Elvis At The Dollar Slotbank Sestina

It wasn't only Beethoven whom I found in Las Vegas, though the sound of silver dollar money —

thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk — clanking into the metal pans is a sound similar to his Fifth symphony. We hear it coming from the bank of dollar slots next to the Keno Bar

Where Steelman likes to sit, drinking soda. It's a bar where he can see the Keno board, watch Las Vegas characters — clowns, Elvis impersonators, old ladies in gold lame. It is part of his story, this rattle of money,

American poetry or truth. The sound of the Rolling Stones must also be part of what he hears, clanking

Fire, satisfaction, millions of dollars in records. What he feels clanking out of the slots when he lines up triple bars on any machine. Steelman likes the sounds of winning. While Twenty-one is my Las Vegas game, he scorns a pursuit where you can only double your money.

A thousand to one is the way he prefers it.

That must be how he discovered old fashioned Elvis. It wasn't as if Steelman even thought of Elvis as important. Clanking heavy metal or sentimental crooner ballads: both irrevelant. His money was on the limey mavericks until he saw Elvis behind prison bars, jailhouse rock denim, not eagle or studded white and leather Las Vegas suits. Then he began to hear in Elvis the same sounds

The Beatles heard in 1963 when they first came to the US. Sounds that made them request a meeting with The King. It didn't impress Elvis, these Liverpool boys. Tom Jones in Las Vegas was his model. And all the money, clanking into the Colonel's pockets to pay gambling debts, the old man barred from traveling abroad. Poor Elvis earning money

For everyone. But there was never enough money and he —oh, why am I telling this story of sounds?

We left Steelman sitting at the Keno Bar perhaps thinking of gamblers, musicians. He too knows it is money and music, the thunk, the ring, the clank of the dollar slot machines that sums up all of Las Vegas.

Difficult in Las Vegas to find Beethoven's music or to win money.

But I can imagine both in the slot machine's clanking sound;

that it's not just dollars, but Elvis humming The Moonlight Sonata, there by the Keno Bar.

— Diane Wakoski

WELCOME TO DALLAS!

Welcome to Dallas! —this place is wild! Nothing's more than five years old!

24 HAPPY HOURS 'ROUND THE CLOCK! He died, his lungs was Dutch Boy Glitter-Gold!

Nothing's more than five years old — our city bird's the CONSTRUCTION CRANE! He died, his lungs was Dutch Boy Glitter-Gold! Nothing's been built that can't be sold!

Our city bird's the CONSTRUCTION CRANE! InterFirst Plaza & ThanksGiving Square! Nothing's been built that can't be sold! Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport is bigger than Zaire!

InterFirst Plaza & ThanksGiving Square!

World Trade Center & John Neely Bryan Restored Log Cabin!

Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport is bigger than Zaire!

"When we got there, we forgot where we were going!"

World Trade Center & John Neely Bryan Restored Log Cabin! OOOOOOOhhhhhh man-it's how you fly! "When we got there, we forgot where we were going!" The custom-built helicopter's here a habit!

OOOOOOOhhhhhh man-it's how you fly!

One good huff of Black Flag you want to die!

The custom-built helicopter's here a habit!

"When we got there, we forgot where we were going!"

One good huff of Black Flag you want to die! When the going gets tough the tough go shopping! Drinks in Deep Ellum, you forget where you've been! See my new Nieman-Marcus boots made for STOMPING!

When the going gets tough the tough go SHOPPING! The MOON so dam' big you step on his dam' FACE! See my new Nieman-Marcus boots made for STOMPING! The Ferrari headlights flashed and there shone-NO DUMPING!

The MOON so dam' big you step on his dam' FACE! We'll rendezvous in bankruptcy court—just in case! The Ferrari headlights flashed and there shone —NO DUMPING! Is there a life, she pondered, after shopping?

We'll rendezvous in bankruptcy court—just in case! Pittsburgh Black & Dutch Boy Glitter-Red! Is there a life, she pondered, after shopping? "Hector looked so peaceful, how'd we know he was dead?"

We didn't smell no thing, man, the Rodriquez family said! All them smells, man, already in the air! "Hector looked so peaceful, how'd we know he was dead?" Airplane glue & turpentine & Day-Glo Glitter-Red!

Welcome to Dallas! —this place is wild! (She talked so cool, man, how'd we know she was a childl)

—Joyce Carol Oates

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment