Monday, January 8, 2018

On the Road to Graceland

photo © Mark Butkus 2009
Remembering the King — Elvis Presley — at Graceland.

But I don't want to go to Graceland

It was a whine more than a declaration
And it had been said more than once
Over the last 1500 miles

But I don't want to go to Graceland

It was first uttered over the twisting roads
Of nowhere Mexico when a look at a map north
Saw that the shortest route between two points
Passed through Memphis, Tennessee
Passed through Graceland

But I don't want to go to Graceland

Said not in response to a question
Said as a declaration onto itself
Repeated as matter of fact with a nod of the head
Eyes stared north to the future, to the past
We need to go to Graceland.

But I don't want to go to Graceland

She had never liked Elvis
She had never disliked Elvis either
She from a generation ambivalent to Elvis
Going to Graceland was the equivalent of taking out the trash
It has to be done...by somebody else

But I don't want to go to Graceland

They parked the car in the lot behind the plane
The one that had TCB stenciled on it's tail
Pictures were snapped, out of tune songs sung
One person smiled, the other one frowned

But I don't want to go to Graceland

They waited in line to get their tickets
One of them gulped at the price, the other one smiled — Can we go now?
They waited in line to get on the shuttle
They waited in line getting off the shuttle

But I don't want to go to Graceland

They went past the jungle room
Past the suits and gold records
Past Lisa Marie's slide out back
They went past the pool
one person smiled the other one frowned

But I don't want to go to Graceland

And now that you've gone to Graceland
He had said now back on the road
At least once a year until the day that you die
You will have reason to say
I've been to Graceland

But I don't want to go to Graceland,

Because this is America and Elvis its King
People will pause and ask what it was like for you
You will have a story to tell of you, the King and Graceland
A story that began on the roads of Mexico
A story that began with you saying

But I don't want to go to Graceland


— Mark Butkus