Poem by Luther Jett
You stand blocking
the doors to your palace
with mile-wide shoulders and
brass sleeves — knives
for smiles and guns for a handshake.
Grimacing, your mild voice thick
with venom, you say
it’s all been said that can be said.
And there are no new territories
to light out for, no eyelands
No entry is your password, no
regrets, you shrug, and turn your back.
But I am History,
with my frayed, damp cuffs,
my undimmed eye, my lonesome teeth.
And I will wait here by your door,
with my broken songs, unfinished,
waiting only to be written down.
And the stars
reel in their orbits round
some pole that neither you
nor I can reckon. Stranger!
Do not ask to know —
the final line has not yet
The 2015 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical
We are pleased to announce this piece as a finalist for the 2015 Charter Oak Award for Best Historical, honoring the independent press’ best writing on themes of historical people, places, events, objects, or ideas. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blind and selects the full list of finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final.
LUTHER JETT lives in Washington Grove, Maryland, and has recently completed his first novel. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, including The GW Review, ABRAXAS, Beltway, Innisfree, and Main Street Rag. His poetry performance piece, “Flying to America,” debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. He was also a winner in the 2011 Moving Words Poetry Competition in Arlington, Virginia. Luther’s chapbook, Not Quite: Poems written in search of my father, was released by Finishing Line Press in fall, 2015. Find him at lutherjett.com.
Originally published on 10/30/15.