A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hanging Out in Heaven

One of the book clubs I'm in is doing a poetry night where everyone shares their favorite poem.  I don't often read poetry, so I found myself reaching back to my favorite English class in high school, which was my senior year class.  Two of my good friends were in the class with me and we read some really stellar literature, but what made the class truly great was the teacher, Mrs. LC.  Mrs. LC loved reading, and she was able to convey that to her students and inspire in them the same love.  She also tried to make us better writers and better interpreters of what we read.

Interpretation is the part of reading poetry that has always been difficult for me.  I often feel like I just don't "get it" and am not smart enough to interpret poetry.  I enjoy it once someone explains it to me but I am not quick enough on the uptake to grasp its meaning intrinsically.  However, when we read the poem below in Mrs. LC's class, I immediately loved it.  I think it is because I generally like Emily Dickinson and this is a fun poem about her.  So, without further ado, here is the poem (which didn't make it to book club, as I shared this poem instead).

“Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven”
Hans Ostrom

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.

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