• Carol Everett Adams

Elvis Presley, Slot Machine

I saw the new Elvis movie last weekend (and loved it), so it seemed a good occasion to dust off this older poem and revise it a bit. I wrote it after my first visit to Vegas many years ago, where at the MGM Grand I found an Elvis slot machine that would often play one of his songs.


My most recent trip to Vegas was a couple of weeks ago (for a conference) and I looked in vain for Elvis slots to play. However, I did visit Westgate, and I did get to see him at Madame Tussauds.


This poem is only published here on my blog.


Wax statue of Elvis Presley at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas
Photo by the author at Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas


Elvis Presley, Slot Machine


Betting in Vegas is the instant the slipper fits

or the stepsister breaks it. No one knows

the end of the story. But Elvis still reigns


against the back wall. I approach his throne,

quarters in supplication. One good song of coin

will wind me up, opening number


before I pull up to a table, and slowly fan my cards.

One flick, or kiss, or prayer may still change the hand

I’m playing with strangers, where we share games


like countries we’ve toured—ten casinos in two days,

mazed with illogical carpet print—red poppies,

snake trellis, diamonds pointing toward the wheels


and decks, and half-moons of green felt. The King blinks,

calls me home. Hurry, sing the lights, run, chime the dings,

bubble, says my glass, full of hope and suspicion.





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