Thursday, June 08, 2006

Poetry Thursday: E and E in Heaven

I think this week's (c.a.t.o.) prompt for Poetry Thursday is really cool. I even did it - or at least I started to do it. I tried to listen to people talking around me and take notes, although it turns out I'm not really very good at eavesdropping. I have so much stuff going on in my head that when someone isn't speaking directly to me, I tend to sort of zone out and drift off into DebLandia and not hear what's going on around me. So this was good practice for me - an exercise in paying attention to my surroundings! So, I have my notes on stuff I heard. What I ran out of was time to turn those notes into a poem. So I'm going to put this week's prompt on hold and revisit it another week (hopefully soon) and today I'll just share a poem I really like. You may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted a poem about an imaginary meeting between Eve and Medusa. This is a similar sort of idea, but it's about two other people you might not immediately think of hanging out together. I hope you like it as much as I do. "Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven" They call each other E. Elvis picks wildflowers near the river and brings them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him. In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports Levis and western blouses with rhinestones. Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers and T-shirts, a letterman's jacket from Tupelo High. They take long walks and often hold hands. She prefers they remain just friends. Forever. Emily's poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs, Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile. Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon he will play guitar and sing "I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed" to the tune of "Love Me Tender." Emily will clap and harmonize. Alone in their cabins later, they'll listen to the river and nap. They will not think of Amherst or Las Vegas. They know why God made them roommates. It's because America was their hometown. It's because God is a thing without feathers. It's because God wears blue suede shoes. ~~~Hans Ostrom "E and E in Heaven" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) Added: gkgirl asked where I found the poem. It's from a poetry anthology called "Kiss Off: Poems to Set You Free." And while I imagine a lot of you have seen the photo of Emily D in its original state (there aren't that many photos of her in existence and this is probably the most commonly seen one), for anyone who hasn't and is curious, here's what I started with: chiefbiscuit, I'd be curious what some other people would look like modernized too! It could be an interesting project. And Andrea, I still think there's a lot about the poem that's funny. I love how off-the-wall odd it is to visualize a friendship between the reclusive poet and the fame-seeking rock star. But I think what really made this poem a "must share" for me was the fourth section, where the poet imagines what Emily's poems might be like if she was friends with Elvis. That really fired my imagination!

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