Jeff Wysel is a retired technical writer for a large insurance company. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his significant other Caren along with two of the world’s nastiest West Highland terriers. Besides writing poetry and short fiction, he created and maintains the totally fictitious New Hudson Exit website (www.newhudsonexit.org). He is a lifelong resident of the Midwest and graduated from The Ohio State University.
The Third Recollection Of Vester Presley
On His Nephew Elvis
A Half A Pound Of Bacon
He is a puppet shoved across the stage
on trembling hands and drunken legs
another day ends the same old way
lost in time and slick clichés.
The wheeling, churning, the tumbling down
slow as dawn begins to glow
with Mary’s bacon, grits and buttered rolls
he sits and listens to the radio
buck owens strums and softly sings
then coffee, pie and Dexedrine.
Ginger smells of alcohol
Vester sloughs and shakes
Vernon drinks his Geritol
Mary shapes the bread to bake
Piddle twaddle with Ginger
as she floats about the room
songs he sung are restless memories
weary strangers that make him ache
for coffee, smokes and Dexedrine.
Their screams rise and wave
her heels clack hard against the steel floor
between blue lights and ceaseless roars
she hears her voice inside her head
a ghostly lilting above it all
click clack goes the beat
tippity tap rhymes her feet.
At Homer Hesterly he swooned and dipped
through hungry hands that weep and pray
against your breasts his lips slip and moan
his eyes ignite the ancient lies
buried deep between your thighs
and light fires that set ablaze
his arms and cock and legs
diving low he swings and sways
touch me touch me
kiss my lips
the winds blow the fire to the stars
gasping for breath
Am I too old to see the stars?
I sit and listen and listen hard
but only noise do I ever hear
smashing drums, screeching guitars
in songs whose words
I can never understand
Yet beyond the awful noise some power glows
A dirty mensch if there ever was one
I smell his scent foul and strong
the kind that makes girls shiver and shake
Not right! Not right!
But still – if you could bottle his stuff
I would be king
yea girls for sure all slick and ripe
but huge coliseums that explode and sing
I would be king!
For him, there is only music
black blues, white blues and Stringbean Tom
he loves it all
songs sing in his head all day long
in his sleep
rhyming his dreams
dancing in the dawn
When he feels the beat
lightening flows from fingers to feet
spirit flying through the sky
past angels, gods exploding
then he sings
into the stars.
Chet Huntley Died From Cigarettes
The old pictures hardly hide
the hollow sadness of her eyes
never here, looking down
or through some distant crowd
Vernon, when he is there,
looks confused, a Tupelo duster
wandering around Patterson Avenue
in a seersucker suit
smiling like a goon
the camera clicks and flashes
Vernon caught eyes wide in surprise
Gladys tired, preoccupied
Uncle of Elvis Presley known as “Uncle Vester”.
He was the longtime guard at the gates of Graceland.
Vester created three recollections on Elvis Presley
The First Recollection 1959
The Second Recollection (lost) 1965
The Third Recollection 1982
Birthdate: September 11, 1914
Birthplace: Fulton, Itawamba County, Mississippi, United States
Jesse D. McDowell Presley (1896 – 1973)
Minnie Mae Presley (1890 – 1980)
Clettes Smith Presley (1919-1994)
Vernon Elvis Presley (1916 – 1979)
Delta Mae Presley Biggs (1919-1993)
Gladys Erlene Presley Dowling (1923 – 1985)
(Rev) Nashval Lorene Presley Pritchett (1925 – 1994)
Death: Died January 17, 1997 in Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Cause of death: heart failure
Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
The Lovely Girl In The Back Of The Room
A lovely girl in the back of the room
head down, rooted in her book
swelled and drew within her breast his eyes
leaving the room empty of sight
naked - where does he hide?
he wraps his arms around her shoulders
and stares into eyes that are a jumble of stars and black holes
she turns transformed
and in a swoosh, flits away
leaving only a mossy scent
back to her book
in the back of the room.
The Tiber holds its Prati close
dreamy in the evening
olives, sun seeds and cheap Italian alcohol scent the air
children run and dodge between squat bumpers
signing secret loves and dour prayers
against pale concrete walls and water rippling mirrors
black habits shuffle between soccer balls
sloughing piety against the ground
nose snug, purloined, scarlet slash
against the river’s edge.
The day renews,
the Prati preens and shines
as sunrise cleans the air and
lights the path between my feet
down down the stone walls down where the
creaky river lumbers in morning’s nascent warmth.
It is six am
the black trail hugs the river
jutting in and out between mooring ropes and twine.
High above, the Lungotevere rumbles
streams of cars plod through a tedious steeplechase
of worn pendulums [asphalt] and tired trees
hard fractious sounds
reflected by the street back into the sky;
here, though, below the steep stone walls
soft morning light widens the path,
the quiet broken only by footsteps in 3/4 time
a counterpoint to the river’s rumbling rhyme
north towards the black runes the path winds
lazy nostalgia pervades through mud and leaves.
Rome is old, an ageless lady far from grace
her skin so richly oiled glistens in the sun
my reflection hides behind her eyes
hides there too the decay and misery
cracked against ancient stones,
the smell of listless hope and stale passion
mix in morning’s rising heat
a crumbled altar of ruins on top of ruins
on top of ruins
Jogging upstream past sharp shards of marble
black history punching through the trees.
The Tiber lifts and lopes
indifferent to the blood and dragged chattels
that tumble down the broad shoulders
above its path.
The river turns and scrapes
past mounds of concrete and tumbling cars
under boats and metal drums
a fierce ruler of the earth.
Dreams and memories
carry the stream through fog and history,
mocking men, mocking
their rage and paltry loves.
It eyes the sky above to the clouds
rebirthed from a sun
beyond the power of men’s gods.