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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AN ELVIS SIGHTING ON MY WAY TO THE NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE



“Can you believe it’s been thirty five years?”
says the DJ as the song Suspicious Minds ends.
He wants us all to call the station and answer-
“Where were you back on August 16, 1977?”
Driving along Route 18, I think back to that day.
I was with my cousin. I hardly ever see him now.
He’s bald. I’m gray. We’re old. Last time I saw
him was at a funeral, we stood and talked a bit
and he asked if I remembered the day Elvis died.

It was hot,a humid day,like today,it was back
in the days before so much air conditioning,
We slept shirtless and shook on baby powder.
It was back in the days before we had cable,
DVDs, video games, i-phones and the internet.
We had cards- Old Maid, Crazy 8’s and Go Fish.
We played with flashlights and told scary stories.
We made forts out of sofa cushions and sheets.
We stayed up all night listening to Elvis music
on a beat up General Electric radio. In between
the songs crying fans called in heartfelt eulogies.

I stop at a red light. Love Me Tender is playing.
I look to my left and there he is driving a hot pink
ice cream truck-Elvis at the wheel,big sunglasses,
rings, wristbands and his black hair,now receding.
I ‘m shaken, out of breath and overwhelmed.
I try to figure it out; he cuts me off, he exits.
I read his menu of banana splits, milk shakes,  
and a big slogan- King of Rock n’ Roll Treats.
There’s a photo of fat, old Las Vegas style Elvis,
a cartoon character in a red jump suit and cape.
And a bumper sticker that says-Thank you very much. 

3 comments:

Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

So nice to read this poem today.

Melinda donLuekin said...

I don't remember where I was on that day. probably trying to keep up with my toddler. Do remember playing cards and not having a computer and writing letters in pen and ink. Seems like another life ago...

Amanda Laughtland said...

I like this one a lot.