The Bicycle Thief of Hamburg, by pd lyons





The Bicycle Thief Of Hamburg

The bicycle thief of Hamburg has no arms.

She sits in the lobby waiting before the ballet

Smoking filtered cigarettes, which she holds

 between her toes  (her boots lined with

Dark wool so she needn’t wear any socks.


After the ballet would be her time;

From midnight to dawn,

She charms bicycles from their chains.

Freeing them from railings and fences,

From street poles and the bumpers of parked cars.


They would follow her, the bicycles of Hamburg,

Like children after a pied – piper. Then later in

The morning she’d walk, alone, those same streets

Just to see people standing with nothing

But an empty chain in their hands, where they had

Expected a bicycle.


And that was then

The true reason for her actions,

For at that moment

So as to hide her laughter,

She would forget herself and

Wish for arms.




( Sylvester day, West Germany, 1982 )


recently found this in an old  Connecticut magazine called Hobo Jungle. i seemed to have not had it on files anywhere else. It was published in autumn 1990 issue under the name i was using at the time : Djanet Tozeur. It was one of several pieces that they published during the early nineties. the cool thing was that they actually sent a check for each publication. my first paid for poetry! always liked them for that as well. they do not exist anymore and so for the first time in cyber world here you go the Bicycle Thief of Hamburg – a real person.





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  • Salvatore Ala  On June 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    That’s beautiful!


  • Salvatore Ala  On June 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Hobo Jungle– great name for a lit mag. Made me think of Hart Crane’s hobo- trekkers. “Each seemed a child, like me, on a loose perch.” Anyway, just saying. Great poem.


  • zumpoems  On July 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Very nicely written (Minor type — parenthesis missing at end of first stanza)

    Liked by 1 person

    • zumpoems  On July 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Oops — meant typo, of course….


      • pdlyons  On July 13, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        thanks for the reading and the noticing


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