Mr Poe, Considering the Raven in Its Parts
One must be minded to such things,
set down in sulphur and the habit of desire.
I have not been as others were.
I have not seen as others saw.
In the country there, I was hoping to recover.
Indeed, I had been much improved,
or so Annie had believed.
The bottle, the laudanum, my stories,
could not lift me to her good intent, catching
the room, her voice in it, the house
meant to hide us and recover us;
I had hoped to be much improved.
I shall explain something of the times:
Father a friend of Lafayette, my Mother
English (I was schooled near London,
and proved myself apart from other boys,
the rude mechanics of their verses).
I believe you are acquainted with the facts.
At their deaths, my sister and I to others:
I knew our lives had been saved.
A child, I knew it, and Father’s friends thanked God
to see us so – the Allans kind,
but more insistent to the business later, and I
to soldiering, and the subtle mark
that sets a life against itself.
Later, my books set, and I, so seeming, made,
in lectern halls in Richmond, Baltimore, New York,
a fine, mad sweep was also fixed, my mind
turned to deeper shades.
I had a pretty turn of phrase, but never saw
its coin, my poor dear wife
swallowed whole in the task of it, in the lesion
shaking my brain.
I shall explain something of time.
Out of it, one becomes it, its tenets
of days and conversations long past.
By what other means shall we become ourselves?
I died one Sunday,
in opium filth and fever, and I wondered
that I continue thus, perplexed
by the humanity of strange and beautiful works,
in the spirit rhythm of the possible.
And here lies the mystery,
in this bar room, within a street
more brightly lit than all Baltimore,
a person introduced to me as Elvis –
a time soldier festooned in precious stones –
stands upon a stage, calling
to the crowd, of love that is tender,
and of the coming true of dreams.