Ill-Received Christmas Present


Ill-Received Christmas Present

I understood
even at the time
that the cardboard Elvis
(life-sized) was well-intentioned.

The problem was not
that anything associated with Elvis should be larger
than life.  (The cardboard suit
shone gold, glimmering hues
crooning along the trouser folds.)

The problem was me–my life-sized inability
to rock around the clock, my biology’s SRO tenancy
at the Heartbreak Hotel–they keep me a spare room
close to the door–

I was already too
shook up and I thought you, who knew
what the warmth of flesh
could do
to me,
would know better.

I’m not sure I even
had the presence of mind
to thank you, though you at least
apologized.  Me


Ha!  The above is my offering for dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics challenge on presents/presence, hosted by yours truly. Check out dVerse and join in the fun! 

Also, if you want to do a very holiday-spirit type of thing, check out my books!  Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, orNose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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46 Comments on “Ill-Received Christmas Present”

  1. claudia Says:

    we always think they should know better… the keeping you a spare room at the heartbreak hotel…i once had a life sized poster of my teenage idol…tommy ohrner…no none-german knows him probably…but i was madly in love..ha..smiles

  2. brian miller Says:

    ha. glad you apologized as well…maybe if it was a velvet painitng….um, nah….ha….like all the little references…a life size cut out….makes for an intriguing present…ha.

  3. LOL, looooove it! Elvis. Life-size, in gold. Wow.

  4. I so love Elvis and I enjoyed the lyrics in your words ~

    Wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas ~

  5. Bit of difference in a cardboard cut out of Elvis and a diamond….no wonder you were disappointed…lol At least he had the presence of mind to apologise, glad you did too 🙂

  6. Excellent write Karin – and I’m sure you handled the ‘problem’ well.

    As a young thing I loved Elvis – just loved him! But as I grew older my interest (and love) waned and I cast him aside and gave my adoration to Leonard Cohen…

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Anna :o]

  7. Loved this Karin! Happy Holidays to you!

  8. This made me laugh out loud karin, yet it really is tender in spots, too. A very nice blend to savor before the roasting velvet paintings of Elvis on an open fire, on a blue (bloobloobloo) christmas. (My sister at age 29 had a *definitely* larger than life velvet painting of Elvis over her bed, in case my reference was a bit obscure.) 😉

  9. This is so fun! Like hedge, I laughed out loud. Very cool how you incorporated Elvis’ hits into the poem.

  10. Miriam E. Says:

    haha this is awesome.
    what a great poem, Karin… and thank you so much for hosting!

  11. Mary Says:

    Karin, this poem made me smile. At least a life-sized Elvis was an original gift. If I received it, I’d have been ‘all shook up.’ Merry Christmas, Karin!

  12. Kim Nelson Says:

    Clever you… turning a disappointing gift into a fabulously crafted poem. You see? Every experience has potential, possibilities, opportunities! And thanks for the prompt!

  13. I love the quirkiness of this Karin – we’ve all done it: received a gift in complete bafflement as to WHY!!! Or given one… Going to check out what I’ve got for people now, just to be on the safe side… 😉

  14. dani Says:

    oh, my! what a gift! {smile}

    this is delightful, Karin! thank you for the great prompt, too.

    Happy Holidays!

  15. kaykuala Says:

    Unchained Melody in Blue Hawaii all in golden hues. It would have been fun connecting to those Jailhouse Rock songs and make one feel young even with a Wooden Heart. It’s Now or Never! Thanks for the memories,K and Merry Christmas to you!


  16. What a gift! 🙂 If I should present something like that to a woman it would have been a picture of my self. 🙂

  17. Love Elvis and his suit ~ the prompt is just right for this time of year k.
    Seasons Greetings 🙂

  18. Fred Says:

    this was fun Karin. Great prompt tonight. The photo is great as was the song title pun/use in here. The well-intentioned line I liked a lot, and the parenthetical lines, very nicely done. Merry Christmas. Thanks

  19. The first Christmas present my husband gave me was a frying pan…I was devastated, I thought being our first Christmas and so in love…well you know… anyway he got through it unscathed and has never bought me an appliance since 🙂 Loved how you interweaved the Elvis songs very well done… Merry Christmas!

  20. Sabio Lantz Says:

    my biology’s SRO tendency?
    Standing Room Only, Single Room Occupancy, Senior Ranking Officer, Serious Replies Only?

    Disappointed by a gift? Did someone really give this to you or is this all a metaphor? Is this a lover who didn’t give you what you wanted?

    AH, then I read your comments: You really did get this and was hoping for a diamond. I wonder what happened to that fellow. I was looking too deep.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Single room occupancy. I wasn’t truly hoping for a diamond – I really said that bit to be funny. I WAS hoping for something beside a cardboard Elvis. And honestly, I probably shortchanged the poem a bit in writing it up so quickly-as there was definitely a deeper kernel. I will maybe fix in a rewrite. I find it always difficult to give time to my own work on a day that I am doing the dVerse prompt.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      PS – I shouldn’t say that I was making a joke to expect the diamond. I was expecting something more romantic, and should definitely bring that out more in the poem.

      SRO may have a more immediate meaning to New Yorkers as there has been a times a certain amount of controversy over the use of SRO type hotels as housing projects.

  21. Mama Zen Says:

    “glimmering hues
    crooning along the trouser folds”

    That is just brilliant.

  22. Kelvin S.M. Says:

    ..ha, i had never imagined a life size image of an icon could be presented as a gift… maybe bcoz i haven’t got one but if ever one would give such a present to me… well then i’d like to have Madona… or MJ…aww… really interesting and entertaining poem… and oh…Hello Ms. K… thanks for the prompt and Merry Christmas to you and yours… smiles…

  23. light breezy and im happy i read this.

    cos ive been reading a lot f in dept stuff and this gave me a smile..

  24. An unwanted gift..gosh a life size Elvis that is some gift to recieve! I smiled at this and my smile grew broader as I read but then I read heart break hotel and a deeper emotion of loss and pain rose to the surface. Great prompt.
    Merry Christmas!

  25. jasmine calyx Says:

    This is hilarious:

    “The problem was me–my life-sized inability
    to rock around the clock”

  26. vidyatiru Says:

    🙂 a life size cutout – now that is a unique gift..
    thanks for the prompt.. and merry christmas..

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