Thursday, February 02, 2006

the ballad

Ugh. Feels like Cinderella's stepsisters trying to squeeze into that tiny glass shoe. Everytime I re-arranged one thing, I'd have to go back and retool the whole thing. It was hard trying to make it rhyme, keep the requisite number of stresses and syllables per line, but NOT make it sound like a dirty limerick. Wound up the stresses are off, but I'm willing to let it go..I think it was the shorter 2 and 4 lines that gave me the most trouble, not really the rhyme so much, but trying to get what I needed to say into that claustrophobic little line. I'd been thinking of writing a Bonnie and Clyde poem for a few months now, but just hadn't gotten to it yet. And of course, what subject better fits a ballad, especially since Bonnie herself wrote one.

down together

Some day they’ll go down together
And they’ll bury them side by side
To few it’ll be grief, to the law a relief
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

--"The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde"

Her mama says women are weak,
sin woven into their drawers,
sewn damn straight in the cotton seams
of dresses. Now, the rows

of laundry smell like damnation,
closets of back road motels,
their threadbare blue flowered bedspreads.
Moonshined and drunk as hell,

he lines the rifles up like dolls
shines them to a silver.
Soon, she’s swallowing bullets whole
the pearl handled revolver

beneath the pillow. Crazy hot
for the engine’s mean thrust.
She’ll wait in the Ford in the parking lot
the windshield thick with dust

and the devil still in her yellow hair.
In the space beneath her tongue.
Nothing is quite as pretty, he says,
as a pretty girl holding a gun.

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