Charles Plymell - Was Poe Afraid?


Charles Plymell

On these same streets tonite...
in Baltimore. Was Poe afraid?

Afraid of the florescent eyes
of dogs, the ravens, and the rats
shot running out of Hollins Market,
the smell of rot as thick as fur.

Afraid of roaches, disease, of poverty,
timeless poverty, that brings a cruel whip
to ponies pulling carts full of vegetables
on Greene Street, overloaded with greed.

Afraid of the fast sky over
Cross St., clouds thrown over
a crimson cloak, torn from the hill,
sliding to the dark water's bay
where night rusts silently away.

Afraid of the partygoers, like sparkling ghosts
from the statues, swirling great pleated sheets
when street lights go dim, losing the stars,
streaming party coils to their last car...
some on twilight's slightly twisted cane.

Afraid of the beer, the drugs, the vault
of shoreline's fractal ragged fault
floating in a dream grave afraid to yell
disciples repeating smug versions of hell.

The whirl of a wash, a tangled thread
sets an alarm that turns to dread
makes the vision flow instead to
creation and how such grace is fed.

From Grist On-Line #1, October, 1993. An original publication.
© copyright 1993 Charles Plymell