Tamerlane and other Poems by a Bostonian


He paid for two nights with his last fifty

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

  • Author: Alfred Peyer (Pseudonym) (Offline Offline)
  • Published: February 15th, 2021 19:41
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views: 59
  • Users favorite of this poem: L. B. Mek, Trenz Pruca.
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  • dusk arising

    I was enthralled Fred. Especially i felt his mind alter, you portrayed this with subtlety, and the piece of his rooms previous occupants. A man of much experience of life's loves, losses and lows.
    The final verse came as a shock. A disappointment of sadness because i felt the character you portrayed and had empathy.

    We, as readers, all bring our baggage of experience to each poem we read. Suicide is beyond my perception. I want it to remain so for i enjoy my solitary life and it's memories. I only state this to validate my comment about the ending.
    Really enjoyed reading. You should tell more stories Fred.

    • FredPeyer

      Thank you so much d a! That character exists only in my imagination and I feel the same way as you about suicide. I guess a writer is like an actor and has to get into the "skin" of the character he/she is writing about.
      Oh, btw, sorry I "shocked" you! 🙂

    • Goldfinch60

      Wonderful write Fred, I as totally drawn into this.


      • FredPeyer

        Thanks Andy! I do appreciate your comment. It is very nice to hear that somebody was "drawn into it".

      • orchidee

        Eek, I shudder at the ending!
        If it was not so serious - I tried that. I used the blunt edge of the knife. Doh!
        Me knife glided across me pork chop - yummy!

        • FredPeyer

          Thanks orchie, you made my day! Even though I don't know you, only your writing, I don't think you would ever use a knife for that purpose. You might sing yourself to death though!

          • orchidee

            Yes lol. Or it may be - it would enough to tempt people to get out the knife, cos they hear me singing. The would want to use it on me though!

          • L. B. Mek

            in tone, in eloquence, in subtlety of temperament (I know you could have taken this to some wild corner's of that rooms shadowy fingers)..
            you executed your theme and meaningfully blended imagery - wonderfully, keep them coming dear poet
            a worthy dedication, to short story's: unquestionable master, staying true - all the way to mirroring, his grim ending

            • FredPeyer

              Thank you so much L.B.! Your comment is very kind and I appreciate it. I am in the process of writing a short story about the same subject matter. It will take some time to finish it, but it is fun.

            • Doggerel Dave

              That one got me in, Fred. A well textured yarn which evoked memories of several doss houses I've inhabited very briefly during various stages of my life. Authentic.
              Ending a shocker - I wish he hadn't.

              • FredPeyer

                Thanks so much Dave! Maybe I can write something for you with a different ending. Maybe something where, after you finish reading, you ask: And then?

                • Doggerel Dave

                  Got me there - I would! And I'd remind you 'till I found out....

                • SureshG

                  I usually pass on reading lengthy verses, blame my attention span.
                  Captivating me, I just had to read this to the end,

                  When we reach that state of mind,
                  Poets words, can be very kind.

                  • FredPeyer

                    Thanks so much mohangupta, I do appreciate you reading to the end!

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