that for other abominations
    and if they are
    they deserve it
    why do they let it bother them
    they don’t really mind
    they just laugh it off
    any gentle or isolated among them deserve to be punished for being weak

    after all
    homosexuals aren’t really treated as jokes
    as smut connections
    as mascots
    as doormats
    as pincushions
    as scapegoats
    as conveniences
    and if they are
    they deserve it
    why do they let it bother them
    they don’t really mind
    they just laugh it off
    any gentle or isolated among them deserve to be punished for being weak

    after all
    homosexuals aren’t really stereotyped
    presumed to be promiscuous vectors of disease
    presumed to loiter in public toilets
    presumed to be tasteless and obnoxious
    presumed to be gullible cowardly easy marks
    presumed to be traitors
    pedophiles
    or murderers
    the first to deceive or backslide
    and if they are stereotyped
    they deserve it
    why do they let it bother them
    they don’t really mind
    they just laugh it off
    any gentle or isolated among them deserve to be punished for being weak

    after all
    homosexuals aren’t really the first to be ridiculed and ostracized
    the last to be helped or defended
    and if they are
    they deserve it
    why do they let it bother them
    they don’t really mind
    they just laugh it off
    any gentle or isolated among them deserve to be punished for being weak

    my minority deserves equal respect
    equal rights
    equal opportunity
    equal participation
    yours doesn’t
    though i would never say it

    your minority isn’t really oppressed
    only mine is

    hey
    i need to kick [i]some[/i]one

    don’t take away my
    [i]last[/i]
    whipping boy

    thank god she’d never include a “n-----y black horse”
    or a “b----y mare”

    thank god it’s no longer hip or cool to dis people of color or women
    trust god it will soon be passé to dis sexual minorities as well

    we dis whom we can do anything worse to with impunity
    in other words
    we dis whom it’s safe to dis

    a bully is a coward
    and a sadist is a pervert

    we dis to bolster our ego
    a dis is an implied threat that we could do worse
    we intimidate and disempower to bolster ourselves
    of course we don’t need to
    what if we matured and bolstered ourselves
    with genuine superior generosity only

    our own weaknesses can seem insurmountable to us
    others’ weaknesses can appear mere whims

    historically however
    we retain [i]the n----- of the narcissus[/i]
    and the “faggoty white horse”

    (c) 09 rustle ochre
    awl rahts reezurvd

    I was only imitating Nikki, to show how poetry "moves" people. Of course, if Nikki lost 40% of her mind her publisher would no longer be interested. Billy: why not respond with your own poetic masterpiece.

    Also: I had a scan error in line #36 which should read: Was the onlyest time you came aboard,


    Notice how conceptually trite and cliche' ridden my poem is? It is a petulant satire upon ethnic protest poetry. You can tell from the inception that I'm feigning seriousness by the fact I really don't know the person who calls him/herself Billy Bob and claims to live in Florida. You don't know me either though I claim to be a 50ish female insurance clerk in NC. Anonymity on the Internet makes context and motivation problematic. Some of us are paid and others are bored, crazy or attention seeking. The ones with repeating tag lines are like buoys warning us not go there. I'm contrary, so that's where I like to go.

    Good night, Irene!
    Whats your snuggles mean?

    You may be righter than you noes 'bout ole Man-a-T winking at Ally Gator.

    But whats you says don't make no cents ta me.

    But, you do put forth an admirable amount of effort & thanks for reading my post-though you did not think it the most.

    Say, if your personal financial manager lost 40% of your principle, would you give him a bonus? Would you give him more money to do with as he sees fit?

    "You may think you understand what you thought i said, but what you don't understand is what you heard is not what i meant."

    Billy Bob, Florida where ya'll still don't get the relationship between not caring about my voting rights & how your money vanished

    She was the one who got it right. It was never Rev Kings dream to be president, it
    was Hewey Newton's dream to build a powerful black political movement that would put a black man in the white house.

    Sometimes I'm a herd of sandy manatees in the shallow canal,
    With hearing keened to read your keyboard strokes, Bubbles percolate from our green water, As we chuckle over your bonehead writings.

    Sometimes I'm a ten foot alligator in the sawgrass behind your house.
    I smell your coffee and buttered toast, and your bacon and eggs frying in the morning.
    Sometimes I'm earthworms burrowed in the graveyard.
    We've passed through several generations who thought as you do.
    They tasted the same except for rising corn syrup and mercury.

    You think you've hidden in a computer, Billy Bob,
    And that I don't know you, but I do know you.

    You was that l'il Opie,
    Shootin' at the bus with your air rifle,
    Trying to make a bullseye on Rosa Parks,
    Just 'cause she's in the front seat.

    Oh I know you, I do know you...

    My Auntie washed and ironed clothes in your house,
    And seen your Daddy get his nose set,
    For some curvy yellow girl,
    At the white liquor place.
    Seen how Mama shamed your little butt,
    When you was slow to potty.

    Oh I know you, I do know you...

    I knew you a long time, Billy Bob.
    And all the other Billy Bobs like you.
    You're color blind all right,
    Knock-gened from inbreeding.
    But you can still see colored people,
    Their golden brown hues.

    It's just the red and green you can't distinguish;
    When to stop and go;
    Whether to blow your horn,
    Or listen for a train.

    I remember when your old Pontiac started smoking, And you drove it in the ditch,
    Claimed our bus ran you clear off the road.

    And after our bus slid on black ice that winter,
    Was the only you came aboard.
    Claimed your neck was hurting,
    Needed to go to the hospital and see a lawyer.

    I know you're in there Billy Bob,
    And I'm winking at your colorblinds.
    And I pray to God,
    "When will this fey opal be worthy to ride the bus?"

    But then sometimes I'm the full moon at night,
    And I can look through windows,
    And I see death teasing your dreams,
    And I ain't the one far away in the eternal cold,
    My light snuggles in beside you,
    And I can't help it.

    I know you Billy Bob,
    And you know me to speak to,
    And we both gonna have some explainin' to do,
    Come morning.

    As an adult little person afflicted with dwarfism and the small stature it brings I believe Giovanni's appraisal of public values is accurate. As many times I assert that I am an adult, people continue to see a "midget or dwarf." What you Buick envyers see in Tiger Woods is his money and fame, but without his celebrity identity, any BART police who held him down and shot him through the head would still believe they'd killed a n****r. You may live in a dream world but the same evil forces who made terror on 9/11 and "purse anxiety" this past October still must us divide to conquer. Nikki and I ain't "rankin'," we're warning your dumb complacent asses. Genuine caring people are aware of the discriminatory and hateful threats their colored, minority and different gender-identitied friends face. Not even Christ could stop hate and ignorance by projecting acceptance and love. The United States is at best a barbarian nation.Faggot is a perfectly legitimate word, just like cock and pussy. It means a charcoaled ember from a bonfire. Hate and ignorance are what makes words ugly.

    anghiari was right on with her points. Giovanni's crack about calling Woods and telling him to look in the mirror was hardly about reminding Woods (or us) that he is a minority. I am confident Woods knows this. It was all about Giovanni saying Woods is still Black, period! This, despite the fact that two seconds earlier she said she did not care what Woods called himself. People like Giovanni are stuck in a time warp (my guess, late 60s to mid1970s). American is not Black and White. If Tiger Wood were not famous and walking down the street, what would he be taken for? It depends on the city and the neighborhood. For example, are there not people from Southeast Asia in this country, who look quite similar to Woods? What some fail to see is that identity is not solely shaped by how the ignorant see you or even treat you. Certainly that Woods still identifies as he does, despite Giovanni’s ignorance is proof.

