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Down's Syndrome Elvis

by Chris Sorrenti

he rides the #37 with me
every morning
cowboy boots
faded blue jeans
black leather jacket in the fall
hair not too long
perfectly combed
a familiar style
to match his permanent wry smile
confident swagger
all that’s missing is the guitar

in my small mindedness
I’ve labeled him Elvis

sits at the front always
so he can greet fellow riders
with a raise of hand
converse with the driver
who smiles back
with a nod of acknowledgement
slight turn of head
but never taking eyes off the road
except to check the fare
of new passengers

as Elvis waves hello
to high school girls
who get on at following stops
loaded with bags and books
conversing with one another
about life’s challenges
oblivious to his presence
though nothing pornographic
in his eyes

who knows what age he may be
timeless as the stigma
he was born into
and stereotype image
perhaps copied from TV
as he himself carries no books

maybe going to a job
stocking shelves
at the local supermarket
as it’s evident
only mildly afflicted by his condition
a strong reminder
we’re all held back
only by our own states of mind

when he disembarks
always tips two fingers
forward from head
to those still on board
as I take comfort in that tomorrow
will be another performance
of this rock star without a guitar

while struggling with
what appears to be
a growing list of neuroses
in one sense I see him
as pitiably amusing
in another
oh to be like him

© 2009

1,460 hits as of January 2020


Posted on 08/03/2009
Copyright © 2020 Chris Sorrenti

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 08/03/09 at 09:05 PM

Great story here Chris. I feel that people with Down syndrome are pure in heart and spirit. I can't think who else could pull of an adoptive personality this way...and what a great choice. If we do not show love and support to all people with disabilities, we are probably the one that are truely disabled. Delighted. Thanks.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 08/03/09 at 11:32 PM

...Chris, i stand applauding you, still standing...a quilt of life's factors make us all and i am bettered by watching you speak of him/you/us in the same breath, my Jaime is your Elvis, hats off to ya.

Posted by Morgan D Hafele on 08/04/09 at 12:27 AM

hear hear! fantastic piece chris! an amazing capture of a short period of time.

Posted by Carissa Dewey on 08/04/09 at 01:48 AM

I enjoy reading and writing poems that deal with short moments in life. They always carry a strong presence on paper. This poem is a perfect example of this. I really enjoyed your thoughts.

Posted by Jon-Jacob F Deal on 08/04/09 at 06:30 AM

I am always impressed with how many ideas can be encapsulated in one crystallized moment. They just need a little reflection in order to be teased out. Great job.

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 08/04/09 at 12:57 PM

very intense and well written, exposing some complex reactionary emotions, almost like a yin-yang:to be like him/to be not like him,compassion/sympathy...so many facets expressed here and i enjoyed reading very much

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 08/08/09 at 12:52 AM

While tempted to be condescending toward mentally challenged, I too wish I could take life as simply and direct. You've written a compassionate view of Down's Syndrome.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 08/08/09 at 05:04 PM

I'm on this bus right with you, Chris. Kudos to you. Kudos.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/09/09 at 03:02 AM

"of this rock star without a guitar" - you've described one of those special people, and I like how you are aware of how you perceive him. Great last stanza. THank you.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 08/15/09 at 11:41 PM

Well, I must confess (believing that you are not particularly sentimental) that there is mist in my eyes after reading this. What a scene you make, of course in your poem, but more touching to me... you on the #37 an urbane and sensitive observer also gifted with the pen... and you... perhaps ... just another nameless commuter - an audience of singular gift... I tip my fingers to you and to Elvis. Beautiful poem, Chris. Thank you, my friend.

Posted by David Hill on 09/07/09 at 03:18 PM

I like the details, which make it easy to picture this colorful character. He is a local celebrity, and likely experiences an isolation similar to the famous. He appears to have escped some of society's constraints. It is interesting to think about how much I\we unconciously conform. This piece feels very real.

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 09/07/09 at 05:47 PM

Congrats on an excellent potd. Thanks.

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