“A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry
when one is tired, hurt and bewildered.”
~ Clara Bow ~
Clara Bow was one fine-looking “colleen”,
Though her judgment of men was “dubious”,
“Quintessential” star, silent movie queen,
Her life made some overtly envious,
Smokey eyes, behavior promiscuous,
Caused whispers with each new “affaire du couer”,
Her fresh meat of the week, le goût du jour *,
Lovers so many, lovers so “randy”,
“Blokes” boasting of bedroom tours
were just knaves who kept affection handy.
Her Parties became quite legendary,
She “titillated” with jokes rather dirty,
Flaunted in front of her adversaries,
Curved ‘round men, delivered lines flirty,
Ended her reign before she hit thirty.
Battling booze and numbers on the scale,
Rattling her cage, a wild spirit so frail,
A heart and mind that could not "acquiesce",
Sanitarium’s sprite, a wraith so pale
soon learned that black and white are colorless.
Oh, how sad and tragic was her childhood,
Hungry and unclothed, a tot destitute,
And daddy did things that no daddy should,
Mommy was a lady of ill repute
who heard inner voices she could not mute.
This unloved flapper loved to get “fuzzled”
Often spoke out, until she was muzzled,
Searching “hither and yon” for all she’d missed,
A little girl remained lost and puzzled,
First robbed by madness then by madness kissed.
For Debbie Guzzi's Language contest. 10 of her cool words used.
* le goût du jour means “taste of the day”
** coeur has one syllable.
About this poem
Clara Bow’s beginnings are beyond horrific. Her mother was a prostitute and schizophrenic and the future starlet grew up in complete poverty. Her mother attempted to kill Clara by slitting her throat, and she was sexually abused by her father. A notorious partier who would tell all the juicy details of her liaisons with directors and famous leading men (including Gary Cooper), she ended up spending a great deal of time in institutions. Her story is a sad one, and testifies to how damaging child abuse can be. She was loved by directors for her ability to cry real tears on demand. She said all she had to do was think about being a girl again and tears would flow..