The World’s a Stage

by Beesan Odeh

Act I

Twins in a two-room
shotgun house,
one stillborn,
other couldn’t keep still,
shake, rattle, rolling
from deep Mississippi
to the raw blues of Beale.

Now down at Sun,
that boy and his shaky leg
moved through happiness and heartache,
until he found himself standing
under lights beside Berle and Sullivan,
clean cut only from waist up,
but that’s all right.

And he swiveled slender hips across stage,
voice like black velvet,
before shrieking strangers
clawing at their hair and clothes,
bodies pressed together in a frenzy;
a fit
of teenage hormones
and ‘50s rebellion.

Act II

Memphis Draft Board
and a GI cut later,
he shipped
to Fort Hood,
soon soarin’ over seas
to ol’ Germany
where he was
a fool for loving Beaulieu.

Sanded down
and polished up,
he flew to Blue Hawaii,
to have Fun in Acapulco,
and dance the night away
in Las Vegas,
but scuffed again
when 1968 rolled around
and he stood tall,
slicked in black leather
and a hunger to reclaim
his throne,
if he could dream,
he could win.


Eight years since,
now a man,
that boy and his shaky leg
hopped back on stage
clad in jeweled white,
shattering doubts
while swinging from his name
high in lights:
American Trilogy.

Masses electrified,
rock n’ roll personified,
but heartache began again
when he let li’l darlin’ go,
taking part of him with her,
and she was always on his mind.

Applause turned white noise,
and passion numb,
on his stage
lonesome that night.
And that Tupelo boy,
shot from rags to riches,
lost his grip and fell
too far for anyone to reach;
found himself in the garden
of his land of Grace,
where decades pass but he remains,
shaking that leg
for the cult of the king
who come for the show,
’cause they will never
the curtain down.

Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Beesan Odeh is a student at Youngstown State University pursuing a B. A. in professional and technical writing, with minors in creative writing and graphic design. She spends her free time writing, drawing, and reading manga.