Friday, November 01, 2013

Poem for Friday and Halloween Celebrations

Searching For Poe's Grave on Halloween, Baltimore, MD
By Jim Doss

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and the other begins?
     -- Edgar Allan Poe

Not here on Fayette Street
where the dull faces of commuters
stare back at us in their pilgrimage
to nowhere. Not on the sidewalk

where a dingy robin lies
like a broken doll, its missing eye
peering into the next world.
Not in the greasy smoke that braids

the air above Hardees with animal scents,
drifts into the blue haze of power plants.
Not in the used hypodermic needles
that gleam through a sewer grate,

or crushed cans of Colt 45 rusting by the curb.
Not in the red scrawl of graffiti on brick
row houses where home-boys lean
against the wall, peddle baggies of rock or weed

to walk-ups and drive-bys. Not in the purple
and black billboard advertising play by play
for the Ravens' games. "Perversity," Poe wrote,
"is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart."

In the end, he lay face-down in the gutter,
delirious with fever, poisoned by madness
and tainted alcohol, bribed to vote
under the names of dead men for shot after shot.

Now, his features carved in garish granite
come alive in stone. Sunlight reflects
off stained glass windows. Roots strain
to topple markers in their slow crawl through soil.

The path we've walked from his Amity Street
garret traces Poe's own footsteps
as he strolled with his pubescent cousin-wife
and her mother on their way to worship.

We read from Tales of Mystery and Imagination
into the sunset's orange glow, wait for his spirit
to rise through clay to accept our offerings--
this bottle of cognac, and a black rose.


I had a lovely Halloween -- I got to see Cheryl and finally give her a very belated birthday present and some Halloween goodies. We both agreed that she needed a day to relax, so we mostly watched happy stuff (Gambit, Hornblower's "The Duchess and the Devil" and "The Wrong War" plus the special on the British Navy narrated by Prince Edward) and ate pizza with extra cheese, her mom's zucchini bread, my husband's pumpkin pie, and too much Halloween candy.

Adam got his first college admission: he got into Indiana University's Kelley School, which made him very happy because though IU is not his very first choice, he got into the business school directly. He went trick-or-treating with Maddy's younger brothers, then went around our neighborhood with her. Meanwhile the rest of us visited the neighborhood's annual Halloween party, which this year had a Katniss, a Wolverine, several Batmans, and lots of Redskins:

Post-trick-or-treat TV has been Elementary. Good episode. Hope everyone had a good Halloween!

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