From a new year’s, 1977 visit to Baltimore, Maryland. Allen’s ruminations on Poe, fittingly published today, on Halloween.
POE IN DUST
Bones groan maliciously under Baltimore sidewalk
Poe hides his hideous skeleton under churchyard.
Equinoctial worms peep thru his mummy ear
The slug rides his skull, black hair twisted in roots of threadbare grass
Blind mole at heart, caterpillars shudder in his ribcage,
Intestines wound with garter-snakes
midst dry dust, snake eye & gut sifting thru his pelvis
Slimed moss green on his phosphor’d toenails, sole toeing black tombstone
O prophet Poe well writ! your catacomb cranium chambered
eyeless, secret-hid too in bright-eyed moonlight ev’n under corpse-rich ground
where tread priest, passerby, and poet
staring white-eyed thru barred spiked gates
at viaducts heavy-bound and manacled upon city’s heart.
January 10, 1977