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July 3, 2006

Fools Rush In: George and Junichiro Go to Memphis

By Missy Beattie


Last week's visit to Graceland by the George Bush entourage, which included Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, stirred a vivid memory. Some years ago, I was invited to a party at Miss Bonnie's Elvis Bar and Shrine in Baltimore. I had been asked to write a poem in memory of the King to read on the anniversary of his death. For some reason, I directed my message to Priscilla.


When you checked out on the King,
We registered at the HEARTBREAK HOTEL.
While HE doused his sorrow
not thinking of tomorrow
with pills, booze, buddies, fried banana and
peanut butter sandwiches and white, cotton undies
only to ARISE on Mondays
wishing he were Pat Boone.


We watched, resigned, as you traded
GRACELAND for Southfork,
Memphis for Dallas.
For this we bore you no malice,
But we can never forgive you
for liberating your beehive
and adopting a more Rodeo Drive hairstyle.


How we ache to re-crown you our queen.
To hear you proclaim, "Let be be finale of seem.
Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the King
." *

*With apologies to Wallace Stevens for bastardizing his poem, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream."

Having been such an intense Elvis fan, I was disappointed when I saw Priscilla as she hosted the president who believes he's a king, First Lady Laura, and Koizumi at Graceland. In Japan, the visit was applauded and, of course, Bush rolled out the shag carpet because Prime Minister Koizumi sent a whopping 500 troops to Iraq as part of the "coalition" to find WMD, topple an evil dictator who had killed so many of his own people, spread democracy to grateful Iraqis, and fight the Global War on Terror.

As Air Force One approached Memphis for the adventure, Bush, Laura, Koizumi, and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow listened to recordings of Love me Tender and Don't be Cruel. George and Junichiro even sang a duet, I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, at some point.

The American death count in Iraq is nearing 2,550. In June alone, over 1,000 Iraqis were killed and almost 1,800 were injured.

The image of a laughing George, Laura, Tony, Priscilla and Junichiro as they partied on while an illegal, immoral, and imperialistic war rages, claiming and changing the lives of so many men, women, and children, is a sickening yet all too familiar reminder of the Bush Administration's disregard for human suffering. Priscilla's liberating her beehive for a Rodeo Drive hairstyle is nothing compared to her opening the doors of Graceland to George Bush.

Therefore, I send the former Mrs. Elvis Presley this plea:


Those who are suffering from Bush's lies
Reside forever at the Heartbreak Hotel,
and you provided a tour to the Devil in Disguise.
Playing with George-why did you take part?
Do you, as well, have a Wooden Heart?


We're All Shook Up from "Shock and Awe,"
with grief that's left our senses raw.
Because the Puppet On a String
is Cheney and Rumsfeld's deadly plaything.
Please tell Bush his actions have left us scarred.
Say, "George, you must Clean Up Your Own Backyard."


Saving lives, saving face,
save yourself with saving grace,
The dealer of pain shouldn't be singing.
This "decider" of agony shouldn't be grinning.
Surely, the King in his coffin is spinning.
Oh, Priscilla, do take stock
and play for the president Jailhouse Rock.

Authors Bio:
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she has been writing political articles.