I remember when Elvis died, or rather I remember
my mother’s reaction when Elvis died, tears, of course,
and a phone call to our next door neighbor Mrs. Laurel.
The two of them on the phone crying, my mother stretching
the long yellow telephone cord all the way to the back door
to see Mrs. Laurel who was also looking out her back door.
For us it was text messages, Twitter, Facebook posts.
If it’s not online, it hasn’t really happened, so we google it to confirm
and the list comes down: Prince is Dead, Prince Death, Prince Dies at 57.
Now we know and we weep, yes for his music, his genius,
but mostly we weep for ourselves, for those awkward teenagers
who listened to his every word with wonder and shock, and through him
learned about living with abandon, “Strip right down to your underwear.”
We imagined ourselves in our cotton panties and our JCPenney bras
on a dance floor next to him letting go of all we were supposed to be,
all we hoped to be, just being who we were – young and beautiful
with rock-solid bodies, abounding energy, and the will to keep moving
until the sweat poured off us. He never stopped and we never stopped,
we were everything and he wrote us that way and we believed him.