A Letter to Edgar Allan Poe

Nevermore might actually have just been the Raven’s name! Wunderbar, Eddie. He might have been trying to introduce himself to you. The poor thing could have been trying to tell you his name, but you so damnably paranoid that you had to go there, you had to think he was talking about your vanished loves, your death, your afterlife, and your precious career which started going gangbusters the minute you got out of its way in death. (Think a sec about that one, Eddie.)

The poor bird might have been a noble  squawkbox trying to befriend a sadsack addict. He might have glimpsed one of your “Goddamn it, I’m out of laudanum!” rages through a window. He might have seen you weeping on that cot after one of those rages. He might have noticed that you wandered lonely as a sasquatch through deserted city streets every night.

He might have seen you on the street talking to all those posts where they hitch horses, in order, walking down the street, as you do when you are drunk enough to talk to mermaids in the harbor. And I do have a daguerrotype of you doing that, Eddie. I have you in sepia tones leaning down and speaking to the mermaids of Inner  Harbor in Baltimore. I have shown it to the circle of dread friends. Forgive me, Eddie.

The raven might have felt sorry for all those handwritten pages you continually dropped, that wind or winos took down the street, poems that will go unrecovered for eternity. We both know those poems were used to line the bottoms of those strange wire condos of tall birdcages owned by the rich women of Baltimore, cages oftentimes shaped like mannequins. Wire constructions in the shape of female torsos. But filled with birds. Linnet birds. And those finches that look like they have had their throats slit, those finches with a blood red line across their throats. Little blood-throated finches on trapezes. These birds the women of Baltimore kept to remind them of their own tormented daughters who also sang in cages shaped like women.

That raven might have felt sorry for you for all the personal sadness you had misplaced or lost. Did you ever consider that while tripping balls on all those probably expensive drugs, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe? And, Eddie, can we talk about how that drug money might have been better spent on something useful, like cat food for the furry little angel who warmed your young wife, your delightful cousin, as she lay dying.

That noble beast who curled up on Virginia’s chest and slept there, sharing her animal warmth when you would not crawl in bed with her, when you had no heat to afford her but your poetry which, let’s be honest, she probably never liked nearly as much as you or I?

I don’t mean to judge you, but you act too often as though your life was nothing more than a folding metal chair and Heaven.

Your Northern Friend,

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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