Is Elvis In the Building?
In every guy lingers an inner Elvis,
open to the opportunity of an entourage
of fawning groupies and grovelers
who succumb to his bedroom
leer turned sneer, ones who beg
for brief moments of bumping and
grinding with nothing less than royalty.
A tank of testosterone and certainty
that his slick, swivel-hip love moves
drive devotees wild, though sometimes
his sappy postage-stamp Elvis,
Teddy Bear of sweet-faced charm,
vacates the stage, disappears too soon.
But â€œglory, glory hallelujah,â€ heâ€™s the man
reinventing himself. Past the snarl
and aloha shirts, now bloated, bejeweled
and sequined, the hunk turned hulk,
in white jumpsuits whose high-collared
tops open to a sweaty, hair-matted chest.
This is the last Elvis, incarnated
in any guy past his prime, any dude,
confident and contentious enough,
to rely on his own resurrection
in this life. The guy who never loses
his allegiance to second chances,
one who dares say his Elvis isnâ€™t dead.
Finding the Playmate of the Month
â€œI am none of my clothes.â€ â€”Stephen Dunn
Between your mailbox and the front door,
you open the magazine to the middle
to glance at this monthâ€™s glamour girl.
There, lying on a white bean-bag chair,
reclines your Wisconsin cousin, Barbie,
who spent summers as a camp counselor
(even once being chased by a bear)
or bedtimes reading stories to nephews.
But hereâ€™s Barbie. All buxom and blond
Barbie saying â€œI get stale if I stay
too long in one place.â€ In no time,
youâ€™re standing by the front door
waiting for any member of your family
to come home. First your kid brother,
who gives an appreciative â€œMmmmâ€
when you show him the centerfold.
â€œNo, the face!â€ you say, trailed by his long
â€œOhhhhâ€ and you both decide to loiter
by the door and watch for your dad.
â€œNo, the face!â€ two voices squeal
and his â€œOh jeez.â€ By now three of you
lie in ambush for your mom to return
home from groceries or art classes.
A chorus of â€œno, the face!â€ followed
by her slow, drawn-out â€œCousin Barbieâ€
and nothing more, though you all
sense that you share something
larger than yourselves, as if one
of your own has been anointed.
So it astonishes none of you how,
after trading news of the far-flung
family, an almost-deferential hush
drops over a holiday table of aunts
and uncles, until one raises his glass:
â€œThank the Lord for gorgeous women
and God bless America!â€
Where have all the black galoshes
made to go over high heels gone?
Or those bright-white go-go boots
that go with yellow mini-dresses?
Gone the way of white gloves,
full slips and veiled hats,
of body stockings and tube tops,
pettipants and the Living Bra.
Gone are the girdles, the garters,
especially with those tabs in the back
that had you twist and contort just
to attach them to the top of your hose.
Farewell to the full ashtray
and quilted satin bed jackets,
to dotted Swiss and French cuffs,
ribbing and the ornamental frog.
Say goodbye to your beehive,
the French twist and ironed, long hair:
gone to the old home for home perms,
hair nets, the spoolie and spit curls.
Bid the beautiful people â€œtoodle-oo.â€
Youâ€™re retiring from the beau monde
to spend whole days doing nada,
in old flip flops and night clothes.
Tell them all â€œtata:â€ youâ€™re letting go
of all your fashion contraptions
in favor of embracing your body,
its wrinkles and all your loose skin.
Lemon Cupcake Day
Letâ€™s say youâ€™re still looking
for one vacant parking space
outside the large, local mall
and are all too aware of less
than ten shopping days left
before Christmas. One more
jaunty holiday jingle, piped
over speakers to the parking lot,
wonâ€™t bring you good cheer.
What you need is a holiday
from the holidays, one day
to ease out of winter and work.
Nothing involved like Bill
of Rights Day or the birth
of Nero, the death of Disney.
No, you deserve to celebrate
nothing as complicated
as a layered cake
or challenging as chocolate
versus plain vanilla.
For you, a lemon cupcake
to take you back to the blithe
idle hours of your childhood
when your father worked,
your aproned mother baked
and the sun shone down,
yellow as the lemonade
that now would seem as sweet
and tart as the sum of all
your memories of childhood
when there were no malls
and Santa was a sweet old man
who knew what you deserved.