I make no bones about being a big Elvis Presley fan. Not in the cheesy way; i actually love the man's music. I wanted to post tribute poems today, but
found it odd that i hadn't really written anything about him. So here are
two poems whose titles were stolen from Elvis songs.
is in the atlantic avenue station
with his wheelchair, harmonica,
and beaten guitar.
he looks like a big black bulk
stuck in the tunnel.
he is hocking his cds on the cheap,
he’s giving us new yorkers
the boogie woogie, and the new orleans
jive, and all we’re giving him back
is a funeral march as we move from train to train
in another suspended, suffocating gotham night.
i want to stop and throw dave a buck
but i’m caught in the mix
of pissed bodies late for dinner
hoodlums blocking passenger rails
and people stopping on steps to look
at cell phones or music machines,
besides i need the money for beer.
though as i walk away
and the music fades
the harmonica swells into the subway tile,
until its just an echo,
something is drudged up from inside of me.
i think of you on royal street,
content the rich wouldn’t give us any wine,
the way you smiled when i grabbed
and we waltzed a half a block,
but making so much noise
from so far away
it probably echoed in this same station
so i ran back and gave dave that buck.
it was like giving alms at a church service
when you really believe the bullshit
is suddenly real
that it can save you.
a little less conversation
the bartender got me drunk
with free ones because he used to live
in my current building.
so i got drunk thinking a little conversation
doesn’t hurt from time to time, right?
then i came home and passed out.
beershit and vomit flashes,
took the 3 train to work where
the janitor had called off,
and joint was still locked up.
i opened it.
the metal gate came crashing down
on my hand,
and sliced the right middle finger.
blood on my clothes.
no stitches though.
i’ll take my chances, i think.
what’s a body without a little damage
done to it?
but the next time i go in that bar
you can bet i’ll give that fucking bartender
the old silent treatment.
because now i know,
as i should’ve always known,
no matter how many free ones get shoved
in my face,
that a little conversation now and then
can hurt like hell
....i found one! but it's kind of about my brother too.
Craig since i know you're reading, this one is for you as well
my brother calls to tell me
he is playing “kentucky rain”
over the loud speakers
on an endless loop
inside the retail store he manages.
it is driving the college kids mad
and the customers out in droves
when all they wanted to do was
a little mindless work, or some
measly holiday shopping.
i laugh when he tells me this.
i am hungover and tired,
battling red wine, insomnia,
and ray carver’s poems.
november is back,
it is cold outside and the wind
until that phone call
a cat’s body was keeping my legs
warm from the chill of the apartment
and the horror of my coming work day.
next it’ll be “suspicious minds”
he tells me.
i laugh again, sadder this time,
and then he has to go.
we hadn’t really talked since may
and it was good to hear his voice.