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Bonnie’s Heretofore Unpublished Poem to Clyde

by Shawnacy Perez

(found tucked into bonnie parker's unmentionables when her body was searched, after being gunned down on a back road by a sheriff and his posse in Bienville Parish, Louisiana; May 23, 1934)

Thing of it is,
It wasn’t supposed to have happened.
But these things never are.
These earthquake things.
These monsoon, tidal-wave, gale-force things.
These crack-open-the-pavement,
Water-stain-on-the-walls-thirteen-feet-high things.
But there you were.
All magnets and electricity and easy laughter and open roads,
And how could I help it?
My heart swelling out to you the way it did.
(standing in the kitchen that morning; scrambling to reel it back in… never had a prayer)
…the way it does.

And they’ll never know.
What it is to sit on a porchswing in a rainstorm;
Tin roof music,
Heart like a hurricane;
To run through muddy puddles and sheeting grace.
Only laughing- that bent-double, can’t-breathe laughing-
Which is only loving
Which is only
Being the same thing, inside.
You and I.

Or the feel of the sun through tracing leaf shadows
At the top of that tulip tree,
And how our words drifted down like leaves,
On air so shady and thick,
It runs down your throat like wine.

They’ll never know
How I hold your heart
In a locket made of song
Around my neck,
Close as skin.

Because of the way you see.
Because riding next to you under the spilling moon
While the world sleeps and kicks at
Ill-fitting sheets,
Is - by some streetcorner, zen-cowboy wizardry - both
(through secret hatch-locked trapdoors in the cosmos)
And- at the same time, uncannily-

Because who else knows what a river means,
Or a sunset,
When the world holds its breath, and
Reaches for the light
-gold with longing -
Slipping away in the ache of parting.
And how the starstrewn night is
Nothing but its melancholy
Love song,
Hummed over the face of the planet.
And how(you said) if you know the trick
You can close your eyes
And trail your finger through the
Universe like water.

How you are the silhouette of a hill under a depth-of-the-ocean sky;
The turn in the trail, where the vines hang thick and deep
And you’re stepping on crushed honeysuckle and
No matter what your plans were, you can’t keep your feet from
Falling forward.
You’re the easy, buzzing, backporch morning,
When the day hangs on a breeze-twirled, downy curtain before you,
Llike everything that ever could be.
You’re the hot, close afternoon,
The creak of the chair on two legs at the card table,
The everything-that's-right about everything-that's-wrong.
Crooked-grin, slouch-hat, barefoot
Of everything I never dreamed possible.

And how all of it,
All the rest,
Is just our hardscrabble shot
At killing the restless, tearing thing inside,
And that none of that
Is even anything
At all.
Compared to lying next to you-
Whispered breathings,
And the cadence of heartbeats.
Wild and safe-
Under the warm intoxication of an open window
When the whole world smells of
strawberries, ripening.


Posted on 06/04/2011
Copyright © 2024 Shawnacy Perez

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Joe Cramer on 06/05/11 at 01:37 AM

... excellent... welcome to Pathetic....

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 06/06/11 at 01:14 AM

Smooth as silk in its flow, such momentum!, this inner mind we never saw of that wild gal. A fine piece.

Posted by LK Barrett on 10/26/11 at 02:09 PM

...the clarity, the devastating truth of it...shawnacy shawnacy shawnacy I am moved beyond "trailing my fingers through the universe like water" stupendous write...lk

Posted by Elizabeth Shaw on 12/13/11 at 04:10 PM

love this

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