When Elvis Came To San Diego
By Sharon Doubiago
Hey Jess, me and you
We’ll swallow the light on the stairs
I’ll fix up my hair, we’ll sleep unaware
Hey Elvis, it’s lonely, come home.
“The King is dead.”
You and I are in a men’s store in downtown Escondido, a store I used to browse when I first loved Elvis and your father. Don’t step on my blue suede shoes. We have finally found a pair of thongs big enough for you.
“Elvis Aron Presley, the Tennessee truck driver whose hipgrinding performance style helped launch the sexual revolution as he became America’s greatest king of rock n roll died this afternoon of a heart ailment. He was 42.”
Everyone in here is stopped in their flipflops.
“His mother, Gladys, died exactly nineteen years ago today. She was also 42.”
“That’s suicide, that’s a broken heart,” I mumble.
“‘That’s Alright, Mama,’ his first recorded song.”
“I think of her nearly every single day,” he said.
“He wore eye make-up in the Fifties.”
“He’d been overweight for years.”
“The insecure man behind the giant, he couldn’t bear to be alone.”
“He was so insecure he’d walk on stage with a derringer in his boot.”
“His twin brother, Jesse Garon, dead in the birth he survived….”
I’m so lonely I could die.
“Your son’s going to be the great white hope,” Ray laid on me again yesterday when picking you up at your grandparents’ in Pacific Beach. My brother-in-law doesn’t give a hoot about my disgust for this kind of talk. You’re his nephew-in-law and these are the facts I have to face if I want to be of help to you in this next crucial phase of your life. Told me again that if you don’t grow any more six-foot-five is tall enough to make it into pro basketball. “Every team, for the fans’ sake, has to have at least one white guy.”
Then an intense rap about recruiting, about what’s in store for us your senior year. Players and coaches I’ve never heard of, and the schools. Explained the different divisions: small school, state college, university. Explained redshirting. “They have the player fake an injury in order to be eligible an extra year—to practice, to mature.” And the other cheating that goes on. “Sam Gilbert sets up apartments, buys them cars. A millionaire industrialist pays for it all. UCLA beats the rap every time.
“Palomar, where his father played, or any good junior college, would be his best bet. After two years of strong play at a good JC—Andy Gilmore at Palomar has great concern for his players. He’s not into the meat market.” Palomar, where he teaches. My alma mater too.
We drive back up the mountain to Ramona in rare hot summer rain. “His hips twisted, his body shook, he had a way of looking at you sideways with his chin pulled in.” In August it never rains Southern California.
“Just hours before Elvis was reported dead there was a rare hurricane in San Diego. Hurricane Doreen.”
Slick-haired, sneering-lipped, slinky-hipped hurricane, I’m all shook up.
“Oh, Mom, it’s awesome out there!” You tell me surfer stories. “Whatcha doin’ Danny?” I asked on the phone. “Catchin a little wave. Shootin a little hoop. Watchin a little tube.”
I’m fourteen, waiting for Ramon. A man with the weirdest name is singing on the radio, “Heartbreak Hotel,” where the bellhop’s tears flow and the desk clerk’s dressed in black. I see a fat balding old man but I hear in the haunting protest of his voice that Heartbreak Hotel is where I will room too and all of us in this late and terrible time, only the lonely beauty to assuage us. I say aloud, like a prayer to Jesus, “I love you, Elvis.”
“Why didn’t they name it Hurricane Elvis?” you muse as we slosh around the hill with the crumbling cement tepee you loved as a little boy, a real estate promotion landmark from the Twenties, windshield wipers keeping time.
“He was always afraid of storms,” the radio answers. “A tornado flattened Tupelo the year after he was born, killing 200 people.”
“They name hurricanes for women,” I snort. You know that rap on sexism.
“Police Chief A. E. Hansen threatened Presley with jail if he ever returned to San Diego and gyrated as he did in his l956 performance.”
“We rioted!” I laugh. “The only time I was part of a mass hysteria. I’ve always been grateful for that experience. Made me understand something I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
So I tell you about it, my boy older than I was then. I still have my ticket, One Show, Wednesday Only, June 6, 1956, 7:30 pm, In Person Elvis Presley, RCA Victor Artist, The Nation’s Only Atomic Powered Singer—2500 seats only $1.50, San Diego ARENA, 8th and Harbor.
Your grandfather and Sam the Bankrobber—we didn’t know yet—both from Tennessee like Elvis, took us down to San Diego, a carload of girls, plus your Uncle Clarke, ten years old. The others didn’t know who Elvis Presley was, I hardly knew myself except that I loved him on the radio and I knew rock ‘n roll was important. I’d been arguing about this for two years with Jesse Barns and others who said just like the adults it’s trash, not music. When James Dean died I knew a day of pure rage at Jesse, and my father, and all the authorities for their stupidity, their demand of control, hid out all day in my bathing suit in the rattlesnake boulders with my portable.
Now I’d gotten this trip together, talked my father into it. Descending into Poway from Ramona in Sam’s pink Cadillac, a sliver of new moon setting over the western granite hills, “Blue Moon” came on the car radio. We broke out in unison as if to hold back the moon’s descent into the ocean, “You saw me standing alone.” “Blue Moon” was Number One on the San Diego charts that week. But “Heartbreak Hotel” was creeping up.
I’d never been to a concert. I didn’t know what to expect.
“So many girls,” my father gasped when we got to the Arena. They dropped us off. “We’ll be waiting right here when you come out.”
We walk into the biggest crowd I’ve ever been in. 2500 seats, but 5000 are jammed in. We’re miles from the stage, up in the rafters, along the right side, the Arena like an enormous gospel tent. These boring groups keep coming on first, the Flaim Sextet, the Jordanaires, stupid comedians. A low hissing, keening, booing, something, is growing, then this other thing, the drumming stomping of 10,000 feet to the chant: “WE WANT ELVIS! WE WANT ELVIS!”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the nation’s only atomic-powered singer!”
Twenty-one year old Elvis Aron Presley is standing behind the mic with his legs spread, his head cocked, not making a move. Not a fat, balding, flop house old man. Finally he hits his guitar, and cell block number nine, a riot’s going on!
I hear someone screaming. “Look at what he’s doing with his legs!” I’m a shy, inhibited person but suddenly I realize it’s me! I can’t believe my eyes, what he’s doing with his hips. I mean I just can’t believe it. Neither can anyone else. I’m trying to tell Sylvia in case she can’t see it, so totally unbelievable it is, “Look at what he’s doing with his hips!” so afraid she can’t see it, so shocking, so forbidden. I scream louder, and louder, “LOOK AT HIS HIPS! LOOK AT HIS THIGHS!” pounding into her left side which is pounding into my right side in the rhythm of the stomping, but my words are drowned out by the thousands of others screaming something about his hips his legs his face his hair his clothes his song. I am more and more desperate to tell her, but she can’t hear me, she’s screaming so loud her face is exploding, trying to tell me something, the most important thing we’ve been dying for all of eternity. Solid noise is building and this enormous wave is moving toward the stage about to crash, a sea of tortured girl faces, blinding tears trying to get to him, girls tumbling down into the aisles, crawling over other girls, crawling under, through the pews, the jumping stomping feet. He’s doing splits, knee drops, crawls to the edge of the stage, leaps back from the clutching hands. Then, he…burps! At that, Barbara Evans, who later will be crowned Miss Ramona by Raquel Welch in the beauty contest I’ll place last, takes off, dropping straight down the packed bleacher rows. “I have to,” she mouths from down in the smoky den back up to us in a moment of pure sanity, her blue waterpool eyes drowning all protest. “Don’t forget me you guys, but…I have to….”
She disappears into the five thousand screaming maniacs, “I have to touch him, I have to touch…” the lonely boy on the far distant stage strumming his blond guitar, writhing his pelvis all over the stage for us, just for us…GIRLS! We scream ourselves out of time, Love, what we were born for, here at last.
Out there in the night the sirens are beginning, coming for him. Then it’s all over, we are delivered back to Hell and Elvis is gone. The stage is deserted, it’s just us, torn and kissed and watered with our own tears.
Outside the mammoth Arena, Daddy and Sam grab us as we emerge with the hysterical mob. Clarke is just standing there with his mouth open. A battalion of blue uniformed police with billy clubs, red whirring lights, sirens screaming from all sections of the city. Thousands of sobbing girls.
“This Elvis Presley came out,” my father is gasping. “I saw him! Thousands of girls were trying to crush him to death. They were throwing their panties at him. The police threw him in the back of a paddy wagon.” To this day my father still testifies his shock and disbelief at what he saw in girls that night.
We wait a long time for Barbara, more and more convinced she’s been crushed to death. Sobbing, howling, bawling girls continue to fall out the Arena gates, clothes and hair rent, to the stunned and mostly silent parents waiting on the curbs. A bunch are clawing at the Arena walls and a few have broken through the police ring and are crawling on top of two white Cadillacs parked in front, leaving lipstick kisses, telephone numbers.
At long last Barbara emerges from a huddle of cops near the front doors, holding her right hand in front of her blood-glazed eyes, gasping “I touched him, I touched Elvis Presley….” She was lifted up, laid out over the heads of others to reach the stage, to touch him.
All the way back up to Ramona, the future Miss Ramona remains touched herself. Always I will think she touched the secret of stage greatness that night, enabling her to win the contest.
The war on juvenile delinquency and rock ‘n roll escalates. The churches, the courts, the cops go nuts, nigger music! Fire and brimstone! The media jumped in selling papers like mad. Elvis Presley!
In early September he’s on the Ed Sullivan Show. I’m pressed close to the blond set, waiting. I love my country, the United States of America. I believe we have Democracy. I write essays on this. Eighteen months ago Elvis Presley was driving a truck in Memphis for $35 a week. Now he’s earned more than $50,000. Daddy sits behind me on the couch, silent, sullen. The camera is kept above his waist. I’m praying to Jesus “show his hips, show his legs.” I’m praying to the founding fathers of my country for our Bill of Rights. In this great land censorship is against the law. But the camera is kept above his waist. I die for his humiliation, their attempted manipulation of me, of all girls. I’m screaming again, but this time below my breath, I’m so angry I could die. Only women are allowed to perform for the opposite sex. Only women are allowed to bump and grind, the way the camera focused on Marilyn Monroe’s hips and rear end this summer in “Niagara.” The camera on the naked women on my father’s poker cards. On the calendars, in the magazines in the garages of all the fathers. Only men are allowed to dream on the bodies of women. Women are to be dreamed upon.
But, really, for me, maybe for most girls, it was the other way around. I wasn’t dreaming on his body. It was that he was free like that. Could be free. To us. Purest free masculine energy. That we were privileged to see it, and to partake, if we chose.
Three months later, after the Ed Sullivan Show, the police chief banned him from ever returning to San Diego. “If he puts on the same kind of show here that he did last June I’ll arrest him for disorderly conduct.”
Now on the day Elvis Presley leaves this realm, I’m hauling up a stormy Clevenger Canyon, the road I learned to drive on, with you and Moonlight in our station wagon, “Roses.” Miraculously did not die on, or kill anyone else on in the effort to get home by my father’s curfew.
“Hard to imagine,” you sigh, “that Elvis Pressley could cause…havoc.”
“Yeah,” How to explain the rapidity of Elvis’ decline? In my senior year I was interviewed for the high school paper. Who’s your favorite singer? Two years before I was scandalous for loving him; now I was laughed at.
“He became embarrassing. Started with his first movie, ‘Love Me Tender’. They killed him with shame, control. He had no notion of being vulgar or obscene, he was doing what came naturally, what his Mama always applauded. He thought he was doing the right thing, his love for his mother, like the blacks in his neighborhood, the folks in his Holy Roller church, and making all that money. Then the Army got him, his mother died, the Colonel got him, it was curtains.
“For years I’ve tried to write a poem about the twins, Elvis and Marilyn. What happens to the boy and girl in America?” I sneer over the wheel into the rain so bad Elvis would be impressed. “Teenagers are just crazy. It’s hormones, or something.”
A bolt of lightning dives down the canyon side.
“Bullshit!” I crack too. “It’s that you can’t put off any longer facing the contradictions, you have to grow up, become an adult, that is, become really crazy, really evil, right in the face of their so-called love, their Holy Bible. Their propaganda they call education about how good America is!”
How clear this is when you’re a teenager, the adults’ sick bodies of hypocrisy, their footsteps you’re supposed to follow in. You resist, rebel for as long as you can.
“It was no different then than now, Danny. The teenage crime rate stays the same through the generations, that’s a fact, but it’s always hyped as growing worse by each new generation of parents who have to go into ever greater senility to deny what they knew back then. Adulthood in America is mass psychosis.”
We’re still trying to climb Clevenger Canyon, named for the Indian killer in the novel Ramona who then founded my high school. The wind is trying to blow us off the side.
“I raised Elvis to be good and kind,” the radio is quoting his mother. “He came back from boot camp with the whole plumb United States in his pocket.”
“Yeah, and weeks later she was dead. You watch before we get home they’ll say he was a Mama’s boy.”
We hit the top, start across the late summer Santa Maria Valley. The sky is streaked in clouds and colors and lines so fantastic it looks like a painted movie set. “They make a big deal about his music being black, which is true, but it’s more his mother. The whole thing about Elvis Presley was his powerful, unashamed, deeply emotional relationship with his mother. No one ever gets this, of course. Or if they do it’s seen as a perversion, weird, not as the source of his genius.
“His father was seventeen when he was born, his mother twenty one. He was a twin but Jesse was born dead. His twin was never forgotten. When he was three, his father and uncle went to prison for forging a four dollar check to buy a hog. They were hungry. Elvis was left alone with his mother. When Vernon came home he was a scarred man, carried the flog marks on his back the rest of his life. Elvis would say to the mystified reporters, ‘Lay off him, you don’t know what he’s been through.’
“They were poor, Holy Rollers—he hated that term—they were members of the Assembly of God Church. They moved a lot, lived on the edge of black neighborhoods. The family of three were tight, very close in their one-room shacks. Then in high school they moved to downtown Memphis.
“Elvis was so young when he hit, still connected to his mother. In high school he was weird, didn’t split from her the way boys are supposed to—white boys anyway. He was around all those black mamas and sons like him and his mama. He stayed great in her eyes, in the spotlight of the adoring woman, ‘look at my beautiful boy! My incredible boy!’ He was incredible on stage doing what pleased her, just doing what he’d always done.”
Sloshing past Haverford Road, the road down to Pamo, I keep it up. “Then she died, Gladys Love—Elvis Presley’s mother’s maiden name was Love! He was descended from the Loves! Then the Army took him. She moved into a house right outside the gates, she died five months later. Maybe the Army poisoned her so that Elvis would become a man. Who knows? Jesus denied his mother. The Church, the Army, the Kings did too.”
You seem to be still listening.
“They killed Gladys and Elvis like they do all mothers and sons. Elvis is the Son, the male with heart, hung on the Cross by the father.”
Eyes rolling, you give me your exasperated look.
“They make death at the heart of the male. That’s the reason I didn’t raise you a Christian. Jesus studied the ancient Goddess religions, tried to deliver the message of Love. Christianity’s love is not Love, its power, its patriarchal power. They crucified him, they circumcise boys on the eighth day so they’ll distrust their mothers, all women. More people have been murdered in the name of Jesus Christ than any other person in history. The greatest killers in history are teenage boys who’ve just left their mothers for the military. The crucifixion is symbolic of what every son must undergo to attain masculinity in the patriarchy, the death every mother has to release her son to.”
A rolling boom thunders across the valley. I jump, you whistle through your teeth. I make the oldest turn through the deluge, past Ramon’s house. Talk about the murdered boy! I’ve always preferred fatherless men, so much more in touch with their hearts.
“You watch. By the time of the funeral someone will dare say Elvis and his mother were lovers.”
“And why is that?” You sneer, then sigh.
“Because the fathers molest their daughters.”
I apologize but I’m struck by the revelation.
“God raped Mary! That’s the patriarchy, the father rapes the girl then crucifies their child. He created it, not the woman. By rape, by his almighty power. God, our rapist, our unknowable almighty Father who art in Heaven, that’s the male role model—not the poor foolish boy, Jesus!
“They molest their daughters because they were cut from their mothers. They’re crazed, it’s the only way back to her, it makes them feel like men. They rape their daughters to kill their sons, to cut the mother bond. They can’t look at this, their fathers killed them. They have to justify their fathers killing them. They’re jealous, crazed, they have the heart-breaking, psychic memory of the loss of their mother, which is the loss of themselves, which they now translate as wanting to have sex with her, who their father didn’t love, to save her from him. To become a man they must cut themselves from her. So they dream of being back inside her. Male poets have told me of this sexual memory, or maybe just sexual dream, their broken heart with the hormonal rush of puberty.
I’m trying not to rant, not to turn you off.
“The mother-son relationship is the greatest taboo of our culture. The son must learn to hate his mother. Nothing would work as it does if the mother and the son weren’t killed.”
“My Mama done told me,” you sing, letting me know you’ve had enough. “My Papa too.”
But barreling down Olive like a river to your grandparents, to my parents who believed they were being responsible, Elvis is singing “I don’t care if the sun don’t shine.” He died on the same day his mother died on, that’s suicide.
“The Cherokee—did you know Elvis was part Cherokee like us? One drop, the Cherokee say, makes you Cherokee forever, so strong is that blood. The Cherokee don’t allow the fathers to discipline their children. A Cherokee child is never hit. Guidance comes from the mother and her brothers. Just think of that.
“Male rule always becomes dominance, the Cherokee know that, the male out of balance with the female becomes hate. Hate is the only way to maintain dominance, power. So the masculine role model must come through the mother’s side, just as the son comes through her body. Your mother’s brothers—that’d be Clarke for you.”
We’re headed right into the turkey farm at the foot of Giant’s Grave.
“There are lots of fucked-up mothers too, Danny, I know that.”
The turkeys are bunched up under the long sheds. I barely make the turn, hearing in Doreen’s pounding one of my mother’s oldest aphorisms. “When a woman goes bad she’s more evil than a man.”
As I make the next ninety degree turn you’re singing “That’s alright Mama, any way with me….”
“Since you were five I’ve known you should be a mime, an actor. Sorry.”
But the radio carries on.
“When he graduated from high school, he went to a record store to make a disk to give to his mother, ‘My Happiness.’”
“I wonder what happened to him that night in custody of the San Diego police.”
“The last time he sang was this morning at 7 a.m, just before he went to bed. Elvis was a night person. He played the piano, and the very last song he sang was ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.’ He used to say that when he died it would rain all over the country. Well, it’s raining, folks, even in the desert, even in Las Vegas!”
“I wonder what happened to him in boot camp, custody of the U.S. Army, his mother outside the gates.”
Jesus in the hands of the Romans.
Daddy greets us as we pull up the hill, the rain pouring off, threatening to undermine his new asphalt drive.
“More letters,” he announces, handing them to you as we climb out of Roses, “for Dan the Man.” Then he corrects it. “For Dan the Recruit.”
Jim Stanley again, head football coach at Oklahoma State University, Rich Brooks, head football coach at the University of Oregon, Terry Shea again at Utah State University, and new letters from football coaches at UCLA, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Arizona State University. One basketball coach, Stan Morrison at the University of the Pacific. Daddy reads standing in front of the thirty foot Sagura cactus. “It was a distinct pleasure to have an opportunity to meet you this past week at the Squaw Valley Basketball Camp. I am most impressed with you both as an athlete and as a young man…. Over the upcoming year, you may rest assured that you will hear a great deal more from us…. I hope you realize you really are a basketball player, not a football player…. Please forward my regards to Coach Mastin. I sincerely trust that one day you will find a way to thank him for his enthusiasm and help…”
I see the Colonel chewing his cigar. I want you I need you I love you.
Inside, in front of the TV, the thirteen year olds, your sister Shawn and your cousin Chelli, Clarke’s daughter, are miming “you ain’t nothin but a hound dog!” They crack up, fall to the floor. “Ugh, Elvis Presley! So fat, so boring, so…Sixties.”
“Hoping to avoid controversy, Steve Allen dressed Elvis in a tuxedo and had him sing to a dog. But he was accused of fornicating with a dog. The next night every movie star in the business showed up to see this.”
I give up, watch the television behind their wiggly bodies.
“Elvis was furious. Less than twenty-four hours later, he walked into RCA’s New York studios to record ‘Hound Dog,’ a shocking burst of noise defying every uptight arbiter of good taste. There are places on ‘Let’s Play House,’ and ‘Mystery Train,’ where Elvis, unable to restrain himself in the presence of Scotty Moore’s soaring, thundering guitar, shouts right out loud and laughs with the sheer exhilaration of it.”
I see again the awesome boy. Then the fucked up, good ole boy. He tried to follow in the footsteps of the fathers, but he stayed a boy, he didn’t denounce his mother, never became a man. Just more controlled, more rich, more fat, drugged. Could only make love to fifteen year olds.
The muchachas are in paroxysms. I could cry. I’m in kindergarten. Music’s not allowed in our house. Daddy rants when Mama hums at the kitchen sink. She explains—she always explains him, she wants us to love him. Singing is a sin except in church. But Grandpa, the Devil of Ducktown, never missed the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. Karen Pohlman gets an electric slide steel guitar for her sixth birthday. On Mondays after her lessons, she sets up on the sidewalk in front of her house, plucks and presses my fingers to the strings, slides my hand down.
Nightmares all night. Trying to clean my ears with Q-tips. Endless chunks, layers of earwax preventing me from hearing the music. “Are you lonesome tonight?” Dreams of hiding in an old boarding house at the end of a bad street. Stabbing my love in the groin, then horrified, rushing him to the hospital. What happens to the boy in America?
Awake. Coyotes screeching across the scorched hills. The scrape of the tree against the house, Santana. The howl of the universe’s blood rocking through the tight, the too tight body.
The next morning flags are at half mast in Memphis. 80,000 view his body in front of Graceland. “Even Elvis would have been surprised by the public outpouring. The book The Scientific Search For The Face Of Jesus was found lying with him on the bathroom floor. On his way to Calvary, Veronica wiped his bleeding face with her veil; his image came off on it.
The storm is over. You and Daddy go deep-sea fishing. Shawn and Chelli go school shopping with Mama. My deep-sea fear of my father with you on the water. 200 Elvis Presley imitators have arrived at the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The face of Liberty looks more like Elvis than Elvis. The face buried deep in the white satin lining of the coffin, its configuration and particularly the dark shadowing around the eyes makes Elvis in death resemble his mother.
Mama lectured me to love Pat Boone instead of Elvis Presley.