    Wonderful Interview with Ms. Giovanni.
    I like the bicycle metaphor for life.
    I would like to use it... It's simple and eloquent, clear and precise. I suppose a full picture of the human experience would be tricycle to training wheels to bicycle to unicycle... The more I think about it.
    The more I like it. I can't wait to get the book.
    News J Review

    I remember Nikki Giovanni from the 60's. Even then she was brilliant,anagonistic and certainly not PC. I had problems with her views then and I do now. I think her statement about Tiger Woods unwillingness to admit he was "black" was misinformed. Tiger Woods is not black, but bi-racial. The color of his skin does not make him black. It may make people perceive him as black. Isn't that the lesson we have been trying to teach people, do not identify people by the color of their skin, but the content of their hearts? To decide who Tiger Woods is and to label him someone who said he didn't want to be black is a kind of racism in and of itself. I hope she remembers that President Obama has said public that he has chosen to IDENTIFY as black...which to me means given this society and the color of his skin, he has chosen a community. But clearly if Obama were actually black, he wouldn't have had to chose an identity. Perhaps black folks whose mother and father were not of different races will never understand, how difficult it is to chose one parent over another and declare yourself this or that. What you long for is that people would stay out of your business and that the world would grow up and treat each person based on what they bring to the table other than just skin color. I was highly offended by Ms. Giovanni's statement. Perhaps with the surname Giovanni, she has felt the need to assert her blackness and has decided everyone else must do so too. I suspect Tiger's mother is as proud of her nationality and culture as was his father.

    As the black mother of a bi-racial daughter and a granddmother of multi-racial grandchildren, I have never demanded my daughter choose Blackness to identify herself. Because she would only be naming one half of who she is. In the end, she choose to identify as black, which is funny because she looks more Chinese every day. Ms. Giovanni for all of her talk of hope and the future seems mired in the morass that is the conundrum of race in this country.

    bebe: I'm sorry that summer never comes where you live. I'd move nearer warmer people if I couldn't wait for global warming. A global warming of the heart is coming that won't depend on CO2. Gonna go out and ride my bike in sunny 60 degrees now.

    Nikki was once a fierce radical woman on the cusp of violence. Mellowing has value. The poetry you find puerile has a subtext of subversive accommodation to the powers that be. What would you do, celebrate the bailout or shoot a banker? Maybe her love is the third way. When the Mexican radical is afraid of the Patron, he composes a corrido about his less than ideal marital relationship. On HBO the Sopranos explains how we're all married to the mob, and Deadwood lets sadists spout f-word poetry. I'm sure Nikki spit out F**K, F**k, F**k many times before she composed "We Are the Hokies." We're all the Hokies now, with what's gone down this past year. Even Moyers is anxious about the truths we must face.

    I have long been a fan of Nikki Giovanni and I was equally disturbed by the use of the word 'faggot' in her poem, but then I investigated a bit more.

    First, I found this quote from an article:

    "She criticized conservative Black Americans’ indifference to civil rights violations suffered by gay and lesbian people—injustices much like those endured by past and present generations of African Americans.

    “What’s the difference between dragging a Black man behind a truck in Jasper, Texas, and beating a white boy to death in Wyoming because he’s gay?” Giovanni asked. “Everybody wants to make that understandable. Well, it’s not understandable.”

    And I remember a line from a poem by Alan Ginsburg that I read to my English class when I was in Ag School in 1975, and which marked my coming out, "America, I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel." ("America").

    Sometimes words, taken out of context, can be misconstrued. Especially so, the words of a poem.

