NEWSFLASH- August 16, 1977
The King is Dead. Elvis Presley at forty-two, is found Unconscious in Graceland bathroom, later dies of “Natural Causes
”…...the radio shrieks as DJ readsshaking teletype, and she washes dishes in steamed-upcabin kitchen and the windows cry
Love Me Tender
echoes through the valley all the long hours of that dayand night local and scratchy faraway stations performMass with the one hundred and six Top 40 hits fromUkiah to Winnipeg she hears in and around crazy husband’sdrunk talk and dishes thrown against the wall become littlepieces of tunes that spell out
Crying In The Chapel, Jail House Rock, Are You Lonesome Tonight
Return To Sender.
The whole country is mourning and she cooksand fusses like every late summer about the springboxrunnin’ dry and now the King Creole is gone. She got feverin this heat of shot-gun pepper squirrel stew. She got hillbillyfever right here on the hippie road
…suffered cardiac arrhythmiasbrought on by undetermined causes
is the official report.
TheKing is dead…
The radio keeps interrupting the list of hits. ThereWill be no revival until the body is in the Memphis ground andThe all-american pre-occupation with sex psychosis percolatesthrough the earth to the river and flows deep into the water systemsof the entire country. Elvis Sightings. Interviews from the Grave.Plaster of Paris statues leaking real salt. Black Velvet Ikons fromOlviera Street, from Atlanta, from sweatshops under the sweatshopsof Memphis. The country is loaded with Wannabees and Dressed Upteen-age fantasies in the bodies of middle-aged med who in high schoolrolled jeans, sneered the lip, wore the pompadour and now cannotlet go as they stuff costumes, guitars and glossy photos to autograph into convertibles, driving in search of the King, becoming the King in therearview mirror magic of interstates;
Long Live the King, The King is Dead.
And she remembers the long baby-sitting nights of old vinyl
Fools Fall in Love
and the little neighbor girls rolling their blonde hairto lip-sync daddy’s lps.
The King Is Dead.
What Elvis gave American neverbe taken away. It’s just like Marilyn, Martin Luther King, just likeKerouac & the Kennedy Boys, all of ‘em voices of a river of a nation.