Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow are famous for their criminal activities. They were American citizens who traveled central America with their gang during the “Great Depression” robbing and killing whenever they deemed necessary. What most prole don’t stop to think about was the great love they shared.
These two met at the home of Clyde’s friend, Clarence Clay, on January 5 1930. Bonnie, who was working as a waitress at the time, was out of work helping a female friend with her broken arm. Clyde dropped by the girl’s place while Bonnie was in the kitchen and the two were smitten immediately they met. I’d like to think that for Bonnie it was love at first sight. For she never left Clyde’s side since then. Bonnie had been married before to Roy Thornton but due to his continuous absence and trouble with the law, their marriage didn’t last long. Thornton went to jail and Bonnie had moved to her mother’s place. The two however never got divorced. Bonnie was wearing her wedding ring when she died.
Bonnie is known widely as Clyde’s partner in crime and in life. However, I would like to introduce Bonnie the poet. See Bonnie had lost her father at the age of four. Her mother then moved the family to their grandparents’ house in Cement City, now know as West Dallas. In her second year in high-school, Bonnie had dropped out of school with Thornton where the two got married. After Thornton got incarcerated, Bonnie became fond of writing and expressed her loneliness, her impatience with life in provincial Dallas and her love of talking pictures in poetry.
Bonnie Parker wrote most of her poems, while in jail in a little notebookshe had obtained from The First National Bank of Burkburnett, Texas
Bonnie’s poem’s include: ‘Suicide Sal’, ‘The Trail’s End’ (also known as the story of Bonnie and Clyde) and ‘The Street Girl’. I first discovered Suicide Sal while I was reading about Bonnie and Clyde’s life story. That’s when I learnt that Bonnie wasn’t just a ruthless, gun-wielding criminal. She was passionate about life, her family and the man she loved. She even risked her life to sneak in a gun into the slammer to bust Clyde out. I mean if that is not love, I don’t know what is. But enough of her life story, let’s look at how she chose to pour out her heart in her work of art.
We each of us have a good “alibi”
For being down here in the “joint”;
But few of them really are justified
If you get right down to the point.
You’ve heard of a woman’s “glory”
Being spent on a “downright cur,”
Still you can’t always judge the story
As true, being told by her.
As long as I’ve stayed on this “island,”
And heard “confidence tales” from each “gal,”
Only one seemed interesting and truthful —
The story of “Suicide Sal.”
Now “Sal” was a gal of rare beauty,
Though her features were coarse and tough;
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the “up and up.”
“Sal” told me this tale on the evening
Before she was turned out “free,”
And I’ll do my best to relate it
Just as she told it to me:
I was born on a ranch in Wyoming;
Not treated like Helen of Troy;
I was taught that “rods were rulers”
And “ranked” as a greasy cowboy.”
Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl,
Not knowing how little of pity
It holds for a country girl.
There I fell for “the line” of a “henchman,”
A “professional killer” from “Chi”;
I couldn’t help loving him madly;
For him even now I would die.
One year we were desperately happy;
Our “ill gotten gains” we spent free;
I was taught the ways of the “underworld”;
Jack was just like a “god” to me.
I got on the “F.B.A.” payroll
To get the “inside lay” of the “job”;
The bank was “turning big money”!
It looked like a “cinch” for the “mob.”
Eighty grand without even a “rumble” —
Jack was last with the “loot” in the door,
When the “teller” dead-aimed a revolver
From where they forced him to lie on the floor.
I knew I had only a moment —
He would surely get Jack as he ran;
So I “staged” a “big fade out” beside him
And knocked the forty-five out of his hand.
They “rapped me down big” at the station,
And informed me that I’d get the blame
For the “dramatic stunt” pulled on the “teller”
Looked to them too much like a “game.”
The “police” called it a “frame-up,”
Said it was an “inside job,”
But I steadily denied any knowledge
Or dealings with “underworld mobs.”
The “gang” hired a couple of lawyers,
The best “fixers” in any man’s town,
But it takes more than lawyers and money
When Uncle Sam starts “shaking you down.”
I was charged as a “scion of gangland”
And tried for my wages of sin;
The “dirty dozen” found me guilty —
From five to fifty years in the pen.
I took the “rap” like good people,
And never one “squawk” did I make.
Jake “dropped himself” on the promise
That we make a “sensational break.”
Well, to shorten a sad lengthy story,
Five years have gone over my head
Without even so much as a letter–
At first I thought he was dead.
But not long ago I discovered
From a gal in the joint named Lyle,
That Jack and his “moll” had “got over”
And were living in true “gangster style.”
If he had returned to me sometime,
Though he hadn’t a cent to give,
I’d forget all this hell that he’s caused me,
And love him as long as I live.
But there’s no chance of his ever coming,
For he and his moll have no fears
But that I will die in this prison,
Or “flatten” this fifty years.
Tomorrow I’ll be on the “outside”
And I’ll “drop myself” on it today;
I’ll “bump ’em” if they give me the “hotsquat”
On this island out here in the bay…
The iron doors swung wide next morning
For a gruesome woman of waste,
Who at last had a chance to “fix it,”
Murder showed in her cynical face.
Not long ago I read in the paper
That a gal on the East Side got “hot,”
And when the smoke finally retreated
Two of gangdom were found “on the spot.”
It related the colorful story
of a “jilted gangster gal.”
Two days later, a “sub-gun” ended
The story of “Suicide Sal.”
— Bonnie Parker
I hope you enjoy as I did.