Gone Elvis

My Dad speaks about his military service sometimes – joined a few years after the WWII dust settled.  When he does, there’s a look in his eye that’s like a key to a secret language, as if a language that only other Servicemen and Servicewomen can understand.  Like a code or oath, or both; or an acquired knowledge brandished, then branded by the stress of Living Soldier.  Certainly acquired with pride.  But, perhaps that secret code, that acquired knowledge, is the seed of a cerebral failsafe- a personal Gone Elvis.

Gone Elvis, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the U.S. Military, is a Slang term for “to have died or disappeared, or be lost, missing in action.”

This poem is inspired by Women in Uniform who come home from a War Zone, to find that they are not whole.

“gone Elvis”  is a soon-to-be independent short film about a woman who comes home, but in some basic ways, is still at war.  “gone Elvis” will begin shooting this summer.  To find out how you can help bring this story to film and screen, visit http://davidnewhoff.com

Gone Elvis

Camouflage is my favorite color
‘Cause I Am Gone when it carries me under.

I’m the girl next door you never saw
In my gun and my boots with my mind done gnawed
I’m the girl next door that’s hard to see
I’m the color of the landscape on the streets.

 I’m Gone Elvis – don’t know how
Still a uniform and a number now.
I fight the war that’s in my head
Gotta soldier that, or I’ll end up dead.

 I’m Gone Elvis ’til the day I die
‘Til the bullets fall or my spirit flies.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Al Boudreau
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:35:43

    Katherine…what a wonderful post. On this holiday we spend honoring those who have served to protect our freedoms, you have helped us appreciate a sometimes forgotton fact. Not only is this a time to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives for this country, but also I time to pay tribute to those who are still with us, and all they have sacrificed. These individuals are our living heroes. Thank you for sharing this post on Memorial Day weekend, 2011.


  2. Ann Mauren
    May 29, 2011 @ 19:42:22

    What a poignant and perfect post for this weekend. I had never heard the term “Gone Elvis” but now I will think of it every time I see a military service person, especially a lady.

    Thanks, Katherine!


  3. Violeta
    May 29, 2011 @ 20:42:32

    Wow. Just. Wow. I’m so glad you gave me the link. See, I’ve been reading so many blog posts lately, and this is … well, amazing. Again, I like your style. And I was actually moved by this poem, so haunting really. I love the part about the war she still leads in her head. Not to mention the personal touch. I went over to the site and saw it was 70% funded. That means it will probably happen and it’s a very good project indeed. I admire you for writing about what you believe in. Thanks for the read and I’ll definitely gobble up the rest of your blog now. You’ve got a fan! 😉


  4. Reggie
    May 29, 2011 @ 21:24:02

    Good post an timely considering Memorial Day is Monday. My dad was also not one to talk about the war. It was like by talking about it, he would have to remember something repressed for probable psychological reasons. Post traumatic syndrome is real and I have seen it first hand. The adrenaline pumps the pupils dilate and once again the person is back there reliving the thing they went through. For you I am guessing, the accident you survived is something you find hard to talk about. The brain has a way of protecting people who go through something bad. My daughter went through natural childbirth denying herself the pain relief a spinal would give. Then when she could take the pain no longer she asked for the spinal but as luck would have it, she delivered before the anesthesia Dr. Arrived. Now when I ask her about it she has only a fuzzy memory of the pain she went through. And Faith is only a month old now. Soo cute. Anyway, my daughter said she wants to have more children, and soon. Now how could someone want to go back for more? I can’t answer but think it may have something to do with memory loss of the pain. My dad was a survivor or December 7 in Pearl Harbor. I could never get him to tell me of the things he saw. I have seen some of his black and white photographs and the movie of course which tells of a blood bath on par with 911. He was one of the paratroopers who landed behind enemy lines on D day. Talk about another balls to the wall experience. Not a peep from him. He went to be with Elvis about 10 years ago and took those stories with him. Nice post and poem and hope to read more. Also glad you lived. ;). To write about it. Reggie Ridgway http://characterswellmet.blogspot.com. I can be an extra in your movie. 🙂


  5. Reggie
    May 29, 2011 @ 23:33:50

    This post hits home as the Veteran’s Day approaches. My dad was at pearl harbor Dec 7. Wouldn’t talk about it. He was a paratrooper who landed behind enemy lines on “D”day. Never spoke about it. Couldn’t pry a word from him. He told me that I was named after a fox hole buddy who saved his life. That was the most he would say to me. Now he is gone and his stories with him. I have some photographs of pearl and it was their 911 for sure. Maybe it was something like PTS. Retelling would be like reliving it. Glad you lived to write after that accident. Good poem. Elvis has indeed left the building. I could be a an extra in the film. Lol


  6. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:35:25

    David and I can’t thank you enough for your support of Gone Elvis! We’re determined to get this film made and enlighten people on the struggles our brave veterans are facing. We are humbled to have your support.


  7. Andrea Hunter
    May 30, 2011 @ 02:41:02

    You know, my dad joined when WWII started — he was 16. He never talked about what happened, just that he was a radio man on a destoyer in the Pacific. He too would get that far off look and then change the subject. I never heard of this “Gone Elvis” term before, but it sure fits. Because of my dad, I am fiercely patriotic and I thank every military person for their service to this country.
    Love the post and the poem!


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