Luther Jett – How to ride a cycle

Jett LE P&W June 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2023

How to ride a cycle, poems by Luther Jett.

How to ride a bicycle

Let memories pile up
in your yard. Let them rust red,
then scrape off the oxidation
with a butter knife.

Cultivate weeds.
Give them all names.

Save what others have
no use for. You never know.
No-one ever knows.

Carry your weight but travel light.

When someone tells you
they will make you rich —
believe that they are lying.

Sleep with your windows open
so birds can sing their secrets
into your ears.


We remember
more the idea of a kite
than the act of flying one —
not tug of string,
nor buffet of wind,
bright flag aloft yet
tethered — And what
will we treasure
tomorrow —
the idea of a heart,
pasted paper, crayoned
vow — instead slow grace,
cautious as continents
which through millennia
join to form a range
of sky-dressed mountains?

Lamentation for a lost star

Wind unseen, yet heard, seeps
into broken rooms
where we hold all we have lost.

The nightbird weeps for the jackal
drunk with sorrow,
and the moon brings no relief.

Ice marrows our hollowed bones —
we cannot fly
down the river, across the sea.

The sharp-eared jackal in the reeds
sleeps — his paws twitch.
He dreams he runs through forsaken grass.

Moon does not leave us at dawn —
Let go the wish
you made once upon a lonely star.

All the lost birds will return
from their hidden
roosts behind silent western hills.

Anthem for everywhere

Because so many people
were moving it was easy
to be overlooked. Voices
claimed the streets, then faded.
Tread of a thousand boots,
next, screams — next
cries, next a song.

From deep in the belly — words.
Body overhead suspended.
Uplifted eyes narrow,
stomach clenches — and then
the song. The song they would
ban that cannot be erased, cannot
be unheard. The street
is not theirs — it is ours. That sky —
ours. The song is ours. Our lives
belong to us. They cannot take
what we refuse to give.

© Luther Jett

I am a native of Montgomery County, Maryland, USA. My poetry has been published in numerous journals, including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Evening Street, Steam Ticket, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Main Street Rag. My work has also appeared in several anthologies, including “Secrets & Dreams”, Kind of a Hurricane Press; “My Cruel Invention”, Meerkat Press; and “Written in Arlington”, Paycock Press. I am the author of four poetry chapbooks: “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father”, (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and “Our Situation”, (Prolific Press, 2018), “Everyone Disappears” (Finishing Line Press, 2020), and  “Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021).

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