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Elvis in Hell



On days when he is not condemned to shake
off death and rise again
before the startled rearview gaze
of white-line-wired big riggers highballing
through Peoria or reflected in
the window-shopping reverie
of a Tulsa football widow, he's
imprisoned in a velvet painting in El Paso,
a plaster statuette in Nashville,
a T-shirt on the rack or
cursed with impersonators, harpies in white,
spangled bells drawling
old songs that scald like bacon grease.
But evening brings real agony
when night lights up the strip;
no headliner, just a warm-up, he
opens every night for the big marquee,
the boss of Mephistopheles,
who sets 'em howling with lines like:
"Take my dignity . . . please."
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Submitted on May 01, 2011

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