On the Elvis Mailing List, by NEAL BOWERS

It started with the Greatest Hits album,

ordered one night in a haze

of nostalgia and wine, toll-free

in the middle of Notorious , just after


Claude Raines started poisoning Ingrid Bergman.

In a room at the top of a long

flight of stairs she was weakening,

thinking all the while how much she


wanted, needed, and loved Cary Grant,

who was taking too long to understand

it was now or never.

By the time he rescued her,


our album was being processed

somewhere in New Jersey, and we were

already in line for motorcoach

tours to Graceland, porcelain busts,


and an opportunity to give, tax-free,

to the Presley Trauma Center.

Everything worked out well,

except for Claude Raines, of course,


who was taken inside behind a heavy door

by two men who would laugh at anyone

wailing “Don’t be cruel.”

From “Sweet Nothings: An Anthology of Rock and Roll in American Poetry” edited by Jim Elledge. (Indiana: $29.95 cloth, $14.95 paper; 224 pp.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.