The Purloined Lectern

by C. Aubre DeWiles

It was the fall, November, 2020, in the night.
My friend, Earl Dolan Page, and I were chatting in low light.
We sat within his little study in his little flat;
there drinking wine, au troisieme. That is where we were at.
At least one hour we sat there in silence in that room
One easily could have detected eddied airs of g-loom.
We had been speaking of detective C. Auguste Dupin,
when the policeman Mister E. came up to the divan.
We welcomed him to take a seat. He said he was upset
with some dilemma that  he was unable to forget.

It seems a lectern had been stolen in the dead of night.
Some truck had come and taken it away from human sight.
In the dominion of the dark, it seems some thing had died,
and this rare lectern had been pilfered, whisked away to hide.
He did not know what he should do, what he should do, or not;
so he’d come to Earl Dolan Page to ask him what he thought..
We’ve called on many judges, lawyers, legislators; and…
we’ve even called security; but none will lift a hand.
And so, I’m here, alone and palely loitering in view.
Exasperated, Mr. Page, I now have come to you.

Perhaps it’s the simplicity that leaves you tempest tossed.
What nonsense you do spout, he cried. A lectern has been lost.
O, Mr. E., perhaps you cannot see where it is at.
because it is so obvious, like some demonic rat.
I find these truths to be self-evident. None cares for you.
Nobody wants to help you find the lectern. This is true.
Perhaps the robbers come from either mob or media;
from walled street to the alleyway or wicked-pedi-files.
Although the thief has put his stamp upon this tyranny,
if I can’t get this lectern back, what will become of me?

We need two lecterns when we have political debates.
But I can’t find the stolen lectern. It ‘s vanished into space.
If I could find this gang of four, or five, that would suffice,
If I could trace one of the criminals behind this heist,
then I could get the lectern back, the robbery be solved.
No longer then would I be in so deep and so involved.
This numbers racket could be put to rest. It’s such a lie,
and I could go back to the ordinary caseload pile.
O, Mr. Page, can you help me to solve this baffling case.
The plea touched my friend’s countenance. One saw it in his face.

O, Mr. E., do not despair, said Earl Dolan Page,
Perhaps you’ll find another lectern in the coming age.
And honesty may raise its head above idolatry,
and millions then reject in time such ideology.
A Great Reset could set such wretchedness besetting you,
and many more could one day see the truth and get a clue.
One cannot steal a lectern from a people in plain sight,
unless that people are benighted, and don’t care what’s right.

O, Mr. E,. you must have many unsolved cases yet,
that do not haunt your mind so much, that leave you so upset.
Put this case in the list of those that have not yet been closed.
Be vigilant and maybe one day it will be exposed.
I saw that Mr. E. was not entirely appeased,
nor was he satisfied at all; he still had not been pleased.
And yet, the conversation had done much to calm him down.
Exasperation was replaced with a more nuanced frown.
Earl Dolan Page then offered him some wine and history,
of which he did partake. He stayed—the sobered Mr. E.



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5 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    This is a riot! I read your bio, Mr. Wise, and can relate to the sometimes impolite rejections. I commend your persistence.
    On line 6, did you intend to hyphenate the word “gloom”, or was that a typo?

    • Evan Mantyk

      Dear Cheryl, no, not a typo. “g-loom” as in “gmail” as in “google” as in Big Tech censorship. At least that is my interpretation.

  2. BDW

    as per C. Aubre deWiles:

    Ms. Corey’s remarks bring several thoughts to mind. First: her first terse sentence (four simple words) runs very deep. My thoughts run from the interweaving of horror and hunour from the works of Edgar Allan Poe to the events of January 6, 2020. Second: her second thought, which draws from my bio; I had not read my bio from the last decade; and I now find much about it distasteful—it is too verbose, too personal, and needs refocusing. I shall set that as an upcoming task. I am so glad Ms. Corey read it, and brought out the theme of rejection and her ability to relate to it. It is no small thing to say that my poetry is a poetry of rejection; and that has profoundly shaped my vision of the World. Within that overarching idea of Ms. Corey’s, I was glad to encounter the term, persistence, a word that reverberates for me from Homer to the present. Third: her final sentence brings up all kinds of associations for me, which I shall try to limit in my explanation. It could have been a typo, as I write more than a poem a day (well over 35,000 words this year so far). It is easy to make errors, even with editing. However, in this case, Mr. Mantyk is correct, even if his thoughtful interpretation was not my own. This is an important topic I would love to discuss; but let me avoid that in this comment. For me, g-loom suggests the looming gloom I refer to at that moment in the poem. Although my practice with playful syllabics, spelling, syntax, cliches and typography is limited (partly because of my extremely traditional attitude to literature) time and again, I play with language, not like the written language L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, though I did that in my youth, but rather from the example of E. E. Cummings, whose expertise far outshines my own in that respect.

    I hope there were no typos!

  3. The Society

    And for those who may not have figured it out: Earl Dolan Page is an ingenious anagram for Edgar Allan Poe.

  4. BDW

    as per C. Aubre de Wiles

    Mr. M. is correct. Earl Dolan Page is an anagram of Edgar Allan Poe that I have used for some time. In fact, it may be the first anagram I made of a writer; and that was many years ago, in a short story I wrote about the detective Earl Dolan Page, who lived in Paris. That much lengthier story, viz. this vignette, I think, has been lost to time in one of my many expurgations, probably the last, very large one of 2017. What I like about the anagram is it retains the first initials of his first and last names and the last two letters of his middle name. In retrospect, I see now I could have kept all the first letters of his full name, with a middle name Aldon, which I will use, if anyone in the English-speaking world is interested in printing “The Purloined Lectern” in the future. But I will not hold my breath, as my writing has very little appeal in this generation.

    But it may be that I am too settled in the past for this generation. In fact, though Edgar Allan Poe (undoubtedly not woke-yoked) is not the writer who has most influenced my own work, there is, without a doubt, no one of my era (PostModernist and New Millennial) who has appealed to me as much. Indirectly, it may be to Poe that my poetic journey came to the creation of hundreds of charichords, especially when no one would publish a poem of mine until 2010. I have, over the years, enjoyed Poe’s own subtle “anagrammatic” forays, as, for example, in his single novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”. In this case, though we hardly ever see eye to eye, I am thankful to that rather prophetic, insightful man, Tyk, a leading supplier of refractory (a special kind of bricks made for steelmaking!), especially those used for flow control systems, secondary refining, and continuous casting!


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