Saturday, June 5, 2010
With sharp suits and new shoes;
But he weren't much older than that season's cornstalks.
Her days had been empty and blank,
Like dishes drying in a rack;
So when he asked her if she'd like to go for a ride, she didn't have to think it over much.
He was a businessman,
Relieving banks of excess inventory at the urging of a Browning automatic rifle.
She liked the movies and wrote poetry in a neat hand while waiting in the getaway car.
She called him "Daddy."
He called her "Sugar Darlin'."
All throughout Texas and points north,
He enacted transactions and then left the law choking on his dust down the back country roads.
He said, "Am I scarin' you, Darlin'?"
She said, "Drive faster, Daddy, I'm gettin' bored."
At motor courts outside Enid or New Braunfels,
They'd ruin the sheets, then leave a ten dollar tip.
Lots of people knew who they were, but it was a donkey's age before anybody snitched.
It was September, early in the evening,
And they had just stopped their car a minute to smell the sun-warmed country grass and have a smoke when judgement came.
The windows shattered into her eyes and she couldn't see that part of his head was gone, so she covered him with her body to protect him;
The stolen V-8 rocked them like babies in a cradle with every impact,
And she said "Daddy" in his ear one last time in the moment before her heart stopped forever.
Later, pictures of them dead sold for a nickel,
And their car turned up at carnival sideshows for years
With one headlight remaining,
And seemingly ready to light up the road,
As if they might yet come barreling down it.
photograph: Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, on whom my poem is very very loosely based. Some of these things happened to them, some to others, and some are made up.