Lionel Richie Will Die Little More Than a Beer Salesman

While your cadillac still purrs, Elvis isn’t dead.

Now let me speak my mind into
a tin can
branded seraphim,
a wind-up toy,
to be drunk down,
still wrapped in its
plastic hand
wavering ditty —

I’ll say,
(superimposed upon the jingle):
“let I be you
and you be I —
(No, we’re not here to hock a single)
and for a moment
in this night
this four a.m.
this witching hour
we’ll share in
a well-spun,
expensive feeling;
welling coins from
a toddler’s jar.

It’s me and you,
flickering screen,
the loving aluminium pair;
the puppet and his organ donor —
the corner-lipped
ventriloquy,
a mutual dissonance;
a distance so mutilated
between the head and the heart.

Lionel’s voice drips
out of the box,
an orange sickly
sweet lingering sugary
and sticky on the walls,
between more heavy-handed
ads lapping up
the million-odd
salivating fat tongues,
behold the wondrous
empty-stomached
illusion:
the communal
lozenge of
advertising;
the fake eucalypt
scent of  a urinal cake.

And then I’ll sing
a little bit,
sucked in
just a little bit:
“Hello.
Is it me you’re looking for?”
I can’t go on,
intoxicating jukebox
nightmare;
you’re a beer-salesman now!

So hold up your lighters,
you ten-thousand-odd
Lionel Richie fans —
who am I to
spit venom
to your hearstrings,
I wasn’t there when you
wet the less wicked
ends of your fingers
for the very first time
in the
back of your
borrowed sedan,

Allthough, I know,
it’s universal,
I never heard
‘Hello…’,
apart from at the wrong end
of a beer commercial.

It’s hard for me to empathise
big world,
your hand’s
up my pants
and my lips,
they move accordingly,
mouthing the words:
“hello,
is it me you’re looking for?”
as the ballad belts out
from below
the suspension of
a Commodore
at the intersection, parked —
Am I listening
to an ad,
or is this art?

Dull muse;
stale tune;
rusted bell;
wrinkling applause;
this heaven of yours
could well be hell.

*****
[Dedicated to Bill Hicks]

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