Memphis Resurrection

By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers b. 1967 Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

Who died and made you Elvis?
      —Bumper sticker

The big rock by my door
is a plaster prop, after
all. I’m back to hear
screams for what I can’t
do, couldn’t do forty
years ago. Awkward
pelvic thrusts fooled
the camera and virgins,
but I have no more fish-
fry tunes left to dress
up on brand new plates.
This time around,
I spend all day singing
cracked Mississippi
homilies. Why
did I want to live
forever in the first place?
Salvation felt better dead,
floating home free
while my bones, secret
and brown, mingle
with old dirt.

Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, “Memphis Resurrection” from The Gospel of Barbecue. Copyright © 2000 by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers.  Reprinted by permission of The Kent State University Press.

Source: The Gospel of Barbecue (2000)

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Poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Death, Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Persona

 Honorée Fanonne Jeffers


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was born in 1967 and grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. Her work examines culture, religion, race, and family. Her first book, The Gospel of Barbecue (2000), won the Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize and was a 2001 Paterson Poetry prize finalist. Her collections also include Outlandish Blues (2003), Red Clay Suite (2007), which received second prize in the Crab Orchard Review’s open . . .

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Poems by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Death, Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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