“Fried Elvis” by Jacob Sunderlin

Jacob Sunderlin


If you’ve never been to Graceland
you should go eat some Tennessee
things & feel the world make its gut
sense. Walk the jumpsuits

of the headless bone-white mannequins
in the horse barn.
You see the house, its televisions
stacked like druid mounds & you

see the bullet hole, cobweb in the screen
where goofy-on-reds-Elvis sat & saw
Robert Goulet wink that he would
fuck Anita while Elvis was off in the army—

in the service—& see where Elvis aimed
a pistol & fired so that you, reader,
may know what it is to be small.
Could you shoot at the light

in some little box that means nothing?
The Fried Elvis is just a sandwich,
ridiculous big—something to keep
in the arteries you keep in your heart.

from Rattle #40, Summer 2013


Jacob Sunderlin: “I grew up in Indiana watching some shirtless maniac called the Ultimate Warrior on television, screaming about sinking anchors into his bones and loading a rocket ship with the fuel of the intergalactic warrior gods. Then I went outside and played in a park illuminated by the floodlight of a corn syrup factory. I want poetry to approximate the hilarious sadness of that.”

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