Velvet Elvis: Bad Art
Lights Out on Lonely Street

Pssst. Johnny B. Goode. Come here! It’s now or never, my friend.
Forget that National Enquirer and Star magazine.
I’ll tell you where Elvis is. And he surely is not on Mars.

Hey. Of course I saw him.
No. He wasn’t in no heartbreak hotel, no ghetto.
That cat jailhouse rocks a place right down there in Cranston, man.
A-frame, brick-front, middle-class,
suburban geysers on a never-quite perfect lawn fit for nothin but a hound dog.

Of course you can see him too.
He’s all perched profile styled in blue-suede cool complete with signature lip.
Don’t think twice; it’s alright. That plate glass protects.
But prepare yourself----death has taken a toll on his soul----
Now he’s half a man, totally torso, forever gone those fevered hips.
His genius played out in American kitsch, burnin love doused beneath shaded function.
“So lonesome I could cry,” I hear him click.

Maybe he used to swoon nothin but sexy girls, girls, girls.
Now he croons “I want to be free” to this middle-aged poet all shook up and cruisin home,
this doo wop dinosaur, who still loves him tender,
who slows down tonight to pay homage to a windowed icon,
“’Night Elvis.”

Sure his secret is safe.
After all, who would believe the indignity of the King of Rock and Roll
not in Viva Las Vegas,
not on Blueberry Hill,
but masquerading as a lamp on a blue Tuesday in Everytown USA.

Cruel, baby, cruel.

Copyright 2013,  Kim Baker

When not teaching the comma’s abundant virtues or writing about Elvis, Kim works to end violence against women. Her poems and essays have been widely published. Kim’s chapbook is out from Finishing Line Press: Under the Influence: Musings about Poems and Plays.

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