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 was out pretty much all day on Tuesday -- stopped in Target before lunch with Kay at Tara Thai (belatedly for her birthday, it's been that kind of month), then a bit of a walk around Washingtonian Lake followed by stops in Charming Charlie (liquidating Halloween jewelry), Pier 1 (liquidating summer merchandise), and Kohl's (six shirts for $17 on clearance rack, the most expensive one was under $6). Then Paul and I ran out to Giant before dinner to make sure we had all our Halloween stuff.
Cats now have heated throws on the couch, so I had lots of company watching this week's The Flash (not very believable family dynamics) and Black Lightning (fantastic as always, especially the family dynamics though also the social issues), followed by the Supergirl we missed (really enjoying this season though the politics are sometimes a bit too close to reality for my blood pressure to appreciate). In honor of Halloween, a collection of things seen shopping and around the neighborhood this fall: