Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Poem for Elvis on His Birthday

I’ve put aluminum foil up on all my windows,
blocked all sunlight, crawled inside myself,
found nothing but used condoms, crumpled beer cans,
buckets full of half eaten fried chicken bones,
delinquency notices written in red ink,
my sad credit score under my pillow like a pistol,

skin of lost lovers gathered in the corner of my room,
hair nests of new ones tangled in bedsheets
freshly soiled with perfume and semen.

Read all those self-help books, too,
the ones about the power of living in the now,
but what is the now but a filing cabinet
we drag with us stuffed with every past transgression
until the drawers can’t close anymore,
and papers scatter on the bitter breeze
of this January night?

Those books are bullshit, I think, or maybe not.
Either way, they can only work if you’re willing
to help yourself, and I’m as unwilling as anyone.

I went looking for you tonight, Elvis,
a bad check bouncing through every bar,
searching for your soul hovering in the smoke,
in the faces of busted teeth people feeding jukeboxes
dollar bills, warming themselves with beer
on this night that’s so damned cold,
but I couldn’t find you anywhere,
and I’ve never felt so goddamn alone.
 
 
Richard L. Gegick is from Trafford, PA. His poems and stories have appeared in Burrow Press Review, Hot Metal Bridge, and Fried Chicken & Coffee. He lives in Pittsburgh where he writes and waits tables.

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