Poe sleeps in a shroud nightshirt, his head heavy against a pillow of raven prose, the laudunum seeping malevolence and mayhem into the sheets.

To dream is to suffer.

To awaken is to die.

Wicked moans weave a dirge around his sleeping tongue, and Poe startles slightly at the spirits of its sound.

The taste of “nevermore” drips unknowingly down his throat.

To suffer is to dream.

To die is to awaken.

Poe shuffles back into slumber.

As the vapors of nightmare stain an outline around his sleeping form, night claims his body; the full moon damns his soul.

The Age of Victoria is tatted in trepidation, and Poe’s depression unravels with the evening.

His dream is always the same.

A carriage of darkened language beckons Poe inside and he travels to the edge of a cemetery for metaphors.

Death does not become him.

Tombstones of poets lie toppled by vandals intent on an illegal party of prose.

Empty beer cans litter Keats’ best lines; cigarette butts smolder on the passion of Dickinson.

It is a horrific scene of sacrilege and opportunity.

Poe hates himself but this is why he came.

Dismounting from the carriage, he kicks useless bits of imagery around like so much disturbing debris.

He is here to rob meter out of the graves of greatness.

He is here to scavenge sonnets out of the sepulchres of time.

He is here to filch verse while looting literary catacombs.

He is here in search of a treasure hidden long before his time.

And there it is, that one perfect piece, that priceless shard of simile, that missing quality of craft that, when placed inside his own work, will magnify his efforts and wake him from the dream.

In the morning there will be cognac and roses.

Copyright 2010


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