    @ Billy Bob: Giovanni is not refuting the importance of looking past racial differences; she says as much in the interview (not thinking of race anymore as an automatic point of “exclusion”), but she also speaks to not denying the essential parts of who a person is—their experiences, their background, their culture, etc—and what role perception still plays in this society. I’m a black woman in my mid 20s pursuing my doctoral degree in the sciences, the daughter of hard-working, immigrant parents to this country, I am an American, born and raised…I am many things. I am not just my skin color, but it would be foolish to deny that my skin color hasn’t ‘influenced’ (or in more negative unwelcome circumstances, ‘dictated’) my experiences, and thus ‘shaped’ my thoughts growing up and living in this society. I absolutely LOVE how multifaceted this country is culturally, politically, ethnically, etc, and how I am part of it all. I SEE and recognize all these differences—in my estimation it would be wrong NOT to perceive them, to just ignore them in a mad rush to reach a so-called utopian, color-blind society (generally, what that entails is everyone conforming to the mainstream culture to make it more convenient and expedient for people of the status quo to “look past race”—where’s the compromise and understanding in that? Each ‘microculture’ that makes up American society is equally valid). I won’t lie; I have my prejudices too, but ultimately I am a curious person and try to see differences, cultural and otherwise, as opportunities and assets…ways of learning and enhancing. All of these differences, positive and negative, is what makes America what it is. We should revel in and respect the positive aspects of our diversity and strive to ameliorate the negative disparities, which I think is the gist of what Giovanni wanted to express.
    With her comment about Tiger Woods, she was just saying how it is right now in this country. Woods is a famous personality, so we know his background and has the public forum and space in which to take ownership of his identity. Other people of color, who are not so famous, don’t really have the ‘luxury’ of doing that, especially when it comes to situations in which first impressions and perceptions based on negative social stereotypes due to one’s skin color can make or break split-second decisions (extreme e.g. case of Robbie Tolan in Texas, this was the case Giovanni was referring to in the interview). Of course once you get to know a person, that’s what counts; however, if Woods was just some random joe-schmoe walking down the street, right past you, what would he look like to you?? I’m sure “oh, that’s an American” would NOT be the first thought to come to mind. He is a visible minority, plain and simple, and there’s nothing wrong in noticing and saying that. We just should try not to let knee-jerk impressions based on prejudices inform our interactions.
    And when it comes to history, I’ve always been a believer in truly having dialogue and learning from mistakes as integral to the process of moving forward; sweeping things under the rug ain’t progress.

    I just went out and bought Bicycles. Thank you Bill for such a wonderful and insightful interview. It was captivating. And thank you Nikki for sharing so much. I'm your new biggest fan.

    I'll say the interview with Nikki Giovanni was nothing short of wonderful and, Iam sad to say, I had not read or heard of the wonderful poet before last night. What a joy to listen to her and hear her read from the "Bicycles," which will be delivered tonight to my wife at our home by a friend who will attend a 20th wedding anniversary party. I think the book will be a great present for my LOVE.
    Thanks!
    Don in Montana

    I sat watching Nikki and thinking, "This bright, shining lady is probably the great, great grand-daughter of slaves." Producing her, and others like her, is sufficient answer to those Current Confederates who regard Lincoln as a 'war criminal'
    (one of whom was interviewed on the second "Lincoln" program just the night before). Nikki's metaphor, I think, should have been a tricycle because we will always have a squeaky, rotating third wheel of ignorance.

    I loved the inteview. It made me cry as she spoke about her mom, sister and the relationship she had with her dad and grandfather. It reminded me of my childhood and the seeds my elders sowed in me.
    Thank you.

    Just a note to Nikki Giovanni: Your poem at the memorial for the murdered students at Virginia Tech was the most inspiring tribute I've ever heard. The healing words stuck with me so well that say to myself, "we are the Hokies" when I'm sad and it makes me realize how lucky I am. I wish I had gone to VT and had you as a professor. Love your poems!

    In response to Grady Lee Howard comment: If, when it's 24 below here during the winter, I went for a leisurely bike to the grocery store which is over 2 miles away, returning with a knapsack containing just enough food to last till the morrow, would that be sufficient sacrifice to mother earth?
    Incidentally, hearing Nikki's cutsy puerile poetry I thought how Milton must be spinning in his grave. B

    How bout a bicycle built for two Nikki, for you and I?
    Love,

    =
    MJA

    Thanks Bill

    I was tired from the work week and feeling low. When watched Nikki Giovanni and Bill Moyers I was filled with love and hope. I have 5 little grandchildren and don't always know if or how I influence them. I am now reminded.
    I've always enjoyed her poetry and now will read more. Keep writing. Keep loving.

