Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24

Where the 24 Hour Church of Elvis Was

It was right around the corner from here,
to my left, in the alleyway and up a set of stairs,
an odd little room crammed with custom-made pinball machines
and of course Elvis Presley memorabilia, most of it home made,
all of it presided over by a bedraggled, batty woman
who, if you paid her, would disappear into the back room
and return dragging a sleepy man dressed as Elvis
who, being an ordained preacher, would preside over
a brief- and possibly even legally binding-ceremony
after which you and your new spouse would be fitted
with cans around your ankles and forced to march
all the way around the block to display your new
marital status.

The Church was long gone by the time I moved here,
even though its location was still marked
on the map I bought to find my way around my adopted city.
The woman who ran the place showed up at the art museum
where I work a few times. She wanted to pitch some kind of
art show. The curators declined. The last time I saw her
she was drunk and standing out on the sidewalk
in front of the museum in the middle of the afternoon,
screaming at passerby. This city has changed so much
so quickly, trying hard to become just like everywhere else.
The King is not marrying anyone at 3Am in Portland anymore.

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