John Elvis is dead, man, and he had it coming
For his drinking and preaching, fighting and bumming.
He spent all his nights in a blind, drunken haze,
But this is the song of John Elvis's days.
He'd laugh at your ups, and he'd cuss at your downs,
And he wrote a fair line when his wits were around.
He talked fast and played fair, and worked when he could,
And he'd pawn his typewriter when he ran out of food.
John Elvis Henry was a name he took on
Since his parents door-stepped him, and were vanished and gone.
So you might have known him by some other name
But you'll recognize him if the story's the same.
I worked with John Elvis the better part of five years
And we did some talking, and we drank some beers
'Til it became less like friendship, and more like a chore
Keeping John out of trouble and off of the floor.
One night he was bad off, and I spoke my mind
About keeping one's promise and walking the line.
He never argued, he just talked of his pain
And who's fit to tell him that didn't explain?
Tom Randolph called me one morning near dawn-
There was a single-car crash, and John Elvis was gone.
For some reason I felt I should apologize
But instead I just said, "Thank God no one else died."
Some would say he was a man too young for his age
And some would have him a writer who ran out of page.
You could say he had monsters that he never faced-
He was a devoted man, with his devotions misplaced.