Sunday, February 02, 2014

Elvis was riding his last summer


Elvis was riding his last summer
in limousine
through Madison Wisconsin

and on a corner
he saw two high school kids
fighting.

he said 'stop the car'
got out
put up his fists
threw some karate fakes
and he said c'mon
i'll take you both on.

they looked at him
a king robed in splendor
they couldn't consider it
they couldn't hit
Elvis.

so he says 
see!
there's no need to fight!
now shake hands.
i got a show tonight. 
-Jack Vaughan, 1977


When I was visiting my old home town of Racine, Wis. in the summer of 1977, I was standing on Main St one night with some friends, and one tells me the recent story of Elvis, in Madison, stopping a street fight. Maybe a month later on a similar summer night in Eureka Calif (Robert Cray and Albert Collins were playing), again with Wisconsin friends, there came the word that Elvis died. Somewhere along the way I started writing this poem. I was looking for a picture of Elvis in limo and actually found a reference to this incident, which, for all I knew, was urban myth. Pop culture and myth were what the poem was about. Elvis was bigger than Gilgamesh - and this story was a viral thing on a street corner to me.. Little did I know but it was to be 'retold many times' in multiple biographies. Anyway, it's out there now.

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