Long ago one evening

I held the hand that Elvis

Had pressed in his two hands


‘He held much longer than he might   –

Many beats too long’ she said

‘He held my gaze in his

Too long for what was just

A formal introduction’


‘By then he’d lost his innocence   –

Doubtless he was practised

Flirting with so many

College girl reporters like myself

Seeing who would blush or speak non-stop

Testing new immodest powers

Of a teenage Dionysus


–   This boy who had improbably

Caught a bolt of lightning

So they named him now

The Memphis Flash   –


He reached out in a daze

Grasping any hand he might

Seeking only shelter’




Climbing the palazzo’s broken stair

With caution you will find

A rooftop cinema

Dilapidated as the celluloid

Desires that urged us there

To love’s old-fashioned trivia and trinkets   –

To see the actors suffering

In days when they were envied!


Then at times the film would break

Fragile frames reveal their stock

Of overheated glamour in cold blood

And looking up from many an illusion


We’d gasp at the vast and factual stars



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer





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