    Cassie

    I was so struck by Giovanni's comment that poetry affirms we are not alone. What a sparkling passionate woman -- I'm amazed by her exuberance and her poetry. Thank you!

    Tiger Woods is an American. Ms. Nikki, et al of the oppressed generations are having difficulty seeing past race.

    Young successful Americans have not suffered & therefore lack empathy for the Great Depression (that may change soon)or for the racial issues so hard fought in the 50's & 60's.
    Should we be dissappointed or thankful?

    Ms. Parks bravery may rank with that of Medal of Honor winners, but the youth (any race)of today probably don't understand why sitting up front was such a big deal.

    Can't we just get..over it?

    Tiger's kids will rather we are ready or not.

    Billy Bob, Florida where the DNP & Omama denied my vote--where was the NAACP

    Such transcendent, translucent, passionate discussion between two people I admire greatly: I felt like I was guest in your living room, and so grateful to listen to the conversation!

    Thank you.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Nikki Giovannia. It also encouraged me and inspired to take affirmative action with my own poetry.
    I have been a published writer for 44 years, but have never gotten around to publishing my own poetry, which is revolutiionary and edgy poetry from a Christian perspective. I am going to do that now. I can think of no better time in history than right now. It is time.
    Thanks, Nikki, for helping me to rediscover my courage after so many years of disability from past military service. You have spurred me to action.

    Sweet and wise woman.

    Following Post Title Correction:

    "Bill Moyer's Bike Messenger"

    [Sorry, my own 'spokes' were stuck]

    Michael-Vincent Crea

    All that goes through my mind when I see Njkki Giovanni is she had that sad, disturbed boy in her class at Virginia Tech and all she could do is throw him out . . is that love . . and what did it accomplish?197

    Moyer’s Messenger

    My keyboard is stuck...
    Just my luck
    Nevvver take wine
    Off the table to dine...
    Sealed my l-e-t-t-e-r-s’ fate...
    Now, too, late...
    I hoped to give to
    My Valentine.......date?
    Me, just ‘a generous Spirit
    Making a fool of myself,’
    My words of LOVE,
    To join two-get-here,
    Shall have to waaaaait...
    But, hold-up,
    LOOK! At the L-I-G-H-T:
    “NIKKI,” by name,
    Riding her balancing act,
    Trusting, anew,
    WHAT IS...
    Oh! So true,
    SHALL BE...
    Special Delivery:
    From the C-e-n-t-e-r
    Of my Heart,
    Beyond Earth’s
    Stratosphere.......
    My Omni-verses, dear,
    From around the bend,
    Herein, I send
    Bill’s link...
    Like us, two,
    Dishing suds at the sink...
    For Y-O-U,
    My Heart’s desire,
    I’ll never tire...
    My Soul IS on fire:
    But...
    DON’T let me k-i-s-s
    Y-O-U...
    No, I can waaait...
    And, so can any
    Hereafter, Heaaavvvven,
    If it means,
    Y-O-U & I ARE
    Meant to hold
    Time aside,
    To ride
    A bicycle,
    Built for two,
    Just Me & You:
    TWONE!!!

    ALL I AM,
    With this ONE,
    A Giovanni Valentine:
    From your Angel-Man [& Nikki, too],
    To Y-O-U:
    “Everything’s gonna BE alright...”
    BE sure,
    Both of us can sleep well, tonight...

    [Oh! BE sure to tip
    Y(our) messenger muse...
    Yet, Nikki's already picked–up
    Moyer’s Bill]

    --Michael-Vincent Crea

    I am a 73 yea old mother of six and I was reduced to tars when you had Nikki Giovanni on your show. I wish she was my next door neighbor, although she would probably want to move. I have a dream neighborhood with you, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Eugene Robinson, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow and others living on my street. Would that be heaven, or what?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love your show.

    Susan Farady

    That's it!

    Mr Moyer, you've probably done a few shows already on the nature of love, but that would be a fun show to do again!

