As A Mortal In Memphis

By Almost In Elvis/ Dennis van TielFeb 25, 2010

Prelude

El is one of the most important American gods and the personification of living music.
He is a god that from the sweat of the impotent youth is incarnate and self empowered.
According to another myth he is the son of the pearl goddess Gladis and Vernos the god of darkness.
Southerners believe that El fires up his Stutz each night and cruises through the veins of the black rhythm bringing anguish.
Herewith he is accompanied by the botox goddess Prisis and her daughter Lisis and each day the monster Driesos attempts to hinder his progress.
In the evening El is swallowed by his mother Nickoupopolas and in the morning reborn.
El is also King as god and since the second dynasty noted artists have called themselves ‘sons of El’.
In Memphis both Sun and Graceland, home of the oracles, are worshiped as manifestations of the music god.
In this city the slaves to music build temples for El.
From these temples little remains.
The underworld resounded with the clattering of gold, Drowned in greed and the worship of false gods.

Birth

The birds flew in syrupy optimism toward the shadow.
The grey and balding citizens from the cursed outer neighborhoods sat in fear chasing away the heat with youthful memories.
The youth, to escape the suffocating heat, fell en mass to the old river running just outside the imaginary city walls.
The vegetation sipped thankfully at the humidity, but still wilted slowly under the shimmering yellow globe behind the clear blue blanket of the sky.
But none of this affected the city. In fact, as usual there was a melodious cheerfulness.
Even the chronic love-sickness and the sorrow of their origin couldn’t take away the happiness in the faces of the black city dwellers.
‘Whites Only’ was written on a sign at the service station, together with the price of fuel.
In the near distance a canvased backed lorry bounced modestly on.
The canvas siding of the truck was adorned with the logo of a purveyor of all things electrical.
A cloud of grey consumed the sign in a moment of dusty mist.
A pimpled young man in a striking pink shirt and a provocative dark brown quiff played somewhat nervously with the knobs on the radio in the dashboard of the truck.
Through the crackle racially bound tones built to a roar.
From wooden white gospel to black sung blues wrapped in three meager chords.
At this point our young driver pulled his hand away.
Next to him lay a crumpled over-shirt, the breast pocket embroidered with the same logo as on the canvas siding.
Under the shirt lay a guitar proudly boasting the scars of a long and loving past.
The truck ceases it’s toeing & frowning.
The androgynous mettled surface gave way to that sign of a city in the making: asphalt.
The truck then comes to a standstill just past an intersection, parking half on the road half on the pavement.
The driver steps out carrying the guitar nonchalantly by the neck.
He crosses the street without looking for the traffic, which strangely enough appears to vanish as he walks.

An attractive mature woman with high hair, big green eyes and vague laughter lines sat at a desk, diagonally opposite the door facing the street decorated with a half open venetian blind.
She makes brief notes whilst speaking in a friendly singing tone into the telephone.
Opposite the desk stood some folding wooden chairs.
The back wall of the reception area as is the norm with record labels was bedecked with obligatory photos of serious black musicians taken in the recording booth.
The door swung open.
The venetian danced against the glass in the door.
The young man with the pink shirt, quiff, and well loved guitar walks directly to the lady behind the desk.
She completes her telephone conversation cordially.
‘Good afternoon young man, how can I help?’, she asks in a charming tone.
‘I want to record a song’, the young man quickly answered without actually listening to the question.
‘Fortunately we can do that sort of thing here otherwise your request would have appeared misplaced.’, said the woman teasingly.
The young man shook nervously and turned his face observing uninterestedly the photos of the musicians behind the desk.
The receptionist in the meantime arose and tapped the young man on his shoulder.
He follows her to the glass door of a small booth, fitted out as the sober quarters of a monk, but then with a microphone in place of a crucifix.
The young woman went to open the door, but hesitated placing a melodramatic hand before her mouth.
‘How rude of me, I haven’t introduced myself’, she said extending her hand.
Our young truck driver blushed lightly. He shook the warm hand unconvincingly.
‘El- Elvis Presly ma’m, p pleased to m- m- make your acquaintance.’
The mature lady looked on Presley as if he were a some ginger stray with large eyes that she had just freed from the asylum and was stroking in the palm of her hand until it began to purr gratefully.
‘Marion Keisker, the pleasure is mine Mr Presley’ she replied teasingly but without condescension.
‘What kind of a singer are you actually?’ she inquired genuinely.
‘I sing everything’, Elvis replied with unexpected confidence, as if he were applying for another job on the bosses time.
‘With whom would I compare you then?’
‘…’
Elvis looked to the photos behind the desk and said: ‘I’m unlike anyone’.
Elvis conjured a smile, but it was soon replaced with a concerned look as he saw his truck parked outside.
He recognized the fact that he was actually still on the clock and had no time to waste. (No lunch hour, flat tire, flash of angina would fly with the boss were he caught.)
Elvis checked Marion, opened the glass door himself, went inside, sitting himself on the solitary stool, lifting the guitar onto his right thigh, held higher than his passive left thigh.
Marion turned the necessary knobs in order to activate the microphone.
‘You can start with singing when the red light above the door comes on’, Marion said routinely as she indicated toward the lamp, ‘But don’t sing too long now ya hear’.
‘They’re only small records.’
Marion gave a fleeting wink and closed the door.
There he sat, unsure of the future, aware of a lonely past.
Never was his world so literally represented than by those insulated walls, the silence in them and the threat of an early death as the father to popular music.
The ultimate manifestation is a carbon preparation, suspended in a frame,... the microphone.
Just like an obedient idiot savant whom dutifully stops dead in the middle of an intersection because the pedestrian signal has suddenly switched to red, Presley waited on the all important lamp.
His fingers are held in the position of the first chord.
Swallowing is out of the question, as he blinks away the stinging drops of salty sweat that slide between his eyelashes.
The recording lamp had seen many people who, for the price of eight dollars, could fill both sides of a greasy black disk with renditions of their own favorite songs.
If the lamp had consciousness it would surely have ended it all depressed at the constant barrage of pitiful self advertisement.
Everyone came to vent their long suppressed artistic aspirations under the guise of recording something for their mother.
Died of lung ca

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