My Man Poe

My man knew at once what was wrong with him (the man

Tense with rage, always trying to look as if nothing infuriated

Him. A fraud. It was his posturing game

Imitating everyone who was free, original, brave).

Step this way, said my man. (To him.) Quietly—the best place for you—

But I’m a special guest, said the fraud. I’m with her.

You’re not with her, said my man.

My man Poe talked to me. He leaned down as if 

I was child, he knew I was child.

He did this to hold me in trance.

He told me a story about a disappearing staircase. Stay

Here, he said, and I remained in velvet seat, laughing

Still. He found the fraud who was pursuing

Me; I saw Poe’s face show a prouder hot white fire

Of rage. He stood up very thin, straight,

In front of the man of false whining

Drama always seemingly in five costumes

On top of each other. Feeble layers of arguing colors,

Dark and troubling and perverse and cunning.

He stole those costumes, Poe said to me.You must never

See him again. He would steal all your pride. If he could.

I nodded but music began and my famous man was due onstage 

And I was afraid of it being dark streets again and 

Over. But he came back at end after he read, onstage,

Took my hand not caring if it was awkward to

Be holding my hand. He went with me to the door of my

Cold blank hotel, said goodbye at the door and I imagined

His throwing bits of gravel to my window, laughing,

And I never saw him again in Baltimore or New York or Boston.

But I remembered him. He was Poe and he

Glowed a harsh blue lamp.

Once Rebecca Pyle discovered that if she typed her name with her right hand one key over, her name came out as Rebecca Otke. In so doing she learned her first name is also her left name: it's all typed with the left hand. And she found the new last name Otke pleasant, so pleasant she submitted her first submitted poems using that name. But when the first Rebecca Otke poem was accepted for publication, she wavered: if great fame was to come, could she bear not bearing her famous name? So Rebecca Pyle she remained. Her poetry of no great fame appears in Coffin Bell Journal, The Penn Review, The Chattahoochee Review.