Tamerlane and other Poems by a Bostonian

He paid for one night with his last twenty

hidden away in his otherwise empty wallet

the gallon of cheap red weighed heavily

in the brown paper bag, stuck between

a dog-eared copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s

Tamerlane and Other Poems by a Bostonian

one of only 50 copies printed long ago

he had found it in a thrift store and knew

was probably worth a lot of money but

the young blond sales girl did not have a clue

apparently she was more into Japanese comics

and his notebook which was not worth anything

to anybody anywhere except to himself


the room was not as bad as he had imagined

fairly clean hardwood floor and curtains

which had seen much better times

the bulb flickered a few times before

it finally decided to throw out some light

the lumpy mattress sagged when he sat down

but he did not care, it would do

he carefully and lovingly took out Poe’s book

grabbed the gallon, unscrewed the cap

held it up to his mouth with a practiced arm

the wine flowed pleasingly down his throat

but did not do anything to his head

getting drunk now took more than wine


he pulled the lonely chair in front of him

placed his notebook on the tattered seat

licked his last and short pencil

searched for an empty page and began to write

words poured out of him in furious activity

only interrupted by the rhythmic

movement of the gallon of wine and

the occasional stop with poised pencil

the room receded with reality fading

into the universe of his imagination

the place where time ceased to exist

where the laws of nature did not count

the sphere of a writer’s mind


much later with a streetlight peeking

silently and forlornly through the window

lying quietly on the lumpy sagging bed

he thought about all the previous occupants

imagined a young couple furtively making love

a salesman resting his feet after a day of walking

a woman with child hiding from her abusive husband

a husband cheating on his wife with his girlfriend

he wondered about what the walls could tell

about the secrets, expectations, dreams, and loves

the pains, disappointments and maybe horrors

hiding unseen in every pore of the creaking floor

humanity reduced to shadowy hotel room memories


while sleep played an elusive game with him

a game he knew would take a while to win

he tenderly and carefully caressed Poe’s book

the lines flowing across his mind behind closed eyes

he felt attached to and at one with the great poet

lost in the grandeur and enormity of the past

he closed his eyes opened his mind to the beauty

of the written word, the construction of sentences

dreaming that he too would be published

that he too would be famous but

resigned to the improbability of his dream

the reality of a second-rate writer and poet

stranded in a crappy third-rate hotel room


the knife glided effortlessly across his wrists

maybe death would bring the fame he craved

there was no funeral, no eulogy, no mourners

Poe’s book, his wallet and his note book were buried with him

Mahalo for reading!

Talk story

Leave one comment for Tamerlane and other Poems by a Bostonian

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to its use of cookies.