Peter Chapman Poetry


Was there ever a better actor than Strother Martin when he played Mr. Poe, the voice a
fleazy dog licking marrow from an old cow joint, all lazy to the point you were so pleased
to have Poe there, in the dark, particling down the projector beam, that he didn't matter as
a man (you understood), only the disguise made him good.

The glee at being so bad and nasty. It turned you out, made you glad.

Author Poe, pitching in the streetlight, skunked, crying for Helen beside the sea, went
around crazy, babies dying then the wife or worse; what of this Poe with the sad surname,
how'd he get all that pain?

In the movie, Ed's the guy at the edge of night, sweeping the footprints with an old bird's
wing. Strother sees him and says hello. Nothing happens, Poe to Poe.

Credits roll, the boys go home. Strother teaches swimming to the kids. Poe fights living
on the skids. You read and write and watch the art, let the scenery chew the world apart.