    It seems to me that one can show acts of loving-kindness, but it is unrealistic to expect/demand that the receiver of your acts return yours in kind. An expectation like that seems like it would only lead to suffering. One gives love, and if it is returned, that’s when a mutual loving relationship occurs: that’s when the wheels on the bike mesh and the bike takes you two somewhere pleasant. Or, in other situations, you may love, expecting and needing nothing in return, and that can also be a satisfying thing to simply show acts of loving-kindness: you are in control of the bicycle and will go some place pleasant all on your own steam. However if one gives loves and is beaten in return, one should get out of that relationship if one doesn’t want to be beaten. It seems like it would be better to love that particular person from afar: the bike won’t take either of you anywhere pleasant. (What would be particularly sad would be if a person, such as a child with an abusive or unloving parent, couldn’t get out of that particular relationship until later in life when some particularly horrendous damage would certainly already have occurred.)


    What it is important to realize is that love is never wasted. But love is not lust. Love is a conscious act. Lust is usually not.

    I can only say about this nonsense that love certainly should depend on whether it is returned. It's the opposite attitude that causes wife-beating, rape, etc. If someone doesn't love you, a person needs to realize, then they don't deserve you and you should forget about them. Maybe she means this, but I don't think she said it.

    Thank you for the show with Nikki Giovanni.
    She let us into her peronsal life this evening.
    These are the things I didn't know about her.
    How inspiring was the story of her grandfather instilling history in her.

    Carol

    It is not often that you sit infront of your television and is completly drawn into the set surrendering with a big smile on your face and a lift in your spirit.Bill Moyers and Nikki Giovanni did that for me tonight, and I feel blessed being in their presence.At 54 I fell in love with poetry and Nikki Giovanni in a soulful way. Thanks for the EXPERIENCE.

    Re: Nikki Giovanni excerpt from film.

    "where are your heroes my little black one?
    You are the Indians so so disdainfully shoot
    not the big bad sheriff on his faggoty white horse"

    Mr Moyers, I am a gay man who listens to your podcast. Your choice of poem is somewhat unfortunate, int hat it makes use of the offensive term faggot.

    I find it ironic that you would celebrate the civil rights of African Americans by using a poem that slurs gay people.

    Tell me what kind of games should I play? Runaway slave or Mau Mau; or should I play Harvey Milk and James Baldwin?

    And should you play the hypocritical role of the defender of one minority's rights and the insulter of another's?


    Signed,

    The Faggot you just insulted.

    Thank you Bill Moyers!!! Thank You Nikki Giovanni!!!It is moments like these that I am especially grateful...grateful to be living at time when I can witness and be inspired by such gentle, yet fierce genius as that of the two of you.

    On Sunday afternoon I am to speak to seniors in a service at a nursing home. Bicycle is an image that might help them to join tragedy and trauma and all that is spinning around their troubled world into something of balance and hope, of love and life

    Thank you, thank you for your wonderful show. Nikki Giovanni was great, in part because you are such a perfect interviewer. A few years ago, I was so sad when I heard that you were retiring. I don't know what made you stay on the air, but I am forever grateful. Bill Moyers for President (after our 8 years of Obama)!

    What I meant to say is that a bicycle is my symbol of our aspiration for a better sustainable and egalitarian community life.

    Bicycles would be the most efficient means of human locomotion if it were safe to ride them on the street or if this country had the necessary trails and paths for purposeful bicycling and walking. (The existing ones often lead nowhere and are merely recreational.) We should demand the calorie powered transportation network we need to be healthy and free to travel to the next town or village, the parks and museums and libraries, the markets and public commons. I want useless emissions, wasted fuel consumption, car costs, noise and aggression, and gym regimens off our backs. I want to meet Nikki Giovanni and Bill Moyers eye to eye on foot or pedal and tell them how much their work means to me and mine. I would shake their hands and offer them some Valentine treats. This is my dream for social engineering of a new kinder world. I can't wait much longer.

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