Elvis has left the building.
He used the disabled persons’ ramp,
Complained about all the pills he has to take
For high blood pressure, for cholesterol.
He’s taking his white jump suit for repair.
He’s losing his rhinestones,
He’s losing his marbles too.

He’s not alone, why only the other day
I heard James Dean muttering about car insurance,
‘They said I was an unsafe driver! Me! The bastards.’

Why only the other day I saw Marilyn in the nude
In this weather!
Put some clothes on dear, you’ll catch your death.

Oh, come back Marlon Brando
On your wild one motorcycle
(a Triumph Thunderbird 6T)
Come back and give us some trouble
Worth troubling ourselves about.
Whaddaya got?

Bob Dylan had a motorcycle
(also a Triumph, a T100)
Stacked it on the highway,
Cracked some vertebrae.
Funny how you remember that kind of trivial shite,
How the Beatles were once the Silver Beatles
How Pete Best preceded Ringo Starr,
Remember it as if it mattered.

Elvis has forgotten his specs.
Can somebody drop them off at Graceland?
He’s already left the building.

Domestic bliss

Post prandial the hour
and this is home.
The pictures on the wall,
the carpet in the hall,
I know them.
The washing on the line,
the dishes in the sink,
I own them
(and they own me).

Such is the ballast
of this modest palace.
There’s a looking glass,
but no Alice.
More a chipped cup
than a poisoned chalice.

This house arrest,
this moment in time,
lost in the bric-a-brac misdemeanours,
while I wonder
on the bullet point of it all.

A younger poem

An image remains
from my last day at school
of haptic light bathing
two teachers on a stairway.
Their talk was of the year just past,
my thoughts were on my future.

It seemed then, a long way from now,
that I would hear applause,
would travel far,
would create my ways,
dictate my days,
would celebrate and be celebrated.
That I would learn and yearn and turn
nights into jewels,
days into iron.
Would be, would be, would be
so perfectly present in my being.

Now the wonder is
that I could sense this poem,
could feel its pulse,
hear its rhythm,
could delight in its promise
and have so little idea
of how and why and where,
only knowing when –
sometime in the future.
A fabulous gift still to be unwrapped.

The days, the nights,
they had a way of happening
without pause or need for moment or event.
Thus, a history accumulates
whose size belies its significance
for what, now, can I cite
to justify all the Monday mornings?

And yet when I return
to remembering the future,
how it was,
how it held its breath and stood on the edge,
I know again the beautiful, poignant poem
that was my younger, eager, hopeful self.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter
that nothing much was realized
(so little happens to so many).
What endures and shines
is remembering what was to come
and just how good that was.

Bruce Greenhalgh lives in Adelaide, South Australia where he reads, writes and occasionally recites poetry. A collection of his work has been published in Friendly Street Poets New Poets 19 with individual poems appearing in various anthologies and journals including the Weekend Australian, Poetry d’Amour, inDaily, Ariel Chart and Rue Scribe.