Chamblee54

Cemetery Blues

Posted in Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 28, 2016









PG and Uzi had their usual Sunday phone call, and agreed to go to “Sunday in the Park”. It is a festival in Oakland Cemetery, with live music, people in costumes, open mausoleums, and lots of good clean fun. It wasn’t until that evening that PG learned that today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day. Edgar Allan Poe met his maker on this day in 1849.

There was a Chamblee54 post about DPRD two years ago. The idea is to go to a cemetery and read a poem. An effort will be made to do that tonight, although promises about dead poets are notoriously unreliable. The 2010 post is included as part two of this feature.

The first poem read that afternoon was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. In the intervening two years, PG listened to a podcast with Christopher Dickey, the son of the writer. Sometimes bard is short for bastard.

So PG, Uzi, and Hazmat went to a festival in Oakland Cemetery. Like everything else, it is more popular and expensive. You had to pay to park, which Uzi generously took care of. The brick walls around the boneyard have been repaired, and no longer look like they are going to fall down. Those walls are important, because people are dying to get inside. This is the second time that PG and Uzi have attended the October festival in Oakland Cemetery.

There are always things that you need to see at Oakland. Margaret Mitchell, the Lion Statue, and the mausoleums are important stops. PG followed the signs to the grave of Bobby Jones. It had golf balls and a putter, which was not necessary.

Don LeVert was a member of the Atlanta Sky Hi Club for many, many years before his departure in 1997. PG and Uzi always seek him out, and it is usually a bit of an adventure finding him.

After visiting Don, PG found the marker for “Brother John Wade”. His time on earth was September 23, 1865 to January 15, 1916. This was from the autumn just after the War Between the States until 37 days before PG’s father was born in Rowland, North Carolina. There was a renewed sense of connection to the stone monuments.







The facebook friend said “Today is Dead Poets Remembrance Day, Oct. 7th, the day Edgar Allan Poe died. Be sure to visit a graveyard and read some poetry today”. PG didn’t have anything better to do.

The first obstacle was finding a book of poetry. PG is not a poetry person. A look at the shelf turned up a paperback, “125 years of Atlantic “. Poetry was to be found between those covers.

The book had two stickers, both saying 69 cents. At the old Book Nook, this meant that the book was half the price on the sticker. With tax, that would be 38 cents.

125YOA had stayed in PG’s car for a few years. Whenever he was stuck somewhere with time to kill, this book was waiting. One afternoon in 1998, there was a slow day at work. PG read a remembrance by Gertrude Stein, about life in France at the start of World War II.

The cemetery of choice was connected to the Nancy Creek Primitive Baptist Church. PG has driven by this facility thousands of times. He walked past the graves until he found a fallen tree to sit down on.

The first poem was “Looking for the Buckhead Boys” by James Dickey. PG began to read out loud, and soon could smell the drug store air of Wender and Roberts. The author bought fifty cents worth of gas at a Gulf station. Today, fifty cents might buy a tablespoon of gas, and Gulf was long ago bought out by BP. Wender and Roberts became a bar, which was torn down, to make way for a shopping destination. Not all change is progress.

Buckhead is not what it used to be. When Mr. Dickey was the bravest man in Buckhead (he took a shit in the toilet at Tyree’s pool hall), PG was not even thought of. The traffic jams on Peachtree Street are still there, as the blue haired ladies follow poets into the ground.

When PG finished reading Mr. Dickey, he put a teal postit in the book, where the poem stood. PG looked up, and the graveyard seemed different. Maybe the sun had sank a bit in the sky, and maybe the poem had changed PG in a way he could not put into words. Maybe another poem was the answer. Take the glasses off, open the book at random, and turn the pages until a poem shows up.

On page 404…the historic Atlanta area code…was “The Wartime Journey” by Jan Struther. The 1944 work was unknown territory. A group of people are traveling on a train. The wounded vet, the untried recruit, the salesmen shared the space with a lady, taking a baby for her soldier husband to meet. The theme of the rhymes was that America was totally at war, and that war is different from peacetime. Today’s war in Babylon is not like that.

Halfway through the reading, a freight train pulled by. Today, passenger trains are a novelty, and freight rules the rails. The shipment today was double decked containers, ready to pull off and slap on an eighteen wheeler.

Deaths are said to come in threes, and reading poetry in a graveyard should be the same. PG went on a random search for a Moe, to go with the Curley and Larry already digested. A page of poems by Emily Dickinson was the result. These pages left PG unmoved. It was as if he was back in the sixth grade, with a horrible English teacher forcing him to memorize Hiawatha. It was time to go home.






Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: