Local News

Durham Mechanic Doubles as Poet

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DURHAM — May 24, 1996 - 5:00 p.m. EDT

Related WRAL-TV5 News Audio Files:

Alton Wall reads some of his own poetry.
  • Listen to "Mother to Mother" in anauorReal Audiofile.
  • Listen to "Decisions" in anauorReal Audiofile.
  • Listen to "The Storm" in anauorReal Audiofile.Read more ofWall's poetry
  • His hands hold the tools of a mechanic, but his soul holds the tools of a poet.

    His name is Alton Wall, but everyone calls him Pop. At the age of 31, he's been fixing cars for the City of Durham for the last 10 years and, while working under the hood of a city vehicle, Wall is never very far from pen and paper to write down what comes into his head.

    "I'll be working on this car. If I get it, I'll just stop and I'll go over and start writing," says Wall.

    Although he's happy with his work as a mechanic, Pop's dreams often take him beyond the garage ... to a place where his voice and visions might gain him a wider audience. Recently, Pop started pursuing that dream by walking through some nightmares. He's been attending a lot of funerals lately ... funerals of young men ... funerals brought on by drugs and violence. He hopes to stem the anger with his words.

    "It may not make me famous," says Wall, "but I'm content I will continue, and maybe somebody will hear what I am saying and it will turn their life around."

    Alton "Pop" Wall, the poet of the Durham auto fleet, well-versed in life and giving life to verse.

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