Now I’m thirty-six. When Marilyn was thirty-six she killed herself. Or was murdered. America’s great white hopes. Your son will be. “My advice, Dan? Grow two more inches.” What happens to the boy? Gladys Love birthed two, Jesse Garon and Elvis Aron. They loved in her gyrating pelvis, her heart above them pounding the beat, but Jesse died. Elvis was so lonely he curled around his dead brother, carried Jesse with him into this Vale of Sorrow. They threw down their rods. Elvis’s leafed like the flowering of the rod. Jesse fastened himself onto his brother, a root.
Open the Sports Page. “Twins! Marshal and Mitchel Lilly, basketball stars at Madison High School, know they must be separated now.” Brother from brother. Their father’s command.
“When one twin dies, the other grows up with all the qualities of the other,” Elvis always explained. “So I’m lucky.”
One dies so as to free the other from the karma of ossification. His legs flowed like rivers. Like falcons in the sky. Then he ossified into a presentation of his myth, and so did his music, his voice prostituted to a huge orchestra. Where once it reverberated in his throat, gradually it sank down into his chest…smoother, still commanding, but slick.
“The only myth still living in America has died.”
In the Pioneer Market, now a headshop, my brother’s best friend grieves Elvis too, warns about your fate, “the foul corruption of sports in America.”
“We’re looking for a moral coach,” I say. “Surely there’s such a coach.”
“That’s a coach,” Richard says, his Pamo grandmother flashing lightning bolts through his acorn eyes, “who would take him right off the streets.”
Night. Ride around, Sally. Sang “Long Tall Sally” the night we saw him. Down into Pamo. What happened to Elvis Aron? The Presidio sent a warning. Chief Aron met it with contempt. The Church came up—the first recorded white men here—burned the Pamos’ village, flogged the survivors, sentenced them to starvation by confiscating their hunting tools. Sentenced Aron to death for plotting to kill Christians. Claimed for the General’s grandson the Spanish land grant that is now Ramona.
Back up out of Pamo, out of ground fog, across the Santa Maria, up Seventh, past the one room shack on B Street you were conceived in a hundred-and eighty-two years after Aron, like the shotgun shack Gladys brought forth Jesse and Elvis, end of lonely street. I remember every moment of that night, Christmas Eve, last week of the Fifties. What happens to the boy?
“You can do anything you want just don’t….”
Climb the mountains to Julian.
What happens to the boy?
“Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruel, but love me….”
Midnight, Sunrise Highway, Spiritual Point, Big Mama Thorton singing the original “Hound Dog” down to the desert, thumping and screeching to the deep star night future. Meteors streaking across the sky. Moonlight running around, pissing on shrubs, rock slabs and oaks. You ain’t nothin but a hound dog.
Elvis was singing a woman’s song!
“…barking round my door….”
It never made sense before. I loved it, but…it’s a woman singing to a man! It’s men who bark around your door.
They reverse everything! Billions, infinite possibilities, these shooting star rivers of her Milk foaming the curds that create the worlds and all creatures. Elvis taught the women he loved what his mama taught him, how to stare up at the moon and allow your body to relax completely so you can float right up there in the space between it and the stars.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna make it,” he cried when she died, grief like no one had ever seen. Each year that passed from his birth was a year further from her. What happens to the boy? I see you standing there alone. When she died, he died.
Throw a rock down to the desert floor, the ball through the hoop, the baby boys hunted through time and the land, your broken Scorpio moon sinking down, the whole plumb United States in your pocket, a dream in your heart.
We pass through Perseus trying to kill the many-headed Goddess. Guess I’ll sleep here in Roses. Be here when the sun comes up on the desert floor thousands of feet below, the giant boulders and arroyos of Aron leading the revolt against the Mission. Here where they have their Easter sunrise service for the risen son.
Your body’s not in the tomb. Your brother’s coming out to meet you.
Hey Jesse, me and you between the moon and the stars.
Hey Elvis, me and you, it’s lonely, come home.
We’ll swallow the light.
Oh Danny Boy.
They want you.